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Dreams of Joseph Smith Sr.


One night my husband retired to his bed, in a very thoughtful state of mind, contemplating the situation of the Christian religion, or the confusion and discord that were extant. He soon fell into a sleep, and before waking had the following vision, which I shall relate in his own words, just as he told it to me the next morning:--

"I seemed to be travelling in an open, barren field, and as I was travelling, I turned my eyes towards the east, the west, the north, and the south, but could see nothing save dead fallen timber. Not a vestige of life, either animal or vegetable, could be seen; besides. to render the scene still more dreary, the most death-like silence prevailed, no sound of anything animate could be heard in all the field. I was alone in this gloomy desert, with the exception of an attendant spirit, who kept constantly by my side. Of him I inquired the meaning of what I saw, and why I was thus travelling in such a dismal place. He answered thus: 'This field is the world, which now lieth inanimate and dumb, in regard to the true religion, or plan of salvation; but travel on, and by the wayside you will find on a certain log a box, the contents of which, if you eat thereof, will make you wise, and give unto you wisdom and understanding.' I carefully observed what was told me by my guide, and proceeding a short distance, I came to the box. I immediately took it up, and placed it under my left arm; then with eagerness I raised the lid, and began to taste of its contents; upon which all manner of beasts, horned cattle, and roaring animals, rose up on every side in the most threatening manner possible, tearing the earth, tossing their horns, and bellowing most terrifically all around me, and they finally came so close upon me, that I was compelled to drop the box, and fly for my life. Yet, in the midst of all this I was perfectly happy, though I awoke trembling."

From this forward, my husband seemed more confirmed than ever, in the opinion that there was no order or class of religionists that knew any more concerning tho Kingdom of God, than those of the world, or such as made no profession of religion whatever.

Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith pp. 57-58

In 1811, we moved from Royalton, Vermont, to the town of Lebanon, New Hampshire. Soon after arriving here, my husband received another very singular vision, which I will relate :--

"I thought," said he, "I was travelling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus travelling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing, before I went any further. So I asked myself, 'What motive can I have in travelling here, and what place can this be?' My guide who was by my side, as before, said, 'This is the desolate world; but travel on.' The road was so broad and barren, that I wondered why I should travel in it; for, said I to myself, 'Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and straight is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that go in thereat.' Travelling a short distance further, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had travelled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream I could see neither the source nor yet the termination; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me, was a low, but very pleasant, valley, in which stood a tree, such as I, had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so, the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near, and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.' Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed. While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were all filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded. I presently turned to my guide, and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. 'No,' he replied, 'look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.' Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off. I immediately went to them, and brought therm to the tree; upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The more we eat, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees, and scooped it up, eating it by double handfulls. After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, 'It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God, because of their humility.' I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy."

Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith pp. 58-59

I shall now deviate a little from my subject, in order to relate another very singular dream which my husband had about this time, which is as follows:

"I dreamed," said he, "that I was traveling on foot, and I was very sick, and so lame I could hardly walk. My guide, as usual, attended me. Traveling some time together, I became so lame that I thought I could go no farther. I informed my guide of this and asked him what I should do. He told me to travel on till I came to a certain garden. So I arose and started for this garden. While on my way thither, I asked my guide how I should know the place. He said, 'Proceed until you come to a very large gate; open this and you will see a garden, blooming with the most beautiful flowers that your eyes ever beheld, and there you shall be healed.' By limping along with great difficulty, I finally reached the gate; and, on entering it, I saw the before-mentioned garden, which was beautiful beyond description, being filled with the most delicate flowers of every kind and color. In the garden were walks about three and a half feet wide, which were set on both sides with marble stones. One of the walks ran from the gate through the centre of the garden; and on each side of this was a very richly carved seat, and on each seat were placed six wooden images, each of which was the size of a very large man. When I came to the first image on the right side, it arose and bowed to me with much deference. I then turned to the one which sat opposite me, on the left side, and it arose and bowed to me in the same manner as the first. I continued turning, first to the right and then to the left, until the whole twelve had made their obeisance, after which I was entirely healed. I then asked my guide the meaning of all this, but I awoke before I received an answer."

Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith pp. 70-71

He received two more visions, which would probably be somewhat interesting, but I cannot remember them distinctly enough to rehearse them in full. The following, which was the sixth, ran thus:

"I thought I was walking alone; I was much fatigued, nevertheless I continued traveling. It seemed to me that I was going to meeting, that it was the day of judgment, and that I was going to be judged.

"When I came in sight of the meeting-house, I saw multitudes of people coming from every direction, and pressing with great anxiety towards the door of this great building; but I thought I should get there in time, hence there was no need of being in a hurry. But, on arriving at the door, I found it shut; I knocked for admission and was informed by the porter that I had come too late. I felt exceedingly troubled and prayed earnestly for admittance. Presently I found that my flesh was perishing. I continued to pray, still my flesh withered upon my bones. I was in a state of almost total despair, when the porter asked me if I had done all that was necessary in order to receive admission. I replied that I had done all that was in my power to do. 'Then,' observed the porter, 'justice must be satisfied; after this, mercy hath her claims.'

"It then occurred to me to call upon God, in the name of his Son Jesus; and I cried out, in the agony of my soul, 'Oh, Lord God, I beseech thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to forgive my sins.' After which I felt considerably strengthened and I began to mend. The porter or angel then remarked that it was necessary to plead the merits of Jesus, for he was the advocate with the Father, and a Mediator between God and man.

"I was now made quite whole and the door was opened, but on entering, I awoke."

The following spring, we commenced making preparations for building another house, one that would be more comfortable for persons in advanced life.

Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith p.72

I shall here insert the seventh vision that my husband had, which vision was received in the year 1819. It was as follows:

"I dreamed," said he, "that a man with a pedler's budget on his back, came in and thus addressed me: 'Sir, will you trade with me today? I have now called upon you seven times, I have traded with you each time, and have always found you strictly honest in all your dealings. Your measures are always heaped and your weights over-balance; and I have now come to tell you that this is the last time I shall ever call on you, and that there is but one thing which you lack in order to secure your salvation.' As I earnestly desired to know what it was I still lacked, I requested him to write the same upon paper. He said he would do so. I then sprang to get some paper, but in my excitement, I awoke."

Shortly after my husband received the foregoing vision, there was a great revival in religion, 1 which extended to all the denominations of Christians in the surrounding country in which we resided. Many of the world's people, becoming concerned about the salvation of their souls, came forward and presented themselves as seekers after religion. Most of them were desirous of uniting with some church, but were not decided as to the particular faith which they would adopt. When the numerous meetings were about breaking up, and the candidates and the various leading church members began to consult upon the subject of adopting the candidates into some church or churches, as the case might be, a dispute arose, and there was a great contention among them.

Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith pp. 73-74