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I recently linked a passage from Lehi’s Dream to Dr. Charlton’s book Addicted to Distraction.

And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about

Here is the full context.  Lehi arrives at the tree and takes the fruit.

And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy.

Filled is an extremely significant word. Lehi was whole in committing himself to the joy. He did not hold any part of himself back. Lehi does look around, but only to find his family and bring them to the tree also. His attention to the world is part of the joy he has in the true, not something separate from it. His attention outside the tree is baptized, so to speak.

But when others arrive and take the fruit, they then “cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.”

When they do, they see the great and spacious building, that dark tower, and the people in it mocking and pointing at them. They wander off towards it and are lost.;

When these people look about them, they are taking their attention off the gospel joy. In fact, they were never wholly focused on it. “As if they were ashamed” means that some part of their mind was divided, and reminded them that in a moment of pure happiness they had forgot to worry about their status, and had probably lost it. So they looked around shamefacedly to see if anyone noticed that they had not been acting cool. This is a common enough phenomenon. I see children do it, and adults, and myself. You stop thinking about what you are doing to check and see who else is thinking about what you are doing.  Something like this, although less calculated and more caught out:



There is that moment of fullness and the flood tide of our own self floding back in, concerned that we may have gone too far. Post coitum omne animal triste est.

But no man can serve two masters. Those who try fall away.

Attention is the coin of the spirit. Those who pay this tribute to the Great and Spacious are by that very act keeping themselves in subjection. It is a tyranny of attention.

We do not need to shut ourselves away (although at times and at places it would be wise for all of us, and for some of us it may be wise altogether). But we need to have a broader, happier, fuller understanding of the gospel, where our entertainments and fun are part of it, not an escape from it.

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