Can’t You See It in My Face?

A young family, filled with joy while serving the Lord and keeping the commandments.

There are precious lessons of eternal significance that sometimes come to us in life. These lessons can come in ways and at times that are unexpected.

I recall one such lesson while I was serving as a counselor in a stake presidency. I learned this lesson from a sister living in our stake. Sister Blackett was in her middle years. Her family members all lived far away. She had never married and never had a job. She lived in a long-term nursing home because she had some mental and physical limitations which made it difficult for Sister Blackett to live on her own. But those limitations did not affect her testimony, her spiritual strength, or her desire to serve the Lord in every way that she could.

One of the powers and purposes of the Holy Ghost that we sometimes fail to appreciate is his power to change our countenances, fill our bodies and our minds with light, and refine our attitude and appearance so that we can be seen by others as disciples of Christ.

Sister Blackett loved to read her scriptures and loved to do indexing and family history work. She loved to attend the Temple. Every month the sisters in the Relief Society would assist Sister Blackett to visit the Temple. She would bring the temple ready cards she had prepared and perform sacred ordinances for her ancestors in the House of God. This gave her great joy.

One of my responsibilities in the stake presidency was to care for and visit the many sick, aged or handicapped members of our Church who were living in the long-term nursing home where Sister Blackett lived. This is how I met Sister Blackett. I always looked forward to our visits. Each time I arrived, I would knock on the door of her room and she would invite me in with a huge smile on her face and a glow in her countenance. We would sit and visit about the work she was doing. Sister Blackett was always excited to tell me how many names she had indexed since I last saw her.

On one of these visits, Sister Blackett told me that her Temple recommend was about to expire and asked if I could give her the interview needed to renew her recommend. I was delighted to do so. As I began the interview, I asked Sister Blackett a question. “Do you have a testimony of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?” Little did I know that her response would teach me an unexpected lesson that has helped shape my life.

Sister Blackett looked into my eyes with her joyful smile and answered my question by saying, “Yes, President Schmutz! Can’t you see it in my face?”

And she was right! I could see it in her face. Her countenance shined, and the light of truth illuminated her face. I had no doubt that she had a testimony of Christ and that she lived by His commandments for I could feel and see the Spirit in her.

If I had followed up with the questions Alma asked of the people in Zarahemla, I am certain Sister Blackett would have answered “yes” to each one: “Have you spiritually been born of God? Have you received his image in your countenance? Have you experienced the mighty change of heart?” (Alma 5:14). I am certain of this because I could see it in her face.

Can’t you see it in my face?

We have all met people like Sister Blackett, whose very appearance shines with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many people, devoted to their covenants with God, who remind us of the Savior’s love when we look into their eyes, hear words from their lips, feel the touch of their hand, or observe the way they treat those around them. When we see or speak to such a person, whose countenance reflects the light of the Savior, we are drawn to them, uplifted by them; we feel something special when we are in their presence. These are people who literally “chase darkness from among you” (D&C 50:25).

Each of us can be like Sister Blackett. This happens as we earnestly seek to receive and increase the presence of the Holy Ghost in us. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He “is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” (D&C 130:22). The Holy Ghost has many missions and functions. He is the Testator, the Comforter, the Witness of the Father and the Son, the Revelator, the Sanctifier, the
Holy Spirit of Promise, the Spirit of Truth, and the Messenger of the Father and the Son.

One of the powers and purposes of the Holy Ghost that we sometimes fail to appreciate is his power to change our countenances, fill our bodies and our minds with light, and refine our attitude and appearance so that we can be seen by others as disciples of Christ.

Through the presence and companionship of the Holy Ghost, God can dwell in us and we can receive the image of Christ in our countenances. We can receive the Spirit to light our countenance, make us the spiritually begotten children of Christ, and the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. In this way we may find at least a partial fulfillment of the promise given in John 14:26

Let me suggest four things we can do to receive the Holy Ghost more fully in our lives.

First, we must all follow the invitation of Peter to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. “Repent and be baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

Second, we must keep the commandments of God and continue to repent daily, for he “that keepeth the commandments dwelleth in [God], and [God] dwells in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24).

Third, we must love one another with the pure love of Christ, without condition and without limitation. “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). Seek the pure love of Christ “with all the energy of your heart” (Moroni 7:48).

Fourth, we must pray that God will give us the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It is recorded in the Book of Mormon that the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus after His resurrection and appearance in the land Bountiful “did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them” (3 Nephi 19:9). As they prayed, Jesus blessed them “and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance” of Jesus” (3 Nephi 19:25).

Let us all seek for the Holy Ghost to be given to us in greater measure as we repent, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, keep the commandments of God, love one another with the pure love of Christ, and pray always for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Remember the lesson of Sister Blackett: “Can’t you see it in my face?” And let it be so with each of us.