On Monday, January 2, 2023, my friends, Nathan & Joyce Ricks, along with two others, took off in their private plane from Provo, Utah.
Moments after takeoff the plane suddenly crashed, killing Nathan instantly, critically injuring the co-pilot, Brent Beardall, while Nathan’s wife, Joyce, and the other passenger, Dane Margetts, walked away with minor injuries, and thankfully survived.
The story was covered nationwide, here is the story as reported by local Utah’s FOX13.
Our prayers are with the Ricks Family facing the long road ahead as they pick up the pieces of losing the legend that is their father.
I have known the Ricks family for 2 decades, as they were among the first in my career to utilize my performing for multiple family, business, and community events, providing our family with opportunities and blessings that have shaped our lives and greatest vacations. Their generosity was unparalleled and the loss of this man stings for all who were touched by him.
I share this post for a few reasons:
1 – To honor a Great Man
2 – To give perspective as to how precious life truly is
3 – To highlight the power of words, and those which will live on as his final testimony
In our faith, every first Sunday of the month is called “Fast & Testimony Meeting”. After partaking of the sacred ordinance of the sacrament in prayer and supplication, with music and worship, the leadership turns the time over to the congregation, for any who feel in their heart the inspiration to stand, share, unprovoked and without obligation, while fasting for a certain period of time.
This practice has been standard my entire life and I would assume for nearly 2 centuries.
Truthfully, to some, this meeting is met with a bit of trepidation by those who have seen too many of them not be as spiritual as one might hope, while others prefer it to any meeting the Church holds, as it can be an incredible outpouring of the Spirit.
My friend and comedian Steve Soelberg lovingly has coined this meeting as “Open Mic Sunday”. That should elicit an LOL to anyone who is familiar with this day, as traditionally the same folks stand month after month, either sharing their personal challenges, physical ailments, travelogues, and other ramblings that often can turn the meeting into an awkward stalemate between those who have too much to say and little to testify, and those who are too nervous to approach the stand while their hearts beat out of their chest, daring themselves to get up and share their witness, yet rarely do.
To be candid, testimony meeting can truly be the best and most uplifting meeting you will attend during the month, with no talks prepared, just people speaking from their heart.
And that makes this video just that much more profound and special.
Thanks to COVID, the pandemic, and needing to broadcast meetings virtually in 2020, our church has kept the camera rolling in nearly every congregation across the world, for those who stay home or can’t attend, thus resulting in this video being available.
For my entire life, a testimony wasn’t broadcast, recorded, or seen/heard again, just a moment in time of someone’s sharing their heart and words.
Thus the profundity that is this video.
On New Years Day, January 1, 2023, Nathan Ricks stood to testify, off the cuff, sharing his heart, and his final recorded testimony for the world to now watch.
As you press play, you may feel a bit of trepidation. I know I did. Imagine not knowing you are sharing your final thoughts for the world to see upon your passing the next day.
What would you have said differently?
This is a terrifying and equally beautiful thought.
We have the privilege of watching a man’s final testimony, his last great words to the world, testifying his beliefs, sharing his love of his wife, encouraging his neighbors and peers, and praising God and Jesus, both of whom now hold him in Their embrace.
He is eloquent, bold, certain, spiritual, and magnificent. He didn’t need to say one thing differently. It was perfect.
This whole thing floors me.
This is a rare glimpse into our much misunderstood faith and what we do there. As most of the world is still quite confused by what we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe, I hope this pulling back of the curtain moment into the goodness of what living a gospel & teaching does to a person of faith, literally turning one into a Man of God, which Nathan Ricks is.
I’m so grateful for this video, and so thankful to have known this man.
May we all take the chance to stand, testify, share our love, speak our truth, and do so before it’s too late is my prayer for each of us.
This past Sunday I sat in our local church meeting, heart pounding, wanting to stand and testify…but I didn’t.
I broke The Promise that I promised myself years ago to always stand if I felt the spirit’s prompting.
After watching this video, and what I know now, it will be hard for me not to join the throngs that will inevitably stand to testify with greater urgency following Nathan’s passing.
I Promise to do and live better and be more like my friend, Nathan Ricks.
Enjoy this short and profound video, the Final Testimony of Nathan Ricks.
God Bless the Ricks Family, we love you.
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”