You can read 1 Nephi 8:10-12 here.
Context and General Information
- Lehi is having his Vision
- Lehi sees a tree with fruit that is desirable to make one happy.
- Lehi partook of the fruit. It was sweet above all that he had before tasted and white above all whiteness he had ever seen.
- When Lehi partook of the fruit, it filled his soul with joy.
- Lehi was desirous that his family should also partake of the fruit.
If you remember from yesterday’s reading, Lehi had been in a dark and dreary waste. He saw a man who bid Lehi to come and follow Him. Lehi did.
After following Him, Lehi found himself in the dark and dreary waste again. This time, he prayed, and then saw a spacious field and a tree.
Even from afar off, he saw that the tree had desirable fruit.
What made the fruit so desirable? Why did he want it so bad?
Seeing a Tree of Life After Traveling in a Dark and Dreary Waste
Well – first of all, I suppose that seeing this tree with white fruit was a stark contrast from the dark and dreary world that he had been in prior to seeing the tree. He described it as a “dark and dreary waste.” After being in such a dark and dreary waste, the glowing tree would seem quite desirable.
Desirable to Make One Happy
Again, I think that it is helpful to think of the Fruit in contrast to the “dark and dreary waste.”
Even though I can understand what “dreary” means, I thought that I’d look it up in the dictionary:
“Dull, bleak, and lifeless; depressing.”
Imagine the joy to see a tree – wait, not just any tree – the Tree of Life after being lost in a dark and dreary world … a dark, dull, bleak, lifeless, and depressing world. Imagine that joy.
The idea that is coming to me is that it would be like “seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”
Lehi wandered in darkness, lifelessness. It was discouraging and depressing. I’m willing to guess that maybe Lehi even felt hopeless. In fact, we know that after a while, he finally prayed to God for help.
And after that prayer, things opened up for him. He saw a large field. And then, a tree – full of life. The antithesis of that dark and dreary waste in which he had spent hours wandering.
“And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted.” – 1 Nephi 8:11
I’ve got a sweet tooth, so I don’t need any more convincing on why this fruit was great.
Again, we read:
“Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.” – 1 Nephi 8:11
Not only was the fruit sweet, but Lehi describes it as “white” – to exceed all of the whiteness he had ever seen.
I think that this is symbolic of Lehi’s understanding that it is not just any old fruit. This fruit is special. It is heavenly. The fruit of this tree is not like an apple, pear, or even a mango. It has a quality – perhaps it’s even shining out because it is so white.
And we have to remember that this was a dream. Everything Lehi is experiencing is within his dream. Which means that everything is symbolic of something else.
I suppose if I was having a dream, and there was a tree with white, glowing fruit – in stark contrast to the dark and dreary world where I had just been – I think that I would recognize this tree as celestial.
So – that’s my best guess on the “whiteness” of this tree.
“It Filled My Soul with Exceedingly Great Joy”
Lehi’s determination to partake of this fruit is good. His instincts – that this fruit was desirable to make one happy – were right. He proceeds to the tree, partakes, and then we read:
“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy;” – 1 Nephi 8:12
Even though so much has changed in the last 2600 years, there are some things that are still the exact same. We want to be happy. Isn’t that so much of what motivates us, for better or for worse?
What I mean is, often we make decisions – even if they are bad decisions – because on some level we think that the decision will result in happiness.
Lehi was in a dark and dreary waste. He was feeling depressed and discouraged. Then, he saw a tree with bright fruit. A beacon of hope in a dark world. This fruit, he came to find, brought him exceedingly great joy.
There are times when the world we live in may seem like a “dark and dreary waste.” It can be easy to keep wandering around aimlessly, depressed in the gloom.
But we don’t have to be. There is hope. We can follow Lehi’s example. We can pray. Then, when we do, we can look around and notice the joy that the Savior is offering to us. We can take time to notice the tree of life, and then change the bearings and courses of our lives so that we will be able to partake of it.
Of course, in discussing this metaphor, obtaining the fruit of the tree might be a “life-time quest.” But I think that if we will open our hearts and eyes to it, we have more of it in our lives right now than we realize.
Even now, on a daily basis, how do we invite love, warmth, joy, and light into our lives? We call upon the Lord. We recognize Him. We look forward with hope. Instead of focusing on the dark and dreary waste, we can look to the tree of life with hope in our hearts – knowing that soon we’ll be able to partake of it and experience “exceedingly great joy.”