My friend came back from her counseling again yesterday with more disturbing news. Her counselor had given her a handout entitled “Sexual Offenders 101”, which described perfectly the way we were treated in Sound Doctrine. Not only that, it described exactly the way we were taught to behave towards other members or potential members.
Red Flag Behaviors of Offenders
- Get to know you quickly; befriend you quickly
- Helpful, reliable, will gain your trust quickly
- Hangs out with kids/teens as much as or more than peers
- Knows more about what your kids like than you do (music, video games, cartoons, movies, language, etc.)
- Pays attention to target child, makes him/her feel special
- Involves target child in activities so they can be together (alone?)
- Ignores rules, limits, and boundaries
- Touches children in non-sexual ways in front of adults
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center – Next Steps: Trauma Focused Parenting
Get to know you quickly; befriend you quickly – CHECK … Whenever new people came to church we were taught to lay down our lives for them. Our number one goal was to get into their lives and establish a relationship of accountability where the new person saw the need to “walk in the light” with us.
Helpful, reliable, will gain your trust quickly – CHECK … We were taught to jump right in and serve others, to be true to our word and reliable, to show how trustworthy we were (because, of course, we were REAL Christians and showed it by our actions). I also saw this being true in the way we made ourselves indispensable to organizations we volunteered with, being the ones who made things happen so that we built trust and quelled any questions about our doctrine by being so reliable and helpful.
Hangs out with kids/teens as much as or more than peers – CHECK … After the leadership had built the foundation with the adults in each of the behaviors listed above, they began making a big deal of focusing efforts on the youth, almost to the extreme. A friend shared with me an article outlining the 10 ways Hitler used mind-control on youth, and what do you know, I could see EVERY SINGLE ONE of the tactics used on the children of Sound Doctrine.
Knows more about what your kids like than you do – CHECK … I can’t tell you how many times I would hear Carla Williams tell other moms “I know your son/daughter better than you do!” Parents were constantly made to feel as if they were a terrible parent, couldn’t see their child clearly, didn’t love their kids, etc., etc. This behavior, exhibited by leadership and taught to the members by example, created a wedge between parent and kids, between husband and wife, making everyone susceptible. We were taught to learn the likes and dislikes of others so we could use that information to “get them to the cross” and I saw the information that was gathered misused against children and parents in abusive ways.
Pays attention to target child, makes him/her feel special – CHECK … Foundational to the cult was the way the leaders family was made to be more important and special than anyone else. Then the attention by leadership (the Williams family) was used as a carrot with children and adults, withdrawn if the individual was misbehaving and dangled in front of them to get them to “behave”. Singling out certain individuals, for either praise or public humiliation, was a sick way of making the person (child or adult) feel special. Often times Tim Williams would have special emails and private threads on the Sound Doctrine message board with individual children in the church, and if they did not behave appropriately this special communication would be withdrawn.
Involves target child in activities so they can be together – CHECK … Building on the relationship fostered with the special emails and private threads, the Williams would do special things alone with the children, like invite them up to their house in the mountains (Shiloh) for the weekend, or going to special events.
Ignores rules, limits, or boundaries – CHECK … The mother of the child rape victim told me of an incident where Tim Williams had directed her to put her 3 girls through “manners boot camp.” During this time she was supposed to instill in her daughters that her authority was not to be questions and that they were to learn complete obedience to her as their parent. At the end of the boot camp Tim told one of the young girls that “Grandpappy (Tim) has more authority over you than your parents do!” to which “Granny” (Carla) agreed. It was considered normal in Sound Doctrine for anyone in leadership to usurp parental authority. No one had any boundaries when it came to leadership…since they heard from God and no one else did, they could do whatever they wanted and never be questioned. Because of this, they were above rules, limits and boundaries.
Touches children in non-sexual ways in front of adults – CHECK … The Sound Doctrine culture was full of hugs whenever greeting or saying goodbye to children and adults.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not calling the Williams pedophiles. What I am showing is the techniques that pedophiles use to groom their victims are exactly the same techniques that Sound Doctrine cult leadership use on members. By using these controlling methods, they created an environment where a pedophile could thrive and go undetected.
To see the uncanny similarities between behaviors of sex offenders and behaviors of the Sound Doctrine cult leadership is disturbing, to say the least.
How anyone can turn a blind eye it is beyond me.