“Rising to the Challenge,” New Era, June 1995, 44
When Troy and Sheralee Johnson were young, they had a problem—with each other. They fought all the time.
“They just couldn’t seem to leave each other alone,” says their mom, LeAnn. “A lot of times they couldn’t even be in the same house together.”
At about the time Troy and Sheralee were having the most trouble getting along, the Johnsons decided it was time to commit the family to daily scripture study.
“During a general conference session when I was still pretty young, President Ezra Taft Benson counseled all of the Saints to read and study the Book of Mormon both as a family and personally. He promised blessings to all the families that followed his counsel. My parents decided that if anyone needed blessings, it was us,” says Sheralee.
A family meeting was held and all eight Johnsons agreed to get up early every morning to study together. That was more than nine years ago, and the family has hardly missed a day since.
The family’s dedication also brought about an unexpected, although welcome, result.
“When we started reading scriptures together, the overall feeling in our house changed, and Troy and I just didn’t fight anymore. We focused on other things, like school and church. Then, since we weren’t fighting, we could really get to know each other,” says Sheralee.
“I don’t remember anything specific happening to make us stop fighting,” says Troy. “Things just changed for the better and we started to get along. I guess we just had a better feeling in general and that made things better between us.”
Now Troy, a returned missionary, and Sheralee, a student at BYU, are friends. In fact, Sheralee says she really missed having Troy around while he was on his mission in Rome, Italy.
“Until he was gone, I didn’t really realize what an integral part of my life Troy had become. I couldn’t wait to see him again,” she says. The rest of the Johnson siblings, Curtis, Benjamin, Michael, and Angie, are now carrying on the tradition, getting up at the crack of dawn to study the gospel every day.
“Growing up, I learned how the Book of Mormon affects our lives,” says Troy. “The same feeling continued on my mission, and that helped with the work.”
“Our parents really taught us the importance of the Book of Mormon. We knew that if they made that much of an effort to get us up, it must be important,” adds Sheralee.
Is getting up at 5:30 A.M. to study scriptures with your family a challenge? Troy, who isn’t a morning person, answers a hearty “yes.” Is it worth it? Troy and Sheralee both say they wouldn’t have it any other way.