To Heaven and Back

A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story

About the Author

Mary C. Neal, MD Mary C. Neal, M.D. is an orthopaedic surgeon. She studied at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, completed her orthopaedic residency at the University of Southern California and is fellowship trained as a spinal surgeon. She is the former Director of Spine Surgery at the University of Southern California and is a founding partner of Orthopedic (...Read More)

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To Heaven and Back

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NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal Interviewed by INSIDE EDITION

Dr. Mary Neal, author of To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story, was interviewed by INSIDE EDITION regarding the new release of hit movie, Heaven is for Real

"I was under water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Eventually, my spirit separated from my body and I rose up out of the water and I was greeted by a group of, people, spirit beings, I'm never sure what to call them. But they were overjoyed to welcome me and greet me," Dr. Neal told INSIDE reporter Megan Alexander. "I absolutely believe that Colton Burpo went to heaven and came back"

Watch the interview or

NEWS: Dr. Mary C. Neal Featured in CNN “To Heaven and Back” Documentary

Dr. Mary C. Neal, author of New York Times #1 Bestseller To Heaven and Back, was featured in CNN's program on stories of life, death and faith, entitled "To Heaven and Back." This documentary aired on Sunday, December 1st and will air again this coming Sunday, December 7th at 7 pm and 10 pm EST.

To watch part of her interview where she recounts her near death experience while kayaking in Chile, please click here, or read more at

Modern Miracles

“People ask why so many miracles occurred in ancient days but not in our present time. I contend that there are just as many miracles occurring today, in the lives of ordinary people. But I also assert that most of us don’t look for miracles, don’t recognize them for what they really are, and don’t really believe them to be of divine origin even if their miraculous nature is noticed.”

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection: What miraculous things have you seen God do recently, even though they may have been small?

NEWS: To Heaven and Back Exceeds 750,000 Copies in Print


WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Publicity

(719) 268-1935

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo—WaterBrook Press is pleased to announce that To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, MD, now has more than 750,000 copies in print since it was released on May 28, 2012.  The national bestseller has spent 44 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover “How-to, Advice” Bestseller List with 13 of those weeks in the #1 spot. It has also appeared on the bestseller lists for USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times and the Christian Booksellers Association.


Neal, an orthopaedic surgeon in Jackson, Wyo., recounts the experience of her drowning during a kayaking accident in South America and her journey to heaven where she communicated with angels and ultimately returned to earth to share what she learned. On April 18, Neal was a featured author at former First Lady Barbara Bush’s Celebration of Reading to benefit the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.


Neal has appeared on “Today,” “Fox and Friends,” “Hour of Power,” “Marie” and “Katie,” as well as dozens of radio programs and been featured in Guideposts and Christianity Today. To Heaven and Back was originally self-published and was acquired by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, in May 2012 following a spike in online sales. WaterBrook Press released 200,000 copies of the WaterBrook edition within two weeks of acquisition. Dr. Neal’s story immediately became a national bestseller.

For information on To Heaven and Back, please visit or

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For more information on this release, please contact Beverly Rykerd at the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Publicity Office at 719-268-1935 or


God’s Time

“Although I felt God was present and holding me, I was still entirely conscious of my predicament and my surroundings. I was able to feel the current pushing and pulling my body and feel the pressure of the water. I could not see anything or hear anything but I was acutely aware of everything that was happening around and within me. I was comfortable, calm, and marveled at God’s presence.
As I waited under water, I thought about and analyzed my life; its course, my choices, my joys, and my regrets. I thought about everything. Eventually, I thought about how bored I was. I was tired of thinking and tired of waiting; I was ready to get on with the journey, whatever that was meant to be. With the assurance that all would be okay regardless of the outcome, I found myself impatiently urging God to ‘Hurry up.’”

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection: Reflect on a time when you have wished that God would ‘hurry up’ and reveal his plan for you. What did you learn from this experience?

A Love Stronger than We Know

I believe nothing can separate me from God’s love: God’s love was present with me when I was spinning out of control, when the truck was stuck in the mud in the middle of the Mexican mountains, as well as during the various times when I was anxious about my personal life or work situations. He held me and loved me when I was pinned in a waterfall and dying. He kept me from feeling pain or worry. The experience of His presence, love, and compassion reassures me that Willie suffered no pain at the end of his life. His spirit probably left his body long before it was broken, and I feel confident that he was greeted by a host of overjoyed and excited witnesses.”

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:
As you enter the new year, feel the comfort of God’s love. With the knowledge of His love, how can you start the year off in His image?

Dr. Mary Neal Featured in “Christianity Today”

Mary C. Neal, MD, author of To Heaven and Back, is featured in  Christianity Today's cover story on heaven in the December 2012 issue.  Christianity Today examines the surge of interest in stories about personal encounters with heaven, such as Mary Neal chronicles in her New York Times #1 bestselling book.  Neal further describes her experience in heaven in this web exclusive interview with Christianity Today Editor Mark Galli

A Rosy Outlook

“There was one elevator operator who arrived by 6 a.m. each day with a large smile on her face and obvious joy in her heart. She was always like a beacon of light in that dark and gloomy building, and many of us would wait longer just to ride in her elevator. She was old, wizened and uneducated. She was often treated rudely. But she never let anyone or anything darken her day, and she shared her joy with anyone who cared to receive it.”

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:
When we are working for God, we live with joy in our heart. How can you let your joy shine through and touch the lives of others?

NEWS: A Christmas Reflection by Dr. Mary Neal

A Christmas Reflection by Dr. Mary Neal, #1 New York Times best-selling author of To Heaven and Back

It is that time of year when there is a chill in the air and the brilliantly yellow, orange and red colored leaves fall gently to the ground. For me, this annual display of God’s handiwork sounds the warning bell of the coming winter. I am reminded that it is time to stack firewood, dig out warm jackets, clean the skis, and prepare for my favorite holiday: Christmas...

To keep reading, click here.

NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal Interviewed on “The 700 Club”

Dr. Mary Neal, author of To Heaven and Back, appeared on "The 700 Club" for an interview regarding her near-death experience. Click here to read about her story, and here to watch the interview.

NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal Featured in Publisher’s Weekly

Publisher's Weekly introduced the new title of Most Reluctant Bestselling Author, awarding it to Dr. Mary Neal, author of bestseller To Heaven and Back. Read here to find out more about Dr. Mary Neal's near-death experience and her subsequent mission to give hope and inspiration to others.

NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal Interviews with Katie Couric on “Katie”

Dr. Mary C. Neal, author of To Heaven and Back, interviewed this morning with Katie Couric on her new talk show, "Katie." Click here to watch a few clips of the show and to learn more!

VIDEO: Dr. Mary Neal Talks About Going To Heaven and Back

God’s Hand

Have you ever shown up somewhere at “just the right time”? When you think back on your life, can you remember a person who briefly entered your life, saying something or doing something that impacted your life out of proportion to what they actually said or did? What were the circumstances that brought you together with your spouse or the detailed circumstances of other such notable events in your life? Have you ever been randomly thinking of someone who then unexpectedly shows up or contacts you? Has something ever happened that left you thinking “That’s weird”? Consider whether these are sets of “coincidences” or whether they might be orchestrated events; evidence of God’s hand in our lives.

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:
When have you been most aware of God’s hand at work in your life?

SNEAK PEEK: More from the best-selling book To Heaven and Back

sneak-peak_1852Click here to read Chapter 9 from Dr. Mary Neal's best-selling book To Heaven and Back.

Dr. Neal's incredible story has become a #1 New York Times bestseller. Read more of Mary remarkable book here in the special sneak peek of chapter 9, in which Mary talks about the kayaak adventure in Chile, which ultimately led to her death.

Click here to read Chapter 9 from Dr. Mary Neal's best-selling book To Heaven and Back.

Joy: A Conscious Choice

“Rejoice always.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16 (ESV)

Wow. I began to contemplate the meaning of this verse, as it was clearly a directive from God. In my contemplations, I thought about the fact that a joyful heart and a joyful spirit are clearly important to God, and the word “joy” is mentioned throughout all the books of the Bible. I had always been a “happy” person and generally saw the rosy side of things, but joy is clearly different than happiness. It is not based on circumstances, but on the presence, hope, and promises of God. Even when it feels as if we are being crushed by earthly troubles, we can remain joyful. If we keep our focus on God, our spirit cannot be trampled. Joy is a state of mind and a state of being. It reflects a conscious choice to believe in the promises of the Bible.

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:

How does the idea that joy is based on the promises of God change your view of God’s command to rejoice always?

NEWS: Mary Neal Featured on the “Today Show”

Dr. Mary Neal, author of To Heaven and Back, interviewed on the "Today Show." Go here to listen to Mary Neal describe her life-changing kayaking accident, heaven, angels, and life again.    

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A Cycle of Grace

... thinking about something, making a commitment to change, failing in the commitment, making a new commitment to change, failing again ... On and on the cycle goes. Fortunately for all of us, God is very, very patient. He will continue calling to us, He will shout when He must, and He will always welcome us back with loving, nonjudgmental arms.

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:

How have you experienced the cycle of God’s grace and unending love?

Mary Neal, author of “To Heaven and Back” Featured in Guideposts Magazine

Mary C. Neal, M.D., is featured in the July issue of Guideposts magazine. Click here to watch Guideposts' video of Mary describing her death, experience in heaven and return to Earth as detailed in the New York Times #1 bestselling book

To Heaven and Back.

VIDEO: To Heaven and Back Book Trailer

Mary C. Neal, MD, Writes Guest Blog on “Huffington Post

Mary C. Neal, MD, the author of The New Times bestseller To Heaven and Back, wrote a guest blog on the Huffington Post about the lesson she learned about gratitude and joy from her drowning experience while kayaking on a South American river.


NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal on Fox News, To Heaven and Back

SNEAK PEEK: To Heaven and Back by Mary Neal

sneak-peak_1852Click here to read the first chapter of To Heaven and Back.

A kayak accident during a South American adventure takes one woman to heaven — where she experienced God’s peace, joy, and angels — and back to life again. Read a sneak peek of her powerful story here now.

VIDEO: Dr. Mary Neal shares her story on Dr. Oz

NEWS: Dr. Mary Neal Appears on ‘Fox and Friends’

Today Dr. Mary C. Neal, author of #1 New York Times bestseller To Heaven and Back, made her third appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” to discuss her near-death experience and journey to heaven.

Click here to watch her interview.


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