The following is a message to all that are familiar with silentlambs and our work. In recent months there have been many changes happening in my life. As many of you might know from the newsletter Sheila and I are now divorced but remain good friends and continue to help one another adjust to our new lives. Silentlambs now has a new office in Paducah that is also connected to a small apartment that I live in. This is about twenty minutes away from our home so it makes it easy for me to stay in touch with our children. In December of 2004 we both decided to sell our candle business due to economics issues. This happened about the second week in December so things moved rather quickly. Sheila now has a new job that she enjoys working for a gift shop. I have been busy looking at some business opportunities while working with silentlambs. It appears the most recent rumor being circulated by my JW family is that I have a 23 year old girlfriend that travels with me to seminars. Once again this is just malicious gossip that is completely unfounded.
In recent weeks the VH1 interview has caused a surge of traffic to the silentlambs website as well as many abuse survivors that are younger coming forward and finding the website for the first time. We also have been contacted by many JWs many are supportive while a few others basically say negative comments mostly with anonymous emails. The trip to Japan also has offered a new territory so to speak for the message of abuse to be known in that country as well. Shortly after I left one of the largest newspapers had a front page story about Jehovah's Witnesses abuse policy with my picture and one of the largest magazines in Japan did an article on silentlambs as well. We are happy to continue to educate the public on the nature of this scandal as well as inform current members so that they can make better decisions on how to protect their children.
Perhaps the question is where do we go from here? In many emails from misguided JWs I have been accused of profiteering from silentlambs. This of course is a most absurd allegation that offers certain members a way to judge silentlambs in a wrong way. It becomes an even more ridiculous when you consider that the New York Corp of Watchtower reported income of over $951 million last year. It seems rather apparent who is profiteering off the brothers and sisters. Conventions, Assemblies, and congregations remain profit centers that siphon thousands and thousands of dollars from kick backs on motels, parking, and outright misleading announcements that include resolutions of donations of thousands of dollars to New York masked as a convention expense. A typical Kingdom Hall sends $400 to $700 a month in for the Worldwide Work, while the actual cost if literature used is about $25-$40. When you consider this is tax free dollars with no employment wages being paid it seems fairly easy to understand how "profitable" so much money being brought in is. Then there is the matter of estates of the elderly. A few months ago I was informed of an elderly sister being told by the legal department that if she deeded her home to Watchtower before her death that they would make sure she got it back in the new order. The sister was coerced into getting a restraining order against her non-witness family to prevent them from talking to her about her possible grandchildren's inheritance. Three months after her death a new family was living in the home with a big Christmas tree. I wonder if our sister knew the legal department was going to allow that. The sad fact remains that hundreds of thousands of these Worldwide Work dollars are being spent to defend pedophiles rights and prevent abuse survivors from any assistance in trying to heal. It appears the little known pedophile protection fund will continue to be funded by the extremely profitable Worldwide Work fund.
Since day one I have personally taken thousands of dollars from our business, loans, and personal funds to see silentlambs continue. Money has gone to help pay travel expenses for abuse survivors, website, phone, hotline, office, computer, utilities, t-shirts, bumper stickers, pins, marches, seminars, videos, and hundreds of other items that make an endless list for how money has been spent to get the word out on protecting children. Silentlambs does not have a Worldwide Work Fund with billions of dollars to spend freely on whatever we want, personally I can no longer afford to pay out of my pocket to keep silentlambs afloat yet strongly we feel this issue is not finished and the work must continue. With that being stated silentlambs is going to become more proactive in raising funds in three key areas.
- Grants and donations- We ask for anyone with experience in these areas to contact silentlambs for assistance in this regard. The educational material we have accumulated can be very useful in educating the public about abuse issues. Grants could be used for public service announcements, informational material and videos.
- Personal speaking appearances and seminars- I will make myself and others that wish to participate available to groups and institutions to educate and inform about abuse issues as well as use the material we have accumulated to offer greater insights in the abuse issue. There will be a fee charged for these presentations. [click here to see information on this]
- Archival releases of material- We will offer limited releases of never before seen material on the abuse issue. This will provide in depth documented material to help explain the lies and hypocrisy of the organization regarding the abuse issue and should be great collector's item for your library. If you know anyone that might have expertise in DVD and video please contact us. [click here to see information on this]
What should these things provide? I would like to see a paid office staff to help assist and take care of these areas. Funding will help not only produce educational material but assist abuse survivors get assistance, stand with them in court, and bring them together for meaningful interaction with one another. More importantly we can educate the public about how to avoid bad policy and better protect children. Silentlambs needs your assistance and support to reach these lofty goals, one person can't do it alone. If you feel you have any ideas or areas of expertise that could assist with these goals please contact us at email@example.com or if you want to support financially, your monthly donations are greatly appreciated as well as participating in the programs mentioned above. Stay tuned for the first limited thirty day release of archival material that will be out by March 15, 2005.
Finally we wish to thank the many hundreds that have donated time effort and money to silentlambs. From the little sister that quietly puts a lamb on a local Kingdom Hall door, or a brochure in a public place, to those that have went to court and stood with abuse survivors, or sent lambs, money, helped with the website, sent letters, given food and other items to help the work continue. Silentlambs is not the journey of one person but the contribution of thousands that have made the truth of theses matters known. Your kind assistance will always be remembered. As some may recall at every event or speaking engagement we have with silentlambs there is always a little stuffed lamb in a prominent place. Why? It stands for all those that are not there, the many that have yet to find their voice, yet in that little lamb they are represented.
In Japan at the bethel branch someone had to walk out to the gate and pull out the little lamb and notice on protecting children we left there.
I have to wonder what thoughts may have gone through their mind as they carried it back to the office. Yet the message was there and once again the organization was forced to face the reality of what their policy is doing to children.
Help us keep the lambs out there fighting for the rights of abuse survivors and protecting children.