Hey all! I don't where everyone is in their journey away from the church but felt like sharing this.... A few months after leaving the church I found that I had was trying to decide what I believed...and after a lot of trips to Barnes N Noble and lots of reading I was pretty much believing like many atheists do. Then I started reading about near death experiences and what intrigued me were the many parallels most of them had. It was learning about NDE, then eventually reincarnation and meditation, that have led me to believe in a universal source or universal love or GOD. I still can't say I KNOW there is a God but I believe. I heard once that there are 3 levels of knowledge...#1 is to KNOW...#2 is to BELIEVE...and #3 is to HOPE.
Anyways, I was chatting online last night with a great friend of mine. We actually met through the church when we both were in the YW presidency. I had known her brother previously. He was also in my ward but inactive...so naturally we got along very well;) About two months ago he was sick in the hospital and had an adverse reaction to a medication and ended up in ICU...he coded twice while he was there...we didn't think he was going to live...or if he did, he would never be the same. Luckily, he did live and just started speaking again. She was telling me that the first thing he said when he woke up was that he had a NDE...she wouldn't tell me about the specifics over the computer...she said she'd rather tell me in person. BUT she did say that she is now going to leave the church and wants to investigate what's out there. I found it so interesting that this type of situation can be the force to drive someone towards truth. I know NDEs have been a major player in my search for truth...does anyone have any experiences? Or heard about any cool ones?
Funny enough I remembered something last night...when I was twelve I went on my first temple trip...and after the temple we always stopped at the LDS bookstore (since it's the only one in FL and it was 4 hours away)...everyone got cool YW stickers or CDs...I bought a book about NDEs:) I just remember my dad telling me I couldn't talk about it in church.
I didn't know you couldn't talk about the NDE experiences in the Mormon church ... I have a friend...he is still active and I sent him some links about them some months ago:)...he said they were very interesting, but didn't say anything else...I also sent some archives about reincarnation:)
For me the topic of NDE are a passion and I've read a lot about them. They are an amazing phenomenon. I have not had any, but I know one person; my father. He died in 2000, but years ago had a very serious accident at work. During her time between life and death he experienced one of these experiences. After that his character changed a lot (for better) and became a believer in the possibility of the existence of God, but not in organized religions. My dad said it to me, but to anybody else; he thought that if he ever told people about it they would laugh at him or think he was mad . He only said he had seen incredible things and he knew it had really happened. He was very sure about the experience que had.
There are some interesting links on the subject; do you know them??.
I also think you should read the following authors, R. Moody, Kenneth Ring, Sam Parnia, Penny Sartori, E. Kubler-Ross, Stalisnav Grof, Peter Fenwick ... do you know them?
For me, the best NDE ever is the Pam Reynolds story ... do you know about it?
After reading a lot and think about perennial philosophy I think I believe in a "GOD" but do not believe in an anthropomorphic God, but rather I see God as the great cosmic energy which we all belong, or something like that...I continue reading:)
I feel bad because my English is terrible and I can't talk very well about deep philosophy questions...:(
I also had a very strange sincronism the night my mom died...sorry I don't talk about that; for me is still a bit soon to talk about my mom passing away:(...
I KNOW she's still alive...her awareness is still alive. I'M SURE.
Micah I didn't know about Mellen-Thomas NDE...it is AMAZING....ufffff.... did you know A. Einstein believed in a Cosmic Religion; very similar to Mellen Thomas experiences... Thanks for share it, a great reading for me!!:)
One of my cousins had a spontaneus OBE some years ago...she talked to me about that.
"Death was a central part of the definition of religion for Unitarian minister Forrest Church. He said knowing that we must die, we question what life means. Questions about life's purpose acquired a new sense of urgency when Church was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus three years ago. That was just a dress rehearsal for death. The cancer was treated, and he returned to his work.
But early last year, the cancer returned with a vengeance. Church died last Thursday at the age of 61. We're going to listen back to the interview I recorded with him about facing death one year ago. He had spent three decades as senior minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City. One of his many books was about his late father Frank Church, who was a Democratic senator from Idaho. When we spoke, he had just published a book called, "Love and Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow."
GROSS: I want to start by reading something that you say in your book that that really got to me, and this is right after you were - your thoughts about your life, and you thought imminent death, right after your first diagnosis. You write: I embraced the diagnosis and started girding myself to die. No disbelief, no anger, no bargaining. In fact, if anything, I walked around in a pink cloud for a day or two, feeling my death, getting used to it. Was my theology working, or was I simply in denial or shock? Looking back, was your theology working or were you in denial or shock?
Reverend FORREST CHURCH (Unitarian Minister): It was working. Every minister spends a lifetime preparing for this exam. The most important work we do is done with families in bereavement. But we really don't know, having given all of this advice and held all of these hands and walked all of these journeys through the valley, how we ourselves are going to respond. And it was a great relief to me that I was able to embrace my death. I sensed that if you've made peace with your life, you can make peace with your death. But if you haven't, it's much more difficult.
The difference - all of us have ongoing business when we're given a terminal diagnosis. But the question is, do we have unfinished business? And I discovered I really didn't have any unfinished business, and that allowed me to be present for whatever was going to come. I didn't have to find myself bathing in regret or filled with anxious anticipation. I just sort of entered the zone, and I've been there for sometime.
GROSS: Okay. So, on the one hand, you feel like you reached acceptance of your death right after your diagnosis, and you kind of entered the zone.
Rev. CHURCH: Yeah.
GROSS: But at the same time, you write in your book, your wife, who…
Rev. CHURCH: Right.
GROSS: …who was on the way to a trip to India when you were diagnosed, when she came home, she kind of knocked you out of that and said…
Rev. CHURCH: That's right. Well…
GROSS: Don't be so accepting of this.
Rev. CHURCH: She pointed out to me in no uncertain terms that this death was not mine alone. It was fine for me to splash around in the waters of acceptance and to say that I had no unfinished business, but there are lot of other people around me who had unfinished business, I mean, my children, my four children, my wife. And that shifted my - it sort of knocked the air out of my presumption and allowed me to focus on their needs and concerns, as opposed to sort of taking too great a pleasure in my own spiritual satisfaction.
GROSS: You know, you write in your book, you know, again, about how you don't believe in an interventionist God, and you say, once you start praying to God to cure your cancer or asking God why he didn't answer you prayers, the questions never stop. And then you refer to, like, a bishop who said his faith was shaken by the tsunami.
Rev. CHURCH: Yes.
GROSS: And then you say, you don't like it when people say about a tragedy or about, you know, an illness or death, well, God has his reasons. It's just part of God's plan.
Rev. CHURCH: This is God's plan.
GROSS: What do you object to about that? Why isn't that the…
Rev. CHURCH: Well, I can see how it can give comfort. But God doesn't throw a three-year-old child out of a third story window or allow a drunken driver to kill a family crossing the street. This is not part of God's plan. These are the accidents of life and death. And if God, for instance, is responsible for a tsunami that obliterates the lives of a hundred thousand people and leaves their families in tatters, then God's a bastard.
I cannot believe in such a God. For me, God is the life force, that which is greater than all and yet present in each. But God is not micromanaging this world, that that is a presumption that we are naturally drawn to because of our sense of centrality and self-importance, but there are 1,500 stars for every living human being. And the God that I believe in is an absolute, magnificent mystery."
I love Church's courage as a minister, in saying to a National Audience, "God's a bastard! (if we believe He obliterates thousands of people via natural disasters) " and then goes on to explain what god really is to him, the life force, the essence of life, the tao, which generates, nurtures, regenerates, affirms and ends life in one continuous, never ending dynamic, cyclical, beautiful, magnificent mysterious whole.
Jess, I would be interested in hear about your various experiences. I am fascinated by both NDEs and OBEs (out of body experiences) but haven't yet experienced either myself, but I am open to it. I hope this is a safe place that you would feel comfortable sharing such and still be respected by other members. Thanks for you contribution.
That sounds like quite the experience. From my reading of NDEs, it seems that the avatar(s) we are most comfortable or familiar with is the one who appears to greet us or teach about the experience or what not. But it seems you gleamed the same message that many others are coming to, with or without an NDE or OBE: That we are all one, and should love each other as such, or we will likely go down the path of our own destruction.
I liked these last parts:
"Once a person gets there it is much easier and of the essence of Life to love others as intently as Jesus (and my parents) expressed love to me. I'm of the mindset now the "salvation" of the human race lies in this idea spreading across the world, or we will have a grave time of preventing our own destruction.
What gives me hope today is finding after leaving Morgdumb there are many others who understand this and are doing what they can to promote the fundamental teaching of Jesus."
I don't think one needs to believe in Jesus to share this hope and vision either. Thanks for sharing.
Sounds like your journey has taught you many of the things I have learned in my own journey. Understanding that religion has failed, either by design or by the nature of that beast, to bring us together as one species and one with nature was a big part of my leaving the morg. It wasn't until later that I learned about the ugly history and manipulation of Mormonism.
It seems that history was re-written by our mostly Christian nation to have us believe most of the founding fathers were Christian and used the bible to create the constitution. That's actually mostly un-true. Most or at least many of them were Deists and purposefully created the 1st amendment to keep religion from influencing government, and partly to provide the freedom of religious practice. My wife is reading "Age of Reason" and it seems Thomas Paine also understood the destructive influence of religion.
I have hope that we may just escape ultimate destruction as more and more people are abandoning their religion and realizing our ultimate oneness and reflective qualities. Thanks for your reply. Feel free to express yourself as much as you want here.
Thanks for the additional tidbits of your experience. I believe what you experienced was real, but likely alter dimensional. It very much mirrors similar experienced people have had in out-of-body experiences or near-death-experiences. Thanks again for sharing.