Witness of a Resurrection
The following narrative is reproduced as I received it--except that I have corrected spelling and grammatical errors as indicated by brackets. It appears to be a transcript of a talk. Note that San Juan County is in eastern Utah. --DCA, 3/9/1998
The following is in the public domain (no copyright).
EXPERIENCES OF ZEKE JOHNSON, now 85 - 1954
I have been requested to relate an experience I had in 1908 [or] 1909 in San Juan County. I was just making a home in Blanding and the whole county there was covered with trees and sagebrush. I was working hard to clear the ground to plant a few acres of corn. We had five acres cleared and [we] started to plant the corn. My little boy Roy, [seven] or [eight] years old[,] was there to help me plant the corn. I'd plow around the piece and then he'd plant the furrow with the corn. Then I'd cover it and plow again. While I was plowing on that piece of ground, I discovered there were ancient houses there, that is[,] the remnant[s] of them.
As I was plowing around I noticed that my plow had turned out the skeleton of a small child[--]the skull and the backbone[. M]ost of the the bones[,] of course[,] were decayed and gone. Part of the skeleton was there, so I stopped immediately as my plow had passed it a little. I turned and looked back against the bar of the plow between the handles. As I was looking at that little skeleton that I had plowed out[,] and wondering, all of a sudden to my surprise[,] I saw the bones begin to wiggle[. T]hey began to change position and to take on [a] different color[. W]ithin a minute there lay a beautiful little skeleton. It was a perfect little skeleton.
Then I saw the inner parts of the natural body coming in--the entrails, etc. I saw the flesh coming on and I saw the skin come on the body [after] the inner parts of the body [were] complete. A beautiful head of hair adorned the top of the head[. I]n about a half a minute after the hair was on the head, it had a beautiful crystal decoration in the hair. It was combed beautifully and parted on one side. In about a half a minute after the hair was on the head, the child raised up on her feet. She was lying a little on her left side with her back toward me. Because of this I wasn't able to discern the sex of the child, but as she raised up, a beautiful robe came down over her left shoulder and I saw it must be a girl.
She looked at me and I looked at her, and for a quarter of a minute we just looked at each other smiling. Then [in] my ambition to get a hold of her, I [said,] "oh, you beautiful child," and I reached out as if I would embrace her and she disappeared.
That was all I saw, and I stood there and I wondered and I thought for a few minutes. My little boy was wondering why I was there because he was down at the other end of the row[,] anxious to come and plant the corn. Now, I couldn't tell that story to anyone because it was so mysterious to me and such. Why should I have such a miraculous experience[?] I couldn't feature a human being in such a condition as to accidentally plow that little body out and see it come alive. A body of a child about five to seven years old, I'd say.
I couldn't tell that story to anyone until finally one day I met a dear friend of mine, Stake Patriarch Wayne H. Redd of Blanding. He stopped me on the street and [said], "Zeke, you have had an experience on this mesa you won't tell[.] I want you to tell it to me." Well, I told it to him. Then he had me tell it to other friends and since then I have told it in four temples in the United States and many meeting houses and many socials, fast meeting, and a conference times.
I wondered, and it worried me for years[,] as to why [...] was I, just a common [uneducated] man, allowed to see such a marvelous manifestation of God's power.
One day as I was walking alone with my hoe on my shoulder going to hoe some corn, something said, "Stop under the shade of that tree for a few minutes and rest." This just came to me and I thought I would, so I stopped there and [the following] was given to me.
It was in answer to my prayer. I prayed incessantly for an answer as to why I was privileged to see that resurrection. I was told why. When the child was buried there, it was either in time of war with the different tribes or it was winter time when the ground was frozen and they had no tools to dig deep graves. If it were during time of war they couldn't possibly take time to dig a deep grave. They just planted that little body as deep as they could under the circumstances. When it was done the sorrowing mother knew that it was such a shallow grave, that in her sorrow she cried out to the little group that was present, "That little shallow grave, the first beast that comes along will smell her body and will dig her up and scatter her to the four winds. Her bones will be scattered all over these flats.["] There just happened to be a man present holding the priesthood (a Nephite or a Jaredite, I don't know which because they had both been in this country. I've been in their houses and know it.) The man said, "Sister, calm your sorrows. Whenever that little body is disturbed or uncovered, the Lord will call her up and she will live. Since that time, I have taken great comfort, great cheer and consolation and satisfaction, with praise in my heart and soul, until I haven't the words to express it, that it was I that uncovered that little body.
Thank you for listening to me. I just can't tell this without crying.
Zeke Johnson son of Joel Hills Johnson
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