Throughout history, in life, in literature, and in dreams the theme of making a binary choice is very common. The prophet Lehi saw in vision the tree of life. Leading up to this tree was a path by an iron rod. The choice had to be made to grasp the rod of iron and follow the path to the tree of life or not hold on to the iron rod and wander, lost in the midst of darkness, eventually finding the way to the great and spacious building, the river of filthiness, or the iron rod and tree of life. There are only two choices: hold on or not hold on.
Robert Frost wrote these words about choosing one’s path:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
As an LDS missionary in the Southern States mission in the late 1800s, John Morgan was on his way one day to preach in a town. He had an appointment to preach there at a particular time. As he walked down the road, it split off by a large tree into two roads, one heading towards his destination and the other heading to some other place. In this moment he recalled a dream he had some years ago when he was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was staying at a boarding house in Salt Lake City.
One night he dreamed that he was walking down a forested road. He was in a hurry, on his way to something important. In his dream he came to a fork in the road. Next to a large tree, Brigham Young stood waiting for John. Seeing the prophet, John stopped. Brother Brigham said, “Don’t go right; take the road to the left.” John woke up and was perplexed about the meaning of his dream. He asked the woman he was staying with if she could help him interpret his dream. Like Joseph did for Pharaoh, she interpreted his dream. “One day you will be a missionary for the Church. You will walk down that road and come to that fork and that tree. Pres. Young will not be there but you make sure you take the road he indicated.”
Sure enough, the time came that John was a missionary on that road, at that fork, and by that tree. Brigham Young was not there but John took the road to the left, even though his appointment was down the other road. He came upon a village. As he knocked on doors people let him in, feeding him and giving him a place to stay. Then a remarkable thing happened. John preached to the people. As he went house to house the response was the same. Almost all of the people had a stranger visit their homes a few days before. This stranger had taught them the gospel and marked various passages in their scriptures. He explained that shortly another man would be there who would explain more about the scriptures. This man then left – no one saw him again. John was able to teach and baptize nearly the whole town. They were prepared and John made the choice to follow spiritual promptings (and the wise inspiration of others); because of this, he was able to share the gospel with many people. Two roads diverged and John took the one that made all the difference.