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The Temple of Knowledge and the Near-Death Experience

One remarkable aspect of many near-death accounts is a visit to a heavenly structure that resembles a temple or a library. This structure has different names, such as: the Temple of Knowledge, the Temple of Wisdom, the heavenly Hall of Records, or simply a library. The following are examples of near-death accounts that involve this heavenly structure.

1. Near-death temple experiences

Dr. George Ritchie’s NDE Temple Experience: “I began to perceive a whole new realm! Enormous buildings stood in a beautiful sunny park that reminded me somewhat of a well-planned university. As we entered one of the buildings and doorways, the air was so hushed that I was actually startled to see people in the passageway. I could not tell if they were men or women, old or young, for all were covered from head to foot in loose-flowing hooded cloaks which made me think vaguely of monks. But the atmosphere of the place was not at all as I imagined a monastery. It was more like some tremendous study center, humming with the excitement of great discovery. Everyone we passed in the wide halls and on the curving staircases seemed caught up in some all-engrossing activity; not many words were exchanged among them. And yet I sensed no unfriendliness between these beings, rather an aloofness of total concentration. Whatever else these people might be, they appeared utterly and supremely self-forgetful – absorbed in some vast purpose beyond themselves. Through open doors I glimpsed at enormous rooms filled with complex equipment. In several of the rooms hooded figures bent over intricate charts and diagrams, or sat at the controls of elaborate consoles flickering with lights. Somehow I felt that some vast experiment was being pursued, perhaps dozens and dozens of such experiments. And something more … In spite of his obvious delight in the beings around us, I sensed that even this was not the ultimate, that he had far greater things to show me if only I could see.

“And so I followed him into other buildings of this domain of thought. We entered a studio where music of a complexity I couldn’t begin to follow was being composed and performed. There were complicated rhythms, tones not on a scale I knew. ‘Why,’ I found myself thinking. ‘Bach is only the beginning!’

“Next we walked through a library the size of the whole University of Richmond. I gazed into rooms lined floor to ceiling with documents on parchment, clay, leather, metal, paper. ‘Here,’ the thought occurred to me, ‘are assembled the important books of the universe.’ Immediately I knew this was impossible. How could books be written somewhere beyond the Earth! But the thought persisted, although my mind rejected it. ‘The key works of the universe,’ the phrase kept recurring as we roamed the domed reading rooms crowded with silent scholars. Then abruptly, at the door to one of the smaller rooms, almost an annex: ‘Here is the central thought of this Earth.’

“‘Is this heaven, Lord Jesus?’ I ventured. The calm, the brightness, they were surely heaven-like! So was the absence of self, of clamoring ego. ‘When these people were on Earth did they grow beyond selfish desires?’ ‘They grew, and they have kept on growing.'” (Dr. George Ritchie)

Dr. Allen Kellehear’s NDE Temple Experience Research: Dr. Kellehear published an interesting near-death account where a person sees Albert Einstein in heaven operating a computer in a heavenly library. This account has similarities to George Ritchie‘s heavenly temple/library accounts described in this article. Here is an excerpt of the account from Dr. Kellehear’s book Experiences Near Death:

“This time we were audience to a choir of angels singing. Angels were totally outside my reality at the time, yet somehow I knew these beautiful beings to be angelic. They sang the most lovely and extraordinary music I had ever heard. They were identical, each equally beautiful. When their song was over, one of their number came forward to greet me. She was exquisite and I was mightily attracted, but I then realized my admiration could only be expressed in a wholly nonphysical manner, as to a little child. I was embarrassed by my error, but it did not matter. All was forgiven in this wonderful place.

“Instantly we arrived in an art gallery. It contained the work of the great masters of all time and all places. The display was both classical and modern. Some of the great works seemed familiar. Others were unlike anything I had ever seen, indescribable. The beauty and form of the sculpture and paintings on display were beyond words. A lifetime could be spent in this place, but to see everything I needed to see during this visit, we must move on.

“Next we materialized in a computer room. It was a place of great activity, yet peace prevailed. None of the stress of business was present, but prodigious work was accomplished. The people seemed familiar to me, like old friends. This was confusing, because I knew there to be present those who lived on Earth still, and those who had passed on. Some of them I knew by name, others by reputation; and all had time for me, to teach me if ever I need help understanding. One of them was Albert Einstein, whom I had always admired greatly but distantly, and this great man took time away from his duties to encourage me. He asked me if I would care to operate the computer, which was very complex and beautiful and designed to guide the path of destinies. I was flattered, but felt incompetent and unsure of myself in the presence of such greatness. I told him I would like to try, but I was afraid of making a mistake. He laughed greatly, and reassured me, saying that error was not possible in this place. Encouraged, I seemed instinctively to know how to operate this unusual machine, and waved my hand in a pattern over the large keyboard, rather like playing a piano without touching the keys. I knew instantly the task had been performed perfectly, and it had somehow been of great benefit to someone. I was suffused with the joy of a job well done. I would gladly spend eternity here at this rewarding work if only for the tremendous feeling of well-being I had experienced as a result.

“We continued our tour and arrived at a library. It was a vast old traditional building, containing all of the wisdom of the ages, everything ever said or written. Room upon room, shelf upon shelf of books stretched away as far as the eye could see. By that time I had growing doubt I was destined to stay in this mysterious yet familiar place, even though I knew in my heart it was home. I had the uncomfortable feeling I must return soon to resume my life. My guide, for by now I thought of him as such, told me I must study and learn from the infinite array of wisdom before us. I was dismayed, and said there was no way I was capable of such a task. I was told to simply make a beginning, to do the best I could, and that would always be good enough. There was plenty of time.” (Dr. Allen Kellehear’s Research)

Hal’s Temple Experience: “I was snapped back to the task at hand – the life review. It was judgment to be sure, but more like fact-finding than fault-finding. The only condemnation was me regretting some of my mistakes. Then the movie stopped abruptly. The end of my life had been reached. The Being of Light was surprised and I felt it. There was something missing. [The Being of Light then takes Hal to a heavenly library to find out why his life review suddenly stopped.] With no movement at all, we were now at a large library. The one who had been doing my life review was no longer a ball of light but now a hooded and robed figure. And still inscrutable. ‘Look what I found out there,’ it said to the library staff. One of the clerks went to large bead rack, much like an abacus, and began calculating. One clerk wore a short robe with a classic Greek pattern decorating the lower edge. His robe had a hood, as did the robes of all the others. I concluded that his hood was not for warmth and asked my guide. The guide confirmed my observation, the hoods were not for warmth. When I pushed to know the purpose of the hoods I was informed that I would know when it was time to have that information. I sensed that my guide disapproved of the non-traditional attire, but had no cause to criticize as the work done by that individual was always excellent. Another clerk observed the placement of the beads on the top row and thought, ‘Oh, no! The Old section.'” That was clay tablets to be moved and sorted through. A moment later, two of the beads in the top row were moved again. It would be in the section written on hides stretched over wooden frames. Much easier to sort through. When the calculation finished, we set off through the stacks counting rows as we went. I observed stacked sheets of papyrus, then scrolls. Then came rows with stacked wooden frames. We passed these quickly and came to a row with hides stretched over sticks. A clerk was now counting bays, then shelves, then hides. One hide was selected and pulled from the stack. Another clerk carefully counted the entries until he found the right one. The writing was like none I’d seen before. It reminded me a bit of Hebrew and runic writing. I couldn’t read it. But I could read the mind of my guide! Hah! Blocked. I tried to read it through one of the clerks. Frustrated again. I tried to memorize the shapes of the letters but was frustrated there as well. My guide informed me that I wasn’t supposed to know what the entry said. I asked what was I allowed to know? I was informed that the entry described my life. It was hardly larger than a business card.” From this information, the Being of Light made the decision to return Hal to his body. (Hal)

Betty Eadie’s Temple Experience: “I was taken to a large room similar to a library. As I looked around it seemed to be a repository of knowledge, but I couldn’t see any books. Then I noticed ideas coming into my mind, knowledge filling me on subjects that I had not thought about for some time – or in some cases not at all. Then I realized that this was a library of the mind. By simply reflecting on a topic, as I had earlier in Christ’s presence, all knowledge on that topic came to me. I could learn about anybody in history – or even in the spirit world – in full detail. (Betty Eadie)

Edgar Cayce’s Temple Experience: “As I pass on [through the tunnel], there is more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. With the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds. There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and there is the sound of wonderful music. The houses are left behind; ahead there is only a blending of sound and color. Quite suddenly I come upon a Hall of Records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an old man who hands me a large book (which he calls the ‘Book of Life‘), a record of the individual for whom I seek information.” (Edgar Cayce)

Carl Jung’s Temple Experience: “Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple … As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process… Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all the questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.” [Jung learns he must return to his body.] “I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.” (Carl Jung)

Jan Price’s Temple Experience: “Quickly we approached a structure of supernal beauty. It was vast, of the purest white, and somewhat Grecian in architecture. Paths led into the structure from all directions, and I observed many people coming and going. Over the archway through which we entered the structure, I saw the words TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE and felt a gentle power drawing me into itself. There were pillars of varying heights, becoming higher and higher toward the center. Turning back to the interior of the temple, I saw that creative activities were taking place in different areas. There were a number of individuals sitting at easels painting, and I saw one man playing a flute-like instrument that emitted the sweetest of sounds. Farther on, dancers moved with ethereal grace, performing with a lightness impossible to the physical human form. As I watched in utter delight, I became aware that the musical background for this visual feast came from what I would call a celestial choir – an orchestra of voices creating heavenly music for the dance. This Music of the Spheres was indeed singing the praises of the Creator. A little tug from Maggi reminded me that there was more here in the temple to investigate. Moving in toward the center, it was quieter, and the gentle power that I had felt earlier was stronger. Here were individuals, wise ones, it seems, stationed at intervals and waiting to assist those who chose to approach them. (Jan Price)

Dannion Brinkley’s Temple Experience: “Like wingless birds, we swept into a city of cathedrals. These cathedrals were made entirely of a crystalline substance that glowed with a light that shone powerfully from within. I was awestruck. This place had a power that seemed to pulsate through the air. I knew that I was in a place of learning. I wasn’t there to witness my life or to see what value it had had, I was there to be instructed. When we entered the structure, the Being of Light was with me no more. I looked around for him and saw no one. Rows of benches were lined up across the room, and that radiant light made everything glow and feel like love. I sat on one of the benches and looked around the room for my spiritual guide.” [Dannion then encounters thirteen Beings of Light.] “Now more than ever I knew that this was a place of learning. I would be steeped in knowledge, taught in a way that I had never been taught before. There would be no books and no memorization. In the presence of these Beings of Light, I would become knowledge and know everything that was important to know. I could ask any question and know the answer. It was like being a drop of water bathed in the knowledge of the ocean, or a beam of light knowing what all light knows.” [Dannion is then given prophetic visions of the future before he returns to his body.] (Dannion Brinkley)

Karen Brannon’s Temple Experience: “I was in a library in an ethereal temple or atrium, similar to ancient Greek or Roman villas. Everything was airy and light. I had the impression that there were other souls studying in the next room. I gathered all this information instantaneous. While I was getting the information of the library and school at the temple, I was aware of a very tall Master or Spiritual Guide with long white robe, and long white hair and beard.” (Karen Brannon)

J.A.’s Temple Experience: “Suddenly we got into a place that looked like a room or a church or a temple, the only thing was that it was shining brighter than the sun. I can’t remember what happened after we entered the light, but when I came back I became a different person.” (J.A.)

Alan McDougall’s Temple Experience: “At first I was taken up through the tunnel into a place of learning [library] into the glorious light at the one end of this almost infinite tunnel. While in the light I experienced great feelings of elation, love and peace. Here I was shown great events that were to come to planet Earth, sometime in the future. There was a being with me all the time that I could not see, but hear. It spoke with a male voice. I believed it/he was what we mortals refer to as God.” (Alan McDougall)

Damien Spaulding’s Temple Experience: “I navigated around for a second or two at the speed of thought and realized in the distance there was an open library. A library in the sky without walls … In a blink of an eye, I was within the confines of this learning area and I came to the understanding that this area contained all of the answers of the universe. I was so elated! I opened myself to the knowledge gate and answers began to play through my mind like the pictures in the movie The Lawnmower Man. I saw pictures and diagrams of our entire universe being created and all the fabrics within it. I began to see wisdom and knowledge of man and spirit. I even saw Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and understood holes in the theory because true spirituality had the real answers (They were big). I began to truly understand everything and it was bliss. I wanted to take all of the knowledge I could back with me, but I knew that this knowledge was knowledge of the spirit and could not be taken back into my little material brain. I would have to stay dead and be with God in order to keep it forever and I wanted that. I was enjoying myself so greatly. I wanted to stay for a long time.” (Damien Spaulding)

2. Ruth Montgomery’s metaphysical insights about the heavenly temple

Ruth Montgomery (1913-2001), a past president of the prestigious National Press Club, began her career as a Washington DC reporter. She wrote a book about the world-renowned psychic, Jeanne Dixon, called A Gift of Prophecy. Jeanne Dixon was the psychic who warned President Kennedy not to go to Dallas on that fateful day. Her book on Jeanne Dixon was very successful and Ruth began looking further into the paranormal phenomenon. She soon discovered that she had the gift of “automatic writing” (trance typewriting) by which she could communicate with various deceased personalities. Despite all the ridicule and criticism, she was able to channel a great deal of information from the other side, specifically from her deceased friend, the famous spiritualist and medium, Arthur Ford. Ford was the psychic who successfully revealed Houdini’s secret code from the Other Side; and although there was a controversy about this, but it was never proven that Ford received Houdini’s code any other way but from the Other Side. From beyond the grave, Montgomery received startling answers to questions about life after death, such as: What happens after death? Where do we go? What is it like over there? Ruth Montgomery documented these revelations in a series of books including: The World to ComeThe World BeforeHere and Hereafter. The following is an excerpt from her book, A World Beyond where Ruth Montgomery received information concerning the heavenly temple and how it relates to various types of people after death.

a. A Murderer’s Death Experience

“What of a murderer who deliberately kills another for his personal gain or satisfaction? This is not a pretty story. Full of hatred or vengeance, he expects to find nothing when he passes through the door called death, and for a long time that is usually what he finds – nothing. He is in a state like unto death for a goodly while, until at last something arouses him, and he wakens to find out that the hell he had every reason to expect is indeed awaiting him. It is not goblins and devils that he sees, but visions of his own face distorted by hatred, greed, malice, and other defeating emotions. He cringes from the sight, realizing that he sees himself thus, that he himself was possessed of a devil, and that except for his baser nature he would have been able unaided to cast him forth. He is appalled as he realizes that he wasted a lifetime of opportunity. Not for him is enrollment in the Temple of Wisdom or the higher school of learning.” (Ruth Montgomery)

b. A Baby’s Death Experience

“The so-called baby returns in the spirit world and after a brief period of adjustment, is ready to begin again in the Temple of Wisdom to learn how to resume the ascent toward the ideal of oneness with God. Because he has been gone from the spirit world only briefly, he needs little re-instruction, but if he had been a physical baby for two or three years, there would be souls in the spirit world ready to help him adjust psychologically to bring him out of the baby syndrome and into adulthood again.” (Ruth Montgomery)

c. A Fundamentalist Preacher’s Death Experience

“Let’s take the case of a man of the cloth, a Billy Sunday-type who preaches hellfire and brimstone and believes every bit of the Good Book literally. He dies, and after the first shock of discovering that God is not sitting on a throne surrounded by angels, he begins exhorting people here to repent before it is too late. He thinks that this is a very brief interlude until he adjusts, and that the rest of us are probably lost souls who lack the righteousness to advance into God’s waiting arms. His sermons here actually do draw souls who hunger for the kind of heaven that their finite minds had conceived, and they think that this Billy Sunday-type will lead them rapidly to the promised land. They throng to his sermons and shout “Amen,” while he tells them that within a very short time they will all advance into heaven with a retinue of angels playing harps. “Amen,” they shout again, and are grateful that one of their own, at last, has arrived to open the gates of the temple.

“This preacher, who we’ll call Billy, at first rants and exhorts, demanding to know of the older souls around here how he can find the way to the throne of God, because he honestly believes that it is being concealed from him in some mysterious way. At last the old souls gather around and explain to Billy that he is preaching a false doctrine; that heaven is within each man, and so is his private hell; that he has arrived, and nothing is being hidden from him. It is up to him to begin work on his own spiritual advancement, and he is retarding the progress of others by misleading them with false hopes of a promised land. For this is the promised land, and we make of it what we will through our own endeavors.

“Wiser heads, so to speak, take Billy in hand, because he is a good but misguided soul. They suggest that he attend a Temple of Wisdom for a time to have his eyes opened to the one truth; that all of us are God, and that until all have realized this basic truth, none of us will advance beyond the basic state of man.” (Ruth Montgomery)

3. Other metaphysical insights about the heavenly temple

Frederick W. H. Myers revealed from the other side that as soon as this World-School experience has been thoroughly comprehended either through reincarnation, or through the exchange of experiences with others on the Other Side the soul may proceed to dimensions beyond the reach of the material dimension. One of these dimensions is a realm where things may be created with the mind and shaped by the direct action of the imagination. Though a person may linger in this stage for indeterminable period of time, an eventual decision must be made. The soul either returns to Earth or progresses to higher dimensions. Before leaving, however, the more enterprising souls may have an opportunity to experience one of the great wonders of this dimension of consciousness a tour through some section of The Great Memory. Just as on Earth, one may go to a library and see newsreels of important Earth events of history or witness any event that occurred from the beginning of human experience. Everything that has ever happened has been recorded by the Cosmic Memory. (Frederick W. H. Myers)

According to Sylvia Browne, most people are eventually lead after death by our spirit guide to a building on the other side called the Hall of Wisdom. In a sacred room, we see our lives flash before us on a scanning machine. This device is a domed screen where our lives are placed out in three-dimensional holographic form. Once we have fully evaluated our lives, we are debriefed in an orientation process. This is when we discuss the lifetime previously lived and reviewed in the scanning machine. We meet with guides who are trained orientators who discuss ways of amending for previous mistakes. We receive help if we were unprepared for our crossing over into the spirit realm. Once a person has adjusted to the transition, they can visit a place called the Hall of Records where historical data is stored such as the records of everyone’s past lives. Another beautiful structure is the Hall of Justice where people go before a Council of Elders who are highly advanced spokespersons of God who help us decide how we are to progress further into the spirit realm. (Sylvia Browne)

Jerry Gross is an expert and instructor in out-of-body experiences. He states that in the astral realm, we can discover the history of the world, and the history of our lives. The Hall of Records contains our present lives as well as our past. In it, are recorded our accomplishments and our failures. We can meet our spiritual teachers – which the churches have termed our guardian angels – and we can ask them for advice and guidance on our problems. (Jerry Gross)

4. Ancient Egyptian references of a heavenly temple

According to the ancient Egyptian religion, at each stage of the journey after death into the afterlife the Book of the Dead would have to be consulted in order to recite the names and formulas that would follow further progress. The “Anubis” (the being who guides the soul in his journey) would provide escort to a heavenly Hall of Justice. In the court proceedings, Thoth (the god of wisdom) acts as prosecutor while forty-two divine figures sit as jurors. Using the Book of the Dead, the deceased must account for his life. (James Lewis)

5. Christian references of a heavenly temple

In the Book of Revelation in the Bible, Jesus tells the believers of the Church of Philadelphia that when they overcome the world they will never again have to leave the Temple of God in heaven:

Bible: “He who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.” (Revelation 3:12)

According to Edgar Cayce, the interpretation of the symbolism of this Temple of God and the superconscious mind (our spirit). Here are other Biblical references to the temple:

Bible: “For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Bible: “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.” (John 2:19-22)

Bible: “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)