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Utah

Inmates use LDS Family History centers to find their pasts and help others

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  • Jan
    Oct. 14, 2009 11:36 a.m.

    Prisons protect citizens from people who have been unable or unwilling to conform to society. Whenever possible prisioners should be engaged in productive efforts.

    It is healthier for the prison population - prisioners and staff. It does not stimulate them in negative ways. In addition to the actual work, it may encourage them to want to know more about history in general or their personal family history. Indexing is interesting. Your mind wonders about the motives for people to stayput in small communities or to relocate to other places you have never heard about. Why is Sara Jane the mother of 8, but only 3 children are living?

    Engaging the mind is a good thing. I applaud the folks involved in this project.

  • kimib
    April 14, 2009 1:04 a.m.

    This is so cool! You can't steal an identity from a dead man are you kidding me people? Everyone loves to do some good and this is a great opprotunity. For anyone interested you should know that you don't have to be locked up to do this. Just ask any mormon friend if you are interested in doing family history.

  • alt7
    March 29, 2009 4:57 p.m.

    I'm sure there are guys that get involved with this program because they are trying work some sort of racket (and hopefully the safeguards they've put in place are sufficient to prevent them). On the other hand, the atmosphere inside means that far too many inmates come out worse than they went in. While it may be naive, this program offers inmates a glimpse of a different way of looking at the world, and perhaps some hope which prison is sorely lacking. We need many more such programs.

    Thanks for the article.

  • G Kenneth
    March 28, 2009 11:34 p.m.

    Anonymous- You couldn't qualify to work there - you are clueless. It is hard to steal the identity of people that have been dead for decades.
    As a volunteer in the center I find that there is a very thin line between them and you and I.
    By the grace of God we are not in there with them. Most have made only one or two samll mistakes and are paying the price for what they have done. It has been a pleasure for me to give of my time so that these men have and opportunity to help other with their genealogy and and for themselves.

    May this work continue so that those on the inside and outside can benefit from this great work.

  • P James
    March 25, 2009 11:24 p.m.

    What a wonderful experience for the inmates to connect with those that have gone before them and maybe leave a legacy of love for them. I was very impressed with this article and am grateful for their contribution in maybe helping me to find names of my family.

  • BarB
    March 25, 2009 5:05 p.m.

    I have done extraction work for a long time and wondered what happened when it was abandoned in our area. I finally found that this indexing program replaced it. Not only do you not have to be "called " to do it, you don't even have to be a member. The extraction program has been at the prison for quite a while....and now the inmates are able to continue their skils with the Indexing. I am so excited and happy for them.

  • Anonymous
    March 25, 2009 12:02 p.m.

    This is crazy!!! Can you say.... massive identy theft!!! This is the most foolish project ever, giving vital information to felons who are in there for stealing, burglarizing, fraud, and identy theft. Fool hardy at best, evil at worst. Stupid.

  • Great Idea
    March 24, 2009 11:29 a.m.

    What a wonderful oppotunity for those in prison to do good work for others. This is a program that should be introduced into more prisons. Give back and serve others. What a humbling experience for all involved.

  • jungle cat
    March 24, 2009 10:52 a.m.

    Thanks for such a wonderful article. It's about time we hear some positive news!! What a fabulous way to spend ones time, in the service of others. Thanks to the inmates for doing this work. I have been doing research for 21 years and have probably benefited from some of their efforts. Keep up the wonderful and so important work and thanks again-I hope the inmates get a chance to see all the comments-except for 1 they all are positive.

  • Lee in NV
    March 24, 2009 8:54 a.m.

    This story is a timely reminder that prisoners are also "childern of a Heavenly Father who loves them"; in spite of stereotypes and strawmen set up by media and politicians for their own purposes. But the blessings of doing family history work cannot be denied to anyone who takes it on.

  • Doug
    March 23, 2009 9:53 p.m.

    This program proves that there are many inmates who are eager to participate in meaningful work while in prison. There is a huge difference between "doing" and "serving" time in prison. Instead of throwing people in prison to "do" time, let us find more opportunities like this where people in prison can "serve" their time.

  • Florida Mormon
    March 23, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    What an inspired program. How I wish this could be done in Florida. I have a son who is locked up here. He has a very strong testimony. He would love to do this work. The spirit of the Lord will bless those who do this work. It helps so many people and draws family members closer to each other. May this program spread to many places.

  • Sandy
    March 23, 2009 5:30 a.m.

    Tears came to my eyes as I read this article. It seems that 'other' prison wall were being tossed aside by the marvelous work in which the inmates were participating. I am speaking specifically of the inmates' own prison walls of loneliness. It proves that no one is beyond the Lord's compassionate reach.

  • Pat
    March 22, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    what a great story! As a FHC Director myself, it is inspiring to hear a wonderful story like this one. Keep up the good work.

  • Kathy
    March 22, 2009 11:30 a.m.

    I'm very impressed. If more prisons could set up programs like this, a lot of brick walls might be broken down.

  • Ed Clinch
    March 22, 2009 8:48 a.m.

    "The hearts of the children shall be turned to their fathers."

    Malachi and the Doctrine and Covenants.

    I hope this program expands and has a big impact on reforming many men and women who have had to pay time for mistakes.

    Good journalism and very uplifting and informative.

  • Nancy
    March 22, 2009 8:01 a.m.

    Boy, is it nice to read about positive activities!
    Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved!

  • Vicki
    March 22, 2009 5:49 a.m.

    This is really nice. Maybe they can help me find information on my family. Wonder if they do look ups for any one? Vicki

  • I can read
    March 21, 2009 6:11 p.m.

    "Hey": Didn't you read the article? It says that they are allowed to research names only of those who have been dead for decades in order to prevent identity theft. Whoever is running this program beat you to thinking of the problem.

  • Ken
    March 21, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    Can't escape the Mormons even in prison...

    Just kidding (I think). I enjoy family history, too. Good use of their time. Kudos.

  • Hey
    March 21, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    Couldn't this innocent practice by inmates be exploited as an easy gateway to identity theft?

  • all good
    March 21, 2009 1:29 p.m.

    You know, I think this is the FIRST article I have read in the Deseret News that does not have one negative, sarcastic, irresponsible comment!! (great article)

    Congratulations inmates, Utah State Prison, and LDS Church for a great program.

  • Laura
    March 21, 2009 12:56 p.m.

    I think this is a great program. Family History work gives me such great perspective on myself and my own problems and brings me such a feeling a peace. Peace and Perspective are two things I am certain would be helpful to a prison inmate.

  • Jean
    March 21, 2009 12:31 p.m.

    Their research is tedious, but if one family name pops up it will be rewarding.
    An artist friend of mine spent two afternoons every week teaching art to inmates. It was very well received, so I suggest this as another program.

  • Mark
    March 21, 2009 11:39 a.m.

    Excellent, Super, Outstanding, Wonderful, Marvelous. I do not know what more I can say. This is a great blessing to everyone. To those who have gone on before us and those who will come after us. Not to say the great blessing we are receiving from all of you service and dedicated hard work. Thank you very much.

  • Great!
    March 21, 2009 10:55 a.m.

    This is a great thing. Hats off to whoever initiated putting the centers in the prison. I can think of no other activity that is more uplifting than connecting with our ancestors.



  • GrannyN
    March 21, 2009 10:41 a.m.

    We served a 2 1/2 yr mission in this very family history center and continue on as volunteers. We see such positive changes come about in the demeanor and attitudes of the men. It is an amazing and inspired program and we'll probably continue on as volunteers until we drop:)

  • Evelyn
    March 21, 2009 9:44 a.m.

    I think that it is a great idea, if it helps them change their lives. I know it will help us find our families.....this infromation if invaluable.

  • English
    March 21, 2009 9:36 a.m.

    The way finding ancestors makes these people feel could do nothing but good for them!

  • Missouri Mormon
    March 21, 2009 8:53 a.m.

    Great article! What a positive way for the inmates to spend their time. What a fun Missionary experience too.

  • Great Article
    March 21, 2009 8:02 a.m.

    Of all the things inmates could spend their time doing, I think this is one of the best.

    Doing geneology gives these men perspective on their own lives. Helps them reach beyond their own immediate circumstances.