In reply, look to the premier of Nunavut, Canada. He has many of the credentials you quoted. <br>A suggestion.
In reply, look to the premier of Nunavut, Canada. He has many of the credentials you quoted. <br>A suggestion.
From a Feb 8, 1994 AWAKE! magazine article published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.<br><br>My Escape to the Truth<br><br>When I began studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses, I was an escaped convict. I soon faced the challenge of how to stop lying and start telling the truth.<br><br>IT WAS November 1974, and I was before the superior court of Pender County, North Carolina, U.S.A. The charges included armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and speeding 90 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. The following month, when I was only 22, I was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 30 years in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.<br><br>I had grown up in Newark, New Jersey. Although my father was a police officer, I was always causing problems for my parents. I spent time in detention homes, youth houses, and once was even locked up in the very precinct where my father worked. I'll never forget the beating he gave me that night! It was enough to make almost any other teenager change his ways-but not me.<br><br>I ran away from home, spending nights with a friend or staying out on the street. Eventually I wound up in jail again. Against my father's wishes, Mom got me out. My folks, who had five other children, decided that perhaps the military was what I needed.<br><br>I enlisted in the army, and the various training programs did make a difference in my behavior for a while. But then I got hooked on drugs, becoming a heroin addict. I was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and it wasn't long before my buddies and I were going from town to town taking what we needed to support our habits. Stories about our robberies were in the papers and on TV.<br><br>Soon the authorities caught up with me, and I was given the 30-year sentence mentioned at the outset. In prison I fought the rules and regulations for years but eventually realized I was only hurting myself. So I tried obeying the rules in hopes of receiving minimum custody and gaining parole.<br><br>Following ten years in prison, I received minimum custody, and not long after that, I was placed on the work release program. This meant that I could leave the prison in the morning and return in the evening on my own. One day I failed to return immediately after work, and I was taken off the program. However, I still was permitted to enjoy minimum custody.<br><br>After I was in prison almost 11 years, my chances of getting out on parole didn't look very promising. One hot morning in August 1985, while I was outside prison, an opportunity presented itself to escape-to run away without detection. I made my way to the home of a friend who had spent time with me in prison. After I had a night's rest and a change of clothes, he drove me to Washington, D.C., a distance of about 250 miles.<br><br>I resolved never to go back to prison, which meant that I needed to avoid any further criminal activity. At first I took day-to-day labor, anything I could get. Then I landed a job working for an electric company. In time, I managed to get a birth certificate with a different name-Derek Majette. My name, place of birth, background, family-everything about me was now a lie. I felt I was safe as long as nobody knew. I lived this way for three years in and around Washington, D.C.<br><br>Meeting Jehovah's Witnesses<br><br>One evening, two neatly dressed young men came to my apartment. They spoke to me about the Bible, left a book, and promised to return. However, I moved to another apartment and never saw them again. Then, one morning before work, I stopped at a place for coffee and met two women who asked me if I would be interested in the Watchtower magazine. I accepted one, and each morning afterward these women would see me and talk about the Bible.<br><br>Although the conversations were always short, my interest in what the women were saying grew to the point that I looked forward each morning to seeing these women, Cynthia and Jeanette. In time I got to know other Witnesses of Jehovah who were preaching early in the morning. They invited me to attend a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. I was apprehensive, but I accepted.<br><br>As I sat listening to the talk that afternoon, it was the first time I heard scriptures explained in such an understandable way. I stayed for the Bible study using The Watchtower and discovered that I could participate by answering questions. I made my first comment, and after the meeting I agreed to have a Bible study with one of the congregation elders.<br><br>I was soon progressing in knowledge of the Bible. And more important, I was appreciating the truths I was learning. No longer was I comfortable with my life. I began feeling guilty about the lies I told these people who were now my friends. I continued to study, thinking that I could get by as long as no one knew the truth about me. But then my Bible teacher began to talk about sharing in the house-to-house ministry.<br><br>About that time something happened that let me know that sharing in the ministry, or in any such activity, would be out of the question unless I did something about my situation. I was putting gas in my car when someone came up behind me and locked my arms behind my back. Fear swept over me! I thought the authorities had finally caught up with me. What a relief when it turned out to be a former prison buddy! Not knowing I had escaped, he kept calling me by my real name and asking all sorts of questions.<br><br>I hadn't been that scared since the day of my escape. But then it hit me. Suppose I was in the house-to-house ministry and someone came to the door who knew my true identity? How could I go out in Jehovah's service and speak the truth when I was living a lie? What was I to do? Keep studying and living a lie, or stop studying and move? It was so confusing that I had to get away for a while and think.<br><br>Making a Decision<br><br>I took a trip. The long peaceful drive was just what I needed in order to relax, think, and ask Jehovah to help me decide what to do. It wasn't until I was on the road back to Washington, D.C., that I made my decision-stop lying and just tell the truth. But it wasn't that easy to do. Since I had got to know Cynthia quite well, I confided in her. She made it clear that I had to set matters straight before Jehovah. She suggested that I talk to the congregation elders.<br><br>I knew she was right, and I agreed. But since I wasn't sure what I would have to do legally, I called a local lawyer and explained my situation. He advised me to get in touch with a lawyer in North Carolina, since he would know the procedures for that state. So I took a trip south to get information about a lawyer.<br><br>When I arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, I drove to the prison, which is located on one of the main streets. I stopped, and just sat and looked at the tall barbed-wire fence, the armed guards in the gun towers, and the prisoners walking around inside the fence. I had been such a prisoner for 11 long years! This wasn't an easy decision.<br><br>Nevertheless, I picked up a phone book and chose a lawyer. I called and gave him the same information I had given the first lawyer I talked to. He didn't ask a lot of questions. He just told me what his fee was and that when I was ready that I should call and he would set up an appointment. When I returned to Washington, D.C., I went straight to my Bible teacher.<br><br>He, his wife, and their daughter were like family to me. So the night I went to their house, it took a while before I could get the words out. But when I did, I felt relieved. They, to say the least, were astounded. Yet, when they recovered from the shock, they were very sympathetic and supportive.<br><br>The next thing I needed to do was to get money for the lawyer's fee and decide when to turn myself in. I settled on March 1, 1989, which was only a few weeks away. I wanted to quit work and enjoy my last days of freedom, but I couldn't because I needed money to pay the lawyer.<br><br>It struck me as ironic that I had escaped from prison and now I was saving money to go back. At times the thought came to mind of just forgetting about it all and leaving. But all too soon, March 1 came. My teacher and another one of his Bible students accompanied me to Raleigh. We went to the lawyer's office and discussed the charges that I had been sent to prison for, the length of my sentence, and why I was willing to turn myself in. The lawyer then called the magistrate's office for information on where I was to go. He learned that the magistrate could take me back to prison immediately.<br><br>I had not planned on going back so soon. I had thought we were just going to talk with the lawyer and that I would turn myself in the next day. But now, with the decision made, the four of us drove quietly to the prison. I remember thinking to myself, 'Is this really happening?' The next thing I knew, we were at the front gates and listening to the lawyer explain to the guard who I was.<br><br>Back in Prison<br><br>When the gates opened, I knew it was time to say good-bye. My lawyer and I shook hands. Then my teacher, my fellow student, and I embraced. As soon as I was on the other side of the gate, I was handcuffed and escorted to a place where my personal clothes were taken in exchange for a prison uniform. I received the prison number 21052-OS, the same one I had before.<br><br>The prison was a minimum-security unit, so within the hour I was taken to maximum security. I was only allowed to keep my Bible and the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. I was placed among a prison population where I recognized men I had known throughout the years. They assumed I had got caught, but when I explained that I had come back on my own because I wanted to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, they all said it was the dumbest thing they had ever heard.<br><br>One of the last things my teacher had said to me was: "Never stop studying." So, much of my time was spent reading the Bible, my Live Forever book, and writing letters to friends back home who knew what had happened to me. Among the Witnesses that I wrote to were Jerome and his wife, Arlene. My letter was brief, just some words of thanks and expressions of how I felt about the time I spent while in the company of Jehovah's Witnesses.<br><br>I soon heard from Jerome who asked permission to use my letter in a talk that he was going to give at a circuit assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses. I agreed but had no idea of the consequences. Only a few Witnesses knew about my background. So, what a surprise for many when, after Jerome read my letter and announced my real name, Brian E. Garner, he said, "Alias Derek Majette!" Then it was my turn to be surprised. Letters of encouragement began pouring in from brothers and sisters-not only from those in the Petworth Congregation where I had attended meetings but from persons in other congregations as well.<br><br>I was soon transferred from Central Prison to a medium-custody unit in Lillington, North Carolina. As soon as I got settled, I inquired about religious services. To my delight I learned meetings were being conducted by Jehovah's Witnesses every Wednesday evening in the prison schoolrooms. I will never forget the love shown, the support given, and the efforts made to help not only me but anyone who wanted to learn Bible truths in that prison. After learning that I had studied before, one of the elders who conducted meetings at the prison immediately picked up studying with me where I had left off.<br><br>Consideration for Parole<br><br>Several months passed, and then came word that I was to meet with the parole board. Although I had escaped and had just recently returned, the law required that I be brought before the parole board for review or at least receive word that they had considered my case. I let my friends know that I would be coming up for parole. Again letters began pouring in, not to me, but to the parole board.<br><br>In October 1989, I received word from the parole board that my case was to be reviewed. I was excited. But on the day the board members were to come, no one showed up. Nor was there word as to when they would be coming. I was very disappointed, but I didn't let up in my prayers to Jehovah. A few weeks later, on November 8, two other men and I were informed that the members of the parole board were at the prison and that I would be called on first.<br><br>As I entered the office, I noticed two folders filled with papers. One was my file dating back to 1974. I wasn't sure what the other contained. After discussing with me some of the things concerning my case, a member of the parole board opened the other folder. In it were dozens of letters written in my behalf. The committee wanted to know how I had got to know so many people after I had escaped from prison. So I briefly related my experience with Jehovah's Witnesses. Then I was asked to step outside.<br><br>Freedom and a New Life<br><br>When I was called back, I was informed the board had voted in favor of "Immediate Conditional Release." I was beside myself with joy. After just nine months in prison, I was to be freed! It took a while for the paperwork to be processed, so on November 22, 1989, I walked-I didn't have to run this time-out of prison.<br><br>On October 27, 1990, less than a year after my release, I symbolized my dedication to Jehovah God by water baptism. I am now happily serving Jehovah in Washington, D.C., as a ministerial servant. On June 27, 1992, Cynthia Adams and I were united in marriage.<br><br>I thank Jehovah, my wife and her family, and all the brothers and sisters who helped me to be a part of such a loving worldwide organization.-As told by Brian E. Garner.<br><br>[Picture on page 13]<br><br>The prison where I spent 11 long years<br><br>[Picture on page 15]<br><br>With my wife, Cynthia<br><br>PRINCE (the performer) is currently studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses as well.
<br> <br> <br>Substantial and Convincing Evidence<br><br><br>By Richard Maffeo<br><br>As a young adult, Calvin Nolan never expected to find himself in church. Jail, yes. But church? The thought had never even crossed his mind. <br>Born in a gang- and drug-riddled area of St Louis, Missouri, Nolan learned to live and prosper on the streets. Before his eleventh birthday he had already earned a nice chunk of change selling drugs. He quit school at 16 and filled all his free time shooting dice and selling crack-cocaine, marijuana, PCP—and anything else he could get his hands on.<br><br>It was only a matter of time before big trouble sunk its claws into him. In 1980 Nolan and his buddies were shooting dice in the corner of the local schoolyard when a neighborhood thug robbed him at gunpoint. Nolan swore he'd retaliate. Over the next several months, the two men hurled threats at each other.<br><br>Then, one evening, Nolan stepped into a crowded tavern looking for his enemy. Both pulled their guns, but Nolan was faster. When the screaming stopped, the other man lay in an expanding pool of blood. The coroner counted five bullet holes in his body.<br><br>The Police "found me the next morning smoking crack on my front stoop," Nolan remembers. He served three years for manslaughter, then moved to Los Angeles to get away from the streets of St. Louis. But that only exchanged one dead end for another. When he finally ran out of money, he turned to robbery and bought himself a second tour behind bars.<br><br>On the road again<br><br>Two years later Nolan again walked free. But within days, he fell in with his old friends and started the same cycle of drugs, dice, and women. It didn't take long for the cash to dry up. Taking stock of his situation, he teetered on the brink of committing another robbery "because crime was the only thing I knew."<br><br>At the pleading of his mother, Nolan packed his bags and moved to Wichita to live with an aunt. But changing addresses wasn't enough to change the man. Within weeks of arriving in Wichita, Nolan met up with friends he had known in prison. They quickly set him up in an apartment and gave him drugs, a gun, and a car. He was back to his old lifestyle.<br><br>One evening his friends left him alone in the house while they went off to a gang-fight. "I had nothin' else to do, so I smoked their crack," he says. " I used up all that they had, too."<br><br>But even in his drug-induced stupor he realized his friends would probably kill him when they discovered what he had done. Bone-chilling, mind-numbing fear suddenly gripped him—fear so real it nearly sobered him. For the first time in his memory, Nolan prayed.<br><br>He still isn't sure why he turned to God. As a youngster, he had heard about God but he had never really paid much attention. "I knew that God was not someone to play around with," he says, "and I did not have my life right. But I also did not really want to change."<br><br>Now terror wrapped itself around his gut, and he looked toward heaven. "God, if You really exist, help me to get out of <br><br>this mess."<br><br>He stuffed a few clothes into a paper sack and bolted from the apartment. He made his way to the bus depot and bought a ticket on the first bus that came along. It was going to San Diego. He boarded with two zip-lock bags of cocaine, a nine millimeter handgun and $3,800. Once again, he changed his address but didn't know how to change inside.<br><br>If you need help . . .<br><br>Within a month of arriving in San Diego, he'd smoked all his coke, lost all his money, and had no place to live. That's when he walked by a downtown storefront and saw the sign in the window of a rescue mission. It read: "If you need help, come on in."<br><br>He went in.<br><br>At the mission he met the pastor of a local church who, week after week, invited him to Sunday worship. Finally, Nolan attended, "just so he'd leave me alone." And there he heard the Gospel in a way that revolutionized his life.<br><br>"I never heard someone speak about God with that kind of authority," he says. "The pastor showed me the Scriptures about sin and salvation, and I wrote them all down. A few days later I said one of the pastor's prayers that he'd given me." Cal Nolan had received Christ.<br><br>Nolan became a permanent fixture at the mission, working as its maintenance man and groundskeeper. As he involved himself in the Bible studies and attended worship services at his new church, his faith and understanding of Christ grew.<br><br>Several months later, his church and another congregation across town joined forces to expand their work among those who weren't attending church anywhere in the city. To solidify their commitment to work together, men from both of the congregations spent two days together at a spiritual retreat. During a powerful time of worship, Nolan shared his whole testimony—the drugs, manslaughter, the prison terms. He didn't soften anything.<br><br>The men and pastor sensed the hand of God on Nolan's life and offered Nolan a new job as maintenance man at their church. Nolan accepted.<br><br>Fingerprinted and found<br><br>Part of his new responsibilities involved the upkeep of the church's state-licensed preschool. Cal would be cleaning carpets, moving furniture, and doing minor repairs around school, but not working directly with the children. To comply with state law, he was fingerprinted. "I knew I'd be fired once the state got my prints," Nolan says. State law mandates that convicted felons cannot work around children.<br><br>As expected, a few weeks later the pastor received a call from the licensing bureau. "Do you know you have a twice-convicted felon working for you?"<br><br>When Nolan learned about the call, he told the pastor he'd quit. "I just didn't have the resources to fight the state," he said.<br><br>But the church leaders would not give up so quickly. They appealed the state's decision and requested a hearing. As both parties waited to go to court, the state ordered Nolan to stay away from the preschool.<br><br>"It broke my heart," he says, "when the little kids waved at me and I had to keep on walking."<br><br>During the hearing the attorneys for the state repeatedly challenged the church, "Don't you know what Mr. Nolan has done?" And each time, the church responded, "Yes, we know all about Nolan's past. But Christ has changed him. He's a new man." The pastor added, "If a man, saved and changed by the power of God can't work in a church, then where can he work?"<br><br>Nolan's support also surged among more than 60 parents and community leaders who flooded the chambers to defend their friend. A local attorney told the judge, "I'd trust Nolan with my life . . . and with the lives of my family."<br><br>The hearing lasted seven hours. Then came the waiting. Six weeks later the judge rendered his five-page decision. It concluded, in part: "The list of witnesses who testified on behalf of [Calvin Nolan] is impressive both in number and in caliber . . . The court has heard many licensing discipline cases, but has never encountered such as outpouring of support . . . [Therefore] there is substantial and convincing evidence to support a reasonable belief that [Calvin Nolan] is of such good character as to justify an exemption to allow [him] to . . . retain his position at the church and all its related duties."<br><br>Nolan and his friends could almost hear heaven rejoice.<br><br>Nolan started life in the ghettos of St. Louis and wended his way through the darkest corners of drugs, death, and prisons. But God reached from heaven and took a lawless man, feared by friends and foes alike, and gave him much more than a change of address. He gave him a change of heart.<br><br>Nolan is quick to add, "If God did that for me, He'll do it for anyone who asks for His help." <br>
Hi--I'm doing this report and I have to find a public figure that <br>is similar to Jean Valjean. They have to have gone <br>through changes from a criminal to a better person.<br>If you can think of any people who have under gone<br>such a change let me know!<br><br>Thanks Alot!