As we make our way on our search for happiness, Satan tries to halt our progress. He is not happy… at all. In fact, Satan is downright miserable, and his only goal in life is to make sure we end up just like him. Lehi sees in his vision a mist of darkness, as well as a great and spacious building.
And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. (1 Nephi 8:23)
And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. (1 Nephi 8:26-28)
Some people were lost because they let go of the iron rod and could not see the path through the mists of darkness. Others actually made it to the tree, but couldn’t take the mocking of the people in the great and spacious building, and therefore wandered off and were lost. So what are these mists? And what exactly is this great and spacious building?
When Nephi sees the vision, the Spirit explains to him what these things mean.
And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.
And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof
And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great.
If we desire to obtain true happiness, eternal life that comes from the love of God, we must never let go of the iron rod, and we must never let ourselves be bothered by the mocking of the world. The mists of darkness are all around us, but even if we manage to get to the tree of life, we can still fall away from the path if we let others lead us away.
The search for happiness is a journey outside of this world. We can be in the world, but not of it. Hold to the rod, the word of God and Jesus Christ, that the mists of darkness won’t blind our eyes. And when we make it to the tree, we must still stand firm in our desire to live the gospel of Christ.