Denver Colorado SNAP Conference
Pictures of Conference [click here]
We are happy to report the Denver Snap Conference was a success! The theme of the conference was "Our Truth is Our Strength." There were t-shirts highlighting this for those in attendance. It was a fitting theme as the church has discredited many of the abuse survivors with their comments. We estimate around three hundred were in attendance and the spirit was very upbeat and positive. The conference started with a Friday evening meeting of abuse survivors showing several incriminating letters from the Catholic Church showing how abuse was extensively covered up and in some cases altered to prevent the truth from coming out. It was interesting to note that the Catholic Church also has secret files that are locked away in each church to hide abuse. Some of these files have been opened by the courts and provided proof that abuse was hidden. How long before JW's have to do the same? How many child molesters are hidden in the secret JW files in each congregation?
The program lasted long into the evening with many ovations and rounds of applause.
Saturday started with continental breakfast and survivor songs by Joe Beckman. Then the main address by Marilyn Van Debur a former Miss America that was molested as a child and wrote a book "Miss America by Day." Then Jason Berry a well known author that wrote, "Vows of Silence" and "Lead Us Not into Temptation." Both received standing ovations for their comments. Finally Kristen Ward, vice president of Voice of the Faithful spoke as well. This group is made up of practicing Catholics that support abuse survivors. As JW's know this could never happen within the JW group as over thirty members have been disfellowshipped for simply saying they support abuse survivors. After the morning program there were several workshops that addressed specific issues. William H. Bowen participated in the workshop, "Abuse Within Other Denominations," along with a Lutheran minister. The topics covered everything from ritual abuse to legal tactics in dealing with abuse. Later that evening William H. Bowen addressed the conference on the topic, "Is it possible JW's are Far Worse Than main Stream Religion When Dealing with Child Abuse?" Never-before-seen material was presented to show the extent of the problem to gasps from the audience. A general consensus was the audience was shocked to know how JW's handled abuse for all members. A recording of the talk will soon appear at this link in about a week as soon as it is uploaded.
WH Bowen talk on abuse
WH Bowen talk on abuse 2
Bowen also presented information on healing and recovery to end the talk on a positive note. Colm OGorman talked about abuse in Ireland and their program to hold the government accountable for not prosecuting the church on abuse issues. Author David France also spoke on his book, "Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal." It was a powerful program.
After this we all went to dinner. Jeff Anderson Gave the Keynote address on the direction of the abuse issue. He expressed great concern that the issue must be kept in the forefront as the Catholic Church was spending millions on PR firms to down play the abuse issue. Mark Serrano and Laura Barrett who serve on the SNAP board of directors also made comments during dinner. After dinner Martin Moran an actor from New York presented a play called, "The Tricky Part" It was a story telling session about his abuse.
The following morning there was a memorial service for those that did not survive. Music and comments were presented. At the end pictures, names and ages of abuse victims that committed suicide were presented. William H. Bowen was asked to participate. There was much press and media in attendance that extensively covered the program. It was very moving to see the emotions of those in attendance. You can read an article about it here,
Denver news article
Denver News article
Denver news article
David Chlossey concluded the program with "Where Do We Go from Here?" It was a positive encouraging discourse to set the future direction of SNAP.
Silentlambs was very happy to participate and educate about JW abuse issues. SNAP has invited JW abuse survivors to come to their local chapter meetings across the USA. If you would like to attend a SNAP meeting for support, go to this link to find a meeting in your area.
Due to the attacks of the organization of JW's on abuse survivors and advocates we think this might be a positive way for Jehovah's Witnesses to have support without fear of retribution from the home office. There is no competition between legitimate abuse survivor organizations by working together the message we offer can be much stronger. SNAP Chapters have been well educated about the abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses and welcome any abuse survivors or advocates to their meetings. Linkup as well might be looked to as a resource for support and help. The Linkup has recently opened an abuse healing center in central Kentucky it features several hundred acres in the country as well as a good support structure to help abuse survivors to heal. If you would like to check out further information look at this link,
Silentlambs plans to attend the Linkup conference later this year. Stayed tuned for announcements regarding this and we hope to see you there.
By working with other abuse survivor organizations we offer a powerful message on abuse as well as learn from one another. We encourage all silentlambs supporters to contact your local organizations on abuse and educate them about the JW abuse policy, and get help and support. Use the silentlambs website as a reference and if you need further assistance please contact us at 877-WTABUSE.