In Lehi’s dream, he first described his own journey to the tree of life, which was a result of his own personal prayers. After he ate the fruit, and found it to be “desirable above all other fruit” (1 Nephi 8:12), he instinctively looked for his family, wanting to share it with them. He saw them some distance off, confused about which direction they should go. When he called to them, some of them came, but two of his sons refused to join him (1 Nephi 8:14-18).
He then saw numerous people following a path to the tree. The path was marked by a rod of iron, a handrail. By holding onto the rod while they walked, they were able to navigate through a “mist of darkness” to the tree and enjoy the fruit (1 Nephi 8:19-24).
Then, he saw something that surprised him. Some of the people who had eaten the fruit, and who knew how good it was, became ashamed and abandoned the tree. Why would they do such a thing, he wondered. It was only then that he noticed the enormous building floating in the air (no foundation) on the other side of the river. The people in that building, who seemed to be very important, were pointing at the people beside the tree, mocking and belittling them. For some of those people, it was too much. They would rather avoid being mocked, even at the cost of giving up the delicious fruit (1 Nephi 8:25-28).
Lehi’s family did not abandon the tree. As he explained to his family, “We heeded them not…. For as many as heeded them, had fallen away” (1 Nephi 8:33-34). He was focused on the things of greatest importance and would not allow himself to be distracted.
After participating in general conference this weekend, I have a renewed desire to avoid distractions and to focus my time and energy on the things that matter most. How can I do that, when life is so busy and information is so pervasive?
After describing the people who followed the path to the tree, “holding fast” to the rod of iron, Brother Stephen W. Owen explained the significance of this imagery in our lives:
This means that we must deliberately take time each day to disconnect from the world and connect with heaven (General Conference, October 2019).
Today, I will take the time to connect with heaven, in order to ensure that I remain focused on the things that matter most. I will set aside my electronic devices, review my notes from general conference, pray, and make personal commitments about how to spend my time. I will remain focused on my core priorities and will not allow my attention to be diverted from the things that will bring enduring joy to me and my family.