When we have the Light of Christ, it shows in our countenance. (Thanks to my sister for letting me use her picture for this article)
In the Mormon world, there are a lot of single adults eagerly looking for their eternal companion. In places where there are a lot of LDS members, or perhaps few members at all, many LDS single adults feel pressured to make a strong impression on a prospective eternal companion. There’s an important way to stand out that’s often overlooked or underemphasized – the “Mormon glow.”
What is the Mormon glow?
The Mormon glow is a term commonly used to describe how members striving to live the gospel seem to have a light that shines from within them. Anecdotally, it’s common to hear stories of how people have identified practicing Mormons from the “glow” about them. The Mormon glow has actually been scientifically proven to exist and church leaders have explained that this effect occurs because of the influence of the Holy Ghost. President James E. Faust once explained that a “sacred light comes to our eyes and countenances when we have a personal bond with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son.” He then recounted a fascinating story:
I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that non-proselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, ‘Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?’ He was referring to our students who were studying in Jerusalem.”
It’s clear that the Mormon glow is no myth – it exists and it’s important for LDS single adults to develop this type of countenance.
Why is the Mormon glow important to LDS single adults?
The Mormon glow is an attractive quality! Church leaders have explained that the influence of the Holy Spirit has an invigorating effect on the physical body. Brigham Young once said:
“Mormonism” keeps men and women young and handsome; and when they are full of the Spirit of God, there are none of them but what will have a glow upon their countenances; and that is what makes you and me young; for the Spirit of God is with us and within us. (Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, Discourse 34.)
Interestingly enough, Google predictive searches have confirmed President Young’s remarks. In many states, typing in “Why are Mormons…” on Google often lead to revealing search terms. More often than not, one of the top search terms suggested is, “Why are Mormons so hot?”
However, even if you feel that you’re not quite like Ryan Gosling or Amy Adams, the Mormon glow can give you a type of beauty that goes far beyond surface appearances. Every person is beautiful in the Lord’s eyes because of their divine heritage. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to realize the unique beauty and worth of each person we meet because of our limited human perspective. That’s why radiating the Light of Christ gives us a unique type of beauty – because it makes it easier for others to see us the way our Heavenly Father does.
Through the influence of the Spirit, people will feel drawn to your light. A non-member once commented on Yahoo! Answers that he was perplexed that he was drawn to a seemingly plain looking Mormon young woman with a certain glow about her. The explanation he received was simply that he was attracted to her purity of heart which was easily observed through her countenance.
I’ve seen this phenomenon demonstrated in my own life. I’ve met Mormon women that I haven’t been interested in at first. However, when I’ve gotten to know them better and felt the radiance of their Spirit, it’s helped me realize how attractive they really are. This is not an unusual phenomenon, which is why it’s vital for us to radiate the Light of Christ at all times.
Developing the Mormon glow also helps us see ourselves the way the Lord sees us. All too often, it’s easy to be our own worst critics. However, when we stay close to the Spirit, we can see ourselves and our eternal potential through the Lord’s eyes. In turn, this gives us a renewed sense of confidence that helps us attract people who can add value to our lives.
However, the benefits of radiating the Mormon glow go far beyond simply attracting a prospective spouse. Through shining with the Light of Christ, we can make a positive impact on the entire world, which is why the Savior commanded us to share His light with others. In Matthew 5:14-16, it reads:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Just as a light source isn’t fulfilling its true purpose if it’s concealed, as children of God, we are not fulfilling our purpose if we hide the spiritual light we’ve received. All of us wield a personal influence that should not be underestimated, which is why it’s so important for us to share the light we’ve received with others.
How do we radiate the Mormon glow?
Because the Mormon glow comes through the influence of the Holy Ghost, here are just a few principles that can help us develop a Christ-like countenance:
- Live in a way that invites the Holy Ghost as your constant companion. Because the Mormon glow comes through the Spirit, it is impossible for us to glow if we are making choices that drive the Holy Ghost away from us.
- Cultivate a reverence for sacred things. Reverence is profound respect mingled with love. Showing reverence invites the Mormon glow because the Lord pours out His Spirit in greater abundance to those who are reverent.
- Choosing to be happy. There is a huge difference in the countenance of a person who hides from the storm compared to the person who chooses to dance in the rain. If we strive to have a joyful attitude about life, it will shine in our appearance.
- Seeing others the way the Savior does and treating them accordingly. The Savior made each person he ministered to feel loved and valued. If we strive to do the same, His image will shine in our countenance.
- Associating with people who radiate the Light of Christ. Surrounding ourselves with Christ-like friends will inspire us and help bring out the best qualities within us. Christ–like friends will help us shine through seeing our divine potential and encouraging us to live up to it.
These are just a few ways we can invite the Mormon glow to be with us, which is a tangible force that brings light, warmth, and peace to everyone it comes into contact with. I know it exists because I’ve experienced the glow firsthand through Christ-like friends who have influenced me with their light.
Lessons learned about the Mormon glow from Erich’s photoshoot
Recently, I had the opportunity to take an executive headshot of my roommate Erich, who is looking for new employment opportunities. Because I wanted to present Erich in the best possible light, I knew it was critical to make him appear professional, but also friendly and approachable. In preparing for the photoshoot, I looked at past pictures of Erich to determine how I could capture his best qualities in his headshot.
Erich and I have been friends for almost five years, so I was fortunate to have a lot of pictures to thoughtfully review. When it comes to facial expressions, Erich is among the most interesting people I’ve known. However, I knew that creating a successful portrait would also be strongly influenced by other factors.
Erich has a lot of Christ-like qualities I admire and I’ve seen the Mormon glow around him before, which I wanted to capture in the photoshoot. I felt that if I conveyed the purity of his heart in a photo, it would help him stand out to recruiters. Because spiritual things can’t be forced, I thoughtfully pondered what I could do to help set Erich at ease and invite the Mormon glow to radiate from him during our photoshoot. As I considered this issue, I heard a quiet voice that said, ask Erich to bear his testimony to you.
Initially, I was concerned that this might be awkward. Despite my reservations, when I explained to Erich what I hoped to accomplish, he understood my intent and agreed that it would be a good idea. We took a few minutes to share testimonies and spiritual experiences with each other, which helped set Erich at ease and created a good environment for our photoshoot. At the end of our session, we were pleased with how the photos turned out and it was a good case study of how the influence of the Spirit affects our countenance.
We were born to shine
Developing the Mormon glow isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. But when we have the image of the Savior in our countenance, people recognize it. In an increasingly dark world, we have a responsibility to bring light to everyone we meet. As LDS single adults, having the Mormon glow is especially important because it helps us attract people who can add value to our lives.
In D&C 88:40, it reads that “light cleaveth unto light.” In other words, if we want to attract an eternal companion who radiates the light of Christ, we need to glow ourselves. So don’t be afraid to shine. Don’t be afraid to live your life in a way that allows the Light of Christ to radiate from your countenance. People you meet will be drawn to the light in your eyes – including your future spouse.