Our bedroom is located in the southeast corner of our home on the second floor. In the winter the first rays of the sunrise come streaming through the large window facing the east. The southeast corner, Joseph Smith instructed, should always be the first stone laid when a new temple is built. The southeast exposure always garners the most sunlight, according to the Prophet.
That's why this view of the Salt Lake Temple has always been a favorite:
|Salt Lake Temple |
(copyright 2007 by Howard A. Knudsen)
Even in the winter, however, when the sun is in the farthest southern aspect, the light is brilliant. It's fun to watch the changing seasons, and regardless of where the sun is positioned over the mountains to the east it is hard to block out the light. In the summer it shines in the northern windows, and in the winter it streams through the southern exposure and warms the whole house.
Light is like that -- it's just hard to suppress. It chases away the darkness of night. No matter how bleak the day before might have been, a new sunrise offers the promise of unfulfilled goals and dreams. No day is so dark and dreary that it can't be cured by a new day dawning on the horizon to the east. "Today while the sun shines," is a title of a familiar hymn (see Hymns, No. 229). "All we have is the present; that's why they call it a gift."
So it is with our lives.
All light is “the light of truth” that comprehends one grand whole. (D&C 84:45). Even though all light and truth are one, not every form of even physical light in the universe is visible to the mortal eye. Consider our present scientific model of light, often called the electromagnetic or light spectrum:
Red through Violet waves
Light travels in wave-like patterns, often referred to as “frequencies.” The term frequencies has reference to how frequently the waves trough and peak. The light spectrum begins with the light having long wave patterns. It peaks and troughs less frequently than shorter wave-length frequencies. Our mortal eyes can only detect the frequencies of light that range between red and violet. This is sometimes called the color spectrum. All the other frequencies of light are invisible to mortal eyes. These other frequencies or forms of light are just as real as the color spectrum. It is all light, we just can’t see it.
We use micro waves to cook with in our microwave ovens. We use short and long waves to communicate with in our short and long wave radio receivers and transmitters. We use infrared waves for photography and night vision equipment. Ultra-violet rays are what tanning machines and sunshine use to tan (sometimes burn) our skin, and X-rays are used by doctors and dentists to illuminate hidden bone structures. We have learned to use X-rays carefully, as we have come to realize they can produce cancer-making cells. Whether we see these forms of light with our eyes or not is really beside the point. All these frequencies of light are real and they affect us. There was a day when we used to say, “If I can’t see it, I won’t believe it.” We do not tend to say that as much these days, because we have come to realize we simply cannot see with the natural eye much of what is affecting our lives in this universe.
In this century science has come to recognize that all light is matter, whether it is visible to us or not. This is very compatible with what the Lord said through Joseph:
There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit [light] is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be seen by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter. (D&C 131:7-8).
Prophets Describe the Light
When a mortal’s body is changed (transfigured, translated or quickened) by a special endowment of light, that person is enabled to see light that we normally cannot see, or in other words, to see as seers, things spiritual. Such was the case as with Joseph, Moses and Enoch.
For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind. Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected. (D&C 67:11-13).
But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. (Moses 1:11).
And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory;
And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face. . . (Moses 7:3-4).
In each dispensation prophets of God have been recipients of, and witnesses to, wonderful theophanies of this spiritual fire, glory or light. Consider these examples (emphasis mine throughout):
And the presence of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (JST Exodus 3:2).
And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
As the appearance of the [rain]bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much. (1 Nephi 1:6).
Peter, James and John:
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
. . . behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17:1-5).
. . . I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling be by name and said, pointing to the other -- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JSH 1:16-17).
We are taught some significant details about this light by looking closely at such sacred accounts. Consider some of the details of the resurrected Moroni’s first visit to Joseph’s bedroom the night of September 21, 1823, as recorded in JSH 1:30-32, 43. For a full explanation, click here.
Joseph’s description of the Father and the Son in his first vision was the same. “I saw two Personages; whose brightness and glory defy all description.” Celestial beings like the Father, Son and Moroni are beings of glory. Their resurrected tabernacles of flesh and bones are filled with light: "These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.” (D&C 76:70).
As Moses, Paul and Joseph said: “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29; TPJS, 367).
No matter how hard we may try sometimes to deny the light in our lives, we will all be constrained sooner or later to declare: "I can't block out the light."
So bask in it today, while the sun is shining.