Near Death Experience

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SDR
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Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 05:43 pm

I may be hitting you with this 2 or 3 times if you follow me on Facebook and / or Twitter. Sorry for the duplication of effort.

The youth curriculum for Sunday School changes this year (as you may / probably already know) from the pre-written weekly lesson plans found in the "Preparing for Exaltation" manual to the monthly topic driven "Come, Follow Me" curriculum found online (and shared with the Young Men & Young Women classes).

Last Sunday the 12/13 year old class didn't have a teacher, and so the Sunday School president & one of his counselors subbed. At least part of that class was taken by asking the kids if they had any questions about the Godhead (January's topic) that could be forwarded to their new teachers (aka Scott & Sandee Robison, teachers for the 13/14 year old class to which those students will be transitioning this week). Those questions have been received and are good solid questions to be coming from a group of 13 year old students.

Most of the questions I can answer handily (not because I am a theological heavyweight, but because I am well versed in Search Fu [between Google & the Gospel Library app & all the resources they cover]). The one that I cannot seem to find a direct scriptural or doctrinal source for is:

Is it possible to temporarily leave this life and return again? (Like near death experiences...)


Now, I have my own pet theories that I think are sound and do not conflict with any scripture or doctrine that I'm aware of. That being said, I'd like your comments & directions to other information (if it exists).

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Momma Snider
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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 07:10 pm

Oh, now I see. On Facebook you didn't post the original question. I still think, though, that you shouldn't spend much time on that question, simply because no answers are readily available. I would be interested to hear what Brent Top said in the book Karen referenced. In general, concerning "near-death" experiences, it's pretty much impossible to differentiate between dreams and actual happenings.

I think I'd stick with saying that it may be possible, and then go on to another question.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby KareNin » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 08:54 pm

You could point out that the veil between this life and the next can be very, very thin sometimes... as when illness brings one close to the end of life, and that many people who were near death (both LDS and non-LDS) have reported nearly identical experiences to others in the room as they were transitioning.

I personally have no doubt that it is possible, but the references to it happening (in the official doctrine, as opposed to discourses from some of the Prophets) have to sort of be pieced together, and basic statements accepted as a part of one's testimony, in order to follow it to the logical conclusion.

I have no idea why it's not directly addressed in our canon of scripture, except that I can imagine that the appealing peace, beauty, and overwhelming sense of love and light that awaits us upon leaving mortal life might end up seducing a heck of a lot of suffering people into artificially ending their lives early, just to escape the suffering that is meant to be a part of earthly life.
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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 09:59 pm

Sorry for the brief synopsis on Facebook. I try to make my status updates fit in the 140 character limit of Twitter and just let it post to Facebook as is, and then follow up with comments as needed.

Anyway, to address why it is not in our canon of scripture, I think the answer to that is just as easy as to why we don't have details on many other things: it is not important as to our salvation. I know people that get really upset at any suggestion that evolution might have been a part of the creation process, though I see nothing in scripture that gives detailed information as to how the creation was performed. Ultimately it doesn't matter if evolution was or was not a part of it though, as it does not impact our salvation one iota.

So never fear, I do not intend to teach the gospel of Scott to a room of 13 year old students! I just wanted to reach out to knowledgeable people as to whether or not I was missing any scriptural or doctrinal sources that might answer the student's question.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Sun 06 Jan, 2013 02:12 pm

So, Scott, how did it go?

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Sun 06 Jan, 2013 03:41 pm

We didn't even get to any of the questions today. Today's comedy of errors was:

1. The whole family is under the weather and so we got to church about an hour late (even though the chapel is under 1/4 mile from the house). We let Stanley stay home, and we probably would have joined him if we weren't needed for Sunday School.

2. Testimony meeting / missionary farewell ran over about 10 minutes, so Sunday School started late.

3. With the new year came the change in schedule and (surprisingly) a change in room assignments (as well as the known change in students), so it took even longer to find where we were assigned.

With all that, we got started about 10 to 15 minutes late (for what is already only a 40 minute class). By the time we had an opening prayer, introduced ourselves to the students, and had all the students introduce themselves to us, and explained what the curriculum would be like this year (with monthly topics and more student driven decisions of what is to be discussed), we had 4 minutes left!

So while there wasn't a *lot* of gospel discussion today, we touched briefly on the month's topic of the Godhead and asked if there were any questions or topics they might have thought of in the past week that they didn't ask already. Nothing new came up and it was time to break for the next class.

The good thing is that the topic will be the same for the rest of the month. The "bad" thing is that we almost (but not quite) completely wasted this week and will lose the last weekend of January to stake conference, so we get to cram as much as possible about the Godhead into two weeks! At least there will be no shortage of things to discuss for those two weeks.

So there are still a couple of weeks left in which anyone can feel free to make contributions to this topic (especially concrete scriptural / doctrinal based contributions). :)

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 12:40 pm

So I finally addressed the question Sunday (as next week is Stake Conference so yesterday was the last week to formally discuss the Godhead).

First I observed that "yes, resurrection" is a good answer to the question, in that we know there is a time that the spirit will be separated from the body and that the spirit will eventually return to a resurrected body. Then I acknowledged that did not answer the precise question about near death experiences, so I explained that it is not an issue that the church has addressed, so we don't know for certain if they are real and even if they are, whether it is a formal separation of the spirit from the body. So if it is not an issue the church has addressed, it is not an important thing to our salvation, so we shouldn't stress about it too much.

I explained that we do believe in revelation, and thus are entitled to personal revelation. So while only the prophet can receive revelation or inspiration for the entire church, and the bishop for the entire ward, personal revelation can come in many forms. So perhaps a near death experience could be a form of communication meant to help the individual, and then emphasized the "personal / individual" aspects. Ultimately it is up to the individual to determine whether what they had was simply a vivid dream or a more significant experience.

At the last moment it occurred to me (however that happened) to say that what we are told specifically by the general authorities is very important, so if they say something is true or false, we need to pay attention to that. At the same time, if they don't bother to touch on a subject to denounce it, it is probably not a harmful thing in and of itself. Thus if the concept of NDEs was clearly false and harmful to the doctrine of the church, we likely would have been told that it was.

I thought that was adequate, but: Sandee was home sick and our ward mandates pair teaching for the youth Sunday School classes, so I was joined by one of the Sunday School presidency counselors. He felt it important to reinforce one of my original points by stating that it is not a good thing to stress over non-doctrinal things too much because that can lead us away from focusing on the parts that are important to our salvation. Certainly not a bad thing to emphasize.

At the end of the lesson (because answering the NDE question was a brief part of the 40 minute block, maybe 5 minutes or so [up to 10 if you include time spent shushing the young men]) the counselor was complimentary about the lesson. This was the same person that corrected false doctrine in the senior Sunday School a month or so ago (from a visitor to the ward, not the instructor), so I imagine I didn't get too far off course. {knock on wood}

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 01:17 pm

Good job! I love the way the new curriculum addresses specific questions and issues, but it does take dedication on the part of the teachers. I'm glad you were able to answer the question and also make the point about personal revelation. That's an important point, that while we each are entitled to our own, if it's important we'll hear it from somebody higher up.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 02:32 pm

Thanks. Another question comes to mind: Are all wards requiring paired teachers for youth Sunday School, or is this something unique to my ward or stake?

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 03:48 pm

I think it's recommended, but not required. I know we don't have it in our ward, because we're lucky if one teacher shows up. I feel so guilty, because I'm in Primary, and we needed seven new teachers in January, and we hog up all the classrooms, too. We mostly have double teachers. But my son Chris is the SS secretary, and every single week he's scrounging for teachers for the youth classes. He usually ends up teaching the 13-year-olds himself, because that's where his daughter is when she's here. We've found, in Primary, that calling two unrelated teachers for each class is working better than calling a husband and wife, because a couple is more likely to be out of town together, or I guess sick together. So I'm glad you showed up, even though Sandee was sick!

It's really too bad that we have to double up teachers just to protect them from false accusations, but it is nice for them to have a backup instead of having to look for a sub.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby SDR » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 04:14 pm

Thanks for that explanation. It makes sense, it was just completely new to me. This is actually the third time since we started teaching this class that one or the other of us has been sick or unable to attend, so in that way it is good to have the pair of us together. Come summer time we do plan to take a vacation together so we'll need to find someone to substitute for one or two classes. :)

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Lady Celtic » Wed 23 Jan, 2013 08:11 am

We don't have to have doubled-up teachers any more, but that's because they just installed windows in EVERY.SINGLE.DOOR. All of them. Except the mother's lounge. Whatever it takes, right?
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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Wed 23 Jan, 2013 10:21 am

Yeah, that's a fairly standard thing now. I'm kind of surprised about the mother's lounge, though! In our Primary I think we have doubles more because of the size of the classes, with 150 kids in Primary, so theoretically one can do discipline while the other one teaches. But I never wanted a partner when I was teaching. And some of our classrooms are so small (the ones on each side of the stage) that putting two adults in there limits the number of kids.

I keep wishing our ward would split, but boy, would that cause problems! The logical thing would be to take this one section and add it to our neighboring ward, which is struggling with numbers and activity levels. Problem is, that section is where every organization's president lives, except one of the two Elder's Quorum presidents. So while our numbers would be more manageable, the presidencies would be decimated, and I might end up Primary president...and that would be awful.

Our stake is huge, too, 14 wards. I don't know which split will happen first, if either happens any time soon. We have to do two sessions of stake conference, and Girls Camp is huge, making it hard to find an appropriate site, and blah blah blah.

Now, how does that relate to a near death experience? Maybe I have hijacked.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Lady Celtic » Mon 28 Jan, 2013 07:19 pm

Our stake is 14 wards too. We're waiting for a building to be finished and then we all assume the stake will be split. But my (former) ward was huge too, so they scooped part of us into one ward and part into another ward and the numbers are a touch more even. Honestly, I think they should take all three wards and make them two wards, but I'm not in charge of such things.
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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 24 Sep, 2013 08:21 am

Speaking of near-death experiences, I can confess now that when Andy died, I hoped to get into a car accident so I could have a near-death experience so he could run to me one last time before I decided to come back. Maybe not so much "hoped" as thought it would be kind of cool, until I started thinking about broken bones and concussions and IVs and stuff.

As it happens, I haven't even dreamed about him, although I've dreamed about other good dogs we've had. I think my subconscious is still skirting the issue.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 24 Sep, 2013 03:48 pm

An older woman in the ward died about three weeks after my mom, back in 1997. She had a terrible cancer in her neck, started as a spot on the back of her tongue and eventually ate away all the tissue on her neck, the size of a fist. You could see the back of her tonsils from the outside, as well as her neck bones. We took turns helping her change the bandages while her husband was at work. One time she passed out while sitting on a stool in front of the mirror, while I was changing the dressings, and I had to stand there and hold her up until she came to, several minutes later. Anyway, it was well known that she was going to die within days, and I really wanted to be there when she actually passed over, because I wanted to be near the "opening" to the spirit world, in case my mom was hanging around the doorway and would give me a hug or something. They did call me when it happened, but my mom didn't show up.

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Re: Near Death Experience

Postby Momma Snider » Thu 05 Feb, 2015 10:30 am

I read one of the books that's out now, the one written by a pastor whose son seemed to have gone to heaven and returned. It was a very good, inspirational book, but I had one huge issue with it, when the little boy got hysterical whenever anyone died, saying, "If he hasn't accepted Jesus, he can't go to heaven!" That, so obviously reflecting his father's Protestant belief, not to mention my contrasting belief that Jesus will give everyone a chance to accept Him, didn't work for me.


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