Friday, September 10, 2010

Dreams As a Gift of the Spirit

Dreaming Girls Head Grass Sculpture
I have always had an interest in dreams.

I'm an "active" sleeper, meaning I'm easily awakened and can vividly remember my dreams. And occasionally I act on those dreams.

When we were first married I awoke one night convinced that there was a spider on my pillow and began hitting the pillow to obliterate the spider. My groom was startled to say the least. The next morning I carefully explained to him this tendency of mine and how to handle it. Needless to say those new flowered sheets were banned from the bed. Over the years we've learned to laugh at my midnight antics.

Though I may make light of my dreams sometimes, I do see patterns and know that certain themes have meaning to me and are an indication of my current state of well-being.

Certainly we should consider dreaming as a possible avenue for personal revelation.

Our scriptures and church history are replete with examples. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to save Jesus' life as an infant, through a warning given in a dream. Lehi witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem in a dream and was commanded to warn the people. Joseph Smith Sr. had several dreams or visions that guided him in his life and prepared him to receive his son's report of seeing the Father and the Son and of being told to join none of the churches of the time.

In an address to missionaries on October 14, 2008, Elder Richard G. Scott said, “You can learn things from dreams. The Lord will give you important messages through dreams.” Elder Scott has also stated explicitly that self-improvement comes from writing down and learning from dreams.

Here are a few articles to get you thinking more seriously about your dreams:

Dreams as Gifts of the Spirit, Barbara Bishop:
If dreams are one method of receiving divine revelation, they are underutilized.

Unfortunately, many LDS Church members also show indifferent or suspicious attitudes toward the personal revelation that comes from dreams.

Dreams are an important part of my spirituality—they provide direction, warning, and reassurance. While I have no illusions that my interest in dreams could hold sway among the majority of Mormons, members can benefit by attuning themselves to the metaphorical language of their dreams and by responding in creative rather than indifferent ways. In contrast with other versions of modern Christianity, Mormonism has an established and ongoing tradition that encourages individuals to seek personal revelation. The idea that dreams offer valuable information has been reiterated by many Church leaders throughout our history.

...I have come to trust that dreams provide feedback about my behavior, the truth as to how I feel about something, guidance regarding life-long lessons, and glimpses of God. 
An interview with Barbara Bishop, by Emily M:
When someone has a memorable or unsettling dream, what is the best way to understand it better?

The best way to understand an unsettling dream is to tell three best friends, a spouse, a neighbor, your mother or father–people whom you trust. One student told me she would call her parents and tell them her dreams before she started writing her paper. Her parents didn’t know anything about dream interpretation, but they knew their daughter very well, and were therefore able to understand the metaphors in their daughter’s dreams. People who know you well will often intuitively understand your dreams. And just talking about them out loud will help you better hear what the dream is trying to tell you.

[There are some links to recommended dream reference guides.]
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream, Melissa Y.
What Dreams May Come, Bored in Vernal
People Prepared for the Gospel, Jeff Lindsay

What do you dream about? Have your dreams guided you?


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