Tree of Life Vision
- Print and cut out the Tree of Life Vision Pictures. Cut off the vertical edge of one side of the river. Glue the edges of the two river pieces together. Cut out and glue a Temptation to the back of each Mist of Darkness.
- Also print and cut out the story figures of Lehi and his family found in the Friend, February 2008, For Little Friends, “Lehi and Nephi Obey God”.
- Items needed: a bag of white Lifesaver mints (don’t remove the mints from their clear individual wrappers), a large display board, chalk or dry erase marker for the display board, a Book of Mormon for each child, and tape.
Tell the following story using the Tree of Life Vision Pictures and the pictures from “Lehi and Nephi Obey God”. Tape the pictures to the large display board as you tell the story.
As Lehi and his family prepared for their journey to the promised land, Lehi had a vision. In the vision he was in a dark and dreary wasteland. He prayed to the Lord for mercy. He then saw a large and spacious field and a tree whose fruit was white to exceed all whiteness. The fruit was very desirable to make one happy. He partook of the fruit, and it was sweet above all others ever tasted. It filled him with joy, and he was desirous that his family partake of it also. As he looked around for his family he saw a river near the tree. At the head of the river he saw his wife Sariah and his sons Nephi and Sam. They looked as if they didn’t know where to go, so Lehi called and beckoned to them and they came and partook of the fruit. Lehi also wanted Laman and Lemuel to partake of the fruit. He looked and saw them at the head of the river. He beckoned to them, but they would not come.
As Lehi looked around some more he saw a rod of iron that led to the tree. The rod of iron extended along the bank of the river. There was also a strait and narrow path which went along side the rod of iron. He saw many people, and some were trying to get to the path. When they came and started on the path, a mist of darkness arose and they lost their way and wandered off. Others came forward and caught hold of the rod of iron, and they pressed forward until they partook of the fruit of the tree. Then Lehi saw on the other side of the river a great and spacious building, and it seemed to be floating in the air. The building was filled with a multitude of people whose clothes were very fine. They were mocking those who had partaken of the tree. Some who had partaken of the tree were ashamed because of the scoffing, and they fell away onto other paths and were lost. But there were some who did not heed the scorning of those in the building.
• What did Lehi see in the large and spacious field? A tree with fruit on it.
• How did Lehi describe the fruit? (See 1 Nephi 8:10-12) Write on the display board the following descriptions:
It was white to exceed all whiteness.
It was most sweet above all others.
It was desirable to make one happy.
It filled him with joy.
The Lord frequently uses symbolism to teach important lessons. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what the symbolism means. After Nephi listened to his father tell about the dream, he wanted to know what the interpretation was, so he prayed to know its meaning. Because of his faith he was shown the same vision, and he was shown its meaning. Nephi learned that the fruit was the greatest of all the gifts of God.
• What is the greatest of all the gifts of God? (See D&C 14:7) What is eternal life? It is the highest level in the celestial kingdom, and it is the kind of life Heavenly Father has. (Put the “Eternal Life” label next to the fruit.)
The purpose of Lehi’s vision is to teach us how to gain eternal life. Without the atonement of Jesus Christ we could not attain eternal life regardless of how good we are on earth, because all men sin and no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus paid the price for our sins. The tree represents the love of God demonstrated in the sacrifice and the atonement of Jesus Christ. (Put up the “Love of God, Atonement of Jesus Christ” label next to the tree.)
• What did the strait and narrow path represent? The strait and narrow path represents following Christ’s way of life such as praying, being honest, giving service, etc. (Put the “Christ’s Way of Life” label next to the path.)
We have been given aids to help us stay on the strait and narrow path. Lehi saw an iron rod that people could hold onto to help them stay on the path.
• What did the rod of iron represent? (See 1 Nephi 15:23–24) (Put the “Word of God” label next to the rod of iron.)
• Where can we find the word of God? In the scriptures, in the teachings of latter-day prophets, and in the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
• In Lehi’s vision some people started on the path but then became lost in mists of darkness. What did the mists of darkness represent? (See 1 Nephi 12:17) (Put the “Temptations of the Devil” label next to the mists of darkness.)
• What are some temptations of the devil? (Place a mist of darkness over the path for each answer given.)
The temptations of the devil blind us. We can’t see the right way to go and we can become lost.
• In the vision, some people made it through the mists of darkness. What did those people use to help guide them? The iron rod which is the word of God. The word of God can help us know the right way to go.
Inform the children they are going to play a game that shows how the word of God helps them know the right way to go.
Tape a mint to each piece of fruit on the tree of life. Cover the rod of iron and the path with the remaining mists of darkness. Direct a volunteer to choose a mist of darkness and read the situation that is on the back. Instruct the children to look in the bible topical guide for the temptation’s subject and find a scripture that would help them avoid and resist that temptation. Have the volunteer read the scripture he or she chose. The volunteer can then take a fruit (mint) off the tree. Have another child pick a mist of darkness and do the same process again. Continue until each child has had a turn. After the game is finished, remind the children that if we use the word of God to guide us it will lead us to eternal life.
• How do we hold onto the word of God? By making it part of our life. We do this by studying and abiding by the teachings found in the scriptures and the words of the latter day prophets, and by seeking for and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Heeding and obeying the word of God will help us avoid the deceptions and temptations of Satan so that we can avoid going astray.
• In the vision, Lehi’s mind was so occupied with other things that he did not notice that the water in the river was filthy. What did the river of filthy water, or fountain of filthy water, represent? (See 1 Nephi 12:16 & 15:26–29) (Put the “Depths of Hell” label next to the river.) How do people end up engulfed in the depths of hell? They get lost in Satan’s temptations, go astray, and fall into the depths of hell.
In Lehi’s vision there were some people who held onto the rod until they reached the tree and partook of the fruit, and then they became ashamed and fell away because the world mocked them. These people represent those who accept the gospel and the ordinances necessary for eternal life, such as baptism and temple ordinances, but then they yield to the taunting and temptations to be like the people of the world.
• The people of the world who were mocking those who partook of the fruit were in a great and spacious building that appeared to be floating in the air. What did the great and spacious building represent? (See 1 Nephi 11:36) (Put the “Pride of the World” label next to the building.)
Pride and feelings of superiority because of possessions, physical abilities, or accomplishments are empty and have nothing to hold them up, because everything we have comes from God. Like the building floating in the air, people lifted up in pride eventually will fall because they refuse to turn to God. They do not realize that the things the world values such as wealth, honors, physical beauty, and physical ability have no value after death. The only thing of value will be the relationships and the righteous characteristics we develop while on the earth. If we spend our time seeking after worldly things, we may miss the opportunity to develop the things that will be important in the eternities.
In the vision there were those who fell away, but there were also people who partook of the fruit and then remained faithful. The people who remain faithful are those who endure by continuing to seek for and obey the word of God. Because of their study and prayers they have a clear understanding of what has lasting value, and they ignore the world’s empty offerings. They know that eternal life is better than anything that the world has to offer, because it is the greatest of all God’s gifts.
Weekly Reading Assignment
- Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 8:1-38, 1 Nephi 11:1-36 and 1 Nephi 15:1-36.