Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Joseph F. Smith on shining with original light instead of borrowed light

President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) was the son of Joseph's brother Hyrum. He was ordained an apostle in 1866 at age 28, and served as a counselor to Brigham Young and the three presidents who followed.  He became the 6th president of the Church in 1901, and served until his death in 1918 at age 80.
“One fault to be avoided by the Saints, young and old, is the tendency to live on borrowed light, with their own hidden under a bushel; to permit the savor of their salt of knowledge to be lost; and the light within them to be reflected, rather than original.
"Every Saint should not only have the light within himself, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but his light should so shine that it may be clearly perceived by others.
“Men and women should become settled in the truth, and founded in the knowledge of the gospel, depending upon no person for borrowed or reflected light, but trusting only upon the Holy Spirit, who is ever the same, shining forever and testifying to the individual and the priesthood, who live in harmony with the laws of the gospel, of the glory and the will of the Father. They will then have light everlasting which cannot be obscured. By its shining in their lives, they shall cause others to glorify God; and by their well-doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light."
- Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era 8:60-62, 1904-05; see Gospel Doctrine, pp. 87–88

President Smith warns us of the tendency to "hide our light under a bushel," and then to reflect the light of others instead of having our light be original within us:

When our own light is burning clearly, it comes "through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Having that companionship fills us with light. I'm reminded of the beautiful counsel and invitation given by the Lord through Joseph Smith:

"And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things." (D&C 88:67)

A body that is full of light will shine directly and powerfully, not needing to reflect the light of others. As President Smith notes, one of the great blessings of this shining light is that others will see it and glorify God. It will also help to overcome criticism and foolish ignorance, and will ultimately bring glory to God who is the source of the light.

As far as I know, the concept of "borrowed light" originated with Heber C. Kimball who spoke of it several times. Click here to read an example of his teachings, with an added insight from Robert J. Matthews about our occasional tendency to borrow from our own light.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15