(Amber Garvin from Provo, Utah served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as 'Mormons') in the Richmond, Virginia area (Now called the "Virginia Chesapeake Mission"). 'Sister' Missionaries are able to serve at age 19 for a period of 18 months. They leave their homes, families and educational pursuits to love and serve their fellowman, and to teach about how families can be together forever. All are invited to follow her missionary experiences.)

*I have now returned home to Utah and will continue to share the experiences of being a returned missionary. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Talk: The Light of Christ

I’ve been asked to speak on the topic of “The Light of Christ” today. 

Starting with What it is…: The Bible Dictionary states that: “The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ. For instance, Christ is “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (D&C 93:2; see John 1:9). The light of Christ fills the “immensity of space” and is the means by which Christ is able to be “in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things.” It “giveth life to all things” and is “the law by which all things are governed.” It is also “the light that quickeneth” man’s understanding (see D&C 88:6–13, 41). In this manner, the light of Christ is related to man’s conscience and tells him right from wrong (Moro. 7:12–19).

The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The light of Christ will lead the honest soul who “hearkeneth to the voice” to find the true gospel and the true Church and thereby receive the Holy Ghost (see D&C 84:46–48). Additional references are Alma 19:6; 26:3; D&C 20:27.”(p.725)

From this we learn that the Light of Christ is not the personage of the Holy Ghost, but is more like our conscience. In the Pre-Earth Life our Heavenly Father gave us the gift of agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves. From the Light of Christ, which is given to every person because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each of us can recognize right, and wrong. Good, and bad. The Light of Christ, like our conscience, is what makes us genuinely good, and to want to fill our lives with all things that are true, good, light, of God, and bring peace. To fill our lives with things that would create an environment where the Holy Ghost can be a part of our lives each day. It is what prepares us, and the space around us to have the CONSTANT COMPANIONSHIP OF THE HOLY GHOST.

We can each feel the power of the Holy Ghost before being baptized, but the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the promise of His constant companionship can only be received after baptism by someone who is authorized to work the ordinances of salvation through the Priesthood power of God which have been restored to the earth through a living prophet.

Learning to recognize the Light of Christ in our lives, prepares us to recognize the prompting of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized.

How do we feel when the Light of Christ is touching our lives?

I’ve compiled a list of brief statements of truth from the missionary lessons in Preach My Gospel (lessons 1-3) As I share them with you I invite you to use this moment as a time to receive personal revelation, or communication from God. Pay attention to how you feel about the things that I say. You will recognize the Holy Ghost making contact with the Light of Christ you already have when something “rings true”, feels good, brings peace, etc….

Here they are:

· God is our loving Heavenly Father

· We lived with Him before we came to this earth.

· He gave us the gift of being able to choose for ourselves between right, and wrong and to choose to follow Him.

· He sent Jesus Christ to earth to Atone for our sins. To make it possible for us to be clean, and return again to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

· On this earth, we learn that through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end we can find peace and joy in this life and in the life to come. We learn that if we spend this life striving to keep the commandments, be obedient, follow the prophet, pattern our lives after that of the Savior’s, then, after we die, are judged, and are resurrected, we can live for eternity in the Celestial Kingdom with our families, our loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ.

· The Gospel Blesses Families.

· The truths of the Gospel are taught to prophets. God’s chosen representatives who are give the Priesthood power, or power to teach, and act in God’s name for the salvation of all the children of God.

· Christ gave the priesthood to his disciples and taught his gospel when He was on the earth. More than taught His gospel. He lived His gospel. He set the perfect example for us, and showed us the way we can return to live with God again. Through His sacrifice, or Atonement, for us we can change.

· The priesthood and truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ were lost for a long period of time as people chose wickedness, and turned away from and distorted the teachings of Jesus Christ and the prophets.

· The same church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth has been restored, or brought back again through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

· Spiritual truths about these things are revealed to us through the Holy Ghost as we pray, study the scriptures, and stand in holy places such as temples, meeting houses, and our homes.

· When we keep the commandments of God as revealed to the prophets, nothing can stop us from receiving the blessings of Heaven.

· Missionary work is a sacred opportunity that members and missionaries have to share these truths with individuals and families, so that they may have the joy that comes from living a Christ centered life.

Witness of the Holy Ghost:

Marion G. Romnet said,” By the witness and power of the Holy Ghost we receive personal testimonies of the truths of the gospel, including knowledge of God the Father and His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. (April 1977, The Light of Christ)

How did you feel as you listened to these truths? I hope that peace, love, strength, light, goodness, and revelation entered your heart and mind. What you choose to do based on these truths will come through the light of Christ, and through the guidance of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Light of Christ makes us good, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost guides us to make good choices every day. When we act against that goodness that is part of who we are, and is contrary to the guidance of the Spirit of God we “withdraw ourselves from the spirit of the Lord.”

Elder Bednar cautioned, “We should also endeavor to discern when we “withdraw [ourselves] from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in [us] to guide [us] in wisdom’s paths that [we] may be blessed, prospered, and preserved” (Mosiah 2:36). Precisely because the promised blessing is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, we should attend to and learn from the choices and influences that separate us from the Holy Spirit.”

“The standard is clear. If something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing, or doing that thing. If that which is intended to entertain, for example, alienates us from the Holy Spirit, then certainly that type of entertainment is not for us. Because the Spirit cannot abide that which is vulgar, crude, or immodest, then clearly such things are not for us. Because we estrange the Spirit of the Lord when we engage in activities we know we should shun, then such things definitely are not for us.(That We May Always Have His Spirit To Be With Us, April 2006)

The Light of Christ makes us good. The Holy Ghost helps us continually choose to be good, do good, and live well as we follow the example of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost teaches us to act, and I know that as we are obedient to the commandments, and the direction of God through the Gift of the Holy Ghost that we are recorded as faithful disciples of Christ, have “angels round about [us] to bear us up]”(Doctrine and Covenants 84:88) in our times of need, and develop greater testimonies and spiritual strength. When we live up to who we are and cultivate the light of Christ in our lives as sons and daughters of God, we are happy, because we living up to who we are and who we can become.

It is my prayer that each of us chooses to live Christ centered lives, and so that the Spirit of the Lord is part of our days, hours, and minutes. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.