A congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in South Carolina has been rocked by the apparent murder-suicide of a Witness family of four.
Sheddrick Miller’s mother hadn’t heard from her son and his family for two days and went to their home to see if they were ok.
She stumbled on the grim discovery of her son’s body, together with that of his wife Kia and their two young children.
Police were then called to the home near Irmo, South Carolina, and encountered what they would later describe as a “shocking murder scene.”
Police spokesman Sgt. Curtis Wilson told the Charlotte Observer that the two children were found dead in their respective bedrooms, whereas the two adults were found together in the master bedroom.
All four were shot in the upper body, and a hand gun, the presumed murder weapon, was found next to the body of the father. Initial evidence is said to suggest a domestic disturbance, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
A family friend Rachel Hinson, 25, described the Millers as a good family. She told reporters that she had attended a bible study at their home and visited the local Kingdom Hall with them. “It’s confusing, and it’s not understandable why something like that would happen,” she said.
This horrific incident will be all the more shocking to Jehovah’s Witnesses since the religion prides itself on being a “happy people” who live in a blissful “spiritual paradise” where everyone contentedly immerses themselves in doing God’s work.
Though it may never be clear what the exact circumstances were that led to this tragic incident, we can be almost certain this Witness homestead had deep-rooted problems that Watchtower teachings were powerless to alleviate. If anything, the family’s religious beliefs could have only worsened matters.
This website runs an annual survey for those connected with Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the questions we ask is “Have you ever known or heard of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses committing or attempting suicide?” So far 904 people have participated in the 2014 Global Survey, and this is how they responded to that question…
Not long ago I had a telephone conversation with a dear friend of mine, a Witness elder from one of my former congregations, who had recently experienced a nervous breakdown. He suggested that as many as 1 in 5 in his congregation were taking antidepressants of some form due to various mental and emotional ailments. “And that’s a low estimate,” he said.
Whenever I see Watchtower boasting of how happy and joyful Jehovah’s Witnesses are, I think back to that conversation. This religion has no monopoly on happiness. To the contrary, it could be that its relentless rule-making, apocalyptic fear-mongering and threats of family estrangement for personal indiscretion make it one of the most wretched and depressing faiths a person could have.