Witness couple and two young children found dead in shocking ‘murder suicide’

A family of four Jehovah's Witnesses have been found shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide

A family of four Jehovah’s Witnesses have been found shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide

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…

Chart_Q46_140118Not 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.









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80 Responses to Witness couple and two young children found dead in shocking ‘murder suicide’

  1. Rowland Nelken says:

    My late younger brother was plagued with mental distress. Whatever its root, being devoted to our mad JW mother only aggravated his condition.

    Whereas my sister and I had fled our mother’s lunacy and had taken refuge with our grandparents, Laurie remained with his mum. She became a baptised JW and the Kingdom Hall and its miserable literature and meetings were the centre of her life until her death.

    Laurie never was a convinced JW. He would always be telephoning, however, full of distress about the imminence of Armageddon and the effect, not only on him, but on his non JW family and friends (i.e. everybody he knew except his loony JW mother whom he somehow loved).

    Laurie was often a resident in psychiatric hospitals, and in the last few weeks of his life, he followed my mother to the Kingdom Hall. His death was not suicide, but the JWs had made an enormous contribution to his misery.

    My mind was only poisoned by the Watchtower as a child. It is sites like this which will help to spread the word about this malign cult which projects itself as a group of polite, earnest and pious religious enthusiasts.

    The whole world must know that it is as constructive, benign and useful to mankind as the Ku Klux Klan or Al Quaedr.

  2. Terry Statton says:

    The Watchtower attempts to mislead their members and those they are trying to get to join their Society that they are such a HAPPY people. Believe me and I write from many years of Watchtower experience, that is a MISERABLE group of brainwashed people. Our family suffered so much over the years from being in the Watchtower CULT, starting when I was 7 years old in 1956. I finally got out as an adult.

  3. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Consequences of poisoning minds with foolish Bible stories like this:
    *** my story 62 Trouble in David’s House ***
    And what trouble David has!
    First, Bath-she′ba’s son dies. Then David’s firstborn son Am′non gets his sister Ta′mar alone and forces his love on her. David’s son Ab′sa·lom is so angry about this that he kills Am′non. Later, Ab′sa·lom wins the favor of many of the people, and he has himself made king. Finally, David wins the war against Ab′sa·lom, who is killed. Yes, David has a lot of trouble.

    Catholic church was right denying Bible access to laypersons taking myths as realities!! Look at consequences now that the Watchtower boasts about its worldwide distribution of the Bible.

  4. ATS says:

    Hi Cedars, I know you are very respectable when it comes to correcting information on your website. So i was just wondering if links to the original news post(s) could be added to this article for further reading, if that is the case? Like with Wikipedia, links are posted as reference to reputable sources so the information is provable as valid and true. Thanks :)

  5. ATS says:

    *looks at further reading*

    feels stupid

  6. kat says:

    I have know of four suicides within two congregations, this is just so sad and shows that the so called spiritual paradise is a lie.

    The pressure that some brothers have to go through to maintain their so called spiritual status through the rules of men has nothing to do with Christ.

    Christ’s load is light and adds no further burden, the GB pharassaic rules add the measuring line for a persons spirituality.

    So sorry, so sad.

  7. free thinker says:

    A truly dreadful situation. Prayers and condolences for the families.However is this really the time to be point scoring against an organisation who may or may not bear a measure of responsibility before we know the facts.It is also rare for similar incidences to have the victims religion so emphasised as if it were the principal reason for such a sad situation.Once again deepest sympathies for the families.

    • Cedars says:

      Hi free thinker, welcome to JWsurvey – where you are free to think for yourself!

      I’m not sure what you mean about “point scoring.” All I have done is write what I know about mental health among Jehovah’s Witnesses, and shared statistics left by visitors to this site regarding suicide, and allowed people to draw their own conclusions. I have also made it clear that we can never know the full details of what happened in this tragedy. I fail to see how I am wrong in taking this approach, but you’re entitled to your opinion.

    • I watch a lot of true crime stories and they will point out anything that may define a person, either perpetrator or victim. For example, they might mention if they were on active duty in the military, if they were a police officer, or were known for their volunteer work. I’ve seen many stories where they bring out the person’s religion, if they were very involved in that religion (i.e., “Debra Smith, who was known for never missing her Sunday mass at the local Catholic church…”).

      Some stories involve love triangles within a church that resulted in murder, and of course the church is mentioned. JWs are not the only ones where the name comes up.

      JWs are also known for constant activity within the religion, so it would stand to reason that they would mention it.

  8. In many cases when a man kills his family and himself it’s because he’s lost his job or some type of status and he doesn’t want his family living with the problem. I have to wonder if this man lost a job or was deeply in debt. The Witnesses put so much pressure on you to excel and do more and have a perfect smiling little family, it’s a wonder more aren’t cracking at the seams. Look at the yearbook; “Hey, this person is in a coma and pioneers! This guy has no job but his family eats rocks and dirt so they can pioneer and they all love it!”

    This “happy smiling” facade is also presented to women when encouraged to stay with violent, abusive men. I can guarantee from personal experience that no woman just happily puts on a Mrs. Brady smile for a man that regularly beats and even sexually assaults her, but trying telling that to the governing body.

    No, this religion is not a happy one. I knew few people who were happy being in and far too many who are happier and HEALTHIER once they leave, myself included. Sad indictment.

  9. 20years says:

    In my former congregation, the story was no different. A bunch of people parading under the banner of “We serve a happy god”, but our lives were stunted in some form or the other. Souls that were unhappy and sexually unfulfilled because they were encouraged to remain single since the “end was at hand. People who felt constantly guilty since they secretly loved and desired ‘worldly pleasures’ such as popular movies and songs, which the Watchtower labeled as coming from the devil. Unhappy kids who were literally dragged to attend meetings by believing mothers; old and lonely people who had precious little practical support from the brothers in their frail, golden years. And there was this lingering and unspoken sadness tinged with doubt as each long-time Witness wondered if the long- promised new system of things would ever come. I came to see beyond the happy faces of the brothers and sisters in the congregation who desperately tried to stay true to the happy pictures of a joyful people united in true worship. It took me two decades to finally realize that I was part of an unhappy facade.

  10. REDEEMED says:

    I am so sad to hear this story. I know when we are speaking of the WTS, they neither know how to truly help those in need of assistance, as they are not qualified nor do they refer their members to those who can help. The WTS is so determined to maintain a pretty little picture it would rather sacrifice lives than admit its failings. An elder told us that aprox 50 % of his congregation that he knew of was on psych medications. My thought is, if you are not ill when you get in you will be when you stay in.

  11. JB says:

    I remember of just one case from my childhood. Someone I knew very little, committed suicide. All I could see about him that he was a very quiet and kind person.

    It’s always very sad to experience such cases .

  12. Tiger says:

    How sad, what cute kids. My son is over at a sleepover tonight with a friend. How I will hug him tomorrow when he comes home! What agony one must suffer to come to that decision.

    Infidelity, crushing debt, mental illness, so many causes, sadly all made worse by J.W. fear mongering, shameful policy and constant need for façade. People make mistakes but there is mainly judgement from witnesses.

    I will hope that we can as a community provide hope and a haven to others that are suffering.

  13. combatdiva says:

    I often wondered what the suicide rate was among Jdubs.
    Truly sad :(

  14. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    I am afraid there was story of sex behind the event;

    *** w91 11/15 p. 22 par. 15 “An Overseer Must Be . . . Self-Controlled” ***
    How much harm to the truth has resulted because some elders did not exercise self-control in their dealings with sisters in the congregation! A few years ago, an elder was disfellowshipped because he had committed adultery with a Christian sister whose husband was not a Witness. On the very night that the disfellowshipping of the former elder was announced, the aggrieved husband strode into the Kingdom Hall with a rifle and fired at the two guilty individuals. Neither of them was killed, and he was at once disarmed, but the next day a major newspaper featured on its front page the news of ‘a shooting at a church.’ What reproach that elder’s lack of self-control brought upon the congregation and upon Jehovah’s name!

  15. free thinker says:

    Thank you for your response.However my main point is the timing of some of your observations on possible reasons for such an extreme situation. Perhaps it would demonstrate a measure of sensitivity to the families to withold such observations until all the facts are known.Blame is rarely black and white.

    • Cedars says:

      Thanks freethinker, but again I’m not sure I’ve apportioned blame to anyone. I’ve shared my experiences about mental health, and the views of over 80% of our readers that suicide among Jehovah’s Witnesses is not uncommon, and I’ve offered reasons why I believe this is so. You, like any other JWsurvey reader, are free to reach your own conclusions, which is more than can be said for Witnesses when they study Watchtower literature.

  16. bigmax says:

    I had a first cousin go out in service, come home, and shot himself in the head. He was a pioneer. His family has mental issues as well. All Jw’s! Sad!

  17. JBob says:

    it happens to us all, JB–don’t freak out.

  18. JBob says:

    First, this is a tragedy regardless of the family’s religious beliefs, and this sort of violence happens rarely but that is too frequently when it comes to the loss of lives.

    Next, wow, that’s quite a lovely home for impoverished Jehovah’s Witnesses who must hand over all resources and funds to the Watchtower, huh? The whole back story hasn’t been revealed, so unclear if the family were involved in Watchtower prior to move-in, and whether this is a couple that perhaps aligned itself with Witnesses after finding financial success (difficult as it is for a minority couple in the Southern states of USA).

    The facts as reported trend toward murder-suicide not the unusual case of someone with motives for entering and shooting children, wife and husband then assigning blame on husband through placement of the gun.

    I will not post answer here, but any one recall the Watchtower research on possessing a deadly weapon/firearm or of mass destruction?

  19. Dr. Cecil Scott says:

    People need to wake up and see this cult for what it is. Always predicting the end of the world. Is really a new denomination, less than 150 years old. Is not of the Apostolic origins in the Book of Acts. Was formed by a man, and led by several different men. Has a governing body of all men, used to be all white men, don’t know if they have added a non-black or a woman. Understand that the governing body does not go from door to door. Once celebrated Christmas and birthdays. Do not celebrate birthdays but sanctions baby showers. Don’t celebrate birthdays because according to them, two bad incidents occurred in the Bible at the time of birthdays. Yet the same cult would go and purchase food at stores that sell cigarettes and lotto numbers. See the analogy??? Same cult will use a knife to cut kitchen foods even though people use knives to kill others. See the analogy???
    Well again, one big CULT.
    Dr. Cecil Scott

  20. thebassetthound says:

    My mother works as a counsellor. Most of her clients are from her local or surrounding congregations….go figure!

  21. JBob says:

    @Haki, I was thinking similar thoughts; the betrayed husband, wife, his mistress or her paramour angered and seeking vengeance. There was a similar case a few years back where a woman dating a man with a mistress was murdered by the man & mistress when she demanded exclusivity. I think it was in the same area of the USA–maybe the same county/parish?

  22. Shakeem says:

    My condolences to the family.

  23. Arlene McGinley says:

    I know of suicides and murders. Look up the Freeman murders in Emmaus PA near Allentown PA. Two oldest sons turned into skinheads instead of JWs and killed parents and young brother. Enormous pressure put on young people and many rebel against the authority.

  24. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    What a tragic situation. I feel so sorry for the friends and family of the deceased.

    Why did a JW have a sidearm? That seems totally wrong to me. Are JWs allowed to own guns?

    I am convinced that the detrimental mental health of JWs is disproportionate with the general population.

    Peace be with you


  25. Deano says:

    I suffered with PTSD and now cope quite well,but at the time i was using substances to self medicate,but saw this a wrong thing i did and went to the elders(which i thought was right) this was a great sin as i was told, i got DF also as i ask many questions in the Judicial which provoked suspicion on my part in believe of the watchtower(recent faithful and discreet slave issue last year was oen of them) and hence i was DF, i got angry with the committee because of them not listening or reasoning,on the grounds of “insufficient repentants”(were that came from i don,t no),but the moral round this is that people don,t see the harm mentally the Watchtower has on people and sadly sometimes Death,since my DF i don,t self medicate now and feel the watchtower puts immense pressure on people,but when ones self does become ill or emotional stressed i feel there,s lack of love in these situations ,at one point i was told its not helped you spiritually being ill”what”…and because you hear things that are not there it could be Demons,it was trauma end of i no that thing is since Being DF i now work with people in this area iam not under pressure to come up to standards and have moved on healthy mentally ,which i feel puts added pressure on people in the JW and leads to Depression,as far as shunning it was hard and did effect me for a while but looked at that those from the congregation are frowned on to talk to “me” not me to “them” so i always let on as i feel this kind of makes it seem that i,am not suffering but my friends are who are who i still have love for,but there to scared to say “hello” for fear of man,i don’t have an issues with God or the Bible but i do with the organization who are guilty of indoctrinateing fear and triggering mental illness to the point of pushing people to that breaking point of suicide, and if its all you have known total cut of its like taking your life away mentaly and sadly many suffer through this,it,s took me along time to get to a point were things did not make sense so i Questioned!!,my heart goes out to those who suffer/suffered due to “Watchtowers”Fear tactics and don’t remotely show any love at at all,what Did it for me was the faithful discreet slave issues,and most of all the fear of the governing body who are nothing but BOGAT(bunch of guys around a table)and i have come to a point this was what i was scared of all them years and people become ill mentally because of them and there teachings not Gods…

  26. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Deano, thanks for sharing your story with us. I offer my sincere sympathy for your PTSD. It is good that you received proper care for your condition.

    I was appalled by them referring to your mental distress as “demons”. It just goes to show that the GB are an ignorant bunch of idiots.

    I remember reading in the insight book that the GB believe that severely mentally ill people are most probably demonised, or demon possessed!

    I mean, how dumb can you be?

    They pressurise a moral standard that is flawed and unliveable, and then punish weakness with cruel rules.

    Thank goodness we have access to accurate information and current treatments once we are out of the Watchtower madness!

    I would urge any witnesses reading this article to seek professional help if they are suffering from depression. By all means, pray and study your bibles, but seek medical health first.

    I think that the human spirit subconsciously knows it is being brainwashed by the GB and rebels against it.

    I hope that the reason behind this tragedy can be ascertained. It is yet another reason why the GB have no special status with Jesus. They are ignorant and arrogant – a combination that always lead to suffering.

    Peace be with you


  27. danman says:

    ’20 years’ wrote one of the best summaries of how jw present themselves as the “happiest” people, but the reality and practice is far different.

    Underneath the careful facades lives deep seated guilt, dissapointment, backbiting, and all sorts of emotional issues. Every congregation suffers these often well hidden symptoms of Watchtower induced trauma.

    Often the elder bodies at war with each other, over postitions or just simple jealousies. The congregation can only reflect what the leadership practices. I really hope this family is not ignored by the Watchtower gb, as they are famous for only using sterling examples of been a ‘good little happy jw publisher’. They will someday answer to the millions they have misled and abused. May that day come soon.

  28. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Dr. Cecil Scott! Excellent comment!! They should avoid alcohol, too, because…

    (Genesis 9:20, 21) . . .Noah started off as a farmer and proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 And he began drinking of the wine and became intoxicated, and so he uncovered himself in the midst of his tent. . .

    (Genesis 19:30-32) . . . “Our father is old and there is not a man in the land to have relations with us according to the way of the whole earth. 32 Come, let us give our father wine to drink and let us lie down with him and preserve offspring from our father.”

    So, why do they drink! The cult are hypocrites of first degree…

  29. free thinker says:

    As someone who does study watchtower literature I am excercising my right to an opinion. My contention is not regarding information about the mental health of people I do not personally know. It is simply the timing of such a discussion in view of the recent tragedy involving many family members.Ecclesiastes Ch 3 : 7b “a time to be silent and a time to speak.

    • Cedars says:

      For someone with a name like “free thinker” you don’t seem to be too hot on free speech. We are not under Watchtower’s rules on this website. No disrespect has been shown in the article. We have reported the facts, and some information on mental health and suicide among JWs, and allowed people to reach their own conclusions. If you’re looking for a website that toes the line and keeps quiet about what’s really going on, I would encourage you to stick to JW.org.

  30. Sue says:

    Sometimes, if you do not speak, because of the feeling that its not the right time, you miss the opportunity to stop this happening again. I wish I had not waited 30 years before I spoke up and said this mind control has to stop. Some of my relatives would still be alive! Cedars, please do not stop the associations you are making, with painful situations and choices or lack of choices that people are still trying to sort out. If it wakes people up to what they fear might happen or stops one person from going crazy and saves a family then your article has more than served its purpose.

  31. Dynamo says:

    @Free Thinker,

    I’m sure you are well aware that Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to point the finger when bad things happen to individuals who the organization, and say something along the lines of “This is what happens when you leave Jehovah’s protection”.

    Well, Jehovah’s protection in this circumstance was mysteriously absent. Being a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses may not have had anything to do with this situation, but it certainly didn’t prevent it, and exposes the facade of a “spiritual paradise” to be exaggerated at best, and at worst a cheap and dishonest marketing scheme.

    Honestly, if being a JW is so great, why does this happen? If there is this amazing brotherhood, why was assistance not provided to this family? Everyone who knew this family thought they were happy and content, which means they were hiding any and all of their issues. How is this compatible with a “spiritual paradise”? How many other “happy” witnesses are hiding suppressing there issues? What does “spiritual paradise” even mean?

  32. Thomas Hodgson says:

    It happens over and over again. This is suppose to be the only true religion on our planet earth. They are a in a spiritual paradise and they supposedly don`t have these kinds of problems. I knew of three JWS that committed suicide in a former congregation that I attended before I left over 15 years ago. The JWS are snapping right and left because of all of the pressure the WT places on their people. I`m just so thankful to not be one of Jehovahs Witnesses. They hurt and break apart so many families all over the world. I`ve heard story after story about how they hurt so many people. Suicides are very common in the JWS. Because of all of the incredible pressure they elders placed on my couisin after they disfellowshipped him, he attempted suicide. He is now permanently disabled. He tried to kill himself with a gun. He has a bullet in his brain and they can`t remove it because it may kill him. This is a very tragic situation when things like this occur. I hope the governments put a stop to their shunning policy. This drives a lot of people to suicide and marriage break ups. They have cause the death of tens of thousands of people because of their stiff ban on JWS getting life saving blood transfusions. I`ve heard that it is estimated that possibly over 200,000 may have died from this serious false teaching. May God bring these people to justice soon. I hope the governments will stop all of this insanity. There are also a lot of pedophiles that are covered up in the JWS. They have a humongous pedophilia problem in the JWS. It is so awful to hear these stories about the innocent victims of child molestation in the JWS.

  33. April Smith says:

    I know several of Jehovahs Witnesses that have commited suicide, including a family member. Its tragic. Im aware that people of all religions do this, but I think its prevalent in this organization because when people disagree with, or stray from the organizations teachings, they know they stand a good chance of losing everyone they love because of their inhumane disfellowshipping policy, and the humiliation they’re subjected to. They are also disillusioned by the promise of “spiritual paradise.” I remember my Father in Law (who is a Presiding Overseer to this day) joking that they should just hand out Prozac at the door. Everyone was on depression medication, including him, his wife and…no kidding…even their cats.

  34. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Free thinker, here is a clue about the mental health of people you do not know:

    Memorial partakers. This is the number of baptized individuals who partake of the emblems at the Memorial worldwide. Does this total represent the number of anointed ones on earth? Not necessarily. A number of factors—including past religious beliefs or even mental or emotional imbalance—might cause some to assume mistakenly that they have the heavenly calling. (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w11+8%2F15+p.+22)

    Another clue:
    At that time, the life-saving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w13+11%2F15+p.20+par.+17)

  35. Tiger says:

    Enjoyed so many of the comments. While like all of you I am saddened for the family especially the innocent children. I can’t help but think of all of the times that I heard experiences where we were told that by going to meetings or in service, this person, that person was spared. Later only to say we are not immune to the problems in the world, due to Satan, by GB spin doctors. Over the years they have pointed to divorce rates (distorted by GB) of people in general, constant attacks on Catholics.

    Simply stated they poison the minds of Devotees, against the public and members of other religions by spinning world events and things that are happening to members of their faith.

    To “Free Thinker” I would like to make an observation, I am certain that not one of us and certainly not Cedars rejoices at this tragic situation, but to turn a blind eye to it only allows the GB to spin this however they see fit and ignore their statements of the past. If you read all of the comments on here, many of which are excellent, you will see that the GB have cost many lives. The JW religion at its core is nothing but a high control group. I for one can say for a fact that the threat of disfellowshipping is the reason that my brother in law took his life. He was a gentle and kind man, who DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE. We could not reach him. I miss him terribly and so do both of his boys. He spoke of his embarrassment in his suicide letter.

    While we do not know the reason this man killed his family, it underscores that the witnesses do not live in a Spiritual Paradise, only a façade, illusion that misrepresents the harm someone faces in joining. I hope that you would not argue, at the very least this man needed mental health counseling. How can anyone seek it when the GB discourage it. Only after seeking the counsel of the elders (janitors, construction workers, truck drivers etc. not doctors) are they allowed. By then it is often to late as scriptures and platitudes do not help.

    Here is one last piece of information you have not noticed. Cedars loves his family, he has paid a high price for being honest and standing up to WT tyranny, he has lost his father and his family. Have you contacted the Jehovah’s Witness faith to tell them how poorly timed their decision was. He and his wife have a baby on the way and more importantly he has done nothing to deserve this sick punishment. If not why do you feel ok to question his motives?

    Final thought for Free Thinker. Cedars is doing a valuable work in exposing the hypocrisy of the JWs. He is helping the living have a chance and a place to go. If you took the time to read the other comments you would know that there are many here who want the GB oppression to end and to not be dead to their families especially when we have done nothing wrong! Before you challenge his motives, get to know the man and I believe you will feel differently. I mean you no harm, I only hope you will have the courage to pick the right side of this. Yes their are sides and no middle ground, Watchtower drew the line in the sand, we didn’t, but to be certain we are not cowards!

    Best wishes to all

  36. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    @Tiger, free thinker acknowledges he does not know the mental health of JWs. You are talking about their “constant attacks on Catholics”!

    Apparently, he does not know anything about their constant attacks on Higher education (w13 10/15)!!

    *** w05 10/15 p. 3 What Kind of Education Can Make Your Life a Success? ***
    does higher learning help you to be a good parent, mate, or friend? For that matter, people admired for their intellectual achievements may develop undesirable personality traits, fail in their family life, or even end up committing suicide

    free thinker can lead this from this link: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w05+10%2F15+p.+3

    free thinker, you need to think free! The GB says “… people admired for their intellectual achievements… fail in their family life, or even end up committing suicide”!!!! Do you agree?

    It is sad they can associate higher education with suicide and fail to associate it with their education!!

  37. Tiger says:

    @Hakizimana My statement about Catholics was more of a reference to the earlier comment of Free Thinker who said Cedars was trying to score points at a poor time. The reason I acknowledge Catholics, is this Christmas a Catholic family that we barely knew came to our home and left hundreds of dollars worth of gifts for our family. They would have remained anonymous, except for our neighbors seeing them leave and telling us what they looked like and drove. We were moved by this extraordinary kindness and were sad that we had believed the lies told to us.

    The timing of stories and articles that the WT published about Catholics had nothing to do with their decision to publish any article. Never have they displayed any concern for the feelings or sentiments of others when they chose to “score points” for their cause.

    My list of things by no means was exhaustive, rather a few examples that were added to the many excellent ones listed here, like the one you so well cited.

    As for the WT comment on higher education, I know I must have been asleep mentally, as I was an elder in 2005. It sickens me that I was a part of such stupidity. Honestly, I am amazed at how many references, so many have made to the incredibly ignorant, moronic and stupid GB articles in the WT. The fact that the GB are so stupid and arrogant and have a following is probably the 8th wonder of the world without equal.

    The very best to you Hakizimana

  38. free thinker says:

    Wow! I wasnt really expecting such an emotionally personalised response to a simple request for us all to take a breath and allow time to reveal the facts rather than assumptions about this tragic case.Freedom of expression carries a responsibility for us all to do so with a measure of trying to understand the other persons point of view.

  39. Tiger says:

    Here is a link to how Socioeconomic Status (SES) affects people. SES is measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation. http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/factsheet-cyf.aspx

    You will find that in every case, whether it is mental illness, depression, suicide etc they are increased by a persons lack of education and income. The WT again uses propaganda and lies to support their position as pointed out by Hakizamana. If it were not for the constant door knocking they would lose all of their money in time due to socioeconomic factors caused by their ruining the lives of their followers. I hesitate to point that fact out, as I know they read this site and will no doubt seek to find ways to encourage education at least at a trade level for all their followers so as to keep the coffers full and perpetuate their lies.

  40. Tiger says:

    @Free Thinker. Just as when a lawyer in a courtroom makes a false accusation and a judge orders it stricken from the record does not change the fact that it was said and more importantly that it was heard and influences the minds of the jurors. So it is with the “point scoring” accusation you made against Cedars and never apologized for, nor acknowledged you were wrong.

    As for my or anyone else’s “emotionally charged” response. What is your answer as to speaking out against what was done to Cedars. Do you ignore that as well? So many points were made to help you see the value of what was written.

    As for your comment “Freedom of expression carries a responsibility for us all to do so with a measure of trying to understand the other persons point of view” You made false accusations of point scoring to Cedars but you are not taking responsibility for it. Is it only your point of view that needs to be understood? Should everyone here consider only what you say? It appears you are still indoctrinated with the idea no one knows anything but you, because you are a Witness and a teacher, therefore the only viewpoint that matters is yours. Take a look around there are a lot of intelligent people here and they all bring value to this discussion, yet you do not respond to any of it. Are you, or were you an elder or a pioneer? That is the air of superiority they put off.

    I am glad to consider your viewpoint, however show me the same courtesy. Please answer just one topic.

    Have you stood up to the tyranny that took Cedars family?
    If not, why not?
    Do you come here and challenge Cedars blog and not the WT because Cedars won’t disfellowship you?
    Are you a coward to WT and a bully to those who you feel won’t hurt you?

    Last but not least, no one is saying what caused this tragic event. However nothing can be done to help those lost now, only seek to find ways to prevent it from happening again. We can only observe the obvious truth that their is no spiritual paradise, before the spin doctors get a hold of this. That façade of a paradise is dangerous as it clouds a persons judgement as to joining this high control group.

  41. free thinker says:

    Wow again! I can only apologise to anyone who perceives my comments as arrogance as that was never my intention.I have personally made decisions to avoid shunning of family members thus taking a stand against what you call the tyranny that took Cedars family.Again it was never my intention to challenge anyone.Finally it is insulting to be accused of bullying by someone with very little knowledge of a person.Hopefully your one topic answered.

    • Rowland Nelken says:

      Have I missed something, Freethinker? Are you a JW? Do you sympathise with them? Do you realise that being one and ‘taking a stand against them’ in shunning or anything else is a contradiction? As a JW you have to obey the bosses in everything, absolutely and always, or face imminent Armageddon execution. Please clarify your position.

      • April Smith says:

        Answer to bosses absolutely and always. Spoken like a genuine product of that organization. Obey without question, or DIE! It makes me sad to read statements like this. A mass of people obeying out of fear and obligation. Not love.

  42. Renee says:

    Well said!

  43. Cynthia Rodriguez says:

    Fortunately, I’ve never known anyone who went to these extremes, but have known of many who are taking some form of anti-depressants. I am sad that this happened to them, especially the children. I hope that wherever they are now, they find the peace and the freedom they didn’t have under the control of this religion. Yes I do believe that their spirit and soul survived this tragedy, and that they didn’t go unto oblivion like the JW’s say, awaiting a resurrection that will not happen until who knows how many hundreds of years more from now. I believe that they just passed into another dimension where they will be able to review their physical lives here on this earth and move on to a better one. May all of their souls find the comfort they deserve and may peace be with the family they left behind.

  44. free thinker says:

    Wow again! It was never my intention to come across as arrogant and to anyone who feels that way I can only apologise.In answering your one topic @tiger I have personally taken a stand against what you call the tyranny that took cedars family.It is never my intention to challenge anyone.It is insulting to accuse anyone of bullying based on your posession of limited knowledge.Finally if this discussion forum can mean that one person or family can avoid unnecessary heartache then that is a good thing.

    • Rowland Nelken says:

      Free thinker – Are you a JW? Are you considering becoming a JW? You do realise, I hope, that thinking freely and being a JW are utterly incompatible.

      You are obliged to believe every utterance and obey every diktat of the self appointed JW bosses in New York State, or be condemned to death at an imminent Armageddon.

      That the whole Watchtower setup is based upon cruel lies and fantasy is of little comfort to those who have been prey to the mind control techniques of the cult and, tragically, genuinely believe that there is truth in JW TRUTH.

      You mentioned, Freethinker, that you study JW Lit; but so does Cedars. Please clarify where you stand.

  45. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Ok, folks, let’s all calm down and try to find some common ground here.

    Freethinker, you can see from the passionate and honest responses that your posts have prompted that we do not agree that we have in any way been crude or crass in commenting on this tragedy in conjunction with a discussion on the terrible mental health of many Witnesses.

    The record of the WTBTS as regards mental health is appalling. Cedars’ survey highlights that many of us, myself included, have known of Jehovah’s Witnesses committing suicide.

    Peace be with you


  46. StillShocked says:

    This is a horrible tragedy! Why didn’t this family feel they could ask for help from their “loving” elders? Obviously, something is wrong in this organization. If you’re not in the in-crowd, then you’re basically on your own. You have no “worldly” friends and even association with family who isn’t interested in your ever-changing Truth is discouraged. On another note, is there a way I could change my answer on the survey regarding knowing someone who committed or attempted to commit suicide? I remembered an elderly sister tried to commit suicide when she learned she had cancer. I had forgotten about it. I know of many Witnesses who are on antidepressants. I can attest to the poor mental health of Witnesses. A circuit overseer’s wife once commented to me that the Truth attracts mentally unstable people. What she didn’t realize is that it makes people mentally unstable because they are constantly being battered emotionally by being told they have to do more, that they’re not good enough and that they’re in a spiritual paradise when there’s no proof. Quite the contrary!

  47. JB says:

    If I understand correctly, free thinker just questions whether referencing this tragedy as part of the discussion is OK or not. Or at least, using it so soon …

    free thinker, if this was what you meant, I think it’s a nice thought. To tell you honestly, I didn’t know such pressure made so much misery in peoples’ lives. When I read others’ experiences I really feel myself, kind of, lucky. Though, I think quite a number of people would like such misery to cease and I completely agree.

    You know, the news is on the internet, everyone can read it, and the ones reading it wish that doesn’t happen again, IF it’s purely a result of the pressure in the congregation this article deals with.

  48. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    When inside the cult, I do not know what blinds people not to see it is a misery. It is when I left the cult that I mapped a lot of scandals including a young lady who hanged herself when her parents had gone to their Sunday meeting! Back from door-to-door to spread the “good news”, “bad news” was awaiting them. Their daughter was dead, hung!

    The father was a Bethelite and Elder. He was disfellowshipped and I hear he has been now reinstated at the price of his daughter’s blood!

    The story and the reasons behind were covered up but most JWs say there misunderstanding between daughter and father! The daughter wanted to marry a pioneer and the father was opposing it saying pioneers are poor (have a low pay) and the daughter was thinking they are rich spiritually accusing the father to have taught her that.
    Misunderstandings ended with the daughter hanging herself and the father disfellowshipped, humiliated by the Watchtower!!

  49. Tiger says:

    @Free Thinker, I am glad you took a stand. I believe so many enjoy this place albeit in cyberspace that Cedars has provided for all of us. I feel we are his guests and he has opened a place for us to speak learn and offer and receive insight. It is at websites such as this one that so many find out that they are not alone and avoid making tragic decisions. So to you, I say best wishes. To Cedars a continued hearty thanks!

  50. free thinker says:

    Maybe I didnt express myself very clearly but my questioning simply related to the timing of some of the more outspoken and unrelated comments. I think it is a good thing that everyone has a voice and the knowledge and ability to express it. This site gives anyone interested enough the opportunity to do that. When something as tragic as this happens sometimes silence over the reasons and a voice expressing sympathy can be great healers.

  51. Cedars says:

    Hello EJB – welcome to JWsurvey, a place of calm and reason away from the mental prison of the Watchtower and its denunciation of “independent thinking.”

    If you’re going to criticize me for calling it a “murder-suicide” you may as well post a similar comment on each and every newspaper report that described it in the same way for the sake of consistency. Will you be doing that? Or would you rather focus your frustration on me because I don’t believe the Governing Body are essentially God’s representatives on Earth? I based my description of the case on media reports, and I have no shame in doing so.

    That this Witness homestead had deep-rooted problems is self-evident from the fact that all are now dead and police are not pursuing a suspect from outside the family. If you think it’s normal behavior for a person to shoot themselves after shooting their spouse and kids you are welcome to that viewpoint (although in that case I won’t be accepting any dinner invitations from you any time soon). I for one don’t think that’s normal and see nothing wrong in highlighting the views, not just of myself, but of visitors to this website regarding mental health and suicide among JWs.

    Please excuse me if I’m not afraid to “call a spade a spade” on this website. If you’re looking for fluffy non-news and mindless chatter that makes JWs appear wonderful, carefree and transcendent of the world’s woes, I suggest you stick to JW.org.

  52. Tiger says:

    @Free thinker. It is good to question, you are right, as Cedars has done. I will speculate on my own here and say most of us have had our lives altered in some way by the WTBS and their G.B. We do our best to be balanced and consider others feelings. However, I can say for certain I make mistakes in that regard because of the hurt from the past. I wish you the best and I appreciate your stand to talk with the disfellowshipped, that makes you a non witness or a dissenter on a very important subject that has destroyed so many lives. So to you I say thank you for your courage and best wishes. If more people, or more specifically our families would still be a very active part of our lives and while we would obviously disagree with the GB’s lies it would not be such a big deal. Best wishes to you!

  53. Tiger says:

    * note

    If more people would take the same stand, or at least our families it would not be such a big deal.

    sorry, I was tired when I typed should have proof read first.

  54. L fields says:

    This is truly, truly a crying shame (especially for the children 3 and 1). I’m sure they are still investigating this situation to see if it’s in fact a suicide-murder case. Someone posted on another message board that he was a barber and that he contacted some of his clients two week before the tragedy about closing up his business. Things many times are never what they appear to me, especially with JW’s. They are selling a dream.

  55. Tanya says:

    I guess I’m confused…I have been away for a while but for some reason I didn’t think JW’s were allowed to have guns unless they were for the purpose of hunting…I must be wrong??

  56. Cedars says:

    So the opinions of visitors to this website represent “hokey website statistics?” You sure know how to ingratiate yourself don’t you.

  57. So glad to be out says:

    Hey EJB,
    I guess we all deal with the fallout of abuse by JW’s in different ways. I am glad Cedars highlights these things and makes the connections. I would have family who would be alive now if someone (including myself) had spoken up before about how this organisation can unhinge people. Hope you read some of the other articles and recognise the value of what Cedars is doing. There was nothing when I came out 30 years ago. If you do a simple google search and put Jehovah’s Witnesses and depression or Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mental Health you will find a lot of evidence.

  58. Cedars says:

    Don’t worry, you’ve articulated yourself quite sufficiently. Nothing has been lost in translation. It’s just that I don’t agree with you, and from the rest of the comments it seems your viewpoint is in the minority on this website. Can you handle that?

    Let me put it another way. You’re entitled to say I am reporting “opportunistically” simply because I am saying something negative about the organization in the wake of a tragedy. I take your comment on board, but I don’t agree with it – nor am I required to agree with it. As far as the case itself is concerned, I have only repeated what has already been reported in the media – and you are welcome to take up any grievances with the newspapers as to their “reported allegations” rather than fixate on me if you so wish.

    Any opinions are expressed as my own, with my name at the foot of the article in big letters so that all can see this is a personal blog with my own conclusions on the matter – and my opinions are founded on not just my personal experience but the experiences of those who visit my website – opinions you dismiss as “hokey website statistics.”

    So, now we have established what you think and what I think, and that there is discord between the former and the latter, are we going to leave it there, or would you prefer to continue to troll the article and see what happens?

  59. Cedars says:

    Any welcome you have received befits the temperament you have displayed.

  60. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:


    I am one who has contributed to the “hokey website statistics”

    I see nothing in the comments on this tragic case that is wrong or distasteful.

    If you agree that JWs have a disproportionate level of mental illness and suicide, then you need to help those poor unfortunates to realise that their religion is “hokey” and does not have a monopoly on Christianity.

    You could contribute to the survey, and you could research just why the JWs have such a poor record on mental health.

    Peace be with you


  61. So glad to be out says:

    As I said we all react/respond in different ways. I have been out 30 years but even after ten years, there was no way I could have challenged the JW mindset. Cedars is three weeks officially out. I can only imagine what emotions he is dealing with, whilst at the same time writing stuff. I feel its a process of working out for yourself what feels good and right for you. I think maybe I can say, some of the language used is also because he is a “northern lad”. (No offence Cedars). People from the north of England have a reputation for not usually taking prisoners and they call a spade a spade. My husband is from that region. something about the genes. You just have to love em though. (Don’t mean to patronise.)

  62. Cedars says:

    I’m delighted to hear that JWsurvey readers have succeeded where I have failed. This is the benefit of working together as a group. My forthright tone may fall on deaf ears for some, whereas for others a “softly-softly” approach may reap dividends. I’m glad you’re slowly getting it.

  63. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:


    I am glad that my comments have helped you. Mr. Cedars’ anger is entirely justified. His former religion have weaponised his family, and they are now shunning him.

    I am in the fortunate position of having a family member who disagrees with many of the outlandish interpretations of the GB, whilst still wanting to go to meetings.

    I think that anyone would be angry that a religion could steal their family from them. Especially with a baby on the way. This should be a time of celebration for Cedars’ family, but they have been coerced into shunning him through misapplied scripture.

    I am sure that you can understand his anger and pain. I for one have deep sympathy with his fury and I wish him and his wife all the luck in the world.

    Peace be with you


  64. Silver words says:

    You should think before you think Buddy,

    Have you come on this website to support the watchtower then? It does not matter what us XJW think for you JW. So why are you on here again? Or don’t you know you will be DF for even reading this website? Remember the Devil = Governing Body so make your choice on which side you are God or Devil (Governing body)

  65. Silver words says:

    But if you happy as a JW why are you even writing on this site then. Not a very welcome? lol Next time you take time to respond to something that you dislike on this site know this: – Don’t read articles that the GB forbid then. Then you will never have to defend them don’t you think?

  66. Silver words says:

    They have suchpoor record of mental health because the cult is based on hatred and power. Now you have your answer.

  67. Kidney Kid says:

    I live in Columbia, SC where this tragedy occurred last month. One of the elders in my wife’s congregation told me that the husband had served in the military prior to becoming a JW, and suffered from PTSD and schizophrenia. The elder said that the man had stopped taking his meds a few weeks before the murder/suicide, and this probably was the cause.

  68. H.K. Fauskanger says:

    It is of course quite impossible to know what role the family’s religion played in this tragedy, or whether it was relevant at all. It would seem that the father somehow snapped and wiped out his family, himself last.

    What can be said, more generally speaking, is that immersing oneself in Watchtower doctrine can be dangerous if one is already somewhat unbalanced. I remember reading a book by a former Witness here in Norway, who struggled with mental illness during his time in the “truth”. The vivid Watchtower scenario of the ever-impending Armageddon with the total annihilation of all of non-Witness humanity was NOT what he needed. Often he was convinced that he was not good enough for Jehovah, so that he would never make it through into the glorious New World.

    And interestingly enough, in a rather disturbing way: If I remember his life story correctly, he at one point considered murdering his entire family and then kill himself last. He “knew” that he could then never qualify for resurrection, but in the New World, HIS INNOCENT FAMILY WOULD BE RESURRECTED! He would have saved them! If he lived on, he feared that his own troubles would somehow drag his family down with him, and they would all perish in Armageddon. After all, the Watchtower has been known to teach that the fate of little children is decided by the religious choices of their parents.

    The plan happily never came to fruition, and he eventually left the movement (and wrote his book!) But within the Watchtower belief system, there was actually a certain logic to what he planned to do.

    As the teaching goes, nearly all who die before Armageddon will be resurrected in paradise. On the other hand, NO non-believer who is alive at the moment Armageddon strikes will be spared or ever resurrected. Taking this logic to its extreme, why shouldn’t an “unselfish” parent who is willing to sacrifice his own place in paradise make sure that his children are well and truly DEAD before Armageddon comes? After all, if he allows them to simply grow up, statistics indicate that only one in three will stick to the faith …

    Think about it: Every year thousands and thousands of young people “leave the truth” and forgo their chance at eternal life in paradise just because the parents were selfishly clinging to their OWN salvation and failed to bring out the rifle in time!

    Any faithful Witness would of course say that this is a completely twisted way of thinking, but is it? Is it not simply the logical consequence of Watchtower doctrine worked out in full, if disturbing, detail?

    A sane and balanced person would of course have inhibitions that would stop him or her from “taking action” based on such logic, but what about those who lack such mental balance? I fear this tragedy could be the result of a family father taking the Watchtower “data” at face value and actually doing the math.

  69. So say goodnite to the badguy says:

    I heard of several suicides,like this. The ‘sister’ shot her husband one Sunday morning.(in the bed with a pillow over his head.) Then she shot herself. So sad. I refuse to let getting DF or ‘dissed’ as they say here,get the best of me. They want you to get depressed ,or catch a STD so they can point their fingers and say “see I told ya!..hes worst now,without us.” I chose to have new ‘friends’. Plus you don’t have to turn into a slut or whore,because you are no longer a Witness.I can get married and respect my wife’s beliefs. When you wasted decades in this religion,you have to make up for ‘lost time.’ Start immediately! Act like you just got out of prison.No more time wasting.I always stayed in apartments, thinking ‘the end’ would come.( just bought a house)I always wanted to be a comic book artist,so I am.Now I want a wife and son..that’s my next goal.No more wasting time peddling mags and bothering people at their homes.Am from the “stay alive til 75″ generation.No more wasting time!!!

  70. So say goodnite to the badguy says:

    1982:Would you guys believe, that the ‘brother’ that was studying with me, pulled a gun out and pointed it at my head, and said” don’t worry it ‘s not loaded”? He was joking and playing with a firearm. Later after the study.. through prayer ,he said he made a mistake.He would follow me on Fridays and Saturday nights to see what I was doing.I was 23 years old and living with this much older woman. I was told I had to marry her, in order to gain salvation.Yep,I did. He didn’t even show up at the wedding!! But he cracked jokes about my marriage problems with the other brothers in the Kingdom Hall “click”. The first thing he said after the wedding was to give me a list of forbidden sexual practices. Later he was appointed an elder, they really needed elders back then.Very young too. Me bitter?,yep..but success is the best revenge.

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