I don't often initiate posts. Instead ...

by JWinSF 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • JWinSF

    ... I'm usually one who responds to topics that interest me. Yesterday, I wanted to respond to certain posts, but needed to step back and wait until things became more clear to me. I didn't use an attention grabbing subject line for this post [e.g., something referring to Raymond Franz, Bill Bowen, Silentlambs] since my purpose was basically to express my feelings, whether or not anyone wanted to read them or respond to them.

    I watched with bewilderment the recent accusations flung against Raymond Franz and the comments made by some supporting the accusations both here and on the yahoogroups email list. Deep within my "gut" I felt there was something wrong about the accusations. I couldn't find the support for them in what was presented by some in print. Since leaving the JWs I pay attention to my "inner voice". If something bothers me, I do not hold on to it with hope that my inner feelings are wrong. I spent far too many years in the JWs hoping that my inner voice was wrong. My inner voice said something was seriously wrong with this attack on Raymond.

    I have never communicated with Raymond. In fact, I suspect he wouldn't approve of me since I am a gay man and I understand he is basically a conservative Christian. Yet, it was his fully documented books written without hate or an "axe to grind" that removed the "scales from my eyes" regarding the Organization. His books made it easy for me to disassociate without lingering fears that I was leaving "God's Organization on Earth".

    I was one of the 125 that gladly marched with Silentlambs on September 27, 2002. When I heard of the planned march in the UK, I was seriously considering going. However, now with this recent sudden attack on Raymond and the subsequent apology [at least that was one good thing about this recent tirade of trashings], my confidence in the group is seriously shaken. It reminds me of "Dallas" with Bobby's death being only a dream --- "Ray's bad/Ray's good". Now, I don't know if any statement made on behalf of the Silentlambs is factual or a sudden brain fart which just smells up the place. The flip-flop of "bad Ray/good Ray" reminds me of the JW "tacking" logic of "new light", which basically is a series of 180 degree reversals of viewpoint repeated ad nauseum. Again, I believe the apology, while doing a "flip-flop", is good and welcomed. But, when will the next "flip-flop" occur?

    I do support the principle of bringing out the dark secrets of the JW hierarchy to public view. I am sympathetic with those who've been the subject of child abuse as I know of one young woman personally who was sexually abused and of another who was physically abused within their respective congregations. But, I can only align myself with a group that conducts itself in a dignified manner. This recent outburst was not dignified.

    Regretfully, I am going to pull away from the efforts of Silentlambs at bringing to light the JWs heinous crimes of repeatedly hiding child abuse. Anyway, they won't miss me that much as I've only done a few email postings on Yahoo Groups and attended tha march. It's also not that I am supporting the JWs, far from it. Rather, I inwardly now question supposed child abuse "facts" that are presented. The JWs have made an art of presenting "facts" to prove their various stances. However, the "facts" are often out of context or from authors of dubious authority. As a result, the underlying discomfort level with this recent attack on Raymond now casts doubt in my mind regarding future pronouncements.

    I hope that Silentlambs continues to be able to expose the wrongs of The Society. I hope that they are successful in getting those who are guilty brought to legal action. I also hope that future thoughts/views/feelings are more carefully weighed before printing them. Otherwise, other supporters might also "jump ship".

    John W Wirtanen

  • Dutchie

    Hi JW,

    I respect your opinion.

    However, it is just too bad that you are not able to separate personalities from the very important work that Silentlambs has done and will continue to do.

    Was the purpose of your post a call for others to withdtraw their support of Silentlambs as you propose to do?

    Thank you.

  • mouthy

    John .I think you may be wrong in your summation of Ray being against your gayness. I have met him & I know he is NOT a judgemental person.

    I have 3 gay fellows who keep in contact with the C.A.A R group. I believe a couple of them spoke to Ray ( I gave them his Number) & they told me he was NOT judging them.....

    Blessings friend...

  • kenpodragon

    I understand your point, but I would like to add one thought. In your frustration, which I do not think is yours alone, I hope something good comes from it. In that, you take the time to do something on a local basis to support abuse victims. Silentlambs agenda was never really mine, although I saw good in what he did. My agenda will always focus on changing laws to make religions accountable, and to prevent future abuse. We can not change the past, but are actions can affect the future. I have done a lot, and continue to do so, to help and support abuse victims organizations. I hope you do the same in your own little part of the world and make a difference in the lives of many, and never be satisfied as a mere spectator.

    My thought


  • kelsey007

    I agree with dragon. Laws must be changed so that the needed tools are there to force changes. As to personalities- well Mr Bowen has made himself the "personality" of silent lambs. When he post here he uses the handle "silentlambs". He sets the flavor of the movement and his words and actions set public opinion.

    I may support the intent of many organizations but refuse to participate due to the "way" that they conduct their business. That is my stand here. Lawmakers must be urged to deal with this state by state. When laws are in place then effective court cases can be lodged to force changes in WT policy. Accusations and sensationalism only feeds the anger of victims- where are the ones that are seeking to help the victims get beyond this? Where is the network of professional therapist that can make a diference in the quality of life for the victims? It to me has always looked like an organization (SL) that feeds on anger.

  • BeautifulGarbage

    However, it is just too bad that you are not able to separate personalities from the very important work that Silentlambs has done and will continue to do.

    And herein lies the problem, IMO. At this point, Mr. Bowen IS Silentlambs. He alone has the power and makes the final decisions. What would happen to SL if Mr. Bowen were to suddenly disappear? THIS is what needs to change. Silentlambs needs to become a separate entity, not only legally, but also psychologically, in our minds and in the minds of the public. This being done by having more "depersonalized" (yes!) procedures and a board of directors. Just like any other charity.

    Until this is done, LIKE IT OR NOT, what Mr. Bowen says and does, positively and negatively, will be reflected on the organization as a whole.


  • Dutchie

    Hi Andee,

    It is my contention that as long as Mr. Bowen is working toward assisting victims of abuse his lapses in judgment can be noted and should be commented on, but in no way should it cause members of our community to withdraw our support from this cause. Our support can be as little as withholding criticism until the full picture is in. It is, in my opinion, the victims who are the final arbiters of whether or not he is fulfilling the intended agenda of Silentlambs. I believe that he continues to do so even though he may stumble from time to time. Who of us have not made mistakes at one time or another? He becomes a liability only if he does not learn from those mistakes. That is yet to be seen.

    Silentlambs, although it has grown since its inception, is still a grass roots organization. It has yet to snowball into the weighty organization it can and should be rrequiring the need of lawyers, press operatives and the like.

    My solace is that all through history men of vision have had their critics, been ridiculed, called names, were misunderstood.

    My dream is that one day this organization will be known world wide and that its legal representatves and it media persons will make it possible for abused children in all cultures and nations to have a voice.

  • Simon

    I think withdrawing support is a bit strong (though I don't want to suggest that people should do as I say!).

    I think we should not hold people to higher and impossible standards than we would like to be held to. We all make mistakes from time to time (well, everyone else does ... not me obviously ).

    I'm sure the UK march will be a big success and I hope to be able to attend and meet up with a few people.

  • Princess

    I agree with Andee. Bill should work on making Silentlambs stand on it's own. I often wondered why he would make personal posts under the Silentlambs name. If anyone should have two separate screen names, it is Bill. Maybe then people wouldn't attach Bill and his accusations to Silentlambs so readily.


  • Mulan

    Very good point. As Barb Anderson is quick to point out, SHE is also Silentlambs. We have always equated it with Bill. They are both involved. Bill is more "out there", but she is a crucial part of it.

    Bill should have a different screen name for posts other than official silentlambs issues.

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