Study helps: Gary E Stevenson – Spiritual Eclipse


Have any of your quorum or Relief Society members experienced a solar eclipse? If so, you could invite one of them to explain the analogy that Elder Stevenson shares about a “spiritual eclipse.”

What obstacles can “block out the magnitude, brightness, and warmth of the light of Jesus Christ and His gospel”?

How can social media distract us from “the beauty, warmth, and heavenly light of the gospel”?

How do we put on “gospel glasses” that protect us from spiritual blindness?

What does Elder Stevenson’s analogy teach us about maintaining a gospel perspective?

What is a solar eclipse?

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Spiritual eclipse

In the same manner that the very small moon can block the magnificent sun, extinguishing its light and warmth, a spiritual eclipse can occur when we allow minor and troublesome obstructions—those we face in our daily lives—to get so close that they block out the magnitude, brightness, and warmth of the light of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell took this analogy even further when he stated: “Even something as small as a man’s thumb, when held very near the eye, can blind him to the very large sun. Yet the sun is still there. Blindness is brought upon the man by himself. When we draw other things too close, placing them first, we obscure our vision of heaven.”

What can we do to make sure that we do not create spiritual eclipses in our own life?

What are examples of very small things can have the effect of spiritually blocking out the sun?

Social media

Comparing our own seemingly average existence with others’ well-edited, perfectly crafted lives as represented on social media may leave us with feelings of discouragement, envy, and even failure.

“Don’t compare yourself to others. Ours is not a gospel of comparisons. We don’t know another’s situation, their past, or their advantages. While we are envying them, they may be admiring us.

“A friend told me one day how much she wished she were like me. ‘You have so many talents. You can write, sing, speak with confidence in front of an audience.’ I laughed. I was feeling inferior because my front room was messy and I knew her house was spotless. My children were wildly showing off while hers were sitting quietly.

“The only person we can compare ourselves to is the person we were and the person we want to become.” (Sharon S. Brown, “One Step at a Time,” Ensign, Aug. 1986, 23)

From Viewpoint:

‘In this age when many are using social media as a means to feel connected, a new BYU–Idaho study has found that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to be lonely.

The study found that as daily social media time increased for participants, so did “perceived loneliness and depressive symptoms,” including feeling alone or blue, lacking motivation, or having a hard time sleeping, said Robert R. Wright, director of the Health Psychology emphasis in the BYU–Idaho Psychology Department.

“The main message here is that we need to use social media wisely,” he said.’

I love email and social media. They can be great ways of communicating and connecting with others. However our use of technology can also insulate us from others.  Do you see evidence that use of personal devices can turn our focus inward and make us forget the essence of the gospel? How can we guard against that?

Gospel glasses

Brothers and sisters, when I speak of seeing through gospel glasses, please know that I am not suggesting that we do not acknowledge or discuss the challenges we face or that we walk blissfully ignorant of the traps and evils the enemy has placed before us. I am not speaking of wearing blinders—but just the opposite. I am suggesting that we look at challenges through the lens of the gospel. Elder Dallin H. Oaks observed that “perspective is the ability to see all relevant information in a meaningful relationship.”  A gospel perspective expands our sight to an eternal view.

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What does Elder Stevenson mean by gospel glasses?

How can they protect us?

How does looking at challenges through the lens of the gospel give us perspective?

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How does the temple give us an eternal perspective? How can this help us?


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