Dear 100 Hour Board,
I"m reading the study about the "Mormon glow" where people I guess were able to identify Mormons based on just looking at photos. Do you think that the "Mormon glow" is real?
I believe that every person has some of the light of Christ within them, and that some people allow that light to shine brighter than others. I do think there's a discernible difference, or "glow" to people who have cultivated the light in their lives. However, while there are lots of Mormons who have developed this glow, I don't think it's exclusive to Mormons. Rather, any good person who invites Christ into their lives (whether they do so consciously or not) has this light shining from them. Note that this "glow" isn't necessarily visible in the traditional sense of the word; it can also be communicated through the way a person carries herself/the atmosphere of goodness she cultivates wherever she goes.
Keep in mind that these are all just my personal musings, unsupported by data.
Dear Maybe IDK,
Thank you so much for sending in this question! I enjoyed reading about this study and had no idea people were conducting studies on the "Mormon glow." Fascinating study. Before looking it up, I was a little skeptical and thought maybe this involved playing "spot the clean-shaven guy without tattoos or piercings" but apparently they took this into consideration and only put in pictures of 18-30 year olds without piercings, tattoos, or even glasses. That is actually pretty cool.
The article I read went onto say that they found skin texture is the strongest identifier and that it might have to do with diet, which makes sense to me. Maybe when an entire religion follows a diet that involves abstaining from alcohol/strong drinks, drugs, and cigarettes, you can notice a difference from those who might indulge in one or more of those things. Hence the skin glow.
But I also feel like there could be a spiritual component to the glow, too, because sometimes there is a certain feeling you get around a spiritual person. Not even sure how to describe it, but maybe that's also part of the reason the results were so high. When someone is happy and both gives/receives joy in a cause greater than themselves, I feel like that contentedness shows and spreads to others.
I'd like to see if they could do a study with participants from multiple religious backgrounds and see if someone could pinpoint which religion they adhere to or just generally if they are identify as a very spiritual person. Because while we Mormons believe we have the light of the full restored Gospel, others have fragments of light. It would be interesting to see if spirituality can be identified in general and, if so, why.