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September 29th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

From grief to grace: Wife of Amish schoolhouse shooter breaks her silence

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Among the flowers and plants in Marie Monville’s sunny yard sits a rosebush, a gift from her first husband, Charlie.

A few years ago, Monville painstakingly unearthed the roots and transplanted the bush from her old house 10 miles away - a house that Charlie had thrown into tumult and grief.

The bush’s prickles recall the pain she and her family have endured, Monville said, and its peach-colored blossoms offer a yearly reminder that God creates new life from old.

After years of silence, Monville is now telling a story of her own.

It’s the story of how a milkman’s daughter became a murderer’s wife, and how she found a divine calling after a devastating tragedy.

“If this wasn’t my life,” Monville said during a recent interview in her kitchen, family pictures smiling from the fridge, “I never would have expected it to look this beautiful.”

On October 2, 2006, Charlie Roberts - then Monville’s husband - burst into a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, with a handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle, cans of black powder, a stun gun, two knives, a toolbox and restraint devices.

Roberts ordered a teacher, a teacher’s aide and the boys to leave, then bound 10 young schoolgirls and lined them up against the blackboard.

He boarded the windows, apparently preparing for a long siege, but as police surrounded the schoolhouse, Roberts shot all 10 girls before killing himself. Five girls died; the others were severely wounded.

The gentle, quiet man who had shared Monville's bed, children and life was now a mass murderer, guilty of unfathomable evil.

In mere hours, Monville lost her husband, and her children lost their father. Her close-knit community was terrorized and her family's name disgraced. Her innocence was despoiled, and her evangelical faith tested.

“I felt deserted, left behind to bear the weight of the world’s judgment and questions alone,” Monville writes in “One Light Still Shines,” her new book about the shooting and its aftermath, “and I felt that weight pressing me down.”

Stepping out of the shadows

After the shooting, Monville tried to keep her family, especially her three young children, out of the public eye.

But with the release of “One Light,” which goes on sale Monday, Monville is stepping out of the shadows, sharing her story in deeply personal detail.

Zondervan, one of the country’s largest Christian publishing houses, won't say how many copies it plans to print. But it has launched a “robust” marketing and publicity campaign, with a billboard in New York’s Times Square and interviews with TV networks, including CNN’s Piers Morgan.

“It will sell millions of copies," said Donald Kraybill, co-author of "The Amish" and a professor at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "Millions."

Not only is Monville’s story powerful and largely untold, it also hits a burgeoning market for book publishers, Kraybill said: the cross-section of evangelical spirituality and interest in all things Amish.

Christian fiction best-seller lists brim with Amish romance novels, largely because of their large evangelical readership, which scholars trace to the 2006 shooting and its stunning postlude of Amish forgiveness.

Monville said she kept silent for so long because that story - the grace and compassion the Amish offered her family - was already making headlines around the world.

“There wasn’t much more for me to say,” she said.

Even if there had been more to say, the intensely private Monville was reluctant to speak publicly. Shy and quiet, she sometimes joked that the label under her high-school yearbook picture should have read, “Most Likely to be Forgotten.”

But as the shooting’s psychological wounds began to heal, Monville said she heard God calling her to a new mission: to share her message of hope and to tell others that, even after Charlie's crushing actions, her family not only survived, they thrived.

“I now saw a grand purpose in telling my story,” Monville writes, “I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

Walking on water

The morning of October 2, 2006, was sunny and warm, Monville recalls, the trees in her rural neighborhood radiant with red and golden leaves.

Monville, then Marie Roberts, was living her deepest childhood dreams.

At 28, she had a vibrant church community and spiritual life, a dutiful husband who doted on their three young children and a home next-door to her grandparents in idyllic Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised.

Charlie Roberts, her husband of nearly a decade, drove a truck that delivered milk to nearby dairies, just as Marie’s family had done for generations. He sometimes brooded over the death of their first daughter, who was born three months premature and died after just 20 minutes, but he usually pulled out from these bouts of depression.

On the morning of the shooting, Marie led a prayer group at a local church, where they asked God to keep schoolchildren safe.

As usual, she and Charlie later walked their two oldest children, then 7 and 5, to the bus stop, kissing them goodbye before Charlie left for work.

At 11 a.m., as Marie was pouring herself a cup of coffee, Charlie called.

“I had never heard Charlie’s voice sound like that before,” Monville writes, “not in almost 10 years of marriage. Something was horribly wrong.”

Charlie told Marie he was not coming home. He left a note explaining everything, he said. Marie pleaded with him to come home, but he hung up.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Charlie also told Marie he had molested young family members two decades before and had daydreamed of doing so again. Monville said she left that out of her new book because police found the claims to be false.

“Charlie said a lot of things on the phone or the letter that didn’t make a lot of sense,” Monville said in an interview. “His mind was filled with all of the things he was planning to do, so he wasn’t in a place of being OK.”

The three-page letter Charlie left for Marie said she was the perfect wife, but the death of their firstborn child made him enraged at God.

“I am sorry to put you and the kids in this position but I feel that this is the best and only way,” Charlie wrote. “I love all of you and this is why am I doing this.”

Marie called 911. Sirens wailed in the distance. Hanging up the phone, she stood in the living room, staring at her ceiling fan, and prayed.

Monville calls this her “walk on water” moment, recalling when Jesus challenged the disciples to show their faith by following his footsteps across the Sea of Galilee.

“I was faced with two choices, and only two,” she said.

“I could choose to believe that everything written about God in the pages of the Word were true, and that he was going to rescue me and my family. Or I could choose to believe that we were going down like the fastest sinking ship.”

The falling flower 

Raised a churchgoer in deeply religious Lancaster County, where churches far outnumber bars, Monville said she always enjoyed a close relationship with God, hearing his voice call to her, feeling his embrace during prayer and worship.

Even after the death of her firstborn, whom they named Elise, and a later failed pregnancy, Monville said she kept hoping that God held better days in store.

But Charlie’s faith faltered, and he shrugged off her pleas to talk to a pastor, counselor or friend about his deepening depression.

“He was angry at God, which I didn’t realize in those days,” Monville said. “I just thought he wasn’t connected to the Lord in the ways I was. The harder I pushed, the more he withdrew.”

Counselors later said that Charlie Roberts likely suffered for years with untreated clinical depression over the death of Elise, which led to a psychotic break with reality, Monville said.

“I did not know the man who went into the schoolhouse and did the things he did there,” she said. “I did not know that Charlie.”

Counselors told Monville that depression can be difficult to diagnose, especially when a sufferer is trying hard to hide it. “There were a lot of things I asked myself,” Monville said. “How did I not see this? What are the signs I missed?”

Those questions didn’t yield easy answers, just more difficult questions, she said: How could God allow this to happen? What should she tell her children? Would people hold her responsible for Charlie’s actions? Could she rebuild her life in Lancaster?

The community - including the Amish - showered her family with gifts, meals and love after the shooting, Monville recalls. They waved hello on the way to the bus stop, dropped by to see if she needed groceries, encouraged her to stay in Lancaster.

Still, Monville had always been a people-pleasing middle child, shyly hoping she could somehow escape the world’s gaze. Now she was the center of attention, with news vans parked in her neighborhood and reporters prowling around her yard.

With her newfound notoriety came questions from strangers that made her skin crawl. Did Charlie have life insurance? How do you sleep at night knowing what your husband did? 

In fact, Monville didn’t sleep at night. She tossed and turned, grieving over her husband and the deaths he caused, and worrying about her children’s future.

But with Scripture and prayer, in reaching out to God and hearing his reply in shouts and whispers, feeling his fatherly care in signs and wonders that people of lesser faith might take for coincidences, Monville said she found healing.

On the day of the shooting, after Charlie’s frightening call, she saw a vision of God’s hand catching a falling flower petal just before it hit the ground, Monville said.

And that’s just what God did for her, she said, every time her spirits fell.

She saw God's hand when the Amish attended Charlie's funeral, when neighbors sent baskets of food, and strangers filled her mailbox with supportive notes.

Most importantly, Monville said, she felt God's strength when she had to tell her children that their father had made some very bad choices, and some people had died, and he had died, too.

“Over and over again," Monville writes, "(God) broke though my pain, revealed his presence, and restored my hope.”

New love

Along with restored hope came another miracle, Monville said: She no longer cared what other people thought.

Marie needed that fearlessness when, just four months after the shooting, she told her family she was engaged to a family friend, Dan Monville.

She and Dan, a divorcé, had bonded after the shooting as they supervised play dates with their young children. She felt a connection with Dan as their families bonded, she said, which ripened into love.

Maybe Dan was the right man, her family said, but it was definitely the wrong time.

Marie had doubts, too. It was so soon after the shooting. But she felt God whispering to her, telling her that Dan was the man she should marry.

Marie said she wrestled with that revelation, fasting and praying for days. Again, one of those signs and wonders - the kind that others might take for happenstance - broke into her life.

Early one morning in December 2006, Marie awoke to hear her Christmas tree tumble with a crackling crash.

Each year, she and Charlie had exchanged Christmas ornaments, their own family tradition. Only two broke when the tree fell, Monville said, the first and last Charlie had given her.

“At the precise moment I noticed this,” she writes, “I heard the words 'It is finished' echo through my heart and mind.”

Dan and Marie were married in May 2007, seven months after the schoolhouse shooting. They now live in the house with Charlie's rosebush, their five children are healthy and happy.

Joyful messenger

Sipping a cup of coffee in her tidy kitchen last week, Monville said she relishes her return to routine, dropping the kids off at school, grocery shopping. "Normal mom" stuff.

She keeps the letter Charlie left and reads it from time to time, even though some parts leave her feeling shaky. Monville also keeps cartons full of letters sent from strangers around the world. She tries not to dread the arrival of October 2, but still finds her eyes fixed to the clock each year, remembering when Charlie left her work, when he called, the day's devastation.

Monville said she has spent years trying to remove the “the shooter’s wife” label - but in a way, she embraces it now, as long as she gets to tell the rest of the story.

It’s the story of how the milkman’s timid daughter, the murderer’s grieving wife, became of all things a joyful messenger, telling everyone who’d listen about the grace of God’s love.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Death • Faith

soundoff (1,271 Responses)
  1. Lawrence of Arabia

    I always hurt for those people who let tragedies in their lives push them further away from God, like with Charlie and the death of their son. I've had to learn that the tragedies in our lives are meant to draw us closer to God. It's hard to learn sometimes, but we can only look at incidents in our lives like we're looking at a single piece of a puzzle, we can't call it "good" or "bad" because we don't know what the whole picture is supposed to look like – only God does. And it is the sovereignty of a loving God that takes each piece (tragedies included) and makes a beautiful picture for His purposes. If only it were easier to step back from our tragedies and see that God is still on His throne, working all things for His glory.

    In a time of crisis, Isaiah was given a vision of reassurance that told him that even though he and his nation was going through a time of severe crisis, God was still in control... "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and the trane of His robe filled the Temple..."

    September 30, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      "daughter" not "son" sorry about that...

      September 30, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What a load of hokum.
      My father has spent his entire life helping those in need.
      He was knighted in the Order of St. John as recognition for a lifetime of humanitarian work.
      Now in his late sixties, he still spends the bitter Canadian winter nights bringing homeless people off the street.
      And yet, God saw fit to give him cancer.

      When good things happen, Praise the Lord!
      When bad things happen, the Lord works in mysterious ways...

      What a pant load!

      September 30, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I wish that we could sit across a table sometime and I could tell you about some of the tragedies in my life...
        But I recognize that everything comes from God, whether "good" or "bad" because God is sovereign – sovereign meaning complete control. And although some aspects of our lives are not easy, there is always purpose in it. It just requires a paradigm shift – life is NOT about us... It's about bringing glory to God. Soli deo gloria. And once you can think like that, anything is bearable. And trust me, there are very few tragedies that you could name that I have not been intimately acquainted, and I still recognize soli deo gloria.

        September 30, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Lawrence
          During the first Gulf War, in a desolate and godforsaken part of the world, Isikveren, in the mountain that divides Turkey and Iraq there was an encampment of 160,000 Kurdish refugees. 9 UN medics oversaw the encampment.
          The infants were dying of dehydration. The water was foul causing nausea and diarrhea and thus dehydration. They could not be rehydrated. Water by mouth caused choking. They tried starting IVs but the children were so terribly dehydrated, veins could not be found.
          In one night, 40 infants died in my father's arms.
          Christmas Eve, 1996 in Coralici, Bosnia a shallow, mass grave was discvered by UN Peacekeepers under my father's command.
          Have you even spent your Christmas morning toe tagging the rotting corpses of children?
          Are you sure you've directly experienced all kinds of tragedy?

          September 30, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          I have been a missionary. I have worked with disaster relief for countless hurricanes on the east coast. Do not presume to know what I have or haven't seen. We've all seen our share of death.
          Besides, it still doesn't change the point that God uses even tragedies in our lives for His glory.

          Luke 13:1-5
          From this passage, Jesus teaches us that horrible things happen to otherwise “good” people that are perpetrated by others who are very wicked, and in just the same way, natural disasters also come and kill many “innocent” people.

          What we can gleam from this is twofold:
          1) That there was not a single person who was killed who was not going to die anyway. Since God is sovereignly in control and works all things according to the council of His own will, and He works all things for good to those who love God – as tragic as those deaths were, if they loved God, then they were immediately put into the presence of God.

          2) Furthermore, Jesus tells us that unless we repent, we will all likewise perish – in other words, no one knows the day nor the hour that they will die, so they must always be prepared to do so – therefore repent and trust in Christ.

          Therefore, whenever tragedies happen anywhere on this earth, Jesus tells us that it is a call to repent!

          September 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          I have spent a Christmas burrying my mother.
          So, no, I didn't spend a Christmas applying toe tags, but we all have had tragedies in our lives associated with death. And the Bible tells us that death will be the last enemy that will be defeated, but it WILL be defeated.

          Taking a tragedy in your life and using as a reason to abandon God is the WORST tragedy of all.

          September 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • InkyGuy

        Why should doing good and leading a good life leave him immune and free from the pain and suffering that everyone is subject to. Neither a good life or belief in God is some sort of cosmiic insurance policy.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  2. Agnostickids

    Oh, and I've lived in Lancaster. It's not really any more religious than any other small town in PA. The Amish don't really advertise brimstone, and there are bars. Even gay bars. So...yet again, a rather one-sided story by a woman that wants to be a famous evangelist.

    September 30, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • I've changed

      It seems relying on god's help for depression,rather than seeking proper medical assistance didn't turn out to be such a great idea.This woman has regular chats with the big guy?Is there no end to the ego of some of these religious folks.You can not tell me this isn't a form of mental illness.

      September 30, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  3. Agnostickids

    Rebuild her life? Heal? Um...the woman got married 7 MONTHS after her first husband went crazy and shot people. I think he went crazy because she was already having an affair....

    Not a super smart story...

    September 30, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  4. Jiggy Johnson

    It's hilarious how they frame Lancaster County to be deepy religious and how "churches outnumber bars." C'mon. This is definitely far from Little House on the Prairie.

    September 30, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  5. Robert Brown

    You ever wonder who created God, where is God, what is God, what is the trinity, who does God save, what does it mean to be reborn? All of these questions and more are answered in one little verse of scripture. Enjoy!

    Isaiah 57:15
    For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

    September 30, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Circular reasoning! We've had this discussion with you before, you can't use scripture to prove the christian god.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:51 am |
      • Robert Brown

        I didn't say it proved.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Chris

      That didn't even remotely answer your first "question"

      September 30, 2013 at 8:53 am |
      • Robert Brown

        Sure it did. If God resides in eternity, he has no beginning or end.

        September 30, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Your answers go nowhere, all you are doing is quoting from some moldy book.

      Pastafarianism has the real answers. For these answers and more go to: http://www.venganza.org/

      September 30, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Will

      RB-You cannot use the Bible to prove God, you have to use 'The end of Faith' by sam harris to prove God. You must always use the opponents position to prove your assertion. 😉

      September 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  6. shad360

    Nut job!
    Dont buy this book unless the profits are distributed among the victim's family ONLY.

    September 30, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      This woman is following the 1stt Commandment of Capitalism, America's true religion – "Anything for a buck".
      What're the Amish going to do with money?
      How much do you think a new butter churn goes for these days?

      Remeber kids, money can't buy happiness – but it can get a long term lease on distraction.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Bob

      I guess if you knew anything about the Amish you would know they don't want the money.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  7. Reality # 2

    Dear Citizens of Lancaster, PA aka the Amish Tourist Trap,

    The Apostles'/Agnostics’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    September 30, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  8. shad360

    “How did I not see this? What are the signs I missed?”
    You missed common sense. Look at yourself outside of the biblical faith and you will know why you missed it.

    btw I wanted to buy the book and know the truth. But from your passage its very clear you and (probably your husband) have too much that drama gene and every day kind of thing you connect with God conveniently.

    Someone in he ere suggested that all the profits from the book sales should go to the victims family – especially if you so much believe in the teachings of the faith. If this is so I will buy the book and donate it to a church.

    September 30, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  9. Tutuvabene

    With the grace and compassion that the Amish display it would be great if the Discovery networks produced programming that focused on that aspect of Amish life, instead of crap like "Breaking Amish" and the "Amish Mafia."

    September 30, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • midwest2

      Couldn't agree more. The behavior of those Amish teens is deplorable – as is the language many of them use. Where on earth did they learn to act and speak that way? And yet the program will display charming Amish Proverbs. What hypocracy.

      September 30, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  10. Donna

    "The morning of October 2, 2006, was sunny and warm, Monville recalls, the trees in her rural neighborhood radiant with red and golden leaves." I live in southern Lancaster County, about 5 miles from this terrible tragedy. She states the trees were radiant with red and golden leaves.... this is not true. The leaves are still mostly green, they do not turn until the end of October. I do believe she has suffered and none of this is her fault but this statement just makes me ask how many other things does she say that are not entirely true. I will not be buying this book.

    September 30, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • nancy smith

      you have no idea what publishers will edit/change /embellish in the text that you submit to them, do you? after the author signs away their last shred of control, (to ensure a meager piece of the publishers profit) theres little they can do to protect much of what goes in a book. Harry Potter and those tales of imaginary nonsense got plenty of 'improvements' after the poor, struggling, poverty ridden author handed over her rights.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • April

      I am in NY, further North and the leaves have VERY much changed their colors and It's not October yet. I think she has a story to tell and I also think that there are too many heartless people in this world that would benefit from reading it.

      September 30, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • nancy smith

        agreed, leaves on trees change because of any number of conditions. a dry summer and a sudden chill will make some trees drop their leaves suddenly, some will hold on and go thru the color cycle, some stick tight until the hard frost embraces them too. this woman is remembering those insignificant, yet striking details that often are imprinted on your mind when sudden stress strike you. Remember where you were when you found out JFK was shot dead? I applaude her courage and common sense to remarry ASAP (Parents Without Partners?) to keep the children's sense of family integrity intact and to secure their own as well as her safety. Those with comments regarding 'affairs' and such must have some skeletons of their own to deal with.

        October 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  11. Balance Johnson

    The belief in ever lasting life is attributed to mankind who cannot accept that life Ned's at death. Enjoy it while you can and be civil to your fellow man.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  12. Judythe

    She has a very big head. Wow. The rest of you can fight about other stuff. She is a Christian, she has been through a very hard time, she is happy now. God does exist and he does cure heartache. Get over it. And she still has a big head.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The support of her community full of people who share her faith helped cure her heartache.
      God's existence is a moot point.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • nancy smith

      Shes a good woman, the dads dead, yet she's still keeping the family together, safe and a new partner/mate/helper is quite useful these days. She's no idiot, has a good grasp of reality and live in reality, with the community of her religion. Shared strengths is nothing to scoff at, too many fail to see that aspect of any communal organization. THE WHOLE IS ALWAYS MADE OF THE PARTS.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  13. JC

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Every American has the right to believe in God or not believe in God. If our government recognizes that with this law, why can't we as individual respect that right without bashing each other verbally. After all, when we die, we will know if God is real or not! We only have a few years to live on this earth and our way of life is going down hill quickly; why not spend those years trying to make America better for those who follow. If this lady finds solace in her belief why should anyone ridicule her. I don't know how I would have walked in her shoes during such an event.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  14. carlin123

    He husband was a murderous lunatic and this woman is obviously a religious kook. Being so holy-minded I assume all proceeds from her book will go to the family's of the murdered children.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Analgousshark

      That was horrible thing to say. You have no idea what she will do, nor do you have any inkling of the pain this woman endured. So easy to judge from the rear view mirror isn't it? #pathetic

      September 30, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • Bob

      If you were not such a bitter idiot you would know the Amish would not take the money. How about you go try to do something good today.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  15. nancy smith

    what was in that cup of coffee she gave him that morning? just enough special caffiene to send him over the edge? or was it a chance encounter during his drive with some trigger? no, this was a planned execution of innocents, by a seriously deranged and semi lucid man, who chose his 'revenge' against the 'god' that had promised him more than could ever be delivered. may all the children know they were innocent of this, as it was one person who did the murders, not they or the woman. a book may tell the story, but will not bring those precious children back to life.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  16. Kim

    Till death do you part – not death and 1 year, one month, or one day! I cannot imagine what this woman/family went through. I cannot fathom what this family endured. I cannot imagine the love that the Amish showed during their own grief. I do know that we all saw God! How can I see the saw dust in my neighbors eye yet I cannot see the plank in my own! During grieving the pain is tremendous and to set that aside and let God guide is a great faith that I seek for myself in my daily life. If i get the opportunity to read this book I will not to follow the people but reach to grasp a part of God's miracle of love in a terrible unimaginable unforgivable situation. A pure heart is truly a blessing! I am so glad this family is thriving well – I am so blessed to know (as others that truly seek to understand) that the Amish are above the normal world in really walking with God! Judge if you must, make assumptions if you cannot understand, say ugly things if you think that will soothe the disturbance that whales within you, turn and think that it cannot be, but I pray for you that one day you will know the miracles of God as these people have through this terrible situation of loss, hurt, pain, nashing, and in the end forgiveness! Is this how God felt when we denied Him and when He watched His Son being tortured by what He had created for good that went to bad. Not many will understand but those who do or live by faith will feel God and know Him. I seek this and pray you will also!

    September 30, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Your imaginary friend was completely absent when it was necessary. I guess it was a) too busy to care about these children or b) More likely, simply doesn't exist.
      How idiots like you still believe your god is so loving when if it existed you'd have thought it might have protected these kids but sadly gullibility plays in to the delusion. Time to grow up and realize that there is zero evidence supporting your imaginary friend or any other god.

      September 30, 2013 at 6:48 am |
      • Kebos

        @Kim-echo truthprevails comments. Your self-serving comments of a super-being that no more exists than does Santa Claus or the tooth-fairy are insulting, to say the least. Your reference to a man that may or may not have existed who was nailed to a cross are pointless and uninspiring. And then linking this to a super-being with some grand plan for humanities salvation is petty, fictional, and immature. Grow up!

        September 30, 2013 at 7:20 am |
        • Atheist, me?

          @Kebi
          S H A M E!!!

          September 30, 2013 at 7:58 am |
      • Jeff S

        Actually there is lots of evidence God, or some supreme power, exists. God is not a superhero. He does not swoop in to save people from harm at the last moment.

        But look at the world around you. True the natural systems we see at work around us could have formed randomly. And perhaps they did. I certainly do not possess the knowledge to make that statement with no doubt. And neither do you. We cannot prove one way or the other that God does or doesn't exist. Either statement takes an act of faith because we simply do not have all the facts. Until we can emphatically prove how the world was created we wont be able to say with any certainty one way or the other.

        The funny thing to me is that the people that say God doesn't exists are unable to prove that he doesn't. The absence of truth doesn't invalidate a line of thought.

        Besides, just the belief in God helps many people navigate life. I don't see how someone's belief in God prevents you from not believing in God.

        And for the record...I'm not religious. I believe there is a reason for everything. And until we know for certain God is not part of the equation I am not willing to rule that out as a possibility.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:32 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Feel free to provide said evidence. The fact that I say god doesn't exist is based on the complete lack of evidence and it is not up to the one requesting said evidence to prove there is no evidence. The burden of proof lies on the one making the claim.
          A person belief in god is not what prevents me from believing, it is the complete lack of evidence that prevents me from leaving.
          You state you are not religious but yet to believe in a god takes believing in religion of some form.
          Which god are you proclaiming is potentially part of the equation???
          Give me reason to believe. Why is a god even necessary?

          September 30, 2013 at 8:40 am |
        • truthprevails1

          "from leaving" from believing

          September 30, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • I've changed

          God can not be relied upon when confronting danger as it is too busy scoring touchdowns and talking to sad people.

          September 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  17. rai

    i thought amish people don't drive/ use motor vehicles as far as they could help it, and aren't phones off limit too?

    September 30, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Modern Amish drive, although they tend to remove or paint the chrome. This lady however was not Amish, her monster ex-husband just chose to take his vengeance out on innocent Amish children.

      September 30, 2013 at 6:45 am |
      • Epidi

        WhaaaT??? hahaha! no they don't – at least not sanctioned by thier church. They can take taxis, etc, but aren't supposed to drive cars (church rules). Watch much Amish Mafia?

        September 30, 2013 at 7:23 am |
        • Epidi

          You are mistaking the Menonites for the Amish.

          September 30, 2013 at 7:24 am |
        • truthprevails1

          You're an idiot. Modern is the key word here, not all Amish are completely stuck in the dark ages. Painting them all with that broad brush is like saying all christians will commit mass murder or rape or child abuse or own slaves.

          September 30, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  18. Nate

    Of course Magic Land and the Invisible Friends cannot be blamed. Were would we be if the voices stopped?

    September 30, 2013 at 5:58 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 30, 2013 at 3:32 am |
    • begrudgingatheist

      My three children are very healthy, thanks. Happy, too. Also in the top of their classes. And compassionate, volunteering since they were very little.

      Prayer only helps the person praying to feel as if they're doing something when, in reality, the situation remains unchanged by what goes on inside of another person's head. Unless that prayer causes that person to actually DO something. I can already predict the kinds of things you want to write back. It's all been said before, so don't bother. My original statement stands: This atheist family is happy for this woman, who has gone through so much in terms of shock and betrayal. I wish the best for her family.

      September 30, 2013 at 4:09 am |
      • mike jeremiah meredith robert III

        You and your children are hell bound. You are a liar.

        September 30, 2013 at 5:11 am |
        • christianstevelook at sambo stone the preevert. she knows

          Sambo the stoned preevert has all the answers. All her demons love her.

          September 30, 2013 at 5:20 am |
        • Rett

          it almost seems like you are gloating....WWJD

          September 30, 2013 at 5:48 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Wow and you are psychotic. hharri/faith/kelly, whichever personality you are using now I think you've hit an all time low by wishing innocent children suffering...you need to locate the nearest asylum and check yourself in. If there is a hell as you claim (LOL), it is you would deserve the eternal torture...you are the furthest thing from a decent moral human possible.

          September 30, 2013 at 6:28 am |
        • begrudgingatheist

          There is no hell, so we're not worried. However, I practically bathed in the Christian love that just dripped from your loving comment. Thanks!

          September 30, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • Analgousshark

        Your entire argument is rendered moot because if you were so great and honorable, you would have never made such a statement. I will let you think on why that is.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • hurdie gurdie

      I love horus

      September 30, 2013 at 5:21 am |
    • emerino83

      This is such a strangely worded question. Atheism is not healthy for children or ants, plants, or pigs? How can you preach the gospel to other livings things that don't recognize religion itself? Is hell really a lush forest full of fallen trees as well as a menagerie for the godless extinct? Give us all a break. What a person believes should been seen through their actions, not what they say or how many times they pray. I don't think Atheists' non-religious afflictions are detrimental to children. If you want to provide a question with some context, you should ask if Catholicism is not healthy for children. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those abused ended up being abusers themselves. Even look at Christians with a crisis of faith, like this story. Children were murdered because a man was mad with God. Do you ever hear of Atheists committing mass murder because they found God?

      September 30, 2013 at 5:33 am |
      • Atheist, me?

        You do understand that the Christian who has lost his faith is an Atheist and vice versa. So in this case Atheism is not healthy!
        Just kidding but why do u bother to respond to the prayerbot and reality machine?

        September 30, 2013 at 7:54 am |
        • I've changed

          He said he was mad at god.He did not say he stopped believing.His anger at god drove him insane.Speaks volumes eh?

          September 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  20. maria

    Just four months after the tragedy this man commit and he dies, this woman married again? really? they don't look or act is Amish people , very soon to be in love and marry again .......maybe she had this man before the husband die.......never hear of something like this too soon!

    September 30, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Wow, reading comprehension fails you, it was 7 months not 4. This man and his family were not Amish. What she chose to do with her life after he died is not for any of us to judge. She didn't do anything wrong and deserves to move forward in this world.
      Are you judging her based on the fact that you don't have a man and jealousy prevails in your small mind?? You're no better by making the assumption that she is an adulterer...how very pathetic of you!

      September 30, 2013 at 7:25 am |
    • April

      Then maybe you don't know love

      September 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.