Saturday, May 17, 2014

seeing the light in their eyes: observing the "Mormon" effect

So it turns out that ♥♥SCIENCE♥♥ currently shows that people actually can discern Mormons from non-Mormons on sight. Enjoy the article here. This is fascinating stuff because anecdotally, I personally have always felt I could recognize Mormons on sight (and have weird stories to back this up), and many other people I've talked to have felt the same way. Turns out, this may not be entirely unfounded.

Observe this excerpt:
Only headshots were shown and the faces had no adornments. What they found was both Mormon and non-Mormon subjects were able to identify who was a Mormon more often than would occur by chance.
Rule and his colleagues then tried to isolate which specific facial feature was betraying Mormons the most. In the end, it proved difficult to determine.
“Even when the researchers removed important features, such as the [hair, shape of the face, nose,] eyes or mouth, the subjects were [still] able to identify Mormons more often than would occur by chance.
 The article goes on to submit that the real determining factor that helps people discern Mormons from non-Mormons is skin texture. The authors quote multiple prophets who explain that Mormonism makes people beautiful, and wonder if that is the case.

They also note the phenomenon of "light in their eyes," the Mormony term for the "glow" that seems to emanate from practicing Mormons.

I do not believe skin texture is the answer here. To be honest, I would not be surprised if when they removed even skin texture from the faces--if all they left on the pictures they showed were blank spaces that were merely associated with the different people involved--they found that people could still identify which space was Mormon and which space wasn't. Sorry, that was a confusing sentence. In other words: I suspect skin texture probably does not have as much to do with it as they think it does. I suspect that the innate human ability to recognize light from darkness is the more likely thing that enables a person to distinguish between a Mormon and non-Mormon on sight.

But light and darkness aren't contained by facial features OR by skin texture. A person's light or darkness exists separate from the body, though they are associated with the body. The light or darkness of a person can leave when the person's body dies, which would not be possible if this "subtle body" were inseparably connected to the body. Incidentally, this is why remote energy work is possible: when do you a remote quantum touch session, for example, you can work on a person's subtle body even if the person's physical body is far away.

All people are instinctively able to recognize other people's subtle light or darkness, whether they consciously realize they can or not.

To me, that's what this study actually shows.

After all--plenty of Mormons have acne, but you can still tell if they're Mormon on sight. And plenty of Mormons are not that cute--but you can still recognize them right away. Looks are not really what people are recognizing here, as far as I can tell. Not even skin texture.

Light and darkness of the subtle body are real, observable effects. This light is often the most noticeable in Mormons, in my opinion and observation, because we actually have more light in our subtle bodies than the average person. Keeping God's commandments, as I've blogged before, actually literally fills us with light. This is true for all people, not just Mormons--the big difference is that Mormons A) understand more of God's commandments, thanks to more scriptures and more prophets to counsel them and guide them and B) tend to actually keep those commandments. I can't tell you how many Christians I know that say they love Jesus but don't keep the Sabbath day holy, for example.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are both aware of more commandments than the average Christian--think of the Word of Wisdom as just one example--and we are more expected to keep all the commandments. As we actually do keep the commandments and adhere to our end of the covenants we make through baptism and in the temple, we increase in personal light--and this light is apparently actually visible to people, both in and out of the Church.

This all reminds me so much of the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Jesus, as well as the prophets since the Restoration, taught: we cannot live on borrowed light.

Interestingly, in my scripture study on the names of God, I came across James 1:17, which calls God "the Father of lights" (He is also called this in D&C 67:9). Consider the famous Biblical admonition to "let your light so shine" (Matthew 5:16). Consider the scriptural explanation that wickedness "taketh away light" (D&C 93:39). I invite you to consider the possibility that the ideas taught by these scriptures are plainer and more precious than we ordinarily think them to be.

I feel the scriptures imply over and over again--by "imply," I mean state very clearly and plainly that this is the case, even though we most often interpret the words metaphorically instead of literally--that when it comes down to it, we are truly and literally beings primarily made of light.

The closer a person is to God, the more light they have.

I feel this explanation intuitively makes more sense than the idea that skin texture is the factor that makes Mormons so clearly discernible on sight.

I will add quickly that my weirdest story of this--of recognizing a Mormon guy by his light alone--happened when he wasn't even facing me and was, in fact, wearing a suit. So I could literally see none of his skin at all. This was when I was fifteen or sixteen. I didn't know this guy was Mormon; I only knew that he seemed to glow to me, even from behind. We were at a political conference and I just thought--what is this? Why is that random guy glowing? In the end he recognized me first as a Mormon because of my YW medallion. When we met, he said, "Oh! I see you're LDS--me too!" and all of a sudden his glow made sense. It was a very strange experience, one that I will never forget, and one that to me is evidence that skin texture is likely not the defining feature that sets Mormons apart from non-Mormons.

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