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Book of Mormon Study Guide

Lesson Three: The Vision of The Tree of Life

Purpose : To help class members understand the symbols in the
vision of the tree of life and the application of these symbols in
their lives

What The Mists Hide

God’s Love

One of the symbols in Lehi’s dream is the ‘mist of darkness’ (v23). This mist has a very distinct
purpose, to make those who are following the path lose their way. The mists accomplish this by
hiding from the eyes of the faithful three important things. Complete the following and ponder
on what Satan is trying to keep you blinded to.

The most important thing that the mists of darkness attempt to obscure from our
view is the tree of life, or God’s love. Why is this Satan’s ‘go-to” tactic. Why is
making us forget about our Father’s love so effective in getting us to wander
from the path?

Why is God’s love so important? Because unless we accept God’s love for us, we cannot love
Him. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us”. Thus, the first step we must
take if we are to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and soul is to live loved. We
focus so much on the commandments to be patient, be kind, be forgiving.” But perhaps we
have skipped a step. Expecting ourselves to love others without first receiving God’s love is
like expected ourselves to pay our bills without first cashing our paycheck. The secret to
loving is living loved. Remember Paul’s prayer? “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is
the breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth
knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God.” To use Paul’s analogy, as the
tree draws nutrients from the soil, so we draw nourishment from the Father.
But, what if the tree has no contact with the soil. This is the second thing that the mists try to
hide from those who would follow the path: the word of God.

 

The Word of God

The second thing that the mists attempt to hide is the word of God in all its forms.
Make a list of the different ways you can receive the word of God and how Satan tries
to block your access to these things.

Things the words of God Can Do For Us:
• 

• 

Give personal revelation
•  Allow you to feel the Holy Ghost
•  Teach doctrine
•  Allow you to know the character and
•  Provide instruction
attributes of God
•  Answer questions
•  Remind you of covenants that you
•  Teach and testify of Christ
have made
Call you to repentance/ point out what •  Provide power against temptation
you can do better
Without the word of God Lehi knew that his descendants would perish in
unbelief. And so, he sent his sons 250 miles through the desert to retrieve the
brass plates.. When you go without the word of God, when you skip your daily
scripture study, toss the Ensign aside, fail to attend Stake Conference, what
effect does this have on you? Do you begin to dwindle in unbelief? How can
you find more time to interact with the Word of God in today’s busy world?

“We all can have the dream of someday having the word of God be so much a
part of us that we can learn to think as He does, and act as He does. And in the
process, we will come unto Him”. Henry B. Eyring

The filthy river represents hell and the depths thereof (12:16; 15:26-36). In other words, the
filthy water represents the consequences of our bad decisions. Why would Satan want to
hide the consequences of our actions from us?

We must now think, “which feature of the dream was there first”? It is likely that the iron
rod was there first by decree from the Lord. Then the adversary put the river as close to
the people of God as he could possibly get it (or as close as you were permitted by God to
put it). Hence, Lehi’s dream describes a situation in which an individual is moving along the
strait and narrow path, holding fast to the iron rod, moving toward the tree of life, all the
while running the risk that the river of filthiness may lap at his or her feet. Given Lehi’s
teachings about opposition in all things and the parable of the wheat and the tares in
which the Lord allows good and evil to grow up together, this juxtaposition of good and
evil in accordance with gospel teachings found throughout the scriptures.
When has being obedient brought you dangerously close to the river of filthiness? How can
we keep our feet solidly planted on the path with the river so close by?
 
 

Consequences Of our Actions

Notice where the river was located. It was close to the ___________________ and it
extended alongside iron rod.   The close physical relationship between the iron rod and the
river of filthy water is intriguing. If you’ve been near rivers with small children, the bank is
not generally a safe place, particularly when a river is dangerous (or filthy). People walking
along the banks of a river may get mud on their shoes. And yet, the people in Lehi’s dream
were pressing forward, holding fast to the rod of iron, moving along the bank of this filthy
river. Aren’t we taught to stay as far away from evil as possible? Absolutely. But here we
have a situation in which a person who follows the commandments of God and lays hold on
the rod of iron finds himself near the river of filthiness while in the very act of obedience.

Thought Questions
You will notice that the vision given to Lehi and Nephi showed them the future
and the history of their people in very broad and general terms. It did not disclose
the details of their own personal lives. Why do you think the lord is careful not to
tell us too much about our individual lives? What about our patriarchal blessings?
Why does the Lord feel it safe to disclose the marvelous blessings that await us if
we are righteous?

When you have difficult decisions to make or temptations to resist, are you accustomed to
referring to the teachings of the Lord (the iron rod) to help you stay on the pathway of the
righteous? What was the most recent occasion when you can recall this happening?