Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lehi's Dream: What Lehi Saw


I promised you I would do a follow up post to Understanding Lehi's Dream.  And today is the day! 1 Nephi 8 goes hand in hand with 1Nephi 11-Nephi's interpretations.

I have a great personal love for this section of The Book of Mormon as it has so much to teach us about ourselves, the gospel plan, and the plan and purpose of the Savior and His Atonement in our lives.  I love the symbolism of this dream! 

Let's dig in!!


The Dream: 1 Nephi 8

For those of  you who are unfamiliar with The Book of Mormon or Lehi's Dream, you can read it for yourself (HERE).   For the rest, we will jump to the main principles and highlights of his dream.
 
" Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision." 
 
 lds.org images
Lehi has a dream-vision in great detail. It is not just a dream, but becomes a prophetic vision of the spiritual outcome of his immediate family, and for all of us.
In this dream he stands at a tree which fruit is so desirable both physically and spiritually, his greatest desire is to bring his family to the tree so they can partake of it also.  Some heed him and some don't.   This dream has symbolic meaning for you and I.  Very interestingly, years later, Joseph Smith Sr. had a dream almost identical to this as he was waiting for the true Church to be  restored to the earth.
 
Lehi saw in his dream the following things.  I will include the interpretations of them in a later post:
  • A dark and dreary wilderness
  • A man dressed in a white robe whom he followed
  • Dark and dreary waste
  • Darkness which he traveled through, until he prayed to be delivered from
  • Large field
  • Tree 
  • Fruit that specifically made one happy, best tasting, most sweet, and explicitly white, and filled his whole soul with joy
  • River of water
  • His family
  • Rod of iron
  • Straight and narrow path
  • Numberless amount of people trying to find the path
  • Mist of darkness
  • Great and spacious building (not touching the ground)  filled with the richness and pride of the people of the world.
  • A fountain which was very deep
Other noteworthy observations:
 
  • Laman and Lemuel never partook of the fruit...
  • Everyone who heeded the people from the great and spacious building....fell away
  • Those who "held fast" to the rod had a different outcome than those who "clinged" to the rod
  • Those who "fell down" denoting worshipping did NOT fall away
 
More to come!
 
 

 

 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Understanding Lehi's Dream




In 2007 something kind of awesome happened.  There were 3  Devotional/Fireside talks  given back to back one month after another....on Lehi's Dream.  Coincidental??  I think not!

Interesting don't you think that all three randomly inspired, chose to speak on the same topic?  Here is what Elder Anderson said prior to giving his CES Fireside talk.



"I want to tell you of the Lord’s guiding hand in our meeting tonight. During the early days of January I worked to organize and outline what I would present to you. Knowing that Elder David A. Bednar was scheduled to speak to you in February, I asked him if he had finalized the subject he would address.

I was taken aback when he responded that his talk was about holding fast to the iron rod. It was the exact title I had chosen for my talk. The choir was already practicing this beautiful number that they have just shared with us.

As Elder Bednar and I discussed the messages we had prepared, it was evident that we had approached the subject differently. Elder Bednar thought for a moment and said: “The Lord loves the young adults of the Church. There is purpose in this. This is a message the Lord wants delivered.” I determined to proceed.

Then, just a week later and before Elder Bednar’s talk, President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a BYU devotional address he entitled Lehi’s Dream and You.  He too included in his talk what it means to hold fast to the iron rod.

My brothers and sisters, this is a subject the Lord wants you to think about."-Elder Anderson
 


That was six years ago, and I can't stop thinking about these talks.  Here are some significant highlights :



"You may think that Lehi’s dream or vision has no special meaning for you, but it does. You are in it; all of us are in it." -President Packer
 
"At your baptism and confirmation, you took hold of the iron rodBut you are never safe. It is after you have partaken of that fruit that your test will come. " -President Packer
(Lehi's dream refers to members of the Church)
 
"The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But you can feel your way. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life"-President Packer
 
"Largely because of television, instead of looking over into that spacious building, we are, in effect, living inside of it. That is your fate in this generation. You are living in that great and spacious building." -President Packer
____________________________________________________________________

 
 
  • "Father Lehi saw several groups of people pressing forward along the strait and narrow path, seeking to obtain the tree and its fruit.
  • The members of each group had entered onto the path through the gate of repentance and baptism by water and had received the gift of the Holy Ghost (see 2 Nephi 31:17–20)
  •  The tree of life is the central feature in the dream and is identified in 1 Nephi 11 as a representation of Jesus Christ.
  • The fruit on the tree is a symbol for the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.
 Interestingly, the major theme of the Book of Mormon, inviting all to come unto Christ, is central in Lehi’s vision. Of particular interest is the rod of iron that led to the tree (see 1 Nephi 8:19). The rod of iron is the word of God.
  • Group 1: Baptized members of the Church, as soon as the "mists of darkness" came they were gone.  No mention of the rod of iron. 1 Nephi 8:21-23
"Those who ignore or treat lightly the word of God do not have access to that divine compass which points the way to the Savior. "-Elder Bednar
  • Group 2: "Clingers" This group pressed forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. When they were mocked by the members of the great and spacious building, they were ashamed and fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. Please notice that this group is described as clinging to the rod of iron. 1 Nephi 8: 24-28


"Clinging to the rod of iron suggests to me only occasional “bursts” of study or irregular dipping rather than consistent, ongoing immersion in the word of God." -Elder Bednar

  • Group 3 "Held Fast":  Members of the Church who "held fast" to the rod of iron continually pressing forward until they reached the tree.we read about a third group of people who pressed forward continually holding fast to the rod of iron until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. The key phrase in this verse is “continually holding fast” to the rod of iron. 1 Nephi 8: 30 No mention of them wandering off or getting lost.

 "Perhaps this third group of people consistently read and studied and searched the words of Christ. Perhaps it was the constant flow of living water that saved the third group from perishing. This is the group you and I should strive to join." -Elder Bednar
 
  • Group 4Probably not members of the Church-people who did not even come to the path but went straight for the great and spacious building

"Are you and I daily reading, studying, and searching the scriptures in a way that enables us to hold fast to the rod of iron—or are you and I merely clinging? Are you and I pressing forward toward the fountain of living waters—relying upon the word of God? These are important questions for each of us to ponder prayerfully."
______________________________________________
 
"The iron rod is the word of God. I like to think of it in this way:
 
The word of God contains three very strong elements that intertwine and sustain one another to form an immovable rod.
 
These three elements include, first, the scriptures, or the words of the ancient prophets."
The second element of the word of God is the personal revelation and inspiration that comes to us through the Holy Ghost
 
... the third element, a critical addition intertwining with the other two...the words of the living prophets. We must also hold fast to the word of God as delivered by the living prophets."  -Elder Anderson
 
 
 
These are all must read talks that I will include in my LDS Talks tab for quick reference.  These are significant talks given by living prophets and apostles, each inspired to teach in a three month period..back to back on the principles of Lehi's Dream.  Just as President Packer taught, it applies to you and me.
 
 Next post will be a more in-depth study of the groups spoken of by Elder Bednar. Stay tuned!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Family Time...at home

images from lds.org

Being  a mother at this time has it's challenges!!  I think one of the hardest challenges we face here in the U.S is the pressures of wanting our children to HAVE everything and to BE everything. The drive to make sure our children do not miss out, is a strong motherly instinct.  It can become a vice instead of a virtue, leading us away from valuable family experiences at home.

I loved the intro to an article in this month's Ensign article,  Nine Principles for a Successful Marriage and Family.

Let's check it out:


                      

"Amy Adams  was trying to decide which activities would be best for her three young children when a conversation with her mother changed her mind. “What if you gave your children something better than training in sports or dance?” Amy’s mother asked. “What if by staying home, they could learn to feel the Spirit more?” Then her mother reminded her of what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has taught about the power of focusing on life’s basic relationships (see, for example, “Of Things That Matter Most,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 19–22).

Amy and her husband, Brett, prayed about and pondered this counsel and felt it would be a good idea for their family to spend more time together at home. For one year, they chose to forgo dance and sports; instead they prepared meals, learned Primary songs, visited museums, and played outdoors. “Our children were able to feel the Spirit … because we took the time to stop and listen,” Amy says. Their children may not be the top sports and dance stars, she says, “but they have a testimony of the Savior.”

Amy and Brett prayed to know how they should personally follow the counsel of modern prophets, and doing so allowed them to receive inspiration for their family. Amy says this inspiration led to her “proudest moments as a mother.”
__________________________________________________________________________

Two things  that stand out to me with this example that I particularly loved:

Wise council from her mother
 There is great strength in the continuing mothering we receive from our mothers. Mothers who are not necessarily caught up in the business we are  can give a great perspective.  Wise and careful mothering never stops. Thank-you Mom for all the counsel you give me.  I cherish it!!
 
 
 Inspiration led to her "proudest moments as a mother"

It made me ask myself if I am missing proud mothering moments?  Being caught up in the latest trends of mothering(making sure our children have all and can be all). As well as listening to the voice that it is "our turn" now, and that we need our time.  These are all worldly mothering trends that don't necessarily strengthen us as mothers (although the world paints the illusion it does) or our families. 

I love the principle of  good, better, and best in mothering.  It always does us good to step back and see where we are on this principle.  We have to be able to step away from what is swirling around as "good motherhood" and see if it is right or best for our own families.  Having our children in sports and activities is good. They all have talents to develop, it is good to keep them busy, it builds up their self-esteem, etc.  This is all good.

Running non-stop in the car from one activity to the other without leaving any time for home-life...is not always strengthening. Sometimes we can't help that from happening. With wise mothering and careful scheduling, we can make it less and be home more.  Our  children need nurturing time at home to  learn to clean house, cook, be creative, do yard work, and have quiet time to just think.


I wrote a post on this last year  concerning my daughter Alyssa and all of her loves. She wanted to do everything, but realized she couldn't.  Read that article HERE.

Let's strengthen our families by remembering how our children need time at home to be nurtured by us and to be fed by the spirit.





Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We are the Lord's Secret Weapon



I was thinking today of this unique time in my life I am living, and I am sure many other LDS mothers have similar stories to tell: 

I have one daughter currently serving a mission (doing AWESOME and with 7 months left), our second daughter preparing for her  mission to Argentina(leaving in 3 months), one 18 year old daughter in "waiting for a missionary" mode (her best friend just left), and her twin sister planning on WHEN she will officially send her papers in. 

These are days never to be forgotten.  Are they not??

Oh the job and joy of being a mother during these times.  I love this quote from Sheri Dew!

"As Mother's in Israel we are the Lord's secret weapon.   
Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place since the beginning.  
In the pre-mortal world, when our Father described our role,  
I wonder if we didn't stand in WIDE-EYED wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust  
so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children.   
I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom.  
The world won't tell you this, but the Spirit will."


Just my thoughts for the day...



Monday, June 3, 2013

I am Glad I am What I am


Kirtland Temple, taken on my Church History Tour last summer.
Joseph Smith taught that the Glory of God is intelligence.

"The Glory of God is intelligence" and I for one have a great desire to learn and gain knowledge!  I love learning new things and expanding my horizons of what I know!

BUT

I don't want to ever be to a point that my knowledge and intelligence exceeds or even replaces my faith.  I am reminded of this seminary scripture mastery scripture:

2 Nephi 2:29" But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."
I see far too many who are so intelligent they question, doubt, and discard certain principles of the gospel because intellectually, it may not make sense to them?  They withdraw spiritually as they evaluate and become a little cynical in the process.

The end result of this is not always a positive one for them or for their families. 

You can't discard faith in order to support your own intellectual theories because in doing  so, you discard the Spirit whose role is to testify of truth. 

While having intelligence is good, we have to remember the importance of faith and that a testimony is not built upon scientific proof of sheer intellectualizing the principles and doctrines of the gospel.

The Spirit works and is governed by something more powerful than earthly theories.

So there are days...I wish I had this amazing depth of intelligence that others around me have...who can still 25-30  years later still still spout off mathematical equations and scientific formulas I remember learning in high school and college,  but I am grateful I am what I am, and I am enough because if it allows me to have faith.