Journal of Near-Death Studies

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 123–130 | Cite as

A critique of Kellehear's transcendent society

  • Howard A. Mickel


Allan Kellehear argued that the otherworld society envisioned in near-death experiences (NDEs) is similar to utopian societies. However, his cultural analysis, based on 9 Mormon NDEs, did not reflect the diversity of near-death visions from other cultures. I suggest that these Mormon NDEs were neither as utopian as Kellehear assumed nor representative of contemporary NDE reports, and that a more complete analysis would reveal a variety of NDEs and otherworld visions reflecting the experiencers' sociocultural back-ground. Robert Bellah's model of religious evolution provides a model for charting the NDE's change over time and cultures, and allows us to differentiate the perennial features of the NDE from the transient culturally-determined ones — a first step in understanding the role of NDEs in the quest for an ideal society.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard A. Mickel
    • 1
  1. 1.La Jolla

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