Sunday, October 15, 2017

Elder Gary E. Stevenson on preventing spiritual eclipses in life

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (b. August 5, 1955) was called as a Seventy in 2008, then as Presiding Bishop in 2012. He was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"In the same manner that the very small moon can block the magnificent sun, extinguishing its light and warmth, a spiritual eclipse can occur when we allow minor and troublesome obstructions—those we face in our daily lives—to get so close that they block out the magnitude, brightness, and warmth of the light of Jesus Christ and His gospel....
"Clearly, none of us wants to purposefully obscure our vision of heaven or allow a spiritual eclipse to occur in our lives....
"Looking at a spiritual eclipse through the protecting and softening lens of the Spirit provides a gospel perspective, thus protecting us from spiritual blindness....
"When you put on gospel glasses, you find enhanced perspective, focus, and vision in the way you think about your priorities, your problems, your temptations, and even your mistakes. You will see brighter light that you could not see without them."
- Gary E. Stevenson, "Spiritual Eclipse," General Conference October 2017
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I had the privilege of being in the area of totality for the recent solar eclipse described by Elder Stevenson in his article. So I understand the "sense of awe, astonishment, and even anxiety" that such an occurrence creates. We pondered on the phenomenon of nature that makes this possible, and on the overwhelming power of the sun: if even a tiny portion of the sun is not eclipsed (just outside the area of totality), it's still not possible to look directly at it, and the related phenomena of temperature drop and darkness are not nearly as pronounced.

Elder Stevenson's analogy of things that might block the source of our spiritual light is a good one. We need to be very careful not to ever allow obstructions of any kind to come between us and God's light:

The use of "gospel glasses" that enable us to see more clearly as we strive to avoid obstructions becomes critical. We need the "enhanced perspective, focus, and vision" that gospel living provides in order to stay safe. Our acts of obedience and faithful discipleship will keep us safe and on the right path..

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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