To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Summary & Study Guide

Mary C. Neal M.D.
This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story.
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To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Summary & Study Guide Description

To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story by Mary C. Neal M.D..

"To Heaven and Back" by Mary C. Neal, MD, is the autobiographical story of Neal's life, career and most of all her faith. The sub-title of the book is, "A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again" gives more than a hint about Neal's her amazing journey and unique experiences in faith which she retells in her book.

Mary Neal was born and raised in a small town in Michigan where she lived with her parents and her siblings. Mary and her family attended regular services at the local Presbyterian church. As a youngster, Mary considered church boring and simply something that had to be endured. Mary enjoyed the outdoor life that her environment provided. Her father was a general surgeon who Mary greatly admired. She would sometimes follow him around in the hospital as he checked on his patients.

When her parents separated and then divorced when Mary was an adolescent, she was devastated. She prayed that her parents would reunite and was upset when her mother met a new man and eventually married him. She thought God had abandoned her. After all, God had another five billion other people to worry about, why would he care about what she wanted? But a close and enduring relationship with her step-father, George, became one of her most cherished and most influential of her life. She realized that God, in His own way, had answered her prayers. God answered her prays again when she and her friends survived a potentially deadly car accident.

At fifteen, Mary volunteered to join a missionary couple who was devoted to helping the poor people of Matehuala, Mexico. Without any knowledge or experience, Mary was assigned to "obstetrics" and luckily no babies were lost while she was there. Although she initially had not been interested in the spiritual aspect of the mission, by the time she left she had been moved by the impact that God was having on the impoverished people of the region.

In college, Mary at first had no time or interest in church or faith, but that changed with a scuba diving trip to Florida. Mary worked part time at a scuba shop that sponsored a trip to the Florida Springs. She and her instructor made a dive as soon as they arrived. It was ill-advised because it was too dark but they were anxious to get into the open water. They enjoyed observing the fish and terrain and when they were almost out of air, surfaced only to bump into solid rock. They had inadvertently swam into a cave. After more than a few panicked moments, and Mary's prayers, they found their way out. It was a pivotal point in her life, and she began to make faith more central in her life.

Mary went on to become an orthopedic surgeon and marry another physician. They had four children and left the rat-race of Los Angeles for a more calm existence in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Mary and her husband went on a kayaking trip to Chile with friends. Mary, alone in her own boat, got pinned under water and experienced a near-death experience during which she talked to souls and angels and felt the presence of God. But her work on earth wasn't complete and she returned.

Mary's faith grew and prepared her for devastating personal tragedy. In her darkest hours, Mary clung to her faith and her belief in God's promises. She was able to get through her ordeal with the constant presence of God and the knowledge that she had more to do to fulfill God's plans for her.

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This section contains 608 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Study Guide
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To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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