LDS Perspectives: Exploring Near Death Experiences

Near Death Experiences title graphic

In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.

Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.

Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.

Dr. Brent Top has extensively researched 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.

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.

Listen to the podcast here:


or at the LDS Perspectives website.

Gale Boyd is the copy editor for More Good Foundation. She is a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has lived all over the world. She has raised 6 Third Culture Kids and is always homesick for somewhere.
  • Kevin Christensen

    Interesting. In an article in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 I observed that Alma’s conversion while “nigh unto death” includes all of the characteristics and after effects that Moody and other researchers see in NDE research. So it is apt that the most of the teachings on Life after Death in the Book of Mormon come through Alma. Among the modern prophets, the boldest statements with details of the afterlife come from Brigham Young who it appears had such an experience at Winter Quarters. When Jedediah Grant reported on his experience to Heber C. Kimball, who in turn told the story in a Conference one of his comments was that “It was just as Brigham as told us many times.” The Spirit World chapter in the Brigham Young manual is very interesting in this light.