The Day The Lambs Roared
|William H. Bowen standing to the right in front of the silentlambs.org sign|
I will never forget that night it was in February of 2001. I had resigned as an elder in December of 2000, after the Watchtower Legal Department told me to leave a current allegation of abuse "In Jehovah's Hands." In January, I had gone to the media to explain how Jehovah's Witnesses cover up child abuse. I was on the front page of the "Paducah Sun" newspaper and then on the 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM news. My local congregation sent in a substitute Circuit Overseer to give a special "local needs" talk that said I was a liar and that none of my allegations were true. This was done in front of my family. It was the last meeting they would attend.
Behind the scenes, I was being contacted by hundreds of survivors by email and telephone telling me horrendous stories, which I could not get out of my head. The magnitude of the problem was far worse than I had imagined. My wife, at the time, was offered support if she would leave me and take my kids. My business was torpedoed by my brothers and sisters. At the time, I was trying to respond to every victim, because I felt a tremendous sense of guilt for having been an elder and unknowingly supporting such evil policies. I had to make right what I had been part of.
It was 3:00 AM and I woke up with this vivid picture in my mind. It was a valley of thousands of lambs that were completely silent. I could not get what I was visualizing to leave, so I sat down at the computer and started to write. "The Day the Lambs Roared" was the result. The story was a metaphor for what I envisioned needed to be accomplished in the work ahead. So many years after the fact, many of those things have been accomplished. I am proud to know so many brave "Lambs" that have roared for the simple premise that children need to be protected. Thank you for making common knowledge what was unknown when I started this. Jehovah's Witnesses have a child abuse policy that endangers children.
This is the story that started the Silentlambs website....
The Day The Lambs Roared
Picture if you will, going for a walk in a beautiful forest, along a winding path. As the graveled walkway gently descends, you realize you are approaching a picturesque mountain valley. As you get closer to the clearing you notice a broad field covered by thousands of sheep. From a distance it looks almost like a paradise. The rolling green meadow with the towering mountains all about, make it seem almost perfect. As you amble closer to the flock, you sense something is not right. It is one of those things that you feel at first, but then a slow realization prickles down the back of your neck. What is it? Throughout this valley, with literally thousands of lambs, there is a total silence. How could this be? You draw closer and then you notice other things. The lambs appear to be abused. Some are underfed and appear to be weak, while others seem to have massive scars across their bodies, and yet others just lie there and do not move. It is as if they have lost their will to live. What is even more bizarre is that you notice many have destroyed their lives by trying to swim a large river that runs through the valley and its banks are strewn with small lifeless bodies.
Then you see them....well dressed, clean cut and well fed. It is the shepherds. They have an air about them and they seem firmly in command. It is not long after this discovery you find the reason the lambs are silent. Across the valley comes a small bleat, a lamb has managed to pin itself between two rocks, it is in trouble and needs help. It seems to be almost in an instant that three shepherds rush over and begin beating the lamb with their staffs. You try to shout, "Stop! Don’t do that!" but it is to no avail. This one will not make it; it is to late. It is then that you realize the shepherds heard your shouts and are moving toward you. Now you fear for your own safety. You begin a swift walk to get away, but they speed up their pace. You begin to run, but they are gaining and then, at that moment, something happens. A small ram steps between you and the shepherds and with all his might makes a sound that betrays his anger, his pain, and frustration for living a life of fear. The shepherds are startled at first and the other sheep look at the little ram like he is crazy, but the shepherds quickly move to end the problem and gather around him. This is surely the end, you think, but across the valley comes another sound much like the first one, except this one is even more piercing. It has the sound akin to a woman’s scream. Again the shepherds divide their number to address the problem. Then there is another but it is deeper and has the sense of rage unleashed at that very moment. Then another outcry, weaker, but no less angry, then another, another, another and soon the sound is reaching across the valley. Each lamb starts lending their voice and the sound starts to become deafening. The shepherds are rolling on the ground holding their ears in pain, but the sound continues to rise, louder and louder until the mountains around start to shake, rocks and boulders come tumbling down and yet the sound continues to grow. Trees are shattered and the river is dried up as the mountain begins to fill it, yet still the sound continues to grow. You fall to the ground and hang on for dear life, as a massive earthquake rocks the entire valley. Everything is flattened and you think it is never going to end. As the earth moves you are hit by a tree branch and knocked unconscious.
Finally, you awaken and are amazed to see what lies before you. No barriers, the mountains are no more. The shepherds are gone, swallowed by the earth and no longer a threat. The river is just a gentle stream now, with easy access. Then you notice the lambs, they are a bit worse for the wear, battered, bruised, and still scarred, but different. They move freely now among one another on a long level plain. It is not just the movement, it is the sound, soft bleats and gentle baas waft across the land. They seem to have a sense of direction, as the flock moves away as one. It is true they are not cured of their ills and they do not have great security as before. What their new life will be like, they do not know. What they do know is that they will never live again as silent lambs.
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