Editor’s note: This story originally ran on LDS Living in May 2018.
When Jane Moe shattered her ankle after her foot slipped into an exposed manhole in 2006, doctors told her she might never walk normally again. Jane and her long-term boyfriend Richard prayed for a miracle, hoping she could be healed. When Jane went into an intensive surgery where doctors attempted to reconstruct her ankle, she never expected that not only would her prayers be answered but that she would glimpse heaven.
A Vision of the Dead
After Jane drifted into an anesthetized unconsciousness as doctors worked to repair her leg, she remembers looking down at her body and thinking, “How can I be up here and down there, too?” Jane wondered how she could experience the feelings and sensations of being both places at once, when suddenly she realized she had a body and a spirit—two distinct pieces of herself that looked the same.
“All of a sudden, I felt this unbelievable rush of love that went through me and in me and around me and surrounded me,” Jane says. Along with the overwhelming love, Jane was embraced by vivid colors, mostly white and gold. “Not the white and gold like you and I see white and gold,” she clarifies. “When I’m describing what I saw, I don’t have earthly words. . . . And I saw this man walking out of the gold.”
At that moment, Jane wondered if she had died on the operating table. “Are you God?” She asked the man approaching her. “No,” he replied. “But I can understand why you might feel that way. Heavenly Father sent me to talk to you and tell you, don’t be afraid. It’s not your time.”
The man then told Jane she was there to receive a message, that she would have the opportunity to share all she had seen with the world. “I don’t remember my reaction other than I felt home. I knew where I was. I knew this man, yet I didn’t know this man,” Jane says.
That’s when the man asked Jane if she wanted to see something truly special. “I remember thinking, ‘This is not special?’ It was amazing, the amount of love. I can never find enough words, but it was like [the love] was a part of each cell,” Jane says.
The man cracked open a white and gold door behind him, and Jane felt a renewed and more intense burst “of love and joy and music and colors.” The door was only opened an inch, and the man said, “I cannot open it more. You are not ready to see what heaven has and what it offers, but you can see our Savior.”
“I saw the Lord sitting in a chair and He was surrounded by families . . . loving each other,” Jane says. And while it is hard to describe with words all she saw, felt, and experienced, Jane knows our Savior loved and spoke with each person that surrounded Him as though they were a child, taking them all onto His lap one at a time.
The man told Jane he was Richard’s father, adding, “I know my son will never believe what you’ve seen. Heavenly Father is going to give you the gift of remembering this, and I’m going to give you the gift of making my son understand that you really saw me.” That’s when Richard’s father told Jane a list of specific and obscure details about himself, such as his address growing up and that he never tied his shoes, to help Richard believe.
Dreams of the Afterlife
When Jane awoke after her surgery, she looked at Richard and emphatically stated, “I saw your dad.”
“He leaned over me and said, ‘You couldn’t have seen my dad. My dad has been dead since I was 15,’” Jane remembers. She knew from past experiences that it was difficult for Richard to speak of his father. But Jane also knew what she had seen.
“I did see your father,” she responded. “I saw him in heaven. He told me that you wouldn’t believe me, so here are the details that he wanted me to share with you.” As Jane listed off the details about the man she had seen, Richard began to cry. Jane also told him of the vision she had seen.
“He said, ‘Honey, how could this be happening?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, but your dad told me I have a message to share with the world and I don’t know what the message is,’” Jane recalls.
Jane returned home in shock, almost disbelieving everything she had experienced. Though she wrote down everything she could about the memory, she was unsure why she had seen this vision and what it was she was supposed to do.
That night, Richard’s father came to Jane again in a dream, along with Richard’s grandfather and mother. “They said, ‘We can visit you in your dreams now because you have a message to share.’ I said, ‘What is it?’ They never told me the message, they just smiled at me,” Jane says.
For the next eight months, Jane was confined to her bed or a wheelchair. Eventually, she learned to walk again using a walker, and, with the help of physical therapy, she began standing and walking on her own again. But during this time, Jane continued to have dreams about her ancestors and those who had passed away.
One night, Jane remembers receiving a visit from a beautiful woman who asked, “Do you know who I am?” Jane had never seen the woman before in her life, but the woman proceeded to tell Jane she was her Aunt Carol.
“I don’t have an Aunt Carol,” Jane replied.
“Yes, you do,” the woman replied.
The next day Jane called her father. “I asked, ‘Dad, why didn’t you ever tell me you have a sister named Carol?’ He said, ‘How do you know that? We buried her in the cemetery. She was only a baby—she was stillborn. She is dead.’ And I said, ‘No dad, she lives, and I saw her,’” Jane recalls. But her father didn’t believe her—at first. Many of Jane’s family and friends did not believe her experiences until much later in her journey.
Jane recorded her dreams in a journal, but she kept most of these visions between herself and Richard, afraid others would think she was crazy and still unsure why these experiences were happening. But soon Jane noticed changes in her waking life, not just her dreams. She began to have moments when she would feel as though angels were around her. Though she could not see them, she could sense the ancestors who came to her in her dreams surrounding her, strengthening her.
“If you talk out loud, your ancestors can hear you; they can see you too,” Jane says. “You can’t hear and see them because there is a thin veil that separates us, like a one-way mirror.”
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 Latter-day Saints 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 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 member who worshipped there—until that day they arrived for a tour.
About first setting foot in an Latter-day Saint 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.
Discovering Her Message
Jane’s book tour took them next to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they found another Latter-day Saint congregation to join that Sunday, thinking no one would notice them. But with Richard wearing a red jogging suit and Jane wearing casual clothes, it took only seconds after the final “Amen” for someone to introduce themselves and ask if they were visitors.
“Yes, I am, and we want to be baptized today,” Jane told the friendly ward member. The woman quickly introduced Jane and Richard to the missionaries, and Jane remembers the missionaries looking at her with complete love. “I thought I was seeing angels or something,” Jane recalls.
When Jane and Richard told the missionaries they wanted to be baptized, the elders were enthusiastic, but they also told the couple a few steps would need to happen before a baptismal day. First, the missionaries took the couple to Gospel Principles, and Jane was ecstatic to learn they were teaching from the very same book she had just finished. “Everything they were teaching in that class, I already believed,” Jane says.
Jane remembers everyone she met that first day of church being so kind, loving, and full of a light she couldn’t explain—what she calls the Mormon glow. She wanted more than anything to learn how to experience that light for herself.
Her conversion came in stages. First, she learned how to pray. Having been raised Catholic, Jane only knew how to say a handful of memorized prayers, and she remembers the first time she knelt beside her bed and truly began conversing with Heavenly Father. “I just started talking and words started flowing,” Jane says. It was in that moment, in 2013, five years after her near-death experience, that Jane finally understood what message it was her ancestors wanted her to share. The message was that this Church—and all its teachings about eternal families, the Book of Mormon, life after death, our divine potential, angels, and salvation for our relatives—is true.
Jane and Richard on their baptism day
Jane and Richard got married and baptized shortly after investigating the Church. No sooner had they received the Holy Ghost than they began to work toward receiving their endowment and becoming sealed in the temple.
“For me, becoming LDS is like entering a whole new world—like stake houses that don’t feed steak. . . . We had to practice for weeks to learn how to say Melchizedek,” Jane jokes. “But I have to say, I love it.” And while much of what Jane has learned about the gospel was new, some of it was startlingly familiar.
When the missionaries began teaching Jane about Joseph Smith, she knew in her heart it was true because of a dream she had received years previously, a dream during which a young boy saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. After waking from the dream, Jane told Richard with excitement, “There is a young man who saw God and Jesus Christ, and they appeared to him in New York.” Jane remembers Richard correcting her, “He said, ‘Oh no, I know that story. I have a friend who goes to that church, and he lives in Utah. God and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith in Utah.” Later, when Jane first received a Book of Mormon and saw Joseph Smith’s name printed inside the front cover, she wondered if it could be the same boy she had dreamed about. Then, when she learned about his experience in the Sacred Grove, she felt an added measure of peace and security that she had found the true Church.
Jane originally was hesitant about sharing her dreams and experiences with Church members after the negative reception she had received in other churches. But, bits at a time, Jane would open up during church classes or with friends in the ward. “They didn’t kick us out,” Jane remembers with amazement. “They didn’t laugh at us; they embraced us.” As Jane learned more about Church history and the visions Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and so many other Church leaders had of the spirit world and life hereafter, Jane learned that what she had seen was true and that God still speaks to us today through miraculous means.
Becoming Sealed in the Temple
“We started doing our ancestry work two weeks after our baptism,” Jane remembers. “We had no idea what we were doing, but we knew other people had talked about their ancestry work, and we could feel our ancestors [urging us]. . . . We’ve found hundreds of names.”
While investigating the Church and waiting to receive their endowments, Jane and Richard put their tour and everything on hold, staying in Arkansas.
When they were first issued a limited-use recommend to perform baptisms for the dead for their ancestors, Jane and Richard made the seven-hour drive to the nearest temple, the Memphis Tennessee Temple. “I remember Richard was holding my hand while we walked into the Memphis temple,” Jane says. “Immediately I started crying because I could [sense] angels everywhere.” Jane was baptized first for Richard’s mother, and she says, “I could feel her. There are no words to explain how I felt.” Then, Richard was baptized for his father. The whole seven-hour drive home, the two didn’t talk about their experience. “We were in awe,” Jane says.
But the next morning, Richard asked if they could go back to the temple that weekend. And they did—that weekend and several more following.
Jane and Richard after being sealed together in the temple
In June 2013, Jane and Richard first traveled to Utah, and when Jane saw “churches on every corner and temples everywhere you look,” she knew she wanted to make Utah her home. That same year, Jane and Richard moved everything from their home in California to Provo, Utah, where they still live today. Both Richard and Jane received their endowment and were sealed together in the temple in 2014, a sacred experience Jane says she will never forget. Jane has since had the privilege of working in the temple, serving as a ward missionary, and teaching ancestry classes—all callings that resonate with her own story and passion.
About her journey of joining the Church, Jane says, “I know the Church is true. . . For me to know it now, I’m jumping and shouting from the rooftops telling people that I’m so excited that the Church is true. . . . I try to testify as often as I can.” Because, for Jane, the Church and the gospel are a special message she feels privileged to share.