Before he died, Larry Barkdull had written a substantial part of an unfinished manuscript  about the extraordinary power of faith,  particularly as a power that causes things to happen. This is faith on a higher level than we usually practice and understand it. With the permission of his wife, Buffie, Meridian will be running an excerpt from this new book every week. See earlier articles in this series HERE and HERE and HERE.

Faith, light, truth, priesthood and power—can we not see that they are interdependent and likely components of the same intelligent spiritual substance? Spirit with its various parts, is the power of the Gods to bring things to pass and deliver astounding blessings. We read, for instance, that when Spirit functions as the light of Christ, it becomes the agent of power for the Holy Ghost, who operates in our lives according to our faith.[1] When that happens, the light of Christ abides in us and delivers “the peaceable things of immortal glory” and “the truth of all things.” It “quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things.” It “knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.”[2] Joy is associated with the presence of Spirit,[3] as is the glory of God, for we are truly glorified by it.[4] Notice how all these synonymous terms are co-reliant and connect to Spirit. We also note that faith, truth and priesthood, light can be drained from us through unrighteousness, pride and disobedience.[5]

Other qualities of Spirit allow God to be who He is and do what He does; it allows for God to be in us so that He can transform, uphold and exalt us. For example, Brigham Young called Spirit or the light of Christ, our “first nature,” the “predominant principle” in man.[6] It has been referred to as the indwelling god or as Elder Penrose called it “the eternal spirit of intelligence, the Great Eternal God, manifested to us in our Father and through Jesus Christ [that] never had a beginning.”[7] In other words, the light of Christ (Spirit) is the God substance that allows him to be who he is and do what he does. Indeed, “one definition of a God might be: One who has obtained full control over all holy spirit, whatever it may be, by virtue of His perfect obedience to eternal law.”[8]

Such a being can control and command this Spirit for infinite applications and purposes. We swim in a universal sea of Spirit. Where in the universe can we escape the influenceof light, faith, truth, and priesthood? “Through this spiritual network that connects all the Heaven and Earth, God comprehends and embraces all things; it is the means by which “all things are before him” and “round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things;” and the ay in which “all things are by him, and of him” (D&C 88:41). As a result, He has a perfect knowledge “of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24); His perceptions of past, present and future converge in “One eternal ‘now.’”[9]

When Spirit or any of its parts is harnessed, adapted, focused, directed or powered by faith in Christ, it becomes the agent by which the Gods do all things. Spirit is the power of the Gods to give and sustain life; in fact, Spirit or “light” is sometimes called “life.”[10] Existence is impossible without it.[11] Neither is agency: “Behold, here is the agency of man.”[12] Man increases his ability to think, choose and act according to the quantity of Spirit that he allows to fill and pass though him.[13] Spirit is the essence of universal law.[14] It is called “intelligence”[15] and thus associated with the individual intelligences that are transformed by God into his children and infinite other creations.

Spirit (light, life, intelligence, etc.) is the vehicle by which Jesus can dwell in us. Jesus said, “I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound.”[16] If Spirit is Light, Jesus is the “True Light” or the perfection of Light. In this scripture, the word abound suggests power, life and prosperity; we can possess none of these things unless the True Light is “in” us. The word in is descriptive of a divine, indwelling relationship, a spiritual connectivity, or perhaps an essential action, such as plugging into a socket or allowing something or someone to enter and reside within us.

Elder McConkie calls this spiritual phenomenon “the indwelling Presence in all immensity.”[17] When we connect to the True Light by faith, power surges through us and we are brought “out of darkness unto light;”[18] we become lights[19] and are lighted by the True Light;[20] in other words, we “abound.”[21] We are “alive in Christ because of our faith.”[22] Elder B.H. Roberts used the word immanent to describe the “the indwelling Presence.” Immanent means the “permanent abiding within.”[23] Immanent is more than being in and through all things; the quality of immanence is a pervasive, life-giving life force that affects the entirety of the soul and causes it to “abound.” For instance, “The Light which now shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which Light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.”[24]

Elder B.H. Roberts explained: “As applied to God, [immanence] conveys the idea of essential and permanent Divine presence in all the universe.” Immanence is not merely a restatement of omnipresence, he said; rather, immanence is power that God draws from Spirit and the force of faith. “It means presence accompanied by power; or presence plus power; presence accompanied by doing, or act, leading to manifestations of God’s power.” Then quoting an example of God’s immanence: “Judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.”[25] Again, we see in this spiritual energy the qualities of light, faith, truth, priesthood and power–immanence.

The following verses, according to Elder Roberts, constitute “a more complete or thorough-going statement of ever-whereness of God in the world, accompanied with the idea of power–God immanent, dynamic, as well as present,–I do not remember to have seen.”[26] Notice the phrases that describe this immanent energy, which is spirit, light, truth, law, faith in Christ — all of which are power.

The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?

Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these, hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.

I say unto you, he hath seen him; nevertheless, he who came unto his own was not comprehended.  

The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God; being quickened in him and by him.

Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me, otherwise ye could not abound. 

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; which truth shineth. This is the Light of Christ . . . 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 (D&C 88:45-50).

The light of Christ is the agent of God to be omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, to have infinite capacity to create, give life, govern and sustain—all directed by priesthood founded on truth and powered by faith in Christ. Elder Roberts called this light the “vital force of the Immanent God,” the “life-giving force or spirit,”  the “intelligence-inspiring power,”[27] hearkening again to the intelligent force or spiritual energy we also call faith.

Elder Roberts further described this “intelligence-inspiring power” as “a presence rather than a person; an influence, a spiritual atmosphere, a power proceeding from another, and therefore is dependent on that other for its existence rather than being an independent existence; but as that ‘Other’ on which it depends is eternal, so too this that proceeds forth from the personal presence to fill the immensity of space ‘is likewise eternal.’ Again: This God Immanent, as we have seen, is called the ‘Light of Christ,’ ‘The Spirit of Christ.’”[28]

Why have we gone to such lengths to discover and describe this spiritual light or energy and link it to its subsets? Because within Man’s divine DNA is the potential to harness the power of this energy by faith in Jesus Christ and thus become one of the “innumerable Divine Intelligences, whom we call Gods.” By harnessing the power of this energy, Man can take on and partake of “the Divine Nature” and enter into exaltation and glory. Then the immanence that the Father and the Son enjoy will be ours, and the “spiritual influence [will proceed] forth from [our] presence.”[29] This spiritual energy (variously, light, faith, truth, priesthood, power, etc.) “carries with it the whole nature of God, and in some way, reflects all characteristics and attributes of Deity, the moral attributes of wisdom, holiness, truth, justice, love, and mercy as well as the…powers [of God].”[30]

What does this mean, all that we have discussed? There is an eternal self-existent spiritual principle or light or energy that is co-eternal with God. He did not create it, but He has unlimited power to control and command it.[31] The properties of this energy can be compared to the wavelengths that make up physical light, each comprised of unique qualities and individually powerful. Faith, and its sister properties, has unique qualities and is individually powerful within the spectrum of spiritual light. Faith, and its sister properties, is called a “spiritual energy,”[32] “a living…intelligent force…. superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know,”[33] “a marvelous, even a transcendent, power, a power as real and as invisible as electricity.”[34] This spiritual energy is not only synonymous with faith and light, it is also referred to as power,truth, priesthood, life, light of truth, spirit, law, conscience, record of heaven, agency, intelligence, mind of God, spirit of Jesus Christ, voice of the spirit, and word of the Lord, to name a few. Each of these terms describes the qualities of this eternal self-existent spiritual energy and suggests that it is substantive. These terms also speak of this spiritual energy as being a universal constant, unchangeable and eternal. When it is described as truth, intelligence, light or light of truth, it is described this way: “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come….Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.”[35] Existence, itself, depends on this life-giving energy!

For our purposes, we propose to call this overarching energy light or the light of Christ with truth, priesthood and faith as its subsets or properties. We suggest that faith in Christ is the highest manifestation of this light and the most powerful expression of the intelligent force. We suggest that light is the agent or vehicle by which God can know all things, be in and through all things, possess all power and enjoy the perfection of every godly attribute and characteristic, and that faith is God’s power to do and be so. By means of this spiritual energy, we can ascend to the station of God, and by faith in Jesus Christ, we can know what he knows, live like and where he lives, do what he does, and possess his power, character, perfections and attributes: “And no man receiveth a fulness [of truth] unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.”[36]

By attaching to Jesus Christ, the True Vine,[37] and by being lighted by Jesus Christ, the True Light,[38] we draw divine life-giving energy and sustenance to develop from a twig to a fruitful branch, growing brighter and more powerful in light, truth, faith and priesthood until we become like Christ in every respect.

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

He that is ordained of God and sent forth [priesthood], the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.

Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.[39]

This is the magnificence of the immanent spiritual energy force that makes gods of God’s children and places within our reach the power to know and do all things.

[1] 1 Nephi 10:17; 2 Nephi 26:13; 3 Nephi 9:20; Moroni 7:32; 10:4, 7; D&C 33:15; 35:19.

[2] Moses 6:61.

[3] D&C 88:33-34,

[4] D&C 93:28, 36.

[5] D&C 93:39; D&C 121:36-37.

[6] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:355.

[7] Charles W. Penrose, Journal of Discourses, 26:27, emphasis added.

[8] M. Catherine Thomas, Light in the Wilderness, 42.

[9] M. Catherine Thomas, Light in the Wilderness, 42, quoting History of the Church 4:597. See D&C 130:9.

[10] D&C 88:13.

[11] D&C 93:30.

[12] D&C 93:31.

[13] D&C 88:11.

[14] D&C 88:13.

[15] D&C 93:29-30.

[16] D&C 88:50, emphasis added.

[17] McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 544.

[18] 2 Nephi 3:5.

[19] Matthew 5:16.

[20] D&C 88:11-12.

[21] D&C 88:50.

[22] 2 Nephi 25:25.

[23] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:1.

[24] D&C 88:11-12, emphasis added.

[25] D&C 88:40-41, emphasis added.

[26] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:1-6.

[27] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:7-8.

[28] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:8-9.

[29] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:9.

[30] B. H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology, 5:11-12.

[31]Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 353-54.

[32] Charles W. Penrose, “Leaves From the Tree of Life” The Contributor, Volume 2, Oct 1880, No 1.

[33] Clark, Behold the Lamb of God, 285.

[34] Boyd K. Packer, “What is Faith?” Faith, 42.

[35] D&C 93:24, 29-30, emphasis added.

[36] D&C 93:27-28, emphasis added.

[37] John15:1.

[38] D&C 88:50.

[39] D&C 50:24-27, emphasis added.