In the summer of 1960, I was learning to water ski behind my uncle's small boat.
Anxious to get back out water skiing, I accepted an offer from another man who had a more powerful boat. I was amazed at how hard the water felt at the higher speed. Just as I decided to jump the boat wake to the right for calmer water, the boat operator decided to make a sharp turn to the left. The whipping action propelled me at an even faster rate over the water (''crack the whip'') and I lost my grip on the two ropes.
Witnesses told me later that I had tumbled end over end for several feet, like a stone skipping across the surface. I plunged in feet first. The life belt was driven up to my armpits and knocked the wind out of me. My initial plunge into the water was deeper than any previous spill I had made because I could sense the higher pressure of the water and the colder temperature the deeper I plunged. After that initial plunge, I fought my way to the surface and tried to gasp for air but I kept inhaling water from the waves lapping in my face. I sank beneath the waves again, still trying to get my breath, and fought my way to the surface. As I slipped beneath the waves that third time, everything changed.
As a warm golden glow enveloped me, the whine of other boats on the lake turned into the most beautiful music I had ever heard. It was as if a thousand Mormon Choirs and Philadelphia orchestras were performing. Instead of fighting it, I put my chin on my chest, held my hands to my sides and began a pleasant plunge into the depths. The golden glow turned into a golden mist as highlights of my life flashed on the closed eyelids as if watching a movie. After the movie ended, I started through the golden tunnel and was looking forward to meeting the shadowy figures on the other end, figures who I felt were relatives who were long gone from earth. Suddenly, I was abruptly dragged violently backwards through the tunnel.
I found myself head down in the boat with my legs hanging over the side as the boat operator and the spotter riding along were heading as fast as possible toward shore to report a drowning. The bouncing of the boat on the choppy lake apparently provided CPR that forced the water out of my lungs and got me breathing again. I was fine by the time we reached shore, where I sat on the beach to rest for a half hour. Then, I went out again into the water because I knew that if I did not do so, I would never be able to water ski again.
I was told later by the spotter that he had been down several times trying to find and rescued me and was about to give up. He decided to dive down one more time and his hand brushed the top of my head. He guessed that I was about 15-20 feet down and dropping fast. Though I do not remember it, he said that I had fought him as if I did not want to be rescued. That was about the time when I was having the fantastic experience.
Since I experienced death, death and dying is no concern to me. As a kid, I would wonder why it was that in church people would sing and talk about going to heaven someday but relatives would carry on and cry when death did occur. As a result, I believed that actual experience of dying was bad but once in heaven everything was fine. After my experience, death and dying is not a bad experience, but rather quite pleasant.
I never told anyone until I was married in '63 and told my bride about it one night. A short time later, Elizabeth Kuebler Ross and Dr. Raymond Moody began talking and writing about life after death.