I created this handout for my Book of Mormon institute students several years ago. It has a chart of interpretations followed by quotes.
Click here to print a double-sided handout that folds and fits into standard size scriptures.
|Page one is a chart with interpretations of various symbols in the visions.|
|Page two and three are quotes from Church leaders.|
|Page four also has quotes.|
Or if you'd rather read it online, here are the chart and quotes.
Quotes about the Tree of Life Visions in 1 Nephi 8-15
Elder Boyd K. Packer – Dream is Central Message of Book of Mormon
Lehi had a vision of the tree of life. His son Nephi prayed to know its meaning. In answer, he was given a remarkable vision of Christ. In that vision [in 1 Nephi 11-14 Nephi] saw:
• A virgin bearing a child in her arms,
• One who should prepare the way—John the Baptist,
• The ministry of the Son of God,
• Twelve others following the Messiah,
• The heavens open and angels ministering to them,
• The multitudes blessed and healed,
• The crucifixion of the Christ,
• The wisdom and pride of the world opposing his work” (See 1 Ne. 11:14-36.)
That vision is the central message of the Book of Mormon.” (“The Things of My Soul,” Ensign, May 1986, emphasis added)
President Monson – Building Represents those who Ridicule
“The great and spacious building in Lehi’s vision represents those in the world who mock God’s word and who ridicule those who embrace it and who love the Savior and live the commandments.” (“May You Have Courage,” Ensign, May 2009)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland – Fruit of Tree Symbol of Christ and His Atonement
“The Spirit made explicit that the Tree of Life and its precious fruit are symbols of Christ’s redemption...the images of Christ and the tree being inextricably linked...the life, mission, and atonement of Christ are the ultimate manifestations of the Tree of Life, the fruit of the gospel, the love of God...” ” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 160-161)
Elder Neal Maxwell – Partaking Fruit is Partaking of Blessings of Atonement
“The tree of life...is the love of God. The love of God for His children is most profoundly expressed in His gift of Jesus as our Redeemer: ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’ (John 3:16). To partake of the love of God is to partake of Jesus’ Atonement and the emancipations and joys which it can bring.” (Ensign, Nov. 1999)
Elder L. Tom Perry – Great and Spacious Building Tempts us with Materialism
“The current cries we hear coming from the great and spacious building tempt us to compete for ownership in the things of this world. We think we need a larger home, with a three-car garage and a recreational vehicle parked next to it. We long for designer clothes, extra TV sets (all with [DVDs]), the latest model computers, and the newest car. Often these items are purchased with borrowed money without giving any thought to providing for our future needs. The result of all this instant gratification is overloaded bankruptcy courts and families that are far too preoccupied with their financial burdens.” (Ensign, Nov. 1995)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell – Laughter of World is Loneliness
“...The laughter of the world is merely loneliness pathetically trying to reassure itself.” (“Cleanse Us from All Unrighteousness,” Feb. 1986)
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin – Iron Rod Helps Get You Through Mists in Life
“You must hold firmly to the rod of iron through the mists of darkness, the hardships and trials of life. If you relax your grip and slip from the path, the iron rod might become lost in the darkness for a time until you repent and regain your grasp of it.” (Ensign, Nov. 1989)
C.S. Lewis – Happiness Outside the Plan of Happiness Doesn’t Exist
[Fruit of tree of life makes one happy – 1 Nephi 8:8.] “...Nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – [is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make them happy.” (Mere Christianity, 53).
President Spencer W. Kimball – Iron Rod – Putting Spiritual Learning First
“Youth...can you see why we must let spiritual training take first place? ...Seminary courses should be given...preferential attention over the high school subjects; the institute over the college course; the study of the scriptures ahead of the study of the man-written texts; the association with the Church more important than clubs, fraternities, and sororities; the payment of tithing more important than paying tuition and fees? Can you see that the ordinances of the temple are more important than the Ph.D. or any and all other academic degrees?” (“Beloved Youth, Study and Learn,” cited in Life’s Directions, 190).
Elder Merrill J. Bateman – Holding Fast to Iron Rod Changes Us Inside
“A casual, infrequent exposure to the scriptures will generally not open the door to the whisperings of the Spirit or provide insights... There are certain blessings obtained when one searches [and obeys] the scriptures. ...He or she draws closer to the Savior and obtains a greater desire to live a righteous life. The power to resist temptation increases., and spiritual weaknesses are overcome. Spiritual wounds are healed.” (Ensign, Nov. 1992)
“If we follow Alma’s counsel of planting and nourishing the seed until it becomes the tree of life within our hearts and souls, the image of Christ will be in our countenance and we will have built a Christ-centered life.” (Ensign, Jan. 1999).
Elder Glenn L. Pace – Compare the Building to True Happiness
“To those of you who are inching your way closer and closer to that great and spacious building, let me make it completely clear that the people in that building have absolutely nothing to offer except instant, short-term gratification inescapably connected to long-term sorrow and suffering. The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter.
Compare the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom to those available to you if you choose to party with those in the great and spacious building. Compare the joy of intelligent humor and wit to drunken, silly, crude, loud laughter. Compare our faithful young women who still have a blush in their cheeks with those who, having long lost their blush, try to persuade you to join them in their loss. Compare lifting people up to putting people down. Compare the ability to receive personal revelation and direction in your life to being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Compare holding the priesthood of God with anything you see going on in that great and spacious building.” (“They’re Not Really Happy,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 39)
Elder Boyd K. Packer – Lehi’s Dream has Everything We Need to Know
“Lehi’s dream or vision of the iron rod has in it everything a young Latter-day Saint needs to understand the test of life. ... Read it carefully; then read it again...
If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost, conferred upon you at the time you were confirmed a member of the Church. The Holy Ghost will comfort you. You will be able to feel the influence of the angels, as Nephi did, and feel your way through life. The Book of Mormon has been my iron rod...
One word in this dream or vision should have special meaning to you young Latter-day Saints. The word is after. It was after the people had found the tree that they became ashamed, and because of the mockery of the world they fell away...
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...
An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod...
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. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.) ...
All of the mocking does not come from outside of the Church. Be careful that you do not fall into the category of mocking...
You live in an interesting generation where trials will be constant in your life. Learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is to be a shield and a protection and a teacher for you. Never be ashamed or embarrassed about the doctrines of the gospel or about the standards that we teach in the Church. You always, if you are faithful in the Church, will be that much different from the world at large. You have the advantage of being assured that you can be inspired in all of your decisions...
As we think of you young Latter-day Saints and think of the Book of Mormon and think of the dream or vision that Lehi had, we see that there are prophecies in
there that can be specifically applied to your life. Read it again, beginning with the eighth chapter of 1 Nephi, and read on to the counsel that is given...
All of the things that you need to know are there. Read it, and make it a part of your life. Then the criticism or mocking of the world, the mocking of those in the Church, will be of no concern to you as it is of no concern to us (see 1 Nephi 8:33). We just move forward doing the things which we are called to do and know that the Lord is guiding us.” (“Lehi’s Dream and You,” BYU Devotional, Jan. 16 2007)