Doug Tales 2: Possibilities and Lessons from the Spirit

Doug Mendenhall’s second book Possibilities continued the story from his first book about what happened to him and his family after his youngest daughter survived a diabetic coma in late 1999. While in the coma for three days, his daughter Denise had a near-death experience and gained the ability to become spiritually sighted, which changed her, Doug’s, and their family’s lives, plus many others.

Possibilities: Lessons from the Spirit (2002) begins on pages iii-iv and 1-3 with a summary of the events surrounding Denise’s NDE:

With this book I want to share the lessons that my family and I are learning from our Heavenly Father. I take sole responsibility for all the material contained in this work. Because I am LDS, my point of view and material used are mainly from that source. I suppose if I was a Buddhist or any other religion, my sources and point of view would be slanted that way. Nevertheless, it is my hope that the reader will seek truth no matter where they may find it.

All the experiences in this book have happened to us or those we know, it is not a work of fiction. No one can take these experiences away from us, whether they believe them or not. We have changed some names out of courtesy to those individuals that allowed us to use their story but not their name.…

This book is dedicated to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, from both of whom I have experienced unlimited patience and unconditional love. I truly love Them and pray that my will always matches Theirs. I am so grateful to Them for the lessons that our family has learned. Especially for the knowledge we have that They are real and do watch over and care for each of us. I am thankful to know that if we invite our Savior into our lives through gratitude, He will come in and “sup” with each one of us.

I am so grateful for Dianne, my eternal sweetheart. She is my joy and strength. I wish I had her faith. I want her to know I love her with all my soul.

My children are also my joy. I love each of them and thank them for putting up with me while I learn the lessons the Lord puts in front of me.…

My world had caved in.

On November 5, 1999 our little ten year old daughter, Denise, went into a diabetic coma. This story is covered in the book, “My Peace I Give Unto You,” in greater detail, so I will cover it very quickly here.

Denise went into the coma and we took her to Primary Children’s Medical Center. We were told that besides diabetes, she had suffered a major stroke at the base of the left brain. It had pretty much destroyed most of the left side of her brain. Her blood vessels and capillaries had fragmented like tissue paper. We were told that it was medically impossible for her to live and if by some miracle she did live, she would be a vegetable the rest of her life. They put a tube down her throat to breathe for her so they could harvest her organs for donation. They also inserted a bolt into her brain to monitor the pressure, as they were sure her brain would swell from the bleeding, the injury and the IV fluids they were giving her.

She never quit breathing and her brain didn’t swell. After three days she woke up from her coma. She progressed at a phenomenal rate. She went from not being able to speak, walk, or write (i.e. a true vegetable) to walking one thousand feet a few days after leaving the intensive care unit. Her first attempts at writing looked like chicken scratches. After twenty five days she walked out of the hospital. The day she was leaving the hospital, she was sitting on the floor tying her shoelaces and her doctor came in, took a look, shook her head and walked out, not saying one word. Denise really was a miracle! We went home figuring we had a little “miracle” kid and life would continue as before, but we soon found out that she had come back with many “gifts.”

Denise could see auras, the energy around our bodies. She showed us she was able to see the spirit world or those that had left this existence. While in her coma she spent those three days with Christ and saw His whole life, from His birth to resurrection. She talked of His birth, about how young Mary was, and how old Joseph was. She described the stable where it occurred. She talked about the Garden where she watched Christ suffer for our sins, accomplishing the atonement, and she saw the cross where He experienced separation from His Father. We found out she could read minds if she chose. She was like those talked about in Ether where it says, “And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil

Denise displayed many gifts, but she never said, “Look what I can do.” We would always find out about her gifts just by living life. In one way or the other, the gifts would come out. But the amazing thing was that she also came back with no judgement. I remember going over to my friend John’s house with her for the first time. His son, David, met her and made the comment to John that, “She will do whatever Christ tells her to do.” We have found that to be so very true. She is a “normal” young woman in every way. But she does have gifts and will follow her Best Friend, no matter what He tells her to do. This is something that might do all of us good to emulate.

We soon named our house the “Twilight Zone.” I would wake up each morning wondering what would happen that day or what lessons would be taught through her. Over the next few months I learned that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is real, and He is involved in this earth, His creation. He does not sit far off on some distant planet receiving reports every now and again about us. We are part of Him and He us. He stated that He stands at the door, knocking, and if we will open that door, He will come in to us and sup with us, and we with Him. We have learned that this statement is literal.

Our family has learned that the door He is standing at is opened by gratitude. We should be grateful for ALL things, even a young daughter/sister lying in the hospital in a coma. When gratitude is expressed from the heart, Christ then can give us His peace that goes beyond all understanding, a peace so pervasive that a new understanding comes with it. His hand is in all things, just as He has said. We experienced that moment of receiving His peace. It was OK if our daughter died, lived as a vegetable or fully recovered. The peace we received goes beyond understanding.  We had neighbors and relatives come up to us thinking we were in denial over the impending death of our daughter. They couldn’t conceive of the peace we had received from a loving Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ.

We learned that Christ’s atonement is real. We make it effective in our lives with the personal sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit. That is what He requires. We learned that Denise’s gifts are here to testify of our Savior, His goodness and benevolence. They are not to be manipulated by anyone.

We learned that we are not to judge (condemn) anyone. Many people told us of “righteous judgement,” that it is OK to “judge righteously.” Through our experiences we learned that Christ is the only “Righteous Judge.” Only if we have, as the scriptures state, “the Mind of Christ” will we be able to see as He sees. He has descended below all things and therefore understands all our pain, motivations, actions, etc.

Only He would be able to offer a righteous judgement. Christ is unconditional love or love without judgement. People have also told us that God’s love is conditional. But through our experiences we have felt His unconditional love. We know we are not “worthy” of the blessing for which He has blessed us, yet still He gives. I would always love my children, no matter what they have done. Am I better than God? I think not. So would He not love me, no matter what I have done? Therefore to my understanding, His love is unconditional.

We have learned many things from the Savior through Denise. Nearly all of them are lessons that have been taught through living, through example. It is our desire to share more of these experiences with you. I have found there are so many “possibilities” out there, things we never imagined possible. The weave of “my basket of life experiences” has been stretched, broken, and woven anew by the unconditional love of our Father in Heaven and Lord, Jesus Christ.