President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, focused his priesthood session remarks on spiritual wellness — and how members can find healing as they “walk a path of vibrant, spiritual health.”
“Just as we face physical and emotional trials in this mortality, we also face spiritual challenges,” he said. “Most of us have experienced times in our lives when our testimony burns brightly. We also may have experienced times when our Heavenly Father seems distant. There are times when we treasure the things of the Spirit with all our hearts. There may also be times when they appear less precious or of diminished significance.”
Sometimes spiritual illness comes as a result of sin or emotional wounds. Sometimes spiritual breakdowns come gradually and are not easily detected.
“Like layers of sedimentary rock, spiritual pain and grief can build over time, weighing upon our spirits until it is almost too heavy to bear,” he said. “For example, this can happen when our responsibilities at work, home, and church become so overwhelming that we lose sight of the joy of the gospel. We might even feel as though we have no more to give or that living the commandments of God is beyond our strength.”
Spiritual trials are real — but they are not incurable, he said. Healing is possible. The healing power of Jesus Christ remains available.
“The Savior's healing touch can transform lives in our day just as it did in His. If we will but have faith, He can take our hands, fill our souls with heavenly light and healing, and speak to us the blessed words, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk’.”
Spiritual ailments, said President Uchtdorf, are all defined by an absence of divine light. Darkness reduces the ability to see clearly, he said. It dims the vision of that which was at one time plain and clear. While in darkness, a person is more likely to make poor choices, because he or she cannot see dangers in their path. While in darkness, a person is more likely to lose hope, because he or she cannot see the peace and joy that awaits by just keep pressing forward.
“Light, on the other hand, allows us to see things as they really are,” he said. “It allows us to discern between truth and error, between the vital and the trivial. When we are in the light, we can make righteous choices based on true principles. When we are in the light, we have a perfect brightness of hope because we can see our mortal trials from an eternal perspective.”
An understanding of the doctrinal concept of light can also help one guard against spiritual sickness and better serve as an energetic and caring bearer of the priesthood, he said.
All who humbly follow Jesus Christ will experience and share in His light, added President Uchtdorf. Such light will grow until it eventually dispels even the most profound darkness.
“It means that there is a power, a strong influence, that emanates from the Savior. It proceeds ‘forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space’ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:12). Because this power enlightens, uplifts, and illuminates our lives, the scriptures often call it light, but it is also referred to as spirit and truth.”
The Light of Christ fills the universe. It fills the earth — and it can fill every heart. His light is available to all — great or small, rich or poor, privileged or disadvantaged.
“If you open your mind and heart to receive the Light of Christ and humbly follow the Savior, you will receive more light,” he said. “Line upon line, here a little and there a little, you will gather more light and truth into your souls, until darkness has been banished from your life.”
However, God will not force His children to embrace His light. “If we become comfortable with darkness, it is unlikely that our hearts will change. For change to take place, we need to actively let the light in.”
Darkness is not an indication that there is not light, he added. It simply means a person is not in the right place to receive that light.
“Spiritual light continually shines upon all of God’s creation.”
Christ’s light brings hope, happiness and the healing of any spiritual wound or ailment, he concluded.
“It is our quest to seek the Lord until His light of everlasting life burns brightly within us, and our testimony becomes confident and strong even in the midst of darkness.”