There’s More Than One Way To The Tree

Most of us have asked the existential questions of where we came from, why we’re here, and where we’re going? But perhaps the most debated question of all would be, HOW DO YOU GET THERE? This is the question every religion tries to answer in its own unique way. The How. In essence, which path is the right path?

In the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland, Alice meets the Cheshire Cat and asks,

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”

In this final podcast, I share with you exactly where I want to go. I’m headed to Zion, my friends. This is my destination. To live in a new world where the people are of one heart and one mind. Ultimately, I think any person on a soul level would want to live here because it’s a place of love and oneness. And yet the question still remains, HOW DO YOU GET THERE? Is there only one way? Or do you find it if you just walk long enough? The answer may surprise you. Listen in.

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I have a deep passion for the vision of Zion. In the LDS church Zion is defined as a people who are of one heart and mind and there are no poor among them. Truly, this description paints a picture of a world I know we’d all love to be in. One heart and one mind? No poor among them? It sounds amazing. It sounds so peaceful and safe. It sounds like a society that cares for each other. A society that has somehow learned to transcend labels and judgements and truly lives the two greatest commandments as taught by Jesus, to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself.

This vision might be achievable in perfect conditions with a small homogenous group. But my goodness does it become complicated if you are going to include some diversity into the mix. If you have people of different temperaments, cultures, race, nationality, belief, creeds, genders, personality, ideas, and on and on. So how big is God’s vision of Zion? Is it limited to a minute group of chosen and elect people who are all united in the same beliefs about God? Or is there a possibility that God’s vision of Zion could be bigger? Maybe even much bigger…perhaps even big enough that it includes all people without exception?

The ego mind see’s the world in separateness and hierarchy. This is the opposite of a Oneness perspective. Ego separates and elevates. Oneness unites and grounds. Ego will look at Zion…a society of oneness, and ironically separate and judge who is allowed to be there and who isn’t. The irony, is that the goal for oneness is now over and done before it even began. Until you can include yourself and all humanity into your vision of Zion, you won’t experience this new world.

I am learning to look to nature as a model for everything God would have us know and understand.
In nature, all diversity is celebrated and necessary.
In nature all things are loved and accepted.
In nature all things belong, even though it’s so different. Different enough that there are variations in climate, topography, and vegetation.
Nature is rich and abundant, precisely because there is so much biodiversity. Every living thing plays a part in the circle of life and is needed.

If you were to study biology and what makes a thriving natural world, you would learn that it must include biodiversity. I was recently listening to Dr. Zach Bush speak, and he said, “Nothing reaches full vitality until you have biodiversity.” He was speaking about nature. I echo that it’s the same for people. We too are nature. We too are part of God’s creation. We too need biodiversity for full vitality. If God wanted us to be the same we would have been created that way.

Imagine for a moment, that you’re walking into the Amazon rainforest and you see the endless variety of living things
Perhaps you hear the sounds of all the birds, the insects, the animals, water nearby
Maybe you feel the humidity on your skin, drops of rain, or the freshness of the air
Maybe you smell the different fragrances from the trees and flowers
Perhaps you taste the edible plants thriving in this biome…
Imagine for just a moment the infinite amount of variety of life in this one place on planet Earth.
Infinite. Expansive life. So much so that we likely haven’t even discovered all of it yet.

What do you think it feels like to be there? Is there a sense of awe? A sense of life? A sense of unity that exists in this biome as it all works together to thrive, despite its differences?

This, my friends, is how I imagine Zion to be. Filled to the brim with diversity, while simultaneously united in contributing to a thriving environment of love. Oneness, does not mean sameness. What unites is a simple shared value of love.

Just as you can travel the world and see amazing diverse creations from The Grand Canyon, to Mount Everest, To the Sahara, to The Glaciers of the Arctic…you can travel the world and find many religions and traditions that have guided people for thousands of years in their own unique ways of worshiping God and practices for how to find inner peace. Just as God’s diversity is shown in the creations of the earth, God’s truth is also diverse, perfectly tailored to the culture, language, and perceptions of the people. There are good people to be found everywhere. There is goodness to be found everywhere. The scope is wide not narrow.

And while there are still differences among these beliefs, one shared desire every human holds is the desire to be loved and feel love. Regardless of what your spiritual beliefs may be, each human on the planet desires to be loved. It’s almost as if God wired us with a homing beacon of the single thread that would bring us back together. The only thread that could unite so much difference.

Love. Love is the thread. Love is the center. Love is where the unity happens. I marvel that the Tree of Life is a symbol of the love of God. Of course this love would be symbolized in a tree, a tree that not only is rooted deeply into mother earth, but whose branches would stretch to touch the heavens. The tree is the connection between earth and heaven.

Amazingly, the tree of life is a symbol that appears in nearly every world religion and tradition. Just yesterday I received an Egyptian Ankh necklace in the mail, which is the Egyptian symbol for the tree of life. I am wearing it now as I write the podcast, feeling connected across cultures to a shared symbol of belief.

One of my all time favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life. This vision has been important guidance for me in many different seasons of my life, and going through a faith expansion has been no exception. However, this time, I have noticed things about this dream I have never seen before. The type of things that cause me to pause and say, “Did someone change the text? How have I made it this long and never noticed this?”

After seeing these new insights, I have had many private conversations with family and friends. I always start by asking the question, “What is the first thing Lehi saw in his vision of the Tree of Life?”

So far, not a single person has remembered the story correctly. Do you know what the first thing Lehi saw was? Make a guess. Now, let’s read Lehi’s own words.

5 And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.
6 And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.
7 And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
8 And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.

The first thing Lehi saw was a man dressed in white who tells Lehi to follow him. Lehi does what he’s told and follows the man and ends up in a dark and dreary waste.

Really, there are two parts to Lehi’s vision and my whole life I’ve only ever focused on the second part. The second part is all I’ve ever heard discussed in talks or lessons. It’s also the only part that is interpreted a few chapters later. We aren’t given an interpretation for this first part of the vision and likewise we often disregard its importance. So much so that not a single person I’ve asked even remembers it as part of the same vision. But it is. And it’s significant.

Perhaps one reason that it’s not interpreted in the following chapters is because the interpretation is not meant to come from an outside source telling us how to think, but rather an interpretation we are each meant to discover for ourselves. For this reason, I will not be sharing my own interpretation, but I invite you to think on the significance of this opening scene and why it would set the stage so perfectly for everything that follows. How does it relate to our modern day and to your own life?

As Lehi keeps following the man dressed in white and finds himself in a dark and dreary waste, he finally cries out to God for his own guidance.

Do you know the next thing Lehi see’s? Pay close attention.

9 And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.

The next thing he sees is a large and spacious field. Remember this. This too is not interpreted for us later. Now we enter the second part of the vision most people are familiar with for which we do have an interpretation.

10 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

It wasn’t until recently reading this story that I noticed for the first time, that Lehi did not come to the tree of life by following the narrow path and the iron rod. To my astonishment, neither did Sariah, Nephi, and Sam. Actually, no person in Lehi’s family comes to the tree following the narrow path at all.

Lehi comes to the tree by traveling through the spacious field.

Should I read the account again?

9 And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.
10 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof;

It’s not until later as Lehi looks around for Laman and Lemuel that he sees many people traveling a narrow path with a rod of iron leading to the tree.

Meditating on this from the perspective of someone going through a faith expansion which has many times made me feel excluded from my own community and I’ve struggled to know how to still be united in my marriage and family relationships who are all committed to a narrow path, my mind exploded.

There’s more than one way to the tree.
There’s more than one way to the tree.
Oh my gosh! There’s more than one way to the tree!!!!!

The most important symbol in this vision is the tree. A few chapters later, we learn the tree and the fruit symbolize the love of God. And now that I could see there was more than one way to the tree I no longer felt excluded. My heart and mind expanded wide at the grand possibility that there was room for more people. In fact, how about all people? There could be room for everyone! What a strange and wonderful new feeling! This was the feeling of expansion.

My spirit soared with this insight and in my minds eye I instantly saw all sorts of people traveling in the spacious field making their way to the tree. I saw people of every religion, culture, and tradition. People all over the world coming through the spacious field— just as Lehi did—to get to this tree.

It felt like all the differences of faith that exist in the world, which somehow still manage to produce loving kind people now made sense. The field needed to be spacious to make room for so many people traveling their own path to get there. In meditation I saw myself in this vision too, tasting of the fruit of the tree of life myself, and basking in the love of God and marveling at all these people from so many diverse backgrounds as we were all tasting God’s love together. It was beautiful. I felt so connected to all of humanity. I felt one with all people. I also saw my own family traveling the narrow path. We all met together at the tree, we just traveled there in our own way.

This was a pivotal moment in my life and this image has tremendously helped my marriage. My husband and I have an understanding that we are both focused on the tree. He is content to travel the narrow path, and I am free to go through the spacious field. We are meeting at the tree and have just taken slightly different ways of getting there. One way is narrow. And one way is spacious. There’s not a right way and a wrong way. They’re just different.

It likely goes without saying, but the more narrow a path, the less and less people there will be who can fit there.

My husband bought me a mountain bike this year for Mother’s Day and I have been so excited to get out and ride. The past 15 years I’ve been a road biker. I love road biking. You can go fast and you can go far. But the downside is that you’re also sharing the road with cars. What I’ve most looked forward to in mountain biking is being in nature and away from the city. Our first ride together we drove to a nearby canyon. At the trail head we had two options. A single track trail–which is a hiking trail and what most skilled mountain bikers will opt for, or a double track, which was a gravel road cars could drive on. We chose the single track so I could experience what it was like to be a “real” mountain biker.

It didn’t take more than five minutes up the trail before I started to cry. Granted, I admit I was already emotional for other reasons. But I quickly realized that this single track trail was very narrow. I had a steep drop off to one side that followed a river and the trail was busy. Bikers coming down the trail would suddenly appear around a corner and while going uphill I’d immediately have to stop and hug the mountain to let them pass. I felt afraid of the tight space. I instantly realized that I wasn’t skilled enough yet to be riding this trail and I didn’t feel safe. It was overwhelming. Bless my husband for noticing that I was not only lagging behind but I was emotionally despondent. He closed the gap between us and immediately offered for us to switch tracks.

“Let’s just go on the double track!” he said. At first I argued. I didn’t want to ruin his fun or show myself as a wimpy biker. But deep down I knew the only way I would feel safe and enjoy the ride was to change course.

We backtracked to the trail head and took the double track road instead. It was like my whole life changed. I had space. I could ride side by side if I wanted. I could be myself instead of trying to fit the persona of the tough seasoned mountain biker that I clearly was not, and I felt safe. I was able to really enjoy the scenery and the journey so much more. I needed a more spacious path to travel.

Interesting to note, that for this particular canyon, both of the paths led to the same destination. Both paths climbed the same elevation. One wasn’t steeper than another, rather it just had more space. The double track gave access to so many more people of different abilities. Even someone who couldn’t ride a bike could still travel in a car and arrive at the same destination. I’m so grateful there was another option for me to really enjoy the journey that day. Metaphorically, there was more than one way to the tree. Praise the almighty unconditionally loving God for providing more than one way so all people could come to the tree in the way that is best for them.

As I have shared with family and friends this insight of being more than one path, most people appreciate how it has helped them have more acceptance and lightened the heartache they feel for people they love taking a different path.

One time I shared these thoughts and the person got upset. It created cognitive dissonance. They wanted to believe there is only one way and accused me of justifying the choice for anyone to leave the narrow path, which in their mind is not okay.

I want to clearly state my intention here. I am not telling anyone to leave the narrow path. My only intention in sharing this is to help preserve relationships. When you have people who love each other but are traveling different paths, they often don’t know how to stay united. How can you fully love and accept someone if you judge them as lost and gone astray? Marriages, Parent child relationships, siblings and friends relationships,… I don’t know of anyone in the church who doesn’t have some heartache from at least one person close to them who is taking a different path. Much of that heartache comes from believing there is only way to the tree. I am the only one in my family feeling called to the spacious field. To follow what I feel called to do, is basically the most unpopular, lonely, scary thing I’ve ever done. And yet I know the voice of God for me. I love my people deeply and I have to find a way that I can respect their path and they can respect mine. How can we still be united in love? This is the quest of my heart.

This perspective of there being more than one path to the tree has helped me feel more belonging with my family and friends, because instead of focusing on any particular path being right or wrong, I have shifted my focus to the tree. The symbol of God’s love. A place where every person without exception is welcome to come, no matter how you get there.

Richard Rohr in his book, The Universal Christ, describes how religion is often like a finger pointing to the Moon. The moon being God and the finger being the religious dogma and practices pointing how to get to God. Unfortunately, he says, we can often start worshipping the finger instead of the moon.

I’d say the same can be true of a path and a tree. When you start worshipping the path and making the path the most important thing, you put the cart before the horse. And worse yet, is when we do this at the expense of our dearest relationships. May we never lose our dearest relationships over a difference in path. May we never miss out on God because of a difference in path. It doesn’t have to be that way if we’re focusing on the tree.

Having more than one way to the tree, is evidence of how unconditionally loving God truly is. More than one way accounts for the diversity of all people God created. It also gives God infinite ways to bring you back to love. Remember, on a soul level, what we are all ultimately hoping to find is love. It’s wired into us. Every human on the planet no matter their beliefs, just wants to be loved. You’ll know you’re on the right path for you, if it’s leading you to become more loving. If you’re becoming more loving you’re on a path that leads to the tree. If your path isn’t making you more loving, it’s time to find a new path.

As we start to tune more into love–as we start to focus more on the tree, we begin to transform into a Zion people. A people who are of one heart and one mind and there are no poor among them.
We’re no longer judging one another based on which path you travel. That’s the ego mind that divides and separates. At the tree the love of God brings all things into union. There is a oneness of all things and all people.

At the tree, we become more inclusive instead of exclusive. We aren’t focused at all on how someone arrived at the tree, only that they have come and we rejoice in being together. People can believe whatever helps them be more loving. We rejoice in the richness this diversity adds to our life experience and we naturally begin to live and thrive together despite our differences. Why? Because we are united and held together in love.

There’s more than one way to the tree.

Be aware though, that if you partake of the fruit of this tree, you will be mocked. Just as the rest of Lehi’s dreams indicates. It’s so interesting that the mocking from the people in the spacious building is never directed to those on the path. Think about that.

The mocking is only directed to those at the tree.

Let me say that again. The mocking from the people in the spacious building is never directed to those on the path. The mocking is only directed to those at the tree.

I imagine those mocking in the building represent any person or institution still holding on to judgements of a rightness or wrongness of paths. They believe their way is the right way and the only way. Maybe some people don’t like seeing people at the tree they don’t think should be there. Lehi’s family didn’t travel the narrow path, so perhaps they were mocked for taking another way?

Or maybe some mocking people don’t approve of those who let go of the iron rod to be at the tree. The rod isn’t welded to the tree, after all. Once you let go and walk those remaining steps to the tree you enter a space where all paths converge into oneness with each other and no way or dogma or person is any more enlightened than anyone else. The ego simply cannot stand to have this hierarchy and exclusiveness vanish.

I love the words of Robert Edward Grant, who said,

“Enlightenment is when the expression of love supersedes the desire for truth.”
“Enlightenment is when the expression of love supersedes the desire for truth.”

Really, the ultimate truth is love. And when our expression for love supersedes our need to be right, we reach enlightenment.

The spacious field is very different than a spacious building.

The spacious field is spacious horizontally. It expands wide to include.
The spacious building is spacious vertically. It elevates high to exclude.

The building represents the hierarchy of ego. It’s spacious vertically, elevating itself above others. This is why it represents the pride of the world. It’s so spaciously high above others that it’s actually floating in the air.

In contrast, the tree of life is grounded to Mother Earth. The tree represents a perfect balance of feminine and masculine because the tree connects Mother Earth and Father Sky into an equal partnership. They are one.

But the building floats in disconnection from Mother Earth. There’s nothing stopping it from floating higher and higher above others. It may acknowledge that Mother Earth exists, but it cannot be connected to her. To do so would make the building crumble, and great would be the fall thereof. Why? Because it would require a complete restructuring.

The building is literally constructed of all kinds of hierarchy. Any system that elevates or separates people. This includes patriarchy, and all of the “isms” that systemically suppress any group of people. We see this represented in Government, Media, Religion, Patriarchal societies, and many other false traditions or subgroups that do not have true equality and oneness. To bring true equality and partnership into any of these systems would crumble the building because it literally dismantles their structure. They are built on hierarchy. Thus the great fall of the great and spacious building.

Ultimately, what threatens those in the great and spacious building the very most, is that the tree has no hierarchy. This is the root reason of why they mock the tree. Because the ego cannot be there. You do not keep your elevated status at the tree. You must let the ego die and unite in oneness with all the rest of humanity to be there.

Or as Jesus says,

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
-Matthew 16:25

Zion cannot exist in a hierarchal structure. Zion is fundamentally opposed to the hierarchy and separateness this building represents. The building falls because it is manmade constructs. But the tree? The tree is everlasting because it is God-made. Represented by nature herself as a shining beacon of oneness and harmonious balance.

Now, let’s contrast the spacious field.

The spacious field is horizontally spacious. It spans a wide breadth to lovingly include the many ways back to God. And because the spacious field is also of the earth, I imagine the Divine Feminine presence expands wide and spacious like a hen spreading her wings to gather in her chicks from all directions.

While the ego mind vertically elevates itself above others to create a hierarchy.
Oneness horizontally expands herself to include everyone in a synarchy.

Synarchy is a new word for most people. Synarchy means joint and harmonious rule and sovereignty. It’s how you could have a Zion society of people with one heart and mind without having to have hierarchal governance. Joint and harmonious rule and sovereignty. Isn’t this a vision beautiful? This vision makes my heart sing. Life at the tree is amazing. It is the New Earth. Zion is at the tree.

I have loads more to say about Zion, but I’ll save that for my new podcast. I hope this gives you a little taste of what Zion can be like and most importantly, that there is more than one way to get there.

There’s more than one way to the tree.
There’s more than one way to the tree.

How does that feel?

Does it feel expansive?

Or does it feel threatening and contracted? Maybe some cognitive dissonance? If so, let’s inquire a little deeper.
These answers are not to come from the head, but rather the heart. What does the heart say?

Is there only one way? Or is there more than one way?

Which belief feels more inclusive?
Which one allows for a fullness of agency?
Which one feels like sovereignty and freedom?
Which one allows for more diversity?
Which one feels most like an unconditionally loving God?
Which one feels most like nature?

If you still feel compelled to hold to the belief in only one path, and it makes you a more loving person to do so, then awesome. But if it doesn’t make you more loving to believe this, it’s all the more important to receive an interpretation for yourself on what the first part of Lehi’s dream means. Ask God with real intent to know the meaning and see if it helps guide you to taste of the love of God for yourself, just as it did for Lehi.

For me, it is unequivocally the belief that there is more than one way to the tree, that feels more loving and expansive. The fruits of this belief have cracked my heart open wide to be able to love myself and others more deeply than ever before. It’s like a barrier of separation I’ve felt my whole life between me and the rest of the world has suddenly been removed and I can look at any person now regardless of their path and call them my brother or my sister. This is the power of the love of God. This is why the fruit is sweet above all that is sweet and desirable to make one happy, because it connects me to all humanity and all creation. I am one and no longer living in separateness.

Zion is realized at the tree. The tree is the gathering place of all humanity returning to love, from all directions and corners of the earth.


Focus on the tree.
Focus on the tree.
Focus on the tree.

No matter how you or someone else chooses to get there, focus on the tree.

See it.
Say it.
Feel it.
Do it.
Become it.

You are a creator, now go co create something great.

As I close out this final episode of the Brooke Snow podcast, I want to pause and express my gratitude to every person who has listened to any episode in the past five years. I’m also grateful to anyone who has ever taken the time to rate, review, or share the podcast, who has ever sent messages and shown your support and encouragement. Your words and support mean so much.

My new podcast will launch soon, and I’ll leave a link in the shownotes of this episode when it goes live as well as post a trailer in this feed to direct you to the new one if you’d like to continue to listen to more insights on love, Zion, and oneness as we co create a new world together.

From my heart to yours, Thank you. I love you.

Whatever path you take, I’ll meet you at the tree.

4 Responses

  1. Wow. While listening to a podcast of yours three years ago my husband remarked that “this smells like priestcraft”, that you “really liked to hear yourself talk”, and that your “compass is already a little off”. He predicted you would continue to get more off-base over time. I got upset at him and defended you saying he was being ridiculous and judgemental. I finished your Creation Coach course and was entirely disappointed by the final “banquet”. I was not ready to admit that the CC program was waste of my money and time. As I participated in the next year’s CC calls, I quickly realized what a farce this was becoming and finally acknowledged the truth and walked away.
    I am sad to say that you lived up to my husband’s initial characterization. Your compass is broken. The things you love most are hearing yourself talk and getting people’s money. I hope that you can eventually find your way home.

  2. Lehi only says he beheld a large and spacious field, not that he or any of his family got to the tree via the field. Just because he doesn’t expressly say they got to the tree via the rod/strait and narrow path doesn’t mean they didn’t. Just like he didn’t notice the filthiness of the water, as Nephi later noted, Lehi may not have seen himself following the path/rod.

    Jesus doesn’t teach that there are multiple ways. He teaches just the opposite.
    “ I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
    “ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
    “For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.
    “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.”

    While God’s love is available to all, ultimately the only way back to God is by following THE path He has set. Not all roads lead to God.

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