The new book “Paradise Earth: Day Zero” explores the Witness teachings of Armageddon and the building of a paradise earth from a fictional first hand perspective

As part of a new periodic series of articles, will be taking a closer look at certain books that thinking Witnesses might find stimulating. Obviously, the Society strongly discourages brothers from reading books by external sources because they prefer to have complete control over the way information about Witness beliefs is disseminated. However, in my own awakening I have found reading such material to be beneficial and enlightening, since it can help one develop a more rounded and objective view of certain long-held beliefs.

The first book under consideration is the recently released fictional novel “Paradise Earth: Day Zero.” The book explores the Witness concept of Armageddon and its immediate aftermath as though experienced first hand, and gives a fascinating if rather chilling insight into what life would be like if Watchtower’s vision of the future were to actually come true.

Here to introduce his book is the author himself, Anthony Matenia



As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, speculating about the paradise was one of our most treasured activities.  I recall field service days talking about where we planned to live (usually a dead rich person’s house) and what we planned to do: learn to play instrument, master chess, or maybe dive off a cliff and let the angels catch us.

Occasionally there would be dour circuit overseers that would reprimand us for speculating.  However, most would encourage this kind of activity.  “Make your hope real,” they urged with wide eyes.

There were of course limits to our daydreams.  We couldn’t stray too far outside the lines laid down in our publications, especially those paradise pictures.  If it was in a Watchtower painting, it was gospel.

I still recall the clamor that arose when a paradise painting showed a woman wearing trousers for the first time.  “We get to wear trousers!” a sister gushed, displaying the magazine. My childhood friend and me joked about going to Bethel and painting pictures of hamburger trees and flying cars to really stir the pot.

How do you demolish a city the size of New York so that it vanishes without a trace in less than a thousand years? And where would the rubble go?

Once I finally left the organization I had the liberty to look at that long-held hope objectively.  The first thing I considered was the whole notion that we would be able to clean up the earth and turn it into a garden in one thousand years. Working for a demolition company I knew that even tearing down a simple residential home required heavy machinery and a decent sized hole to bury the waste. Was there a hole big enough to put the broken remains of New York City?

A large wake up came when I read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut concerning the fire bombing of Dresden, Germany. It was the true-life account that he would later mine when developing his novel Slaughterhouse Five. He describes in graphic detail the horror of having to clean up the corpses. Spoiler: it’s not a paradise.

Armageddon survivors can look forward to the grim task of burying literally billions of corpses

If the Jehovah’s Witnesses grim eschatology is correct, the survivors of Armageddon would be faced with the dead bodies of nearly the entire population of earth. Within the religion there was some gruesome talk of birds and wild animals handling that cleanup. One Watchtower writer suggested anti-matter as a more pleasant alternative. Most of the time we didn’t consider it at all; pet lions were a much better topic of discussion.

My novel series Paradise Earth is the product of this speculative exercise. It’s a stark look at the hopes and dreams held by Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, it tackles more than just the mess of the end of the world, but drills deep into the mental mess embodied in the faith’s adherents. What does such a bleak outlook do to the person? What happens if the carrot at the end of the stick turns out to be rotten?

The first installment, Day Zero, picks up at the end of the world, just as the fireballs start falling down from the sky. In a single Kingdom Hall, the congregation members alternate between hope and despair. Long suppressed doubts ripple to the surface. Past sacrifices are reflected upon and weighed. And as the cry of the dying permeates their sanctuary, they are faced with the brutal reality of it for the first time.



22 thoughts on “The Book Corner – Paradise Earth: Day Zero

  • December 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Anthony, what an interesting way to address the Ghost of Misinformation, a ghost that will haunt any JW trying to leave the Organization. The toxic residue from the JW experience is staggering. Anyone who tries to leave an emperor’s-new-clothes world, unable to challenge or slightly question the poor science of a specific JW dogma, her or his mind and body short circuits. I will read your book and give it an honest review.

  • December 23, 2012 at 2:14 am

    If I remember correctly, the society very rarely went into any detail about what would happen after the big A. So yes there was much speculation about what would happen, but in the end we were always told that Jehovah will sort it all out. What seems impossable from a human viewpoint is no problem at all to the creator. The clean up would have to take a lot less than a thousand years, as there was the resurrection to take place and a mass teaching work.
    So bottom line was we thought about it now and again, but could never go into any real detaial as the society did not.

  • December 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

    It’s funny how some brothers and sisters—and I include my old self here—think that, if the GB put it in the illustrations, so it shall be. What most of us don’t realize is where they get those ideas from—from the same place as we do, their imagination. The Bible doesn’t go into detail so whatever the GB puts there is as much speculation as we we ourselves can come up with.

    Cedars has uploaded an audio on YouTube of Gerrit Lösch describing or should I say speculating about Armageddon and how Jehovah will use radiation to rot away people’s flesh in fulfilment of a prophecy in Zechariah. I’m sure that must have worked wonders to instil fear in those in the audience to get themselves together before Armageddon. He also goes on to say that the Bible indicates that there’ll be brothers and sisters who will spend a long time doing nothing else than burying the dead, because billions of people will die. That certainly is not the idea most of us have of what life in paradise will be like, and I wonder how many are actually aware of that.

    It’s interesting that Armageddon as taught today is not what, for example, Russell believed. He believed it would be a gradual deterioration of civilized society, followed by Christ’s rule. It was Rutherford who introduced the idea of a mass murder of humankind.

    On the topic of fear, I could go on for hours on how my parents and elders in more than one congregation have tried to use fear against me even when I was just a boy to make me do what they wanted. An organization that pride themselves on saying that only they display the love Jesus said would be the identifying mark of his disciples should know better.

  • December 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I read an interesting book that traced the ideas about heaven through the centuries. The modern day concept of heaven is very materialistic, where all earthly desires will be filled. For instance the deceased was an avid golfer, a preacher might talk about how they are playing in the best 18-holes up in heaven. The JW concept of paradise is quite similar. It is a land of perfect waves for surfers. More to the point, it is an entirely a product of imagination with little real basis. Because the Bible has little to say on the subject.

    Another thing is that JW concept of paradise doesn’t include cohabitation with God. When sharing their hope from Revelation 21 they focus on verse 4, and overlook verse 3 that talks about God residing with them.

    The next book in the Paradise Earth series “Week One” will deal with the disparity of the painted paradises versus the reality of life in an uncertain “new world”.

    Thanks to all who pick up “Day Zero”. I would love your feedback, so please leave reviews on the booksellers’ websites.

  • December 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

    where can i get this book?? Would luv to read what a JW might think about what Earth will be like after Armageddon…

  • December 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I would like to thank Cedar’s for posting this and to Mr. Anthony Mathenia I am currently a fading JW I was a Ministerial Servant and resigned because of a few conflicting ideas I found one being what will we do with all the dead? Yes the birds will eat them but there is no way there are enough birds n etc. to eat billions of dead people and the smell and the bacteria I cannot wait to read this book I am swinging by Barnes and Nobles after work or christmas and picking up my copy I am so happy that this is getting published.

  • December 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Well it will be interesting to read that book.
    But I agree that what seems impossible to man, is possible to God!
    As awful a reminder as it seems, Hitler got rid of thousands if not millions by gas chambers and furnaces!?
    And the bible does say of man’s sinful death will be as ashes to ashes & dust to dust.
    The way the world is heading, there will be many starving animals
    (as well as humans) that will look forward to a feast on those that ruined ‘their paradise’!
    Though an EX JW and and no longer believing some of their doctrines. It is plausible and acceptable that recycling much of building materials for new ‘paradise’ homes. Metals melted down
    for tools. And dont forget deserts will spring forth life; hence,
    man will live where he was never able to live before.
    However, adherent witnesses are too full of stubborn pride to see reason. As it is their only way of feeling and being important in the real world, as a GB memebr, bethelite, missionary, elder or ministerial servant, where they otherwise would not be in authoritive positions. ( my personal view anyway)!

  • December 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Is this book available in the UK?
    Been to all well known book stores and they dont stock or even list it. Such as WHSmiths & Waterstones etc!

  • December 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

    The hypocrisy was astounding as “Just as it was before the rebellion” was repeated yet when someone would mention not wearing clothes or not eating meat or anything that absolutely WERE factual before the rebellion in the Garden? It was uncomfortable and immediately shunned as was the person. Very selective was their idea of how things should be.

  • December 28, 2012 at 4:25 am

    The most fearful thing is that the WT Society believes it will be running everything. Total Control. For those of you who have been through Bethel life, this may ring a bell.

    Think about it – everything, right down to the minutest detail, covered by some rule or other. Freedom? Zero. According to the Society’s version, you will be told where to live, what work to do, and how to do it. Think Communist Russia on steroids. Your relaxation time will be controlled, ditto your entertainment. Planning to learn a musical instrument? To dance? To paint? Based on our experiences of the past 50 years there’s not much reason to believe these aspirations feature. And, of course, any who disagree can expect a very swift “cutting off”.

  • January 27, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Thanks Anthony, I will probably read your books. I have wondered about day zero myself. All I could think of when they were talking about the deaths was that my dearest beloved mother, who lives by Jesus and yet is almost an atheist, would be there being pecked by the crows. Alas, I have independently studied the Bible and I see now that she will probably receive a favourable judgement because she is a charitable, giving, generous, forgiving, unconditionally loving person with a strong foundation in values of honesty and love for nature, and doing good to fellow humans. And of course my 4 year old niece, and so many other good and innocent people.

    I now walk around the shops and that with joy, seeing the mass of humanity going about their daily lives and now knowing they’re going to live! Before I thought, as do all JWs (note: I’m still ‘active’ and I love my congregation friends) that all these people are going to be destroyed, including the little children, and it broke my heart and I felt so guilty because I didn’t have the courage to witness to them all. It is such a weight off my shoulders, and thanks to Cedar for giving me a place where I can share this with you.

    Jesus has touched me and instead of crippling depression partly brought around by the WT guilt-machine, I find ways to love my fellow JWs and other humans for joy. I’ve actually halved the amount of medication I need to take now because I’ve taken myself from their power.

  • February 2, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Why do waste your time telling lies about JWs? Leave them alone and mind your own business.

  • February 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Interesting reading Anthony,

    I wonder if Micheal Jackson had a similar thought of the ressurection with his famous “Thriller” it is of course well known family menber are witnesses

  • February 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    As I type this title is in stock at Amazon UK though it’s cheaper to import from a couple of the third party Amazon Marketplace sellers, while the Kindle edition is less than £4 to download.

    It’s also listed by a USA based seller on eBay UK.

  • March 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Well, the bible does describe the earth being made new, and Issiah describes future conditions.Now I will 1st state I believe Armageddon is more of a Divine intervention to save humanity from extinction, even though he will execute the wicked and treacherous as well great or small,rich or poor… But as I read the article and all your comments, it seems many here are in need of getting out of the matrix so to say, not just the watchtowers, but that of the establishment and what they say and feed us. There are so many variables here no one is remotely considering, and many would not believe some of it even though I could get into a few things the bible predicted , that almost nobody has taken note of, and for a good reason/reasons mainly because you probably will not believe it,and that is how they can get away with it so far. . But I will restrain a bit out of fear of being labeld a kook or conspiracy theorist,and getting deleted LOL ;) . But it will not be billions of dead bodies just laying around. Many will be burned up, even vaporized and turned to dust. many drown, and swallowed up ,or entombed underground in their bunkers and bases as revelation says they hide in the caves….It only says we will bury some bones after whoever is left is eaten up or burned up.Ezekiel 38-39 says We will not have to collect wood for fire from the woods for 7 years because of the nature of what the elite want to do to achieve their ” ONE THOUGHT” mentioned in Rev. 17 . But I personally believe maybe few billion of us will be left over in it as proverbs 2 says people will be left over in the earth…He will set matters straight for all who remain.

    What nobody here is considering here is one major thing: there is their really is a global elite who rule this planet, the REAL rulers who own everything…They are into occult ancient mystic babylonian religions, or lucifarians. They have their own armageddon and kingdom planned in place of Gods,as why it is called the antichrist, or instead of Christ’s kingdom . Ezekiel 38 speaks of a massive invasion of a numerous military force and many people with him( Gog of Maygog=Satan,the demons and the ruling human elite . ) They want to reduce earths population down below 500 million, let the smoke clear and start over. This is provable and verifyable .Look at the seed vaults and safe underground retrats they are creating and prepping for …something BIG! They openly admit to wanting to reduce the population drasticly all in the name of saving the earth,even though they destroy it themselves.But as I said: I believe armageddon is more of a Divine intervention to keep us from being destroyed buy these elitsts creeps who are all working together internationally towrd their so called new world order,or one world government.(and they are not sticking together either as iron and molded clay do not) Revelation 17 as in the Wild beast with the ten horns/kings and their one thought . Disolve national sovereignty and give it to the U.N under agenda 21. It will be a scientific dictatorship with almost none of us left with no freedom at all. So this attack may do much of the work for us,and especially when Jehovah thrashes them as we read the Divine intervention occurs in that Chapter 38.

    I believe this attack IS the great tribulation and it will as ezekiel tells us, move in like a storm suddenly it will happen. Like CLOUDS to cover the land they shall become.Ezekiel also calls it an injurious scheme,and its to kill us pillage and rape the planet and carry it off our gold silver and resources…What they have planned is something that has not happened since the worlds beginning till now for sure. And If I described it in full you would be like ahhh that’s how Babylon the Greats plagues will come in one day… But I will restrain . LOL Cedars , you need to have a radio talk show, that would be fun ! what do you think ? But clean up will not be as bad as one may think it is, and people with the Spirit and real Divine direction from the Creator will move any mountain like obstical . I really think we are all in for a real mixed bag of tricks and deception. One hint is called Project Bluebeam . . .

    • March 7, 2013 at 12:54 am

      “LOL Cedars , you need to have a radio talk show, that would be fun ! what do you think ?” – I think you’re bonkers with your “UN agenda 21,” that’s what I think!! No offense. ;-)

  • March 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

    None taken, I expected it. ;-) LOL But for real Cedars: you can look it up yourself and do your own reseach. All it really amounts to is the fulfillment of Rev 17 with the ten horns, and the horns giving the wild beast (U.N.) all authority, even their kingdoms.(national sovereignties) This is agenda 21(21 meaning for the 21st century) This is really true and documented. I would never just come on here and say this to blow hot air. It relates to this topic of armageddon so I have to bring it up. Hey when you see danger ,you warn people right? Millions know about it and it is well reseached and covered by many credible people. The plans go back a long time now.Fact, many times is stranger than fiction… I would say I am not bonkers, just bonkers for taking on this kind of stuff LOL :)

  • July 4, 2013 at 2:18 am

    What everyone forgets is that nothing the WT has ever predicted has EVER happened. They live in a made up fairyland. And if a real Armeg does occur, likely it will be absolutely nothing like the GB predicts or that any human could describe. Same goes for life in a ‘paradise.’ I’m sure if all that really comes true, it will be a big surprise to everyone. :-)

  • August 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

    A great concept.Does God or any angels feature in your novel? I always imagined Paradise as being able to learn EVERYTHING. No surprise that I got kicked out, is there?

  • August 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

    isabella botticelli July 4, 2013 at 2:18 am

    “What everyone forgets is that nothing the WT has ever predicted has EVER happened. They live in a made up fairyland. And if a real Armeg does occur, likely it will be absolutely nothing like the GB predicts or that any human could describe. Same goes for life in a ‘paradise.’ I’m sure if all that really comes true, it will be a big surprise to everyone. :-)”

    That’s exactly what I have been thinking lately!
    In fact I am retraining myself to UNimagine all the scenarios that I have been programmed by the Watchtower with the sound basis and tract record of theirs (0 for 0) and imagine that things will transpire along the scriptural basis and in ways that are far more likely and realistic. That is not always easy but far more fun and far less brutal and violent, humane as well as happy and less stressful and realistic! At least the way it seems to work out in my feeble coconut…

  • November 24, 2013 at 6:03 am

    JWs believe that after the big A the Earth will be a peaceful place to live. Then the resurrection comes. Uh oh!. All these people coming to life who don’t know they’ve died. To them they’ve just been asleep and they wake up and the world has changed. They will still have their same memories and mind, unless God is going to wipe their memories. Oh wait. He couldn’t do that or they’d not know their loved ones who the JWs think they’ll meet again. So there will still be some violence and crime and you will still need to lock your doors. With Satan gone it might not be as bad as today but as the GB says, they will all need to be taught about God’s ways. Also, will the JWs be happy that probably most of their own families will be dead? As for the clean up don’t forget this will speed up as more are resurrected, well assuming that the people’s lives are not all took up with STILL preaching the word. Who will deal with the clean up of nuclear power stations and weapons too? Why has God made the bible so difficult to understand if it is such a matter of life and death? If the end is so near why don’t the JWs get instruction on self sufficiency, because they will need it with all the shops gone. Too many unanswered questions.

  • June 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Sean Stinson has some points that tie in with reality. Agenda 21 is real.

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