In a revelation received by Joseph Smith in 1833, the Lord laments the state of church members who fail to recognize what they have. He described them as “walking in darkness at noon-day” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:6).
This imagery is reminiscent of the following passage in the book of Job:
They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.Job 5:14
How can you walk in darkness when you are surrounded by light?
After Amulek’s conversion to the gospel, he shared an important insight about his prior experience. “I never have known much of the ways of the Lord,” he said, but then quickly added, “I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people. Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know” (Alma 10:5-6, italics added).
What a sad situation, to have the blessings of the Lord within your reach and for some unfathomable reason to be unwilling to receive them!
Elder Gary E. Stephenson compared this phenomenon with a solar eclipse. He pointed out that the sun is 400 times as large as the moon, but because the moon is so much closer than the sun, it can completely cover it from our perspective. In the same way:
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.“Spiritual Eclipse,” General Conference, October 2017
Elder Neal A. Maxwell made a similar observation:
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.Of One Heart: The Glory of the City of Enoch (1975), 19, quoted in Gary E. Stephenson, “Spiritual Eclipse,” General Conference, October 2017
Today, I will remember that my own priorities and areas of focus can prevent me from perceiving the light that surrounds me. I will strive to eliminate obstructions which might prevent me from receiving the light and knowledge which God has made available to me.