This NDE did not happen to me, but rather it happened to my father. The NDE occurred about 5 years prior to his actual death and passing into the Spirit World in 2009.
A little backstory, at the time of my dad’s NDE and then his actual death he was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He got baptized and became a member in his late 40’s. A very short time later I too joined and was baptized. Then my step-mom and sister were also baptized as were other family members.
However, my dad was not always a ‘clean-living’ and God-fearing man. He spent much of his 20’s and 30’s as an officer in the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC). In fact, he was one of the founding members of the HAMC chapter in the city where we lived. After becoming a member my dad often joked that he went “from being an Angel to being a Saint.”
My dad was also a very talented artist and he painted many Christian and LDS-Christian themed oil paintings. In his 50’s, after battling many ‘mysterious’, painful and debilitating symptoms he was eventually diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis). His health quickly deteriorated. He lost the ability to walk. He could not move his hands well either. The MS took away his ability to paint as well as he used to. The disease progression attacked every part of his body, including his eyes and it impacted his internal organs.
One day my dad had a flare-up bout with MS that was very similar to a stroke. As a result, he was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. He was also unconscious and comatose. The doctors told my step-mother and me that my dad almost died. We were told that he was being kept alive by the machines but that they could not do this indefinitely. We were asked if we knew what my dad’s wishes were in terms of advanced directives. We would have to make a decision regarding life-support.
Here lay the conundrum. My dad had told various family members different things prior to his hospitalization. For example, some of us were told that he wanted to be unplugged if he was ever on life support and that he did NOT want to live in a vegetative state. It would prevent him from going to Spirit Paradise quickly, per what he told us. However, to others he said that he wanted to stay plugged in and “take it right to the bitter-end.”
As a family we were unsure what to do. We all wanted to respect his wishes. None of us wanted to be solely responsible for making the decision as we were afraid we would not do what he wanted. The doctors told us that they could decrease his pain medication and bring him out of a comatose state. They warned that he would be in pain. They told us if they were to take him off the ventilator there was a good chance, due to the MS, that his lungs lost the ability or ‘forgot’ how to breathe on their own. That meant if unplugged, my dad could die right after. We were also told that due to the flare up of MS there were likely other abilities lost that they were not aware of. (At that point my dad had almost no use of his legs, had trouble swallowing, was incontinent and could only move one of his hands and that movement was severely limited.)
As a family we all agreed to err on the side of caution and have my father’s pain meds reduced and to bring him to consciousness. We knew he would not be able to talk. We thought he would be able to communicate through blinking and by pointing to letters and pre-written words we put on an improvised communication board.
It worked and he was able to tell us. He clearly communicated he wanted to stay plugged in. When I saw him in the ICU room, he had a look of fear and terror in his eyes. My dad was the toughest man I knew. I had never seen him afraid before in my life. He had been in many life-threatening situations before and even served time in prison, never batting an eye or having even a hint of fear. However, for this he was clearly scared.
Through the communication board I asked if he was scared after he indicated he wanted to stay plugged in. He pointed to the word “yes” more than once. I tried to allay his fear, reminding him he was a Latter-day Saint and paradise awaited him. My dad shook his head. I asked why he was scared. He typed out the word “a-n-g-e-l-s.” I found that odd he would be scared of angels so I asked him if he meant Hell’s Angels, meaning the motorcycle club. I asked if some of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club members had been up to see him. He pointed to the word “no” on the board and then typed out the word “dark angels.”
At that point a chill went down my spine. I asked him if he meant dark angels as in demons. He pointed to “yes.” I told him to call upon the name of Jesus. He waved his finger a bit at me. I knew I was not fully understanding what he meant. He was able to communicate that the dark angels came to him the night before and were insisting that he go with them. He shared he was afraid to go and they were ‘scary’ and ‘dark.’ He did say prayers in his head. I asked him why he thought they were coming to him, since he was baptized, had been to the temple many times, had confessed all his sins and repented prior to giving his life over to Christ. He gave me a sheepish look. He communicated that in his younger days he was in a situation where a “deal” went bad. He felt his life was in danger then. He communicated he may have shot a couple people and taken a life/lives. He noted after the shooting he did not stick around to see what became of the other people, but noted he did not think it was a good outcome for them. My dad often compared being in the motorcycle club as being similar to being a soldier in the armed services. (My dad also was in the armed forces in his late teens and early 20s).
My dad noted that when he first met with the missionaries and at his baptism interview, he confessed to “almost” all of his past sins, but not all. He shared about the debauchery, the drugs, the time in prison, to ‘commandment breaking’ in general, but never specifically possibly taking another person’s life. I reminded him and he was also already aware that ALL sins, if confessed and repented for, are forgivable.
He wanted to fully confess and repent. He asked to have the Stake President come to the hospital that day. My step-mom made the arrangements. Later that day my dad made a full confession to Heavenly Father with the Stake President present.
I went to see my dad the next morning. When I saw him, I could immediately tell something was different. The room was brighter, literally and feeling-wise. My dad had a smile on his face, in spite of the pain and still being on a ventilator.
My dad typed and communicated, “I saw Him!” while smiling and laughing as best he could with the tube down his throat. I asked, “Who? The Stake President?” He nodded his head yes, but then typed out, “I saw HIM. I saw the Savior!”
My dad communicated that I needed to buy him darker flesh tone paints. He let me know that he had been painting Jesus wrong all these years and that Christ was darker than my dad expected. Prior to that my dad, like most artists of European/Caucasian decent had been painting The Messiah looking very ethnically White. My dad described Him as looking very Middle-Eastern, with darker hair, darker skin and indicated His eyes were a greenish hue. My dad also shared that he was not skinny and weak looking.
My dad stated he had a vision/dream/visitation and that The Savior spoke directly to him. My dad let me know that he loved the Savior very much. Tears formed in my dad’s eyes. My dad then shared that The Savior told him that HE loved my dad very much. HE let me dad know that his sins were forgiven. My dad told me he now felt that every day was a blessing and he wanted to be ‘plugged in’ and live right until the end, even if it meant suffering. Jesus told my dad it was not his time to be with HIM yet. My dad told me via the communication board Jesus told him that he would be painting again in 5 years, smiled and gave my dad a hug. My dad took it to mean that he would be cured of the MS in 5 years, I took it to mean that he would be in the Spirit World in 5 years.
This next part is not a near-death experience, per se. But it is connected and is very relevant as it happened as my dad was re-counting his vision/dream/visitation from the night before. While recounting his experience I saw that my dad kept looking toward the ceiling in the corner of the room. He was smiling and nodding.
My dad laughed, which caused him pain with the tube. He was trying to talk and I could tell he was very excited. I asked my dad to type it out. He told me that there was an angel, a real angel, not a ‘dark’ angel in the room with us at that moment. He let me know that God sent this angel to minister to him. My dad was laughing through the tube. He was amused that the angel was also named Joseph, just like my dad and my brother and half-brother. They are all named Joseph too. He got a real kick out of the fact that he and the angel had the same name.
I could see that my dad’s pupils were narrowing when he looked up in the corner and widening when looking at his board and communication with me. I saw my dad’s eyes clearly tracking someone/something, even though I could not see him/it. Goosebumps came up all over my arms and upper back.
I asked my dad if the angel Joseph knew that I was there in the room with him. My dad looked up toward the corner of the ceiling, looked back at me, smiled widely and nodded his head indicating an emphatic yes! I asked my dad if he would ask Joseph the angel if I could ask a question of him. My dad repeated the looking at the ceiling, smiling and again nodding an emphatic yes.
I asked if God was pleased with my career choice. At the time I was a social worker working with foster kids. (My dad, prior to this, used to chide me a bit. He felt that I was incurring an inordinate amount of student-loan debt and subjecting myself to 6 years of college to make a meager wage. He wanted me to become a lawyer and make more money so I would not have to struggle or live in debt. I often second guessed my career choice due to the low salary.) After I asked to the question, my dad looked up again. This time he had a somewhat quizzical look on his face. He looked at me without the smiles and nodded yes again. He nodded “yes” a few times and gave me a thumbs up.
I then asked if I should marry the girlfriend I was with at the time. (A little back story on her, she and I fought frequently. We got along like gasoline gets along with matches. My mother did not like her as a fit for me and hoped we did not marry. BUT…. the girlfriend was a talented geriatric social worker. She was exceptionally talented with the sick and elderly. As a result, my dad adored her and she was excellent with him. They had a great rapport. I knew my dad wanted her as a daughter-in-law. But I just was not totally sure, given how we often clashed.) My dad looked up again to ask Joseph the Angel. Again, my dad looked surprised. He shook his head no repeatedly and typed out that I should not marry her, that I should be patient and that someone better for me was coming. At that point I became spooked and decided I should just praise God and stop pestering the angel with questions.
(Now I wish I could say that I heeded the counsel of the angel perfectly, but I did not. Years later I went inactive in the Church, co-habited with that girlfriend living in sin and breaking the law of chastity regularly. Eventually I even stopped working with foster-care children and began only taking private practice clients with “great” coverage and a high reimbursement rate. I was stupid! Needless to say the relationship failed and I eventually lost every cent I banked up from the lucrative private practice clients…..but all that is a story for a different time ? ) .
About 4 years later, I did meet the “better” one that I was told to be patient for. We have been married now for over 15 years. We rarely argue and have never really raised our voices to one another. I have truly found my better half, my soulmate and the one I want to spend “all time and eternity” with!!
As for my dad, he passed away about 4 years and 10 months after this experience. He truly was painting again in 5 years, just as Jesus told him. My dad was able to fully remember and re-tell this story for the next 2.5 to 3 years. Then it started to fade, most likely due to the effects of the MS. But I recalled it vividly and I have it written down. I would prompt him and then he could recall and even fill in the blanks.
He died on his birthday. In some traditions, this is a sign of a great soul. On his deathday/birthday, when he passed, he died very peacefully, smiled at the end and was looking as well as reaching up from the bed. He was blessed enough to be surrounded by family that day.
As a final thought, my son was not yet born when this happened to my dad. Since this occurred, I have learned that often times people’s guardian angels are the dead relatives and sometimes their yet to be born ones. My son is named Joseph. I can’t help but wonder if my son was that angel and knew that I should have waited for his mom and not the other lady. Hmmmm. I will have to ask God someday when I go to the Spirit World myself.