I studied about the Light of Christ in my scripture study this week. Many people are completely unaware of the Light of Christ, and many others are confused about it. I hope that my readers will have a better understanding of the Light of Christ by the time they finish reading this post.
The ancient American prophet named Moroni wandered for approximately thirty-five years after the rest of Nephites were destroyed; he survived that long by hiding from the Lamanites who would have killed him.
Moroni wrote many sacred instructions during his wandering years, and some of that counsel concerned the Light of Christ. He wrote about how “all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil” (Moroni 7:12). He told us how we can discern good from evil: “every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:13). Then Moroni explained about the Light of Christ.
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
“… And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
“Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ” (Moroni 7:17, 19).
We know from Moroni that the Light of Christ is given to us to help us judge between good and evil, but we may still not know what the Light of Christ actually is. The Bible Dictionary gives us a good description of the Light of Christ: “The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, preserving influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ….
“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…” (p. 725).
Now we know that the Light of Christ is “enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, preserving influence.” We also know it is an influence that comes with us from our premortal life that makes us better people if we listen to it. Now what do we do with this knowledge?
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that the “Light of Christ is what many people would call a conscience.” He explained that it is “more than a psychological effect that takes place within people.” He gave the following example of how the Light of Christ works in people: “Someone can be riding on a bus, see someone in distress and feel a compassion and a desire to assist and serve this person. Many people would say, nah, it’s just natural behavior, but it’s more. It’s the influence of God that pulls us, that influences us to be good and to do good. Every person, ever born - in history, now, in the future – is influenced by the Light of Christ for goodness. As we yield to that influence to do good and become good, then the Light of Christ increases within us. As we disobey, light is decreased and can ultimately be diminished.” (Mormon Message)
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also spoke about the Light of Christ: “Regardless of whether this inner light, this knowledge of right and wrong, is called the Light of Christ, moral sense, or conscience, it can direct us to moderate our actions – unless, that is, we subdue it or silence it. …
“Every man, woman, and child of every nation, creed, or color – everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do – has within them the imperishable Light of Christ.” (See “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, April 2005, 8, 10.)
The Light of Christ, also known as the Spirit of Christ and conscience, helps us discern good from evil. Whatever we call this influence, we know that it invites us to come unto Christ as well as to care for each other, to serve one another, and to perform good deeds. As we follow the Light of Christ, it will lead us to the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, one of the greatest gifts we can receive while in mortality.