Into the Light

I just finished three enjoyable hours with Spencer, my friend who has died three times. Spencer isn’t his real name, of course.

In talking about his first adult death experience, he said he came out of his body by passing down through the table, and flowing up to a standing position beside the gurney his body was on. He was watching the doctor and several nurses working on him, giving him CPR and injecting him with drugs trying to get his heart beating again.

He felt his wife’s fear in the waiting room, and moved through several walls to find her standing with a magazine in her hand anxiously waiting for someone to come tell her what was going on. As he saw her he immediately knew what she was feeling, thinking and what she had been reading in the magazine, even her opinion about the article. He later was able to tell her these details to establish for her and for himself that this even had really happened.

As he tried to communicate with her to tell her that he had died, but that he was safe and happy, he realized the waiting room was full of spirits of various kinds. Some of them were people who had died, who refused to acknowledge that they were dead. They were so fixated upon material things that they simply could not admit to their own death. They were following mortals around, talking at them urgently, sometimes angry because they felt ignored. They were shouting about their businesses, they possessions, sometimes about who got the insurance money, or what the mortal person had done with their former worldly goods. They were dressed in clothing similar to what they had worn in mortality.

For each of these confused spirits there was one or more “angels”, which he described as a spirit who had died, but who had progressed on and was now coming back to help them. He said these spirits were beings of light, and were either assisting a mortal in the room, or a spirit lost in-between life and the afterlife. They were speaking words of love and direction. Some of the mortals heard and obeyed them, but most of the lost spirits either couldn’t see the angels, or ignored them completely. The angels were dressed in long, white robes.

It was interesting that the angels acknowledged Spencer and sometimes communicated with him, but the lost spirits seemed oblivious to him. He said if they walked toward him, they would swerve to avoid running into him, but they never looked at him or communicated with him.

The third type of spirit in the room was evil spirits. They had no light, and were easy to identify. Most of them had human form, but some of them were misshapen in some way, like with odd faces and shorter limbs. These were urging the lost spirits on, trying to perpetuate their confusion and anger. They were also speaking words of angry opposition to the angels in the room.

Spencer mentioned that the angels were in some way all related to the people they were ministering to. They were grandparents, brothers, sisters, or other familial relationships.

As I listened to his description, I could easily see how those lost spirits he saw were just continuing the pattern of their lives. They would not listen then to the voice that would have brought them light and truth, and they will not listen even after death for the same reasons – that their hearts are so set upon worldly things. But, they did give heed to the voice of the evil spirits.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. (Alma 34:34-35)

I often consider myself blessed that I cannot see the world of spirits that surround us as mortals. I don’t think I would sleep well if I could see confused spirits angry and shouting at me, and dark, misshapen spirits tempting and loathing me. So, I content myself with having ears to hear everything, the Spirit of the Lord to allow me to discern the difference, and eyes that only perceive the light and visionary truths that drive away the darkness.

Brother John

© July 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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15 Responses to Into the Light

  1. dahlia says:


    I have often wondered about something and I want to ask if you have any insights about this.

    In the book of Mormon, there are several cases of what appear to be near death experiences reported. But it seems they came about in a different way back then. People, sometimes whole groups of people, just feel to the ground without prior illness or injury and then appeared unconscious or dead. In our time, it appears these experiences happen primarily when someone is severely injured or ill.

    My best guess is that perhaps the Lord works within the cultural expectations of a group of people and therefore brings about these experiences in a different ways to suit the understanding of different cultures? Or maybe these are just different types of experiences entirely? Or maybe there are people in our day falling to the earth and the way they did in the Book of Mormon and we just don’t hear about it as much? I really don’t know though. I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts. And as always, I look forward to hearing more of Spencer’s experiences. Thanks for your efforts John.


    • John Pontius says:

      Dear Dahlia,

      I have wondered about the BoM cases of falling “dead” too. I just don’t have an answer for you.

      I read a book by Dr. Moody (I think) who did a big survey of many cultures on what they experience in NDE experiences. His finding was that all cultures have NDE experiences of almost exactly the same content. This includes the tunnel of light, meeting a divine figure, seeing dead relatives, and being sent back. The one difference is that the divine figure was most often interpreted as being the cultural deity, like Budah or Shiva.

      So, there may be some truth to your culture theory.

      Anyone else have some wisdom on this issue? What say you?


  2. Brian Bowler says:

    Bro John,
    I am grateful for this posting on NDE’s.
    I had some close calls my self, and I know and can tesify to all of what was said about being caught “in -between”.
    FYI, evil spirits know the Doctrince regarding “that spirit which does possess you” and they hope that we use our agency to let them take away the light we have. Yet, we can use our agency to Look to Christ and Live.

    Another book I would recommend is by Duane Crowther “Life Everlasting”. Its an extensive NDE book in the 70’s that has A LOT of stories from pioneer journals, and modern experiences both in and Out of the LDS Church. He puts a lot of scripture and doctrine in it, and from my own experience, has been the best I have seen yet.

    Thanks for your Blog, Bro John.

    Brian B
    Cedaredge, CO (Formerly of Clinton, Ut)


  3. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much for you time. One more question that’s been puzzling me for a long time. Can one spouse receive C&E before the other spouse is ready? And, more to the point, can a woman, before her husband? Does the scripture in 1 Cor 7:4 have anything to do with this?



    • John Pontius says:

      Hi Maggie,

      I think I will Un-Blog on this subject next week because it keeps coming up. The short answer is Yes, anyone who obeys the laws will receive the blessings, even if their spouse is not ready. A woman can receive these blessings ahead of her Husband in the same cases that a man can receive before his wife. The thing to remember is that the key to all of these blessings is obedience, and quite often a spouse is asked to wait, and be patient, and to render charitable love and teaching to their spouse, as one of the conditions of their own blessings. Unless your spouse is rebelling and wholesale rejecting, part of your path may be to wait for him or her to catch up.

      Good question. I’ll try to remember to say more next week.

      Brother John


  4. Maggie says:

    Brother Pontius, Just learning how this blog works. I may have left this question somewhere else but I can’t find it. I’m wondering where you got your information about many of the people from the OT being translated that you list in your book, “Triumph of Zion.” I looked for references, for example about Abraham’s servant and couldn’t find anything. Also, I couldn’t even find the names in the OT of some of the women you mentioned.

    thanks! lc


    • John Pontius says:

      Hi Maggie,

      I replied to your original question. I’ll copy it here for you.

      Thank you for asking. The reference is footnote 37 on page 60. It is from a book by Lewis Ginsberg, “The Legends of the Jews”. There are many page references there. Ginsberg is not LDS, but his 7 volume work is considered one of the best on the history and traditions of the Jews, including Old Testament times.

      Some of these names come from written ancient tradition as well as from the OT. It is always possilbe that tradition, and even poor translation, could create errors in this list. But, it still highlights that the OT people believed in and understood what translation was, which was more my point that that specific people had been translated.



  5. Sally says:

    THank you! Any information for an address for the fireside in Santaquin for July 10?


  6. Kathy Pitochelli says:

    Thank you John for sharing this with us. I’ve been reading many Near Death Experience Books lately and the Lord has been very kind to us in letting these people remember their experiences and relate them to us here in mortality. Through every reading I gain new and valuable insight and am inspired to live yet more valiant each minute.


  7. LeAnn says:

    You need to read the book “Return From Tomorrow,” by George Ritchie and Elizabeth Sherrill. It is about a man who had a NDE as a soldier in the 1940’s. He describes almost exactly what you have just written. He adds some details that would be better understood by an LDS audience, about how addictions play a role in this group of unprogressing spirits. WELL worth reading, especially with the additional knowledge that George did not possess but we do. It is a fairly short book, easy reading, and is available fairly inexpensively on Amazon and also for Kindle.

    His description of the Savior was amazing, too. As was his story about the aftermath of his experience. I may have to go back and reread it myself.

    Thank you for all you are sharing. It means a great deal to me, although I do not often comment. And don’t worry about repeating yourself. I need to hear it again and again.


    • K-Jo says:

      Thanks LeAnn, I will read those books.


    • John Pontius says:

      Dear LeAnn,

      I read these books about 20 years ago, so I’ve probably forgotten a lot of the details, but I do remember being fascinated. There is also a great book by Richard Moody called “Life After Life”. I also enjoyed Ranelle Wallace’s book and a few others.

      My hope with this book is not to focus upon his 3 NDE’s so much, but upon what he learned about the future and the millennium. The NDE experience is similar to the author’s you mentioned. What is very different is that he saw his future too. What I know of it so far gives me chills, and I think it is something everyone with any hope for the future will want to read many times. It is both faith promoting, and a little frightening.



  8. K-Jo says:

    Brother John,

    I thought that as soon as a person leaves this mortal body that he is taken home to that God who created him. Is a person really allowed or capable of staying in this realm, not knowing how to go on to the spirit world? I have often wondered about this.


    • John Pontius says:

      Dear K-Jo,

      There are dozens of book where people were given the chance to choose if they wanted to come back. It is a real phonomonon when someone’s life’s work is not completed. Almost every person who has written about their NDE tells about spirits who are temporarily “stuck” in the mortal sphere. It is very illuminating because it preserves our agence in a fascinating insight. We chose to be born here, and it makes sense that we must choose to move on into the next sphere as well.



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