The People Down the Street


We moved into the Ogden Fourth Ward in the fall of 1937. As a home teacher (then called a ward teacher), I was assigned an old home that had been converted into ten apartments.

One December evening, while making the ward teaching visits, I noticed a trailer house south of the apartments. Not sure it was included in any ward teaching district, I wondered if the occupants of the trailer had been visited. I decided there was only one way to find out.

A blue-eyed, blonde woman answered my knock and explained that the family was not Latter-day Saint. She said they had recently moved from Kansas. I took a few minutes more to quickly explain the program of ward teaching.

Her reception was so kind that I briefly related the story of Joseph Smith’s First Vision and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. I suggested that she might like to read the book if she had a copy.

“Yes, I think I would,” she replied.

At first I intended just to loan her the book. But when I was home and took a copy from the shelf, I decided to make the book a gift to the woman, Maxine Protzman, and her husband, Paul. I wrote on the inside cover a few words of encouragement to study the book. Then I carried the book to the Protzmans’ home.

Church assignments soon took me elsewhere. Years went by. The incident faded from my mind.

Fifteen years elapsed before I was reminded of it again. My wife and I were attending our dancing club when during intermission, I noticed a blonde woman looking steadfastly at my wife. Finally, the woman spoke. “You don’t know me, do you? “she asked. My wife responded, “No, I’m sure I don’t.”

“Well, I know your husband,” the woman said. “He’s the one who is responsible for first bringing me the gospel.”

I broke in, “I’m sure you’re wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever met. …”

“Isn’t your name Morrell Clark?” she asked. With astonishment I replied, “Yes, it is.”

She continued: “Every time I see that Book of Mormon, I see your name in it, and your reference to the promise it makes to those who read it with a sincere heart.”

I began to remember the trailer, ward teaching, and the Protzmans. They had read the Book of Mormon I left, and had begun attending ward meetings. Stake missionaries taught them about the gospel, and the family joined the Church. Later they moved to North Ogden, where they built a home and became strong, active members in their ward.

What started that change in their lives was simply a few extra steps. That spiritual prompting that brought me to their door and that testified to them of the Book of Mormon brought them into the Church.