My Life Story

It was early in the morning of Thursday, September 22nd 1977. 3 o'clock in the morning to be precise. Mary awoke from having small birth contractions which continued steadily every 5 minutes. By 4:30 a.m. she called the hospital and had her husband Forrest rush her to the Kaiser Foundation Hospital located. After some long hours Forrest and Mary were the proud parents of a son by the name of Michael Andrew Hickman.

I was the second born to the parents of Forrest Van and Mary Constance Hickman on Thursday the 22nd of September 1977 at 8:34 am in the city of Walnut Creek, California. There was a little humour in the air that morning when I was born. As soon as I came out of my mothers womb I urinated probably from being in the new world’s cold air. It was also noticed that I had a birthmark on my bum  which will forever be a forensic identification in my life. My mom said that I was a small boy weighing only 6 pounds 9 ounces and my height was 19 and a half inches tall. My father and mother were both only 21 years old at that time.

A few days later my parents proudly brought me home where I got to meet my oldest brother David. He was only a year old at that time. We lived at 314 Nadine Street in Livermore, California which was roughly a half hour drive away from the hospital that I was born in. We soon moved to the great city of Manteca, California in the which I would spend the rest of my child, teenage and beginning adulthood years.

I honestly don't remember much of my childhood but who really can? I do know that I was a very shy boy. I never found myself in any trouble as I was always obedient and respectful to those who were older than I was at least until High School. The only things I can know of a surety come from the records kept by my parents.

At the age of 3 I graduated from the LDS nursery program on August 31, 1980 and became a Sunbeam on September 7, 1980. During this time I remember sitting on the floor in my primary class and having Sister Carroll tell us the story of Noah and the Ark. I was fascinated by this story and it really touched me so much that I can remember it to this very day. I envisioned the animals flowing into the ark. The bad people making fun of Noah and his family and then the dark clouds ready to burst with rain.

Yeah I graduated from Kindergarten on June 9, 1983 at New Haven in Manteca, California. My teacher was Mrs. Fisher but i really can’t remember her at all. I do remember having a serious run in with one of my classmates at school. His name was Clifford and he had a patch over his eye. One day Clifford grabbed me and flipped his patch open to show me the inside of his eye socket. I screamed and cried so much that my mom had to come to school to calm me down. I remember someone telling me that the boy looked at a light for too long until his eyeball was no longer useful and so it was removed.

In the beginning of this life history I told you that I had always been a shy and quiet boy. I always wanted to be alone and by myself. On my Kindergarten report card my teacher Mrs. Fisher says, “Mike is somewhat shy although he seems to be able to say what he needs and if anything is bothering him.”

On November 2, 1985 my dad baptized me and confirmed me into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Manteca 2nd Ward. I was 8 years old at the time. I got my own set of scriptures that were leather bound and afterwards had a nice dinner with my family and my Grandma Hickman. This day was a good day to celebrate.

One Sabbath Day during primary (which was held in the sacrament chapel) I was asked to get up and to read a little scripture. I got up and began to read when I came across a word that I didn’t know how to pronounce. The word was “Bow” which probably had to do with Nephi’s bow breaking. I remember messing up and saying the word “Bow” as in ‘to take a bow.’ I was so humiliated which probably explains my fear of public speaking to this very day.

My parents taught me about tithing I started to pay my tithing on the money that I earned which wasn’t much at all. I had somehow accumulated $3.50 and I paid a tithing of $0.35. The following year I had made $12.50 and paid a full tithe of $1.25. From then on I had very little trouble paying my tithing. I knew it was important because my parents believed it was important. They taught me to do this at such a young age that it just stuck with me throughout my life. Sure there were hiccups here and there… i’m not saying that I was or am a perfect tithe payer, but I have never doubted in its blessings nor have never been tempted to not pay my tithing… as far as I can remember.

My mom and dad loved to go camping. I have some good memories of travelling and camping with my family. We would go a couple times a year but they were really fun. One time my mom made everybody soup. We were hungry and scarfed it down. Soon we kids faces were all bloated and puffy. Come to find out that my mom didn’t add water to the soup. We all ate the highly concentrated soup!

As far as i can recall i had never been interested in sports but because of my shyness and perhaps desire to remain to myself my parents signed me up to play various outdoor activities but had always felt out of place as I was never competitive in nature. I had played on a couple of soccer teams and had also tried karate which was taught at the Boys and Girls Club but soon left that as I thought it very distasteful and offensive to bow down on the floor to the instructor. This did not sit well with me as a young kid. The only bowing down that I had ever down was in prayer to my Heavenly Father and I didn’t want to share that with anyone else.

Hated it! The leaders were so much more interested in scouting than I ever was. Award ceremonies were confusing and out of touch with reality. Never understood the why’s of any of these award ceremonies. Why did I have to be turned upside down to received and have my Bobcat pin placed on my shirt? What’s the deal with a Patrol and a Patrol leader? Or the Tenderfoot candle ceremony? Or the really dumb jokes and “Round of Applauses.” Seriously this was out of my desire to do. I was a quiet, calm and shy kid and didn’t want or need any of this strange stuff in my life.

When I got older it became more and more of an embarrassment and finally I was so ashamed of the scouting uniform that I would rather die than wear that hideous thing. But I did it because my parents asked me too. They wanted me to get out of my shell and partake of the things that the Church offered to help the youth grow and learn. I finally (with the help of my mom) got my Eagle Scout. My project was to collect clothing from the neighborhood and to donate them to a homeless shelter in Stockton, California. Now I must say that I really was proud of this. This was a good project because I new that I was doing something very good for those who didn’t have the things that I had. I felt blessed.

On September 24, 1989 I left the Primary program and the next month on October 15th I became a Deacon and received the Aaronic Priesthood by my dad.

At this time my school teacher was Mrs. Gardner. She was a really good teacher that cared about me. I remember quite a few things at this age. I was first introduced to the male and female anatomy during this time. I found it very distasteful and was not ready to receive this kind of instruction. I remember one particular day at school when the teacher was instructing us about the woman’s anatomy that I got really sick and asked to leave to get a drink of water. As I left to get a drink, I went into the boy’s bathroom and nearly passed out. As I stumbled about I thought it was a good idea to splash water on my face which ended up all over my face, shirt and pants. I was so embarrassed. What do I do now? As I stepped back into class Mrs. Gardner saw that I was all wet and asked what happened. I then told her this story about a kid splashing water all over me and then running away. The following day I saw her walking through the school courtyard and asked her if I could not participate in those discussions. I remember her looking at me and telling me that everything was going to be ok. That year I was a straight C student.

On October 20, 1991 my dad ordained me to the office of a Teacher in the Manteca 3rd Ward.

Neil Hafley was my school. And I was cool! I really thought that my graduation shirt was the coolest thing ever. I was so proud of it. My mom got it for me and I knew it was a special day. I was graduating with my brother Glenn because somehow and somehow I was held back a grade.  My Grandma and Grandpa Bell were there to support me us too.

On October 24, 1993 my dad ordained me to the office of a Teacher in the Manteca 3rd Ward.

This year I completed several scouting merit badges with the help of a very persistent scout leader by the name of Larry Farnes. The very first record that I have of completing a merit badge was on September 20, 1994. Are you surprised that my first badge was the Camping Merit Badge? My next one was the Lifesaving merit badge completed on November 2nd and then the Cooking merit badge on November 8th. The next year I would get the Roller Skating merit badge, and the Finger Printing badge.

High school is difficult for me to talk about because during this time I became an attention seeker to the harm of my character. I was never interested in girls until perhaps this time. As a freshman in highschool I remember having our desks turned towards each other and there was a girl who started talking to me. I remember her being very pretty and I took notice of her for the rest of my time in high school. To this very day she seems to have taken a very hard life. She is lathered in tattoos and perhaps it seems she works at a bar. I graduated from East Union High School in 1996. Honestly I didn’t want to even go. It was hard the night of graduation. My brother Glenn who I graduated with went to the school party while I just stayed home. It was a real eye opener for me. I thought to myself that I perhaps would never see my high school friends again and that I was growing up and moving on… but moving on to what? The unknown is scary. What will I do now? Go to college? Serve a mission? Meet a girl and get married? I was moving forward and I was scared.

My Sophomore year I made friends with a man by the name of Matt Tully. He told me that a restaurant that he was working at was looking for someone to wash dishes. I applied and got a job working at a steakhouse called “Happy Steak.” I was a dishwasher and got really good at it. After awhile I started to bus tables and eventually made my way to being the head cook. This is where I met a dear friend named Sarah Vidrio. She was a very good and proper girl. She never said bad words and was a virtuous person. We liked hanging out together and were always laughing. We were really good friends until I left on my mission and went our own separate ways.

I have a couple of strange stories as this was the time of my high school years and working after school. One day one of Sarah’s sister's ex boyfriend's came in to eat and was giving Sarah a hard time. I can’t remember exactly what he was doing but Sarah was getting a little flustered and angry. I got so mad at the guy that I spit on his burger and Sarah gave it to him. To this day I don’t feel bad about it. Another time while working there a tall man who was hired as a cook was was in the back room and as one of the waitress walked by he snapped the back of her bra. He was fired. I didn’t like this guy at all. He seemed invested about talking about sex almost every time I walked in the room. I was glad when I heard he was fired. One night I went out to my car and there were 2 guys fighting and bludgeoning each other to death. This was right next to a bar that was within walking distance from the restaurant. Serves them right. Bars always attract the worst of people. I have always been afraid of bars and particularly people who are drunk. They smell bad, they act weird and say the stupidest things. There is one thing that I am proud of to say and that is I have never tasted beer or any alcohol in my entire life. The stuff smells gross and the consequences seem to outway all desires to partake.

There was a Hispanic male that worked there but I can’t remember his name. He was investigating religion and my boss whose name was Dan began to speak with him about his Jehovah’s Witness faith. I remember sitting down with Dan and talking to him about religion. I remember him telling me that when Jesus was on the boat he told his disciples that there would be no more prophets and apostles after his death. I knew this couldn’t have been. Sure enough this guy had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He simply made it up.

During this time I somehow conjured up in my mind that coffee was ok to drink and not against the Word of Wisdom because it had no caffine in it. At least the decaffeinated coffee that I would drink on a daily basis. How that happened is beyond me. Of course I knew it was wrong… that’s why I never told my parents about it. If I had then they would have put a stop to it immediately. I have learned that when you want to sin you will find any available way to convince yourself that what you are doing is ok. This is Satan’s way of doing things. He will whisper in your ear and tell you that no harm can be done when in fact your eternal salvation could be at stake.

I wasn’t there but a high school friend and co-worker by the name of Nicole accidently drove her car into the restaurant… like literally into the restaurant. I felt so bad for her. I thought for sure she would be fired but come to find out Dan was more compassionate than I had expected. She continued to work there for a very long time.

One night, while we are closing up, one of the cooks was being a punk and shoving dishes my way telling me to clean it up. Usually I can take a joke but man this was being persistent and he was scaring me. He was definitely acting this way because one of his buddies was with him. I finally started to cry and one of the waitresses (named Beth) told me to not worry and to go home and she would tell our boss Dan about it the next morning. I left and came home crying about it to my dad and he wasn’t too happy. He told me to get in the car and he would take care of it. Me and my dad walked in the restaurant and I saw them from afar off sitting at a table drinking alcohol. I stayed way behind and saw my dad talking to them at the table. He basically asked them if they had a problem with me to which their faces turned white and they quickly apologized. I remember a couple days later coming in to pick up my check and he gave me a free drink and wanted to make me a meal for free. He was very apologetic. I felt bad for him but I still wanted him to leave the company because it was just awkward.

This same waitress who was kind to me was working one night and just before we were about to close a man came walking in. We served him and he asked Beth if he could sleep with her that night. She told me this and she was very excited about it. I don’t ever know what happened to her that night but this was very strange to me. Why would someone want to give up their entire life to someone they don’t know? What if he had STD’s? What if he had a family and was married? What if he was a sexual predator?  

There was another time when a Hispanic man by the name of Steve. He was the lead cook. Every night he was in charge of counting the money and I would see him in the room doing it. There were a couple times he approached me and gave me a little money and thanked me for all I had done. Being naive and new to the company I thought he was sharing his tips with me or something. One day he wasn’t there and I asked what happened to him and was told that he was stealing money from the safe. He did it little by little so nobody would catch on. I felt so horrible about it because he gave me some of that money. Nothing big at all just a couple dollars here and there. I told my boss Dad about it and he told me not to worry about it. I’m pretty sure he served jail time for that.

One good thing that came out of working here was that I was able to save money for my mission. I at least saved enough to buy my clothes and luggage. Everything else was paid for by my parents.

On June 2, 1996 I graduated from seminary. Man that was sometimes hard. I remember that I liked walking to seminary by myself. I would put on my headphone and play Pearl Jam “Release Me.” I would get so carried away with the emotions that I felt that I would take a longer way to get to seminary. I really did enjoy the feeling that I felt after seminary. Going to school after that early morning spiritual event really helped my morning. Some people would make fun of us. I remember Shauna Hurley and another girl were walking together after school. They saw us and Shauna’s friend yelled at us saying something about our religion and Shauna got mad at her and tried to get her to stop.
One morning after seminary I had my skateboard with me and was trying to do kickflips in the church. This was really stupid of me. Brother Garcia was our Hall Monitor. He tried to take my skateboard away from me but I turned around and farted on him. April Halladay was there along with some other friends. To this day she won’t let me forget about it and rightly so. This deserves a lifetime of punishment. Oh... and Brother Garcia didn’t take my skateboard away. He simply turned around and walked away.

I was a real punk during this time. One late night during Young Men’s me and my good friend Keith Halladay were outside the church and I decided to hide behind a wall and as traffic was driving by we threw rocks at the cars. I remember this night very well. I threw a rock ate one of the passing cars and smashed it’s window. We got scared and hid ourselves in the church’s baptismal font. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I think you could say that I was a troubled youth.

Around this time frame me and Keith were one night hanging out and listening to music in my bedroom. We were both sitting down and I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye move. I looked again and saw a dirty yellowish type figure. I asked Keith to look to see if he saw the same thing. He instantly began to freak out and was moving his hands and arms back and forth as if he was trying to push something out of his way. I looked again and saw the outline of a man’s head and his hair. At this moment my brother Glenn walked into the room and instantly knew something was wrong. He was literally thrown back across the room to which I immediately stood up to leave the room to get some help from my dad. When I stood up to leave I was instantly seized upon and couldn’t move nor speak. I remember standing and looking up gasping for breath. I thought to myself ‘oh boy… I’m in trouble.’ I was somehow released and got myself out of the room. I honestly don’t remember what happened after that. My dad was home and I don’t know if we talked to him about it or not. I think we all finally left the room and just felt comfort that it was over and we were in good company.

I didn’t want to serve a Mission. I was really scared. I had a girlfriend and a job. I was safe at home and loved being with my parents. Why would I want to leave it all? I knew I would have to give it all up. I knew if I went that I would be put in uncomfortable situations and be well out of my comfort zone. Sure I knew the church was true but was I really willing to live it? It was a very difficult decision for me to do. I remember the day my dad asked me if I was going to go on a mission. We were sitting at the dinner table. My mom was sitting on the couch in the living room. My dad told me if there was anything that I needed to confess to the Bishop then I probably should do that. He told me everybody makes mistakes. Everybody one day or another ends up confessing to a Bishop. This comforted me because there were things that I really needed to set in order in my life. My dad told me that sometimes saying “Yes” to a good thing can bring a confirmation of the Spirit to you and will let you know that it is a right thing (or not) to do.

I remember looking down at the dinner table and said quietly, “ok i’ll go.” My dad was so happy for me. I took a small walk around the corner to the Exxon. I was crying and felt so much peace. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and the Lord blessed me.

I soon received the Melchizedek Priesthood by my dad on December 29, 1996 in preparation of my Mission. I received my mission call in the mail. I opened the letter a read the paper which told me that I would be serving in the Marseille, France mission. I was really happy about it and knew that it was sanctioned by the Lord to serve there.

Me and my parents took a plane to Utah and stayed with my Aunt Vickie. We drove to Salt Lake City to tour the area and stopped to get something to eat on the way to the MTC. As we sat in the restaurant Vickie said a prayer on the food which I thought was bizarre. I had never prayed in an open public place and have never since. I find it sometimes distasteful to me. We made it to the MTC. Me and my parents went inside to listen to a talk. After the talk was over we said our goodbyes. I tried to be cool about it and not cry. I’m sure I did but I can’t remember or not. We parted our ways and we were herded like sheep to our rooms. As I was leaving my parents there were barbers standing at the door handing out little papers to those who needed a haircut. I was one of them.

I had a self esteem issue while at the MTC. I had really bad dandruff and I was always conscious about that. My dark suit coat didn’t help hide any of it either. My MTC companion was Elder Hutchinson and my roommates were Elder Brasher and Elder Dupree.
During my time at the MTC I had a dream however I never committed it to paper until after my mission was over. The following is taken from my Journal Entry:

As I entered the MTC, I struggled very hard. I didn’t feel accepted by the Lord and the Elders in my dorm. Most of the Elders were so excited to be on a mission. Not me. I knew that the decision was right but I was totally out of my comfort zone.
One night while I was sleeping, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was a little fragile bird locked in a cage. My surroundings were unrecognizable and I felt cooped up and boxed in a corner. I wanted to get out and fly which I was trying to do. I was flying around as much as possible in my cage. I wanted out so bad but just couldn’t get out on my own. I felt trapped and I remember feeling and saying to myself, "How long must I remain in the cage?" These feelings lasted for some time. Somehow the cage was opened by an unknown hand. I felt so free. I was able to fly freely and at my own will and command.
I knew this dream was sent from the Lord. I knew that He was trying to teach me something special but I will leave that interpretation to you.

Another great miracle that had happened to me occurred at the MTC. It all started one night when I had a terrible dream.  I will not reveal this dream accept to my wife, but it was persistent and very bothersome to me. The dream became such a nuisance to me that before I went to bed I prayed that I would have an answer to the cause of such consistent dreams.  I had at that time never become more persistent and fervent in my prayers before, truly having a real desire to know the cause of such a disturbance in my life and call as a missionary. Finally, my prayers were answered.  I must explain that at the MTC, we had interviews each month with our bishop or one of his councilors. These interviews were to help guide and counsel us as missionaries. Each missionary would wait outside the door on a chair or couch until he or she was called. There was no alphabetical order or sequence to interviews but I remember being the last one called in for my interview. When it was my turn, the missionary before me stated that the counselor wanted me to wait. I waited for quite some time. This was strange to me that I would have to wait for so long as all the other missionaries were coming and going in a nice timely manner. After some time he opened the door and asked me to come in. As we both sat down, I noticed something very peculiar about him. His eyes were filled with power and it was as if he knew me through and through. He asked me how I was doing and I of course told him that I was fine. He looked me deep in the eyes and asked me a question.  “Are you having problems going to bed at night?” I was a little caught off guard and told him that I was having difficulties going to bed and would pray that my prayers would be answered.  He told me not to worry but that they were of God and the dreams were helping me overcome past sins were currently being swept away from me.  I was shocked.  I left feeling strengthened that God had answered my prayers. I learned that Heavenly Father will sometimes answer prayers through his servants.

It was time to leave the MTC. I took a plane with my companion and finally landed in France. If I remember correctly, we landed in Paris. From there we took a small plane to Marseille. That plane right from Paris to Marseille was horrific. I got so sick that I threw up. I was sick for the rest of the entire day. Some Elders picked us up and drove us to the Mission President’s home in Aix-en-Provence. I remember being introduced to the Mission President Dansie and his wife. The Assistant to the President was there with his companion and we all sat down and began to talk. As we sat down it was pointed out to us that everybody crosses their legs while they sit down. I thought this to be cool since I did that back home anyways. That was one thing I could check off my list of things to learn.

I learned that I was to be a companion to a Zone Leader by the name of Elder Smith. I thought to myself, ‘oh great, now I’m really gonna have to work hard.’ I also learned that we were going to have to learn how to drive a stick shift. We actually went to get our car and then some missionaries took us aside to show us how to drive a stick. I handed that responsibility over to Elder Smith.

My first city was called Salon-de-Provence and our apartment was literally right in front of a high school. One day I remember being totally embarrassed because we lived up on a hill and Elder Smith was still learning how to drive the stick shift car. Just as school was getting out we were driving up the hill to our apartment and it was like we were on a Disneyland ride. We drew so much attention our way with the jerking back and forth, screeching tires and two male bobble-heads trying to remain cool about the situation. Students were laughing and pointing at us and giving us a big thumbs up. I wanted to die of embarrassment but we laughed our heads off too.
We had some scary interactions with both men and devils. One day while tracting, a man came out of his house with a shotgun and told us to leave. We left but he continued to follow us for a short time until he finally left.

One night we and another companionship were invited over to a members home. This man was named Jean-Pierre. He loved to play his Louis Armstrong record called, “Louis and the Good Book.” We were having a good time eating at the dinner table when all of a sudden my companion raises his right hand and says, “Au nom de Jésus-Christ, je vous commande de partir.” The english translation: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave.” We all stopped and looked at Elder Smith with an expression on our faces saying, “What in the heck just happened.” We asked if everything was ok and he explained that there was an evil spirit in the house. He asked if he had ever dedicated his home to which he said he hadn’t. That very night we dedicated his home.

Salon-de-Provence was the death place of the famous Nostradamus. We toured his home which was turned into a faithless plat of astrological hogwash.

We visited a member family who were having trouble getting to church. We pressed the subject and the mother opened up to us. She was crying and very angry because when their family moved not a single member helped them with the move. This was very important for her. I imagine it was announced at church and perhaps she the mother made drinks and snacks and nobody showed up. She was so devastated and angry that she quit coming to church. About 6 months later I saw their entire family at a church conference to which I felt so much joy and love for them.

During this time of service I had a vision which strengthened my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I remember sitting at the table in our living room and I saw a face with eyes like a flaming fire to which the figure pointed and said, “Look” and I looked and saw the earth that it was covered in darkness. The darkness was not only dark but it look filthy and polluted. I then saw a man that was put on the earth. When that man was born there was a great light that began from his home which eventually covered the entire earth. It was then told me that this man was the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. The vision closed and realized that the vision occurred so quick that my companions never knew that anything out of the ordinary was happening.


After my Mission I moved to the Riviera apartments in Provo, Utah to be around my brother David and some other good friends. I went on a couple dates at this time at the pressure of my friends. My first date was a group date. It was decided that we would do the “Milk Challenge.” The challenge is to drink as much milk as possible before vomiting it all out. I didn’t do it but she did and was vomiting all over the place. This was by far the strangest date I have been on… which isn’t many. A friend set me up with a blind date which was by far the stupidest thing I have ever done.  She was bored… I was bored… and don’t recall what exactly we did on our date but I remember wanting to go home really bad.

In the month of November my best friend Keith Halladay took her out on a date and he noticed that I really liked her and told me that I should take her out. I got the nerve to call her up and asked to see if she would like to come take some photos for my “music album” that I was making. We had a good time and dated from that time forth for 3 Months.

I prepared to marry her by working extra hard. At this time I was working full time for Dreyer's Grand Ice cream as a merchandiser. I got a second job laying wood and vinyl flooring for a  man by the name of Shaun McKinnon. I was able to save some extra money for an engagement and wedding ring.

On May 12, 2000 me and Haley got married at the Oakland, California Temple. Our reception was held at the Manteca, California Northland Stake Center. That night we spent the  night at a hotel in Manteca. The following day was our Honeymoon to Lake Tahoe. My Aunt Jo and Gary Rushing owned a cabin up there that they gave us for a couple nights. We had such a good time but sleeping there was a little scary because it was old and not a very homely appearance. The following day we went to San Francisco.



BYU Carpet Cleaner

I carpet clean the Mission Training Center and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. These posts contain my experiences, thoughts and opinions on spiritual things.

Popular Posts

Featured Post

Mormons: A Short History on Beards

LDS Beards Then and Now Introduction "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." [i] and God at least p...

Search This Blog

Subscribe to my Newsletter