Sharing The Urantia Book - The Prisoner Inquiry Response Team

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By the Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT), a program of Urantia Association International

Editor’s Note: Over the past year News Online has featured a series of articles by individuals who write about how they share The Urantia Book and its teachings with others. We now shift our focus to outreach groups, who collectively share the book and its teachings. We hope their stories will inspire you!

The Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT) is the longest running Urantia Book dissemination project in the history of Urantia Association International. Its origin is even older. Before PIRT existed, a notable number of letters from inmates began arriving at Urantia Foundation following the seeding of 300 copies of The Urantia Book into prison libraries by Liz Cratty in 2000. The letters and book requests were handled by the Foundation’s Reader Services Department. As the number of letters kept growing, assistance from the Association was requested. A service team devoted to providing Urantia Books to incarcerated readers and seekers developed, and PIRT became an official program of the Association.

PIRT replies to each letter sent by an inmate, and books are sent to all who ask for one. A volunteer manages the shipping of 20 to 40 books every month, including to prison libraries and chaplains who hear about The Urantia Book from inmates. We thank Urantia Foundation for providing us with their returned books and for offering a good discount on new books.

Since inmates are not allowed to go online to search and connect with groups, PIRT is their primary contact to support their studies of The Urantia Book. We try to answer questions about the teachings, and we send what materials we can, which they often share with their fellows and family. We also support them in their inmate-led study groups.

All who have participated in and contributed to this service throughout its history feel blessed to have assisted truth seekers in discovering the benefits of revealed religion. Following are a few personal words about our service from an inmate and current volunteers who share The Urantia Book with our brethren living in some of the darkest corners of Urantia—prisons.

From an Inmate in the USA

“Thank you for reaching out to me. It’s good to know that I am being given answers to my inner plea to know the truth of my existence and what is my destiny. I have received a copy of The Urantia Book and am finding peace of mind knowing how much celestial help is placed before me, especially when it comes to my knowing how I have a God fragment living within my mind. Truly we are all blessed. My life is now seen through spiritual eyes. I see now that I am on the shores of a vast opportunity to experience myself finding God. I understand my part in this universal play and am willing to do the will of God. It starts with my leading others to the truth by leading by example. I am not only a searcher of truth, but I wish for others to find God within. I want to thank you—and all who are helping in this mission of caring about prisoners—for guiding me and opening the doors to my destiny.”

From a PIRT Volunteer: Following Jesus’ Teachings

“A friend helped me become more conscious of Jesus’ teaching affirming all people are children of God, including incarcerated individuals. Helping prisoners realize they are included, helping them choose spiritual values is a role that I can easily accept. The Urantia Book helps them see they really are known on High and are loved, valued. Helping them choose Urantia Book teachings is part of Jesus’ commission to ‘go into all the world proclaiming this gospel to all nations, to every man, woman, and child.’” 165:6.3 (1824.6)

From a PIRT Volunteer: Letters from Spanish Readers

“I answer the prisoner mail that is written in Spanish, requesting El libro de Urantia. Most of the letters I receive are from inmates who have heard about the book by word of mouth from another friend in prison. Sometimes there is a bilingual person who has an English copy of the book and translates it for Spanish-speaking inmates, until someone finally writes asking if we have the book in Spanish. It is truly a pleasure to respond to their letters, and I like to send along a couple of pages printed from El libro whenever I write. Hopefully this primes them with a little excitement for reading the book when it arrives. It also gives them something that they can easily share with friends.”

From a PIRT Volunteer: Morontia Mota

“It had not occurred to me, when I joined PIRT at its formation 17 years ago, that our group would be participating in realizing a morontia mota teaching. But here it is:

Knowledge is possessed only by sharing; it is safeguarded by wisdom and socialized by love. 48:7:28 (557.12)

“I will tell you this: inmates can ask difficult questions! This one, for example: ‘After reading “Government on a Neighboring Planet” in dealing with crime, sentencing to life in detention colonies those believed to be potential criminals is marked as a positive era of law. What does that mean?’

“Here is where the knowledge ‘safeguarded by wisdom’ of this mota quote comes into play.

“Wisdom to answer to the complete satisfaction of the student and in a way that will ensure their continued study with the revelation.

“Our work with inmates has become a two-way ministry. We impart awareness to each other; the teacher becomes the student, and the student becomes the teacher. Every aspect of this morontia mota quote is incorporated in our work with inmates. It is truly a labor of love.”

You Are Invited

We encourage fellow readers to inquire as to ways to participate. Perhaps in-person prison ministry, answering letters, or starting a local PIRT team. Over the years, we have collectively learned much about reader-led prison study groups and international service, including from a group in Finland that encountered problems in their prison library book-placement endeavor, and from our first International PIRT Director, Chris Gravel in Canada.

Contact: Myra Hight, PIRT Chair, [email protected]

Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT)
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Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT)

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