1 Nephi 8

1 Ne 8:2 Lehi's dream
 
Few Book of Mormon themes have received as much attention as has Lehi's dream. It has been the subject of songs, paintings, and a multitude of gospel discussions. One of the reasons that it is so powerful is that it is not just a dream about a tree, a building, a river, and a path; it is a metaphor for life. As the psalmist said, we are strangers in the earth (Ps 119:19) left to find our way, so it seems, in a foreign land. In such a dreary and confusing quest, Lehi's dream seems to give the needed direction to help us navigate successfully. The trek rings true to life with its mists of darkness, mocking fingers, moments of joy, concern for family members, and a strait and narrow path. Fortunately, we are told the dream twice, through the eyes of two visionaries, Lehi and Nephi. Lehi tells the story; Nephi gives the interpretation. Both increase our understanding of the metaphor.
 
1 Ne 8:4 a dark and dreary wilderness
 
Hugh Nibley
"In his dreams Lehi finds himself wandering 'in a dark and dreary waste,' a 'dark and dreary wilderness,' where he must travel 'for the space of many hours in darkness,' lost and helpless (1 Nephi 8:4-8). Of all the images that haunt the early Arab poets this is by all odds the commonest; it is the standard nightmare of the Arab; and it is the supreme boast of every poet that he has traveled long distances through dark and dreary wastes all alone. Invariably darkness is given as the main source of terror (the heat and glare of the day, though nearly always mentioned, are given second place), and the culminating horror is almost always a 'mist of darkness,' a depressing mixture of dust, and clammy fog, which, added to the night, completes the confusion of any who wander in the waste. Quite contrary to what one would expect, these dank mists are described by travelers in all parts of Arabia, and al-Ajajj, one of the greatest of early desert poets, tells how a 'mist of darkness' makes it impossible for him to continue a journey to Damascus. In its nature and effect Lehi's 'mist of darkness' (1 Nephi 8:23) conforms to this strange phenomenon most exactly." (Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites, p. 47-8).
 
 1 Ne 8:7-33 The symbolism in Lehi's dream
SYMBOL (what Lehi saw)
MEANING
Large and spacious field (v.9)
the world (v. 20)
Tree            (v.10)
the love of God (1 Ne 11:22)
Fruit            (v.10)
the love of God or eternal life (1 Ne 15:36)
River of water (v.13)
depths of the river=depths of hell (1 Ne 12:16)
Rod of iron (v.19) 
the word of God (1 Ne 11:25)
Strait and narrow path (v.20)
the way to eternal life (2 Ne 31:18)
Mist of Darkness (v.23)
the temptations of the devil (1 Ne 12:17)
Great and spacious building
the vain imaginations and pride of the world (1 Ne 11:36, 12:18)
SYMBOL (what Nephi saw)
MEANING
Fountain of living waters (1 Ne 11:25)
the love of God (1 Ne 11:25)
Terrible gulf (1 Ne 12:18)
the justice of the Eternal God (1 Ne 12:18)
1 Ne 8:11 the fruit...was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted.
 
The blessings of the Lord surpass all human understanding. So it is when one fully comprehends the love of God.  That love can be felt in the loneliest deserts or in his blessed presence.  The blessings of God's love and eternal life are available only through the atonement.
 
George F. Richards
I had a dream, which I am sure was from the Lord. In this dream I was in the presence of the Savior as he stood in mid-air. He spoke no word to me, but my love for him was such that I have not words to explain. I know that no mortal man can love the Lord as I experienced that love for the Savior, unless God reveals it unto him. . . . [As] a result of that dream I had this feeling, that no matter what the gospel might entail unto me, I would do what I should be asked to do, even to the laying down of my life. (Conference Report, Oct 1946, p.139) 
 
David A. Bednar
The fruit on the tree is a symbol for the blessings of the Atonement.  Partaking of the fruit of the tree represents the receiving of ordinances and covenants whereby the Atonement can become fully efficacious in our lives.  The fruit is described as "desirable to make one happy" (1 Ne 8:10) and produces great joy and the desire to share that joy with others. (Ensign, Oct. 2011, 34)
 
1 Ne 8:12 I began to be desirous that my family should partake
 
Marion D. Hanks
"There are those whom you love and when anything that is really important happens to you, you want to share it with the people you love. That is the way Lehi was when he tasted the fruit of the gospel. This is the motivation behind the whole missionary, the proselyting, the sharing program of the Church. It is a simple thing, yes, but the longer I live the more impressive it becomes to me that no real Latter-day Saint with convictions can ever retire to a chimney corner, a kind of spiritual isolation, and clasp to his bosom the blessings of the gospel and thank God he has it, and, grieve that others are without it. Rather, if he really tastes the fruit he will not be able to refrain from desiring to share it with those he loves best and with all his brothers and sisters-the children of God. I say this sentiment is as normal and natural as it can be." (BYU Speeches of the Year, May 4, 1960, p. 5.)
 
1 Ne 8:19 rod of iron...extended along the bank of the river
 
The fact that the rod of iron is so close to this river is significant. Remember that Nephi later describes a terrible gulf that this river runs through. The depths of the river represent the depths of hell. Therefore, the depths of hell are not far from the rod of iron; it doesn't take many steps off the strait and narrow path before one falls into the terrible gulf and the river. Mormon wrote, thus we can plainly see that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. (Alma 24:30)
 
1 Ne 8:19 the importance of the rod of iron
 
What a powerful tool of righteousness! What a wonderful secret! Lehi gives us the secret to successfully navigating life's journey. It doesn't matter if there are mists of darkness, vapors of darkness, windstorms, rocky roads, or rivers of filthy waters. If one remembers to hold onto the word of God as if it were one's spiritual lifeline, the promise of eternal life is given.
 
Ezra Taft Benson
"We must engage in activities that bring spiritual power. I speak of such activities as immersing ourselves in the scriptures. There is a power that flows into our lives when we read and study the scriptures on a daily basis that cannot be found in any other way." (1987-1988 BYU Devotional and Fireside Speeches, pp. 53-54, as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.31)
 
Merrill J. Bateman
"A casual, infrequent exposure to the scriptures will generally not open the door to the whisperings of the Spirit or provide insights...There are certain blessings obtained when one searches the scriptures. As a person studies the words of the Lord and obeys them, he or she draws closer to the Savior and obtains a greater desire to live a righteous life. The power to resist temptation increases, and spiritual weaknesses are overcome. Spiritual wounds are healed....According to the vision, the only way to reach the tree and become a permanent partaker of the fruit was to 'continually [hold] fast' to the iron rod (1 Ne 8:30). What was the rod of iron? Nephi defined it as the 'word of God'-the words of the living prophets and the scriptures which point people to Christ. Nephi further stated that those who hearkened and held fast to the word of God would never perish (See 1 Ne 15:24)...Holding fast to the iron rod builds faith in Christ and his work....President Benson, in the April 1986 general conference, expressed these thoughts: 'However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.'" (Ensign, May 1986, p. 82, as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.30)
 
George Q. Cannon
"Though impenetrable darkness should surround us, we ought, as a people and as individuals, to cling to that truth which the Lord has revealed concerning this work; cling to the Priesthood; cling to the 'rod of iron,' which is the word of God, and the word of God comes through the Priesthood.  Let each one say:  'I will serve God, no matter what happens; I will cling to His Priesthood, which God has put in His Church to govern it, no matter what the consequences may be.'  That is the integrity we should cherish, and which we should teach to our children.  Unless we do, we will never accomplish that which God designs for us." (Collected Discourses 1886-1898, vol. 5, edited by Brian H. Stuy, George Q. Cannon, April 5, 1897)
 
1Ne 8:20 a strait and narrow path
 
Neal A. Maxwell
"The strait and narrow path, though clearly marked, is a path, not a freeway nor an escalator. Indeed, there are times when the only way the strait and narrow path can be followed is on one's knees! And we are to help each other along the path." (Ensign, May 1982, p.38 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.32)
 
Delbert L. Stapley
"To enter the straight gate implies obedience to gospel requirements, and the narrow way that leads to life connotes additional requirements, rites, and ordinances for all who desire salvation and exaltation....I should like to ask, 'What is the straight gate spoken of by the Savior by which we should enter?' All who have repented and then been baptized and received the Holy Ghost by authorized servants of God have entered in by the strait gate. The narrow way can only be followed by obedience and faithfulness to all the sacred ordinances and requirements of the higher gospel plan, obtained in the holy temples of God." (Conference Report, Apr. 1955, pp. 66-68 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.32)
 
1 Ne 8:20 the meaning of the word "strait"
 
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Mark you, this word strait is spelled s-t-r-a-i-t and not s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t. While no doubt, that path which leads into the presence of God is straight, it is also strait, which means that those who enter into it will find it restricted; it is narrow; they cannot take with them that which does not apply, or which does not belong to the kingdom of God. All such things must be left behind when we enter into this narrow way which leads in to the presence of God, where we can receive life eternal. 'Few there be that find it.'" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2. pp. 13-14 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.31-2)
 
Bruce R. McConkie
"The course leading to eternal life is both strait and straight. It is straight because it has an invariable direction -- always it is the same. There are no diversions, crooked paths, or tangents leading to the kingdom of God. It is strait because it is narrow and restricted, a course where full obedience to the full law is required. Straightness has reference to direction, straitness to width. The gate is strait; the path is both strait and straight. (2 Ne. 9:41; 31:9, 17-18; 33:9; Alma 37:44-45; Hela. 3:29-30; 3 Ne. 14:13-14; 27:33; D. & C. 22; 132:22; Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24; Heb. 12:13; Jer. 31:9.)
 
"Thus by entering in at the strait gate (which is repentance and baptism) a person gets on the 'straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life.' (2 Ne. 31:17-18.)" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 769)
 
1 Ne 8:21 I saw numberless concourses of people
 
"Lehi beheld 'numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which [he] stood.'  It is just so today.  Multitudes of the earth's inhabitants respond regularly to the Light of Christ and seek to know more of the will of him whose they are.  They seek to get on that path which leads directly to peace here and eternal life hereafter.  But navigating the strait and narrow path takes care and caution.  One's eyes must ever be fixed upon the Lord and his glory, and thus the traveler must be willing to forsake the extraneous and the unnecessary things which the world offers so readily.
 
"The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote in 1839 that 'there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it' (D&C 123:12).  In some cases, even those who find the truth are not able to forsake the world and its trappings and thus travel unencumbered down the narrow gospel passageway.  Indeed, it is not difficult to live the principles of the gospel and thus to hold to the iron rod, except where one also attempts to maintain a concurrent grasp on the world." (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 59)
 
Merrill J. Bateman
"Lehi beheld four groups of people traveling in different directions, some toward the tree and others away from it. The first group found the path and began the journey toward the tree. Along the way they encountered a mist of darkness which caused them to wander off and become lost. Others pressed forward, caught hold of the rod of iron, pressed through the mist by clinging to the rod, arrived at the tree, and partook of the fruit. Even though they tasted the sweetness of the fruit, they did not persist. They succumbed to the mocking of finely dressed people who inhabited a great and spacious building across the river. The scoffing and finger-pointing of the well-dressed caused the second group to become ashamed, and they drifted away into forbidden paths and were lost.
 
"The third group pressed forward onto the path and caught hold of the rod. By continually holding to the rod of iron, they reached the tree, fell down, and partook of the fruit. Nephi's record of his father's vision does not elaborate more with regard to these people. However, it is obvious that these are the faithful, those who continually hold to the rod, those who are humbled by the tree and its fruit. This is the only group that falls down at the foot of the tree before partaking of the fruit.
 
"The fourth group in Lehi's vision felt their way towards the great and spacious building. They had little or no interest in searching for the tree or the life it provides. After entering the building, they joined the others in pointing the finger of scorn at Lehi and those eating the fruit. Lehi, Sariah, Sam, and Nephi did not heed the people in the large building. But Laman and Lemuel refused to travel the path toward the tree and partake of the fruit. This upset Lehi, as he feared that the two eldest sons would be cast off from the presence of the Lord. Nephi states that after father Lehi had related all the words of the dream, he exhorted his older sons 'with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words' (1 Ne. 8:37).
 
"Lehi's vision contains many symbols, including the strait and narrow path, the rod of iron, the mist of darkness, the large and spacious building, the river of water, and the tree of life. Each symbol has a special meaning, but the central message concerns the tree and its fruit." (Heroes from the Book of Mormon, p. 19.)
 
David A. Bednar
Father Lehi saw four groups of people in his dream. Three of the groups were pressing forward along the strait and narrow path seeking to obtain the tree and its fruit. A fourth group did not seek after the tree, desiring instead the great and spacious building as their ultimate destination (see 1 Nephi 8:31-33).
 
In 1 Nephi 8:21-23 we learn about the first group of people who pressed forward and commenced in the path that led to the tree of life. However, as the people encountered the mist of darkness, which represents "the temptations of the devil" (1 Nephi 12:17), they lost their way, wandered off, and were lost.
 
Notice that no mention is made in these verses of the rod of iron. Those who ignore or treat lightly the word of God do not have access to that divine compass which points the way to the Savior. Consider that this group obtained the path and pressed forward, exhibiting a measure of faith in Christ and spiritual conviction, but they were diverted by the temptations of the devil and were lost. (Ensign, Oct. 2011, 34-35)
 
1 Ne 8:23 there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist
 
Jeffrey R. Holland
Our times are turbulent and difficult.  We see wars internationally and distress domestically.  Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows.  Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds.  This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi's vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants-the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike.  In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron-the declared word of God-can bring them safely through.  We all need that rod.  We all need that word.  No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can "[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost," as the record says. ("Prophets in the Land Again," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 105)
 
1 Ne 8:28 After they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed...and they fell away
 
It is remarkable to note that this group had tasted of the fruit before they fell away. They were bothered by the scoffers in the great and spacious building. These had tasted of the love of God and then chose the love of men instead. This group of people were not investigators but those who had successfully navigated the mists of darkness of the great and spacious field only to fail after tasting of the fruit. What a tragedy! Robert L. Millet said, "Imagine that! This group of people had received the word of God into their lives and had partaken of the renovating powers of Christ's atonement-their sins had been remitted, and for a season they sang 'the song of redeeming love' (Alma 5:26). What was the problem? They were too concerned with what others thought, too preoccupied with the world's pecking order. They allowed their values to be affected and then shaped by the values of others. That is, they surrendered to pride." (Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth, p. 184)
 
Furthermore, this passage has implications for how we interpret the symbolism of the fruit. Although, Nephi explains that the fruit represents the greatest of all the gifts of God, i.e. eternal life (1 Ne 15:36), the full definition cannot be that narrow. Since the tree itself symbolizes the love of God, the fruit itself must also represent the love of God, especially in this verse. It is impossible to receive eternal life and then fall away, but it is entirely possible to taste of the love of God and then to fall away into forbidden paths.
 
Neal A. Maxwell
"A few members of the Church, alas, desert the cause; they are like one who abandons an oasis to search for water in the desert. Some of these few will doubtless become critics, and they will be welcomed into the 'great and spacious building.' Henceforth, however, so far as their theological accommodations are concerned, they are in a spacious but third-rate hotel. All dressed up, as the Book of Mormon says, 'exceedingly fine' (1 Ne 8:27), they have no place to go except-one day, hopefully, home." (First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, BYU Religious Studies Center, p. 11 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.34)
 
David A. Bednar
In 1 Nephi 8:24-28 we read about a second group of people who obtained the strait and narrow path that led to the tree of life. This group "did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree" (verse 24). However, as the finely dressed occupants of the great and spacious building mocked this second group of people, "they were ashamed" and "fell away into forbidden paths and were lost" (verse 28). Please notice that this group is described as "clinging to the rod of iron" (1 Nephi 8:24; emphasis added).
 
It is significant that the second group pressed forward with faith and commitment. They also had the added blessing of the rod of iron, and they were clinging to it! However, as they were confronted with persecution and adversity, they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. Even with faith, commitment, and the word of God, this group eventually was lost-perhaps because they only periodically read or studied or searched the scriptures. Clinging to the rod of iron suggests to me only occasional "bursts" of study or irregular dipping rather than consistent, ongoing immersion in the word of God. (Ensign, Oct. 2011, 35)
 
1 Ne 8:26 a great and spacious building
 
This building stands in the air because it has no foundation. Its architect is Satan who would never design a stable foundation for any of the buildings in his kingdom. Rather, the building is precariously perched in anticipation of its imminent fall, for 'the devil will not support children at the last day' (1 Ne 11:36, Alma 30:60). It rightfully floats on the other side of the terrible gulf which separates the righteous from the wicked-separated by the word of the justice of the Eternal God. Although the separation is dramatic in the symbolism of the dream, oftentimes the scoffers can be right amongst the righteous. The saints must be careful not to sympathize with the scoffers.
 
Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer
Over the many years that I have studied the story of Lehi’s dream in the Book of Mormon, I have always thought of the great and spacious building as a place where only the most rebellious reside. The building was filled with people mocking and pointing at the faithful who had held on to the iron rod, which represents the word of God, and had made their way to the tree of life, which represents the love of God. Some could not bear up under the pressure of the people mocking them and wandered off. Others decided to join the mockers in the building. Did they not have the courage to speak boldly against the criticisms or messages of the world?
 
As I watch the current world moving away from God, I think this building is growing in size. Many find themselves today wandering the halls of the great and spacious building, not realizing that they are actually becoming part of its culture. They often succumb to the temptations and the messages. We eventually find them mocking or chiming in with those who criticize or mock.
 
For years I thought the mocking crowd was making fun of the way the faithful live their lives, but the voices from the building today have changed their tone and approach. Those who mock often try to drown out the simple message of the gospel by attacking some aspect of the Church’s history or offering pointed criticism of a prophet or other leader. They are also attacking the very heart of our doctrine and the laws of God, given since the Creation of the earth. We, as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His Church, must never let go of that iron rod. We must let the clarion trumpet sound from our own souls. (Ensign, Nov. 2015, 100)
 
Harold B. Lee
"Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi's vision-standing aloof and seemingly inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church authorities as God's special witnesses of the gospel and his agents in directing the affairs of the Church." (Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 91 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.34)
 
Neal A. Maxwell
"We see a few around us who simply can't stand to be separated from the 'politically correct' multitudes in the great and spacious building. These multitudes are 'in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit' (1 Nephi 8:26-27). The 'finger of scorn' has its own way of separating the faithful from those who have little or no faith (see 1 Nephi 8:33).
"Like Lehi, the faithful in our time will endure the pointing fingers of scorn from the world and '[heed] them not,' even when the ironical fact is that some of those pointing fingers of scorn once grasped the iron rod."(Lord, Increase Our Faith, p. 99.)
 
 
 
1 Ne 8:30 other multitudes... did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron
 
David A. Bednar
In verse 30 we read about a third group of people who pressed forward "continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree." The key phrase in this verse is continually holding fast to the rod of iron.
 
The third group also pressed forward with faith and conviction; however, there is no indication that they wandered off, fell into forbidden paths, or were lost. Perhaps this third group of people consistently read and studied and searched the scriptures. Perhaps it was diligence and devotion to a seemingly "small and simple [thing]" (Alma 37:6) that saved the third group from perishing. Perhaps it was "the knowledge of the Lord" and "the knowledge of the truth" (Alma 23:5, 6) obtained through faithful study of the scriptures that yielded the spiritual gift of humility-such that this group of people "fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree" (1 Nephi 8:30; emphasis added). Perhaps it was the spiritual nourishment and strength provided by continually "feasting upon the word of Christ" (2 Nephi 31:20) that enabled this group to heed not the scorning and mocking of the people in the great and spacious building (see 1 Nephi 8:33). This is the group you and I should strive to join.
 
What, then, is the difference between clinging and holding fast to the rod of iron? Let me suggest that holding fast to the iron rod entails, in large measure, the prayerful, consistent, and earnest use of the holy scriptures as a sure source of revealed truth and as a reliable guide for the journey along the strait and narrow path to the tree of life-even to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I invite you to consider carefully and prayerfully the following question: What lessons can and should I learn from Lehi's vision of the tree of life and from the principle of continually holding fast to the rod of iron that will enable me to stand spiritually strong in the world in which we live today?
 
As you work diligently and seek inspiration to answer this important question, you will come to understand more fully by the power of the Holy Ghost, both in your heart and in your mind, the importance of continually holding fast to the rod of iron. And you will be blessed to apply those lessons with faith and diligence in your individual life and in your home. (Ensign, Oct. 2011, 35-36)
 
1 Ne 8:37 he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent
 
This verse, more than any other, shows the great love and concern that father Lehi had for Laman and Lemuel. Nephi accurately portrays the anguish of soul felt by parents with wayward children. It is probably the same anguish that Father in Heaven feels when we are sinful and disobedient.
 
Lehi's difficulty with his children is similar to many parents today. Many parents have worked hard to teach their children righteous principles and bring them up in the Lord only to find their children despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection (Rom 1:30). Parents often make the mistake of second guessing their efforts, blaming themselves, or losing hope when faced with wayward children. Laman and Lemuel had good parents, and yet, by their agency, they were disobedient to the commandments of the Lord. They had an "attitude" problem. Lehi never gave up on his sons, even when a vision had shown him that they would not partake of eternal life. Lehi did not waste time blaming himself or Sariah, but rather spent his time exhorting them with all the feeling of a tender parent.
 
"The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of hope, a voice of consolation. More than anything else, the gospel message sets forth the eternal truth that our Father loves us, that he is concerned with our welfare, that he will do all he can to ensure our happiness and well-being, and that no one will be forgotten or overlooked. The primary responsibility to teach the gospel to children rests with their parents, not with the Church or any of its auxiliaries. Nevertheless there are those children who, despite the best efforts of their parents, will choose to stray from their teachings and example. Though their hearts will ache, there is reason for faithful parents, whose children are heirs of the covenant, to have hope even for those who wander. 'When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 321).
 
"Elder Orson F. Whitney expounded on this great doctrine of hope:
 
"'The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught more comforting doctrine-that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.' (In Conference Report, April 1929, p. 110.)" (McConkie, Millet, Joseph Smith, the Choice Seer, chap. 20)