Whence Came the Light


The early days of April in the year 1893 were heavy with storm and gloom. A leaden sky stretched over the earth, every day the rain beat down upon it, and the storm-winds swept over it with terrific force. Yet the brightness and the glory of those days far outshone the gloom. It was during those tempestuous days of early April that the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated.

During the dedicatory services, it was my privilege to transcribe the official notes of the various meetings. At the first service, which was known as the “official dedication,” I was sitting on the lower side of the east pulpit, at the recorder’s table. Brother John Nicholson, who had been busy at the outer gate, came in and sat down beside me. Just as President Joseph F. Smith began to address the Saints, there shone through his countenance a radiant light that gave me a peculiar feeling. I thought that the clouds must have lifted, and that a stream of sunlight had lighted on the President’s head.

I turned to Brother Nicholson and whispered: “What a singular effect of sunlight on the face of President Smith! Do look at it.”

He whispered back: “There is no sunlight outdoors—nothing but dark clouds and gloom.”

I looked out the window, and somewhat to my surprise, I saw that Brother Nicholson had spoken the truth. There was not the slightest rift in the heavy, black clouds above the city; there was not a gleam of sunshine anywhere.

Whence, then, came the light that shone from the face of President Smith? I was sure that I had seen the actual presence of the Holy Spirit, focused upon the features of the beloved leader and prophet, Joseph F. Smith. It was but an added testimony to me that he was the “Chosen of the Lord.” I cherish the occurrence as one of the most sacred experiences of my life.

Susa Young Gates was born March 18, 1856, in Salt Lake City, a daughter of Brigham Young and Lucy Bigelow. In 1880 she was married to Jacob Gates. The mother of 13 children, she was editor and founder of the Young Women’s Journal, and later served as editor of the Relief Society Magazine. The author of textbooks on genealogy, homemaking, and other subjects, she served on the Relief Society general board from 1911 to 1922. She died on May 26, 1933, in Salt Lake City.