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To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Paperback – May 29, 2012


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To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story + Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife + Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1st edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731715
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,780 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Mary C. Neal, M.D.

Mary C. Neal

Q. How did you feel when you died? Did you know what was happening?

A. I was acutely aware of everything that was happening. I knew that my efforts to exit the boat were not working, that I was out of air, and that I was too far from the riverbank for anyone to reach me. I knew that I would probably die. Having grown up with a fear of drowning, I was surprised to find my transition from life to death was seamless, peaceful, and beautiful. I felt quite wonderful.

Q. What was your faith life like before your death?

A. Before my near-death-experience, I believed in God and took my kids to Sunday school but was not particularly religious. Like many accomplished young adults, I felt like I was in control of my life and my future. Although I tried to be a "good" and "moral" person, my faith was not integrated into my daily life and the demands of work and family left little time to think about spirituality.

With my near-death-experience, the truth of God's promises and the reality of eternal life became a part of my every breath. I am in constant prayer and regardless of what I am doing, I try to reflect God's love and live for His glory. I try not to miss opportunities to uplift or encourage the spiritual life of others, and I live with gratitude and joy, knowing that I never face challenges alone.

Q. Why do you think you came back to life?

A. I certainly didn't want to return to Earth, but was given information about some of the work I had yet to complete and wasn't really given a choice. I was expected to share my experiences and my story with others, helping transform their faith into compete trust that God keeps His promises.

Q. Do you have any regrets about this experience?

A. I have not a hint of regret. In fact, my death and return to life is the greatest gift I have ever received, and I am continually grateful for having had this experience.

Q. How do you explain why this happened to you?

A. I have always been a private person, am not known to be a writer, and do not relish the attention of speaking. I have been asked this question many times. I do not know the answer, but I am a scientist by training, a skeptic by nature, and a very concrete, rational thinker. Perhaps, I was given this job because I have a developed a lifetime of credibility.

Q. How is your experience compared to others who've gone to heaven and come back to physical life?

A. I have not read many accounts of other people's experiences, but I have had many patients over the years tell me about their own near-death experiences. It seems that most stories, mine included, contain some consistent elements--that of an overwhelming sense of God's love and forgiveness, intense peace and beauty and no desire to return to Earth. Everyone recalls the details with precision and each person is profoundly affected by the experience. In these ways, my experience is quite similar.

Q. What do you want people to know about heaven?

A. God's unconditional love for each of us is intense, complete, and is reflected in all of Heaven. Before we return to Heaven, our real home, we have an incredible opportunity on Earth to face challenges that will help us learn, grow and to become more Christ-like in the fruits of our spirit. Our time is so short that we need to be about God's business every day.

About the Author

Mary C. Neal, M.D. is an orthopaedic surgeon. She studied at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, completed her orthopaedic residency at the University of Southern California and is fellowship trained as a spinal surgeon. She is the former Director of Spine Surgery at the University of Southern California and is a founding partner of Orthopedic Associates of Jackson Hole. Her after-life experience has been featured on national media including WGN, Dr. Oz, and Fox and Friends. She has served as a church elder, on several non-profit organization boards, and created the Willie Neal Environmental Awareness Fund. Dr. Neal lives with her family in Jackson Hole, WY.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
1,057
4 star
325
3 star
187
2 star
92
1 star
119
See all 1,780 customer reviews
Thank you again for sharing your story.
yoo
As a Christian, I have always believed in heaven, but I wanted to know more about what it will really be like.
Gloria Cairns
Dr. Mary Neal experiences her own death and heavenly encounter.
thankful 4life

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

895 of 946 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Stubblefield on February 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the same time that Dr. Mary Neal was drowning in a river in Chile, her husband, Bill, appeared to me in a dream. Bill is an old friend of mine from high school. We had shared many adventures and confidences over the years, but neither he nor any other friend had ever stared at me in a dream and woke me up. I shook it off at the time, only to learn a few days or weeks later why I had seen him.

The story of her experiences from the drowning, through the repeated revivals and her ultimate survival are the events upon which this book is anchored. But the meat and meaning of it are in the unfolding of her life as guided and protected by her God. I'm obviously no disinterested party. Skeptics can be reassured by my report that if it came from Mary's pen, it will be the truth and the whole truth. I doubt, however, that her or anyone's personal account can penetrate fully into the modern psyche. That is, into those who think that they need proof of what we call God. As an account of a brush with the Hereafter, here have been many others similar to it, and they're well enough known to be used as shorthand in bad films.

What Mary and those like her have experienced are gifts from somewhere, given not just to them. She gives it back to us disguised as a simple offering. She doesn't baffle the reader with melodrama, hyperbole, fantasy, or excessive adjectives. She tells her story in a concise & detailed way, with a voice of eloquent and unadorned sincerity. In this way, it's easy to read and difficult to put down, vividly descriptive and completely convincing, humbling and inspiring.

Fortunately for us, she kept waking up in the middle of the night until she couldn't keep from writing it down for us. The reason to read this remarkable account is witness, which is one of the few ways that we have left to hack a little hole in our jungle of unbelief.
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262 of 285 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a thoughtful memoir and spiritual journey by a remarkable woman. The author's medical training and experiences served, not to distance herself from a seemingly incomprehensible God who makes people suffer, but to draw her and her family closer to God by seeing His work in their lives.

Sometimes, I think it is much harder for people with a scientific turn of mind and training in the sciences and medicine to believe in God when all education is pretty much "it all happened by chance" and is indeed structured to teach that chance is the only reason things happen. Believe me, I went to school for 9 years after high school and all of that training was science and a lot was overlapping with the science that medical doctors study, because I studied biology, biochemistry and immunology. So I resonated with this book and Dr. Neal's journey--especially when she writes that "science and spirituality were assumed to be incompatible."

Interestingly, the description of drowning (the author nearly drowned in a river in Chile) is exactly what a friend of mine described to me had happened to him as a child. The patients who describe their spiritual experiences, rather than embarrass Dr. Neal, help her to see God is present and working in all of our lives. She keeps her eyes wide open and her faith becomes stronger, not weaker, in the face of many tragedies.

If you yourself are asking "Who is God, what is He, is there a God and how do I form a relationship with God?" this book could be an inspiring starting point. It is gripping, the stories are real-life and huge.
Read more ›
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220 of 241 people found the following review helpful By hoytann on December 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
In our analytical, data driven world, we are lulled into the belief that we know it all, or at least we can research what we don't know. That eliminates the leap of faith it takes to take part in many of the most rewarding experiences in life. If we spent time analyzing all the possible problems associated with experiences like having and raising children, getting married, moving to a new town and starting a career, most of us would stay in bed. Mary Neal has shown us that there is so much in our world that we can't actually see, but must take a leap of faith and believe. Her story is told in such a way that we are drawn in and vicariously experience all that she went through. After finishing the book, it's impossible not to continue to mentally revisit her experiences, and notice all that is holy in our own lives. This book shows you that faith comes in many forms, and can be strengthened through our interactions with those in our lives. It is hard to put this book down once you start it.
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88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Patricia B. Edwards on June 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
While reading Dr Neal's book I kept coming back to that line from Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This book isn't a cozy read - parts are downright excruciating to hear and difficult to imagine. It can't be easy for her to tell it, except for a strange grace she was given. I imagine that folks who read it to with an eye to validating a firmly-held dogmatic religious or agnostic position will be irritated. She isn't proselytizing or apologizing - she is simply relaying the facts of her own strange tale with an almost unadorned precision. In thinking about it, that's precisely the power of this book - Dr Neal is a hard person to dismiss. She doesn't seem fanciful or eccentric or disenfranchised or neurotic or a religious fanatic or needy or any of the traits I had expected. Her voice rings out unusually clear and fresh, cool and concise. It's because of this, even more than her impressive resume, that I find her credible.

The actual tale is emotionally moving, occasionally disturbing, spiritually and intellectually challenging. At the end of it I find myself with a sense of wonder that life is more beautiful than we can conceive, that there is more going on than anyone can imagine, that the Creator is impossible to wrap into a tidy, presentable box, because our ideas about Him are too cramped and small. Ultimately I am left with an ever-growing hope we can live fearlessly, that we will see our loved ones again, that they are near and that all is well, here and there. GREAT READ!
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