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?


ver. March 10, 2017