This week’s study in the Come, Follow Me manual teaches about one of my favorite topics in the Book of Mormon: Lehi’s vision. It’s a story that many of us know well and have studied much. One thing I have always loved about this narrative is the phrase Nephi uses to describe the way his father Lehi tells the family of his dream — he says Lehi does so with “all the feeling of a tender parent.”
As a parent myself, I can understand how Lehi must have felt when he saw that two of his four sons would not follow his counsel to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. As a prophet and a father, he knew what that meant. It meant that their immortal souls were in danger; that they were making decisions that would preclude them from entering into the Savior’s presence and partaking of the goodness of God.
How he must have been pained beyond comprehension at the thought of losing even one of his children to the world! It is what we all fear. I believe every parent would give all that they possess to save their children from such a fate. I myself have pleaded on my knees on many occasions for my five children, many of whom are still young and making pivotal decisions that will shape the rest of their lives. I remember thinking, “If I could just get my kids to marry in the temple, then all will be well.” I saw it almost like a “you have arrived” moment.
What I have realized, however, is that we are never truly done fighting and clinging to the iron rod. Just because we make it to the temple, or on a mission, or to the baptismal font doesn’t mean that we can be lackadaisical in our pressing forward. Satan will never stop trying to make us miserable. He will try again and again to drag us into the mists of darkness and the great and spacious building, ever hoping that this time we will ease our grip on the rod and give in to the world.
Once, when I was young girl, I had an experience that changed my life forever. I have a cousin that I love with all my heart. We were the best of friends as kids. We spent every Christmas, family vacation, and summer holiday together, as well as just about every free moment we could get while living a few hours away from each other. We cried when we had to go back home, and pined for the time we would see each other again. I loved my cousin and would have done anything for her.
One night shortly after a visit with this special cousin of mine, I had a life-changing dream.
It was night in my dream as I walked towards my grandmother’s house. I noticed that the small window leading to the basement was the only light in the house on, so I walked towards the window to peer inside. The sounds that were coming from my grandmother’s basement made me stop in sudden terror and when I bent down to peer inside the window, I saw my dear cousin chained to the wall, crying out in pain as she was being whipped by Satan. He was laughing at her pain and pleased that he had finally caught her in his snare and had her just where he wanted her.
I remember being terrified and crying profusely in my dream, not knowing what to do to save my cousin. I immediately began to pray. “Please, Father, I am afraid and I cannot save her. Please show me what to do.”
I cannot adequately describe how something in a dream can feel so real, but I felt a hand on my shoulder as real as any I have felt before or since. And in my dream, I lifted my head to look behind me and I saw my Savior. He didn’t say anything to me, He just looked at me with so much love and strength in His eyes that I knew everything would be okay. I knew that even though I couldn’t save my cousin, He could.
I woke up then, tears streaming down my face, with a love for my Savior that I still cherish to this day.
I learned that all the love of a tender parent, or cousin, or sister, or friend isn’t enough to save another person. I cannot of myself save anyone’s soul or grant them exaltation, but I do know someone who can. The Savior is the way all of us can find peace in this world when someone we love strays from the path and brings our hearts sorrow.
He knows what they need and He will be there when they are ready to ask for His help—and whether in this life or the next, they will have it.
President Boyd K Packer taught:
“The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But you can feel your way. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life” (Boyd K. Packer, “Lehi’s Dream and You,” New Era, Jan. 2015).
May we ever be willing to feel our way to the Savior and help those we love to do the same. And when we remember that we cannot do it for them, may we have faith and trust in a Messiah who promised that He would do what the rest of us could not. He would fulfill the plan of our tender and feeling Parent and save us all.
Lead image: Tree of Life by Chelsea Speirs
Janette Beverley is a lover of life, family, music, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, and has five amazing children and one equally amazing husband. Janette is excited to be writing for LDS Blogs and sharing her love and passion for finding the miraculous among the mundane, the awe-inspiring among the obvious, and the uplifting among the underestimated. To read more of her work, you can visit Janette's personal blog here.