The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Abruzzo earthquake


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Religion can save person’s life or it can lead them into the Kingdom of Heaven (earlier than anticipated). In Abruzzo, the Jehovah's Witnesses were saved while the Catholics went to Heaven. Before the earthquake struck, the Jehovah’s Witnesses warned the members of their community about the danger. They were advised to sleep in their cars and to make sure they had suitcases with them, containing the necessary items. They all survived.
Were none of the Bishops, Deans or Parish Priests not fully in the picture regarding what was about to happen? Did they not see any need to warn anyone about the danger? Perhaps, perhaps not. The church bells remained deathly silent. The voice of the Church failed to make even the slightest sound prior to the earthquake. If Bertolaso had been a Jehovah’s Witness, the people of Abruzzo would not now be mourning the death of hundreds of people. As for Radio Maria, in their opinion the earthquake was simply God’s will and perhaps He wanted the people of Abruzzo to share the pain of his Passion...

"Dear Mr. Beppe Grillo,
This writer is a member of a section of the Abruzzo community that, thanks be to God, remained unscathed (except for the fear) because the people live on the coast.
I cannot blame you for highlighting the fact that a lot more could have been done, especially considering that that L’Aquila had been feeling strong seismic shocks for a number months prior to the actual earthquake.
What I am about to tell you is proof of this fact.
I have many relatives and acquaintances that belong to the Jehovah’s Witness Religion. They are a very close-knit community and are always ready to help each other and so, when the earthquake struck, the nearby communities immediately sprang into action to go and help their brethren in need.
Following a request from my son, who is himself an active Jehovah’s Witness, and also because I simply wanted to do something useful to help, I agreed to open my house and began to prepare for the arrival of a family (a couple with two children). I tried to think about what they might need urgently should they have lost everything as a result of the earthquake.
Imagine my surprise when they arrived with their luggage in tow!
They explained that weeks earlier, at their weekly meetings, all of the communities had been advised regarding how to prepare themselves in order to ensure that they would be ready in the event of a potential catastrophe. The matter had been dealt with in great detail and they had been given proper and practical instructions regarding what they should do: prepare suitcases containing all the basic necessities, not only clothing, but also blankets, some rations and some bottled water. Cars should always be ready and loaded up for an immediate departure, not parked in the garage, but in a safe parking place out in the open. Mobile phones should always be kept at hand.
All this was drawn from a little booklet entitled "Wake up", which had been printed lasted year and that dealt specifically with this topic.
As a matter of fact, of the more than 200 Jehovah’s Witnesses residing in L’Aquila, not a single one was killed during the earthquake. I am also certain that many other people, including relatives and neighbours, owe their lives to the fact that this information was made available.
I was absolutely amazed!
It is incredible to realise that, by following a few simple rules, a small religious community managed to save so many lives! Then I asked myself what would have happened if all of the towns’ residents had received the same, very practical information?
I now leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
I would like to express a heartfelt THANK YOU for all of the battles that you take on!" M.B.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 6:32 AM in | Comments (15) | Comments in Italian (translated) Post a comment | Sign up | Send to a friend | | GrilloNews | listen_it_it.gifListen |
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I felt the duty to write to Christian E who was disappointed in the explanation given by the Roman Catholic Church about the tragic earthquake in Abruzzo being "God's Will." If you want to know the truth about what the Bible REALLY says ask Jehovah's Witnesses. They will give you a scriptural, comforting explanation from your own Bible. Sorry, God is not to blame as some suggest.

To David B. Do not lose faith in God because what some who claim to represent him do. Just because their are counterfeit money out there it does not mean all are fake. Or quacks in the medical field does not mean all our bogus doctors. Compare Jehovah's Witnesses fruitage to hypocritical religious nuts out there. You will find something very differant and refreshing.


Nick Batchelor

Posted by: Nick Batchelor | February 1, 2010 4:33 PM

There are only a few witnesses in Haiti compared to a large population of other religously groups.
THE DIFFERENCE is, that they heed the counsel given in the bible about the times that we are living in and are spending their time and recourses (they are not paid, they are all volunteers) to help all neighbors to realize the warning Jesus gave about the times that are very critical. Haiti is a very good exsample of this.
God did not create us for nothing. He cares for everyone, does not want anyone to die. Listen to what he has to say!!

Posted by: Barbara Bailey | January 20, 2010 12:42 AM

Awake! September 2007


The New York City Office of Emergency Management recommends that households plan for evacuation by assembling a “go bag”—a durable, accessible, easy-to-transport bag containing important emergency items. The following may be included:
▪ Copies of important documents in a waterproof container
▪ An extra set of car and house keys
▪ Credit or debit cards and cash
▪ Bottled water and nonperishable food
▪ Flashlight(s), AM/FM radio, cell phone (if you have one), extra batteries
▪ Medication for at least one week, a list of dosages, prescription slips, and doctors’ names and phone numbers. (Be sure to replace medications before their expiration date)
▪ First-aid kit
▪ Sturdy, comfortable shoes and rainwear
▪ Contact and meeting place information for your household, as well as a regional map
▪ Child-care supplies

Although based on the official list, the above includes minor changes. Not every item listed may be suitable in your case or in your part of the world, and some items may have to be added. For example, seniors and the disabled have their own special needs.

Posted by: Diana Ash | December 7, 2009 5:44 AM

@ Kelly Kuipers - Thanks for your help with regards to the article I will hunt it down.

Kindest regards


Posted by: Vernon de Thierry | May 30, 2009 8:43 AM

@ Vernon de Thierry: I believe that this booklet the author is referring to, is the september 2007 issue of The Awake, one of the magazines produced by Jehovah's Witnesses. The article titled "Is God responsible?" contains a column (page 7) with great information about what to do to prepare your family for an evacuation. You may obtain this magazine by contacting your local community of Jehovah's Witnesses or check out
I hope that you'll find what you are looking for.

Posted by: Kelly Kuipers | May 6, 2009 12:51 PM

in reply to Carmen and Monier. Dear bloggers, those that speak about common sense should know the abruzzesis and their mentality first. I am an abruzzese and visit the place often. at the same time I grew up among catholics, \jeh witnesses and muslims. abruzzesis thinks first about how to save on concrete and other stuff then they think about safety and life. building a house on seasand is not common sense. the one that builds with real fundaments and makes real concrete is ridiculed. a hospital that should be build to stand was to collapse in 1 minute after it took...........30 years to be build!!! had to survive at least 300 years.Jehov witness survived 280 persons to 28.000 catholics. the only difference the 280 survived because being prepared, the 28.000 because of coincidence. when jeh witn warn people of impending danger, people chase them out of the place only to remember that it is to late to ridicule them when disaster strikes! religion is not only blind fate but also practical education of all kind and it is good to stimulate the use of "common sense" through information. but abruzzesis know well how to prepare the best food and recipes but do not ask them to use their brain because then it reminds them of their duties! don't make me laugh please, go and visit abruzzo and make up your mind, \jeh witnesses live a practical genuine healthy educated and well informed life, why criicize them if it benefits the whole community? but too late, the folder thrown on the street titled "keep on the watch"tellsof their lack of common sense. I am shamed about their behaviour and did a lot to encourage common sense but to no avail. thnks god a minority heeds the words of \jesus, those who have discernment will understand.................ciao belli e coraggio e complimenti a tutt\i abruzzesi, cattolici e testimoni di geova! Daniele ROSSI

Posted by: rossi daniel | May 3, 2009 6:25 PM

A friend sent me your comment on Jehovah's Witnesses and the earthquake and being prepared..very sad so many lost their lives..certainly is not the way our creator wanted life to be..that will change soon..we will have a better future ahead...but had a personal question..I didn't know if you mentioned "your" son was a witness or the writer you may have been quoting had a son as a witness? My husband's family years ago were from Italy! and as you noticed we are "Grillo" would like to make contact with your son and see if my husband and he are related! Our kids are going to Italy this summer and would be fun for them to meet family there.

Posted by: Connie Grillo | May 1, 2009 12:53 AM

As one of Jehovah's Witnesses I offer my condolences for those lost. Everyone has a right to faith. JW's like anyone else, wish all people to get life. For life we need to be organized and alert. We need caring people to help us be so. And we need to follow through on the warning messages of caring people. If they say there is a possible coming destruction and they seem to sincerely care enough to take the time/money/effort out of their own resources to do this, hey, what can it hurt to listen.

But while preparation does much to avoid some tragedies not all damage, injury and loss of life are avoidable. At any rate, my thoughts are with the ones who are grieving and coping.

Posted by: Dan Lesser - danlesserinc | April 26, 2009 12:57 PM

So, let me get this straight. If you have 28,000 Catholics or more, it is within the limits that a few thousand will die, and that is OK? It's inevitable, you say? But, even if it was one person that died and that one was your husband, wife, child, etc., would THAT not be one too many? Jehovah's Witnesses used the available data to be prepared so that NO ONE died, so why didn't the Catholics? Do they care about life or they just feel that life goes on in heaven so what difference does it make? Why not be able to live

Then, do YOU want to be the first one to die? I didn't think so. Wake up and smell the coffee! Jehovah's Witnesses value life and help each other and anyone who will listen in order to protect themselves, family and friends. So, whether you have 28,000, 28 million, or 28 people, NO ONE needs to die, or should die, if they don't have to. Show love to your neighbor. Read the Bible and have JW's help you study it as soon as you can!

Posted by: David Russo | April 26, 2009 11:35 AM

My heart and love goes out to all of those who have lost their closest ones as a result of this unforeseen occurence. I pray that those who are experiencing loss are currently recieving the needed help and support that they need from family, from the secular authorities, from their friends within their respective faiths and those not of their respective faiths.

As an avid student of the bible believing that we are living in the last days where it has already been fortold that "the days will be critical" and there will be more "earthquakes and pestilences" it makes sense to do as much as we can to prepare which is all I think this writer really had in mind.

A question for the benefit of all - Does anyone know who published or where to obtain a copy of the "Wake Up" booklet referred to in the originating letter? It obviously has some very good information in it when preparing for a disaster and I would be interested to have read for the benefit of those around me.

Posted by: Vernon de Thierry | April 24, 2009 11:59 PM

I think the author should consider that compared to 242 Jehovah's witnesses there were another 28000 Catholic people who survived.

I do not know which bell was silent, but 28000 people did not survive by chance. So almost none of the Catholics went to heaven.

Such obviously biased commentary should have no place when dealing with a disaster.

Posted by: Marty Krist | April 21, 2009 11:29 PM

i'm very tired to listen and read so much talking about so many things very far from the point. I don't mean here.
But is the play from the Government=Mafia; it takes dirty, bury and no clearly reality.
We have no dubt that great things would be done to avoid all that killed people, but we have separate this question is from religion discuss.
Dear friends it's very hard living in this country and most of all for the absence of any defenses, trasparencies, and the necessary rage strong believing 4 the trasformation opportunities.

Posted by: carmen louis | April 18, 2009 11:42 PM

Just cause the Jehovah's Witness were prepared and the local RC church wasn't has nothing to do with faith, rather common sense.

"For those that have ears, let them hear." If the area had many little tremors prior to the big one then your religion or lack of it has nothing to do with being prepared. Either you have common sense or you're an idiot and dead.

Posted by: David B. Monier-Williams | April 18, 2009 9:39 PM

As a Christian, I've lost my faith when I've realized that is our ability to perceive and react towards the world surrounding us which determine our destiny. By doing this, we need to use our best tools: intelligence, updated informations, sharp sense of criticism and the ability to keep our harmony by balancing our emotions. Wars are set up for religion purposes. In the name of religion, I've seen too much hypocrisy and killings. I have nothing against the founders (Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, etc..). The problem lies in its strumentalisation once the founders are dead.

Posted by: Christian Ekipaser | April 18, 2009 5:49 PM

i am so ashamed to be catholic,this is not god's will,to hear the priests talk about this horrible situation as if uor god wants us to accept these episodes shame on them for talking out of place shame on us for listening!

Posted by: tracie doyle | April 18, 2009 11:31 AM

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