Saturday, September 26, 2009

*Lehi's Dream*

This year in Institute I am teaching Book of Mormon. I know you all know the story of Lehi's dream but I want to share a few things that MIGHT be new to you...
Did you know that Father Smith (Joseph Smith Sr.) had a dream VERY similar to that of Lehi's? He had this dream when Joseph the prophet was 6 years old! Let me share this with you... this was taken from from Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother. I am now going to quote Lucy Mack Smith's account of the dream that Father Joseph had in 1811. Watch for similarities between it and Lehi's dream!

"I thought," said he, "I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing, before I went any farther. So I asked myself, 'What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?' My guide, who was by my side, as before, said, 'This is the desolate world; but travel on.' The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it; for, said I to myself, 'Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and strait is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that go in thereat.' Traveling a short distance further, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream, I could see neither the source nor yet the mouth; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, is possible, whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so, the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed. While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were all filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded. I presently turned to my guide and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it as the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. 'No," he replied, 'look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.' Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off. I immediately went to them, and brought them to the tree; upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The move we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees and scooped i up, eating it by double handfuls. After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, 'It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility.' I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy."

I love how Father Joseph says that they got down on their knees and were eating "The Love of God" by double handfuls!!!

Also, look at v. 20 (ch 8) The phrase "stait and narrow path" is an interesting one. Note the spelling of "strait." It is not "straight." "Strait" means "narrow" or "restricted." So, in effect, we have the phrase "narrow and narrow path." It has also been suggested that the phrase can mean "narrow and narrowing" path.

Let me tell you a great story that is a perfect example of this... A good man had gotten way off the path for a time in his life. Through repentance and much effort, he regained his membership in the Church and was doing very well, having served a mission with his wife and done much good.

However, one day he went to see his bishop, he expressed grave concern about his chances for gaining celestial exaltation, whereas, he had been very confident about his chances for several years now. His concern boiled down to this: He was now noticing flaws and imperfections in his daily living which he had not even noticed before this time in his life. I guess his bishop startled him when he said, "Rejoice!"

As they chatted, his bishop explained that the fact that he was now noticing things heretofore un-noticed by him in his life was evidence that he was now much closer to the Spirit than before. he was drawing closer and closer to God, and the "light" was shining much brighter on the path so that he was noticing and worrying about littler things in his life. It was a sign that he was doing much better! When he realized this, he paused, then smiled, breathed a big sigh of relief and left the office very happy. Such is the power of travel along the "narrow and narrowing" path!

I feel as we start out on the "narrow and narrowing path", it is okay to lean on another's testimony but as the path gets more narrow we have to eventually stand alone... hence having our own strong testimony, living our lives better each day... line upon line...

My prayer is that we all continue to pray, read, study, learn and grow... attend the temple, serve others... and come closer to our Father in Heaven! I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us every opportunity to repent and come unto him!


Cherie said...

Shaila I never knew that Joseph Smith Sr. had a dream that was similar to Lehi's.
I love the concept of the narrowing path and of getting closer to the spirit by noticing things in your life that you didn't notice before. I myself have thought about this at different times in my life. I think you can tell (or at least I can) when you reach a new level of understanding.
I have noticed upon getting older that you develop a spiritual self reliance that is a must have. The path definately does narrow.

Cherie said...

P.S. It looks like you may have gotten your blog troubles fixed??

Good to see your new post and good luck with a new year of Institute!

KC Mom said...

Wow! Great story and post! I don't know how your teaching institute and working! You rock!

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a beautiful post!! I loved reading both stories. I am glad you are still teaching institute. I am really enjoying teaching the Book of Mormon in seminary this year. I have read it so many times in my life, but have been amazed at how much I am getting out of it this time around. Best of luck!

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

WOW!! I didn't know that! What an amazing thing. It's incredible the symbolism between the latter-day heroes and prophets of old. Love this!

rad6 said...

Hey, when did you start teaching. We are finishing 2 Nephi. Are you just in 1 Nephi, or reflecting back a little. We have to share notes again this year. :) I love this account of Father Smith's dream and your thoughts on Narrowing. I had some similar as we studied Lehi's dream and some new things open up about the building in the air and the mists of darkness. We had some amazing discussions. I am really loving my class this year, they are involved and interested for the most part. (They are still teens and it is still early - :) )
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.