Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"I Was A Prisoner, and You Took Me In . . . "

The entrance to the Oquirrh Facility
Went back to prison yesterday and it was wonderful.

Ed Leary is in the Bishopric of the Oquirrh Facility Branch and he asked me to come and talk at a Fireside knowing I had been their Sunday School teacher for three years about five or six years ago.  

I jumped at the chance because I remember how wonderful it felt being out there before.  

The Spirit is so strong there.  Matthew 25:36 says "I was in prison and you visited me," and the promise is reciprocated.  Rare is the Sacrament meeting on the outside where the Spirit is like that and I suspect one reason is it's because those men read their scriptures constantly.  I mentioned that yesterday and asked for a raise of hands and I would say that two-thirds, three-fourths of them read their scriptures in groups daily.  I mentioned that I was reading the Book of Mormon for the fourth time this year and one man afterwards said in a very sweet, humble way that he was on his fifth way through.  

Another reason is the humility of those men. They are so remorseful.  They are sick with sorrow for what they've done.  Many are in daily religious classes, they are prayerful, they are in miserable surroundings with nothing but television, each other and boredom.  Nothing distracts them but their situation and what brought them there.  And many of them are sober for the first time in a long time.  Many are addicts.  And in their sobriety, they are turning to God and hoping and praying that they can stay that way when they get out.

And many are working hard on Genealogy, doing service as best they can, hours and hours hunched over a computer.  Look at the following link:  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/59796/A-rescue-from-bondage-Family-history-center-at-Utah-State-Prison-thrives.htmlhttp://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/59796/A-rescue-from-bondage-Family-history-center-at-Utah-State-Prison-thrives.htmlhttp://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/59796/A-rescue-from-bondage-Family-history-center-at-Utah-State-Prison-thrives.htmlhttp://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/59796/A-rescue-from-bondage-Family-history-center-at-Utah-State-Prison-thrives.html  These are our boys, Carl's and mine.  Carl used to go out and spend Thursday nights with them at this center.  It was amazing what they could do.  They did my genealogy back to the kings and queens of England.  I've never been able to duplicate it since. 

Last night, I talked to them about hope.  That's what these men need more than anything.  I'm not talking about all prisoners.  I'm talking about these forty or fifty men who work hard to qualify for the privilege of coming over to the Oquirrh Facility Religious Center and worship as best they can and feeling the gentle persuasions of the Spirit to soothe their aching souls.  Hope.  We all need it, but they need it so much.  

I feel so privileged for having been allowed to spend one hour again giving a little hope to some of God's children.  One hour in a long sentence isn't very much, but it's something.  

But it meant a lot to me.  


Lindsey said...

I think it is so awesome that you do this. I would love to hear you speak at a fireside anywhere. You are such a dynamic conversationalist that I can only imagine how awesome a speaker/teacher you would be.

Linda Aukschun said...

What a surprisingly nice thing for you to say, Lindsey! I love talking to you, too, and think Blaine is more than lucky to have you in his life. Linda