Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Post Reply
User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 487
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by Beefster » 31 Jan 2018, 19:07

I think I've fully accepted that I am in Stage 4, and I gotta say that the Mists of Darkness describe the experience aptly. So many conflicting voices everywhere with very little in the way of sight. It's probably the biggest test of faith of all time.

I was raised to hold onto an iron rod, but I don't yet know if it was the Iron Rod. Maybe the iron rod is not entirely continuous...

Which actually reminds me of Aaron's Camp one year when I was growing up. They did an elaborate Iron Rod activity one night where we were all blindfolded and had to find our way to the tree of life. The start was pretty simple. Follow the "still small voice" (camp counselors) to the "rod" (actually a rope for obvious logistical reasons) that was about 50 feet away. We followed it through twists and turns, and over rocks and rivers. (I gotta say, I love the nuance there) At one point, the "rod" suddenly ended...

That's where I metaphorically find myself now and has parallels to Stage 4 and faith crises. I don't know how far it is to the next part of the rod, but I have hope there is more rod.

... We had to once again turn to the "still small voice" to find our way to the rest of the rod about 50 feet away, which led to the tree before too long. At the end, we were greeted by the camp Mom and Dad and most of us were bawling by then. It was a very touching experience.

Meta knowledge (i.e. knowing about Lehi's Dream) helped a lot in this case. But I suppose that's where an understanding of God's love comes in. A loving God would provide a continuation of the rod. He would provide the means to find it and get there. Maybe the second part of the rod will be different than I expected, but it will definitely lead to the tree.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

User avatar
Ilovechrist77
Posts: 650
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 01 Feb 2018, 00:26

I think I've fully accepted that I am in Stage 4, and I gotta say that the Mists of Darkness describe the experience aptly. So many conflicting voices everywhere with very little in the way of sight. It's probably the biggest test of faith of all time.

I was raised to hold onto an iron rod, but I don't yet know if it was the Iron Rod. Maybe the iron rod is not entirely continuous...

Which actually reminds me of Aaron's Camp one year when I was growing up. They did an elaborate Iron Rod activity one night where we were all blindfolded and had to find our way to the tree of life. The start was pretty simple. Follow the "still small voice" (camp counselors) to the "rod" (actually a rope for obvious logistical reasons) that was about 50 feet away. We followed it through twists and turns, and over rocks and rivers. (I gotta say, I love the nuance there) At one point, the "rod" suddenly ended...

That's where I metaphorically find myself now and has parallels to Stage 4 and faith crises. I don't know how far it is to the next part of the rod, but I have hope there is more rod.

... We had to once again turn to the "still small voice" to find our way to the rest of the rod about 50 feet away, which led to the tree before too long. At the end, we were greeted by the camp Mom and Dad and most of us were bawling by then. It was a very touching experience.

Meta knowledge (i.e. knowing about Lehi's Dream) helped a lot in this case. But I suppose that's where an understanding of God's love comes in. A loving God would provide a continuation of the rod. He would provide the means to find it and get there. Maybe the second part of the rod will be different than I expected, but it will definitely lead to the tree.
I really like that, Beefster. Thank you for sharing. Have you ever seen this article before: http://www.zionsbest.com/people.html? It gives a very interesting perspective. I'm also Stage 4, so that does help me out.

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 6089
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Feb 2018, 06:33

This is worth pondering a bit, I see your point.

As to the iron rod, it is not at all clear that Lehi used the rod to get to the tree, and evidence actually implies he did not - the angel pointed out the rod to him and it is worded in such a way as to imply Lehi had not seen it before. I'm not at all opposed to the idea of the rod and its purpose, although I'm also not convinced it's the BoM itself. What if Word was meant to be capitalized? That would give it a whole different meaning. I also believe there is not just one path.

I also consider myself stage 4 and I see through a glass darkly. But I think some parts of my beliefs are stage 5 and some are stage 3 and some go back and forth between stages. I'm not we can be solidly in one stage or another all the time.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

AmyJ
Posts: 780
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by AmyJ » 01 Feb 2018, 08:08

Current interpretation of Lehi's Dream for me ( your milage may vary):

Fruit of the tree = a symbol of the "love of God" or God's love for us. It wasn't the church. It wasn't even mentioned as eternal life. To me, it is about identifying and sustaining your relationship with God.

Rod of Iron = a symbol of People seeking God and feeling God's love for them individually. The church can be a place for people to feel God's love for them - but it is not the only place. In fact, I think that places where people enter a transition point in their lives are more likely to be the place to feel God's love (for example, temples, military skirmishes, hospitals, jails, hospices, AA meetings, various camps etc). I think that each segment of the rod of Iron is a touchstone experience that a person holds onto saying "This is what I know about God". It also probably includes letting go of some rods and finding others throughout the journey.

So all the people were going towards, milling around, or running away from God's love for a variety of reasons. And it was a very murky perilous place those people were located in. But God's love is still there, shining brightly in the darkness - and the fruit is still good (for the most part).

SIDE NOTE: The fruit described in Alma 32 bears an uncanny resemblance to the fruit mentioned in Lehi's Dream.
What if Alma 32 is a manual for growing Charity (the love of God) in our own lives?

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 487
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by Beefster » 01 Feb 2018, 08:24

@DarkJedi: I agree that there isn't just one way to the tree. The rod is one of many ways. Perhaps the safest, but not necessarily the most direct. Sure beats going about my business blindly. But I guess you're right that it never says that the rod actually led to the tree; that's just assumed. There may not be more rod, but that's okay. The tree is still there.

Perhaps God never wanted us to be over-reliant on the iron rod. It's comforting to know that he trusts me to live without a rod for a while. God has faith in me. (Of course, not in the worshipful sense, for obvious reasons)

I would suggest that everyone's experience of the metaphorical vision is different. Some people's rods really do go all the way to the tree. Some people are perfectly content never going past stage 3 and perhaps that's because they had a continuous rod.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16141
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by Curt Sunshine » 01 Feb 2018, 13:47

The wonderful thing about metaphors is that they can be interpreted and understood differently without being wrong, even if interpretations and understandings are radically different.

I love the "Word" interpretation, especially given John's definition of that being God, the Son. I can accept and preach that view.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
Posts: 5129
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Tree of Life Vision - the Mists of Darkness = Stage 4

Post by Roy » 01 Feb 2018, 14:48

Curt Sunshine wrote:
01 Feb 2018, 13:47
The wonderful thing about metaphors is that they can be interpreted and understood differently without being wrong, even if interpretations and understandings are radically different.
I second this notion! you can see meaning that is different than or on top of the intent of the author and still be correct.

A few thoughts:

1) I looked at the iron rod/word of God as eternal law. It is described as both the iron rod AND the mists of darkness / large chasm separating the "seekers" from the spacious building. The BoM says something about the mists of darkness having something to do with the temptations of Satan but that is not necessarily inconsistent with this theory. The temptations of Satan can coax you onto the "wrong side" of the law. Eternal law can be helpful when we follow it. It can be harsh, punitive, and crushing when we do not. The BoM and the OT are full of examples where "God" appears in light to His followers but that outsiders see the same event as a mass of darkness.

2) As DJ and Curt have suggested maybe the tree and the rod BOTH represent the Son. Perhaps the differences represent how He can fulfill different needs in our lives at different times. Sometimes we need something firm to hold onto while we are in the valley of despair and being buffeted with strong winds.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
At other times He can be as a tranquil tree that gives us a place to rest, eat some fruit, and just be still - pondering the universe and feeling the "love of God" washing over us.

3) Finally, if you haven't read it you really should take a look at the talk "What the Church means to People Like Me" by Richard Poll.
http://www.zionsbest.com/people.html
He compares Mormons that approach seeking God through instruments like the iron rod and the liahona. Once again, as in my second point maybe God was not waiting for us at the end of the journey but was instead with us through every joy and sorrow - a god that will never leave or forsake.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Post Reply