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To read more excerpts and insights from Daniel C. Peterson, visit his blog, Sic Et Non.
Here is an account of yet another near-death experience drawn from John Burke, Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015).
This one is the report of Captain Dale Black, a veteran commercial airline pilot who has logged 17,000 hours in the air. When he was nineteen, dreaming of becoming a professional pilot, he took off in a twin engine Piper Navajo toward the sky above Los Angeles with two commercial-pilot friends, Chuck and Gene. They had been letting him fly with them on delivery runs across California so that he could log more hours. Losing power shortly after take-off and flying at an abnormally low speed, Gene tried unsuccessfully to clear the tops of the trees and then veered directly into a 75-foot-high stone aviation monument. After colliding with the monument at approximately 135 miles per hour, their plane fell 70 feet to the ground. Of the three men, only Dale survived.
Suddenly I found myself suspended in midair, hovering over the wreckage of my body. My gray pants and short-sleeve shirt were torn to shreds and soaked in blood. . . . I sped through what appeared to be a narrow pathway. . . . It wasn’t a tunnel of light that I was traveling through. It was a path in the darkness that was delineated by the light. Outside of this pathway was total darkness. But in the darkness millions of tiny spheres of light zoomed past as I traveled through what looked like deep space, almost as if a jet were flying through a snowstorm at night. . . . At this time, I became aware that I was not traveling alone. Accompanying me were two angelic escorts dressed in seamless white garments woven with silver threads. They had no discernible gender but appeared masculine and larger than I was. . . . Remarkably, my peripheral vision was enhanced, and I could see both of their glowing faces at the same time. I could even see behind me while hardly moving my head. (102)
Note the plain suggestion of a premortal existence in this report of a near-death experience from someone who has, so far as I’m aware, no connection with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
I had the stunning realization that I was the “me” that had existed for all of eternity, long before my time on Earth. . . . And now I knew myself. Imagine that — the first person we meet in heaven is ourselves. (Crystal, cited at 69)