Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious. I admit, it had me intrigued just from that. I knew I was going to want to see what this book was all about. And then the subtitle caught my eye: “Finding your Path in Lehi’s Dream.” Since one of my focuses this year is to really delve into the scriptures and into gospel study and find more ways to really wrap my life around being more, this book fit right into it.
I love symbolism and love exploring the deeper meanings of things. I’m a “there’s always more to the story” kind of woman and I always have been. We know well that Lehi’s dream was deeply symbolic and we learn quite a bit more about it from Nephi and the angel who visited him when he asked to know more. Since I haven’t had any angelic messengers show up lately to interpret scripture for me, I clearly need to do my own studying. And this book was definitely enlightening.
I have always enjoyed John Bytheway’s writing style. It’s very clear and straightforward with just enough humor to keep me engaged. Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious goes through Lehi’s dream verse by verse, explaining and analyzing the dream to help us understand what Lehi was really seeing and what all of the elements meant, as well as putting them in context to Lehi’s knowledge and culture and to gospel principles. And each analysis is followed up with helps for applying these teachings and principles in our own lives today.
I admit I read this book straight through—it’s how I read most books the first time—but now that I’ve read it I will be going back through and re-reading more thoroughly and slowly, along with my scripture study, to really gain the maximum benefit. The book also contains an appendix with a quick commentary/summary of each verse. I think that will be helpful when I want to go back and study different principles. It also has a complete bibliography of sources cited in the book so you can study even more deeply should you desire.
Don’t be fooled by the small size of this book. I was, having not read Brother Bytheway’s previous commentaries. It is absolutely packed FULL of learning and insight. One of my favorite parts of the book comes at the end of the first chapter when he talks about how the Book of Mormon isn’t the story of a perfect gospel family and how Nephi and his brothers might even be somewhat dysfunctional . He goes on to say, “We can only imagine how thrilled Sariah must be to have an account of her family’s problems published among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.” Kind of makes my little family issues not seem like such a big deal. It was just what I needed to hear to press on.
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