Stephanie Nielson, a well-known plane crash survivor and blogger, shared her personal experience about her accident and recovery during forum hour in the John Taylor Chapel on Oct. 15 at BYU-Idaho.
Nielson said she experienced severe pain as she worked to repair both her body and her emotional state after 80 percent of her body was burned.
Nielson said it was only through her faith in Jesus Christ that she was able to be healed.
“Faith in God and his son, Jesus Christ is absolutely essential for us to maintain a balanced perspective in times of trial and difficulty,” Nielson said.
Nielson said her prayers got her through each day, but despite her testimony, she had a hard time coming to terms with how the plane crash had changed her physical appearance.
“I know what it feels like to feel ugly and worthless,” Nielson said. “In contrast, I also know what it feels like to be protected and loved.”
Nielson said that her husband, Christian, was her greatest support and advocate during her time of trial. She said he was told to view pornography as a way to cope with the difficulties he faced supporting their family during that time.
Jessica Draney, a junior studying child development, said she was shocked to learn that pornography was suggested as a coping mechanism.
“Honestly, I was surprised … that people where telling him to turn to it,” Draney said. “It really is something that influences our internal identity, our eternal identity.”
Nielson said if her husband had done so, it would have devastated her.
“I can’t imagine having to compete with that when I was in such a fragile place,” Nielson said.
Nielson said she was thankful that she and her family did not have to overcome that additional hurdle and then publicly thanked her husband for being strong. She later advised the young men to abstain from viewing pornographic material.
“Please do not indulge in the filthy grasp of pornography,” Nielson said. “It’s demeaning to the beautiful woman that you will someday marry. It corrupts your mind and heart. It distorts the normal, loving relationships marriages are.”
Nielson said that pornography does much more than affect one person.
Cameron VanKammen, a freshman studying history, said it was interesting for him to view how pornography would have affected her through her point of view.
“Most of the time, if you think of it, it’s just detrimental to you, your spirit,” VanKammen said. “You have bad images in your mind. But for her, it was a very real thing that affected her if her husband were to look at it. It puts a little bit more perspective, that you’re not just hurting yourself but that you will be hurting other people.”
Nielson said everyone can overcome temptation. She said everyone faces challenges and that it’s important for everyone to use the Atonement of Christ to be healed and enabled.
She said that everyone can rely on Christ as he or she chooses to rise above circumstances.
“I think the whole message was about us becoming the best people we can be and that’s something that hinders us from reaching our potential,” Draney said.