3 Nephi 18:24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up.
After coming home from my evening jog I was sitting on the back porch. The moon kept catching my attention. It was shining pretty brightly at the time. The thought occurred to me that the moon does not generate its own light. It reflects light from the sun. When Jesus taught to let your light so shine before men, he taught the light we should hold up was him. Not ourselves. We can perhaps reflect some light, but the light we are to hold up is Him.
The question came to mind "Would you rather journey by sun light? Or moon light? The sun clearly provides more light for a journey, however the moon provides a critical role for our planet. Affecting even the tides. The symbol of the moon is a beautiful one which is a topic for another post.
What I wanted to focus on in this post is the light we follow. Direct, or reflected. Oftentimes our leaders become the object to which we look for light in our life. Eclipsing the true source. We sometimes look to or focus on them and reflected light. We in essence hold others up as a light when they are not that light. The scriptures call this priestcraft, and is related to idolatry.
2 Nephi 26:29
He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
You can see this when religious folks point to themselves or other leaders as the light to follow. Clearly contrasting with Chris'ts teachings that HE was the light we are to hold up. Nephi says the priestcraft is done as part of getting gain and praise of the world. Gain meaning a paycheck or compensation. Praise meaning popularity and notoriety and public image etc etc...
3 Nephi 18:24:
Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.
D&C 95:6 says "They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day". Walking in darkness at noonday. How is this possible? One way this could happen would be blocking the sunlight or simply ignoring it. I don't think this is a physical description of sunlight. It's a symbolic description of God's light clearly shining in noon day brightness but men ignoring it, blocking it out, or putting something in front of it and walking around in spiritual darkness or using a lesser light.
As we know, our eyes adjust to the amount of light around us. At night the pupil dilates and allows more light in, which helps, but the night is still dark. It was intended to be. Over time our eye adjusts to the lack of light and I wonder if this happens spiritually as well. The spiritual light in our lives dims and fades and we think it normal, or forget what bright light is shining from heaven.
All life on earth is in some way dependent on the light from the sun. Reflected light can't sustain life on earth. I don't think reflected light can or will sustain us spiritually either. We can't put someone else between us and the Lord. We end up walking in darkness when we do that. And we don't do others a favor when we hold someone else up as if they were a substitute for the Lord. We are to hold up our light, and that light is Him. Since He is the life and light of the world, the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
There is no need to walk in darkness at noon day, but apparently some early church members were doing just that. I want to avoid that. I do not thing we are somehow exempt from doing the very same things they did.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith has this on pages 237-38:
"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--[applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves."