Taken to Heaven
Prelude to My Heavenly Vision
Some who read this are not sure they believe in God. Others consider their self to be an agnostic and remain open to the beliefs of those who do believe in God.
Regardless, only a few will intuitively know my heavenly experience is true. But please, don’t pre-judge what you’ve not personally experienced. All I ask is that you keep an open mind and consider the possibility that God can take someone to heaven while still alive. After all, the Bible claims that both Enoch and Elijah were taken to Heaven. Jesus, on the other hand, was the only person on this earth to ascend to Heaven, on His own terms and by His own will.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that my experience of being taken to heaven was real. I speak about it honestly and with clarity, for it is just as fresh in my mind today as the day it happened. That alone is a miracle, for it is not normal to have a memory remain clear and unchanged for over 40 years, especially if one has lived a tumultuous life like I have, as a fugitive and a serial entrepreneur, with all the attendant relational difficulties such circumstances create.
However, before I talk to you about my experience of being taken to heaven, I think it’s important to explain the framework of experiences and ideas that prepared me for that experience.
Although I am no longer a traditional Christian (because traditional Christianity is a religion that has abandoned many of the original teachings of Jesus, thereby “Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down” - Mark 7:13), I did accept Christ Jesus into my heart. The reason was simple: I was drawn by the Holy Spirit to do so. It took 7 months of trying to dismiss the claims of Christ I read in the bible, thinking them to be the re-written words of men who made their words the words of Jesus.
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter whether that was done or to what extent it was done. The Holy Spirit was working in my heart and revealing to me what was true, regardless. How do I know this? Because when I was attending two different denominations in the small town of Bear River, Nova Scotia, and then returned to my humble abode to search and compare, I could feel the power of God’s holy spirit working in my heart and mind.
As a hippy I’d been searching for years to understand God. And through various other religious books I learned some things about Jesus and what he said. For seven months, living in an abandoned farmhouse with no income, no electricity, no running water, no car, no phone, no TV, only me, God, and these religious books, I compared what they said about Jesus with what was recorded in the Bible. Each evening, by the glow of my kerosene lantern, I compared books like the “Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali”; “Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East” by Spalding; “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda). Like any other book I’ve read, I found them interesting. They contained nice words about Jesus and they gave their ideas of what it was like on the “other side”, in the spirit realm. But when I opened the bible to compare, I would get this recurring image of a piercing light entering into my mind and transforming it. The words of the Bible obviously had no life in and of themselves, but I could no longer doubt that there was a spiritual power behind them. And that power manifested itself to me nearly every night for 7 months.
It soon became apparent that what Jesus was saying was not the same as what those other books said Jesus was saying! Jesus spoke with authority, as one who had ascended to Heaven even before He died. And after His death and resurrection, Jesus revealed even more of what life was like on the other side.
None of those authors of the other books I was reading had been to Heaven. They had no first-hand experience.
I know now that my experience of being taken to heaven was not just to provide me with further witness to the truth of what Jesus revealed in his parables and his recorded words. It was also to give me the authority to speak of spiritual things from my personal first-hand experience. I now understand why God told me to not attend Bible college (which happened soon after I was taken to Heaven), revealing to me that I was to continue being taught directly by God. I now understand the reason, so that I wouldn’t be limited by the recycled words and doctrines of bible colleges or seminaries. For what I was beginning to understand, even shortly after my Heavenly sojourn, was that the founders of those colleges, and all subsequent teachers that entered therein, preached only according to what was preached to them.
God has long wanted to do a new thing. But almost always, throughout history, that “new thing” has been corrupted by the existing mindsets of religion. Wherever there is a vision and revival, it soon turns into just another watered-down church program. It was for these reasons that God called me out of the traditional church, so I would be free to interpret and understand according to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.
Jesus was quite clear on His position regarding teaching and God. There was a reason He forbid us to call ourselves “Teacher”. It was because every believer was to be unified in their major beliefs by having only one teacher, the same teacher, God. As Jesus said in John 6:45, “And they shall ALL be taught by God!” Let that sink in. Have you ever heard a sermon preached on this statement by Jesus? Why?
According to Jesus, just before He allowed himself to be sacrificed upon the cross for all mankind’s salvation, He told us God would send the Holy Spirit to “Teach you all things” (John 14:26), to “Guide you into ALL truth” (John 16:13). And it is made even clearer in 1 John 2:26-69, “The anointing you received of him abides in you and you need not that any man teach you.”
Well, to return to my original 7-month struggle over what Jesus said and what others said about Him, I finally realized I had to let go of my intellectual need to “figure it all out.” I had to do as Jesus instructed, become as a little child and trust the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
At a packed small little country church in Nova Scotia, where “The Carpenters” were giving a concert (no, not THE Carpenters, this was a local group of young adults who had given up their sin-filled lives to follow Jesus), on Saturday, November the 22, 1973, I accepted Christ as my savior.
I noticed many changes immediately. For instance, I was in the habit of visiting a young woman in Halifax whenever I was in town and we enjoyed having casual sex with one another. Suddenly I was being challenged by the Holy Spirit to understand that sex without a commitment is fornication. Many long held political beliefs were also transformed, practically overnight. I also had an inner peace and joy unlike any I had experienced before.
Shortly after my rebirth experience I learned that a couple whom I’d met previously had also become Christians. Joe and Marie were former Hare Krishna devotees, so I was intrigued and decided I just had to go visit them. When we met, it was an awesome experience. Joe and I started talking about community and within minutes it was clear to both of us that God wanted us to start a community there on Joe and Marie’s property. Joe invited me, as well as the woman whom I hitchhiked there with, Cindy, to move to their property. I believe we left that same day, returning to get what belongings we needed and to sell the rest. This was probably around the first week of June 1974.
I think it’s important to point out just how intensely powerful it is when believers join forces to establish a community. God poured out his spirit and gave us some of the most awesome spiritual experiences of my Christian life. I know, I mean I KNOW, these four decades-plus dry spells will end. We are now in pre-launch and will soon be joined by others; those who likewise understand they have been “called and chosen” to help establish RENEW-GATHER-BUILD and 3Circles Church Communities, our Christian community planning and building organization.
Here are some examples of the spiritual power we unleashed by our commitment to go anywhere and do anything to further the kingdom. We would often came together for prayer and bible study. Many times, it would unleash the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way that our bodies would shake violently, so much so that we would hold onto one another, finding that this made the shaking more harmonious. Each time this happened it would begin as gentle vibrations. But the intensity of God’s power would continue to escalate and soon we were “higher” than any of us had ever been when we used to do drugs. I believe we shook because we were not adept at directing God’s energy. It was as if our physical body couldn’t contain all the energy that was pouring in.
One curious side note; with this experience came an intimate understanding of why the Shakers were called the Shakers and the Religious Society of Friends were called Quakers!! I’m not kidding. When we began to read about them they described similar experiences.
Also, in a book published by “The Society of Brothers”, which started in Germany just after World War I, a group that now has four communities including two in the US and one in England, I read about the same experiences as we were having. Not only the shaking experiences but also that God’s presence can be so powerful and overwhelming that “no words of one’s own could be spoken”. That quote from one of their books was exactly what we experienced when the power of God came upon us. Knowing our experience was common to others who lived in Christian community helped us to accept those experiences as “normal”, at least for those who chose to live in permanent Christian communities. But for those who continue to live as the world lives, separated geographically from those they love, getting together for a measly few hours a week, they will never know such supernatural blessing!
I also remember one time where we had gotten high in the spirit and I was given this inner prompting to go see a couple we had recently befriended. I went into the other room to retrieve my shoes and when I returned there was Joe coming down the stairs with his shoes. Without one word being spoken by anyone, there was a certainty of knowing, and each of us, both the two men and the two women, knew who we had to go visit, that Joe and I were to go, and that we needed to go now.
Joe and I got into the car and drove for about 10 minutes in total silence. Finally, Joe said, “This must be the Lord because I’d never go to someone’s house at 2 in the morning”. We arrived and knocked on the converted school bus he and his girlfriend lived in. The lights came on; he came to the door and yelled, “Yeah, what do you want”. I said, “We’re not sure why we’re here but God spoke to us and told us to come”. By this time, he opened the bus door and when I told him why we came, he dropped to his knees and began crying. He said he and his girlfriend had the worst fight they’d ever had, which prompted him to pray for God to send someone to help.
This is the power of believers living together in unity. As it says in the Old Testament: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1-3).
Seeking to establish a community of believers who empower one another in this way is not running from life, it is embracing life and running from death: the slow death hypocrisy’s leaven, as seen in countless congregations who believe they are a tight-knit community and their love is deep, even though they choose to only see each other a few hours a week. Just imagine if you said to your spouse, “Hon, you know I love you, but I’m going to move to the other side of town. Don’t worry, we’ll see each other for a few hours each week.” This was why Joe and Marie, and Cindy and I, all decided to create our little Christian community. We wanted more love, overflowing and full of God’s glory! But little did we know what God had in store for us, just a few short weeks after gathering together.
My Heavenly Sojourn and What I Learned
The day started out like any other. It was warm and sunny, and the air was still. All of us went down to the buckwheat field to see how it was doing. Joe had planted it before Cindy and I arrived but since he had already told me he believed in growing crops organically I assumed this was organic buckwheat. The sun was getting low in the sky as I discovered Joe had violated his own principles and used commercial fertilizer. Our disagreement brought tension to our fledgling community as Joe and I tried to understand each other. Finally, just as the sun was setting, Joe confessed that he shouldn’t have used the commercial fertilizer since there was plenty of manure available from his neighbor. He promised to stick to growing totally organic in the future. Joe and I embraced, then all of us embraced, and there was joy all around. We took a few minutes to say a prayer of thanksgiving and then loaded into Joe’s old car.
It was twilight now as we headed down the little used dirt road on June 22, 1974. It was the day of summer solstice, and in the joy of our newly strengthened friendship, as we headed towards where the sun had just set, we were happy indeed.
Suddenly, without warning of any kind, an intense pure white light entered our car. It was so bright that everything else began to fade quickly. There was just enough time for Joe to pull off the dirt road onto the shoulder. From the moment God’s light entered our car no one could speak. A great peace and joy accompanied the light, a peace and joy beyond anything I had ever experienced, even greater than the peace and joy I felt the day I gave my life to the Lord Jesus. There was also this curious melding of our minds. I felt like my mind was merging with the light; I sensed that this was the same experience the other three were having; and I felt that I could read their thoughts for the few brief moments prior to leaving my body. I’m sure that all this must have been nearly instantaneous, but in the presence of God’s pure light time lost its meaning. It was like in an instant so much information was jam packed into one’s mind and could be processed so quickly that one’s perception, still being tethered to the old reality of this physical universe, was that a lot of time must have just passed.
At some point I lost consciousness of this world. It was at that instant I found myself in another world unlike anything I had ever seen or known before. I was aware of so many things all at once: I was aware that my “body” was now a body of light, and that it retained the form I was familiar with on earth (at least in my mind); I was aware that there was no solid earth beneath my feet and yet I was not falling; I was aware of a wall of angels immediately in front of me; I was aware that one angel was not part of that “wall” and was standing next to me; I was aware that every angel was communicating with every other angel and that I was now able to perceive their thoughts as they were also able to perceive mine; I was aware that I was surrounded by such joy and peace and love that I could never in a million years find the words to describe it; I was aware that compared to the light which surrounded me, in what I now understood to be what we call “heaven”, my being was both light and darkness and was not as pure as the light that surrounded me; and in all this awareness, which passed before me in one single moment, I instinctively perceived that there was an even greater power behind that wall of angels. For all these reasons, I fell prostrate upon my face and began praising God with every atom of my being.
I was aware that my thoughts and past actions were transparent to every angel, to God, and I supposed the entire universe! I must confess that initially I felt ashamed to be in the midst of such purity, when compared to my own coarse nature. As I lay there prostrate upon my face I cried out from the depths of my being, “Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty” and various other phrases of praise and adoration. Nothing was compelling me to do this; I just wanted to give something back for all the great and wondrous knowledge, all the peace and joy I was receiving.
As I was praising God in this prostrate position, another angel on my right reached down and lifted me up. As had happened from the moment I arrived, there were understandings to questions given freely, almost before I asked them. The angel spoke to me, although there was no “voice”, just an exchange of thoughts, and the angel told me it was “OK”, that God was preparing me for the work I had to do.
I wanted to know why the angels remained in front of me, like a huge wall that extended upward and to the sides as far as I could see, so I asked this angel. The angel told me this “wall” was for my protection. They were shielding me from the fullness of God’s light. I was told that if the fullness of God’s light reached me, I would be unable to return to this earth, to my physical body and I perceived that this was due to its purifying effect. Nothing on this earth, nothing in this physical realm of creation, can fully know, perceive, or understand this light and the purity that comes with it, at least not while we’re tethered to this human body, and that included me. For though I was taken to heaven while fully conscious and given this awesome experience, the fullness of crossing over to the other side was denied me.
However, this new understanding of God’s light and its effect upon God’s physical creation led me to realize some important concepts. First, Jesus was NOT God.
In the Bible Jesus always referred to himself as the Son of God, and so he was. It would take far too long, in the context of this article, to go into all the details and explanations for and against Jesus being “God in the flesh”. Suffice it to say that my heavenly sojourn revealed this truth with absolute certainty and clarity. As an important side note, this would also help explain the significance of Jesus’ strange words about his “goodness”. In Matthew a man calls Jesus good and Jesus replied: “So he said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God’.” (Matthew 19:17).
Whenever I read of someone claiming to be enlightened, to have reached a state of enlightenment, I have to laugh. Such claims come of ignorance, not of enlightenment and they, being blind, are leading the blind. No flesh can ever understand fully what the spirit understands. And even in heaven, with all the knowledge and power of supernatural perceptions that were given to me, and even though those perceptions were so far beyond my earthly capabilities, I understood this one thing so very clearly, that even with my spiritual mind having such power to understand instantaneously and comprehend an unbelievable number of thoughts simultaneously, it was but one small fraction of God’s mind. Even in heaven, with all the heavenly powers at my disposal, I could never hope to be “enlightened” as so many here on earth consider “enlightenment”.
Gurus equate this enlightenment as a oneness with God. And throughout all my years of New Age study, I read repeatedly that my “self” would merge with God’s “Self” and in the end there would only be this one SELF. In other words, the goal of this New Age enlightenment was the annihilation of the personality.
However, this is the opposite of what I experienced in Heaven. Paradoxically, I felt and experienced an amazing sense of oneness. But in that oneness, “I” remained separate from God; “I” remained “below” or “beneath” God. With the immense enlightened understanding that I connected to in Heaven, there still remained my personhood, the uniqueness God created that is known as Leroy here on earth. So, how could I claim to have become “One with God”?
My claim to the oneness with God I experienced in Heaven, and which I’ve since experienced many times in my Christ-centered meditations, is based on a new understanding, not only the understanding I received in Heaven, but also the understanding I received from the Holy Spirit, as I read Christ’s recorded words in the Bible. Read John chapter 17 and you’ll be amazed to discover Jesus praying for us to be one with God, “Just as We are one.” Jesus goes on to say, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-23)
Through decades of meditation God has gradually revealed a greater understanding on the nature of this oneness. It is not a merging oneness but a oneness with God’s Perspective, God’s Purposes, and a sharing of God’s Power.
When I stood in front of that wall of angels I had this impression, that behind this living wall of angels, was what John called “the throne of God”. In Revelations 22:1 John wrote: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the lamb.” I instinctively knew I was standing before the source of God’s light and that light was everything… it was all of creation as well as the source of an ever-continuing creation; it was purity and love and peace and joy and a power that demanded respect.
There was no escaping the authority, the majesty and power of God’s presence. And though it was clear that God was inside me, in the sense that God created my spirit and sustained it, that my thoughts were able to connect to God’s thoughts, I could never deny this monumental truth that was revealed that day, that God is also outside me, far outstripping my miniscule abilities as one of his creations. In other words, God is both immanent (within) and transcendent (without) but I would be extremely in error to say that by this small measure of divinity God had imparted to me, I could thereby claim to be God. This is the danger of half-truths about oneness, given to us by those who have never experienced Heaven’s oneness, who glean their understanding of God from books, asceticism or drugs.
There was one more thing that happened to me that day. When the angel touched me on the shoulder and gave me the understanding that God was choosing me for this work of gathering his people I was also told that I was being “sealed”. My understanding of that word was that I was being ordained by God, through this angel, to fulfill my purpose in this life.
Here are a few other things worth noting. There are enemies of the light, both internal and external. Through the power of our will, we are enabled to have control over both. But if we deny that such enemies exist, we are led astray and the enemy wins. As someone else once said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing”. Here are two ways the enemy often attacks us and seeks to destroy God’s work:
1) Through the brethren who lack patience (wanting to succeed now, by their own timetable), who lack self-sacrificial love and are unwilling to suffer through the adjustment of living with others in community, for the cause of Christ, and who cling to their religious traditions. They most often become “The accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
2) Through disobedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, which teachings are universal truths; or through disobedience to God’s personally revealed will.
The latter situation most often manifests as a second-guessing of what was previously and clearly revealed to be God’s Will. Eventually this leads to talking one’s self out of believing and doing God’s previously revealed will. God’s will is revealed both universally (as with commandments that apply to all of us) and individually (as with those specific communications given to us individually). For instance, Jesus told all his followers that no one can put new wine (the Holy Spirit) into old wineskins (traditional church structure, inflexible and rigid) lest both the wine and the wineskins be lost. And yet to this day people continue to disobey this simple truth, attempting to reform the church from within, believing it can be what its rigid traditional religious structure makes impossible, more responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. After 2000 years of men and women attempting to contain and control God’s Holy Spirit LIFE within the confines of that inflexible container called “religion”, one would think that the truth of Christ’s words has now been proven beyond question.
Our fledgling effort to start a Christian community was destroyed through ignorance. But we were not alone. There was a North American revival going on at the time. But what had begun as a unifying effort by hundreds of thousands of Christians, what began with great Holy Spirit power, ended up as a prophetic fulfillment of Paul’s warning in Timothy 4:1-2: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
One local retired farmer converted his barn into the “Born Again Barn” and hundreds of us from many different denominations gathered to experience the unity and peace and joy God was pouring out upon us. There was another non-denominational group that started up too, Spring Water Habitation, a conference center for Christians and a place where many who were disenchanted with the traditional denominations came to find hope.
But what could have been another reformation ended up being just another temporary time of revival, with everyone eventually being reabsorbed into the traditional church structure. That is because the fundamentalists, those hypocrites who really did believe they were pure and holy and sinless, were indeed departing from a life of faith and giving heed to “doctrines of demons”. This was the beginning of the “Deliverance Ministries”, in which so-called men and women of God sowed fear rather than faith, telling born-again, Holy Spirit filled Christians that they could have a demon and not even know it!
The works of the flesh described in Galatians chapter 5, were now the works of the devil, and instead of Christians taking responsibility for overcoming their fleshly lusts, they began to seek instantaneous relief via deliverance. The Bible tells us to submit to God, resist evil, and the devil will flee from you. That act of our will is all one needs to overcome the works of the flesh. I watched in horror as grown men and women writhed like snakes upon the ground, shrieking as a sign that the demons were leaving them. Worse, many children were traumatized to the point of child abuse. Normal contrary behavior that any child exhibits as they grow up, as they become an individual in their own right, was now labeled “demon possession” and groups of grown men and women would gather round to “deliver” them. Simple disobedience, which could easily be corrected with time and patient correction, was now a sign of demon possession. Those children needed deliverance all right, deliverance from such fools!
Yes, there was a revival sweeping much of North America at the time, but it was our ignorance concerning the leaven of the Pharisees (the religious who seek to hold onto power, who “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof”) that led to its demise.
Had I been more patient and known what I know now, I would have fought harder, confronting the church leaders whose leaven crept into the hearts of Joe and Marie. The pastor of the church they were attending offered Joe an associate pastor position. It meant much needed money for him and his family, as the congregation was willing to help pay for his school. They offered me a position within their church too, when they saw how my work with young hippies was resulting in conversions. But I saw their leaven of hypocrisy and turned them down.
What’s important to understand is how this Baptist church tried to cut off God’s work and succeeded. They were against our community effort from the beginning, because it meant another competing ministry. They cared nothing about our absolute certainty that the founding of our Christian community was God’s will. So instead of just telling us they didn’t believe it could be God’s will to do something outside the traditional church, they decided to encourage us to continue our outreach to the lost in our area… promising us money and titles… and all we had to do was become a member of their church!
I saw that they lacked any vision for the new work God was doing in our midst. And perceiving what they were trying to do, I realized it would undermine what God had called Joe and I to accomplish. Joe, however, did not see this. He trusted the Baptist church and its pastor. He believed his acceptance of their financial help would not cause him to compromise his principles, would not lead him away from the purpose God had called us to fulfill, the establishment of our Christian community. But such is the nature of leaven. It is stealthy; it is invisible; it consumes all the sweetness and replaces it with empty air bubbles. It puffs us up, gives the appearance that there is much more substance than there actually is.
Looking back, it is clear Joe was deceived by the “accuser of the brethren”. And with respect to my lack of patient perseverance, my quick rejection of Joe and Marie for rejecting us, so was I. Later I learned that Marie was a big part of his decision to ask Cindy and I to move out and end the community. When I pressed for explanations I discovered one of their excuses was that I reminded Marie of her old boyfriend.
Amazingly, years later God tried to give us another chance. Following my return to the states to resolve my 11-year run as a fugitive, and my miraculous deliverance through a Nolle Prosequi decision (No Prosecution – the Maryland state Atty. General dropped the case and refused to prosecute) I remarried and was living in Brandywine, Maryland with Nancy and her three kids. Nancy and I attended some 700 Club Ministry event and I believe it was there that I discovered Joe had moved back to the states and was working at the 700 Club, only a few hours from where we lived! That was a miracle in itself.
So, I called Joe and we arranged a meeting. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Joe was still talking the old talk about God calling us to community. It was obvious, he knew it was God’s will and still hoped it would come to pass. However, though I sent a number of letters in follow up, all aimed at getting him to agree to some goals, so we could begin working towards re-establishing our community, none of my letters were ever answered.
The total end of our relationship came a year or two later. I was traveling through where he and Marie and her son lived. I was dead tired and falling asleep at the wheel. I had my wife and three kids with me and couldn’t afford to stop at a motel. So, I called and asked to sleep on the floor, just for the night. Joe stumbled over his words as he made up some flimsy excuses, but the message was clear. He didn’t want to be bothered and refused to even allow us to sleep on the floor for a few hours.
The scripture however, is clear. It says that if someone is in need and all you do is tell them you’ll pray for them, failing to help them out, you have not the love of God. Such is the power of hypocrisy, that leaven that caused Jesus to say to the Pharisees, “You know not the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Those who are religious are not spiritual. They “Have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof”.
If you’re at all interested in helping us establish our ministry, please watch our video, which offers a free year of access to RENEW-GATHER-BUILD (https://leroyegrey.com/principles ) or contact me via email and introduce yourself. My email address is TheMeditatingPatriot@gmail.com.