I'm going to jail!

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Minyan Man » 15 Mar 2020, 17:30

I must bump this up again. Anything new to report Katzpur? How has the virus affected your calling?
I need inspiration bad!

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DarkJedi
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Mar 2020, 17:38

In my state the prisons and jails are all locked down, no visitors, etc. Only employees allowed in.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Mar 2020, 05:57

The same is true in my state. They also have stopped all transfers among prisons and are releasing people who are close to their full time served in order to free up space in case they need places to keep infected people.
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 » 16 Mar 2020, 17:23

Minyan Man wrote:
15 Mar 2020, 17:30
I must bump this up again. Anything new to report Katzpur? How has the virus affected your calling?
I need inspiration bad!
We have been told that we won't be able to visit the jail for at least 30 days. That means that the earliest we could go back would be on Easter, but to be honest, it don't expect we'll be allowed back till mid-May. I feel bad for the inmates. They really love our Sunday services. Of course, all other outside programs are also temporarily suspended. This means GED tutoring, etc.
"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 » 16 Mar 2020, 17:27

I haven't thought much about this thread lately, but having been reminded of it, I just thought I'd post the talk I was asked to give in my home ward Sacrament Meeting last month. My husband and I asked to be excused from the first hour of our jail assignment in order to share with our home ward members how our calling is going. So, here's my 12-minute talk:

Good morning, brothers and sisters. It’s been just about fifteen months now since Matt and I last attended Sacrament Meeting here in the Brighton 5th Ward, and I’m so happy to be here with you today. We’ve been asked to speak on the subject of salvation, and to share with you how we have come to more fully understand and appreciate the Atonement, through the experiences we’ve had while serving at the Salt Lake Metropolitan Jail.

Now, “salvation” is word that means different things to different people. I know that as an LDS child, I never gave much thought to the possibility of not being “saved.” I knew that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me and who had given me the opportunity to leave His presence for a period of time, with the expectation that I would someday return to Him, ready to take the next step on my eternal journey. The prospect of perhaps spending eternity not only separated from Him, but in an “everlasting state of torment” was just something that didn’t figure into my idea of what a loving Father would want for His children. Salvation, to me, and to most of you, I’m sure, is so much more than that.

Most often, when we as Latter-day Saints use the word, “salvation,” we’re actually speaking of “the fullness of salvation” which is Exaltation, or Life Eternal in the Celestial Kingdom. That “the fullness of salvation” truly is an attainable goal has always resonated with me, mostly because the life I’ve been blessed to live has given me something of a head start on the road to that goal. I was raised by an extraordinary mother and father in a Christ-centered, LDS home. I was not raised by two alcoholic, heroin-addicted parents. I didn’t grow up in a dozen or more different foster homes, abandoned or abused by the people whose responsibility it was to love and nurture me. Neither of my parents ever sat me down as a youth and suggested that we smoke a little weed together.

It’s hard to focus on the Celestial Kingdom when you’re sitting in the corner of a deep, dark, cold pit, as so many of the men in jail are. Before you can aspire to what your Father in Heaven has in store for you, you have to be able to climb out of that pit and get to a place where you can envision Heaven as at least being within the realm of possibility. For my brothers in jail, salvation begins with healing, and healing often begins with the one hour each Sunday we spend with them. Several of them have told us that, for them, being in jail has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The scriptures often describe Christ as a Healer, and not just of the physical body. Early in His ministry, He stated that He had been sent “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives… and to set at liberty them that are bruised.” In chapter 18 of 3 Nephi, we read His words to the Nephites concerning their responsibility towards those among them whom they deemed to be “unworthy.” “Ye shall not cast [them] out of your synagogues or your places of worship,” He said. “For unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”

What a sobering responsibility it is to be able to help prepare some of my brothers to return to the loving arms of the only individual who can truly heal their hearts and souls! I love teaching these men those simple, basic, gospel truths that we sometimes lose focus on as our knowledge of the gospel becomes more sophisticated – truths like what the purpose of life is, why we have adversity, how Christ can strengthen us during hard times, what it means to have faith in Him, the need for repentance, and why it is so important that we learn to forgive others.

In interacting with these men, I have come to genuinely care about them. The funny thing is that a handful of them have come to mean so much to me that, at times, I’ve been puzzled by my own feelings. I’ve wondered, “Am I really so naive that these men are so easily able to endear themselves to me? Or is something within me changing?” I’ve come to the conclusion that I really am at least starting to see these men as Christ sees them, and it’s been a sacred, humbling transformation for me.

Prior to my first week at the jail, as excited as I was to be setting out on this new adventure, I will admit that I was uneasy about how – or if – I was going to be able to relate to these men. Would they be sullen, belligerent or disrespectful? Would they make light of sacred things? Would they look at me with contempt because I was on the outside and they were on the inside? Would they respond to questions or contribute at all to class discussions? Most of all, I wondered: Would I even be able to make eye contact with them? It took just one Sunday in jail for me to realize that these concerns were completely unfounded.

These men are not scary. They are sad, afraid, confused, and discouraged. They desperately need the light the Savior can bring into their lives. Because He knows that, He is in attendance each and every week. We always start our class with an opening hymn of the men’s choosing. The most often picked hymn is “I Am a Child of God.” They remember that one from their days in Primary. If you’re not feeling the Spirit when class starts, by the time those grown me in prison garb have finished singing, “Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way,” I promise, you will be.

We then ask for a volunteer to offer an opening prayer. Most of the time, one of the brothers wants to do so. The prayers they offer are simple, heartfelt and unpretentious, and they almost always thank their Heavenly Father for our willingness to spend our Sundays with them. While it’s clear to us that they are sincerely appreciative, I suspect they have no idea that being there is truly every bit as much a blessing for us as it is for them. They also pray for each other and for their loved ones on the outside. The separation from family is difficult for them, especially for those with children. And let me assure you: they love their children like you love yours. A few weeks back, we were talking about how the Savior can help us through our trials. I asked for their input as to what some of their trials were. One mentioned addiction, another, divorce. The third man to respond broke my heart when he said, “having to watch my kids grow up through pictures.”

While Matt and I are still learning how to be effective teachers, we feel inspired to try to convey to our brothers that their Heavenly Father loves them, that He will never give up on them, that nothing they’ve done is beyond the cleansing power of the Atonement, and that it’s never too late for them to get off the path they’ve been on and onto one that will lead them to a happy and productive life and, ultimately, back to God’s presence. We encourage them to pray often, to watch for the Lord’s hand in their lives, to recognize that they can’t change without His help, to accept our Father in Heaven’s will and to remain optimistic about the future.

Brothers and sisters, for several years prior to receiving this calling, I’d been really struggling to get up and go to church on Sundays. Please do not misunderstand and assume this to be due to some sort of “faith crisis” or loss of testimony; it wasn’t that at all. It was more just a lack of enthusiasm and a feeling that, much of the time, I was just going through the motions. I was not really being fed spiritually and I didn’t feel as if I were making much of a difference in anybody else’s life either. Church activity had become just one more tedious, mundane obligation, and I found that to be both frustrating and disturbing, not to mention the fact that it made me really, really sad. At any rate, for several months, starting roughly the middle of 2018, every day when I said my prayers, I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to lead me to find a renewed joy in the gospel and to once again know the satisfaction of serving someone who genuinely needed me. Every day, I’d say, “Father, please! Please, help me find the place where I belong. I’m hurting, and I need your help.” I knew I was saved. I just needed to be healed, and as a result of this calling, I have been.

Serving in the Metro 1st Branch isn’t just my calling. At the risk of sounding like something of a drama queen, let me just say: “IT'S MY CALLING.” For me personally, it just doesn’t get any better than this. I am serving “the least of these [my] brethren” in the Lord’s hospital. I feel Jesus Christ there at my side every Sunday, and I cannot even begin to express how my life has changed over the past fifteen months. You may at some point be asked to serve at the jail. If you are, it is my prayer that you will welcome the opportunity to grow in a way you never imagined possible. And I ask this in the name of our loving Savior and Healer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Last edited by Katzpur on 17 Mar 2020, 09:12, edited 2 times in total.
"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 ~

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Minyan Man » 16 Mar 2020, 19:52

Thank you Katpur. It's just what I needed. Your talk is as good as anything I've heard at General Conference.
I'm going to send you a PM within the next few days. Thanks again.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Mar 2020, 07:40

I am sitting here with tears running down my face. I literally understand exactly what you wrote for personal experience, and I could not have said it as well.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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 » 17 Mar 2020, 08:30

Minyan Man and Curt... Thank you both for you kind, kind words. I can't tell you how much they mean to me.
"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 ~

Roy
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Re: I'm going to jail!

Post by Roy » 17 Mar 2020, 09:10

Hugs to you! This talk is not your Sunday status quo. Thank you! :clap: :clap: :clap:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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