The Garden of Eden--Home Sweet Home
2 Nephi 8:3 "For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody."
God does this for the Saints wherever they go. i.e. D&C 117 7 "Therefore, will I not make solitary places to bud and to blossom, and to bring forth in abundance? saith the Lord" about Kirtland. Of course, this also references the building of the Kirtland Temple. "Why do we spend all of this time talking about temples when we are learning about the early saints reaching Kirtland, Nauvoo, and an inhospitable desert and turning it into the Garden of the Lord? I have focused on temples, temple building and temple worship because the blessings of temples are synonymous with life, posterity and prosperity. Temples and temple blessings are the very essence of turning desert places into vibrant gardens. Indeed, the first “temple” was the Garden of Eden and deserts typify the lone and dreary world. Only by returning to “the Garden of Eden” or the Temple are the effects of the lone and dreary desert reversed and then truly the rose does bloom. Such was the effect of temple covenants, temple blessings and temple building upon the early saints in the Great Basin Kingdom." (The Interpreter Foundation, “The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose”, Taylor Halverson)
The Spire of the Kirtland Temple
“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God…for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water…and an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness…and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall fee away.” (Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-8, 10).
After the Saints relocated to the Salt Lake Valley a very literal interpretation of Isa. 35:1 developed. This was because the irrigation practices caused the transformation of a desert into fertile agricultural land. They therefore saw it as a present literal fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
The Great Salt Lake at Sunset
The Salt Lake Temple
Another explanation later comes from Bruce R. McConkie ""And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh." So proclaims our modern revelation. (D&C 133:25) The setting of what is to follow is thus millennial. Christ is among his people and is King over all the earth. It is the day of the new heaven and the new earth. Thus, of it, Isaiah says: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them" -- that is, for those who then dwell on earth and who shall possess it from generation to generation -- "and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God." The whole earth shall be as the Garden of Eden, for the earth has been renewed and received its paradisiacal glory. And those who dwell on earth shall see the glory of God, for he shall dwell among them. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, pages 324-325)
The Millenial Earth--Earth and Son
To liken these scriptures to my own life I asked myself this question. If God can make our wilderness like Eden and our desert like the garden of the Lord in any place the Saints dwell, can our homes also fulfill this prophecy of 2 Nephi 8:3? The Tree of Life would be there, as well. What would our homes look like, feel like? And, finally, how often would I go to the Temple?