Elements of Lehi’s Vision Tree (1 Nephi 11:9-22) Fruit (1 Nephi 15:36) Path (2 Nephi 31:18) Rod of Iron (1 Nephi 11:25; 15:23-24) Large and spacious field (Matt. 13:38) Mists of Darkness (1 Nephi 12:17) River of Water (1 Nephi 12:16) Great and Spacious Building (1 Nephi 11:35-36)
Four Groups of People in Lehi’s Vision (1 Nephi 8) vv.21-23 vv.24-5, 28, 34 vv.26-27, 31-33 v.30, end of 33
Excerpts from Elder Boyd K. Packer’s 1/16/07 BYU Devotional Address (next 5 slides) Lehi’s Dream and You
You are in it In the eighth chapter of 1 Nephi, read about Lehi’s dream. He told his family, “Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision” (1 Nephi 8:2). You may think that Lehi’s dream or vision has no special meaning for you, but it does. You are in it; all of us are in it
The Mist & The Iron Rod “The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But you can feel your way. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life” (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8).
Holding fast… “Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word….However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 82).
In the building? I think now and then of one of our classmates—very bright, good looking, faithful in the Church, and drenched with talent and ability. He married well and rose quickly to prominence. He began to compromise to please the world and please those around him. They flattered him into following after their ways, which were the ways of the world. Sometimes it is so simple a thing as how you groom yourself or what you wear, such as a young woman teasing her hair endlessly to give the impression that it has not been combed or a young man dressing in slouchy clothes, wanting to be in style. Somewhere in little things, my classmate’s grasp on the iron rod loosened a bit. His wife held on to the rod with one hand and on to him with the other. Finally, he slipped away from her and let go of the rod. Just as Lehi’s dream or vision predicted, he fell away into forbidden paths and was lost. Largely because of television, instead of looking over into that spacious building, we are, in effect, living inside of it. That is your fate in this generation. You are living in that great and spacious building.
“after” One word in this dream or vision should have special meaning to you young Latter-day Saints. The word is after. It was after the people had found the tree that they became ashamed, and because of the mockery of the world they fell away. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. . . . And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; [that was the test, and then Lehi said] but we heeded them not. [And that was the answer.] [1 Nephi 8:28, 33; emphasis added] At your baptism and confirmation, you took hold of the iron rod. But you are never safe. It is after you have partaken of that fruit that your test will come.
Safety You will be safe if you look like and groom like and act like an ordinary Latter-day Saint: dress modestly, attend your meetings, pay tithes, take the sacrament, honor the priesthood, honor your parents, follow your leaders, read the scriptures, study the Book of Mormon, and pray, always pray. An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod. Will this solve all your problems? Of course not! That would be contrary to the purpose of your coming into mortality. It will, however, give you a solid foundation on which to build your life. (See Helaman 5:12.)
They’re Not Really Happy When our children were younger and we would be on our way to Sunday church meetings, occasionally we would pass a car pulling a boat. My children would become silent and press their noses against the windows and ask, “Dad, why can’t we go waterskiing today instead of to church?” Sometimes I would take the easy but cowardly way out and answer, “It’s simple; we don’t have a boat.” However, on my more conscientious days, I would muster up all the logic and spirituality available to a patriarch of a family and try to explain how much happier our family was because of our Church activity. I first realized I wasn’t getting through when on a subsequent Sunday we saw a family laughing and excited as they loaded their snow skis onto their car. One of my teenage sons said with a sly grin, “They’re not really happy, huh, Dad?” That statement has become a family joke whenever we see someone doing something we cannot do. When I see a teenager driving a beautiful, expensive sports car, I say to my sons, “Now there’s one miserable guy.” You young men are growing up in a most challenging and confusing world. Activities always forbidden by the Lord and for many years frowned upon by society are now accepted and promoted by that same society. The media serves up these activities in such a fashion as to make them look very desirable. Add to acceptability and desirability the power of peer pressure, and you have an extremely explosive situation. Lehi’s vision of the tree of life is appropriate for our day. In that vision, he saw a great and spacious building, which represents the pride and temptations of the world: Even though you have a testimony and want to do what is right, it is difficult not to be drawn to the great and spacious building. From all appearances, the people in the building seem to be having a great time. The music and laughter are deafening. You would say to me what my children have said, “They’re not really happy, huh, Dad?” as you watch them party. They look happy and free, but don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites. Don’t envy a lesser and lower life. When I was in junior high school, I would get out of bed on cold winter mornings and head for the heat vent to get warm. The family cat would always beat me there, so I would gently shoo her away and sit down. Soon my mother would tell me it was time to leave for school. I would look out at the icicles on the house and dread going out into the cold, let alone begin another day of school. As I kissed my mother good-bye and went out the door, I would look longingly at my comfortable spot in front of the heat vent and find that the cat had repossessed it. How I envied that cat! If that weren’t enough, she would look up at me with heavy eyelids and an expression as if to laugh at me and say “Have fun in school, Glenn. I’m sure glad I’m not a human!” I hated it when she did that! However, an interesting thing would happen as the day went on. I would come home after experiencing the joys and sorrows of the school day and see that lazy cat still curled up in front of the vent, and I would smile and say to her, “I’m sure glad I’m not a cat.” To those of you who are inching your way closer and closer to that great and spacious building, let me make it completely clear that the people in that building have absolutely nothing to offer except instant, short-term gratification inescapably connected to long-term sorrow and suffering. The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter. (Glenn L. Pace, “‘They’re Not Really Happy’,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 39)