Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Living in the Great and Spacious Building

1 Nephi 11:26 - 1 Nephi 14:3

I want to begin the blog today with a quote from Elder Boyd K. Packer:

In 1 Nephi 8, read about Lehi’s dream.

You may think that Lehi’s dream or vision has no special meaning for you, but it does. You are in it; all of us are in it.

Lehi’s dream or vision of the iron rod has in it everything a Latter-day Saint needs to understand the test of life.

Read the dream or vision 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 angels, as Nephi did, and feel your way through life.

The Book of Mormon has been my iron rod.

Lehi saw great multitudes of people “pressing forward” toward the tree (1 Nephi 8:21).

The great and spacious building “was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly 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” (1 Nephi 8:27).

One word in this dream or vision should have special meaning to 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.

“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 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.” That was the test; then Lehi said, “But we heeded them not” (1 Nephi 8:28, 33; emphasis added).

And that was the answer.

…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.

Dress modestly, attend your meetings, pay tithes, take the sacrament, honor the priesthood, read the scriptures, study the Book of Mormon, and pray—always pray. An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod.

Will this solve all your problems? Of course not! That would be contrary to the purpose of your coming into mortality. It will, however, give you a solid foundation on which to build your life (see Helaman 5:12).

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 with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.)

You may think that Lehi’s dream or vision has no special meaning for you, but it does. You are in it; all of us are in it.

(Elder Boyd K. Packer, Finding Ourselves in Lehi’s Dream)

 

In my scriptures next to Lehi’s dream I have referenced this quote.  I want to always remember that an apostle of the Lord has counseled that the fate of this generation is to live inside the great and spacious building.

Inside.

This knowledge reminds me of the great importance of continually pressing forward toward the tree.

In the bottom margin of that same page in my scriptures I have written myself an important reminder.  (I am sorry to say that I don’t know where I learned it…but I believe the lesson is critical.)

“In Lehi’s dream there is a principle to watch for.  For every tactic of the adversary there is an equal answer from the Lord.  Next to the river there is a path.  Through the mist there is a rod of iron.  Instead of the building there is the tree of life.”

We have a choice. The river, the mist, and the building, or the path, the rod, and the tree.

I choose the tree.

Elder Bednar taught, “The central feature in Lehi’s dream is the tree of life ––a representation of “the love of God”… the birth, life, and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ are the greatest manifestations of God’s love for His children.  The fruit on the tree is a symbol for the blessings of the Atonement.”

I realize that in order to press forward through the great and spacious building I must not lose focus on the Lord.  I must receive the ordinances and covenants which will allow the Atonement to flow through my life.

I must choose Christ.

I love this painting by James Christensen.

I wonder how often I am like this man, moving through life overwhelmed, burdened, weighed down.

Eyes focused on the rod. Hands too full to grasp hold.

And then I remember the words of an Apostle of the Lord. “Grasp the iron rod and do not let go.”

And I ask myself a question that will require personal pondering... what do I need to do daily to ensure my grip on the rod is firm?  

I want to hold to the rod ––through the building, along the river, in spite of the mist with great faith in the promise given by President Packer…

“An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod.”

Today, perhaps you would consider the counsel from an Apostle of the Lord…

"Read the dream or vision carefully; then read it again."

"You may think that Lehi’s dream or vision has no special meaning for you, but it does.

You are in it; all of us are in it."

 

 

 

Emily Freeman