Cult Survivor’s Faith Journey Brings Her Full Circle

Press Release from Icon Media Group – Media Contact: Katie Powell Bell

Athena Dean Holtz shares the deception that wrecked her life and how she found her way back into the arms of Jesus in new book.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 2017— From a young age, Athena Dean Holtz chased affirmation and attention from all the wrong sources, leaving her empty and alone. A victim of physical abuse and spiritual deception, she was deceived by Scientology, forays into mysticism and 12 years in a restrictive and legalistic cult, she lost everything—her marriage, relationships, home, business, money and reputation. In her forthcoming book Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God (Redemption Press, Feb. 27, 2017), Holtz candidly tells her story of self-discovery, redemption and freedom as she surrendered to Jesus.

“This is the story of how God brought me full circle,” writes Holtz. “How he brought me home . . . to a place I had always longed for, but never knew how to find.”

In Full Circle, Holtz vulnerably shares her journey and gives readers a front-row seat to her story of a shattered life restored. An important story for anyone who has questioned his or her worth or direction; Holtz proves that anyone who believes God and invites Him to join in their trials welcomes the result of His triumph. Full Circle offers not only her life story but biblical answers to the raw questions she asked during the peaks and valleys of her life.

“Knowing how much God loves me, I am finding my significance in Him rather than in what I do or with whom I am associated.”

Holtz is available for interviews. Potential interview topics include:

  • Good grief: how to embrace life’s most painful moments to find true peace
  • If God is good, why does he allow bad things to happen?
  • Five ways to fight the thorns of insecurity
  • From hurt to happiness: three steps that healed me
  • Seven common pursuits that rob us of true joy
  • How I escaped life in a cult
  • Bless this mess: God’s perfect love for your imperfect life

About the Author

Athena Dean Holtz has been at the forefront of Christian custom publishing for the last 30 years. The co-founder of WinePress Publishing, she now leads Redemption Press. Author of three previous books and a highly-rated personal blog, she serves as president of the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association, is a president’s club member of the Christian Women in Media Association, and a member of the Advanced Writer & Speaker Association. She serves as host and interviewer on “Always Faithful Radio,” KCIS, Seattle. Married to Ross Holtz, pastor of The Summit, Athena enjoys her grandchildren and time spent sailing. The couple makes their home in Enumclaw, Wash.

Autographed copies available at

Ebook available now:


Toxic Leader Behavior and Proverbs 6

I’m studying Proverbs in my Sunday School class and was reading Proverbs 6 yesterday. Verses 16-19 resonated in my heart in a new way as I began to understand how the Lord feels about those who use His word to manipulate and control those who are genuinely desiring to follow Him.

As I looked through every line of this section of the text, I was amazed, once again, at how toxic leaders, in my experience it was Tim Williams specifically, preach against the very things they do, and accuse those under their care of doing the very things they are guilty of.

There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family.

Haughty eyes and a lying tongue. The foundation of a toxic leader and a common accusation Tim Williams made of anyone who questioned his authority or the way he used scripture. It was always someone else who was haughty, arrogant, and prideful… someone else who was lying, when all along it was (and still is) he who is the liar. Just take a look at the website he created to try to come across as an authority. When he couldn’t get the City of Enumclaw to acquiesce to his demands, he used it to smear anyone (myself included) who stood up for the truth, making it look like an official publication of our city. What a LIE! And this is only one example, for more on that, read this post.

Hands that kill the innocent. Interesting that Tim and his late wife, Carla, always went after those with disabilities who were developmentally disabled in some way, and of course those who were so broken from childhood abuse, vulnerable souls, who were easily manipulated. I’ve come to find out all con men and wolves target those who are easily controlled for a variety of reasons. They may not physically kill them, but emotionally and spiritually, they accomplish the task well.

I think back to the time when Tim Williams began blogging, out of the blue, about the Innocence Project and how so many people are sent to prison when they are not guilty. He followed those rants with the topic of false memory syndrome, declaring you could never trust a person who says they were sexually abused as a child. He was diabolically building a case he knew would surface in the future, as his timing was telling. He started blogging on these topics shortly after the family whose daughter was pedophile Malcolm Fraser’s sexual abuse victim left the cult. I believe Malcolm confessed his crime to Tim and Tim developed this plot to hide the truth. A heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong. He crafted his plan to brainwash his followers so no one would even ask the question, could Malcolm be guilty? There are still a handful of followers who stand convinced that Malcolm is innocent, even though he was found guilty on all charges. All as a result of a heart that plots evil to cover up a crime.

A false witness who pours out lies. Tim Williams had his followers lie on the witness stand during Malcolm’s child rape trial. I was appalled as I read the testimonies, thinking to myself, how can he justify the lies? Oh, that’s right, Sarah lied and said she was Abraham’s sister, so that must make it OK. More on that here.

The last verse jumped off the page as I pondered the wake of broken families in his path, mine being only one of many. Using scripture out of context, Tim Williams sowed discord in families. Turned wives against husbands, husbands against wives, children against their parents, adult children against their parents, all in an attempt to gain control. He intentionally would keep one or two families together just to be able to point to them to say he wasn’t destroying families. What evil. To use Luke 14:26 to divide families so that those under his care were easier to control for his own benefit. Interesting that this is a common scripture used in cults to keep their prey from staying in touch with those who don’t buy in.

Shame on you, Tim Williams.

Shame on you.

I would not want to stand before God in your shoes.

And to all who remain loyal to this man who, on all 7 counts exhibits behavior that the Lord hates, I pray for the courage you’ll need to finally realize you’ve been led astray. It was hard for me too, but the peace that comes from admitting the truth, no matter how painful, is more than worth it.