“Awake,” has caused some confusion in the overall community because the Mormon newsletter’s name is the same as the “Awake!” magazine distributed door to door by Cloverdale’s Jehovah’s Witnesses.
During the October collection of Fast Offerings 13 year old deacon Payton Pills and 12 year old Christian Clapper encountered Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Wright, perhaps the most devote Jehovah’s Witnesses in the village and founders of the local Kingdom Hall, as they made their rounds witnessing door to door.
The Wrights stopped the boys and asked to see the branch’s newsletter. The boys pulled one out of a back pack and told them they could keep it. The Samuel Wrights promptly took one of their own “Awakes!” from their satchel and compared titles.
“Are you boys aware that your Awake and our Awake carry the same title?” Mr. Samuel said holding the two publications side by side.
“So?” Payton replied with a shrug of the shoulders. He was in a hurry. He was behind in his Facebook correspondences with several of the prettier girls at Cloverdale Middle School.
“This won’t do at all. We can’t have a Mormon Awake and a Jehovah Witness Awake now can we?” Mrs. Wright explained to the confused boys. “This may confuse people. They won’t know which carries the true Gospel and which carries the lies of Lucifer.”
“Are you saying our’s is from the devil?” Christian said as his eyes watered with emotion. He was a sheltered young boy that didn’t get out much and wasn’t use to having his religion questioned or challenged. Payton, on the other hand, was a new convert to Mormonism and brought with him a knowledge of the streets and a backbone.
“Don’t cry for god’s sake,” he whispered out of the side of his mouth to Christian so the Wrights couldn’t hear. “I’ll handle this.”
He stepped forward and held out his hand.
“I’d like our Awake back,” Payton demanded. To which the Wrights refused saying it was given to them and they intended to keep it to show the other Witnesses at the Kingdom Hall.
“Tell your congregation’s leader that we insist he change the name of your newsletter or he will be hearing from us.” Mr Payton emphasized his point by sticking his index finger into Payton’s chest. Upon which Payton, never willing to back down from a challenge, grabbed Mr. Wright's outstretched finger and twisted it causing Mr. Wright to lose concentration. Payton’s other hand shot out and snatched the Mormon Awake from Mr. Wright’s other hand. Mrs. Wright saw Lucifer was at the heart of Payton's action. She recognized it as a confrontation between heresy and truth and momentarily lost control of her senses and stepped forward.
“Lucifer be Gone!” she shouted as she slapped Payton hard across the face. Payton fell backwards; his eyes watered. Christian screamed, jumped on his bike and rode away to get help. Payton’s eyes watered as his face reddened. Mrs. Wright suddenly realized what she’d done and held both her hands up to her own face in embarrassment. Mr. Wright tried to diffuse the situation.
“OK, OK let’s calm things down,” he said while stepping forward to stop Payton from striking back as his wife.
Payton’s anger was out of its cage and billowed for revenge. A moment later Payton noticed a stream of blood pouring from his nose.
“You’re bleeding,” Mrs. Wright said. She pushed her husband away and stepped forward. She fished in her purse for a handkerchief. Payton saw an opportunity. The female was in his grasps. He didn’t know much about religion in general but knew enough to remember that Jehovah Witnesses had a real aversion to blood. He held both hands up to his nose and gathered as much blood as he could. His mind raced ahead. He needed to draw the woman even closer still.
“Here, take this handkerchief,” Mrs. Wright said sympathetically. “I’m sorry I did that. I don’t know what got into me.” Payton refused the hankerchief and gathered more blood from his offended nose. A moment later he was ready.
Payton began crying. He stumbled toward Mrs. Wright as if he were about to faint. She instinctively reached out to steady him. She was open and vunerable. Payton jumped forward and held both sides of her face with his bloody hands. He smeared blood over her face and across her lips. She screamed; Mr. Wright stepped forward to grab Payton but before he could do so Payton was off on his bike knowing he had had the last word on the Awake debate. Payton had capitalized on the Jehovah Witness aversion to blood and finished what Mrs. Wright had started.
So, the score in the Cloverdale Religious War was: Mormons 1. Jehovah Witnesses 0. Payton was the new LDS branch hero, although the Branch President severely reprimanded him for setting a very poor example as a young priesthood holder. The Branch President attempted to contact the Wrights by phone to settle the issue but they never answered.
The next round in the battle was shot the very next Sunday while the Mormons were in Sacrament Meeting. Three of the Jehovah Witness young adults placed copies of their November “Awake” under the windshield wipers of every car in the parking lot. Stapled to each copy was a card which read:
Awake to the truth. Turn from the lies that will surely drag you to hell. Read the true Awake, repent and join us at Cloverdale’s Kingdom Hall where you’ll find a forgiving congregation ready to accept you with open arms.Then in small print it said:
We know where each of you live and will visit as we canvas door to door on a very, very regular basis.The Branch President swore the members to forgiveness the following Sunday threatening to have a month’s worth of Sacrament talks on Forgiveness and Turning the Other Cheek if they struck back.
To date there have been no further incidents except very minor alterations with shopping carts at the Piggly Wiggly and Red Owl grocery stores. The War of adventist faiths seems to be over.