Lecture and Meeting with Dr. Moody
Several years ago, when I was still very much involved with the Spiritualists, I heard Dr. Ray Moody speak on the topic of near-death experience at a nearby Spiritualist church. Like many people in the audience, I had been influenced by Dr. Moody’s first book, “Life After Life” and considered him an authority on near-death experience (a phrase coined by Moody himself).
Written in 1975, “Life After Life,” is based on case studies of people who reported having had very similar, apparently spiritual experiences when very near death. The book became a runaway best-seller and near-death experience (or NDE) became a household word.
I found Dr. Moody to be a charming and articulate speaker. His presentation covered a range of NDE related topics which included history, philosophy and the nature of the NDE itself. In this article I will touch upon some of them.
According to Dr. Moody, the common elements of the NDE included the experience of a hyper-reality which is largely indescribable, vivid color, a warm and loving light, the presence of deceased loved ones and a panoramic life review. In some NDEs a being of great compassion conducts the review and tells the individual that they must return to their former life. To the best of my memory, negative or “hellish” NDEs were not discussed.
Dr. Moody talked about the ancient Greeks, and their ideas about life after death, at length. Among other things, we learned that the ancients had a word for spirits who survived death and that these returning dead were called revenants (from the Latin reveniens – “coming back” or “returning”).
In mythology, revenants are often animated corpses (similar to classic ideas about vampires) as well as ghosts. If this was referenced in the lecture, I did not make a note of it.
Dr. Moody was especially interested in the practice necromancy in ancient Greece – so interested in this topic, in fact, that visited the ruins of the oracle of the dead in Greece, at Ephyra. Ephyra was a place thought to be the gateway to the underworld.
Upon returned to his home in Anniston Alabama, Dr. Moody set about constructing his own oracle of the dead (or necromanteion). In his book, “Reunions,” Moody shares his own experience with the dead in his necromanteion and gives explicit instructions in how to construct one. The women who ran the Spiritualist circle I attended at the time, build her own necromanteion per his instructions.
The Influence of Ancient Greece
…what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. – 1 Corinthians 10:20-22 NRSV-CE
At the time I heard Dr. Moody speak, I was deeply involved in mediumship under the auspices of the Spiritualists. One of the first things things taught in our weekly “spirit circle” was to connect with our own personal spirit guide who would assist in contacting the dead. My guide, as it turned out, was tied to the same culture that had fascinated Dr. Moody – ancient Greece.
I became convinced of this not through imagination but through the information I was given. This included obscure historic details that I was not aware of prior to my “spirit guide” experience.
At the time, the fact that Dr. Moody and I were both interested in ancient Greece seemed like a delightful “synchronicity.”
When I asked him for book recommendations he happily gave me the names of two books on necromancy, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation and Greek and Roman Necromancy. Both of which I bought.
But what stood out to most both then and now about that lecture was what Dr. Moody said about a life almost wholly devoted to the study of NDE . Everything I have done in life, he told, is because of my interest in ancient Greece.
Not faith. Not science. Greece.
Ancient Greek culture was wonderful in many ways but the religion of Greece and its emphasis on the dreams and the dead was dark. And it is no coincidence, in my opinion, that those who are deeply interested in mediumship and witchcraft are drawn to it.
Is Near-Death Experience of demonic origin? Or is it a true experience of the divine?
I’m not sure. But an analysis of Scripture in Our Sunday Visitor rings true to me:
There are, however, some details [of NDEs] that seem at odds with Biblical accounts of what happens after we die. The Scriptures do not say we die and at once experience the pleasantries of heaven. Rather, our first destination is the judgment seat of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 5:10, Heb 9:27). Further, St. Paul describes a kind of fire that both purifies us and burns away any imperfections: “[The judgment day] will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:13-15) Hence, Scripture does not present dying as mere or immediate pleasantries. Why do most NDEs skip these steps if they are authentic? – Our Sunday Visitor “What Should Catholics Make of Near-Death Experience“
I share a bit more on this topic in my podcast which you can listen to via the player below. Pictures of myself and Dr. Moody follow the player. If you are receiving this post via the elist and do not see the player you can access it directly through the blog or on the podcast page (at NewAgeToCatholic.com)
I hope to write more about this subject, both in my testimony that I have gone back to (again) and here in the blog. So please check back!
Dr. Moody and Me
Dr. Ray Moody is a lovely, gracious man and I enjoyed meeting him. This article does not in any way imply that he is a bad or evil person. I do believe however that it is easier to be negatively influenced, or deceived, than most people realize and have personal reservations about NDEs.
Pictures of my meeting with Dr. Moody follow: