“The worth of a soul is great in the eyes of God.” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10)
This verse from Latter-day Saints scripture has resonated strongly with me since I first read it. My name is Lynn Nouri, and I am a 3L student at Brigham Young University.
Believing that the worth of a soul is great in the eyes of God, I sought out a summer externship with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC). I wanted to be able to contribute to OJPC’s mission to protect the human rights and dignity of incarcerated people in Ohio— to provide support and a voice for incarcerated people whose self-worth may have been diminished through their life experiences or through their experiences in the criminal justice system.
In preparing for trial, one of our clients expressed concern that, as a convicted murderer, his testimony would be meaningless. He was convinced that neither a judge nor a jury would care what happened to him. Our team helped him understand that we cared, and that we would fight zealously for him. This gave him the confidence he needed to take the witness stand and tell his story. His story was so compelling that after he testified, a correctional officer who observed it told us that he hoped our client would win.
Self-worth is a large component to the success of an individual. With self-worth it is possible to get back up after we have fallen down. It is what helps us to believe we deserve a second chance. It is what helps us to make the most of our second chances. I hope that, if nothing else, the clients whose cases I was involved in began to understand that someone believes in their worth. And I hope that understanding helps them believe that the worth of their own soul is great.