Two posts over on the Star (one on dowsing and divination as spiritual gifts and spiritual dangers, the other on Daniel’s dream), and an email my wife sent me reminding me of an important dream I had a couple of months ago, all came to my attention today. There seemed to be a theme.
Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, I’ve been praying a lot lately about dreams, manifestations, and visions. There are two reasons for that.
First, on the morning train to work I’ve been reading Mormon and Moroni’s warning that if miracles cease, it will be because of our wickedness. I’ve seen lots of attempts to explain these warnings away, but none that weren’t hog water. So I’ve been troubled by the lack of miracles and divine power in my life. And I’ve been excited by the flipside implication that miracles, revelations, and gifts might be available for the asking.
Second, I’ve had a real sense lately that this world and what it has to offer isn’t good enough. I’ve had a hole in my soul that only godliness, and the power thereof made manifest, seemed like could fill it.
The upshot is that I’ve been praying for a specific kind of dream, vision, or manifestation. (I’m writing elliptically on purpose.) Two interesting things have happened in response. First, during one prayer I felt reminded that my wife and my mother-in-law had both dreamed significant and nearly identical dreams on the same night a few weeks ago, both of the kind I’d been praying for. I felt a sense of divine impatience, a ‘was that not enough?’ Strange to relate, I then felt encouraged to keep praying for my dream, vision, or manifestation, as if that reminder was not an answer to my prayers, per se, but a way of stripping my prayers of their sign-seeking.
Second, my memory has been directed to several significant dreams that I’ve had in the last few months and more or less brought to think that they were from God.
The interesting thing about these dreams is the way they were similar to and different from the dreams we see in scripture. Like the dreams associated with Daniel and with Joseph in Egypt, their significance was symbolic and allegorical, and clearly meant to be so. Second, unlike those dreams, I received the impression that these dreams did not just teach through symbolism and allegory, but through experience. That is, that I had these dreams in part so that I could experience situations that I haven’t in life. As part of this learning through experience, all these dreams had as a common feature that at various points in the dream, after I’d made a bad mistake and seen the consequences, I was given the opportunity to back up, act differently, and see the consequences.
I do not really wish to spark a discussion of gee-whiz miracles and manifestations and dreams that people have had. That gee-whiz factor is, I’m pretty sure, much of what the scriptures are condemning when they condemn sign-seeking. (Though I would be interested in any insights into the difference between sign-seeking/Simon Magus-ism and ‘seeking after every good gift.’) I do wish to elicit discussion of two points. First, these recent happenings suggest to me that we consciously experience more miracles and divine power in our lives than we think. Do you think that’s true? Second, the differences between my dreams and those in scripture make me wonder if the way God uses dreams are not partly influenced by culture. Does God still speak through dreams today or are there other, more-favored modes? If he does speak through dreams, are there differences in how its done, as my experience would suggest?