Staying Out of Mud Puddles

My friend, Sue Miholer, sent me her contribution that appeared a long time ago in God’s Little Rule Book. What a wonderful reminder for me to refuse the temptation of a knee jerk reaction to the smear campaign that’s been launched in response to me telling my story.

I struggle with wanting to defend myself, give clarification, offer another rebuttal…anything but just shut up.

As I continue to pray and watch God move, I so appreciate the way He sends me little reminders like this one.

Stay out of mud puddles.

When someone lies about you or in some other way throws mud at you, don’t get in the mud puddle with them. Live above what they’re saying about you, and others will know the truth. If you play in the mud puddles, you just get dirty.

1 Peter 2:12 (NIV): “Live such good lives … that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds.”

NOT AFRAID TO TELL MY STORY

So many times people have asked me, “How is it someone as bright and strong and capable as you could be sucked into a cult like Sound Doctrine?” I have been pondering this question and looking for all the ways I was vulnerable.

However, I thought it may be helpful for any of you who are interested to see how the progression occurred over the 12 years I was involved.

The following is a bullet point chronicling of the events that resulted in my company being stolen from me. Over these years I was brainwashed into thinking anything done to benefit the Williams family and Sound Doctrine would be honoring to God and therefore justified many things that I would never have allowed under normal circumstances.

  • I co-founded WinePress with my husband, Chuck, in 1991.
  • As it grew, I ran the company, Chuck worked an average of 10 hours a week. This was normal for our relationship. I was always the breadwinner in the family.
  • I met Carla Williams at the Write to Publish conference in Chicago June of 1996. We struck up a friendship and I was drawn in by her love for God.
  • WinePress published her husband’s book, Hating for Jesus (based on Luke 14:26), in 1998.
  • In June of 1999, Chuck and I both read the book because I would be seeing Carla at the conference and didn’t want to admit we hadn’t read it.
  • It was edgy, but filled with scripture. Looked at scripture in a new way, demanded that if we were Christians we would walk as Jesus walked. Basically said the church in America was nowhere because it didn’t “hate for Jesus.” He set out to prove that if you hate for Jesus you love God with all your heart. When you “hate for Jesus” you do whatever God wants you to do, no matter what your spouse, kids, parents, or friends think or say.
  • We were taken in by Tim Williams’ passion. Of course I wanted to love God with everything. This seemed to be an answer to my prayers.
  • At the last minute we took his book to the Christian Booksellers Convention show in July at no cost to the author. I thought it seemed a bit weird that the author wouldn’t come, but sent his wife Carla instead. This was the first of a long pattern of Tim Williams having others represent him and getting everything for free.
  • We invited the Williams family to come to Enumclaw for a time of fellowship in late July. While they were here, Chuck invited them to move to Enumclaw to start a church.
  • The date was set for them to move in early September, 1999. They shared that they didn’t believe those in ministry should own a home and had a scripture to back that up. So, we bought a house in Enumclaw for them to live in rent free. The only way I could qualify for the loan was to say I would be living there (an owner occupied loan), even though that was a lie. Tim allowed me to do this since I was doing it “for the Lord”. (the first red flag I ignored)
  • At this point WinePress was doing about 1 million in sales per year while I was running the company.
  • Then the indoctrination began. Women should not be in authority, but should be busy at home.

Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5)
A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Tim. 2:11-13)

  • Up until that time, even though I had been baptized and an active Christian for 15 years, and had even spent a number of years in full time ministry, I was told that I really was not a Christian because I did not “hate for Jesus”. This influence eventually led me to decide that since I’d never had a pure heart, I couldn’t have really been saved, so I was re-baptized and told I needed to throw out everything I thought I knew and start with a clean slate.
  • Early on, my youngest son, Aaron, and Chuck’s son Ailen, joined the church. My son Garrett, who was recently married, thought he was supposed to come and help us start the church. But his wife and in-laws did not agree. He did not “hate” his wife and do God’s will, so we had to cut him off and no longer associate with him. We were told by Tim to go to his house and fire him from his job with WinePress since he would not repent, but allowed his wife to be his idol. Here is the scripture they told me applied to Garrett.

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (Jonah 2:8)

  • Then when Chuck’s daughter, Roby, did not agree to come and help us build the new church, she too was rebuked for being in sin for marrying her husband (she was divorced). She too was cut off and never spoken to again. We had to “stand against their sin” in hopes they would repent someday.
  • Four months into the church plant, Chuck had had enough. He resigned from the church and tried to talk me into not publishing any more of Tim’s books. One book was ready to go to the printer at the time (now Tim got his books published for free instead of having to pay for them like everyone else) and he tried to stop it from going to press. This was viewed as trying to sabotage “the Lord’s work” so Chuck was now the enemy and had to be destroyed.
  • Articles ran in industry publications (Christian Retailing front page story “WinePress Publishing Marriage Turns to Sour Grapes”) and Charisma (“Hating for Jesus Draws Controversy”). Tim calls this all persecution and slander and gossip and uses scripture to push his agenda.
  • I am convinced by Tim and Carla that, because Chuck has gone on a rampage emailing everyone in the publishing industry saying I’m in a hating cult, that I should divorce him.
  • The scripture used to justify anyone divorcing their spouse if they didn’t agree with the church was:

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (1 Cor 7:15)

  • And since he didn’t work but 10 hours a week, I should get the business and not have to give him anything for it. This attitude was backed up by the following scripture:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10)

  • Finally after trying for 3 months to negotiate some sort of settlement for the business, and us not giving an inch, he gave it up, walked away, and married an old girlfriend when the divorce was final.
  • Now Tim Williams began counseling me on how to run the business, and gave me “pastoral advice” on how to make it a “godly business”.
  • We began giving 7% of the gross income to the church. WinePress was now the official cash cow of Sound Doctrine church. The church opened a Christian bookstore in town, financed by the money given to the church by WinePress. All non-church members were let go from WinePress so now only SD church members were employed there.
  • About 6 months into the church plant a WinePress author challenged me on Tim’s theology. What he said made sense and I tried to talk to Carla and others on the way home from a conference in Spokane. My cell phone got bumped during the conversation and inadvertently called Tim’s phone number and he heard the entire conversation. I was rebuked for not setting the author straight and being a people pleaser. I was now a Saul, a Judas, a betrayer and could not be trusted.
  • About a year into the church plant my youngest son decided to leave. Because he didn’t just go away but tried to stay in touch with his mom, as well as staying in touch with Chuck, they labeled him a trouble maker, divisive, and justified with scripture that I should have nothing to do with him.

Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. (Titus 3:10)

  • Aaron continued over the next 10 years to call and write me letters, most all of them were intercepted by WinePress/Church leadership and I never knew about them. Tim also decided to send a restraining order to Aaron to keep him away from WinePress which I knew nothing about.
  • Around this time my father passed away. With a holier than thou attitude, I told my mom and my brothers that I would not attend the memorial service (I justified to myself that this was best because I’d have to tell them he wasn’t in heaven). Instead I sent a card to my mom quoting the scripture “let the dead bury the dead,” which is the standard “hating your mother and father” scripture to use in a situation like this.
  • Sometime in 2001 while I was away at a writers’ conference Tim had my son and some of the other guys build a large bonfire at a church member’s property and burn all my books (Consumed by Success and All That Glitters Is Not God) since they were written “before the cross” and were therefore deemed worthless. I did not know anything about this until much later.
  • By early 2002 the business was having financial problems, I thought because of 9/11 but much of it was all the money we were spending on the church. Tim counseled me to file bankruptcy, as he was going to do the same. The attorney suggested I do a chapter 13 personally (for $375,000 in debts) and let the corporation dissolve, switch WinePress to a sole proprietorship and continue on with reorganization. At this time we started a Print on Demand (POD) division and things eventually improved financially. Tim made a point of telling me that he’d been trying to get me to start this type of printing for 2 years but I just wouldn’t listen. Funny, but I don’t remember him ever mentioning it.
  • Also in 2002, Jan Owens and her 2 nephews, Mike and James, moved up from California to join the church. She and her boys became my housemates. Since I was paying the full mortgage for the parsonage, I was not required to pay towards the monthly payments on the house we rented.
  • Jan was given a job in accounting at WinePress and paid the full rent on our house. (This was the mentality of having “everything in common” like the first church, and this was a normal way of living in Sound Doctrine). She went on to divorce her husband sell all her property in CA giving over half a million dollars to the church. She was told when she received the proceeds from the sale that she “didn’t have the wisdom to know how to spend the money” so she was ordered to “lay it at the feet of the apostles.” (i.e. Tim Williams).
  • The new POD division was getting WinePress back on its feet. A year after the bankruptcy, Tim and Carla bought a house in the mountains about 1 ½ hours away from the office and were planning to live there and work from there. Here’s the scripture they used to justify buying a house after they didn’t believe pastors should own houses before.

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; (Isaiah 1:19)

  • It turned out his credit report was for another Timothy Williams who had good credit and he didn’t disclose that to the lender, but was convinced God was looking out for him so he was approved for the loan and got the house. This seems to be the beginning of the greed getting ahold of him. (Another red flag ignored).
  • I found out just recently that over the next years every inch of this house was updated. All supplies were charged on the ministry Home Depot card and paid for by the ministry, even though the house was owned personally by Tim Williams. It seems this would be wrong for a 501C3, to have leadership benefit personally by charitable gifts given to the ministry.
  • Anytime anyone ever got an attitude about the way Tim spent money, the following scripture was thrown at us:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

  • He bought every new gadget that came out, always got the newest and best computers, the nicest clothes and office décor and would give away to others his leftovers, (with his wife praising him as being generous).
  • The church changed their articles of incorporation to include “business consulting” to their activities. The amounts of money given to Sound Doctrine as business consulting fees were nearing a quarter million a year. Because I was a woman, he had a long range plan to phase me out so I would only work part time and be a “godly woman” according to Titus.
  • In November of 2004, my step son Ailen decided to leave the church. Tia (who changed her name to Abigail Davidson) was counseled to divorce him and do everything possible to see that he never got the kids.
  • Shortly after Tim and Carla began zeroing in on the kids in the church, becoming “Grandpappy and Granny” to them. I was replaced as a grandma to my grandkids, as were other parents and grandparents. We were also encouraged to call Tim and Carla “Dad and Mom” since they were our spiritual parents.
  • In mid-2005, I thought the right thing to do if I really wanted to do God’s will was for me to give up ownership of WinePress. The business was becoming more and more successful and since I was so prideful and full of selfish ambition, I couldn’t really handle (spiritually) the success. (Of course, this had been beaten into me over the last 5 years).
  • Tim decided I should “sell” the business to him (but of course he wouldn’t pay me for it, since I’m greedy and couldn’t have a pure heart if I was going to gain anything from giving up WinePress). He began gearing up to be a publishing executive and business owner. He decided to retire from ministry to run WinePress, and promoted his 2 sons (Joshua and Josiah) and Malcolm Fraser into leadership of the church.
  • Here is the scripture he used to justify it even though he’d always said before that ministers don’t retire:

but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. (Numbers 8:25)

  • About this time Jan bought a house in Buckley with no money down and we all moved down there. We were told it was a gift from the Lord. Again, because I was paying the mortgage on the parsonage, she covered the full mortgage payment on the house.
  • Side note, I found this out after leaving the church, both of Tim’s sons (Joshua and Josiah) and another volunteer (Adam Cothes) in the bookstore bought houses around this time with no money down, and Sound Doctrine/WinePress made it look like they were making a lot more than they really were so they could all qualify for their loans. Specifically, Adam Cothes was only making $400 a month from his Army disability, so he was paid what Joshua and Josiah were normally being paid for 2 months to show his income as higher, and then he paid them back in cash from the amount he was given. I think they call that “cooking the books.”
  • Note — it is interesting that Tim Williams name has never been included in any incorporation papers for the church or for the business. His wife is on as president of the ministry and his sons and wife and Malcolm Fraser are on the LLC board for WinePress. He reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, behind the curtain, pulling all the strings and intimidating everyone.
  • Somewhere around this time, WinePress was audited by the IRS for all the money that was paid to the church as a business consultant. I do not remember all the details, but I know that the IRS officer allowed most of the deductions we took. Just recently I talked to the CPA who did our taxes that year and oversaw the audit and he was shocked at the IRS final ruling, as he personally felt what the church was doing with WinePress was fraudulent. Since it was only his personal opinion, he kept it to himself at the time.
  • Mid 2006, after the sale to Tim Williams was announced to the industry and to all WinePress authors, I had second thoughts about the sale, considered getting rid of all the Sound Doctrine people who worked at WinePress, and hiring new people from local churches. When I “confessed as sin” this thought, I was again labeled a Judas, and as discipline he decided not to buy WinePress, but announced to me that he would “not play second fiddle to me” and would now just run WinePress as if it were his own (as opposed to just being a consultant). He brought over all the full time volunteers from the bookstore and ministry and hired them at WinePress. He instituted a “No Gossip Policy” in an attempt to control what authors said about WinePress, but used scripture to make it sound like a righteous thing.
  • From this moment forward he was put on a $250,000 per year salary (twice what I was making) and he made all financial decisions. I could no longer decide or question how money was spent. Of course when things started going wrong with the finances, Jan and I were blamed. Tim rarely spent time in the WinePress office but always worked from his home. Malcolm, the assistant pastor of the church was now the “Executive Officer” at WinePress and was Tim’s right hand man.
  • Because I personally refinanced the parsonage property in 2006, I was able to get $100,000 in cash out of the parsonage and pay off the balance of the Chapter 13. This took my monthly mortgage payments from $2200 a month to $3500 a month, so I was given a raise at WinePress to cover the difference.
  • This seemed to be the time Tim began to systematically replace all areas of my authority with his wife. He controlled what I did and said, and eventually ordered me to quit my leadership roles in the Northwest Christian Writers Association, the Enumclaw Downtown Partnership, and Enumclaw Rotary.
  • He had Kevin Cochran (Church member and WP employee) create the Co-Captain, online software to track all aspects of prospects, publishing projects and publicity, fulfillment and other services in the company. I remember having to sign a paper stating that I had no ownership in the proprietary software and if I ever decided to change management at WinePress that I would have no access to the program. This put me in a position of having no way out of the tangled web I’d been drawn into.
  • At this point, Tim bought a 2nd house, his wife starts flying first class, he sets salaries for his two sons at $100,000+, and the majority of the rest of the staff is working for minimum wage in order to be able to “bless” this ministry that “God” has called the Williams family to.
  • Note, one of his sons, Joshua, who is now being paid $100,000+ doesn’t even work at WinePress except for during the ICRS conference where he promotes his coffee company, but works full time at the church owned bookstore in downtown Enumclaw)
  • Bottom line, the Williams family is being paid close to $500,000 a year combined, while office and warehouse rent is being paid late, printers are being paid late, editors are being paid late, but Tim is NEVER paid late (the one time we were ONE DAY late he went into a furious tirade, complete with name calling and degrading accusations, on the message board).
  • I struggled often with not agreeing with the way Tim raised the prices on our services and kept raising them to the point of not being competitive. (I understand they just recently doubled their prices yet again…absolutely unbelievable).
  • I struggled with them using lawyers and threatening to sue anytime anyone ever crossed them.
  • I struggled with them charging exorbitant service charges for filling orders on POD books.
  • I struggled with them not promising anything, never being willing to commit to a publication date, for selling prospects on being better than a royalty publisher, but then reminding authors they are self-publishing when the author complains that they aren’t getting everything they were promised.
  • I struggled with the management philosophy that WinePress is always right and the authors are wrong.
  • The scripture used to justify this is one about all men are liars:

And in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.” (Psalm 116:11)

  • Anytime an author complained the mentality is they should not be apologized to but intimidated into apologizing for complaining. I got into trouble many times for taking the author’s side in a conflict.
  • I was ridiculed and humiliated in public WinePress meetings whenever I disagreed with Tim Williams, which was all the time.
  • He used my invitations to speak at writers’ conferences as a tool to control me, and if I didn’t behave the way he expected the privilege would be taken from me.
  • It is important to understand that all the control and berating was portrayed as the Lord’s discipline. The Lord loves those He disciplines, so I must learn to embrace “the cross” and rejoice in the discipline that God is pouring out upon me.

because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:6)

  • Side note: As I began to study cults after leaving Sound Doctrine, I found out that shaming and shunning are key control techniques used by all cults.
  • Around late 2008 Jan was struggling to cover all the expenses Tim racked up (his philosophy included “hating money” where you spend whatever God tells you to spend whether you can afford it or not). She got in trouble for being past due on printer bills and was busted down to minimum wage (actually she was fired and put onto cleaning and then brought back a few days later at minimum wage as an accounting assistant). Remember, this is a woman who sold everything she owned and was told she to “lay it all at the apostle’s feet”.
  • In 2008 WinePress owed $10,000 in taxes. I was told I needed to make arrangements with the IRS to pay $10,000 now and go get a personal loan to pay this tax bill. Funny that when we had a refund the next year it didn’t go to pay off the loan I took out. I never received any of the refunds that came in, yet I was responsible to pay the taxes.
  • Because Jan was on minimum wage, she got behind on house payments. Tim told me to take extra money each month to help pay her mortgage, but I was reluctant to do so because of the financial shape WinePress was in. It just didn’t feel right. After about 5 months I finally started taking an extra $1500 a month to help Jan pay her mortgage. Unfortunately, she was unable to qualify for the making homes affordable program so eventually did a deed in lieu and gave the house back to the bank.
  • Sometime in 2009 Jan got a speeding ticket driving my car, so Tim told her she can no longer drive and since she can’t afford her house, she should sell her van since she couldn’t afford that payment either. He also would not allow Mike or James to get their drivers licenses even though they were old enough to. For the next 3 years I was the only one in the house who could drive and was the full time taxi driver, taking Mike and Jan anywhere they need to go, picking them up, etc. During this time, Tim moved James out of the house in Buckley and moved him in with Malcolm since Jan and I were not good examples for him because we were “not repenting”.
  • In 2009 WinePress did 3.5 million in sales, but Tim was out of control on his spending. He began more aggressively moving me out of the spotlight and discrediting me. He instituted a feature on the Co-Captain where if he wanted to chew us out for something there would be a “code red” and we couldn’t access the software to do our work until we answered his message. There would be days where he would take hours verbally berating employees via this message board (I have copies of some of these messages), and then the employees would be in trouble for not getting their work done.
  • Finally in early 2010 I was fed up, ready to walk away. They called me in and Tim wanted me to sign a paper that said they had full control if I was ever incapacitated. At that point I just said, “Why don’t you just take the company?” They immediately drew up a Letter of Intent that I would “sell” the company to them for $10. They proceeded to box me into a corner with additional agreements like a non-compete for the rest of my life, a gag-order that basically said I could never say anything negative about WinePress, an agreement that they were not buying the liabilities and I was responsible for them, but if I was a good girl they would pay them. In the sale paperwork they included a letter I penned back in 2006 that declared that I was of my own free will selling the company for $10 because it was God’s will and Tim Williams had saved the company. In this statement I also declared that if my children or anyone else questioned my decision to sell (give) the business it was just  their greed talking. This document would be used to prove the validity of the sale in the future if necessary. They also took all the rights to my book on self-publishing as an asset.
  • At this point, and for many years, because of the constant shaming with scripture, every time I had a negative thought or saw a red flag, I believed it was my sin, I was the betrayer, a Judas, and I needed to repent. Over and over I said I’m sorry for being bitter against Tim and declared if anything bad ever happened to WinePress it was entirely my fault (this of course was told to me a long time ago by Tim Williams).
  • The church set up an LLC for the new company, WinePress Publishing LLC. The sale was completed 4/1/10. We didn’t go to the CPA about it until after it was already done and I was not encouraged to get any outside input on the terms of the agreement. But I was convinced I’d done God’s will and it was supposed to be a gift to the church. The CPA told us to make sure we made a list of all the commitments made while I owned the company so I could take those expenses as write offs. He gave no other advice at that time, and I didn’t bother to do any research to make sure I was doing everything I needed to do to protect myself. (Mind you, Tim hadn’t allowed the CPA to do the WinePress taxes for years, Jan did the taxes each year and we only went to the CPA for advice when we needed to…Tim was totally paranoid about anyone, including the CPA, seeing the Quickbooks file).
  • So the sale was completed. My current owner’s draw with perks (WP paid my car payment, my car insurance, my life insurance, 100% of my medical/dental) was $125,000. My mortgage payment on the house I didn’t live in was $3500 a month (once Tim and Carla bought their first house, a number of single guys from the church lived in the parsonage rent free as I continued to pay for it…that way they were able to tithe much more than the normal 25-30%).
  • Immediately after the sale was completed, Malcolm announced to me that he and Tim heard from God to only pay me $5000 a month.
  • I was still expected to pay my key-man life insurance premiums for $1,000,000 coverage and was told to change the beneficiary from Tim Williams to Sound Doctrine.
  • Side note: I found out recently from ex-church members back in the Springfield, MO and Denver, CO churches, that Tim and Carla prayed for a church member’s husband to die (he was not a member of the church) so they could collect on the big insurance policy his wife would receive payout on to “meet the needs of Jesus.”
  • They also came back with a document that I was forced to sign saying my book, Your Book in Print belonged to them and I would not receive any royalties on it, (I have never received any royalties on any book sales the entire time the Williams have been involved, even though Tim, Carla, and Joshua were always paid their royalties).
  • I’m told I need to pay my own car payment and insurance, since WinePress can’t afford to pay for the car anymore. When I went out and leased a car for ½ the price of the monthly payment on the company car, instead of selling the car “they couldn’t afford” they gave it to Tim’s son, Josiah, who they just made Executive Director and WinePress continued to make the payments.
  • I was told if I wanted to be able to afford to pay my mortgage for the parsonage, I just need to increase my sales (at the time everyone in sales was being paid a 3% bonus and the most I’d ever made in bonuses in a month was $1000, so this was not a realistic solution).
  • Within a few months I was behind on my house payments. Feeling the pressure to make sales, I respond to a prospect in a way that broke the No Gossip Policy (I tell the author that she shouldn’t go with a certain competitor because I knew multiple authors who’ve had very bad experiences with them). The competitor hears about what I’ve said, calls into WinePress, threatens to sue. Hmmm. What do you know, Tim and Malcolm are getting some of their own medicine.
  • I am immediately busted down to minimum wage, taken off the front lines, put in the accounting department where I can’t talk to anyone, co-workers or authors. They disabled my email, took the phone off my desk, took my picture off the staff page on the Co-captain. I’m not even introduced to prospective authors when they come and get a tour of WinePress, even though they still used my book “Your Book in Print” as a sales tool. I was the enemy and could not be trusted.
  • I couldn’t afford the house anymore, so I listed it for a short sale in July of 2010. Also in the same month we found a house to rent since Jan has completed the deed in lieu paperwork and had given her house back to the bank. I found a nice house to rent that was owned by a friend of mine from Rotary. When Tim Williams found out I didn’t think of the guys living in the parsonage and find them a house first before I found one for us, he completely chewed me out for being selfish and only thinking of myself. He ordered me to convince my friend to rent his house to the guys instead of me. I had no idea how Jan and I would be able to find a rental since both of our credit was shot and we were both making minimum wage, and only had enough to live on because her nephew paid $1000 a month towards the overhead at home. At the last minute before anyone had actually moved or signed the lease, because of something the guys didn’t do, and were “in sin” over, Tim took the house from them and told us to move in.
  • Because of my low income, we all agree that I would put $100 towards the rent each month, Mike would continue to give $1100 per month of his salary towards the house, and Jan would pay the rent and utilities since she was collecting the money from everyone (even though the lease was in my name). This was consistent with the previous years of her paying the house overhead because I was paying for the parsonage.
  • In November, Timothy said he “heard from God” that WinePress should buy my house on the short sale. I was concerned that there was no arms-length in the transaction and was chewed out for being concerned. But there’s no way they could qualify for a loan (WinePress debt to income ratio is not good), so Malcolm “heard from God” that he should buy the house and proceeded to make an offer. People in the church rally to help him do so, Jan borrowed $20,000 from a pending inheritance to give him the down payment; I gave him all I have to help him pay off his credit cards, as do others in the church. When I heard the story about how God gave him a vision and that’s what gave him the courage to put in an offer for the house, I wondered, couldn’t satan have done this? Another red flag ignored.
  • Note: I have recently found out that having inside information and using it to buy a house on a short sale is illegal. That means my concern about the arm length transaction was correct.
  • Around this time I haven’t performed up to the standards expected of me in accounting (definitely not my skill set) so I get busted out of the accounting department and put on full time cleaning. Again I am publicly berated and humiliated because now I’m not good at accounting.
  • Starting around March of 2011 Jan and I started working on the taxes. It is totally confusing and we are not sure about how to handle many aspects, but we are not allowed to go to the CPA until we have permission. We have to do everything we can do to prepare the taxes before we consult with the CPA. Jan’s mentality (given her by Tim) was that WinePress cannot afford to owe any taxes, so whatever we have to do to make sure that happens, no matter how much I end up owing, make it happen. We finally went (Jan, me and Malcolm) and found out there were things that needed to be done, like making a full list of assets with fair market values in order to determine the capital gains, and other things. It’s at that point we realize we’re going to have to file an extension.
  • The CPA called back and brought up the use tax/sales tax on the equipment that the LLC should have paid when the sale occurred. I make it clear it should be paid by the LLC but am quickly told by Tim (via Malcolm) that it is my responsibility. Since I didn’t investigate the requirements when the sale was made, it is my responsibility to pay this amount. (We didn’t know what the amount would be until I valued all the equipment, fixtures, furniture and vehicles over the next few weeks).
  • When Tim found out we’d been working on the taxes at home on a laptop that is unsecured (no password) and I have Quickbook files and paper documents with P&Ls on the company in the computer bag, I was told I was breaking WinePress security policies and I can no longer work on the taxes. Tim appoints Malcolm as head of the Tax Oversight Committee (made up of about 8 people who are in good standing with leadership at the moment) and they spent the next 6 months overseeing Jan completing the LLC taxes (they were due 9/15 while my taxes for the sole prop were due 10/15).
  • I was berated, ridiculed and humiliated at every turn because I did not make sure Jan got the new LLC Quickbooks file started sooner and because I didn’t do more to facilitate the sale and get the taxes done on time. Because I was irresponsible with confidential records, etc. I was also forced to pay 3 months’ worth of the 2011 Personal Property Tax bill because it was based on the 2010 value of the WP personal property. I tried to object since I didn’t own the business in 2011, but they turned it around on me and insisted they were taxes from 2010 (and they were NOT). So they “graciously” give me $500 toward the $950 tax bill and forced me to use my overdraft to pay it. (Remember, I’m making minimum wage right now so have no way to pay all these tax liabilities they have convinced me are mine).
  • Around May 2011, Jan was moved out of our house and into Malcolm’s house until the taxes are done. She had recently been told by Tim that at the end of the year that she would resign from her position at WinePress and no longer be a member of the church since she makes life at work so miserable for him. She was actually ready to leave the church but was intimidated into staying and not allowed to communicate with me at all. (I was a bad influence on her)
  • At this time I was fed up. The economy had taken a toll on WinePress, I saw all the expenditures, the lack of cutting back on unnecessary expenses when sales are down, bills were overdue, and I got indignant that we were paying the Williams family almost $500,000 a year and they aren’t trying to cut back. Still flying first class, not using the Amex points for tickets but paying cash we don’t have for them, business lunches daily, etc., etc. I wrote an email to Tim and Malcolm outlining how income is down but expenses are not being cut and it’s not right.
  • I was rebuked for being a Judas and being bitter and was intimidated into apologizing and repenting for what I said. The main scripture used on me here is:
  • “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-4)
  • In order for me to repent, I am then told to shred all my journals and delete all emails I’ve ever sent including the one to Tim and Malcolm, because I was a witch and my written and spoken words were sorcery. The scripture Tim gave to back this discipline up was:

Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (Acts 19:18-20)

  • I was completely demonized to the rest of the church and alienated from everyone. I started looking for part time work because I know I have a huge IRS bill coming down the pike as well as the sales tax to the State that I was led to feel responsible for. I still think my salvation is wrapped up in working at WinePress and being in Tim and Carla’s good graces, so I wanted to clean full time at WinePress and do something on evenings and weekends to make extra money. The work I chose I was rebuked for taking because it was sales related and I couldn’t be trusted in sales.
  • They then cut my hours down to 2 days a week cleaning and told that they would accept my resignation 30 days after the taxes were filed, since I’d already been resigning in my heart all along. They coerced me to put in writing that I was responsible for all tax liabilities.
  • After a few months I tried to find a non-sales job and get a part-time position marketing for a home improvement company for 30 hours a week so I can have some time to figure out what industry I want to work in and start applying (remember I have a non-compete so cannot work in the field I have the most experience in). They called this marketing position a sales job so I’m still in sin. I am frantically trying to find something else, and even turn down a job that seems to have some sales involved, and then got chewed out for turning that down. I was desperate to find something that will pay enough for me to pay off the IRS and State of WA.
  • Beat down sessions continued, and now I was accused of stealing from Jan and Mike (my housemates) because I wasn’t paying “my fair share” (forget the “all things in common” mentality, now that doesn’t fit their agenda). I was only making about $1500 a month, and I was forced to split the rent and utilities with Mike (remember Jan is not even living here now), so starting in August of 2011 I gave almost 2/3 of my income to Jan and Mike for rent and utilities.
  • In early October, I was finally allowed to go into the WinePress office and do the tax return while 4 people watched every entry I made.
  • I questioned why I am saying “YES” on the IRS form that asked if I was paid consideration for the non-compete agreement, when that was a lie. They couldn’t explain why, but said Malcolm explained it to them so that’s what I needed to say.
  • Bottom line is, I ended up owing $50,000 in capital gains taxes and $15,000 to the State of WA. They would not give me copies of the returns filed because I could not be trusted with confidential paperwork.
  • I talked to the State about the taxes and they tried to tell me it is not my bill to pay but the new companies’ and that if I don’t pay right away (no payment options), they would go after the LLC. They suggested I amend my return and make the LLC pay since it was not my responsibility.
  • I wrote a letter to Malcolm begging for help, is there someone who can cosign a loan so I can pay the State? I did not want to go back to the world (my brother/mother) and ask for help.
  • I was still convinced it was mine to pay, remembering the scripture that had been used on me in the past:

who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, (Psalm 15:4)

  • 2 days later I received a letter from the WinePress attorney threatening to sue me if I didn’t pay the bill right away.
  • I immediately went to my brother to see if I can borrow the money to pay the taxes. I still thought I was doing the right thing, even though I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut with the threat to sue.
  • My brother tries to reason with me, and asks a question that began to open my eyes. “Why, if neither of you researched and found out about the sales tax needing to be paid at the time of the sale, are you solely responsible for the tax? Why aren’t you splitting the responsibility?
  • That’s when my eyes were opened and I realized I had been duped for the last 12 years.
  • I resigned from the church by sending a comment on their website, “I quit. Since you already have my house, my car, and my business, I guess you can ahead and sue me…there’s nothing left for you to get.”
  • I called my son, Aaron, who I hadn’t seen in 10 years and began reconnecting with all the family members who I cut out of my life when they did not agree with Tim Williams. My attitude at that point was that I was going to just declare bankruptcy and go away, get a job in another industry and hope I’m not going to hell since anyone who leaves the church is thought to be turning their back on God.
  • The bankruptcy attorney got indignant and said I needed to sue for damages or to get the company back. A local CPA called it fraud, and a sham, and encouraged me to fight.
  • I amended my Excise Tax return and told the State that it was filed in error and that the LLC needed to pay it.
  • WinePress then offered to loan me $10,000 to pay the State (not even the full amount of the taxes!) They hadn’t figured out yet that I amended the return. They continued to threaten me if I said anything bad about WinePress, etc. They also made things difficult with getting Jan and Mike moved out of the house.
  • I realized I needed a bulldog of an attorney to go after them and at least get rid of the capital gains IRS bill, lift the non-compete, pay my attorney fees and pay off all my credit card bills (including the loan I took out to pay the WP tax bill years ago). I want the rights back to my book, my domain name, want my name taken off their blogs and websites. I no longer support them and do not want any positive things I’ve said over the years used.
  • I don’t want the company back, since they have run it into the ground and ruined its reputation, but someone needs to stop them from their destructive actions. If I don’t stop them, they will keep abusing others. I’m not afraid of them anymore.
  • I also realize how many red flags I ignored over the years. Many times when something would happen that was made to look like God answered Tim’s prayers or gave him insight into something and it turned out to make Tim look right, I wondered…what if satan is the one orchestrating these things just to keep us all sucked into a lie? Of course, I rebuked myself for the thought instead of realizing how many times God was trying to open my eyes.
  • Current situation as of 2/7/12: I borrowed enough money from my brother to hire a literary attorney / literary agent bulldog of an attorney from CA who has sent 2 demand letters to them which they have basically ignored. I need to raise more money to actually file a lawsuit, so in the meantime I have reported the situation to the IRS, WA Attorney General’s Office, and an investigative reporter, in hopes that a criminal case would be opened against them before I proceed with a civil suit.
  • I’ve also spent the last 2 1/2 months in counseling trying to deprogram from all the mind controlling twisting of scriptures that the 12 years has left me with. Want to see what in me draws me to unhealthy abusive situations like this.
  • I have write ups from many former Sound Doctrine members which tell a sad, sad story of destruction. The number of divorces and broken families in the William’s wake is tragic. The worst part is many of those who have left the Sound Doctrine cult have completely lost their faith and have ended up spiritually shipwrecked. Many feel completely intimidated into not telling their story for fear of repercussions from the Sound Doctrine lawyer.
  • I praise God that I am free, and regardless of the personal price I may be required to pay, I am not afraid to tell my story, and will continue to do so in hopes that those who are left in the cult will have their eyes opened and come out of the deception they are all under.
  • The most we ever had in Sound Doctrine over the 12 years I was involved was about 75. Currently there are a total of 39 people in the church, including one member in Springfield, MO and one woman and her children in North Carolina. Of the 39 church members, 13 are children, and 11 are Williams family members…2 of the children are my grandkids, Anna and Ezekiel. There hasn’t been a visitor at a church service in at least a few years.

Just for clarification purposes, a copy of this document has already been forwarded to Tim and Malcolm by my former landlord, so I am not worried about who might see this. I am simply sharing what happened to me based on the following scripture:

Ephesians 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

I appreciate all the prayers and am amazed daily at how the Lord is healing me from the spiritual, emotional, mental and financial abuse I have endured.

Love in Christ,
Athena

End note: As of this date, 11/09/2013, much has transpired as God continues to bring judgment on Sound Doctrine and WinePress. You can read about that in later posts, especially those beginning in late March, 2012 when Malcolm Fraser was arrested for child rape.