P R E F A C E
by Don R. Hender
In the Preexistence God presented His plan - God's Plan of Eternal Progression.
That Plan comes under many names. the Plan of Happiness, the Gospel Plan, The Plan of
Exaltation, the Plan of Salvation, the Plan of Redemption, the Doctrine of Christ and
even the vision of the Tree of Life. There are other such names as well. When God
presented this great plan to his children, He being God had access to such marvelous and
grand manners in which to present this plan to his children. Such would be that sea of
glass upon which everything may be seen as a whole all at once, from the beginning to the
end, past, present and future. And when we beheld the grant structure of the plan the
majority of us accepted God's great plan for His children. Lucifer took exception to
that plan and had another one in mind that was advantageous to him. A third part of the
children of God chose Lucifer's plan which was based upon removing from God's children
their inalienable right of agency as had been given them by God to choose for themselves
between good and evil. Such a manner of choice would open the path for all to one day
become even as God Is, if they would so choose the good over the evil and become a
self-actuated force for good, righteousness and God's truth.
As to God's manner of presentation, the frame of thought upon which it was based could
be easily set out and understood. Man, the children of God, would be placed in a state
of temporary probation, subjecting themselves, their spirit souls, to the test of being
able to over come the natural man with the aid of God's spiritual powers reveal unto
them while in this state. If man proved themselves worthy, and would accept the redeeming
saviours way and means to have their sins forgiven them, they could be washed clean by
the blood and sacrifice of the redeemer and have his righteousness imputed upon them as
they would strive to live by the righteouosness of God's laws.
One of the easiest and simplest conceptualizations of this plan consited of an understanding
based upon the concept of the Tree of Life being that which when partaken of brings
eternal life unto man. The basic frame of this conceptualization consisted of three
primary symbolic illustrative items as a straight and narrow path, way or means, a Rod of
iron as the WORD or truth of God, and in that both of these would lead man, the children
of God, to the Tree of Life, that spiritual light and spiritual life, that gives to God's
children Exaltation in the Celestial Glory of being even as God Is. Upon this framework
has been laid such as a vision and/or dream of all things pertaining unto God, man, and
the great plan of happiness, of eternal progression. And it may be taught and represented
variously as well.
I once had a dream of a long straight hallway that I was tranversing. Along the sides of
the hallway were doors that open in upon the hall way and leaving the hallway. At the
end of that hallway was a room wherein was a large round table. In my dream, I and the
girls I was to marry sat together at that round table together and we were happy. That
was a time in my life when I had a number of experiences and dream regarding this matter.
This particular one was to me like the representation of the straight and narrow path
leading unto eternal life and it seemed to give me life guidance. All of which was not
unlike the frame work of the basic primary elements of the vision of the Tree of Life
with the straight and narrow way, the hallway, the tree of life-eternal life, the room
with the round table at the end, and the guide of the WORD of God, which at the time
had that additional frame of reference to be as the ROD of iron.
Other 'graphic' diagrams have been and can be used to represent this 'progression' unto
eternal life. I have taught many Gospel lessons in Gospel Doctrine and Priesthood
classrooms. One such chalkboard diagram is drawn with a straight and narrow path leading
from the world up to the Kingdom of God with a guiding ROD of iron to safely grasp upon
to enable a person to stay on that path even when in times of darkness, even great mists
of darkness wherein the path or way cannot be seen leading to the Celestial Heaven.
Today as I read and study the Book of Mormon, I see the vision, a vision of all things
being unfolded upon the frame of the vision of the Tree of Life. From the preexistence
presentation of the plan, to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, to such as was
given to Mahonri Moriancumr and then to others such as Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, John the
beloved and so on, I can see and understand that the whole of such visions from God to
man are but portions given to man's understanding of God's great plan for them. Even
Jacob's ladder which he saw with angels accending and decending upon it to and from
heaven and the earth.
Nephi's experience seems to have began contemporary with him, he having the basis of
the past available to him in the plates of brass record. From the basic frame of the path,
guiding ROD and the Tree of Life Goal sprang Nephi's further vision of seeing the furture
of his people an of the proceedings of the coming forth of the Gospel of Christ. The
birth of God was seen, the falling away, the commencement of the gathering and all such
being brought by the hand of God to the land of the Gospel restoration and on further
into that which John the beloved had assignment to write. Nephi was forbidden to write
what he saw further as it was given unto John to write his portion so assigned.
Like Nephi, we many obtain a representative vision of the past and even now the furture
according to the scriptural WORD and even direct revelations of the spirit given unto
us today. We often seem to await the Vision of All as being that given to the Brother
of Jared, who was assigned to write the whole of it. But do we not already have access
to that which is contained therein? Is it not right at hand in the scriptural WORD?
Is it not contained in that guidance given to us by God present prophets many who are
living among us? Isn't open to our own grasp of understanding through pray and the
answer of those prayers we receive in our daily spiritual guide and presence of the Holy
Ghost? Yes, Mahonri's record will certainly be a good read. Will it not echo what the
the scriptures and the WORD of God also has given us in and during our lives?