Monday, March 18, 2013

A Gaze into Heaven by Marlene Sullivan Bateman

Gaze Into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the Spirit World by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.

Most of us have wondered exactly what will happen when we die. What does the Spirit World look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near-death experiences learn from their visit? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven.There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but this book is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history.

Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.
How I came up with the title

Some people have asked me how I came up with the book title. It is from a quote by Joseph Smith. It’s a really cool quote, but a bit lengthy, so I’ll shorten it a little.  Joseph Smith said; “All men know that they must die . . . it is important that we should understand the reasons . . . of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world . . . and our departure hence. . . It is a subject we ought to study more than any other. . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period I, vol. 6, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 October, 1843), 50.
Quote from a reader

“I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! I can't even tell you how grateful I am to you for writing it. My 12 year old nephew died in May and this has been a healing balm to my soul. I can't wait to send a copy to my brother. I have always been afraid to die, but not now. This book has power in its pages.” Alice Gold

I asked Marlene how she became interested in her topic. She said:

I didn’t set out to write a book about near-death experiences—I stumbled upon it—and it was the best accident I ever had! I was researching for my first book, Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, (true stories about people who risked their life for the gospel) when I came across a couple of near-death experiences.  I was fascinated and jotted down the references and put them aside, thinking I’d come back to them after I finished my book.
Then I began finding truly amazing stories about angels who came to earth to comfort, inspire, or direct early latter-day Saints.  I then started on a book of angelic experiences, (And There Were Angels Among them), which eventually expanded into two more books on people who had actually seen or heard an angel. (Visits from Beyond the Veil and By the Ministering of Angels).
It seems like I lived in libraries for a long time. J  While I did some research at BYU, the University of Utah, and Utah State, the majority of experiences for all of these books came from the Church History Library and the Church Archives. While there, I pored through old newspapers, early church magazines, and in the archives, looked at countless collections of papers, journals, letters, and microfilms.
I was so excited each time I found a near-death experience. The warm feelings that enveloped me while reading them convinced me they would make a fabulous book. It’s been such a comfort reading them and knowing that life continues on in an absolutely beautiful place and that people there are happy, active, and at peace. I am amazed at how well these near-death experiences correlate to Church doctrine.  It is a great testimony builder to read them. And a great comfort. (Visit Marlene online here.)

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You can also buy this book in brick-and-mortar stores as well. Enjoy!

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