Testimony from a Noahide Inmate

Looking out of the ark's door

Noah’s Ark: looking out. © by Tim Lovett

In 1948, I was the fifth child born to poor black parents in a then small northern Alabama town, that was known for its cotton and rockets. I was first schooled in a local catholic hilltop parish, but on Sunday mornings I would have to accompany my mother to a very noisy little Baptist church near our two-room shanty. My early and mid childhood days were frequently interrupted by struggles and bad choices in poverty and juvenile delinquency, which eventually resulted in more extended periods of incarceration.

All but about half of the last decade of my life was wrought with distorted misunderstandings of Divinity, of who I am, of whence I came, and of the purpose of my existence on this earth. For instance, I had envisioned G-d as being a giant-like human cloud, or as a big “Peter Pan” with a wand. The more commercial religion I soaked up, the more confused I became. I found myself using one distorted version to try and explain another.

In my attempts to identify the source of my confusion, I ventured into the philosophy of Schopenhauer and the historical teachings of the Buddha. Both schools of thought offered plausible, but incomplete, explanations for the deeper questions of Divinity and Trust. However, neither viewpoint seemed to jive well with the actual realities of unfolding events.

My early biblical studies in prison included an interest in what I hoped would be a practical spiritual journey with a mid-Missouri Mennonite church group. I was eventually paroled to an arrangement with them. However, the experience with them was oddly hindered by excessive suspicion and unwarranted censure which resulted in my moving over to another nearby Mennonite group. More than a year later, without any actual family in the area, I erred in my judgment to try to assimilate with a troubled black-community in mid Missouri. Naive and half-inebriated, I landed back in prison, where I felt very alone and overwhelmed by my circumstances.

Before my arrest I had the delightful experience of befriending “JD”, a black Labrador pup. We liked one another so much that he felt like my closest friend. Some time during the first weeks of my arrest and incarceration, I was informed that one of my landlord’s sons had killed JD for gnawing on his motorcycle helmet. The stress of my own plight was compounded by the painful news of JD’s death.

Then amid the rampant confusion of inter-prison religious faiths, I seized an opportunity to study Judaism, which led me to seek an understanding and observance of the Noahide portion. I soon had the honored privilege to serve as semi-facilitator for our small study-group of 15-20 individuals. We were able to meet regularly in the prison chapel on Friday mornings.

The good Jewish people at the Aleph Institute and at Jewish Prisoner Services International were kind enough to loan us some videos and other study materials, and contact information for AskNoah’s active Noahide outreach.

For me, the profound trust and orderliness of the Noahide faith have lifted a heavy blanket of ignorance and misinformation from my eyes and soul. Publications such as The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner (edited by Dr. Michael Schulman of Ask Noah International) are very sobering … and encouraging to share with fellow prisoners.

Dr. Schulman of Ask Noah International has been very helpful in providing us with answers to our questions and sending information on various Noahide study topics. We want to be of help to him in developing a “Noahide Correspondence Study Program for Interested Prisoners” as a branch of Ask Noah’s United Noahide Academies®, and we hope some benefactor(s) will see the great wisdom and the “mitzvah” of sponsoring that program.

I want to make good use of every opportunity to study and observe the Noahide Commandments, to repent of all my violations of those commandments, and to pray for G-d to use me to further His purpose.

With that in mind, I am grateful for the opportunity to present my perspective from “the inside” to your community on the “outside”. Please lend your ear to briefly hear an insider’s perspective on our nation’s prisoner crisis.

People are purportedly frightened by the threat and the ravages of crime. Government resources have been depleted while many people are suffering from overkill incarceration. Seven (7) million people are under some form of Justice System supervision, with more than 1.6 million of them incarcerated, at a combined annual cost that is exceeding sixty (60) billion taxpayer dollars. The over-blown population and cost of the prison system is not serving any useful purpose. Many prisoners are undeserving of the length of their sentences, but they are kept under prolonged incarceration in order to maintain the level of funds that are exploited from the prison upkeep costs.

Many prisoners are starting to want to appeal for clemency-based Voluntary Departure Emigration. This is the vision to leave the United States and relocate to their Noahic or transcontinental homelands.

At the same time, prisoners in the United States and all over the world are in need of the full mission-service impact of Ask Noah International and its United Noahide Academies® educational projects. This will surely bring a noticeable reduction in recidivism.

For me, the main content and focus of the book The Divine Code deals specifically with the named offenses to which we prisoners find ourselves incarcerated. For me, The Divine Code contains the light of the very teachings we need to find our deliverance from the transgressions that led us astray.

My vision for the future advancement of prisoner rehabilitation involves returning home spiritually, to the Torah-true Seven Universal Laws. To this end, we are looking forward to self-study courses for inmates, that could be expanded into small informal study groups within the prisons.

Director’s Note: You can now send web-mail communications to this inmate by registering with the web site https://jpay.com. The inmate receives the e-mail as printed pages, which cost $0.25USD (the cost of one “electronic stamp”) per page to send. The sender has the option to sponsor the inmate’s “electronic stamps” for sending a reply message, or else the inmate pays with his own funds. To register this inmate as your recipient, select the state of Missouri, and inmate number 19088 (he is registered under his pen name, with initials C.D.). He can respond through the Jpay.com system or by regular mail. For more details, please Contact Us.