|A heavenly waterfall of blessings pummels the 15th ward chapel.|
By Barley B. Bratt
POCATELLO, ID—According to recent reports, the entire Pocatello West 15th Ward finds itself almost “overwhelmingly” blessed by the Johnson family.
Bishop Randy Foster notes that he seems to talk about this family during every Priesthood Committee meeting, often to summarize his almost weekly meetings with at least one family member. Such meetings began soon after Bishop Foster was called in 2008. Foster recalls productive early meetings with the Johnson's, including the time he helped sooth their confusion over Mindy Martins’ braces by differentiating orthodontics from “getting a tattoo.”
Bishop Foster also reports his renewed understanding of hope after he persuaded David and Christine Johnson against naming their 6th son Beelzebub Johnson, even though the parents, “had a really bad feeling about that kid.”
Smiling and shaking his head, Bishop Foster recalls the week that the ward provided meals for the remaining Johnson family after David had felt compelled to drive to Missouri. “I was a little surprised that David left," Foster recalls, "I had thought we had made it clear that there had been no memos from Salt Lake indicating that 2nd counselors in all ward Sunday School presidencies were to report to Adam-ondi-Ahmen to return their keys. But you know David—when the Spirit tells him to jump, he’s already 8 feet in the air and trying to go higher.”
Brother Johnson’s zeal has been the source of countless blessings for many others in the ward as well. Peter Listig, 2nd counselor in the bishopric, noted that “Brother Johnson has given me numerous opportunities to pray for patience. I remember when I had to take away his Sunday School monthly bell-ringing privileges after he tried to tap out all of ‘I Believe In Christ.’ It was a moving rendition, but I found that the Lord really helped me ease brother Johnson into the idea of humming, quietly, while collecting rolls instead of ringing the bell.”
Sister Johnson’s unique brand of service has also called forth blessings. Her Relief Society mini-class on "tatting your own lingerie"—an idea she had found on what she called a “properly correlated church website"—gave the high priest group and elders quorum a chance to discuss unrighteous dominion after many priesthood holders attempted to force, manipulate, or coerce their wives into attending.
Ward auxiliary leaders also remark on how the Johnson children have provided opportunities to learn patience, pure love, basic weapons skills, an understanding of the “inspired Founding Father’s original and pure intent,” and more patience.
“We just love Deborah, Naomi, and Rubella,” reported Young Women’s president Vanessa Martin. “They certainly keep us on our toes about the importance of bomb shelters and how much the Lord hates even one hickey, but I don’t think that they understand that Nephi didn’t get his ideas from Glenn Beck. We’re still working on that one.”
Sister Polk, 1st counselor in the Primary presidency, when asked about the Johnson children, could only smile above her sudden twitching and report, in a flat, uninflected manner, “They are some of our strongest singers.” She then moved woodenly down the hall, past the room reserved just for the Johnson triplets, a nursery that is reportedly manned by a team of five highly trained professionals.
The entire ward council has noted how much they have learned about the gospel and the church handbooks from their work with the Johnsons.
“I’ll tell you,” remarked Relief Society 1st counselor Nichole Hayes, “it is good to really search out and know that there are no current authoritative statements about a secret vault in the hill Cumorah, about how many wives righteous men will have in the Celestial Kingdom, and about what is appropriate intimacy for married people.” Sister Hayes concluded, to the affirming nods of others, that “it would be good if a more recent conference talk would address devil worship in Harry Potter and the whole face card problem. I know that the Johnson's would love to see those difficult issues cleared up.”