Be the Salt… Be the Light

3 Nephi 12:13-20

The Salt of the Earth

I give unto you to be the salt of the earth;

vs. 13

I began today’s study by looking at the footnotes on this phrase. I quickly learned about a “covenant of salt” that existed in ancient Israel. It is referenced twice in the Old Testament: once with Aaron and the Levites, the other with king David. Then I found this through a search:

This answered so many questions on this one-page fact sheet, but also gave context to why Christ was using salt as a comparison.

Those who are baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ make covenants. In modern revelation the Lord declared, “When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men” (D&C 101:39). To perform our covenant duty as the salt of the earth, we must be different from those around us.
This requires us to make some changes from our family culture, our ethnic culture, or our national culture. We must change all elements of our behavior that are in conflict with gospel commandments, covenants, and culture.

Repentance and Change, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2003

The quote from then Elder Oaks illustrates the connection with being different from the world, why that is important, and then how we can become different. This is why Christ says, Ye are the salt of the earth. We can become the salt of the earth. When we truly convert to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are becoming that savory salt that Christ desires that we become.

A Light unto This People

In the New Testament version of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ says “Ye are the light of the world. It it is curious to note that elsewhere the Savior also says that He is the light of the world. So out of His own mouth, He is making us equal with Him, at least in this regard. The Nephite account is yet more verbose, ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be a light…” Indeed, emphatically is saying in essence: as I am the light, you are also the light. We together are the light.

This unifying invitation from Christ to be a light with Him is instructive and reassuring. When we stand out as a light, we stand beside Christ; we are not alone.

Is there anything of a connection between verses 16 and 17? In verse 16, the Savior is counseling us to let our light shine so that the Father may be glorified. In verse 17, He then goes on to say that He is not replacing the law or the prophets, but fulfilling their words. Is there a connection between the two statements, as I have always read and associated them as separate, unrelated thoughts.

Is there anything in this council to let our light shine that is a direct fulfillment of the law, and the prophets?

A new day, and yes, I see a connection between salt & light and laws & commandments. What gives the salt its savor? What gives the light its power? Obedience to law. And here is what we are to do with these commandments; this is the reason we have been conditioned, trained, and prepared to be obedient and faithful. It is so that we can be salt with savor and so that we can be light that shines brightly in darkness.

There is another thought that accompanies this: These commandments and our faithful adherence to the law of the Lord is what enables us to do our work among the children of men, whatever that work looks like on the surface. There are thousands upon thousands of professions and vocations, but our ability to shine in any occupation or external duty, any responsibility that is given to us, rests squarely upon the condition of our internal selves. It is the cleansed purity of our hearts and minds that gives us clear ability to see things for what they really are.

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