The book Embraced By The Light (Gold Leaf Press) chronicles the near-death experience (NDE) of ex-hypnotherapist Beatty Eadie. The story opens in a Seattle-area hospital on November 19, 1973 when Eadie is 31-years-old. There, after undergoing a routine hysterectomy, she allegedly started hemorrhaging, subsequently died, and didn’t come back to life until almost five hours later.
Although written by a first time author and published by a tiny publishing house in Placerville, California, the book has met with phenomenal success. Within six months of its December 1992 first printing of 20,000 copies, Embraced by the Light hit the New York Times bestseller list where it had spent 40 weeks as of February 3, 1994. Unfortunately, Embraced by the Light is extremely unbiblical. Eadie is a Mormon and her book reflects numerous doctrines distinctive of Mormonism. Her story also promotes beliefs similar to those found in the New Age movement and in the Mind Science religions (e.g., Christian Science, Religious Science).
According to an article in the March 6, 1993 Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner, “Eadie said she was an inactive member of the LDS [Mormon] Church at the time [of her supposed near-death experience] and since then has become active. She said she was told during her after-life experience that the LDS Church is ‘the truest Church on the earth.’ But her LDS background wasn’t included in the book, she said, because ‘the book was meant to go out to the world, not just to LDS members.’”
One of the Mormon doctrines repeatedly stressed in Embraced by the Light is the pre-mortal existence of human spirits: “Then I began to see images in my mind of a time long ago, of an existence before my life on earth….The fact of a pre-earth life crystallized in my mind….” (p. 31). Eadie further states: “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” (p. 44). The term “veil of forgetfulness” is distinctively Mormon.
Contrary to Eadie’s claim that we were first spiritual and then natural (or fleshly), Scripture declares, “That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:46).
Eadie also says that while “dead” she learned that “Jesus was a separate being from God, with his own divine purpose” (p. 47). This belief, too, reflects the Mormon teaching that God the Father and Jesus Christ are entirely separate and distinct beings (or gods).
Other Mormon doctrines and images found in the book include the denial of a real “fall” in the Garden of Eden (p. 109), the belief that we assisted God in creating the universe (pp. 47–48), and the notion that there exist eternal “intelligences” which evolve into spiritual beings (pp. 55–57). Eadie hints at the Mormon view that God is our literal father (who, in LDS theology, begot us through relations with a heavenly mother) (p. 52) and the concept of eternal progression to godhood (pp. 45, 61, 109, 146). She also describes meeting with a heavenly council of twelve men seated at a kidney-shaped table (pp. 108–109).
MIND-SCIENCE & NEW AGE INFLUENCES
Besides Mormon beliefs, Embraced by the Light promotes teachings similar to those found in the New Age movement and the Mind Sciences. “There is power in our thoughts,” says Eadie. “We create our own surroundings by the thoughts we think” (p. 58). On healing, Eadie writes, “we literally have the power to affect our own health….Once we have identified the illness or problem, we need to start verbalizing its remedy. We need to remove thoughts of the illness from our minds and begin concentrating on its cure. Then we need to verbalize this cure, letting our words add to the power of our thoughts” (pp. 62, 65).
Additionally, Eadie’s account supports universalism — the teaching that all individuals will eventually be saved (p. 85). The New Age belief that all religions are necessary is also affirmed to be true by Eadie (p. 45).
Perhaps the most “politically correct” section of Embraced by the Light is where Eadie intimates that abortion is acceptable (although “contrary to what is natural”). Eadie writes that pre-existing spirits can choose precisely when they want to enter a body still in the womb. Consequently, pre-birth babies are only bodies waiting to get a spirit. Eadie, in other words, feels that aborted babies do not necessarily have spirits. In describing abortion, she states: “The spirit coming into the body feels a sense of rejection and sorrow. It knows the body was to be his….But the spirit also feels compassion for its mother, knowing that she made a decision based on the knowledge she had” (p. 95 — emphasis added).
It is not surprising that Embraced by the Light has captured the hearts and minds of so many. It is the kind of book that offends almost no one while pleasing nearly everyone. What is missing from the book is truth consistent with Scripture. Also missing is medical documentation supporting Eadie’s claim that she died (according to the October 11, 1993 issue of People magazine, Eadie refuses to supply such proof). In light of the foregoing, CRI does not endorse Embraced by the Light and recommends that Christians avoid it.