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The Best Was Cribbed, the Rest, Who Knows?
on April 4, 2005
I've given this book three stars because it is not badly written and it's sheer popularity probably makes it a "must read" for those who are interested in the topic of near-death-experiences. But I do have a few problems with the content, which I'll share as briefly as possible.
First, please know that I am not a scoffer. I believe in life-after-death and I'm open to the possibility that near-death-experiences can occur.
But Eadie's story, on all too many points, seems terribly contrived. For example, she fails to mention that she is, or at least was, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) at the time that this book was written. I believe it is no coincidence that the most interesting doctrines found in her book: pre-mortal existence, the universal nature of the laws of God, eternal intelligence and more, are drawn from the teachings of the LDS church. Yet no where in the book does she mention the remarkable resemblance between what "the Light" told her and what the LDS church teaches. Wouldn't her readers like to know about this connection?
Eadie also mingles a liberal amount of New Age philosophy into her visions, so much so, that her books are listed in the New Age category in most book stores, which probably explains why Eadie seems apologetic when she appeals directly to scripture to back up her visions, "I quote from the Bible from time to time, because, although some people dismiss it, in my opinion it contains most of the answer we desperately seek from God." (Quoted from Eadie's book: "The Ripple Effect: Our Harvest") Unfortunately, many New Age doctrines conflict, not only with the teachings of the LDS faith, but also with broader Christian beliefs -- mixing the two philosophies together makes for a rather muddy mess of contradictions which weakens her overall story.
Equally problematic is the fact that Eadie continues to peddle stories of her near-death-experience on the open market -- bringing out book sequels, prayer manuals, audio cassettes and more in several different languages. And she conveniently let's her readers know that there is a bottomless well of more experiences to share in the future, "Much of what I learned on the other side was removed from memory when I returned to earth. God let me keep what knowledge I needed, and he restores a little more as time goes by." ("The Ripple Effect: Our Harvest")
The science-fiction writer, Orson Scott Card, predicted this marketing blitz back in 1994, "It is an oft-told tale, and it would be remarkable indeed if it had not grown in the retelling. And it will continue to grow -- in this book Eadie talks of portions of her experience that have been hidden from her memory. No doubt as the demand for sequels grows, she will find that the Lord has allowed her to remember these "forgotten" sights." (Quoted from: [...])
It's a shame that Card's predictions came true.