I carried other people’s burdens, troubles, and concerns as I approached church yesterday. During the Sacrament, I always read John 17, but suddenly felt prompted to turn to Mosiah 18:8.
I know the verse. It begins a section where Alma discusses the covenant of the baptized. I turned to the section, assuming I’d get a little pep talk on how to help others bear burdens better AKA don’t shirk my opportunity to help them bear burdens AKA “way to go, you’re feeling people’s burdens, bear them happily.”
However, that’s not what happened at all.
And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light….
I’d always read “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light.” That the burden may be light (lessened, easy to carry). If you lift where you stand, the total burden lessens, right?
But I read “be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they (burdens) may be light (full of light, bright, glorious). And then “that they (one another, people) may be light (full of light, bright, glorious).”
Consider these “light” definitions in that context.
something that makes vision possible.
the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.
understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.
make (something) start burning; ignite.
having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark.
A person filled with vision and understanding knows how to eradicate or change the burden, whether it’s a heavy, dark situation, fear, or limiting belief. Later in their story, Alma’s people fervently prayed to God and He lightened their burdens.
And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
Even the burdens themselves change when perceiving them through the context of these definitions. In my original view, the burden, all or partial, shifted from person to person but still remained, all of us carrying loads of burdens—our own or each others’. It was and would always be a burden. This new line of thought implied that the burden itself was an agent to make vision possible, to ignite to action, to lead to enlightenment.
Burdens help turn us to the Savior and His atoning grace. Alma’s people turned to the Lord who lightened their burdens.
People Full of Light
What about bearing burdens so that people may be light? My thoughts flew to one of my very, very favorite passages of scripture. Doctrine and Covenants 93.
And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.
The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
Light and truth forsake that evil one.
We bear each other’s burdens so the focus can shift from burden to God. If my life consists of clamoring for subsistence, I can’t focus on the things of God. If I persist in victim mentality, I can’t pursue Christlike attributes like creator, acting rather than being acted upon, or even the truly basic freedom to choose.
However, when we shift passed our fallen man, we discover what we’ve always been—light. Unloading dark, heavy burdens, revitalizes that light. Through the Holy Ghost’s tutelage, we choose truth and light and finally, totally, forsake that evil one.
Sharing Burdens to Show What’s Possible
We bear each other’s burdens to help each other see what’s possible.
Even though the Lord gave me this beautiful insight, I still felt a little burdened. After church, my friend Debbie Tanner stayed behind after the church exodus mayhem and asked about my burden. I still felt like I had to carry a particular burden for others, but didn’t know exactly how or why. It didn’t feel healthy and brought confusion and chaos to my heart.
She listened as I explained my burden. She took and held my burden, understood it, considered it. Then she told me that I didn’t have to carry that particular burden for others, that my efforts were enough, and that I was enough.
Just hearing that insight from someone I trust and love showed me what was possible. She saw the light in me. She coaxed me towards the greater light I could be by letting go of the burden’s dead weight.
I felt what she said was true. The unnecessary burden vanished. I felt its weight go. I felt clarity of thought and judgment return. I felt balance restored.
We didn’t have to shift the burden back and forth. With her help, I realized the burden was unnecessary. I chose to carry the burden and I chose to destroy the burden.
Not all burdens are so easily remedied, but determining whether it’s necessary to carry them just might be. The Savior welcomes all of our burdens. He gives us the greatest clarity and understanding of true possibilities. He is full of light and the source of our light. And He invites us to “come.”
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.