This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
According to new court documents, a group of naked Jehovah’s witnesses who thought Armageddon was occurring kidnapped a family, forced them to chant “Jehovah” repeatedly while driving down an Alberta road in an SUV, and displayed “extreme strength” while being repeatedly tased by the cops.
The story, which has baffled people since it happened last November, essentially goes that five people, the majority of whom were naked, briefly kidnapped a man, woman, and baby last November in Leduc, a community just south of Edmonton, Alberta. Three of the five—two women and one man—have since pleaded guilty to unlawful confinement. No one can be named due to a publication ban as two are underage.
One of the explanations for the incident, as floated by the father of one of the kidnappers, was that the group had accidentally drunk a type of psychedelic tea that caused a trip so intense they stripped naked and committed a kidnapping. But, according to court documents obtained by The Canadian Press, that’s not the case. Instead, the agreed statement of facts shows that this may have been caused more so by some good ol' fashioned religious fervor than some killer shrooms.
To be specific, the kidnappers, according to court documents, were Jehovah's Witnesses and they believed the Great Tribulation was here. The Great Tribulation is the end time event for Jehovahs in which, according to their official website, they believe it will include an attack of the true believers, Jesus coming down and judging those on earth and culminating in Armageddon in which “those judged adversely by Christ will be destroyed.”
The group first got together when the mother and two daughters went to visit her nephew and his wife on the second day of November last year. The five, over the next three days, seemingly fell into some sort of religious fever thinking the end times were upon us and didn’t leave the house or eat.
According to the agreed statement of facts, they believed that the final day of Armageddon was November sixth and set out, like good neighbors, to save those next to them. So the crew, who was for some reason naked at the time, set off—they couldn’t change because it was the apocalypse and there wasn’t time.
“Four who were naked were changing but they had to leave right away because it was unsafe, so they left without clothes,” reads the document.
The five piled into a BMW SUV driven by the mother whom by happenstance was the only one dressed at the time. They drove through the garage door and went to save their neighbors—a man, his daughter, and her six-week-old baby. The naked-but-one crew went into their home and forced them into the car. The daughter and her baby went into the back seat whereas the man was forced into the trunk. The neighbors would later describe the crew as being “obviously not in their right minds.”
The group ordered the man to chant Jehovah ten times while locked in the trunk and took off. While driving through the town of Leduc, they all chanted “Jehovah” together and blasted through a red light. But they didn’t really lock the truck and the man—instead of chanting the Lord’s name—opened it and got out when the vehicle slowed down. His daughter and her baby also escaped and the three were helped by a kind person in a pickup truck.
The Witnesses weren’t done though and rammed the truck with their SUV. They then drove the SUV into a ditch which is where it would stay until the police arrived. According to The Canadian Press, the group continued to chant “Jehovah” and refused to get out as they thought the police officers were some sort of demons or “monsters who would kill them.”
The officers had to use non-lethal action against the group that the police described as having “extreme strength.” A couple of them were unaffected by pepper spray and two others had to be shot with a taser up to four times. Eventually, the police arrested them, and we’ve been trying to piece together what happened ever since.
Alongside her charge of unlawful confinement, the mother is also facing a charge of dangerous driving. The rest of the crew will be sentenced on December 20.
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