|Bullshit taught by the Watchtower Society|
LATEST UPDATE: (see original story below) I am sitting here pondering the last few weeks. Things have been pretty crazy and testing my strength. I've had a lot on my mind I haven't talked about until now. Those in my life know the tragic upbringing myself and my siblings had. I thought having Larry Vogl being released from prison would be the hardest thing I'd have to go through. NO I was way off. I have had a difficult relationship with my mom for years. I've tried and tried to be the daughter she needed. I have known some things that have transpired since Larry's release that have changed everything for me.
My mother, Marla Milligan has reconnected with Larry. She has spent time with him. Hooked up his utilities in her name. He has been to her house and had dinner. She and her current husband are all friends. He has been in her home and seen all of the pictures of all of us and the grandkids. The thought of that makes me sick. Her actions are the worst betrayal of all. It shows that she knew all along what he was doing and just didn't care. She always called him "her favorite husband", he was good to her just not her kids. She thinks he had been persecuted enough.
I've spoken with his parole officer and the district attorney's office, they know my concerns and are on top of it. I ended their little reunion. He isn't suppose to see either one of them or go to the Kingdom Hall. He's being monitored and any infraction he is back in custody.
For me this was my breaking point. She will never be the mother I have always needed. She is now dead to me. This was a final betrayal against her children. I will never allow her to hurt me any longer. I'm no longer her victim I am a survivor of the reality she created for all of us.
For 23 years she has denied knowing what he did and played the victim. To every person that was here she's betrayed them. She has never been the victim, she was a perpetrator. She sacrificed her children for a man who did unimaginable things to all of us. We have never been important enough for her.
l will always fight for the innocent. I will always protect those who can't protect themselves. I see the pain all of my siblings have gone through and the daily struggle for some of them. If I could take away their pain I would. I am strong and will always fight for justice for those forgotten.
To all my friends and family around the world, thank you for being on my journey. I learn more and more about myself daily. I get inspired by all of your posts. I see the amazing mothers in my life and I am blessed to see so much love and compassion that you have for your kids. I have three amazing kids in my life. I know what the love between a child and mother should be. I would move heaven and earth for them. I will never let them suffer the way I did. Thanks for listening. My next step is to move on. I will appreciate every day and experience life to the fullest, letting nothing get me down.
UPDATE! (Posted in group, July 19, 2014 by Bill Pavloff) Because of Shannon's hard work, being strong and standing up for herself by telling her story everywhere, her attacker has been chased out (told to go elsewhere) of every Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall he has visited since he was released from prison!!! HAHA!! Here's to old pedophiles dying alone and unwanted! (pardon me while I be uncharacteristically mean-spirited)
PREVIOUS UPDATE: Posted in group, July 9, 2014 by Shannon Michael Rowan
This week has been a rough one. The man who abused me and my family was released from prison Sunday. He was released as a transient in Fortuna. For the past twenty-three years, I have dreaded this day.
The thing that has pissed me off worse was my mother giving information about it to the Eureka elders, so they could watch out for him! WHAT??!!! Twenty-three years too phucking late! She knew and did nothing; the elders knew and did nothing. Now someone is concerned?
Here's the best part. He was never disfellowshipped. That's right! He's in "good standing" and has always had "Jehovah on his side." Forget the victims.
As soon as there is a current photo on Megan's law, we will make flyers. I do have a restraining order for my home and work. Since I work in Fortuna, I could run into him anywhere. Honestly, I am a bit freaked out inside. I am trying to get a hold on my panic attacks, which I hide from everyone. I want to be stronger, but that little girl getting beat with a hammer is still crying out inside me. This man abused us in every way and I have to fight so no one else has to suffer. Everyone will be warned about him and the cult that protected him. I always heard that "Jehovah would make things right and punish those who harm little children." Bull Shit! We are responsible for ourselves. I am making it my mission to warn everyone I can. Thank you for always being there for me. You are all truly my family. Much love and appreciation to all of you.
I was born into the cult called the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses. I have four siblings, who may not appreciate or agree with my views. I am originally from Ukiah, California. When my mom and biological dad moved to where "the need was great" (Society lingo for, "We're not getting any money from this area.") I was five years old. We ended up in Lemon, South Dakota. There were very few publishers (what the Governing Body calls active Jehovah's Witnesses), and my mom's brother was the only elder. My father left us high and dry, abandoning us.
Within months of my mom gaining a scriptural divorce she was introduced to a brother. Remember the saying that went, "Who, in their right mind, would marry a woman with five children!" Well, she found him, Larry Vogl. Once they were married, everything changed. Larry began beating us. Yes, I chose the word "beating." If something went missing or we did anything wrong, he would beat us with 2 x 4's, belts, hangers and his fists, just to mention a few of his tools. My mom did nothing to stop this behavior, nor did she tell her brother, the elder. My reoccurring nightmare began when I was about seven years of age and in the bathtub. I did not hear Larry say to be quiet. He came into the bathroom and beat me with a hammer. My mom did nothing. He abused us regularly. We were good kids. I was deeply involved with the truth. I had bible studies and regular return visits. I was proud and let others know about Jehovah. When I did something wrong in Larry's eyes he would punish me by not letting me conduct my bible studies or go out in service. If I turned in my time he would make me change it to what he felt I had done. I was in service from morning until night whenever we were out of school.
Though it's difficult to imagine, things got worse after we moved to Fortuna, California. Shortly after our move, Larry started sexually abusing us. My mom has always maintained she knew nothing. Even if I were to believe that, she didn't protect us from the physical and emotional abuse. This went on until I was baptized, and I was filled with guilt. I told him that either he went to the elders or I would. During this same time period, my mom had gone off to pioneer school which lasted for 2 weeks. We were left alone with Larry. The abuse was awful. I went to my mom and told her what was happening. She played the victim, saying she didn't know anything was happening. She was depressed and in bed.
Larry finally went to the elders. I remember it like it was yesterday. Each of us had to go into the back room to be questioned by a Judicial Committe of elders. When I entered, I was made to sit next to him. He then held my hand while I was questioned. I couldn't understand. Why was he there? I then realized they didn't fault him. He was a well-liked Ministerial Servant with five unruly step-children. I lied through my teeth, knowing we were going home with him. I was told that I could be disfellowshipped for my participation. I was so confused. I was at fault and I had disappointed Jehovah. I was devastated. The outcome of our meeting with the Judicial Committee was that Larry was publicly reproved and removed from his position as Ministerial Servant. My mom was privately reproved. No one was to tell anyone. No authorities were to be notified. It was to be handled within the family. Something to point out is that the elders on the committee told their families and their children were not to associate with us or befriend us. I accepted what the elders said and what they did. I thought I should have been punished, as well.
So continued the ongoing tragedies in our young lives. Larry continued to abuse us. He beat us for everything. Every time the elders would be called. They would come and pray with him. He would shed tears and all was blamed on us. He took the doors off of our rooms and off the bathroom. He would stare at us and we had no privacy. If he knew a brother was coming, he would return the doors to their original positions. He may not have touched us, but he still threatened us regularly. At one point, an elder and his family were on the phone. The line was not correctly disconnected, which allowed them to hear us being beaten. That elder never came over to help.
Finally, the abuse was reported by my little sister's counselor at school. I know my mom called her and told her knowing she would report it. He was arrested. I was a senior in high school. He worked for the city so it made the news. Shortly after being arrested there was a committee meeting called. We spent eight hours being questioned as to who reported Larry. There was no concern for us. I expressed to the elders that we had all lied during the last meeting because we were scared of him. They refused to hear it. They said the previous case would not be opened back up and that the current situation was no longer in their hands, but would be handled by the Judicial Committee in Crescent City where he was being placed at Pelican Bay Prison.
The authorities wanted to charge the brothers for hiding the abuse. As we headed into court we would see other brothers in the court room. They took notes and approached us later at the kingdom hall, telling us we were liars and how this poor man has suffered. No help from the elders. The case against Larry resulted in over 20 charges of sexual molestation against myself and my youngest sister. He was sentenced to 23 years.
Once Larry was in prison, I expected to hear from the Judicial Committee of elders in Crescent City to discuss the fact that the abuse did not stop and that he had lied. Those elders did not want to hear from any of us. The committee was over. Larry Vogl was never disfellowshipped; he went into prison as a brother in good standing. Of course, no one believed us and he was never punished. Instead, we were punished. We were told Jehovah will make it right. He will punish him, if he is lying. My mother had a horrible reputation which has followed me through my whole life. We were judged by what the adults raising us did.
Once Larry went to prison, I continued to be a good witness, though my childhood reputation always followed me. When I moved to other halls a letter was sent warning them of me and my mother. I had a lot of issues that have never gone away. I have had to sit in assemblies and listen to experiences from the brothers in prison who are bringing the truth to the inmates. I know they are talking about him. I know that some brothers have always remained in contact with him. I know that no one has ever believed us.
I went on with my life. I was married to another Jehovah's Witness for twelve years. I have always tried to get past my mothers reputation, but I never did. I would cringe inside, knowing the years are passing. The final straw for me was when I spoke with an elder regarding Larry's release. I was concerned he would be back in the same hall. I was told he will be welcome wherever he is, because he is a "brother" in "good standing" and I could tell no one what he had done. If I told anyone, I would lose my privileges. If it was on Megan's Law and someone saw it they would then know. I could not fathom what was being said. He was still going to have all the rights? I had been fighting to stay faithful and now I could warn no one?
SORRY, I am out! I will tell everyone who will listen. I left that day. That was six years ago. My boyfriend is also an Ex-Jehovah's Witness, who was disfellowshipped. He and I have known each other for over twenty-five years, so he knows my story and was there for some of it. Walking away with my boyfriend supporting me felt awesome.
I thought that I could be happy and start a new chapter of my life. I woke up shortly after that in pain. The pain got worse and worse. After many doctors and tests, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Fibromyalgia and OCD. I was forced to quit working and spent the next four years in bed. I was on and off medications and gained weight from taking some of them, which led to my being diagnosed with diabetes. I have that under control with medication, but I am in pain all the time. I have gotten myself out of bed and fight for all of my good days. I have been to counselors and done everything to try and help myself. Sometimes I just don't want to talk about it anymore. Why does it have to define my life?
Today, as I write this, I am scared. Larry is to be released July 4, 2014. I have successfully filed for a restraining order, since he is to be released right back into Humboldt County where he was arrested. I have so much support to help me canvas the area, including all Kingdom Halls in the area. I know he is not allowed in any church or allowed to go door to door. I will be there to make sure he doesn't.
I will do what none of the adults in my life have done. I will protect the innocent ones. He is going to be in his 80's. Many think he's too old to hurt anyone. No, he is a dirty, perverted old man, who will cause no more damage on my watch. I am getting better everyday. I still have issues with trust and many days don't want to leave my house. I have a good support system in place. I am trying to go back to work, which will help me immensely. I am no longer a victim of this cult. I am a survivor.