My Study of Light

In June 2021, I read the books “The Spiritual Physics of Light: How We See, Feel, and Know Truth” by Aaron Franklin and “The LDS Gospel of Light” during a month-long social media haitus, and these were the beginning of what felt like my spirit awakening to the light and exciting truth of the gospel. The concepts spoken in these books awoke me to a whole new view of spirituality and it really felt like the light lit up inside me. It may be more about the timing in my life than the books by themselves, however, the content in these books really opened up my understanding of how wide and intricately connected the gospel truths really are. Here are my favorite parts and quotes from the books.

Light is completely interweaved in every aspect of the gospel and it really excites me.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

Science of Light

Aaron Franklin’s book starts by explaining the actual physics of light which was interesting to learn and review. What stood out to me were two things: the fact that it has been scientifically proven that everything emits light at all times, and that light has a dual nature as both a wave and a particle.

Just those two facts you could dive deeper into their spiritual metaphors and analogies.

Dual Nature of Light

God can be both infinite and finite. Everywhere and yet somewhere. Like the scientists who finally had to just accept light as it is, the solution to the mysteries of God, is to accept that there are two forms of truth. Just as light has two opposite forms, so do we, and so do God and Christ.

The Vast Expanse and Power of Light

Franklin mentions that “Light is capable of transmitting through and even breaking down obstacles in its path. As mortals, we have managed to move light through the vast expanse of space and, at the other extreme, have managed to confine light inside of microscopically small wires that extend over thousands of miles.” His response to this is: shouldn’t we more readily embrace the miracles that God can do with this marvelous spiritual radiance? After all, God is light.

Jesus will always find us. There are no barriers too thick, no caves too deep, no sorrow too profound for his light to penetrate. It fills the immensity of space, so why not the confines of your soul?

Light and Plants

Light from the sun enables photosynthesis from plants, which yields oxygen for us to breathe; hence, light is quite literally the breath of life.

Those of you who have studied the process of plant growth are familiar with the remarkable way plants take light from the sun and transform it into energy and new growth. Most plants can’t survive long without light. If there is no light, there is no energy. Plants that are deprived of light begin to wear away and eventually perish. Without light, they cannot sustain life.

We understand the role light plays in the growth and survival of plants. Do we understand its role in ours? We know what happens to plants that are severed from light. What happens to mortals who are separated from the light of Christ? Can our spirits thrive without being drenched in the pure light of truth, the light and Redeemer of the world?

Jesus as Light

The Savior set us the example, always calm, always controlled, radiating something which people could feel as they passed.

There is a depth and breadth to the power of light that we cannot fully understand in our temporal state.

We are “the offspring of God” because we each received spiritual genetic material from our spirit parents. Our spirit bodies were conceived by our Heavenly Parents to house our uncreated intelligences.

What is the Light of Christ vs the Holy Ghost?

It is from the prophets of this dispensation that we learn the Spirit of Christ is neither the Holy Ghost, the gift of the Holy Ghost, nor the spirit personage of Jesus Christ, but it is the primary means by which these entities operate.

The closer we are to God, the more profoundly the Holy Ghost will influence our life and bring corresponding radiation from the Light of Christ. 

The Holy Ghost makes use of the Light of Christ to perform his work. “The Spirit of Christ (or Light of Christ) is the agency through which the Holy Ghost operates”.

Restricted by our physical mortal bodies, we need the Holy Ghost to direct holy light into us. He is a magnifier of light, a director of truth, and transmitter of all things from God and Christ to us.

When the Holy Ghost touches our spirits, he directs what we shall do and where we shall go, what we preach, and what we teach. He makes known to us things from on high, teaches us the truth and the way, gives us the gospel in our own tongue, and unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom through revelation.

God’s Light Countenance

Our inner drive to increase in light and glory is an eternal inherent drive in us. It is the same drive that God has to increase his glory. God’s desires are the same as ours, for we are all made of light.

It is the essence of our beings to seek joy, knowledge, light, understanding, and love.

Love is the central power of the light of God.

Light and Communication

If as mortals we have managed to figure out how to use light to communicate from long distances, what sort of capabilities does God have with light? If I can press a few buttons on my cell phone and within moments have a live conversation with someone halfway around the world, is it not perfectly reasonable to embrace God’s ability to hear our prayerful communications and to readily answer them?

If we use a radio to see a sunset or binoculars to feel the heat the ultraviolet rays; we’ve missed the magnitude of what was there.

Light as a Spiritual Energy

Light is generated through the conversion of some form of energy.

Many scriptures use phrasing such as “receiving light,” which I interpret to mean that a person has received the needed spiritual energy to radiate light (hence, the person has received that light).

The “more fine or pure” construct of our spirits would also emit their own form of light based on some form of energy and be able to feel, or in some instances even see, the spiritual light emitted from others.

Spiritual Body Radiation

Consider the gospel significance of how everything, including every person, radiates a distinct type of light at all times.

Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation. The Savior was conscious of that.…He was conscious of the radiation from the individual. And to a degree so are you, and so am I. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

Certain levels of spiritual light can have a notable, detectable impact on those around us.

The basic function of light is just one thing — to be given away. The way we receive more light is just one thing — to be given away. The way we receive more light is to give away the light we already have.

Light and Near-Death or Shared-Death Experiences

Light is in some form universal to all near-death experiences. Here are a few quotes that I loved from people who have had these intense experiences.

“I am in the Light. The Light is in me. I can see me in the unending Light. But I am still ‘Andy.’ I’m everywhere and I am here. I can see me as a person and I can see me in the infinite, warm and loving Light. I become the Light. The light is a form that I have never seen, but it is not new to me, somehow I know it. The light has a voice that I have never heard, but it is not strange to me…The light has all of the answers in the universe…and I don’t have any questions, because I know everything that the Light knows.” – Andrew Petro

“Feeling myself enveloped in that love, feeling myself surrounded with the knowledge that came off of it, I felt like I knew the secrets of everything from the very beginning of time to infinity, and I realized that there was no end. I realized that we are but a very small part of something that’s gigantic, but as people we interlock into each other’s lives like puzzle pieces, and that we are just an infinitely small part of the universe. But we’re also very special.” – Charles Flynn

Light Gatherers

Over the past years, you have been blessed with an opportunity to gather knowledge and increase your understanding of truth. It has been a time of learning and growth.

A large part of the job description of a disciple of Christ is to become a light gatherer and to bear that light to the world.

As you gather light into your souls and allow your spirits to be filled with the shining truth of heavenly things, your lives will be better.

Gathering light is a day job. It is not something you get from a class or a sermon. It cannot be checked off a list and considered completed. It is a process of every day and every hour. When you awake in the morning, you begin your quest for light. And when you finish the day, you evaluate your engagement in the task.

Our Ability to Radiate God’s Light — A Beacon

Everyone radiates some form of spiritual light.

This Light of Christ within us is capable of radiating the very light of God that is God and thus represents our potential to become like God.

So, the Light of Christ is a power far greater than can possibly be fathomed; yet, it is given to every person in the entire world. How is this?

Those who obtain light righteously do so by acting as light, directing energy to others.

We are capable of filling us with light if we have the spiritual energy to fuel it.

Even the most powerful light bulb can be dimmed by controlling the amount of electrical energy that flows through it. So it is with the Light of Christ in our souls: spiritual light will radiate corresponding to the amount of spiritual energy with which it is provided.

Our physical temperature (and associated thermal radiation) changes when we are ill, our spiritual temperature and associated spiritual radiation seems also to be affected when we are spiritually unwell for any reason.   

We all radiate light. An unimaginable depth of information is capable of being encoded into that light. There is no escaping its radiation or its effects—light will influence us and all those around us regardless of whether or not we acknowledge that reality.

Distance is no bound for the influence of light; it takes a mere 134 milliseconds for it to travel the distance all the way around the world. Our thoughts, our prayers—even our very beings—are constantly detectable, including a tremendous depth of information and insight accessible to those who are in tune.

We become a part of Christ and are born anew by new light coming into us. He is in us. We are in him. We are connected to him through sharing the energy of his spiritual light. When we come into the family of Christ, our light extends even further and fuses with the light of Christ, and we become one with him, his children.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it was God. God was me and I was God. I was God. I was part of the light and I was one with it. I was not separate. I am not saying that I am a supreme being, I was God, as you are, as everyone is.” – Margot Grey

Resistance and Impurities — Lightbulb Holy Ghost Talk

What gauges the actual brightness of the radiated light is the amount of resistance that the spiritual energy from the Holy Ghost experiences in the circuits of our souls. The resistor, then, represents our obedience (generally speaking); greater obedience represents a smaller resistor and lesser obedience represents a larger resistor.

Since physical resistors are comprised of electrical conductors filled with impurities (the more impurities, the higher the resistance), this part of the analogy is quite compelling. The more temporal impurities we allow into our lives, the greater our resistance to the spiritual energy that can flow from the Holy Ghost. 

It is essential to recognize that the Light of Christ is one of the most encompassing and incredible powers of which we are aware. I believe that the Light of Christ is inextricably tied to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

For years I thought that disobedience limited the amount of the Holy Ghost that was able to be with us (even if we had received the gift of the Holy Ghost); but I no longer feel that this is correct. Having only a piece of the Holy Ghost with us doesn’t make a lot of sense. I have come to believe that we either have the Holy Ghost with us or we do not. The question is, are we making full use of the spiritual energy from the Holy Ghost’s influence—yielding to it above all else? That is determined by our individual obedience, which acts as the resistors in our souls.

The spiritualuminescent coating is always emitting the glowing, loving guidance of our Savior.

We all have the Light of Christ, a portion of which is like a light bulb in our souls. This light bulb has two parts: (1) a coating that is spiritualuminescent, giving off a little light that serves as a person’s conscience, and (2) an electroluminescent-like light source that emits light based on how much spiritual energy it receives from the Holy Ghost (analogous to the energy from a battery powering light emission from a light bulb). When the gift of the Holy Ghost is obtained, we have within us access to the complete source of spiritual energy to bring the Light of Christ to its full brightness in our soul; thus making us like God, who is light (see 1 John 1:5). Once the Holy Ghost is with us and powering radiation from the Light of Christ, the only thing keeping us from turning into our own spiritual spotlight is our “natural man” (Mosiah 3:19), which causes resistance to God (analogous to the resistor in the light bulb circuit). We need more faith, obedience, submissiveness, and, most succinctly, we need to have our “eye single to [God’s] glory” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:67). Drawing closer to God reduces our resistance to the Holy Ghost and increases the brightness of the Light of Christ radiating from within us. 

As we more fully yield our will to God’s will, the influence of (and our connection to) the Holy Ghost increases.

Shining our Light to Others

a key attribute of light is that it travels in a specific direction (think about a flashlight). I think it is safe to assume that the spiritual light radiating from within us is also directional, in its own way. As such, we must focus our spiritual light so that it will shine unto others

We are Mirrors

We become reflectors of light by becoming substations for Christ’s light. Christ’s light is like having one giant light source which is intensified by adding mirrors to reflect it, light hitting a ball of mirrors, turning in the air above a dance floor. We become the mirrors.

Robert Fulghum – Story on Light — “I am not the light or the source of it. But light, truth and understanding knowledge is there. And sometimes it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it. I’m a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world. Into the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I’m about. This is the meaning of my life.” Took it out of his pocket and shined

Seeking More Light — Spiritual Energy

Every time you turn your hearts to God in humble prayer, you experience His light. Every time you seek His word and will in the scriptures, the light grows in brightness. Every time you notice someone in need and sacrifice your own comfort to reach out in love, the light expands and swells. Every time you reject temptation and choose purity, every time you seek or extend forgiveness, every time you courageously testify of truth, the light chases away darkness and attracts others who are also seeking light and truth.

It is our closeness to God, through obedience to the commandments and repentance from sin, that brings us the spiritual energy to fuel the radiation of spiritual light.

Elder Robert D. Hales bicycle pedaling light story

When I was a boy, I used to ride my bicycle home from basketball practice at night. I would connect a small pear-shaped generator to my bicycle tire. Then as I pedaled, the tire would turn a tiny rotor, which produced electricity and emitted a single, welcome beam of light. It was a simple but effective mechanism. But I had to pedal to make it work! I learned quickly that if I stopped pedaling my bicycle, the light would go out. I also learned that when I was “anxiously engaged” in pedaling, the light would become brighter and the darkness in front of me would be dispelled. The generation of spiritual light comes from daily spiritual pedaling. It comes from praying, studying the scriptures, fasting, and serving—from living the gospel and obeying the commandments.

It must be renewed in us on a regular basis. We must generate it day by day, thought by thought, and with daily righteous action if we are to keep the darkness of the adversary away.

Light and Eyes

having an eye single to the glory of God starts with focusing on God.

You can find a talk I wrote about light in our eyes here.

Discerning More Light — Light and Your Relationships

But how does this light we radiate influence us? Consider what happens to your physical sight when you are in a dimly lit room and the light is turned up to a higher intensity: greater discernment of your surroundings. Details of which you were previously unaware suddenly become clear. The same outcome must be expected from an increase in our spiritual light: improved discernment of truth and our spiritual surroundings; in short, a more purified perspective.

As we all actively search for the light in our spouses, children, and family members, it will help us to see them more fully as the Savior sees them. 

having our light—including the good we do—acknowledged by others brings us great fulfillment and meaning. I don’t think it would hurt for us to try a little harder to see and acknowledge the light radiated from others. Doing so helps to keep us focused on the good in others—fueling their radiation of light rather than allowing the lack thereof to consume what remains of a relationship.

As we strive to be more sensitive to the light that is constantly influencing us, and as we look for and acknowledge the light we detect from others, the Holy Ghost will magnify our ability to learn from the light. This result will ultimately lead us to discerning more and more light. 

As we draw closer to the Lord, we refine our ability to extract valuable, eternal truths from the light we detect. As we strive to be more sensitive to the light that is constantly influencing us, and as we look for and acknowledge the light we detect from others, the Holy Ghost will magnify our abilities to learn from the light: these abilities will ultimately lead us to discern more and more light. For some, it is a gift of the Spirit to be able to decipher insightful information from the light that others radiate. For all, it is something we should strive and pray for so that we can be more useful instruments in the hands of the Lord.

Sometimes we fail to comprehend light because we judge others. Sometimes we miss the light within ourselves because we feel unworthy even after we have repented.

We can also fail to gain light if we compare our talents unfavorable with others’ talents, deciding our light is insignificant.

Our judgement of others is the basis of persecution and the denial of the light of Christ

“Light shineth in darkness and darkness comprehended it not”

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” The light John is referring to is the Savior. Spiritual light suddenly shining in darkness does not bring comprehension or discernment. I imagine this is like being in a dark room and suddenly having a very bright flashlight turned on and aimed directly at you. Does that bring discernment of your surroundings? No, it mostly just brings frustration and perhaps even pain. However, do you know that the light is there? Most definitely. You have sensed the presence of the light, but you have not been able to discern anything because of it; what is in the darkness around you remains incomprehensible (i.e., we comprehend it not).

Eye Single to Light

Making our eyes “single” to light is a choice. And making our eyes” single” to light is a choice. And making our eyes “single” to darkness is also a choice.

Light and Black Holes — Our Choices

The darkest objects in the universe are black holes. They exist by forcing light to them. They obtain light through darkness. Gravity acts as the opposite of light by attracting matter and light itself. When light comes into a gravitational field, the gravity bends the light. Gravity attracts light to it. If the gravity is so strong as in a black hole, light and matter are captured into the hole, never to escape. Black hole are light-destroying machines. They are the ultimate selfishness.

We react exactly as Lucifer wants, perceiving ourselves without fault, thinking we are creatures to be acted upon, instead of creatures who act.

We choose darkness and rationalize when we feel our situations are not our fault. We believe there is nothing wrong with us when we think, “If you are unhappy, get yourself fixed. You offended me. You insulted me. Your way is wrong and my way is the right way. God loves me and not you. I don’t pay tithing because…I don’t go to church because…I don’t pay fast offering because…I know and you don’t. I am right and you are wrong.” We can become our own law by blaming others instead of humbly cleaving to the truth and living as if we really are responsible for our own choices.

What is important is to realize that it is our choice to open our eyes and be filled with the light of Christ. If we choose hope, we enlighten our entire beings. If we settle for despair, we darken our souls.

Light and Truth

In one conceptualization, that light radiates from us, and as it brightens, so also does our comprehension of all things.

Just as a spotlight reveals finer detail in a dark room, so also does our increased spiritual light enhance our perspective of the world around us.

The two components of light which we do take with us into the next life — our loving feelings and our knowledge — become the two most important things that God is interested in.

Arise and Shine Forth

The light of Christ is the beacon call to all those who have already been touched by it through their desires to live good lives. their enlightened minds and consciences connect them to the expanded light of the gospel. They find basic truth which then expands their understanding and directs the to the Spirit of Christ.

Light and UV Cleansing Ability — The Second Coming — God’s Countenance

To me, it is helpful to think that the destruction at the Second Coming is not the Lord carrying out revenge for rebellion or disobedience but is rather a natural consequence based on the laws of light.

The fact that light can be used to purify physical substances or environments by destroying impurities is a very compelling attribute. I propose that a similar purifying power is possible with spiritual light.

the Holy Ghost catalyzes our sanctification by fueling our radiation of truth and light, which purifies us and is made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ

if we are prepared, what we see coming from the East will be familiar, since it will be the very reflection of our own countenance:       

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