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Local pastor publishes book on the supernatural
JAN. 24, 2011

‘We Are Not Alone: Evidences of the Supernatural Among Ordinary People’ on sale now

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, MN – Rev. Ben Arlen Johnson, interim pastor of Cokato Evangelical Lutheran Church, has recently published a book that he hopes will shed some light and reduce skepticism surrounding the supernatural side of religion.

In the book “We Are Not Alone: Evidences of the Supernatural Among Ordinary People,” Johnson shares stories of his own experiences, along with those of others who can attest there is another world beyond this one.

His first series of visions came in his last year of doctoral work at Harvard University.

“One night, when I had crept into my bed in the early hours and begun the process of falling asleep, I saw a cameo take shape . . . Within the cameo was a demon, a leering figure changing from various shades of red, orange, and yellow,” Johnson wrote in his book.

After this, he tried to make some sense of why he seen what he did. Was it a sign of mental illness, stress, or just not getting enough sleep?

“I knew it was real,” Johnson said.

He then had a second vision, but this time, it was a vision of God. Johnson described it as serene with yellow and white colors that resembled what would be a traditional picture of Jesus.

The third vision Johnson had was a cornucopia of changing faces – faces he didn’t recognize.

Gradually, over time, people would talk to Johnson about similar visions and voices they have experienced.

He decided to conduct a survey among various St. Cloud area congregations that would give him some idea of just how many people have had such experiences.

Johnson found that 30 percent of the people surveyed reported having heard a voice, seen a vision, or had a significant dream or experience that would convince them of the “reality of another world.”

In determining what may likely cause such experiences, Johnson has learned there are two “rational” involvements – the experience of being protected and the experience of direction.

“It tends to happen when there isn’t a human around to help,” Johnson said, explaining such encounters with guardian angels, which he calls anonymous angels since they are strangers.

With the book, Johnson wanted to share what he has learned through hearing these stories that really confirm the Christian faith as described in the Bible.

“By and large, the academic community is skeptical of the supernatural side of religion,” Johnson said, adding that he never really had a teacher in seminary who talked about the topic.

“In church, we talk about God as if God is in the past,” Johnson said. “God is a part of our present dimension . . . and there is visible and auditory evidence of that.”

One of the most impressive stories that he tells in his book is of a woman who prayed to God for a sign that would assure her that her ailing husband would be alright.

While in the waiting room of the hospital, the woman saw two columns of angels (about 30 to 40) coming down the hall heading toward the intensive care unit where her husband was.

“They were tall, bright, and luminous. They did not march, but moved in a graceful flow,” Johnson wrote, adding that the woman experienced a great sense of peace.

Johnson is already working on a sequel and is looking for more stories of similar experiences.

“We Are Not Alone” can be purchased at The Grounds coffee shop and Christian bookstore in Cokato for $9.85.

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