Where some confused soul in the Reformed tradition might describe this story as an illustration of "total depravity," the better word is surely just "tragedy." A woman attempts to kill her own children by - horrible to even think about - slitting their throats. She then turns the knife on herself.
Her stated motivation: she wanted to spare her daughters from the coming Great Tribulation.
I could weep over this report, for the woman concerned once belonged to the same faith community I did. A major emphasis in this "denomination" was... the Great Tribulation. We were saturated with it in sermons, with articles promoting insane scenarios built around Daniel and Revelation, and even in the artwork of Basil Wolverton. Recent events in Japan apparently convinced Lyn that time was almost up.
The story has been widely commented on by others who have had the misfortune to have lived with this twisted biblicism. Lyn was well known from her days as a vivacious young woman studying at "the West Point of God's Work": Ambassador College. I assume she graduated with a BTh, as most students did back in the 1980s. A lot of good it did her...
I gather Lyn later moved on, as did ninety percent of those of us once involved in the "fear religion" of those times. Most, please God, moved onto better, saner things. Lyn, it seems, never made that transition, bogging down instead in the Pentecostal fold.
Of course there must be other factors. Humans are complex creatures and only a fool would lay the blame fully at the doorstep of Armstrongism. Nothing is that simple.
But prophetic trash-religion must nevertheless bear a good deal of the blame. A culture of fear-fueled anxiety about the End Times is not calculated to do much for anyone's mental health.
It is a sobering reminder that preachers have responsibility for their words, and evil words can have evil consequences. Perhaps it's hopelessly naive, but one can only pray that Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker and others will be paying close attention - and learning from this terrible event.
Thanks to Reg and Bill for drawing attention to this story.