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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: The light of the gospel can bring true happiness

Published: Saturday, July 19 2014 7:00 a.m. MDT

My family poses for a photograph in the first light of morning.

Marie Long, Marie Long Photography

I have never really been a morning person. Probably because I’m usually awake until the wee hours of the morning working on this or that (or getting sucked into the latest young adult novel) that when the sun finally starts to break over the mountains, I’m not at all ready to rise and shine.

But … the times when I’ve pushed myself out of bed and off of my warm pillow and went outside for a run, or to an early morning meeting, or to answer the constant calls of “Mommy! I want some brrrreakfrrrest!” I’ve been so glad to be up and alive.

I think it has to do with the light. There is something about the first light of day that is different from all other times of the day. It starts out softly, barely a shade or two lighter than the deep navy blue of the sky. Then, like watercolors blending into paper, the blues change. Ocean blue, light blue, then purple and pink and suddenly there is a burst of orange and yellow and then … the sun.

I always wish I were awake for more sunrises than sunsets.

There is nothing like the true light of the sun. No artificial light bulb, glow stick or candle can compare. The sun is a life-giving light source in which our lives, the world, revolve around.

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to share some light with a friend of ours who was struggling. This young man was missing real light in his life. He spent hours in front of a computer screen daily, staring at the harsh artificial light of the cyber world, out of touch with reality and slowly sinking further into darkness. He didn’t seek the sun — or the Son of God — at all for a long, long time. And he was unhappy.

My husband went over to his house one day. He began to share a story with him about his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When my husband was in the Missionary Training Center, suddenly the thought of leaving his family and friends, and the world as he knew it, for two years was overwhelming. He struggled with the thought of, “Do I really have a testimony? Am I sure I can share the light of the gospel with others?” The next morning, after fervently praying and searching to know the truth for himself, he joined the MTC choir to sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” He sang through the first and second verses, and then began the third:

Suddenly a light descended,
 Brighter far than noonday sun,


And a shining, glorious pillar O'er him fell, around him shone,


While appeared two heav'nly beings,
 God the Father and the Son,


While appeared two heav'nly beings, 
God the Father and the Son.

A warm, burning sensation coursed through my husband’s spirit and he felt light radiating from within. It was then he knew. He knew this light was the true light of Jesus Christ, “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:45).

Reverently, my husband related this experience to our friend. “That is true light,” he told this young man. “Having this light will make you happy.”

It was then my husband said that he saw this young man’s countenance change. For the first time, he raised his head and looked my husband in the eye. He made a commitment, then and there, to seek out that real light. He wanted to begin living his life with the sun on his face and his face toward the Son.

In Moses 2:4 it reads, “I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.”

We need to be ever vigilant in dividing the light from the darkness in our lives. Computers, phones and televisions all give off artificial light and sometimes can promote a fake life, showing and encouraging things that are dark and confusing. It’s amazing what unplugging and simply walking outside into the sunlight does for me when I’m having a particularly rough day. It’s even more amazing what opening my scriptures, reading a conference talk or listening to a motivational book on tape will do for my spirit.

We are seekers of light, because we have God's light within us.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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