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

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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. Jen

    Cnn should not allow comments on stories such as this. Too many trolls! I believe in free speech but this is sad. Something good came out of a horrible situation. Period.. The Amish didn't throw stones at this woman, so why are so many of you?

    September 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Joey

      Finally someone who shows respect!

      September 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I can point out that she is completely bat-shit crazy without showing a lack of respect, can't I?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

    She got married 7 months after her husband death...I could comprehend if it was 7 years later, but 7 months ? geez...

    September 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  3. Apple Bush

    I am now esoteric in my feelings towards believers that are agnostic, however I do believe that they are, each one, atheist. However since I am a solipsist I know they are what I want them to be, and that is comforting.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  4. clem

    I hear people say, "God had a hand on my daughter...he saved her life" Where was he when these innocent little girls were shot in the face? Please don't insult others by claiming God only cares about "your child" and not others. It come across that way.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Good post.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Sara

      Perhaps it depends on why you think your child survived. Some may believe god is with all the children, but only can save some. In that theology he would be with the murdered children as well, but owerless to save them, or with some sort of plan

      But yeah, the "special grace" idea for one's kid is a little twisted, though I can imagine hoping for it in desperation.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        God is powerless? lol

        September 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Athy

        God is not. It's that simple.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Michelle

    I think she should donate All profits from the book to the families of the 5 dead little girls that her husband killed and the 5 that he injured.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      If she spends even one thin dime on herself or family she should be incarcerated.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
      • Athy

        Or even put in jail!

        September 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • Apple Bush


          September 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • Clare

        On what charge?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline


          September 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • Athy

          On charges of attempting to pass a counerfeit dime.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    This article teaches us a very important lesson. If you view the world through a lens that filters common sense you can be happy even if your husband slaughters small children.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Fiori di Capri

      Put yourself in this woman's shoes. What choices would you have made for yourself and your children as the widow of a man that killed innocent children?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I would wake up and see the truth. There is no god.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          "I would wake up and see the truth. There is no god."

          -What comfort is that to a widow who has three children that have been left behind by a monster of a man and a society(other than the loving Amish that were ready to forgive her) condemning and ostracizing her?

          September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Why are you asking me? Comfort from lies may be ok for you, but I prefer reality.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          If it was just a "lie" she told herself I would doubt she would have made it this far in life. There must be some truth to the fact that she definitely felt God's grace and held on to it (through forgiveness from the people her husband had hurt very deeply) in her lowest point in life.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I disagree.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          Neither you nor I can speak on her behalf, but this article seems to agree with what I'm saying.

          September 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Fiori, She may think she felt it but it is no more convincing that "Jesus in the toast".

          September 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  7. children of Israel

    Deuteronomy 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: *Revelation 14:3 and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. *Deuteronomy 31:30And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended. *Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty;

    September 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Moses never existed. Therefore the Bible passage is nonsense.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  8. john wayne

    LOD, Boooooooooooo

    September 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  9. Kate

    Daniel, thank you for a beautifully written article. Thank you most of all for not diminishing the strength of Marie's faith in God, and the power of God's love and forgiveness, as media sometimes tends to do. Yours is journalism at its finest.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Kate, thank you for thanking Daniel. I will accept his award on his behalf since he couldn't be here.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Athy

        Alien, thank you for thanking Kate for thanking Daniel.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    This is Christianity in a nut shell. Killing babies. Praying to a spiteful god. Profiting from evil. yada yada

    September 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • tc

      Not overly bright are you?

      September 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
      • Athy

        tc, Apple Bush is one of the most intelligent commenters on this blog. The square root of his IQ would exceed your IQ squared. But you probably don't even realize you've been insulted. Do the math, ask for help if you need it.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Why do you say that tc? You have never read the Bible?

      September 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Fiori di Capri

      You are right!!!

      That is exactly what Christians are taught to do. BTW, which church did you go to?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        My parents made me go to the First Christian Church but I rebelled and stopped by the time I was about 11 years old. I was already an atheist by then.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          Never been to "First Christian Church" but is that where you were taught to kill babies and make profit out of evil???

          September 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Athy

          How do you know it was the first? Could be the second, the the third or even (sadly) the 1000th.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • Athy

          "the the" means "the" squared, in case you were wondering. Damn martinis make me goofy!

          September 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          The church doesn't teach it, it just lies to the flock and tells them what they want to hear so they can fill the plate. The Bible is full of evil, death, destruction, killing babies and animals, lies etc etc. Believe what you wish. But you should at least read the Bible before you call me out.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • Fiori di Capri

        So, the church doesn't teach it but the Bible does?
        But, isn't the church supposed to teach the Bible?

        This is how Jesus summed up His commandments to His followers, who call themselves Christians,

        37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

        September 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          "So, the church doesn't teach it but the Bible does?" Correct
          "But, isn't the church supposed to teach the Bible?" As far as I know, yes.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          "The Bible is full of evil, death, destruction, killing babies and animals, lies etc etc."

          So, why is the church not teaching any of the above???

          September 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Why are you asking me?

          September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          "Why are you asking me"

          Because, it is you who stated "This is Christianity in a nut shell. Killing babies. Praying to a spiteful god. Profiting from evil. yada yada" ,and should know about Christianity to have made that statement.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Church is a money business. If you tell people the truth, they won't pay for it. There it is.

          September 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Fiori di Capri

          Which is an easier sell for the church?

          a) to slap a person who slapped you, or
          b) message of forgiveness and to turn the other cheek to a person that slapped you?

          September 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I'm done with your sophomoric conversation.

          September 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  11. Necie

    She didn't' hurt anyone.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No she didn't. But exploiting the tragedy for her own gain is not a virtuous act.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • Sokesky

        I don't believe she is exploiting the tragedy. I believe she hopes to help others with her story. She seems to have a deep well of faith, and having known a few people like this, they only mean well by it.

        (PS - I'm not a believer, myself)

        September 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
        • G to the T

          Doesn't change anything if she's pocketing the procedes...

          October 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  12. tallulah13

    I feel bad for those girls who were killed and their families and don't blame this woman, however, this statement is just gross:

    "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."

    She wanted a sign from god, therefore everything she experienced was filtered through that desire. It's amazing how even the most mundane things become "signs from god" when that is all you are looking for.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Colin

      If a person claimed that they were being inspired by their pet kitten, they would be regarded as mentally unstable. For some reason, if we pull out the cat and subst.itute in a late Bronze Age Jewish sky-god, people don't even blink at the thought.

      At least the cat exists.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • tallulah13

        My cats don't give me signs. They give me demands.

        But finding omens and signs is the easiest thing in the world. All you have to do is look for them without the filter of logic.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • Athy

          Shit, without a "sanity" filter, everything is an omen!

          September 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Monica

      The statement is not gross, you're simply the person "of lesser faith." When you're spiritually connected to God, you know when the signs are from Him. If you don't believe in "Him" then you don't – go on your merry way, why do things have to be gross right away?

      September 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • G to the T

        Try looking into "Confirmation bias" sometime and "circular reasoning". These are 2 of the main reasons atheists get frustrated with theists.

        October 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • clem

      Agree with Tallulah 13

      September 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  13. children of Israel

    Satan is divine *Ezekiel 21:23 And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths. *Matthew 5:33-34 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: *Jeremiah 33:17 For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; *Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You can copy and paste. Nice effort.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  14. Cromwell

    The greatest gift this woman received was the gift of forgiveness from the families of those her husband had hurt so deeply.
    In that forgiveness she probably found God's grace.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • G to the T

      Perhaps – but you'll forgive me if her getting married that same year and then writing a book about her experiences makes me a bit cynical about the whole thing.

      October 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  15. ugh

    I think if this were truly about "God" moving her she would donate proceeds to her husband's victims, their families, and other victim advocacy groups. This is about her capitalizing on her husbands crime for personal gain. Disgusting.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Colin

      It's a bit like Bill O'Reily's atrocious "Killing Jesus" that he claims the Holy Spirit inspired him to right during a series of nocturnal vists. It's funny how often the Christian sky-fairy tells people to do exactly what they want to......

      September 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
      • Colin

        to write

        September 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • Gene

        .. or when they want to. The visits never seemed to interrupt a football game..

        September 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Colin

          On come on Gene, how else do you explain Detroit winning...............

          September 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      She and the new hubby have 5 kids. Exploiting this tragedy will be a big help with the bills.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Monica

      Darling, how do you know what she's planning on doing with the money? You do realize that true charity is never to be spoken of. At this point she hasn't made a dime, if she does and considering how deep her faith is, she's most likely gonna give most of it away – yet she's really not suppose to speak of it, you don't do it for your own glory. I know that doesn't work with the "Christians are charlatans" mind set, but Christians give way more to charity than atheists, most religious states give most to charity, etc.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
      • G to the T

        I understand why you might think that – but it's not really true. Try looking up who the largest charitable groups are – you may be surprised at the results.

        October 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Kristi

      I have to agree with ugh.

      September 30, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  16. Pelagius

    Okay, I was sympathetic until the part about people of "lesser" faith. Jesus said you only had to have faith the size of a mustard seed. You only have to dig in your heels and deal and hang on until you get to the other side. And she married the new guy after seven months. She makes this book all about her when there are parents in the Amish community who lost daughters that day, and showed her kindness and compassion and her husband forgiveness. Wow. There's nothing like American evangelical Christianity and self-promotion and profit.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |

      What if your faith were the size of a caraway seed? What then?

      September 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Athy

      Shit, Pela. You mean there are varying degrees of "faithness?" So we'll have to invent an "FQ" scale, now? Man, life's is just getting too complex. I wanna go where there are no churches and everybody drives a Chevy.

      September 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Monica

      So you read the book then? Right...didn't think so. You have no bloody clue what's in the book about the families. Also, if you actually READ the article, you'll find that she is not speaking about anyone of "lesser faith" – it's the journalist who wrote this article who put it that way. Reading and Comprehension are clearly undervalued in the American education system, judging by the comments on this page...

      September 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  17. Colin

    "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."

    And the 5 dead little girls and the many ruined lives?

    September 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Cromwell

      "And the 5 dead little girls and the many ruined lives?"

      –What encouragement do you have for the families of the many ruined lives?

      September 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
      • Colin

        I doubt I could say anything to relieve their pain.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
        • Cromwell

          "I doubt I could say anything to relieve their pain."

          - You were not asked what you would 'say' but rather what encouragement you would offer.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • Atheist

        Do not forgive, live in bitterness and hatred for the rest of your lives!

        September 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • Joao

        That's another matter.

        This article is about this woman's bizarre situation, how she coped and what she has moved on to.

        Don't get the two confused

        September 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Right

          This lady is telling her side of the story. To be married or related to someone who commits an offense like this has to be difficult. I don't think she is making light of the victim's suffering. I can only imagine the victims gave her their blessings.

          September 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
      • tallulah13

        What do you mean about encouragement since you wish it to be non-vocal. If I were this woman and wished to encourage the families of the lost children, I would donate every penny from this book, if not to the families of the lost girls, to charities that help the mentally ill.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
        • Marcy

          How do you know she's not? You don't. You have no clue, but you condemn her anyway.

          September 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • G to the T

          Marcy – you have a good point and I would LOVE to be proven wrong. Guess I don't have the same "faith" in humanity that you do.

          October 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  18. Mark Felt

    I agree Bad Brain and I add that only an idiot would buy this book.

    September 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  19. D. A. White

    Awesome come back, God is indeed an super cool Spirit. God blessed a women who loved him unconditional. I love God more because of this story!

    September 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And before he blessed this woman, he was delighted to destroy the five girls and their families, who also loved him unconditionally. You god it kind of a jerk, and a rather unstable one at that.

      September 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • Monica

        Tallulah, are you 13? I hope so... Because anyone older should really have a bit more general knowledge about any religion, including Christianity. I won't go into detail simply because there's not enough room or time to explain a religious movement to you, but firstly just know that Christianity's foundation is free will. Everyone is given free will, you can do as you please, and God will not interfere unless you ask him. The man had free will, it was him who killed the young girls, not God.

        Secondly, Christians also believe that the lives of the five girls were not ruined, we believe they are living beautifully, and the families were also not ruined – they showcased it in an amazing way with their kindness and forgiveness. God is love and goodness, it is our belief.

        Research it, darling, at least read about things. It's amazing where you might find yourself..

        September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Colin

          Monica, I have to agree with Athy. You are batsh.it crazy. I, too, would probably drink cyanide to avoid even an elevator ride with you.

          September 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
        • G to the T

          What about the free will of the little girls? Didn't seem to matter what they wanted out of life. What if one of them was destined to be the person who brings everyone to god? Would god have interfered then?

          What about the first born in Egypt? Where was their free will when god killed them all (after hardening the pharo's heart by the way)?

          October 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  20. Bad Brain

    She is a really stupid person

    September 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Athy


      September 29, 2013 at 8:02 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.