Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Let Your Light Shine

                My favorite part of the Book of Mormon is the book of Third Nephi, particularly the visit of the Savior to the Nephites after His resurrection.  I can just imagine how wonderful it was to have the Savior appear and then to listen to His teachings.  He taught similar information to the Nephites that He gave to the Jews.  Both groups were taught how to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

                The Savior taught the Beatitudes to both groups.  President Harold B. Lee suggested that the Beatitudes are the “constitution for a perfect life.”  The Beatitudes can be divided into two groups according to President Lee:  “Four of them have to do with our individual selves” while four “have to do with man’s social relations with others.”  (See Decisions for Successful Living [1973], 57, 60, as quoted in Book of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, p. 303.)

                The two groups suggested by President Lee have to do with self and with others.  The Beatitudes in the first group are:  (1) “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me,” (2) “Blessed are all they that mourn,”
(3) “Blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” and (4) “Blessed are all the pure in heart.”
The four in the second group are:  (1) “Blessed are the meek,” (2) Blessed are the merciful,” (3) “Blessed are all the peacemakers,” and (4) Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake.”  (See Matthew 5:3-10 and 3 Nephi 12:3-10.)

                Another teaching of the Savior given to both Jew and Nephites concerns the commandment to be a good example.  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
                “Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel?  Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
                “Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  (See 3 Nephi 12:14-16 and Matthew 5:14-16.)

                I was particularly touched when I read this quote in my Book of Mormon studies because I remembered the last address by President Thomas S. Monson on this subject.  In the last General Conference President Monson said, “Recently, as I have been reading and pondering the scriptures, two passages in particular have stayed with me.  Both are familiar to us.  The first is from the Sermon on the Mount:  `Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’  The second scripture is one which came to my mind as I pondered the meaning of the first.  It is from the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to Timothy:  `Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’ 
                “I believe the second scripture explains, in great part, how we can accomplish the first.  We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.  As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.
                “Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ.  As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others” (“Be an Example and a Light,Ensign, November 2015). 

                As I listened to President Monson speak, I could not help but marvel at these words:  “Recently, as I have been reading and pondering the scriptures….”  When prophets read and/or ponder the scriptures, they very often receive inspiration from God.  I suspect that Heavenly Father desires us to share the light of Christ with others as the world grows darker and darker.  I believe that He inspired His prophet to counsel us to be good examples and let our lights shine brightly for others to follow.

                Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles explained the importance of light for those traveling in dark places.  When he was growing up on Long Island, New York, he recognized the value of lighthouses protecting ships from hitting the rocks.  “We who have the gift of the Holy Ghost must be true to its promptings so we can be a light to others….
                “We never know who may be depending on us…” (“Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light,Ensign, May 2002.  

                This is the lesson I believe President Monson was giving us.  We do not know who may be watching us, “depending on us” to lead them to safety.  May each of us be good examples and hold our lights up high that all may see our “good works and glory [our] Father who is in heaven.”

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