Clinging to the Iron Rod

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I came across something interesting while continuing my study on Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life.

“I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.” (1 Ne 8:24)

I find it interesting that Lehi would describe these persons as clinging to the rod rather than merely holding on to it. As I sat thinking about this, two other scriptures came to mind.

“Then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate” (2 Ne 31:18)

“Whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall” (Moses 7:53)

So maybe holding the rod just doesn’t capture what’s required to climb the strait and narrow path. Maybe it’s just too difficult to merely hold on. Maybe those Lehi saw were clinging because the way is just too hard. And maybe they were confident that there was something much better at the end of the rod.

2 thoughts on “Clinging to the Iron Rod

  1. Elder Bednar made reference to the clingers in his latest CES broadcast (text here.

    One of my friends had issues with the distinction Bednar makes, given the Websters 1828 meaning of cling, which does not suggest bursts at all, as Bednar asserts.

    I can sort of see what Bednar was after, but thought maybe he was dicing the story a bit too closely.

  2. Thanks for the link, alea.

    It is significant that the second group pressed forward with faith and commitment. They also had the added blessing of the rod of iron, and they were clinging to it! However, as they were confronted with persecution and adversity, they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. Even with faith, commitment, and the word of God, this group was lost—perhaps because they only periodically read or studied or searched the scriptures. Clinging to the rod of iron suggests to me only occasional “bursts” of study or irregular dipping rather than consistent, ongoing immersion in the word of God.

    I have to agree with your friend. I have no idea how one can envision someone clinging to the iron rod as doing so occasionally Even so, I am not sure I would be so quick as to say the reason someone who clung (especially given the actual definition of cling) to the rod right to the end and then left was simply a matter of not enough scripture study.

    For the record, here’s the 1828 definition of cling:

    1. To adhere closely; to stick to; to hold fast upon, especially by winding round or embracing; as, the tendril of a vine clings to its support.
    2. To adhere closely; to stick to; as a viscous substance.
    3. To adhere closely and firmly, in interest or affection; as, men of a party cling to their leader.

    I particularly find definition 3 interesting given Moses 7:53.

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