1 Nephi 8:2 — LeGrand Baker — Dream or Vision

1 Nephi 8:2  

2 And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.

There is nothing unusual about a prophet having a vision at night while he is asleep.{1} For example, President Wilford Woodruff, explaining the weight of his responsibilities to a gathering of temple workers in Brigham City, June 24, 1894, asked,

When I have a vision of night opened continually before my eyes, and can see the mighty judgments that are about to be poured upon this world, when I know these things are true, and while I am holding this position before God and this world, can I withhold my voice from lifting up a warning to this people, and to the nations of the earth?{2}

As to the question of how Lehi could tell the difference between a dream and a vision from the Lord, the answer is very simple: When one wakes up from a dream it usually fades quickly from our memory, and we ignore it as a trick of the mind caused by only “an undigested bit of beef.” However, when one is awakened by the overpowering testimony of the Spirit that this thing was from God, then one does not wonder if this dream was really a vision. When the Lord gives a prophet a vision, its validity is not proven so much by what he sees as by the testimony of the Holy Ghost that accompanies it.
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FOOTNOTES

{1} For examples see: Daniel 2:19, 7:1-2; Acts 16:9, 18:9-11.

{2} Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949), 2:119-20.

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