By Sister Sue Ann Crockett
Deep in my heart I’ve always known that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love every single one of us, no matter what. But I also think there was a part of me that felt those of us heavily involved in church activity, serving missions, time consuming ward and stake callings, ministering, donating, gifting neighbors with casseroles and bread, and wrangling Cub Scouts, were maybe just a little bit more beloved than everyone else.
I’ve learned that this notion is false. I believe our Father and His Son are pleased when we do these things to serve and build the kingdom. But love us more? As a result of my mission I’ve discovered in powerful ways through the Spirit, that His love is no respecter of persons.
One day I was alone in the Prison Ministry office. An inmate called to request that a couple of items be sent to him. I was new to the mission, but pretty confident we had whatever he wanted. He asked that his Liahona be renewed and then, almost apologetically, asked if he could get a copy of the November 2019 Ensign. I said, “Sure! I’ll ask distribution to send one to you.”
Then I called distribution to renew his Liahona subscription, which they were happy to do, and asked if they would also please send him a copy of the November 2019 Ensign. I was told they don’t keep them from that far back and no, they didn’t have any. I went to the back of our office where we keep extra resources and scoured the shelves. Nothing.
We write letters to those who are incarcerated, telling them about their orders and when they can expect them. I knew that my letter would have to be the bearer of bad news: I couldn’t get the conference Ensign he asked for. I wanted to give this man something to look forward to, not a “Sorry, we don’t have that,” even if it was an innocent mistake. But I also knew these things happen. I could send other materials, I’d write a nice letter. It would be OK.
I prepared to write the letter, and then the thought came: “Look again.” I was just back there, but OK. I went precisely to where I’d been before in the back of the office, and looked on the bottom shelf, bottom of the pile, and there it was: a November 2019 Ensign. One copy.
This was too obvious to miss. I’d just been shown that the Savior of the World is as concerned about an inmate, who wants to read the words of prophets, sitting in a jail cell in Pennsylvania, as He is about any of us. I was stunned, grateful, and knew this had nothing to do with me. I just got to be the tiniest of characters in the biggest of stories. I got to help because I’m a missionary serving Jesus Christ in the Prison MInistry.
I think the Lord was happy I was there serving that day. But does He love me more because of that? Not a chance. My inmate friend John T. and I are both at the top of the list, along with the rest of humanity.