Monday, March 1, 2010

Blessings in Prison

Yesterday I went to prison...

I had never been to the prison before.  I've passed it on the freeway, looked over and wondered what it must be like to live within those foreboding fences.  But actually walking up and standing next to that fence gives you a very different perspective.  A couple of months ago, I was invited to give a fireside at the Utah State Women's Prison.  I gladly accepted even though it seemed a bit scary.
It was anything but.

As I walked through the prison gates, and then through several doors, I felt trapped.  They checked our equipment and allowed us entrance to the prison grounds.  Secretly I worried they would never let me out!!  But once I entered the prison chapel, I felt like I had just walked into any other LDS ward house.  The spirit was the same.
Why wouldn't it be?

As the women filled the small chapel, I felt very over dressed.  I wore a lovely black skirt.  They wore prison garb.  But their faces reminded me of every other woman throughout the church that comes to feel the spirit.  They were beautiful and reposed, they chatted and hugged, greeted each other with hand shakes and  laughter and sang the hymns with gusto.

When it was my turn to speak, I nervously walked to the pulpit.  I worried that I would not be able to say anything that would give them comfort.  How could I understand their challenges and lift their load?  But as I began to speak and sing, tears flowed freely.  Sisters wrapped their arms around one another, comforting words were given.  They even laughed at my jokes!  I could have been speaking at any other Relief Society meeting in the valley.

One of my favorite scripture stories to share is found in Luke, Chapter 7.  It's the story of a woman who kneels at the foot of the Savior and washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair.  She was a sinner, but the Lord knew her heart and said unto her "Thy sins are forgiven, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace."  As I told this story, I couldn't help but draw some comparisons.  Here were these woman, who obviously had made some mistakes, but they were there, trying to overcome their challenges, turning to the Lord for help and longing for peace and solace.  To listen to my song "Go In Peace" click the play button on the right hand side of the page!

What a beautiful experience this was for me and my husband.  (He was put on the spot and had to bear his testimony - which was a real treat!)  At the end of the meeting, which lasted about 2 hours....lots of blabbing from yours truly...we had the opportunity to chat with the sisters and interact with them.  I left feeling humbled and uplifted with a stronger conviction that our Heavenly Father loves each of us with all of His heart, without exception and without guile.  Thank you, to all the sisters in the
Utah State Penitentiary who welcomed me with open arms into their small flock!


  1. Thanks for sharing that awesome experience!

  2. I'm glad to hear about what a wonderful experience you had at the prison. I sang with a little folk band there several years ago and had a similar eye-opening experience.

  3. Thanks for sharing Amy...the experience you had was uplifting for not only those in prison and yourself (and Mont) but for those of us reading about it:)

  4. umm- have you forgotten? Didn't we sing at the prison in high school with Janet Todd :). At least I think we did. Neat experience, wish I had been there. Love ya! Di