Spiritual Autobiography and Personal Mission Statement
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13 (KJV).
In the Name of the Father; and of the Son; and of the Holy Spirit:
When I was 11 or 12 years old, my mother Elizabeth told me it would be a good idea for me to join the Church. Thereafter, I went-through instruction in the Christian faith; memorized the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed; and was baptized by sprinkling in a Sunday morning ceremony held in the sanctuary of the (old) Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
When I reached adolescence, I fell away from the faith.
When I was 18, I read many of the great Christian writers in a Russian Literature course which I took in college; and, consequently, I took the Leap-of-Faith. Around the same time, I was actively recruited by a staff-member of the organization, Campus Crusade for Christ; and, as a result, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal Savior!
When I was 19, I committed adultery; when I was 20 I committed murder: and my life, as I previously had known it, was over.
At the urging of my music teacher, an Episcopal priest began regular, pastoral visits to me while I was being held in pre-trial detention at the city and county jails.
When I was 23, I was Born Again at the old prison hospital (Unit 31) at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) at Parchman.
When I was 26, I was confirmed by the Episcopal Bishop in a ceremony held at the Church of the Advent in Sumner, which is a small, rural town in the Mississippi Delta located near the prison.
Thereafter, I began a lifelong habit, practicing a regular, intensive and systematic study of the Sacred Scriptures!
When I was 29, the prison chaplain baptized me by immersion in a ceremony held in the old chapel at Camp 4. Later that year, I was released on parole to my mother’s childhood home in rural Jones County, Mississippi.
When I was 30, I attended a three-day Cursillo retreat which was held at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi.
When I was 31, my father Peyton sacrificed me by having me returned to prison!
When I was 33, I began playing piano for the Roman Catholic Church of the Penitent Thief, St. Dismas Community, at Parchman.
When I was 35, I became affiliated, via the U.S. Postal Service, with several monastic communities throughout the Episcopal Church in the USA.
Later that year, during a St. Dismas Mass held at the Parchman’s Spiritual Life Center, I experienced the phenomenon known as Baptism in the Holy Spirit!
When I was 37, my daddy died.
When I was 39, I attended a three-day Kairos retreat held in the gymnasium at Parchman’s Unit 29.
Later that year, the Supreme Court of Mississippi reinstated my parole. Their published opinion was politically unpopular, so, instead of releasing me, officials of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) locked me down in the (maximum security) Unit 32 at MSP.
While I was in the hole, I was transported one day to the Spiritual Life Center, where I attended my college graduation ceremonies.
When I was 40, I fell from grace when, acting on a petition for rehearing, the Mississippi Supreme Court withdrew its original unanimous opinion in my parole revocation case.
When I was 41, I got married in a Latter Day Saints ceremony at the Spiritual Life Center.
I spent the next seven-and-a-half years in wedded bliss, enjoying extended visits three or four times a year with Ellen at Parchman’s 3-Day House!
When I was 48, Ellen died of cancer. The day before she passed-away, I was placed on Administrative Segregation and locked-down at Unit 32.
Upon my arrival this time in the hole, a fellow prisoner told me, “Welcome to Hell!”
When I was 49, in a ceremony held in the Unit 29 Law Library, I officially was commissioned by the Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I spent the next five years traveling all throughout the MDOC, being housed in many of its different institutions and facilities located in various cities and towns in the State of Mississippi.
When I was 52, in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), I officially joined the Roman Catholic Church.
Throughout my entire journey, my darling mother has been standing by me!
My future plans are the spend the rest of my life taking care of Mom; to write poems, essays and novels based on my imagination and my experiences; and, possibly, to start a family of my own.
May God, who has given me the grace to will these things, also give me the strength and the opportunity to carry them out!
John Peyton Alexander, II
Reflections On Sam Stone by John Peyton Alexander, II
Copyright © 2008 John P. Alexander, II and John Apple. All rights reserved worldwide.