March 25, 2015
We have a staff meeting every Monday with President Morgan, the assistants, and the senior couples what work in the office. We discuss all the juiciest details of things going on in the mission and things that are up coming.
We were going over stuff next week for transfer and departing missionaries and arriving missionaries and blah blah blah. President Morgan shot a glance at Elder Haycock and was all, "Yo elda H. Are you getting everything. Because Elder @TjYoungBuck won't be here to help you. He's getting transferred." The conversation in the room died faster than Bambi's mom in that one movie about the deer named Bambi. Idk I can't really remember what the name of the movie is.
After a couple agonizingly awkward seconds Sister Gardner (Elder Haycock and I refer to her as Grandma Gardner because she is old and nice) spoke up and uttered the very words that I was thinking but was too nervous to ask, "Where is Elder Johanson getting transferred to?"
To break the awkward silence I spoke up and said, "Thank you Sister Gardner I will give you your money later."
President Morgan looked at me with a serious gesture and then comically said, "No need to pay her. You can just give me the money right now!" #YouKnowYourPresidentsABankerWhen #HeGetsHuneds #StacksOnStacksOnStacks
President Morgan spilled the beans that I was getting transferred but he wouldn't tell me where I was going or with whom. I don't know if it was a good thing or not to find out that I am getting transferred next week because now I'm super anxious. I guess I will just have to wait until Saturday like everybody else for --- Shot Calls ---
I want to share an experience that I had this last week that proves to me that The Spirit is real and not some made up thing that primary teachers have been lying to kids about for all these years. If it helps solidify your testimony that The Spirit is real then let it be done.
Tuesday I was able to go on a wonderful companionship exchange with my friend/roomie/Zone Leader Elder Critchfield aka Elder CritchFish. I went to his area and he is in the Spanish program so you know it was a good time. My day consisted of a lot of rice, beans, and nodding my head saying "Si" while I stared blankly at those Elder CritchFish was teaching. But for real though it was a great day. We had a day full of service and appointments and every person we were able to teach I was able to feel the spirit super strong. We had an appointment with one man in particular, his name was... Well I can't remember his name but It was Juan or Pedro or something of that nature. Anyway, during his prayer at the end I had no clue what he was saying but I heard my name and I heard him mention Elder Critchfield’s name. He prayed for about 5 minutes. I didn't want the prayer to end. Even though I couldn't understand the words this guy was using I could feel of his sincerity and Spirit. When the prayer ended Elder Critchfield looked over at me and whispered, "he was praying for us that whole time."
How in the world could I feel the love of God if I couldn't understand a word he was saying. It was much more than just a "warm fuzzy feeling". In the church we often talk about The Spirit as a "burning in the bosom" or sometimes The Spirit speaks to us in our own thoughts. There are many ways we use to describe The Spirit in the way that we best know how but I feel that it's something more than just those things previously mentioned. The Spirit is like a sixth sense that uses our other senses to help us realize what is happening. Sometimes it's hard to pick out the Spirit but when we do it is in a way that we will be able to recognize. For example, on Sunday Elder Haycock and I were blessed with the opportunity to teach a lesson about the Book of Mormon and The Spirit to a man that has been holding out on getting baptized for years. He is the only member of his family that is not a member of the church because he has some doubts about The Book of Mormon. He has some doubts about how God can answer prayers through The Spirit. His wife has a stake calling, his son recently returned from serving a mission, he has other children who are strong in youth programs and primary. Why has he not been touched by their example and made a covenant with God to take Christ’s name upon him? Because he doesn't understand how The Spirit works.
In an address given by Boyd K. Packer back in the 80's he compared The Spirit to Salt. Even though most of you will skip the story I included it so you could read it.
Boyd K errybody. Boyd K:
"I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.
Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)
When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)
Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane."
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience--I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”
As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”
From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)
In order for God to answer all the prayers his children are chucking up God uses The Spirit to answer them. The Spirit is real and when you feel The Spirit you will be able to know.
Missions are so legit. Everyday is an adventure. I love it here. You guys are the cat’s pajamas.
Elder Tyler J Johanson
Pic: I have had a lot of people requesting a picture of the crew back in our high school days so I dug through the photo album and found this puppy. Enjoy.