I don't know if this has already been posted or not -- but here goes:
The following message was E-Mailed from Bill Bowen to everyone of his Mailing List on January 31st 2003:
I just had to opportunity to view the CBC program, Fifth Estate. It was a very well done piece of journalism and hit the points of the problem with wt policy. I thought it was interesting the program opened with the silentlambs march in Brooklyn on September 27th and a nice shot of the lambs in the fence, there were so many. The first matter established was the investigatory method of the WT requiring the elders to question children on abuse. The program went from there to various opening shots of people featured on the program. I remembered being exhausted and looking to realize I was only 25 minutes into the program. The program opened with the Heather and Hollie Berry story and provided some unmentioned aspects of what happened that was quite graphic. The mother did an excellent job of expressing the hopelessness of dealing with elders as a battered spouse and then being ostracized when she had to leave to protect her children. Hollies statement, He took my entire child hood away, I was a little person who had to be a big person immediately. She then mentioned about Armageddon, If the sun sets red you wonder if this is going to be it. There is nothing quite as devastating as watching somebody injure your children and not being able to do anything about it. a comment by Sarah their mother to describe the physical abuse. If you were a mother would you go to Sadam Hassan for help? Describing her feeling at going to the world for assistance. The interview was complete with an talk with Jack Zellar a detective who investigated the case. Jack was quite adamant about the coverup of the molestation.
From there they went into my story with the recording of my wt conversation. I also mentioned the GB as being the direct word from God. Also the requirement of elders to investigate child abuse. The flock book was waved around by Bob showing the investigation requirement. The two eyewitnesses was also mentioned very clearly with another comment from Jack Zellar.
From there they went to the silentlambs march in Brooklyn New York, with me describing what pedophile paradise means in the JW community. Also mentioned the 23,000 database I called the WT pedophile database. They then played the famous JR Brown comment, We have a very aggressive policy..on child abuse From there they cut to a JW insider who describes his service in the Canada Legal Department in which numerous cases were not reported to the police. He went on to describe the investigatory process of questioning an eight year old about abuse. The Canada Bethel stated they always follow the law in reporting.
From there the story went to Mike Moss and the coverup of his abuse along with the molestation of his sister by yet another witness when she was 14 years of age. They confronted the elder who served in his investigation who said he would not talk on camera but instead sent a letter that said since Mike was 17 when he came to them they did not have to report. Mike also mentioned the elders attempted to charge him with confession of a homosexual act and take judicial action against the victim when he was raped at age 13. This interesting as it was pointed out in my letter to the GB in December that this policy was in fact authored by Ray Franz in the 1972 OR book. This is the first documentary to mention the use of this aspect of wt policy to punish and silence children who come forward about their abuse.
I liked the trailer to lead into the commercials by Bob, When we come back who the JWs maybe sending to your door step to preach on their behalf
They described making Mike face his attacker face to face, the program also confronted the abuser who had no comment after which they clearly pointed out he regularly went door to door in the local area.
They featured with a local police detective who says the Wt legal department basically told her to go to hell when she asked for information on this case. The WT lawyer said, I represent these elders and I am advising them not to talk to you. That was it.
The interview went back to me where I state the four goals of the WT on Abuse, 1. First protect WT legally 2. Protect the image of the organization. 3. protect the molester and finally 4. Last to help the child. It also showed me standing in front of the KH and being shunned as I waved to cars leaving from field service. The camera panned around to showing a sticker on the front windshield of my pickup, a simple word, truth.
From there they went to the Vicky Boer Story along with footage at the courthouse and a comment by the WT PR stating that they wished she would sue her father instead of them.
Bethel insider points out that two victims is too many when it comes to abuse along with comments about going door to door in communities across Canada.
Back to the silentlambs march with a nice log shot of the stuffed lambs in the fence with a song by Hollie. They describe the lawsuit filed by Heather and Hollie. Moss, I lost everything, I lost my wife I lost my belief, my family, everything I believed in was shattered. Hollie, I have spent so many years crying I dont think I have any tears left.
Need I say more? The program was powerful and made the points. Below are a few of the comments I have received from those who viewed the program.
I am hoping you will post this message of support even though I am not a JW. I was also sexually abused and I know the pain it causes and still feel like I am an outcast because I disclosed. However, I am not writing to get into all of my issues. I am writing to let the silentlambs know that I have heard them and I will support them by distributing pamphlets in my community. Although, I also have another way in which I would support them... JW's often come to my workplace to distribute their magazine "Watchtower", many people will ignore them, but I believing that all religions deserve equal respect will listen and accept their magazines. I will not do this anymore and I will tell them why. Until they can live up to their sacred words and to their children, until I see change and proof, I will not accept their presence in my workplace. I will also spread the word to those that I know will take action. I would also like to make a suggestion to have a section on this website where people can view letters of support from people across the world.
I just watched the 5th estate broadcast featuring the lets keep it quiet attitude so common in many religious organization
I want to congratulate you on the courage and determination you are showing in trying to remediate this terrible situation.
It takes very special people to be willing to sacrifice so much and turn their life upside down in the effort to keep to ones convictions.
It is a sign of greatness
Chris from British Colombia, Canada
In 1997, the day after having gone on a fishing trip with my husband, my husband's friend and this friend's father-in-law (all Jehovah Witnesses), my then 5 year old son came in the kitchen and said : Mom, he touched my penis. I said "What???!!! Who????!!!" It was the father-in-law.
I called at once my husband on the phone, he was flabbergasted. I then called his friend, but his wife answered (the daughter of the molester). She said my son was crazy and had behavioral problems (he has ADHD). She was very furious. I said to her : watch out, you have children too...
We immediately reported this to the elders.
It took a month until we finally managed to have this heard in a judicial comittee to which my son had to explain to the elders in the presence of his molester everything that was done to him. He was masturbated on the boat right under their noses, my husband and his friend having their backs turned, and the molester was sitting at one end of the boat with my son, grabbing his genitals. And on the trip back, my son was sitting in the back seat of the car with the molester right beside him, my husband was driving and his friend sat beside him in the passenger seat. My son was molested throughout the whole trip back home without anyone noticing anything... He was never alone with my son, so how could this have happened, right? Pedophiles are not necessarily idiots.
Now that he is eleven years old, he can tell everything as it happened. But did the elders believe a five year old hyperactive troublesome child? Of course they didn't, they believed the molester who denied everything saying my son was agitated and rubbed his thighs to calm him. And what could my son say? He was very embarassed to talk about this and didn't know exactly how to explain things, what else to expect from a 5 year old? And what about us, the parents? Believe it or not, we bought into it, we believed this molester, who by the way was visiting our country - he was an elder in his congregation in his country The Phillipines.
Was this reported to the police? No. We were encouraged to keep this inside the congregation. Let the shepards deal with this matter.
What was done? He lost his privilege to be an elder. That's all I can remember. And we were told not to tell anyone about this. He has since moved to our country and is still a member of the ORGANIZATION.
After watching THE FIFTH ESTATE last night, it backfired... This morning I talked to my son about the abuse, after keeping this silent for 5 1/2 years, and what he told me made me feel sick to my stomach. We are going to do something about this, but not through the congregation this time, we are going to the police.
I have never gone back to the meetings since, but my husband keeps going. He talked to one of the elders tonight and he said that we should report this to the authorities. I think they are starting to realize that things are getting way out of hand and they had better make certain ajustements if they want to keep the sheep in the flock.
I'm planning to send a copy of this letter to all my in-laws who are JW upon approval by my son. That way, they'll know why I'm going to leave the ORGANIZATION. The elders had the responsability and the duty to inform the justice system. Guess what?...News flash: THEY FAILED TO DO SO. We all failed the victim. It makes me sick to think about the rage my son must have felt when not even his own parents believed him. The humiliating minutes he suffered at the hands of this bastard smiling at him. Not to mention the potential victims he could have molested in the past 5 years.
I had to send an e-mail to you, once again you are to be commended for trying so hard to help those who have been hurt so badly. Your comments on camera and the way the fifth estate showed this story was so very well done. My heart went out to the 3 people who were featured in this program, I feel Holly's pain, the fact she needs to hide her pain behind the tatoo's. I don't see a weird girl, I see someone crying out in pain for all to see. Her younger sister, too, whose name I can't remember....how glad I am to know that their stepfather is going to die in prison. Too easy for him. The young man from eastern Canada, again, how much I wish I could put my arms around him and tell him that Jehovah does not support what was done to him. How will that one elder respond, when he gets to stand infront of Jehovah and try to answer to the most high why they did what they did, there will be no - I'll talk with you in the at another time, get the CBC to contact me for an off camera interview, or whatever the heck he said. What an ass......but yes there are hundreds of Holly's out there....I've mentioned before about my girlfriend who was also married to one of these creeps (ministerial servant who abused his son and stepson) she is resting in Jehovah's memory after succumbing to cancer a few months back. He's in prison, unfortunately only for 6 years he was sentenced in Dec, again not enough.
I can't express enough my outrage that the money that is donated to the organization is used to support these creeps, since when do we pay for legal fees??? On donation money! Well I'll not be supporting that end of things any more, I'll pay for what I use directly and that's it. It's amazing to me to see once again how men use an organization to victimize women and children....there is going to be no hiding, now it's out there for all the world to see and how glad I am to see that. Jehovah has used the nations to disapline his people before and I'm very glad I'm not one of those elders.
Please keep your focus, don't deviate from your goal, to get the society to retract the fact they are trying to protray to the world that they protect our children. They need to answer to these children that they've helped rape and I hope they all receive as much $'s as possible from the society and the elders that betrayed them. It'll never be enough, but I also pray that in the new system all these hurts will be left behind and they can heal and enjoy life as Jehovah intended.
Cudo's to you Bill...and lots of luv and support.
Dear Mr. Bowen;
I watched the program last night on the Fifth Estate. I too suffered in silence growing up as on of Jehovah's Witnesses. My grandmother was one of the first JW's in Canada (known then as Bible Students), my parents went to Bethel, and later served "Where the need was great" in Cambodia. I am the only one in 3 generations that has left the organization.
It was a relief to see that someone has chosen to speak out and do something about this disgusting situation.
I have a question for you. After perusing the article under "My Story" on the web site, it appears that you still attend a Kingdom Hall. Do you still hold to their beliefs?
Thank you again for your stand on behalf of all of us who have been "silent".
It's not because I'm canadian but ;-) I think this episode was even better than Dateline, I'm so hoping
my JW family watched it....
Thank you so much for everything you are doing to help those lost lambs I know of a sister who was abused by
an elderly brother...I hope she watched Fifth Estate and comes out...she left the witnesses a long time ago
and is in desperate need of counseling.
Thank you again!!!
Although I have not been disfellowshiped I have experienced intimidating interrogation by elders.
It is high time The Watch Tower is held accountable for their irresponsible cover up behavior. Followers are so dedicated and cannot believe the 'Organization' is infallible.
I also believe that physical abuse of children under the guise of discipline should also be revealed.
Thank you for having the courage and conviction to speak out in the defense of helpless individuals.
5th Estate was awesome last night..............we saw it here in Nova Scotia............you guys came off looking good !!!!!!!!!! Elders looked bad !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is my opinion of the strongest points of last nights program;
1.victims voices clear and strong ...left no doubt about the reality of sexual abuse in JW and damage done by blaming the victim !!!!!!!
2.your voice about the goals of the church and elders placing children as last on the priorities
3.interviewer nonbiased approach felt fair to all
4.JW breaking the law in Canada in relation to mandatory reporting....person who had worked with JW records at headquarters in Ont made this very clear
5.pedophiles from JW are going door to door...this may alarm general public to reality of increased risk of pedophiles to entire population
6.scope of the problem is large
7.deceit and corruption of the JW church
8.abusiveness of the JW process to put children in front of perp and elders to tell their story
9.JW seeing child abuse as sin not criminal act...much like the catholic church
These are some my points Bill. The strength of your group is evident. Seems like you are growing daily in determination to make a safer world for children. Great job.
I was watching the Fith estate on Jan 29/03 I was not shocked much by what I seen I too was brought up in the J.W. Religion I was never molested but I did see and experience many wrong doings. I think this is a great web site to help the silent lambs and to inform people of the real truth.
so many years have gone by since I practiced JW's .after watching the fifth estate episode I
had to check out your web site . I was not sexually abused , but coming from a family who
practiced this religion, all have left for various reason, I'm glad to see that I'm not alone .
I still believe in the bible and its laws, but I doubt Jehovah would be too happy to see how
his organization is being run. thanks Dan.
Hello I just finished watching W5 with my mother. We are presently filling a law suit against my step father who is a JW for sexual abuse. We grew up in the JW religion and our cries for help ignored. I am now 36 and my sister is 38. My mother and my sister and I left the cult several years ago. You always think you are the only one until it hits the papers. Nothing was done to our abuser and he is remarried with small children again. The elders knew and also went through the motions to do nothing. My father confessed to elders, my mother and his sister. Everyone knew and nothing was done. UNTIL NOW!
My heart breaks because I know this religion is a safe haven for child molesters, they are free to do as they please with no fear of discipline.
I have given up hope of finding closure. I pray frequently that God would just take me home while I sleep but in His infinite wisdom has chosen not to.
I am just now starting to venture out. But am still extremely aftraid and distrustful of people, especially polititians, church clergy and psychologists, with exception. But am too afraid to go back into church fellowship.
I was moved by the article run on CBCs Fifth Estate this date on Mr. Bowen
We live in London, Ontario, and have just seen the CBC piece about the abuse in the "church" of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Bless you all for helping the victims of this organization. I just want you to know that you will be in my prayers tonight and I pray that all of these people who have been so hurt in the name of God will find peace through the Spirit and the friendship of Jesus.
God bless you all,
I just finshed watching the fifth estate. I am appualed by how this CULT can put thier presteige and ignorance before there children!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD WILL GET YOU FOR HURTING HIS CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My mother remarried when I was 7 years old, introducing my sister & I to life as a JW. My step-father, an elder in the congregation, started molesting me when I was about 11 years old. He would argue with mom to let me stay up & watch the 'late' movie with him (which didn't end until around 3am). Mom always gave in. When she went to bed, he would insist that I 'snuggle' on the couch with him. I won't go into details but it became so uncomfortable that I insisted one night that I was not staying up to watch a movie and off to bed I went. To my surprise he took it upon himself to 'peek' in my room through a vent while I was changing for bed. I started screaming and locked my door. I heard my mother slap him and yell at him but then the two of them came to my door, insisting that I open it. When I did they wanted me not to say a word to anyone. For days I would cry and tell mom that every time I closed my eyes I could see him looking at me through the vent! Her only response was 'to stop being so foolish and I don't ever want to hear
you talk about it again'. Years went by and when I was about 18 and still terribly troubled by it and worrying about my sister who was still at hoem, I wrote to the Bethel in Ontario. I promptly received a letter back quoting scriptures and basically disbelieving everything I had said.
It took me years before I could come to terms enough with all this, that I can make an attempt to let God back in my life. I am now 37 years old and have 5 children of my own. I have just started attending church (United Church--I would never go back to JW) within the past 6 months. I suffer from chronic depression and find it very hard to allow myself to be 'close' to people. I was amazed, but certainly NOT shocked, when I watched the show on the 5th estate tonight about this issue.
Hey you were really superb...Bill Thanks a Trillion.
I once befriended a senior Jehovah's Witness in Toronto. He told me a story that put fear in my soul. This story is not about a sexual abuse ...this story is about the human life. One of their congregation members was driving a car in Germany and he consumed large quantity of alcohol. He got into an accident. A female passenger got hurt...her life depended on the blood transfusion. He advised the medical personnel not to do the transfusion. The girl died shortly after. The congregation covered it up so the girls parents did not seek any explanation. The only consequence to that man who caused the accident was a reprimand by the congregation and the whole thing was "swept under the rug" since he was an elder. That is how they deal with their own internal faults. Nothing really surprises me about the Jehovah's Witness.