Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warren M Johnson-Spiritual Healing

From "He Healeth the Broken Heart," President James E. Faust, July 2005 LDS Ensign

Somehow, some way, we must find the healing influence that brings solace to the soul. Where is this balm? Where is the compensating relief so desperately needed to help us survive the world’s pressures? The offsetting comfort in large measure can come through increased communion with the Spirit of God. This can bring spiritual healing.

Spiritual healing is illustrated in the story of Warren M. Johnson, pioneer ferryman at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona. As a young man, Warren Johnson came west seeking his fortune in gold in the summer of 1866. He became very ill, and his companions left him under a tree in the yard of a family in Bountiful, Utah. One of the daughters found him and reported there was a dead man out in the yard. Although he was a complete stranger, this kind family took him in and nursed him back to health. They taught him the gospel and he was baptized. He eventually ended up as the ferryman at Lee’s Ferry.

In 1891 the Warren Johnson family suffered a great tragedy. Within a period of a short time, they lost four children to diphtheria. All four were buried in a row next to each other. In a letter to President Wilford Woodruff, dated July 29, 1891, Warren told the story:

“Dear Brother,

“In May 1891 a family residing in Tuba City, came here from Richfield Utah, where they had spent the winter visiting friends. At Panguitch they buried a child, and without disinfecting the wagon or themselves, not even stopping to wash the dead child’s clothes, they came to our house, and remained overnight, mingling with my little children. …

“We knew nothing of the nature of the disease, but had faith in God, as we were here on a very hard mission, and had tried as hard as we knew how to obey the Word of Wisdom, and attend to the other duties of our religion, such as paying tithing, family prayers etc. etc., that our children would be spared. But alas, in 4 1/2 days [the oldest boy] choked to death in my arms. Two more were taken down with the disease and we fasted and prayed as much as we thought it wisdom, as we had many duties to perform here. We fasted some 24 hours and once I fasted 40 hours, but all of no avail for both my little girls died also. About a week after their death my fifteen year old daughter Melinda was stricken down and we did all we could for her but she followed the others, and three of my dear girls and one boy [have] been taken from us, and the end is not yet. My oldest girl 19 years old is now prostrate with the disease, and we are fasting and praying in her behalf. … What have we done that the Lord has left us, and what can we do to gain his favor again[?]

“Yours in the gospel

“Warren M. Johnson” 4

In a subsequent letter to his friend Warren Foote, Brother Johnson testified that he had found a spiritual peace:

“I can assure you however, that it is the hardest [trial] of my life, but I set out for salvation, and am determined through the help of my Heavenly Father to hold fast to the iron rod, no matter what trials may come upon me. I have not yet slackened in the performance of my duties, and hope and trust that I shall have the faith and prayers of my brethren that I may live so as to receive the blessings, you having authority, have placed on my head.”

No comments:

Post a Comment