Nathan enjoyed talking with President Warren and Elder Graham for another few minutes, but he could hardly keep his eyes open.
“We better let Elder Foster recuperate,” President Warren told the nurse. “I think he’s ready for a long night’s sleep.”
She agreed. “I know these guys usually stay in pairs, but we’ve got him covered.”
“Are you sure?” Elder Graham asked. “I’m willing to stay the night at his bedside.”
President Warren looked at the nurse. “We’ll still be able to have Church security posted outside his door, right?”
“Yes. We won’t let anyone in without your approval.”
“Very good,” he said before turning to Elder Graham. “Come enjoy a nice meal and a good night’s sleep at the mission home.”
Elder Graham looked unsure, but Nathan said, “I’ll be fine,” before giving his companion a farewell wave.
The nurse checked his charts, then turned out his light. Within a few minutes he was asleep, but he soon awoke from a dream in which Elder Smith had been killed because Nathan hadn’t stopped the bomber. The dream was very vivid and left him shaking.
Nathan prayed fervently that he could have a peaceful night’s sleep, and once again he drifted off into another dream. This one was also very vivid, but it had a much different feel to it. Nathan found himself standing in the center of a huge room with a towering ceiling. The walls appeared to sparkle like diamonds, and the floor was made of polished granite.
At the far end of the room Nathan could see the building’s second and third floors. These floors were cordoned off with three-foot-high white railings that connected to a spiral staircase in each corner.
People began to fill the second floor, including many people he knew. Several of them looked over the railing and called out to him. Nathan waved to his former bishop, his father, and even to Marie Shaw, a girl his age who had befriended him as a teenager and helped him stay active in the Church.
Nathan also noticed the current members of the Quorum of the Twelve mingling among the people. They wore white suits and seemed to radiate goodness and purity. The people flocked around them and eagerly talked with them.
Then Nathan sensed people behind him, and he was surprised to have the three members of the LDS Church’s First Presidency move next to him. They were also wearing white suits.
The prophet patted him on the shoulder and said, “These Saints of God have been faithful thus far, but a crucial time of decision has come. We’ve warned them enough. Let’s see which way they choose to spiral.”
“Spiral?” Nathan asked.
“You’ll see,” the prophet said.
Then the First Presidency took several steps forward before calling out to the group on the second floor. The people saw them and waved excitedly.
“Look! It’s the prophet and his counselors,” a woman cried out. “Let’s listen to them.”
When he had everyone’s attention, the prophet raised his hands and gave the people a message. Nathan was now several feet behind the prophet and for some reason he couldn’t hear what was being said, so Nathan watched the reactions of the people on the balcony.
To his surprise, most of the Saints seemed angry or alarmed by the prophet’s words. These people turned to each other and expressed their dismay that the prophet would say such things.
As the prophet ended his message, he moved forward again and began climbing one of the spiral staircases. His counselors followed behind him, but as they reached the second level, they didn’t stop to greet the people. Instead, they kept climbing up the spiral stairs until they reached the empty third level, where they leaned over the railing and motioned for the people below to follow them.
The members of the Quorum of the Twelve immediately went to the stairs and joined the First Presidency on the third level. Several other people followed them, but the vast majority stayed on the second floor.
Then things really got interesting. Nathan noticed his father essentially slide down the spiral bannister to the first level, along with most of the people who had reacted angrily to the prophet’s message.
Nathan focused on his former bishop, who danced from one foot to the other as if he couldn’t decide which direction to go. He talked with his wife for a while before finally taking her hand and descending the spiral stairs to the first level.
Then Nathan located Marie Shaw. She had apparently started down the stairs to the first level, but her father had grabbed her by the arm and had pulled her back up to the second level.
They were in a heated argument, and neither one seemed willing to budge. Nathan was baffled by Marie’s actions, but he noticed several other families having similar arguments. In some instances there were teenagers urging older relatives to climb upward, and in some cases there were older people fighting with each other.
The whole scene was confusing to Nathan, although he was starting to grasp that the arguments were symbolic of a greater struggle.
Suddenly Elder Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve called out to him from the top floor. “Elder Foster, soon the second level will be empty, because everyone must accept or reject the prophet’s invitation. No one will be able to coast along in the middle anymore.”
Nathan started to reply, but in an instant, he found himself back in his hospital bed. He looked around the room, stunned that the dream hadn’t been real. He shielded his eyes from the morning sun that shined on his face through the room’s window.
“That was weird, but it felt like a vision,” he thought. “I better write it down.”