Angie Fenimore's Suicide Near-Death Experience
Angie Fenimore, a wife and mother haunted
by abuse in childhood and overwhelmed by despair, was in
a desperate state of mind. On January 8, 1991, she
committed suicide, hoping to escape her sense of emptiness
and suffering. But clinical death didn't draw her to the
light seen in so many near-death experiences. Instead, she
found herself in a realm of darkness. The hell she experienced
was far more horrific and personal than the old fire-and-brimstone
metaphors. Her hell was a realm of terrifying visions and
profound psychic disconnection. Miraculously, she was restored
to life: imprinted forever with a new sense of faith, of
being subject to the sacred will, and of being truly a child
of God. The following is an excerpt from her
Beyond the Darkness.
I was passing over into a different sphere.
My soul was disconnecting from my body with a hum that kept
growing louder, rising to a whine as the vibration of death
pulled me deeper.
I noticed that
there was a large screen before me. I was being drawn
into a three-dimensional slide show of my life that
played out before my eyes chronologically, while I
experienced every part of it from all points of view and
all points of understanding. I knew exactly how each
person felt who had ever interacted with me.
In particular, however, I was being shown
in vivid detail exactly what my childhood was really like.
The pictures flew past me, but I easily absorbed every moment,
each one triggering an entire memory or a chunk of my life.
So this was what people meant when they said, "My life
flashed before my eyes."
The closer I came to the end of my life,
the faster the pictures flew past me. It was incredible!
In an instant I had experienced the entirety of the twenty-seven
years from my birth until the moment that I found myself
dying on the couch and passing into the warm tunnel. Then
the fast motion of my life rushing past and through me stopped
Where was I? I was immersed in darkness.
My eyes seemed to adjust, and I could see clearly even though
there was no light. The darkness continued in all directions
and seemed to have no end, but it wasn't just blackness,
it was an endless void, an absence of light. It was completely
I swung my head around to explore the
thick blackness and saw, to my right, standing shoulder
to shoulder, a handful of others. They were all
"Oh, we must be the suicides."
With a laugh, I opened my mouth, but
before I could form the words, they came tumbling out. I
wasn't sure whether I had thought the words or had attempted
to say them, but they were audible without my having to
move my lips. Then I wasn't sure if these other people had
heard me, until the guy next to me responded.
He didn't say a word to me. He slowly
looked down at me and turned forward again. There was absolutely
no expression on his face, no warmth or intelligence in
his eyes. Suspended in darkness, he and all the others stood
fixed in a thoughtless stupor.
Second over from the other end of the
line was a girl who looked to be in her late teens. I was
coming to see that feeling - what some call intuition or
the sixth sense - was the preferred method of transferring
information here, where unvoiced ideas grew audible. As
I exercised my new power of sensing/feeling, I had
an inkling that I was remembering a long-forgotten, natural,
familiar skill that had been supplanted or subverted by
words, and I quickly grew proficient at this new way of
But she did not connect with me. Her
empty gaze, fixed on nothing, continued uninterrupted by
my thoughts about her. She was just like the rest of them,
staring blankly forward, with no concern or curiosity about
where we were. They were dead, and so was I.
Suddenly, as if we had been waiting for
a kind of sorting process to take place, I was sucked further
into the darkness by an unseen and undefined power, leaving
the teenagers behind. I landed on the edge of a shadowy
realm, suspended in the darkness, extending to the limits
of my sight.
I knew that I was in a state of hell,
but this was not the typical fire and brimstone hell that
I had learned about as a young child. The word purgatory
rose, whispered, into my mind.
Men and women of all ages, but no children,
were standing or squatting or wandering about on the realm.
Some were mumbling to themselves. The darkness emanated
from deep within and radiated from them in an aura I could
feel. They were completely self-absorbed, every one of them
too caught up in his or her own misery to engage in any
mental or emotional exchange. They had the ability to connect
with one another, but they were incapacitated by the darkness.
I gradually became aware of the sounds
of a kaleidoscopic flurry of voices, and I realized that
in this realm, thoughts were the mode of communication. Around
me I could hear the buzz of thoughts, as if I were in a
crowded movie theater with lights down low, picking up the
sounds of hushed exchanges.
Sitting next to me was a man who appeared
to be about sixty years old. This man's eyes were totally
without comprehension. Pathetically squatting on the ground,
draped in filthy white robes, he wasn't radiating anything,
not even self-pity. I felt that he had absorbed everything
there was to know here and had chosen to stop thinking.
He was completely drained, just waiting. I knew that his
soul had been rotting here forever. In this dark prison
a day might as well be a thousand days or a thousand years.
I was sure that this man, like the middle-aged
woman, had killed himself. His clothing suggested that he
might have walked the Earth during Jesus Christ's earthly
ministry. I wondered if he was Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed
the Savior and then hung himself. I felt that I should be
embarrassed that I was thinking these things in his presence,
where he could hear me.
As my mind reached for more information,
I felt tremendous disappointment. I could feel and completely
know about everything around me just by posing a question
in my mind or by looking in any direction. The possibilities
for learning were endless, but I had no books, no television,
no love, no privacy, no sleep, no friends, no light, no
growth, no happiness, and no relief - no knowledge
to gain and no way to use it.
But worse was my growing sense of complete
aloneness. Even hearing the brunt of someone's anger, however
unpleasant, is a form of tangible connection. But in this
empty world, where no connections could be made, the solitude
Then I heard a
voice of awesome power, not loud but crashing over me
like a booming wave of sound; a voice that encompassed
such ferocious anger that with one word it could destroy
the universe, and that also encompassed such potent and
unwavering love that, like the sun, it could coax life
from the Earth. I cowered at its force and at its
"Is this what you really
The great voice emanated from a pinpoint
of light that swelled with each thunderous word until it
hung like a radiant sun just beyond the black wall of mist
that formed my prison. Though far more brilliant that the
sun, the light soothed my eyes with its deep and pure white
luminescence. I sensed that the light could not (or
perhaps would not - I wasn't sure) cross the barrier into
the darkness. And I knew with complete certainty that I
was in the presence of God.
He was a Being of Light, not just radiating
light or illuminated from within, but he almost seemed to
be made of the light. It was a light that had substance
and dimension, the most beautiful, glorious substance that
I have ever beheld. All beauty, all love, all goodness were
contained in the light that poured forth from this being.
But there is nothing that we are even capable of imagining
that comes close to the magnitude of perfect love that this
being poured into me.
While I was not remembering details of
a life before my mortal birth, I was reacquainting myself
with the life that I shared with the Father, a spirit life
that seemed to extend to the beginning of the universe.
I could see that none of the others in
the realm were aware of God's presence. The man cowering
next to me could see that I was focused on something, but
it was apparent that he couldn't see anything beyond the
barrier. Others continued to babble unaware.
Then God spoke to me. His words were
"Is this what you really
want? Don't you know that this is the worst
thing you could have done?"
I could feel his anger and frustration,
both because I'd thrown in the towel and because I had cut
myself off from him and from his guidance.
And I'd felt trapped. I had been able
to see no other choice but to die before I could do any
more damage in life. So I answered:
"But my life is so hard."
My thoughts were
communicated so fast that they weren't even
completed before I absorbed his response:
"You think that was
hard? It is nothing compared to what awaits
you if you take your life."
When the Father spoke, each of his words
exploded into a complex of meanings, like fireworks, tiny
balls of light that erupted into a billion bits of information,
filling me with streams of vivid truth and pure understanding.
"Life's supposed to
be hard. You can't skip over parts. We have
all done it. You must earn what you receive."
Suddenly I felt another presence
with us, the same presence that had been with me when I
first crossed over into death and who had reviewed my life
with me. I recognized that he had been with us the whole
time, but that I was only now becoming able to perceive
him. Then I'd sensed his powerful, yet gentle personality,
but now I could feel him so strongly that I could even ascertain
his shape. What I could see were bits of light coming through
the darkness, like tiny laser beams pinpricking a black
sheet or like stars peeping through the blackness of a cloudless
night. This light was unmistakably of the same brilliance
as the glorious light that emanated from the Father, but
my spiritual eyes were incapable of fully beholding it.
My ability to see with my eyes was somehow linked to my
willingness to believe.
The rays of light penetrated me with
incredible force, with the power of an all-consuming love.
This love was as pure and potent as the Father's, but it
had an entirely new dimension of pure compassion, of complete
and perfect empathy. I felt that he not only understood
my life and my pains exactly, as if he had actually lived
my life, but that he knew everything about how to guide
me through it; how my different choices could produce either
more bitterness or new growth. Having thought all my life
that no one could possibly understand what I had been through,
I was now aware that there was one other person who truly
Through this empathy ran a deep vein
of sorrow. He ached, he truly grieved for the pain I had
endured, but even more for my failure to seek his comfort.
His greatest desire was to help me. He mourned my blindness
as a mother would mourn a dead child. Suddenly I knew that
I was in the presence of the redeemer of the world.
He spoke to me through the veil of darkness:
"Don't you understand?
I have done this for you."
As I was flooded with his love and with
the actual pain that he bore for me, my spiritual eyes were
opened. In that moment I began to see just exactly what
it was that the Savior had done, how he had sacrificed for
me. He showed me; He had taken me into himself, subsumed
my life in his, embracing my experiences, my sufferings,
as his own. And so for a second I was within his body, able
to see things from his point of view and to experience his
self-awareness. He let me in so I could see for myself how
he had taken on my burdens and how much love he bore me.
And I knew where I had gone wrong. I
had doubted his existence. I had questioned the authenticity
of the scriptures because what they claimed seemed too good
to be true. I had hoped that there was truth to the idea
of a Savior who had given his life for me, but I had been
afraid to really believe. To believe without seeing
requires a great deal of trust. My trust had been violated
so many times in my life that I had very little to spare.
And so I had clung to my pain so tightly that I was willing
to end my life rather than unburden myself and act on the
chance that a Savior existed. He wanted to comfort me and
to hold me, but we were separated by my responses to the
lessons of life. He had been there for me all through my
life, but I had not trusted him.
As I watched from the Savior's perspective,
his unique comprehension of my predicament was transferred
to the Father. From my new perspective I saw God in profile
as he was looking at my form. The Father and his Son's communication
was so rapid, so perfect, that they seemed to think each
other's thoughts in unison. Jesus was pleading my case.
There was no conflict or argument here; Jesus' understanding
was accepted without dispute because he had all the facts.
He was the perfect judge. He knew precisely where I stood
in relation to my need for mercy and the universe's need
for justice. Now I could see that all the suffering in my
mortal life would be temporary, and that it was actually
for my good. Our sufferings on Earth need not be futile.
Out of the most tragic of circumstances springs human growth.
As God the Father and Jesus were teaching
me, their words picked up speed and power and then merged,
so that they were saying the exact same things in the very
same moment. They shared one voice, one mind, and the purpose,
and I was deluged with pure knowledge.
I learned that just as there are laws
of nature, of physics and probability, there are laws of
spirit. One of these spiritual laws is that a price of suffering
must be paid for every act of harm. I was painfully aware
of the suffering I had caused my family and other people
because of my own weaknesses. But now I saw that by ending
my life, I was destroying the web of connections of people
on Earth, possibly drastically altering the lives of millions,
for all of us are inseparably linked, and the negative impact
of one decision has the capacity to be felt throughout the
My children, certainly, would be gravely
harmed by my suicide. I was given a glimpse of their future,
not the events of their lives but rather energy, and the
character that their lives would have. By abandoning my
earthly responsibilities, I would influence my children,
my oldest son in particular, to make choices that would
lead him away from his divine purpose. Before Alex was born,
I was told, he had agreed to perform specific tasks during
his life on Earth. His duty was not revealed to me, but
I felt the energy that his life would have up until his
young adult years.
I was told that
my children were great and powerful spirits and that up
to this point in my life, I had not deserved them. I
caught a glimpse of how deeply God loves my boys, and
how, with my callous disregard for their welfare, I was
tampering with the sacred will of God.
Then I was shown how I would harm other
people close to me, such as my husband and my sister, Tony,
by taking my life; and by extension, countless others. There
were people on the Earth whom I would never meet who would
be affected by my suicide. Because of the anger and pain
I would cause them, my loved ones would be unable to store
up the goodness that they were meant to pass on to others.
I would be held responsible for the damages - or the lack
of good - they would do while immersed in the pain of my
selfish death. And I would pay dearly for it, since spiritual
laws dictate that all of the harm, including lack of good,
stemming from my death be punished by a measure of suffering.
Even though I couldn't foresee the ripple effect my death
would cause, I would be held accountable. God himself is
bound by spiritual law, and so there could be no escape
And I was shown that for me, the realm
of darkness was quite literally spiritual time-out, a place
where I was supposed to grasp the gravity of my offenses
and to pay the price. But I had to ask, why me? Why was
it that I could see God while the vacant husk of a man next
to me could not? Why was I absorbing light and being
taught, while he was hunkering down in misery and darkness?
I was told that the reason is willingness.
When I first looked at that man and wondered if he had been
alive during the earthly ministry of Jesus, the question
showed that I was willing to believe in God, willing to
believe that Christ had once walked the Earth. And once
I was willing to believe, I was able to see. Willingness
and ability are the same thing. All around me on the dark
realm were people of varying degrees of willingness, of
understanding, of ability to see that Jesus Christ was there
with us the whole time. I don't know if the others were
talking to God as I was or if they were talking to other
messengers of light that I was not yet capable of seeing,
but I'm sure that not all of them were just mumbling to
themselves. And I could see that my spiritual time-out could
have lasted a moment, or it could have taken me thousands
of years to progress out of that dark prison, depending
on when I reached the point of willingness to see the light.
And what about the spiritual law that
required me to suffer for the damage I had already done
in life, up until and including my suicide? I was told that
the debt had already been paid, that the sacrifice had already
been made. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ had
experienced all the suffering that has or ever will take
place in the life of any human born on this Earth. He experienced
my life, he bore my sins, he accepted my grief. But in order
for the agony that Jesus endured on my behalf to count,
in order for him to take my place in fulfilling that spiritual
law, I had to accept his gift.
My heart broke as I realized that I had
been not only hurting my family, who are beloved children
of God, but also causing my Savior, who had such all-encompassing
love and compassion for me, to suffer - all because I had
allowed myself to be molded by other people's weaknesses.
Now my perception was shifting, and the
darkness seemed to lift slightly. When I first entered the
dark prison, my vision took in only the things and the people
in the realm of darkness. But once I had taken enough light
in from God and Jesus, my spiritual eyes were opened to
another dimension in the darkness. Now I could see that
Beings of Light were all around me.
Hell, while also a specific dimension,
is primarily a state of mind. When we die, we are bound
by what we think. In mortality the more solid our thoughts
become, as we act upon them - allowing darkness
to develop in others and in ourselves - the more damning
they are. I had been in hell long before I died, and I hadn't
realized it because I had escaped many of the consequences
up until the point that I took my life. But when we die,
our state of mind grows far more obvious because we are
gathered together with those who think as we do. This ordering
is completely natural and is consistent with how we choose
to live while we are in this world. Our time is but
a heartbeat in the eternal scheme of creation, and yet it
is the crucial moment of truth, the turning point. It determines
how our spirits will exist forever, into both the future
and the past.
I was becoming less and less a part of
the place of darkness with each particle of light that I
accepted. I hadn't felt myself lift off the surface, but
now I was hovering above the field of darkness, into the
realm of the scurrying spirits of light.
I could feel the urgency in the spirits
who were scurrying about to do the work of God. I was then
told that we are in the final moments before the Savior
will return to the Earth. I was told that the war between
darkness and light upon the Earth has grown so intense that
if we are not continually seeking light, the darkness will
consume us and we will be lost. I was not told when it would
happen, but I understood that the Earth is being prepared
for the second coming of Christ. I looked down at the pathetic
souls and realized that I no longer felt as they did. I
wanted to live.
Then the powerful energy source that
had transported me to the dark prison returned to liberate
me. For a split second a rushing sensation engulfed me.
The darkness sped past, and suddenly I was back in my body,
lying on the couch.