8-11-02

Governing Body,

25 Columbia Heights

Brooklyn, New York 11201

Dear Brothers,

Its been over a year and a half since I last attended a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. I quit attending after a special talk was given before the entire congregation including my children, saying that the person who went to the press (referring to my husband, Bill) had spoken against God and that what he said was untrue. I knew differently and couldn’t believe what I was hearing! The congregation had no idea that they were being lied to.

I have endured countless lies and slander against my husband and others who have spoken out on this issue, originating from so-called worshipers of the true God. I lost my parents and many lifelong friends (all JWs) because they believed the lies they were told. I truly believe that the victims and what has happened to them is what’s most important though and I know my pain means nothing compared to theirs.

I have patiently watched this horrifying nightmare unfold before my eyes, always feeling very helpless, always hoping that the religion I was raised in would rise to the occasion and do what was right and in the best interest of the children. Instead, I was constantly shocked at the low down dirty levels this organization has stooped to in order to hide the truth from the public and its own members!

have had a Watchtower Child Abuse Hotline (1-877 WT- ABUSE) ringing into my home for over a year now so I know the real truth about what’s going on here. Countless Jehovah’s Witness Child abuse victims have called in and continue to do so. Their stories haunt me each and every day of my life! If you would just open your eyes, ears and hearts they would haunt you too!

The stories are almost always the same. They tell of unspeakable sexual crimes committed against them when they were minors, of how they went to their body of elders for comfort, shelter and protection. Instead, they weren’t believed because they didn’t happen to have an audience of at least two witnesses to the molestations. These elders were following your directions, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses! With a rule like that you should see that very few molesters ever get reported to the authorities or any one else for that matter! Sadly, these predators are free to prey on children in Kingdom Halls all over the world.

These victims tell of how they were intimidated into silence with guilt and threats of disfellowshipping if they didn’t stay silent. Most succumb to this blackmail like tactic because to disobey would cost them their entire lives! All of their Jehovah’s Witness family and friends would view them as dead spiritually and would not even speak to them anymore. Most of them don’t have enough strength left after what they have been through to face something of this magnitude nor should they have to be faced with it in the first place! Some have been banished or cast out into the world for reporting crimes committed against them and trying to protect others from the same fate, all of this at the direction of the Governing Body!

When my husband (Bill Bowen) founded www.silentlambs.org these survivors finally had a place to go for the comfort and support. They could tell their stories and be believed. The elders were supposed to fill this role and direct them to the proper authorities but instead they proved themselves to be wolves in sheep’s clothing! By disfellowshipping my husband, you stripped these JW victims of the only support system they ever had. They cannot come to Silent Lambs any more because in doing so they risk everything. You heartlessly victimized them again! Shame on you!

My husband has been hauled up on false charges in front of a kangaroo court! He has committed no sin against God and he has caused no divisions in the congregation. Bill is standing up for what is right, exposing a policy that hurts children and helping those who need it most. I proudly support him and his cause.

Watchtower policy is what has divided this organization. So put the blame where it belongs, the Governing Body and their harmful policies! I find it appalling and completely unacceptable for you to attempt to protect the Watchtowers image at all cost! Your actions are criminal in my opinion! You will all have to stand before the God you claim to worship and try to justify your actions and I can assure you there is no justification. There is, however consequences.

In the past year and a half, have observed enough to know that I am ashamed and embarrassed for the public to know that I was ever one of Jehovah’s Witnesses! Until the day I see this religion living up to its claims of being the only true religion on earth and representing God, I will not claim to be one of Jehovah’s Witness.

Sheila Bowen

cc: The Draffenville Body of Elders,

Appeal Committee