Lesson 4 – Tree of Life Vision

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Lesson 4
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 Book of Mormon for each child, a bag of white Lifesaver mints (don’t remove the mints from their clear individual wrappers), chalk, and tape.


Scripture Story
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 chalk 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 degree 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 his son 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 on to 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 the children 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 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 tauntings 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. 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 remained faithful are those who endured 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.
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Lesson 23 – Alma Counsels His Sons Helaman and Shiblon

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 Alma Counsels His Sons Helaman and Shiblon

• Items needed: some vegetables, matches, a winter hat and gloves, a display board, a writing instrument for the display board, a page protector with a piece of cardstock in it, tape, a Book of Mormon for each child, and one to two Tootsie Pop suckers for each child.
• Print two copies of the treasure chest onto cardstock. Cut out the treasure chests and glue the halves together with strong glue. Finish putting together the treasure chests by folding them and taping the parts together where indicated. (The treasure chest is from the June 2000 Friend,”One of God’s Greatest Gifts.”)
• Print the scripture references and matching word strips onto cardstock, and cut them out. Tape one scripture reference to each Tootsie Pop stick. (Optional: tie a gold ribbon on each Tootsie pop.) Color the bottom of each Tootsie Pop with a different colored crayon or marker. Put each scriptures color on the back of its matching word strip. (Check the game answers found in the lesson to see which scripture goes with each word strip.) Divide the Tootsie Pop suckers between each treasure box. Put the word strips on the page protector with rolled pieces of tape.
• Make a Nakamura lock paper airplane and practice using it before class according to the directions in the lesson.
• Make two treasure maps using the instructions as a guide. Before teaching this lesson, hide the treasure boxes in the locations marked on the maps.
• Print the reading chart.

Attention Activity
Show the children the vegetables, the matches, and the winter hat and gloves. Ask what words of counsel and warning their parents have given them concerning these items. (Eat their vegetables, don’t play with fire, and wear gloves and a hat in the winter.)

• Why did your parents give counsel and warning about these items? (Because their parents love them and want them to be safe, healthy, and happy.)

Point out that our parents give us counsel and warning about many things in life because they love us. Explain that in today’s lesson they will learn some important counsel the prophet Alma gave to his sons Helaman and Shiblon. The counsel is recorded in the scriptures because it is applicable to us too. We first read about the counsel Alma gave to his son Helaman. Helaman is to be the next spiritual leader of the people. He is also to keep a record of the people and keep the past records safe. Alma stressed the importance of the scriptures in his counsel to his son Helaman. Alma told Helaman that keeping the records was a small and simple thing, but it would bring to pass great things. (Alma 37:6-7)

Show an example of how small things can bring about great things by showing the children the paper airplane you prepared. Explain that airplanes and ships have a small item on the back of them called a rudder. The rudder controls the direction a plane or a ship goes. Demonstrate this by bending the back vertical edge of the airplane to the right. Fly the plane and it should go to the right. Also demonstrate bending it to the left so it will fly left.

Explain that just as a small rudder determines the direction a large plane or ship goes, so can reading the scriptures, and doing the things found in them, change the course and direction of many people’s lives.

Have the children look up Alma 37:8 and list on the board the great things the scriptures did for the Nephites and Lamanites who heeded them.

1. Enlarged the memories of the people. The people could fall into sin if they did not have a written record of God’s word to remind them of the right things they needed to do. Read Mosiah 1:5-7

2. Convinced many of the error of their ways, bringing them to repentance. Alma 37:9 reminds us that the people of Ammon (who had once been Lamanites) would not have changed from their evil and murderous ways if it had not been for the scriptures Ammon taught them.

3. Brought many to a knowledge of their God to the salvation of their souls. In Alma 37:4 it talks about the scriptural records of the Nephites going forth to every nation so people could know the mysteries they contain. A mystery is something people don’t understand. Through the scriptures we get to know and understand God and his purposes. His purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He gives us commandments and scriptures to show us how to gain eternal life and bring salvation to our souls.

Treasure Map Activity
Show the children the treasure map and explain that just like a treasure map shows how to find a treasure, the scriptures show us how to obtain the treasure of eternal life. Ask what would happen if they went to look for the treasure but chose not to look at the map to see how to find it. They wouldn’t find the treasure. Have the children read Alma 37:46.

• What happens if we have the scriptures but are slothful and choose not to do the easy and simple thing of reading and following them? We would not gain the treasure of eternal life.

Tell the children that you have hidden two treasure boxes somewhere in the building or outside in the grounds. Divide the children into two groups and give each group a map. Have the children follow the treasure map and find the treasure you have hidden. Tell the children to bring back the treasure box without opening it. When they are all seated and you have their attention, open the treasure chests and show them the treasure. Ask how they would feel if they had not found a treasure box because they chose not to follow the map, and how they would feel if they saw the other group with their treasure and saw what they could have had.

• How will it feel in heaven if we don’t follow the map (the scriptures), but eternally we realize the treasure we could have had? What can we do to make sure we follow the map while we are on the earth?

• What age should we start following the map? Alma explains in 37:35 that children should learn wisdom and learn to keep the commandments in their youth. Point out that the scripture means we should begin to study and learn the way to eternal life from the time when we are very young.


President Gordon B. Hinckley explained why we should learn wisdom in our youth by telling the story of a young tree he had planted. After planting the young tree, he hadn’t paid much attention to it. But after several years he looked out the window and noticed it was leaning, misshapen, and out of balance due to a strong east wind that hit that part of the yard the hardest. When he saw the damage done to the tree, he tried to straighten the tree, but by that time the trunk was a foot in diameter and he couldn’t budge it. He had to cut a huge branch off the tree to balance it, which left a big scar on the tree and was probably very traumatic for the young tree. President Hinckley wished he had taken the time to attach a support system to the tree while it was young to shore it up and keep it straight and true.
(Ensign, November 1993, 59)

In President Hinckley’s story, the tree represents a person who did not gain needed gospel training in their youth. The wind represents Satan’s temptations. Because the person wasn’t supported with a knowledge of the scriptures and other gospel truths as a child, he/she was susceptible to the warping influence of Satan’s temptations throughout their life.

If we are wise we will learn good habits in our youth and take the time to properly shape who we will become by reading and applying the scriptures in our lives. Sin can damage a person’s life and leave huge scars that are difficult to heal. Sin is so damaging that it is the one thing a Book of Mormon prophet (Alma) counseled us to have an everlasting hatred toward. (See Alma 37:32)

Alma didn’t want the damaging effects of sin in his son’s lives, so he counseled his sons Helaman and Shiblon on how to grow straight and true so they could gain the greatest treasure of all, which is eternal life. Remind the children that a straight and true person means someone who follows what is right and doesn’t bend and go with Satan’s temptations. Alma’s counsel to his sons also applies to us and teaches us how to grow straight and true.

Once again show the children the treasure of Tootsie Pops. Point out the sticks on the Tootsie Pops and explain that the stick helps support the wonderful treat so it stands straight and makes it easy to get access to it. Also show the children the scripture references that are taped to the Tootsie Pop sticks. Explain that each of the scripture references is an item of council that Alma gave his sons. Just like the Tootsie Pop sticks gives easier access to a wonderful treat, if we will do the things found in the scriptures we will stand straight and true and gain access to the greatest treasure of all – eternal life.

Show the children the word strips, and tell them they are going to do a matching game with the scripture references. Have the children take turns choosing a Tootsie Pop from a treasure box, looking up and reading the scripture reference out loud, and then choosing which word strip best describes what they learn from that scripture. (You may wish to have the scriptures bookmarked in your scriptures for quick and easy access for the children to read, or you may wish to have all the children look up each scripture.)  Have the child check to see if it is a correct match by checking the bottom of the stick and then checking the back of the word strip. The colors should match if it is a correct match. Each child gets to keep the tootsie pops they match up. (You may wish to have them tape the matching word strip to their Tootsie Pop stick to remind them what the scripture says.)

Game Answers
Discuss the scriptures with the children as they make their matches. (The bulleted items below may help with the discussion.)

Alma 38:11 & 14 – Be humble
• What problems does pride cause? Answers might include the following: thinking we are better than others, thinking we don’t need the Lord’s help, etc.
• How can we overcome pride? Acknowledge the Lords hand in our lives. Acknowledge our weaknesses.
Alma 37: 36-37 – Pray always
• How does prayer help us? We can get direction and help from a loving father who knows all things.
Alma 38:5 – Have faith in God.
• Trust the Lord that he can help you with your problems.
Alma 38:12 – Control your emotions. Avoid wasting time.
• Bridle means control, and passions are emotions and feelings. So we are to control our anger, impatience, and other emotions and not let them control us. Idleness means unwilling to work, or being lazy and wasting time.
Alma 38:1 – Be obedient to be blessed.
• When we are obedient we are blessed with his spirit to help guide us, but if we disobey we cut ourselves off from that help and guidance. Also see D&C 130:21 – When we obtain any blessing from God it by obedience to the law upon which is is predicated.  
Alma 37:34 – Persist in doing good works for they will bring you joy. True joy comes from serving and loving others.
Alma 38:13 – Don’t exhibit or do your good works to gain the praise of others.
Alma 38:10 – Teach the word of God. Be hard working and self-controlled.
Alma 37:46 – Put effort into keeping all the commandments, even if they are easy.
• We are told to do some basic, simple things. An example would be to read the scriptures and say our prayers. Sometimes we don’t realize the important things we can gain from such simple acts, and so we don’t do them, and then we lose our opportunity for eternal life.
Alma 38:2 – Continue striving to do the right things throughout your life, until death.

Encourage the children to read their scriptures daily. Remind the children that the scriptures are a map that can lead us to the greatest treasure of all, eternal life. In order to gain the guidance the scriptures have to offer, we need to read them and apply the things we learn from them into our lives. Give the children the new reading chart, and encourage them to keep reading their reading assignments each week so that they can gain the important direction found in the scriptures.

Weekly Reading Assignment

Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – Alma 37:1-20 &35–47 and Alma 38:1–15

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