As discussed previously, Lehi’s vision is at the heart of the original Book of Mormon chapter II. It is preceded by Nephi stating that his purpose is to persuade readers to come unto the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, i.e. those fathers who received great promises concerning their seed, as discussed here, and by Lehi’s sons returning to Jerusalem, ostensibly to find wives that they might have seed, as discussed here. I will keep these thoughts in mind and the preliminary thoughts re. the vision from last week as I begin to work through chapter 8.
Writing about this chapter is harder than I thought it would be. Because the vision lends itself to artists’ renditions – even Sunday school teachers are used to sketching out the various symbols on a board – from a young age we have in our minds an idea of what Lehi saw. The challenge with Lehi’s dream is that we are so familiar with the details that it’s perhaps difficult for the Spirit to get past and teach us beyond what President Uchtdorf calls the massive iron gate of what we think we already know. In this post (and subsequent posts that deal with the vision), I’ll try and outline what I think are a few novel ways to consider the various symbols of the vision and the vision as a whole. As with a lot of what I write, my thinking is significantly influenced by what others have said. I’ll try and point out which ideas come from where, and if you can I’d recommend you read through the references at the bottom of each post.