The Myth of Visiting Heaven and Coming Back to Talk About It

Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,” Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.

The book’s publisher, Tyndale House, had promoted it as “a supernatural encounter that will give you new insights on Heaven, angels, and hearing the voice of God.”

But Thursday, Tyndale House confirmed to NPR that it is taking “the book and all ancillary products out of print.”

-Bill Chappell
“Boy Says He Didn’t Go To Heaven; Publisher Says It Will Pull Book,” Jan. 15, 2015, 10:20 p.m. ET

I suppose this will be all over social media today and that many people will be commenting on their blogs about everything from fraud to faith. Frankly, I’ve always ignored these sensationalist stories about people having near-death or death experiences, visiting Heaven, then being resuscitated and telling everyone they sat on Jesus’s (Yeshua’s) lap or something. I’ve ignored these stories, well, almost ignored them, because they never said anything that surprised me.

These stories always confirmed the traditional Christian view of the afterlife, of Jesus, of everything preached from church pulpits all over the world, or at least in the U.S. and Canada. Assuming (and this is my assumption) that standard Evangelical Christian theology and doctrine doesn’t have a perfect picture of everything having to do with God, Jesus, and Heaven, then I’d expect that a person who had actually experienced a mystical encounter and visited the Heavenly Court would say something that Christianity hadn’t anticipated, but at the same time made sense once we heard it and compared it to experiences such as Ezekiel’s or John’s we find in the Bible.

And to the best of my knowledge, that’s never happened.

Here’s the reason I’m writing this “extra meditation” today:

“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Alex wrote. He continued, “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to.”

Now here’s the kicker:

“They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”

When I read that sentence, I immediately thought of the following:

And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Luke 16:27-31 (NASB)

This is a parable and probably not a literal story involving real people, but the tale makes a point that is very relevant to the current topic. While some people may accept and believe stories like Alex’s, most people won’t including most religious people. After all, the Master was resurrected and is called “the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20) and yet not everyone believes his testimony or the testimonies of the direct witnesses to his resurrection.

Alex Malarkey is right. The only information source we can trust is the Bible and believe me, Bible study is a lifelong effort in learning and drawing nearer to our Creator.

We do know that some people have “visited Heaven”. We have the mystical experiences of Ezekiel and the Apostle John recorded in the Bible that renders their visions or visits (not sure which) in vivid, if sometimes incomprehensible detail. We have the Apostle Paul writing that he (apparently) was “caught up to the third heaven,” though he provided no details of the experience because he heard “inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”

Alex Malarkey
Alex Malarkey, seen here in a 2009 photo, has written an open letter saying that events described in the best-seller The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven were made up.
John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer/Landov

So we have a few Biblical examples of such mystical experiences, but they seem rather rare.

Both Judaism and Christianity have rich mystical heritages, but I’m not qualified to speak to all that because I’m not a mystic. To me, the mystic tales of the Hasidim (for example) seem more metaphorical than literal. For my part, I have a tough enough time just being ordinary and living life exploring my faith from my own limited perspective.

So I’ll continue to muddle along the old-fashioned way, by reading and studying the Bible, by praying, by visiting with other believers, and I’ll let God tell me what He wants me to know in whatever way He sees fit.

I wonder how many people based their faith or came to faith because of stories like the one Alex told? I wonder how many people’s faith will be shaken or even shattered now that they know that he lied?

Actually, I feel sorry for him. He’s just a kid. It must have taken a lot of courage for him to come clean in so public a manner. I just hope everyone else involved also does the right thing.

53 thoughts on “The Myth of Visiting Heaven and Coming Back to Talk About It”

  1. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing. The idea of coming back from heaven is romantic, but not realistic.
    I just found you and looked around a bit and I like what I see! You can consider me a regular 🙂

  2. Should have guessed that this might have been a troll story. The family’s last name is Marlarkey!

  3. Appropriate name: Alex MALARKEY. 🙂

    There are so many other books of similar vein, like the kid who claimed to visit heaven under anesthesia; with no evidence according to his medical records that he died. Interesting how angry people became when these narratives were questioned. It is sad if someone’s faith hinges on false accounts that they are so eager to believe as it is what they want to believe. More disgusting is the religious businesses that profit from and sometimes instigate.

    Do I want my social circle, people I should trust, to be made up of those who believe these sorts of things? Na.

  4. “These stories always confirmed the traditional Christian view of the afterlife, of Jesus, of everything preached from church pulpits all over the world, or at least in the U.S. and Canada…”
    As an American Evangelical Pastor, I am trying to find a reference in my understanding which supports your statement. There are many views on ouranos (GK) and related Eschatology taught, however most of my experience considers these as metaphor at best, as did Jesus in His teachings on the subject.
    Your counterpoint about witnessing a purported “Heavenly” experience, “would say something that Christianity hadn’t anticipated…” makes sense, however itself supports an idea that heaven is a destination outside of our current reality and that these contrary images would somehow be believable on the merits of their uniqueness.
    As for me and most of my Brethren, we simply don’t know and spend little time thinking about what’s next; all one has to do is wait, and we will know the Truth. In the meantime, I will look to the Master for information on the subject should I need assurance or material to preach from my Pulpit.
    21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
    Luke 17:21New Living Translation (NLT)
    This is a great place to start.

  5. The only “I visited Heaven and came back story” I’ve read is “Heaven is for Real.” I was cynical enough to question why Colton Burpo’s parents waited so long before sharing the story and why they decided to share it in the first place; profits from best-selling books can certainly make a nice little nest egg. Of course, making money isn’t wrong, but it does make you wonder about the motivation.

    I didn’t have a problem with the descriptions of Heaven in the book. From what I can remember there wasn’t anything anti- or extra-Biblical about what Burpo claimed to have experienced. (I could be wrong as it’s been a few years since I read it and I honestly don’t recall the story very well). I don’t have a problem with the idea of God allowing any of us a little glimpse into Heaven if He so chooses. Nevertheless, I do think of what Paul wrote:

    “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:1-6

    Seems to me like there are things too precious to share, and a glimpse of Heaven would definitely fall into that category.

  6. P.S. – I do feel sorry for anyone who comes to faith through reading a story like this. Not only will there be room for serious doctrinal holes, there’s a good chance that they will then expect the journey to be nothing but highs, nothing but mystical experiences. In my experience, faith is far more often mundane and even difficult. We live it out in the valleys and the shadowlands, not the mountaintops.

  7. I don’t rule out all NDE reports and visions of the spiritual realm, because I know of two salt-of-the-earth people who had remarkable experiences, yet admittedly not to the degree of some of the more popular claims.

    The NDE of Howard Storm is considered the most reliable one out there, and his story is remarkable in that he was an atheist prior to his death, and after coming back to life, he became a Christian and Pastor. If memory serves, his death is documented as well.

  8. What gets me James, is the amount of reputable Christian publishing houses that put out this type of stuff. Interesting though, I have read several books on Christians dying and coming back after seeing visions of Jesus and heaven, every single one of them lacks any reference to the Jewish King of Kings. Jesus seems to be non-ethnic (read Anglo) Gentile Messiah. Also, where is the Creator, it seems like God is on vacation and Jesus is watching the house so to speak, but that is for another day lol

  9. “Also, where is the Creator, it seems like God is on vacation and Jesus is watching the house so to speak, but that is for another day lol”

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Christianity in a nutshell.

    1. I am still surprised by generalizations of Christians, Evangelicals, Jews, etc . I read on these pages rather frequently. One would think a Minority group of Faith which has been frequently mischaracterized and repeatedly treated with prejudice would be sensitive to generalizations, especially of other Faith Traditions… but then, maybe not. Many believe our (own) opinions are not generalizations, but fact.

  10. Rockey said:

    As for me and most of my Brethren, we simply don’t know and spend little time thinking about what’s next; all one has to do is wait, and we will know the Truth.

    That’s probably the best attitude to take about it.

    @Marie: Yes, the 2 Corinthians 12 passage does tell us that, at least in Biblical times, occasionally, a person had a mystic experience, either bodily or in a vision, of visiting Heaven, but as you say, sometimes the revelation was not to be recorded. On the other hand, the Apostle John wrote quite a bit about his experience, and scholars debate to this day what it’s all supposed to mean. I don’t think such experiences should necessarily be sought, and I think if someone in modern times really did visit Heaven and live to write about it, the book would be very difficult to understand.

    @Sojourning: Obviously, I can’t rule out actual mystical experiences, but by definition, they are totally subjective with no way to verify them. It’s easier to disprove assuming the story disagrees with scripture, but how do you prove the experience to be true? Because it maps to modern Christian theology and tradition?

    @Tony: Every time I visit a Christian book store (which is rarely), I’m reminded of how the marketing techniques used are no different than for secular products. I’m not assigning any sort of motives, but Christian book publishers still have to turn a profit which means they are inclined to publish what they know will resonate with typical Christian readers.

    1. What is the basis for your statement that what sells in Christian book stores “will resonate with typical Christian readers.”?

      1. I more specifically meant what books Christian book publishers choose to publish. In book publishing, you have to know that you’ll sell the minimum number of copies to make a profit. This is just being practical. The author has to be paid and so do all of the editors (I’m a published author so I have some idea how this process works) and others involved in the initial production of the book. On top of that, there’s all of the printing and other costs to create a physical book as well as porting it to different digital formats so they can be read on tablets and other portable devices. Then there’s advertising to consider and whatever costs are incurred to let the public know the book exists and why they should want to buy it.

        None of this is bad and I’m not attributing poor motives to Christian book publishers and sellers, but they have to make the same decisions when choosing what books to publish and sell that any other book publisher and seller has to make. Books, such as the one we are discussing, are probably likely to be very popular with Christian readers.

      2. I know a bit about the book publishing business and the Christian book publishing business, and I would somewhat disagree. Realize their goal is to make money, not to ensure that what they sell is true or helpful in a long-term sense.

        Sometimes a Christian publisher will have the concept of a book in mind and approach a, “name,” to give it validity, when it is written mostly or wholly by their staff. Once a book is successful (and this goes for the secular publishing industry also) they will quickly put out another book that is almost a rehashing of the previoius, and usually it is ghostwritten as it has to be churned out fast while the interest is hot.

        I suspect the only reason this book was pulled was that the subject so obviously denied its veracity; if there had just been numerous attacks on the validity of the book, this would have been ignored.

        Please be accurate and use the term, “evangelical,” rather than, “Christian,” and you could further refine it by, “evangelical right,” as the sort of people who love books that are entertaining, tear-jerking sappy and validate what they already believe without introducing anything discomfiting. The readership is overwhelmingly female, which is why there are never-ending titles about weight-loss and dealing with those out of control female emotions (gag) and perhaps relationship tomes about how to be the perfect, submissive wife authored by someone who we have no idea what their marriage looks like. Let’s not forget the DVD series spin-offs. I guess if you fill your mind with so much crap there is no room for much that is worthwhile?

        I can tell you a person I knew wrote a book published by Logos, and Irene Burke Harrell, who was one of their major ghostwriters was his ghostwriter. One day she showed him what she had written and asked for his opinion. He said, “This is all very nice, but it is fiction.” She had just made up stuff for interest. Keep that in mind next time you read one of those Christian testimonials -i.e., hagiographies.

      3. Wow, Chaya. I’d have expected/thought/hoped that Christian book publishers would have a higher set of business ethics than their secular counterparts.

        My own experiences in authoring numerous technical books has been pretty good. Everything seemed open and above board and the goal was to produce a good book (and naturally, one that would turn a profit because no one is in business to lose money). I remember once there ended up being a big problem with one of my books that was about to be published. I agreed to give up part of my payment so that another expert could be hired to go over and correct the problems. Like I said, all we wanted to do was to make a good book that was accurate and served the target audience. Whatever shenanigans go on in other areas of the publishing world, I’ve never experienced them.

      4. James,
        Why would you expect higher ethics in books…? I would expect a Judeo/Christian culture to follow compassion, peace, and social justice in our politic too. Most would be shocked to see it happen. Witness the savage killing in the wars of the last 100 years alone by Western Judeo/Christian cultures. Primitive cultures and Islamists have a lot of work to do to catch up with the Judeo/Christian community in this regard. Having said this, there are publishers who work hard to find scholarly and thoughtful authors and works. Eerdmans, Harcourt Brace, Orbis etc… they’re out there.

      5. Muslims have killed far more people than Christians have, while Christians have killed more Jews. I did not include scholarly publishers in the category of popular Christian books and their publishers, and I suspect they are a small corner of the market. No scholar I am aware of bothers with this opiate of the masses stuff.

      6. I would like to see stats for that view. I am thinking WWI, WWII, The Russian Revolution, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Aparthied in SA, Bosnia, just for the high points. Go a little farther back, the American and French Revolutions, Civil War, Indian Wars and related Genocide, Napolianic wars… Nobody really does it better or kills quite so many civilians than the West. If only we took our Faith more seriously. “Blessed are the piece makers…”

      7. http://necrometrics.com/pre1700a.htm The author of this page honestly points to the problem of vastly differing figures for distant times.

        I also don’t understand how you lumped Jews in with Christians in regard to their violence. One interesting item I notice is that atheists point to the violence and murders attributed to the wicked, “God of the Old Testament,” but since they believe the scriptures are all fairy tales, how can you fault a people for murders that take place only in their fictional narratives, anymore than you can fault the Greeks for Homer.

        This is interesting too: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/08/the-death-toll-comparison-breakdown.html


      8. Fascinating… I never thought of faulting the Greeks for Homer. (Plato for Gyges ?) I will give it a try.
        It is reassuring and some comfort to know the propensity towards violence isn’t owned by any one culture or belief system. The Asians, South East Asians, Africans etc. as well as the West have all shown great zeal in killing off those who get in the way of resources they want to appropriate. It’s just that the West is so darn good at it. (Colonialism for instance… under the guise of Missionary work in some cases. The New World owes its current state to the Cross of Spain sailing from the womb of the Inquisitor with the Malthusian assistance of European disease and weaponry. The Roman’s by Jove were darn good at it too… They were such good Administrators. Strange, they can’t run a train on time now. Britton raised it to a science.)
        I mention the Jewish side of the family as it is foundational to our beliefs. Jewish History is our history. Completed in Christ, and strained largely through the enlightenment to this Post Modern time. We in the West cannot have an original thought accept through the lens of this heritage.
        Thanks for the links. Here’s one to be proud of.

      9. Thanks for the link. It needs another 10 years added. I took a very interesting MOOC, “A Brief History of Humankind,” by Noah Yuval Hariri University of Tel Aviv. You can find some of his lectures on YouTube. He discussed that scientific advances can be attributed to monarchs who financed this, as well as exploration, for the purposes of war and advancing their power.

        I think the conclusion is that man is by nature violent, and it is technology, communication and organization that magnifies the numbers that are affected. Think, was Germany more antisemitic or more violent than say Russia, Poland, the Ukraine? No, but they were a more technogically and educationally advanced society.

        I was confused and thought you were blaming Jews for the violence of Europe, when Jews were a small, powerless minority. Since the 4th century, Christianity cut the cords of Judaism and it seems kept the skin, some outer markings, of Judaism but scooped out all the innards and stuffed it with Greek philosophy and various forms of pagan thought.

        A really good book to read is R’ Fohrman’s, “The Beast the Crouches at the Door.” It explains the results of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as well as the how the temptation to murder and violence can be overcome. One chooses the tree of knowledge of good and evil or the tree of life – torah.

      10. @Rockey — I agree with Chaya that the events you cited are too comprehensive of multiple kinds of participants to demonstrate the sort of “who has been more deadly” assertion you’re suggesting. I would also suggest that available-technology levels should be taken into account.

        @Chaya — Interesting links to collected statistics. It’s a pity they can’t be weighted by the technology available to each perpetrator to measure whether any paucity in the death toll is merely an artifact of limited capability rather than limited desire. For example, on an equal-weapons playing field such as the Crusades, limited to the statistics of war on Middle-East territory, discounting Europe, were Christians or Muslims more bloodthirsty? Of course, even that might need to be further qualified by the Arab home-field advantage. Given a modern circumstance in which Muslims have atomic weapons, might we have reason to expect carnage on a par with WW2, possibly augmented by the existence of larger population numbers? Also missing from such raw numbers as these is any analysis of who killed whom for what reasons, who was the aggressor, who was defending against unprovoked aggression, and how many of the killed were innocent bystanders, and a few other shadings that would need to be analyzed in order to determine a question like “Which ideology inspired more violent aggression or more death?”.

        But how did we get so far off-topic from the mistaken notion of NDE visits to heaven? I think I rather prefer recognizably-fictional treatments like Mark Twain’s “Captain Eli Stormalong’s Visit to Heaven”, or C.S.Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”, which each offer moral commentary.

      11. I would expect that the world of tech publishing is much more cut and dried. It is about providing accurate information, not about entertainment or validating someone’s religious, political, social or other beliefs. There is no agenda except to produce a product that will sell because it does what it says. So, I don’t think these are comparable. I suspect the world of religious business is actually more corrupt than the secular one, as the secular work world has a built in system for handling grievances and airing problems. Religious businesses are successful often based upon image and belief rather than the quality of a product.

      12. You miss my point. One can make loads of money selling items to a minority of a given group if large enough. Simple marketing to a subset of buyers is not enough to generalize about an entire group. I am a “Christian reader(s)” and I do not, and know many “Christian readers” who do not shop in Christian Book Stores for books like those being discussed here. On my shelf behind me are books by C.S. Lewis, Merton, Berrigan, Kant, Bonhoffer, etc. as well as the Tanach, Chumach, Books by John of the Cross, Teresa of Avilla, Fr. Dominic Crossan, Fr. Richard Rohr, 17 Bibles in different translations and languages, The Koran, Gita, as well as William Burroughs, Alan Ginsburg and other Beat Poets, and so on and so on… What in your opinion makes the books in Christian book stores “very popular with Christian readers.”? That IMO is overreaching. Would it not be more accurate to say, “There are segments of Christian readers who create the demand for books like…”? There are no fewer flavors of Christian then there are of Ice Cream.

  11. @Marle and @Sojourning with Jews: The Burpo story is such an obvious fraud and the kid was coached and encouraged. It was written by Sarah Palin’s publicist. Interest that a FB page, “Evidence Against Atheism,” used this book as validation of their point of view. They have no right to criticize the well-deserved mockery of atheists if they consider this evidence. I brought this up myself, and was called an atheist, which I am not. But their m.o. is to label, marginalize and demonize anyone who has any relevant challenges.

    @Tony Lin: Reputable Christian publishing companies? Really? Perhaps these existed in the past, but I don’t know of any currently. @Gene S., that is a gross oversimplification and broad-brushing. But I would be curious as to which churches sell popular garbage in their bookstores? Whenever I visit someone I see what books they have on their shelves, if they even have any, in this day and age.

  12. Chaya,
    The only thing I said about “Heaven Is For Real” is that a friend asked for my opinion of it. I only needed to see the picture of [yet another] non-semitic looking “hot Jesus” in the back of the book to have my doubts. 🙂

  13. @Rockey, publishers market to those who purchase their product. So, I am going to assume these represent the majority of the book-buying Christian public. The fact that you, I and others don’t fit into that demographic makes us the minority, and I would suspect a very small one. The masses prefer junk food for the soul.

    And the next time you see the title, “Dr.” on a book in a Christian bookstore, check the author out to see if he/she got the Ph.D from a diploma mill. As an aside, just found out popular HR teacher “Dr.” Diana Dye has her degrees from a diploma mill. None of these people will ever be removed as speakers or sellers due to fake credentials, as it doesn’t matter to the audience and they get mad if you dare to bring it up. I figure if someone is dishonest in one thing they will be dishonest in much.

  14. Statistic: Women’s purchases account for 64% of the money spent on books, and the average age of a book purchaser is 42; 16.7% of the book market is romance novels.

    1. Chaya, I love your grit. It’s interesting how many of the older men I visit enjoy a Romance novel and read them frequently. (“Old but not dead” or “That’s almost all that’s left…” are common responses. Lol.)

    1. The thing is, we can’t judge a person’s experience. Perhaps a person had a supernatural encounter or maybe there is natural phenomena that explains it. There have been medical explanations for NDE’s, including the common, “tunnel to light,” linked to lack of blood supply to the optic nerve, and the sense of euphoria due to endorphins.

  15. @ Chaya, there are some Christian publishers that are very reputable, they are not well known, mostly scholarly houses. But i also agree with James. These larger mainstream publishers know what sell.

  16. “I don’t think such experiences should necessarily be sought…”

    And that hits the nail on the head right there. Like I said, I don’t have a problem with the idea of mystical experiences themselves and I can’t remember anything about the “Heaven is for Real” book that bothered me (then again, I can’t remember much about the book at all, so that tells you how much of an impression it made), but our faith isn’t about some constant emotional high or the search for the bizarre. Anything mystical is God-given when and how He wills. Frankly I think He’d rather we focus on the living out the faith in the daily mundaneness.

    “…and I think if someone in modern times really did visit Heaven and live to write about it, the book would be very difficult to understand.”

    This just makes me think of the cherubim in Ezekiel. 🙂

    1. Marie,
      I get your point. I can visit the pools in Jerusalem noted in John 5 where Jesus healed the invalid of 38 years. That is not why I follow Christ. I share deep relational and mundane experiences with the Godhead… the Testimony’s in the Bible and in life are simply that. NDE testimony’s may or may not be true events, what I experience is undeniable for me; therefore I choose to accept it for what I believe it to be. (BTW, I was hit by a car and almost lost. I lost several weeks that no longer exist for me and am impaired permanently. After experiencing great gratitude, I was disappointed that I was simply gone and recall nothing after the accident. A Pastor and friend I shared this with simply said, “Almost dead may not be the same thing as all dead…” duh! I really no longer care, I live for Christ today.)

  17. “…relationship tomes about how to be the perfect, submissive wife authored by someone who we have no idea what their marriage looks like.”

    Chaya1957 – preach!

  18. Many in my church have read and loved this book, I have not, I’ve always had trouble with the whole idea. The boys Grandfather came and talked at the church and he was very believing of this. I feel bad for the whole family. On another thought, have you written anything on the subject why did Jesus have to die? Thanks.

  19. I know a man…someone who has been dead twice…once falling over 30 feet from a tree he was pruning, and a year or so later in a severe motorcycle accident.

    What was interesting is what he did NOT see. Both deaths were pronounced for over nine minutes…no pulse, no brain function, a cooling body. He saw no light, no warm presence, no anything…just darkness, and being aware in the darkness until he was dragged back into life again. He is not a Believer in anything, not even now. He prefers to be a wolf, rather than a sheep…his words.

    Some people throughout time have died, and come back to life with reports that people did not understand…in some, it made no difference, and in others, perhaps the visions they were given to see, rather than where they were, was the key to the radical change in their ensuing behaviour. So, I won’t discount the real possibility of a near-death experience, particularly those of non-believing people who were changed radically by the mere experience of separation from the body, and still having some awareness…watching themselves being pronounced dead, covered, and left, able to repeat what people said after the death in other rooms or hallways from the apparently dead body, much less the much vaunted light and warmth and overwhelming love that they did not want to leave, and desperately want to go back to.

    If people find encouragement from these stories, I do not see the harm so long as they are not being separated from their wallet at the same time. But the man I know I pray for, that his visions of darkness do not come to pass, or worse that he be like the rich man, begging for water from Lazarus after it is too late to amend matters.

  20. @Chaya and Questor: It’s true that we can’t examine an individual’s personal experience so we can’t know for certain what they’ve encountered. On the other hand, I’d be cautious before very readily accepting the idea that someone had a vision or a mystic journey to Heaven.

    @Everyone: To echo PL, how did we get so far off topic as to be discussing how many people have been killed by which groups?

    1. James, How did we get off topic?
      Easy, in the South we call it “bird-doggin”
      Associative processes and abstract thinking.
      Some of us just can’t help ourselves.

  21. I read the book because a friend asked for my opinion. I can tell you that the book aggravated me because it ended up dragging on and on and being more about the father than the son. I felt if it were true, they could have said everything the boy experienced in a magazine article, or a couple of short blogs. But then, where’s the money in that?

  22. Chaya, Thanks and thanks.
    I will check out the Library for the book. I came to believe the issue is the beast crouching within me, and my Adamic nature. (Better known now as ego…)

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