Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 19, 2008

L&L Learn More About the Vision–1 Nephi 15

We get our information about Lehi’s dream from three main accounts:

  1. Lehi’s account of his vision as summarized by Nephi (1 Ne 8 )
  2. Nephi’s own vision of the Tree of Life (1 Ne 11)
  3. Nephi interprets the vision for his brothers (1 Ne 15)

It’s interesting to look at the focus of Laman and Lemuel’s interest in 15:21-36.  First the brothers ask Nephi what the tree means.  He answers, “It’s the tree of life.”  Before he can go into any detail on this incredible symbol, which he and his father understood to be central to the vision, the brothers are ready with their next question: “What does the iron rod mean?”  Nephi gives them a bit more information here.  He tells them that the rod of iron is the word of God.  He tells them how important it is in keeping them away from temptation.  He puts a lot of effort (all the energies of his soul!) into trying to convince them to give heed to the word of God.  But they seem to hurry to the next question: “What does this river of water mean?” 

Now, for the righteous, the river of water is one of the least significant parts of Lehi’s vision.  In fact, Lehi was so focused on other parts of his dream–eternal life, and how to get his family to partake–that he didn’t even notice the filthiness of the river.  But Laman and Lemuel want to know all about it.  Nephi tells them that the river represents an awful gulf between the wicked and the tree of life.  The river is what separates sinners from the Lord.  Or in other words, the river is Hell.  Somehow this river of water captures the attention of Laman and Lemuel.  They continue to question Nephi about this subject.  Because of their interest we learn much about the temporal and spiritual nature of Hell.  We learn that our works in this life separate us from God.  We learn that we will be judged for these works.  We learn that if we have not been cleansed by partaking of the fruit, that we will be found unclean and unable to dwell in the presence of God.

We also learn about the characters of these two brothers. 

What interests YOU the most about the vision?



  1. I read a fascinating treatment of the Tree of life as it relates to Ascension, the plan of salvation, the Christ, and the temple here . One Interesting point he makes is John’s imagery of the fountain of water arising pure at the base of the tree.
    “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
    Revelations 22:1-2.

    When taken in conjunction with the idea of the gulf and the filthy water, All water will support life. Which water we drink depends on the level of clarity we desire. The further downstream, the filthier it gets. This seems to relate well with apostasy. All religion hase truth and the water of life within. How much depends upon what they will bear.

    Individually, we drink purer water as we become more like God, receiving his image in our countenance, that as we are changed, we drink of purer and puere water and eventurally the very fruit of the tree.

  2. I am preparing the Gospel Doctrine lesson on Lehi’s dream and was happy to find your insightful post. I also found a great talk on Lehi’s dream that President Packer gave at BYU on Janurary 7, 2007.

  3. I find it interesting that when Nephi asks the angel the meaning of the tree, Nephi sees the birth of Christ, then identifies the Tree as the love of God. It seems that “love of God” is code for Jesus Christ, who elsewhere referred to himself as the “true vine.” (John 15)

    If we take it further, we note that a tree is an interesting symbol, because it takes dirt from its roots, and processes it into fruit. Likewise, Jesus takes humanity, the dust of the earth, and transforms us into his fruit–his children–through a process of absorbtion and union (covenants)

  4. I’m giving a lesson on the Love of God tomorrow and was looking for images on the tree of life. Your image came up and I didn’t realize it was a blog on the Tree of Life as well.

    I love the comments that the love of God represent Jesus because truly God’s love was manifested through Jesus in His sacrifice for us. This is a very great thing to contemplate this Christmas Season.

  5. Looking down from the tree which description is so similar to that of the virgins (as the tree bears fruit Mary bears the saviour, both are beautiful above all. A symbol for the menorah, Mary or queen of heaven? a symbol of all.) Nephi finds himself in a temple setting. The parallels are amazing if we look beyond the Sunday School level.

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