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1 Nephi 8 

Okay, before I begin a confession: I always skip this chapter. From here to 2 Nephi. No particular reason, oh! and I can not for the life of me find my Book of Mormon class transcripts. So, if from here to 2 Nephi seems sparse, feel free to help me out!

Here we go -

The Vision

Lehi has a vision (on the side, Elder Bucshe's book, Yearning for the Living God, is fabulous! He was having dreams, too.) Now, the neat thing about this vision is, other people have it and record it all the time. Come to Winter Quarters Temple, you can stay out my house and see the stain glass tree of life there! It's awesome!

Anyway, the vision. Biblically the dreams were God's way of communicating with people. This of Joseph and Pharaoh's dreams. Or God to Daniel or Abraham. So we (and Lehi) recognize this pattern. So, let's look at the dream.

A man appears dressed in a white robe. White is all the colors, so it's whole or complete. We wear white when we are baptized and in the Temple. It is pure color. (Not a pure color but pure color. How cool is that?)
The man says, "Come with me." Hmmm, okay.
They go to a dark and dreary waste. NOW, this is cool because Lehi starts to pray. And behold he is in a field with a tree. ** A historical note that Lehi will have known (that I know from the Encylopedia Judaica Jr.) "Just as Adam is placed in the Garden, in the midst of which stands the Tree of Life, so is man placed in the world in order to observe the commandments (of the Torah). ** So, Lehi is familiar with this story/symbolism. Notice, he does not ask what the meaning of this vision is, just that he is troubled for members of his family.

I'm skipping to the rod, I have lots of colored pictures here but few notes. The rod (think Moses) might represent authority. Think of the things we need for eternal life. What are the principles of the gospel? Faith (okay), Repentance (need priesthood sometimes), baptism and laying on of hands (definitely need the priesthood). Temple ordinances, again, the priesthood authority is needed.

Later on we go through all the symbolic stuff, so I'm not going to do it here.

The People (Holding on to the Rod)

So, we have all kinds of people here. Cool.

Some: Pressed forward and got on the path. (great!) then the mists rose up and they wandered off. (not great.) Now, I have "apostasy" written next to this. I'm thinking not just "the great" apostasy, but personal things, too. Tithing. Sickness comes to your family. Lose a little faith here and a little there. You wander about. Scary stuff.

Others: They cling to the rod. Picture yourself clinging. Okay, so then you finally let go when you get to the fruit. You eat but hear people mocking you. Agh! Your support (the rod) is gone! What do you do? You fell away. (and this is my thought, okay?) You clung so hard, for so long that you didn't have your own testimony.

Other multitudes: (I'm thankful this says "multitudes," many of us will make it home!) They did "press" forward. When I read this I see one hand on the rod and the other pushing aside the fog and darkness, striving forward, helping those around us. This is hard work. And we fall down (and give thanks?) and partake of the fruit.

BUT, great was the multitude that didn't even try. They just went to that building to mock the saints of God. Those that listened fell away. This teaches me that we can not listen, we can not care!

Leave you with this thought on mockery:

"...for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce." -John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom)

Anyway, as we are traveling towards that tree we must answer these questions for ourselves:
"Why? Why are we going? Why are we doing this?" and then, we need to remember our answers as things get hard.

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