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.
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 abruptly.
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 enveloping.
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 teenagers.
"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
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 excruciating:
"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
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
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
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 world.
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 for me.
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
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.