BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Gaze into Heaven by Marlene Bateman Sullivan


Gaze Into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the Spirit World by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.

Most of us have wondered exactly what will happen when we die. What does the Spirit World look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near-death experiences learn from their visit? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven. There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but Gaze Into Heaven is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history.

Joseph Smith said; “All men know that they must die . . . it is important that we should understand the reasons . . . of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world . . . and our departure hence. . . It is a subject we ought to study more than any other. . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period I, vol. 6, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 October, 1843), 50.

The Doctrine and Covenants also counsels us to learn more. We are to study “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass.” (D&C 88:79).

Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.

With this book, Marlene Bateman Sullivan has done a valuable service for Latter-day Saint readers. Previous life-after-death studies published brief extracts from numerous sources and combined them to define spirit-world events and conditions. Returning to those sources, she has compiled many of their complete accounts, which add additional insights that will be enjoyed by many. Well done!
—Duane S. Crowther, author of Life Everlasting—
A Definitive Study of Life After Death

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)

First, I will tell you that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I started writing stories in elementary school and was blessed with a teacher in junior high school that encouraged me, so I kept on writing. My dream of writing was put aside for a time when I married and had children, although I did continue to write magazine and newspaper articles.

As my children got older, I opened a floral shop at my home to fulfill my need for money and creativity. After nine years and a health scare, I sold the shop to pursue my dream of writing full time.

My first book was Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, which was soon followed by Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, Volume Two. Both books are compilations of true stories about people in early Church history who risked their life in defense of the gospel. These are stirring, true experiences that will touch your heart and give you a new, up-close and personal look at Church History. I love all of these stories—they are so inspiring and faith-promoting. All of these experiences have been carefully researched and are fully documented.

My next three books are also compilations of true stories in early Church History, and are about angelic experiences. The first book in this series is called, And There Were Angels Among Them. As I started researching for this book, I found thousands of stories about angelic visitations and knew I had to narrow them down somehow. I decided to select only those experiences when a person either saw or heard an angel.

The second book in this series is called Visits From Beyond the Veil and the third is, By the Ministering of Angels. Researching and writing these books was a marvelous experience. It made me realize how much Heavenly Father truly loves us and that He is very aware of us and our lives.

People often ask me where I found all these stories. I did most of my research at the LDS Church Archives and the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. I also did a lot of research at the libraries at BYU and also at the library at Utah State University. In addition, I researched materials at the University of Utah and other public libraries. Most of the experiences in these books were gleaned from personal histories, letters, and various records and documents, along with newspapers and magazines such as the Elder’s Journal, Times and Seasons, The Millennial Star, Young Woman’s Journal, and many others.

My most recent non-fiction book is called Brigham’s Boys. It tells the story of sixteen men who worked closely with Brigham Young and helped him bring the Saints across the plains and colonize the Great Basin area. The men who worked alongside Brigham were amazingly devout and hard working. They were always willing to serve, no matter how difficult the challenge.

Writing Fiction
For my next book, I tried my hand at writing fiction and wrote Light on Fire Island. I was very pleased when became a best-seller. Light on Fire Island is set in 1921, on Fire Island, New York. I suppose it’s the researcher in me that made me decide to have the settings for this and all subsequent novels totally accurate. To do research on the setting for this book, my husband and I traveled to Fire Island, which is just south of Long Island. I snapped lots of pictures, talked with people at the lighthouse, and took many notes. I also corresponded with the people who are in charge of the Fire Island Lighthouse and they graciously answered my many questions. All of the details about the setting are accurate, from the number of steps in the lighthouse, to street names, to the names of plants and trees.

My Background

To give you some background on my life, I grew up in Sandy, Utah. My father raised gladiolus and mink, so I’m a bit of a country girl at heart. My mother was a florist. Since I dropped out of college to get married and have children, (eventually having seven), it had always been one of my goals to go back to school and graduate. I started at Utah State with five children, and had to quit when we moved to North Salt Lake. Many years later, when my children were older, I was able to return again—this time at the University of Utah, where I finally graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English.

Why I Write

I work very hard on my writing, for many reasons. First of all, it is simply what I do. I can’t imagine not writing. With my non-fiction, I want to inspire people and build their faith and testimonies. With my novels, I want people who ready my books to be entertained, because that is one of the primary jobs of an author. However, as an LDS author, I also feel a great responsible to write clean, uplifting novels that carry good, underlying messages, which will enlighten and inspire and help people cope with real-life dilemmas.


What a fascinating topic! I really found this book interesting. Death is always an interesting topic and beliefs and ideas about life after death have been debated for millenia. This book presents the beliefs and some of the experiences of the LDS Church (The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints) or Mormons. I liked how the author shared scriptures and quotes from leaders of the church about church doctrine regarding life after death. The stories themselves are varied and thought-provoking. Each person had a unique experience clearly specified for them. There is enough here to provide much to think about and wonder about. Still, there is much we don't know about life after death, but thanks to books like this one, we can have a tiny peek at what the future holds for us and the ones we love. Highly recommended for those interested in life after death and Mormon beliefs on the subject.


May also be purchased at physical bookstore locations, such as Deseret Book, Seagull Book and other stores that sell LDS books.


1 Print copy of Gaze into Heaven
Open U.S./Canada only.
Fill out form, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Popular posts from this blog

SERIES THURSDAY: Flight of the Bluebird by Kara LeReau -- Review & Author Post

EARLY READER REVIEWS: Kick it Mo! and Fergus and Zeke at the Science Fair

MMGM: Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams