Skip to comments.Ex-atheist describes near-death experience
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."
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..."
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.
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.
LOL. Too much. Exactly how does one measure the supernatural? An Oscilloscope and a DVM?
Kind of sounds like the Washington press corp.
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!)
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