The night before he died, on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith reported this dream, which was recorded with the other events of the day in the History of the Church:

I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather-boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm.

While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me.

The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it.

I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church.

He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church.

I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body.

While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud.

When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended.” (TPJS, pp. 393-4, Recorded 27 June 1844, also DHC Vol. 6, pp. 608-611.)


I had the following dream in the early hours of September 21 2014:

Tonight I dreamed of a great house in a small city. It was a Church building, passed down from the pioneers, that had long functioned as an inn as well as holding Sunday meetings. It fed travelers produce and meat from the farm next to it. I spent many days there, both worshiping and lodging whenever I passed through the town.

I would often walk the halls and admire the craftsmanship. It consisted of two tall stories, with thick adobe outer walls punctuated by generous windows. The main building was large and rectangular, with additional wings built onto the outside over many years. The interior was defined by a sturdy timber frame, with handmade wood paneling and trim on the walls dividing its many rooms. The house had always been warm and comfortable, with cozy rooms for travelers, well-equipped kitchens, warm and congenial dining halls, and beautiful meeting space for congregations.

One day I was again traveling through town and was walking past the great house. A noise made me look up to the upper floor. I was shocked to see an upper window broken out, and a huge fat hog sticking its head out of the window and bellowing. I walked around the house to my usual entrance at the rear, and found the great wooden doors ripped out of the center of the wall, with their frames and several feet of the adobe wall having followed them. The wood lay splintered amid chunks of adobe on the ground in the courtyard.

In the opening of the wall, I saw two children dressed in rags, playing with each other on the broken floorboards. They were the children of the matron of the house. “What has happened?” I asked them.

“Our mother did it.” They answered. “Doesn’t it improve the house? Isn’t it better now than ever?”

I walked through the gaping hole in the wall, and carefully stepped onto the broken floorboards the children were playing on. As the boards shifted under my feet I looked around. The interior of the house was gutted. Most of the timber-framed interior had been removed, so that the exterior walls alone remained. I could see almost the entire surface of the adobe walls, with the large, empty, two-story openings that had allowed for windows on each floor. Where it had previously been divided into many rooms, the house was now one large open space. It was cold, and the dusty wind was blowing freely through it.

I looked up, and saw that some of the second floor remained, now open to the rest of the building, supported by a few remaining wooden posts. There were big fat hogs running around on it, unable to descend for the staircase had been demolished. As I looked out on the building, and compared its current ruin to its former beauty, the hogs started defecating on me from the second floor. I started to run back toward the door trying to get out of the rain of manure, but I stumbled and fell in the deep wet muck between the boards.

I got back to my feet and ran out from under the pigs, so sad at what the house had become. It had been warm and comfortable, but was now cold and desolate. So many travelers could have been sheltered and fed, but now it was a barn full of filthy pigs and ragged children. It had slid into complete ruin so quickly, I couldn’t believe it.

As I stood there, a man I’d never met came to me and remarked on the condition of the house. He said, “I’ve learned that what some call development is actually depression. I have learned the true way of developing, and I want to teach everyone who will listen. If you want to learn, you can come to this location and listen to me speak.” He handed me a card with a name and address. He continued, “The knowledge was sitting there all along for anyone to find it, but I found it and want to teach others.”

He left me holding the card. My first thought was that he must be a huckster, like those who put up handwritten signs on lampposts promising real-estate training that will earn you riches. He certainly didn’t look rich. I thought “He will probably give just enough information in the first lecture to pique my interest, but not enough to act on. Then he’ll charge a hefty fee for a book or a workshop.” Then again, I had no idea if those were his motives. He may simply want to teach truth to as many people as possible, truth which could prevent buildings from falling into ruin. I couldn’t know without hearing him out, and judging based on the content of his message. Whether or not I would agree with the rest of his message, he and I certainly agreed that the great house was in ruins.

I woke up, was given the interpretation in an instant, and was told to write the dream.  (Journal of Robert Sonntag, 09.21.2014)

I wrote it, and wept for all that had been lost.