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on November 27, 2012
LITERARY: Not the best writing - there are some errors in grammar and word usage. The most glaring literary problem is the excessive redundancy. I say this with intent. I would not say it is redundant, as that word alone does not convey the many, many times the book repeats information. I felt like I was reading a sermon written for very slow-witted people. Or very young children. It seems Mr. Besteman is trying to give people hope and happiness, but to read the same idea over and over and over and over... it becomes tedious. I did think that he simply did not have enough material for a book, so he and his writer decided to up the word count by battering the reader on the head with truly excessive repetition. It reads at about a 5th grade level, I think.


I read every word, although I felt like tossing it across the room a few times! Wouldn't do that to my Kindle, though.

I've been studying NDEs for decades. I've worked in palliative medicine and have been very interested in the topic. Anyone should be - what happens when we die? That's a big question.

My issues with this book are around Mr. Besteman's own fundamentalist Christianity. My big problem with fundamentalism is that is anti-logic. Anti-THOUGHT. Fundamentalism of any kind is absolutely illogical. It actively BLOCKS rational thinking and logic. That's a problem.

I don't know if Mr. Besteman had an NDE. I DO know that it is much more common for fundamentalists to return from their NDEs and STOP being fundamentalist. They often leave their fundamentalist churches. They say that there actually IS no "true" religion. They say that God is perfect Love and that all enter Heaven.

Mr. Besteman's own theology seems to have interfered with his ability to recall correctly what he experienced. I only say this because of the huge body of research asserting that there IS no "Hell" and no "devil" or any such thing. They stop taking the Bible literally if they had done before. Mr. Besteman reports seeing people in their bodies and recognizing them in their bodies. You almost never hear anything like that; NDEs usually include persons in non-corporeal form and the ability to recognize spirits.

It always strikes me as very strange that there are people with even the most modest level of intelligence who really believe they just HAPPEN to belong to the one true religion. I find the concept so offensive, so narrow-minded, so SIMPLE-minded... I cannot understand how anyone would think this. I have asked a couple of fundamentalist friends how this can be - how can Christianity be the only way a person gets into Heaven? I asked about all the people all over the world who don't live in mostly Christian countries. They told me that if a person has "heard the gospel," and rejected Jesus, they go to hell. If they never heard it, they aren't responsible for that. That's where I have a problem.

At what age does a person get ONE shot at being "saved"?
What if the missionary has a poor grasp of the language and the people only understand 38% of what he's saying?
What if a person is sick that day and distracted by feeling really bad?
How about if that person is worried about something - maybe someone stole his goat that day - or his hut burned down?
What if the missionary is just really bad at talking to people? Maybe has a cold personality or something?

What these and the THOUSANDS of other questions a logical person can ask typically get are ridiculous magical answers. At least, the two people I asked... both told me that God would magically make any such circumstance not matter.

As for age, I think they said early adolescence. Wow. The human brain is physically developing until age 25 or 26. So we can be sentenced to an ETERNITY of suffering by a "loving" God because of a decision we made with very immature brains?? It defies ALL logic.

Mr. Besteman seems like he was a sweet fellow - but he was very simple-minded in regards to religion. I almost envy him that - to not be burdened with LOGIC can be quite pleasant. But if I sat down with him to discuss these things, I would ask the questions. I wonder what he would say.

Also, it appears he loves the book by the FUNDAMENTALIST PREACHER father - Todd Burpo - about his son's supposed NDE. That REALLY put me off. I read that dreadful tome, too. Terrible book.

I would never recommend this book. It is narrow-minded and has just the kind of anti-logical thinking... not just illogical - that would please a fundamentalist Christian. The rest of us - we who are burdened with THINKING - will find it annoyingly repetitive, very simple-minded, and the flavor of Christian fundamentalism that condemns 5 BILLION people alive today to hell - people who were supposedly created by a loving God. That's not love. This is a dreadful book and I'm deleting it from my Kindle.
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on October 22, 2012
This book can be very comforting for someone who has lost someone, and if closure is needed. The author, Marvin, writes about his personal experience with Heaven when he temporarily visited during an illness. Marvin is shown to be an educated, sweet, godly man, who had no agenda other than to share the amazing things that he saw and felt. I was especially touched when he recounted what he saw regarding babies - his statements are interesting and may give some peace to someone who has lost a child, even right after conception. I also was moved when I read about his very special bond with his son-in-law, how he had called Marv "dad", and how he became so ill so quickly, and was then gone. Marv was able to see his son-in-law jumping up and down and totally healed and joyful, and that alone inspires a great longing for the wonders of Heaven. This book is very easy to read, and would be a good choice if you or someone you know needs comfort or hope for what happens to believers in Christ after death. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 :"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".
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on August 3, 2013
Fact - childhood, wife, marriage, children, friends, religion and job. All believable and most likely true.

Fiction - the part where he is taken to heaven and all that it entails.

I am a christian so I do believe in heaven and hell, near death experiences and all the bible has in it. However as gullible and naive as I am everything in me screamed false, red flags and made up as soon as I started reading this book. There are so many to count and I had to shake my head and almost laugh at some of the content. Unbelievable. I have read, heard, watched my share of to heaven or hell and back stories. This one so far takes the cake and ice cream too. He is a very good "story" teller and that is easily seen from the beginning.

Because he has read so many books about near death experiences he took bits and pieces from each, woven into his own, called it his and added his own charm to it that it almost reads believable. But in my opinion it's not. The mind is very powerful, mysterious and full of dreams. There is a huge difference between telling a true story which is usually and mostly very matter of factly done and telling stories which is usually and mostly done by personalizing it in your own way and manner.

This is my take on it you decide and choose for yourself. Because he was heavily medicated and seemed to be in and out of consciousness and in a great deal of pain this was some kind of hallucination or dream but far from the truth. All of what he had read or heard about heaven from other people's stories were put together in his brain to form this story that he believes is true. And because he was arguing with Peter which is something he would do here on earth, Peter was wearing gray colored fishing garment which is something he probably saw in a picture, that Peter called him Marv and maybe he was getting nervous about dying because of old age, his illness or being grieved over his losses over the years I truly believe this is what his mind came up with to put him at ease and comfort him.

So reader beware. With that all being said there are other near death experiences I truly believe his I do not at all. I do believe he is in heaven. The REAL one not the made up one.
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on September 16, 2012
I found this book a compelling read...who doesn't want to know what Heaven is like. We have all heard that those who go through the light don't want to come back.
Marvin Besteman, a stubborn Dutchman as he calls himself, was just operated on for a pancreatic tumor. He was in such pain the night after the surgery, and all of a sudden he felt himself floating free. No tubes, needles! For months after this experience he doesn't tell anyone.
The first person is his wife Ruth, and when she asked him if he had thought of her, he told her no. Was she disappointed? I think what happened was it was all so wonderful, that he didn't have time to think of anyone. What he describes is so very very wonderful, no wonder he didn't want to return.
I have recently lost my Husband, this book really touched my heart, and gave me a lot of peace. Marvin describes in detail the babies...lots and lots of them. In all stages of development from a few week old fetus to a full term. I have also lost a 77 day old infant, and to hear that they were all happy and laying on grass ...softer than any blanket. He said he didn't see anyone taking care of them, but knew some how they were all fine.
The colors he describes, the gates, the stone walls, and the throne. I could see it all through his eyes.
I will pass this book on for others to read, and I'm so glad I was given this opportunity to absorb all that is presented.
Of course I wanted more, and would have loved to sit down and speak personally with Marvin, but now it can never by. He did leave again and Saint Peter opened the gate earlier this year.

I received this book from the publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
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on November 14, 2012
I would have given this book 3 1/2 stars if I could. But since that is not possible it only gets three. Let me start by saying that I believe that Mr. Besteman wrote what he BELIEVED he saw, did, heard, etc. But I do have a problem with a few lines of the book.
**** Spoiler Alert ****
Mr. Besteman freely admits that he did not get to go inside the gates of heaven. Yet he claims that he knew what his departed son-in-law was feeling. He stated that his son-in-law was "blissfully" unaware of what was going on with his family he left here on earth. How is that possible when he never spoke to his spirit? If a person can see further, hear better, enjoy music like never better couldn't his love for the people left behind grow deeper? Mr. Betesman, in my opinion, made it sound like the departed cease caring/thinking about us. There have been many books written about people here on earth seeing the spirit of the departed while still here on earth. Norman Vincent Peale mentions seeing, and hearing his departed father in his book "Life Beyond Death". Again how is that possible if our departed loved ones don't care about us any more? Mr. Besteman then writes that he told his daughter what he believed. I'm sure that did not help her grieving process, and possibly made it worse.
I lost my 19 year old son, my mother, and my father all within 17 months. I do not read these books to find out where they went, I know where they are, in heaven. I read these types of books to catch a glimpse of what they are experiencing in heaven. And I do not believe for one second that they have forgotten their family left here on earth. I'm sure they don't have the same feeling of grief and seperation that we do, because there is no pain and suffering in heaven.
How did Mr. Besteman come to that conclusion? Is it possible that different people see different parts of heaven? Are the departed blissfully unaware? You read the book and decide.
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on December 8, 2015
Bless Marvin, he really tried, but I found this book to be way too preachy and it felt as though he and his co-writer had to reach to pad this book enough to make it book-size. That was irritating, and some of his conclusions were illogical. If, as he insists, only 'SAVED Christians can get into heaven, then why was he standing in line at heaven's gate with folks from primitive African areas (by their costumes), the Middle East, and other areas of the planet which normally aren't Christian. The book is judgmental and biased which I felt shattered Marvin's credibility. There are many much better done books on this subject out there.
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on December 30, 2013
I too went to heaven. Only I was 18 and my uncle Art remarried a much younger woman. Her name was Kris with a K. And I don't have to tell you that she could fill out a sweater.

One time Uncle Art and Kris were watching my brothers and I while my parents went on tour with Kenny Loggins -- they were big fans, not musicians BTW.

Well Kris, would hug me a lot and she would press her WHOLE self up against me and then one time I was showering and I purposely left the bathroom door unlocked -- we only had but one bathroom. And Kris came in and she just got a long look at me in all my heavenly glory and she apologized and turned around and left. But she did look at it for a split-second longer than she should have.

Later that night, I could hear her and Uncle Art making noises in the bedroom and I had a good feeling she was thinking about me. That was my journey to heaven and I thank God for it every day for about 3-4 minutes.
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on November 12, 2014
Marvin Besteman writes about his “unforgettable trip to the gates of heaven and back” in My Journey to Heaven. The amazing experience happened after pancreatic surgery left him in despair and extreme pain. His account includes descriptions of what he saw, who he met and his impressions of what he calls “celestial beauty.”

The story of his life-changing preview of eternity begins April 28, 2006 in “the middle of the night” where he’s confined to a hospital bed at the University of Michigan Medical Center. His pain racked body, supported by “a tangle of life-support tubes,” makes him long for sleep as a means of escape.

However, instead of sleep, two men suddenly appear in the doorway of his hospital room and his miraculous account begins…

From his pain-free ascent through the skies, to standing in front of a monumental gate amidst a “short line of people,” Marv writes, his “geezer body felt young…strong and fantastic,” all painful limitations of age—gone.

He describes color-bursts of light, more brilliant than the “northern lights” that lit the sky overhead. And the breathtaking sounds of beautiful organ and piano music that accompany choirs of what sounds like millions of people in chorus together.

However, his memories of the incredible number of babies he saw on the other side of the gateway draws the most attention when he speaks to groups. From questions about what the babies looked like, to how old they were who held them and whether they were happy. You must read the book to learn about what he calls “Heaven’s Cradle Roll.”

In addition, readers overhear his conversation with the “hot-headed apostle Peter…gatekeeper of glory.” What the “Book of Life” is and where it is kept and why it’s so important. The meeting with his two-month deceased son-in-law, Steve, a young man he considered his “bonus” son. As well as parents, grandparents and deceased friends who smiled, waved and beckoned for him to come through the gate.

Yet, Marv was kept from going through the gate because Peter couldn’t find his name in the Book of Life “for that day.” Peter left to find out why and on his return said, “…God still has work for you to finish there.” Then Marv’s journey ends and he wakes to pain, but no longer in despair.

Marv, “a banker by trade” who dealt in hard “numbers and percentages” thought people would question his sanity and didn’t talk about what happened, even to his family, until the Lord prompted him to “…open his mouth and start talking.”

He told his family first, then a few friends and soon accepted speaking engagements that led to this book which he co-authored with Lorilee Craker. The day after he and his wife met Lorilee for lunch and added the dedication page that completed the book Marv was hospitalized with pneumonia. Where, his wife writes, he soon “…flew back to heaven…” January 21, 2012, his work finished.

I, like Marv, believe in Christ, God, heaven and hell and that we are all born with eternal souls. Although his story reads like a true experience, I leave it to the reader to decide.

Reviewer: Gail Welborn
Midwest Book Reviews
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on November 13, 2016
I find this book so wonderful. I have ordered many copies and I have given away most of them . My neighbor reads it when ever she gets real lonely about missing her husband and finds great comfort in the book. It is a book that helps a broken heart.and is of great comfort.
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on March 5, 2015
Thus book must have been self published. The way the book read was way too fluffy , and it was mentioned far too many times that he is a Dutch Banker. I do believe that Mr. Besteman thinks this may have occurred, or possibly had a dream, but the book does not follow the hundreds of other books regarding NDEs. How could St. Peter possibly welcome all of the dying people at the gates of Heaven. It really can't be Heaven for St. Peter if he hasn't been able to retire after 2000 years of watching the gates. This book sounded very much like Mr. Besteman was trying to preach and evangelize rather than write of his experiences. I personally do believe in an after life, and in NDEs but not this one. His experience with St. Peter and all of the babies just inside of the gates was just too childlike and preachy for me.
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