Note: This is a portion of a talk I gave at the Shadow Mountain Stake Conference held June 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.
I’ve learned a lot about mirrors in the last little while. It’s my sons fault. We were reading a book together about how things work. We got to the part about mirrors and it really caught my attention. I want to share a couple mirror facts with you tonight.
So let’s talk about mirrors and reflect on them.
How was that for a dad joke?
As you know, most mirrors are smooth pieces of glass. One side of the glass is painted with a shiny metal. The smooth glass allows light in and the shiny metal bounces it back giving you a reflection.
But did you know, for instance, that mirrors do not work in the dark. Of course you know you can’t see yourself because it’s dark but it’s not just you. The mirror is off.
Think about that. If you were in a dark room, even with some superpower night goggles that gave you night vision, you would not see a reflection of you in the mirror because there is not light to be returned to you.
That just gets crazier the more I think about it.
One other more mirror lesson I recently read that will become the basis of what I want to talk about this evening.
“You light a candle in a dark room. Now suppose a mirror is brought in. Is the room brighter?
“If you say no, you may find yourself battling your own” experience because a room “feels” brighter.
“However, if you say yes, how can a mirror make more light than existed before?”
A mirror doesn’t create light.
So, does a room become brighter when a mirror is in the room?
This is a great question because it forces us to rethink our immediate assumptions. As is often the case in science, the answer to the mirror puzzle is: it depends.
“In this case, it depends on where you are standing in the room.
If you are standing where you can see the reflection in the mirror, then your experience is exactly the same as if there were two sources of light in the room.
Does that mean the mirror is producing more light? No, but it does prevent the candlelight from becoming either absorbed or dispersed in that area, and retrains it directly on your eye.”
In essence, you are benefiting from both sides of the candle at once. The result is that it almost doubles the amount of light your eye receives.
So when you put mirrors in a room, it doesn’t just “feel brighter”, it is brighter.
I love this principle. As you can imagine there are so many applications in the Gospel.
Standing in the midst of a multitude of people, Christ declared:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
“And behold, I am the light and the life of the world” (3 Ne. 11:10–11).
As Christ continues to be that light, we should be aware of where we stand in relation to the Light.
We can take advantage of missionary opportunities and reflect the light into the life of friends and family. You might find a friend on your contact list or social media friend list and proactively send them a personal note with a link to something that reflects the light of Christ.
Completing this small act of kindness, your friend can and will feel the Savior’s love directly, and also your love, a reflection of the the true light of Christ.
Maybe you don’t have strength, or courage, to be a mirror holder. (Though I testify that if you try, God will sustain you in the effort) But if you’re not there yet, then choose to stand in a place where you can benefit from the mirror holders.
Be in good places online and in real life where growth happens. This would certainly include the temple and sabbath day worship in a chapel and home.
This would include making it a priority to be available for and committed to family home evening.
Sometimes work or other responsibilities do not allow you to be home for Monday evening. Some work schedules simply do not allow it. However, if there is a choice available (and dads, many times there is a choice whether you can admit it or not), know that working late to indirectly support your family does not compare to committing Monday night to directly support your family in learning the Gospel and other lessons in the home. I testify that the opportunity to worship together as a family, in the home, whether children are there or not, will protect you against temptation. Prophets have promised and I believe.
Now the other part of the mirror experiment: “if a candle is burning and a mirror is placed, if you’re standing where you can’t see the mirror, the room may actually be darker than it otherwise would have been with just a candle. That’s because a mirror points light in a specific direction, in this case away from your eyes. The overall amount of light that you actually see will then be less.”
For those who stand behind the mirrors that the Gospel provides, where light can not go, a warning: you and I are not strong enough to combat the wickedness of this world without help. The constant storm of Satan will wear down even the strongest ships. This barrage can be found in movies, online forums where people question faith (yours and their own), video games, sporting interests, pornographic material, improperly used social media, and so many other places.
The Spirit can not reach you when your heart and eyes are set on other things.
Quoting Elder Christensen of the seventy:
“It is very unreasonable to suppose that exposure to profanity, nudity, sex and violence has no negative effects on us. We can’t roll around in the mud without getting dirty.
It is a concern that some of our young Latter-Day Saints, as well as their parents, regularly watch inappropriate movies and videos. One more reason why the “devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice. ” (One of my sad scriptures: 3 Nephi 9:2)
A trend in the market right now is in-house media creation. Rather than buying TV shows from networks, companies like Netflix and Amazon are creating their own shows. Some of these shows are great, most are not. And they are not subject to the same rating and filter system of shows that are on broadcast television.
Be warned: this is how Satan creeps into your life. Good members of the church who would never watch an “R-rated movie” will check out a new show and methodically binge the spirit from their life.
Just a few bad words.
Just a little nudity.
Just a little infidelity, low standards, or violence.
It does not matter the amount. The Holy Ghost will not, and can not, attend where He is not welcome. He can not go there. You are choosing to stand in a place where the mirror can not be seen.
The good news is that before you turn on the show, or visit the site, you and I will feel a prompting. Something that reminds us that we come from a holier place. We have an immediate choice. If we choose to turn away, the spirit will confirm to us our decision and we will be stronger.
If we choose to stay, where the light can not reach us, we are on shaky ground. We can not earn the eternal blessings promised us.
24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.” (Alma 5:24-25)
We are in a time where safeguards are very rarely provided anymore. If a dollar can be made, you and your children and your grandchildren will be exploited. The restored standards of the Gospel and the influence of the Holy Ghost will help you know and evaluate where you should be.
I know it’s popular to worry about the world and all that is going wrong. Short term, it’s so very easy to be pessimistic, judgmental, and disagreeable.
But long term, that life choice is just plain exhausting. There is a reason that evil and captivity is always paired with heavy burdens upon the back of the people.
Rather than struggling in the shadow, we should live in the light. There is One True Light.
Listen to this scripture of truth that explains the true light. It thoroughly explains how the Light of Christ is in everything we know and do.
6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
11 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;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space–
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.
Our Savior lived a perfect life and is the perfect light.
We have scriptures and prophets who relay and confirm those standards for us. They are our mirrors of Christ. Stand where you can see them.
In this church, as a gift and covenant from God, we have available the gift of the Holy Ghost to confirm to us that we are choosing and doing right.
That we may always be in his light and a reflection of that light to others is my hope.