Honor Grade: The Great Plan of Suffering

Lindon Claridge Lindon 1 Comment

In my last post I explained to you all the recent events occurring in my life. I am at the mercy of God, and in miraculous ways He has allowed me a promotion in prison that I otherwise shouldn’t have been given. Yet here I am, wearing green pants inside a minimum security prison. This is every prisoners “dream.” In fact, I forgot to mention another nickname we call this level of attainment: Honor Grade.

I have been here for one week, and during that time I have been brooding over this particular title, deliberating why we prisoners call it “honor grade.” I know that in my last post, I spoke about how much of a blessing it has been for me to get my “greens,” and I guess paradoxically, it is a huge blessing – a blessing in the way that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It’s the type of blessing you don’t see until much later down the road, because for me this week, it has been everything BUT an honor to be here. I’m sure that is my weak, faithless natural man speaking, but at least let me explain (or in this case – vent) in my deliberation regarding “honor grade.”

I have noticed something that probably nobody has picked up on before, which is that satan has modeled prison after Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. It is the devil’s equal and evil replica. Prison is his dark version of the three kingdoms of glory.

It is a pretty clear analogy if you care to look at it. Life before a regular prisoner’s initial crime is like that of our pre-Earth life – the preexistence. This period of time is where the devil prepares this person for a life of suffering. It’s in this period that the forces of evil are constantly badgering the person into addictions and sin. They hound the person until the crime occurs.

Now the crime itself is always but a few moments. So this is like mortality. Those fleeting moments of misjudgment (and frankly pure ignorance) is a pretty good replica of our earth life. That person is now wanted and when they are arrested, this is their death. They are sent to a county jail, which is like that of going to spiritual prison, waiting to be judged of their crimes.

Then there is a prosecutor, a judge and an attorney all waiting for them in the courtroom. The judge will take into account only but a little of that person’s life before they committed their crime as I’m sure when we are judged God will also take into account our pre-Earth life. But mostly, the judge will primarily prosecute the actions taken within the period of the crime – earth life.

Once the person is judged and found guilty, they are sent to prison and assigned one of the three security custody levels – Maximum, Medium, and Minimum (ascending order). This is in reflection to God’s kingdoms of glory – Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial (descending order). But now, here is the real kicker, something you might not have known about minimum-security in prison. I didn’t know it until I got here. Within minimum-security custody, like that of the Celestial kingdom, there is three levels. Yup, that’s right…three security custody levels and in the last one there is another three levels. Just like the doctrines of the Celestial kingdom (D&C 131:1). When I noticed that I was knocked backwards. It’s so obvious! This truly is the devil’s world!

I’ve made it all the way to the Celestial kingdom of prison, so to speak. I am in “honor grade.” I don’t have my level threes yet – I’m still a level 1. Each level brings about more privileges or “freedoms,” so within honor grade, as a level 1, I can’t do some of the things a level 3 can do, like get work release (an outside job), or home passes (go home on the weekends).

However, even though this is a heavenly format, the devil’s version of this is anything but heavenly. Since I have been through every stage of this plan of suffering, I have come to notice that the higher I go the more evil it gets. Or said another way – the more freedom given to prisoners the darker life becomes!

Ever since I got off the bus, “green clothes” has been nothing but a living nightmare! Yes, I recognize that with greater opposition comes greater miracles, but still, greater opposition is called that for a reason, because it opposes you in a greater capacity, making your life an almost real hell. That’s pretty much a good description of where I am now.

Because this is honor grade, we have the most freedoms, and with the most freedoms comes a buffet of drugs, alcohol, thievery, fighting, dirtiness, selfishness, and every other vile thing you can think of. The officers are literally trained to leave us alone now. They put their nose in a novel and are nowhere to be seen. I think they are just there to make sure we don’t kill each other. Actually…I take that back, they don’t care about us. They are here to make sure we don’t escape – period.

They could care less about our health, or anything else. Hence all the drugs and gang violence. It was bad in “brown clothes” but “green clothes” takes it to a whole new level. Pretty much honor grade is this: Put a whole bunch of degenerate criminals together, mixed with members from all types of separate gangs and tell them there are no rules, except one – you can’t escape, you have to endure it.

Now imagine how out of place a good God fearing, Christ loving Christian must feel in an environment like that. Again, I’ve been through some terrible times and have seen some pretty horrendous things, but never like here. I tell you, “Honor grade” is to pure evil and suffering, what the “Celestial kingdom” is to pure righteousness and joy.

The last step of our journey along the plan of suffering is when a person finally gets released from prison. I compare this to outer darkness. “Well, shouldn’t getting released be a good thing?” you might ask. Let’s be real, you should know by now that there is absolutely no reform going on in our prison system. The recidivism rate for prisoners is so blaringly high by design. This is a factory of evil. Money is the goal. So when a man gets out of prison, more often than not, he is more evil than when he came in here. So when he gets released, he gets the flood of “freedom” back and wallows away in his ignorance being safely dragged down to hell (or back to prison).

This is why I consider it the “outer darkness.”  Now the plan is complete! BUT (the big BUT now…) Heavenly Father knows this and allows this – our “prisons.” I mean, not just the prison I’m in. Pay attention here, God knows that this fallen mortal world is the devil’s, yet in His infinite wisdom uses this to His advantage (to our advantage). God uses our “prisons” as fiery furnaces to refine us, and chasten us, and bless us, because He knows (if even for just a FEW) that this is how His noble and great ones are made. This is how they are chosen. This is how they are made like Him.

So no matter how much we might despair in the amount we think the devil controls, know that even above that, God is the grand puppeteer. You might think you and I are controlled by the strings, but in all reality it is evil that is the puppet of our Master. satan’s hands and feet are dangling by threads attached to a controlling device in the hands of God. Imagine it, for so it is – the controlling device is none other than the Atonement of Jesus Christ.


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Lindon Claridge

I know when you smile everyone wonders what's up, so I keep smiling. If the grass is growin', I'm still goin'!

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Comments 1

  1. Wow. I did not realize this about minimum security . What a deplorable situation not to offer some kind of reform. I am so sorry Lindon that this is how the prisons and prisoners are.

    What an inciteful revelation about Satans plan and God’s plan for the different degrees of Glory. Even through all your adversity, the Lord in his tender mercies has given you a glimpse of both sides and a voice to share it with the rest of us.

    You are obviously a remarkable young man and the Lord has good things in store for you. I can see you putting all these essays in a book form and speaking to others , not only about the dangers of sin but also an advocate for prison reform. You are a good writer and I’m sure would also be a good speaker.

    You are in our prayers everyday.
    Love Vito and Sandee Adragna

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