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Ex-atheist describes near-death experience
Standard-Times ^ | 1/31/2004 | LINDA ANDRADE RODRIGUES

Posted on 02/04/2004 1:17:00 PM PST by yonif

DARTMOUTH -- A native son and newspaper carrier for The Standard-Times in Falmouth, Howard Storm went on to earn a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and for 20 years was an arts professor at Northern Kentucky University. An avowed atheist, he believed that there was no such thing as life after death -- until the day in 1985 when he died and went to hell.

Speaking to about 125 people at Smith Mills Church last week, Mr. Storm became very emotional, often stopping to compose himself, as he described his near-death experience, which transformed his life.

In 1985, Mr. Storm, 38, and his wife, Beverly, were in Paris on the last day of an art tour. Buckled over by searing pain in the middle of his stomach, he was rushed to the hospital. Awaiting emergency surgery, he knew he was dying. He said good-bye to his wife and drifted into darkness.

Standing up, he realized he was between two hospital beds. He looked at Beverly, who was motionless, staring at the floor, sitting in the chair next to his bed. He spoke to her, but she didn't seem to hear.

As he bent over to look at the face of the body in the bed, he was horrified to see the resemblance that it had to his own face. But he knew that was impossible because he was standing over the person and looking at him.

Off in the distance, outside the room in the hall, he heard voices calling him. They were pleasant voices, male and female, young and old, calling to him in English.

"Come out here," they said. "Don't you want to get better?"

He stepped out into the hall, full of anxiety. The area seemed to be light but very hazy, and he couldn't make out any details.

He followed them shuffling along in his bare feet with the memory of pain in his belly, yet feeling very much alive. The fog thickened as they went on, and it became gradually darker.

Overwhelmed with hopelessness, he told them he would go no farther and that they were liars. He could feel their breath on him as they shouted and snarled insults.

Then they began to push and shove him about, and he began to fight back. A wild frenzy of taunting, screaming and hitting ensued. As he swung and kicked at them, they bit him.

Even though he couldn't see anything in the darkness, he was aware there were dozens or hundreds of them all around and over him and that his attempts to fight back only provoked greater merriment.

They began to tear off pieces of his flesh, and he realized that he was being taken apart and eaten alive, methodically, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long as possible. In that wretched state he lay there in the darkness.

Suddenly remembering a prayer from childhood Sunday School class, he said, "Yea though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."

To his amazement, the cruel merciless beings were incited to rage by his prayer. They screamed at him, 'There is no God! Nobody can hear you!" But at the same time they were backing away. He realized that saying things about God was actually driving them away, and he became more forceful. They became more rabid, cursing and screaming against God, but in time, they retreated back into the distant gloom beyond his hearing.

Alone, destroyed, and yet painfully alive in this horrible place, he yelled out into the darkness, "Jesus, save me."

Far off in the darkness, he saw a pinpoint of light like the faintest star in the sky. The star became brighter and brighter. As it came closer, he realized that he was right in its path, and he might be consumed by its brilliance.

This was a living being approximately 8 feet tall and surrounded by an oval of radiance. The brilliant intensity of the light penetrated his body. Ecstasy swept away the agony. Tangible hands and arms gently embraced him and lifted him up. He slowly rose up into the presence of the light, and the torn pieces of his body miraculously healed before his eyes.

After his words of personal witness, Mr. Storm answered questions for an additional two hours.

"He told me that he has given this talk hundreds of times, but whenever he describes these creatures, he just comes apart," said the Rev. Michael Robinson, pastor of Smith Mills Church.

After Mr. Storm's near-death experience, he entered United Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister of the United Church of Christ. Since 1991 he has been pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Cincinnati. He documented his near-death experience in the book "My Descent into Death and the Message of Love which Brought Me Back," published in 2000.

Earlier in the day, the Rev. Storm spoke to about 30 area faith leaders at Smiths Mills Church on the topic "Bringing Passion of the Gospel into City Ministry."

"Jesus weeps for New Bedford," he said. "He can heal addictions, broken relationships and poverty. I broke every one of the Ten Commandments. Jesus can fix what's wrong with us."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atheists; howardstorm; nde
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1 posted on 02/04/2004 1:17:00 PM PST by yonif
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To: yonif
The story is bogus. We know there is no supernatural, because it does not show up on instruments. So it's not there. He was on drugs, and hallucinated.
2 posted on 02/04/2004 1:22:05 PM PST by Taliesan
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To: yonif
What the heck is this orthodox Christian doing in the United Church of Christ denomination? Most of the ministers of that denomination are quasi-Unitarian.

Great story.
3 posted on 02/04/2004 1:22:11 PM PST by utahagen
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To: yonif
Wasn't this guy profiled on "Unsolved Mysteries"?
4 posted on 02/04/2004 1:23:58 PM PST by axel f
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To: utahagen
I had the same question. The UCC is decidedly anti-evangelical.
5 posted on 02/04/2004 1:25:21 PM PST by mountaineer
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To: yonif
He "broke every one of the ten commandments" including murder? Wow.
6 posted on 02/04/2004 1:25:26 PM PST by justshutupandtakeit (America's Enemies foreign and domestic agree: Bush must be destroyed.)
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To: yonif
Amazing what oxygen deprivation will do to the mind, isn't it?

Even more amazing is what one mans oxygen deprivation will do to the minds others. ;)
7 posted on 02/04/2004 1:26:11 PM PST by adam_az (Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting weftists.)
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To: Taliesan
He was on drugs, and hallucinated.

Probably a fair guess, "Howard Storm went on to earn a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and for 20 years was an arts professor..."

8 posted on 02/04/2004 1:28:26 PM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: Taliesan
As I understand it, there is a big difference between NDE's and hallucinations. Hallucinations tend to be rather intangible, and vary wildly from experience to experience and from person to person.

This is a subject that I find myself very interested in. You can check out http://www.near-death.com to read about the NDE's of a large number of people. Some are very different than others, but there is a commonality between them that is interesting to contemplate.

I've been agnostic for a long time, but I find myself coming to believe that this reality is a subset of a larger reality. One of my favorite quotes from one person's NDE was when they asked the question of the angelic beings they encountered "what religion is the right one to follow". The answer? "Whatever one brings you closest to God".
9 posted on 02/04/2004 1:28:30 PM PST by Elliott Jackalope (We send our kids to Iraq to fight for them, and they send our jobs to India. Now THAT'S gratitude!)
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To: adam_az
Even more amazing is what one mans oxygen deprivation will do to the minds others. ;)

ROFL

10 posted on 02/04/2004 1:29:31 PM PST by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: Elliott Jackalope
This is a subject that I find myself very interested in. You can check out http://www.near-death.com to read about the NDE's of a large number of people. Some are very different than others, but there is a commonality between them that is interesting to contemplate.

And all suspiciously similar to the archetypes and ideas we have all been exposed to our entire lives. What a shock!
11 posted on 02/04/2004 1:34:50 PM PST by adam_az (Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting weftists.)
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To: yonif
At the risk of being labeled "crazy" I want to offer a short anecdote about the night my mother died.

I woke up at 4:07 AM, went to the living room where my mom was, with her care-giver, and he signaled to me that everything was okay. I went back to bed and immediately went into the deepest sleep I have ever experienced. It was like the "sleep of the dead", that's how I described it. Thirteen minutes later they were pounding on my bedroom door, but I did not respond. The nurse had to actually come into the room and shake me to wake me up. (I'm usually a very light sleeper.)

They told me that she was gone, and I told them what I was dreaming just as she passed on. I was on a street in our home town, very near our house. The houses on the street were beautiful; they seemed to be gilded and were glowing. I was surrounded by hundreds of people I'd known long ago, and we were marching up that street, arm in arm, and we were happy, rejoicing. We were happy because we were going to be flying!

I believe that somehow my mom kept me asleep and I was "seeing" what she was "seeing" as she died.

flame away, but I'll never believe differently. It was a gift.

12 posted on 02/04/2004 1:37:06 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: justshutupandtakeit
A female pastor in the Pittsburgh PA area, Pastor Georgia (I hesitate to give her last name), has given seminars in which she tells a story from her days as a nurse. She ministered to an individual who clinically died and was resuscitated. The man claimed to be ushered into the presence of Jesus, who was in the process of taking him before "the Dad" -- and then he was resuscitated.

Pastor Georgia asked the man, "You mean, he was taking you before The Lord?" And the man was adamant: "Jesus was taking me before "the Dad". No one goes into the presense of "the Dad" unless Jesus takes him there!"

What made this story so poignant, is that the man in question had no church background, he had been an agnostic, ignorant of the Gospel, until Georgia ministered to him in the hospital and he accepted Jesus as Savior a few days before the near-death experience. No one in his experience, the man said, had ever referred to the Father God as "the Dad", this was a concept that the man had picked up when he died and went to the beyond.

You can accept this story or not, as you will. But it has touched everyone who has heard it.

13 posted on 02/04/2004 1:38:02 PM PST by Ciexyz
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To: Taliesan
We know there is no supernatural, because it does not show up on instruments

LOL. Too much. Exactly how does one measure the supernatural? An Oscilloscope and a DVM?

14 posted on 02/04/2004 1:40:44 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: adam_az
....and as with other patterns of existence, just how is it that those archetypes are near universal?
15 posted on 02/04/2004 1:41:19 PM PST by WVNan
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To: Taliesan
They began to tear off pieces of his flesh, and he realized that he was being taken apart and eaten alive, methodically, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long as possible.

Kind of sounds like the Washington press corp.

16 posted on 02/04/2004 1:41:50 PM PST by Rome2000 (JIHADISTS FOR KERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: yonif
Was this one of those e-mails that gets periodically circulated? If so, it's probably been debunked by Urbanlegends.com.
17 posted on 02/04/2004 1:42:10 PM PST by stanz
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To: EggsAckley
I believe that somehow my Mom kept me asleep and I was "seeing" what she was "seeing" as she died.

Interesting, thanks for sharing. I'd bet that many of us have stories about unusual experiences that we hesitate to share, for fear of being labeled "nuts".

Here's one that I've shared a number of times that sounds like it's straight out of The Twilight Zone. In the funeral home where my Mother was laid out, I stepped into an adjoining room for few minutes to compose myself. I stood there in the dark and silence, and suddenly a phone that was on the mantel started ringing. (This wasn't a private office, it was a viewing room that was empty, and it just happened to have a phone on the mantel.)

I looked at that phone and said, No way, this is crazy. I let it ring three times and then I said to myself, okay, I'm picking this up. When I lifted the receiver, I heard static on the other end. I listened for some seconds, then put the phone down. When I told my Dad later about it, he just laughed. He said, "That was your Mother. That sounds like something she'd do." (You can believe it or not!)

18 posted on 02/04/2004 1:46:28 PM PST by Ciexyz
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To: EggsAckley
Beautiful account,Eggs.No,you are NOT crazy.There are accounts of NDE's in all cultures and periods of history.I rest much easier with the hope that one day I may be reunited with deceased family members and loved ones in the"next life"-call it Heaven if you want-and I have had very similiar dreams such as yours.
Riverman,whose intense spirtual beliefs were way more important in my rejection of Marxism than the political-economic shortfalls of the ideology.
19 posted on 02/04/2004 1:50:29 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: Elliott Jackalope
I find this debat rather boring because I had an out of body experience many years ago, at age 10, while having surgery under ether. My own memories are of a much more vivid experience visually. I was floating through space, seeing the entire universe from outside. Actually it was more like I was the universe.

It never occurred to me to attach religious significance to something seen while my brain was drugged.
20 posted on 02/04/2004 1:51:28 PM PST by js1138
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To: yonif
bump
21 posted on 02/04/2004 1:51:42 PM PST by NorseWood
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To: Ciexyz

Believe it! ...or not!

(BTW, I tend to)

22 posted on 02/04/2004 1:52:38 PM PST by CygnusXI (Where's that dang Meteor already?)
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To: adam_az
As the question goes: If, at the end of his life, he finds that he is wrong, what has he lost? On the other hand, if at the end of your life, you find that you are wrong, what have you lost?
23 posted on 02/04/2004 1:54:42 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: EggsAckley
I think your story is credible. I've heard many like them, and had a few experiences myself...
24 posted on 02/04/2004 1:55:30 PM PST by Judith Anne (Send a message to the Democrat traitors--ROCKEFELLER MUST RESIGN!)
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To: Judith Anne
ping
25 posted on 02/04/2004 1:56:07 PM PST by flutters (God Bless The USA)
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To: Riverman94610; Ciexyz
Thanks guys. It's nice to know that there ARE others who are perceptive to that kind of thing. I think she chose that particular street because it has a row of her favorite kind of houses, two story Spanish style, on it. And beautiful landscaping. Gardens were very big with her.

Again, thank you.
26 posted on 02/04/2004 1:56:18 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: Judith Anne
Thanks, Pinky!
27 posted on 02/04/2004 1:57:34 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: EggsAckley
My best friend almost died from a complication of a "minor" surgery. I trust him implicitly. He has a similar story.
28 posted on 02/04/2004 1:57:45 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Thanks!! And rejoice that he's still here to tell about it!
29 posted on 02/04/2004 1:58:47 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: WVNan
....and as with other patterns of existence, just how is it that those archetypes are near universal?

Good point, if for example Hindu's have had the same kind of NDE's. Their conception of God is very different. In fact, I don't think there's is no heaven in Hinduism. I don't think Nirvana is equivalent to heaven, i.e. a distinct place where God is that you (may) go to when you die.

Having said that, I don't know about this guy's and other NDE's. There's nothing Biblical about being able to be saved once you're dead.

30 posted on 02/04/2004 2:01:31 PM PST by lasereye
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To: stanz; yonif
Was this one of those e-mails that gets periodically circulated? If so, it's probably been debunked by Urbanlegends.com.

This is not an urban legend.

A few yrs. ago there was a program on TV concerning NDE's.

This man was one of the subjects of the program. Very convincing.

31 posted on 02/04/2004 2:02:45 PM PST by Vinnie
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To: yonif
I once had an acid trip that was pretty similar . . .
32 posted on 02/04/2004 2:02:49 PM PST by realpatriot71 (It's time to build a freakin' wall!)
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To: yonif
"I broke every one of the Ten Commandments. Jesus can fix what's wrong with us."

Indeed He can.

33 posted on 02/04/2004 2:03:00 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: EggsAckley
I think that you were truly blessed to have such a revelation.

I wish more of us could have them... Maybe there wouldn't be so many bitter people around.
34 posted on 02/04/2004 2:06:00 PM PST by Leatherneck_MT (Good night Chesty, wherever you may be.)
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To: Ciexyz
No one in his experience, the man said, had ever referred to the Father God as "the Dad", this was a concept that the man had picked up when he died and went to the beyond.

That's very interesting. In the NT, Jesus refers to God as "Abba", which is basically the informal Hebrew. I have been told that it could be translated as "Daddy."

35 posted on 02/04/2004 2:06:19 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: utahagen
What the heck is this orthodox Christian doing in the United Church of Christ denomination?

Other stories on him that I've read suggest the the being of light he talked to spoke some kind of New Age pantheism stuff.

36 posted on 02/04/2004 2:07:12 PM PST by churchillbuff (?)
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To: Taliesan
I don't believe gravity shows up on instruments either, but that is real.
37 posted on 02/04/2004 2:08:21 PM PST by Julliardsux
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To: Elliott Jackalope
You might consider the words of Christ in John 14:6 - "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
38 posted on 02/04/2004 2:10:42 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Elliott Jackalope
One of my favorite quotes from one person's NDE was when they asked the question of the angelic beings they encountered "what religion is the right one to follow". The answer? "Whatever one brings you closest to God".

sounds like New Age

39 posted on 02/04/2004 2:12:11 PM PST by churchillbuff (?)
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To: Elliott Jackalope
I've also heard that NDE's of people who attempt suicide (and fail, obviously) are often very different that the normal NDE's (not nearly as positive)
40 posted on 02/04/2004 2:13:28 PM PST by Bush_Democrat (Now EX-democrat!!)
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To: Taliesan
Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
41 posted on 02/04/2004 2:13:31 PM PST by protest1
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To: churchillbuff
sounds like New Age

That's because it is; even the devil can reveal himself as an angel of light. Unfortunately, too many people think these NDE's are from the one true Holy God, but they're not.

42 posted on 02/04/2004 2:20:14 PM PST by realpatriot71 (It's time to build a freakin' wall!)
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To: Julliardsux
It shows up on scales. I can tell you that.

Scales are guages that measure the gravitational pull of a certain object.
43 posted on 02/04/2004 2:21:21 PM PST by RinaseaofDs (Only those who dare truly live - CGA 88 Class Motto)
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To: stanz
Was this one of those e-mails that gets periodically circulated? If so, it's probably been debunked by Urbanlegends.com

The book is on Amazon.com, and the book's description matches the story.

44 posted on 02/04/2004 2:21:41 PM PST by g35x
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To: js1138
I had a similar experience when administered "laughing gas" when I was 18.

Didn't like it too much!

45 posted on 02/04/2004 2:22:35 PM PST by whd23
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To: All
If you walk into the main office of the Democratic Underground wearing a FReeper T-shirt, the same thing will happen to you.
46 posted on 02/04/2004 2:22:46 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Volunteer for EOD and you will never have to worry about getting wounded.)
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To: realpatriot71
PLEASE,Realpatriot.I confess to having a "psychedelic"experience or two way back in ancient times and the whole NDE-dream state is nothing like that.
Or at least it wasn't for ME!
Riverman,who finds reality WAY more fascinating than drugs.
47 posted on 02/04/2004 2:22:47 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: Vinnie
Not convincing to me.
48 posted on 02/04/2004 2:25:26 PM PST by stanz
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To: g35x
There's a lot of fiction on Amazon.com.
49 posted on 02/04/2004 2:26:27 PM PST by stanz
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To: Bush_Democrat
"I've also heard that NDE's of people who attempt suicide are often very different that the normal NDE's"

They are immediately met by a relative of History Channel's Gunnery SGT. R. Lee Ermey who says: "What the grabasstic hell were you THINKING?"

50 posted on 02/04/2004 2:27:40 PM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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