Hightower, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Orem, Utah, had just finished her seventh season as a professional dancer on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." “For me, it was the first time in a long time that I had felt the Spirit that strongly in my life,” Hightower told me as she sat in the living room of my home in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City, Utah, eating grapes she had just taken from my refrigerator.
She and I talked for two hours afterward and have been friends ever since.
I listened that night as she talked about realizing that she couldn't handle the demands of her career on her own and how she came to understand that the Savior's "yoke is easy" and his "burden is light," as it says in Matthew .
I met Hightower a year ago when we both moved into the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City.
As members of the Hillside Young Single Adults Ward of the LDS Church, we met when Hightower was assigned to be my visiting teacher.
She felt prepared, but having previously struggled with anxiety before competitions, she knew she needed extra help.
“I didn’t want to do it unless I had the Lord with me, and I knew I couldn’t do it unless he was standing by my side every step of the way,” Hightower said. Her hip-hop performance to Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" was nominated for an Emmy.
'Dancing With The Stars' winner Hines Ward and partner Kym Johnson appear at Times Square for a segment on Good Morning America.
2nd place winners Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and 3rd place winners Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas also perform.
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However, she experienced ups and downs as a demanding career kept her from attending church regularly and making faith the priority she knew it should be. "I was the most determined child to go out to LA ...