(Read and Follow the Directions)
(Be sure to read to the end, because that music video there is awesome!)
Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 8), Lehi has a vision and sees a shining “tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.” We later learn that the tree is the Tree of Life, and that it’s fruit represents the Love of God as embodied by Jesus Christ, his son. Lehi saw people struggling along a narrow path, and holding tightly to a rod of iron, to finally arrive at this tree in order to eat some of it’s wonderful fruit. When they eat the fruit, they feel great joy. But then some of them look around, and see and hear a crowd of people standing in a magnificent building, laughing, and pointing at those standing beneath the tree. For some, the mocking of the people in the large building distracts them from the amazing joy they just experienced and they wander away and are lost in the misty darkness. Others, who have eaten the fruit of the tree, observe that the magnificent building has no foundation, and turn back toward the tree to continue partaking of this fruit that brings such profound joy to their hearts.
It’s tempting sometimes, when I find something that brings me joy, to hide that thing so that others won’t make fun of it. One good thing about being “almost old” is that I’m learning better to tune the mockers out. I don’t have to listen to the voices that say I’m not good enough (mostly it’s that stinkin’ demon in my mind). When I hold on to the rod of iron (the word of God), I know my gifts and talents are good. Then I hold tighter, and remember that my greatest joy will always be found in living the life that God has outlined for His children. Some people may mock my choice to be sober, to be chaste, to live modestly, and to believe in God. Some might disdain my talents. Those can be dark days. But then I remember and turn back to the source of true joy – the fruit of His love.
Sister Oscarson’s talk, “Do I Believe” was so good to remind me of all this. She was talking about the youth, but I know personally that they aren’t the only ones who face this challenge.
I am often asked, “What is the greatest challenge our youth face today?” I answer that I believe it is the ever-present influence of the “great and spacious building” in their lives.4 If the Book of Mormon was written specifically for our day, then surely we cannot miss the relevance for all of us of the messages in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life and the effect of those pointing their fingers and taunting from the great and spacious building.