This archived article was written by: KC Smurthwaite
I am not sure what it is, and I am not the only one who can’t. A tall, lanky guy with a beard that makes any teenage boy jealous, walks in. It might be his straight from the coffee shop look, or the “emo,” tight jeans he wears. Within the first few seconds of talking to Nathan Joseph Manley, you will be smiling, guaranteed.
Drugs, booze, nights in jail, marriage, music, church and living everywhere between Utah and South Carolina. That’s Nate Manley for you, he has done it all. Manley, described him self as a “ wild dude, that can be a social butterfly at times.” Manley is the middle of five children and as he says “ is one of the reasons he became crazy, or maybe it was because I hated school, I liked the social aspects of it, that’s about it.”
Nathan’s cousins who he respected, introduced him to drugs in his early teens. One drug led to another, which led to something harder. Eventually the spiral led Manley to rock bottom.
After a run in with the police in which Manley, who was 18 at the time doesn’t know “ how the wrath of justice didn’t nab me after a party I had.” He decided to move back home to Riverton, UT.
Manley hit the bottom and turned to the only things he knew: church and music. “ My parents made all my siblings learn the piano, I started at five.” Along with music, he had always been taught about God, but never cared, but in his time of need, he found Him. Manley opened up the Book of Mormon and started to read. He says “ I started my life when I read the Book of Mormon.
“This time an action of his led to something good, not bad. He cleaned up his act, and was called to serve a two-year Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints mission in South Carolina. “ My mission was freaking awesome, it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”
Manley returned from his mission focused, and determined to start his life. Unfortunately he had a brief stint again with drugs, and actually served time in the clinker. “ It sucked, no pillow, no blanket, horrible food, it was hell,” he served a total of four weeks in the Salt Lake County jail. “ At my low points, I tended to alienate those that I loved the most, that isn’t me.” He left jail determined to get on track, it took some time, but once again he turned to music and church. He started going to church again, and kept playing music. Eventually, Manley enrolled back in school and started working towards a degree in music.
That’s where Manley is today. Clean from drugs and alcohol since 2009. His music is starting to shape into a career, and he is maintaining his relationship with God. His goals are to become a music professor at a college someday.
As Manley leaves the room, I think I know what it is that draws people to him, it’s his maturity. Nate’s done it all, but he understands he doesn’t know it all.