In my scripture study the other day, I came across an interesting verse that for the first time had real meaning for me: “And all these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates” (1 Nephi 9:1).
This verse struck me with great force because I feel as if I’ve been living in a tent for the last couple years of my life. Between my husband graduating and trying different jobs before deciding on graduate school, we are in our sixth apartment in three and a half years of marriage. So I relate to tents. Portable. Temporary. Messy.
But this verse points out what amazing things Lehi learned in this tent. Imagine if we didn’t have his vision of the tree of life. If he hadn’t had that vision, then Nephi wouldn’t have had his vision and we would have missed out on a lot of goodness in The Book of Mormon. I am so quick to excuse myself from spiritual learning experiences because I’m waiting for the perfect opportunity—mostly an established home and a quiet weekend to myself. But this verse called me to repentance. What am I (and my posterity!) missing out on because of my inability to “act upon the land as for years” (Doctrine and Covenants 51:17)?
The other thing that struck me is that tents often symbolize temples in the scriptures. We know that our homes should be temples. Perhaps instead of looking at my tents as temporary and messy, I should change my perspective and look at them as temples—holy, sanctified, ordered, a haven. Maybe a tent can be temporary and holy at the same time. Perhaps with this perspective I too will be able to see, and hear, and speak many beautiful things.