Had spent four years as Methodist Student Pastor (two different churches) and was now just finished with both the Divinity School (M. Div.) and leaving my last pastorate due to critical illness (Crohn's Disease requiring surgery).
In my private hospital room after surgery I first saw my room fill with light - then, I felt a Wonderful Love pour over me - I was in ecstasy. I don't know how long this lasted as time was irrelevant.
Since this experience:
1. Experienced a divorce of first marriage (two children).
2. Married again with two additional children.
3. Left the church due to doctor's advice that I should look for a less stressful job.
4. Went back to Duke University and became the first Director of Employee Education and Training.
5. Recently took CPE training and I am currently a Hospice Chaplain.
Date NDE Occurred: June 1962
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No Surgery-related Immediately post-surgery (back in private hospital room) Other Have Crohn's Disease - had surgery after losing much weight (210 down to 140 pounds). Lying in a private Hospital Room after Surgery (Resection of digestive tract). Saw the light and felt the ecstatic Love
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal When the Love flowed into and around me.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When the Love flowed into and around me.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time was unimportant or non-existent.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Seemed able to see all around without limitations.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Not aware of any voice.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes My hospital room seemed to fill with bright light.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm All around me was Light, Beauty, and Love.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Deep ecstatic Love.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate 'Just ordained as Methodist Minister; just completed Divinity School, Duke University'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes More accepting of others and of other Religious Beliefs. Believe God puts a desire to know Him in each of His human creatures.
What is your religion now? Moderate United Methodist - Mother was church organist and father church treasurer
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes More accepting of others and of other Religious Beliefs. Believe God puts a desire to know Him in each of His human creatures.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes 1. Experienced marriage divorce.
2. Continue to seek Spiritual Presence after the Love Experience.
3. Feel more compassion for others.
4. Felt led to attend CPE training recently and specialized in Hospice.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain Reaction by many, even Christian friends, suggest I need therapy.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have a greater love for others and a desire to assist those experiencing or nearing death - to let them know of the wonderful Love they will experience. This just happened on my last Hospice visit when a patient said she felt she 'might die today'. I told her of Love and Peace awaiting those who die.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The quality of the Light and the intensity of the Love.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Twenty to twenty-five years until I felt 'safe' to share and that others would not dismiss the experience.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I kept the experience to myself for years (both trying to understand what it meant and to find a place to tell my experience and not be told it didn't happen).
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real One of my CPE faculty members, during my recent Chaplain training at Duke University told me I was a Mystic and to read in that area - that was a wonderful gift since I began to read of Mystic experience and still do so. It gave me comfort to know of others who feel as I do at times.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain Seem to encounter people and experiences every so often which bring a strong Spiritual feeling of Spiritual Presence. While carrying out Chaplain visits at Duke Medical Center, I met patients who also felt the Presence at the same time and became friends (I keep in touch with several of them).
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Thank you for your research - it is very helpful to those of us who have had such an experience.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Thank you.