In each situation the tree represents the same thing… Tree of Life = Jesus Christ/ His gospel; Olive Tree = light and there about 20 symbolic connections between the olive tree and Jesus Christ; Tree of Faith = Jesus Christ…
Alma compares “the word” not faith to a seed. “The word” refers to the gospel, centering in Jesus Christ. Alma is not just describing what faith is or how it is developed. He is describing that faith in the gospel can DO… thus Alma 32-34 should be studied together.
I wish I understood faith more. Perhaps my issues with faith come from wanting that “perfect knowledge” and lacking sufficient “hope” – that trust in things not seen which are still true.
I think there is great power in faith, when truly understood. I know I have faith, and I have a testimony of faith- but there is so much more I don't know.
I understand – at least a basic understanding – that we will know that our testimony is growing when we feel a swelling motion that enlarges our understanding and it will be delicious to us. Faith starts by believing and trusting in His name and then believing in His word. This “desire” is the beginning of true faith.
I love vs. 26-27 “… Now, as I said concerning faith – that it was not a perfect knowledge – even so it is with my word (It takes time to understand the scriptures – time and work and the Spirit). Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfect knowledge. But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, (we need to want to learn and to try His word. We have to use our brains and DO something. He’s not asking us to believe, he is asking us to TRY) and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my word. (It doesn’t take much to make a miracle.)
In order to “grow” a tree, we must “plant” a seed. Here, the seed represents a belief in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement for all mankind – in His gospel; even just a “desire” to believe His doctrine can be the seed we need to plant.
The “ground” is our hearts; where we think and where we feel and desire. Our ground must be prepared – made soft, yielding and humble not hard.
Having planted the seed we must continue to nourish our tender (immature) testimonies carefully that it can grow strong – even deep rooted – if not sun/wind/storms (trials of life) will kill it (not able to endure to the end).
It must become a “tree” to produce fruit and ultimately Eternal Life, peace, comfort, joy, and blessings of living the gospel and living with the Spirit.
This is an individual process. It is not automatic. Just because you were born into a family who attends church or just because you are baptized doesn’t mean you are done and ready to “produce”.
I know that by faith mountains can be moved. Mountains- big, massive rocks. That's power. I know faith can heal. With faith we can see God.
But there is so much more I don't know, so much more I want to know.
What are your thoughts about faith? What have you learned? How have you developed yours?