Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Imagery of Lehi's Dream

Lehi, one of the first prophets that we encounter in the Book of Mormon, had a vision of the tree of life. There were many meaningful elements to his dream which are applicable to us today. In this first part of a series on this subject, I would like to introduce some of the imagery of his dream.


At the beginning of his dream, Lehi found himself in a dark and dreary wilderness. You can imagine his despair after traveling for many hours in this oppressive place.


He turned to the Lord in prayer, and was shown a large and spacious field, and in the midst of it was a tree. The fruit of this tree was exceedingly white, and by eating it, one could find great happiness. Lehi went forward and ate some of the fruit of the tree.

It is interesting to note at this point that a stone has been found in south/central America that depicts many aspects of Lehi's dream, including the tree of life. In the photo below, and drawing, you can see clearlya depiction of the tree of life, and under it, a river of flowing water.


Of course, Lehi's first thoughts after eating the fruit were of his family. He wanted them to come and experience the joy for themselves. As he looked around for his family, he saw a river of filthy water. At the head of the river was a fountain from which the water came.

Lehi could see his wife, and some of his children near the head of the river, standing as if they didn't know where to go. He beckoned for them to come to him and eat of the fruit. They came and also ate the fruit. He saw his other sons and called to them as well, but they would not come.


As Lehi looked again, he could see that next to the river was a rod of iron, and a narrow path. Many people were pressing forward, holding on to the rod to try to get to the tree. Many of them were able to also come and eat the fruit. But there came a mist of darkness that made it difficult to see the way to go. Those who held on to the iron rod were able to find their way through the mist, but those who did not hold on to the rod were lost. There were still others who held on to the rod of iron and were able to eat of the fruit, but who, after eating, looked as if they were ashamed.

Lehi looked around and saw that there was a great and spacious building.


Inside the building were people pointing, mocking and laughing at those who were partaking of the fruit. Some of those eating the fruit were ashamed and let go of the rod. They wandered off and were lost. Some fell in to the water, and others lost their way in the mists of darkness. There were many people pressing forward toward the tree of life, but there were also many who were making their way toward the great and spacious building.

After witnessing this dream, Lehi was concerned for the welfare of the sons who had not had the desire to eat of the fruit. He preached to them and counseled them to keep the commandments of the Lord. His son Nephi, wanting to understand the dream that his father had, sought the Lord in prayer and received an interpretation of the meaning of the dream. I will discuss that interpretation in part 2!

If you would like to read the account of Lehi's dream for youself, you may do so by clicking here.


Rachael said...

Do you know who painted the third picture of Lehi's dream that you've posted? We used to have this painting when I was a child and I've been looking for it. Thanks!

Delirious said...

Rachael, I just did a google search of "lehi's dream", and found these images. I bet if you did the same, you could find a link that shows the painter's name. I have been remiss in not linking up to the original source when posting pictures. :S

Anonymous said...

The third picture was painted by
Steven Lloyd Neal.

Anonymous said...

It's on this page