“This absolute light, which seemed to envelop me”

“This absolute light, which seemed to envelop me” September 23, 2018

 

Clouds near Rome at the end of the eighteenth century
“Study of Clouds with a Sunset Near Rome,” by Clément Denis, d. 1801  (Getty Museum, Wikimedia CC public domain)

 

I expect that I’ll stop extracting notes from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010) fairly soon.  But not just yet.

 

Some people who have near-death experiences feel themselves pulled rather abruptly into a “dark space,” and about fifteen percent of them find it somewhat or very frightening.  Here are two examples of that “dark space”:

 

And then everything went dark, but to my mind I didn’t lose consciousness, because my memories are as vivid as ever. . . .  As I peered into the dark, the color changed from black to deep blue, not dark, but an intense cobalt blue that leaves you speechless. . . .  (26)

 

Soon I found myself in a dark space, a kind of tunnel, which didn’t seem to end.  I couldn’t go back, but plowing through it seemed an equally dreadful prospect.  Would I ever get out?  Or would I suffocate somewhere halfway?  You see, there was very little space in this tunnel; it was really tight.  After I had spent a long time — more than terrifying — squeezing through this tunnel, a glimmer of light appeared at the end, and after a real struggle I stood, or found myself, in this absolute light, which seemed to envelop me.  (26)

 

Another account:

 

The light that I was now approaching was of a kind that I’d never seen before and that differs from any other kind such as sunlight.  It was white and extremely bright, and yet you could easily look at it.  (29)

 

In this context, it’s difficult for me not to think of the descriptions given in Joseph Smith 1:16-17:  “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun. . . .  I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description.”

 

I think, too, of Joseph Smith 1:30-32:  “I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday. . . .  He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. . . .  Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person.”

 

***

 

Interesting results from studies of the near-death experiences of children:

 

During their NDE children are more likely to meet their deceased grandmother or grandfather than their parents.  If an NDE were based purely on wishful thinking, one would expect children to meet living family members such as their father and mother.  (74)

 

Children do encounter favorite pets that have died more frequently than do adults.  (74)

 

 

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