Official Review: Prison to Priesthood by Terri L Strong

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teacherjh
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Official Review: Prison to Priesthood by Terri L Strong

Post by teacherjh » 18 Oct 2018, 22:45

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Prison to Priesthood" by Terri L Strong.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Many people find their spiritual direction for the first time in prison. They come face to face with their own actions, accept their guilt, and turn to a savior for forgiveness. Rev. Terri Strong wrote her book, Prison to Priesthood, about her twenty-five years’ experience as an officer in prison where she was able to help many inmates find this spiritual peace. She tells some touching stories of people she was able to influence. She also spends a large portion of the book discussing related issues like prison violence and the overrepresentation of blacks in the inmate population.

Rev. Terri takes one of the first chapters to discuss prison life from the guard’s perspective. They watch out for each other and are trained to have high moral character and professionalism. However, there is also much corruption. She explains how the system is set up to keep control of the prisoners. She even goes as far as to say that the inmates would never be able to overthrow the prison system. I fear that statement could be taken as a dare by some prisoners.

The author’s religious emphasis is never hidden. She discusses Christian beliefs and morals freely. She also spends an entire chapter discussing how every human being chooses whether to serve God or Satan by their actions. The behaviors seen most often in criminals that she defines as the Devil’s tools are profanity, anger, egotism, and pride. These are the tools that led to their crimes and landed them in prison. They are encouraged to turn from these ways and accept the forgiveness and freedom that only Christ can offer. This is the only way to end the crime and evil in the world.

A large portion of the text is used to compare the prison system to slavery. The author gives some history of how various races were enslaved. However, she says, it was eventually the black race that was chosen to be enslaved permanently. She then goes on to explain how the 13th Amendment to the Constitution allows slavery as punishment for crime. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…” According to Rev. Terri, this slavery or involuntary servitude takes the form of prison in our society. This plays into the fact that there are more black men in prison than there should be according to their percentage of the population as a whole.

The author warns in the Introduction that she will not be sugar-coating anything. I found that to be very true. I also found some of her tactics to be overly negative. I’m not sure calling convicts ‘fools’ or a ‘special kind of stupid’ is going to influence them to make positive changes in their lives. I also found some of her material to be extremely biased. She quotes Sarah Palin as saying black people enjoyed slavery. According to Snopes, this is not accurate. The article it came from was written in satire. She even goes so far as to suggest that whites have purposely chosen the crimes that black men commit and given them harder penalties than the crimes that white men commit. I found these views inflammatory and offensive.

I really wanted to like this book. I wanted to read stories about people who were changing their lives through the grace of God. Instead, I kept tripping over the author’s abrasive style and prejudicial attitudes. I admire the work she has done, but I cannot give the book a rating of more than 2 out of 4 stars. Because of the adult content, such as the mention of sex, rape, and physical abuse, this is not a book for younger audiences. I can only hope that her target audience of male black prisoners will find value in its pages.

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Prison to Priesthood
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Post by Book Lover 35 » 20 Oct 2018, 00:01

Well it sounded like a good book. Thank you for pointing out those flaws. I think I'll keep looking. Great review!
:tiphat:

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Post by wendos » 20 Oct 2018, 00:19

The book seems to have valuable content that the world deserves to get. However, the negative side of it is pushing it off-course. We do not push people to accept our help; they choose whether to listen on not. Even committing a crime, being a slave, its all about choices people make. Nice review.

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Post by fredrick otieno » 20 Oct 2018, 03:04

Every book has a weakness but this seems to blame and point too much on the black people. I think viewing them as still slaves is wrong. Thank you for the good review

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Post by melissy370 » 20 Oct 2018, 07:53

I had high hopes for this one as well, but some of the author's opinions don't set well with me. I will pass on this one. Thanks for your review.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 20 Oct 2018, 14:50

I'm also not the biggest fan of that type of incendiary idea. I find it offensive.
This was a great review - thanks!
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Post by Dael Reader » 20 Oct 2018, 19:09

This sounds like a thorough review. I wonder what Stong's background is? I'd also be curious to know a little more of what she bases some of her observations on. For instance, there are inequalities in the justice system that account for the relatively high percentage of African Americans in prison, but I wouldn't say the root of the problem lies in the Constitution. And there is a big difference between slavery and imprisonment as punishment for committing a crime. Does the title refer to her own experience? Is she saying she went from working in prison to being a priest, or is she referring to someone else?

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Post by teacherjh » 20 Oct 2018, 21:51

Dael Reader wrote:
20 Oct 2018, 19:09
This sounds like a thorough review. I wonder what Stong's background is? I'd also be curious to know a little more of what she bases some of her observations on. For instance, there are inequalities in the justice system that account for the relatively high percentage of African Americans in prison, but I wouldn't say the root of the problem lies in the Constitution. And there is a big difference between slavery and imprisonment as punishment for committing a crime. Does the title refer to her own experience? Is she saying she went from working in prison to being a priest, or is she referring to someone else?
I was confused by the title as well at first, but she was referring to the priesthood of believers.

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Post by gen_g » 21 Oct 2018, 01:27

This kind of sounds really prejudiced, and I can't say that it seems like a book that I will pick up. Thanks for the great review though!

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Post by Odomodo1 » 21 Oct 2018, 02:02

A times what you do not see as meaningful might be worth a thousand bucks for others...prison to priest will surely be inspiring to some people. Thanks for the review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 21 Oct 2018, 18:10

It sounds like the author has some good issues to discuss. It could have been done, perhaps, in a less judgmental way. I'm sorry this book wasn't quite up to par.
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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 22 Oct 2018, 17:25

It's interesting to learn that some prisons teach about God, and many prisoners indeed accept their guilt and ask for forgiveness. Too bad I won't read the book due to its details on slavery. Fascinating and honest review!

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Post by teacherjh » 22 Oct 2018, 17:50

Rosemary Khathibe wrote:
22 Oct 2018, 17:25
It's interesting to learn that some prisons teach about God, and many prisoners indeed accept their guilt and ask for forgiveness. Too bad I won't read the book due to its details on slavery. Fascinating and honest review!
Most prisons have chaplains and groups that visit to minister. The author was a guard, but she used her faith to reach out to the inmates.

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Post by teacherjh » 22 Oct 2018, 17:50

Rosemary Khathibe wrote:
22 Oct 2018, 17:25
It's interesting to learn that some prisons teach about God, and many prisoners indeed accept their guilt and ask for forgiveness. Too bad I won't read the book due to its details on slavery. Fascinating and honest review!
PS - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

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Post by inaramid » 24 Oct 2018, 02:23

I was curious about this and actually had quite high expectations for this one. However, I find your points valid and well explained. Thank you for this review. Looks like this isn't for me, after all.

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