“Exceedingly Fair and White”

Brant Gardner

At this point there can be no doubt that the real essence of the vision which Lehi related, and which Nephi also experienced, was to focus them on the mission of the Savior. Nephi desires to see what his father saw, sees the tree, and when asked what he really wants, declares that he wants to understand the meaning. The response to Nephi's request for meaning is the opening of the vision of the birth of the Savior. All of the explanations of the symbology of the dream come later, and after this significant fact: the meaning of the dream of the Tree of Life is Christ. That symbol unerringly points to him.

As noted in the discussion of Nephi's assumptions of the Tree of Life, Nephi was prepared for life-giving powers to be associated with the Tree, and even with the association of the King with the Tree. Nephi is now shown how those concepts fit together. Christ is the King, and dispenses eternal life, not merely surcease of mortal suffering.

Symbolic Analysis: The virgin is "exceedingly fair and white." With the genetically swarthy complexions of most Israel, it is highly unlikely that "white" refers to skin color. It is clearly desireable, but "fair and white" are best seen as descriptions of character rather than descriptions of a type of beauty.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon