Howard Storm (born October 26, 1946, in Flushing, New York) is a former atheist and art professor and chairman of the art department at the Northern Kentucky University. He is best known as the author of “My Descent Into Death” which details his near-death experience. Storm’s NDE is regarded as one of the most complete accounts of distressing near-death experiences ever recorded. It includes dramatic encounters with evil spirits, a trip to hell, a rescue by Jesus, and extensive conversations with Jesus and a group of angels. Storm’s NDE has been cited frequently in near-death studies literature. His book was originally published in 2000 and re-published as a hardback book in 2005. Storm has told his story to numerous audiences and appeared on NBC’s Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 48 Hours, Discovery Channel and Coast to Coast AM. Storm was so deeply affected by his near-death experience that he resigned from Northern Kentucky University and became a United Church of Christ minister.
Here are a few interesting quotes from Howard’s book, talks and interviews. To learn more about Howard Storm and his near-death experience, go here.
Quotes from Howard’s Book
My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life
By Howard Storm
“The only reason I could bear to proceed with the life review was because of their love for me. No matter what we watched me do in life, they communicated their love for me, even as they expressed their disapproval of the things I did.”
— Page 35
No Interest In Track Meet Competitions
“The angels and Jesus had no interest in the track meet competitions I won or lost. They were interested in the relationships and how we encouraged or hurt one another.”
— Page 33
“It is impossible to love another person unless we love ourselves. Without the love of God, it is impossible to love ourselves because every human being is aware of their flawed nature and sinfulness.”
— Page 50
“The only authentic love in this world is achieved when there is a balance between love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self.”
— Page 50
“Our purpose is to know and do God’s will in this life, and we do this when we love one another as God loves us. Every person, without exception, needs to be loved by us. This is the most difficult and most important lesson of our life.”
— Page 41
“God is not particularly interested in human sexual expression. God is interested in how we love one another and doesn’t want us to exploit one another.”
— Page 34
Other Life in The Universe
“I asked them if there were other worlds. And they said, yes, the universe is full of other worlds — and there are other dimensions of other physical universes and those are full of other worlds.”
— Page 46
Diversity of Heavens
“Each person is escorted toward heaven according to his or her life, culture, and spiritual level.”
— Page 51
“Every person has guardian angels all their lives throughout his or her life. Our angels are the embodiment of compassion for us. Because of their reverence for God, they cannot impose themselves on us or intervene in our lives when we choose to reject them and God’s love. The more we despise our angels, the more we are on our own. Our desire for self-sufficiency insulates us from the divine order for our lives. When we realize our need for God and God’s messengers, we grow in desire and opportunity to live in the divine order. Love attracts more love and hate attracts hate.”
— Page 52
“We couldn’t find a parking space directly in front of the church, so my wife parked in the bank parking lot across the street. By the time we walked across the parking lot, across the street, and up the steps of the church, I was leaning heavily on her. What a pitiful sight I must have been to the greeters at the door of the church. Emaciated, jaundiced skin, yellow eyes, leaning on my wife, dragging my feet up the steps.
“The worship had just begun with the congregation singing the opening hymn when we entered the sanctuary. A few feet inside, I saw on the ceiling of the church hundreds of angels basking in praise of God. They were a golden color and radiated golden light around them. The unexpected sight of the angels unleashed powerful emotions of awe of God from inside me. I did the only thing I could do in that circumstance, which was to throw myself down on the floor. Prostrate on the carpeted aisle, I thanked God and praised God profusely…”
“The next Sunday we went back to Christ Church, and over the weeks I slowly resisted crying enough to sing the hymns and recite the prayers. I continued to see the angels and their beautiful radiance in the upper portion of the worship space every Sunday. I noticed that they were more splendid when the congregation sang and less radiant when things like announcements and collections happened. I had the impression that I was the only one who could see the angels. The prayers, hymns, scripture, and sermons all spoke to me in a deeply personal way because it was consistent with what I had experienced with Jesus and the angels.”
“Angels sometimes appear to us as people. Angels can take on any appearance they wish. We have encountered angels and did not realize they were angels in human form.”
— Page 137
“Angels rarely appear in their glory. The times that angels have appeared to me in their full glory, it was almost unbearable. The brightness of the light that radiates from them is brighter than the light from a welding torch. Their light doesn’t burn the eyes, but it is frightening because it is so different from our experience of life. An experience of the supernatural glory and power of an angel is frightening. They don’t appear to us in their natural state very often. They most often tone it down for us to keep us comfortable. I don’t have the words to adequately describe angels in their natural state. Brighter than lightning, beautiful beyond comparison, powerful, loving, and gentle are words that fail to describe them. Artists’ depictions of angels are pitifully inadequate. As an artist I am aware of the impossibility of representing an angel. How do you paint something that is more radiant than substance? How do you paint colors that you have never seen before or since? How do you describe love on a canvas?
“Angels are with us constantly and they are everywhere. We are never apart from them. We have angels who guard us from evil. Thousands of stories have been published concerning angels intervening in people’s lives. Why they intervene sometimes and other times don’t is between them and God. They told me that they always want to intervene in our lives, but sometimes God restrains them. God wants us to experience the consequences of our actions. On special rare occasions God allows the angels to help. When we ask God for spiritual gifts of love, faith, and hope, God always allows the angels to help us. Spiritual gifts are never refused if we are ready to receive them. The angels are working all the time to give us the love of God, faith in God, hope in God. Angels hear our prayers.
“Angels do not want to be worshipped. They want all praise to be for God. They don’t want us to confuse them with God. They know the difference between the Creator and the creature. They are servants of God, created to be God’s messengers. We can thank them for being that for us.
“Angels don’t make mistakes, because they communicate directly with God. Their will and desire are the same as God’s. We can ask God to send angels to guide us and protect us. We can ask the angels to teach us God’s will. We can’t make the angels appear to us or do anything that is not God’s will.
“There are different kinds of angels with different responsibilities and different attributes. One angel may accompany a child, another has the responsibility for a city, another a nation, another a world, another a universe. We might think that the mighty angels are gods, but they don’t think of themselves that way. They know they are servants of God participating in the divine plan. Angels love God with their whole being. They desire nothing but to serve God. Angels can experience what we think and feel. When this is consistent with God’s will, they are joyful. When we are opposed to God’s will, they suffer emotionally. If we knew how empathetic our angels are with us, we would want to please them and God. We would never want to do anything that would distress them, but we do. The Spirit of God is the spirit of the angels. This same Spirit is in us, leading us to truth and love. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are in harmony with the angels and God. Then we become like the angels, messengers of God.
“The best word to describe an angel is compassion. As we live by the Holy Spirit, our compassion grows. The compassion of the angels for us becomes our compassion for all people. We discover that the love of God is tough love. The love we learn is complex and difficult. Just as the angels refuse to control us, we understand that we shouldn’t control one another. We can try to influence, but we can’t control spiritual development. Worldly things we have power over, and we are to use this power for good. Spiritual things we can only influence.
“Angels can move through time and space as easily as thinking. The laws of physical nature do not bind angels. Angels are aware of and protect us from forces we don’t know or aren’t capable of imagining. Our angels are ever-vigilant to protect us from evil that originates from other dimensions of the unknown universes. We don’t have to worry about it. We should just be glad they are there keeping us safe. There exist supernatural beings that seek chaos. They have no power over us except the power we give them. They are known as demons, the devil, or evil spirits. They should be rejected as much as possible. The power of God and the power of God’s angels is much greater than theirs. The best defense against evil is to be filled with the Holy Spirit…”
Quotes from Talks & Interviews
God Is Interested In Our Relationships
“God’s not particularly interested in our material success in this world, but He’s interested in our relationships — how much we love one another — that’s what God cares about. And if you are doing you’re very best, no matter how humble it is, to love one another, God is EXTREMELY PLEASED with what you are doing.”
— NDEr Howard Storm
Love The Person You’re With
In Part III of “The Redemption of Howard Storm” (from 03:00 – 10:25), Howard describes a remarkable conversation he had with Jesus. Click here (or on the video graphic below) to listen to what Howard had to say. A transcript of Howard’s humorous and enlightening conversation appears below.
When he [Jesus] told me that I had to come back to the world and I was trying to convince him not to send me back…, I asked him what would I do if I came back… Before he had a chance to answer, I said you know I am an artist and I would like to build a shrine for you… I would make this shrine so big and beautiful and bizarre that people would come from all over the world out of curiosity to see what it was about. And what they would find was it would be about you. And that would make them think about you. That’s what I would like to do if I came back.
He said, I would rather you didn’t do that.
And I said, WHAT?!! People have been building shrines to you forever. There are lots of shrines. Why can’t I build a shrine? I would like to build a shrine.
He said you spent so much of your life hiding out in the studio, avoiding people, I would prefer it if you didn’t avoid people by building this big shrine… I don’t really care about shrines. People like to build shrines. I understand that. It makes them feel good. It does absolutely nothing for me or for God. We don’t have any use for them whatsoever. If that’s what amuses you, I guess that’s what you gotta do. But don’t do it for me. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking it’s something I want or need, because I don’t.
I’m like, OK, you shot down my idea, what’s you’re idea of what would I do?
And he said, love the person that you’re with.
And I said, OK, great, I’ll do that. No problem. What do you want me to do?
He said, I just told you what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
And I said, Yeah, but after I do that, what do you really want me to do?
No, that is what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
I said well, that’s simple enough, that’s easy, I can do that.
And he said, oh really. Well, that’s what I want you to do. That’s enough.
And I said, how is it enough?
He said, if you do that, you’ll change the world.
And I said, oh, you want me to change the world?!
Exactly, that’s why put you in the world in the first place: to change the world.
Well you know there’s been a lot of people that have tried to change the world and they usually turn out really pretty badly. I can think of examples like Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung. All of them wanted to change the world and they made it worse. If I go back and try and change the world, why isn’t it possible that I could a lot of terrible mistakes and make the world a worse place?
The way that I want you to change the world is by loving the person you are with.
Wait a minute, that’s a contradiction. You want me to change the world but you just want me to love the person I’m with?
Yes, that’s the plan; that’s The Big Plan… If you love the person that you’re with, then they will go out and love the person that they’re with, and they will go out and love the person they’re with and it will be like a chain reaction and love will conquer the world and everyone will love one another. That’s God’s Big Plan.
It’s not going to work.
Why won’t it work?
I love the person I’m with. They walk across the street and get run over by a truck. Everyone gets angry and upset.
Yeah, that happens. But it’s really God’s plan and nothing is going to stop it. It’s going to happen.
Even if you had a million people, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
There’s more than a million people in the plan…
Well, from what I know of the world, you don’t have enough.
Actually, we have all the angels in the plan. There’s a lot of them. There are more angels than there are people in the world… There are millions of people. There are all the angels. There’s God. It’s inevitable. The plan is going to happen.
If that’s your plan, I’ll do it, but I just don’t really see much hope for it.
[And Jesus said], you don’t know enough to see how it’s going to happen.
So, my solution to everything is to love one another. And when I read the Bible and found out that that was written in the Bible as Jesus’ commandment: this is my commandment, that you love one another… that’s the program. I have tried to be part of that program… So, I personally have no big plan other than to be loving.
The only fly in the ointment was that I thought it was going to be easy, and it turns out to be the hardest thing I have ever done. It sounds so simple, but it’s really difficult. It’s easy for me to love my mother because she was a really nice woman and she was a very loving woman. It’s not hard to love someone who is really good and really loving. But what do you do with someone who is difficult, or really nasty? Those are hard people to love.
And what does it mean to love someone? Sometimes to love someone means you need to incarcerate them. And that’s not a lot of fun. Sometimes loving someone means you have to put as much distance between them and you as possible and tell them to never call you. And that’s not a lot of fun. Loving someone sounds so simple but it is very difficult…
How To Get In Touch With Jesus, Angels & God
My final argument — this was the biggie; this was the ace I’ve been keeping up my sleeve — I said, ‘you can’t send me back.’
And they said ‘why?’
And I said… ‘I’ve never known anybody that loved me like you did, I’ve never known anybody that knew me like you do because you know me better than I know me… if you send me back, it will kill me. I will die of a broken heart.’
And they said, ‘you’re not paying attention. Has there been a moment in your life when we have ever been a part from you, when you have ever been alone or separate from us?’
And I went, ‘No, but like I never saw you, I never talked to you, I never felt you. Is it going to be like that when I go back?’
And they said it’s going to be exactly like that.
And I said, ‘well, it’s kind of like being alone when you can’t see, hear, taste, touch the person that’s with you. They’re not there. It feels lonely… That would kill me, in loneliness, to be a part from you.’
And they said, ‘there is a way to get in touch with us.’
And I said, ‘how do you do that?’
And they said, ‘be still, get quiet, talk to us, tell us everything you want to say. Then be really quiet and still and invite our love into your heart and you’ll know that we are right there and you’ll know our love right there.’
This works. It really works…
The Future of The World
The world that they showed me in the near future, in a couple hundred years from now, is a world that is difficult for me to understand or accept. What I saw was no visible signs of technology. If there was technology, they hid it from me — or it was so subtle that I couldn’t even see it… I assumed the future would be a world of high technology and they showed me a world of not low technology, but NO technology. Where people’s relationship with God, with the creation, and with one another was so intense that human beings controlled the weather of the planet — not just for the welfare of human beings, but for the welfare of the entire planet. Everybody in the world was telepathically connected to everybody else in the whole world. People raised food by simply meditating or thinking about the food and the food would just grow and then would pick it and eat it… It was not instantaneous, but it happened before your eyes. Cabbage would grow from a seed to a full grown cabbage in a matter of a few minutes.
People lived in small communities. People could move from community to community, freely, if they wanted to. Most people didn’t move around very much. Some communities put an emphasis on music. Some communities put an emphasis on science. Some communities put an emphasis on celebration, liturgy, worship. Some communities spent their time on physical relaxation and enjoyment, sports, and that sort of thing. Some communities were very contemplative and did seemingly very little. Some communities were very active and were very much engaged with their environment, sort of what we would call gardeners, but they were literally environmental sculptors, making these very beautiful places with the vegetation and the geology around them. Different communities had different emphasis, but they lived in total harmony with the flora and the fauna around them and in complete harmony with one another. The main emphasis of every community was the individuals in the community and most especially the children.
When people had experienced what they felt was their full life experience, there would be a great celebration, and they would lay down and die and their souls, their spirits would be raised up to heaven. Dying was not seen as a sad thing, or grievous thing. It was a joyous time. It was celebrated as a birth.
People ate simply. Dressed simply. From what I was shown, there were no possessions other than the clothes on their back and a few simple instruments like musical instruments, or tools, or things like that which were pretty much shared communally.
It was a world that’s very difficult for me to make any sense of because there was great happiness. There was very little suffering. There was no disease because people, with laying on of hands, could heal diseases immediately. The only real suffering that they showed me was sometimes people felt a sense of separateness. And the community would allow these people to feel that, but they would pray for that person, they would surround that person with love and bring that person back into the community. So it was possible for people to move a little bit away from the spirit of the community, but they were brought back into the community. No one was left, no one was ever lost for very long. It was important sometimes for people to feel; to appreciate what they had, they needed to loose a little bit of it once and awhile.
The spirit of Christ lived in every heart — fully and completely. It’s a world that is so unlike the world that we live in. How can we ever get there? But they showed me that this is the world that God envisioned for us and it’s not that far away.”
Jesus Appears On Other Planets In The Form Of The Beings He Visits
In the second half of this interview, Howard has several very interesting things to say. Beginning at 45:25, Howard talks about the universe being full of life and says that Jesus has visited every world. According to Storm, Jesus appears on other planets in the form of the beings he visits. On Earth, he appeared as a Jewish carpenter. On other planets, he appears as one of them.
In Part III of “The Redemption of Howard Storm” (from 11:44 – 16:16), Howard mentions that he didn’t believe in reincarnation, in spite of the fact that he remembered a life as a small girl living in a concentration camp in World War II. Based on his conversations with Jesus, Howard came to believe that the universe is not only teaming with life, but that a time will come when we can share the experience of beings living in other realms and worlds NOT by traveling to their worlds in space ships, but by sharing experiences telepathically. He felt a similar process was at work with reincarnation…
On Returning to Earth, Making Mistakes & Forgiveness
I never saw God, and I was not in heaven. It was way out in the suburbs, and these are the things that they showed me. We talked for a long time, about many things, and then I looked at myself. When I saw me, I was glowing. I was radiant. I was becoming beautiful — not nearly as beautiful as them — but I had a certain sparkle that I never had before.
Not being ready to face the Earth again, I told them that I wished to be with them forever. I said, “I’m ready, I’m ready to be like you and be here forever. This is great. I love it. I love you. You’re wonderful.”
I knew that they loved me and knew everything about me. I knew that everything was going to be okay from now on. I asked if I could get rid of my body, which was definitely a hindrance, and become a being like them with the powers they had shown me. They said, “No, you have to go back.”
They explained to me that I was very underdeveloped and that it would be of great benefit to return to my physical existence to learn. In my human life I would have an opportunity to grow so that the next time I was with them I would be more compatible. I would need to develop important characteristics to become like them and to be involved with the work that they do. Responding that I couldn’t go back, I tried to argue with them, and I observed that if I bear that thought — the thought that I might wind up in the pit again — I pled with them to stay.
My friends then said, “Do you think that we expect you to be perfect, after all the love we feel for you, even after you were on Earth blaspheming God, and treating everyone around you like dirt? And this, despite the fact that we were sending people to try and help you, to teach you the truth? Do you really think we would be apart from you now?”
I asked them, “But what about my own sense of failure? You’ve shown me how I can be better, and I’m sure I can’t live up to that. I’m not that good.” Some of my self-centeredness welled up and I said, “No way. I’m not going back.”
They said, “There are people who care about you; your wife, your children, your mother and father. You should go back for them. Your children need your help.”
I said, “You can help them. If you make me go back there are things that just won’t work. If I go back there and make mistakes I won’t be able to stand it because you’ve shown me I could be more loving and more compassionate and I’ll forget. I’ll be mean to someone or I’ll do something awful to someone. I just know it’s going to happen because I’m a human being. I’m going to blow it and I won’t be able to stand it. I’ll feel so bad I’ll want to kill myself and I can’t do that because life is precious. I might just go catatonic. So you can’t send me back.”
They assured me that mistakes are an acceptable part of being human. “Go,” they said, “and make all the mistakes you want. Mistakes are how you learn.” As long as I tried to do what I knew was right, they said, I would be on the right path. If I made a mistake, I should fully recognize it as a mistake, then put it behind me and simply try not to make the same mistake again. The important things is to try one’s best, keep one’s standards of goodness and truth, and not compromise those to win people’s approval.
“But,” I said, “mistakes make me feel bad.”
They said, “We love you the way you are, mistakes and all. And you can feel our forgiveness. You can feel our love any time you want to.”
I said, “I don’t understand. How do I do that?”
“Just turn inward,” they said. “Just ask for our love and we’ll give it to you if you ask from the heart.”
They advised me to recognize it when I made a mistake and to ask for forgiveness. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, I would be forgiven but, I would have to accept the forgiveness. My belief in the principal of forgiveness must be real, and I would have to know that the forgiveness was given. Confessing, either in public or in private, that I had made a mistake, I should then ask for forgiveness. After that, it would be an insult to them if I didn’t accept the forgiveness. I shouldn’t continue to go around with a sense of guilt, and I should not repeat errors I should learn from my mistakes.
“But,” I said, “how will I know what is the right choice? How will I know what you want me to do?”
They replied, “We want you to do what you want to do. That means making choices and there isn’t necessarily any right choice. There are a spectrum of possibilities, and you should make the best choice you can from those possibilities. If you do that, we will be there helping you.”
I didn’t give in easily. I argued that back there was full of problems and that here was everything I could possibly want. I questioned my ability to accomplish anything they would consider important in my world. They said the world is a beautiful expression of the Supreme Being. One can find beauty or ugliness depending on what one directs one’s mind toward. They explained that the subtle and complex development of our world was beyond my comprehension, but I would be a suitable instrument for the Creator. Every part of the creation, they explained, is infinitely interesting because it is a manifestation of the Creator. A very important opportunity for me would be to explore this world with wonder and enjoyment.
They never gave me a direct mission or purpose. Could I build a shrine or cathedral for God? They said those monuments were for humanity. They wanted me to live my life to love people not things. I told them I wasn’t good enough to represent what I had just experienced with them on a worldly level. They assured me I would be given appropriate help whenever I might need it. All I had to do is ask.
The luminous beings, my teachers, were very convincing. I was also acutely aware that not far away was the Great Being, what I knew to be the Creator. They never said, “He wants it this way,” but that was implied behind everything they said. I didn’t want to argue too much because the Great Entity was so wonderful and so awesome. The love that was emanated was overwhelming.
Presenting my biggest argument against coming back into the world, I told them that it would break my heart, and I would die, if I had to leave them and their love. Coming back would be so cruel, I said, that I couldn’t stand it. I mentioned that the world was filled with hate and competition, and I didn’t want to return to that maelstrom. I couldn’t bear to leave them. My friends observed that they had never been apart from me. I explained that I hadn’t been aware of their presence, and if I went back I, again, wouldn’t know they were there. Explaining how to communicate with them, they told me to get myself quiet, inside, and to ask for their love; then that love would come, and I would know they were there. They said, “You won’t be away from us. We’re with you. We’ve always been with you. We always will be right with you all the time.”
I said, “But how do I know that? You tell me that, but when I go back there it’s just going to be a nice theory.”
They said, “Any time you need us we’ll be there for you.”
I said, “You mean like you’ll just appear?”
They said, “No, no. We’re not going to intervene in your life in any big way unless you need us. We’re just going to be there and you’ll feel our presence, you’ll feel our love.”
After that explanation I ran out of arguments, and I said I thought I could go back. And, just like that, I was back. Returning to my body, the pain was there, only worse than before.”
On NOT Being Transformed Into A Saint
“I thought that after the experience I was going to be a saint, and never have temptation, never sin and never have any faults. To my horror, I found out that wasn’t true at all.”
“After my near-death experience, I wrongly assumed that I was going to be a saint. That I would not have a temper, anger, or lust, or make mistakes at all. That somehow I had been elevated to this superior person. To my horror, I found out that wasn’t the case at all.”
“I was a raging fanatic. I drove my wife and my two teenage children very far away from me by being so obnoxious about their conversion.”