Is The End Of The World Upon Us?
WLKY, May 5, 2003
The Bible predicts it, ministers preach about it and many others fear it.
But few of us expect the end of the world to happen anytime soon.
One religious sect, however, is counting down the days from a strange-looking compound on a Grayson County hilltop, WLKY NewsChannel 32′s John Boel reported Monday.
Many people have been wondering what’s going on up on that hilltop. The compound is growing, and so is suspicion. The Sabbatharians say the war in Iraq is just another sign that the end of the earth is near, fulfilling biblical prophecy, Boel reported.
They’ve always done things differently, like living on wheels, literally. Campers and school buses are often converted into homes, because the Sabbatharians seek mobility, since the end of the world is near.
One of the group’s leaders, Richard Dugan, said “We think about it constantly,” he said.
“We know it’s coming, and anybody would be an idiot not to worry about that.
” Added Sabbatharian Michael Boutte: “It’s almost hard for me to imagine living in a structure.
(It’s easier) living in something with wheels.
” But the Sabbatharians have parked their vehicles and dragged dozens of trailers to this hilltop where they’ve cut themselves off from society in many ways.
“The reason why we’re here is that we are different, and we know that,” Dugan said. “Our concept of life and the future is totally different than most people’s.
We’re what you would call separatists.
“Sabbatharian Lisa Meyer said their beliefs, more than their lifestyles, are what separates them from more mainstream philosophies, Boel reported.
“We don’t have a drug problem up here, and we don’t have alcoholics,” she said.
“You’re not corrupted by the outside world.
We don’t have all that outside interference.
” But certain holidays that many cultures observe go unacknowledged.
“We don’t believe in Christmas or Easter,” said Dugan, who added that birthdays aren’t recognized either.
“Why are they giving you presents?” Boutte asked.
“They should be giving your parents the presents.
They were the ones who went through all the pain and agony of bringing you into this world.
” What the Sabbatharians have to do to survive is to work hard, Boel reported.
That’s largely because there are no water, sewer or power lines connecting their compound to the rest of the world.
The utility company up on the hill is a gas-powered generator, and extension cords tying everyone together.
“Sometimes when we’re working, we stop and think what it must’ve been like before electricity came along and all this modern convenience, and we say that we’re getting back to the basics of life,” Dugan said.
“And it’s hard.
“Added Meyer: “I like my books. You can read by a lamp. You don’t need electricity. I don’t.
” Laura Dugan said there’s a system to preparing the group’s meals, Boel reported.
“We all cook down in the center,” she said.
“I put one woman in each day of the week, so not all women get stuck with it. Believe me, I know how that is.
” And the farming?
“Plowing the fields up is hard to do without a modern tractor,” Troy Tarter said. “We got this John Deere pop-banger, and it’s kind of hard plowing the fields up with the way it runs sometimes.
” So they plow their fields and live their lives the way they choose. They don’t believe they have much time left because by their calculations of biblical prophecy, the end of the world is no more than three years away, Boel reported.
What remains important to them is prayer, and being right with God.
And as they do, police leave them alone. As long as they don’t break any laws and pay their taxes, they can live that way.
According to Dugan, they’ll follow man’s rules until they conflict with their religion.