"It Filled My Soul with Exceedingly Great Joy": Lehi's Vision of Teaching and Learning


Lehi's Vision, teaching and learning, Book of Mormon


There is much discussion about education these days, ranging from “What is the best way to teach?” to something even more fundamental: “What is education itself? What does it mean to teach, and what does it mean to learn?” This paper will explore Lehi’s vision of the tree of life as a model of teaching and learning. In studying this vision with such a purpose in mind, I will explore a pattern of ritualistic initiation in the vision and how it relates to the idea of teaching and learning as experiential acts. Taking a close look at some of the symbolic elements of the initiatory experiences in the vision can help us better understand the teaching and learning that occurs and apply that understanding to education today. When applying this knowledge, I will primarily rely on the writings of Parker Palmer, one of the most well respected scholars writing about teaching and learning today. [1] His emphasis on the spiritual elements of teaching and learning will help us understand the implications the tree of life vision may have for education.

Original Publication Citation

“‘It Filled My Soul with Exceedingly Great Joy’: Lehi’s Vision of Teaching and Learning,” in The Things Which My Father Saw, editors Daniel L. Belnap, Stanley A. Johnson, and Gaye Strathearn (Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah: Deseret Book and Religious Studies Center), 2011.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Religious Studies Center




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor