“The Light of Life,” Liahona, Jan. 2023.
As the sun set on another Sunday in 1948, I found myself walking down the side of the Trent River in Nottingham, England. As a 20-year-old missionary, I had recently been called as district president. It had been a long, exhausting day filled with meetings and ministering, but I was happy and satisfied in the work.
As I walked along the river, I said a prayer in my heart. Hoping to feel some guidance from the Lord, I asked, “Am I doing what You want?”
An overwhelming feeling of peace and understanding came over me. At that precise moment, I came to know that Jesus Christ knew me and loved me. I didn’t see a vision or hear a voice, but I could not have known of Christ’s reality and divinity any more powerfully had He stood before me and called out my name.
This sweet and tender experience has shaped my life. From that day to today, every significant decision I have made has been influenced by my knowledge of the Savior. Over the years and throughout most of the world, I have testified that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Light of the World. It is a privilege for us to come unto Him, to follow Him, and to feel His light in our lives.
One night many years after that memorable missionary experience, my wife, Barbara, and I were gazing at the sky. As we did so, I looked up in awe at the millions of stars, which seemed exceptionally bright and beautiful that night. My thoughts turned with wonder to the Lord’s words to Moses: “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:33).
From the Savior came the power that created and that lights the sun, moon, stars, and earth (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:7–10). He can rightfully declare, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12; see also John 9:5).
In the words of President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Jesus Christ is the light of the world because he is the source of the light which ‘proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space’ [Doctrine and Covenants 88:12].” The Savior’s light is “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:2; see also 84:46). With this light, we may know how to judge “good from evil” (Moroni 7:16). This universal light is known as “the light of truth,” “the light of Christ,” and “the Spirit of Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:6; 88:7; Moroni 7:16).1
The Apostle John said, “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). In our day, Satan is working overtime to lead God’s children into darkness, shutting out “the light, and the life, and the truth of the world” (Ether 4:12).
We cannot fully comprehend—or appreciate—the Savior and His gospel when we lose His light and truth. But as we repent and obey, serve, and worship Him, we conquer darkness. His light returns and removes the shadows of the world from our midst and our minds.
As our world becomes darker and more unsettled, feeling the Lord’s light in our lives may seem like a challenge. But President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us, “The increasing darkness that accompanies tribulation makes the light of Jesus Christ shine ever brighter.”2
I have found that His light burns brighter in my soul when I make time for things of the Spirit during still, quiet moments like that night with Barbara. That is when spiritual impressions, guidance, and light come to us. That is when we come to understand how truly blessed we are to have a Savior.
As the Light of the World, the Savior lights the path of our mortal journey with His example and teachings (see John 8:12). He lightens our load with His love and compassion (see Matthew 11:28–30). He lightens our hearts with hope and healing through His Atonement (see Moroni 7:41). And He enlightens our minds with “the Spirit of truth” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:15; see also 11:13).
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.”3
The privilege of sharing the light of the Savior with others and inviting them to come unto Him and feel His love for them has always been special to me. I loved being a missionary in England. I loved being a mission president in Canada. And I love my current calling as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. My calling gives me opportunities to testify of Jesus Christ and share the message of the Restoration throughout the world.
Anciently, the Savior told His disciples:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. …
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
To the people of Nephi, He said, “Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.” He added, “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 18:24; 27:21).
In our day, the Savior likewise expects His disciples to use His light to “chase darkness from among [us]” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:25). Our light shines as we love as Jesus loved. Our light shines as we share our testimony of the Restoration and our hope in Christ. Our light shines as we lift our voices in defense of truth. And as our light shines, we attract others to the source of that light.
Give selfless service, and you will feel His light in your heart. Humbly pray for opportunities to share the gospel, and you will be guided to those ready to accept His light. Love others in small and large ways, and you make this world better and brighter.
I am eternally thankful for the experience I had as a young missionary in England when I came to know for myself that Jesus is the Christ. I know this more surely today as I have experienced life with all of its trials and joys.
My service in the Church has blessed me with remarkable and special spiritual experiences too numerous and some too sacred to discuss. There is no gift more important and precious that I can give to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and you, my friends throughout the world, than my sure witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of our Eternal Father, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind.
My precious wife, Barbara, passed away in 2018. How grateful I am to know that because of our temple sealing and because of Jesus Christ, we will be together again, with our family, for all eternity.
At times, I become weary. In those moments, I stop and look at a picture of the Savior. I think of Him in Gethsemane, and then, suddenly, I am no longer tired. I know in my heart that because He overcame the world, “darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (1 John 2:8).
I know that Jesus Christ lives. “He is … a light that is endless, that can never be darkened” (Mosiah 16:9). He is our light, our life, and our way—yesterday, today, and forever. May we be steadfast in following Him and shining His light before the world.