R.I.P. Raymond Franz (1922-2010)

Many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are mourning tonight, myself included.  The author of Crisis of Conscience, Ray Franz, passed away this afternoon from a stroke/brain hemorrhage at the age of 88.

I never had the opportunity to meet Ray, though I had hoped to eventually.  He was a kind, humble man willing to give up everything in his world to walk away from an organization that he discovered was corrupt.

He and I would perhaps have disagreed on theology, but he and his books have done more than anyone else to help recovering JW survivors, and expose the inner workings of the cult from the highest level.  He never sought the limelight, and had only gentle and encouraging words for those who wrote to him, regardless of their religious beliefs.  Though I am not Christian, I believe that Ray Franz was the epitome of what a true Christian should be.

My condolences to his friends, family, readers, and especially his wife Cynthia.


  1. What a courageous soul!!!

  2. For Christians, physical death is not the end…it is the beginning of our spiritual life with our loving God!

  3. Angelae D. Le'Chastaignier says:

    I met Ray in 1991, staying in his home for about 4 days. He and Cynthia’s kindness, hospitality, and care were refreshing; I didn’t feel I had to be anyone other than myself. I never revealed to him how that visit kept me from taking my life. I will greatly miss this wonderful man.

    My condolences to his wife, who loved him dearly.

    May he rest in peace as a true mensch.


    Angelae D. Le’Chastaignier

  4. Ole Helle-Broe says:

    Raymond Franz.
    Raymond and Cynthia will always been in our prayers. He was the most humble man I ever had contact with.

    I wrote this him to him August 27, 2009:
    Dear Raymond,
    Something terrible has happen to our family, our daughter Mette’s 21 year old daughter Jessica was killed in a car accident yesterday, Wednesday. Mette asked me today if you could help us with some guidance for the funeral service, just a little talk. You are the only one who can help us now in this sad situation. We just sit and cry. Please help us.
    Kind regards Ole Helle-Broe, Australia.

    The same day, August 27, he send us this comforting letter:
    Dear Ole and family,
    We were very sorry to hear of the death of your granddaughter, Jessica. I am sure it will take some time for
    you to adjust to the loss, and even more so on the part of her mother. God’s Word recognizes the uncertainty of life and the unpredictable circumstances that can occur, as Ecclesiastes 9:11 says “time and chance (unforeseen occurrence) happen to all.” God’s Son was himself moved to tears on seeing the grieving of Lazarus’ sisters at the time of Lazarus’ death. (John 11:33-35)
    Even as the greatest appreciation of water comes with being very thirsty, and of food when being very hungry, or of sleep when being extremely tired, so too one can appreciate the crucial value and beauty of the resurrection hope, and the strength it gives, most particularly when experiencing the loss of a loved one, or when facing death oneself. The Scriptural knowledge shared by you and your family that death is
    comparable to sleep and that those sleeping in death can be awakened from that sleep by Christ’s call awakening them to return to life (John 5:25, 28, 29) aids tremendously to give relief to sorrow, so that as Christians we “may not grieve as do others who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14) You have the hope of seeing Jessica again and should feel even more motivated to faithfulness in your service to God and
    his loving Son who will make that possible.
    I completed 88 years of life in May and Cynthia reaches 76 in August, so we both recognize that the time remaining for us is not great. One thinks of the words of the psalmist, “Our years come to an end like a sigh. ” (Psalm 90:9, 10) While “our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day,” as we look “not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen,” not at the temporary, but at the eternal,
    having entrusted ourselves to “a faithful Creator.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 Peter 4:19)
    As regards a “funeral service” this is entirely a matter for personal choice. For myself, following my death I would personally prefer not to have some formal service held in a “funeral parlor” but would prefer that those of my friends who are able and would care to, would come to our home to meet with my wife and join together in comforting her, recalling whatever pleasant association they had had with me, and any
    experiences of worth and value that resulted from this. But as I say, that is only my personal preference and is not presented as something for others to be guided by. Mette’s wishes should be given priority and if she feels a regular funeral service is best then that is what you should do. In that case, as family head you might preside in discussing the wonderful hope God provides in his Word, and perhaps then give other family
    members the opportunity to each make their personal expression. Again these are only thoughts and whatever choice your family makes is the one to be governed by. We wish you God’s help now in reconstructing your life after this loss and I trust that your giving mutual support and comforting one another will give added meaning to the daily life of each of you.
    Our sincere regards and sympathy, Ray and Cynthia

    A part of this was used at our grand daughters funeral service.

    Thanks Raymond, you were always there with an answer.

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