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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book of Mormon Stories: The Iron Rod

Lehi, the first prophet in the Book of Mormon, was warned by the Lord that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed and was told to leave into the wilderness. While in the wilderness, Lehi had a peculiar dream.

In his dream, Lehi found himself in a dark and dreary wilderness and saw a man in a white robe standing in front of him. The man told Lehi to follow him but Lehi was soon lost and he traveled for many hours. No doubt being tired and afraid of not knowing where to go, Lehi prayed. No sooner had he prayed, when we saw that he was in a large and spacious field and he saw a tree whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. He saw that the tree and its fruit were white and the taste of the fruit was sweet and gave him great joy.

The joy and sweetness of the fruit gave him the desire to share with those he loved most: his family. As he looked around, he saw that a river ran by the tree. He soon saw his wife and youngest two sons, Nephi and Sam, far off, and that they too seemed to be lost. Lehi called to them and they came and also ate the fruit. Wanting his older two sons, Laman and Lemuel, to be there too, he looked farther up the river. When he saw them, he called out to them, but they would not come.

Alongside the river, an iron rod stretched from the tree off into the distance by where the river began. That large field now seemed to be as large as a world, and it was filled with countless people that were trying to get to the tree. A mist then covered the whole area so that the people could not see. Many wandered off and were lost but others held the iron rod in their hands and followed it to the tree. Some of those who made it to the tree, ate the fruit but then looked around and were ashamed. Lehi looked for the cause of this shame and saw a large building that looked like it was floating in the air. The people in that building were all dressed very nicely and were pointing fingers and mocking those by the tree.Lehi watched and saw people get lost in the mist and others drown in the river; many followed the iron rod to the tree and the rest found their way to the large building to join the others in mocking and putting down those by the tree.

The meaning of this dream may not be immediately clear to everyone. It wasn't to Lehi's son, Nephi, but Nephi had enough faith that God would answer his prayers, so he took his questions to the Lord in prayer. In response to that prayer, Nephi also had a vision, where he saw the meaning of the dream and of Jesus Christ's mission on earth and His love and gospel. He learned that the tree represents the love of God for us. That iron rod that led to the tree was the word of God, given through His prophets and that if we held onto those words, we would find the love of God and receive joy because of it. The people in the dream are each one of us, trying to find our way through the mists of temptations. Many people fail to grasp the words of the Lord and get lost or drown in the filthy waters that represented that "awful hell that separates the wicked from the tree of life." The large building that held those that opposed God represented the wisdom and pride of the world. Nephi saw its destruction and "the fall thereof was exceedingly great."
Lehi's dream can be found in 1 Nephi 8 and Nephi's vision in 1 Nephi 11. Nephi sees much more than this and I invite everyone to read about it in chapters 12 - 14. In 1 Nephi 15, Nephi explains the meaning of the dream to his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel.

1 comment:

Anthony E. Larson said...

Thoughtful. You may wish to consider my views on Lehi's dream as well.