Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious (Paperback)

Finding Your Path in Lehi's Dream

by John Bytheway


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Product Description

With every passing day, the unforgettable imagery in Lehi’s dream becomes more real and more relevant. In our modern world, we can literally hear the taunts and see the pointing fingers of people like those in the great and spacious building. We find ourselves clinging with greater energy to the rod of iron as we work through the massive mists of darkness toward the tree of life. In Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious, John Bytheway looks at Lehi’s dream, and with his characteristic humor, comments from Church leaders, scholarly insights, and personal experiences, he expands our understanding of these precious verses of scripture.

Product Details

  • Size:  5" x 7"
  • Pages:  144
  • Year Published:  2013

About the Author

JOHN BYTHEWAY served a mission to the Philippines and later graduated from Brigham Young University. He has a master’s degree in religious education and is a part-time instructor at the BYU Salt Lake Center. John is the author of many bestselling books, audio talks, and DVDs, including How to Be an Extraordinary Teen; Life Rocks; and his first children’s picture book, The Sacrament. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children.

Chapter 1

Reason to Rejoice and Reason to Fear

And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you.
—1 Nephi 8:3–4

And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you.
—1 Nephi 8:3–4

1 Nephi 8:3

Thoughts, Insights, and Observations

If the words of John the Beloved are true, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4), then it is also true that no greater sorrow can come than to hear that children walk in darkness. Lehi experienced both, as he witnessed the behavior of his sons Sam, Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel and felt both joy and fear.

3 John 1:4

The whole reason Lehi felt compelled to share this dream with his sons was because he feared what the vision said about their future. However, he believes his vision is only a prophecy of what might be, not necessarily of what must be, since, as Lehi concluded, he “did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent” that they would hearken to his words (1 Nephi 8:37).

mightmust1 Nephi 8:37

So while Lehi’s dream is a revelation, it was not necessarily a prophecy of his son’s future—at least Lehi didn’t believe it to be so, or he would not have tried so hard to persuade them to change. A similar example (although fictional) involved the critical question of Ebenezer Scrooge, who asked the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, “Are these the shadows of things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be only?” (Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 143). Scrooge was shown a vision of what might be, unless he changed, which he did. Perhaps Lehi’s dream was a warning to Laman and Lemuel of what might be, but with the possibility of a better outcome for them should they choose to change.

A Christmas Carol,

Applying the Dream to Our Reality

Some of our sorrows we bring upon ourselves, and some come from watching those we love make poor choices. It is interesting to note that the Book of Mormon story does not begin with a model family that does everything right and keeps all the commandments. Rather it begins with an imperfect family, one might even say a dysfunctional family. In the course of their journey, two sons threaten to kill their brother, and the same sons threaten to kill their own father (that would qualify as dysfunctional).

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. How grateful we are to them, however, for sharing their family trials and triumphs with us. We feel for them, and because of their willingness to share, we find some comfort in knowing that ancient families struggled too.

Amazing thoughts on applying scripture to our lives

by  Michelle  -   reviewed on  August 07, 2013

I was supposed to do this review last month and completely forgot about it because of some craziness going on in our lives. Anyway, better late than never. I have been a fan of John Bytheway since the mid 1990s when he came out with What I Wish I’d Known in High School. I loved his humor and the way he made the truth come out & made me think through the humor. Therefore, I was thrilled when I found out about this new book too. Lifestyles continues on the Bytheway tradition of adding humor to sensitive topics and helped me to analyze my life in a less stressful way. I love how there are sections of the book called “Applying the Dream to Our Reality” because these parts really help to bring the scriptures and Lehi’s Dream to the modern world. I have never before read a book that delves into Lehi’s Dream and helped me apply it to my own life like this one does. I read the book fairly quickly because of doing the review. However, now I plan on going back through it slower, chapter by chapter, and actually applying the lessons learned in my daily life. This book does more than just help us understand Lehi’s Dream – it helps us live in such a way that we can return to the Tree of Life. The tag line at the bottom of the cover says “Finding Your Path in Lehi’s Dream” and this book lives up to that title. By applying the things learned here, we can stay on the path and hold to the Iron Rod more firmly because we can better understand the intricate points of the dream and the severity of the Great and Spacious Building. I also love how Brother Bytheway brings in teachings from General Authorities and how it’s not just a scriptural reference book. His personal experiences from his life and how he shares experiences he’s had with General Authorities too help to bring reality to his insights. He’s not just some man sitting in an office somewhere, but he has a life just like the rest of us (although he gets to interact with the General Authorities more one on one) and sharing those experiences makes everything more real. His humor and down-to-earth writing helps me find hope and courage to apply the things learned in the book to my personal life. I would highly recommend the book to anyone who already enjoys John Bytheway and/or anyone looking to more fully understand Lehi’s Dream in a different way without it just being a scriptural analyzation. After I finish re-reading the book for myself, I’ll be giving it to our 13-year-old daughter so that she can also more fully understand Lehi’s Dream and how it applies to our lives today. I believe this would also be a great resource for LDS families to use in addition to scripture study because it is written in such a way that even younger children can understand it and apply the teachings to their lives. Once again, Well Done, Brother Bytheway!!

Informative. Useful. What a treat!

by  Jinky  -   reviewed on  July 25, 2013

Excellent book! A great tool for ponder and study. I could also see myself using excerpts from this book should I ever give a talk regarding agency. ~Review my full review at Jinky is Reading.

SImple and Profound

by  Remy  -   reviewed on  May 19, 2013

Brother Bytheway has written an excellent book which is simple and easy to understand and yet at the same time deep and thought provoking. Lehi's dream is a like a roadmap map for our lives and full of symbolic meaning to bless all who will heed it, and brother Bytheway explains it in a easy and yet soul expanding way, GREAT BOOK!

Great Study Help

by  Lisa  -   reviewed on  July 23, 2013

Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon is a well-known parable for LDS members. This book works to further our understanding of this passage. By dissecting the scripture, John Bytheway is able to really provide interesting insights and thoughts into each little part. This book will provide fascinating information about Lehi's dream along with helpful and meaningful ways to apply it to your life. This is a passage of scripture I think every LDS member is very familiar with. I know I've heard it tons of times. What I really likes about this book was it's ability to get past what I already know and add some new things in. It's really a great way to study this passage. There are quotes from Church leaders, connections to other scripture, and loads of interesting things to learn. Each chapter also has way to apply these things in your own life. Of course, it's all done in an entertaining and sometimes humorous manner that John Bytheway is known for. This book is a quick read just reading through, but I think you could also spend some time with your scriptures and dissect things even further on your own. It's also something that I think could entertain youth while helping them get a really good grasp on the scripture itself. Definitely check this book out to get a good perspective on Lehi's dream. Book provided for review.

Superb instruction by an excellent teacher

by  Rachelle  -   reviewed on  July 23, 2013

This book is a quick read with incredible insight that John Bytheway is well known for. His delightful commentary brings out the meaning of Lehi's dream with a 20/20 focus that will help everyone appreciate and understand these precious verses of The Book of Mormon.


by  Shauna  -   reviewed on  April 25, 2013

We are so blessed to have the scriptures! But do we read them? Do we heed them? Do we sometimes struggle to understand them? I know I struggle with understanding... that is why I am so grateful that authors like John Bytheway share their knowledge of the scriptures with us. I LOVE how he starts the book... "It's only thirty-two verses, or 982 words in length, but it's a life changer--and unforgettable and highly applicable metaphor. We call it Lehi's dream." He then goes on to explain about each part of the vision: the tree of life the rod of iron the mists of darkness the ominous great and spacious building He tells what each means in his Thoughts, Insights, and Observation section he has in each chapter. And then my FAVORITE part... Each chapter has an APPLYING THE DREAM TO OUR REALITY. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and now have so much greater understanding...and I will try to seek more "Tree-of Life" moments!

amazing book

by  julianne  -   reviewed on  May 13, 2013

I love John Bythway's style of writing...this book brought to life lehi's dream in a new way to me and helped me to understand it more clearly! It an easy read and an amazing book.. I highly reccomend it!

I recommend this book!

by  Lesa  -   reviewed on  July 22, 2013

Lifestyles of the Great and Spacious! Isn't that a fun title for a book! The sub-title is Finding your path in Lehi's Dream. Did you know that a whole book was written by John Bytheway on one chapter of the Book of Mormon? I am amazed! The chapter is 1 Nephi chapter 8 or many call this chapter "Lehi's Dream." John Bytheway says in part of the introduction, "The better we understand Lehi's dream, the better we will be able to hold fast on our way, recognizing the lures, temptations, and mists of darkness for what they are, and arrive-and remain-at the tree of life." I learned a great deal while reading this book. It is a book that I will keep at the front of the bookcase to review and read again.

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