LIGHT OF CHRIST
As of late the Mormon term “Light of Christ” has been on my mind. As a member of the LDS Church, I heard this used many times in reference to an individual possessing it. It’s amazing how differently I think about things now versus a year ago when I was newly out of the LDS church. Back then I never would have contemplated what the word “light” meant from a biblical point of view.
I’ve discovered several passages and examples in the Bible where God teaches us who He is and how He manifests Himself to us through His word.
The first mention of “light” is in Genesis 1:3, when God says “let there be light”. Then in Psalms 119:105 it says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”. Another example is found in 2 Samuel 22:29 which says; “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness”. The “light” mentioned in the latter verses are referring to the Word of God.
We learn from John 1: 1-5, 7 that Jesus is the Word of God, that he is the light. In John 12:16 Jesus says, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” As I will explain later, the “light” that people see in us is the Holy Spirit that dwells in us when we are saved. Before we are saved we are in darkness. In the hymn Amazing Grace we sing “…Was blind, but now, I see…” Jesus tells us about this “light” in Luke 11:34-36.
The phrase “light of Christ” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but is used often in the LDS community. They believe that we are all born with “the light of Christ” in us. Neal Maxwell said;
“It is possible for all to develop such love, because carried within each soul born on this planet is the Light of Christ, which can illumine the landscape of life, even if the carrier does not understand that light within (D&C 93-2)( All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience pg 51-70)
What the Mormon Church isn’t telling you in the above reference is their belief that being born with “light of Christ” goes hand in hand with their belief about original sin. The Church teaches that everyone is literally a child of God, born without sin.
A couple of years ago I recall being in a meeting with a group of Christian ladies (I was LDS at the time) and somehow we got on the topic of sin and children. When I said, “How can babies sin? They are perfect” the ladies just kind of stared at me. I obviously hadn’t been taught and didn’t understand the doctrine of “Original Sin”!
I was taught that we would “be punished for our own sins not for Adam’s transgressions” (The Articles of Faith #2).
In the Improvement Era, Dr. James E. Talmage said:
“The Church holds that children are born to earth in a sinless state, that they need no individual redemption; that should they die before reaching the years of accountability, they return without taint of earthly sin; but if they attain youth or maturity in the flesh, their responsibility increases with their development.” (Improvement Era, 1901 Vol. Iv. April, 1901. No 6)
I have a son that is almost two years old and I know that he is capable of sin! Whenever he doesn’t get his way he has a temper tantrum. Other times as I tell him not to touch something he will look right at me and touch or reach for the thing I told him not to. Children are not without sin. God has given to us the responsibility of teaching our children to obey. Proverbs 22:6 says:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
God knows that we all of us are born with a sin nature. No one ever had to teach us to sin; it was in us from the very beginning having inherited our sin nature from Adam. Romans 5:12 states;
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savoir the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in our body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your boys and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Many times you will hear LDS say that they can see or could see the “light of Christ” in an individual. They are referring to the “good works” that they see in this person and their personality. The truth is we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 says; “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Once we are saved people can see the workings of God in us and this is known as the Holy Spirit. It is what attracts the unbeliever to us! Remember though that this is not us – it’s Him! In Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie states;
“The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Personage of Spirit, a Spirit Person, a Spirit Man, a Spirit Entity. He can be in only one place at one time and he does not and cannot transform himself into any other form or image than that of the Man whom he is, though his power and influence can be manifest at one and the same time through all immensity.” (Mormon Doctrine pg 358-359)
God teaches us in the Bible that McConkie’s statement is wrong by showing us the Holy Spirit is in fact omnipresent, like in Psalms 139:7;
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
Here’s what Ephesians 2: 17-18 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 say respectively about this subject;
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
“For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond of free; and have been all made to drink into the one Spirit”.
The teaching of the “light of Christ” dwelling in us is not biblical. The things people see in you once you are saved comes from the Holy Spirit. These qualities are known as the “fruit of the Spirit”; Galatians 5:22-23. Additionally, Ephesians 5:18-19 shows that when a person is filled with the Spirit they have a joyous and cheerful attitude toward God.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
I pray that if you are LDS and are reading this article you will come to know the true Jesus as your Savior. We’re praying for you.