Do visions wear you out?

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I found something interesting the other day.

We read in 1 Ne 1:6 that Lehi had seen a pillar of fire on a rock. Via the pillar, he saw and heard many things. The experience, however, appeared to be physically draining because in the following verse, as soon as he got home, he went to bed.

In JS-H 1:20, we read that after Jesus and God visited Joseph Smith, Joseph lost all his strength. Even after he was able to make it home, he still needed to lean on the fireplace for support.

Granted, these are just two of the many prophets mentioned in the scriptures, but it does seem interesting that both had visions and both ended up being physically drained. I wonder if this is a common occurrence among prophets when they have their first vision.

14 thoughts on “Do visions wear you out?

  1. I understand that causation might be obvious to believers, but is there any chance that these individuals were experiencing extreme fatigue (or sleep deprivation) before seeing their visions; their fatigue being the cause of that same vision?

    It’s been pretty well documented that sleep deprivation is a good way to induce hallucination. Akin to the vision quest some norindians participate in.

  2. I remember the first time I went to the Temple to do baptisms (I was in my twenties). It wasn’t a long or arduous journey, I had plenty of sleep the night before, I didn’t get up super early. It was an intensely spiritual experience for me, and after the baptisms, I was exhausted. I literally slept for 13 hours. I have spoken to people about their experiences in the Temple (and with deeply spiritual experiences in general), and in a lot of instances they experienced the same physical fatigue that I did. Interesting.

  3. Could be, rick. In the case of Lehi, however, he does differentiate between the experience above, and the vision he had later after he fell asleep on his bed.

  4. As I read the account, “Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart…”.

    Being a Jew, I’m assuming he would pray much in the same way as other Jews of his time. Reciting stock phrases over and over (not unlike a mantra), and repeated prostrations were both not uncommon.

    So I could see how praying with all your heart could be taxing; and to continue the point, fatiguing.

  5. Rick, I don’t think there’s much logic in your post. There are two possibilities: Either my position is right and the Book of Mormon is a true work of scripture brought forth by divine intervention, or your position is right and the Book of Mormon is a work of pure fiction brought forth by unscrupulous men seeking power over others.

    If my position is right, and the Book of Mormon was brought to us through the power of God, then it seems to me that it makes little sense to think God would have gone to such trouble to bring us the record of a people led by a man who merely tired himself into a hallucination, rather than a true vision.

    If your position is right, and the Book of Mormon is false, then Lehi is a fictional character who never had any visions. It makes no sense to talk about what could have been the actual cause of a vision that never happened. It’s like asking whether Snow White’s decision to marry a prince she had met only once before was motivated by a dislike for dwarfs.

  6. ltbugaf,

    Your creation of a dichotomy doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying people shouldn’t discuss the moral implications of events and characters in fictional works?

  7. No. But rick doesn’t seem to be talking about the moral implications of events and characters in a fictional work. As near as I can tell, he’s asking people who believe Lehi to be a real person why they don’t think Lehi’s vision was a hallucination caused by repetitive prayers. I can’t see anything in his comment about moral implications. What I see is a question about what really caused an event that rick claims didn’t really happen. That just doesn’t make sense.

  8. I think you’re reading too much into this, ltbugaf. I’ll leave it to Rick to explain his comment, but all I see is someone offering a possibility.

  9. I also disagree with you that I’ve created a dichotomy. The dichotomy between whether the Book of Mormon is a fraud or not exists by itself. As near as I can tell, you can’t have both so it’s not a false dichotomy, and there isn’t some third choice so it’s not a false dilemma. It’s a true dichotomy and not one of my making.

    And either choice, fraud or truth, seems to lead away from the idea that Lehi’s vision could be a hallucination induced by fatigue.

  10. Of course you disagree with me. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

    At first the dichotomy was “the Book of Mormon is a true work of scripture brought forth by divine intervention, or your position is right and the Book of Mormon is a work of pure fiction brought forth by unscrupulous men seeking power over others.” Now you’ve simplified it to whether it’s a fraud or not. You created it because there are other scenarios (the book is fiction brought forth by divine intervention, for example). Nevertheless, this isn’t really the post for this discussion

    Ltbugaf, you’re the only one who’s discussing these issues, and they have nothing to do with the topic. As per the commenting policy, please refrain from threadjacking.

  11. Kim, I’ve never thought giving a direct response to another person’s comment was “threadjacking.” Unless you’re threadjacking by talking about whether Lehi’s vision could have been a hallucination induced by fatigue–as you have done–then I don’t see why my comment on the very same topic is “threadjacking.” I’ve tried to present my view on why that idea doesn’t make sense–whether you believe the Book of Mormon is true or whether you believe it’s false.

    The reason I presented the two choices the way I did is that I thought it clearly and fairly represented the actual positions taken by me and by rick.

  12. Your comment had nothing to with the topic, and was only about questioning rick’s motives. Anyhow, let’s get back to the topic shall we?

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