I'm going to jail!

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Katzpur
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Location: Salt Lake City

I'm going to jail!

Post by Katzpur » 30 Oct 2018, 17:58

My husband and I just got called to serve in the Metropolitan First Branch, which is a very politically correct way to say "the Salt Lake County Jail." I've never been one to accept a calling just because I feel like it's got to be inspired. I've declined several callings in the past and haven't actually had a calling for quite some time. I've got to admit, though, that I'm actually super excited about this one. It's a three-year calling, and from what I gather, it's kind of a cross between teaching Sunday School and doing missionary work. We'll be working with the jail inmates, so it's a fairly transient group of men, unlike the Utah State Prison. I love the idea that I'll actually be doing something that is more along the lines of true service.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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LookingHard
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by LookingHard » 30 Oct 2018, 18:20

Glad for you and I hope it turns out good for you and your husband and also that you can help those in need. I hope your heart comes out of the calling bigger and stronger.

Minyan Man
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Minyan Man » 30 Oct 2018, 19:35

That really sounds interesting.
I have a lot of questions.
- do you get any training?
- it sounds like you will have structured presentation or class. Where do the lessons come from?
- can you talk or council inmates one on one?
- Are they limited to nonviolent inmates?
- have you been able to talk to anyone who has had this calling? What were their experiences like?

Keep us informed.

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dande48
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by dande48 » 30 Oct 2018, 19:56

That sounds like an incredible opportunity! Best of luck to ya.

I remember the couple who was assigned to our prisons back in the ward where I grew up. It's such an important calling. I remember this one woman there, who was the only convict with permission to take the sacrament. Apparently, her old boyfriend murdered her abusive father, and she kept quiet about it for well over a decade. That makes her complicit, and despite getting married in the temple and having kids, wound up with a 12 year sentence.

I guess my point is, we can never really judge those who end up in jail/prison. They are in a tough spot, and really need our help. Glad you chose to take on the responsibility. :thumbup:
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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mom3
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by mom3 » 30 Oct 2018, 21:14

I've heard from people who serve in other faiths about working in correctional facilities and jails that it is some of the most rewarding work/care they have ever given. Most of them tell me the person who grows the most is themselves.

You have one of the biggest hearts. You will be marvelous with this.

Please remember to share the lessons you learn with us over here.

Congratulations.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Oct 2018, 21:21

That is so awesome.

They need someone like you who understands struggles and won't judge them immediately.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Katzpur
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Location: Salt Lake City

Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Katzpur » 31 Oct 2018, 07:54

Minyan Man wrote:
30 Oct 2018, 19:35
That really sounds interesting.
I have a lot of questions.
- do you get any training?
- it sounds like you will have structured presentation or class. Where do the lessons come from?
- can you talk or council inmates one on one?
- Are they limited to nonviolent inmates?
- have you been able to talk to anyone who has had this calling? What were their experiences like?

Keep us informed.
I'm sure we'll be given a little bit of an introduction about what to expect and what the rules are, but from what I understand, most of our "training" will be shadowing another couple for a few weeks.

I'm sure it's pretty structured, and I know we're to rely a lot on the "Teach My Gospel" manual, but as to the specific "course of study," I don't know yet.

I hope we'll be able to talk to the inmates one on one, but as we're not trained councilors, I doubt we'll be expected or even allowed to do much in that area, besides just trying to offer them hope for the future and helping them to understand that the Atonement applies to them as well as to everybody else. I definitely hope to be able to get to know some of them and be able to interact on a little more personal level with them. We were told, though, that there is to be zero touching, and that if my husband were asked to give a priesthood blessing, he'd have to stand with his hands behind his back and say something like, "Robert Jones, holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, and as if my hands were on your head, I..."

We'll be teaching minimum, medium and maximum security prisoners. With the maximum security prisoners, we do so through the bars of their cell. That will definitely be an experience.

Another couple in our ward has been doing it for about six months and they absolutely love it. I've also heard second-hand accounts of other people who've done it and love it. (Of course, there are always people who "love" every calling they've ever had, so I don't take these reports to mean a great deal.) For me personally, it's right up my alley.

We're still waiting on security clearance so it may be a couple of weeks before we start.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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Katzpur
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Location: Salt Lake City

Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Katzpur » 18 Nov 2018, 18:24

Today was our first Sunday in jail. It was an absolutely marvelous experience from beginning to end. We shadowed another man and will continue to do so for a couple more weeks. The lesson (taught twice, back to back to different groups of prisoners) was on the Plan of Salvation. I was really touched by how receptive most of the men were, and how willing to join in the discussion. Some of them made some really well-thought-out comments. There was both an opening and closing prayer, and both were offered by inmates. The opening prayer in the first session was given by a man in his early 40s who had been active in the Church for most of his life and had only during the past few years got into some trouble. He told us he had had a lot of callings in his life, including some in leadership positions like Young Men's President in his ward.

I was really touched by the inmates' prayers. All of them were so genuine and heart-felt, and they all thanked God for sending us to them and for our willingness to serve. I actually started getting emotional listening to them, which is something I never, ever do in church any more. Generally, I just leave after the meeting, glad that it's over and irritated by something one of the speakers or teachers had to say. I'm going to have a little more latitude to be myself in this setting, and not have to worry that I'm going to be viewed as a left-wing heretic.

I really feel like this is going to be an answer to my prayers. I've been asking God to help me find a place in the Church where I can be true to myself and help someone else along the way. I've never wanted to leave the Church, but inactivity has been sounding better all the time. Now that's not going to have to happen. I've never felt that all callings are inspired and it annoys me when people insist that they are; but I'm pretty sure this one was!
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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Reuben
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Reuben » 18 Nov 2018, 19:18

Awesome!

I think the people you'll serve will need your left-wing heresies. You can teach them about a radically inclusive and forgiving Jesus without having to struggle to find him first.
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Minyan Man » 18 Nov 2018, 19:50

Excellent. I want to hear more, please.

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