A TikToker, journalist, and atheist recently went viral after sharing a story about why she brought a Bible to jail — and not for the reason one might expect.
According to user Keri (@keribla), her Bible had a far more practical purpose than using the book for any religious reasons: addresses.
Keri explains why in the now viral TikTok video, which currently has over 166,000 views.
@keribla The ~real~ reason I always had a Bible in #prison. #jail #prisontiktok #bible #prisontok #felonsoftiktok ♬ Jesus Goes – Kanye West
“We all knew that the only thing you could bring when you were transferred from prison to prison was a religious book, and the only religious book we had in that prison were Bibles,” she says in the video out.
“I needed it to write down addresses,” she continues. “You couldn’t take addresses from jail to jail and sometimes jail to jail, so we all knew we had to put the addresses that were important to us in the margins.”
Then she shows her own prison Bible, which she said is filled with addresses hidden in the margins.
Keri made it clear in the comments why she had to hide the addresses.
“If your Bible was clearly being used to inject other information, they would take it. Even if you had addresses of other inmates who could get a ticket,” she claims.
While guidelines appear to be patchy across states and jurisdictions, some on the internet have found anecdotally that prisons are more likely to accept a religious text than a simple address book.
A few commenters chimed in to share similar experiences and confirm Keri’s story.
“Oh my god I found my Bible in storage the other day,” wrote one user. “I made so many messages/calls for people when I came out.”
“We give so-called transfer bibles to make sure people don’t do that,” claimed a second.
“Strange, but it’s the same at Marine Boot Camp,” added another. “I had a secret calendar to keep track of the days and I still have this Bible.”
Others said they felt the policy of not bringing books or addresses to jail was unnecessarily strict.
“Wow this is so cruel,” shared one commenter. “It seems like cutting people off from their support system is the worst thing you can do.”
“That’s such a bizarre and twisted rule they have,” agreed a second user. “Very clever to put them in the Bible and put them like that, only you all had to do that!”
Oddly enough, this isn’t the only time Keri has said she used religion to her advantage in prison, despite now being an atheist. In a later video, she describes the unexpected reason she converted to Catholicism while in prison.
@keribla It was for communion… sort of. #prisontiktok #prisontok #lesbiansoftiktok ♬ We are the Champions – Remastered 2011 – Queen
In summary, she had a friend in prison who she was often unable to visit as her friend lived in a different dormitory.
Keri’s friend was Catholic, so she was allowed to attend church services – and Keri quickly found that this was an easy way for the two to spend time together.
When someone in the comments asked what could be learned from this story, Keri explained, “You may have learned that people in prison must go to extreme lengths to build the human connections that support rehabilitation…Or maybe you learned that that churches can support people in dark places in unexpected ways.”
We emailed Keri for comment.
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*Initial publication: May 29, 2022 at 9:55 am CDT
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/prison-bible-atheist/ TikToker shares why being an atheist brought a Bible to jail