Lehi wasn’t dead when he partook of the fruit of the tree of life in his famous dream (First Nephi, chapter 8).
Nope, he looked around immediately, wanting to share it with his family.
“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy, wherefore I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also, for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit” 1 Nephi 8:12
That doesn’t sound like a dead man to me.
But we can’t taste of that fruit ourselves. We can’t even approach the tree. You know why? It’s because we’re addicted to the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (TOKOGAE).
The problem is, we haven’t even figured out that we’re addicted. It’s like this addiction is the metaphorical “Cherubim and a Flaming Sword” that prevents us from partaking of the fruit of both trees at the same time.
We have to give up one before we can partake of the other.
Yet – isn’t that classically considered to be the first step to recovery – to acknowledge that we have a problem? Instead we just say, again metaphorically, “There’s a Cherubim and a Flaming Sword” guarding the way to the tree of life, and we dare not challenge it.” So, we keep looking forward to Zion, wondering what it is that we have to do to prepare, or create, or enter into that state of existence that I believe is an obvious manifestation of partaking of the fruit of the tree of life.
But I guess Lehi could, or did, or didn’t know he couldn’t.
Yet, we can’t, or don’t, or don’t know we can.
I’ve written about the topic of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil vs. the Tree of life before, back in April, 2018, in “Two Trees”, as well as in other posts over the years.
So, if we’re addicted to the fruit of the TOKOGAE, what is that psycho-active substance in the fruit that we crave?
It is fear.
What? We crave fear?
Yes, we crave fear. Fear perpetuates the ego – the “natural man”. Fear encourages us to control our environment, including other people, and thus helps perpetuate the illusion that we can control of survival. As I said before, in those previous posts (to paraphrase):
- We judge between good and evil, because we think we have knowledge of both
- We fear evil because we fear that it results in death – especially spiritual death
- We fear death, then, because we think that if we don’t judge between good and evil (we love to soften this with the word “discern”) and avoid evil, we will be punished eternally after we die
So, we crave fear, because we desire survival, in the false belief that we are subject to death. We want to be “as the gods”, knowing good from evil, and, of course, living forever.
But all of this is a lie…an illusion…or at least an imperfect understanding.
We are not subject to death – at least not spiritual death. We are eternal beings. Men, after all, were created, “…that they might have joy”.
We are not subject to death, but we do subject ourselves to death. And we do this by insisting that we can’t live without the fruit of TOKOGAE.
Sounds like addiction to me.
So, do we have the faith to not fear death? Do we have the faith to not rely on our ability to judge between good and evil – seeking in this way to control our environment and, believe it or not, avoid death?
Do we have the faith to not judge others, but instead to simply be joyful, and love God and others without that love being conditional upon the perceived goodness or evilness of their beliefs or actions?
Do we have the faith to live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of Jesus?
Do we have the faith to live in love, in charity, in life, even when everything we observe around us tells us that this is impossible; that we cannot be perfect; that the sermon on the mount was just an allegory – an unattainable standard reserved only for “the gods”. (“Ye shall be as the gods, knowing good from evil”)
Faith is the willingness to act on the belief that we have the power to create something that is as yet unseen and uncertain.
Do we have the faith to create for ourselves an existence that is filled with love instead of fear, joy instead of suffering, empathy instead of judgment, oneness instead of separateness…life instead of death?
Do we have the faith to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, knowing that this is our true destiny, the very fulfillment of the measure of our creation?
Let’s not forget, though, that Lehi was dreaming. Did he ever truly partake? Did Nephi ever truly partake? What was the meaning of Lehi’s dream? Did he experience the actual partaking – or was that just an invitation to what is possible? Did even Lehi and Nephi leave this invitation unfulfilled?
Regardless, I believe the invitation is there for us. To accept this invitation is what it means to:
- Believe in Christ
- Love Jesus by keeping His commandments
- Receive the Second Comforter
- Receive eternal life
- Receive salvation
- Know Christ
- “Become” love
So, we must first admit that we have a problem. We must recognize that we perpetuate our own death, separation, suffering, damnation, condemnation (choose your own word) by carrying on in the belief that our worthiness, our eternal life, our ability to “be as the gods” is somehow dependent upon our ability to judge ourselves and others based upon our supposed knowledge of good and evil.
Having admitted this, having admitted that we “have a problem”, we may then take that first step toward recovery from our addiction; the first step in a glorious, joyful, loving, eternal walk in life; the first taste of the fruit of the tree of life.
Finally, a question. Do you believe that the fruit of the tree of life is available to us now, today, in mortality?