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While producing our video "Battling over the Children" we included a tragic story of the deaths of two fine young boys who obviously feared Armageddon. We later corresponded with their heart-broken mother, Roberta. Here is her story.
When I was a really young baby, the Jehovah's Witnesses came into our lives. The Jehovah's Witnesses prey upon people that are depressed, have lost someone they loved, or sometimes after someone has been involved in a very bad relationship. The Jehovah's witnesses go from door to door preaching what they say is the good news of God's kingdom. Many people are deceived because they will come to their door with a smile on their face, a Bible in their hands, while talking about paradise on earth. Of course this paradise on earth is very conditional and it only belongs to that one limited group. Their religious belief is that everybody who isn't a Jehovah's Witnesses will find himself or herself killed at this great battle of Armageddon. In this religion you are not allowed to do many things, celebrate the holidays, associate with other people that are not Jehovah's witnesses, salute the flag, or even sing patriotic songs. This religion is terribly controlling and it is discriminating against the woman. The woman is to be in total submission of the man as the man is the head of the household.
Another one of the beliefs that are very prevalent in the Watchtower system is that if you are married to a person that is not of the Watchtower and you are a woman you do not have to listen to this person. I believe that is why mom got really entangled into this religion. She needed an escape from the control and manipulation of her husband, my father.
Life as a teenager for me was very trying. All of my classmates had nice new homes, nice new cars, their parents had very good jobs, had earned a lot of money. I didn't have very many friends in school because I was a Jehovah Witness. I remember how much it used to bother me because I wasn't allowed to salute the flag and everybody else did. Saluting the flag is a real sin in their eyes. We were never taught as children about the very real emotional part of us. We were taught to live by rules and follow examples given by the Watchtower.
In my high school years, I developed a rebellious nature. Everything I wanted to do was wrong. No one ever asked me to go anywhere, or do anything due to the strict rules. I just drifted along.
After I graduated from high school I married a man who was a non-Jehovah's Witness, a drunkard and a wife beater. I lived in hell for five long, lonely, years. The one good thing that came out of this marriage was I had a very handsome young son. What a hard life we had.
My Mother introduced me to a man who was a Jehovah witness. At that time in 1974 the Jehovah's Witnesses were really strong into the belief that 1975 would be the end of the world. I did not feel that I was worthy to be saved from Armageddon and I thought for sure that I would be killed along with my young son because we weren't Jehovah Witnesses. I believed that my fiance-to- be could save me from being destroyed, as well as I really wanted to have another baby because I love children.
So I married again. It wasn't long before I had realized I made a mistake, as my new husband hated my young son Ron. He completely changed from being a loving man to being a very controlling, manipulating man. It wasn't long before he took my car away. He had a cabin for us to live in that was very isolated and away from all other people. He wouldn't let us have a telephone. He wouldn't let me drive any of his vehicles. I stayed with it for 22 years. He was very mean to Ron and abused him many times physically. Looking back on it now, I don't know which is more addictive religion or alcohol.
My husband didn't have a job because the end of the world was right around the corner and so why work? We lived mostly off money I got from welfare. I also got quite a lot of food stamps.
Our marriage produced four beautiful children. They were three boys and one little girl.He controlled all the money. I worked for him for free for 12 years while I was on welfare. On the income tax forms he never added my name so now I have very little Social Security benefits.
On August 30th, 1993 a major life event threw me into a deep, dark depression. On that day, as usual I had to take care of my father who had had a hip operation, and was very old. I left home early that morning leaving my husband in the care of our three young children. At quarter to eight in the morning he called me at my father's house and told me he couldn't find the two boys. They should be going to school on the bus. I came home, looked around the house, and then I looked around the grounds. There was no sign of the boys. Then he said, "the car is missing" I looked; sure enough the car was missing. It was a rainy day, so of course I looked for tracks in the mud. The tracks in the mud showed up plainly. I followed the tracks down the road and into the trail; I drove back home and told my husband that the boys had driven down into the trail.
My husband took my daughter and me in his truck to the beginning of the trail. He left us and walked in. He told us to wait there for him. We waited anxiously in the truck for awhile and I wondered what to do. At the time, I didn't pay much attention to what time it was. He was in there and I decided to get out of the truck and walk down the trail to see if I could see anything. I walked about a couple of telephone pole lengths and then I heard a gunshot. I hurried back to the truck and drove down the trail. I saw my husband coming and he was crying. I got really worried then said, "Where are the boys?" He said, "they're both dead and the gun is there, they killed themselves."
I went totally numb. I wasn't used to dealing with death and no one had died in my family since I was a little girl of eight years old. I went into shock. I couldn't function. Things kept running through my mind. It was the last thing I had expected. How do you deal with losing two of your precious young sons at one time?
Well the days went by slowly and my depression got very deep. I really didn't want to live and the quiet of the grave seemed very enticing at that time. There would be relief from the great mental anguish of such a loss that most couldn't ever comprehend unless it happened to them.
Life kept going on and somehow I managed to keep doing the things that have to be done for the rest of the family. The whole area was in an uproar. Nobody could believe such a horrible thing could happen. The media was after me constantly because they had never heard of two little boys ending their lives that way.
Even after six years the pain I feel from this gets very intense and it is always there. There isn't one single day that I wake up in the morning and don't think about my two little boys and why that happened. The police say it was suicide, a double suicide but the case is still open. The police say each boy killed himself. The police had an investigation where they hired 10 special detectives who were used to dealing with this kind of thing and they all got together and tried to figure out what happened. To this day over six years later I still don't know for sure what happened that day, on the trail, and I don't know if I will ever really know the truth.
In my mind, I blame the Jehovah's Witnesses because their whole religion is based upon death. They believe in a very vengeful God, an angry God. This angry God hates everybody who isn't a Jehovah's Witnesses and will kill them. This includes the children because their parents don't believe what the people from the Watchtower told them.
I found later on in the boys Watchtower literature that was in their Watchtower briefcase that they took to the Kingdom Hall, an actual map of the location of the suicides. There is only one way for salvation in that church's eyes and that is to be a Jehovah's Witnesses. There's also another way to escape the horrible battle of Armageddon and that is to die before Armageddon. If anyone dies before Armageddon, they are guaranteed to live in a paradise earth. Did my little boys die because they wanted to live?
1. My son Robert was shot in the left side of his head. Robert was right handed.
2. How can a ten year old have the arm reach and span to shoot himself in the head with a rifle?
3. There was a kitchen knife found at the scene of a crime. Why was is not included in the police reports?
4. The rifle purportedly used was the boys' single shot Remington that took 22 shorts. They were killed with 22 longs.
5. The police claim that one boy killed himself and then the other used the kitchen knife to pry the 'long shell casing' from the gun so he could shoot himself. Can you imagine a boy seeing his brother shot, bleeding, in agony or dead, taking the time to pry out the cartridge and continuing on with his own suicide?
6. The sheriff told me the kitchen knife was sent to the crime lab and it would reveal who was shot last. I found the knife inside the police impound yard, never having been sent to the crime lab. Why the lie?
7.Kmedia interviewed my ex-husband and he told them to interview the police. Doesn't seem the grieving father is too anxious to help....?" (contributed).
Roberta feels her two sons may well have been murdered. She has so many unanswered questions. She fears for her young daughter who still has JW influence in her life through visits with her father.
Why not drop Roberta an e-mail at: <email@example.com>
Also a documentary video dealing with the healing of the Walking Wounded is being produced by Andrew Kohl.
If you have anything to contribute (your own story of abuse at the hands of cults) etc. or comments, you can contact him through their corporate site:
or documentary site: www.kmediagroup.com/walkingwounded.html
So, You Want to Study with Jehovah's Witnesses?
You might want to reconsider after reading this testimony.
"All my life I've been searching for the church with the closest doctrine to the truth. It seems to me that each one says only they have the truth.
Last year the Jehovah's Witnesses came, claiming that only they have "the truth". So I began attending two classes a week with them. Time has gone by and study for me with them has worsened. When I ask a question my instructor becomes irritated and argues with me, rambling on and getting entirely away from my question. Sometimes he rambles for up to twenty minutes. When I try to return to the question, he keeps interrupting me and becomes very rude, blocking my return to the question.
He began throwing me into shock by saying all of Christendom think they are worshiping Jesus when actually all of their religion is so pagan that they are worshiping Satan. You know the other teachings of theirs.
I have attended several Protestant churches from childhood on and my Jehovah's Witness instructor has shot down all my lifelong beliefs and really depressed me. Plus, he ridicules me with "Do you study the Bible? You don't know what you read!" "You think you know better than God!" "There is no old testament" (when I mentioned it). On one subject I started to say, "I thought" and he angrily replied, "Who are you? It doesn't matter what you think! It only matters what God thinks!"
I read in their "Awake" of June 22, 2000 edition the following: "Propaganda is spreading a belief. A fool will believe anything. (Proverbs 14:15). The shrewd one considers his steps. (Proverbs 14:15). Do not believe every inspired expression but test the inspired expressions. (1 John 4:1). There are many today who would like to delude us with persuasive arguments. (Col. 2:4). Therefore when we are presented with persuasive arguments we should ask questions. Discernment is acuteness of judgment."
Yet, my instructor coils up in defensiveness to my questions and become angry at my attempts at discernment. Last week he kept arguing with me until four hours had passed! This week I received your literature and it gave me some hope and some stronger spirit and I said to him, "Since it angers you for me to ask questions, I won't ask any questions. I will ask my questions to Christendom's ministers. I won't stay here for two, three, or four hours anymore either, arguing.
Yesterday, I had a lesson. I asked no questions. He ended the lesson in one hour.
I analyzed my feelings last week about my lessons with them. I began with my usual happy, pleasant feelings. As the lesson progresses, his rudeness and putdowns on me bring me to humiliation, confusion, bewilderment, disgust, harassment, anger, then hate!
After the lessons I feel downtrodden and spiritually destroyed. He turns the love and sunny feelings in my soul quickly into anger and hate with his know-it-all attitude and refusals to answer my questions.
Just as I floundered in confusion, trying to learn the JW doctrine, I saw your ad in the Enquirer and ordered booklets and cassettes from your ministry. Already your material has given me strength. I didn't know that their Bible was so altered. That's why I've had so much trouble understanding some of the verses!
Just wanted you to know that already your ministry has brightened my day and brought back some of the assurance that they had been crushing. I still have confusion over one thing. If Jesus is God, how do we deal with his remark on the cross, "My God, my God, Why has thou forsaken me?" Also, how is he God and also called the Son of God?
When I listen to your cassettes, I sense a sincerity in your voice and intelligence in your words. I can tell that you've done a lot of study and research.
I'm grateful for what I've learned from your experiences and research of JW's just as they began tearing apart my beliefs."
(This concludes the first letter. We answered him, sending materials to assist him and direct him to the Bible. Over a period of time we did our best to help him. Here is his latest letter).
"... Thanks also for your letters and for caring enough to guide me. I truly appreciate your sincerity.
It's ironic. Just as I was being brow-beaten and humiliated by my JW teacher and terribly confused and depressed about it all, I saw your ad in the classifieds...It's as if it was meant to be. I had been wanting to learn about their beginnings because I was skeptical and I ordered your literature and there it all was for me from you who had "been there--done that". I felt as if God had led me right to it.
I had always felt great love and extreme gratitude for the Son, Jesus teaching us to love and then suffering so in crucifixion, and the Father, God, creating such a miraculous earth and universe. I had even written some songs showing my love for those of the Godhead. I had written the songs back in the 1980's but couldn't find any religious publishers interested in Nashville. Seems they wanted singers who wrote their own songs.
Well, I told my JW teacher that I suppose my songs would just go to my grave with me and I felt bad that I couldn't share them with the world to help save souls. Then I played my demos for him. He said, "You wrote about the wrong one. What's wrong with our JW songs? They are beautiful. Listen to them".
I had thought some of my songs would be great for a kid's album. But my JW teacher criticized all that too. I have enclosed a copy of my songs...Now I ask you since I can see that you are a sincere and trusting person, are my songs that bad? Or is there feeling and love in them?
I have stopped my personal lessons with the JW teacher.
I am studying your material on the Trinity etc. daily. I enclose a subscription for your Newsletter." (contributed).