You can read 1 Nephi 8:1-15 here.
Context and General Information
- While in the wilderness, Lehi has a dream.
- Based on this dream, Lehi rejoiced because of Nephi and Sam, but he also feared for the fate of Laman and Lemuel.
- Lehi saw a man dressed in a white robe – who asked Lehi to follow Him.
- Lehi followed and found himself in a dark and dreary waste. After wandering for a while, Lehi prayed.
- Lehi then saw a large and spacious field. Then, he looked on and beheld a tree with desirable fruit.
- Lehi went forth and partook of the fruit of the tree. It filled his soul with joy, and he was then desirous that his loved ones would also partake.
- Lehi looked around and saw Sariah, Nephi, and Sam. He beckoned unto them, and they came and partook of the fruit also.
- Lehi also wanted Laman and Lemuel to partake of the fruit. H looked and saw them by the head of a river. He beckoned to them, too, but they would not come and partake of the fruit.
- Lehi saw a rod of iron and a strait and narrow path that led to the tree.
- Lehi saw numberless concourses of people that were trying to obtain the path.
- A mist of darkness arose. Those who had started on the path but didn’t hold to the rod were lost in the mists.
- A group of people caught a hold of the iron rod and clung to it. They did go forth even until they partook of the tree. However, after partaking, they looked around and they were ashamed.
- Lehi looked around to see why they might be ashamed, and he saw a great and spacious building high in the air above the earth.
- The building was filled with people – who were all mocking those who were partaking of the fruit. These people were well dressed and worldly.
- Those people who had partaken of the fruit were ashamed because of the scoffing. They felt so much shame that they rejected the fruit that they had just eaten, left the tree of life, then fell into forbidden paths and were lost.
- Lehi saw that some people were completely uninterested in the tree of life but were feeling their way towards the great and spacious building. Many of the people who were trying to get to the great and spacious building fell into the depths of the river, others were just lost and wandering on strange roads. Others entered int the building and then pointed the finger of scorn at Lehi and those partaking of the fruit.
- Anyone who heeded those in the great and spacious building fell away.
- Some people pressed forward, holding fast to the iron rod, until they came to the tree – they fell down and partook of the fruit. When they heard the jeering of the people in the great and spacious building, they didn’t listen.
- Laman and Lemuel did not choose to partake of the fruit.
Lehi’s Dream – a Recap
I know that we have been studying Lehi’s dream for a few days, and I like to get into the weeds. However, it is always good – after having been in the weeds for a while – to get up and look at the big picture.
What is this dream all about? Why would Heavenly Father show Lehi this dream right now while in the wilderness? Heavenly Father isn’t arbitrary, and His timing is always perfect and purposeful.
I suppose that there could be many answers to this question, and if you have some insights, comment below because I’d love to hear what you think.
But my mind is going to Lehi’s situation. He is in the wilderness. He is embarking on a journey that (unbeknownst to him) will last 8 years. He will endure trials like severe hunger and he will endure the mocking of his own loved ones. He will work, and work, and work, and then when his family arrives at the land Bountiful, He will not be done but will have to board a boat (made by his son who is not a boatmaker, and then sail to the other side of the world.
When we read about the people who partook of the tree of life, it says:
But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.” – 1 Nephi 8:30, emphasis added
They came forth and fell down. The path was difficult to the tree of life, the path would be difficult to the promised land.
I think that this dream probably served as a comfort during those hard times. Even though the path would be difficult and riddled with obstacles, there would always be an iron rod, and it would surely lead to the goal – the tree of life – the promised land.
Conversely, if his family ever tried to veer and let go of the iron rod, they might travel down roads, but none would lead to the goal of the tree of life.
I think that this dream probably helped him to have scope and trust in the Lord.
I’ll share a personal example.
Several years ago, my husband and I started our own business. We have lofty goals, and we knew that it would not come easily.
After about a year and a half into the experience, I got this crazy idea. I needed to walk up a mountain near my house. It sounds crazy, I know, and it was, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
There was a road near my house that was closed from November-June (no snow removal – small, steep mountain road). It was early June, and finally this road was open. My family and I drove up it into Park City. After driving up it, I knew I needed to walk it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just had to do it. So, one Saturday morning, I woke up early for a walk.
I packed a light pack with water, and started walking. I figured that I didn’t need to walk the whole way, I would just go for as long as I wanted. I knew that it would be steep. The walk would be 14 miles and gain about 4,000 feet of elevation.
I walked and I walked.
As I walked up the mountain road, I was greeted with cute wildflowers, bluebirds, and hawks. Every once in a while I’d see a cyclist. No one else was walking up this mountain with me. Which was perfect, actually.
It was really hard. It was so steep at times. Then, I’d be gifted with a view like this:
After walking for about 2.5 hours, I came to the conclusion that I had nothing else to do that day, so I texted home and said, “I’m walking to Park City. I’ll call you when I need a ride home.” Might as well spend the day walking!
Even though I had packed a small backpack, I didn’t pack it with food. But I had already committed to walking, that I didn’t have any choice but to keep walking. So, up the mountain I went. Up, up, up. My thighs and lungs were burning. So, periodically, I stopped, caught my breath, took a sip of water, and looked at the views.
Soon, I was getting into an elevation that was high enough for some snow. The aspen didn’t have leaves anymore. I was in the sun, and I was walking up hill, but there was a chill in the air. Up. Up. Up. It was still hard, and getting harder. The air was thinner. I was tired and hungry, but I still had a ways to go.
Finally, I made it to the end of Pine Canyon Road. I still wasn’t to the top of the mountain, but I was getting much closer. I had walked about 8 miles now. I had climbed probably 3,000 feet. It had been hard. But I still had more elevation and about 6 more miles. Yet the checkpoint of the street signs to Park City/Brighton/Midway was a welcome sight. I caught my breath, then kept on going.
It was about two more miles until I was at the top of Empire Pass. I don’t think that I have a picture of this, but the views were literally 360 degree views. I was so tired, but felt a surge of energy to be at this mountain top. I sat down for a while, smiling. I wasn’t smiling before that. I was tired! But now, I knew the hardest was behind me. It was amazing to stand on the top of a mountain that I just climbed.
Honestly, this part of the mountains – Bonanza Flats, Empire Pass – felt a little bit holy to me. In fact, there is a “church” there…
The thing is – I had just driven up to this point a few days before, and it was nice. But the rush I felt after spending four hours walking was unparalleled. You would have to do it yourself to understand.
After a little rest, I kept walking – for another two hours – until I got to a point in Park City where my family could pick me up. It was quite the walk.
And how does this relate? It has been a help to me ever since that day. My husband and I are still working on our business. I understood while I was hiking and ever since that this difficult experience served as a good metaphor. The Lord was taking me to the top of the mountain, but there would be a mountain to climb!
It would not be easy, but it would be amazing.
I learned that gratitude and wishing that you could be done with the hike are not mutually exclusive. I was grateful for the flowers, the views, the green leaves and the blue sky. But my thighs were also burning! I looked forward to getting to the peak, but could continue to endure one step at a time until I got there.
This has been a touchstone experience for me – that has brought me hope, tenacity, and perspective while I have also been on my own personal journey in life.
So – maybe that is one reason that Lehi had his dream. He had a long road ahead of him. The Lord intended for him to succeed, but the Lord knew it would be hard. He would give Lehi the capability to accomplish this journey – not only physically with things like food and the Liahona (we’ll read about that soon). But the Lord also blessed Lehi mentally – with perspective to boost his morale when things were tough.
I love the story of Lehi’s dream. I know that there are a million more things we can learn from it. I hope that it has been helpful for you, too.
Here are the other “Lehi’s Dream” posts:
- When Life Gets Dark And Dreary
- Desirable Fruit
- What Would You Do?
- They Wandered Off and Were Lost
- Shame and Fear
- The Great and Spacious Building
- The Faithful Group