While pulling a handcart in Wyoming during my stake’s Pioneer Trek a few years ago, I came up with what I thought was a pretty clever book title – “Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious.” The title, you may have noticed, is similar to an old TV show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” I put that title on the cover of my book about Lehi’s Dream. Only problem was, people thought the book was about, well, the lifestyles of the great and spacious. Who would want to read about that? Oops. The book isn’t about the lifestyles of the great and spacious, it’s about Lehi’s Dream! So now, thanks to Deseret Book, it has now been re-titled, “Finding Your Path in Lehi’s Dream” And in case you’re interested, here’s an excerpt:
More than once as a bishop, I’ve had someone tell me, “I’m just afraid I’m not going to make it,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I can’t do it.” In those cases I like to respond, “You’re right. You’re absolutely right. You can’t make it, and neither can I. Not by ourselves, anyway.” Somehow, when sincere Latter-day Saints formulate a self-condemning sentence like that, they have momentarily forgotten that Christ is the Savior, and he is mighty to save. He also knows we can’t do it on our own, and that although we sometimes drift and murmur and rebel, he just keeps inviting us back to him. In fact, he invites us back to the sacrament table to renew the covenant and the effect of baptism every single week. What mercy! As we all know, the Lord said, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). He has assured us of this many times, “I am able to do mine own work” (2 Nephi 27:21).
Lehi’s dream gives us optimistic insight about the Lord’s level of success in his saving work when he describes the “multitudes” who partake and remain at the tree of life. Not “a handful of souls” or “only a few” or “hardly anyone,” but “multitudes.” Robert L. Millet referred to Lehi’s dream as the “Parable of the Paths” when he taught:
“The third group of people in the Parable of the Paths press forward and take hold of the iron rod. How many did so? Multitudes! . . . Who can count the number of saved beings in eternity? Our God, who is triumphant in all battles against the forces of evil, will surely be victorious in the numbers of his children who will be saved” (Robert L. Millet, Lehi’s Dream, [Deseret Book, 2011], 54).
When President Joseph F. Smith recorded his vision of the redemption of the dead, he described more than multitudes, but an “ innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality” (D&C 138:12; emphasis added).
So, it’s true. I can’t make it, and you can’t make it. Not on our own. But Jesus Christ can make it, and make us, or re-make us into beings that can be worthy to partake and remain at the tree of life.
You’ve been reading an excerpt from “Finding Your Path in Lehi’s Dream.” Paperback and eBook available here.
One of my favorites. It got me started on my “quest” to understand Lehis dream better. Fab book. Highly recommend it!
I read this book the year that it was published, and I absolutely loved it! Having heard the story of Lehi’s dream so many times, I had almost grown weary of hearing it mentioned, and I thought I understood everything there was to know about it. Reading this book gave me a renewed sense of wonder and interest in the story, and it became one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon again. As for the title, I thought the original was one of the more clever ideas I had seen incorporated into it Deseret Book product, and I think reasonable people understood the reference and the good humor, so I am a bit sad to hear that what I thought was a great title has been changed, but I am happy that your book will continue to help people discover Lehi’s dream, whatever the title. Thanks for standing up for the Lord and His church, and for all the insights you’ve provided me over the years!
Susan Foss says
I liked your original title better – it was clever!
Gin Brison says
I got the book with the original title. I love the Book of Mormon, and I knew immediately that the book was a closer study of the great and spacious building in Lehi’s dream. I don’t think the new title is as eye catching.
Kimberly S says
I love this book. I have shared it with so many people. I saw the retitled version the other day on the shelf and didn’t think anything of it. Regardless of the title, I love this book and share it with everyone I know. Thanks John for inspiring me and reminding us of the the meaning of each little piece of the dream.