Monday, January 18, 2016

swallowed up in other things

detail from Tree of Life by Kazuto Uota

Last week I talked about Lehi's vision of the tree of life. I read an article in this month's Ensign that really struck a chord with me, and when I came across the scripture mentioned in the article during my own reading this week, I knew I needed to explore this idea further.

Lehi's son, Nephi, wanted to know the meaning behind his father's dream, so he prayed to God and asked for understanding. Because of his faith, Nephi was able to see for himself what his father's vision meant. And luckily for us, he recorded it in the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 15:27, Nephi is recounting the meaning of the vision to his brothers. He tells them that the river of water their father saw was "filthiness". But because Lehi's mind was "swallowed up in other things", i.e. getting his family to the tree of life to partake of the fruit, he "beheld not the filthiness of the water". He was so focused on something really good and important that he didn't even notice the filthiness!

Now, I can liken that "filthiness" to lots of things in the world today. The author of the article likened it to pornography. But it could be anything that weakens my spirit or distracts me and my family from our goal of making it to the tree.

Instead of worrying about shielding my family from harmful things (which, of course I should still do as best I can, and which is quite a heavy responsibility), I could focus on filling our time with other, better things. Things like learning the gospel. I know that if I am busy with good things, like reading my scriptures, or visiting a friend in need, or working on a family home evening lesson, I don't have much time to spend on instagram feeling bad about myself. If my son is busy helping others, or spending time with our family, or working in the yard, he won't have much time to surf the internet and perhaps come across something yucky. If I can help my family focus their minds on the gospel, then maybe they won't notice all of the filthiness out there, either.

The author of the article mentioned three areas where her family could improve. I liked her suggestions, so I'll share them here.

First, she wanted her family to increase their own personal scripture study and decrease the "noise" around them. She said, "Like Lehi, our minds must be filled with positive things in order to hear the promptings of the Spirit and to keep us focused on anchoring our family in the gospel."

Second, she wanted to make family scripture study more meaningful. I agree with this one. We are in a good habit of reading our scriptures together every morning, but I think it'd be helpful if we discussed what we were reading more.

Third, she wanted her family to focus more on missionary work. She says, "When we bear testimony, the Spirit testifies that what we are saying is true, and our testimonies grow." This is one reason why I talk about church so much on my blog these days. It helps strengthen my testimony and gives me a deeper conviction that these things are true. And because my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings me so much joy, I want to share that joy with as many people as I can.

I know that if I make a better effort to teach my children the gospel, then I can help them better avoid the filthiness. At least that is my hope.

Read the entire article here (it's really short).


  1. Yes! I loved this article too. I often feel bogged down by all that is around me and my family but by focusing on the good and seeking good I feel that burden lifted. Thank you for sharing your goodness! Your blog is always a place where I feel uplifted and inspired.

  2. thank you for your kind words, kari! i'm happy to hear that article resonated with you, too.

  3. Thank u for brining this article to my attention! I love it and need to use it in my family!


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