This painting depicts a dream That the prophets Lehi and His son Nephi were given in the Book of Mormon found in the first book of Nephi chapters 8, 11 and 15 , commonly known to members of the LDS church as the vision of "the tree of life." It is a very symbolic dream. The tree and its fruit represents the love of God, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and pure above all that is pure, and white above all that is white, and is desirable to make one happy. The prophet Lehi said that partaking of the fruit filled his soul with exceedingly great joy, and he desired his family to partake of it. The fountain of living waters next to the tree also represents the pure love of God.The mists of darkness represent the temptations that surround us, and lead us to destruction. The Iron rod, that leads to the tree of life, represents the word of God. Nephi explains that those who hearken unto the word of God, and hold fast to it will never perish, neither could temptations over power them. Those who continually hold on to the Iron rod or the word of God, and walk in its strait and narrow path, will make it to the tree of life.
Separating the tree of life and the saints of God, is an awful Gulf, and a river of filthiness. Which represents that awful hell which was prepared for the wicked. Lehi also saw that the justice of God also divided the wicked from the righteous.
On the other side of the river of water is a great and spacious building that has no foundation. This building represents the pride of the world. There were multitudes that were lost and perished in the filthy river, and many did enter into that strange building.That strange building was full of people mocking those that partook of the fruit, or the love of God, and those who hearkened to their scoffing were ashamed, and fell away into forbidden paths and were lost, and there were many that entered into that great and spacious building, and scoffed and mocked at those partaking of the fruit, The building and those inside represent all those who fight against the Lamb of God. And the building fell, and great was the fall of it. But there were also multitudes that did find the iron rod, hold fast to it, and many made it to the tree of life, and tasted the love of God, and gave no heed to those mocking them.