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Howard Storm was born October 26, 1946, in Flushing, New York. He is a former art professor and chairman of the art department at the Northern Kentucky University. Before his near-death experience, Storm reports that he was not a pleasant man. He was an angry atheist that was hostile to every form of religion, as well as those who practiced it. He considered all spiritual belief systems to be fantasies created by deluded people. He knew with certainty that the material world was all that existed. He would often use rage to control the people around him and didn’t find joy in anything. On June 1, 1985, at the age of 38, Storm suffered a perforation of the stomach, which led to his death and a profound near-death experience. When he returned to this world, he was a changed man. He is best known as the author of “My Descent Into Death” which details his near-death experience. Storm’s NDE is regarded as one of the most complete accounts of distressing near-death experiences ever recorded. It includes dramatic encounters with evil spirits, a trip to hell, a rescue by Jesus, and extensive conversations with Jesus and a group of angels. Storm’s NDE has been cited frequently in near-death studies literature. His book was originally published in 2000. Storm has told his story to numerous audiences and appeared on NBC’s Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 48 Hours, Discovery Channel and Coast to Coast AM. Storm was so deeply affected by his near-death experience that he resigned from Northern Kentucky University and became a United Church of Christ minister.
Websites & Background Information
• Howard Storm’s Story on Near-Death.com:
• Howard Storm Videos (includes ability to download)
My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life (2005)
By Howard Storm
“Not since Betty Eadie’s “Embraced by the Light” has a personal account of a Near-Death Experience (NDE) been so utterly different from most others — or nearly as compelling.
“In the thirty years since Raymond Moody’s “Life After Life” appeared, a familiar pattern of NDEs has emerged: suddenly floating over one’s own body, usually in a hospital setting, then a sudden hurtling through a tunnel of light toward a presence of love. Not so in Howard Storm’s case.
“Storm, an avowed atheist, was awaiting emergency surgery when he realized that he was at death’s door. Storm found himself out of his own body, looking down on the hospital room scene below. Next, rather than going ‘toward the light,’ he found himself being torturously dragged to excruciating realms of darkness and death, where he was physically assaulted by monstrous beings of evil. His description of his pure terror and torture is unnerving in its utter originality and convincing detail.
“Finally, drawn away from death and transported to the realm of heaven, Storm met angelic beings as well as the God of Creation. In this fascinating account, Storm tells of his ‘life review,’ his conversation with God, even answers to age-old questions such as why the Holocaust was allowed to take place. Storm was sent back to his body with a new knowledge of the purpose of life here on earth. This book is his message of hope.”
“The only reason I could bear to proceed with the life review was because of their love for me. No matter what we watched me do in life, they communicated their love for me, even as they expressed their disapproval of the things I did.”
Interested In Relationships
“The angels and Jesus had no interest in the track meet competitions I won or lost. They were interested in the relationships and how we encouraged or hurt one another.”
“God is not particularly interested in human sexual expression. God is interested in how we love one another and doesn’t want us to exploit one another.”
“It is impossible to love another person unless we love ourselves. Without the love of God, it is impossible to love ourselves because every human being is aware of their flawed nature and sinfulness.”
“The only authentic love in this world is achieved when there is a balance between love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self.”
“Our purpose is to know and do God’s will in this life, and we do this when we love one another as God loves us. Every person, without exception, needs to be loved by us. This is the most difficult and most important lesson of our life.”
Other Life in The Universe
“I asked them if there were other worlds. And they said, yes, the universe is full of other worlds — and there are other dimensions of other physical universes and those are full of other worlds.”
Diversity of Heavens
“Each person is escorted toward heaven according to his or her life, culture, and spiritual level.”
Lessons Learned: A Spiritual Journey (2014)
By Howard Storm
From the author of, “My Descent Into Death,” comes and autobiographical journey that changed the author’s life from an atheist to a Christian minister. This journey has had dramatic hill and valleys which have been openly described in the hopes that the reader will find similarities in their struggles through life towards an abiding faith in God.
One Of The First Public Talks Given By Howard Storm
Edward A. Riess recorded the following talk by Howard Storm which reportedly took place in the fall of 1987. It is one of the first public talks given by Howard in which he describes his now famous near-death experience. Special thanks to Ed for providing this important audio recording.
Howard Storm – Part One (MP3)
Howard Storm – Part Two (MP3)
Excerpts (beginning at 06:55):
Tricia Barker: You get a lot of questions about end of the world scenarios… What are your thoughts on those types of questions?
Howard Storm: Probably a huge disappointment because Jesus showed me a future in 200 years which was like a paradise. I figured he was serious about that. I did ask him how we’re going to get there and he said, “One of two ways.” I said, “Well, tell me how we’re going to do it.” He said, “The way God wants is for people to come to God and to be kinder and more loving. Of course much more respectful of the planet and of each other and it’ll come about very rapidly… because God is really unhappy with what we are doing with each other and the planet.”
I want to say something about that. When a child is abused, God feels that pain. People don’t appreciate how much God feels. The abuse of a child can be in an affluent home or it can be in an underdeveloped country where there are refugees and they are being starved and parents are killed and they are on the run. God has a great love for children. A great love for the poor. A great love for the downtrodden and it’s completely unnecessary. There’s an abundance of resources on the planet right now for every man, woman, and child to have a decent life and an opportunity for work, education, health, etc.
Instead there’s an inequitable distribution of these resources and so we in America who live in a very affluent society, whether we want to recognize it or not, are part of the inequity of this world. God’s unhappy. Very unhappy about this. Jesus came 2000 years ago and sometimes I wonder what impact has he had at all. You know? In the last 100 years, we started to do things like pass child labor laws. 2000 years ago Jesus came. And it’s only in the last 100 years we’ve passed child labor laws. It’s only in the last 100 years we’ve started to think about equality of women with men, which we have by no means achieved. And in some parts of the world it’s not even an issue. There’s places in the world where female children aren’t allowed to go to school. These are all grieving God and Jesus told me that if we don’t change this world very, very soon, God’s going to change it. The way it’s going to come about is there will be a collapse of civilization primarily through the whole electrical system will fail. Which will mean an end of commerce. Jesus showed me all this step by step by step in detail.
I’m not going to go into the gory details, but when the economic system fails, there’s no transportation. There’s no buying and selling. There’s no food. There’s no food because like I went to the grocery store yesterday and I got stuff from Ecuador, right? That’s going to come to an end without electronics.
It’s going to be terrible and when that happens, the worst in people will come out and they will start killing each other over a can of food, over basic resources and it will be horrible.
Tricia Barker: I throw out percentages at people, trying to get them to change because sometimes logic gets to me. Someone was talking about human trafficking is a $10 billion industry, which sounds like a lot of money. We spend that much money on blue jeans in the United States. I had trouble buying blue jeans after that. I went to thrift stores and whatever I got back from my income tax return, I looked at what I could give to end human trafficking. Because I thought that’s not a ton of money. What American’s spend on potato chips and blue jeans could end that suffering across the entire world. If that would just sink in to people’s heads, I think if we ended human trafficking, we’d feel so much better about ourselves than getting a new pair of blue jeans. Yet it hurts. I think it hurts people to give up a part of themselves and they don’t often do it.
Howard Storm: And just simply to get involved. To care.
Tricia Barker: It’s vital and I always give students the option of community and working together even in a situation like an electrical grid disaster. People who work together to grow a garden it seems like they would be better off than people who are fighting each other…
Howard Storm: There will be a remnant that will survive all this. The only way they’re going to survive — and you said it — is through community.
Tricia Barker: Yes. Very, very interesting. Any other questions people often email you or want to know?
Howard Storm: Yeah, they want to know when the end of the world is and when Jesus is coming and I say, “If I told you I knew, it would destroy my credibility because no one knows.” That’s really, really clear in the scripture. So anybody that’s going around saying they know when the end of the world is and when Jesus is coming, you can be certain that they’re a false prophet. I’m trying to maintain my credibility as a prophet here by saying I don’t know…
The Redemption of Howard Storm
The Redemption of Howard Storm
While most of Howard’s appearances in the media have focused on the superficial aspects on his near-death experience, a recent interview with filmmaker Matt Cline gave Storm the opportunity to go deeper. I encourage all of you to watch this outstanding film. The second video (Part 3) — from 03:00 to 10:25 — includes a wonderfully insightful and humorous conversation that Howard had with Jesus concerning why loving others is the most important thing a person can do. Don’t miss this one.
EXCERPT from Part 3
03:00 – 10:25
When Jesus told me I had to come back to the world and I was trying to convince him not to send me back, I asked him what would I do if I came back. Before he had a chance to answer, I said, “you know I am an artist and I would like to build you a shrine. I would make this shrine so big and beautiful and bizarre that people would come from all over the world out of curiosity to see what it was about. What they would find was it would be about you. That would make them think about you. That’s what I would like to do if I came back.”
He said, “I would rather you didn’t do that.”
“WHAT?!! People have been building shrines to you forever. There are lots of shrines. Why can’t I build a shrine? I would like to build a shrine.”
“You spent so much of your life hiding out in the studio, avoiding people, I would prefer it if you didn’t avoid people by building this big shrine… I don’t really care about shrines. People like to build shrines. I understand that. It makes them feel good. It does absolutely nothing for me or for God. We don’t have any use for them whatsoever. If that’s what amuses you, I guess that’s what you gotta do. But don’t do it for me. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking it’s something I want or need, because I don’t.”
“OK, you shot down my idea. What’s your idea?”
“Love the person you’re with.”
“OK, great, I’ll do that. No problem. What do you want me to do?”
“I just told you what I want you to do: love the person you’re with.”
“Yeah, but after I do that, what do you really want me to do?”
“No, that is what I want you to do: love the person you’re with.”
I said, “Well that’s simple enough, that’s easy, I can do that.”
“Oh really. Well, that’s what I want you to do. That’s enough.”
And I said, “How is it enough?”
“If you do that, you will change the world.”
“Oh, you want me to change the world?!”
“Exactly, that’s why I put you in the world in the first place: to change the world.”
“Well you know there have been a lot of people who have tried to change the world and that usually turns out pretty badly. I can think of examples like Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung. All of them wanted to change the world and they made it worse. If I go back and try and change the world, why isn’t it possible that I could make a lot of terrible mistakes and make the world a worse place?”
“The way I want you to change the world is by loving the person you are with.”
“Wait a minute, that’s a contradiction. You want me to change the world but you just want me to love the person I’m with?”
“Yes, that’s the plan; that’s The Big Plan… If you love the person you’re with, then that person will go out and love the person they’re with, and they will go out and love the person they’re with and it will be like a chain reaction and love will conquer the world and everyone will love one another. That’s God’s Big Plan.”
“It’s not going to work.”
“Why won’t it work?”
“I love the person I’m with. She walks across the street and gets run over by a truck. Everyone gets angry and upset.”
“Yeah, that happens. But it’s really God’s plan and nothing is going to stop it. It’s going to happen.”
“Even if you had a million people, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
“There are more than a million people in the plan…”
“Well, from what I know of the world, you don’t have enough.”
“Actually, we have all the angels in the plan. There are a lot of them. There are more angels than people in the world… There are millions of people. There are all the angels. And there’s God. It’s inevitable. The plan is going to happen.”
“If that’s your plan, I’ll do it, but I just don’t really see much hope for it.”
“You don’t know enough to see how it’s going to happen.”
So, my solution to everything is to love one another. And when I read the Bible and found out that that was written in the Bible as Jesus’ commandment: “This is my commandment, that you love one another…” That’s the program. I have tried to be part of that program… So, I personally have no big plan other than to be loving.
The only fly in the ointment was that I thought it was going to be easy, and it turns out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It sounds so simple, but it’s really difficult. It’s easy for me to love my mother because she was a really nice woman; a very loving woman. It’s not hard to love someone who is really good and really loving. But what do you do with someone who is difficult, or really nasty? Those are hard people to love.
And what does it mean to love someone? Sometimes to love someone means you need to incarcerate them. And that’s not a lot of fun. Sometimes loving someone means you have to put as much distance between them and you as possible and tell them to never call you. And that’s not a lot of fun.
Loving people sounds so simple, but it’s very difficult…
NDEr Howard Storm on Returning to Earth, Making Mistakes & Forgiveness
I never saw God, and I was not in heaven. It was way out in the suburbs, and these are the things that they showed me. We talked for a long time, about many things, and then I looked at myself. When I saw me, I was glowing. I was radiant. I was becoming beautiful — not nearly as beautiful as them — but I had a certain sparkle that I never had before.
Not being ready to face the Earth again, I told them that I wished to be with them forever. I said, “I’m ready, I’m ready to be like you and be here forever. This is great. I love it. I love you. You’re wonderful.”
I knew that they loved me and knew everything about me. I knew that everything was going to be okay from now on. I asked if I could get rid of my body, which was definitely a hindrance, and become a being like them with the powers they had shown me. They said, “No, you have to go back.”
They explained to me that I was very underdeveloped and that it would be of great benefit to return to my physical existence to learn. In my human life I would have an opportunity to grow so that the next time I was with them I would be more compatible. I would need to develop important characteristics to become like them and to be involved with the work that they do. Responding that I couldn’t go back, I tried to argue with them, and I observed that if I bear that thought — the thought that I might wind up in the pit again — I pled with them to stay.
My friends then said, “Do you think that we expect you to be perfect, after all the love we feel for you, even after you were on Earth blaspheming God, and treating everyone around you like dirt? And this, despite the fact that we were sending people to try and help you, to teach you the truth? Do you really think we would be apart from you now?”
I asked them, “But what about my own sense of failure? You’ve shown me how I can be better, and I’m sure I can’t live up to that. I’m not that good.” Some of my self-centeredness welled up and I said, “No way. I’m not going back.”
They said, “There are people who care about you; your wife, your children, your mother and father. You should go back for them. Your children need your help.”
I said, “You can help them. If you make me go back there are things that just won’t work. If I go back there and make mistakes I won’t be able to stand it because you’ve shown me I could be more loving and more compassionate and I’ll forget. I’ll be mean to someone or I’ll do something awful to someone. I just know it’s going to happen because I’m a human being. I’m going to blow it and I won’t be able to stand it. I’ll feel so bad I’ll want to kill myself and I can’t do that because life is precious. I might just go catatonic. So you can’t send me back.”
They assured me that mistakes are an acceptable part of being human. “Go,” they said, “and make all the mistakes you want. Mistakes are how you learn.” As long as I tried to do what I knew was right, they said, I would be on the right path. If I made a mistake, I should fully recognize it as a mistake, then put it behind me and simply try not to make the same mistake again. The important things is to try one’s best, keep one’s standards of goodness and truth, and not compromise those to win people’s approval.
“But,” I said, “mistakes make me feel bad.”
They said, “We love you the way you are, mistakes and all. And you can feel our forgiveness. You can feel our love any time you want to.”
I said, “I don’t understand. How do I do that?”
“Just turn inward,” they said. “Just ask for our love and we’ll give it to you if you ask from the heart.”
They advised me to recognize it when I made a mistake and to ask for forgiveness. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, I would be forgiven but, I would have to accept the forgiveness. My belief in the principal of forgiveness must be real, and I would have to know that the forgiveness was given. Confessing, either in public or in private, that I had made a mistake, I should then ask for forgiveness. After that, it would be an insult to them if I didn’t accept the forgiveness. I shouldn’t continue to go around with a sense of guilt, and I should not repeat errors I should learn from my mistakes.
“But,” I said, “how will I know what is the right choice? How will I know what you want me to do?”
They replied, “We want you to do what you want to do. That means making choices and there isn’t necessarily any right choice. There are a spectrum of possibilities, and you should make the best choice you can from those possibilities. If you do that, we will be there helping you.”
I didn’t give in easily. I argued that back there was full of problems and that here was everything I could possibly want. I questioned my ability to accomplish anything they would consider important in my world. They said the world is a beautiful expression of the Supreme Being. One can find beauty or ugliness depending on what one directs one’s mind toward. They explained that the subtle and complex development of our world was beyond my comprehension, but I would be a suitable instrument for the Creator. Every part of the creation, they explained, is infinitely interesting because it is a manifestation of the Creator. A very important opportunity for me would be to explore this world with wonder and enjoyment.
They never gave me a direct mission or purpose. Could I build a shrine or cathedral for God? They said those monuments were for humanity. They wanted me to live my life to love people not things. I told them I wasn’t good enough to represent what I had just experienced with them on a worldly level. They assured me I would be given appropriate help whenever I might need it. All I had to do is ask.
The luminous beings, my teachers, were very convincing. I was also acutely aware that not far away was the Great Being, what I knew to be the Creator. They never said, “He wants it this way,” but that was implied behind everything they said. I didn’t want to argue too much because the Great Entity was so wonderful and so awesome. The love that was emanated was overwhelming.
Presenting my biggest argument against coming back into the world, I told them that it would break my heart, and I would die, if I had to leave them and their love. Coming back would be so cruel, I said, that I couldn’t stand it. I mentioned that the world was filled with hate and competition, and I didn’t want to return to that maelstrom. I couldn’t bear to leave them. My friends observed that they had never been apart from me. I explained that I hadn’t been aware of their presence, and if I went back I, again, wouldn’t know they were there. Explaining how to communicate with them, they told me to get myself quiet, inside, and to ask for their love; then that love would come, and I would know they were there. They said, “You won’t be away from us. We’re with you. We’ve always been with you. We always will be right with you all the time.”
I said, “But how do I know that? You tell me that, but when I go back there it’s just going to be a nice theory.”
They said, “Any time you need us we’ll be there for you.”
I said, “You mean like you’ll just appear?”
They said, “No, no. We’re not going to intervene in your life in any big way unless you need us. We’re just going to be there and you’ll feel our presence, you’ll feel our love.”
After that explanation I ran out of arguments, and I said I thought I could go back. And, just like that, I was back. Returning to my body, the pain was there, only worse than before.”
“My final argument — this was the biggie; this was the ace I’ve been keeping up my sleeve — I said, ‘you can’t send me back.’
“And they said ‘why?’
“And I said… ‘I’ve never known anybody that loved me like you did, I’ve never known anybody that knew me like you do because you know me better than I know me… if you send me back, it will kill me. I will die of a broken heart.’
“And they said, ‘you’re not paying attention. Has there been a moment in your life when we have ever been a part from you, when you have ever been alone or separate from us?’
“And I went, ‘No, but like I never saw you, I never talked to you, I never felt you. Is it going to be like that when I go back?’
“And they said it’s going to be exactly like that.
“And I said, ‘well, it’s kind of like being alone when you can’t see, hear, taste, touch the person that’s with you. They’re not there. It feels lonely… That would kill me, in loneliness, to be a part from you.’
“And they said, ‘there is a way to get in touch with us.’
“And I said, ‘how do you do that?’
“And they said, ‘be still, get quiet, talk to us, tell us everything you want to say. Then be really quiet and still and invite our love into your heart and you’ll know that we are right there and you’ll know our love right there.’
“This works. It really works…”
In the second half of this interview, Howard has several very interesting things to say. Beginning at 45:00:
“They (Jesus and the angels) were very hopeful. What they want is for us to ultimately come to heaven to grow and to evolve in heaven to become beautiful spiritual beings like they are. Ultimately, our ambition is to become more and more like Christ…
“I asked about life on other planets. Jesus said the universe was full of life. There was an incalculable amount of life and intelligent life on other planets. I asked him, ‘What do they look like?’ He said, ‘Here, I’ll show you.’ And he paraded images of beings from other planets. The parade began with human-like beings and as the parade went by, they became more and more different than us. Finally, I was looking at people that looked more like undersea creatures or insects and I said, ‘OK, that’s enough. I don’t want to see anymore.’ It’s getting a little weird. It was creepy…
“I asked Jesus [if he had visited other planets] and he said that he has been everywhere. He’s been to every planet. Not the Jesus of Nazareth Jesus. He didn’t go there as a young male, Jewish guy. He went in their form. He was relatable in every world that he was in…
“We only use a tiny fraction of our brain. I understand that it is about 10 percent. Jesus said that we have abilities and powers built into us; built into us genetically and into our biology to do things like teleport throughout the universe. We could, in this world, be linked to every other intelligent being in the universe. We could grow our food by sitting down and contemplating it and watching it grow right before our eyes from a seed to an edible plant. We could control the weather in unison with everybody else in the world. All that’s waiting for us. The problem is; the reason why we don’t have those gifts now, why we’re being held back from them, is because we would abuse them… We don’t know how to play with the toys we’ve been given so far, so it’s quite obvious that we are not ready to be able to telepathically know everyone on this planet. But a day is coming — and it’s not very far off, frankly — when that’s going to happen.”
Beginning at 55:40:
“God’s not particularly interested in our material success in this world, but He’s interested in our relationships — how much we love one another — that’s what God cares about. And if you are doing your very best, no matter how humble it is, to love one another, God is EXTREMELY PLEASED with what you are doing.”
Paintings that Howard Storm created of Jesus Christ after his near-death experience.
Former atheist Howard Storm shares his near-death experience in more detail. The sound is slightly out of sync with the video in portions of this video.