Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life

(In a single verse)

October 16, 2015

Lehi and Nephi both received an allegoric vision of a tree of life. In the vision there is a dark and dreary wasteland where a rod of iron marks a path to said tree. The wasteland represents the world, the rod of iron the word of God, the tree a representation of God’s love for us, as tangible and available as ripe fruit free for the taking. The only problem: while at the tree one is in full view of those that are of the world, who desparately need followers in order to feel validated. These employ shame and ridicule as recruitment tactics, sometimes to great effect on those who, while enjoying the fruit, can’t tune out the tumult.

Now, consider Jacob, Lehi’s son and Nephi’s brother. He must have heard of this vision firsthand from both his father and his brother. He also possessed the written record of their eyewitness accounts. No doubt this vision served as a frequent reminder of how to stay close to God’s love. So, it should come as no surprise that this verse captures quite succinctly (even if unintentionally) the concepts described above:

Jacob 3:2

2 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.

Let’s break this down phrase by phrase.

O all ye that are pure in heart…

It’s not fun to be in a dreary waste. Most of us in that situation would feel an honest desire, a phrase which might qualify one as having a pure heart, to improve our situation.

…lift up your heads…

Lehi had to look around and explore for some time before he was able to find a safe path. Burrying one’s head in the sand isn’t an effective strategy.

…and receive the pleasing word of God…

The rod of iron represents the word of God, contained in scripture and proclaimed by living prophets. When we encounter God’s word, we must receive it because we need to cling to it.

…and feast upon his love…

The fruit of the tree! Clinging to rod of iron (heeding the word of God) leads us to real and tangible manifestations of God’s unconditional and constant love for us.

…for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.

This may be the tricky part for some. Having journeyed far enough to taste of God’s love we must learn to ignore the shame the worldly would have us feel because of our straying so far from them. Long-term spiritual survival requires that we come to care much more for God’s opinion of us than anyone else’s, otherwise we just won’t feel at home at the tree, unable to enjoy all the blessings God has in store for those there that recipricate his love. The scriptures go into some detail about the amazing blessings available to those of a firm mind.

So, one verse that contains all the main concepts of Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it’s there!

Jacob 3:2

2 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.