Brother Hensey was such a good high priest.

“How good was he?”

–A group of Wheat & Tares readers

So good he put away metal chairs without number.
So good the bishop kept a waiting list for people wanting him as home teacher.
So very good he could and would
summon the spirit with only a handshake.

“With only an handshake, huh?”

–A smaller group of W&T readers

First imagine the man:
bald and hunched,
sporting a wise but weathered wispy voice,
scrawny arms rippling with sinews
and a legion of liver spots—
Hensey was an elderly
gent of average height,
with jowls that whipped in the wind
like bedsheets, at a glance
none too imposing, yet
self-assured in a Reagan Era manner.

“Fascinating, Jake! So, he was a normative figure whose unsuspicious appearance created an ideal context for a memorable handshake. It begs the question what such a gesture of fellowship meant in the context of what we might call an early-post-McConkie Mormonism.”

–W&T Permablogger reading Jake’s poetry out of a sense of obligation

Verily, verily—
which is to say, just go with me—
Hensey’s handshake was the stone
cut out of the mountain
that destroyed (polyandry) a poorly engineered statue
in ancient times.

“Stone cut out of the mountain… is that… that’s in Malachi right? Or Daniel? Yeah, Daniel Chapter 2.”

–Person who googled “polyandry” but who is now searching the scriptures on lds.org. (You’re welcome, Strengthening Church Members Committee!)

You see…
Hensey and some other guy
home-taught our family back
when I was just a kid—
chubby, awkward, and shy.
Not a rebellious kid, though
I always had my tie off before
I got to the station wagon after
the three-hour block. Still,
I looked forward to Hensey’s home-teaching.

The highpoint of his visit? Always
having my hand, my torso,
my school-night malaise,
purified into gleeful spirit
by Hensey’s mighty handshake.
So, so mighty…

“[6] …And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;

[7] And Michael just could not get the dragon to leave heaven peacefully. And pre-mortal Milton refused to help—too busy taking notes. Poets never do the heavy lifting. Too busy lilting—

[8] But among Michael’s angels there was a Brother Hensey, and he did shake the dragon, insomuch that the dragon and his angels were sent reeling out into the ether, never to feel Kolob’s warmth again. #Selah.”

– Revelation 12:6-8, Fellow’s Nostalgic Translation of the JST of the KJV, translated out of the Original Tongues: and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by His Majesty’s Special Command

Speaking of dragons,
Hensey’s handshake shook
like a dragon’s tail, side to side,
so fast it blurred space-time,
it could turn a pale
momma’s boy deacon’s face
red with giggling, even after
the worst day of middle school.

“Not sure what you meant with that fake Revelation excerpt. In any case, your post sheds little substantive light on fellowship. In fact, it reeks of disrespect for how others Mormon. Maybe that explains why an agnostic is writing for this blog. Cannot leave the Church alone and whatnot.”

–W&T Reader, having revised the comment she initially wrote after only reading the post’s header

A great writer once said,
“All the rest is darkness.”
So I’ll leave you with this bit which isn’t:

Brother Hensey offered a handshake
for which members happily crossed
a crowded chapel during postlude.
You felt glad to be a Mormon,
if Hensey shook your hand.

O Savior of the saints,
in the morning of the resurrection,
just before you raise dear Hensey up,
remember to plant your feet.


Poet’s Notes:

The quote “All the rest is darkness” comes from Stephen King’s novel It.

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