The Latest from Well-Known Literary Agent, Chip MacGregor

You know, Chip always knows how to shine the light in the darkness and expose the hard, cold facts.

Here’s his latest blog post about WinePress Publishing and their final demise. I’d encourage you to read it and share with your social media networks.

http://www.chipmacgregor.com/current-affairs/last-word-winepress-publishing/

And as a side note, I think his timing is impeccable. We just announced the founding of Redemption Press, where we are doing everything we can to help the authors who have been abused and orphaned by WinePress Publishing. Pass the word!

Eleven Month Anniversary – Melt Down

I had a melt-down of sorts a few days ago. A strange mix of emotions that included depression, profound sadness, and a bit of despair. I originally chocked it up to an adrenaline crash after my whirlwind of travel to Dallas and Branson, but I’ve come to realize it really was much more than that.

Today marks my 11 month anniversary of leaving the Christian cult I was trapped in for 12 long years, and as I consider the past months, I am reminded how important anniversary dates can be. In fact, I used to teach veterans and their family members all about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how things in the environment, as well as the anniversary dates of prior traumatic experiences, can trigger in the present, unwanted emotions and memories.

I started thinking back to what was happening in my life around this time of the month in October of last year, and was shocked to remember that it was one of the most stressful experiences I had endured, as the “Tax Oversight Committee” had finally finished their work and ominously commanded my presence in the WinePress offices. Under scrutiny of no less than 5 other people, I filled out the tax forms for the first quarter of 2010. I was bullied and intimidated into filing my own business taxes (I wasn’t allowed to have a CPA review them for me or get any outside advice at all), and on top of that I was not allowed to even keep a copy of the forms I’d filed. My income was right around $1500 a month and my tax liability was adding up to over $50,000 due to the capital gains that were calculated (even though I only received $10 in exchange for my 3.5 million dollar business!).

It was truly the most bizarre experience I’d ever experienced in my life, and all the while I was being manipulated into taking responsibility for tax liabilities that were not even mine to assume.  And all in the Name of God.  Every move I made was condemned, criticized, and demonized by the very people who I now know to be wolves in sheep’s clothing. One man for years had covered up his own sexual perversion and sick attraction to and vile abuse of little girls, and another who knowingly covered up his crimes. Not only are these men the “spiritual leaders” of Sound Doctrine, but those who manage what continues to be deceitfully promoted as a “Christian Publisher”, WinePress Publishing.

How kind and merciful it was for God to allow me to discover the full extent of the evil and wickedness that reigned in the midst of Sound Doctrine a little at a time. It was shortly after I left that I found out what was done to me with the supposed “sale” of my business to the cult was completely fraudulent and a gross violation of spiritual authority, but then it was five months after I left before I found out about Malcolm Fraser being a pedophile.  I honestly don’t know if I could have emotionally handled learning all of it at one time, so God had to spoon feed the revelation of the extent of the abuse and profound evil over a period of time.

So, should I be surprised at my recent emotional roller-coaster, mostly downward? I think not. When I consider the level of stress and trauma I endured last year at this time, along with the ongoing grieving God is having me work through, and the amazing restoration that God is continuing to work in my life, it’s clearly remarkable that I haven’t been in worse shape than I am. In fact, it is astonishing that I’m not, after all I’ve been through, locked away in a mental hospital.

My God has taken a horridly abusive and traumatic experience and turned it around to glorify His name in countless ways. Not only does He continue to encourage others as I walk through my healing journey with Him, but  I heard only yesterday that one young man who was trapped by the cult for the last six years finally escaped just a month ago, so I can only praise Him that one more captive has been set free.  The exciting part is that this young man was one for whom my friend Cindy Scinto consistently received visions from the Lord about and was urged by Him to fast and pray for him to break free from the horrific abuse he was under in Sound Doctrine.

I continue to pray for the rest of those in bondage, especially my own grandchildren, one of whom is also a victim of the sick pedophile Malcolm Fraser. I pray that they soon will have their spiritual eyes opened and have the courage to walk away from the insanity before it’s too late.

New Chip MacGregor Post

Well, how could I not share this wonderfully witty update from well-known, well-respected literary agent, Chip MacGregor?

I know he caught heat after his last post on March 5 (Conspirators R Us), when the Sound Doctrine/WinePress bullies threatened to sue him. But God bless him, Chip just couldn’t stay quiet after seeing them at ICRS (the large trade show put on by the Christian Booksellers Association…stands for International Christian Retail Show).

His current post went up today, titled The WinePress Follies, and it will have you laughing out loud all the way through. At the same time you’ll be shaking your head at the blatant hypocrisy and utter insanity they have displayed.

I feel terrible for all the innocent victims (authors) who now have to live with the WinePress imprint on their books. The company is quickly becoming a laughing stock in the Christian publishing industry, and that’s so not fair for those who paid good money to have their book published and supposedly by a Christian company with credibility.

Someone reminded me the other day that WinePress was, at one time, a real God thing….it just got hijacked.

True statement. Sad, but true.

Undo What I’ve Become

Driving to meet with an author this morning, I heard this chorus on the radio. I remembered back to a time when I was still in the cult and I sang this song as a prayer to God. Little did I know how He would answer that prayer.

Turn me around, pick me up, undo what I’ve become   /   Bring me back to the place of forgiveness and grace   /   I need You, I need Your help, I can’t do this myself   /   You’re the only one who can undo what I’ve become

At the time I had pretty much been demonized to the rest of the “church” so I was very isolated. I felt as though there was no hope for me since I had been unable to repent acceptably. About a year earlier, Tim had called the body to meet at WinePress and he proceeded to call us out one by one (excluding his sons and Malcolm, of course) telling us that if we did not repent, we were going to hell.

Shortly after this event, I’d done something that made Tim Williams mad. If my memory serves me, the rebellion I displayed was that I called Malcolm and asked permission to work on a Saturday after I’d been told not to. So there I was in the middle of Grocery Outlet when I got a call from Tim Williams asking why I asked to work when I’d been told not to…he proceeded to chew me out on my cell phone and that conversation ended in Tim praying God’s judgment upon me.

From that point on, everything seemed to go downhill…I was pretty much booted out of WinePress, not allowed to invite other “church” members over for dinner, and was not allowed to verbally communicate with anyone. It was pretty much as close to being disfellowshipped as possible without actually being so.

I remember hearing this song on the radio and was bewildered with what I had become…a Christian with no joy or hope of heaven…alone…numb.

Now I can look back and see that God did exactly that…he turned me around, picked me up, and undid what I’d become….He brought me back to the place of forgiveness and grace…

Instead of leaving me in that barren land that was full of hate and judgment, He delivered me out of captivity and back to Himself.

I can only praise God for His faithfulness to answer my prayer, even though I expected the answer to look completely different.

Praise God His ways are not my ways!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

The Confusing In-Between

Every time I attempt to get settled, put roots back down, and move on with my life, God reminds me that I am not in control.

When I found out a few weeks ago that I won’t need to move to Texas to help with my mom (we’re looking for a small group home to move her into) I began to feel very unsettled. I launched a new job search and started looking on craigslist for a small house to rent.

At every turn I get a big “no” from God and that bugs me.

I realized today that this is what Peter Scazzero is referring to when he talks about “waiting in the confusing in-between”. It’s one part of the grieving process and comes after we begin to pay attention to our emotions.

Hmmmmm. Didn’t I just post a little big ago about feeling overwhelmingly sad?

So I guess this is the part that I need to embrace…the confusing in-between.

I hate waiting for subways, buses, airplanes, and people. Like most New Yorkers, I struggle not to finish other people’s sentences. I talk too fast.

My greatest challenge in following Jesus Christ for over thirty years has been waiting on God when things are confusing. I prefer control. I understand why Abraham, after waiting eleven years for God’s promise of a son to come true, took matters in his own hands and had a baby the “natural way.” Birthing Ishmaels is common in both our churches and personal lives. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7) remains one fo the most radical commands of our day. It requires enormous humility.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – pages 145-146

I keep wondering what I am going to do when I grow up…where I am going to live…what life is going to look like for me…and God is not giving me any hints.

And so I wave the white flag of surrender.

I ask God to give me the strength I need to accept the unknown, to be okay with feeling unsettled, to not have any sort of consistent income, and to be content being a guest in someone else’s home.

That’s tough for a Type A person who enjoys being established and productive.

But it’s where I am, and where I might be for quite some time, so coming to grips with that fact is a struggle. Accepting the confusion of being totally up in the air, disoriented, and disconcerted as part of the grieving process is hard, but I know it will be good for me, and an experience that will increase my trust in the One who delivered me from captivity.

April Fools’ Day

I find it ironic that Tim Williams and Malcolm Fraser chose April 1, 2010 as the “sale” date of WinePress Publishing. Of course, calling it a “sale” in the first place is rather absurd since the company did 3.5 million in business in 2009 and they set the “sale price” at $10. I guess in that way the date was fitting.

All in all, it had taken a little over 12 years for Tim Williams to swindle me out of my publishing company. He saw what he wanted when he contracted for WinePress to publish his book in 1998, and he systematically set out to get control of what was, at that time, the most successful and well-respected Christian self-publishing company in the industry.

I decided to look up the origin of April Fools’ Day and found this interesting piece:

Constantine and Kugel

Another explanation of the origins of April Fools’ Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

“In a way,” explained Prof. Boskin, “it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor.”

This explanation was brought to the public’s attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they’d been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html

Tim Williams definitely made a fool of me, just as Boskin made a fool of the Associated Press in the story above, and I’m quite sure the enemy was screeching with glee when the final papers were signed and the transfer of the company was completed. Think about it…no fool in their right mind would sell a multi-million dollar company for $10. And therein lies the truth…I was not in my right mind.

But I guess he didn’t quite expect me to come to my senses and have the courage to finally put a stop to the madness. Kind of like the guy who leaned out the window in the movie Network yelling “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Now I know what the Bible says…be angry and sin not. And that is exactly what I’ve committed to.

I had to admit I’d been duped and began this blog as a way of telling my story. I have done so out of a deep desire to shine His light on the evil that I allowed to become a part of my life and the lives of many others… an evil that I allowed to grow in credibility in the Christian publishing arena as I used my company and my reputation to give them a voice.

This is the voice that is now proving its true colors for the insanity that it represents. After all, what church do you know of who would leave a pastor in their pastoral position after he has been arrested for child rape, defending him and declaring his innocence? What in the world does that say to the other young girls in the church who may also be victims?

The loss of my company, my marriage, my house, and all my worldly possessions pales in comparison to the loss of a child’s innocence. But the courage it took for this young woman to come forward encourages me to continue telling my story and shining the light on evil…if for nothing else than to warn others of the ways spiritually abusive organizations operate and how to avoid them.

On this two year anniversary of the enemy of our souls stealing WinePress from me, I celebrate the freedom that I now declare and the healing process that I share with all of you.

While they continue to try to make a fool out of me, I choose to allow God to use this tragedy to purify my heart and prepare me for even greater things in the future.

Bittersweet

I was not prepared for this.

My friend Inger wanted to take me to lunch for my birthday. “I’ll just take the ferry over to Mukilteo and we can eat close by.” I was excited to see her, so didn’t think twice about it.

Then as I drove down Mukilteo Speedway towards the ferry, I saw the old WinePress office. My throat tightened, but I kept driving.

As I passed our old house overlooking the water, it looked as though there was a for sale sign in front. Thoughts of buying the house and trying to restore what’s been lost danced through my head. Now I’m almost getting dizzy.  Oh dear. What am I doing?

I head down the hill to the ferry, and turn into the parking lot at the Mukilteo Beach. Tears begin to flow down my cheeks as I remember the place I used to come and pray each morning. Then there was the spot where Chuck also had his quiet time. Years of special times with God flooded my memory.

As I looked at the choppy waves and watched Inger’s ferry approaching, I remembered the Christmas Letter I’d written in December of 1996 – The Year of Miracles in the Dean Family.  I dug it out when I got home tonight.

In it I recounted our recommitment to our family as a result of a book we published called “The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory.”  The fruit of that commitment came quickly as we saw Roby move back home and commit her heart to the Lord.

“After that, we had the faith to believe for the rest of our kids. If God could get a hold of her, He could certainly do the same for the boys.

It took until August for the next major miracle. With Roby working with us in WinePress, the three of us spent months begging God to do whatever it takes to get the boy’s attention, and that He did! One summer day, out of the blue, Garrett and Aaron both agreed to go with us to a meeting held at Marysville First Assembly of God. A young man from southern California named Tracey Armstrong was the speaker. Roby, the boys and I sat in the second row, absolutely in awe of the power of God. When Tracey called me out to pray for me, I knew God was about to do something awesome. He looked at me and said “You’ve got a breakthrough coming in your family. Everything you’ve been praying for with regards to your family will come to pass!”

The rest of that Christmas letter shared the transformation of both Garrett and Aaron and how we all started working together at WinePress in the new office right down the street.

“God is blessing our obedience to do what He told us to do, no matter what the circumstances are. ..Work together in the publishing business, and keep the family before the business.”

What a tragedy. God was working in such a mighty way, and the enemy came in and completely tore it all apart. The year I wrote that Christmas Letter was the same year I met Carla at the Write to Publish Conference, which was the beginning of being lured into the cult, the beginning of the end of WinePress, the beginning of the end of my marriage, and the beginning of the end of our family as we knew it.

While it was a very joyful day today, I grieved some more today. I grieved for the loss of the family we had committed to keep before the business, for the destruction of my 18 year marriage, for the annihilation of my youngest and oldest son’s faith, and for the death of the publishing company that I knew and loved that is no more.

It was a bittersweet day today. And the tears are still flowing.

I guess it’s going to be this way for a while.