Through the Window of Life


ThroughTheWindowOfLifeThis is a short review of the second of Suzanne Freeman’s trilogy of books based on her near death experience (NDE) of 1999. I reviewed the first, Led by the Hand of Christ (2004) last week and hope to review her final book in the series, The Spirit of Liberty (2013) sometime in the near future. Through the Window of Life was published in 2006, “as told to” author Shirley Bahlmann.

A Trilogy of Books From One NDE

This book is different from Led by the Hand of Christ, which was more of a first-hand, “here’s what happened to me” sort of book. Through the Window of Life tells of a stopping point along the way in her NDE that is more of a vision and compares favorably to the book Visions of Glory by Spencer as told to John Pontius. This is not your typical NDE book. It is more of a vision.

A Vision of Potential Future Events

Many readers have shared with me their main difficulty in reading NDEs is the required faith or wiling suspension of disbelief to learn new and different things and even unique ways of looking at this life and life in the spirit world differently from what many people assume or are taught. Through the Window of Life is so well told it reads like LDS fiction, making it easy to consume.

The Book is an Easy Read

I read the 132 pages in about two hours last night. Carol and I had enjoyed a beautiful one-day trip to Santa Barbara to visit our son so I was tired and didn’t want to do any deep doctrinal study when I got home. Reading Through the Window of Life was just the ticket. I sat next to Carol while she read one of her romance novels. We listened to “The Voice” in the background on TV.

Some Things That “May” Happen

I was enthralled from the beginning. Having just finished her first book, she led us to the point where the Savior asks her to view some things that “may” happen before he returns to the earth. I looked back through Led by the Hand of Christ to see if she refers to the room where most of Through the Window of Life takes place. Maybe someone else can point it out. I couldn’t find it.

An Interesting Publisher’s Note

The publisher’s note of explanation is interesting. It reads in part, “Some generalized events have been condensed into one representative example for clarity.” Also, “…her interview included accounts of her consciousness moving back and forth between living through the events leading to the Second Coming of Christ and watching the action unfold through the Window of Life…”

Written as Though She Experienced it

“…her story is written as though she experienced all of it. This format provides continuity for the reader.” It then notes “…some lessons…are italicized so readers can differentiate them from the experiences that she personally experienced.” I had to think twice about this explanation. It can be easily interpreted, “what she shares is from her imagination, not necessarily what happened.”

“As Told To” Someone Else

I know that sounds a little harsh and I’m not saying Suzanne made any of this up. I’m just saying the publisher’s note can be interpreted that way. If you want to read the book as fiction, then it’s darn good fiction, just as some people have read Visions of Glory as a work of fiction. I’m not calling this book or Spencer’s book fiction. I’m just saying they both read as well-written fiction.

An Amazing Attitude Through Trials

I was extremely impressed with Suzanne’s faith. In her vision she lived through a deadly plague, generously shared her food storage, sent her husband and sons off to war, left her home forever, hiked over rugged mountainous terrain, dealt with death, threats by an unknown enemy, attacks of attempted terrorizing warfare on her group and lived with only a single change of clothes.

Pressing on to Jackson County

Suzanne and her group continue their journey to Missouri after getting through the mountains. But I had to ask myself, “Well, either the prophecies in the Old Testament are mistaken or Joseph was mistaken in declaring Independence to be the place for Zion to be built (section 57). There is a glorious future for Independence but Zion first gathers in the tops of the mountains.

Location of The City of Zion

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I disagree with the location of the city of Zion. I do not believe it is to be built in the flat land of Independence Missouri, but somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I have shared my logic and reasoning on this unusual position in a previous post. I differ from most LDS folks, including Carol who served her mission in Independence.

Return of Ten Tribes and City of Enoch

I guess that’s the only difficulty I had with the book. I couldn’t quite place the timing of when all the events portrayed were supposed to be taking place. I agree with the prophecies of plagues, invading armies, collapse of the United States, both economically and politically, but somehow all of a sudden, Suzanne is walking alongside the Ten Tribes and then the inhabitants of Enoch.

Everyone Shall See it Together

I know you’re supposed to give spoiler alerts for works of fiction, but according to the publisher, this is not a work of fiction, but a foretelling of “one way things may happen” in the future. If the Ten Tribes are already here, then I can accept them just showing up, but not the City of Enoch. The lack of anyone pointing upward at an approaching planet or piece of the earth troubles me.

A Few Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it. I won’t share much more other than these two objections: 1) The location of the gathering of the people of Zion along with the building of the City of Zion and 2) The lack of any notice by anyone in the vision that the City of Enoch has returned. According to scripture, it is a big deal. The Lord will come with the City of Enoch. Not so in Suzanne’s Window of Life.

Bottom line Recommendation

This is a great book to read and a fascinating story, but it doesn’t seem to jive with the scriptures, or at least my understanding of the scriptures. Still, I recommend you read this book, Through the Window of Life. You don’t need to read her first book before this one. It stands on its own. I found it an enjoyable experience. Just remember, things “may” or “may not” happen in this way.

 

One Nation Under God


McNaughton_OneNationUnderGodA Land of Destiny

Many years ago I had a dream or a vision about the destiny of this nation. I’d like to share it with you. It has some unique elements I have not found in prophetic statements that others have given us, be they prophet or scholar. By the time you finish this post, I hope to persuade you to take another look at how we view what I believe will shortly come to pass here in our great nation.

Jon McNaughton Painting

This afternoon I was sitting in my rocking chair soaking up some afternoon sun here in my California home. Next to me is a painting from controversial artist Jon McNaughton. Since we hope to retire there someday, we visit the St. George area Parade of Homes every year. A local art dealer was in the garage of one of the houses displaying and selling McNaughton prints.

Separation of Church and State

The painting is entitled “One Nation under God.” My friend Seth Adam Smith created a video that explains the background of the painting. So far, it has garnered some 3.4 million views. That’s not too shabby. The painting is about our founding fathers and the separation of church and state. Many found the painting to be divisive. We found it to be inspiring so we bought it.

We Live in a Beautiful Country

As I sat and rocked, reading and thinking, I thought how beautiful it was and how blessed we are to live where it’s warm most of the time. OK, Camarillo can get cold at night in the winter but it’s nothing like the temperatures in the middle of the United States. As I write this, it’s 17 below zero in Montana. Current temperature outside is 55 degrees. California truly is the golden state.

A Dream of What Could Possibly Happen

I thought upon the painting and the message it portrayed. I got to thinking about the future and what’s in store. Now, of course, nobody can know the future unless it’s revealed to them by the Lord, so take what I say with that in mind. What I’m about to relate was a dream, more of a feeling, really, that has been growing on me over the years, each time I ponder on the subject.

Prompted by Study of Prophecy

This dream or vision came to me during an intense period of studying the signs of the last days, especially as they relate to this nation. For my study texts I was using 1) the scriptures, ancient and modern, 2) Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther, 3), The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund and 4) The Prophecy Trilogy of books from my friend Anthony Larson.

Gangs of Roving Thieves

A major component of the dream was the idea that the government of the United States had been broken up. The government of this golden state was also no more. In fact, much of the state had been obliterated by earthquakes, fires and yes, even volcanoes in the Northern parts of the state. But the most memorable images were the bands of roving thieves or thugs. They were merciless.

Caused by Natural Destruction

Somehow, I knew that this break-up of our great nation and my home state was of a two-fold nature. Although the state suffered tremendous damage along the coastline, the majority of the damage was from the slide of the tectonic plates that separate the Pacific Plate to the West and the North American Plate to the East. As everyone knows, they meet at the San Andreas Fault.

Firestorms, Burning Hail, Whirlwinds

The earthquakes, and there were many, were not the only thing that caused the destruction. There were an exceeding number of fires, not just the kind that came from broken gas mains, but those caused by, yes, burning hail falling from the sky. There were also great whirlwinds of fire that swept across the land, literal firestorms, burning everything in their path moving East to West.

A Worldwide Calamity

The other part of the breakup was indeed economic. It was entirely related to the overwhelming destruction caused by the natural catastrophes. California was not the only place suffering. These scenes of burning hailstorms, earthquakes and volcanoes were happening all across this great nation, indeed, all over the world. There was no nation that could cope. No place was untouched.

Sudden and Unexpected Destruction

Dreams are hard to explain. Somehow I knew this worldwide destruction was unexpected. It came upon us suddenly, without warning from scientists, government leaders or even spiritual leaders other than the same generalized warnings we have been hearing ever since Christianity has been preached and the vivid messages in the Bible and Book of Mormon have been shared.

All is Well in Zion

The natural calamity caused the economic collapse and thus the failure of government. It was sudden. Up until the day it occurred, the powers that run our nation, indeed this world, continued their message: “All is well. There was nothing to worry about.” In effect, it was the same scene found described in the bible before the great flood. Very few believed it could possibly happen.

Our Attitude About Future Events

Those who take the time to research, learn about and share the Lord’s message of catastrophe are called crackpots. People respond with a shrug of the shoulders, saying, “There’s nothing we can do. Everyone knows the end of the world is coming.” These comments and attitudes come from good people who believe in God. Those who don’t believe in God usually scoff at such talk.

Not Total Destruction

In my dream I saw the world was in chaos after the initial destruction had passed. There were no more organized nations, no governments, no police forces, no banking system. Most of the infrastructure was destroyed. The means to move armies or weapons of destruction around was destroyed. In other words, warplanes, military ships and missiles had all been rendered useless.

Life Continues for Many People

Yet people survived. They learned to live without electricity that was no longer available in most places. If this sounds like what Spencer saw in his book Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, you’re right, which is why I was so intrigued by that book. Again, my dream seemed to focus on gangs of roving men looking for food, weapons that worked, ammunition and places of refuge.

Not Quite the End of the World

Those who survived this first initial onslaught of the natural catastrophes from the skies were stunned to realize this was not the end of the world, nor had the Savior returned as promised. Those who believe in God began to take a more serious look at the prophecies. They came to realize they had not understood the prophets, especially John’s view of what would happen.

The Nations Were Destroyed

They saw clearly these things had been foretold but not understood. There was more to come. This was just the first round. This was just the Lord getting the people ready for his return. It’s at this point that I woke up and recorded the dream in my journal. What impressed me most about my dream was clearly the timing. The world changed dramatically but it didn’t end at the time.

Waiting Upon the Lord

Because of this dream my passion for studying the signs of the last days increased. I discovered many quotes from early leaders of this church that we seem to have forgotten. Time does that to a people. We wait and we wait and we wait. Finally we say to ourselves, “Every generation has been told the same thing, to be ready. Yet nothing happened. It will not happen in my lifetime.”

Returning to the Center Place

The Lord said, “I come quickly.” He taught us parables in Matthew 24 about the importance of being ready. The prophets over the years have counseled us to be prepared with food and fuel storage. We do not hear much anymore about the idea of returning to Jackson County Missouri, but it remains in our history – the idea that we need to be prepared to walk there from where we are.

Western Missouri Swept Clean

I’ve often thought about that long walk. Spencer described in his vision one possibility of how that may come about. If you have studied the subject, you know about the “yellow dog” quote thus: “The western boundaries of the State of Missouri will be swept so clean of its inhabitants that … when we return to that place there will not be as much as a yellow dog to wag his tail.”

Mormon Stories of the Last Days

I suggest we all do ourselves a favor and look up some facts regarding these two points – the long walk to Missouri and the “yellow dog” quote. I have, but won’t take the time to comment more on them here other than to say you may be surprised at how they got started and continue to be retold. We have dozens of stories like that in our collective lore of signs of the last days.

Zion in the Tops of the Mountains

While I do believe there is to be a temple complex built up in Zion, I’m not so sure exactly where that is to be. Will it be in Independence or perhaps in some other place that is more in line with the words of the Old Testament prophets that Zion will be in the tops of the mountains? I’ve written about this in the past if you care to refer to that for a bit more detail on that subject.

Constitution Hanging by a Thread

Back to my dream: We’re all familiar with the White Horse prophecy and the quote that the Elders of Israel will save the constitution when it is hanging by a thread. In my dream, it was clear this great nation – the United States was no more. The roving bands were everywhere. However, as prophesied, they would not go up to Zion, which was in the tops of the mountains.

Day of the Gentiles Over

WashingtonKneelinginPrayerYes, I believe the constitution was and is an inspired document. That’s why Carol and I bought the McNaughton painting. We originally intended to hang it next to the painting of Washington kneeling in prayer beside his horse. Instead, it sits in my study, where I see it every day. To me, it is a reminder the day of the Gentile is almost over. Does that seem a strange interpretation?

One Nation Under God

I have come to realize those who believe as I do are in the minority. I know the phrase “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance by Eisenhower in 1954. He was the president of my very early childhood. I was named after him (my middle name is Dwight). I have watched with sadness as this phrase has been challenged again and again. I hope and pray it is never removed.

God Will Destroy All Nations

I realize I have rambled a bit in this post. My intention in writing this has simply been to get us thinking about how we feel about the destiny of this nation. It has been prophesied to fail. God will destroy all nations before he comes, and that includes the United States. How is He going to accomplish this? It will be through natural means – the calamity of destruction from the skies.

Only the Father Knows When

I do not know if the prophesied catastrophes will occur in my lifetime. It doesn’t matter. I have found great solace in simply knowing the destruction of nations is foretold. In other words, if it does happen in my lifetime, I have the comfort of knowing the advent of the Lord is near. I will continue to ponder my dream that the second coming is AFTER the cosmological upheavals.

Interest in Establishing Zion is High

After all, it’s simply a dream, a vision, that until this day I have kept mostly private. I repeat what I said in the beginning. It goes right along with what I said in my review of Visions of Glory. What Spencer saw was one possibility. Even Joseph spoke with some uncertainty when he said, “one way I see this happening…” after he was asked how we would gather to Zion.

Much Remaining to be Accomplished

I know there are people who are adamant they know how these things are going to come about. I don’t hear the Brethren saying much by way of prophecy as to how current events relate to the coming of the Lord. In my mind, it seems there is much remaining to be done before Zion can be established. God bless us to focus on preparing our hearts to be a people worthy of that blessing.

Invitation to Discuss

I know this is not a forum. It is a blog. But the comments are wide open – always have been. What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. I’ve touched on a lot of ideas in this post. I know I’ve probably struck a nerve in someone who feels strongly about something I’ve written here. Are you convinced the United States will survive or will it soon come to an end as prophesied?

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