Home      Music      Art     God     Library     Network     Contact

Book of Mormon Feast

Musical Book of Mormon Tour Artistic Book of Mormon Tour God in the Book of Mormon Book of Mormon Library Weblinks - Book of Mormon Websites Home

Library Tour of 1 Nephi 8

1 And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.

2 And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 6 – Lehi Dreamed a Dream:  The Report or Lehi’s Dream in Its Biblical Context, by Dana M. Pike.

“My thesis is that understanding the scriptural and cultural context of Israelite dream reports and interpretations as preserved in the Bible provides a richer and more insightful understanding of Lehi’s dream (and his son Nephi’s corollary interpretive vision), both by way of general background as well as specific insights.  To demonstrate this, I provide introductory comments on the report of Lehi’s dream, a general introduction to dream reports and interpretations in ancient Near Eastern texts, and a review of the biblical accounts of dreams, followed by an analysis of the report of Lehi’s dream in its biblical context.”

3 And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved.

4 But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.

5 And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.

6 And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.

7 And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

8 And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.

9 And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 16 – Illuminating a Darkened World, by Seth J. King.

Lehi’s dream presents an unfolding, a step-by-step development of the whole, complex scene.  It can be read as a matter-of-fact description, but in this paper the author points out the cause-and-effect of it all.  Lehi acted so, and then he saw something new; he did this, and he saw that.  His view increased wider and wider.  The actions that he took in the dream demonstrate to us the path we should follow, or the things we should do to be more and more enlightened.

10 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

11 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. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 19 – “It Filled My Soul with Exceedingly Great Joy”: Lehi’s Vision of Teaching and Learning, by Charles Swift.

The author discusses Lehi’s dream in terms of the three stages of rites of passage, as formulated by Arnold Van Gennep.  His insights are beneficial not only to understanding the dream, and to teaching and learning the gospel, but to all educational pursuits.

Among many helpful insights is the following:

“The way Lehi interacts with the tree of life teaches us how to teach and learn – how to interact with truth.  We come to know the Savior as truth not by objectifying him but by entering a relationship with him.  Lehi does not objectify the tree of life but enters into a relationship with it – first by seeing it and admiring its fruit and then by partaking of the fruit.  It is easy to become so familiar with the vision of the tree of life and with what people would actually do in “real life” if they were to come upon a tree bearing fruit that looks delicious that we assume that what happened in the vision is the only thing that could have happened.  The point, though, is that this is a vision – it is not real life.  We may eat fruit because we are hungry or because the fruit looks good; there is usually no deeper meaning to the act.  In a vision full of symbolism, however, we need to ask ourselves if even the most common of acts is intended to teach us something more deeply.  Considering what could have happened illuminates the importance of what did happen.  Lehi does not make the tree the object of his analytical study.  He does not break off a leaf or a piece of fruit and dissect it.  He does not pull out a knife and scrape away at the bark to study it or analyze what is underneath it.  Nor does he cut the tree down in an attempt to construct something out of it.  It would have made an interesting, highly symbolic story if Lehi had crafted the tree into an altar on which he could offer sacrifices to God.  Or he could have incorporated the tree’s lumber into the boat he and his family would sail in during their journey to the promised land.  Perhaps the tree could have even remained intact as the mast.  In each of these scenarios, Lehi would have been objectifying the tree.  Instead, however, he becomes one with it – just as we are to become one with the Lord and not try to objectify him.”

The footnote accompanying this section, by Parker Palmer, is equally enlightening:

“From the outset of their encounter Pilate tries to objectify Jesus by forcing him into the category of ‘king.’  He is trying to make Jesus a comprehensible and dispensable entity in the political terms of the time.  But Jesus, the person, resists Pilate’s categories.  He asks, ‘Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?’ suggesting that Pilate’s opening question comes from impersonal caricature, not personal understanding.  He says that his ‘kingdom’ is not of this world, that it cannot be comprehended in objective, political terms.  He puts forward a personal claim related to his very birth about his reason for being.  But Pilate is incapable of knowing this personal truth because he holds the person at arm’s length, treating him as an object, a thing, a ‘what.’ By reducing truth to objective terms Pilate puts himself beyond truth’s reach.  Eventually, he assents to murdering a personal truth that calls for conversion in favor of an objectivism that leaves him in control.

“The story suggests that in Christian understanding truth is neither an object ‘out there’ nor a proposition about such objects.  Instead, truth is personal, and all truth is known in personal relationships.  Jesus is a paradigm, a model of this personal truth.  In him, truth, once understood as abstract, principled, propositional, suddenly takes on a human face and a human frame.  In Jesus, the disembodied ‘word’ takes flesh and walks among us.  Jesus calls us to truth, but not in the form of creeds or theologies or world-views.  His call to truth is a call to community – with him, with each other, with creation and its Creator.  If what we know is an abstract, impersonal, apart from us, it cannot be truth, for truth involves a vulnerable, faithful, and risk-filled interpenetration of the knower and the known.  Jesus calls Pilate out from behind his objectivism into a +living relationship of troth.  Pilate, taking refuge behind the impersonal objectivist ‘what,’ is unable to respond.”

13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.

14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.

15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.

18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.

19 And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.

20 And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 8 – The Strait and Narrow Path:  The Covenant Path of Discipleship Leading to the Tree of Life, by Aaron Schade.

“When we look at the path that leads to the tree of life in the visions of Lehi and Nephi, we find a path that is entered onto through the waters of baptism, a path accompanied by an iron rod representing the words of the ancient and living prophets, as well as the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  We find a covenantal path of discipleship that may only be endured by traversing the mists of darkness and avoiding straying from that path by clinging to the rod.  Having entered that path, the journey would be dangerous. . . . The dreams of the tree of life invite all to get on the path by making covenants, and, once they are on the path, to speak to individuals and encourage them to stay true to the covenants they have entered into.”

21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.

22 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.

23 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.

24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

25 And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.

26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.

27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 20 – Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision as Used by Church Leaders, by Mary Jane Woodger and Michelle Vanegas Brodrick.

The authors trace leaders’ comments on the dream/vision through three defined periods of Church history, with many brief excerpts from General Conference addresses.  The footnotes list all these addresses, which beckon for future study.

One of many comes from Elder Neil Maxwell:

“[A] few eager individuals . . . lecture the rest of us about Church doctrines in which they no longer belive.  They criticize the use of Church resources to which they no longer contribute.  They condescendingly seek to counsel the Brethren whom they no longer sustain.  Confrontive, except of themselves of course, they leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone.  Like the throng on the ramparts of the ‘great and spacious building,’ they are intensely and busily preoccupied, pointing fingers off scorn at the steadfast iron-rodders. . . . Considering their ceaseless preoccupation, one wonders, ‘Is there no diversionary activity available to them, especially in such a large building – like a bowling alley?’ Perhaps in their mocking and beneath the stir are repressed doubts of their doubts.”

28 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.

29 And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.

30 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.

The Holy Qur’an – Another Testament of Restored Truth

by Jonathan K. Crockett.

Quoted from the book:

“III:103  And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it.  Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: that ye may understand.

III:104  Let there rise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity.

This is interesting in that, while talking of the unity of the people, there is to be a group to rise up inviting to all that is good and seeking and enjoining that which is right.  Allah’s Signs are clear to those who understand.  Verse 103 is not unlike “holding fast to the iron rod” in the Book of Mormon, which represents the word of God.”

31 And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.

32 And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.

33 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; but we heeded them not.

34 These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.

35 And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father.

36 And it came to pass after my father had spoken all the words of his dream or vision, which were many, he said unto us, because of these things which he saw in a vision, he exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 7 – “The Presence of the Lord,” by Jennifer C. Lane.

“At the end of his narrative, Lehi gives us an interpretive tool to read the significance of our relationship to the tree.  After he recounts his vision, Lehi expresses fear that Laman and Lemuel “should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.  Lehi’s interpretation of his dream is framed by two central concepts or terms: being “cast off” and “the presence of the Lord.”  This interpretation suggests a bifurcation of existence into two conceptual categories – being in the presence of the Lord and being separated from the Lord.”

37 And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.

The Things Which My Father Saw:  Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision.  The 40th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry symposium

Chapter 11 – Prophetic Perspectives:  How Lehi and Nephi Applied the Lessons of Lehi’s Dream, by Grant Hardy.  

The author discusses how the respective relationship of Lehi and Nephi with Laman and Lemuel may have colored their presentation to these rebellious men.  “It seems that prophets bring their own personalities, questions, and preoccupations to any encounter with the divine.  It appears from Lehi’s and Nephi’s visionary experiences that revelation is not simply a matter of opening one’s mind to be passively filled; they look here and there, they ask questions, they perceive some elements of the dream/vision, while others may escape their notice.”

38 And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.

1 Nephi 7 1 Nephi 9