Sunday, January 3, 2010

October 19th 2009

Dear Friends & Family,

How are you all doing this week? I miss you all so much, but we've been so busy as well. We're struggling to find more people to teach, so we've been working twice as hard. No luck yet...but I guess it doesn't really come down to luck, does it? Still, things are going well. My companion and I get along really well and she's easy to work with.

Lately, I've been studying a little more about Lehi's vision of the “Tree of Life.” I never realized how consistently the Book of Mormon refers to this vision and how deep of doctrine it really contains. After we have dinner with members, we've been reading the account of the dream in 1 Nephi 8 and having each of the members draw what we read. After discussing the meaning and symbolism of the dream, we have the members draw themselves in the picture. Then they draw 2 non-member friends. It's interesting to see where people put themselves and their friends, and how it makes them evaluate what they need to be doing in life and how they want to help their loved ones.

It's especially interesting to hear others' interpretations of the vision. There are things we know for sure—the tree is the love of God, the iron rod is God's word, the building is the pride of the world, the darkness is the temptations of the devil. But we are told to liken the scriptures unto ourselves, and everybody does that a little differently. Some people have said that for them, the iron rod circles around the tree, others said that they think the path keeps going after the tree. That's how some people partake of the fruit but became ashamed and fell away. It's sad that that happens. The scriptures say it's worse to leave the path after entering than it is to never get on the path. And when you think how much is lost when you never enter that path, how much more will be lost when you leave it? It's like Elder Holland talked about—the very ELECT will be deceived. That's how much power Satan has. It's a scary thought and reminds me much more of the importance of holding to the rod. There's the tree at the end of the path, which is most desirable, and we can't let it out of our sight.

Sister Smith

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