Without a doubt, Dr. Mary Neal knows that God is real. But she had much more doubt than faith before her near-death experience during which this skeptical scientist visited Heaven. And her testimony is really amazing! Mary’s parents, as a child in the 1950s, made sure she went to church. But as she grew up, she had grown apart from Christianity. Mary went to college where she joined the “religion of the intellect” trading spiritual beliefs for “science”. She was still calling herself a Christian, however. She agreed with the moral guidelines Christianity offered. But Mary lacked a personal relationship with Jesus. She aimed at being a “good person,” but didn’t necessarily acknowledge Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
But all that would soon be altered. God had an amazing plan for finding a way into Mary’s heart!
n 1999, Mary took a trip to Chile. But while kayaking, Mary’s boat flipped and she found herself drowning.
“We were kayaking on a section of river well known for its waterfalls,” the former nominal Christian scientist starts her story. “As I crested the waterfall, I knew that things were not going to go well for me.”
As Mary’s kayak went through the waterfall, it capsized and became stuck beneath eight to ten feet of raging water. The weight of the current pushed Mary into the front of the kayak, where she could do nothing to free herself.
During this scary time, Mary experienced what she describes as a “radical shift in time and dimension.” Despite a lifetime fear of drowning, Mary found herself surprisingly at peace.
“I was being held and comforted and being reassured that everything was fine, regardless of whether I lived or died,” she recalled, also noting that she knew it was Jesus who was comforting her. “I was taken through a life review that was the first of many very profound parts of this experience for me.”
While undergoing this “life review,” Mary says she saw and understood things in an amazing way, and from the perspective of all of the people involved in each moment they reviewed.
“I was shown the truth in God’s promise that beauty really does come from all things,” she said.
After the life review, Mary felt her real-world body come free from being pinned. But at the same time, her Spirit separated from her body. As it did, she was met by a group of “beings.” She’s not quite sure what to call these things, but we think they were angels.
As Mary spoke with them, she recalls being able to look back and see her physical body, which had come out of the river and had CPR administered. The Spirit of this wary scientist visited Heaven while her physical body was left behind.
Though God ended up giving Mary her life back on earth, she still remembers feeling at peace and truly at home during her out-of-body experience. And the event totally changed her belief system. She came back to earth knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God’s existence and love were real.
Mary goes into detail about her visit to Heaven in her book titled Seven Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life. After her experience, she came back to earth with a calling — to help other people develop trust in all of God’s promises. Though the scientist in her used to discredit God’s existence, she now knows He’s exactly who He says He is!
“The reality of God is [now] part of every breath I take,” Mary said. “And God’s presence is part of every thought that I have.”