Or From My Hospital Bed, or Whither Shall I Flee, Or Don’t Let Go
by Nicole Marie Hilton, September 27th, 2022
I’m here in the hospital–yet again. It’s a long story, but I wanted to let all of you, my readers, know that even though I’m in the hospital for the umpteenth time, I still have so much hope for the future in my heart, and even peace in the present.
How am I finding this inner peace and strength? It’s through a constant dialogue with Jesus Christ in my mind. I’m still definitely a beginner at this, but I’m learning fast.
I think of the scene with Mary Magdalene in the show The Chosen, where she desperately clings to the following scripture:
Psalm 139:7–12 Old Testament
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
She had no idea that right at the moment of crisis, Jesus Christ would be there to catch her:
I feel as though a lot of us are just getting by–just hanging on by the skin of our teeth, as it were.
And then there are some who give up completely.
Sometimes even I wonder still, will He be there to catch me?
The wiser parts of me know He will. Because I’m realizing that He was there when I was young and raped on the playground. He was there when I was older and being bullied left and right. He was there when I went through my disastrous two marriages and those long and lonely college years. He was also there when I went on my service mission and when Satan attacked me, and He’s here, right now at age 33 in this hospital bed.
I’m going to end with this quote–which I know is perfectly true–down to the last and least human being on earth:
by Nicole Marie Hilton, a very long, long time ago, in a journal far away…
I’ve decided to give ya’ll a sneak preview of the children’s book, or one of several, that I’ve written. This is by far the most inspired book I’ve ever produced–it was channeled straight through my spirit to my brain within the space of one hour. I remember just setting my pen to the paper and it just flowed…without any planning–the story unfolding itself to me. I had no clue what I’d be drawing and writing next–it was as much a surprise to me as it’ll be for you to read. It’s currently being illustrated by a wonderful woman who also has Dissociative Identity Disorder because of childhood trauma. So…I have something in the works FINALLY! It only took me 33 years!
or Listen, the Mirror of Erised, or the Dreamer, or Be Thou My Vision
by Nicole Marie Hilton, Tuesday, September 13th, 2022
I’m a dreamer.
Always have been, Always will be.
Ever since I was born, I can remember looking around and thinking, Oh–this life is amazing! And it can be even better! I can actually remember looking around and seeing only shining, beautiful possibility.
So, let me share some of my dreams with you. If you’re turned off, that’s fine. You don’t have to read on.
I’m dreaming about freeing Amber Phillips, who is being wrongfully imprisoned in the Utah County Jail, in a padded cell for months now.
I’m dreaming about having an editor who can take my computer as well as all of my files and journals and just run with it!
I’m dreaming of a world where people don’t judge you off of your beliefs, your sexual orientation, your religion, your smarts, or your politics, but rather off of the content of your character.
I’m dreaming about leaving my bed and being able to walk up Webb Hill one morning.
I’m dreaming about having a massage therapist who knows how to help paraplegics.
I’m dreaming about having an assistant who has a brain who can hold all of the things I cannot hold, and who is very type A–enough to let me be types B to Z.
I’m dreaming about making Ayahuasca ceremonies legal in the United States of America.
I’m dreaming about acting as the character of Cinder when they make The Lunar Chronicles into a movie! 😀
I’m dreaming about opening my healing center–the _____ ___________ ____________ _______ ___ _________—which Spirit told me I’ll be opening someday.
I’m dreaming about my family reading this blog, and–eventually, my other one as well.
I’m dreaming about having my children’s book—How the Devil Lost His Butt—be published this year.
I’m dreaming about going to a Dr. Dispenza retreat with a friend, and learning how to meditate.
I’m dreaming about having Oprah introduce the new healing method I’ve found to the entire world in order to heal everyone who needs and desires healing and to usher in a new era.
I’m dreaming about dating my future husband, who my Lord and Savior has revealed to me.
I’m dreaming about having so much money that I can donate 1,000,000’s to Operation Underground Railroad and help rescue all of the sex traffic survivors in the entire world.
All of these dreams, and more, I believe, is what I saw after Jesus Christ took me down from riding Modoc the Elephant in heaven, and took me by the hand, escorting me up the stairs into the Palace, and letting me gaze into the Mirror of Erised/the Pensieve (which are actually one and the same in Heaven).
And I’m dreaming about having people who believe in me and my dreams–which are very, very large–“out of proportion”, some might say–for this little girl sitting and typing in her bed in her parent’s house, with legs that don’t work even enough to grab her wheelchair from across the room.
And…I need you to see that you…You are the reason I do everything. You are the reason I breathe in and out everyday. You are the reason I am trying my best to be brave. You are the reason I was split into personalities too numerous that I haven’t been able to count them, and why I’ve held on this long. You are the reason I’ve healed to the point I have.
I was sitting in the St. George temple baptistry recently, looking at a painting of Christ. He’s kneeling by a little boy and smiling at him with the kindest expression. The little boy is holding Christ’s hand and trusts him.
It struck me that God’s aim is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and that God is completely happy and selfless while carrying out this task.
I’ll repeat that in a different way: God’s aim is to have kids, raise them spiritually, and raise them physically, and then see us through to the end—to the greatest capacity of happiness we each can reach. And He does this all because it makes him absolutely full of joy.
I don’t know how it is in other people’s heads, but in my head, there has always been (unless I’ve been out of my mind and running around hugging everybody) at least 1% of selfishness manifested in everything I do and think. (Most of the time, it’s more like 100%).
In all the gifts and hugs I’ve given, in all the most “selfless” things I’ve done, there has always been an element of what’s in it for me? Think about it. Even the most Christlike people you know are probably doing things because they want themselves and their families to receive eternal life.
…Which is a good goal, to be sure. But, consider that there’s still an element of selfishness about it. Would these people work equally hard for a homeless man on the other side of the world they’ve never met to receive all these blessings and everything life has to offer? No. No one is that Christlike. We all have limits.
Now, can you imagine what it would be like to actually consider another human being as yourself? Perhaps this is what parenthood gives us a taste of.
In that moment, in the temple, I finally understood something about God on a deeper level that I hadn’t previously reached before. And that is this: God doesn’t get bored. He can’t. How could you be bored when you have limitless material (or intelligence) with which to create new children and watch them grow and progress?
Now I’m sitting here writing this and I’m finally realizing what parenthood is all about. But not just that—what love is all about.
I used to think that to be selfless would be painful—that to love someone or consider someone as yourself would be excruciating. Because the worry would pop into my head, what about me? What about my needs? Well, what if taking care of someone else’s needs actually was taking care of your needs?
That is what God is doing.
His ways are much higher than our ways. That is how the Christ could go through with the Atonement.
In that painting the love and warmth with which Christ is just drinking in the sight of this little boy says it all. He considers each one of us—one by one—as Himself.
God the Father keeps on doing what He is doing with absolute joy…because He has limitless opportunities of reinventing and loving Himself. That’s who we are. We are God.
Perhaps selfless isn’t the right word. That word denotes that you are without a self. God isn’t “losing himself” to take care of us…not at all. Perhaps he’s found a way to fuse the opposite ends of the spectrum together. He is, at the same time, both the most selfless and the most selfish being in the Universe. He is doing everything He does—loving us completely—because we are a part of Him. Isn’t doing everything for yourself the very definition of selfishness?
So, maybe that’s the key. Give yourself permission to be selfish, but only in it’s highest form—which is the way God is selfish: by being the most selfless. God is both selfish and selfless at the same time, to the umpteenth degree. Perhaps a new word needs to be coined for this—God’s selfselfness?
by Nicole Marie Hilton, April 8th, 2020 and September 11th, 2022
I’ve been wondering about this vision, which I had a long time ago…
“I need to share…a week and a half ago, while I was visiting my boyfriend in Virginia, I woke up at 4 am. As I was drifting in and out of consciousness, I had the feeling of going through several “doorways”…as shifting images swirled around me, they eventually came together and I was thrown headlong down an enormous slide into an exquisite bathhouse, where fish and dolphins swirled around me. I looked around and found I was in an enormous palace, and I was sopping wet! It felt so physical and real, as if my body was actually there… Then, I looked up to my right and I saw the most glorious Heavenly Being sitting on a throne. I ran up to Him and rested my hand on His knee, as He said with a laugh, “Welcome home, dear daughter!” It was Heavenly Father! The feelings of peace and joy I felt for the few hours I got to explore that heavenly palace and interact with my Father are beyond what I can express. I know that–regardless of what religion, status, or level of “righteousness” you are, you have a home up there in Heaven, and a merciful, all-powerful Heavenly Being, a God, as your Father. He loves you and He wants all His children to return home to Him! I hope as we fast united this Friday, we all will be able to feel His love and assurances touch our hearts.”
…when…I looked back through my journal entries and saw, and then added to, the following:
First Vision Day
By Nicole Marie Hilton, Friday March 27th, 2020
It’s curious that on March 26th—which is the day the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove 200 years ago—I had my own experience of meeting the Father.
I had gone to bed quite late. JJ tucked me in and then left to sleep on the couch (I was staying at “our” place during the coronavirus epidemic, and we were quite happy for the time being), and I went to sleep without medication. (My “core personality” was fronting, and felt so relaxed and peaceful at our home we’d made together, that I had weaned off of my sleeping meds.)
I woke up on the morning of the 26th for the second day in a row around 4 am. This was becoming a habit! I knew 3-5 in the morning are the hours of the day where the veil is the thinnest—so I thought, am I going through a spiritual awakening or something?
I was so tired that I decided to take an Ambien (a drug I DO NOT recommend) and get back to sleep. But, as I was laying there, I felt the other dimensions around me and the bed was “breathing” underneath me.
As the Ambien started to take effect, I realized that I wasn’t falling asleep immediately. When this happens, and I’m awake while on Ambien, it always enhances my ability to feel other dimensions even more.
So, just laying there, quite by mistake, I went into a trance-like state and fell down through into a lucid dream. While in this lucid dream-like state, I found myself in a car full of young men all joking and laughing. We seemed to be going on a road trip. I was in the spacious backseat, between two of these young men. I was completely conscious and aware.
Somehow, I knew what I should do. I closed my eyes and, inception-like, I fell even deeper down into blackness. I started following my imagination. Shifting images that were fuzzy appeared in my line of sight. I followed them until, somehow, I entered a scene that was very real, indeed.
In another dimension, I found myself sliding, buck naked, down a gigantic pink marble waterslide into a huge pool of water.
I splashed into the pool, but then I came up laughing. I hadn’t felt this joyous and free in a long time! Then, I saw marble columns rising above me, and a huge hall, which had been made into a large and exquisite bathhouse.
But no earthy bathhouse could be made to look like this. There were dolphins swimming in the pools of water, and a school of fish swirling in a beautiful vortex of water through the air.
At that moment I thought, “I want to swim through that school of fish,” and then, I was immediately taken there. I swam through the fish and they weren’t scared of me—somehow I even knew they were happy to see me!
While I swam through them, I looked at my cloud of hair swirling about my face, and then down at my body. It was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t believe it.
I laughed, and then I heard another voice laughing—one that was deep, rich, and warm. I looked up and saw a throne up on the other side of the slides. Immediately, I was standing there before it, dry and wearing a beautiful white dress.
There was a glorious man on the throne wearing a white robe, and who had white lustrous hair and a beard. His blue eyes were twinkling at me.
“Welcome home, Daughter!”
The next scenes were a blur—probably because they were so sacred. But I know I greeted Heavenly Father, and I actually rested my hand on His knee. He was so happy to see me. I was so aware of the experience that I thought, I am actually doing this! I am remembering this!
I was given to know that I was in a palace of my own creation, and it was a popular spot for other children of God to come visit.
I was so ecstatic, I zoomed through the palace. I was truly…well…like a dog with a squirrel.
“Oh, what’s that!”
“I wanna see that!”
“Ooh, what’s down there!”
My thoughts were racing a million miles a minute, getting reacquainted with the palace I had created. Everything felt like déjà vu. Right when I saw my creations, they seemed familiar and bright—like they had been waiting for me all this time. No dust here. And no maids, either.
And the best part? Everywhere I went, any outfit I wanted to wear came upon me.
A sapphire blue gown with diamonds sewn into the bodice!
A soft yellow goddess gown with birds embroidered on the hem!
A white gown with a cape made of floating pink rose petals!
I had an intimate knowledge of every single fashion I had seen on earth, and my own creative force put hundreds of beautiful gowns on my body during my visit.
I was aware that the Father could see me exploring the premises, no matter where he was sitting. He was with me, delighting with me.
I seemed to have liked marble columns and levels at least six stories high, with lots of stained glass ceilings and sunlight filtering in through tall windows. And every inch of the place was covered in symbolism.
One of the first things I explored was a cavernous hall which had the entrances to rides every ten feet or so.
Every time I asked a question, the answers were given to me. I wondered about the rides—which each had a “theme” and which disappeared either down into the depths of the earth or out to the grounds outside.
Pure knowledge entered my mind—the rides were for other people’s entertainment, and each was about something I had mastered or an experience I had been through.
I was so excited, I could hardly stay put or even talk to the hundreds upon hundreds of people in this hall who turned, or kept on appearing because I was there, or who tried to greet me. Everyone was laughing, with shining eyes and a warmth, which said welcome home, we love you and your creativity.
I was given the knowledge that, in heaven, I was known as someone who had a great imagination and who was highly inventive, all while being artistic and meaningful with my beautiful creations.
I raced to another part of the gigantic palace. It was a sort of library, but not any kind of library I’ve seen on earth. The library was about six stories high—all the way to the ceiling, and had rows upon rows of sculptures on all the levels.
As I examined the sculptures, I realized that each “set” was of a family eating around a dinner table. As you looked at the black obsidian sculpture, you were given knowledge about what culture the family was, what they were eating, and what they were talking about. It was like a thousand little snap shots of families eating their food at home.
I giggled at this and realized I must have been obsessed with food for far longer than this earth life!
I then zoomed to another area, which was up by the ceiling in another part of the palace. Everything here was Japanese-style.
I looked down and saw a beautiful green kimono come upon my body. I walked out onto the roof, where there were terraced gardens.
While leaning over a bonsai tree, I was suddenly aware of some evil spirits racing towards the palace. I stood up and turned around.
I saw the spirits break through a sort of force field, which was around my estate, and immediately large angels in white appeared, with swords which glinted like fire.
They tried to keep the evil spirits at bay. I realized that the evil spirits were there for me.
I stood there calm as anything, watching the battle progress. I thought, “I wonder if I could help out?”
As soon as I wondered that, I became aware of a power inside of me. I started to wield this power, and all of time and space became subject to me. I “paused” the scene, and raced around the battle, hitting each evil spirit where I knew it would hurt.
They couldn’t die, but they could be hurt enough to where they didn’t ever want to come back again.
I went back to where I was standing before, and time “started” again. The righteous angels were all halfway through a jab or a thrust with their swords, but it wasn’t needed anymore. The evil spirits turned and flew up, back the way they came—crying!
The angels turned toward me and I smiled.
“It’s about time!” a blonde angel said.
They all chortled and I laughed as well.
I decided to sing them a song in gratitude. I started singing, and my voice was clear as crystal. The notes flew through the ether, bathing everything in light and sound.
Here, I “woke up” a level above me, in the car. I opened my eyes to see all the young men around me staring at me, their mouths agape.
I said, “What?”
“You were sleeping.”
“And singing! Wow, I’ve never heard a voice like that!”
I smiled, but then desired to go back to my palace. I closed my eyes, and dived back down…
Here, I was in a part of the palace that wasn’t finished. There was still room to grow and create and have fun!
I did an inventory of the entire palace in my mind, and I realized there wasn’t anything dedicated to, funnily enough, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show outfits.
I closed my eyes, and envisioned exactly what I wanted in this part of my palace. Then, I opened them. There were double doors right in front of me, and I knew there would be pink marble columns, a catwalk surrounded by mirrors, and every amazing outfit from all the fashion shows displayed in neat rows on the other side.
Excited, I sent out an “invitation”—sort of like a “mind-wave”—into the universe. Anyone want to try on all these outfits with me?
Instantly, one of my best friends in the entire universe popped up beside me. We greeted each other ecstatically, and then walked through the double doors and had the time of our lives!
I must have tried on at least 200 outfits, we had music going, and a camera hovered in the air, taking snapshots of our poses. I thought, I wish my husband was here to see this!
Somehow, there, I was already married.
I don’t have memories of the other rooms I explored. But what I do remember is that there was a feeling of love and absolute acceptance of who I am. This permeated heaven.
Later in the morning, I shifted through the layers of reality, left my palace, and went back into the car with the young men. Then I left that dream, and woke up in bed.
Notes from talking about this with A, a woman-who-is-a-friend:
Him having a throne in my house means that it is a temple of heaven
Can represent a house of my ancestors
What do we do in the temple? Redeem our dead.
House represents my spiritual attainment, my growth, but also my family house
Devils could be ancestors who don’t want changes.
Ask: what else I need to know
Questions and Answers from September 11, 2022: Just who was the best friend who showed up with me and tried on all those outfits with me? It was your best friend of friends, K, who has been through many different lifetimes with you.
Does everyone have this large of a palace in Heaven? If they wish or desire it, but many of the people in Heaven don’t want this level of creation, because of what it entails
Does everyone who is LDS have this level of palace in Heaven? Heavens, no!!! In fact, you’d be surprised how few LDS people actually want this level of creation
Who the crap is my future husband, who created all this with me? I cannot answer that at this time. Not because you aren’t prepared for the answer, but because you will, undoubtedly, be sharing this online.
You’ve got that damn right.
HA!!! “I love our little intrigues together…”
So do I, my dear, so do I.
May every person who is reading this have this level of correspondence with you?
Yes, but it’s not up to you. It’s up to them.
I hope they choose to. I do hope so. Because nothing has been more joyous to my soul.
Have you ever felt like your heart is yearning for something so badly that it might burst out of your chest and make a mess of everything in your life?
I have. My entire existence.
I used to play the three piano pieces you just listened to—especially Liz on Top of the World. That was my favorite song. It would burst from my frantic heart through my fingers every single day—ever since this movie—Pride and Prejudice—came out and I rushed to the music store to buy the piano book.
It’s strange to me that she’s dreaming that she’s up on a cliff, yet when she wakes up is when she meets the love of her life.
Perhaps when I jumped off of my cliff, I had been dreaming? Only to wake to the reality of Heaven?
However, I’m back here on Earth, now. And I’m beginning to remember what Christ showed me in the library after His embrace and the parade through the streets of the White City—He showed me that we—as Earth—are about to reverse the decent down the cliff…we are about to ascend.
So, we (my mom, dad, and I) are currently watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at Tuachan—just outside of St. George, Utah, even as I write this. I’m sitting next to my dad up on the top level in my wheelchair. It may seem on the outside as if I’m not paying any attention to the show…however I’d be surprised to find someone in this audience who’s more attentive to the deeper meaning and symbolism behind every belted note and tapping heel.
I’ve been reflecting on how Joseph was so very aware of God’s working in his life. I mean, it’s like nothing could get him down—to be sure, he was still human in every sense—but he found an almost superhuman ability to endure unimaginable trials by relying wholly upon God.
It’s interesting to me when I remember that my dad spent an entire year of his life in Egypt when he was 17, in 1976-1977. How on earth did this occur? My grandparents up and left their cozy home in Salt Lake City for a water-well drilling business there—which was actually a front for the missionary work they were doing! (See In Search of Lehi’s Trail, by my grandfather, Lynn Mathers Hilton.)
Oh! The stories my dad tells about his time in Egypt. I would listen—absolutely enthralled—on his knee growing up. He climbed to the top of the Pyramid of Cheops, and saw all the ancient signatures carved into the topmost stone. He remembers the flies upon flies upon flies in the air, which never left since the time of Moses. He graduated from high school in front of the Sphinx. And he cursed an angry Egyptian who kept on ramming into the back of his motorbike, and then was violently pulled off of it and beaten almost to death by an Egyptian mob. (His hotheadedness calmed down significantly after his Egypt experience…) And there are many more crazy stories, which I don’t have time for here…
I remember that once my dad dreamed a dream—and if anything this crazy show is teaching me right now is, is that we should definitely pay attention to our dreams. But we must also have the Spirit to be able to interpret them correctly.
In his first dream, he was driving his car, and a Devil was running to the side of his window. No matter how fast he stepped on the gas, the evil man could keep up with him and was leering through the window—an evil grin twisting his features.
The second dream he had was that he was in a Great and Spacious Office Building, and he was on a floor filled with all manner of detritus—desks, trash, notes upon notes in great stacks up to the ceiling. He was pressing forward through it all, when he heard a kind voice behind him, saying three times, “R——, R——, R——,…I have a gift for you.”
He waved behind him with his hand—still looking “forward” into the corner of the room—saying, “I’m too busy! Come back later!” Then his dream ended.
After he told me that, I felt the Spirit impress on me that it was the Savior, Jesus Christ, who had been beckoning for him to turn around.
To this day, he still doesn’t know what the gift was.
What Doth It Profit a Man
God has asked, What doth it profit a man, when a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receives not the gift?
The answer sadly, is Nothing. Just like how Joseph’s brothers are mourning right now on stage for Those Canaan Days, they didn’t have the eyes to see, to turn around from the detritus of the desert, and see Joseph—the Christ-figure—who was right in front of them.
It could be argued that everything happened just the way God planned it to, of course—God knew the character of the brother’s hearts, after all. And this scene is very applicable, as well:
However, happy endings must not be an excuse for rejecting the gifts that God is begging us to turn around and accept right now. (Even when those gifts are completely in disguise—as the cup hidden in Benjamin’s grain sack was.)
We must also be forgiving of ourselves and of others. We mustn’t curse ourselves for not knowing what we didn’t know. Only then will we be able to move forward and see the new gifts which are right in front of us. Which is my prayer and blessing upon you who are reading this, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Nicole Marie Hilton Sacrament Meeting Talk (with added media)
February 9th, 2020
Thank you to JJ Brown and John Pontius for help with this talk
(Very long one minute pause)
Are you getting annoyed that I kept you waiting for a minute? Imagine how your ancestors feel who have been waiting for the blessings of the temple for decades, or even centuries!
Hi Brothers and Sisters, I am Sister Nicole Hilton, I am a missionary at the Family History Center and this is my home ward.
I’m going to start my talk by sharing with you a journal entry I recently wrote on the 25th of January. I titled it Do You Want Sushi, or Sushi?
“Today I was trying to decide what to do in the morning. Later on, I had plans to attend a YSA 25 and older get together at the bowling alley, and then dinner afterwards at 4 pm.
Suddenly, I was sidelined by a text from Sarah—an invite to come hiking in Zion National Park! So I dropped everything and ended up switching cars with my mom, taking my dogs, and driving four girls (including myself) and one guy up to Zions, where we proceeded to hike three different trails and have a lot of fun.
The whole day, Sarah had been talking about Sushi Burrito—a food place I had introduced to this same group a couple months ago in Cedar City. She said, “I swear, I want Sushi Burrito so bad, I’m going to go all the way to Cedar City after this and I’m going to get one! Or, how about we go right now?”
I thought about it, weighing the risk of burning up too much of my mom’s gasoline, spending the last of my money, and missing the bowling against the yummy goodness of Sushi Burrito. I didn’t have to think too long before I felt something in my gut firmly say NO, thus helping me decide against driving everyone up to Cedar City.
So then Sarah came up with plan B—maybe I could go bowling, but then meet up with them and go to Cedar inside of doing dinner with the YSA group. I said this was a definite option.
So we finished the hiking in time for me to get back and just barely have time to drop everyone off back at their cars in the church parking lot, race home to drop off the dogs, and then race to the bowling alley, where…I proceeded to find no one there.
Well, there were people. Just not my people. I sat on one of the swiveling chairs, thinking…what the crap? Why was there this gut feeling, that I just HAD to get to this bowling activity—against all odds? Why didn’t I just go to Sushi Burrito?
Nevertheless, I kept on sitting there. I had this feeling that I just needed to.
Then, in walks *Boston, fifteen minutes late (to the activity she organized, mind you). She looked stressed. We discussed our options, and who else might be coming, but no one came.
We figured, since the whole activity was paid for, and we were both famished, why not skip the bowling and just go out to eat?
I called Sarah and her group, and told them not to wait up for me, and to go to Cedar City and Sushi Burrito without me.
Then Boston recommended we go to Sakura, which was a rare (and expensive) treat—one of my favorite sushi places of all time. We saw a great Habachi show, I ordered my favorite thing off the menu, and I got to comfort Boston, who told me it had been one of the worst weeks of her entire life. She had broken up with her boyfriend of two and a half years on Monday, and had been really torn about it. I was able to commiserate with her, and offer her consolation.
We talked some more, and everything was paid for by the ward account, since it was an official activity. We hugged in the parking lot and she had a relieved look on her face. She said, “I really needed this.” I said that I did, too.
As I drove away, I not only marveled that God had answered my hankering for sushi—for free, and with such class—but that he had prevented the following scene, which came into my mind. I pictured Boston, at the end of the hardest week ever, walking into the bowling place, looking around, and finding no one at the activity she had planned—me having ignored the spirit and gone off in a different direction to spend money I did not have for second class sushi I didn’t know I didn’t want.
I gripped the steering wheel and prayed as I drove: “Father, I don’t know how you make use of someone as disobedient and lost as me, but despite all my stumbling through the fog of this world, somehow you still do. And I love you for it.”
So if you haven’t caught on, my talk is about service. As my experience demonstrates, the first key ingredient you’ll need in order to be of service to your fellow man is the ability to follow personal revelation. If I hadn’t learned to follow my “gut feeling”, my friend Boston would have arrived at the bowling activity to find nobody there, and her very hard week would have ended in disaster.
We need to recognize that this personal revelation that will lead us to be more effective ministers begins as a “gut feeling”, or it could be described as our conscience. If we learn to give heed to it, it will expand—especially if we’ve been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is neither reserved for the perfected, nor is reserved only in times of crisis. It is meant to be an everyday, every hour, and every minute thing.
John Taylor related this exchange with Joseph Smith:
“I well remember a remark Joseph Smith made to me upwards of forty years ago. Said he, “Elder Taylor, you have been baptized, you have had hands laid upon your head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and you have been ordained to the holy Priesthood. Now, if you will continue to follow the leadings of that spirit, it will always lead you right. Sometimes it might be contrary to your judgment; never mind that, follow its dictates; and if you be true to its whisperings it will in time become in you a principal of revelation, so that you will know all things.” (Journal of Discourses, 19:153-54)
We see the example of someone who heeded their conscience until it grew into the principle of revelation in President Thomas S. Monson—who always seemed to be in the right place, at the right time—to minister to “the one”.
How great a burden it is to know, that those little Jimminy Cricket whisperings are personal revelation for us! And when we ignore those whisperings to do good, the heavens withdraw and are silent for a time. It is therefore essential that we first learn to recognize and obey that which we already have before we can expect to be given anything greater.
Speaking of receiving “greater”, let’s get to the heart of what Christ has asked us to do. I was given the following scripture to base my talk off of—Matthew 25:
35 For I was an ahungred, and ye bgave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a cstranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye avisited me: I was in bprison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee asick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adoneit unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me.
Why? Why did Christ use these examples of whom we should serve: The hungered, the stranger, the naked, and the imprisoned. I think it’s because these are often considered the “very least” around us…yet the service offered to them matters the most to our Savior. If we are to be considered “righteous” at the judgment day, this scripture clearly states whom we should serve.
After pondering on this scripture, I had to ask myself some tough questions, and I didn’t come away from it looking very good. In the case of Boston, I know that God put me in that position so I could be a comfort to one of his daughters in her time of need. But, Boston is a peer and a member of my singles ward…I thought to myself, in Matthew 5, Christ seems to be talking about people who aren’t in our everyday lives—people we have to leave our comfort zones—if only a little bit each day—and seek after to find.
Let me pose these questions to you:
Do you know anyone who is hungry and doesn’t have enough food?
Do you know anyone who doesn’t have enough clothes?
Do you know anyone who is in prison or jail?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the next question is WHY? I asked myself, why don’t I know any fellow humans who are suffering from these afflictions?
Is it because there is no one in St. George, Utah who could use more food?
Is it because there is no one here who could use some good clothing?
Is there no one in St. George who is in prison?
Have I received any hints from my conscience that I need to be doing more for these people?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Could it be that we subconsciously avoid interacting with these people? We may give to the shelter around Thanksgiving or Christmas, but do we do what Christ did and seek these people out?
How much effort do we put forward to seek these people out? When I walk into the nearest homeless shelter, or prison, food bank, or hospital, do the people there recognize me? Am I a familiar face in these locations?
Do I honestly believe that paying fast offerings, and giving the guy on the corner a couple dollars fulfills Christ’s admonition in Matthew 25?
Can I really learn to be like Christ by relying on government, my bishop, and others to fulfill Matthew 25?
After all these questions I posed to myself, I realized something. Maybe the most important part of Matthew 25 is what happens to our own hearts and our relationship with Jesus Christ when we personally interact with those who are in these particular circumstances.
The good Samaritan didn’t call 911, he sacrificed. He disrupted his travels, his own schedule, his own to do list, and his own money to take care of someone who probably would have been prejudiced against him. Our natural inclination is to run away from situations like that. I think Christ understands that the main point of this admonition is to personally get involved. If we are, in all actuality, Latter-day Saints who carry Christ’s name in our hearts, it seems that Christ would have us be first responders who run towards the afflicted rather than shy away from those who need help the most.
As I’ve tried to honestly answer these questions, I’ve had to admit that my natural inclination is to avoid society’s most needy, because I feel uncomfortable around them, and I’m unsure I can even lift their burden—or I think they’ll take advantage of me. However, there is one time in my life where God put me in a position where I got to experience actually ministering to those who needed it most, and all my fears turned out to be unfounded. I actually grew closer to my Savior than I ever thought possible…
This time was in the beginning of 2018 when I moved home, and I had to go work at the DI. I admit that, at first, I thought the work was beneath me. I was pretty prideful, and I complained a lot. But after a couple months, and after I got over myself, I started really noticing the people around me. Every single one of them was hurting in some way. One of the people, her name was Anessa, and she was very quiet—she didn’t say much. And as I started to get to know her and ask her more and more questions, I learned more about her situation. First, I learned that she was always hungry, and not for the reasons that I thought she would be. Her parents were her adoptive parents—they had adopted her when she was twelve because she came from another family that was extremely abusive. But these new parents were also extremely abusive. They would force her to eat the things that they like to eat. If she ever came home with any healthy food, they would throw it away and they would force her to eat pizza and chips and candy—which is completely crazy! So, I started to bring healthy fruit and vegetables to work, and she would throw away her pizza and whatever she had brought, and she would share lunch with me. So that’s the first thing I learned about her.
Then I learned that she didn’t have that much clothing, so I shared some of my clothing with her. And then I learned that her adopted parents actually locked her in her room, and only let her out so she could go to work. Then, they would lock her back in her room, and then they would spend her paycheck. And so she was, quite literally, a slave. She was older than 18, but she actually didn’t know any different because her former situation had been so much worse than her current situation.
So over the months, I worked with her and helped her see that life could actually be different. And after she started showing more of her personality and getting up her courage, one day she came into work and she was covered in bruises. I got out of her that her adoptive father had beaten her. And so, she got up her courage, and I took her to the police station. I held her as she had a huge panic attack, and she said she just wanted to go back to her old life. But we got her a counselor and got her into the Dove center, and her life underwent this miraculous transformation, and she became free from her prison.
I can say after that experience, that Anessa helped me just as much as I helped her. There are moments too sweet to put into words where I felt the presence of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Parents in my life. Because I accepted that opportunity to serve, because I followed my gut feeling and the spirit, I received more than I gave.
There was a moment after I had moved with Anessa up to Provo and gotten her settled with a job and an apartment, that I taught her how to ride a bike for the first time in a big grassy field. The look of excitement on her face when she felt that freedom and accomplishment made my heart swell with joy. I felt the presence of angels around us, watching two whooping and hollering girls hugging in a field, as though Heaven was celebrating with us. These are the moments I know Christ cares about. Because He suffered for all of us, and bought us with His blood, whenever we lift the ones who truly and desperately need our help, it is a direct service and a relief to Him.
I know that everyone in this audience has real trials in their lives, as well. But from the perspective of Elder Bednar, that’s an opportunity. In his talk at BYU Idaho, called the Character of Christ, he said,
“Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress.”
“I find myself repeatedly asking the following questions as I ponder this and other events that took place so close to the Savior’s suffering in the garden and His betrayal: How could He pray for the well-being and unity of others immediately before His own anguish? What enabled Him to seek comfort and peace for those whose need was so much less than His? As the fallen nature of the world He created pressed in upon Him, how could He focus so totally and so exclusively upon the conditions and concerns of others? How was the Master able to reach outward when a lesser being would have turned inward?”
Elder Bednar goes on to say:
“We can in mortality seek to be blessed with and develop essential elements of a Christlike character. Indeed, it is possible for us as mortals to strive in righteousness to receive the spiritual gifts associated with the capacity to reach outward and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. We cannot obtain such a capacity through sheer willpower or personal determination. Rather, we are dependent upon and in need of “the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah”…
1. We must earn the right to have personal revelation, and follow it
2. We are invited to Serve those around us, and go out of our way to serve the hungry, the naked, and the imprisoned in order to grow the closest to Christ—for it is then we are directly serving Him, and it is then we will be called Righteous at the last day
3. And to have our characters resemble Christ’s, we must also reach out and comfort those who are experiencing the same adversity we are going through. We can do this by relying upon the merits, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.
I testify Brothers and Sisters that my heart has been healed the most when I have been on the Lord’s errand. Nothing has been more exciting, yet at the same time grounding and peaceful, and a balm to my soul. I know that if you yearn to feel Jesus Christ standing beside you, and His hand in yours, you only need reach out and minister as the Spirit dictates. I love you all and I hope we can follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I say these things in His name, Jesus the Christ, Amen.”
Thurs. April 28th, April 29th, Aug 31st, Sept. 8th2022
I have been learning about Martha from the New Testament, and how to become a Mary.
I’ve just watched Disney’s Cinderella (the live action version)–and Cinderella’s two stepsisters definitely fit the bill of being Marthas! (Although, they are a great exaggeration of the truth of who Martha was–a faithful follower, if but a little mislead, of Christ.)
I think we all have a little Martha inside of us, don’t you agree? President Dallin H. Oaks said, “The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service… Martha’s self-importance occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal,” from LDS General Conference, 2022.
Christ with Mary and Martha
Like Mary and Martha, we must learn to lose ourselves in the process of serving and seek the Lord’s will.
Martha’s primary mistake on this occasion seems to have been focusing on herself—even as she was serving others. The Savior helped Martha understand that it is not enough to simply serve the Lord and our fellowman. We must learn to lose ourselves in the process of serving and seek the Lord’s will to guide our desires and motives as well as our actions (see Luke 9:24; D&C 137:9). Disciples must overcome the tendency to think first of themselves and learn to serve Heavenly Father and His children with an eye “single to [His] glory” (D&C 88:67). I recently received a blessing that said, “you mustgive Me the glory…otherwise you wouldn’t truly be happy…” and I couldn’t agree more–although I know that Satan will later tempt me even more with this trial.
Later, after her brother’s death, Martha showed her focused faith by setting aside temporal concerns and immediately going out to meet the Savior when she heard He was coming–which, to me, shows the very real and promising reality of growing, learning, and becoming (see John 11:19–20).
All the Love of the World Wouldn’t Equal a Millisecond of Love from Heavenly Father
I wrote down some revelation on Thursday, April 28th and 29th, 2022, which I think is important to note here:
God: Nicole, all the love and adoration of the world for your entire life wouldn’t equal the love and adoration from me I’m sending you each and every millisecond…but you won’t feel it.
What I mean is, you aren’t committed to establishing a relationship with me so you can feel it. You have bought into what a lot of my children of your generation and younger have bought into—Satan’s lie which will lead to Satan’s life—one of a whited sepulcher.
Myself: How can I be saved now? I feel so far gone—like I’ve betrayed the Spirit so often that I’ve become numb to it. Even now all I can plan on is how to use my experiences to get gain.
God: You are not so far gone, my Daughter, Sister and Friend. Not until the final judgment. My greatest prophet Joseph Smith initially fell into this trap, too…Your 3-6-9 Journal <an idea I had in order to raise myself out of poverty and off government benefits> inspiration is a good one, but it also depends where you are coming from, and who can help you, and when. If you are coming from a place that is greedy—that is using any fame you’ve acquired just to get money…well then you are buying into what Satan said—that “you can buy anything in this world with money.” And you will be left to ‘kick against the pricks,’ so to speak. You won’t receive any help with it from Me at this time. Joseph Smith had to learn this, so don’t feel badly. Simply becoming AWARE of your subconscious tendencies and bringing them to the light will wash away any darkness you have within you. Just Notice.
Remember when I said that we know what true beauty is? The world has enough Barbies who don’t affect the world for good…what we need are true Beauties.
Whoa…that was good.
You may take all the credit for that one, if you wish. True beauty is like Aaron’s mom or Dr. G’s wife, Joan, or like your massage therapist, Tammy. Don’t you remember the lesson I’ve taught you many times before? You won’t disappear if you are UPWARD–not necessarily OUTWARD–focused, rather, you gain more of yourself back if you focus on Me and on others. You learned this lesson once before–Meeting Jesus Christ and the Universe–or with focusing on your Pineal Gland, which is the physical connection you have to the spiritual world. I’m asking you to take a leap into the dark, my Daughter. If you try to publish all your writings right now without being Spiritually Centered, your life will end in disaster. You won’t be the powerful public speaker I want, and I need you to be.
But I can’t even string two words together sometimes because of my brain injury, Dad!
Let me finish–others will be drawn to you initially, but then be turned off because people can sense radiance. But with each new word you receive from me, your radiant beauty increases. Please focus on that picture you took with my precious daughter, A—that, my Darling girl–is who you truly are and where you truly come from.