Divine Visions
© 16 Jan 2012 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Are visions interactive?


Consider Pharoah’s dream of the cows and corn or his butler and baker’s dreams, the great image smashed, the tree cut down, or the writing on the wall. Many visions appear to be rather passive on the part of the visionary: God decides to show something, and those he choses see it.

On the other extreme, consider the burning bush, Abraham’s argument about Sodom and Gomorrah, or Nephi’s version of Lehi’s dream. Some visions appear to be very much a conversation, a give and take between God and visionary.

And then there’s the middle ground, events like Peter’s vision of unclean animals where there is certainly some interaction, but far less than would be needed to truly satisfy the visionary.

In my experience, revelation from God is only of the Pharaoh ilk when I take it passively. When I question it like Peter I find I am told repeatedly, though usually with little variation or explanation. When I accept and inquire in more detail, more detail usually results and my revelation becomes a conversation.

This all came to mind powerfully when we discussed “‍Lehi’s Dream‍” Hardly his first, nor apparently most impressive; see the earlier pillar of fire, vision of Christ and the 12 (which I’d argue was the most impressive), one or two about leaving, being told to get the records, and many unrecorded . The instruction to get Ishmael’s family is not unambiguously a vision. in Sunday School yesterday. Though not recorded as a dialogue, I found myself thinking of it as such. Lehi’s dumped in a darkness. He asks for help, and is shown a tree. He enjoys that, but asks for more and sees his family. Some of them don’t join him, so he asks why and is shown the path and guardrail. He asks about that path and is shown many people seeking it, but many failing. Why? You remember the darkness right? … and so on.

Now, as I said, besides the initial asking for help out of the darkness there is not reference to dialogue in the scriptural account. But in my experience, that’s how revelation works; like any communication, it takes two even if only one has a message to share.

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