Part 1 in a series on JZ Knight and her Ramtha School of Enlightenment cult in Yelm –
– first published on November 11, 2013.
“How Could Murder Be Wrong?” – JZ Knight
In 1988, cult leader JZ Knight asked ABC’s Judd Rose on 20/20, “How could murder be wrong?”
Two of her followers acted on those words in 2011. A calm, cool, point blank assassination of a stranger, and a bullet to the spinal cord of another.
Both victims were police officers. Both had two children. Both were just having an ordinary, peaceful day at work.
JZ Knight’s followers then tried shooting four unarmed witnesses as they fled, and chased them for miles through woods. The shooters were simply acting on JZ’s teachings. They were devoted.
JZ Knight—or “Ramtha,” as she also calls herself—has remained the undisputed guru of Yelm’s Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) throughout its existence. She has thousands of worldwide followers. They believe her teachings are divine. They obey her commandments without question, no matter how extreme, bizarre—or deadly.
ABC’s Judd Rose described RSE as a “no fault cult” to Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters. For good reason.
The White Book
Ramtha—The White Book functions as the RSE Bible. At one time, JZ Knight collected donations from her followers to put White Book copies in every hotel and motel room, like the Gideon’s Bibles. Her ex-followers still wonder what happened to their money. They never heard. Some had even given their own treasured copies back to JZ, then bought new ones from her.
In The White Book, JZ/Ramtha asks a student to define the word “evil”:
Student: Well, I would say that it’s the opposite of good. But mostly what I think evil is, is harming another person.
Ramtha: Indeed? Why is that evil?
Student: Well, for example, if someone harmed my daughter, it’s evil because, let’s say, she might die.
Ramtha: That is your judgment of evil. But what is evil about dying?
Student: So you don’t even think that killing someone is evil?
Ramtha: That is correct….
Student: So you’re saying that even murder is not wrong or evil.
Ramtha: That is correct.
Terror and Power
JZ Knight has long predicted an imminent worldwide doomsday.
She has repeatedly told her followers they will be safe here with her in Thurston County, when most of the rest of the planet is destroyed.
Apparently it’s okay for JZ’s followers to want to stay alive, even if murder is perfectly fine for others.
JZ Knight’s terrified followers move here from around the globe. Some are said to remain here illegally after their visas expire, hiding out. They are afraid to go back to their home countries, believing they would soon meet a horrifying death.
They also believe that JZ has the power to cure any illness.
Terminally ill people come here from around the world, because they believe she can miraculously heal them. They stop taking their medicine. They die prematurely, far from home and family.
JZ Knight is best known for her celebrity followers over the years—Salma Hayek, Shirley MacLaine, Linda Evans, Richard Chamberlain, Mike Farrell.
Few outsiders know her real teachings within the high walls of her Yelm compound. People figure that it’s lightweight, New-Agey fluff. Grown-ups goofing around and trance dancing in Harry Potter capes.
JZ Knight is proud to be a “sovereignist.” She teaches her followers to fear and hate everyone outside of RSE. She tells them to build underground bunkers and stock them with guns, gold, survival gear, and canned food to last for years.
She tells them not to trust paper money, banks, and the government. And not to trust anyone who doesn’t worship her.
She teaches them that outsiders will try to steal their underground stash, when catastrophe looms. She tells them to protect their supplies at any cost.
JZ Knight’s followers will do as she tells them.
Policeman Calmly Assassinated by Knight’s Devoted Follower
On January 14, 2011, South African policeman Jacob Boleme, 27, was shot point blank by JZ Knight’s follower, French doctor Philippe Neniere, 60.
Neniere had lured Boleme and others into a casual chat, then calmly murdered him.
Officer Glenwald duToit, 42, was then shot in the spine and severely wounded by Neniere’s long time companion, Agnis Jardel, 55, also a Knight follower from France.
After years of studying JZ Knight’s sovereignist teachings, Philipe Nenierre and Agnis Jardel believed it was necessary to protect themselves and their cache at all costs—even by murder. Particularly since Knight also teaches that murder is not wrong.
Friendship Turned into Fear
On that fateful day, four police officers had responded to a call from farmer Gerhardus du Plessis.
Du Plessis had told the police that two of his farm tenants refused to be evicted. He believed them to be heavily armed and dangerous. He was afraid for his family.
Du Plessis had let Philipe and Agnis live in a house on his farm rent-free for twelve years, in exchange for keeping an eye on the rest of his property.
Until the prior two years, Du Plessis and his family had a long, peaceful history with the French couple.
In the early years the du Plessis family had found Philipe and Agnis quirky, but harmless. They all interacted as friends, and the couple was invited to du Plessis family events—even a wedding.
But things changed over time, as Phillipe and Agnis became more and more obsessed with JZ Knight and her RSE dogma of fear and hate. It gradually took over their lives.
The couple talked of JZ Knight’s increasingly disturbing beliefs.
They began openly performing Knight’s prescribed rituals—the red wine ceremony, trance dancing in dark capes, and rubbing other people’s foreheads because JZ Knight teaches that there is a hidden third eye.
They began talking about JZ Knight’s bizarre brand of quantum science, where people are able to change reality with their thoughts.
Phillipe and Agnis then demanded that du Plessis build them a doomsday bunker because of JZ Knight’s terrifying predictions of worldwide disasters. They were angry when he laughed and refused.
They began stealing from the du Plessis family. They stole the farm workers’ food.
When du Plessis suggested that the RSE couple find work so they wouldn’t need to steal, Phillipe responded that intelligent people didn’t have to work—another of Knight’s teachings.
Just as JZ Knight teaches that geniuses abide by no laws.
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