When the Truth Becomes a Lie

I Googled my full name the other day (Athena Dean Holtz) and stumbled upon the latest twist in the ongoing rampage against my character. My jaw dropped as I read it…I was stunned at the blatant deception that was communicated. A perfect example of the truth becoming a lie. Here is the statement made about me:

Spokesperson calls Athena Dean a “rabid griper who makes a career of attacking the church.”

This quote was cited on the website created by Tim Williams to smear my reputation and cause people to question my character. The people he most hopes will continue to buy his lies are the handful of followers who continue to consider him a “man of God.” Those whom he’s convinced will be destroyed if they listen to anything I have to say. (Truth be told, if they actually did read everything I’ve written, they’d realize they too have been duped by this con-man who calls himself a pastor).

So how has this truth, this quote about me, become a lie, at the hands of Tim Williams? Here’s how. The way this quote has been cited leads you to believe someone else with authority agrees with Tim Williams, that I have made a career in attacking the church, as in, the body of Christ. But what is the context of this quote about me, and who actually said it? Seattle PI Article 1984

Since their resignation, the Deans say church members have heckled and harassed them. Scientologists who worked for them have quit. The Deans believe it’s part of a church process called “disconnecting” or “striking a blow to the enemy.” That’s ridiculous, said Ruble, the local Scientology president. Ruble, who oversees 16,000 Scientologists in three Northwest states, called the Deans “rabid gripers” who are making a career of attacking the church.

The full article can be found at this link: http://www.xenu-directory.net/news/library-item.php?iid=1919

Pretty ironic, really.

This was a newspaper article from 1984, 2 years before I became a Christian. And the most compelling parallel is that all those years ago I was standing up to yet another cult… the church of Scientology… another toxic organization that bullies and intimidates anyone who speaks out against them. Amazing how all cults use the same tactics…threats, intimidation, lawsuits towards the defectors, and extreme isolation of those who are still buying the lie…heaven forbid they should learn the truth that they’ve been led astray.

So when you read the quote on the website that was created to expose my “lies” and bring to light the truth about “who I really am,” does it mean something different now…now that you actually know who said it and what church they were referring to?

Of course.

But that’s just exactly how the enemy works. He doesn’t want you to know the truth, because it’s the truth that will set you free. Instead, he wants to keep you in bondage with word games that hide the truth.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Col 2:8

Please pray for all those still ensnared by the hollow and deceptive philosophy of Sound Doctrine and Tim Williams. Pray that they Holy Spirit would be able to get through to them and open their blind eyes, and that they would be humble enough to admit the truth…that they’ve been duped.

That’s a hard thing to do when you’ve burned all your bridges.

Just the other day I’d heard about “confirmation bias,” and was amazed at such an accurate description of what happens to people who stay in cults and turn against those who have the courage to leave and expose the truth.

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.

It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

I must admit, I lived for 12 years being manipulated by a man who knew how to take advantage of our sinful human nature that looks for a way to prove we are right when we are really dead wrong. I think the Bible calls that PRIDE.

Please, please, please…pray with me that the power of the enemy would be broken in the lives of those who remain loyal to the wolf and that Jesus would draw them back to Himself.

8 thoughts on “When the Truth Becomes a Lie

  1. Athena, thank you for having to courage to continue to speak out in truth. Sadly there are many so-called churches that have leadership that twist the truth and punish anyone who would question them. I pray God opens up the eyes of His people to discern between truth and lies.

    • Amen, Anne. My story is an extreme case, but there’s so much like it, with the shaming and shunning, that goes on every day in Christian churches. The light needs to shine on those just as well to expose the deeds of darkness. The truth is what sets people free, so of course those hiding the truth will continue to attempt to keep them in the dark.

  2. I’m waiting for your book on the topic. Christians need to beware of churches that exert too much control.

  3. Hello ATHENA! I need to know what is the title of your new book will be (see above by Cynthia’s comment). Thanks! Add comment on Tim Williams, PLEASE PRAY to lead someone very courageous with great boldness, with a strong, sharp REBUKE to confront Tim Williams. Asking that God may open his eyes (blind turn into light) (Acts 20:29-31, 28:27) to SEE his very evil, and the wickedness that he has done. His control, manipulation, his anger must stop! I think that Tim Williams probably has a mental illness? If Tim would let God help and to heal him – He WILL! (see Luke 1:37- with God all things are possible!)

  4. I too believe you are qualified to write about religious cults in all forms, including new age/ancient belief systems that feed people the false light. Ascended Masters, Dr. Peebles and channeling just to name a few. Most of all, you can offer hope and resources to people who have been caught in these numerous false philosophies, had their families and reputations destroyed. There needs to be more resources on how to “deprogram” and what that looks like, the support people should get and where to find it.

    You ARE qualified to create this resource just as dad was qualified to write Nam Vet. God knows how many victims/ veterans of broken fellowships there are that can get more healing and deliverance from abusive leadership, wolves in sheep’s clothing etc. through your experiences stemming all the way back to Scientology.

    Now you are back in church, have come full circle and continue to blast through the offenses which try to bait and snare you all over again. That is maturity. You are grace empowered enough to forgive from the heart and teach others about who we really are wrestling against and how the war is fought using people.

    Your story and lessons learned could even be written so that secular people would benefit IE People who’ve had loved ones lost to other cults outside of Christianity as well. The underlying premise being how to maintain the freedom and ability to be, think and choose for oneself. And what signs to look for when that starts to get compromised. The deception isn’t always obvious and usually happens pretty slowly, as you know so well.

    You have what it takes, Mom.

  5. I too have been in an abusive church situation for almost the whole time I’ve
    been a christian….over two decades ago. I knew things were not right but
    I did not realize the extent of it until a couple of years ago. I wish I had known
    sooner, before the verbal abuse (by the pastor) got so bad, it caused me to
    question things about myself…. trying to isolate my-
    self from the pain. The thing is for a while I was so joyful and even with the
    persecution, I couldn’t wait to get to church each week. I think he was jealous
    of my joy and did everything he could to suck the life out of me, whether he
    realized it or not. But I know God is faithful. He promised He would restore
    my joy and all that was stolen from me. I left 2 years ago and now have reason to believe he has contacted area churches to “warn them” about me,
    as another church I finally had the courage to attend for a while also
    came against me when I barely had attended for a few weeks. There was
    not even time for me to have done anything to have offended that pastor.
    I think he was lied to about me. After I felt the Lord was showing me that,
    I read a book that talked about the author going through exactly that same
    thing. Please read “Toxic Churches” ,and also
    “I Was Raped by A Church” which
    deals with verbal and emotional abuse that the author(s) suffered. These
    2 books helped me. But please understand, in no way do I think every
    church or pastor is like this. Anyone fortunate enough to have found a
    healthy church and pastor, thank God everyday for that!!!

    • Amen…having found a healthy church has been so redemptive…God has been so faithful and I am so grateful that I didn’t give up on Him because of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Will definitely read those books… thanks for commenting and may you continue to grow in His grace!

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