Years ago my wife accompanied me to a speaking assignment in the Mesa, Arizona area. We stayed at a motel near the Superstition Mall. On Saturday morning we decided to take a walk. A sidewalk encircled the buildings and the parking lot of the mall. We had only walked a few steps when I realized that I was looking at something unusual. Landscapers had planted some kind of deciduous tree at close intervals just next to the sidewalk nearly all the way around the mall. And every one of the trees was leaning - not just inclining - leaning at a precipitous angle toward the west. I could feel the wind on my face as we walked eastward on the south side of the Mall. It was not strong that morning, but it was constant. I wondered how many hours and days it had blown against those trees to push them so consistently and completely out of shape.
I watched the same process with fruit trees in my own yard in Orem as the constant canyon winds pushed them away from their normal upright position. I soon learned that when I planted trees, I needed a stake and an anchor to keep them growing straight.
Those trees are an effective metaphor for Israel in the Promised Land. There were forces working against her in that environment. She needed anchors to grow up in perfection. Five of those anchors are suggested by the stories in Judges. Four of these stories are given in the lesson. I will add a fifth and try to offer some new insights into those anchors mentioned in the Gospel Doctrine manual.