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The Sacred Topology of the Vision of the Tree of Life
(1 Nephi 8-10)

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 3:
“Come and Partake of the Fruit” (1 Nephi 8-10)

 

 

Transcript

Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life as recorded in 1 Nephi 8 reflects a number of ancient Temple themes. This should not serve as much of a surprise given that the Tree of Life figures prominently in the scenes in the Garden of Eden and was indeed the reason that Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden, lest they should partake of its fruit before they were prepared to return to the presence of the Lord. The Tree of Life also figures prominently in the Revelation of John as highlighted in another Interpreter video (https://interpreterfoundation.org/cfm-to-him-that-overcometh-the-seven-promises-of-revelation-2-3/).

I will highlight one of the Temple themes briefly, which is the tripartite (three part) division of space. Lehi passes through a succession of spaces in an ascent from darkness to light. He begins in verse 7-8, “And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.” So Lehi’s initial location is dark and dreary. “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.”

Moses 5:4 describes Adam and Eve’s reaction to being cast out of the garden into the Telestial world, “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.” Prayer is the key to entering into a space of greater light and possibilities. Continuing with verse 9, “And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.”

Lehi describes these possibilities later on in his version when he again mentions this field in verses 20-22

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.
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.

The tree itself is the third primary division in Lehi’s dream; in verses 10-11, he notes that, “And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. 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.

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