Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We Have Dreamed a Dream, and There is No Interpreter of It

At the April 2012 General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott spoke on the topic, "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life." His talk was the topic of our priesthood lesson last Sunday.

At the time he gave this talk, I was interested to hear him discuss the role that dreams can play as a source of personal revelation. He said:

Revelation can also be given in a dream when there is an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness. If you strive to capture the content immediately, you can record great detail, but otherwise it fades rapidly. Inspired communication in the night is generally accompanied by a sacred feeling for the entire experience. The Lord uses individuals for whom we have great respect to teach us truths in a dream because we trust them and will listen to their counsel. It is the Lord doing the teaching through the Holy Ghost. However, He may in a dream make it both easier to understand and more likely to touch our hearts by teaching us through someone we love and respect.
When it is for the Lord’s purposes, He can bring anything to our remembrance. That should not weaken our determination to record impressions of the Spirit. Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others.
I've been keeping a dream journal since January 2006, in response to a prompting of the Spirit I felt around that time.

Many of the dreams I've recorded have seemed bizarre or whimsical, and certainly weren't "accompanied by a sacred feeling." Even these dreams, however, have given me insight. I definitely have had many experiences with dreams that were sacred, that communicated profound spiritual truths.

Perhaps it is because of the special challenges associated with being gay in a society and a culture that misunderstand and are hostile toward gay people that I have felt a particular need for personal revelation and guidance. There isn't a day I feel I can afford to go without the presence and guidance of the Spirit.

Dreams and understanding or interpreting dreams is something I have a particular interest in. I have shared quite a few dreams on this blog, especially those that have given me insight either into the general human condition or my specific situation as a gay, believing Latter-day Saint that I have felt were appropriate to share. I recently started a new blog devoted to the subject of dreams and dream interpretation.

It's actually possible to buy books on dreams and dream interpretation. There are "dream dictionaries" available that purport to offer the meanings of dream symbols. I've actually read a fair number of books on the subject and have a few dream dictionaries in my library (some of which I consider nearly useless and others not completely useless).

My approach to this is that the meaning of any given dream symbol can be very individual or very unique. I've found that paying attention to dreams has actually helped me get a sense of my own personal "dream vocabulary."

The feelings that we experience in conjunction with dreams are usually clues to the meaning of a particular dream, though not always in the way we think. Nightmares or "bad dreams" are not always bad. They may actually be giving us keys to understand and work our way through the most debilitating fears in our lives.

I've often found that the best way to figure out a dream is just to talk through it.

Thus my new blog, devoted to discussing and understanding dreams.

No comments: