LHB’s Dream: Dead Man Walking
We were walking through a field, there was tall grass and my six kids were with me (apparently MSB and JMB were not there). As we were walking, suddenly we saw a large healthy man. He was walking in front of us, crossing our path. We knew it was impossible for him to be walking because we somehow knew he was already dead. There on the ground in the grass was where his dead body had for some time previous been rotting and decaying into the earth. We could see the outline of where his body had been, the grass was tall and alive around the spot, but it was all dead where he had lain. We had a knowledge that he had been killed before and a vague feeling it may have been us responsible. As soon as we saw him, we were struck and overcome with fear. My initial reaction was to try to hide in the tall grass, but TRB and JDB’ initial reactions were to hang him. I knew JDB had the man’s arms tied behind his back and TRB had a noose tied around his neck and was stringing him up in the tree. The girls and I were screaming saying “No, no, no!” and I was telling them “No, stop, don’t do it!”. But then it was too late. The man was hanging from the tree with no foothold, and was grasping the rope around his neck. His whole body was convulsing horrifically and was making terrible noises from his throat and trying to call out for help. He hung there for what seemed like a while before it occurred to me to help him. His suffering was such that he was pretty much going to be dead again. But I went and stood up underneath him and helped him get his feet on a branch and then he was cut down and on the ground. TRB and JDB looked like they felt pretty awful. The man’s shirt was off (his shirt was blue). Carved into his flesh (not bloody, but healed) were the words “You shall surely die.”
LHB told me this dream (not as detailed as what is above) and when I heard TRB and JDB hung the man, I knew the interpretation and waited for LHB to finish telling me the dream before I related it to her.
The man's previous death (who had been dead for some time), the rottenness and decay, represents what had befallen of what we as a church had previously been offered.1
The man represents hope, but recognizing this hope is not always a virtue of those who witness the Lord’s work. His path intersected their path, in other words they were not going His way.
The fear exhibited by all at the sight of a man who they knew was dead, and who should still have been dead represents our traditions: A man who is dead, is supposed to, and should stay dead. The dead don’t rise. However it should have been looked upon with amazement and joy, though fear at not initially understanding is a normal reaction.2 However men do rise, in their time and out of their time like Lazarus when God wills.
TRB and JDB’ reaction3 represent us (inasmuch as we do not give heed to what we know) and any family and friends who are bound by false traditions, who cannot abide the Lord doing His work in His way, and if we will not come all the way up to the mark.
The man represents hope, and the Lord putting forth his hand a second time. He does not represent the Lord, but our hope the Lord offers us, specifically.
We reject the Lord’s work and so our hope is dashed. The message on the man’s chest4 signifies this.
The gruesomeness of the dream is a symbol as well and represents the torment of the mind of man5 in that day when we will burn.6
The dream was fearful, a symbol that we should be working out our salvation with fear and trembling7 and not celebrating that all is well.8
There is more to be gleaned from this, I continue to gain more insights the longer I ponder, but this interpretation should be enough to tease out the rest.
We have a thin opportunity to repent.
1. "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean." (Isaiah 28:7-8)
"But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me. But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God." (D&C 124:31-32)
See Also: The Holy Ghost or Precepts of Men.
3. Vision of Joseph, shortly before his death: "In the evening I attended meeting in the Seventies' Hall. George J. Adams preached and I made some observations afterwards, and related a dream which I had a short time since. I thought I was riding out in my carriage, and my guardian angel was along with me. We went past the Temple and had not gone much further before we espied two large snakes so fast locked together that neither of them had any power. I inquired of my guide what I was to understand by that. He answered, 'Those snakes represent Dr. Foster and Chauncey L. Higbee. They are your enemies and desire to destroy you; but you see they are so fast locked together that they have no power of themselves to hurt you.' I then thought I was riding up Mulholland street, but my guardian angel was not along with me. On arriving at the prairie, I was overtaken and seized by William and Wilson Law and others, saying, 'Ah, ah! we have got you at last! We will secure you and put you in a safe place!' and, without any ceremony dragged me out of my carriage, tied my hands behind me, and threw me into a deep, dry pit, where I remained in a perfectly helpless condition, and they went away. While struggling to get out, I heard Wilson Law screaming for help hard by. I managed to unloose myself so as to make a spring, when I caught hold of some grass which grew at the edge of the pit.
"I looked out of the pit and saw Wilson Law at a little distance attacked by ferocious wild beasts, and heard him cry out, 'Oh Brother Joseph, come and save me!" I replied, "I cannot, for you have put me into this deep pit.' On looking out another way, I saw William Law with outstretched tongue, blue in the face, and the green poison forced out of his mouth caused by the coiling of a large snake around his body. It had also grabbed him by the arm, a little above the elbow, ready to devour him. He cried out in the intensity of his agony, 'Oh, Brother Joseph, Brother Joseph, come and save me, or I die!' I also replied to him, 'I cannot, William; I would willingly, but you have tied me and put me in this pit, and I am powerless to help you or liberate myself.' In a short time after my guide came and said aloud, 'Joseph, Joseph, what are you doing there?' I replied, 'My enemies fell upon me, bound me and threw me in.' He then took me by the hand, and drew me out of the pit, set me free, and we went away rejoicing." (Joseph Smith, June 13, 1844, TPJS)
4. "And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written. And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives." (1 Nephi 16:26-27)
"They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another....And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." (Daniel 5:1-31)
5. "A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man." (Joseph Smith 6:14)
6. "After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus: For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." (JSH 1:36-39)
7. "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him." (Mormon 9:27)
8. "For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
"Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
"Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts." (2 Nephi 28:19-32)