Lehi’s Dream of the tree of life (found in 1st Nephi 8) is a commonly read and interpreted chapter of the scriptures. The other night during our nightly planning session I felt as though I should read it, so I planned to do so in personal study the next day. It was a GREAT study! The Phrase that stuck out to me from the chapter was, “But we heeded them not.-1st Nephi 8:33”
There is so much power in that short statement. As you may recall in Lehi’s vision there is a group of individuals who found the iron rod, pressed forward to the tree of life clinging to the iron rod until the found and partook of the fruit of the tree of life. Immediately after they partook of the tree they were ashamed. After I read this I was honestly confused. Why would this group that was so adamant about partaking of the fruit instantly be ashamed? The next couple of verses shed light on why they were ashamed. They say,
“26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it 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.
28 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.” These saints couldn’t handle the heat of mocking from the popular, worldly people.
Do we ever find ourselves struggling in the same way these saints did? I bet the answer is yes for everyone. There have assuredly been times that I have felt discouraged to press onward. My major testing grounds were in high school, and probably are still going today. I can remember time after time when people tried to make fun of our religion, and other times when they actually would. It still happens and will most likely never stop. What can stop however is our “heedment.” We must be like Paul, “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;(Romans 1:16)” We must also be like the soldiers of Moroni, “they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ.(Alma 46:21)”