Life After Death

There is no question in my mind about this topic. As far as I am concerned, this is a hard fact of life. I’ll explain why.

Five Who Died and Came Back

Mascot Owl Right Wing Extended

I guess when you live 86 years, you get to have a lot of experiences. I personally know five people who have died and came back. Four of them talked to me about their experiences. The fifth one is the real clincher if you’re looking for proof of life after death.

I’ll begin with my brother who was loading aluminum sprinkler irrigation pipes onto a trailer to move them to another orchard. Because it was his first visit to our dad’s newly acquired property he did not know of the 22,000-volt overhead power line.

To prevent the pipe from hitting the young apples of early June, he stuck one end of the thirty-foot-long pipe on the ground and tipped it end-over-end so as to load it with the sprinkler at the front of the trailer.
Enough current went through his body to burn a quarter-sized hole in each heel of his feet where there were steel protectors and deep, brown pits in his flesh for each nail around the perimeter of the soles of his shoes.

Our father, who was working nearby, rushed over and found him face down in the orchard grass. He rolled his lifeless, very pale, body onto his back. He was not breathing. My dad prayed for his son’s life as only a father would do at a time like that. My brother revived almost immediately, dad reported, but had to be helped to the car to be driven to a doctor in Naches, the nearest town.

My brother reported that what he experienced while unconscious was very familiar to him, he knew he had been there before, all was very beautiful and serene. There is more but I honor his preference that some sacred things not be exposed to possible mockery and belittlement as some people are almost certain to do, in their determination to keep God out of their lives.

I will never forget the moment they arrived home. I was outside the house and my father came to me with an extremely strained look on his face and he was almost speechless. Finally, he said, “George,” and then choked up and motioned toward the car. My brother was lying in the back seat. He had a small, hopeful smile for me but his speech was soft and almost a mumble.

Shot Through the Head

The second of the four is a young man who was shot through the right eye in Viet Nam. The bullet traveled just below the brain pan and missed the spinal column. He remembers looking down on his own body from several feet above and to the side as it lay in a tent morgue. Some soldiers came through, rifling through the pockets of the deceased men and it angered him greatly. In frustration that he was helpless to do anything about it, he began to cry. An orderly came through shortly and noticed the tears and upon investigation found that he could be revived.

Over the ensuing years, he quit telling his story because people would dismiss him as crazy. Then he attended a fireside with a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the subject of life after death came up so he told his story. These people not only believed him but added information about how it made perfect sense in the context of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was soon baptized into that church.

Code Blue Four Times and Healed by the Priesthood

The third life-after-death experience happened to my oldest son who was declared “code blue” on four occasions while under intensive chemotherapy for an advanced and undetected case of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He said he talked with my father (who had been deceased many years) on one of those occasions. I might venture to add that a miracle attended this disease.

Besides cancer, he was diagnosed with arachnoiditis, a severe inflammation of nerves in the lower back. He was scheduled for surgery and the doctor asked for one more x-ray so he could better determine how he should proceed. I had the opportunity to administer a Priesthood blessing about an hour before the x-ray. In it, he was promised that he would be healed and fully recover. When the x-ray was taken the doctor canceled the surgery and said, “He doesn’t have arachnoiditis.”

The Dairyman Who Worked Himself to Death

The fourth experience happened to a man who had started a computer service company in uptown Salt Lake City. I found employment there and we became acquainted. The startup didn’t survive its first year and I become the President of the tiny, floundering corporation during its last few months. During that period we had many occasions to visit with one another. During one of these conversations he told his story.

His father operated a medium-sized dairy and he became the manager of it. During the next few years, he literally worked himself to death: long, hard schedules, lack of sleep, bad nutrition, etc. His doctor warned him but he thought he could make it. He didn’t. He was “dead” for about twenty minutes, as I recall. During that time he was in a place of supreme happiness, joy, and most of all love. He had a companion who talked with him about where he was and what his options were. He could have chosen to stay or to return. He said he really, really wanted to stay in this place that was so incredible, but his duty to his wife and children made him choose to return. He had been warned that it would be a very painful transition back to life, and it was.

Grandma’s Here

The fifth and final experience I want to relate in this life-after-death section involves four of us, myself, my mother, my wife, and our oldest daughter. This particular experience is the one that I would call the best proof of life after death because it involves three, completely independent observers, none of which had any anticipation of it nor any communication between them that could have predisposed them. #grandmas-here

It is therefore powerful evidence of some of the most fundamental concepts of the Judao-Christian religion: that we are dual beings with both spiritual and physical bodies, that death is just a door into the next phase of life, that we retain our identity, and that the mind and heart are not just a mass of neurons but have an independent existence outside the physical body. Here’s what happened.

My mother in 1970
My Mother in 1970

A few days after my mother passed away and was buried, my wife was working in the kitchen when I came into it. I immediately felt my mother’s presence there in the kitchen. I mentioned it to my wife and she said, “Yes, she’s come to thank me for taking care of her. She gave me a hug.”

And as if that were not enough, only a few moments passed after our sharing this wonder, when our daughter let herself into the house and into the kitchen. Before anyone could say a word, she stopped and exclaimed, “Grandma’s here isn’t she. She wasn’t outside but she is in here!” This third witness of the living presence of my mother whose body we had only recently interred was and is to this day, a proof of the dual nature of the human being that cannot be refuted.

My mother had died a victim of Alzheimer’s disease and my wife had taken care of her tooth brushing, bathing, etc. She was always careful to be courteous and render thanks for even small favors but had been unable to speak (due to Alzheimer’s disease) for several years. So she had come to thank my wife for her years of personal care. These near simultaneous, unsolicited, independent observations of the presence of my deceased mother were powerful.

I want to assure my readers that this experience was not fearful, or troubling in the least. The three of us talked about this extraordinary experience, you may be sure. None of us had any feelings that this was a haunting or a visitation connected with any evil of any kind. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. It was sweet and joyful.

We three experienced her presence without any prior thought or indication that she was or would be there. Yet, the knowledge that she was there was as clear and obvious to our minds as the perception that the kitchen was full of smoke would have been (if it had been so filled). I’m sorry, but I cannot think of a more clear way to communicate the strength of the knowledge that we had of her presence. I really don’t know how that worked, but it did and it was unquestionably definite.

Finally, for the benefit of those who doubt the existence of life beyond the grave I want to point out that although this was not a scientific experiment conducted in the way we ordinarily think of experiments. It was, however, observed by three, completely independent observers with all three in complete agreement as to what happened. We each were independently given to know of Velva’s presence and her body had been in the grave for a week. She and her body had separated but Velva was still very much alive in a different dimension we usually call the spirit world. The realization that it was Velva came without any equivocation. We did not feel like someone was there and wondered who it might be. The first impression was clear, instant, and lingering.

Thousands Have Testified of These Things

My experiences with life after death are anything but unique. Thousands of people have had similar experiences, and while many of them could be explained as figments of a stressed, grieving, or otherwise predisposed mind, some of them cannot.

For example, the story of the man shot through the head. One might say that he never was really dead. And that would be true. None of us are really dead when our bodies quit for we wear them like gloves that eventually wear out and they come off.

Jackson Pemberton
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