Thursday, September 3, 2015

J. Reuben Clark on the unquenchable light of the gospel

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. (September 1, 1871 – October 6, 1961) was a prominent attorney who served as Under Secretary of State during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge, and later as the US Ambassador to Mexico. He was called as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant starting in April 1933, and was ordained an apostle a year and a half later. He went on to serve as counselor to Presidents George Albert Smith and David O. McKay before he passed away in 1961 at age 90.
"Every human being is born with the light of faith kindled in his heart as on an altar, and that light burns and the Lord sees that it burns, during the period before we are accountable. When accountability comes then each of us determines how we shall feed and care for that light. If we shall live righteously that light will glow until it diffuses the whole body, giving to it health and strength and spiritual light as well as bodily health.  If we shall live unrighteously that light will dwindle and finally almost flicker out.
"Yet it is my hope and my belief that the Lord never permits the light of faith wholly to be extinguished in any human heart, however faint the light may glow. The Lord has provided that there shall still be there a spark which, with teaching, with the spirit of righteousness, with love, with tenderness, with example, with living the Gospel, shall brighten and glow again, however darkened the mind may have been. And if we shall fail so to reach those among us of our own whose faith has dwindled low, we shall fail in one of the main things which the Lord expects at our hands."
- J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 114

President Clark presents an interesting description of the "light of faith" that is kindled in every being, and burns in our childhood. Once we are "accountable," we determine for ourselves how we "feed and care for that light." His description of what can happen when we live appropriately is inspiring:

President Clark also offers hope to those who struggle with a loss of faith, in themselves or in one they love and care about:

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