Sunday, December 25, 2011

These last records will establish the truth of the 1st (1 Nephi 13 part 2)

I love the Bible.  In the Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) we can walk where Jesus walked, hear His conversations as a half-mortal here with us on earth.  Christ was half-mortal because his mother Mary is mortal, and his Father, our Heavenly Father, is immortal and Eternal. We'll talk more about His sacrifice being an "Infinite Atonement" later in 2nd Nephi.

Merry Christmas!!!  Today is Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the world.  Millions of people around the world will read Luke chapter 2 from their Bible, which tells the story of His birth in Bethlehem.  My wife gave me the dvd "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for Christmas this morning.  Contained therein is one of the greatest orations ever done of the famous Luke 2 Nativity verses when Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.  I have no idea how to put videos on my blog, so you can go to my friend Middle-aged Mormon Man's blog and see it there.  He's smarter than me :)

Having said that, I must tell you that the Bible is not without its faults.  I met lots of people in Kentucky who would punch me in the throat if they heard me say that.  But, it's true; Parts of it were lost, parts of it were intentionally left out, parts of it were translated incorrectly, etc.  1 Nephi chapter 13 talks about the coming forth of the Bible, the precious truths which were left out of it, and of The Lord's wisdom in bringing forth another record (the BOM) to clarify His gospel. 

1 Nephi 13: 20-23
20.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.
21.  And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?
22.  And I said unto him: I know not.
23.  And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: the book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of The Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of The Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.
Note:  The record carried by the Gentiles (the Bible in it's entirety) is not as large of a record as the Brass Plates Lehi's family carried with them, which only contains the 5 books of Moses and writings of the prophets from Moses up through 600 B.C. 

1 Nephi 13: 24 & 26-27
24.  And the angel of The Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book poceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceedeth forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fullness of the gospel of The Lord.
26.  And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of The Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of The Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of The Lord have they taken away.
27.  And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of The Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
Don't worry.  The Lord knows everything, and there is not anything, save He knows it.  He saw these things coming from a mile away.

1 Nephi 13: 35-36
35.  For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of The Lamb.
36.  And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.

In my words:

After the death, resurrection and ascension of The Savior, and the subsequent deaths of the apostles, many of the truths that Christ brought were lost.  Christianity remained a huge part of the development of civilization, and they did amazingly well with what they had, but the missing truths affected them for generations, splintering them into different Christian sects representing vastly differing interpretations of the doctrines of Christ's gospel.  The Lord's answer to this was to bring forth the Book of Mormon, translated by the gift and power of God.  The BOM and Bible work together in enlightening our understanding of Heaven's truths.  A person's study of either of these inspired books will be greatly enhanced by a study of its counterpart.
In the words of the BOM:
1 Nephi 13: 40
40.  And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of The Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that The Lamb of God is The Son of the Eternal Father, and The Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto Him, or they cannot be saved.

In the words of the Old Testament:
Ezekiel 37: 16-27
16.  Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17.  And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

In the words of Geometry:

With one source of Heaven's truth represented here by a single point, an infinite number of lines (or interpretations) can pass through it.

With 2 or more sources of Heaven's truth, only one line (interpretation) can pass through both.

I'm grateful for the Bible.  I'm grateful for The Book of Mormon.  I'm grateful for both of these groovy books of scripture, and the testimonies of the Son of God they bear. 

Merry Christmas.  Peace be with you...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition (1 Ne 13)

In Nephi's continuing vision of the future of his people, after their decline into apostacy and eventual destruction, he sees that a great and abominable snowman church will come to power.  It is most abominable snowman above all other churches, and the founder is Satan hisself.  In my old days, while on my mission for The Church, friends and I would discuss which church this is talking about.  Lots of folks say it's the Catholic church.  I can't imagine anything more offensive to my fellow Christian brothers and sisters of the Catholic faith than that.  I seriously don't believe that Catholics nor the Catholic Church are abominable snowman.  So, there's that.  Here's the scripture...

1 Nephi 13: 4-6
4.  And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.
5.  And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable snowman above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.
6.  And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable snowman church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.
This passage makes it sound like the great and abominable snowman church is one, specific church, but it isn't.  In chapter 14: 10 it says that there are only 2 churches:  The Church of The Lamb and the church of the devil.  I read a great article by Stephen Robinson from the January 1988 issue of the Ensign about this topic.  Here's a good quote from it:
"When we put all this together, we find that the term great and abominable snowman church means an immense assembly or association of people bound together by their loyalty to that which God hates."
So, when you see pictures like this:

Or this:

And knowing that this torture was sanctioned by the Pope of the Catholic Church in order to prevent the coming Protestant Reformation, you can see where people make the mistake.  The Catholic Church of the middle ages was definitely involved in the goals of the great and abominable snowman church, but it was more the individuals who belonged to the Catholic Church, as well as many other not necessarily religious groups, than the church itself.  Stephen Robinson stated in the above article that he would equate the description of Satan's church in this chapter, as well as in Revelations, as "The Great and Spacious Building" -or pride of the world and the wisdom thereof.  That makes sense to me.  In my own words, anyone or thing which advances the cause of Satan, that being that all mankind be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2: 27), is a part of the great and abominable snowman church, and anyone or thing advancing the cause of Christ, that being to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal Life of man (Moses 1: 39), is a part of the Church of The Lamb.  Anywayz...

Ohayo Columbus!!
Nephi saw in verse 12 Columbus sailing the ocean blue in 1492.  He saw in verse 13 the pilgrims coming over to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts on the Mayflower and other vessels.  He saw in verse 14 the affect that Europe coming to the New World had on the descendants of The Lamanites.  He saw in verse 15 how it was The Lord's will that these new residents in the Americas prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance.  He saw in verse 16 that these people were humble before The Lord, and that His power was with them.  He saw in verse 17 that King George III went to war to make sure America stayed part of Great Britain ("One if by land, two if by sea"). He saw in verse 18-19 that Heavenly Father was involved in the outcome of that conflict, the American Revolution. 

So to Sum Up...


Plus this:

Plus this:

Plus this:

And inspired leaders:

Culminated in this:

And led to this:

Which led to this:

Which brought us this:

And gave me the excuse to bring you this:  The Book of Mormon: It's the BOM

And, no offense was intended to the abominable church snowmen of Monsters, Inc and Rudolph in the making of this post.

This is only half of 1 Nephi 13.  The conclusion to this two-parter will provide the purpose for The Book of Mormon.

Peace be with you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is it better to give or receive (Christmas Post)

My friend Jocelyn Christensen has invited me to do a blog post about "Christmas in the Book of Mormon" to add to her Book of Mormon Blog Hop.  I'm only on 1st Nephi in my BOM series, but I thought it might be OK to interrupt my usual programming to bring you the following attempt at doing so...

When I was 5 years old on a Christmas Eve night I promised myself and God that I would say Happy Birthday to Jesus in the morning BEFORE I opened any presents.  On Christmas morning, as soon as I opened my eyes, I rushed out to the living room to see what Santa brought for me.  I had a nice pile of stuff, one being a huge present wrapped in paper with Santas all over it.  My good presents were nearly always wrapped in Santa wrapping paper.  You can ask my wife about my obsession with Santas on my wrapping paper that continues today.
If it was wrapped in Santas, you knew it was good
So I had that paper torn 1/2 off before I remembered my promise.  I stopped what I was doing, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and said, "Oh yeah, Happy Birthday, Jesus," and then opened my new Tonka fire truck.  Considering that I only have maybe 3 memories of being that young, I think it's significant that this is one of them.  Cuz, ya see, my folks didn't take me to church, we didn't have family prayer, I'd never had the scriptures read to me.  My Mom had told me that we celebrate Christmas because it was Jesus' birthday, and that was good enough for me.  So, what I was really doing is declaring my faith in The Savior, and my acceptance of His role in my life, and, even though it would be years and years before I started to go to church on my own, that knowledge has never left me.

Ain't she a beauty.  I used to race down the sidewalk, pushing my firetruck in front of me, bellowing the best and loudest siren you ever heard, and alternately blinking my eyes to simulate the flashing lights.  I had that fire truck for many years.  Mom and Dad really got their money's worth out of this gift.  The gift of knowing that Christmas was a celebration of Christ's birthday lasted much longer.  They really got their money's worth out of that gift too.

Oh yes, The Book of Mormon, right.  Sorry, got carried away with my fire truck.
Five years before the birth of The Savior, the prophet Samuel stood on a city wall and preached a powerful sermon on the coming of The Son of God.  Many believed him and went to seek out a priesthood holder to baptize them.  Others were angry at Samuel, and tried to chuck rocks at him.  They couldn't hit him.  They tried to shoot arrows at him.  They couldn't hit him.  Seeing this miracle, many more believed in Samuel's words and were converted.  However, the sinful and violent non-believers remained in power. 

Here's Samuel's prophecy of Christ's birth:

Helaman 14: 3-8
3.  And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of His coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
4.  Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
5.  And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
6.  And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.
7.  And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.
8.  And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.
Mexico/ Central America is 8 hours behind Jerusalem time, so when it gets night time in Zarahemla, about 7:04pm, and they notice it doesn't get dark, it would have been 3:04am in Jerusalem.  This may be the time that Joseph and Mary feel the birth process begin and are desperately searching for a place for Mary to lie down.  It also may be the time that the angel appeared to the shepherds proclaiming the good tidings of great joy.  That is pure speculation on my part, and is completely irrelevant to anything, but I like thinking about stuff like that for some reason. 

Five years later the righteous people of the BOM waited very anxiously for the sign to be given, while the wicked waited anxiously for the sign not to be given.

3 Nephi 1: 8
8.  But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been in vain.
9.  Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.


  1. Experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
  2. (of a period of time or situation) Causing or characterized by worry or nervousness.
"That they might know that their faith had not been in vain."  Have you ever had a doubt about your faith and thought that meant you must not have any?  It doesn't.  Even Nephi (the current prophet Nephi of this time) was worried.

3 Nephi 1: 12-15 and 17 and 21
12.  And it came to pass that he [Nephi] cried mightily unto The Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
13.  Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14.  Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son -of the father because of me, and the Son because of my flesh.  And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
15.  And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
17.  And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
21.  And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.

Is it better to give or to receive?
Whoever told you it is better to give must have never been given a brand new Tonka fire truck.  It is better to receive.  Well, I don't really say it's better to receive based on a fire truck or gift card to Walmart or any worldly present.  I'm talking about this gift:

John 3:16
16.  For God so loved that world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Can you imagine any amount of gift giving or righteous acts of love and charity that would do us any good if we did not receive the gift of the Son of God? 

Back to Samuel's prophecy.
Helaman 14: 15-17
15.  For behold, He surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth Him and becometh expedient that He dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of The Lord.
16.  Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death -that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of The Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
17.  But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of The Lord.

My parents dropping me off at the MTC in 1987
Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me that, although fire trucks are cool, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  His gift of love and sacrifice is overwhelming to me, and I stand all amazed at it, but it is one that I am happy to receive.

Peace be with you, and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I open at the close (1 Nephi 12)

When the movie "Titanic" came out a few years ago, my niece Annie was just a young girl of 9 years.  My sister Susie wanted desperately to see Titanic (who didn't?), but her daughter Annie beat her to it.  Annie came home from Titanic having seen the most wonderfulest movie of all time, and wanted so much to share it with her Mom.  Susie insisted that she didn't want to know anything about it, that she wanted to see it for herself.  Annie argued that she just wanted to tell her this one little part.  Susie continued to try and convince her that she didn't want to know, but Annie persisted.  Susie gave her permission to hear just one little insignificant part of the movie.  Annie says, "Leonardo dies!" and then burst into tears.  To this day, whenever someone from my family goes to a movie and someone else wants to know if it was good, the reply is always the same:  "Leonardo dies!"

Spoiler Alert!!!  If this is your 1st time reading the BOM and you don't want to know the ending yet, don't read 1st Nephi chapter 12 or this post.  Nephi is about to be shown 3rd Nephi, 4th Nephi, Mormon and Moroni in his continuing vision, and, like Titanic, it doesn't end well.  Leonardo does, indeed, die.

There are some good things, however.  Nephi witnesses what happens in the Americas when Christ is crucified in Jerusalem.  He witnesses The Savior's resurrection and appearance to his and many of his brothers' descendants.  And, he sees that for the majority of the next 1000 years, many of his people will choose righteousness.  It's just that one little part about all of them being slaughtered in battle that must have been hard to for Nephi to see.


[dwin-dl] Show IPA verb, -dled, -dling.
verb (used without object)
1. to become smaller and smaller; shrink; waste away: His vast fortune has dwindled away.
2. to fall away, as in quality; degenerate.
verb (used with object)
3. to make smaller and smaller; cause to shrink: Failing health dwindles ambition.

It's gotta be pretty depressing to see all of your posterity dead on a battlefield, but to Nephi, a spiritual giant with eternal perspective, it must have been devastating to see them dwindle and perish in unbelief.  After all, that was why he killed Laban, wasn't it?  The angel told him to kill Laban because it's better that he perish than a whole nation dwindles and perishes in unbelief (1st Nephi 4: 13).  Maybe the angel wasn't talking about just the Nephites.  Maybe he was talking about the whole House of Israel.  That's us, man.

Photo by Victor Lucas
Chapter 12 continues Lehi's dream with the interpretation of the mists of darkness and the large and spacious building.  The photo above makes my hairs stand up just looking at it.  I would never try it, especially in foggy weather. 

1 Nephi 12: 16-18

16.  And the angel spake unto me, saying:  Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell.
17.  And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.
18.  And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men.  And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yeah, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever.

The Holy Ghost conveys the Word of God to us, encouraging, teaching, guiding us along the narrow path to Christ and the fruit of His tree of love.  The call of the world can be loud and attractive, and its roads can be wide and seemingly easy to travel upon. They ain't easy, though, and continued traveling on them may end in disaster.  Eventually, there is ALWAYS an iceberg.  It's too late for Leonardo, but fortunately for us, there are plenty of lifeboats for all.

Forgiven -by Greg Olsen

Peace be with you...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Tree of Love (1 Nephi 11)

Today is December the 1th.  The weather outside is frightful.  In fact, the weather is blowing about 100 mph in some parts of the state.  We've already had reports of damage to some family's homes.  My wife's aunt Ginny and Uncle Dave had a tree fall on their garage and their big front window blew in, and are now, with the help of some Christ-like neighbors, trying to stop the insides of the house from blowing away. 
It was bad timing with their decorated tree and other Christmas stuff arranged around their living room.  My wife is now seeing if she can get off work early, and will drive up to see if she can do anything.  I pray a blessing from The Lord be sent to them in their time of need.  Except, it sounds like several have already been sent, or are on their way.

One of my favorite paintings, Peace Be Still -by Arnold Friberg
Nephi will learn more in 1st Nephi chapter 11 about the concept that blessings have already been sent.  Lehi saw a huge vision.  Only the part about the tree of life was passed on to us, but there was so much more to what he was shown, and Nephi wanted to see it too.  In the last chapter he said...

1 Nephi 10: 17
17.  ... I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
1 Nephi 11: 1-5
1.  For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that The Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
2.  And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
3.  And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.
4.  And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?
5.  And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.
Not only does Nephi bear testimony here that he believes in the words of his father Lehi, the Prophet, he also bears testimony that the Spirit knows the thoughts of his heart.


When Nephi saw the tree, even though he had heard his Dad's personal account, even he was surprised by the beauty of it, which was far beyond description, and exceeded any beauty he'd ever seen.  When Nephi asked the Holy Ghost about the interpretation of the tree, he is shown a remarkable vision of the birth, life, baptism, ministry and atoning sacrifice of The Savior.

1 Nephi 11: 16-23
16.  And he (an angel) said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17.  And I said unto him: I know that He loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18.  And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19.  And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20.  And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21.  And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
22.  And I answered him, saying: yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
23.  And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.
Knowest thou the condescension of God?   Here is a definition of condescend from the online Collins English Dictionary, followed by 3 paintings from the Hope Gallery by Carl Bloch illustrating it.

condescend [ˌkɒndɪˈsɛnd]
vb (intr)
1. to act graciously towards another or others regarded as being on a lower level; behave patronizingly
2. to do something that one regards as below one's dignity
[from Church Latin condēscendere to stoop, condescend, from Latin dēscendere to descend]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Manger Scene -by Carl Bloch

Christ Mocked by Solder -by Carl Bloch
I don't like this picture. It's a wonderful work of art, but I don't
like how it makes me feel.  But I think this painting in particular illustrates
the point of His condescension.

1 Nephi 11: 32-33
32.  And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying:  Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that He was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
33.  And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

The Crucifixion -by Carl Bloch
Nephi saw a beautiful tree.  He wants to know what the tree represents, and why the fruit of it is so delicious, and fills one's soul with joy.  In answer to the question, the angel shows him a vision of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The angel then asks Nephi what the tree means.  His answer touches me.  Of all the words in the human language to describe the gift of the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God, Nephi chooses this:
"It is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men." 


This is Emilie as we were leaving Box Canon Waterfall in Ouray, CO last summer. 
Heights make her a little nervous

The rod of iron, which led along the path to the tree of life, helped people find their way despite the blinding fog all around them.  Again, the angel said to Nephi...

1 Nephi 11: 24-25
24.  Look!  And I looked, and I beheld The Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at His feet and worship Him.
25.  And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.
Christ came to the people, us.  Many fell to His feet and worshiped Him.  After a little thought, I thought this: Christ didn't bring these people salvation, He brought them the message of salvation.  He didn't say, "You're saved."  He said, in effect, "Come, follow Me and be saved."  The way Christ delivers these most important of all words to most of us is through the words of prophets, both living and dead, and through the Holy Ghost, and these are the words that lead us to Him and his Tree of Love.  We can find these words in many places:
The Word of God is found in the scriptures

The Word of God can come to us in the Temple. 
This is a representation of the Bountiful Temple made entirely of Legos (Deseret News article)

The Word of God comes monthly in Church magazines & other publications.
October 2011 issue of the LDS Magazine, Ensign

The Word of God is delivered through His Prophet, Thomas S. Monson,
President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and other inspired leaders at General Conference every April and October. 

The Word of God can come to us directly from the Holy Ghost
through Revelation and inspiration through prayer

The Word of God can be heard in Genera Conference, or on the more rare occasion when a General Authority comes to your location and you get to hear him up close.  This is Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Once in a great while, and never for some (or most), an Apostle will visit during a local Stake Conference.  In 2009 Elder Holland visited us in the Palmyra Stake of Spanish Fork, UT.  He spoke in several different meetings, one of which my wife and I were 3rd row center.  Here my wife and I shared one of the great spiritual experiences of our lives.  The Holy Ghost was present in such a powerful and abundant way that I count it among my top three spiritual experiences which have cemented the foundation of my testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.  The first was when I prayed about Joseph Smith's First Vision back in 1987.  The second was when I spent 3 days at the Washington DC Temple where the veil separating mortal from immortal was so thin and near, I reached out in the dark of my bedroom and tried to touch it.  Boy, you talk about a rod of iron leading to Christ and His Love.  I cried more during that 3 days than I did when I watched "Old Yeller".  Elder Holland is just a man, but he holds the office of Apostle of The Lord, Jesus Christ, and the special witness that he and the rest of the Twelve and First Presidency bear are surely the Word of God unto salvation.

Fruit of the Tree -by  Maia Alaula Kamala
All these things were said and done and written about as Lehi's family dwelt in tents in the valley of Lemuel next to the Laman River by the Red Sea. It would be hundreds of years before the prophecies of the vision would be fulfilled, and Christ would come and finish the atonement, yet the joy of His loving sacrifice was available to them in that moment. They didn't have to wait and see if Christ was up to the task. The blessings of joy and salvation, speaking of things to come as though they had already come (Mosiah16:6) have already been sent.

Tune in next time as Nephi sees his descendants try to kill each other...

Peace be with you.