17 Comments

  1. The article mentions the researchers believe the concentration of light coming from the face has to do with sun exposure. I definitely think there is more to it than that, especially in light of the scriptures you have cited. I agree with you that it would be interesting to compare the light output from people who are depressed, happy, just committed a crime, etc and compare the results. It would also be interesting to compare the light output from someone who had just been baptized, received their endowments, or just been sealed!

  2. This is really cool, Bryce. How about testing for that “glow” of a pregnant woman?

    [nitpick: photons are the quanta of light of any frequency, including infrared.]

  3. Interesting, the article cited says, “This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.” I guess they might be distinguishing between those frequencies that are “visible” vs. those that are “invisible,” but I’m unsure how they are defining those terms.

  4. I think I see what happened here. Light is light. I thought this was saying that some tiny fraction of the blackbody radiation of the human body is in the visible range (see on this graph where the blue curve intersects the rainbow representing the range of wavelengths we can see).

    But this particular light seems to have a completely different source. That is pretty nifty!

  5. I love that story about Brigham Young.

    Have you read the book The Dancing Wu Li Masters? It contains some fascinating insights into the properties of light.

  6. This is really cool, Bryce! I just wanted to share a couple of quotes relevant to this.
    In some ancient writings attributed to “Macarius”, it says, regarding Ezekiel’s experience:

    For the prophet was contemplating a mystery of the soul that was to receive its own Lord and become a throne of glory to him. For a soul that is counted worthy to participate in the Spirit of his light and is illuminated by the beauty of his ineffable glory, seeing that he has prepared it for himself as a throne and dwelling, becomes wholly light…That is to say, no part of it is in darkness, but has been turned entirely and completely into light and spirit…seeing that the ineffable beauty of the glory of the light of the face of Christ has mounted it and sat upon it…Thus the soul is illuminated perfectly by the ineffable beauty of the glory of the face of Christ and has participated perfectly in the Holy Spirit, and has been counted worthy to become a throne and dwelling of God.

    Gregory Palamas said:

    So, when the saints contemplate this divine light within themselves, seeing it by the divinizing communion of the Spirit, through the mysterious visitation of perfecting illuminations-then they behold the garment of their deification, their mind being glorified and filled by the grace of the Word, beautiful beyond measure in his splendour; just as the divinity of the Word on the mountain glorified with divine light the body conjoined to it.

    Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, in her diary, recorded the following about the Prophet Joseph Smith:

    After prayer and singing, Joseph began talking. He began very solemnly and very earnestly. Suddenly, his countenance changed and he stood mute; he seemed almost transfixed. He was looking ahead and his face outshone the candle which was on a shelf just behind him. I thought I could almost see the cheek bones. He looked as though a searchlight was inside his face. I never saw anything like it on earth. I could not take my eyes away from him. I shall remember him as he looked then as long as I live.

    May we all live in such a way that we can have this light grow strong within us! Thanks, Bryce, for your post on this most incredible topic!

  7. Hi Greg. I have read The Dancing Wu Li Masters. It is the best, if only, book I’ve read on quantum mechanics. Some of the characteristics and behavior of light truly boggle the mind. We know so little. Fascinating book!

  8. David, those are some great quotes! I love the one about the Prophet Joseph. I believe there are several accounts like this that speak of the countenance of the prophet lighting up and shining. Reminds me of Moses coming down from the mount (Ex. 34:29–30, 35).

  9. Mark Greene

    From most of the galaxy pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope, I was struck by the fact that at the center of these galaxies is a brilliant light. The word light is found in every verse of Genesis 1 as though light is the center of creation. Is light the center of each of us? A strong hint is in the scriptural definition of an intelligence or “the light of truth”. In changing the state of energy of any physical object, light is ultimately emitted. Is light the center of the earth?

  10. Following up on Mark’s comments, I have been wondering about this subject quite a lot recently. I always thought that there was a “bright center” to each galaxy and I have seen that used as evidence for a possible “celestial kingdom”, around which the galaxy revolves. I am no astronomer, so I assumed that this was a plausible conclusion. However, someone recently told me that there is no bright center, but that at the center of every galaxy lies a huge black hole. Interestingly, there are scriptures that say that God dwells in “thick darkness” (1 Kings 8:12; 2 Chron. 6:1; Ps. 18:11; Ps. 97:2). However, we also read (e.g. 1 Tim. 6:16) that He dwells in glorious light. I believe that God dwells in light, but why the references to darkness? I can’t speculate much about galaxies, black holes, and stars–that’s a bit beyond my pay grade–but it is a very interesting topic.

  11. Bruce Gilbert

    “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D. & C. 93:29.) And the prophet taught the same truth when he said that “the mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal [coeternal] with God himself. . . . The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end.” (Teachings, p. 353) Thus, intelligence, or the light of truth, that is the spirit element which Abraham says was organized to form intelligences or spirit children, was not created or made. (Abra. 3:23.) It has existed forever, and will exist to all eternity, for it is gnolaum, or eternal.
    (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 315.)

    1. In the gospel sense, intelligence is far more than the capacity to know and understand, and the intelligent man is one who does more than acquire knowledge. “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth,” the Lord says. “Light and truth forsake that evil one.” (D. & C. 93:36-37.) Thus intelligence is the light and truth which comes from Christ who is the way, the life, the light, and the truth of the world.
    Knowledge can be obtained and used in unrighteousness; Satan gains his power on this principle. But intelligence presupposes the wise and proper use of knowledge, a use that leads to righteousness and the ultimate attainment of exaltation. The devil has tremendous power and influence because of his knowledge, but he is entirely devoid of the least glimmering of intelligence. An intelligent person is one who applies his knowledge so as to progress in the things of the Spirit; he glories in righteousness. (Way to Perfection, pp. 225-231.) “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D. & C. 130:18-19.)
    2. Intelligence or light and truth, is also used as a synonym for spirit element. Scriptures using both terms speak of the self-existent nature of the substance involved. (D. & C. 93:29; 131:7-8.) Abraham calls the pre-existent spirits the intelligences that were organized before the world was” (Abra. 3:22) because the intelligences were organized intelligence or in other words the spirit bodies were born from spirit element.
    (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 386.)

    Since light is the “spirit element” from which our spirit bodies were created, it would seem that very much like our earthly bodies were created from the “dust of the earth” (ingestion of earthly elements,) our spirit bodies were created from the “light of eternity.”

  12. observer

    This brings to mind an experience I had while serving a mission in Japan. On one door we knocked on, a lady answered and as we started to say who we were, she interrupted us and said something to the effect “I know who you are, you’re Mormons. You’re the ones that have these bright shiny faces with light coming out of them.”

    We were flabbergasted, and asked her if she wanted to know more, but she promptly turned us down. Interesting experience nonetheless!

  13. Andrew Lacayo

    Regarding Bruce Gilbert’s comments on intelligence, spirit element and intelligence are two different things. We know that we existed as intelligences prior to receiving our spirit bodies from Heavenly Father. Abraham uses intelligences and spirits as different entities. Also in the January 2005 Ensign it states that we we given spirit bodies that “housed intelligence”, just like our physical bodies house our spirit bodies. So to use D&C 131:7–8 and D&C 93:29 doesn’t fit.

  14. Andrew Lacayo

    I also love this article because it makes sense with what 3 Nephi 13:22–23 teach, ” 22 The alight of the body is the beye; if, therefore, thine eye be csingle, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

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