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When Will the Heaven Begin?: This Is Ben Breedlove's Story

When Will the Heaven Begin?: This Is Ben Breedlove's Story

4.4 23
by Ally Breedlove

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An inspirational and heartrending memoir about Ben Breedlove, whose videos about his near-death experiences and visions of heaven went viral in 2012, written by his sister, Ally Breedlove.

On Christmas Day 2011, Ben Breedlove’s soul went to heaven. But it wasn’t his first time there. Ben suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart


An inspirational and heartrending memoir about Ben Breedlove, whose videos about his near-death experiences and visions of heaven went viral in 2012, written by his sister, Ally Breedlove.

On Christmas Day 2011, Ben Breedlove’s soul went to heaven. But it wasn’t his first time there. Ben suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart condition that posed a constant risk of sudden death. His condition, a thickening of the heart muscle, worsened over time, leaving him weak and fatigued. It also led Ben to some close calls medically, in particular cardiac arrest on four separate occasions, during which he felt the presence of angels and experienced the perfect peace of heaven.

Precocious and warm, Ben was close with his family and two siblings, and forged deep relationships with his friends. He loved to wakeboard and wakesurf, and he had dreams of visiting foreign countries around the world. He created the YouTube channels TotalRandomness512 and BreedloveTV, and cocreated the channel OurAdvice4You,  where he posted videos about everything from dating advice for girls to more serious topics like his spirituality and heart condition.

Unbeknownst to his parents and family, Ben created a two-part video called “This Is My Story,” in which he used flash cards to tell the world about his near-death experiences and his beckoning toward heaven.

When he died a short while later at the tender age of eighteen, his family and the rest of the world stumbled upon these videos. The world responded with overwhelming acceptance of the message Ben shared.

Ben’s vision of heaven was his gift to his family, and to the world. And now this is the Breedlove family’s gift to us—an in-depth look at the life and near-deaths of Ben, the strength and faith of a family, and, ultimately, the hope of heaven.

Do you believe in Angels or God? I Do.—Ben Breedlove 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A grieving sister shares her brother’s inspirational story in a competently reported, though unexpectedly remote, memoir. Breedlove, with the help of collaborator Abraham (Let’s Roll), writes about her younger brother Ben, and his struggle to lead a normal life with a serious heart condition. Ben’s indomitable spirit, and the support of his family, however, ensured that even when he died from congenital hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at age eighteen, he had lived a joyous and full life. Breedlove shares stories from Ben’s early years, the times he “cheated death” from cardiac arrest and the spiritual visions that he experienced with each medical crisis. The third-person perspective, however, seems at odds with Ben’s own approach to life; he was a prolific YouTube videographer who spoke directly to his viewers right until the end, when he produced a heartfelt final video that went viral after his death on Christmas Day, 2011. Much of Ben’s story was covered in television news and popular magazines following his death, and while Breedlove’s memoir adds details from their family life, the reserved tone prevents it from offering a more intimate look. Agent: Robert Barnett (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Reading these pages you’ll discover how one precious young man treated life as a gift from God and thus became a gift from God. Just as his many videos and devotion to family and friends touched many hearts, I pray that this book will, too.” —Don Piper, New York Times bestselling author of 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life

When Will the Heaven Begin? shares Ben Breedlove’s profound message of hope and peace with the world. Ally Breedlove has done a remarkable job in this beautifully simplistic, heartfelt narrative that will endear every reader to Ben, while reminding us to live every day with joy.”—Elizabeth Bryan, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

 “Ben Breedlove’s story affected me deeply from the moment I first heard it. We are all lucky that Ally Breedlove shared Ben’s incredible experiences and discovery with the world in When Will the Heaven Begin? Ben’s life was filled with struggles that no person or family would ever wish for, but what he ultimately came to realize was that every life, and everything in your life, truly matters and has a purpose. His unshakable belief in God and the perfect peace that is waiting for all of us in heaven will provide hope and inspiration to millions.”—Glenn Beck

“Ever since Ben came into my life I have been on a new journey. He saved me. Not drugs, not liquor, Ben. I think it's safe to say that he single-handedly reignited the spark in me to keep going and to keep creating. I do believe that he was sent here on a mission from God.”—Scott Mescudi (a.k.a. Kid Cudi)

Kirkus Reviews
Breedlove pays tribute to her irrepressible, fun-loving younger brother, Ben Breedlove, who died from a heart condition when he was only 18 years old. Just days before his death, he posted video a video online, "This Is My Story," which reached millions of viewers around the world with his message of faith. Ben had only been in the world three months when his parents learned he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that causes dangerous arrhythmias. Eager to do whatever was needed to help Ben, the parents were told, "You can't fix it." So they lived with it and did everything they could to give their son a normal life. Though health problems often kept him out of school, Ben readily made friends with his easy smile, sense of humor and caring nature. His greatest pleasure was making videos with his friends, eventually launching an online advice program for teenagers. In writing about her brother, Ally uses a third-person perspective at odds with the personal nature of the story, but she wins readers over with the genuine, heartfelt tone. Ally and Ben's parents, determined to allow their son to live life as fully as possible, remained vigilant without being overprotective. By the time he was a teenager, Ben's heart problems had grown increasingly worse. Then, one day at school, he passed out. While the emergency team worked to bring him back from the brink, he experienced a dream or vision. He didn't know what to call it, but what he saw put him at peace with death. After this traumatic event, he described his experience in his video and posed the question: "Do you believe in angels or God?" He answered, "I do." These words comforted his family and inspired people of many nationalities and faiths. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, the book resonates on basic human and spiritual levels.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

From When Will the Heaven Begin? by Ally Breedlove. Reprinted by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © The Ben Breedlove Trust, 2013.

Ben stepped into his bedroom, and sat down at his studio desk, taking in the sight of his personal sanctuary. He loved this room that he had inherited when Ally went off to college. In addition to the corner “studio,” he was surrounded by so many meaningful personal items—a small cross given to him by some missionaries from Thailand sat on his nightstand right where the missionaries had left it for him years ago; his surfboard and wakeboard that he loved so much that he kept it in his bedroom rather than a garage or in the boat; his drumsticks, and several personal photos. This was Ben’s place. Or, at least it had been.

His desk, still adorned with his favorite set props, was illuminated by the bright flood of his studio lighting. The gigantic green screen still hung from his bedroom wall, transforming a teenage bedroom into a professional setting. This room had set the stage for every video Ben had ever made, and it would now, for his final project. As much as he loved every second of life in this world, he had a strong feeling that it was no longer his primary residence. Ben took his seat in his studio, and settled into the limelight.

He reached in a drawer and pulled out some three by five inch blank white note cards. He found a black Sharpie and began to write.

He had seen a video on YouTube in which another teen, Kieran Miles, used note cards to express a message without ever speaking a word. Kieran shared how he had been bullied by others for most of his life, but that he was going to make it through, despite the pain and struggle. Ben was profoundly moved by Kieran’s suffering. In fact, after discovering the video, he brought his computer into the kitchen to show it to his parents. Ben decided he had a message that could encourage people to have hope, so he wanted to express it in a similar manner as Kieran had done. In producing his own video, Ben credited Kieran as his inspiration for the flash-card form in which he presented his message.

Jake and his friend Nate popped into Ben’s room to see what he was doing. Jake was accustomed to seeing his brother working on videos, so he wasn’t surprised to see Ben on his computer again. Jake and Nate were more interested in tossing a ball to Chica, the Breedloves’ four-year-old, purebred Maltese, so they went into the room across the hall and didn’t pay much attention to what Ben was doing.

Sitting in front of his green screen, the same spot where he had created videos from various “locations” around the world, Ben leaned in toward the camera on his computer. Normally, he made his videos with his whole set-up—the studio, cameras, lights, with his pseudo-microphone sitting atop his desk, but not this time. For this project, Ben knelt next to his bed, and leaned in close to his laptop. He punched in the music to an instrumental version of “Mad World”, a song originally recorded by British new wave band, Tears For Fears. Singer-songwriter, Gary Jules, rerecorded the song for the movie,Donnie Darko. Jules’ version of the song was also used dozens of times as background music for the classic soap opera, General Hospital, as well as a prime time, hospital based show, Private Practice, a spin off of Grey’s Anatomy. The song was a natural choice for Ben. Although the lyrics weren’t featured in the video, Ben knew them by heart. They almost perfectly choreographed his brush with heaven.

I find it kind of funny . . . .

I find it kind of sad . . . .

The dreams in which I’m dying . . . .

Are the best I’ve ever had . . . .4

No doubt, a reference to his vision on the floor at school,Ben began to show the note-cards in the order he had written them, holding up each card for just a few seconds, barely long enough for his viewers to read the message, before moving on to the next card. He said not a word, but told his story through the handwritten words on the cards, his demeanor, and his countenance.

Ben’s facial features matched the message on the cards. When the card presented a serious message describing his condition of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Ben’s countenance was commensurately serious. But when he told of positive, happy experiences, such as the bright light he had experienced when he was four, or the “vision” in which Kid Cudi joined him in the bright white, waiting room of heaven, he displayed a hint of a smile that let the viewer know that this was a good moment in Ben’s life. Occasionally, his eyes glanced to his upper right, as though searching for something, but he made no reference to whatever he saw there.

When he described receiving a pacemaker, Ben stood up momentarily, and pulled back the neck of his t-shirt, revealing the large reddish scar on his chest. Other than that, he remained seated throughout both sections of the video, staying especially close to the camera on his computer.

He picked up the story on part two of the video, beginning with his collapse in school on December 6th, just a few weeks earlier. He wasn’t obsessed so much with artistic excellence or form on this video. It was obvious that Ben was more concerned about the message than he was the medium. On one of the cards, he had blacked out a mistake rather than creating a new card. Near the end of part 2, Chica’s wagging tail could be clearly seen swishing into the camera shot over Ben’s right shoulder. Ben didn’t seem to mind.

As Ben came to the conclusion of his story, he slowed the pace of the cards, holding each one slightly longer. After describing his experience in “heaven’s waiting room,” Ben added on one of the last cards the poignant statement, “I wish I NEVER woke up.”

Then before the viewer even had time to grapple with the meaning of that statement, Ben asked a question on the next to last card—a question that would profoundly impact the heart of nearly every person who would watch the video. On the next to last card, Ben asked, “Do you believe in Angels or God?”
Holding one more card, Ben added the important message he wanted to share with his friends.

The final card read simply: “I Do.”

Ben didn’t upload the video to his usual channel location, “BreedloveTV.” Instead, Ben decided to upload the video to his newest YouTube channel, “TotalRandomness512,” a play on Austin’s telephone area code. He set up no advertising or any means to gain revenue from this channel. It was a gift.

Looking into the computer screen, Ben gave the video one last look, and pressed “upload.” The two-part YouTube videos simply titled, “This is My Story,” now belonged to the world.


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Reading these pages you’ll discover how one precious young man treated life as a gift from God and thus became a gift from God. Just as his many videos and devotion to family and friends touched many hearts, I pray that this book will, too.” —Don Piper, New York Times bestselling author of 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life

When Will the Heaven Begin? shares Ben Breedlove’s profound message of hope and peace with the world. Ally Breedlove has done a remarkable job in this beautifully simplistic, heartfelt narrative that will endear every reader to Ben, while reminding us to live every day with joy.”—Elizabeth Bryan, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

Meet the Author

Ally Breedlove is Ben Breedlove’s older sister. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she pursues her love of film, writing, and speaking.

Ken Abraham has published eighty books, including thirteen New York Times bestsellers.

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When Will the Heaven Begin?: This Is Ben Breedlove's Story 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Ben Breedlove just wanted to be an ordinary person but that was impossible as he was born with HCM or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  This condition meant that Ben’s heart could stop at any moment.  While certain strenuous activities or foods could send Ben into atrial fibrillation and eventual HCM, heart failure could also happen at any time, including while he was sleeping.  This was an amazing burden for his parents to bear; yet like so many parents with children with special physical needs, they lived with this reality, in fact lived as normal life as one could live under their unique circumstances.  The story of Ben is not about illness but about living with the knowledge that one is blessed with what one has and that eventually passing to another life is okay, in fact, more than okay.  For Ben that faithful knowledge was a product of experience. Before that special event occurred, however, Ben had to deal with numerous medical tests and curtailment of his eating and play habits as a child.  His parents were shocked to learn of this condition, a thickening of the heart muscle which would worsen over time, and the fact that there was no surgery or medicine that could cure it or even ease.  While he was given medications which could ease the symptoms, he had to learn to live with it.  Ben is depicted as a pleasant child and teen who loved to play tricks on his family, enjoy his friends, and developed a special love for making videos.  Close to his parents and sisters, he was a normal person whose condition kept everyone on alert as to the slightest changes in his physical appearance.  He even tried some less strenuous sports such as wake surfing but after one particular experience of a fractured ankle was unable to continue what he loved.   As Ben grew older, he began making videos for YouTube on just about every topic of interest to teens such as dating, spirituality, etc.  Eventually he made a video about his own heart condition and the experience he had in which he clearly knew he was on his way to heaven.  He knew from that point on that death wasn’t to be feared; instead he actually welcomed it, very aware that he even longed for it as he knew his heart couldn’t hold out much longer.  The video was called, “This is My Story,” Ben’s account of his near death experience told through the use of flash cards.  The questions he ultimately asked on these flash cards, before his untimely death at the age of 18 years old, concerned whether the reader believed in God, as well as asking what “you” are doing with the life you are living.  Potent words from a teen in a poignant condition.   When it comes to a person’s demise coming at a young age, with the consciousness of its looming presence, each person almost always concentrates on the special qualities of everyday living in this earthly environment.  But Ben’s life laced with compassion and humor is about what each person is doing in this life that has value and purpose and how important it is to consider the afterlife of heaven. No, there’s no fear here at all.  Heaven is described in a highly appealing way and depicted as an appealing experience that should be welcome.  It seems that it can’t be anything other than ‘heavenly.”   Words cannot fully capture the unique quality of this story about Ben Breedlove.  Only the hardest of hearts could read this book and not be deeply moved.  It is a tribute to the passionate love of life and God that was Ben’s primary concern and his legacy to the world he left, which is awaiting a reunion with Ben in the heaven he so lovingly describes!  Ally Breedlove has written a fitting tribute that is more about her son’s message of love to a hopefully wide audience! Nicely done, indeed, Ally Breedlove!
Sassy43 More than 1 year ago
I have a personal interest in the book as a picture of Ben & my grandson, Justin, out at our ranch is in it when they were little boys. Ben was always one of my favorite friends of Justin because he was such a kind, good person through all his years. I thought I would have trouble reading it as I even broke down at the front of the book when Kid Cudi wrote how Ben changed his life. I was crying so hard, I couldn't read the words. I did not pick the book up again for several days until I felt I was ready to tackle it again. I didn't put it down after that except to sleep & finished it the next day. I laughed & I cried remembering some of the incidents and got lost in the book as if I was reading a novel about someone I didn't know. It is so well written that you become a part of the Breedloves lives and don't want it to end. I will always love & miss Ben. God bless this very special family.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Ben Breedlove was born with a heart defect called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) a condition that would end his life at the too young age of 18. When Will Heaven Begin is a celebration of that all too short, exceptional life told by his sister Ally. But Ben was so much more than his disease; he was adventurous, he was a prankster, he was a good and loyal friend. Readers will meet and fall in love with this courageous young man, we will be in awe of his strength of character in the face of unimaginable odds and we will watch him grow from a baby until he got his ultimate wish of going to heaven at 18. And we will experience through Ally’s words the family’s discovery of Ben’s last act caught on a YouTube video he made shortly before his death that went viral. This was Ben’s final gift to his family and the world. This is the story of a brave boy who will make you a believer too. Watch the video; let Ben inspire you like he inspired millions before you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd like to be able to tell the whole world about this very important book about Ben Breedlove, his life and message. I loved this book immediately . You will not be disappointed by this book. It was more than I could have asked for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The fact that the family lived and loved their God-focused life made me rethink my own family values and how my husband, daughters and I would handle such a wonderful, yet tragically short, life. I think that Ally wrote this as only a loving sister could write it, and that she really explored the relationships Ben had with his family (I loved the photo of him teaching Jake to fish!) and with his friends. Mr. and Mrs. Breedlove should be very proud of all three of their children and the impact their lives have had on complete strangers.
GrannyLu-2all More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that I bought copies for friends. I think everyone would get a blessing from reading about his life and close family. I also think teenagers would enjoy this example of how he shared his faith and lived a full life in his short time on earth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! I immediately connected with the book and even when I first heard of his death. I related so much to his story because I had best friend who passed away early 2011 of a similar heart condition. Hearing and reading his story put me t ease; like its also what my friend wanted having the same kind of love to Kid Cudi as Ben did. I have recommended this book too many of my friends because it's truly an amazing book. Thank you Ally for sharing his journey and the joy he brought to many.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bens story is a wonderful platform to introduce God to the people. It is a nice fast paced read. However great the message, i was not a fan of the writing style. I didnt get to the emotional place I was expecting to reach.
changeagent1 More than 1 year ago
This is written at a 4th grade level. I really had difficulty staying focused. In addition, and most importantly, I was truly appalled to learn that while in rehab, Ben pretty much destroyed his wheelchair to the point of needing a new one. How many unfortunate people in desperate need of a chair cannot afford it & this kid is destroying it. The young man has a heart disease & mom feeds him fast food - unbelievable. After reading through to chapter 15, I could no longer continue reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so moving I could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even just a taste of Heaven as he had will fill the heart with Joy for what is to come at the end of this life on earth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
READ THIS BOOK! I read this book in one day. You can tell the author isn't a writer but her story is amazing. I am not religious person at all but I read this book with an open mind. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and most of all it will make you think. This is a wonderful account of her brother and Im very glad she took the time to write it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW! This is a very good book. Ben was very inspirational. I don't have any children but would have liked a child like Ben. But what a challenge to teach him the freedom his family taught him! He was definitely no "sissy."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a blessing Ben Breedlove was to everyone who had the honor of hearing his story. This was a true example of how God sometimes uses us to send a message to others. This was an inspiring story that gives hope for a future beyond this life. I would recommend this book to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book
CindyBooCZ More than 1 year ago
It is a true story about this boy Ben Breedlove. His sister wrote the book after he died. It is a very good story about Ben from the time he was born till his passing. Its a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently lost someone special and this book was a great comfort to me. It is well written and heartfelt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How is Astrid doing?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the summary at the overview. I want to get srarted on Chapter one. It WILL make you cry! Please tell me if I should do this. ~ Amber
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in. "Thank you for meeting me." (Sorry so late, was very busy in rl)