‘Penalties’ for Suicide
Raymond Moody’s 8 early writings led many to suppose that all NDERs who attempted suicide had unpleasant afterlife experiences. Dr Moody had only a few cases of suicide-induced NDEs to study, and in each case the NDE was characterized as being nasty. Subsequent examples however show this is not always the case, even though the majority of suicides appear to experience unpleasant NDEs. Moody’s analysis nevertheless remains important. He went on to note that returnees reported suicide to be a very undesirable act that might incur a ‘penalty’. This penalty for an act of suicide might include witnessing the suffering this act had caused. In addition, he found that suicide-NDErs agreed their deaths would have solved nothing, and strongly disavowed suicide as a means of returning to the afterlife existence. Overall, the feelings of personal torment became magnified in the afterlife. The majority stated very strongly that they would not consider suicide again.
The implication was: ‘If you leave here a tormented soul, you will be a tormented soul over there too.’ Not only did the problems persist that had precipitated the suicide attempt, but also once in the disembodied state, the subjects were unable personally to do anything about it. Our sample base, however, has expanded in recent years.
Pleasant experiences after Suicide
Deborah Weiler’s 9 description of her encounter with God is ecstatic. Her suicide attempt did not originate in feeling unloved or undervalued, factors in most other suicide attempts. ‘I was loved, treasured, sought after as a friend and cherished – but I had just killed myself. To walk a path so dark that you seek death I wish on no one. I will not judge another’s path home. I can only continue to try to walk mine.’ She took her life in 1984, age 29 years. Here is a shortened version of her memories of God:
All I could see was this huge, brilliant light. All I could feel was love, rolling over me as sunlight warms my skin through on a windy day. I felt examined by it. I focused all my attention on it. What I learned next amazed me. I discovered that the glowing, golden globe of light was alive. It was a ‘self’. It was a living being. We were the same! We were both living beings! This felt like a huge revelation; ‘Hey, it’s another soul!’ It was huge, loving and powerful, strong and gentle all at the same time.
I felt the power the Being appeared to generate and that was sent out from it. It was like standing in the sunlight but, instead of sunshine, LOVE warmed you through to your centre…
Then came to me the first hint of truly understanding the meaning of the word ‘grace’. That Being knew all of everything I ever was and [nevertheless] loved me… Small, confused, dead by my own hand, I was cherished and loved! I was precious to it. I responded to that with my own thoughts to it of my joy in the peace, love and total acceptance it was giving me. I tried to love it back with my little self.
The Being knew I loved it and that I was thankful for its love of me. Then it loved me more. I loved it more. A cycle of pure love between us grew.
Deborah’s experiences in Paradise were effective in turning her life around.
Dr Richard Kent reports the account of Henrietta 10 who committed suicide in the UK, after being jilted by her boyfriend. She met with God in a pleasant venue during her NDE.
I did not see Jesus, only God Almighty. I do not know what He looked like because there was just this warmth and light. Then He spoke and greeted me, and I just said, ‘Hi.’ His next words may sound funny, but I did not think so then. ‘You are early’, He said, to which I responded that I knew, and I was sorry. God then asked me what I was doing there, as it was not my time. Such was His Love that I poured out my heart and told Him I could not go on any longer because I could not stand the pain. ‘I know you cannot,’ He responded, ‘but you cannot come home yet… there are people you need to speak to.’
Although it was brightness in front of me, behind was just darkness. I turned and saw a group of people. Actually it was more like two small circles standing in the form of a figure of eight. God showed me that these people were going to Hell if I did not speak to them. There was no argument on my part; I knew He was telling the truth. I turned round to them again and pleaded with God not to send them to Hell, but to send someone else to speak to them instead of me.
His reply was, ‘I cannot. You are going to have to do it.’
Such an unexpected response from God intimated to Henrietta that her life had an unfulfilled purpose. This suggests that suicide can interfere with the purposes of God and even prevent his perfect will being accomplished. He had chosen Henrietta to speak to those she saw in the vision, who otherwise might be amongst the eternally lost (Matthew 7:14).
I knew there was no arguing over this. I knew that there would be a time when I would speak to these people. Whatever it was I had to say, or whenever it was, or whether I would actually lead them to God, I really did not know. All I knew was that it was my job, and no one else could do this.
As I turned, saying I agreed to go back, it hit me just what I was going back to, and again I told God that I could not go back because I could not stand the pain…
After her return, Henrietta discovered that she had been pregnant at the time of her attempted suicide, and it dawned on her that had she died then of course the baby would have died too. She believes the second group of people she saw during her interview with God, the second circle forming the ‘figure of 8’, are those to whom her child rather than herself will speak. It comforts her to believe that while her child was conceived in distressing circumstances, God’s love and plans pertain to that child none-the-less:
My daughter is now just turned 11, and she has brought so many people to know Jesus, it is amazing. Every time she tells me about someone else she has spoken to, I jump for joy – because I remember that group.
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