How a Near-Death Experience Taught One Woman the Gospel Before She Even Knew the LDS Church Existed

Telling Her Story

Jane continued to have dreams about people and even pets Richard had owned growing up, and she began to learn all living things have a spirit.

One morning, Jane woke up with the impression she needed to write a book. “I opened my laptop and the words started flowing,” Jane says. “I know it was heaven-sent because I don’t write books. I didn’t even know where to begin, but it just started coming out.”

But Jane still felt uneasy about publishing, knowing many people might criticize her or think she was insane. Eventually, Jane self-published her book, feeling this might be the message she had to share.

Shortly after she published What Heaven Is Like, Richard had a dream they needed to leave their life in California and travel throughout the United States sharing the message that death is not the end—it’s the beginning, and families can be together for eternity.

Traveling in a motorhome, Jane and Richard made appointments in churches throughout the Bible Belt sharing their message, but many would not listen, pointing out ways Jane’s visions of heaven did not coincide with their own doctrines. Eventually, Jane and Richard changed their focus to visiting bookstores, retirement homes, or anywhere people were receptive to their message.

Finding the Church

While on their tour, Jane received a phone call from her sister-in-law, Grace, in California.

“I got baptized and I am a Mormon now!” Grace told her enthusiastically. Jane wondered why on earth Grace would join a Church that required her to give up her car, electricity, and running water.

“No, that’s the Amish,” Grace explained. “I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Jane had never heard about the Church, but when her sister-in-law began explaining that Mormons believed in eternal families, angels and ancestors that surround and strengthen us, and bodies and spirits composing a single soul, Jane’s curiosity was piqued.

Jane was in her hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, for Christmas in 2012, and Grace arranged for her to meet with a woman from the LDS Church who would give her and Richard a tour of the meetinghouse.

Driving to the church, Jane was shocked to learn that it was a building she had driven past hundreds of times, yet she had never heard about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or met a Mormon who worshipped there—until that day they arrived for a tour.

About first setting foot in an LDS meetinghouse, Jane says, “As soon as I walked in, this heat started building in my chest.” She began walking by artwork of the Savior, and Jane continues, “I can’t tell you what those pictures meant to be. I knew Jesus. I had seen Jesus. I felt Him. And I started to cry. The more pictures we looked at, the more I cried. Finally, [our guide] took us to the chapel, and I turned around. Richard was weeping, too.”

At the door, Jane handed the woman a copy of her book, and the woman replied, “I have a book for you.” It was the Book of Mormon along with a copy of Gospel Principles.

When she got home, Jane couldn’t wait to learn more. Looking at the two books she decided to start with the one that was thinner and had dozens of illustrations. As she read, Jane began to highlight the teachings that matched what she had seen or learned about heaven and God from her own personal experience. Soon nearly the entire book was highlighted.

But something miraculous happened when Jane picked up the Book of Mormon to read it for the first time. “As I held in my hand, my hand started shaking. [I felt just] how I feel when I pick up the Bible. . . . As I read, I wept and wept, and I felt this warm feeling spreading through me again. Now I know that is the Holy Ghost testifying to me that it is true.”

As soon as Richard came home that night, Jane declared, “We are joining this church.” He whole-heartedly agreed.

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