08 October 2015

LDS Sunday School: The 'F' Word, Poop and Country Music

One of the most inspiring times in my life was when I taught LDS Sunday School to the Spanish Fork Utah County Jail inmates. I was assigned to teach ICE detainees (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.) 

One particular Sunday stands fresh in my mind. As I  normally do, I arrived too early and was asked by the Branch President to attend a current Sunday School lesson already in session until my classroom was ready. I entered into the classroom full of sitting men in orange jumpsuits attentively listening to the teacher up front. The very first thing I heard from the Priesthood leader was "Do you wanna hear a cool 'F' word?" Then he wrote on the board, "Faith." He said the second time, "Do you wanna hear another cool 'F' word?" Then he wrote the word, "Fortitude." 

After the third inappropriate innuendo (which I can't remember) he told an elaborate story about his sister who is currently going through an abusive marriage. He told us that her current husband keeps a bucket next to the bed at night to prevent her from waking him up by going to the bathroom door and flushing the toilet. He went on this poop and pee tangent for almost 10 minutes. He told us how going poop and pee is a very sacred thing and shouldn't be viewed by other people and how sorry he (the teacher) was that the inmates had to poo and pee in front of each other in their cells.

The third inspiration segment was when the Priesthood leader played some
country music (which by the way he sang along to.) He wrote some of the lyrics on the chalkboard and took about 3 minutes preaching from from them. He played the song again and preached another 3 minutes or so from the chorus. Just when you thought that wasn't enough he played the song again for the third time to which he continued to preach from the country music lyrics.

Segment four was the final round for some of the inmates. The teacher began asking the inmates questions. Usually this is done by simply opening your mouth and asking a question. Instead he would walk up to an inmate (who is sitting down in his chair) squat down so they were uncomfortably face to face and ask, "What do you miss the most?"

I counted a total of 15 inmates in this classroom. Do you think he stopped on the 3rd or maybe 6th inmate? Guess again! He took the time to question all 15 inmates. Have you seen the Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Farley called, "The Motivational Speaker?" Well this was it. 

The Priesthood leader asked one particular inmate, "How did the music make you feel?" The prisoner whose head was down wouldn't even look up but threw his hands up in the air and said, "I don't know what to say!" 

During this uncomfortable scene an inmate asked to leave to which the teacher ignored. After the Sunday School teacher had finished and the class was dismissed, my inmates were filing in and taking their seats. I began teaching my class to which I was interrupted by this Sunday School teacher who found it necessary to butt in and preach to my class for the next 5 minutes. 

After my class had ended I complained to the Branch President and suggested that someone from the Branch Presidency should attend one of his classes. Lets just say I un-volunteered my time and now teach Primary children in our Ward