Zion via the Wilderness: The Hero’s Journey in the Book of Mormon and Old Testament

Victoria Gardner, “Zion via the Wilderness: The Hero’s Journey in the Book of Mormon and Old Testament,” Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium 2008 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2008), 62–76.

Zion via the Wilderness: The Hero’s Journey in the Book of Mormon and Old Testament

Victoria Gardner

In his work On Zion: The History of an Idea, the influential Hasidic Jewish scholar Rabbi Martin Buber writes that he knows of no other people besides the Jewish people to whom God gave a land.[1] With latter-day knowledge, though, we know that God, via powerful covenants, promised a land not only to all the descendants of Abraham generally but also to the descendants of Lehi specifically, contingent on each group’s obedience to His commandments (Abraham 2:6, 1 Nephi 2:20).[2] Covenants are not free gifts from the Lord; a commitment is always expected in return for His blessings. To obtain the blessings of these particular covenants, the people had to journey through wilderness to the promised land—Moses leading the children of Israel back to Canaan and Lehi leading his family to the Americas.

The Old Testament and the Book of Mormon both begin with these covenant people physically journeying to claim the physical blessings of the promised land. The physical journey doubles as a spiritual journey to prepare the travelers for the spiritual blessings of the Lord’s covenant and gives us a pattern to follow in our individual spiritual journeys. Because the Lord loves us and wants us to return to him, the Lord gives us patterns and models for us to follow. Elder Earl C. Tingey said, “Our challenge is to know, understand, and follow the Lord’s way. He has established proven patterns that, if followed, will help us find happiness in this life and also help us qualify for eternal life.”[3]

The duplicate examples of the journey metaphor in both books emphasize the fundamental role of the journey in God’s plan for us. Everyone who wishes to enjoy the full blessings of God’s plan of salvation must undergo the physical journey on earth. In both of these journey epics, and also in the spiritual journeys of all of those seeking to fulfill the covenants that they have made with God, we can see the structure of the hero’s journey, an idea presented by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero of a Thousand Faces. Campbell constructs a three-stage journey—departure, initiation, and return—that corresponds to the three stages of a rite of passage as described by Arnold Van Gennep.[4] Analyzing the journeys through the lens of Campbell’s hero’s journey pattern and Van Genneps’s rite of passage pattern brings increased insight into the meaning of the journeys and establishes an eternal pattern for us to follow as we complete our own journey through life, through the temple, and to Zion.

Journey to​​​ the Promised Land as a Hero’s Journey

Both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon are built on the foundations of epic journeys undertaken by a community of believers. Though the journeys are undertaken hundreds of years apart, each warns and advises us on how we are to undertake our own life journeys. Interestingly, the journey stories follow the plot structure of the hero’s journey, as first postulated by Joseph Campbell, a myth scholar, storyteller, and theoretician. According to Fiona Bowie, Campbell believes that the “hero’s journey [is] the monomyth”: an archetypal myth that, while rooted in a single, original myth, has changed as cultures have separated and diversified.[5] Echoes of the hero’s journey plot structure are found in myths all around the globe, and the journey stories of the Bible and the Book of Mormon are no exceptions. It is important to remember that “myth” in this context is not used to designate the usual Western interpretation of myth that connotes falsehood, invention, fantasy, and so forth. Rather, “myths,” as defined by Campbell and other anthropologists, are the stories upon which a culture’s cosmology or worldview is based—the stories that answer the curiosity of the human soul: who are we? where are we going? what is my purpose in life?

Campbell elucidates the structure of the hero’s journey in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In the book, he uses myths from around the globe to support his argument. The three main stages of the hero’s journey sequence consist of (1) a departure stage, where the participants in the journey are removed from their prior location and societal role, (2) an initiation stage, where the participants have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and (3) a return stage, where the participants come back to the world in a transformed state.[6] Viewing the scriptural journey stories within this hero’s journey context deepens our understanding of the spiritual meaning and symbolism of both stories.

Within the basic three-stage pattern, Campbell has broken down the three stages of the hero’s journey into seventeen steps.[7] Not all stories qualified as hero’s journeys include all elements, but these subordinate steps bring connectivity to the myths and act as markers for important elements of the myth. Many stories contain a majority of the seventeen steps, but “many tales isolate and greatly enlarge upon one or two of the typical elements of the full cycle.”[8] For Lehi’s and Moses’s journeys, eleven of the steps apply to both of the stories (see chart). Parallels between the stories show us the hand of God in directing the course of His covenant peoples.

Both Lehi and Moses were called of God through mysterious means.[9] The Lord spoke to Moses under veil of fire. “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. . . . God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I” (Exodus 3:2, 4). The Lord then told Moses about the plight of his brethren in Egypt and told him that it was his duty to lead them out from Egypt (Exodus 3:10). Similarly, Lehi was praying for the welfare of the Jews in Jerusalem when “there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much” (1 Nephi 1:5). Later after returning to his house, and “cast[ing] himself upon his bed” he continued his vision (1 Nephi 1:7). Afterward, he was moved to preach repentance to the people of Jerusalem, having seen the destruction of the city. The comparison of these callings highlights fire—warm, intense, purifying fire—as a symbol for God. Fire as a purifier also shows the need to be purified before starting a spiritual journey.

Both prophets showed initial wariness at their new responsibility. Lehi cast himself on his bed, showing how overwhelmed he felt. It took another series of visions to convince him and cause him to exclaim, “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! . . . because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish” (1 Nephi 1:14). At first Moses protested saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Moses hesitated, knowing that reappearing in the Egyptian court after killing an Egyptian would be risking his life. Then, again in Exodus 4, Moses hesitated because, he tells the Lord, he is “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (v. 10). After their initial hesitations, the Lord assured Lehi and Moses of His divine aid for them and they accepted faithfully the call to the ministry.

After the prophets accepted their calls, they gathered their people and departed from the corrupt areas where they were dwelling. The Lord gave them a promised land so that they could be separated from the wicked influences of the world and could live righteously without duress. In the time of Joseph, the Israelites had dwelled peacefully with the Egyptians, but after a new pharaoh began to reign, one “which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8), this pharaoh began to fear the growing population of the Israelites and in order to control the growing population, enslaved the children of Israel. In Exodus 3 when God came to Moses in the burning bush, he told Moses that “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (v. 8). In Jerusalem around 600 BC, the Jews had become incredibly wicked, and the prophets (including Lehi) prophesied of the destruction of the city, unless the people repented (1 Nephi 1:4). After failing in his attempts to change the hearts of the people, Lehi was commanded by the Lord to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2). By leaving their known worlds, the groups were showing their first mark of obedience to the Lord.

As a physical sign of this separation, both groups crossed a watery threshold, distinctly differentiating the past land and life from the new land and life. In Exodus 14, Moses miraculously parts the Red Sea, and the children of Israel cross over on the dry bed, never to return to Egypt again. They washed away the physical traces of Egypt that had pursued after them (Pharoah’s soldiers), even though they were haunted by the spiritual contagion of idolatry. Lehi’s first camp was on the river Laman, which emptied into the Red Sea (1 Nephi 2:8). From this base camp, the sons of the party traveled back and forth to Jerusalem. Once they left this camp and crossed the river Laman, though, they never returned to Jerusalem and their old lives.[10] While the watery threshold marked the physical “point of no return” in their journey, the passage through water is another purifying symbol, showing the people’s need to cleanse themselves before they began the initiation stage.

After this separation and purification from wickedness, each of the groups had to undergo a period of trials in the wilderness—a “road of trials,” to use Campbell’s term—to begin the initiation stage.[11] The hero has to go through this stage before proving himself worthy of the ultimate boon and reentering the world of structure. During this stage, the heroes or characters are in a liminal (Latin for “threshold”) or antistructure stage where they do not belong to one world nor the other and do not have defined roles in society—they are people without roots.

As the groups in the scriptural stories journeyed or wandered in the wilderness, they floated between two worlds. The trials that they underwent during this threshold stage prepared them for entrance into their respective promised lands. The trials were Heavenly Father’s educational tools that helped his people transform into the people they needed to be before entering the land and that taught His people the important lessons they needed to know to have success in the promised land. The time that each group spent in the wilderness reflected how well they responded to the trials. The Israelites, who were unable to consistently keep the commandments, wandered for forty years; though Laman and Lemuel were also constantly murmuring, others of Lehi’s children were more obedient, and therefore, their education period was shorter.

In the hero’s journey sequence, the mysterious messenger that sent the hero on the journey does not leave his hero to battle these trials alone; rather he is “covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper.”[12] Likewise, Heavenly Father did not leave his children to battle trials alone. Both groups had the God-given law (“advice”) to guide their behavior—Moses was given the Ten Commandments, which Lehi continued to follow—as well as the priesthood to receive revelations to guide the group’s behavior. The Lord also invested some objects with his power to teach important lessons of humility and obedience. When the fiery serpents attacked them after they murmured, the Lord commanded Moses to make a brass serpent and set it upon a pole, that “every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8). In 1 Nephi 16, the Lord gave Lehi’s family the Liahona to guide them across the wilderness and sea, which only worked when the people were humble. Angels, or “agents,” from the Lord rescued Nephi and Sam from the beatings of their older brothers when they went back to Jerusalem for the plates (see 1 Nephi 3:29). Angels revealed visions to both Lehi and Nephi, and these visions were used to educate their families about the plan that the Lord had set aside for them. God did set trials in the people’s ways, but not without also giving them means to overcome the trials if they were humble and obedient.

To signal the end of the educational separation, the groups again crossed a watery threshold. To finally enter the promised land in Canaan, the Israelites crossed the river Jordan—again parted by the power of God—on dry ground (see Joshua 3). At the end of their wilderness journey, the Nephites boarded ships and crossed the ocean. Though the miracle might not have as visually stunning as the parting of the waters, God had an equal hand in this crossing as He guided the boats across the ocean to the promised land.

After proving themselves worthy of the blessings of the covenant during this middle phase, the group can return to the world of structure. In these scriptural epics, returning to the structured world meant that they stopped wandering and gained entrance to the promised land. They could finally reestablish normal society and put roots down. Heavenly Father finally felt like they had learned the lessons of the initiation stage and had proved themselves worthy. Nephi wrote that after they had arrived in the promised land they “did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth. . . . And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly” (1 Nephi 18:24). The people put down roots, literally and figuratively, again in the world of structure but spiritually transformed.

Hero’s Journ​​ey as a Rite of Passage

Rituals are the reenactment of a culture’s myths, or in other words, the practice of the beliefs; the structure of rituals, therefore, mirrors the structure of myths.[13] The hero’s journey myth corresponds to the rite of passage, a ritual that one must undergo to enter a new phase or season of life. In the Church, rites of passage include baby blessings, baptism, priesthood ordination, marriage, and death. Arnold Van Gennep, in his book The Rites of Passage, defines a threefold structure for rites of passage: “separation, transition, and incorporation.”[14] Campbell, writing forty years after the publishing of Van Gennep’s work on the rites of passage, based his structure for the hero’s journey on Van Gennep’s theories about rites of passage. Bowie writes, “The hero’s journey replicates the threefold pattern of the rite of passage. . . . The characters in the monomyth have universal appeal because they depend not on any one individual’s external experiences or particular historical events, but upon universal archetypes linked to inner psychic [spiritual] growth and the development of humanity as a whole.”[15] The monomyth has universal appeal because it provides answers to life’s questions, gives direction to its adherents, and roots its adherents in space and time. Similarly, rites of passage teach the participant about themselves and their roles in society, again giving direction to their lives.

Wilderness journeys are rites of passage for the peoples involved, because they had to experience the journey before they claimed the blessings of their promised land. The purpose of each stage in the rite of passage is to help us to better understand what role the journeys played in refining the participants.

During the first stage (separation), one must be separated from the world to concentrate on the new role that the rite of passage is introducing. In religious journeys, the people are separated to be able to focus more on their relationship with God, away from the wickedness that they were surrounded by.

The next stage, the transition or liminal stage, is the educational stage where the people learn more about their new role or relationship. This transition stage is the most important stage for the rite of passage because the new knowledge that qualifies oneself to move on to the next stage and to be able to keep functioning in society, life, and so on, is transmitted during this stage. For example, the Lehites, while in the wilderness, learned about the plan of salvation through the dreams of Lehi and Nephi, and they learned that God would guide them according to their faith through the instrument of the Liahona. Learning these truths gave them a purpose that would reinforce their obedience to God.

According to Bowie, the final stage of the rite of passage, reincorporation, “involves a return to the mundane (‘structure’) but empowered by the divine.”[16] After successfully enduring a rite of passage and reincorporating back into the world, one’s perspectives have been changed and one has become stronger through the trials of the rite of passage. In the scriptural accounts, after enduring the hardship of the wilderness journey, the people have sealed their covenants with their obedience and have become different people with new perspectives and a willingness to rely on God more fully.

Application of the Principle​​s to Our Own Journey

Just like the children of Israel and the family of Lehi, we are all trying to get to the land that Heavenly Father has promised us. The land He has promised us, as a covenant people in the latter days, is the celestial kingdom. But we need not wait until death to enjoy the blessings of this promised land. We can all progress in our spiritual journeys on earth by attending the temple and striving to develop Zion—both being models of the celestial kingdom that God has established so that we may prepare to live in the highest glory with Him. To worship in the temple and to build up Zion, an eternal perspective should be developed using the three steps of a hero’s journey and a rite of passage.

Entering the temple is both a journey that takes us out of this world and a rite of passage that must be performed (by ourselves or on our behalf) for us to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Before attending the temple, we must separate ourselves from the world. Not only is it that in the temple we are physically separated from the carnal temptations of the world, but, to be qualified to enter the temple, we must also be spiritually divorced from the temptations of the world—like the oft-repeated phrase, “Be in the world, but not of the world.” Entering the temple, we cross a threshold, a veritable bridge linking heaven and earth; past this threshold, all thoughts and reminders of the world are silenced and the focus shifts to the things of eternity. The physical separation from the world helps us to focus on matters dealing with Christ because Christ is not of this world (see John 8:23). Having stepped inside this threshold, we learn the myths that answer those persistent questions that haunt mankind concerning human nature. President Faust writes, “The deepest questions of our existence are answered in the temple. . . . Where we came from, why we are here, where we may go, and how we may cope with the matter of death.”[17]

Because of the strength and the knowledge that we receive in the temple when we learn about ourselves and our roles in the world, we are commanded to be a temple-going people. President Howard W. Hunter wrote, “Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow.”[18] We are transformed with each repeated temple visit as eternal truths are expanded and lived and our eternal perspective is enhanced. We leave the temple and return to the life of the world, but we leave having been empowered by the divine. After the hero’s journey has been completed, the hero is a master of both the mundane and spiritual worlds. Similarly, after we have completed the journey through the temple, we are endowed with the increased ability to live in the world within our bodies, while still maintaining a relationship with God and living with an eternal perspective.

As another tool to help his children maintain an eternal perspective, Heavenly Father has also set before us the ideal of Zion. Though “Zion” has been used to indicate a physical location, it also indicates an attitude of unity, equality, purity, charity, sanctification, and obedience.[19] Building a Zion society must begin with purifying our own hearts first, for Zion is “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). President Brigham Young said, “When we conclude to make a Zion, . . . we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person.”[20] The change must come from the inside out. Like the eternal perspective fostered in the temple, separation and transformation through education are once again key to creating Zion in ourselves and in our communities.

Separation is a key of Zion. In the scriptural account of Enoch, the righteous people congregated in one city, the city of Zion, to gain strength in living with similarly minded people and to protect themselves from the wicked. Nibley adds, “If only to preserve its purity, Zion is set apart from all contaminating influences.”[21] One cannot live equally and united if there are constant detractors who do not believe the same. Also, Nibley describes God driving a wedge between the world and his people on purpose to create a clear distinction between what is of Him and what is of the world.[22] He has established a standard for us to follow, and He does not want it blurred with the lower standards of the world. While we may not have a Zion community immediately, to really espouse the attributes of Zion, just like the temple, we must learn individually to live in the world, but not of the world—not to fall prey to the worldly temptations of pride, materialism, and self-interest.

After spiritually separating ourselves from the things of the world, we need to begin the education of the transition stage. Once we pass the threshold of baptism, we begin to be accountable for living the standards of Zion. We need to learn to develop charity, obedience, and purity individually so that we will be prepared to transition easily to Zion and the celestial kingdom when the time comes. During this life, the education stage, we need to learn as much as we can about the doctrines and principles of the gospel. We should not only learn but also practice what we learn. By living the gospel principles with an eternal perspective, we will journey to the temple, then to Zion, and ultimately, to the celestial kingdom.

Conclusion: Journeys throughout Time

Heavenly Father gives his children a journey to allow them opportunities to refine themselves and to show their commitment to his commandments before reentering his presence in the temple, in Zion, or in heaven. Before entering the temple, Zion, or heaven, we must be separated and purified from the world and prepare ourselves to transition from this world to their otherworldly realms. For most, the symbolic journey through life is all that He requires. For others like the children of Israel and the children of Lehi, he requires an arduous physical journey to refine and transform his people before giving them a land he has set aside for them. Even in the contemporary dispensation, he required this journey before he gave his covenant people, the Latter-day Saints, a land in the Salt Lake Valley. These journeys, placed prominently at the beginnings of their respective dispensations, were not only for the benefit of those who were tested, but were also significant to their posterity as stories of great faith. They establish a pattern for us to follow as we also complete our personal journeys.

In this dispensation, the goal for our journey should be the temple, and through the temple, the celestial kingdom. Familiarity with the temple should be “our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.”[23] We can only live in the highest level of the celestial kingdom if we have journeyed through the temple and made those special covenants that can only be made there. The temple journey culminates in the celestial room just like our life journey will culminate in the celestial kingdom if we live up to our covenants with God. The experiences we have in the temple also allow us to practice creating Zion in our communities, because the temple is a Zion on earth, a place to practice unity through our eternal perspectives, and a microcosm of what the fully fledged Zion, the New Jerusalem, will be when Christ comes to reign once more on the earth.

The Hero’s Journey in the Book of Mormon and Old Testament [24]

Campbell’s Structure

Application to Book of Mormon Journey

Application to Old Testament Journey

I. Departure

1. Call to adventure

1 Nephi 1:6—Lehi is called of God

Exodus 3:2–10—Moses is called from burning bush

2. Refusal of call

1 Nephi 1:7—Lehi overwhelmed by call

Exodus 3–4—Moses hesitates to take the call

3. Supernatural aid

1 Nephi 16:10—Lehi receives Liahona (and continues throughout the story via revelation)

Exodus 7–12—Moses receives help with plagues Exodus 14:21—Moses parts the waters

4. Hero crosses first threshold

1 Nephi 16:12—Family of Lehi crosses river Laman and leaves the valley of Lemuel

Exodus 14:21–22—Moses leads the children of Israel on dry ground through the Red Sea

II. Initiation

5. Road of trials

General wilderness trials (1 Nephi 17:6); hunger (1 Nephi 16:18–19—Nephi’s broken bow); death (1 Nephi 16:34—Ishmael dies); constant murmuring of brothers to return to Jerusalem; building ship (1 Nephi 17)

General wilderness trials: hunger (Exodus 16—getting manna and quail); thirst (Numbers 20—Moses brings forth water); fiery serpents (Numbers 21—Moses raising his rod); constant murmuring from Israelites to return to Egypt (see Exodus 21:5)

6. Reconnection with father figure

1 Nephi 16:24—Lehi humbles himself after the broken bow incident; 1 Nephi 17:7–8—Nephi called up to the mountain to receive instructions how to build a boat

Exodus 19–20—Moses called to mountain and receives first the higher law, then the Ten Commandments

7. Ultimate test

1 Nephi 18:6–8—Family of Lehi boards the boat

Deuteronomy 34—Moses sees the promised land and passes away

III. Return

8. Return initiated

1 Nephi 18:8—Ocean journey begins

Joshua 1—Joshua prepares the people to enter the Canaan

9. Magical flight

1 Nephi 18:8—Led by hand of God

Joshua 3:13—Parting river with the power of the ark

10. Crossing of return threshold

1 Nephi 18—Adventures at sea

Joshua 3:14–17—Crossing river Jordan on dry ground

11. Master of two worlds

1 Nephi 18:25—Arrival in promised land

Joshua 11:23—Joshua divides the land between tribes


[1] Martin Buber, On Zion: The History of an Idea (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997), 18.

[2] Though Lehi, as a descendant of Abraham, was a participant in the Abrahamic covenant about the land of Israel, whether the Lehi covenant was a new covenant or simply an extension of the Abrahamic covenant is a worthwhile discussion, but it does not fit into the scope of this paper.

[3] Earl C. Tingey, “Establishing Eternal Patterns,” Ensign, October 2004, 32.

[4] Fiona Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 139–49, 285–86.

[5] Fiona Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 285.

[6] Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 285; see also 139, where she also discusses the stages, but under sociologist Arnold van Gennep’s analysis of the hero’s journey in the context of religion.

[7] Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 285. She summarizes the steps: “[1] He (or she) receives a call to adventure, often through a meeting with a mysterious or miraculous messenger. [2] At first the hero is reluctant to accept the call, but is encouraged by a wise old man or woman to venture forth and [3] cross the first threshold (Victor Turner’s “liminal space”), where he or she endures various tests and hardships, meets with fabulous creatures, helpers, and obstacles. On reaching the [4] innermost cave the hero endures the supreme ordeal, and seizing the prize is [5] pursued back to the ordinary world. The returned hero, now a citizen of both worlds, has the power to bestow blessings, treasure, or some boon on fellow human beings.”

[8] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: Pantheon Books, 1949), 246.

[9] In most hero’s journey myths, the hero is clearly defined, but often it is because he is traveling solo. For the scriptural accounts, though, whole communities are going through the actions. For the purposes of this paper, the main leaders of the people were characterized as the heroes since the most information is known about them. Therefore, on the comparison chart the leaders’ experiences are featured. Lehi and Nephi are simultaneously used as the hero for the Book of Mormon account and Moses is used for the Bible account. In the body of the paper, the people are included in the hero’s role, though where specifics are needed, the prophets take the part.

[10] Interesting to note that both watery thresholds are based around the Red Sea, but both cross the sea in different directions. This shows the prominence of this body of water on the geography of the area.

[11] Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, 97.

[12] Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, 97.

[13] Edwin Andrus, “Moral Institutions and Ritual” (lecture, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, October 1, 2007).

[14] Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 148–49.

[15] Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 286. Campbell uses “hero’s journey” and “monomyth” interchangeably.

[16] Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion, 165.

[17] James E. Faust, “Eternity Lies Before Us,” Ensign, May 1997, 19.

[18] Howard W. Hunter, “First Presidency Message: The Great Symbol of our Membership,” Ensign, October 1994, 5.

[19] Roger K. Young, Zion: The Holy City of New Jerusalem, the Temple City of Light (Philipsburg, MT: Celestial Publications, 2000), 115.

[20] Brigham Young, quoted in Hugh Nibley, “What Is Zion? A Distant View,” Approaching Zion, ed. Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company; Provo, UT: FARMS, 1989), 29.

[21] Nibley, Approaching Zion, 27.

[22] Nibley, Approaching Zion, 34.

[23] Howard H. Hunter, “First Presidency Message: A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, February 1995, 5.

[24] Campbell’s structure of the hero’s journey is taken from chapter titles in Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, ix–x. The scriptural comparisons are based in part on the chart found in John W. Welch and J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1999), chart 94.