In this chapter, Nephi records one of his father's prophetic dreams. This one, unlike ordinary dreams, is an extended account full of important imagery. Lehi finds himself bidden by a man in a white robe to follow, for several hours through a dark and dreary waste. After praying for God's mercy, he sees a tree in the middle of a large field, a tree, laden with a sweet, white fruit, that filled him with joy when he tasted it. He began looking for his family in order to share it, and saw a river of water running near it. He then saw his wife and two younger sons at the head of the stream, looking undecided about where to go. He called them over to eat the fruit, which they did, and then he fould his older two sons, and called to them, but they would not come. Then, he saw a stright and narrow path and rod of iron leading from the head of the stream to the tree, a large world-sized field, and innumerable people looking for the tree. A thick, dark mist arose, and most of the people lost their direction. Some of them found the straight and narrow path, and by holding onto the rod, reached the tree, ate its fruit, and then looked down, ashamed. Lehi looked for the cause of their shame, and saw a large building, standing in air without a foundation, filled with people in fine dress, who were pointing at and mocking those who were at the tree. Those who reached the tree and heeded those who were mocking left, while the ones who remained ignored the mockers. Other multitudes wandered in all directions: Many feeling their way towards the building, many falling into the river and drowning, and others wandering out of sight on strange roads.
After waking, Lehi called his family to recount this vision, and took the occasion to exhort, preach, and prophesy to his sons, especially his older ones, in fear that it signified they were in danger of being cut off from the Lord's presence.
In later chapters, Nephi returns to this dream and interprets the imagery.