Not about The Hobbit
No, this is not about The Hobbit. That’s subtitled, There and Back Again. This one is subtitled, My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Of course, The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is one of my favorites from the first time I read it in High School. By the way, I loved Peter Jackson’s screen adaptions. I don’t even mind he split the book into three movies.
Kindles and Books
Besides socks and other needed clothing, Christmas around our house always brings books, and lots of them. I suppose we’re old-fashioned that way. Even though we both have Kindles, there’s just something about holding a book in your hand. I think it’s the feeling of permanence. Kindles rely on battery power and electricity. Someday, Kindles will probably be useless. But a book…
Libraries Full of Books
Yes, I know paper degrades. Some of the books from my childhood are showing signs of age, but then so am I. We seem to treasure books, else why so many great libraries around the world? But I digress. This is a review of one of the eight books I received for Christmas. If you’re interested, I’ll share the list of other books found under the tree. The first three will take some time to read.
Books Received for Christmas
1. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1, 1832-1839, published 2008
2. Light in the Wilderness, Explorations in the Spiritual Life, M. Catherine Thomas, 2010
3. Journey to the Veil, by John Pontius, compiled by Terri Pontius, 2013, Cedar Fort
4. Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith, with minor updates by Robert Smith, 2012
5. The Journey, Receiving our Endowment, Jeremy Oakes, 2013, Journey to the Fullness
6. Joseph’s Interviews with Moroni 21-22 Sep 1823, private imprint (Thanks, Michael)
7. Correlation: An Uncorrelated History, Interview with Daymon Smith, private imprint
8. Home and Back Again, Imelda Lorayna Fowler with Thomas E. Fowler, 2012
Private Imprints / Self-Publishing
It’s interesting that the last five books on the list are private imprints or self-published. Things are changing in the book publishing world. It’s about the last book on the list I want to write. As soon as I opened it Christmas morning, I began to read it and finished it within a few hours. I could not put it down. I give it five stars, just like most every other reviewer on Amazon did.
Yes, it’s a book about an NDE, or Near-Death Experience. Last January I pulled a bunch of NDE books from my library and wrote short reviews of each. Someone then brought this book to my attention as one I would want to add to my library. Having read it now, I couldn’t agree more. Imelda and Tommy did a great job telling her story. If you read this, thank you both for sharing.
Died on the Operating Table
This is the story of Imelda Fowler, who, if your Google her name and Powerlifting, you will discover holds several records for her weight class of 97 pounds. But that’s not what her story is about. One day, back in 2004, her appendix burst and she died on the operating table. In fact, she continued to leave her body many times after that and described several of her spirit journeys.
Lives Forever Changed
In Tommy’s introduction, he wrote he had probably read hundreds of NDE’s. That’s something he and I have in common. He notes he has, like Dr. Moody, interviewed hundreds of persons who have gone to the other side and then returned. Their lives forever changed. I can attest to that, having experienced my own NDE in 1974. It changed my ability to sense and hear spirits.
Opinions of Skeptics
I like what Imelda had to say about skeptics on page 56: “I have to laugh at skeptics and experts who ridicule those of us who have had the privilege to visit the other side. What is considered reality on this side is smoke and mirrors when compared to the fullness of life that awaits us in our eternal home. My heart pities the nay-sayers for their blindness…
Ignorance and Arrogance
“…they ignorantly and sometimes arrogantly keep trying to prove that this life is all there is. Why they feel the need to do so is perplexing to me. Sadly, when they return home, and they will, that reality will hit them in the face like an iron fist. If you are one of those skeptics and when in the future, you finally come to the realization that you have died…
Some Spirits Wander Aimlessly
“…many wander aimlessly in that realm not knowing or else they are not willing to admit they are dead… I beg of you please, when you come to that realization, swallow your pride and just look up. There you will see a being(s) of light that has been hovering over you and is patiently waiting for you. He/she will guide you through the process of returning home.” (Edited)
Some LDS Perspective
Imelda’s account has some unique characteristics. Although never directly noted, she and Tommy are faithful members of the LDS church. They live close by me here in Southern California (San Pedro). I have never met them or heard of them before but immediately felt a kinship because of the good job they did in telling their story. They are also close to my age.
A Little Background
Tommy is an IT guy like me. He served his mission in the Philippines, where he met Imelda. After returning home, he wrote her. They developed a friendship. They agreed to fast together on a certain day and time. Both received a confirmation they were to marry. It took her nine months to make it to the states. Their first kiss was over the altar of the Oakland temple.
A Very Readable Story
Imelda has a delightful sense of humor in telling her story. Reading about their early days as young marrieds and her acclimatization to living in America was wonderful. This is not meant to be a theological treatise. It is simply her story, told plainly, without too much elaboration, but just enough explanation to keep it interesting. I learned several things and had others confirmed.
A View of the Plain of Hell
Many NDE accounts have commonalities. Imelda’s shared some of those, but what made hers so fascinating was the description of the plain of hell. I have read only a few others who describe it in a similar manner, one being Angie Fenimore’s Beyond the Darkness. It confirmed for me the idea of spirits being stuck in hell because of pride or arrogance. They won’t look up for help. See also Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie.
A Special Treat: The Grand Council
You’re in for a special treat on pages 77-82 as Imelda describes her experience in meeting the Lord for the second time and going before the Father to determine what she would do. Like so many others have related, she was given the choice to stay or to return to her pain-filled body. She chose to return because of her love for her family. She knew her mission wasn’t over yet.
Meeting the Adversary
Chapter seven for me was also a delight, although you may think it strange. She describes meeting the adversary. This is an area with which I am familiar. I too have met him, or at least some of his agents. The way she described his language is exactly how he has talked to me, the same way his minions do. Mental discipline is the only thing that keeps the voices quiet for me.
Lots of Good Teachings
I’ll not give away any more of the story. I simply wanted to share it with my endorsement. There is too much good stuff in the book to describe in a short review. I believe I recognize Tommy’s contributions in the doctrinal portions. I’m not trying to take anything away from what Imelda has shared, especially the idea of relationships being so important from an eternal perspective. Tommy sounds like a great guy.
A Terrible Vision of the Future
Reading Imelda’s story is a classic example of why the subject of NDE’s is one of my favorites. It takes courage to share such accounts. Her story strengthened my faith and understanding. She even included a terrible vision of the future (page 64) that coincided with what I have seen in my mind’s eye as I have studied the subject in the scriptures. The issue is timing. Nobody knows for sure when such a vision will be fulfilled.
A Sweet and Valuable Book
Get the book and read it. It’s only 120 pages. Amazon has it for about $13, printed on demand. I’ll always remember the sweet peaceful feelings that came into my heart as I read it Christmas afternoon. There is a ton of truth packed into this little book. Imelda is bold in declaring that the Savior and the Father lives. She has seen them. I believe her and thank her for sharing her story.
An Invitation to Dialog
As always, this blog is open to your comments, questions, criticisms or anything you want to say on the subject. You can also email me privately. Want to know more about dealing with voices from the spirit world? I can share more. Want to know more about my own NDE? I can point you to previous posts where I describe it. Want to discuss the book? I’d love to read your ideas.
Here is a link to a recording of her speaking at IANDS Utah from Nov 2013: http://iandsutah.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/iands-13-11-nov-2013-medy-fowler.mp3 (It takes time to load)
Filed under: Doctrine, Mormon culture Tagged: | Book Reviews, Grand Council of Heaven, Heaven and Hell, Home and Back Again, Imelda Fowler, Imelda Lorayna Fowler, Kindle, LDS Publishing, Libraries, NDE, Near Death Experiences, Publishing, Skepticism, Spirit world, The Hobbit, Tommy Fowler, Visions of Future