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Our Sunday School lesson today was about Lehi’s dream. I see this dream as a metaphor for our journey through mortality towards exhaltation. In his dream, Lehi saw both helps to exhaltation – the path and the iron road – and hindrances – the mists of darkness and the filthy river. It occurred to me that in real life, in this mortal situation we are all now in, both the nature and the degree of the helps and hindrances, and the relative balance between helps and hindrances, might not be random. In the context of Lehi’s dream, how was it decided how thick, or thin, the mists of darkness should be, and how was it decided how wide or narrow the path should be? The value of these variables would have had a significant impact on how many people ended up at the tree and how many ended up at the river. To give a more concrete example, one help we have on our path is the guidance of the Spirit, and one hindrance is the temptations of the devil. I suspect that to a certain extent these two forces – the pull towards good from the Spirit, and the pull towards evil from the devil – are an ever present, constant part of the conditions under which we all live, but the degree to which they influence individual’s actions depends to some extent on factors specific to the actor. So then I started to wonder who decided, and how was it decided, what the helps and hindrances would be, what the balance between them would be, and what factors determined what the balance was going to be. It seems to me that the relative balance between these two forces will have a greater impact than a great many other factors in determining the ultimate outcome of the Plan of Salvation, so I think it might be worth wondering how that balance came to be. I’m wondering if it’s something that God decided entirely according to His own free will, or was it something that had to be decided in accordance with some sort of universal law that God is subject to, or did He simply approve a recommendation from the relevant Plan of Salvation design committee, or perhaps it is what it is because that’s how it has always been, worlds without end. Any thoughts, comments, questions or answers on any part of these musings would be welcome. I realise that much of this is speculative and that there might not be a lot that is readily transparent in the scriptures or modern day prophetic teachings on these questions however I don’t see that as a barrier to considering different possibilities; it just means that we have to exercise caution in how much reliance we can place on any conclusions we may come up with.