This is an incredible and moving story. A great read! But
troublesome too. I’ve seen in my experiences that our culture
preaches a wonderful sermon about change being available to all. Our culture
preaches sermons of reaching our hearts and hands out to those who are down, in
trouble, anguished, ridden with bad choices and then lifting them up. And what I
have seen so many times is that the person behind the hand of fellowship and
ministering still views the downtrodden, sin filled soul as the same down and
out character. We preach of second chances, but always keep close to the vest
the stigma of the previous life’s behavior. Despite the warm
smiles and the heartfelt embraces, acceptance of the changed behavior is only
“skin deep”. This story, if the Utah Bar extends the license to Ben
to practice the Law, will prove there is hope that some in our culture can look
at the previously downtrodden soul actually as a new and changed one.
He mentions "drugs and selfishness" and being "devoid of
empathy." This is the most devastating feature of drug users. This is the
facet of drug addiction that overrides maternal instinct to protect her baby
with her own life, and choose the drugs instead. It's why drug addicts can
cheat, rob and even murder their fellow human beings. It would
seem from this story, the recipe for breaking the cycle is to isolate the addict
from the drugs and find a way for them to find the reward or "high" in
serving their fellow human beings.
I love this story. The way I see it, either we as a church believe
in the principle of repentance or we don't. Either we believe a person
through the help of our Savior can pull him or herself up out of mud, shame,
tragedy, addiction, abuse, crime, ignominy, etc. or not. Like many brethren and
sisters who lead us will say, the issue is not whether you fall, but rather
whether you get up, no matter how hard it may be, and learn a tough lesson in
the process.Turns out, we do believe you can shake off the negative
of past mistakes, even severe negatives. We do believe repentance is a true
principle, and through it a person can change, all the way from his or her core
to the ends of the hair on the head. Good luck to this gentleman and may he be
the inspiration for others to follow.
Changes in someone's life direction comes because something or someone
sparked a ray of hope in that person. So many lives are lost to discouragement,
a lack of hope, being labeled, and the hurdles society places in someone's
way. "Second" chances (let alone third) are hard to come by once
you're a Federal Felon, destroying all hope. A person can't live
without hope. Senators Hatch and Lee, both sitting on the Judiciary Committee,
should do whatever it takes to change this. With AG Sessions policy of seeking
the maximum charges possible for offenders, only a legislative solution is
possible. Being "tough on crime" and a "law and order" candidate
is good. But once someone has paid their debt to society, and has exhibited
genuine change for a period, they deserve to have their public slate wiped clean
and given a clean, fresh chance in society with all opportunities and hope
restored to them.
Awesome work on Ben's part and many others to see beyond the
"norm". His counsel as a public defender should provide a unique
prospective to those he serves, offering a life change.
Our society needs more lawyers like it needs more parasitic disease.
So inspirational!! Amazing man. We need more examples like this. Hopefully he
well set a good example to those he is representing. And wish him best of luck
with Utah Bar exam’
Many congratulations to Mr. Aldana, as well as to those along the way who saw
more in him than the poor choices he had made.
What a beautiful story of redemption. It reminds of the sons of Mosiah. If Ben
can get his attorneyship, he could help wayward lawbreakers in ways maybe no one
else could; his past would become a great asset then. Prayers for you, Ben, that
the miracles will continue for you!
I have stories about the slipping into the life of crime. I grew up in Las
Vegas, and if it were not for some good individuals, it would have easy for me
to be there too. My father spent more than half of his 39 years of life in
prison. My younger bother spent 17 months is prison for committing an armed
robbery he didn't do. The person that did the crime, finally confessed, and
my brother was released. It still dictated his life choices, and another life
was lost to crime. At his death I began to realize how lucky I was. I was
lucky, as a young man I was shipped off to be raised by others. I did not get
caught up in that life, due to some very good people, not of my family, who
believed in me. One of the most important parts of this story is the opportunity
to help others. This is why I stayed away, and this is why this graduate will
stay away. Best of luck to him, and his efforts will pave a road for others.
I saw this guy speak at the Substance Abuse Conference at UVU last month. Very
Great story!Best of luck to Aldana and his future endeavors!
I am so proud of this man!!!! My own story shares similarities with his. It is
so rare that a person can make that change. Man I'm proud of him
Great story! This is exactly how the entire process should work when someone
goes astray...but it takes all sides of the process to want that kind of success
for it to work.
I wonder how he's going to be admitted to the Utah Bar as a federal felon?
Currently, federal felonies cannot be expunged (wiped clean) short of a
presidential pardon. This is because Congress has never funded the process.
Perhaps this young man's success will motivate Congress to do their job in
funding the process so reformed felons can get a new lease on life. Or, he will
have to get a presidential pardon, or the Utah Bar will have to make a huge
exception to their licensing requirements.