Mark: Well, if you read the paper today you know that thereís a new sexual abuse suit filed against the Spokane diocese because I think that thereís nine more plaintiffs that are suing P at rick OíDonnell. I donít think that as big a news as it is in other places in the country. Itís the same thing, I donít think theyíre going to be able to get hi m c riminally for these charges, thatís why theyíre suing him and of course itís just piling it on, the same thing over and over. We know P at rick OíDonnell is no good.
Well, thereís something else going on, and I have to really be honest with you; I talked to Mike Fitzimmons about this the other day and he brought up a great point and I have to agree with him. That itís going on other places. And I says well ďWhere? How come we donít hear about it?Ē ďWell, I think we really do.Ē But I think the Catholic Church is powerful and itís widespread and you know, letís face it, the Catholic Church is basically the same any place we go in the world. I think most religions canot say that, I think they have different sects, they have different folowings maybe under the ame umbrella of the church, but theyíre different. They may wear different clothes, they may say different things, they may have different doctrines. And one of those churches that has got a big problem is the Jehovahís Witnesses.
Now, Iíve got some of the doctrines of the Jehovahís Witnesses, and before we take this break I wanted to just go over one thing. You know that some of the church rules about abuse. And hereís a feeling from as they say, the Christian scriptures in the New Testament. Three bullet points: A person should forgive someone that has hurt or abused them. Individuals can be redeemed. P eople can change through prayer and spiritual support. Canít argue any of those, theyíre pretty broad and fa r r eaching and sometimes they donít reach anywhere. But the interesting part about this doctrine is, if thereís abuse in the Jehovah WitnessesÖif you thought the Catholic Church before the recent policy is bad, listen to this: If youíve come forward and youíve been abused, say youíre ten years old and you tell your parents; your parents take you to whoeverís in charge, Iím not even sure how you describe it, priest, minister, elder, whatever, you bring forward your child who was abused by this person a member of your church. The policy of this church is this: it has to be corroborated by two people. Okay, that doesnít seem to be too difficult. That means that, as most abuse, and most rapes, thereís only two people involved, the victim and the suspect. Well, that means if the victi m c omes forward and the suspect doesnít say ďI did it,Ē then the Jehovahís Witness, their administration, their church treats the person accused as innocent. End of story. They have another policy too; if the state doesnít require the clergy to notify law enforcement, they do not. Good moral lessons going on here, isnít there. I wonder if they teach this in Sunday school just so the kids know where they stand.
Well, weíre going to talk about that, weíve got Bill Bowen here, he used to be an elder with the Jehovahís Witnesses, heís done a lot of research and investigation in just whatís going on.
One more thing, I want to get this out, so we know whatís coming . On Sunday Bill Clark of the news is going to write an article about the suit against KXOY, Mike Fitzsimmons and myself. Of course we canít talk about it because well why? Because itís now a legal issue, a matter for the court. But yet the Spokesman-Review wants to do some kind of commentary. Do you think it will be objective? Hm? Says so much for the Spokesman-Review doesnít it?
Weíre going to be right back with Bill Bowen, from the Jehovahís Witneses, ex-elder for the Jehovahís Witnesses. This is the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Announcer: You have the right to remain silentóexcept on this show. Mark Furhman is on you r r adio now.
Mark: Welcome back to the show, we are going to be talking about another church. And I think you know, I was talking to Mike at lunch the other day and you know, I think we have been unfair in not covering some of these other churches, but you know, theyíre just not in the news. And I canít figure out why, I think one reason is, is because the church, the Catholic Church is so widespread and so well-known and everywhere you look you can see a Catholic Church I think thatís one reason. Iím not sure with some of these other churches I can actually identify or find one of these churches, but we are going to seek it out, and weíre not going to stop with Jehovahís Witnesses, we going to go ahead and seek out. Now, we have Bill Bowen with us, right in a second but I want to tell everybody that at 4:00 we are going to have a family and a victim from a Othello Washington in 1996 case involving the Jehovahís Witnesses, that I think will be faily shocking weíre going to deal with this and listen to the victim and the family and what theyíve been through and with that Iím going to welcome Bill Bowen to the show.
Bill: Hello, this is Bill, Iím glad to be here.
Mark: Well, thanks Bill. Now, you used to be an elder with the Jehovahís Witness church, correct?
Bill: Thatís correct, I used to be an elder for twenty years.
Mark: Why donít you take us through, first, your experience with the church, what made you leave the church, and what have you done since?
Bill: Iím a second-generation Jehovahís Witness, I was involved with Jehovahís Witnesses for forty-three years. In basically the fall of the year two-thousand, I came across some information that indicated that a fellow elder was a child molester in my local congregation. And I worked for ten months within the church to try to have this exposed so that the memebers of the church could be protected. And basically I met with opposition from every standpoint with regard to the church as far as exposing what this man had confessed to. So in the end, my last conversation was with Watchtower Legal on December the eighth of the year two thousand, on which I gave them the information which indicated that this man was molesting a child currently. And the church told me to ďLeave it in Godís handsí, and to basically not report the matter. So at that point, I felt like I had to go public and report him to the police and basically expose a policy and a practice within the church that protects child molesters and exposes other children to dan ger.
Mark: You know Bill, Iíve read this, Iíve got some of the doctrines of the Jehovahís Witnesses; if the Jehovahís Witnesses are actually printing, and actually advocating what it says here, theyíre actually actually disgusting by their own regulations of how they report and donít report abuse. And I think leaving it up to God is somethingÖand you were an elder with the church. I am not somebody that is very learned about the church. But I do remember one thing, and I think everybody would agree with this and all religions do: God gave man the power of free will. Correct?
Mark: So then we canít rely on God to solve our problems can we.
Bill: No. As a matter of fact, when I wrote my letter of resignation, I said three times, ďWe have to do what is morally and ethically right in the interest of protecting children. And that was the basis of my resignation as an elder in the church. And that letter went ignored with the exception that they accepted my resignation and had nothing more to say about it.
Mark: Now, Jehovahís Witnesses, are they bound by some kind of code; are they ministers, are they reverends; what are they called?
Bill: P ersons that qualify within the church become eventually qualified to become elders. All Jehovahís Witnesses consider themselves ministers at the point of baptism. So if you ask a Jehovahís Witness if ďYou are a ministerĒ, if they are baptized they will say ďYes.Ē Now an elder is a person that is charged with oversight in the congregation and who oversees matters relating to that.
Mark: So Bill, do we have any seminary thatís involved with this title?
Bill: No, the appointment of elders is based on the recommendation of elders who are currently there in the church, and itís authorized by the home office in Brooklyn New York , once they send up the recommendation.
Mark: And do they have a man in charge; the Catholic Church has a P ope, is there anybody in charge of this?
Bill: Yes, Jehovahís Witnesses have a Governing Body which comprises 11 members at the present, and has been as high as seventeen. These eleven men are believed to have a heavenly calling, and they have absolute and direct authority from God. Everything they say has to be accepted without question, which includes their policy on child molestation.
Mark: So theyíve got like a website to God; I mean--theyíre emailing Him?
Mark: It sounds ridiculous, thatís why I make fun of it.
Bill: As a matter of factóALL mankind. I think youíll find it quite interesting that in the deposition that was taken on August the fifth of last year, regarding Erica Rodriguezí case, they make the comment that the Governing Body ďoversees the spiritual, physical and emotional welfare of all persons associated with Jehovahís Witnesses as well as for all mankind in general.Ē So they believe they have charge of everyone on the face of the earth.
Mark: Soundís like somebodyís on a power trip. Bill, these eleven individuals that run the Jehovahís Witness church, which I suspect is worlwide?
Mark: What qualifications do they have? What seminary, what colleges?
Bill: Most of these men have just basically risen up through the ranks of the church through their own educational programs
By and large none of them have college educations.
Mark: So basically, weíre talking about on-the-job-training ministers?
Bill: Thatís exactly right.
Mark: That are ruling the world of Jehovahís Witnesses?
Bill: They rule over you. They rule everybody.
Mark: They donít rule over me.
Bill: Well, if you donít obey them, then, they say, God will kill you.
Mark: Well, Iíll take my chances.
Bill: Iím not trying to be facetious. Their belief is that they are the only authority of God on this earth and everyone will answer to them. At the end of time, everyone who is not doing what they say will be killed by God, thatís their belief, at Armegeddon.
Mark: YeahÖsounds feasible. Bill, you know, when I read these doctrines, letís face one thing. The Catholic Church, they go to a seminary, they have the same devout standards that all other priests do, they have certain obligations, certain tests, certain things, certain stages, there is an educated hierchy not only in general education but in the church. Now it seems like the Jehovahís Witness, it sounds like in some regards, and donít take this wrong, I donít want anybody to take this wrong, but itís almost like the inmates are running the prison.
Bill: Well now I need to clarify that. Every four years, the church conducts what they call an ďelders schoolĒ, in which they call their elders in meetings all across--well actually around the worldófor a day-and-a-half seminar on the procedures and policies of the church. So at this point they are advised on how they are to operate within the church and any decision has to ascquies to the home office in Brooklyn New York , which is called our Service Department and our Legal Departments.
Mark: Does that mean that if they deviate from doctrine or they havenít memorized the right thing,then their nameís turned in and theyíre in trouble?
Bill: Oh yeah, you can immediately lose your eldership. When that person at the Legal Department told me to ďWait upon Jehovah,Ē by disobeying his direction then I immediately would have been disqualified as an elder. So I just resigned because I saw the handwriting on the wall. I couldnít continue to serve as an elder and protect a child molester.
Mark: Letís go back to the basic reason. Weíve set the stage, we have no standards of education, I think itís important that anybody that is a leader needs a basic education that matures them and enlightens them in even subjects they donít want to study, makes a well-rounded person. Four years of college is required to be a doctor, to be a lawyer, to be an accountant, and in a lot of regards to be a priest. First you go to four years of college, then you go to a seminary. I think thatís important and thatís not present. But the doctrines say they are going to protect all people who abuse other people even people in the congregation abusing each other or each otherís children or elders or anybody in the church in the staff abusing any othersí children. What is the motivation to protect child ab user s?
Bill: Well you have to understand; in the Jehovahís Witnessesí theology, they teach that 1 John 5:19 says Ď the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked oneí. Which basically means: the world as we know it-the governments, everyone-- is controlled ultimately by Satan which includes the media, which is you, Mark. So they believe that all members must therefore only associate, have interaction with fellow Jehovahís Witnesses who are considered the chosen ones of this earth. Earth. So when you put that into context of child abuse, if a person is a member of the church has a child thatís abused, they then they basically have to go to the elders to get the answers. Why would you go to Satanís world when you have the elders who are directed by God, who are designed to oversee such matters as wrongdoing?
Mark: You know it sounds like smoke and mirrors, mumbo jumbo, sounds like the wizard of Oz. But you know whatís really interesting when I hear that? David Koresh and all of his followers died in the fiery death for about one-tenth of the radical views that I just heard. I hope they donít build a farm and and say theyíre not paying taxes and have a couple of M-14ís on their property.
Bill: Well, they already got a farm, they got about five thousand acres in upstate New York .
Mark: Well, they better not upset the FBI. Bill, hang on there, we got more to go on this, you want to call in do so now, we set the stage, some of itís up to you. Youíre listening to the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Announcer: You have the right to remain silentóexcept on this show. Mark Furhman is on you r r adio now.
Mark: Welcome back to the show. Weíre talking about the Jehovahís Witnesses. It doesnít sound too good, in fact it sounds a lot a lot worse than anything I heard in the Catholic Church. At least in the Catholic Church, theyíre realizing that something was done wrong. I will say that. There may be coverups, and there may be movement to try to hide people, to try to get them help, maybe they believeóI donít care, itís all wrong. But this sounds almost wrong from the very onset, that theyíre not going to acknowledge anything. My guest is Bill Bowen, heís a former Jehovahís Witness elder from Benton , Kentucky . Bill, when you look at the situation thatís going on in the Catholic Church, and then all I have to do is listen to the first ten minutes I talked to you, it sounds like the Jehovahís Witnesses arenít going to recognize anybody abused a child no matter how bad it is.
Bill: Well, when I started my little organization called ĎSilentlambsí, it was a measure to try to reach out to victims of abuse. If no one had come to me, I would have discontinued the organization and not done anything more. Iív ehad over six thousnad victims of Jehovahís Witnesses abuse come to me and talked to me about being molested as children. Thereís over a thousand s tori es posted on my website. These victims are not lying. And yet the organization has taken the stance that theyíve done nothing wrong, last year they excommunicated six people that simply spoke to the media and said it happened to them or that there was a problem in the church. So, their stance is: not only have they done nothing wrong, bu they will-in the Biblical contextóĎstoneí anybody to death that says otherwise.
Mark: You know, Bill, you sound like a smart guy, how did you get mixed up with this kind of theology?
Bill: Well, I was born and raised as a Jehovahís Witness, from the moment of my birth, I was a second-generation so I never knew anything else. It was a way of life for me that I firmly believed in and supported. And on the side of fairness, you got to understand, thereís many good people in the religion who are Jehovahís Witnesses that are required to follow these tenets. Now theyíre trying to raise their kids, theyíre trying to be good people, and be honest, but they have to follow this policy
directed by the Governing Body. If they do not, then they lose their family, their friends, and their life.
Mark: Well, they donít lose their family and their friends, because if they lost them over an issue over somebodieís gonna go out public that somebodyís raping their child then they were never their family and their friends to begin with.
Bill: Well, within the organization, itís all conditional on the directives of the church. When I came forward, my parents no longer spoke to me anymore. I lost forty family members in the organization, and hundreds of friends that I had known all my life, within the Jehovahís Witness community. Now I am viewed as dead. If my mother walked into the same room that I was, she would not even acknowledge my existance. That is the way they treat people that donít follow what they tell them to do.
Mark: Well you know Bill do you see it the way I see it? I couldnít tolerate thirty seconds of that attitude, itís mumbo jumbo it belongs in the circus some sideshow along with the bearded lady, and the tattoed man.
Bill: Well, you have to understand that the purpose of my coming forward on abuse is not to try to put Jehovahís Witnesses out of business or just to try to change the religion.
Mark: Why not? It sounds like they donít have a place in religion, itís not religion itís fanatacism.
Bill: If people arenít in one religion, just like you mention, thereís probably followers of David Koresh, thereís probably still guys following Jim Jones, even as we speak.
Mark: But theyíre not as fanatical as what youíve described, thatís whatís odd about it. Well, let me ask you another way to ask this question, Bill. You know, I do see that if people werenít born in a religion, they wouldíve certainly questioned it when they were n inet een or twenty or fifteen all of a sudden theyíre confronted with these issues when theyíve already become somewhat Ďworldlyíor at least able to make their own decisions. Do you think that you could have gone into the Jehovahís Witnesses at n inet een years old and not questioned the reasoning behind the church?
Bill: I think if Iíd been approached by the Jehovahís Witness at eighteen, as a young person who knows? When you first become acquainted with Jehovahís Witnesses, theyíre very nice people, and they talk to you about being a brother, like a member of their family, and that you have a hope of a paradise earth, itís a very convincing ideology to follow. So, I donít know, perhaps I would have joined up with it. But now, with my lifeís experience, in the last two years that I have seen,what theyíre willing to do and willing to be untruthful about to the media as well as to their own membersóno, I have no question in my mind, I couldnít be part of this, because itís corrupt.
Mark: Itís corrupt and itís criminal. Bill, when we look at what the Catholic church has been involved in, I donít see any incidents where you have parishioners violating parishioners, or parishioners absolutely knowing of abuse, that they can absolutely state it occurred, and be silent because the church says so. But yet in the Jehovahís Witnesses, thatís exactly what theyíre supposed to do isnít it?
Bill: Well, as weíve shown time and again through documentary programs and otherwise, victims come forward and say, when they went to their elders they were told to be silent. And how they were silenced, is they were told that they had to produce two eye-witnesses when the molester denied that he molested them. And many times these were four,five,six-year-old children, and no one has an eyewitness when youíre in that type of situation.
Mark: Well, women and children unfortunately in this society, maybe all societies, virtually have no power. When it comes down to believing, you have a system like the Jehovahís Witness, and a lot of organization.. just to say organizations..where you have men in charge and you have men make the rules, when women and children come forward just like in the family unit their word is discounted, their accusations are discounted because it isnít convenient to the total good of the organization or the family because men are deciding this, I think this is unfortunate. Talking about women are we, weíre talking about men and weíre talking about grown women that have come forward that do have somewhat of a voice and still theyíre sileneced?
Bill: Absolutely. When an adult comes forward, I can give you an example in a nearby area. A thrity-five year old woman came forth and accused her father who was an elder and a presiding overseer of raping her from age eleven to fourteen. She finally summoned the courage to come forth and say this man did it to her. She of course went to the elders, they told her she did not have an eyewitness, he denied it. She was told that if she did not remain silent about it, that she would be charged with slander and excommunicated from the church.
Mark: Well, Bill, Iím going to go way out on a limb here and Iíd say, if anybody knows this about their church, the Jehovahís Witnesses and they say they support that attitude, they are part and parcel of the actual crime after the fact. Letís face it, if you know something happened, you gotta go forward. They donít go forward unless the state requires it, I bet you they donít do then either, do they Bill?
Bill: Well, now you gotta take into consideration they have a Legal Department, and they require elders to call the Legal Department whenever thereís an issue.
Mark: Yeah well, Bill, I want you to stick with us weíre gonna have the Rodriguez family on, the victims in Othello Washington in 1996, you can hang with us?
Mark: Okay. Han g in there, weíre going to be right back, this is the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Announcer: You have the right to remain silentóexcept on this show. Mark Furhman is on you r r adio now.
Mark: Yes, welcome back to the show. We have a caller during the break that wanted to ask a question. Fred wanted to knopw, are we going to hear the other side of the story? You absolutely will, weíll notify and contact and hopefully we can get somebody that reperesents the Jehovahís Witnesses church, whether itís an elder or somebody from the national headquarters. We certainly hope we can do that. If they want to come on, theyíre going to have to answer some pretty difficult questions because absent of all victims if there never was a victim then their doctrine si something that should be in question and of course weíve got lots of those. Bill Bowen is still my guest, heís hanging on. Heís a former Jehovahís Witness elder from Benton Kentucky, that started Silentlambs, he has six thousand victims that have come forward and he thought that he would basically close up shop if he didnít get any and six thousand came forward, we have him on the phone and also Erica, sheís a victim from Othello Washington, itís an adjudicated case and involved the Jehovahís Witnesses church, and Erica welcome to the show.
Erica: Thank you.
Mark: I know youíre not feeling good and I appreciate you being on this show. You know, I donít want to ask any questions that you feel uncomfrotable with and we want to show you the respect that you have been the victim and you have been through a lot. Why donít you tell us what you would like to tell us. And how you would like to say it. What occurred and what happened and basically how you feel about the church?
Erica: Well, I was born into the religion, my parents had been Jehovahís Witneses for twenty-five years and I was molested from the age of four untill I was eleven by Manuel Beliz who is in jail right now. The problem is that, my dad was an elder, and my mom a regular pioneer which isówell, we were a very respectable and spiritual family in the organization. And Manuel was a ministerial servant and then became an elder soon after we moved to Sacremento, a while, it was pretty much happening every day kind of thing. He was convicted of two counts of child rape and child molestation because he would penetrate his fingers inside of me, and that constitutes a rape.
Mark: Erica, how did the church and the congregation Ėfirst, letís deal with the church, the people that run your church, how did they deal with this and how did they react to it?
Erica: I was always told that I was going to be condemned by God, and not to tell anybody by Manuel, that I was going to be considered the black sheep of the family kind of thing. Something occurred when I was eight, and some little girl-my cousin actually, came in saying that Manuel tried to kiss her. Everybody turned their back on her, and tok manuelís side, and that to me was proof that I could not say anything. When I was sixteen I finally decided that I couldnít take it anymore. So I told my brother and then it all came out in the organization. I thought I was going to get their support and instead they pretty much told me that if I said anything that I was going to be condemned by God and that it was something that should be left in Godís hands.
Mark: You know Erica, when I hear stuff like this I want to strangle somebody with my own hands. Left in the hands of God? Yet these men are taking these actions on their own, or are they being directed by God? I heard Bill Bowen talk about these elders, therse eleven elders in charge of the church are basically talking to God on a regular basis. Are they then conveying messages to these elders that they should be molesting children?
Erica: somethingís happening, something needs to change, and thatís kind of a scary thought. The fact is, I know personally from what happened to me that, they tell me that I was going to be condemned by God, and manuel was in such a high position as he is, then obviously God had forgiven him. And heís doing so good right now, and so drop it. You know, even an elder at my sentencing actually had the nerve to say that heóand this is a quoteóIíve know both of these two, and that really makes me sad to see both of them here in court because it shouldnít be necessary. They have a judicial committee and they think that they the judicial committee is above the law. And as long as they have a little judicial committee, and if you donít have two eyewitnessess, then pretty much youíre out of luck.
Mark: Well, you know that, that kind of determinationóand if we were to be completely and brutally honest, I was on a polic department, and if we needed a corraborating witness for every rape or some kind of molestation, we would be out of luck because we would probably prosecute almost noone.
Erica: Absolutely becausse there is no witnesses and thatís the whole point of coming forward and be so public about what happened to me and what happened to other children. And what Bill Bowen is doing is just absolutely awesome because the word needs to get out that this needs this needs to change. Because who molests somebody in front of somebody else? You, know it just doesnít happen, a child molester never molests somebody in public. Itís ridiculous and it needs to change. And according to all the elders that spoke at my sentencing, they all got up and said that I should just get over it, pretty much. And their words were just like that. I should just get over it, Manuelís a good man, what he did in the past is in the past, and just get on with it.
Get on with life.
Bill: Let me interject here, members of law enforcement in five countries that weíve done documentaries about Jehovahís Witneses, have all said that Witnesses have obstructed justice by not reporting or by telling them that they would not consider
testimony unless there were two eyewitnesses, share information with law enforcement. Those countries are Australia, United Kingdom, Scotland, Canada and the United States.
Mark: So why donít we prosecute these people? These good Christians?
Erica: Well, they told me it was gonna give God a bad name, if I came forward and said that Manuel did this to me. That it would give the organization and Jehovah a bad name. Therefore, we should keep it within the organization. Thatís their main reason for not prosecuting for child molesters. Forget the victim and what theyíre feeling and the survivors of the abuseóitís all about their image and you donít want to stain Godís image, so children continue to get molested. Thatís the message theyíre giving me and other people out there. If theyíre not going to prosecute them, itís because of their image. Their image is more important than the victim.
Mark: Erica, what happened when your dad found out about this?
Erica: My dad was removed as an elder because he said it was up to me what I wanted to do and I wanted to go to the police. My dear friend is a cop and he told me, if you donít do anything about it, then heís going to continue molesting children and I just couldnít live with that. And my dad couldnít live wth that either, so the District Overseer told my dad that this is pretty much that his daughteróme-was ruining Jehovahís name so he got disfellowshiped as an elder. And my dad had pretty much you r r eaction, he wanted to strangle the people who had reacted that way.
Mark: Well, I kind of wished he would have. I wish he would have went through them like a hot knife through butter. I think thatís exactly what they deserve. And you know the one thing that I donít like about religion, the thing that really turns my stomach is that thereís two ways of making people do what they want or make them folow certain things that seem unnatural or immoralóyouíre going to hell, or guilt. Both things I donít think should be laid on an adult let alone a child.
Erica: Well, I felt so guilty when I was told I was going to be condemned by God. I believed it because thatís all I ever knew. I went as far as trying to commit suicide, and they just destroyed my life. I was so down in the gutter, I just thought God hated me and I ruined Godís image. But at the same time I couldnít live with the fact that this man was going to continue to molest other children. Because I knew there were two other victims, I just couldnít live with the fact that it wasnít going to stop with me, I knew that because once a molester, always a molester. But they made me feel so down when I actually tried to kill myself. Which is why Iím here now and I took him to jail and Iíll go through another trial if I have to because it just happens a lot.
Mark: Yes it does, Erica, I appreciate you being on the show, just stick with us weíre gona take a break weíre gonna come back more with Bill Bowen, more with Erica, sheís been a victim of this, she knows this firsthand, weíre going to take your calls, they are most willing to answer your questions . Youíre listening to the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Mark: Welcome back to the show, you know what weíre talking about Jehovahís Witnessesóis it bad? Itís terrible. If there were no abuse victims, their policy is just a breeding ground for corruption and crime to happen. And it did, we have one of the victims, Erica on, sheís talking to us, about her experience, none of it has been good, Bill Bowen, a former Jehovahís Witness elder from Benton Kentucky, and heís talking about his groups the Silentlambs, and heís got six thousand members that have been abused in the Jehovahís Witness, and thatís a lot, I think. Tell me bill, is that more than the Catholic church has more collectively of their victims? Nobody keeps track of the exact amount, but just in your group, six thousand.
Bill: Well, if you want to hear a number far more incriminating than that Jehovahís Witnesses maintain a database of their child molesters, many of which have never seen the light of a police investigation. In that database according to sources that have told me, thereís 23,720 child molesters in their database. And they refuse to share these guys criminal record with proper law enforcement and these people go on to molest more children and they continue to update.
Mark: You know Bill and Erica, I have a feeling that with all this coming out, we are going to in the near future nix church and state. I think that the church, not all churches, but certainly large organizations need to be monitored by the state because they canít seem to be responsible and moral all by themselves. Even if they donít violate anybody or they donít condone it, theyíre rules and regualtions are just absolutely ridiculousótheyíre medievel, thatís what they are, basically the church can do no wrong.
Bill: The first amendment was designed to protect the rights of the individual not ot protect the right of a religious organization to take away civil rights. The first amendment has been twisted to tehse religious philosophies that hurt people like Erica and children and when you take the first amendment and hide behind it to get away with these crimes.
Mark: And another thing I think we should do, is I think all churches should be taxed, I think they should be under the same taxation as any corporation because thatís what theyíve become. Letís go to the phones, Erica are you still with us? Okay, weíve got a couple of phone calls. Mary, youíre on the mark Furhman show, 920 KXOY.
Mary: Hi Bill, hi Erica, this is Mary in Spokane.
Mary: And, I just have a couple of things to say Mark. I was a JW for 32 years, I came in when I was 22 years old and itís so subtle you have no idea youíre being mind controlled. And actually, Steve hassan, who is an exit counseling person, says if youíre being mind contolled, how would you know it?
Mark: Mary, letís be fair though, someobdy, from just what Iíve heard today that basically if you donít come to the elders and they solve your problems, you canít go anywhere else, because God will send you to hell and kill you for separation I guess from your church. If I heard that Iíd be walking out the door. Thatís psycho.
Mary: I know it sounds psycho when youíre out of it, but when youíre in it. First of all, most Witnesses donít know about all this abuse, your individual abuse.
Mark: Oh I donít mean the abuse, Mary, I mean the doctrine. That we have uneducated elders that go to no seminary, that are basically on the job training that are dictating how I live my life and who my friends are and how I deal with crimes inside the church.
Mary: Well, they have answers for all that. Itís like theyíre appointed by God. And they have Godís spirit.
Mark: And how do we prove that? Thereís a lot of psychos out there like that, like Manson says that he was driven by God too.
Mary: Well, you got a point. Millions of people are falling for it.
Mark: Erica, youíre listening to this, I know you grew up in the religion, and it was something that you didnít think about so I think that is the only condition that I can understand that an intelligent person can actually going along with this because then when it comes time to actually have something that is damaging you look to them for help. Right or wrong?
Erica: The problem is, being a Witness, you really canít ask questions , youíre told something and you pretty much have to go with it; if you ask questions then youíre doubting God. So I think thatís the thing, when youíre in it, then youíre like, well, well, you really canít start asking questions because immediately youíll either be disfellowshiped or Ö
Mark: Mary I think weíre going to have to break off, we canít listen to the baby at the same time, Iím sorry Mary. Bill and Erica, when I listen to all this, you know weíre about to go to a war with a country that has a lot of the same attitudes. Itís a dictatorship and if you go against the government youíre gonna die. If you go against Allah, youíre gonna die. Itís just fear and guilt. Youíre looking over your shoulder, and youíre scared all the time, is that the way it is when youíre a JW? After you realize whatís going on?
Erica: Thatís the way I felt, itís the fear and plus I totally believed it was from God and anything that was said by them that they were being directed by God. Itís like saying no to God. And youíre not going to do that. Thatís the way I felt, and then plus you have the whole youíre going to die and youíll never live either in a paradise or hell or heaven youíre just going to be dead forever and never see your family again. And thatís like a huge threat right there; and Armegeddon, youíll never survive it. Itís scary, even growing up as a child it was really scary thinking that Armegeddonís going to come and youíre going to see people just destroyed. The idea of Armegeddon is just scary.
Mark: You know, it just reminds me of the Bible belt and the Depression when these screaming ministers were going and putting the fear of God in people just to get a following and they were trying to put the fear in uneducated people, that maybe some of them didnít know how to read and write. Maybe I can understand that a little bit. But wehre do these elders get their divine right to to talk to God? If we had any normal person in here on the street that says I talk to God, theyíd be in an insane asylum pretty quick or on some kind of brain drug. Wouldnít they?
Erica: You would think.
Mark: You would think. Bill, come on, you were an elder, did you talk to God a lot?
Bill: I prayed every day.
Mark: Did you talk to God where he answered?
Bill: No, he never said a word to me.
Mark: Then I can talk to God too. That makes me an elder, that means I can run a church.
Bill: Thatís whatís this countryís based on. Over five thousand across this country, that revolve around everything from nudity to worship of Satan, and all these people claim some type of divine inspiration to justify their existance and they have people that follow them in that quest.
Mark: Letís see what Mike has to say about this. Mike, youíre on the Mark Furhman show on 920 KOXY.
Mike: Hi Mark, thanks. Iím one of the leaders of the staff group here, Survivors Network Abused By P riests, and we have anywhere from thirty to fifty people that kind of work with us in our group. We started in October. When did you start your group?
Bill: Silentlambs started in March of the year 2001.
Mike: Wow, youíve got six thousand victims already?
Mark: Mike, you know what I think is interesting, and weíve talked a lot about the Catholic church But I think whatís interesting, when we see the comparison between the Jehovahís Witness doctrine and the Catholic Church, the Catholic church has never said it was right. They actually recognized it was wrong in some regards and tried to do things about it and whehter it was to transfer a priest or take him out of certain areas, I mean the Catholic Church has never said itís right. Jehovahís Witneses said ďweíre not going to say abusing and raping somebody is right, but you gotta keep it in house and you gotta forgive and you just be silent. P eriod.
Mike: Weíre dealing with the same issue of shame and guilt. Most of our victims still have not come forward. I have people that call me every week, in fact I had two that called me today that are just reluctant to come forward because their names would be tarnished in their minds or the minds of their friends or their family or the church if they came forward and said they were abused. So, you deal with that all the time, Iím sure.
Bill: Yes, through Silentlambs, thereís only a thousand s tori es posted on the website, that roughly means one out of six is brave enough to come forward and tell their story. That leaves five others that prefer to remain silent and just maybe have a personal conversation or email they ask to remain confidential. It relates to child abuse itself. P eople are at various stages of healing.
Mike: Can you tell me how many victims you have here, or how many survivors you have here in Spokane?
Bill: I would have to recall off the top of my head, the Spokane area, I would estimate probably around a dozen. If we cover the state of Washington, weíd approach somewhere between seventy-five to a hundred.
Mike: So thereís many times that more that have not come forward?
Mark: Well I think weíre going to have the longer distance, everybody, weíre going to have less victims that are wiling to go through the ridicule. Ericaís an example of what she had to go through at a very young age and itís terrible. Mike, weíre going to take a break. Erica and Bill hang on with me Erica when we come back I want to see how your life is now, letís stop with the negative letís see how youíve been able to move on and whoís helped you do that. Weíll be right back, this is the
Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Mark: Welcome back. Weíre talking about the Jehovahís Witnesses and some of the things that they have done. Theyíve covered the Catholic Church, now we have Bill Bowen, heís a Jehovahís Witness elder from Benton Kentucky who has Silentlambs who has got six thousand members of abused people in the Jehovahís Witnesses church since two thousand and one. Thatís huge. We also have Erica who has been a victim. And Erica, before we go to the phones, before the break I asked Ėor told you I was going to ask this question Ėhowís your life now? Have you got on with life? Have you still felt the scars from this experience?
Erica: I donít think the scars will ever go away. The recurring nightmares are always there. But I have an eleven-month-old baby so right now my mission in life is to do well in my career. But also this is very important to me, to be an advocate speaker for children who have been abused. And to have the m c hange their policy because itís something thatís always going to be with me, itís always going to be with me. Iíll always have these nightmares and it shouldnít happen to anybody else. If I can prevent that from happening to one more person then thatís worth it.
Mark: I agree with you wholeheartedly. Erica, have you sued the Jehovahís Witnessesí church?
Erica: Actually, we have a lawsuit going right now. Jeff Anderson, heís the lawyer, and heís absolutely awesome. Heís such a caring lawyer and his mission, itís not about the money, itís Ďyou change your policy because youíre hurting childrení. Right now itís set for, I believe August thereís a trial set for the civil.
Mark: I donít think it will ever go to trial, I think youíll get a nice settlement and youíll have to make some kind of statement, but itís interesting that a lot of people say that itís not about the money. And I think money is one of the only ways that you can hurt organizations like this. I think that you deserve to have some kind of payback for the pain that you have already gone through and the pain that youíre going through. Simply because your life should be a little easier for th epain that youíve already experienced. And I think you shouldnít feel guilty about that. Letís go to the phones and see what our callers have to say. Ken, youíre on the Mark Furhman show 920on KXOY.
Ken: Yes, first of all Iíd like to say that I just give my condolences to those who people that have suffered in this way,and that not happenes amon g Catholicism, the Catholic church and Jehovahís witnesses, but itís inconcievable it doesnít happen amon g the Amish, the Mennonites, or any religious groups. Sin is no respecter of persons. As long as there is men and man is going to be alive, there is going to be sin. If I can make a couple of points. One, in 1981, one of the biggest things that hit the news was the church in Collinsville Oklahoma. Mark, I donít know if youíre familiar with this. This hit national news, it was one of the first churches that sued for three hundred n inet y thousand dollars because they had a member who was involved in a sexual immoral situation with the mayor in town. And theyíd asked this woman to repent of this sin and she did not, etc. Then they had to follow procedures given in the scripture for disfellowshiping her. Of course then the government steps in and then it becomes a great big lawsuit and now all of a sudden every church becomes very fearing of this to try to do anything about its members that fall in the sand or is found out to be with sin but there are procedures in the scriptures which that if they do believe the scriptures, they should abide by.
I cannot answer for Jehovahís witnesses, I myself am an Evangelsit for twenty-five years and Iíve had to deal with sin in the church. And dealing with sin in the church our sole authority is based upon the Word of God and what God said. Now, in the Jehovahís witnesses, thereís something there I think that is very shocking and that is, they defy even the word of God when it tells us that if an elder, by the testimony of two or three is in sin, and refuses to sever himself from that sin, he si to be taken before all and rebuked. Now we canít just by the wave of the hand condemn all of Christianity just because one religious group or Catholisism which is bigger than any group refuses to practice the very scripture that they say they hold to.
Mark: Well, Ken the part Iím stuck on, is, we reevaluate the meaning of the Constitution which was written in 1775. But yet we donít reevaluate the words that were written in 1 B.C. or 40 A.D. or 1200 A.D. When itís conven inet , it seems like religious groups just go back to the very raw form when the world was almost primitive, in todayís standards. They just cite these scriptures as if they just fit into todayís society and they do not. What was sin in 1 A.D. is not considered sin by a society now. Iím not saying everything, but Iím saying come on, letís be absolutely candid about this: are all the ten commandments followed by every single person in its starkest form?
Ken: Not by every person, absolutely not .
Mark: How about anybody?
Ken: Thatís not a valid question. The question is, should every single person follow the ten commandments.
Mark: Thatís up to every person, not a bunch of people that are uneducated without any formal education to counsel themselves, let alone other people of the congregation.
Ken: Thatís why we believe in education.
Mark: Yeah, Ken, thanks for the call, weíve got to move on. Letís go to P at, youíre on the Mark Furhman show 920on KXOY.
P at: Hi.
Mark: Hi P at.
P at: Iím a friend of Bill and Erica both Hi Erica, hi Bill. I was at the trial, and I also participated at the March in New York against the Watchtower and I did a press conference here in Oregon, preliminary to that March, to alert the public to it. As a result, what Iíve experienced, is that my neighbors who are Jehovahís Witnesses and a presiding overseer of the congregation I used to belong toótheyíre shunning me now. Theyíve told me Iíve brought reproach on God, on his name and on his organization because of what Iím saying and doing publicly.
Mark: Well P at you know something? Youíre a lucky person. Those kind of people you do not want behind you, you want them in front. And itís usually called the enemy.
P at: I agree completely.
Mark: And itís crazy, this fanatism belongs in Nazi Germany, it belongs in Mansonís cell, I mean, thatís where we hear this stuff. We donít hear this from David Koresh.
Bill: Well, I would encourage all Jehovahís Witnesses to understand, when it comes to protecting children there is no reproach on God. Children are in every congregation of Jehovahís witnesses. When you put children as a priority, then whatever they believe as a religion, theyíll be a bette r r eligion as a result.
Mark: What about your women? Certainly, but theyíre certainly not going to change. Because I would tend to believe that they are so ingrained in what they do theyíre not going to budge, itís almost like theyíre too stubborn to see the truth.
Bill: In the March Watchtower of this year, 2003, they actually go on a limbóI shouldnít say a limb-they say anyone on the radio or television that says anything negative about their organization is an agent of Satan. And any judge that rules against them will be punished by God.
Mark: You know it kind of sounds like I would rather be there than with the Jehovahís Witnesses.
Bill: Actually, youíre on the airways right now, theyíre calling you an agent of Satan.
Mark: Good Good Good Good. I love every psycho to call me names, Iíve spent 20 years having people call me names and agents of P sych as I was taking them to jail. Iíve also talked to Jesus and all of his apostles and Iíve met people who have lived six or seven lives and who have lived on other planets. So Iím with you on this one. And itís in a god company that Iíd like to be, where I am versus where they are.
Erica: Amen to that.
Mark: Yeah, P at thanks a lot for the call. Letís go to Mike, youíre on the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Mark: Mike, you there?
Mike2 Yeah, Iím here.
Mark: Youíve got it buddy.
Mike2: Well, Iíve been listening, I actually came in just before the last break, so I didnít catch the whole show. Iíve heard a lot of things that arenít true. And Iím suspecting that youíre getting a lot of misinformation.
Mark: Like whatís not true? Are you a Jehovahís Witness?
Mike2: Yeah, I am.
Mark: Okay, whatís not true? Do you believe you need two people to corraborate an abuse, one of which is the person that committed it?
Mike2: It doesnít have to be the person who committed it. But thatís actually a scriptural principal set out by Jesus.
Mark: Well Jesus wasnít around when they were abusing children, they didnít have a word for it then. So letís be honest, thereís nothing in the Bible that talks about pedophilia and Jesus needs to approve it. And tell me the last time that there was a rape or an act of pedophilia that wasnít immediately reported that ther was a witness that came forward later.
Mike2: Iím sorry, I didnít understand your question.
Mark: When was the last time someobdy witnessed an act of sex with a child that didnít immediately eithe r r eport it or become part of the crime. Because you know you are one or the other. You understand that? Youíre either an acessory, or youíre obstructing justice or an acessory after the fact. Or youíre a witness.
Mike2: Well actually you ought to take that up with the state of Washington. There are laws regarding that here. Actually every state deals with that differently.
Mark: Mike, no state deals with that differently if a woman comes up or a child comes forward and says Ďthat manĒ pointing to him, says ďhe raped meĒ. What do you do go ďhmm sorry little girl, go awayĒ? Why donít you tell Erica thatís on the ai r r ight now that your church handled her situation properly?
Mike2: Well, I didnít hear her situation.
Mark: Well, she was molested from age 4 to 11, by an elder and she went forward and the church told her to be silent. Is that the church you want to part of?
Mike2: No actually I donít agree that that happened.
Mark: Thatís your churchís policy Iím reading it right here. I am reading it right here. In fact your church says that only God can condemn and you should forgive.
Mike2: Well, I actually disagree with you Mark.
Mark: Mike, you know something we have two Jehovahís Witnesses on this ai r r ight now. Oneís a victim, oneís an advocate that discovered an abuse and went forward and was excomunicated from the church and started his own group and got six thousand victims since 2001. They both thought like you did before they witnessed it or before they were a victim.
Mike2: Actually I know the policy and Iíve dealt with it myself and I know that what theyíre saying is not true. You can choose to believe it.
Mark: Then tell me the policy Mike.
Mike2: The policy starting from where?
Mark: Okay, you want me to read it to you?
Mike2: Okay, go ahead.
Mark: Okay. A person should forgive someone that has hurt or abused them; individuals can be redeemed; eople can change through prayer and spiritual suport.
Mike2: Where are you reading out of?
Mark: Iím reading out of the website of Jehovahís Witnesses.
Mike2: Youíre reading the official webiste of Jehovahís Witnesses?
Mark: Yeah, is this the one blessed by God? I mean come on, letís get serious. If youíre a Jehovahís Witness and you know it, then you tell me this: Is there necessary for the perosn that commits the rape or the abuse to admit it before the church will disclose anything?
Mike2: Iím trying to be serious. No.
Mark: Then give me an example I want a name, I want a place where it happened, I want a court case where he was indicted and prosecuted.
Mike2: Well, how am I supposed to give you all that?
Mark: Why donít you give me an instance where we can go search it out then? Do you personally know of an instance where the church turned on one of their own on the word of a girl or a child that sayd Iíve been raped or abused absent of that person admitting it? Yes or no?
Mike2: No I do not know of a case.
Mark: Then I guess the policy stands up and you have no evidence to refute it do you?
Mike2: Well actually I donít believe that thatís the policy. I know the policy and the policy
Mark: Mike, are you an elder at your church or do you know an elder?
Mike2: I am an elder.
Mark: Okay, would you like to bring the policy down here to the radio station next week on Tuesday, we will do a two hour show with you the elder. Bring all your policies all your horsepower all the doctrine, the eleven people, the names of the elven people that run your church that have no formal education no seminary background that speak to God on a regular basis.
Mike2: See thatís all misinformation.
Mark: Really? Why is it misinformation. Do they not talk to God?
Mike2: When people pray are they talking to God?
Mark: Well, they also say they get direction too.
Mike2: No we do not receive any kind of verbal direction from God.
Mark: So why are they any more special than you then?
Mike2: Who said they were?
Mark: They did.
Mike2: No, they didnít.
Mark: So then why are they in charge?
Mark: The eleven people that are running your worldwide church.
Mike2: Thatís the problem with listening to people who really are not Jehovahís Witnesses.
Mark: You know something, I donít want to be anywhere close to anybody that agrees that they will sit on information that a child or a woman has been abused say that we will keep this inside, that we will keep this secret and if you say anything we will excommunicate you we will shun you and you will die at Godís hands.
Mike2: See, that is not the policy we have, thatís what Iím trying to tell you.
Mark: We gotta to take a break Mike, but you can stay on if youíd like. But one last question before we do take this break. Does the Jehovahís Witnesses say that anybody in the media that speaks against them is basically the Devilís tool?
Mike2: Anybody in the media that speaks against them?
Mark: Yeah. Are we Satanís instruments , am I Satanís instrument right now? Answer the question Mike, you church has no problem seems you do.
Mike2: No, actually I donít.
Mark: Okay, am I Satanís instrument right now?
Mike2: Well letís see, I guess it would depend on what sense?
Mark: Well I just donít believe you should victimize children and women. Do you?
Mike2: Well thatís right, we donít.
Mark: Well then maybe you should go to your church and ask for their exact policy because youíll be shunned and excommunicated if you stand up to them and say ďNo, we should report all abuses to the policeĒ. Do you think they should?
Mike2: You see, thatís misinformation.
Mark: Mike, do you think they should report all abuses when a victi m c omes forward and says Iíve been raped by one of your people? Should they go to the police?
Mike2: I think that there are circumstances where the state of Washington.
Mark: Answer the question Mike. Do you think your church as a moral group of people should report a rape. Yes or No?
Mike2: Yes I do.
Mark: Okay, if you go to your church you wonít be in that church very long. Weíre gonna be right back this is the mark furhman show on 920 KXOY.
Mark: Welcome back to the show. Erica, Bill, weíve just got less than two minutes I wanted to get something from both of you. While weíve just got a little bit of time thank you both for being on youíve been great. Erica Iím sorry for what happened to you and Bill Iím actually sorry for what happened to you; twenty years investment and same with you Erica youíve a longtime investment. We listened to Mike is this a denial inside of the church that youíre hearing over and over?
Erica: Yep, absolutely. An elder went to my trial, at the sentencing he said ďWhatever his problems were he seems to have come to grips with them in 1990 onward and to us we donít see a problem.Ē And that pretty much sums it up. They do not see a problem they do not care, and as long as their image isnít ruined theyíre absolutely fine. And theyíd rather be in denial about it than to just face the facts and change their policy.
Mark: Yeah, itís crazy. Bill, is this all about keeping the reputation of the church and the money flow going in donations?
Bill: Absolutely and the best way I can answer your question is in two trials within the last three years Jehovahís witnesses saw fit in New Hampshire as well as in Ericaís trial to send over twenty-five Jehovahís Witnesses as characte r r eferences on behalf of the child molester. They said they wanted to baby-sit their children. So these people are guided by the home office they have no will of their own.
Mark: Well, you know what Iím gonaa say and I thank both of you but Iím gonna say one thing: Anybody that would suport a child molester or a child ab user or a child rapist when Erica is up there telling about her seven years of being a victim of one man, that person is definitely going to hell. We gotta go, it is Friday, I will see you on Monday. Youíve been listening to the Mark Furhman show on 920 KXOY.