Gaze Into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the Spirit World by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.
Most of us have wondered exactly what will happen when we die. What does the Spirit World look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near-death experiences learn from their visit? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven. There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but Gaze Into Heaven is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history.
Joseph Smith said; “All men know that they must die . . . it is important that we should understand the reasons . . . of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world . . . and our departure hence. . . It is a subject we ought to study more than any other. . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period I, vol. 6, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 October, 1843), 50.
The Doctrine and Covenants also counsels us to learn more. We are to study “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass.” (D&C 88:79).
Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.
Excerpts: Lorenzo Dow Young spoke of his near-death experience, saying: “In a moment I was out of the body, and fully conscious that I had made the change. At once, a heavenly messenger, or guide, was by me. I thought and acted as naturally as I had done in the body, and all my sensations seemed as complete without as with it. The personage with me was dressed in the purest white. For a short time I remained in the room where my body lay. My sister Fanny (who was living with me when I had this dream) and my wife were weeping bitterly over my death. I sympathized with them deeply in their sorrow, and desired to comfort them. I realized that I was under the control of the man who was by me. I begged of him the privilege of speaking to them, but he said he could not grant it. “My guide, for so I will call him, said ‘Now let us go.’”
Harriet Ovard Lee died from injuries suffered after a fall. “I will now endeavor to recount my experience during the forty eight hours that my spirit was out of my body. . . . I heard a voice calling me by name, saying, ‘Harriet,’ three times, ‘Come, I am waiting.’ . . . I saw my husband and all the people in the room, some of them crying and wringing their hands over my lifeless body. “The voice said, ‘Come,’ and I saw a personage whom I followed . . . and we passed out at the door into what appeared to be unlimited space. Again my guide called me by name, commanding me to follow him, which I did, and we kept moving forward and I felt as light as a feather and as free as a bird on the wing, all pain and uneasiness having entirely left me. . . .”
Reader's Comments: With this book, Marlene Bateman Sullivan has done a valuable service for Latter-day Saint readers. Previous life-after-death studies published brief extracts from numerous sources and combined them to define spirit-world events and conditions. Returning to those sources, she has compiled many of their complete accounts, which add additional insights that will be enjoyed by many. Well done! —Duane S. Crowther, author of Life Everlasting— A Definitive Study of Life After Death
Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island. For more info visit her website at: www.marlenebateman.info
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