Three by Jimmy D.


by James Dayton
Jan 2009

 

Hate Mail

Today, I received my third letter from brothers calling me a sell-out, a trader, a disgrace to my race, and many other things. This letter is not the first of these kinds of letters. In the last couple of years, they seem to come every few months.

At first, I felt hurt and angry, but I want you to know that, today, I feel blessed and I understand their feelings. An old brother of mine wrote from Death Row in a California prison and asked me how I could turn my back on him after all we’ve been through. He wrote about loyalty, a brother’s [Aryan Brotherhood] love, about battles and race. Then he blamed my change of theology on this system – that seeing the brothers in this state of dishonor, the cause with drugs and homosexual behavior has hardened my heart against them, and that I shouldn’t be deterred by what these people are doing, because they don’t understand what it is to be loyal to one’s people, and that they prey on their own and have no understanding of our true cause.

See, brothers, that letter hurt the most. I’ve done a lot of time with S.B. We walked the yard in Soledad, we were cellies in Corcoran, and we stayed in contact when we both got shipped to the Bay (California). I had much love for him and I still do.

How could I not? We spilled blood together, battled together and truly cared for each other. When S.B. paroled from Pelican Bay he was only out a few days when he killed a police officer. He’s now on Death Row, and he’s in my prayers daily.

I truly understand how these brothers feel, and I want them to know I love them, that I didn’t change because of this system or because I lost heart. But, by the grace of God, men were put in my life to show me the truth and by replacing violence with love and charity I found peace understanding.

I haven’t forgotten where I came from, but I understand it was just a path to get me where I’m at today. I want you to know that it does not matter how you feel or what you have done. Christ loves you and has a place for you in his Kingdom, and the only way for you to understand my conversion experience is to call upon his name, ask him into your heart, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and feel his warmth and love for you. When you do that, your questions will be answered and you’ll feel a loyalty to God so great you won’t be able to deny it. Your heart will fill with compassion and his word will teach you. You will become a new man or woman in Christ.

The battles of old will fade away and a new one will emerge – one of the spirit. It’s a battle like no other. It’s fought daily with grave consequences and I ask all you brothers who think I left the cause to have the courage to step onto my battlefield, to put on the whole armor of God, to join the battle against the rulers of darkness, against the spiritual wickedness in high places; to put on the helmet of salvation, to take up the sword of the spirit and stand next to me again; and, so, when we’ve withstood the evil day and done our all, we will stand once more, together, and we will walk in the spirit and feel the whole glory of God.

So, I ask you brothers: why are you still fighting that fight? Open your heart. Take your place in the Kingdom. Take that step, brothers and you will know who I am today.

My prayer this day is that, somehow, in some place, we can be joined together in worship, that we can walk together with joy in our hearts, that together we can lead many to the glory of God. So, if you want to understand my conversion, take that step. Fight the good fight. Take hold of salvation. And stand.

 

The Faith of Others

This morning I was reading in the Gospel of Mark. In chapter two, I was moved by the story of Jesus and the man with the disease of palsy – not so much by the man with palsy, but by the four men who carried him.

They just knew that if they could get their friend or brother to Jesus, he would heal him. I mean, think about it. They were so faithful and determined that they climbed on the roof of someone’s house and tore a hole in the roof big enough to lower a man through it. Amazing. When Jesus saw this, he also saw their faith.

Then I started to think about all the men that carried me to Jesus, a man so spiritually dead that it took the faith of other men to see in me what I could not see. Some carried me from prison gangs and violence to church. Some carried me from foul-talking and pressing people to prayer. Others carried me during confusion and gave me clarity. Others carried me from sickness to health, from a broken heart to happiness and excitement, from death in sin to life.

And all that way at different times, different people carried me. They went the same direction, down the same road, regardless of how hard it got. Their faith was focused and in the end they broke through that roof and lowered me to Jesus.

When I look back at them, I see how much they suffered for me, and I realize that, wherever I was, they were there. In the prison population, in the hole, or in sickness or sadness, they were there. They carried me far and long, and they did it because at one time someone carried them and in doing so, their faith became so strong that it could bear the weight of others. And it has to this day.

It’s amazing what people can do when they work together for the glory of God. There are many out there in prison that are lost causes, as hopeless people without worth, but I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen mighty men of God do wonderful things, and I’ve seen more compassion and faith behind prison walls I’ve known than I have ever seen on the streets.

So, when you are going through something and you are being carried, look around: one of them may be a convict or formerly incarcerated person. I urge you to bear your load, to climb to that roof, to carry someone to Jesus, to carry others as they have carried you.

Don’t let a wall come between you and the compassion of others. We’re here, we’re might, we’re many, and we’re more than just prisoners; we’re caring men of God and we can bear a great load.

Thank you Buddy, Norm, Johnny, Stan, Bobby, Jamie, David, Aaron, James, Daniel, Joseph, Victor, Kreighammer, Danny, Roland, Jeff, Rodney, Frank, Purvis, Schaeffer, Edward, George, Steve, and so many others that have carried my weight for so long. You’ve all touched my life and lowered me through that roof.

 

Understanding

Last week I felt like the walls were falling down around me. I felt a heaviness in my heart that simply crushed me. I could feel old emotions and feelings creeping in, and at that moment, I understood, truly understood what was coming against me. I wondered if I could bear it.

Brothers, I am very close to getting out, and Satan is doing all he can to redeem what he has lost. I’ll give him this: he’s putting some work in and it hurts.

I think we all picture what we want our lives to be like when we get out of prison. I couldn’t wait to start my new life: a fresh start with my wife and children. I had so many moments pictured in my mind, so many dreams I wanted to fulfill. I had this “Ozzie and Harriet” picture in my head and really wanted that picture to come true.

Well, sometimes God has other dreams for us to fulfill. About 120 days to getting out, after putting my parole plans together and having everything set, my wife decided that she just couldn’t take another chance on me and parted ways. Needless to say, I was devastated. It came out of the blue, and it was hard to take in. I was angry, hurt, sad, and I felt alone.

After all these years of marriage, I felt like the one constant thing in my life was gone, and for a moment I just wanted to let go and take it all out on the people around me. Just start smashing folks. I felt that old man trying to raise his head.

It was then that the corrections officer brought the mail and I got a letter from a Christian brother. He heard what was going on and urged me to read, in the Bible, Romans chapter 8, verse 28, and to submit to that verse. I thought about all Stan said, and I started to pray and fast. On the third day, I started to feel comfort. I started to get the guidance I needed and I could see things in a new light.

You see, my wife did not leave me. I left her four years ago when I started this bit, and this is not the first one she’s suffered through. When I left her out there to fend for herself and the children, I didn’t fulfill my duty as a husband. Brothers, I finely understand how she feels and I understand what Paul is teaching about in faith and works – in that verse and chapter.

All those pictures in my mind about a perfect family were just mine. As we change and grow in Christ and our minds become renewed, we let the past melt away and we forget about the destruction we’ve left behind. But others don’t forget. Although they see the change in us, they still wonder if it’s read and if the person truly means the words he speaks.

We can talk about our faith and how much we’ve changed, and we know these things are true in our hearts, but the truth is, our faith is only seen in our works. So, don’t be hurt when some people want to see them before they open back up to you. Be humble and patient with those people, and God will restore the things in your life that glorify him.

Many will never forget who we were in the past, but it’s not our past we live in. We should focus on what God has ahead for us. We must make the one constant thing in our lives Jesus. When we fully submit, he starts opening doors and making ways for us. Today, I’m not sure where I’m going or what I’m going to do, but I’m not worried because wherever it is, Christ will be there. He will always be there. Submit and the doors will fly open.

I’m starting to get excited about this new life and what it might bring. I know there are lots of brothers and sisters out there going through these feelings of rejection and loss. My prayer is that you find comfort, that you lean on the body of Christ for your fellowship, and that you fully submit to Christ, and feel his never-ending love for you, because when you feel it you will never be the same.

With faith comes glory. Just go through the door.

 


My name is Jimmy D. I’m 44-years old and have spent years in prison: Chino, Folsom, San Quentin, Corcoran, Pelican Bay, Soledad . . .I’ve been a member of the Aryan Brotherhood since 1985 and spent over eight years in the hole. I’ve committed a number of stabbings and violence that most people wouldn’t understand. . .I tell you these things so you can understand how far from God I was. . .
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