Why Are Near Death Experiences So Different?

This entry is part 34 of 57 in the series Mysteries

Question Thirty-Five

Why Are Near Death Experiences So Different?

Many believers are somewhat perplexed at the variety of near death experiences, some seemingly contradicting others. On the other hand, this just feeds the doubts of the skeptics who believe they are caused by the mind pulling tricks on us.

Yes, there are a wide variety of accounts given, but there are also a lot of similarities.  Here are a few.

(1) Many report leaving their body and looking back and seeing their lifeless body in the hospital room. Quite a few give evidence that they were not imagining things by correctly recalling conversations of hospital staff and actions that they made.

(2) There are consistent reports of encountering relatives, friends or assistants right after leaving the body. I read one account where the guy met a relative who died just before his near death experience, but was unaware of this. When he was brought back to life and told others who he had seen, he was then told for the first time that this person was dead and that must have been the reason he was able to see him while out of the body.

(3) Those who are out of the body for a while usually encounter a tunnel with a light at the end.

(4) Those who go through the tunnel usually have some otherworldly experience. Most seem to encounter some heavenly realm and unite with friends and family. Others encounter Jesus, God or some  angelic beings. Still others experience a hellish place that causes them to change their lives on recovery.

(5) They all report the experience was vivid and was sure it was not just imagined up by their physical brain.

(6) Many have greater spiritual sensitivity when revived as well as a miraculous recovery. They have lost their fear of death and seek to make a positive difference with the rest of their lives.

(7) Many report a life review.  They tell us that within a few seconds they were able to see all aspects of their life and how they affected others and made them feel.

These similarities give evidence that these people had some real experience.  On the other hand, numerous near death experiences seem to contradict each other.  Here are some examples.

(1) Some people’ meet Jesus, some God, some other religious figures.  Others meet no religious figures but sense a godlike presence.

(2) People often have an experience in harmony with their religion. These experiences seem to contract each other as their religions do. There are a number of cases where they have an experience that run contrary to their belief systems. This especially happens to atheists, but sometimes to believers also.

(3) Some get the impression that one life is all there is and others are taught that we are reborn on earth many times.

(4) Some come away from the experience thinking there is no hell and others say they visited an actual hell and encountered demons.

So what is the truth to the matter?  Here it is in a nutshell.

In this physical reality if we want to build something, like a house, we have to make an intense effort at gathering the materials and putting them together.

In the higher worlds available after death this is not the case.  There, our personal reality is created out of a refined matter manipulated by our thoughts and feelings.  All of our thoughts and feelings while in the body contribute to what we will experience when we are out of the body.  If you have directed a lot of thought, emotion, or even fear toward a religious figure you are likely to meet a representation of that being. Normally, this will not be the actual historical personage, but a representation created for you by a higher part of yourself working with your own thoughts and feelings.

Those who have illusions before death will continue to live in illusion after death.  This is why it is so important to find the truth and not be afraid to ponder on the truth of things that do not make sense.


Copyright 2014 by J J Dewey

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Eternal Lives, Chapter 3

This entry is part 3 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Physical Evidence

Not only did my own experiments, experience and study of the scriptures such as mentioned previously help convince me of reincarnation, but there are hundreds of documented cases of people remembering their past lives.  I have personally met people who remember past lives with normal consciousness without the aid of any regression techniques.

This conscious remembering is not as rare as many may think and this phenomenon caught the attention of Dr. Ian Stevenson, the former head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, about forty years ago.  Since that time he has traveled the world studying these people and has accumulated about 3000 cases in his files.

Most of the more amazing cases occur with young children just a couple years old who are just learning to speak.  As a general rule they remember the past life for a  couple years and lose the memory around the age of five or six.

In a typical situation the child may insist that her parents are not really her parents, but that her true parents (and perhaps spouse) are in another city or part of the country).  Dr. Stevenson tries to catch these children before they had a chance to visit their home of a previous life and take them there and scientifically examine their response.  In many cases the child’s memory of a past life is proven, for the name given out is discovered to be a real person who died.  The child is then taken to the home of her past life and will identify dozens of memories that she could have not acquired in this life.  If there is some secret hiding place he or she will identify this.  If there are favorite possessions, these will be pointed out.

In one case a young girl identified a previous spouse who refused to believe that the little girl was his dead wife reborn.  She gave identification after identification of information only the wife could have known, but still the guy was unconvinced.  In desperation the little girl pulled him aside and step by step told him exactly what she did to him when they made love as husband and wife.  That did the trick.  The man was convinced.

Basically Dr. Stevenson likes to get about twenty-four items of identification from the child of things that she could have not known, about the family and circumstances of the past life before he will take it seriously or even write about it.

In 35% of cases he investigated, children who died an unnatural death developed phobias. For example, if they had drowned in a past life then they frequently developed a phobia about going out of their depth in water. If they had been shot, they were often afraid of guns and sometimes loud bangs in general. If they died in a road accident they would sometimes develop a phobia of traveling in cars, buses or trucks.

If the child’s previous life possessed a talent of some kind then the child shows a disposition to that talent as he or she matures.

The child will often express a wish for the type of food she had in a past life.

If the child was a different sex in the past life then the person will often be homosexual in the current life.

This is all the type of information that I and others who have done regression  work have discovered, but unable to give scientific proof.  The difference with Dr. Stevenson is that he delivers actual proof.

Now some will look at this type of evidence and declare that it is the work of the devil – that some tricky evil spirit is deceiving these children.

This is a poor excuse used since the beginning of time by those who have attempted to escape the power of logic and thought, and has been used against every holy man that God has sent including Jesus.  Even with the great evidence of the miracles He demonstrated before unbelieving eyes He was himself accused of being possessed by evil and doing  his miracles by the power of the evil one.  Also Joseph Smith is often accused of writing the Book of Mormon by the power of the devil.

However, the scriptures give evidence that Dr. Stevenson’s children are not influenced by Satan for it is written:

But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;  Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given to Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.  D&C 29:46-47

Also: “little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin.” Moroni 8:8

If indeed reincarnation is the “doctrine of the devil” and wrong – or a sinful belief, then according to scripture the evil one would have no power to tempt children under the age of eight (the age of accountability) to remember past lives of actual people.

Scripture also says: “Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.” Alma 32:23

This is indeed the case with Stevenson’s studies.  The little children he works with have come up with powerful evidence that have confounded the wise and learned of the world.

If the reader is interested in reading numerous case studies Dr. Stevenson has done I would recommend the book:  “Children who remember Previous Lives.”

It is available at Amazon.com. Click on the following link.
Children Who Remember Previous Lives

Perhaps even more startling than the evidences derived from recalling past lives is Dr. Stevenson’s more recent work on corresponding birthmarks from one life to the next.  He discovered that if one has a wound, particularly one that caused death, such as a gunshot, that the person will often have a birthmark in the exact placed where the wound was in a past life.  What is even more fascinating is that if the person received a bullet wound which penetrated the body and left an exit hole that the entity will have a birthmark at both the point of entrance and exit.

Even more interesting is that the exit wound is larger than the entrance, and when the corresponding birthmarks are examined he found that the birthmark at the location of the exit wound was also much bigger.

Dr. Stevenson examined 895 children, who remembered past lives, for birthmarks, corresponding to wounds and found related birthmarks on 309 of them or 35%.

The chances of this happening are very miniscule.  The average adult has about 17 square feet of skin stretching over his body.  That is 2448 square inches.  Now the chances of finding a birthmark on the same square inch of the body in a current life as a wound in a past life is 2448:1.  The chances of finding a birthmark on the same square inch of both an exit and entrance wound is much greater:  5,992,704 to one, yet Stevenson turned up this startling evidence time and  time again.

The interesting thing about the birthmark study is that the “tricky devil:” theory is even more ridiculous.  To believe the devil is bouncing around stamping birthmarks on children defies all logic.

One can read much more on this subject of birthmarks and examine the evidence himself from Dr. Stevenson’s book: “Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.”

One can check this out HERE

In addition to this he has a more exhaustive 2200 page study called “Reincarnation  and Biology.”

Another interesting evidence of reincarnation comes through Near Death Experiences (NDE).

Amber Wells of the University of Connecticut wrote a research paper based on her study of the near death experience for her senior honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Ring.  She discovered that 70 percent of the people who experience NDE believe in reincarnation, and many of them so believe because of something gleaned from the experience.  On the other hand, according to Gallup only 23 percent of Americans in general believe in the doctrine.  These statistics bear out that there is something about the experience that convinced many who saw a glimpse of the great beyond that there is more than one life.

One event given by many is what is called the life review.  Some report being given the ability to review their whole life in detail, but in addition to this many also reported the obtaining of a vision of numerous past lives.

Then others report seeing entities waiting to be reborn or being told that they will have future lives.

Here in the West we tend to look on a belief in reincarnation as a minority belief expressed by a few new agers, but many do not realize that more religious people of the world accept the doctrine than reject it.

Interestingly, many of the American Indians believed in reincarnation.  The Dakota tribe taught that man lived at least four lives and in between those lives he lived with the Gods and received instruction in magic and healing.  Many of the Indian medicine men claimed to remember past lives.  The Indian hunters did not believed they actually killed an animal, but just deprived it of its body for a short time.  Often among  the Tibetans as well as Eskimos if there is an old man who knows he is going to die he will find a young couple that he likes and ask permission to be their future child.  If they accept he will give that couple his personal things that he wants for his next life and then wander off to die.  There are numerous occurrences where babies of such couples will claim such articles as their own, and for a short period of time have a recollection of the past life associated with them.

This searching for marks of identification is very common among cultures that believe in reincarnation, and especially among the Tlingit Indians and the Igbos of Nigeria. Various tribes of West Africa make marks on the body of the recently deceased in order to be able to identify the person when he or she is reborn.

All the evidence I discovered helped me to believe in reincarnation, but I did not know it for sure until the day I discovered that I had lived before. This changed my whole life and outlook and opened my eyes to a new world of seeing.

I was amazed and almost wished it wasn’t true because of the problems it could create for my church membership, but for once  in my life I realized that an average member of the church like myself may become aware of the truth of many doctrines that  neither the prophet or the general authorities know anything about.

If the reader even after seeing all the evidence of reincarnation is still not convinced he should seek an answer through the Spirit as commanded in the scriptures.  Ask with a sincere heart and you will receive an answer through the Holy Spirit.

The promise  in the Book of Mormon pertains to all true works.  Read Alma 32  and D&C 9:7-9 and see if the doctrine of reincarnation does not generate the feelings and results described.  You are commanded  to “try the spirits whether they are of God.” I John 4:1.  Remember  you are not commanded to ignore the sprits or claim they are from  the devil, or to try and destroy them, but “try them”.  It is as  Joseph Smith said: “When was the time that I was ever confounded?”  This doctrine cannot be confounded or proved wrong because it is  true and it is in the scriptures despite the efforts of the  Great and Abominable Church to remove all reference to the  doctrine.  The truth cannot be removed and  darkness only lasts during the night and then cometh the day and  we see with a perfect light.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey