Illustrations by Bryan Beach
If you’ve ever played games with a blindfold, like pin the tail on the donkey, you know there’s all kinds of fun to be had in strapping on a blindfold, spinning around a few times, and then trying to reach some distant target through sheer guesswork and nerves of steel. (Seriously, what’s not to love about navigating around in the dark while dizzy?)
Well, with a little preparation, you can create an awesome object lesson for family home evening by using familiar techniques from this popular game.
This object lesson relates to Lehi’s vision of the tree of life as found in 1 Nephi 8. For preparation, you’ll want to study up on the chapter and choose some verses to discuss as a family.
The Mists of Darkness
If you live near a towering dark forest with thick, rolling mists that cloak the land in obscurity, by all means, use that as your setting. For the rest of us, a simple blindfold will serve perfectly well as the mists of darkness.
This object lesson works great outside, but you can also do it indoors in a large room. For setup, you’ll need to identify and mark two locations, preferably at least 20 feet (6 m) apart. One will be the starting point, and the other represents the destination—or the tree of life. To mark the two points, you can use inanimate objects, such as chairs, or ask family members to quietly stand at assigned posts.
Pick a family member to blindfold and take her (or him) to the starting point. It’s time for some spinning (but don’t overdo it for safety reasons). Then, turn loose the blindfolded family member, whose goal is to reach the tree of life. Chances are she won’t even come close, not with the mists of darkness—the blindfold—cramping her style.
Consider letting everybody take a turn, even if that means rotating through people who are standing at the start and finish locations.
At this point, consider discussing with your family the meaning of the mists of darkness (see 1 Nephi 12:17).
The Rope/PVC/Iron Rod
In the scriptures, we learn that Lehi saw in his dream multitudes of people “continually holding fast to the rod of iron” (1 Nephi 8:30). It’s time to give your family an “iron rod” of their own for this lesson.
As before, you’ll use the same start and finish points. But this time, connect the two points with some type of physical object, maybe a couple of PVC pipes linked together temporarily or a length of rope.
If you’re using people to mark the locations, they’ll hold both ends of the “iron rod.” If you’re using objects, you’ll need to find a way to secure the rod between the objects.
Now repeat the blindfold-spin-and-release challenge as before. This time, family members will have something to hold to help guide them to reach the destination. That single change makes all the difference in successfully making it to the final point.
Time for another discussion! Consider talking about how having an “iron rod” to hold made a difference. You might read 1 Nephi 11:25 and discuss how the word of God helps us find our way.
The Fruit of the Tree of Life
The scriptures teach us that the fruit on the tree of life in Lehi’s vision was “desirable to make one happy” (1 Nephi 8:10).
To help family members see that reaching the destination is worth the effort, one possibility you might consider is offering a reward when family members reach the “tree of life” destination. Maybe that’s a high five or a favorite treat for each family member. You might also want to read 1 Nephi 11:21–25 and discuss the love of God and the great blessings that will come to those who reach the true eternal blessings of obedience—not just the high five or treat that may be waiting at the end of the “iron rod” here. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has said, “With the Atonement, life is an ennobling, inspiring journey of growth and development that leads to eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father” (“Four Titles,” Ensign, May 2013, 59).
If you want to sing a song with the lesson, you might consider “The Iron Rod” (Hymns, no. 274).
What do the symbols in the dream mean? What is the iron rod, really? And what about that great and spacious building or the filthy water? Search the scriptures for these answers (see 1 Nephi 11:21–36; 12:16–18).