What’s with the name?

Stones that shine in darkness is a phrase that comes from a pretty random (but my favorite) verse in the Book of Mormon, not one of those popular verses that gets quoted regularly (although the story it refers to is a pretty popular story).  Chances are that most people who have read the Book of Mormon, even if they have read it multiple times, probably read over this verse without much pondering because it’s kind of a random aside getting from commentary back to the “important” stuff.

It refers to a story from the Book of Ether, which contains the history of a people called the Jaredites who left the Middle East in barges shortly after the Tower of Babel and landed on the American continent.  The record was then abridged by Moroni (an ancient American prophet) who added some of his own commentary and then was included with the set of records that is now referred to as the Book of Mormon.

As the Jaredites were preparing to leave the Middle East, they built barges as directed by the Lord.  As they built the barges they ran into some rather important concerns like, “how will we get air, or light?”  The Lord gave specific instructions on what to do for air, but for light he basically said, “Figure something out and let me know.”

This leads to a very powerful account of faith in which their Prophet gathered stones and asked that if the Lord would touch them then they would give light.  Which as it is recorded is what happened, the Lord answered his request and touched the stones.  But we’re still not quite to my randomly favorite scripture.

After Moroni finishes retelling this story he proceeds to insert his own commentary and tangents about faith and a few other topics for two whole chapters.  (I feel like Moroni and I would have been good friends with our similar habits of going off on tangents and inserting random commentary which can sometimes end up being longer than the story itself and then having to find a way back…speaking of which, where was I?)  So now Moroni is ready to get back to the story and he uses this as his bridge:

“And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.” (Ether 6:3)  Then he proceeds to go on with the rest of the story.  This wasn’t really meant to be profound, just a recap to get back on track.  So like I said, most people have probably just read past this verse without much thought.

But one day this scripture hit me like a stone- a shining one.

I was about half way through my 18 month proselyting mission in Florida and I was in a “wo is me” kind of funk.  I mean I was just this pretty ordinary girl from Arizona, why did I think I could help people change their lives.  And then I read this verse and I stopped for a moment and thought about stones.  Just ordinary stones.  Stones aren’t like ancient light bulbs.  It doesn’t even say he found precious stones.  These aren’t diamonds.  They’re just random rocks essentially.  But, in the hands of the Lord, those ordinary things became something extraordinary.  Something very ordinary allowed them to cross the waters with light instead of oppressive darkness.  If the Lord could cause stones to shine in darkness then just maybe he could take ordinary little me and do extraordinary things.

He did, and He still does.  That’s my continuous goal, to keep being a stone in His hands to shine in darkness.

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