Although Paradise Earth: Day Zero begins with the trek of a Jehovah’s Witness immediately after a disaster that he believes is God’s war of Armageddon, readers will be astonished at what happens to this Witness and sixty-nine other individuals inside the Black Island Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the conflagration.
After a weekly congregational meeting, instead of departing for home, the Witnesses end up trapped for weeks during what seems to be the “apocalypse” which all of them earnestly welcomed.
Outside the building, a rare thunder snowstorm showers down snow, chunks of ice and marble-sized hail during sunless days and moonless nights, followed by missile-like balls of fire shot from the sky onto the frozen earth. Inside the building, the Kingdom Hall becomes a frozen tomb for many.
Author,Anthony Mathenia, masterfully takes us along on a riveting subsurface exploration of the religion’s theological intricacy and astonishing mindset that causes unexpected results in Witness behavior as severe personal tribulation takes place for each of them showing us that they are not what they seem to be. As secrets are revealed, we see how conflicted the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses is and we can’t help but come to some grim conclusions about those who jump on the end-of-the-world bandwagon.
At the cliffhanger conclusion of this, the first part of a three-part series, we are left anxious and ready to read the next installment, Week One.
This unusual thought-provoking novel stands alone because few people can offer insight into the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses as Mathenia can even though using an imaginary scenario. Writers are told to write about what they know best, and Mathenia knows all about Jehovah’s Witnesses in that he was raised in the religion that he took very seriously as he climbed the theocratic ladder laid out for ambitious young men by Witness leadership.
Barbara Anderson was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 1954 to 1997. She worked at Watchtower’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, from 1982 to 1992 where during her last three years there, she researched the movement’s official history (published in 1993) and did research as well as wrote a number of articles for their Awake! magazine. She has done extensive research on issues related to child sexual abuse in the religion leading to interviews on major TV and radio programs as an outspoken critic of Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse policies. She maintains the website watchtowerdocuments.com