When Betty Eadie book Embraced by the Light was first published, it quickly became a New York Times bestseller and was the first of many “by the Light” books published about the NDE. Eadie followed up her bestseller with the books, Awakening Heart and The Ripple Effect. Visit her website at www.embracedbythelight.com for more information about her. Betty’s NDE testimony is one of the most detailed and most profound testimony ever documented in my opinion. “Embraced” was certainly the most popular and important book about the NDE since Raymond Moody‘s ground-breaking book “Life After Life” book was published in 1975. The following excerpts are from Betty Eadie’s New York Times bestseller, Embraced by the Light, reprinted by permission.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Betty’s NDE
- Leaving Her Body
- Entering the Light of Christ
- Learning From the Lord
- Escorted Through Heaven
1. Introduction to Betty’s NDE
On November 18, 1973, Betty Eadie succumbed to complications due to a partial-hysterectomy surgery and had a near-death experience. Afterwards, Betty suffered with depression so painful was her separation from the light of love – she experienced during her moments of clinical death. Twenty years later, after sharing her story with family and friends, and with critically ill cancer patients, Betty was urged to write her experience so that a wider audience might share its beauty. In 1992, Embraced by the Light was published by a small press out of Carson City, Nevada. Embraced became a permanent fixture on the New York Times Bestsellers list, spending more than a year at number one.
2. Leaving Her Body
Betty Eadie leaves her body through her chest and floats above her bed. Three hooded monk-like beings appear whom she identifies to be her guardian angels. They tell her that they have been with her for “eternities” and that she died prematurely. Concerned about her family that she left behind, she travels in spirit to her home to see them; but she discovers that she cannot be seen by them. Betty then returns to her body where her guardian angels are waiting for her.
3. Entering the Light of Christ
[The following is in Betty’s own words.]
I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. The black mass around me began to take on more of the shape of a tunnel, and I felt myself traveling through it at an even greater speed, rushing toward the light. I was instinctively attracted to it, although again, I felt that others might not be. As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him. As I got closer the light became brilliant – brilliant beyond any description, far more brilliant than the sun – and I knew that no earthly eyes in their natural state could look upon this light without being destroyed. Only spiritual eyes could endure it – and appreciate it. As I drew closer I began to stand upright.
I saw that the light immediately around him was golden, as if his whole body had a golden halo around it, and I could see that the golden halo burst out from around him and spread into a brilliant, magnificent whiteness that extended out for some distance. I felt his light blending into mine, literally, and I felt my light being drawn to his. It was as if there were two lamps in a room, both shining, their light merging together. It’s hard to tell where one light ends and the other begins; they just become one light. Although his light was much brighter than my own, I was aware that my light, too, illuminated us. And as our lights merged, I felt as if I had stepped into his countenance, and I felt an utter explosion of love.
It was the most unconditional love I have ever felt, and as I saw his arms open to receive me I went to him and received his complete embrace and said over and over, “I’m home. I’m home, I’m finally home.” I felt his enormous spirit and knew that I had always been a part of him, that in reality I had never been away from him.
And I knew that I was worthy to be with him, to embrace him. I knew that he was aware of all my sins and faults, but that they didn’t matter right now. He just wanted to hold me and share his love with me, and I wanted to share mine with him.
There was no questioning who he was, I knew that he was my savior, and friend, and God. He was Jesus Christ, who had always loved me, even when I thought he hated me. He was life itself, love itself, and his love gave me a fullness of joy, even to overflowing. I knew that I had known him from the beginning, from long before my Earth life, because my spirit remembered him.
All my life I had feared him, and I now saw – I knew – that he was my choicest friend. Gently, he opened his arms and let me stand back far enough to look into his eyes, and he said, “Your death was premature, it is not yet your time.” No words ever spoken have penetrated me more than these. Until then, I had felt no purpose in life; I had simply ambled along looking for love and goodness but never really knowing if my actions were right. Now, within his words, I felt a mission, a purpose; I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that my life on Earth had not been meaningless.
It was not yet my time.
My time would come when my mission, my purpose, my meaning in this life was accomplished. I had a reason for existing on Earth. But even though I understood this, my spirit rebelled. Did this mean I would have to go back? I said to him, “No, I can never leave you now.”
He understood what I meant, and his love and acceptance for me never wavered. My thoughts raced on: “Is this Jesus, God, the being I feared all my life? He is nothing like what I had thought. He is filled with love.”
4. Learning From the Lord
Then questions began coming to my mind. I wanted to know why I had died as I had – not prematurely, but how my spirit had come to him before the resurrection. I was still laboring under the teachings and beliefs of my childhood. His light now began to fill my mind, and my questions were answered even before I fully asked them. His light was knowledge. It had power to fill me with all truth. As I gained confidence and let the light flow into me, my questions came faster than I thought possible, and they were just as quickly answered. And the answers were absolute and complete. In my fears, I had misinterpreted death, had expected something that was not so. The grave was never intended for the spirit – only for the body. I felt no judgment for having been mistaken. There was just a feeling that a simple, living truth had replaced my error.
I understood that he was the son of God, though he himself was also a God, and that he had chosen from before the creation of the world to be our savior. I understood, or rather, I remembered, his role as creator of the Earth. His mission was to come into the world to teach love. This knowledge was more like remembering. Things were coming back to me from long before my life on Earth, things that had been purposely blocked from me by a “veil” of forgetfulness at my birth. As more questions bubbled out of me, I became aware of his sense of humor. Almost laughing, he suggested that I slow down, that I could know all I desired.
But I wanted to know everything, from beginning to end. My curiosity had always been a torment to my parents and husband – and sometimes to me – but now it was a blessing, and I was thrilled with the freedom of learning. I was being taught by the master teacher! My comprehension was such that I could understand volumes in an instant. It was as if I could look at a book and comprehend it at a glance – as though I could just sit back while the book revealed itself to me in every detail, forward and backward, inside and out, every nuance and possible suggestion.
All in an instant. As I comprehended one thing, more questions and answers would come to me, all building on each other, and interacting as if all truth were intrinsically connected. The word “omniscient” had never been more meaningful to me. Knowledge permeated me. In a sense it became me, and I was amazed at my ability to comprehend the mysteries of the universe simply by reflecting on them.
I wanted to know why there were so many churches in the world. Why didn’t God give us only one church, one pure religion? The answer came to me with the purest of understanding. Each of us, I was told, is at a different level of spiritual development and understanding. Each person is therefore prepared for a different level of spiritual knowledge. All religions upon the Earth are necessary because there are people who need what they teach. People in one religion may not have a complete understanding of the Lord’s gospel and never will have while in that religion. But that religion is used as a stepping stone to further knowledge. Each church fulfills spiritual needs that perhaps others cannot fill. No one church can fulfill everybody’s needs at every level. As an individual raises his level of understanding about God and his own eternal progress, he might feel discontented with the teachings of his present church and seek a different philosophy or religion to fill that void. When this occurs he has reached another level of understanding and will long for further truth and knowledge, and for another opportunity to grow. And at every step of the way, these new opportunities to learn will be given.
Having received this knowledge, I knew that we have no right to criticize any church or religion in any way. They are all precious in his sight. Very special people with important missions have been placed in all countries, in all religions, in every station of life, that they might touch others. There is a fullness of the gospel, but most people will not attain it here. In order to grasp this truth, we need to listen to the Spirit and let go of our egos.
I wanted to learn the purpose of life on the Earth. Why are we here? As I basked in the love of Jesus Christ, I couldn’t imagine why any spirit would voluntarily leave this wonderful paradise and all it offered – worlds to explore and ideas to create and knowledge to gain. Why would anyone want to come here? In answer, I remembered the creation of the Earth. I actually experienced it as if it were being reenacted before my eyes. This was important. Jesus wanted me to internalize this knowledge. He wanted me to know how I felt when the creation occurred. And the only way to do that was for me to view it again and feel what I had felt before.
All people as spirits in the pre-mortal world took part in the creation of the Earth. We were thrilled to be part of it. We were with God, and we knew that he created us, that we were his very own children. He was pleased with our development and was filled with absolute love for each one of us. Also, Jesus Christ was there. I understood, to my surprise, that Jesus was a separate being from God, with his own divine purpose, and I knew that God was our mutual Father. My Protestant upbringing had taught me that God the Father and Jesus Christ were one being. As we all assembled, the Father explained that coming to Earth for a time would further our spiritual growth. Each spirit who was to come to Earth assisted in planning the conditions on Earth, including the laws of mortality which would govern us. These included the laws of physics as we know them, the limitations of our bodies, and spiritual powers that we would be able to access. We assisted God in the development of plants and animal life that would be here. Everything was created of spirit matter before it was created physically – solar systems, suns, moons, stars, planets, life upon the planets, mountains, rivers, seas, etc. I saw this process, and then, to further understand it, I was told by the savior that the spirit creation could be compared to one of our photographic prints; the spirit creation would be like a sharp, brilliant print, and the Earth would be like its dark negative. This Earth is only a shadow of the beauty and glory of its spirit creation, but it is what we needed for our growth. It was important that I understand that we all assisted in creating our conditions here.
Many times the creative thoughts we have in this life are the result of unseen inspiration. Many of our important inventions and even technological developments were first created in the spirit by spirit prodigies. Then individuals on Earth received the inspiration to create these inventions here. I understood that there is a vital, dynamic link between the spirit world and mortality, and that we need the spirits on the other side for our progression. I also saw that they are very happy to assist us in any way they can.
I saw that in the pre-mortal world we knew about and even chose our missions in life. I understood that our stations in life are based upon the objectives of those missions. Through divine knowledge we knew what many of our tests and experiences would be, and we prepared accordingly. We bonded with others – family members and friends – to help us complete our missions. We needed their help. We came as volunteers, each eager to learn and experience all that God had created for us. I knew that each of us who made the decision to come here was here was a valiant spirit. Even the least developed among us here was strong and valiant there. We were given agency to act for ourselves here. Our own actions determine the course of our lives, and we can alter or redirect our lives at any time. I understood that this was crucial; God made the promise that he wouldn’t intervene in our lives unless we asked him. And then through his omniscient knowledge he would help us attain our righteous desires. We were grateful for this ability to express our free will and to exercise its power. This would allow each of us to obtain great joy or to choose that which will bring us sadness. The choice would be ours through our decisions.
I was actually relieved to find that the Earth is not our natural home, that we did not originate here. I was gratified to see that the Earth is only a temporary place for our schooling and that sin is not our true nature. Spiritually, we are at various degrees of light – which is knowledge – and because of our divine, spiritual nature we are filled with the desire to do good.
Our earthly selves, however, are constantly in opposition to our spirits. I saw how weak the flesh is. But it is persistent. Although our spirit bodies are full of light, truth, and love, they must battle constantly to overcome the flesh, and this strengthens them. Those who are truly developed will find a perfect harmony between their flesh and spirits, a harmony that will bless them with peace and give them the ability to help others.
As we learn to abide by the laws of this creation, we learn how to use those laws to our own good. We learn how to live in harmony with the creative powers around us. God has given us individual talents, some more and some less according to our needs. As we use these talents, we learn how to work with and eventually understand, the laws and overcome the limitations of this life. By understanding these laws we are better able to serve those around us. Whatever we become here in mortality is meaningless unless it is done for the benefit of others. Our gifts and talents are given to us to help us serve. And in serving others we grow spiritually.
Above all, I was shown that love is supreme. I saw that truly without love we are nothing. We are here to help each other, to care for each other, to understand, forgive, and serve one another. We are here to have love for every person born on Earth. Their earthly form might be black, yellow, brown, handsome, ugly, thin, fat, wealthy, poor, intelligent, or ignorant, but we are not to judge by these appearances. Each spirit has the capacity to be filled with love and eternal energy. At the beginning, each possesses some degree of light and truth that can be more fully developed. We cannot measure these things. Only God knows the heart of man, and only God can judge perfectly. He knows our spirits; we see only temporary strengths and weaknesses. Because of our own limitations, we can seldom look into the heart of man.
I knew that anything we do to show love is worthwhile: a smile, a word of encouragement, a small act of sacrifice. We grow by these actions. Not all people are lovable, but when we find someone difficult for us to love, it is often because they remind us of something within ourselves that we don’t like. I learned that we must love our enemies – let go of anger, hate, envy, bitterness, and the refusal to forgive. These things destroy the spirit. We will have to account for how we treat others.
Upon receiving the plan of creation, we sang in rejoicing and were filled with God’s love. We were filled with joy as we saw the growth we would have here on Earth and the joyous bonds we would create with each other.
Then we watched as the Earth was created. We watched as our spirit brothers and sisters entered physical bodies for their turns upon the Earth, each experiencing the pains and joys that would help them progress. I distinctly remember watching the American pioneers crossing the continent and rejoicing as they endured their difficult tasks and completed their missions. I knew that only those who needed that experience were placed there. I saw the angels rejoicing for those who endured their trials and succeeded and grieving for those who failed. I saw that some failed because of their own weaknesses, and some failed because of the weaknesses of others. I sensed that many of us who were not there would not have been up to the tasks, that we would have made lousy pioneers, and we would have been the cause of more suffering for others. Likewise, some of the pioneers and people from other eras could not have endured the trials of today. We are where we need to be.
As all of these things came to me, I understood perfection of the plan. I saw that we all volunteered for our positions and stations in the world, and that each of us is receiving more help than we know. I saw the unconditional love of God, beyond any earthly love, radiating from him to all his children. I saw the angels standing near us, waiting to assist us, rejoicing in our accomplishments and joys. But above all, I saw Christ, the Creator and savior of the Earth, my friend, and the closest friend any of us can have. I seemed to melt with joy as I was held in his arms and comforted – home at last. I would give all in my power, all that I ever was, to be filled with that love again – to be embraced in the arms of his eternal light.
5. Escorted Through Heaven
[The rest of Betty’s NDE will be summarized here.]
Two close friends appear to Betty whom she knew before she was born. They embrace and go on a tour of the spirit world. They enter a large room and see people creating heavenly garments using heavenly looms of some kind. In another room, she sees people working with a large computer-like machine. They enter another room similar to a library. It is a library of the mind. They go outdoors to a garden where beautiful mountains and rivers can be seen in the distance. It is a realm more beautiful than words can describe.
Beside a waterfall, Betty observes a magnificent rose and becomes one with it briefly. A group of people gather around her for a graduation party. Her guardian angels are there and they tell her she has died prematurely and must go back. Wanting to explore the universe, Betty is escorted by two light beings into the vastness of space. She travels to other worlds similar to Earth and with intelligent beings on them. She returns to the garden and is taken to a place where many spirits are preparing for life on Earth.
Betty’s guides show her a drunken man lying on the sidewalk and ask her what she sees. Betty sees only a drunk wallowing in his own filth. Her guides show her who the man really is. They reveal to her the man is filled with light and love and is greatly admired in the spirit world for being a reminder to people of the need to help others.
Betty is shown the Earth as it appears in space. She is shown how prayers shoot like beacon lights from the Earth. She sees angels rushing around answering these prayers. Betty is observing all of this while in the garden.
She is led from the garden and into a large building before a “Council of Elders” consisting of twelve men and Jesus. Here, she is again told her death was premature and she must return to Earth. Jesus shows her life in review in the form of well-defined holograms. Jesus comforts her when she sees the negative aspects of her life and begins to judge herself too harshly.
After her life review, she is told her mission in life is not complete and must return. Betty steadfastly refuses. Jesus decides to reveal Betty’s mission in life with the condition that if she decides to return to Earth, the memory of her mission will be removed. She agrees to this and is shown her mission. Immediately, she agrees to go back. Suddenly, thousands of angels appear to sing her farewell. Betty finds herself back in the hospital where it all began. Her mission in life was completely removed from her memory.