|Today, I just finished reading (in one day as I was motivated) one of the most inspiring books I have ever read – a true story by Joyce H. Brown of her near death experience: "Heavenly answers for earthly challenges." Dayle Spencer, a dear friend of ours, was kind enough to give this book to us – a great gift indeed. Thanks, Dayle. I felt to share some highlights from Joyce Brown’s story – wishing to share this inspiring experience and highly suggesting that you read it too.
In the midst of great emotional and physical challenges (extremely devastating health impairments) of life, Joyce Brown offers great wisdom and counsel from experiences learned on the other side of the veil. Like Elane Durham, she came back with the spirit of discernment as well. Having had serious suicidal tendencies, her book offers great help and solace to those similarly plagued.
Quoting from her book, "I knew I was in a sphere of after life, a place without my body, the space and time before resurrection. I had not realized there were distinct phases of after life... Suddenly, I was in the presence of a beautiful Being who radiated an overpoweringly brilliant white light. He was glorious and inspiring – radiant with love... In the presence of this personage of light, I was instantly and keenly aware of the fact that God is real!
"My own self-awareness of my thoughts and actions was sharply intensified... I felt a great anguish, remorse, and sorrow for things I had done in life that I knew I should not have done, and for things I knew I ought to have done that I did not do while I was alive on the earth... I felt an overwhelming appreciation for the blessings I had received in earth life. However, the more that I realized the opportunities I had in life, the more my anguish intensified for having not used my time on earth better... I knew that the most horrible thing that could ever happen to me... would be to do something that would cut us off from His Presence.
"It wasn’t that this knowledge was coming from an outward source – it was as though knowledge which had always been within me was awakened.... Words were not necessary and thoughts were simply known and didn’t need to be spoken... It was communication from mind to mind, being to being.
"... Many of these Eternal Truths are also available during earth life, although they are not easily perceived. They are available when the time is right and an individual is willing to make a deliberate effort to tune into the right wavelength...
"I knew that time, as it was known on earth, was limited, running out like sands in an hour glass beginning at birth and continuing until death. Time was to be used wisely and however it was spent, it could not be called back. Earth life was the foreign sphere, and time on earth was temporary, limited, and precious!... I understood that each person has a definite purpose for living and only so much time to fulfill that purpose.
"I knew that every act of kindness carries a reward. It was amazing to me that even little kind acts could reap very large rewards. Every good attitude, everything right I had ever done in my physical body had been a gift to God and to me... Many rewards that could have been mine were lost because of my own actions or my sins of omission. I was shown how everything I did during my earth life had consequences... as if I were planting seeds and reaping exactly what I sowed... Then I knew that earth life is a time to plant, and the Other Side is the ultimate time of the law of the harvest – as we give, so shall we reap... Being in the presence of this Personage of Love and Light made me wish I had used every minute I had on earth planting love so I could reap blessings."
Because she wished to die to get away from her problems, she carried into the after life strong guilt for these suicidal tendencies and the Lord had granted her wish. She learned that death by suicide is one of the greatest tragedies that can occur. She learned that, "In suicide, as in all things, only God is the ultimate judge and will decide the degree to which each person is accountable for their actions... Intensely I wanted to return to my mortal life and again have the privilege of living in my physical body even with its pains and illnesses – even with the same conditions I had sought to escape for so many years." Because she was privilege to return, her story and her book have given great purpose to countless individuals – helping to avoid a large number of suicides.
She further shared, "I was surprised when I realized that wrong deeds for which I had felt remorse and repented of were not in my life review. Those things were gone!" Most of all, my experience on the Other Side taught me that earth life is a miraculous experience – a time to sow good deeds for glorious Heavenly rewards."
The big question from this Being of light and Love was, "In life, what did you do with what you had?... I was being measured against no one else – I stood alone,... What did I do with my life,..? Suddenly I realized that difficulties during earth life were really opportunities. I recognized from problems could be blessings when viewed from the Other Side... I was amazed to realize that in the after-life sphere there is no win or lose, no competition with anyone else... The important thing was to have kept going, to have looked for solutions, to have striven and endured well until the end of life – to have desired and to have kept trying to live in harmony with Eternal Truths... I realized that we don’t have to be perfect during earth life; Just sincerely caring and making an effort to become more loving, charitable, and forgiving – and less judgmental. The desires and intent of the heart are so significant.
"I became aware that miracles happened abundantly and more easily for those who believed in them also, I knew my station or level of life was not as important as the direction I was going, and whether or not I was moving toward eternal goals, appreciating opportunities, and striving to improve... My life review showed me with complete clarity that every choice I had made in attitude, thought, or action had an inescapable wanted or unwanted consequence. I alone was responsible for what I had done with my life.
"Rich rewards and priceless joy await humble people on earth who valiantly suffer through their trials and tribulations... I learned that adversities are opportunities for personal growth and development and come with built-in benefits that can be enjoyed endlessly. I discovered that justice during earth life is usually found only in the dictionary... I recognized how important mercy is and how much more it can be received when it is freely given.
"... Earth life is a time to learn from choices. However, I realized that even though God is saddened when we make choices that bring heartache or grief to ourselves or others, He still safeguards our free will to make these decisions...
"... I understood some of the ways repentance works, and that just and terrible consequences may await on the Other Side for those who do not strive to use their earth time wisely and repent of their wrongdoings.
She was given a coin analogy. If you hold a coin close to your eye, all you can see is the coin. Sometimes problems loom so big they cover our eye so that we cannot see the solutions which are right there before us. Balance and perspective are very important in life... With eternal perspective she stated, " I now realized my problems were my own personal, educational building blocks, tailored just for me.
"With new, expanded knowledge, I also knew the importance of learning and developing skills of patience and communication with family and others in earth life; there are endless benefits in the spiritual sphere. I learned that being charitable, patient, and forgiving toward others are some of the most important character traits to be acquired – learned from the school of life.
"I realized there’s no such thing as coasting – I was either going forward in life acquiring good habits or I was going backward acquiring bad habits, such as being inpatient or developing an `I don’t care’ attitude... When my life review showed that there were difficult tests in life I had passed, I was filled with joy." She learned that the direction we are headed is much more important than where we have been."
She was given a vision of arguments between couples. "I learned that most arguments are futile and come from limited understanding of others and from limited communication skills. Opinions need to be listened to – not challenged. I became aware of some of the challenges of women involved in arguments because their mates wanted only their own opinion or decision to be accepted as the final word, with no discussion or allowance for expression of a differing viewpoint, opinion, or expansion on their idea. This need caused some women to feel frustrated and to develop pent-up feelings of anger. Other women unleashed harsh words which fueled heated arguments. They each wanted understanding of their opinion – to be non-judgmentally heard, and to feel loved and accepted. They did not want someone telling them what to do and giving unasked-for solutions. Each partner needed to see things from the other’s point of view without criticizing and giving put-downs." She saw the need to "... allow the other to have a different opinion. I realized there was so much energy wasted in trying to prove oneself right. I became aware that being unwilling to see another’s viewpoint or not taking time to communicate so another understands properly always damages relationships. The importance and wisdom of listening with an understanding heart and communicating without criticizing and putting others down was impressed upon my mind as I understood the far- reaching consequences and effects of words. Loving words are a healing balm. Arguments have no `Victor.’ Watching these couples locked in useless arguing and knowing the feelings of each partner, I became aware that people skills – especially communication skills – are a vital part of the mortal experience. Whether or not we choose to learn them will have far- reaching effects.
"I saw that each time I had wished justice on another, I was determining the way I would judge myself. ... if I had intentionally offended one of God’s children, it was an offense to God. More knowledge came to my mind with a sharp awareness of truth about the importance of being kind and merciful not only to people, but to all of God’s creatures: animals, birds, reptiles, etc. All of the knowledge I had been shown added to my understanding of the importance of time on earth and the joy I could have reaped if I had spent more of my time giving mercy rather than seeking justice."
"I realized that God was pleased when one of His children helps another one. Precious feelings of joy flooded over me and I knew that all compassionate acts of charity and kindness, even small ones, reap joy and great rewards. I knew God had set the example for us by loving every one of us unconditionally. Suddenly I knew that diversity makes the world an interesting and colorful place. More knowledge came to my mind that there are immeasurable benefits for not judging people’s actions, looks, or differences. I understood that when people felt accepted and were permitted to make free-will choices, they could more easily grow to their personal potential.
"I wanted to shout from the house tops what I had learned: the importance of being forgiving and countless blessings that can be reaped by being kind, merciful, and by loving unconditionally. When my knowledge was expanded, to my surprise I discovered I was not to tell someone how I felt about them and then forgive them. I was to forgive others unconditionally and treat others as I would want to be treated, not just for their sake, but for mine, because of how I would feel about myself and my actions. I knew that anger at anyone hurt me mentally, physically, and especially spiritually.
"Forgive, before it’s too late. Suddenly, I felt myself moving through a space of dense blackness and through the midst of miserable souls who had died while still holding onto angry, bitter grudges toward others. They carried their dark, angry feelings with them in the Spirit realm, and they could not let go of them."
She learned that time is for mortality. Time is to love, to give, to serve, to extend mercy and to forgive. Time is to repent and to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. "I now recognized the value of putting the relationship ahead of receiving words of apology. ... I knew that time is too limited to waste holding grudges, being angry, and withholding love. ...I knew... that all actions, large and small, good or bad, have eternal consequences."
She has a chapter entitled, "The Truth that Brings Self-Worth and Personal Power." During her life she had had many physical impairments. Her body often hindered her from doing what she wanted. While on the other side, she gained a great appreciation for the importance of her body. "The important thing was that I had a body. It had been dependent on how I treated it; if I had kept it healthy it could have served me well rather than hindered my progress during my life’s journey. If I had only realized the truth about health, taking care of the body, and the wise use of time, including resting when needed, I could have enjoyed my journey through life with better health.
"I became aware that there is an energy-force reserve available to draw from during life on earth. As I made withdrawals from the reservoir of energy, I needed to put life- giving things back into it by eating the right foods, maintaining a good mental attitude, taking care of relationships by doing things for others. These were important keys to keep the body’s energy reserves filled and make possible earthly enjoyment and heavenly rewards." Oppressive chains were taken from her when she truly realized that she was literally "a child of God." She learned that True empowerment comes from God. "My thoughts centered on that incredible Being of Love and Light who stood by my side. Feelings of empowerment, self- worth, confidence, and the unconquerable courage to be myself immediately filled my being. My inferiority complex was gone. All negative thoughts suddenly disappeared, replaced with my new awareness of reality. Everyone is important to Him – and to themselves. ... I was completely free! The chains of self-doubt had melted. All the books and courses in the world were nothing when compared with the knowledge and confidence I gained when I actually realized I was a child of God.
"I realized that my mind was powerful, but it was also my servant, a part of my earthly body given me to use wisely; I was in charge. I could have taken command of my thinking and my attitudes [while on earth]. I could have worked at keeping my mind on things I wanted instead of on things I worried about. On earth, I could have re- programmed my thinking – because I was a child of God. Self-worth and personal power, I learned, are not a result of looking or acting a certain way or achieving a certain amount. They come from knowing and remembering the truth: I am a child of God.
"Suddenly, the scenes in my life Review were gone and scenes of my pre-mortal life came into view.. There were reasons – eternal purposes for everything. I knew about the earth’s creation and had a great love for it. Everything was designed to fit together and function in harmony, and I observed that each part has a reason for being; each part supports all other parts by its existence – even insects.
"My understanding increased as I realized why our memories of pre-mortal life have to be hidden with an earthly veil of forgetfulness: that we can gain wisdom – learn, develop mentally and spiritually, find joy through obedience, and become more loving, charitable, and forgiving. Also, I realized that I could not have functioned properly on earth if I had remembered the joy of being engulfed in Godly love. I distinctly remembered with a burst of happiness some of the excitement I had felt about coming to earth. I knew I was not alone in this excitement; all of us were eager to participate in this plan. ...we were exuberant. With this realization and refreshing of whether I had wanted to be born – the answer was so obviously yes. My birth on earth was for a purpose which I accepted and wanted to accomplish.
"It was painful to observe those who mistreat other people under their care, including helpless children and the elderly. Their pain when confronted with their own actions will be worse than that which they inflicted. I knew that many people on earth greatly underestimate how much God cares about His animals and other creatures and how people treat them... I had an overwhelming desire to be among the group on earth who serve Him and do His will... I knew that I had chosen my mother although I wasn’t told this was the case for everyone else.
"I became aware that the ultimate goal in teaching children is to help them learn and mature so that they can succeed without being supervised. They need a safe family environment in order to gain wisdom, confidence, and the experience of doing things on their own. They need an inner desire to do things correctly,..."[ which comes from the Lord as they come to know Him]. She saw the need for breaking the cycles of generational sins as children "...hit the playback button on their mental tape recorders. ...following their parents’ unsuccessful example.... I also realized that people can break free of undesirable teachings and habits, including undesired family traditions. It is not easy, yet it can be done with the help of the Creator through the power of prayer and a person’s own self-determination.
"I was struck with the knowledge of how important the family and home life are – more important than anything else. Any other success is temporary. I knew that gaining all the success the world has to offer is meaningless compared to the family... I saw that gaining wisdom and overcoming problems are some the grand keys God gives us to unlock our own happiness and the growth and happiness of our posterity and those around us. I saw how loving parenting skills would help all concerned. ...people and family were so much more important than things.
"I learned that the fat or thin question was a passing fad. that passed with time and was not important in heaven. ...I saw and felt the importance of writing in diaries or journals and keeping track of family history. ...,it is important to leave a written account of the lessons we learn through life... I knew that the tone of the messages within them needed to be positive and upbeat – not writings that might hurt or embarrass another person, or things that someone might decide to tear up and throw away. They needed to be uplifting, yet true. I learned the importance of learning from the personal experiences of others. [Reading biographies and auto biographies of great people is a very worthwhile endeavor]
"Love is limitless and has no bonds. Forgiving, letting go, and loving unconditionally are worthwhile thoughts and actions that will be multiplied for the good of all concerned, especially when recording events and feelings in journals. Words are powerful! I knew that the more scriptural teachings were followed, the more stress would be relieved.
She saw that, "Alternate fields of healing will be more accepted and there will be faster, more accurate diagnostic techniques and treatments. Other technological advances, I learned, would dwarf what I knew during my earth life.
"I realized more about God’s ever-present and observable love. Feeling His love was glorious and beautiful – the beauty that encompassed everything and everyone in my view. It is difficult to describe the beauty of the people I saw and felt in the spiritual sphere; it was incredible. I am not talking about outer beauty, but a loveliness that came from deep within and enhanced physical features. ... it became obvious that beauty is created from loving, caring, charitable thinking and actions – by endurance through trials with good attitudes. It came from within and was manifested in the outer appearance. I received the marvelous knowledge that all good thoughts and deeds are eventually rewarded and add to a person’s eternal, radiating countenance. [They fill their diallel-lines with light and truth]
"... I was aware that we maintain the same gender as in life... I knew that relationships of family and friends continue and we can be reunited with our loved ones who have passed on. Ancestors and posterity are concerned for our success during our earth life and exist in a sphere close to us even though we cannot see them with our mortal eyes. ... some were dressed in angelic white robes and others in clothing that seemed appropriate for differing periods of history. I was aware that they could appear to me in different attire if it would help my understanding.
"I saw that when I was tempted to give up on life, to think and act contrary to God’s laws, I was vulnerable to influence by spirits who desired my failure, depression, and sadness. I knew they were real and as desirous of my failure as my spiritual and ancestral cheerleaders were of my success. The realization came to me that these darker spirits were unable to reach me when I chose positive, uplifting thoughts and activities – especially when I prayed, or read scriptures and pondered their spiritual messages! I had my freedom to choose what to think and what to do, and God was there to help me with my choices. Dark spirits have limitations and could have only influenced my thoughts if I permitted them to. Knowing that thoughts create attitudes and then produced actions, I learned the importance of controlling thoughts. I recognized wrongful patterns such as envy, anger, and hurtful actions for what they had been – dangers to my lasting happiness. Scripture study was like a spiritual shower because it caused the dark spirits to disappear; they recoiled in the presence of Godly things. However, I realized these books could not give guidance if they were not read! I knew that reading them, studying them prayerfully, and pondering them, allows knowledge to enter the mind and opens the channel of inspiration and understanding for a higher way of living that causes dark spirits to flee. ... teachings of the Great Books – knowledge of eternal truths help us overcome the stumbling blocks in the journey of life.
"It was surprising to learn how much God loves and appreciates the sincere and devout of all faiths who seek to better themselves and aid humanity. The love of God abounds for all – He is no respecter of persons of one over another. Never before had I felt so connected with all people and all religions as I did when I realized the extent of His love. He has such rich rewards waiting for those who sincerely strive to follow Him. I was also shown that there were many people who were complacent and unwisely satisfied with what they believe.
"I realized that God offers a peace beyond comprehension or description, and eternal peace of mind! I had never even imagined that God was so all-knowing. As my understanding was opened, I knew He is fully aware of everyone’s problems, temptations, and sorrows. He is aware of sincerity, righteous sacrifices, and the intent of each heart as His children strive to live by His commandments.
"Next, I saw and became aware of many aspects of prayer and how important it is to pray. Learning that prayer truly is a conversation with God, I realized that He wanted to hear from me and to communicate with me. I then knew the importance of expressing gratitude and appreciation for all my blessings – from small things to great miracles. I knew that miracles are possible and happen much more frequently than acknowledged on earth. My mind was quickened with the knowledge that there were answers to prayers and blessings I had received where I had falsely given the credit to "coincidence," instead of giving thanks to God in all things.
"Knowledge was given to me about the importance of praying regularly and thinking of God as a person. I was thrilled to know that He is an actual Being who has feelings and that He loves me. Knowledge was given me that God usually uses willing people to answer others’ prayers. I became aware that our prayers are apt to be answered when we ask and respond positively to the questions ‘Whose burden could I lighten today as I ask God to help ease mine? Who is waiting to hear from me? With wisdom, whose pain could I ease with loving words or deeds so I could then ask with a clear conscience for my prayer to be answered?’
"God is keenly aware of everyone’s prayers. It is unproductive to ask Him to answer our prayers when we deliberately ignore the needs of those who we ought to be mindful of – especially elderly parents and grandparents who wait to hear or need help from children and loved ones. Scenes came to mind of people on earth... They waited day after day with no contact from even their closest loved ones – those on whom they had spent their own time and resources. What a difference a visit, a phone call, or a card would have made to them. I was aware that many promptings to their children to make those requested calls or visits were sadly unheeded. Yet, the children and grandchildren were asking God to answer their own prayers while they were oblivious to those whose prayers they could so easily answer.
"I learned that while praying to God, expressing gratitude, and asking for blessings, it is also very important to pause and take time to listen to promptings that may come as whisperings from the Holy Spirit. Promptings may be blocked by becoming too caught up in ‘asking.’ Only when we take time to listen can we receive the inspiration, promptings, and guidance that brings peace beyond measure.
"I wanted to shout the real value of life on earth and the foolishness of trying to cut life short to escape problems and physical discomforts... I wanted to tell others... About the Heavenly answers to problems on earth... I was desperately willing to be once again shackled with my physical limitations. In the spiritual sphere, I was free from physical pain for the first time in many long years, yet the emotional anguish I was feeling was many times worse than the physical pain I’d had when I was alive. I wanted to escape the spiritual misery even more than I had wanted to escape my physical pain... I realized that each difficult experience, well lived with sincere intentions, was like a jewel on a crown. Its message would sparkle with rewards for having triumphed and passed through a refiner’s fire. The attitude I took in any given situation was my choice!.. Trials were blessings, and I wanted to make it through them with the right attitude. "Realizing the rewards to be received by forgiving others, I wanted to forgive everyone for everything.
"The Other Side was the natural sphere where no clocks were needed. There I experienced a dimension of time where everything was now – were a person’s intent of the heart and words were not misinterpreted, and where all truth was known. That was the real sphere."
She returned to her body with a much better perspective. She learned "...the futility of arguing. I find it much easier now to let others express their opinions without contradicting them. It’s not up to me to challenge others’ opinions and try to get them to see things my way. And I feel free from the need to defend my position – it’s easier to compassionately listen and ‘let it go’ if we disagree... A technique I have found that works wonders is to call someone with cheerful, good news or to help someone else have an ‘up’ day. Helping someone else, usually helps me. God uses people (whenever they are willing) to answer the prayers of others.
"My experience [on the other side] was the most realistic event of my life. While I was on the Other Side all my senses were expanded beyond anything possible in mortal life. By comparison, earth life is the dream world. Realism is only found on the Other Side... It was as if I were drinking from some vast pool of forgotten wisdom. Information poured into me the instant I formulated a question. And much of what I knew over there seemed to come from within me, as if from a dormant pool that had suddenly become energized in this different sphere... The past, present, and future seemed accessible on demand. And the place was permeated with love – love that rises to emotional heights undreamed of in earthly terms... The anguish, the peace, the light, the scenes, the sounds, the expanded feelings and increased knowledge were magnificent, yet familiar. ... everything there was as it ought to be,..
"I came to understand that earthly life is a gift precious beyond belief. The body is a truly miraculous gift of the Creator. With my new understanding of what I could have been, life, with all of its trials and challenges, became an exciting adventure with almost limitless opportunities." She came back with the deep "... desire to live this life to the fullest – to measure up to my full stature as a daughter of God. Someday, from the Other Side, I will look back at my actions in this life. Then I want to know that I lived up to my pre-mortal promises and fulfilled my mission in life and my purpose for living."
David W. Allan
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Page posted September 6, 2000
Last updated February 07, 2004