Information for this article courtesy of Mark Staker, Museum of Church History and Art
Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.”
With these words, the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi reveals a divine vision that testifies of God’s love for his children and his desire that they return to his presence. In the vision, God’s love is symbolized by a “tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.” Lehi’s wife, Sariah, and two of their sons, Sam and Nephi, respond to his invitation to join him at the tree. But, to his sorrow, his rebellious sons, Laman and Lemuel, “would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.”
Lehi sees that although “numberless concourses of people” walk the path of life toward the tree, many become lost. Those who hold fast to a symbolic rod of iron eventually reach the tree and enjoy the fruit. But even after tasting fruit that Lehi said “filled my soul with exceedingly great joy,” some still fall away “into forbidden paths.” Many succumb to the jeers of mocking crowds calling from “a great and spacious building” (1 Ne. 8:2–35).
Lehi’s son Nephi saw the same vision and was given the interpretation of its symbolism (see 1 Ne. 11–14; 1 Ne. 15:21–36). Taking images from Lehi’s vision, as interpreted by Nephi, Latter-day Saint artists from around the world have used various media over the years to express their testimonies. The following pages contain some of these representations, reminding us to “give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things” (1 Ne. 15:25).