7.11.2008

Dreaming dreams. Visioning visions.

In the most recent ensign there is a story of Henry Eyring's grandfather having a dream where Elder Erastus Snow, whome he would not meet until later commanded him to be baptized. He had another dream of Brigham Young before he had ever met him.

I find stories like this interesting and compelling. Mormon Church history is full of them. But should this be seen as evidence that the Church is true? I don't think so.

Baha'i History is also full of similar stories. Even more so than Mormon history. People dreaming early in their life they will meet the 'Son of Man' and he will be wearing a green hat and say a certain phrase, then later in their life they meet Baha'ullah wearing a green hat and saying the exact phrase.

But what's more, I read a book earlier this year called "Fifty Jewish Messiahs". A very interesting book of 50 people who since about the time of Christ have claimed to be the expected Jewish Messiah and developed a following. Almost all fell into something similar to Joseph Smith where they became drunk on their religious authority and started taking numerous wives, or hosting orgies. One even ended up converting to Islam.

ANYWAY, why I mention this is that many of these Messiah's had similar stories. People dreaming dreams then meeting them and becoming a follower or having visions etc.

Is this evidence of some sort of collective unconscious, that when a powerful spirit is around they influence those around them causing them to dream dreams and see visions? Or some sort of mass delusion? OR is it people just reworking their memories to fit in with what they now believe? Someone has a dream a while back that stuck with them, then they meet a charismatic figure, and we all know how slippery and false memories can be(if you don't, memories are very slippery and easily false. Memories have been shown in studies to be easily implanted, often showing a person a photoshopped photo of them as a child somewhere they had never actually been will cause them to 'remember' having gone on that vacatioin the next day), they end associating the dream with the charismatic figure and create a new memory where the dream had actually been of that person.

My mother once had an extremely vivid and powerful dream she has mentioned to me several times. In it her neighbor, whom she did not know well, was pregnant. My mother told her neighbor about the dream the next time she saw her and the neighbor confirmed she had recently learned she was pregnant and had not yet told anyone. The neighbor also told my mother that similar experiences happened to her often. That during times of high emotion in her life people around her will dream about it.

This dream is interesting but likely didn't contribute much to either my mother or her neighbors life. It is as if a powerful energy was floating around in the ether that happened to cross paths my mother that night. Perhaps through some spiritual dimension or something more natural.

Perhaps something similar is the case with these charismatic leaders. These men and women have such strong emotional vibrations or whatever it can influence those around them, perhaps even in to the past (since at the quantum level the forward arrow of time doesn't seem to apply, this past dreaming could be an entirely natural phenomenon)

I think it is often felt that spiritual encounters are either directed from God or the Devil. (I don't believe in a Devil, and am dubious about God) But it seems more likely to me, based on the numerous and even conflicting spiritual encounters people report, that if their is a spirit dimension, it is much like earth. With people of all different types with different beliefs and agendas who are able to access us to varying degrees. They need not be directed by anyone in authority over them. So a man who dies a Mormon may send his granddaughter a vision confirming Mormonism while a woman who died a Hindu may contact her grandson and confirm to him the truthfulness of Hinduism. Such an after life doesn't even require a God at all. But would not exclude one.

5 comments:

carie said...

i dream crazy true dreams all the time.

I dreamed a very clear and vivid dream about giving birth to a baby boy before I was even pregnant with Eliot.

Maybe it is that the person is experiencing a future important time in the same sense that one would experience a different location in space. As far as Einsteinian spacetime is concerned that is.

These people may have dreamed of Bahai because the religion would be such an important part of their life in their future, even though they didn't know it consciously yet.

Although, a cupcake philosophy is that we all watched a movie of our lives in heaven before we were born and we are just remembering parts of it.

paul maurice martin said...

I've honestly never found metaphysical beliefs concerning dreams compelling. I mean, in the end, if someone thinks that their dream about some person or place means they actually saw the person, visited the place, it was a vision sent to them from another dimension... I can't disprove it, but I don't find myself convinced either.

Guess I'm a dream-agnostic!

chrisalmond said...

paul,
you should call your next book 'Dream Agnostic: One man who is agnostic about dreams'.

I think having grown up as a Mormon, a culture that places a lot of value on dreams, I'm probably more biased to find them compelling than i otherwise would.

Anonymous said...

I had a dream about a man who I was marrying. I had never met him. I live in Florida. I then was offered to work a concert in WI and flew up only to meet the man from my dream a few weeks later. I told him about the dream. He thought I was crazy. We instantly bonded. We exchanged numbers and I left. A few months later I had a dream about his father who I had never met and did not know if he was alive or dead. His father told me to tell his son that he was sorry and to ask for forgiveness. I called the dream guy and told him the specifics of what his father was sorry for. He told me that he had never told anyone about that and his father was alive but sick with cancer. I flew up and met his father, the son forgave him and shortly after the father died. I believe this was a message for the son. I still feel very connected to the guy from the dream although he does not have the same feelings about me. He might even think the whole thing is wierd. Who wouldnt?

chris almond said...

that is a very interesting story anonymous. thank you for sharing it with me. do i know your anonymous self?