Why We Do What We Do
“Dear PIRT, Thank you with all my heart for sending me The Urantia Book. I have been reading at every chance. Recently I noticed that I can breathe better; I don’t feel contempt, hated or hatred. Urantia changed me.” (written by an Inmate)
The Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT) is a sub-committee functioning under Urantia Association International’s Dissemination Committee. It was founded in December 2004 to take over the responsibility for answering inmate correspondence sent to the Urantia Foundation, freeing the Foundation for other work. Reader Services had been processing inmate letters/book requests for years when PIRT began operating in early 2005. This is when its first small group of volunteers formulated policy and procedures and it was off and running.
It all started over fifteen years ago when Liz (Engstrom) Cratty, of her own accord secured donations to seed 350 Urantia Books in the United States federal and state prison libraries. Soon thereafter the Urantia Foundation began receiving inmate requests for a personal copy of the book. Now after more than a decade of success in the United States, the first International PIRT Chapter was formed in 2016. PIRT’s Canadian Team is currently seeding Urantia Books in Canada’s prisons and we expect the same success to transpire in Canada as seen in the United States, and, we pray, eventually across the globe.
Since the inception of PIRT over 4,000 inmate letters have been processed in the United States and approximately 1,900 Urantia Books have been provided to those who seek truth, beauty and goodness who are confined in the darkest places on the planet, our prisons. Many of the books provided to inmates have been slightly damaged books that were returned to Urantia Foundation by bookstores and then made available to PIRT. Many more have been made possible through reader donations.
Regardless of the condition of the books sent, the feedback from the recipients has been tremendous. We have received several hundred sincere letters of gratitude from inmates who testify that The Urantia Book is life-changing, inspirational, and answers many of the questions that linger regarding the nature of the Deities, the cosmos, our planetary history and the marvelous teachings of Christ Michael.
Our hope is that these revelatory teachings will work to transform these individuals and reap untold benefits once they’ve served their terms and are returned to civil society. We’re happy to announce that these new Urantia Book students are spreading the word to friends, family, prison guards, administrators and chaplains as well.
Over the years we have often been asked why so much time and energy is being devoted to prisoners. Are we not casting pearls before swine? In response to these types of questions we refer the reader to Jesus’ own admonition to his Apostles:
“And mark well my words: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. The Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to bestow his life as the gift for all. I declare to you that I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.” [The Urantia Book, paper 157:6.9, page 1750.3] [The Bible: cf. Matt. 9:13b; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32, 19:10]
This is the service PIRT endeavors to foster and carry forward, to minister to those who sit in darkness and to offer them the saving truths of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. Jesus was adamant that he was here to seek out the sinners to welcome the prodigal son’s return and save the lost sheep.