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A family shattered, reborn
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. AE

    A light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. Praise God.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Flashlights are amazing!

      September 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • AE

        "Let there be light" was the advertising slogan of the first flashlight.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          Really?

          September 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • G to the T

      Light is just a temporary condition. There was darkness before, there will be darkness afterwards.

      October 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Mitt in OH

    The article could have been,
    "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade: Wife of Amish schoolhouse shooter breaks her silence"
    but I will reserve all judgments and watch the interview on Piers Morgan show.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  3. Jun

    We all are actors and actresses here. Sometimes, we play good roles. Some other times, bad roles.
    It depends on scripts.

    September 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Answer

      What a load of crock.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  4. BBs

    The older children are applying for their divers permits? Really? They are Amish right? Was it a Buggy permit? Was this a little creative writing?

    September 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Scuba?

      September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • FromThereToHere

      NO. They themselves were NOT Amish.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Karl

      The shooter and his family were not Amish (and still are not Amish).
      The 10 schoolgirls who were shot were Amish.
      The Amish community forgave and supported the shooter's family.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • kr

      Read again...it says DRIVERS permits ... as in to legally drive a car

      September 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  5. northE

    What a nut case. This article actually sounds as if she is justifying....Married 4 months later? I don't even think the media cleared out of the area by that time. And what about her kids? My opinion, this family's actions are setting up for another generation of nut cases.............

    September 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  6. car555

    I am sickened and distressed that this woman has been allowed to turn this unspeakable tragedy into a source of profit and self-promotion. Shame on her, shame on her publisher and shame on CNN for participating in this disgusting travesty.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Which freedom are you suggesting we abolish in our society? The freedom to publish a book of your own choosing or the freedom to buy a book of your own choosing?

      September 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Exasperated is putting it mildly

        Cpt Obvious, I do not believe Car555 was suggesting taking away any freedoms. However, just because you can do something does not necessarily mean that you should. That is a distinction pretty much lost on modern society. Just because you can strip down to your flesh toned undies and gyrate against the privates of a man on national television doesn't mean you should. Just because you can write a book and self-promote and turn a profit on a gross tragedy that impacted people far beyond yourself doesn't mean that you should. Saying "shame on you" to someone exercising their "freedom" in a way you find disgusting or appalling is not in any way trying to curtail their freedoms. In fact, all Car555 is doing is exercising his/her rights to say what he/she thinks about what this woman has done. In no way is it synonymous with "the government should step in and prevent this from happening", which would be trying to limit this woman's "freedoms," which would be objectionable and worth speaking out against. However, Car555 did not say this. Car555 said this woman and the publisher should be ashamed of the way they have chosen to exercise their freedom. That is all. You can agree or disagree with whether or not you think what they are doing is shameful... but Car555 has every right and freedom to express his/her thoughts. Freedom works both ways.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • visitor

        Exasperated, while I agree overall with your sentiment, I do not agree with you example. There is zero comparison between a wife of a mass child murderer writing a book about her experiences healing in 120 days and a performance at the Video Music Awards which frankly I thought was rather funny and no more lewd than a whole bunch of other performances. In fact, Miley Cyrus won a fan after she took all the cr-ap because she was just so fearless and silly. There is value in not taking yourself seriously.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • visitor

          And By the way, I think it is appropriate to write the book.

          I am sure the author is prepared for the criticism. Which is only starting.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • DD

      Do you know what she plans to do with the proceeds? We are often too quick to judge.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • cherry

      Dear car555. The wife of the shooter was one among the innocent victims. I can only imagine my self in her shoes. Torn and broken by the incident, expecting rejection and despise from the community and the USA. Not knowing how to move forward. The forgiveness poured out by the Amish people of Nickle Mines took courage and grace from the Lord Jesus. It took love and compassion and forgiveness for the new man in her life to take her as is wife. The author of the book has a lot to present to this world on the joy of forgiveness and the strength and courage it will take to move on from tragedy to hope. I hope you will see that in your life one day by the transformation of the Holy Spirit.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • gaia

      One she was a victim. Two, if she taking this and writing about it, and then publishing it which will bring in money is wrong, what about all the other books about the horrible things that has happened?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Dippy

        Have, not has.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Jeff6187

      wow... you're pretty bitter! And unless I'm totally misreading this article, I don't see profit as the big motive for this work. And even if she does earn something from it, it's to help fill in what she might have had financially had her husband lived. And you know ... if her message is powerful and deserving, who cares. And if it's not, don't buy the damn book. Either way, it's kinda pathetic that you're so bitter over a woman who has had to survive this tragedy the same as the rest of the victim's families.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  7. geminiapollo

    Dont let the media and TV fool you...the Amish are not humble, religious farmers in suspenders and straw hats.....they are a CULT and money is their god. Why are they so secretive and how did they get so rich?
    Just ask the poor dogs suffering in their filthy puppy mills.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Do you even know any Amish people? I would not say that they are rich. Their OT interpretations of the bible is why they treat animals the way they do, and I would argue that they certainly treat their livestock well. There are plenty of cultures where the dog gets little respect, but in the US we protect animals (especially cute ones)- the issue is that they don't like to abide by the law (and not just for religious reasons). You may assume from my handle that I am a dog lover, but I am also a farm boy and have been to the third world. You may want to project your values onto other cultures, but I ask that you understand them before you judge.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Larry

      They are not a cult.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Jeff6187

      Listen Mr. Gemini A. Chicken; if you don't like an article then don't like it. But don't bash an entire group of people because of some deep seated petty emotion that you can't even describe. Actually, that's called bigotry.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  8. amy

    She is as loony tunes as her first husband.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Linda Reynolds

      Indeed.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  9. JustMyView

    Here is how I view it: Just like Charlie went into depression after his firstborn child died, can you imagine how many parents are still grieving their daughter's death? Yes, this lady moved on, but how do the parents move on with the death of their daughters, so gruesomely murdered? I dont think they want to know how happy the shooter's wife is nowadays!!

    September 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Sean

      You make it seem as if the shooter's wife was an accomplice.... She and their children were also victims. The parents of the children that were killed and injured along with the injured children each have their own story about moving forward and healing.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Linda Reynolds

        Yes, and this self serving church lady doesn't seem to pay their suffering much mind. It's all about Me me me and mine mine mine and how God cares so much about US!

        September 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Larry

          Exactly. I couldn't have said it better.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • cherry

          Linda, God cares about you too, very much in fact. There will be rejoicing and singing in heaven the day you commit your life to Jesus Christ.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • Lee

          Uh she's already spent years thinking about her sorrow for those people. Don't even pretend like she's even been the least bit selfish about this. Years! So if she can get a little something back AND share with the world a perspective most never get to or are willing to over something some selfish jerk she married decided to do then all the power to her. I'm not even Christian in the least but I still admire her growth and I'd like to hear about it. Most people would destroy themselves and their lives after going through something like that and she didn't. I think its important for people to hear how. Because she was not the first person to be married to a guy who wound up doing unspeakable things and sadly she will be far from the last. Lumping her in as guilty because of association is absolute North Korea BS and is disgusting. She's done her time dwelling on the deaths of those other people. At least she waited awhile and let the other stories that needed to be shared be told. Just because you might not be in a position where people care about your perspective does not make her telling hers a selfish act.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • sj52

          i don't see how you are so quick to judge. This is just a little but of her story. You don't know the pain and healing that went on between now and the shooting. maybe you shold first try to put yourself in her shoes instead of being so quick to judge.

          September 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  10. Tracy

    Remarried 7 months after your husband slaughtered babies and killed himself . interesting

    September 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • geminiapollo

      Well you see she needs someone to look after the kids while she does the TV and book tours and consults with her money adviser.
      Shes a REAL POS.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • What's in a name?

      Tracy,

      I doubt that those 7 to 13 year-old girls would appreciate being called "babies". Why do people call children "babies" long after their babyhood is past?
      (and I don't mean using it once in a while as a cute term of endearment or as in "baby of the family")

      September 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
      • heather

        That's what you took from the whole story, someone calling the murdered children "babies?"

        September 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • What's in a name?

          heather,

          Nope. It's just a comment on a (yes, somewhat minor) point to Tracy, that's all. I am not aware of the rule that posts have to contain complete summaries of one's take on every aspect of the case.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • kr

        petty comment...serves no purpose at all

        September 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • What's in a name?

          I don't think it's petty to call for respect for these young girls (and other young victims) by not calling them "babies".

          September 29, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I won't blame someone for attempting to find happiness in a relationship after a difficult period in life.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • sj52

      if the amish community can forgive her husband her, and her family, why cant you all? She is just trying to find happiness! Give her a break!

      September 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  11. rh

    Forgiveness = permission. Sick, all the way around.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Alias

      Like the guy who asked ogd for money?
      His priest told him god didn' work that way.
      So he stole te money and asked for forgiveness.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • DD

      Forgiveness is what GOD asks us to do for one another. Forgiveness is what he will offer you for only asking with a pure heart.

      Maybe a visit with a believer of any Christian faith will help you understand. This woman did not commit her husband crime. You do not know her intentions with this book.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • cherry

      Your heart will need to be awaked by the spirit of the Lord Jesus to know what true forgiveness is. The Amish people of Nickle Mines showed the world around them the power of forgiveness in the best way one could possibly imagine. Revenge and rage is easy and most fall for it, but true forgiveness needs power from above. – Cherry

      September 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  12. anonymous

    Just like Charlie went into depression after his firstborn child died, can you imagine how many parents are still grieving their daughter's death? Yes, this lady moved on, but how do the parents move on with the death of their daughters, so gruesomely murdered? I dont think they want to know how happy the shooter's wife is nowadays!!

    September 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Thankfully – they are Amish and not exposed to this BS.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • heather

        They are Amish, but they are not stupid and they will know. They will not like the publicity and they will not like that the women is profiting any off this horrible story. They have more right than anyone to tell this story because they lost their kids, and they have chosen not to. She is taking advantage of their good will and forgiveness.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          What is she doing now that she would not be able to do without their good will and forgiveness?

          September 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Shalom David

    Nicely written article!

    The real heroes of faith in this story are the Amish!!!!. What a testament they are to what forgiveness is all about

    God bless the Amish!

    September 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Alias

      Too bad so many christians think they are going to hell.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • Mark

        huh???

        September 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Forgiveness in action

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4WUsr689Y4&w=640&h=390]

      September 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      The Amish are a very interesting segment of our population, and I grew up with surrounding Amish communities. I applaud them for living their convictions, and it is no easier for these families to forgive than it is for anyone, but they do it with dignity and grace. Most of the country does not really understand them well, and all of the attention on TV is ridiculous (Amish Mafia...please?) in that how do you trust in the objectivity of a portrait that the subject has never seen.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • kr

        Some of the commenters on here really don't care to know the subject that they are spilling their hate about.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Linda Reynolds

      Too bad their famous compassion and grace does not extend to animals. The Amish are notorious for operating some of the most cruel and disgusting puppy mills of anybody.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        Oh – I am not saying they are perfect. They are religious separatists after all, they want no part of this American experiment.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • Janet C

        I used to love going to Lancaster until I learned the Amish are puppy mill breeders. Visit Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue's web site to learn of the horror stories regarding dogs they rescue from the puppy mills around the Lancaster area. Please consider supporting this great facility for all the hard work they do to help not only puppy mill goldens but other goldens in need. To the Amish – they should be ashamed of the disgusting way they treat dogs!!!!

        September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • kr

        Not all are running puppy mills. In fact, most aren't. And people like you say Amish when they should say mennonite, englishers and a host of others that all get lumped into Amish.
        The Amish are unprotected by the “politically correct." They don’t defend themselves, they don’t respond to media, they don’t go to court to assert their rights. Sadly, they end up being easy targets for profiling and prejudice.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • sj52

        just like everybody on this earth, they have their bad sides. We and they know that they are not perfect and according to the hateful comments you are posting, neither are you.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Quixote

      As soon as I read this article the first question was, who are the Amish?

      A google search reveals hit shows Amish mafia, Amish puppy mills, the Amish guy who chopped the beard of another.

      Are Amish people mafia?

      September 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • Sweet Pea

        You are sound very ignorant with that comment. The Amish demonstrate the love and grace of God. The Amish are kind, respectful, hard-working, and God-loving people.The Amish are largely unprotected by the “politically correct” umbrella. They don’t defend themselves, they don’t respond to media, they don’t go to court to assert their rights. Sadly, they end up being easy targets for profiling and prejudice by the general population.

        Leave your prejudices behind and learn to seek the truth about the word of God and also about other people including the Amish.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • Quixote

          Appreciate that response.

          Just so you know, It is 'you're sounding ignorant' or 'you sound ignorant'.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
        • Sweet Pea

          Sorry, it was a typo. Here is an Amish proverb, ""Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the world’s rough hand cannot erase."

          September 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          They are also separatists, they take advantage of buggy ready roads, hospitals, fire and police, but do not want to have to pay for it or abide by the laws of the society at large. They flaunt the laws regarding child labor and shun public education for a bare minimum self-controlled curriculum. This in itself is denying certain rights to their children and basically ensuring that even when given a taste of society at large, they are ill prepared to deal with the reality of life in America. I wonder what will happen when they are fined for not having health care insurance. I believe that families basically save all the family wealth and pay for health care out of pocket if they can, but farming is not as profitable as it once was and even generations of family wealth can't pay for extended cancer treatments. The Amish from my area are not involved in puppy mills and are hard working people that have had to start working in society at large in order to make ends meet, but they are not what I would consider patriotic American citizens.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  14. SamB19

    oh boy, another hyper-religious brain-washed coo-coo who justifies everything by one-sided, self-serving "It's God's will"! Disgusting.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Alias

      From the Article: “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.”

      September 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • marlene

      Did she say anything about God's will? You should read what is written before you write anything. It seems like this is a person, though very religious, is trying to cope. How would you cope in her shoes?

      September 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • Linda Reynolds

        How about apologizing to the dead children's families? Making them pies instead of receiving and quit thinking that it is most important that God took care of self but (if you follow that line of reasoning) he didn't give a dm about these precious children hubby slaughtered.

        THis woman sounds oblivious. I bet there were plenty of signs he was ill, She was too busy looking at the sky on her knees for some imaginary man in the sky.

        September 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • kr

          How do you know she didn't address her feelings about the children that were killed? Did you read the whole book? No, you didn't because it isn't out yet. You just choose to believe a reporters partial version of an interview. You really seem like a hate-filled person

          September 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Darrell

      Let me guess........You do not believe in God. Therefore God does not exist. I shall pray for you.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  15. Apple Bush

    The joyful myth and eager messenger;

    Stained glass soars to the rafters;

    Surely God is here, and yet this house is empty;

    No salesman can close;

    Lovely building full of lies, heard less prayers than cries;

    Sacred this and sacred that;

    Babies raped and priests zipping up their pants;

    No leads to follow;

    This is what Jesus witnesses from His lofty perch in that glass;

    Abuse the sheep and pay the tithe;

    Fill the tray and please don’t stay;

    Such a lovely cathedral, such a vile torture chamber.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jane Ritter

      I think it's sad that so many "Christian" churches have tainted your perception of something that in it's purest for is beautiful. In the hearts of all men there is good and evil and it's up to each of us to decide on our own actions. I feel so sad for those children who were victimized by their own religion by pedophiles that were wolves in a leaders cloth. But please don't believe that all churches are like that. I have experienced some awful churches where everyone gathered in their own clicks giving the cold shoulder to anyone new. However, I have also experience some amazing churches that were filled with warmth and love from the second you waltzed through the door. The god churches are out there and often they are the less noticeable and smaller ones not the over sized popular ones. Whether you chose to believe in something or not, that's your choice. But please don't categorize all churches as evil. I hope you have many blessing come your way.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • Dippy

        First "it's" should be "its," Janey.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Jorge

    It is interesting how those who express disdain for people making comments connected to grace and faith, are also advocating for condemnation for the wife of the murderer. For some reason the fact that the husband was emotionally unstable and committed a horrendous crime and the wife believed in God are equivalent. For some absurd reason people are accusing, judging and condemning someone who, at best, has been shown to have reported her uneasiness to the police as soon as she was made aware of it.

    It is okay for you to be a non-believer, even if I would rather see you believing. What is not right is using someone's beliefs to condemn them irrationally and attack their character based on your failed neural synapses. You, who claim science and logic is in your side, should stop and use those Darwinian brains and produce coherent thought beyond that of primates. As a scientist and someone who believes in Christ I am appalled that some of you do not find your own judgmental arguments contrary to the precepts of your alleged line of thought.

    I just hope and pray something good may come out of all the situation, well written article.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Alias

      We didn't express didain towards her until she decided to use her faith to turn a profit of of other people's suffering.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        I doubt that it was even her idea to write a book, this publisher wanted a book that can sell, and they are the ones that going to make the most money from this. If you are looking for a vampire in this story, I would point to the publisher, and continuing the analogy, this woman would be Renfield. This woman is also a victim, and victim stories sell, but the poor families of those little girls will not benefit at all, in fact all of this attention is in itself harmful to those families. Thankfully they are Amish, and they don't willingly expose themselves to the spectacle of modern mass media.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • alpeaston

          Yeah, well when she take all the profit she makes from the book and donates it to the families of babies her husband slaughtered, then I will believe on religious nonsense, otherwise she is just another immoral profiteer!!!

          September 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • Jane Ritter

          I highly doubt the Amish would accept any kind of donation from the sale of this book. That's not how they are. But who's to say that she won't have a permanent memorial put up in their remembrance? We don't know all the motives she has for writing this book whether she was urged to or not by the publisher. However, after the book sells and she has her profit, then what she decides to do with it will speak volumes of just how much of a role her "faith" plays in her life. Until then I won't even speculate what she's thinking. I'm just going to watch and wait to see what she does.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • heather

        right on

        September 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • Sunshine100

        Holy Crap! Such a hypocrite you are. Using your concept, the Bible is a prime example of a book that wasn't started to be written until 200 years after Jesus Christ died (so how much is truth and how much is fiction?). Filled with anger, vengeance, child abuse, slaughter and murder, God-given natural disasters, and lots more (pun intended). The Bible is distributed and sold throughout the world – somebody is financially better off with the sales of millions of people's suffering and death. Matches your analogy? I think so.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Lynne

        Where does it say she will profit from the book? How do you know she isn't donating the profit? And what difference is it to you that she writes her story about this hellacious event. She was a victim and so were her children. Her story is an inspiration to others. I'm not religious, but I find no fault in someone who is wanting to share how their beliefs give them encouragement in the face of horrendous problems. And, why do you care? The incident happened 7 years ago, so she hardly jumped on the occasion to try to make money. She believes she has something to share with others. Get over it.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Ted

      As usual, Jorge, you do the praying (which has never resulted in anything), and we'll do the thinking (which sometimes produces solutions.)
      .

      September 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Jorge, I am an atheist, and I agree with the general sentiment of your post even if some of the finer points of detail are incorrect or poorly analyzed.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  17. Alias

    Why did god need to make billions of stars just for one garden with 2 people in it?

    September 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      My favorite part of Genesis is when God creates "light" prior to creating the Sun AND thinks the other stars provide light to Earth.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • SciGuy

        God created light before he created the sun and other stars. They are light-producers, among other things, but not light itself. It is not surprising that God creating light before creating these light-bearers.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          You have taken Genesis completely out of context.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Supporting evidence?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          So light existed before there was light?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Alias

          So did he make gravity before making the gravity-bearers?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • Miracle Grow

          Yeah, it's always fun imagining a giant Gro-Lite up there somewhere for the vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and trees that bear fruit that were "created" before the sun.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Light existed before the stars existed.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Alias

          Did he make man, bear and pig before making Manbearpig?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          There is no light when you un-screw the light bulb. Then, when you screw it back in there is light. Light IS possible!

          September 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Alias, I don't thinkGod has given us any details on the creation of gravity.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • Boris

          But first, god created turtles. Very strong turtles. The whole universe is supported on their backs.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Ed

          Those turtles. All the way down, Boris, all the way down. Good draw.

          I have to wonder what scientific credentials SciGuy has.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Ed, substantive science creds. You?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • Pole dancing for Jesus

          sci does that stand for stupid creationist imagings?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • Linda Reynolds

          Huh?

          September 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • christy

          Lol, I can't believe all of these people want to argue about the concept of light. There was indeed light before the stars were created. It started after the Big Bang. Use your brains or go back to 5th grade, people!

          September 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • christy

          Actually, there was electromagnetic radiation (light) during the Big Bang explosion. Light was there from the beginning.

          September 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    richarddawkins.net has some great T's.

    I bought a blue one that says, "Religion, Together we can find a cure".

    Nice shirt too.

    September 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Athy

      That would make a great bumper sticker too!

      September 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    How can any compassionate (normal) human being read this story and hear about these events and believe there is a god?

    September 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps a disinterested or disengaged god?

      September 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Good point. I mean the God of the Bible.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • SciGuy

      You have evidently illogically concluded that the existence of evil precludes the existence of the God of the Bible.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        AB made no mention of evil.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I don't even know if good and evil exists.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Then what is your dilemma?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Linda Reynolds

          Oh they exist. Purely in the hearts and minds of all people. Our actions determine whether there is heaven and hell on earth. Right now, a lot of men are hell bent and want to take us all down.

          Nothing to do with the white man with a beard sitting on a cloud.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • SciGuy

        I think you need to forfeit your handle.

        My dilemma is the horror of the murders. What don't you understand?

        September 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Not to mention the challenge to order and meaning in the God's Creation.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • SciGuy

          The second horn of your dilemma.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • SciGuy

          I like my handle, and it fits me well. I'm glad you noticed it. Does it make you uncomfortable?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Does your handle make me uncomfortable? Yes. Even now, my ass is asleep.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • SciGuy

          Good. At least your brain has a partner.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Topher

          Austin, is that me?

          September 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Jeff6187

      That's like saying "how can anyone who loves apples eat oranges?" It's a simplistic way of rationalizing tragedy rather than facing that in the world tragedy and beauty both happen every day. Thinking like that works nicely for the bitter people in the world, because it allows them the comfort of being stuck "in the bitter". But take heart ... I'm sure God does believe in you regardless.

      September 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • SciGuy

        What do you mean by saying God believes in him?

        September 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Grace

      There is a God~He doesn't make the evil but He forgives those that ask for forgivness. This woman had nothing,not a thing to do with what her husband did. She deserves happiness as much as anyone else.I am glad that she believes that as well.
      May God continue to show her the way~Many blessings to her.

      September 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        "There is a God"

        What evidence do you have for your claim?? (note: the bible doesn't count)

        September 30, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • cherry

      Because this event and the book has folks like you talking and mentioning God when God would never come into your thoughts otherwise. So there is a plan even in this tragedy however warped you my think it is and that plan may be so that you may see the love Jesus Christ has for you and the interest he has in your life to give you a hope and a future.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Oh little girl, grow up. There is no evidence for god and most non-believers were once believers who grew up, realized how bat shit crazy the bible is and how few facts it actually holds and they in turn started residing in the 21st century. You should drop your gullibility and hold on imaginary friends and join us, it truly is enlightening.

        September 30, 2013 at 6:13 am |
  20. HeavenSent

    You atheists come on these articles and steal my handle to spew your vile hatred for God. I am no longer able to reach my bathroom, but I still have room for more trash bags in the hall. Do yourself a favor and read the Bible and believe in His word.

    Amen.

    September 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      READ before replying to this heavensent.

      It is a troll. There used to be a heavensent and she was insane. This one puts up a couple of typical christian sentances, but then there is always the insane one in the middle. Please stop replying to this nutjob as if it were real posts. Read BEFORE you reply.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Alias

        Yep. Definately an atheist trying to give christians a bad name.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Alien Orifice

        Fake HeavenSent is a Poe, not a troll.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        This HS is an obvious POE, and therefore not a POE. You can always tell that it is less than serious in the way that you can always tell that Stephan Colbert does not truly believe the stuff coming out of his mouth.

        I hate to think that I may have ruined the joke for HS, but I think it is a valid joke, and this HS is nowhere near as hateful as the original.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • Fake HeavenSent

          I do it to keep her memory alive.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Spot on Dog
          The problem I had wasn't with the posts, it was the responses to them when it is obvious they aren't real. People clearly responding to a comment without really reading it. Some of them are funny, but it has gotten very old.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I had to explain to my mother-in-law that the Colbert Report was satire, it was sad, but still funny.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • Fake HeavenSent

          Richard, I know but someone has to do it.

          September 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • boones dad

      awesomely said. wait, what?

      September 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      I like to think of this HS as compared to the real one as akin to Stephen Colbert compared to Bill O'Reilly.
      I will defend what HS is doing as a form of art, but then I was an Andy Kaufman fan from the very start.

      September 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Really – I bust a gut everytime someone responds seriously about the camel-toe.

      Keep it up, Fake HS!

      September 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
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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.