Ramtha School distanced itself from slain French couple

The school also denies being a survivalist cult

The Sunday Times, South Africa/January 21, 2011

The Ramtha School of Enlightenment on Friday denied being a survivalist cult and distanced itself from a French couple who killed a policeman and wounded another, and were then shot dead by police.

"Upon hearing the news that the fugitives had died in a shoot-out with police yesterday, JZ Knight, founder of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment (RSE) expressed a mixture of relief and sadness," the school, based in the USA, said in a statement.

They expressed condolences to the family of Constable Jacob Boleme, 27, who was shot dead, and Warrant Officer Glenwall du Toit, 42, who was wounded when police arrived at the farm the couple lived on near Sutherland, in the Karoo, last Friday.

Knight said according to reports, Philippe Meniére and Agnes Jardel had thought the world was ending for decades, and had been involved in a survival academy and with Nostradamus prophecies since the late 1980s and belonged to the RSE.

The school said the couple had attended a survival combat and tactics academy 23 years ago, long before they ever attended RSE and that "those tactics have never been part of the RSE curriculum".

They then attended several RSE courses between 1999 and 2004. RSE has had no contact with them since they attended a seminar in 2004.

"As reported by the du Plessis family [whose farm they lived on] to the media, the change in their behaviour happened only within the last year or two, so their recent actions are unrelated to RSE or its teachings."

Knight had never met the couple and the school does not condone violence "in any form" she continued.

Responding to the reports that the couple stole food, they said the school also deplores theft.

"The fundamental precepts taught at the school emphasise the sacredness of human life. The choices made by the couple do not reflect an understanding of the school's philosophy."

Students call themselves "sovereignists" and have been taught to be prepared for anything, to be able to provide and care for themselves and their families.

"A sovereign person is able to support their life without gambling on banks, the stock market, or paper investments. I am very proud of this culture of RSE and that our students have heard this message from Ramtha for over 25 years."

Ramtha is, according to the statement, 35,000 years old and channelled through the body of JZ Knight.

Several references to scientific studies showing physiological changes in Knight during the channelling, were provided.

The school said they had been making predictions of Earth changes for decades and taught people how to provide for themselves and their families.

But, they don't, as reported believed the world is going to end in 2012.

"Does RSE believe that the world will end in 2012? No. RSE is already making administrative plans for its school curriculum for 2013 and 2014."

All they do is teach students to prepare for unexpected changes and this could be related to the weather, terrorism or financial chaos.

"The emphasis is not on the end of the world, but rather on becoming self-reliant so that in any emergency you can be an asset to your family and community, rather than a liability."

The school also wanted it known that they are not a cult, which is supported by a US court ruling.

Last Friday police went to the farmhouse where Meniére and Jardel had been living for the past few years, after the owner reported they had weapons. After the first shootout the couple went on the run. They were apparently shot dead at a second house on the farm on Thursday, although their identities had not been officially confirmed yet.

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