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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. children of Israel

    Grace does not save you without truth, especially when you disregard the law. *John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. *Matthew 5:17 Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil. *Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp: and the law is light; *John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • bostontola

      There are scores of mythologies, what do you think yours is truth?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Jeff6187

      From the quotes you cite, am I to believe that Moses was a liar?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Doris

        Well I think the important thing is that he had 26 wins and 17 knockouts. I don't think people worry about whether or not he lied about anything.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • Colin

          Actually, given that there is no know reference to Bible from the time in any book other than the Tanakh and given that he appears beside other clearly mythological figures such as Noah and Adam and Eve, and given that magical powers are attributed to him, he very, very likely never existed.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
        • Colin

          "no reference to Moses".

          September 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Late Bronze Age Mosaic law included the killing of people for trivial offenses like working on a Sunday, the complete subjugation of women and the ownership of slaves. I gues that makes Jesus a pretty barbaric person then , doesn't it.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • Cromwell

        "Actually, given that there is no know reference to Bible from the time in any book other than the Tanakh.."

        -Provide examples of other books that have been written during the biblical times that have been cross referenced with other books of the same time???

        September 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
        • Colin

          Epic of Gilgamesh as referenced by Enuma Elsih

          September 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • Cromwell

          Aah, just like the Bible and the Tanakh!

          September 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
        • Colin

          In the sense that Moses and Noah are no more likely to have existed than Gilgamesh and Enkidu, I agree with you.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Cromwell

          "In the sense that Moses and Noah are no more likely to have existed than Gilgamesh and Enkidu,"

          –Except that, one is a novel and the other is not!

          September 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          Correct Cromwell – one is a book and the other is an anthology – other than that though his point still stands.

          October 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  2. Colin

    Of course God was nowhere in this. "God", in this sense, is a simple metaphore for "good luck." This is why, whenever a believer narrowly avoids a disaster, they attribute it to God, but when they suffer some ill, they never blame their sky-fairy for that. It is just like those who use "God" as a metaphore for "I don't know." "I don't know how life on Earth began, therefore God did it" or "I don't know how the Universe began, therefore God di it."

    September 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • bostontola

      Classic confirmation bias.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • Colin

        My favorite is when a tornado rips through a community. The Christians in the community spend the next week supplicating themselves in thank to God for sparing them. They blissfully ignore the body count and property damage incurred.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • AE

          No.

          Many have suffered tragedies and have lost loved ones. I've been in situations like that.

          Evil surely hates the sound of praises to God. Especially following a disaster where those opposed to God think all should abandon God. God's love is stronger than any act of hatred or natural disaster.

          Evil be damned. We make our song Alleluia.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • Colin

          AE, you say "no" then spend the rest of your post effectively confirming what I just said.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • AE

          I don't see them being blissfully ignorant. Maybe that is all you see on TV. But behind the scenes you will see people helping those in need and not living in fear of the threats of evil.

          And, like in Haiti during one of the worst known Earthquakes news reports came in that night that people had gathered and were signing songs and praises to God. A light in the darkness.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
  3. PeterVNisAflake

    PeterVN is a flake

    September 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Topher

      Austin, is that me?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  4. children of Israel

    *1st John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: *Jeremiah 3:23 truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. *Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. *John 4:22 for salvation is of the Jews.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Does that make you fell better?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Doris

      Uh oh – someone is spreading garlic I see. Remember to keep a small hand mirror near the door and if you can't see their reflection, don't invite them in!

      September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  5. Dennis

    And there are Christians who kill others for their beliefs. And look back at the Inquisitions. Christians are among the worst of the religie lot, plus they are hypocrites.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Colin

      Not quite, you equate someone claiming to be a Christian with Christianity. That is not accurate. Close examination of historical events reveal a Truth that the atrocities committed were done by nonbelievers and often times self deceived atheists.Atheists have murdered more innocent peoples in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • lamb of dog

        Oh its colin. The guy who refers to circle jerking when reason trips up his ability to post rediculous posts.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • Colin

          To the lost all Truth seems ridiculous.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Dennis

        Fake Colin, we know that line already. Those killings were not done by any dictate of atheism, whereas Christianity and Islam demand killing.

        And there are No True Scotsmen. Know that song, stupid?

        September 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • Colin

          You'd be wrong dennis but then wrong is your natural state of being.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • hal 9001

          Patter match #5622. I have again detected a positive style analysis match for the entity using the handle in this instance of "Colin", commonly referred to as the "flunkie" of the writer's boot camp of the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Company.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • Fallacy Spotting 101

        Post by 'Colin' is an instance of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.

        http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

        September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • Colin

          You wouldn't know a fallacy if it bit you on the ass.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • AE

          Actually, Colin, he got that one pretty much right on.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • AE

          No I didn't say that. Those that pull the "logical fallacy" card are usually very ironic.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • Colin

          No true scotsman fallacy:

          PErson A – No true Scotsman likes the English
          Person B – I'm from Glasgow and I like the English
          Person A – Then you're not a true Scotsman.

          The definition is effectively shaved down to support the erroneous statement beieng asserted. It usually works like this with Christians.

          Person A "A Christian would never kill anybody."
          ""person B The prisons are full of Christians. 95% of death row are Christians."
          Person A "They aren't real Christians then."

          September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • AE

          Thanks, Colin

          September 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • Colin

          In the interests of full disclosure, AE, this is the original Colin here. The atheist. The posting by the other Colin above IS a classic example of the "No true Scotsman fallacy."

          September 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, I was not following fake Colin's posts. I just saw somebody started posting as me.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        Queen of Denial.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Stats don't lie

        Atheist Mao Ze-Dong killed in the range of 49-78,000,000 innocent human beings.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • Colin

          Mao was also a Capricorn. Clearly all Capricorns are suspect.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • Right

          No. I know some Capricorns that are nice.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  6. KMS

    I was kind of in awe at first, being myself pretty much disconnected from anything religious, or bound to any faith in any way, shape, or form...and her complete conviction. Then, the bit about remarrying quickly, and so on and so forth...I don't know. Religious people are just wired differently, I guess. She probably wouldn't have a flipping clue on how to live on her own.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Lots of people need to be directed in life.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  7. psychicstalker

    This story is what scares me about marriage. And after being married to someone that long, having children with them, you don't see it coming when your spouse does something this horrific and 7 months later you get married? mmmm Pretty scary.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Dennis

      Yeah, that all makes ya wonder, doesn't it.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      She must have had an idea that he was fighting something.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Jeff

      Thank goodness he was nice enough to help her grieve over all this and then just decided to get married...how sweet of a "family friend"....yea......

      September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  8. PeterVN

    On a similar note, my favorite blog quote:

    "Religion is for the ignorant, the cowardly, the stupid, and the gullible, and for those who would profit them."

    The woman who is the subject of the article is clearly in the profit group now, anyway. She and the richly robed folks in the Vatican, and the multimillionaire televangies would get along well. What a host of despicable scam artists.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  9. mark

    I for one am happy you found joy again.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  10. Ima Mused

    Isn't it funny how the potential to make a lot of money makes God's will crystal clear?

    September 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Exactly. Works for the Vatican and the televangelists too.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Chris

      and it's amazing how clear Atheism is when it sells a million copies.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  11. Lynne

    Some of the most hateful posts I've ever read. The woman is simply writing her story, and so many people here are accusatory, impugning motives, casting aspersions, and just plain hateful. She went through a personal experience of coming to terms with a horrible incident and trying to spare her children; out of the chaos, she found a soul-mate; SEVEN years later, she decided to write her experience and you people act like she's the mass murderer. How about this: She's just a woman who wants to tell her story; she may make money off the telling of it; she may make nothing - who the hell cares! It's obvious the Amish who lost their children have more care and concern for her than total strangers who have LOST NOTHING - except the very profound message that you might be duped so you express the worst scenario to feel good about your intuitiveness - yuck! Why are so concerned that the woman's religion gives her comfort and that sharing her story might help others - just not you.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • bostontola

      How about this, did she offer to donate profits to the victims' families?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • PeterVN

        Great point.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
      • GenPatton

        How little you know about the Amish.

        Do you think they would accept?

        September 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • Dennis

          Hardly the point, corporal. Get a brain.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          No but they could pass it on.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          And if they still wouldn't accept it then it should be donated to helping people with depression. She has all that she needs. If you have a happy and healthy family what else do you need. And I do agree that profit from this is questionable.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • GenPatton

          And tell me where it said she was going to keep all the proceeds? Oh wait, you are ASSuming.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          I didn't assume anything. I am only saying it would be questionable if she did.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          And the way that you wrote ASSuming shows how childish you are.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  12. bostontola

    Why do so many religious people hate secular education?

    Muslims kill people because they are college. Today gumen opened fire on sleeping college students in Nigeria. At least 21 killed. The name of the group translates to "Western education is a sin."

    Christians don't kill people for duration, they just try to kill the subject. Imagine trying to infiltrate a science curriculum with false science like intelligent design.

    Unfortunately religions know that modern knowledge is their enemy, it undermines their mythologies.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • AE

      What is secular education?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
      • bostontola

        Non-religious education. There are countries where the only education provided is religious.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • AE

        Secularism is not a religious belief system?

        September 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • bostontola

          Don't be silly.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          Are you really asking that?

          September 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          Next time google it. You are making yourself look silly.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
        • AE

          A secular education can be good or bad.

          A religious education can be good or bad.

          Both have proved to be fully capable of grasping a good understanding of the natural world.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • bostontola

          There are countries where the only education regards their scripture. That cannot be a full education.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • SciProf

          Religious educations are inadequate, as well as erroneous and invalid, in that they demand confirmation bias and train students in errors.All religious college accreditations should be retracted.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • AE

          There are countries that behead people for declaring they believe in Jesus Christ.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Dennis

          And there are Christians who kill others for their beliefs. Look back at the Inquisitions too. Christians are among the worst of the religie lot, plus they are hypocrites.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • AE

          SciProf

          Sorry, but there is evidence of religious programs producing and supporting brilliant mathematical and scientific minds.

          I'm sure I could find a person educated in a religious program that can demonstrate a greater understanding of science (by discoveries and awards given by a group of his peers) than you.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • AE

          And there are secular people who commit murder, too.

          It seems to be more of a human problem than a religion problem.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • SciProf

          Your exceptions (which are probably invalid; show us the details, not "could probably") do not invalidate my statement. The confirmation bias inherent in a religious college is obvious.

          Methinks you are rather lacking in education.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          There are good schools that are offered by religious insti.tutions, (e.g. Notre Dame). I would think by this comment you would have gotten I wasn't talking about those (read the clarifications above). I am concerned about people that attack solid knowledge because it conflicts with their mythologies.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • Dennis

          Funny how our jails are overrun by a disproportionate number of Christians. Perhaps you are one of those, AE.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • AE

          Science is science. It doesn't matter if you learned it at a secular public US school or a Catholic school.

          The father of the Big Bang Theory was educated in a religious school – secular schools admit his contributions are important.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • AE

          Dennis

          There are also a disproportionate number of African-Americans in jail. Perhaps I am one of them, too. Is that funny?

          September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          "Science is science". If only that were true. Some Christians want to insert Intelligent Design into science classes. That kind of tampering is the core of the OP.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • AE

          Sure. And some secular people want to smoke crack all day long.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  13. Edub14

    Thank you so much for telling us your story. Sometimes the ones we love do awful things, and we never see it coming. I'm so happy you found another chance at love and life!

    September 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Good for her. I think the forgiveness of the Amish must have helped her a lot.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Lynne

      So glad to come back and find some kindness in these posts. Thank you!

      September 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  14. truth is a blinding light

    Good for this woman. Going what she went thru must be like going thru hell.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So the truth makes you blind?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • GenPatton

        Explain please.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Dennis

          It was obvious, corporal stupid.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • GenPatton

          I have a serious question, why do Atheists troll a religious blog?

          September 29, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • Jen

          I can't speak for other atheists, but I come here partly because religious folks can't think clearly but still get to vote and make other important decisions. They really need better influences, from outside their religious dogma. So, I think that in general, the atheists who post here are doing America a great service.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  15. john wayne

    lamb of dog, you are right, God wasn't involved, satan was.......don't think I will be seeing you in heaven......

    September 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Is that suppose to scare me? What is the purpose of your statement?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Confused?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • thankbutnothnks

      Big assumption on your part there John Wayne, or were you implying that you may not be there to meet lamb of dog. If you believe as you imply you would know that there isn't a individual walking this planet that has that answer, unless your G od, is this the hidden parable JW?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  16. Marvela

    Good for her and I'm sure hers is an interesting story, but what a strange article not to mention anything about the girls who died and were injured and their families.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  17. lamb of dog

    Does the belief in god make crazy people even more crazy?

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

      No.

      And disbelief in God doesn't make crazy people more sane.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      It does kind of justify voices in your head doesn't it?

      September 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Im not crazy but I would think that if I heard voices in my head I would tell my wife I need help. But maybe thats not the case. Maybe if I could justify the voices in my head I wouldn't bother to tell anyone. Because those would be personal conversations with God.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
      • Humberto

        No, the voices in your head are from another human, not God. Their just spies that invade your privacy and attempt to use you as a torpedo. Hence, d evil.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • lamb of dog

          I love your carne assada burittos.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  18. Scott

    A story of mental illness obscured by the idiocy of religion. And the retelling, and selling, of the story in the book now being published, sadly, continues the obfuscation. Would that that sub culture spent half of the time and money they invest in their imaginary friend on reducing mental illness.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • GenPatton

      Ah, yes, throw money at a problem. Obama is taking care of that for you.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • lamb of dog

        Really? Thats your reply.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Humberto

      Kings can communicate telepathically , witches, ministers and government people too. Why do think Harvard and other cabals are trying to raise 10 billion dollars... to teach English?

      September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • lamb of dog

        Crazy?

        September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  19. lamb of dog

    So if her ex husband did not believe in god would he have had a reason to do what he did?

    September 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Because in this blog if I am not mistaken it was because of his anger towards god.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  20. Thugvon

    Doing away with fairy tales would be a good beginning for the world! Yet another example of religious nonsense causing people to do evil acts.

    September 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • AE

      Non-religious people commit horrifying crimes like the one described in the article. It is more of a human problem, not a strictly religion problem.

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

        Statistically speaking, uh not so much...look at all the terrorist acts and people in prison....99.99999% were raised religious..............NEXT!!!!!!!!!

        September 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Supporting reliable references?

          September 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Facts

          The reality is that the aetheistic worldviews of communism, facism and Nazism have killed millions more than all religions combined.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        True. We mustn't overestimate the contribution of religion. God was nowhere in this.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • AE

          The victims of this tragedy would disagree with you about God.

          September 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • Bait Carp Are Everywhere

          Well, then, AE, you and those victims would be wrong.

          There's no god. Belief in god is only for cowards and stupid folk, generally. The Christian god myths are obviously fiction. Love that talking snake bit, though.

          Now go plant some mustard trees, stupid. And gobble those shellfish.

          September 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • AE

          No, God is real. The myths reveal a truth about people and our relationship with God. And there are way too many examples of people who believe in God that exemplify courage and intelligence to take your insult of being cowards and stupid as an accurate portrayal of reality.

          September 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Bait Carp Are Everywhere

          No, AE, you and those victims would be wrong.

          There's no god. Belief in god, especially the Christian one, is only for cowards and stupid folk, generally. The Christian god myths are obviously fiction. Love that talking snake bit, though.

          Now go plant some mustard trees, stupid. And gobble those shellfish. But stop boasting about your "intelligence", stupid. You are a joke.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • PeterVN

          On a similar note, my favorite blog quote:

          "Religion is for the ignorant, the cowardly, the stupid, and the gullible, and for those who would profit them."

          The woman who is the subject of the article is clearly in the profit group now, anyway. She and the richly robed folks in the Vatican, and the multimillionaire televangies would get along well. What a host of despicable scam artists.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • AE

          We have many examples of brave people who believe in God. I doubt you would be stupid enough to call them a coward to their face.

          September 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Gene

      Oh most certainly not. Based on his writings and speeches, it's much more likely that he presumed he was doing the Lord's work.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
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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.