“I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, ‘Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?’ He was referring to our students who were studying in Israel.
What was that light in their eyes which was so obvious to our friend? The Lord Himself gives the answer: ‘And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.’ (D&C 88:11) Where did that light come from? Again the Lord gives the answer: ‘I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ (D&C 93:2) The Lord is the true light, ‘and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.’ (D&C 84:46) This light shows in our countenances as well as in our eyes.
Paul Harvey, a famous news commentator, visited one of our Church school campuses some years ago. Later he observed: ‘Each ... young face mirrored a sort of ... sublime assurance. These days many young eyes are prematurely old from countless compromises with conscience. But [these young people] have that enviable headstart which derives from discipline, dedication, and consecration.’
Those who truly repent receive the Spirit of Christ and are baptized into this Church unto the remission of their sins. Hands are laid upon their heads, and through the priesthood of God they receive the Holy Ghost. It is ‘the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him.’(1 Ne. 10:17) As Elder Parley P. Pratt characterized it, the gift of the Holy Ghost is, “as it were, ... joy to the heart, [and] light to the eyes.”
What are we doing to keep the light shining in our own eyes and countenances? Much of that light comes from our discipline, dedication, and consecration to some important absolutes. The foremost of these absolutes is that there is a God who is the Father of our souls to whom we account for our actions. Second, that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Third, that the great plan of happiness requires obedience to God’s commandments. Fourth, that the greatest gift of God is eternal life.
Service in this Church is a marvelous blessing and privilege that brings light to our eyes and our countenances. As the Savior recommended, ‘Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ (3 Nephi 12:16) Words cannot express the blessings that come to us through service in this Church. The Lord promises that if we magnify our callings we will find happiness and joy.
Alma asks if we have received His image in our countenances. (Alma 5:14) A sacred light comes to our eyes and countenances when we have a personal bond with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior and Redeemer. With this bond our faces will mirror that ‘sublime assurance’ that He lives.”
James E. Faust, “The Light in Their Eyes”, October 2005 General Conference
“Have you received his image in your countenances?”
“Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good words and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
3 Nephi 12:16