Salt Lake City, Utah: Global
What to see?
What to visit?
Who to remember?
Downtown Salt Lake
What does the Rescue Mission do for people?
From the website of Rescue Mission of Salt Lake:
A free, whole person, 1 year New Life Residential Recovery Program
An "open door" breakfast six days a week
An "open door" dinner every night of the year
Food baskets for families in need
Emergency sleeping accommodations in our overnight Dorm for up to 50 men
A Baggage Room where men may check in their baggage
A Message Board where we post telephone messages for guests
Free clothing distribution
Access to our Dorm facility three days a week for men to shave and shower
And a Day Room is open during the winter months and during inclement
The testimony of Kenny Watts (from the website of Rescue Mission of Salt Lake)
My name is Kenny Watts and I am 39 years old. Growing up, my life was chronically dysfunctional and it is truly a miracle that
I am still alive today. I endured a lot of abuse as a child and even delved into occult rituals. I injected meth and cocaine
regularly and learned to curse God after my brother's death and my wife's infidelity. Still, God's grace was big enough, even
for someone like me.
Facing Abuse and Pain
I was born in California in 1973, and my family moved to Salt Lake two years later. I have horrible memories of our home just
off Beck Street in the northern neighborhoods of Salt Lake. My father was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive
toward everyone in our family. One day, when he and my mother got into another argument, I ran out the back door and
slammed it shut.
The next thing I knew my father was lifting me up and punching me in the face for my perceived disrespect. When my mother
started yelling at him to stop, he turned on her. He grabbed a screwdriver and started slashing and stabbing her with it. My
mother ended up being beaten pretty bad and I had a broken nose.
When I was 12, my parents divorced. While it might have seemed like it would be good to get away from my father, I took the
split hard. I started getting involved in occult worship and began to cut myself, carving pentagrams into my arms. If that wasn't
bad enough, I began huffing paint. It would make me so high I could forget about the pain in my life, if only for a short time.
When my mother discovered what I was doing, she enrolled me in the Psychiatric Unit at Primary Children's Hospital. The
psychiatric unit seemed like a total nightmare to me. I hated being there. When I was released, I was placed in a foster home.
I continued to dabble in occult worship and even began to sacrifice small animals. Over the next five years I bounced between
33 different foster homes. I racked up dozens of juvenile charges for getting in fights and running away from foster homes.
When I turned 17, I was released from state custody and allowed to live with my uncle. However, my uncle told me that in
order to live in his house I would have to sell drugs, mostly marijuana, for him. My uncle introduced me to stronger and
stronger drugs and at one point forced me to inject cocaine into my body. With the cocaine injection, I became an instant
addict. I loved the quick rush of injecting drugs. It seemed like it took away all my pain and made me happy for as long as I
From Bad to Worse
Shortly after I started injecting drugs I got married to Carrie. We were both teenagers when we married and soon had our first
son. Unfortunately, I was arrested soon after he was born (my first arrest after turning 18) and started a life-long cycle of
being in and out of jail and prison.
My second arrest was for burglary and possession of meth. Three years later I was arrested for possession of stolen property
and cocaine. In 2005, I was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. While my wife and I
had one more child, a daughter, nothing seemed to satisfy me. When I wasn't incarcerated, I worked construction, but would
often end up in the hospital due to drug overdoses.
In January of 2010 I began to curse God. Over a two-month stretch I was hit with two devastating tragedies. First, my younger
brother, whom I was very close to, overdosed and died. As I struggled with his passing, I learned that my wife of nearly 20
years was cheating on me. The difficulties in our marriage of my drug use and her infidelity led to our divorce.
I blamed God for allowing all the bad things in my life. I lost all control and started injecting drugs with a vigor that seems
almost impossible to me now. I used the $44,000 I received from the division of assets in our divorce settlement on drugs. I
was mixing uppers like cocaine and meth with depressants like heroin. It was probably just a matter of time before I
overdosed and died, like my brother. I needed the pain to stop and death seemed like the only option, especially since the
drugs didn't make me happy anymore.
The best thing that happened to me was getting arrested a year ago on July 23, 2012. I fixed up a shot with $180 worth of
heroin in it. This amount was more than enough to stop my heart cold. A girlfriend of mine saw me making the shot and ran to
get my mother. They called the police and before I could inject myself with the lethal dose the cops were at my door and I was
My attorneys worked out a plea deal for me and I was released from jail, yet I had nowhere to live. I had lost my children, my
marriage and I had no friends. I was suicidal and had no real reason to go on. I felt like I had no identity and if I didn't find
my real purpose for being on Earth, I was going to die.
God Saves My Life
Then God put a guy named Joey Morgan in my path. Joey had previously been homeless and addicted to drugs like me and he
had come to the Rescue Mission. Today Joey has a great life and is an awesome husband and father to his children in Utah
County. Joey told me I should get help at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake. So last September I walked through the doors of the
Rescue Mission and asked to join the New Life Program.
At the Rescue Mission I learned who God really is. I learned that He didn't hate me but actually loved me and sent his Son to
die on a cross in my place to make a way for me to go to Heaven. As I began to look back at my life, I could see many times
where God stepped in and protected me from myself. Whether it was when I was sent to the hospital after an overdose, when I
tried to commit suicide by wrecking my car or having the police arrive before I injected myself with a lethal dose of heroin,
God was looking out for me.
Besides the daily Bible studies and recovery meetings, one thing that has really helped is having a community discipler. Bruce
Castor has been a great friend to me, answering questions I have about the Bible and taking me to fun events, like a Christian
rock concert or just out for coffee. I see him every week and we do a Bible study together and talk about life. I cannot believe
how much talking with another Christian man has helped me.
Since coming to the Rescue Mission last September, I have only used drugs one time, which is a major accomplishment for me
since I used to do drugs every day. I believe that God has shown me what my purpose is in life: to share my story and tell
other people about who God is and how they can have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. I feel that God has
changed me enough on the inside that He can now use me to help other people who might be struggling with the same things I
have gone through in my life. I can be Joey Morgan to someone else who has no hope.
Today I have a good job at a downtown restaurant. While I appreciate this job, I intend to go back to school so I can have the
training I need for career-type employment. I am in the process of saving up enough money to get a nice apartment when I
graduate from the New Life Program later this year. I hope to have a two-bedroom place so my 13-year-old daughter, whom I
have joint custody over, can come live with me. She means so much to me and I feel I can provide a better place than her
current living situation. Please pray for me. Pray that I would continue to walk with God so that I could be able to give back to
others, including my own daughter, and fulfill my God-given purpose in life - to help other people who have struggled like I