In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.
Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.
Dr. Brent Top has researched extensively near-death experiences, especially by those outside of the LDS community.
He has identified several common elements to these experiences such as the “life review,” encountering loved ones, and spirit communication.
Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.
While Dr. Top finds his studies interesting, he warns of the danger of trying to establish doctrine through experience. He emphasizes what the LDS doctrine is regarding the afterlife rather than anecdotal experiences. He also introduces a concept he coined as the “Apocraphal Principle” to help us evaluate these stories.
This is one of the most important pieces I’ve written that gets to the very heart of my soul. It was also the last post I ever did on Mormon Matters; someone promptly tried to turn it into a discussion about past racist views of an apostle… and I knew my time on Mormon Matters was coming to an end.
Could Life be Inherently Just? It seems like a silly question. We all know life isn’t fair. Its cliché, isn’t it?
There is a long time “proof” that God does not exist that goes like this: “If there is a God, how could there be such injustice and evil in the world?” What they really mean is that they can’t rationally fathom the possibility that all the evil and injustice in the world could somehow be part of a greater justice or morality. Without this further explanation, the “proof” is meaningless.
There is also a “proof” that God does exist that goes like this: “Why do we all — even those of us that claim we believe otherwise — treat morality as if it’s an absolute (that is to say, not merely a construct of convenience of situation) if morality really just rose from an inherently unjust universe?” What the asker really means is that they can’t fathom the possibility that morality really is merely a construct. (I have never met, and believe I never will, a person that isn’t outraged over immoral conduct towards his or her self rather than just saying, ‘oh, morality is just a construct anyhow, so to each their own.’”)
It seems morality is the main — perhaps only — point of contention over God, and it’s a sharp point that pierces both ways.
Now consider the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man: