Visions and Inspired Dreams

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(This is an excerpt from the book Angels: Agents of Light, Love, and Power by Donald W. Parry.)

Is there a difference between a vision and an inspired dream? Elder James E. Talmage explained: “In general, visions are manifested to the waking senses whilst dreams are given during sleep. In the vision, however, the senses may be so affected as to render the person practically unconscious, at least oblivious to ordinary occurrences, while he is able to discern the heavenly manifestation.

In the earlier dispensations, the Lord frequently communicated through dreams and visions, oftentimes revealing to prophets the events of the future even to the latest generations.” Examples of angels communicating with persons in dreams include Jacob (“And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream”; Genesis 31:11), and Joseph (“the angel appeared unto him in a dream”; Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 19).

Some individuals may tend to minimize the significance of dreams originating from God. Some indicate that a vision is greater or more important, but both President Spencer W. Kimball and President Harold B. Lee taught regarding the importance of God-inspired dreams.8 Even as various persons, both men and women, from the Bible and Book of Mormon had Godinspired dreams and visions that included angels, both men and women in the last days may also experience heavenly communications. Such was the testimony of the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28; see also Acts 2:17). When he visited the young Joseph Smith on the evening of September 21, 1823, the angel Moroni cited Joel 2:28–32 and stated that the words of these verses would soon be fulfilled (see Joseph Smith–History 1:41).

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