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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Moment by William H. Bowen, Founder of Silent Lambs website (silentlambs.org)

April 9, 2011 at 1:31am      

Ever travel back in your memory to a time in your life when you have a realization that nothing would ever be the same?  For better or worse you had to move forward no matter what the future may hold? There was a moment in my life that held that significance and sometimes it seems like yesterday, yet it was over ten years ago.  To understand you might like to know some background to the reason why this moment was so profound to me.  You see I was a second generation Jehovah’s Witness and in many respect a company man for 43 years of my life.  Served at Bethel, Pioneered, Ministerial Servant, first talk and field service when I was five years of age, Elder, Quick Builds, Special Committees, Circuit and District Convention parts and assignments to head departments, so many parts of a theocratic resume that took thirty years to build and have the backing of the organization.

Yet on other levels as time passed certain things that were troubling; in 1995 the ‘Generation Doctrine’ was changed, which made over 50 years of literature outright lies. A Questions from readers that said voting was a conscience matter, yet six months later a directive from CO saying not so, blood doctrine changes that made a scriptural edict that carried the same connotation as fornication and apostasy changed in a letter to instead be a disassociation offense only if you said you were not sorry.   When that happened I threw away my blood card for I decided I would much rather be removed as an elder and know that I did everything possible to save my children’s life.  Funny even with all of this I soldiered on thinking that I could make a difference by serving as an elder and having a say to help my brothers and sisters. Sadly that was not going to be good enough.

I discovered in congregation records that a fellow elder was a confessed child molester.  In order to understand the situation I began to do research on child abuse and was completely shocked at what was discovered.  I realized as an elder that I was grossly misinformed and uneducated on the devastating effects of child sexual abuse.  When I started studying the symptoms to my horror I could think of at least seven children that had been around this man that were manifesting symptoms to varying degrees.  Then there was the information that said a typical molester would hurt as many as 200 children in their lifetime….they never stop.  I became physically ill when I read this and realized if this man was to be stopped I had to do something.  So I took the theocratic route and for almost a year with CO’s, DO’s and several calls to the Service and Legal Departments I finally had an answer.  It was to leave it in “Jehovah’s Hands”.

When after offering physical evidence of yet another child being abused I was told those words, something broke inside me.  I was broken and just could not do it anymore. I realized that an organization with the capacity to without conscience willfully hurt children had the capacity to be capable of doing massive harm to its followers.  For me to serve as any part of this administration would be a crime against humanity.  That night I wrote a letter of resignation explaining the reason why in good conscience I could no longer server as an elder in the organization.  I began to think about my children and what was in their best interests and what I would now need to do to free them from being enslaved to fear and guilt for the rest of their lives. Would  I be strong enough to mentally carry them to a better place where they could be happy stable people for the balance of their lives or would  I screw them up to be unhappy damaged people?  The weight of it all was crushing; could I just give up, forget everything, follow instructions and go back to being an elder like nothing ever happened? How could I turn my back on a child that was being hurt?

All this verbiage is to assist the reader in understanding ‘the moment’.  That moment was when I held my letter of resignation in my hand and was standing at the Post Office mail box.  I knew when that letter went into the slot that my life in one sense was over and yet in another was a fresh new beginning.  I could never go back and be what I was, my theocratic resume was trashed into a million pieces and yet as the letter slide into the box I felt this tremendous sense of relief and freedom.  I knew it was the right thing to do no matter what uncertainty the future may hold.  On the way home a song played on the radio.  It was Creed, the song was “Arms wide open”.  As I listened to the words tears streamed down my face as they seemed to describe this turning point in my life.  Each verse hit me between the eyes so to speak and yet seemed to give me hope I was going to be ok. With that thought I share those words and see if the reader might understand why.

“Arms Wide Open” by Creed

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything

With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I'll show you everything ...oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open...

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

I'll show you everything..oh yeah
With arms wide open....wide open  

I thought a lot about how I was going to help my children to think this through and how I would reason and help them to understand that their life could be so much more than the limitations placed on them by the organization.  For my daughter it was fairly easy after some significant conversations she just come out and said, “I never wanted to be a JW anyway and now I can finally tell you how I really feel about things.”  It opened up a new world of communication between us.  Yet for my son who was younger even after the talks I could see he was faltering.  His school work was off and he seemed troubled.  Finally after a long drive and conversation he stated, “I am worried that Jehovah is going to kill me at Armageddon”. This from a nine year old, but I knew at this point what needed to be addressed.  So with much effort and reasoning I finally started to see the cloud start to leave and this happy peaceful child return back to himself.  It was all part of the journey that in some ways was a roller coaster ride of elated highs and devastating lows to find and get to a better place.  Some time later I watched the music video that Creed made about the song and even in a more  powerful way it seemed to define the moment my life forever changed but yet the purpose of finding a better place for me and my family to live with freedom of mind and being open to living life to the fullest.  You can watch the video here;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99j0zLuNhi8

The child that I called the Legal Department about was placed in protective custody while the congregation was told by a CO there was no molester in the local Kingdom Hall. So began a stand and a fight to give victims a voice and show on every level who the real liars are. Interestingly today I received a call from a sister on how she could report her JW molester after the elders advised her to remain silent while allowing him further access to children.  When she had no where to turn who did she call?  She called Silentlambs; for a safe place to get assistance.  So ten years or so later, ‘the moment’ is continuing on some level to make a difference in the lives of others.

For many “The Moment” can mean many things; a divorce, death of a loved one, job change, birth of a child, or start of a new relationship.  The question remains the same, will you be strong enough to let the past go and embrace ‘the moment’ to give it everything you have got to move on with your life.

When you face ‘the moment’ in your life will you meet it with arms wide open?
NOTE:  If you are a former or Ex-Jehovah's Witness, who would like to have your case reviewed legally, concerning you or your child having been molested/raped and receiving no assistance from anyone in the Watchtower Society, you can contact William H. Bowen, the founder of silentlambs.org.  For confidential contact info, check with Admin. in "The Truth Behind Jehovah's Witnesses" group on Facebook.

If you would like to have your CHILD CUSTODY case reviewed, William H. Bowen also founded the Jehovah's Witnesses Child Custody website to provide information and assistance for former or Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses with child custody issues. 

If you are a former or Ex-Jehovah's Witness in need of counseling concerning you or your child having been molested/raped, please go to the Silent Lambs website for assistance.  http://www.silentlambs.org/assistance/index.cfm

Want to know where to find the concrete evidence against the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses?  Here's a few links to get you started:
 
Facts About Jehovah's Witnesses

Silent Lambs

Watchtower Documents.Com

Watchers of the Watchtower World

Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA)

Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Online

^^^ The above website includes "An Elder Shares His Honest Opinions"
http://ex-jw.com/elder-shares-honest-opinions  (THAT should be an interesting read!)