True identity — A spiritual way out of prison

Laura Lapointe has a long cherished desire to reach out to people behind bars to help them. To help them in a way that education and social services may not be able to, to bring about the needed changes in individual character and the community.

During a conversation with a Christian Science practitioner, she found herself saying how she really had come to see clearly that the only thing that would truly bring these people out of prison, literally and figuratively, was a sense of spirituality that would enable them to discover their true identity.

Almost a year later, Laura started putting together a program. She’s been going into juvenile detention centers, halfway houses and drug rehab programs and shares a healing message through music and spoken word.  She talks about that program here. It’s called TWO4U — The Way Out for You.

Comments

  1. Tobias A. Weissman says:

    I have felt for a long time that the Prison System doesn’t work. For how many years has this system been in operation? Way before history has been written, and so far it has no success. What Laura is doing has had success. Not just lock-up and throwing  away the key, but an education of a person’s spiritualness, of them expressing their innate God-like qualities. That they don’t have to stoop to material qualities for success, that they include success, etc. I welcome Laura’s unique effort. There should be more like her.

     

     

     

  2. w.rap.t says:

    hello Laura,
    You certainly are a delightful example of the “sunbeam glancing into the prison cell” bringing your love of innocence, your love of the power of Love, and your simple faith in the two great Commandments as a basis for demonstrating redemption.

    In response to your concerns about the “unresponse” that can confront those making an effort to reach out from their own Christ center… Do take a look at Christine Driessne’s summit lecture on building bridges and the comments which follow. She prepares for those kinds of experiences by praying and working to know that there really is only One Mind. Thus, there is no other mind to confront or deal with, even though in human terms it seems like we may be required to “build bridges” of some kind. The essential nature of that oneness is exhibited in the “love reflected in/by love” the innocence reflected in/by innocence, and the “famished affections for the Christ or image of the true man” in an equivalent/coexistent/coincident yearning for Truth from the other side of the “dialogue.” In truth/Truth there is only a unilogue where Good is loving itself via its reflected and reflecting Creation (including man). This view is so helpful in overcoming opposition, apathy, distraction and the condition of mortal mind that MBE poetically describes as being like snowflakes or leaves tumbling in the wind totally the opposite of the glassy calm of a large sunlit lake surface that resembles the ‘smile of the Great Spirit.”

    As you look around you….you may also find that there are many others a who are behind bars of a different sort. Your righteous spirit can free those prisoners too.

    Let me share with you a powerful example that I read about that came from the exercise of someone else’s faith in the power of Spirit who was doing work similar to yours. This was a woman of advanced years who, like yourself, was led to seek out those behind bars and pray for them/ pray with them.

    (Aside: I should note in advance that early on I learned from the bible that there is within all of us a spiritual center of joy/Joy that seems to be at the core of our being. Others might describe it in different terms, but that is just something I knew to be true as a child and eventually learned that I could still be in touch with it even after I was an adult and found that there were things in this world that tended to hide or obscure that fact of being.)

    As part of her service in a prison ministry she asked to see those who were condemned to die even when they didn’t necessarily want to see her.
    This story involves a very large black man who seemed to be angry at the world all the time. He had instilled deep fear into the guards and others who had had dealings with him and was shortly to be executed for a brutal murder he had committed. The warden had warned her about the risks involved in attempting to visit this man, but she insisted and was eventually allowed to enter the man’s cell in solitary confinement. The guard indicated that he would be ready to let her out immediately should there be any problems. She entered the cell. Briefly explained her reason for being there and then began to pray. The cell was so dark she couldn’t even tell where the man was until she heard something that sounded like an animal growling in front of her in the blackness. She heard him say, “Go away I don’t want to talk to anybody.” “Leave me alone.” The story did not relate how this woman prayed, but she must have had some understanding of how the Christ through Jesus’s actions was able to cast out demons. The verbal rejection was followed by a brief silence and then exclamations of surprise and awe. “What are you doing?” “What is this feeling that’s coming over me?” “Where is this happiness coming from?” She went on to explain in the simplest of terms the gospel of Jesus Christ and left the man with a bible which he began to read enthusiastically. Later the warden called her to let her know that the man was very changed and that whatever she had done was still working and that he was grateful. He also asked her if she would like to witness the execution. She said, “I will come and pray for him at that time.”

    This prisoner, murderer, continued to express his new found joy and love right up to the moment of his execution. It had a profound effect on the guards that delt with him and the man who performed the execution. They understood something of the power of repentance because they had seen it at work. The executioner quit his job realizing that simply taking the life of one who takes a life, but then changes so completely (restored to original innocence, which was always there?) was something he could no longer do in good conscience. This true story proved to me that the Christ was ever available, regardless of one’s religious persuasion, to those who sought that presence and to those who allowed themselves to be touched by it….. regardless of their prior human history.

    Now that I have a clearer picture of the audiences you are trying to reach it helps explain the style and format that you have chosen (been inspired to select/develop) as a way of reaching them.

    “Alleluiel” The Father-Mother of the New Testament covenant.

    • Laura says:

      Wow, what a powerful story! The healing presence of Divine Love is profound and touches hearts as nothing else can. What courage it took for this woman to be with him at that moment. Thank God for her work.

  3. Joanne Otto says:

    Thank you, Laura. I’m engaged in the jail ministry and know how right you are about what they need to know. Bless you and your work.
    Joanne

  4. Laura says:

    Thanks so much to everyone for their good thoughts and support. Lindsey, I don’t have a website for the project specifically since it is fairly new in the works. It would be nice if I did! I know that so many in the CS community are doing great work in prisons and detention centers, and it is inspiring to hear more about that.

  5. Paul says:

    Thank you, Laura, what you are doing is really inspiring and worthwhile.

  6. LittleChild says:

    Laurance is so right, Laura. Having mentored at-risk youths in a detention center, reform school, boot camp and county jail, I understand what you say about how inmates long to be appreciated as God’s loved children. I have many memories of different times the message of their innate goodness reached them through their tough exterior and their pretense of apathy! And how could it not resonate, since each of us invariably recognizes and responds to the truth about our spiritual heritage!

    The love you poured into that quote by Mrs. Eddy will surely quicken the heart and raise the hopes of even the most lost soul: “Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.” (Miscellany 149:31-150:4)

  7. Laurance says:

    Dear Laura,

    You are the message (God’s expression) — these men will not forget that even if they don’t seem to be paying attention to the words yet. I read in a maximum security mental institution and I learned that the men caught the sacredness of the service, the peace and gratitude to God. You are doing a great work — I can’t help but think of Matthew 25: 39-40. Thank you.

  8. Lindsey says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for what you shared here. I would like to share this message. Do you have a blog or website?
    Thanks

  9. James Early says:

    Laura, Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas. I have been visiting a nearby Federal Women’s prison for a few years now. It started off just reading the CS Bible lesson each week. I am now conducting Bible workshops on things like how Jesus prayed, healings of Jesus, etc. The inmates who come are so receptive to the basic message of love and they are learning to see themselves in a more spiritual light. They love myBibleLesson too.

  10. Aeriol says:

    What great work you are doing – a huge need there for sure. There is a case before the courts right now here in Ontario(Canada), that had someone intervened in the young woman’s life maybe another’s life wouldnt have been taken – a child’s. God Bless you as you go about this very important work.

  11. Laura says:

    Hi, Gordon. That was certainly something I was warned to expect when I first started working in a prison setting. There were a few inmates who asked for things, but I made it pretty clear from the start that their requests would get nowhere with me. That would be a really quick way to lose a job! I really made an effort to expect to see the inmates as innocent and truly desiring to express their innate integrity. I was also deeply committed to the work I was doing and put in lots of extra hours, etc., so I think the guys had a sense that I was already giving a lot and somehow didn’t want to abuse that generosity. But as for whether the audiences are really interested in the spiritual message I’ve been sharing lately at juvenile detention and rehab centers, that’s an important question I’ve been considering. I do sometimes struggle with wondering if they really care about what I’m saying, but I try to focus simply on loving them and trusting that they will get what they need from the visit, even if it is something that does not resonate with them at the moment but comes to mind later. Or even if it’s just that feeling of being loved and cared for. I would be extremely grateful even if they felt a hint of that as a start.

  12. Gordon says:

    Laura, I wonder if you’ve ever encountered particular inmates that have really only wanted material things from you, whether that’s bringing them gifts or whatnot, rather than being ready to focus on the spiritual message you have to share. And if so — if you have encountered situations like that — how have you handled that?

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