By Nicole Marie Hilton, March 2, 2020
In mortality we forget who we really are. Once in this vulnerable state, we are then confused and abused by the dark side. Great growth can be won by fighting through the gauntlet to regain freedom, peace, and our own identity. We must be the instigator of this healing process; it must be an expression of our own will. But always in the wings is Jesus Christ waiting for us to express our faith and personal effort. In my experience He is so much more than a healer; He is my kindest, smartest, and funniest brother. He is real.
Jesus Christ is many things. He is our Savior. Our Redeemer. Our Healer. He rose from the dead so that we may live again. We rely upon Him for many things—to hear us in our anguish, to heal us from our hurt, to take our prayers of praise and supplication to God and to be our Great Advocate.
But He is also our Friend. And do you know what the best of friends do when they get together? Well, they might go out and sit on the porch with some lemonade, not speaking much, but just enjoying each other’s company.
Friends also laugh. They laugh! They hang out and they laugh.
Many times, I have tried to write about my personal “dark night of the soul”—an eight-week period between November 2011 and February 2012. Every time, I have failed. I suppose that, some day, the words might come, and I will be able to somehow put down chicken scratches that convey even a part of what happened. But, for now, I’d like to focus on a small ten-hour window of pure joy which occurred during this time.
When I was 23 years old, I found myself in the “ice box”, a very cold and brightly lit padded cell in the Washington County Jail which was fittingly named Purgatory. I had just spent the previous three days in the cell without sleep, reading the entire Book of Mormon out loud—even screaming it at times (I was going through psychosis with no medical care). A kind guard who heeded my pleadings had slipped it through the cat-flap in the door. I had been furiously reading this book of scripture about Jesus Christ, the one man who could unlock my every prison whether it be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. I was trying to cleanse myself of the satanic programming which had consumed me and had caused me to attempt suicide with a gun, leading to my imprisonment.
When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours.President Russell M. Nelson, General Conference April 2017
While reading the book, a gradual change came over me. I went from the depths of Hell to being the most liberated I’d ever been in my life. After finishing the Book of Mormon, I prayed for myself. I prayed for my friends and family, especially those impacted by my actions. And then I prayed for my enemies. My heart was so full of love. I felt love seeping out of my heart and entering every part of my body. I ended my prayer by praying for all those who had hurt me, and I was about to faint from exhaustion when loving hands came out of nowhere and caught me, lowering me to the ground.
But when I touched the ground, it wasn’t the cement and drain I had paced over so many times—it was the most heavenly featherbed you could imagine. I felt like I was floating—nothing on earth can be made to feel the way this mattress felt.
I slept the deepest and most peaceful sleep I ever have in my life—there, in a tiny sixty-degree solitary cell. For me, it became a holy temple-prison.
* * *
I opened my eyes after I had slept. The bright light was still on above me. I could hear the prison guards opening and closing doors far away down the halls. I glanced up to the big metal door with its thick plastic square window. Before, I had noticed all of the frantic scratches people had made on the plastic. But now, I focused on an enormous letter “J” that had been carved into the window, with a circle around it. The letter and circle encompassed the entire window.
I sat up quickly. There was a man’s voice in my cell. Or was I schizophrenic—like some doctors had said?
I knew immediately who it was.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yep! It’s me.” I could hear the smile on His face.
I jumped up. “I LOVE YOU!” I yelled, my face bright and my eyes wide.
His laughter echoed around the cell so loudly, I thought a guard would hear. Or could only I hear His voice?
Dear reader, someday I’ll have a perfect memory, and I’ll be able to remember the conversation we had. For now, I only remember that it lasted about 10 hours (by the prison-guard changes, I guessed), and it was the most spectacular 10 hours of my life. We both just sat there—Jesus and I—and talked and joked and laughed until our guts hurt.
All the healing had been done that needed to be done for the moment. What Jesus really wanted was just to be with me. To enjoy my company—and have me enjoy Him. That’s what He really wants, from all of us.
I am still healing from many aspects of my satanic programming. However, I believe that as each of us finds healing in this life or the next, we will be able to reach that wonderful place of loving ourselves, because we feel the love of God. Then, upon that foundation, our hearts will be drawn toward praying for all people, and you’ll mean it—with charity that will transform you from being primarily physical to being primarily spiritual. And in this process, He can heal us to a greater extent.
And after the healing comes the best part—just hanging out and hearing Him tell you inside jokes, or talking about whatever you want, for as long as you want. You and your Best Friend.