Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Trail Blazer, Morris

Last week I gave an insight to blooming where you were planted. I dont think I was done with the topic because I didn't show a great example to me, my great-grandfather Morris Johnson. Morris grew up in Sweden; had ten brothers and sisters and some great inspirational parents. I would have to say that Morris was born to goodly parents. He and his family were all deeply religious God fearing people. Do you want to know what changed his life? The gospel of Jesus Christ's message brought by two missionaries (one of which would be Thomas S. Monson's ancestor).

The story of Morris is one that was forged in courage, strength of character and faith. When he and his brother Frank arrived in America, as new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they went to work quickly and attempted to get money so that they could help get their sisters and brothers (11 in total; including themselves) and their parents to America and that meant getting and working a trade. The biggest hold back was that they spoke one language Swedish but they were determined to be part of the American dream and be part of the tapestry that is America. These two devoted brothers became roof gutter cleaners and worked on their English from their fellow workers. As a 'joke' the others taught these two brothers to greet people with the phrase, "Good morning you son of a...' you know the rest. These two brothers when they learned how offensive they were, they quit their job and started working for themselves and earned new friends. They raised the money to help their siblings and parents get to America.

It's a simple story but one that I cherish because Morris was an average person who did extraordinary things. His son was no different; a poor boy who wanted to be a rebel and rebel he was. While his father and mother were in California, his son Gaylen built a motorcycle and left home. He was going to see the world. He didn't want anything to do with his father's religion... until he met a girl in Salt Lake City. Some years later, he served a mission and came home to Salt Lake City and married that girl.

The point I am attempting to make is first the gospel changes people and second rooting where you are planted you can change the world. Morris found roots in America. Gaylen found roots in Utah. It wasn't about acquiring wealth or power, it was about changing lives for the better.

My biggest regret is that I didn't know these guys better. Morris died before I was born and Gaylen died after the turn of the century. I was so busy with my life that I didn't get to know theirs. Luckily I have their record that was published and can read it. My luck is that Morris and Gaylen were avid journal writers and kept a history of what happened in their 'mundane' lives.

Perhaps you are the trail blazer. Your testimony is simple and your story too but I would beg to differ. While you may think that you get up day to day, read your scriptures daily, go to work, come home and play games on the weekend with your wife and kids; to your grand kids and great grand kids, hearing stories of how you were born in a world that had only three channels on TV that was black and white because you could not afford a color tv is astounding. Your trail might have stories that could never be read unless they were written by you; your childhood, mission (if you served one) your service in the military (if you served one) your boss, your first time meeting with your wife/husband; you could hold an audience with those stories. its just your responsibility to make sure that that story is told because when you are gone, it might not be as well told as when it was done by you.

Take some time and challenge yourself to write your journal for forty days. See if that indeed changes the way you look at yourself. See if you have been the person that you wanted to be and the example that you wanted your children, grandchildren etc... to read about. If you are not that person, you are alive! Change your course. Let your mistakes be a reminder of what you were and then set a new course adjust your compass to the new direction.

The image is of Morris Claus Johnson in his younger years.
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