“Vine and Branches,” Ensign, July 2015, 64–65
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Plant name: Vitis vinifera
Plant type: perennial, dicotyledonous angiosperm
Like other flowering angiosperms, a grapevine has a solid, woody stem, which supports the plant and carries water and nutrients from the anchoring roots.
The use of stakes and trellises for training the growth of grapevines has been practiced for over 2,000 years. This allows farmers to make sure the plants receive the right amount of sunlight and aeration, as well as to make sure that the branches don’t lie on the ground, where the grapes are more likely to become spoiled.
Anciently, grapevines were pruned at two main times of the year: in the autumn after the harvest (a major purge) and in the spring before and after blooming (minor trimming to control growth and ensure a fruitful crop).
Feeds the branches. Our spiritual nourishment comes to us through the Savior. Both individually and as a church, if we do not abide in Him, we can do nothing—nothing, that is, that would be fruitful for us or the world in terms of helping people return to Heavenly Father and become what He desires us to become.
Gives water to the branches. Jesus Christ is the living water. Our souls are refreshed and enlivened by Him. Without Him, we would wither spiritually.
Lifts, supports, and anchors the plant. Our heavenward growth is made possible only through Jesus Christ, whose grace holds us up when we are weak. He is also our source of hope, which “maketh an anchor to the souls of men” (Ether 12:4).
Branches of a grapevine:
Bear fruit. As we abide in Christ, we bring forth the fruits of the gospel—Christlike attributes in our lives, service to our fellowmen, peace and joy in our hearts, the preaching of the gospel, repentance and conversion in ourselves and others, sacred covenants with God, happiness in our families and communities, and much more.
Bear more fruit if they are carefully pruned. When grapevines are properly tended and pruned, the bunches that form on the branches have large and numerous grapes. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6). If we are teachable and will endure correction, we will bring forth fruit abundantly. But if we are willful, prideful, and “grow wild,” we no longer abide in Christ and will not be as fruitful.
Are trained to grow off the ground so they’ll be most healthy and fruitful. Christ’s gospel and His Church help us overcome the tendency of the natural man to sag in sin and selfishness and to wallow in worldly things that harm us spiritually. By living the gospel and keeping covenants, we are lifted up to greater joy, peace, and service.