Before you were born, Heavenly Father gave you many gifts. One such gift is the light of Christ. When you’re baptized, you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to be with you at all times when you’re living the gospel, but the light of Christ was with you long before that time and will be with you for all eternity. The light of Christ isn’t a personage, as the Holy Ghost is, but it’s a way for you to know the truth before you hear the full gospel.
At some point in time, most people become aware of this light, although they may not understand its source. Most people refer to it as their conscience. They begin to notice that when they do something wrong, something deep inside them tells them they’re making a bad choice. When they do the right thing, something feels wonderful inside them. The light of Christ helps to protect and guide people until they’ve heard the gospel, but they will have it with them always. It also keeps them accountable for their choices.
The light of Christ has another purpose as well. It tucks into our heart gospel truths, a knowledge of the Savior, and a remembrance of the truth we once knew. Many people who start to learn the gospel will say, “Oh, I always knew that. I just didn’t think anyone else believed it.” This was the case for me. Often, I would find odd little thoughts come into my mind, and long before I found the gospel I believed some things many people considered odd. It was the light of Christ that had reminded me of things I had forgotten.
As with the Holy Ghost, we can choose to ignore the light of Christ. We always have our agency. However, choosing to pay attention can make our lives wonderful and help us to make wise choices, and eventually, to choose the gospel for ourselves.
Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, said,
“Every man, woman, and child of every nation, creed, or color—everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do—has within them the imperishable Light of Christ. In this respect, all men are created equally. The Light of Christ in everyone is a testimony that God is no respecter of persons (see D&C 1:35). He treats everyone equally in that endowment with the Light of Christ.
It is important for a teacher or a missionary or a parent to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar “ring” to them. Then the teaching will come “to the convincing of [those who will listen] that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations” (Book of Mormon title page).” Boyd K. Packer, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, Apr 2005, 8–14
Knowing the light of Christ is with you can be very reassuring for someone who has not yet made a choice to be baptized. You can be assured Heavenly Father has given you a way to learn the truth so you can make the right decision.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.