Taylor Ricks: Noticing the People Hidden in the Pages

Wed Mar 23 10:00:07 EDT 2022
Episode 171

Taylor Ricks has often taken comfort in not just the stars of scripture stories, but also those characters who are so quietly present that we may not even notice them. Perhaps it’s because she has never felt like the star of the show herself. Or because there have been moments where she has wished no one would notice her at all. Unnamed scripture heroes have become trusted friends to Taylor—friends who have gotten her through incredibly difficult times. On this week’s episode, Taylor introduces us to a few of these friends and shares why they matter so much to her.

For me, the first part of being all in the gospel of Jesus Christ is finding Christ all in His gospel.
Taylor Ricks

Episode References:
Taylor’s book: Everyday Disciples

Taylor’s Instagram account: @tocheerandtobless

Show Notes:
2:09- The Lad With the Loaves and Fishes
4:55- Quiet Heroes 8:09- Through the Breaking
12:26- Sitting With Others
15:12- The Target of Racism and Bullying
21:31- The People Who Prayed for Alma the Younger 25:24- Adoption and Being Chosen
30:47- Inclusion at Church
35:27- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00

Taylor Ricks was a young girl when she first began to feel a serious reliance on the scriptures. She was 12 years old when she began being bullied at school for the color of her skin. She felt she didn't belong and that she didn't matter. But she started noticing people in the scriptures–people many of us don't see or focus on. She noted the difference these people made in the story or the difference that was made in them, even if most people don't even notice them.

Throughout her life, she has marked references to these people and now she is sharing what she's learned with us–a lot of other people who many times feel like we are not seen or like our contributions don't matter.

Taylor Ricks is a wife to her childhood best friend, Tanner, and together they're the parents of four children. She has spent time as a foster parent and now volunteers with the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation. She received a Master of Education from Arizona State University in applied behavior analysis, and her first published book Everyday Disciples is in Deseret Book stores now. She also shares gospel related messages and stories on the popular Facebook and Instagram account @tocheerandtobless.

This is All In an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Pearson, and I am honored to have Taylor Ricks on the line with me today. Taylor, welcome.

Taylor Ricks 1:33

Hello. Thank you for having me.

Morgan Jones Pearson 1:36

Well, I am so–I'm so excited about this. I told Taylor this before we started the recording, but I have been reading her book and it is just–it is so good. You did such a good job. And I hope people will read–I think being a first-time author is a scary, vulnerable thing. And I just want to like put in a plug that Taylor's work is absolutely worth your time. And I think that you'll love it as much as I did.

So, Taylor, as we get started, I think the thing that impressed me most in your book is the way that you have helped me see the scriptures in a way that I haven't seen them before. And I think that that's a hard thing to do; I think as members of the Church, right, we've heard the stories a bunch of times, and it's almost like, sometimes we don't even think about them when we're reading. It's like, "Oh, yeah,” like, “Here I am. Story of Ammon, I know this story."

But you helped me notice people in the story I had never even seen in my mind. Not only are they unnamed, but they're unseen, I think. It's almost like we gloss over them. So I wondered, for you, what first planted in you a love for the scriptures? And what do you think gave you the ability to see those people in the picture?

Taylor Ricks 2:57

Well, you know, it's kind of like how we talk about building our testimony. Some of us have like a big experience and you just build your testimony kind of on that experience.

And then some of us it's like, slowly over time. And so definitely my love of the scriptures has been slowly over time, with just small things of like, whenever my dad would read them, he would use fun voices and things like that to make it exciting. And I could tell that my parents loved the scriptures.

And so I was like, "Well, I want to love what they love," like all kids want to do. But I remember in particular I had awesome primary teachers growing up and one activity–they like set up the gym like we were in the Bible and I felt like I was really there.

And they gave us like a little piece of bread and some goldfish crackers and told us the story of the lad that gave the loaves and fishes to Christ and He blessed and fed the multitude. And I just was listening. And I raised my hand and I'm like, "Tell me all about this lad. Who is that kid? I want to be that kid! Like, where did he get the loaves and fishes? Where was he going? Where was he coming from? Why did no one else have food?" And they're looking at me like, "Um . . . we're talking about the miracle."

And of course the miracle was a huge part of it, but I just saw that like he had given everything to Christ and Christ made a miracle and I wanted to be him. And I think ever since then, I really just read the scriptures looking for these people I related to. And over time I realized it was usually those people that were kind of in the background that I related the most to. So I think that's what kind of got it started for me

Morgan Jones Pearson 4:34

That's so cool. I love–I love when you hear stories of like the primary teachers efforts paying off, right, because like work goes into those–and we may sometimes feel like they're little things, but if it created that in you like totally worth it. Totally worth the effort. You write a bit about this in the book, but talk to me about what first inspired you to write this book.

Taylor Ricks 5:01

So I definitely–ever since I started reading the scriptures would just mark those people, but they didn't like stand out in my mind other than I would just mark them. And then a few years ago I was going through a particularly hard time. And often, in my ward even before that, I would kind of feel like I didn't quite fit in, like I wasn't quite what maybe the other sisters were, or I didn't have the same talents that they had, or I wasn't really in a group that went to lunch. Like that's never been a part of my journey really, at any age.

And so I just never really felt like I fit. Well, then a couple years ago I was going through a really tough, hard, trial. And the details don't really matter, but it was just one of those times where I just, I honestly didn't even want to get up the next day, it was just really hard.

And I was just listening to good things all day, every day, whether it's this podcast or books, whatever, I had to have constant good going through my mind. And I've always loved writing, and always had that as a goal.

In fact, I wrote a book 12 years ago and sent it to Deseret Book, and it was like, no good. So then we got this, you know, and so it's always been kind of a goal. Anyway, I was listening to one of the books, and I just had this feeling like– we need a book about your everyday quiet heroes that you mark. And I'm like, "That's so true. Let me try to call one of these authors and tell them."


And I did, I was like praying, and like trying to get a hold of them and never did for like a week. And then finally, you know, the Holy Ghost speaks in our language, and he was kind of like, "How about you write it?" Like, "This could be your thing."

And so through this really hard trial, I started writing it. And I call them my “Quiet heroes,” of pulling in all these people in the scriptures that felt like they didn't have a place. Or, or maybe they didn't, but it looks like they didn't have a place or they're easily read right past.

But that–I was starting to see their stories were so important. They were pivotal in their journeys, they're pivotal in the stories of the prophets that we do name, and we do remember, and I thought, well, that's me. Like, I'm just a mom with some kids, like just doing day to day and nobody's gonna remember my name, I'm not going to be like, somebody people just remember forever or something, but it's important to Heavenly Father, just like these people were.

And so I felt like I got this army around me that was protecting me through this trial as I was writing about them. And the fact that now I get to share that army of people with with everyone who, who wants to, is huge to me. And I just thought, what a blessing it is that I was able to take my hard time, and maybe pass that on to somebody else and help them see that they are needed, they are important, and you are loved, like, and what you are doing really, really matters–really matters.

Morgan Jones Pearson 7:39

That's beautiful. I couldn't love that more. I think one thing that you do such a beautiful job of in the book–and we'll kind of talk about multiple aspects of this–but the way that it's structured in, you know, drawing us into these scripture stories, but then also weaving in your own experience. There's something really powerful about that combination.

So like I said, first of all, you'll take an unnamed scripture hero, many of them in the Book of Mormon, which I thought was interesting, because I've seen unnamed women of, you know, the Bible written about, but this idea of unnamed people in the Book of Mormon, I think . . . I had never seen that done.

I wondered if you have a favorite that could kind of give people an idea of what kind of people we're talking about. I know for me, my favorite one so far–like I said, I'm like 100 pages in, but my favorite one so far is the example of the people that prayed for Alma the Younger and how, you know, they probably very easily could have been like, "Oh, yeah," like, "He finally got what was coming to him." And instead, they prayed for him. And so for me, that was profound. But I wondered like, what is one of your favorites?

Taylor Ricks 9:25

So originally, I thought maybe I'll do a book of unnamed people in the Old Testament, and then a different one about the New Testament and different, you know, and then I'm like, that's a lot for all of you to take in, you know, so I'll just pick my favorites. And so there is a lot of Book of Mormon.

But I think my very favorite kind of goes back to the lad with the loaves and the fishes that I kind of already talked about. And he–I think what stands out to me about that story is, here they are in this desert place, like loaves and fishes were not necessarily an easy thing to get. And we don't know where the lad was going or what his purpose was, why he had those things–I've heard some scholars say that he was like the first meal delivery service. And he was bringing it just to the apostles, but we don't, we don't really know where he was going with it.

But we do you know that he stopped, and he sat and he listened to the Savior. And then when he needed those loaves and fishes, he gave all of it. And without reservation, regardless of what he had intended it for.

And I think about that a lot in our lives, that sometimes we just need to sit with the Savior and then give Him everything we have and trust it to Him. And the lad trusted His loaves and His fishes to the Savior, and He blessed it, and then He broke it. And that is significant to me, because I think over and over in my life, I have given Him everything, you know, I've put it all out there.

And it feels like sometimes He takes the offering and breaks it and I can't even recognize it anymore. I feel like . . . it's like was all of that for nothing? Was there no point in all of that? But it was through the breaking that he was able to feed the 5000, and the others there. And then that He was able to gather the fragments that were lost through the breaking, through the tearing it apart.

And then that also stands as a representation to me of our Savior, who gave a perfect offering. And His body was bruised and broken and torn for us. And it was through the breaking that the miracle of His Atonement is real and tangible in our lives. And so I just love that story because I think, oh, I've just given so much that has felt like it's just been for nothing. But then when I really look, it's through those fragmented pieces of my story and my life, that I've really been able to see Christ's hand and His miracles. And so that one's just probably one of my favorites.

Morgan Jones Pearson 12:01

That idea of the breaking, I felt like you could take that in so many different analogies. But that's profound. I love that. You also, like I said, you do this really incredible job of inner weaving your personal experiences. And I think people just got a taste of the way that your mind works and the way that you're able to create practical application. But you have been through some really hard stuff in your life, Taylor. And you . . . I was inspired by the way that you have approached those things in some of those hard things you've invited into your life, and we'll get to that, but how would you say that hard things have shaped you?

Taylor Ricks 12:50

I think for each hard thing, I could say a specific thing that you know, changed or shaped, but an overarching theme, I think, through trials of life is for me, I am a very type A personality. And I've always approached life of like, "If I try really hard, if I work really hard, if I do X, Y and Z like it'll work out and it'll be great. And I will risk you know this and this. And this will happen if I do XYZ."

And I think through the trials and the hard things in life I've been softened. And I've been humbled. And I've been able to see that it's not all about an outcome. And it's not all about like achieving a goal or getting to a place as much as it is about learning what the Lord has for me, what He needs me to do and how I can include Him in in all of that.

And so, in that like softening and humbling, it's also prepared me I think to be there for people better. I've always admired–I think we all have these people in our ward–like the sister in your ward that can go to the family that's struggling the most and sit on their couch and just like comfort them, put their arm around them, like that's the sister you want to come over when you're struggling, like we all know that person, the expert at mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that stand in need of comfort.

And I admire that and I wanted that so bad and it didn't feel like a natural thing to me. I felt very like, "Oh, I just kind of pat you on the shoulder. And I'm so sorry, but I really want you to feel it. But I don't know how." Anyway, I think through those trials I've really learned how to sit with people in their hard stuff. And that has been the best part. The blessing, it's been the saving grace and it's worth going through all that other stuff if I can sit there with you, you know.

Morgan Jones Pearson 14:51

Well, I think that is one of the biggest things that we learn in life and I feel like it's a lesson that I learned over and over again, is we have to go through things in order to be able to understand the way that that thing feels. One of those hard things that you went through is your family–you initially grew up in Spokane, is that right?

Taylor Ricks 15:15


Morgan Jones Pearson 15:16

And then your family moved to Utah, and you experienced racism for the first time. But I was blown away, Taylor, by your experience, and I think the part that was most disturbing to me, is like, how does that even happen? You know, like, how do little girls–because you were how old when you moved to Utah?

Taylor Ricks 15:41

I was 11. And then the issues kind of started around 12.

Morgan Jones Pearson 15:47

Okay. So, very young.

Taylor Ricks 15:49


Morgan Jones Pearson 15:50

And so it's like, how does it–how are those ideas perpetuated? What's being said in the home that creates for that kind of experience? So I wondered if you would mind just sharing a little bit about what happened to you, and then maybe how it ties in to these unnamed scripture heroes for you.

Taylor Ricks 16:09

Yeah. So we moved here, like I said, and I started Middle School, which is like, everybody's worst–isn't that our worst two years of life anyway, right? And it was going fine. I had made some friends in the neighborhood and in the ward, and it was fine.

But I lived in a small town and so we had to ride a bus, like 40 minutes to get to school. And just one day, I heard these group of people just talking like really angrily about somebody and all these awful things they were going to do to them and all of these things. And I was just like, that's . . . you know, "I feel bad for that person. I'm gonna stay as far away from that as I can."

And then when we got to school, I put my stuff in my locker and everything and started looking for my friends. And this group of high schoolers and middle schoolers and everybody just kind of came around me and ambushed me and, like, encircled me really closely. And, and they were saying all sorts of awful racial slurs and threatening to beat me up, threatening my life, threatening my friends.

And I think it is important to note, I'm adopted. And so I did not know another Black person until my adulthood. Like, never had even met one. So I always felt just kind of alone. Like, I didn't feel like I could relate. I have an amazing family and they never did anything to make me feel anything other than loved. But I still just was like, felt very isolated.

And so that experience was just torture to me, because of all of the reasons, right. And I was absolutely terrified. The rest of the day was really awful. I just couldn't even breathe, it like took over my whole body. I couldn't. . . . I just couldn't even function in a normal way. And at the end of the day, I tried to tell my last teacher that these kids were going to try to beat me up and he like, looked out the door and is like, "Oh, it looks fine. You're fine." And sent me out and I go out to the bus.

And this time, it was a huge amount of the student body, a lot of people, and they all just circled around me. . . Sorry, it's still a hard thing to talk about 20 years later, but they circled around me. And they were threatening me and I was paralyzed. My ears were like buzzing, I couldn't. . . I think that was the spirit now because I couldn't make out everything they were saying after a while.

And I just kind of blacked–like blanked out. And then these group of boys from my ward at the time, our bus would pick up high school and then come to pick up Middle School. So these high school boys for my ward came and like a stood around me and got me on the bus. And they sat next to me, in front of me, behind me–all around me.

And they didn't even say anything. And I didn't say anything. But I've tried to like, you know, talk to them since and they are like, "What are you talking about? We don't remember that happening." I'm like, "Oh, it happened." You know, and the people on the bus just made fun of them the whole way home and I just thought I'm gonna lose this ally ship.

And then it just–the rest of the year was really hard. There was a sister in the ward that would sit in her car at the bus stop and would like follow me home and yell stuff out her car and throw things out her car. And so like these, a lot of these high school boys would like, walk me home, even though it's totally out of their way just to help me feel safe, you know?

And then we went to–I went to Young Women's, and I was so excited. Like who isn't so excited to finally go to Young Women's. And I think one of our first lessons, the Young Women's President stood up and was just like, "Anybody who marries outside their race will be damned to hell, and so are their kids, and so will their spouse." And it was just an hour of . . . just how I was less than everyone else in the room. And it was a combined lesson. And I knew everyone knew who we were talking about and what we were talking about. And I felt incredibly shameful.

Because I didn't know. I thought if she's using quotes from past prophets, she's using scriptures, like what she's saying must be true. And why did no one tell me that? Like, why have I been living in this Church, and no one told me that I was sinning by having a crush on a cute boy? I've never met another Black person. So I thought, I'm going to be alone my whole life, because I don't even know other Black people.

And it was just, it was awful. And of course, my parents were like, "Um, no, none of that is true." And the bishop said, none of it was true. But I still had to go to Church and to activities with the same leaders and with the same people that that happened with at school. And so I just started praying my heart out for understanding for these people.

And this is one of those times that the scriptures became my lifeline. It was the first time in my life I read them every day. And I didn't know what the heck they talked about most of the time. But I knew that there was a power in them, I could feel that difference. If I got up a little bit earlier, I knew that there was a power in them. And that was good enough.

And it made me–when I read in Alma, like we were talking, well, it's in Mosiah, about Alma the Younger, and I'm like, here he is going about causing all sorts of mischief through the whole town. Like I would not have been his biggest fan, you know. And then he's struck down. And Alma senior's like, "Hey, everybody, let's have a prayer circle for Alma the Younger." I'd be like, "Oh, he's fine. He's good." Like, you know what I mean? "Our problem child is no longer a problem. And I'm just gonna go on my merry way."

Morgan Jones Pearson 22:19

Like that was–that was an answer to a prayer.

Taylor Ricks 22:23


Morgan Jones Pearson 22:23

To me, that's kind of how I would feel like, "Oh, good," like, "This has been taken care of."

Taylor Ricks 22:28

Yes! Like, "He made my kids leave the church," or "He incurred–" you know, like, he would have been a source of great heartache to those people. I feel like, but instead, the priests obeyed. They did what Alma senior asked him to do, and they prayed, and they prayed for him. And I think about that, and like, I don't think that those priests . . . I don't think Heavenly Father needed those priests to pray for Alma the Younger, like he had it figured out and he had under control.

And Alma Sr. could have done all the praying. But I think the priests needed to pray for Alma the Younger. I think it was their hearts that needed to soften and change, because Alma the Younger became a very–as we know, not surprising anyone–an amazing prophet that did incredible things.

Well, I think your heart would have to be prepared to receive that. And so that's kind of how I tie that into this story is as I started praying for these people, of course, it didn't excuse what they did, and of course there's still a lot of hurt. And, of course, I want change in so many ways. But my heart was able to change and I wasn't in charge of their heart. I couldn't do anything about that. But like the priests, you know, I needed that prayer.

And we went to girls camp, and I shared my experience in front of all of them. And they apologized, and it was a really special thing. And I still didn't fully trust and I don't think we have to, but I did feel like it gave me a strength to be able to go on and face harder things later. And a different way to look at things.

But I married one of those boys that took care of me that day came and protected me on the bus. And he's not of my race. And that Young Woman leader that gave that lesson came to our wedding and she didn't–or reception, and we hadn't talked about it since or then. But she did wish us well. And I don't know what changed in her but I know that I was able to stay strong in what I knew because of what I chose to do, and so I hope there was change in her heart, but it's–I have no control over that.

Morgan Jones Pearson 24:53

Well, and I think that's significant. You know, we only have control over what's changing in our own hearts. And so I think that that's–it's just such a, such a powerful reminder to me of the way that we treat people and the words that we're using and making sure that encouragement of kindness is happening in our homes and with our families. I didn't realize Taylor that you were adopted, somehow I missed that. How would you say that that experience has shaped who you are?

Taylor Ricks 25:27

My birth mom raised me and she's amazing and the best, but my dad is my adopted parent.

Morgan Jones Pearson 25:35


Taylor Ricks 25:35

So they're both white, I guess. I don't even know the right terms myself.

Morgan Jones Pearson 25:39

Yeah, no that's fine. We'll make mistakes together, it's the reality of the situation.

Ricks  25:46  Taylor

Just please know my heart as I share, you know, I'm learning every day. But my dad, my adopted dad, is adopted himself. And then my husband and I we'll talk about later also adopted a child. So adoption is like a really sacred thing in my family. And so I think for me, it gave me a place where I really felt chosen. Like, my dad chose me and loves me, and I say, I'm still his favorite, you know, I'm his only daughter. And so, and we– our birthdays are one day apart. And so that's kind of a special thing. But it and that adoption, I think it for me created a really special bond, it's been a blessing for me to just . . . yeah, and that he can relate to what it's like to has been really cool.

Morgan Jones Pearson 26:36

For sure. Well, and I love knowing that because in the book, you talk about how you're a daddy's girl. And so knowing that makes that part even sweeter. So, like you said, you also adopted a son, but your son has Down syndrome. And I wondered how you and your husband reached that decision. I know you were foster parents first. How has being a parent of a child with special needs changed your heart?

Taylor Ricks 27:06

Yeah. So we always joke that we didn't choose it, like we didn't like go out trying to adopt somebody with a disability or with Down syndrome. But Heavenly Father, like totally had His hand in every step of it. We were in between foster placements, and we got this. . . we were like talking to each other, we're like, "We should add to our file that we'll take kids with Down syndrome."

And so we call the caseworker. And she's like, "I've done 20 families at a time for 20 years. I've never had a kid with Down syndrome, it's not gonna happen. It's not worth the paperwork. And she did not change it." And then we got a call about Zane and he was in the NICU, and he had not been diagnosed with Down syndrome. And so they placed him with us. And he was diagnosed about a week after he was in our home. And by then he was in every sense of the word to us he was ours. And we were absolutely in love with him. And I just think, I mean, Heavenly Father's hand was in that I've never heard of somebody taking that long to be diagnosed, you can usually tell right away, you know.

Morgan Jones Pearson 28:07

Right. A lot of times it seems like they know even before the baby's born, right?

Taylor Ricks 28:11

Yeah, if they choose to do the genetic testing, or whatever they'll know ahead.

Morgan Jones Pearson 28:16


Taylor Ricks 28:16

So, I was like–I think the spirit was preparing us for this really special, special person to come into our lives. And we found out we were expecting a baby the same day we found out he had Down syndrome. So it was crazy. And so because of that, though, Down Syndrome wasn't–wasn't a scary thing to us. We were more afraid of having four kids under four, or that he might have to go back with family or something that we'd have to say goodbye to him.

So I think that having Zane in our lives has just been . . . it's almost hard to put words to, he is a light and has a spirit bigger than the room. And he has a gift of being able to tell how someone is feeling and he can instantly–perfect empathy–can perfectly match how you're feeling and he will be right there with you in it.

No matter what is going on in my day. Like if he can tell that I'm having a good day he'll just go off and play and then even randomly across the house, he'll just come up and just sit by me and just be present. And I think he's just taught me what being present is.

And I remember asking our other kids during a Family Home Evening or whatever, "What does it mean to you guys to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort? What does that even look like?" And they were just like, "I think it's just to be Zane. To just–" and they're like, "He doesn't tell you what you're feeling is wrong, he doesn't tell you ‘You should be happy.’ He doesn't tell you that you should be anything that you're not. He just comes and he's in it with you."

And I think that that has taught me that I think there's a lot more to life than like, what age we learned to read or when we're potty trained, or any of those things like he's got it figured out. I really think that we're all going to be more like Him when we're in our perfected state than he's ever going to be more like us for sure.

Morgan Jones Pearson 30:33

Wow, that was–that's so so beautiful. I love that description from your kids. I think that's awesome. You did a course for Deseret Book that hasn't come out yet, but it is about inclusion. And I was able to watch it in preparation for this interview. And one thing that struck me is, you come at inclusion from multiple angles. Like we've talked about, you are a person of color, you have a child with special needs, and then one thing that I thought was really interesting is you talk about how you have a peanut allergy, which seems like a little thing. I've realized how . . . how involved that is and how scary that can be. And it's something I never would have considered before.

And so coming at this idea of inclusion, especially in Church from these multiple angles, I think you have a really unique perspective of how we can create inclusion. And I wondered if you would just be willing to share like one or two things that you think could improve the inclusivity in our wards and stakes.

Taylor Ricks 31:43

I would say that the biggest thing we could do to be more inclusive, just in general, is I think a lot of times we will go, "Well, if we tailor or change this circumstance to meet one person, then the whole might suffer. I think . . . I've had the chance, I'm the ward disability specialist, which is fun, but I've had a chance to kind of go and talk with like other bishops and things like that. And every time I have, that's the concern.

"If we make our Young Women activity more inclusive for this one person, then the other Young Women might suffer." And to that, I love the story of the man with palsy and his four friends carry the bed–carry his bed to Christ and lower him down the roof. We all love that story.

But the man was not the only one who ended up at the Saviors feet that day, and got a miracle that day. Those four men with every step that they carried that man closer to Christ, they were also closer to Him. And by bringing by bringing that man to Christ, they came to Him. And so when we are striving, in our wards to be more inclusive, I think we've got to get rid of that rhetoric that the other Relief Society sisters might suffer, or the other Elders Quorum or the Primary, or the youth–those groups–we will never never suffer by carrying a brother or sister to Christ. I just know that.

Because it is impossible to help someone else feel loved and welcomed and a part and not feel closer to the Savior, it just can't be done. And so I think that would be my biggest thing. Don't be afraid to change or alter an activity or not have snacks are make sure your snacks are allergy friendly, or, you know, call extra leaders where you can to help those special needs people–children, especially–all of those concessions that we make are going to strengthen us as a whole. There's a bonding that happens with that.

And as we become more one and we're strengthened as a whole, we all get closer to Christ. I just don't think it's a journey we can take alone. I don't think we can get as close to Christ is as we want to be alone. And I don't think it's a journey we should even try, you know. And so that's my biggest thing is just finding . . . finding the places that we can make changes just to include the one and it's going to be worth it.

Morgan Jones Pearson 34:24

That brought back a sweet memory for me. In my stake growing up there were these two men who both had special needs and now I know one of them has passed away. The other one is probably in his 60s, but they used to have a special quarter during Church basketball games in which they would come in and they'd play the whole quarter and everybody, you know, would support them in playing and like do I remember a lot about Church basketball? No, but do I remember what it felt like during those quarters? Absolutely. And those men were so special to everyone in our stake because of the–what you described, like making adjustments to make them feel included. Because of that they became really special to all of us I think, so I love that. Taylor my last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Taylor Ricks 35:23

For me, this is kind of a two-part answer. And I will quickly say, when I listen to the podcast, and you ask this question, my brain usually blanks out and I just think of how I would answer it. And then I have to rewind and listen to how the person answered it. So my hope is that everyone's gonna blank out, and that the Spirit can teach you because it's going to be better than anything I say, I promise, but you're welcome to rewind, like I always do.

Morgan Jones Pearson 35:47


Taylor Ricks 35:49

So for me, the first part of being all in the gospel of Jesus Christ is finding Christ all in His gospel. There are sometimes things that are really hard and heavy, maybe policies, or maybe we hear things that don't fit well. Or maybe we just have questions, maybe there's just parts that just don't sit well. And I have always found that to be all in that is I have to find Christ and all of it. Find where He loves me in it, find where He loves the other people involved in it, find where He, you know, has a hand in that, that part that I might be struggling with, as well as the parts I love and have a testimony on and that I understand.

And every time I put Christ in it, it heals. And it solves the problem for me, and I'm able to keep going. So that's first. And then the other part is allowing, and making room for Christ to be all in me. I think about when we partake of the sacrament, and we take the bread and the water. To me, among other things, it symbolizes fully bringing Christ in. Every part of what He's offered me, fully into my body, into my soul. And so to be all in His Gospel, I have to allow Him all in my thoughts, all in my deeds, everything I'm trying to do.

And every day, I fall a little bit short, of course. But as long as I'm striving to keep Him all in every part of me–my body and my soul, then I feel like I can be all in His Gospel. So just including Him, everywhere, is the only way that I feel like I can be all in. Like we're doing this together, He and I. And that's sacred to me.

Morgan Jones Pearson 37:37

I love that so much. I think that it is so true that hopefully this question causes people to think, but I hope that if people did tune out like you said, that they do rewind that because I think that idea of looking for Christ in His gospel and then allowing and inviting Him into ours is so spot on. So thank you so much, Taylor. It has been such a joy to be with you. Thank you for your light and your goodness. And I am rooting for you with this book because I really do think that it's worth people's time.

Taylor Ricks 38:14

Thank you so much. That means so much.

Morgan Jones Pearson 38:20

We are so grateful to Taylor Ricks for joining us on this week's episode. You can find Everyday Disciples on DeseretBook.com Now, thanks to Derek Campbell of Mix at Six studios for his help with this episode and thank you for listening

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