In the Book of Mormon, Lehi, a prophet, had a vision in which he saw a tree “whose fruit was desirable to make one happy” (1 Nephi 8:10). Lehi partook of the fruit and described it as filling his soul with joy. A straight and narrow path led to the tree, but obstacles along the path made the journey difficult. A rod of iron led to the tree and acted as a guide for any who would hold onto and follow it.After Lehi told his sons about the vision, Nephi, one of his younger sons, desired to understand the vision. So he went and prayed. Nephi was shown the same vision and given insight into what it meant. Nephi learned that the tree of life represented the love of God, with the fruit representing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The iron rod was the word of God.
To members of the Mormon Church, the iron rod has become a well-known symbol for following God’s commandments. Both it and the Tree of Life are common motifs in Mormon art.