Friend to Friend: The Light Divine


Susan W. Tanner
“Thou shalt live together in love” (D&C 42:45).

The Light Divine

I love Primary songs and hymns. When I was young, one of my favorites was “The Light Divine” (Hymns, no. 305) because it reminded me that God gave us this beautiful world. I also loved “I Think When I Read That Sweet Story” (Children’s Songbook, 56) because it made me think how wonderful it would be to be in Jesus’s arms.

I don’t remember ever not having a testimony. I have always known that I am a child of God. The knowledge of that truth changes how you feel about yourself and how you act.

I’m sure one reason I could feel Heavenly Father’s love was because there was so much love in my home. I grew up on a dairy farm and spent my childhood building tree houses and playing baseball in the fields with my cousins. They were like my brothers and sisters because we all lived on the same lane. We lived, worked, and played together.

My father was a peacemaker. He knew what was important and didn’t make a big deal out of things that didn’t matter very much. He was wise as he counseled my brothers and me to think about our decisions. He always said, “I love you, you’re a good person, and I know you’ll do what’s right.”

My earliest memories of my father are of watching him study. Every day he arose before dawn to get the sprinklers on the fields, and then he came inside to read the scriptures. I loved to sit in his study with him and look at picture books or draw. To this day I still love getting up very early to study my scriptures, as he did.

My mother was my constant companion. I learned to cook when I was eight and to sew when I was nine. I enjoyed it because she enjoyed it. We sang Primary songs while we worked together, and she always taught me that making a home brings happiness.

Mom also taught me to be mindful of others. On my first day of kindergarten, she took me to my class, pointed to the teacher, and said, “Look! You get to be in Mrs. Merrill’s class. Your brother Rick was in her class last year. She’s a very nice teacher.” This relieved some of my nervousness. Then Mom saw another little girl sobbing with her face buried in her arms. Mom whispered, “Go be her friend.” I did. When the girl stopped crying, I noticed that Mom had left. But I wasn’t nervous anymore.

Mom taught me to have faith. She always said, “Be careful what you pray for, because Heavenly Father will answer your prayers.”

I used to have a necklace with a mustard seed in the pendant that reminded me to have faith. When I went away to college I gave it to my mom and told her that she was my greatest example of faith.

You too can have great faith. You were born with the Light of Christ and can be a light to your family, even if they don’t have the same faith as you do. I know this because my mother was raised by parents who seldom went to church when she was young. She was the one who wanted to go to Primary. She was the one who wanted to be baptized. She was the oldest, and she took her younger brother and sister to church. Later her parents followed her example. No matter what your family is like, you can be a light to them and bring them happiness.

As you try to follow Heavenly Father, He will not forsake you. He will help you. Find times to privately worship Heavenly Father, even in your own room. Pray to Him. Learn the words of beautiful Primary songs, and keep them in your mind. These words will give you hope, comfort, and guidance.

Photograph of sunflowers © PhotoDisc

From left: At age 4 with her cousin Ted Winder. With her mother on her wedding day. With her father during high school.

Above: The Tanners with their five children, two sons-in-law, and three of their five grandchildren. Below: Sister Tanner with her parents today.