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on November 29, 2017
At first, I was having a real hard time with this book, especially after reading several other books on near death experiences. It's a bit of a slog through the first half. She spent a lot of time talking about her family, her job, and her experiences as a Christian. It wasn't until she finally talked about her near death in South America, that things got interesting. There isn't a lot of memory for her concerning her visitation to heaven...but there is a lot about what this visit did to change her life. Dr. Neal talks about her continuing talks with either an angel or God about why things happened, and what she should do. She apparently was comforted when her own son passed away after her own accident.

This book really doesn't spend a lot of time with information about heaven, if that's what you are looking for. But if you want a book that adds to your own understanding about our relationship with God, this book is a good read. She writes well, and the last half of the book made it worth it for me. One takeaway from this book, is our Heavenly Father is very aware of us as individuals, and that He cares about us. I think right now with everything that is happening in the world people need to understand this...but you need to make the first step.
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on August 26, 2016
I just finished To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary Neal. I have read several books on NDEs and found Dr. Neal’s story interesting although I prefer accounts that are not heavily influenced by religion. Why? Because Heaven is accessible to everyone, regardless of faith or belief. God has many faces and many names. And before the thought enters your mind, I am not in any way a follower of New Age philosophy. In fact, I avoid such material. I shook my head at many of the critical reviews; people professing to be Christians, basically calling Dr. Neal deceptive, a liar and a shameful exploiter. I admit, I am very curious how you came to such conclusions; beside the fact you did not like her story. Do you know Dr. Neal personally? I find it quite interesting that many negative commentators mention the Bible and scripture. Sadly, I have to wonder if they have forgotten John 8:7, Luke 6:37 and Matthew 7: 3-5? Regarding the complaints of her brief description of her NDE, Dr. Neal offers an explanation that is a common thread of many NDE accounts; the words available to us do not adequately describe the experience. The colors, the music, the light, the emotions, everything of that rapturous tableau, earthly words can NOT describe. You may want to visit Dr. Jeffrey Long’s website; [...], where you can read hundreds of NDE stories. You may enjoy the compelling story Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani. Both Ms. Moorjani and Dr. Neal refer to the tapestry; each author describes it in a similar fashion. I also recommend a beautiful book titled Opening Heaven’s Door by Patricia Pearson. Before reading additional NDE accounts; many which are not Christian based, I advise my fellow Christians to drop your stone or remove the log lodged in your eye. Peace be with you.
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on September 20, 2017
It always strengthens my faith to read of people's experiences of heaven and then coming back and telling what they've seen and heard. Dr. Mary seems to be a very humble person as she tells us of visiting with angels and Jesus. I was also very touched as she tells about the loss of her son, Willie. I have also lost a child. The emotions she shared as they were healing their grief were so real to me. I look forward so much to seeing my son, Ian when it is my time to go to Heaven to be with our Lord.
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on April 1, 2018
I loved this book. I think what struck me most significant is that Mary describes how glorious it was and how she didn't want to come back. And the fact that she sees the world from a scientific viewpoint, yet she had to admit that she did leave her body and experience the afterlife. If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you'll just nod your head all the way through because you will know that everything she says lines up with what you've experienced. If you're a skeptic, please give God a chance. Don't just exist on this earth but really live, and ask God to prove to you that He is real, and if you do it with a sincere heart, you will see why 2.3 billion of us are believers. He will astound you and you will feel His presence and His love. Everything in Dr. Mary Neal's book can be summed up in God's love for us, He does not want us to be afraid of the afterlife, and even though she had a wonderful husband, good job and children she loved, the incredible sense of peace and joy and love made her not want to come back. In fact, in order to live in this world, she had to force herself not to dwell on the glory she experienced. At the beginning she sums up my sentiments exactly: "I dedicate this book to God. You gave me life and I live for your glory."
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on April 9, 2017
This book was beautiful, positive, uplifting, and inspiring. Absolutely love this book. It really changes the way I think about my own life and its perspective. I recently lost someone extremely close to me, and this book has really helped. Things I've always wondered about, I found some answers. Dr. Neal is a very inspiring and positive woman. Thank you so much for writing this book and God Bless you.
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on October 18, 2017
Dr. Mary Neal has lived a seemingly good life. That is until the day she died and then came back. The fact that she is alive is nothing short of a miracle. In her book she talks about the experience and of her conversations with an angel and what God expects of her as a Christian. The book is inspirational and I’m glad I read it. It gives me insight into God’s love for all of us.
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on February 9, 2012
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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on June 20, 2017
I found this book to be so inspirational. This is a true book written by a doctor who does not believe in the after life. I couldn't put it down and it was so heart warming to know that the author had the experience of heaven. Talking with her patients who had a the fortunate experience of dying and going to Heaven deepened my faith in a second life. Everybody should read this book. I believe these experiences happen so the people who do come back from death can tell the world about God and Heaven. It is so up lifting and gives us all hope for a better place then this world.
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on January 11, 2018
The book has 33 chapters. Chapters 1 - 9 are about her life before the accident. Chapter 10 is about the accident. Chapter 11 - 33 are her life after the accident. Her entire "Heaven and back" experience is in 1 chapter of 3.5 pages. She met a few angels then came back. That is it.
She has a sequel called "7 lessons from Heaven". In the Introduction, page 3, she wrote "many of my descriptions in Heaven and Back struck me as inadequate and incomplete". I am embarrassed ...". So now she writes a sequel!
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on October 17, 2012
Mary, thank you for writing this wonderful book about your NDE and how it changed your life. It took a lot of courage from you, especially since you appear to be,and you describe yourself as a very private person. The fact that you are a very specialized orthopedic surgeon, adds to the credibility of the story. You seem to have a great reputation in that field and in your community, so I am sure you would not make up stories to get attention, and risk that. You don't need to. Your life is already nearly perfect.

I've been reluctant to purchase "Heaven is for Real", since it is the story of a child's encounter with heaven, and it would be hard for me to assess how much of it was real, how much of it was in the child's imagination, and how much of it might have come from his father and other adults influencing the child. I purchased your book because I am a terrible skeptic, but your credentials gave me confidence.

I had to read all the one star reviews to find out why some people could be so disappointed with this book. I seem to understand a little better now:

The actual trip to heaven must have taken less than a few minutes, given the fact that you're still here, and did not suffer any brain damage. Thank God for that! Therefore, there wasn't a whole lot of detail to be said. But what you did say is very reassuring. There is definitely life after death, and it will be a joyous wonderful life! We won't want to come back, once we are there.

As for the conversations with the angel (or Jesus, if it was Jesus, which could very well be. Didn't you ask his name? I think I would have). You said you spoke at length with him, on two occasions. Most of us were hanging on your every word, to see if you could share the answers you were given, but they were very vague. Given that tremendous opportunity, if any of us could talk to Jesus or an angel, what would we ask? I can make a pretty long list myself. For example, times have changed a lot since the bible was written. How does God feel TODAY about issues that fill us with doubt, fear and anxiety, such as divorce, abortion, birth control, war, homosexuality, lust, greed, selfishness, justice, etc. Here is a topic that weighs heavily on my mind: Pain and disease. Why do some people heal and some don't. Why are the lucky ones lucky? Not that I'm calling you lucky. You studied hard, you worked hard. You deserve your success. Yes compared to most of us, you are an over-achiever and some people may resent that. On the other hand, losing a child is probably the hardest thing for most people to endure. No one envies you for that. Your experience may have helped you understand it a little better, but I'm sure it was painful just the same. I believe you were blessed in many ways, and the fact that you always trusted God probably had a lot to do with it. There are many times that my trust gets replaced with doubt and anger, and I just have to remember to ask God to help me believe more, trust more. Your book taught me three very important lessons that I hope to remember for the rest of my life. The three verses of the bible that you read in your hospital room.

God bless you Mary, and many, many thanks!

I'm glad that you were able to share with us all that you did. If you think of any answers to my above questions, please don't hesitate to comment.
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