Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Letter from Jeff Dahmer

While going through my files, I found a copy of this letter my uncle Curt Booth sent to me. It is postmarked April 4, 1994 from Madison, Wisconsin. I remember how excited and joyful Curt was when he called me the day he got the letter!

"Dear Mr. Booth,
Hello, how are you today; fine I hope! Thank you very much for sending me the 'WBS' introductory lesson and Bible; that was very kind of you! I mailed the completed lesson to Mrs. Stafford, so she should have it by now. Also, about a week after I received your package, a 'Mrs. Mott' from Arlington, VA. sent me the WBS 'correspondence course,' and the 'advanced course' booklets. I filled out both of them, and mailed them off to her to be graded. So, I've now take the complete course, but I still have one problem. This prison does not have a baptismal tank, and Mr. Burkum; the prison chaplain, isnot sure if he can find someone to bring a tank in and baptize me. This has me very concerned! Would you be willing to help find someone to baptize me? I've taken all of the other steps; now I need and want to be baptized.

Well, I hope that this letter find's you well and in good health. God Bless You!

Jeff Dahmer
Columbia Corr. Inst.
2925 Columbia Dr.
Portage, WI. 53901-0900"

What a recommendation for the gospel and for WBS. So far as I know, brother Dahmer was baptized and remained faithful until his death later that year.

Phil Sanders

2 comments:

BR-549 said...

Phil,

I had no idea Curt Booth was your uncle. I'm copying below an article I wrote about him baptizing Dahmer when I worked at the Daily Oklahoman.

Bobby
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Serial Killer Dahmer Slain In Prison Attack
Mass Killer Found Peace, Minister Says
The Daily Oklahoman
November 29, 1994
Author: Bobby Ross Jr.; Staff Writer
Estimated printed pages: 2

Joy - not sadness - characterized Curt Booth's voice Monday after hearing the news of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer's death in a Wisconsin prison.

But Booth, an ex-convict turned Oklahoma prison minister, had no vindictive feelings toward the man who confessed to murdering 17 men and boys and eating some of them.
Instead, the Crescent man - who earlier this year mailed Dahmer a Bible and later helped find a preacher to baptize him - talked about someday joining a fellow Christian in heaven.

"I know Jeffrey was ready," said Booth, 64, a Crescent Church of Christ member who served more than four years in prison for what he called "thievery."

"Today, all the angels in heaven are rejoicing because Jeffrey has come home."

Booth said he has no doubt about the sincerity of Dahmer's conversion, which he credits to Jesus Christ.

Dahmer was attacked and killed while cleaning a bathroom at his maximum-security prison in Portage, Wis., about 40 miles north of Madison.

"He's in paradise today," Booth said. "On the great resurrection day, I'm expecting to see him right along there with Abraham, David, Isaac, James, John and all the saints that have lived right up to the modern day.

"And I'll know him and he'll know me."

Booth usually ministers to inmates in places such as McAlester and Granite.

But in April, he caught a glimpse of Dahmer in a national television broadcast.

Dahmer mentioned on the program that he wished "sometime in his life he could find a little peace," Booth recalled.

The Crescent man sensed what he considered the hurt in Dahmer's voice and eyes. He thought : "I know somebody who can give you that peace. His name is Jesus Christ."

Booth sent Dahmer a Bible, a correspondence course teaching the steps to salvation and other religious materials.

Dahmer completed the correspondence course and mailed the answers back to Doris Stafford of Crescent for grading, Booth said. Dahmer wrote Booth thanking him for the courses. He said a Virginia woman also had sent him Bible courses.

"But I still have one problem," Dahmer wrote. "This prison does not have a baptismal tank and Mr. Burkum the prison chaplain is not sure if he can find someone to bring a tank in and baptize me. This has me very concerned. Would you be willing to find someone to help baptize me? I've taken all the other steps."

Members of the Churches of Christ teach that steps to salvation include hearing, believing, repenting, confessing and baptism by immersion under water.

Booth contacted Roy Ratcliff, evangelist at the Madison, Wis., Church of Christ. Ratcliff set up weekly Bible lessons with Dahmer and baptized him May 10.

"I tried several others (preachers), but they were kind of scared to go in," Booth said.

Another Oklahoma man, David Hartman of Oklahoma City, wrote Dahmer after hearing of his baptism.

"I thought it was remarkable that someone who had that history would become a Christian," Hartman, 29, said Monday. "Something made me decide to reach out to him and tell him I was happy for him."

Dahmer sent Hartman $5 worth of stamps, asking the Memorial Road Church of Christ member to mail him 25 copies of a Bible

correspondence course for distribution to other inmates.

In one letter, Dahmer mentioned being attacked in July.

Dahmer wrote: "I don't know if you heard, but last Sunday I was attacked while in the chapel. Some guy tried to cut my throat open with a razor but didn't succeed. The razor broke, and my neck was only slightly scratched. I believe that it was only the protective grace of our great Lord & Savior Jesus Christ that saved me from serious injury or death!"
Section: NEWS
Page: 1
Index Terms: PRISON INMATE BEATING DEATH MURDER
Copyright 1994, 1995 Oklahoma Publishing Company
Record Number: OKC1887404

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

You can read more about Dahmer from my good friend Roy Ratcliff's new book, "DARK JOURNEY, DEEP GRACE: The Story Behind a Serial Killer's Journey to Faith" (Leafwood, 2006).

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine