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Prison Ministry

Overview

During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ taught that His disciples minister to those in need, including those who are imprisoned. He taught that “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of many faith and community organizations that work together to help those affected by crime and incarceration. We minister and care for those who are victims of crime (see “Help for Victims of Abuse Overview”). We are also invited to follow the example of Jesus Christ by ministering to and caring for those who are in prison or jail and their family members (see Matthew 25:35–40; Mosiah 18:8–9).

Church leaders throughout the world consider the needs and resources in their areas and provide help where appropriate. When possible, Church members can choose to volunteer their time to hold worship services and classes for incarcerated individuals on religious education, addiction recovery, family history, and self-reliance. The central teachings in all of these efforts are the restored truths of the gospel and the hope that comes through Jesus Christ. When individuals are released from prison or jail, members may help them live the gospel, find employment, secure housing, and reconnect with family (as appropriate and as they follow the conditions the court has set).

As part of its humanitarian efforts, the Church donates more than 50,000 volumes of Church literature to prisons every year. It also collaborates with other faith groups to support worship and educational centers in prisons and community initiatives to help those who have recently been released.

The Church encourages its leaders and members to act with compassion toward those who were previously incarcerated and to support them in their efforts to repent, establish healthy patterns for successful living, and return to the Church (see section 32, “Repentance and Church Membership Councils,” in General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

For more information, email PrisonMinistry@ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Related Topics

Scriptures

Scripture References

Scripture Study Resources

Messages from Church Leaders

Prophets and Apostles

Other Church Leaders

Learning Resources

General Resources

Providing Support for Those in Correctional Facilities,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org

One of the Least of These,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Church Magazines

Lawrence E. Cummins, “How Love Scales Prison Walls,” Ensign, February 1973

Laird Roberts, “The Catharsis,” New Era, July 1982

Finding Freedom,” Ensign, September 2004

David A. Albrecht, “Inside Prison Walls,” Ensign, December 1995

Heather McPhie, “Come Back, Heather,” New Era, January 1991

Becky Young, “Remembering Those in Prison,” Ensign, August 2010

Terry J. Moyer, “Free to Believe: Prisoners Welcome the Gospel into Their Lives,” Ensign, February 1982

Power to Change,” Liahona, June 2010

S. Brent Scharman, “Real-Life Changes inside Prison Walls,” Ensign, December 2013

In the News

Service Helps Inmates Look beyond Themselves,” Newsroom

Heather Whittle Wrigley, “Prisoners Rescuing Prisoners: Indexing at Utah State Prison,” Church News, October 28, 2011

Mormon Women Help Incarcerated Mothers Connect with Their Children,” Newsroom: Canada, March 6, 2013

Church Helps Children, Patients, Prisoners and Refugees,” Newsroom: Pacific, August 12, 2015

A Second Chance at a Future through Deseret Industries,” Newsroom, October 14, 2008

Latter-day Saint Inner City Project Blesses Lives of Thousands,” Newsroom, March 21, 2012

Media

Videos

Bridges to Self-Reliance: Delores Hubbar, On the Road to Self Reliance,” Inspiration Channel

“Ye Have Done It unto Me,” Bible Videos

“Rescue from Incarceration,” Media Library

“The Savior Wants to Forgive,” Media Library

“Rescued by Christ,” Media Library

Music

“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

“Be Still, My Soul,” Media Library

Where Can I Turn for Peace?,” Hymns, no. 129

Be Still, My Soul,” Hymns, no. 124

I Need Thee Every Hour,” Hymns, no. 98