"He’s always had a great relationship with God," Podlaski said. "He always made me want to be a better person in that aspect, that’s for sure. When you hear him talking in these interviews, he sounds so calm and collected. He’s always been like that because he knows God has a plan for him."
Benito, the Pentecostal pastor who visits Tahmooressi in jail, said the former Marine "has a strong discipline and strong faith" in Christ.
"Everything he’s doing now, he’s doing for Jesus," Benito said.
In their telephone conversations, Jill Tahmooressi said she reminds her son that his suffering is forging a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
"He utterly feels that this experience has not distanced himself from God," said Jill Tahmooressi, who attends Catholic and Protestant services. She said her own faith is also the "only thing" that keeps her going.
"As ugly and as dark as this situation has been, we always know that we’re victorious in Christ," Jill Tahmooressi said. " We’re not going to let the devil incapacitate us through fear."
Brian Fragais a daily newspaper reporter who writes from Fall River, Massachusetts.