Lehi's Vision: The Rod of Iron
"And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying, Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or in other words, I have seen a vision. And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi, and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, me thought I saw in my dream a dark and dreary wilderness.
"And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him, I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness I began to pray unto the Lord, that he would have mercy on me according to the multitude of his tender mercies.
"And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord, I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet above all that I ever before tasted.
"Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof, it filled my soul with exceeding great joy; wherefore I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
"And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go. And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
"And it came to pass that they did come unto me, and partake of the fruit also. And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them. And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me, and partake of the fruit.
"And I beheld a rod of iron; and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a straight and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world; and I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth and commence in the path which led to the tree.
"And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceeding great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
"And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld on the other side of the river of water a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth; and it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceeding fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at, and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
"And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.
"And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me, and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away. And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father.
"And it came to pass after my father had spoken all the words of his dream or vision, which were many, he said unto us, because of these things which he saw in a vision, he exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord; and he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that, perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.
"And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.
"And all these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel; and also a great many more things, which can not be written upon these plates" (1 Nephi 2:44–92).
The Holy Spirit's Interpretation of Lehi's Vision
"For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceeding high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
"And the Spirit said unto me, Behold, what desirest thou? And I said, I desire to behold the things which my father saw. And the Spirit said unto me, Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken? And I said, Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.
"And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying, Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired" (1 Nephi 3:37–44).
"Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying, Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the Children of men; wherefore it is the most desireable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying, Yea, and the most joyous to the soul" (1 Nephi 3:63–65).
"And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to ... the tree of life..." (1 Nephi 3:68).
"And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell; and the fall thereof was exceeding great. And the angel of the lord spake unto me again, saying, Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (1 Nephi 3:93–95).
"And the angel spake unto me, saying, Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell; and the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they may perish, and are lost; and the large and spacious building which thy father say is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and terrible gulf devideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and for ever" (1 Nephi 3:124–127).