Not long after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, he related to them a spiritual dream he had experienced. The central focus of the dream was “a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy” (1 Nephi 8:10). This tree represents the love of God (1 Nephi 11:21-22), and every character in the dream is defined by his or her actions with respect to the tree.
- Lehi finds the tree by following an angel. This heavenly messenger indicates to him which way to go but then apparently leaves him alone to travel for many hours in a “dark and dreary waste.” Only when Lehi becomes desperate and pleads with God to have mercy on him does he see the tree and partake of the fruit, which fills his soul with joy. I will keep moving forward, even when I feel alone and abandoned. I will reach out to God for help, knowing that He is a merciful Being who loves me (1 Nephi 8:5-12).
- Lehi’s wife, Sariah, and two of his sons—Nephi and Sam—find the tree because Lehi invites them to join him. However two of his other sons—Laman and Lemuel—refuse to come. I will accept and act upon invitations from people who love me, which will lead me closer to God (1 Nephi 8:13-18).
- Many people find the tree by holding an iron rod, a handrail running along a path toward the tree. This iron rod represents the word of God, and it is essential because these people are surrounded by a “mist of darkness,” representing the temptations of the devil, and they cannot see the path. By holding the rod while they walk, these people arrive safely at the tree and enjoy the fruit. I will continually study and follow God’s word in order to avoid being confused or distracted by the temptations of the devil (1 Nephi 8:19-24).
- To Lehi’s surprise, some people who had already eaten the fruit abandoned the tree. They were ashamed because they saw a group of well-dressed people in a “great and spacious building” mocking them. Their desire to avoid ridicule shattered their ability to enjoy the fruit of the tree. Lehi said that he and his family paid no attention to the mockers, “for as many as heeded them, had fallen away.” I will focus on doing what is right and will not fixate on those who belittle me (1 Nephi 8:25-34).
Today, I will remember that the greatest joy in life comes from experiencing God’s love. I will take the actions that will enable me, and those I love, to feel that joy on an ongoing basis.