My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard Storm–Book Review and Personal Response

howard-storm-paintingOverall, My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard Storm is a fascinating book.  Storm’s experience is unusual, not simply because of his descent into hell and rescue from hell, but also for the many answers he receives to important questions while in his near death state.

During my NDE, I did not experience a hell like state, but I understand how reliving and retelling such an experience would probably be traumatizing.  I admire Storm’s bravery for telling his story as openly as possible and for reminding us all of the importance of these personal stories and the importance of living a life of service to the world.

One of the biggest life changes I experienced after my NDE is the desire to live in service for others, and Storm describes the importance of service in this beautiful quote,

“The best way to grow spiritually is in service to others.  We will find purpose and development in relationships to other people.  We imagine that we are isolated from others but the opposite is true.  How we interact with others is our soul journey.  What we think we are is not who we are.  How we live lovingly with our brothers and sisters is who we truly are. If you want to grow spiritually, examine how you are expressing love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, patience, and faithfulness toward others.”

Christ:  Howard Storm discusses his profound encounter with the deep love of Jesus during his NDE.  In fact, Jesus is the one who rescues Storm from hell.  After a long stay in the hospital and several months of recovery back at home, Storm recounts a moment where he is called to visit a church for the first time in a long while.  His description of this experience in church is touching.

When Storm enters a church near his home, he sees images of angels and the heavens and immediately falls to the ground in awe and praise. This is not the type of church where people behave in this way.  Storm’s innocence and intense, overwhelming emotion reminds me of how many NDErs deeply desire unification and communion with God in the way we experienced this connection on the other side. His  pure, open, and humble desire for this type of connection with the divine is moving.  This particular section of the book is also slightly amusing because of his wife’s reaction to his public display.  She expresses embarrassment and threatens not to take him to church again.  Luckily, the minister reaches out to Storm and becomes his friend.  Several years later, Storm becomes a minster.  Personally, I would have enjoyed hearing sermons from an NDEr.

Though I did not see a religious figure during my near-death experience, several years ago in a healing cathedral named El Santuario de Chimayo outside of Santa Fe, I felt the loving presence of Jesus.  In that sweet moment, I cried and felt the weight of all of my rebellion against authority figures and churches who did not embody Christ’s love melt away.  I no longer saw Jesus as a part of these people who were abusive, judgmental, sexist, racist, non-inclusive or otherwise toxic as representative of the true energy and love of Christ. I saw that Jesus, like the God I experienced in my NDE, is truly loving and accepting.  He wants to remind us to be like little children and love each other and our world in simple, straight-forward ways.

Toward the end of his book, Storm reflects on the challenges of working as a minister in a Christian church and writes,

“The biggest challenge that I have found in pastoring a church has been raising the consciousness of the congregation toward compassion for people beyond the boundaries of the church.  The work of the church is not simply to comfort the members of the church; rather, the work of the church is to be like Christ to the world….For reasons that I do not fully understand, I have found this difficult for many Christians to appreciate.”

Answers to Major Questions:  I recommend this book for several reasons.  Storm’s descriptions of how he prays for healing in his life are lovely anecdotes.  However, the most powerful and interesting moments in the book come in his descriptions of the answers he receives to several important questions.  During his NDE, when Storm asks God about war, he learns that heaven’s wish for us is that we never to go to war and to avoid it through loving others aggressively and caring for all people.   This quote from the book sums up part of the reply he experiences from God.

“People have tried to hide their base desire for domination and exploitation through collective pride under the banner of nationalism.  This primitive tribal instinct has blinded you from seeing the divine within other people.  God loves all people as God’s children and wants ever one of you to see every person as a child of God.  You are to resist and oppose evil in others and in yourselves by every means possible.  You are to find ways to resist evil by good means rather than killing.” 

Storm continues to ask questions about why wars are allowed to happen, and God replies that we are given free will and says,

“Wars happen because of the spiritual sickness of people.  We are to care about all people and be willing to help heal the spiritual sickness before it leads to the desire to kill.  The way to prevent war is to love aggressively and care for all people.  Sufficient wealth, food, and resources exist for every person in the world.  Wars result not because there is a scarcity of resources, but because of our desire to possess the resources to the exclusion of others.  God loves every man, woman, and child on this planet more than we love our own children.  God wants all people to have food, shelter, meaningful work, and an opportunity to be creative: to learn the truth, have freedom from fear, have self-esteem, be procreative, live in community, find complete joy, trust in God, and become the wonderful people that God created us to be.”

Storm has particular points about the greed in the U.S. and the possible directions our country could take in the future.  This section is a bit chilling, and I certainly hope there are a cumulative mass of people who care deeply for the world in a way that surpasses their own need for gratification.

Storm also asks God which religion is the “right” religion and he  is surprised by the answer that there is no right or wrong religion.  Only the religions that promote love for God and others are of value.  Within very loving religions, there might be narcissists, sociopaths, and child abusers leading congregations, temples, or other gatherings dedicated to spiritual matters.  For example, the essential teachings of Christianity can be completely distorted by non-loving individuals.   God communicates to Storm that…

“…our cultural bias is collective egocentric pride.  Since we are finite creatures raised in specific cultures, we are shaped by our culture.  To know God, we have to surrender our individual and collective pride/ego if we are ever to know God’s love.  Too often we claim God’s love for our closed group.  We exclude everyone outside the group as being outside God’s love.  This is opposed to God’s will.  God loves everyone beyond anything we can imagine.”

I could continue to keep typing out all the beautiful, thought-provoking quotes from this book, but if you are interested in Storm’s extensive time spent in heaven and the knowledge he brought back, you will simply have to read his wonderful book.  You will hear about the many lessons from his NDE, including the knowledge that God is always with us and loves us more than we can comprehend and that God wants us to share our journey and emotions with heaven.  I agree with Storms points that self-examination and awareness is an important part of the journey as well as sharing love and truth with others.  May you be blessed and find blessings in this book if you feel called to read it.

See Howard Storm’s website for more of his paintings.

howard-storm-painting-2

10 thoughts on “My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard Storm–Book Review and Personal Response

    • I read another book that said only a small percentage of NDErs experienced hell. I certainly did not experience anything other than healing, love, knowledge, and a sense of connection to all living beings. I think the hell experience must be a refusal to be open to God in any way. The minute he became open to love, he was rescued.

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  1. Reblogged this on AUSSI DREAMER and commented:
    I really like Tricia Barker’s energy,she is both intelligent and caring,her NDE excentuated her passion for others,a lesson I have yet to learn,I tend to prefer staying in my cave,however technology together with my OBE has allowed me to reach out to others,however it has been a bumpy road,I have many questions about many things,including Spirituality,I find my constant search has only lead me to more confusion, I have never believed in Hell or the Devil but now days I don’t know what to believe in,so I will reblog this man’s hellish experience , not only because of his experience, but because of the excellent way Tricia has presented it,she has some links to some very objective and informative information.
    Kerrie (Aussi Dreamer)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think he was caught in a place of not accepting his connection to God. The minute he called out for God he was taken to that place of unconditional love and bliss. I was skeptical about this book, but I do think there is the same wisdom in his account that are in so many NDEs and OBEs. He fell in love with that unconditional love and did not want to return. He has been disappointed working as a minister and encountering people who could not embrace the idea that they needed to love people outside of their church. I think there is value in his experience….perhaps we can all be reminded to call on our connection to a loving divine source more often. Luckily, the vast number of NDEs are usually positive. Whether people have a negative or positive one though…they always seem to be changed for the better and care more about others. That’s my takeaway. Thanks for reading….

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      • There is so much we don’t understand Tricia,my search continues,thank you for being an inspiring part of my search 🙂 In a way I am glad I am doubting my spiritual experiences, it is making me stop and think and realise I don’t know it all!

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      • I love the idea that we have so much to continue to learn once we leave these bodies and stay in that environment. I will never doubt that our souls are eternal, but I understand the search and journey. I think bringing in more grace and love from the other side into all moments in life is a good lesson. If Storm could do this in a church and with his congregation, then good for him. If others can bring in that love and grace in other formats, then they are needed to bring more light to the world as well. The world needs as much light and love as possible…in all places, spaces, venues, homes, and communities…

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      • Good point Tricia,I need to stop being disappointed in some of the people I have come across,stop being disappointed in my guides,stop being disappointed in myself and bring in some grace xxx

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      • Yes…I’m getting to this place where I can look at the world the way I looked at my students (junior high, high school, and college) and realize that my role was to provide structure, kindness, love, knowledge, and insight. If they chose to behave badly, I could only hope that they might learn a lesson here or there that might help them in their future. I am trying not to be disappointed in other and just hope they are doing their best and getting better through time. It isn’t always easy though but in retrospect we realize the love we give is the love that we are. Thanks for chatting with me:-)

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  2. I really enjoyed this book when I read it. Like Tricia said in her post I found there many valuable insights into some very pressing questions, and overall I found the book uplifting. Many people struggle with why some who die experience distressing NDEs while others have very positive NDEs. I read an NDE account “Return From Tomorrow” by Dr. George Ritchie who sees people struggling in hell. He also sees many angels around waiting and eager to assist those suffering if only they look up and ask for help. His account agreed with what Tricia said regarding getting “caught up in a place” where people can’t accept their connection to or love from God.

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