It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since Terry Ratzmann went on a shooting spree in the Milwaukee Living Church of God. Ratzmann shot the church pastor, the pastor's son and five other church members killing them all. He wounded four others.
Numerous news reports. in print and in video form, say that Ratzmann was disturbed by a sermon that Rod Meredith had given a couple weeks earlier that was sent out to all the LCG churches with the requirement that it be played. Meredith and crew quickly scrubbed the sermon from its web site.
The local Christian community was shocked by the killings and put up small crosses in the snow in support of those murdered. This however send Bob Theil into a snarling fit of anger complaining that these poor misguided cretins used a pagan symbol that the TRUE Church of God looked down upon.
A book was even published on the shootings, written though by a Living Church of God member, Thomas Geiger. Martyrdom in MilwaukeeSo, did a Meredith (Rod or Little Jimmy) say even ONE little thing to console LCG members upon the tenth anniversary of the deaths of their friends and loved ones? NO! All he did to mark the occasion was to cancel a previously scheduled Wisconsin feast site. Do you really think the timing of this disrespect to Wisconsin LCG members was a coincidence?
Geiger's account of his son witnessing the shootings and his son also almost getting killed is definitely moving. I also found the entire situation a tragic experience for all those involved.
The sad part of the book is that it is mostly a defense of Meredithism/Armstrongism.
According to Geiger, the entire congregation knew Ratzman had mental problems yet not one of them ever told him to get professional counseling. Of course, Meredithism like Armstrongism looks down on psychologists/psychiatrists. Geiger talks about how Ratzman would do weird things around all the members and they would laugh it off.
I found his following excuse of Meredithism relationship to the murders to be one sad comment:
"If it truly is your position that the Living Church of God is to blame for what happened, then by that same thought process you would be forced to blame Christ's disciples for his crucifixion."
The main difference with Meredithism/Armstrongism and the disciples is that the latter group was actually following Jesus, while the former group does not. I mean, how can they? They can't even talk about him without mocking him. At least Geiger did not seem to have a problem with the crosses displayed at all the memorial services. Which stands in sharp contrast with Meredithism cult apologist Theil and his silly embarrassing tirade.
Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took issue with Geigers book. The Painful Truth has the article up from which the following quote is from:
Geiger, who was friends with Ratzmann for many years through the church, devotes the first chapter of his book to episodes in which he believes Ratzmann behaved as a "genius," a "hero" and a "caring and sensitive man who could harm no one when in his natural state."In an interview, Geiger said he was not trying to absolve Ratzmann of responsibility for the shootings, which left four other church members with non-lethal injuries."I don't want to whitewash the man," Geiger said. "He does bear a measure of guilt."But considering that Ratzmann was known as a friendly man with no history of significant violence, Geiger said, "I find it difficult to ascribe all of that to him humanly."As the congregation gathered March 12, 2005, for its regular Saturday service, Ratzmann fired 22 shots from the back of the hotel meeting room with a 9mm handgun, stopping once to reload.In "Martyrdom in Milwaukee," Geiger dedicates the 178-page work to Ratzmann's victims and writes extensively about them, especially about the youngest victim, Bart Oliver, Geiger's nephew.Bart's mother, Loni Oliver, who is Geiger's sister, said some parishioners are unhappy about the book, partly because they suspect Geiger is trying to profit from the tragedy. The paperback sells for $14 to $17.The book is not widely discussed among Living Church of God members, who continue meeting every Saturday at a new location in Waukesha."There are people who do have a problem with it," Oliver said, "so you just don't talk about it."
It is surprising, given the number of crazy Church of God leaders that we now have running various splinter personalty cults, that another killing spree has not happened again. With Gerald Flurry's cult breaking up families and destroying marriages to Dave Pack's mindless blabberings that are also ripping families apart financially and physically, it is only a matter of time till someone snaps.
When that happens these cult leaders will not take responsibility and many members will still not hold their leaders accountable. It will be Satan who is out to destroy the true church. The troops will rally and the leaders will recover. Doom, death and damnation will continue on and the money will roll in.
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Open Letter to Ron Dart: We Are Not Cowards
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New York Times: Gunman Kills 7 In Wisconsin Church Group
What Motivated Terry Ratzmann’s Shooting Spree in the Living Church of God?
The Painful Truth: Terry Ratzmann (has links to sermon)
Eight Dead in Living Church of God Shooting Spree!