1 Nephi 8:13-16 — LeGrand Baker — The Family and the Tree

1 Nephi 8:13-16  

13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.{1}
14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

Joseph’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith, tells about similar dreams she and her husband had. Of her own she wrote,

…and as I traced this stream, I discovered two trees….one of them was surrounded with a bright belt, that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. … and the interpretation given me was, that [the bright tree represented her husband Joseph, who would accept the gospel] and unto him would be added intelligence, happiness, glory, and everlasting life.{2}

Joseph Smith Sr. wrote of his dream,

…beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in that stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so, the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit that they contained, that was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, ‘I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.’ Accordingly, I went and brought my family, that consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.{3}

An insightful idea lies within these stories: The wife sees her tree as a representation of her husband’s integrity. The husband sees his tree as a blessing that can only be fulfilled when his wife and children also come to eat the fruit.

When Joseph’s mother dictated her history, she was old, and her husband and sons were dead. She was clearly quoting something Joseph Sr. had written some years earlier, but apparently she was also quoting from an earlier account she had written of her own dream.


{1} See: 1 Nephi 8:10-12, Lehi’s description of the tree, the water, and the fruit.

{2} History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 43-45.

{3} History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 48-49.


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