It is a great loss to all of us who were affected by his work and his words. As I was thinking about this last week, a thought occurred to me: I never believed there were real heroes out there...until my life got saved by one. Reading Raymond Franz' books gave me the courage to stand up and confront this religion, speak out against its tyranny, and walk away.
He was a man of integrity, courage, and faith. Someone who has, in his life and death, become more than just a man--he has become an ideal, a symbol, incorruptible, everlasting. Someone who can inspire others to stand for freedom, too. We mourn his loss, but we must learn from his example of Christian kindness even to those who shun us, hate us, speak ill of us. I can only hope one day to have the humility to do that, as he did.
In reading his books, I really did feel like I was sitting with him, listening to his life story. I could feel the zeal for truth and right, the love for Christ and his teachings, and the willingness to ask hard questions that needed to be asked. It was as if he finally voiced all the things I could never piece together on my own.
We find out who we really are when we're forced to stand up and challenge corruption. I'm forever thankful that there was a man like him who was honorable enough to do so, wise enough to have his own moral code, brave enough to stand by it in the face of so much. I only wish I'd gotten to talk to him just once. I miss him and I never even got to do so. It just shows you how profound his life really has been.
Deepest condolences to his family.