"If you died today, are you 100 percent sure you would go to heaven?" In a country where more people believe in an afterlife than believe in God, it's likely an effective opening question. Or evangelists could, if their potential converts are patient enough, simply read Bill Wiese's account of being catapulted into hell followed by Don Piper's description of being in heaven.

Readers fascinated by the afterlife are quickly buying 23 Minutes in Hell and 90 Minutes in Heaven. And for the shy evangelist, both authors have speaking ministries which could accommodate the skeptical friend.

If you print it, they will buy

Despite vivid descriptions, the books are short on details. The authors spend a combined 54 pages recounting their trips to the afterlife. One hopes that such momentous experiences would produce loquaciousness rather than speechlessness. Still, the accounts keep the curious reading.

"November 22, 1998. That was the night I was catapulted out of my bed into the very pit of hell," Bill Wiese writes in 23 Minutes in Hell. "My point of arrival was a cell that was approximately fifteen feet high by ten feet wide with a fifteen-foot depth."

Two enormous beasts awaited him in the cell. "These creatures were not of this natural world. … 'Evil' and 'Terror' stood before me. Those creatures were an intensely concentrated manifestation of those two forces." Now that's detail you wouldn't deduce from the Bible.

For those considering the comforts of heaven, Don Piper, a Texas pastor, tells his story. In 1989, Piper was heading home from a Baptist conference when he hit a truck head on. "A light enveloped me, with a brilliance beyond earthly comprehension or description." 90 minutes later, Piper returned to life.

Sales of both ...

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