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The church's statement of beliefs includes a number of sound, Biblical doctrines. However, mixed in are a many unsound teachings, based largely on a marked (and stated) disregard of proper hermeutics (the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation). Among the church's statement of beliefs is this one: "No spiritual insanity is allowed. We do not preach miracles or hermeneutics, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
We think 'Sound Doctrine Church' is a misnomer for this church. We believe the group to be unhealthy at best and, taking reported behavior into account as well, we consider it to be a cult of Christianity.
In March, 2012, Malcolm John Fraser, Sound Doctrine's assistant pastor, was formally charged with first-degree rape of a child. He was convicted at a jury trial in May, 2013, on two counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first-degree molestation of a child
In 2009 Sound Doctrine Church was in the news in relation to a custody ruling involving a female member of the church:
Estranged husband Thomas Mills claims the couple began to grow apart after she joined the Sound Doctrine Church led by Tim and Carla Williams.
During court proceedings, Tina Wasik, a former member of the church, characterized it as a cult and testified under oath that “Sound Doctrine is not a healthy place to grow up. It is run by fear and manipulation.”
Other former members gave sworn court statements that church leader Tim Williams made inappropriate sexual comments about girls as young as 4.
Former member Jessica Gambill testified that “After I joined Sound Doctrine, Tim Williams told me that my oldest daughter (then age 12) was the kind of girl that men would take advantage of, that my middle daughter (then age 7) was the kind of girl that would sleep with any guy, and that my youngest daughter (age 4) was the kind of girl that would use her looks to seduce men.”
All the accusations against the Sound Doctrine Church and its leaders made by former members were denied in affidavits filed by Venessa Mills’ attorney.
In a temporary custody order issued Tuesday, Judge Ned Mangum found that Venessa Mills’ own parents were concerned for the welfare of their grandchildren because of her relationship with the church and testified that she was “very domineering” with her kids.
- Source: Judge takes heat for home school ruling, WTVD, North Carolina, USA, Mar. 17, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
Under the heading, 'Finding of Facts,' the temporary custody ruling includes the following statements:
8. Both parents have always been devoutly religious and were members of a local church. Both parents raised their children to be spiritual and regularly attended Triangle Church together as a family.
9. In 2005; their relationship began to change. This was simultaneous to Ms. Mills joining the Sound Doctrine Church in a small town in Washington State.
10 Venessa Mill's mother, Dawn Lewis, Venessa's father, Dan, and Venessa's sister Danielle, expressed to this Court under oath that "they are concerned about Venessa's involvement with Sound Doctrine and are particularly concerned about the affect on the children." The Court finds this is a credible statement.
11. Sound Doctrine is led by Tim and Carla Williams of Washington State. The church has a very small membership and does not have a traditional building in Wake County. In numerous sworn affidavits submitted to the Court, witnesses describe this group as a "cult". The Williams' encourage members to call them variations of mom and dad. Vanessa Mills does this. Her children refer to the Williams as variations of grandma and grandpa. Ms. Mill's. offered into evidence a picture of Carla Williams labelled "Mom". Carla Williams states in an affidavit that the "children look to her as a grand mother."
12. Tina Wasik, a former member of Sound Doctrine, submitted to this court under oath, that "Sound Doctrine is not a healthy place for kids to grow up it is run by fear and manipulation. Timothy and Carla manage to ruin relationships between man and wife and parents and kids. They constantly test people's commitment by asking them to give more and more if you don't give to them then you don't love God enough, that's what you are told. People are constantly beaten down mentally and live a miserable existence …”
13. Ms. Wasik goes on to say that "Our family was involved with Sound Doctrine Church for just over two years and in that time we suffered so much mental abuse at the hands of Timothy Williams and his wife Carla. We were also harassed often to give money"
14. Ms. Wasik adds "It took our family two years to recover from the abuse, and begin to live a normal life again and I would plead with anyone that has the power to keep children out of this evil cult to exercise that power. Please don't let more children suffer at the hands of this evil manipulative couple that dare to call themselves God's workers."
15. Mothers, who are former members of Sound Doctrine, provided under oath to this court that Timothy Williams made several inappropriate sexual comments about girls as young as 4 years old. Jessica Gambill, yet another former member of Sound Doctrine and a personal acquaintance of Venessa Mills, provided under oath that the leaders of this group condoned a "boot camp style regimen" that involved waking children as young as 4 up in the middle of the night screaming at them to do push-ups.
16. Once Venessa Mills joined Sound Doctrine, Thomas and Venessa's relationship changed. Mr. Mills stated "that it was to the point that Venessa Mills became unrecognizable as the person I had married.. She withdrew emotionally from me." The Court finds this as a fact
17. Thomas Mills described that the change as "Venessa stopped communicating with me in any meaningful manner; instead, her responses to me began to consist almost exclusively of . . quoting scripture or parroting Sound Doctrine religious rhetoric. It became clear to me that our marriage relationship did not maker to her anymore, and she even told her own family members that she did not consider herself married to me." The Court finds this as a fact. [...]
25. Paul Platt has known both parents for many years. He wrote under oath that "I truly believed that this cult has brainwashed her into thinking and believing what she believes today. If someone could just get her out of it and let her see it from another perspective their marriage could be saved and Tom could have his best friend back."
26. Penny Sinak, another former member of the church stated in a sworn affidavit that "over the years, since we "escaped" from Sound Doctrine (and I mean that ... it is very cult-like and manipulative), I have really had a heart to try to help other people who got out, but felt lost and alone. SD uses several techniques to really drive a wedge between members and their families."
27. Jessica Gambill, stated under oath that "Venessa Mill has told me that she would like to move to Washington, but that "It's not God's will right now." The Court finds this as a fact.
28. She added, "After I joined Sound Doctrine, Tim Williams told me that my oldest daughter (then age 12) was the kind of girl men would take advantage of, that my middle daughter (then age 7) was the kind of girl that would sleep with any guy, and that my youngest daughter (age 4) was the kind of girl that would use her looks to seduce men."
29. Tina Wasik also added "Timothy once told us that our daughter Jessica was the type of girl who would probably end up trying to seduce a Pastor. She was 7 years old at the time!!"
30. Further Jessica Gambill stated in her affidavit that "Mr. Williams directed me to develop a "boot camp style" program to instill better manners in my children. The point of this program, according to Mr. Williams, should be to "break" the children and to establish my authority as a parent, so that the children would obey me right away. The program that I ultimately devised, and that Mr. Williams approved, involved waking the children up in the middle of the night to do push-ups and physical exercises, and screaming at them "boot camp style." This program lasted approximately one month. My children were ages 11,7, and 4 at this time. During this month of "training", my middle child became stressed out to the point of throwing up. When I informed Mr. Williams that she was stressed out and needed to lie down and rest, he told me that she did not need rest, but she needed to work and that I needed to "break her."
31. The Plaintiff has offered and the Court has considered affidavits filed by leaders and members of Sound Doctrine and by Ms. Mills that adamantly deny accusations brought to this Court by its former members. They collectively state that the former members of the church have a bias and are untruthful. [...]
39. The Court finds as fact that part of the daily activity of the minor children includes the immersion into Sound Doctrine, through frequent communication via phone and web cam with people in Washington State. Thomas Mills expressed his concern for this. He stated that he was unaware of Sound Doctrine instruction from a member in Washington State when it occurred during time devoted to school curriculum. He stated in part that "I am concerned about this because they are directly targeting my daughter." The Court finds this as a fact.
40. Mr. Mills provided and the Court finds that he "became completely miserable in the marriage and it had been clear to me for months that the marriage was ending. He attributed this to Ms. Mills involving herself and our children in the Sound Doctrine Church to such a degree that our entire household was turned upside down. She became unrecognizable as the person I married, and, in the name of her religion, she distanced herself from me. I have been distressed for several years about the state of the Marriage, and 1 have given her numerous warnings that the marriage would end if she continued down the path of valuing her religious group over the marriage." He began to spend less time in the marital home and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with Kathy Dahlia. Venessa Mills has expressed appropriate concern for his transgressions. [...]
43. Based on all of the evidence, the Court finds that Ms. Mills engaged in behaviour that alienates the minor children from their maternal grandparents, their aunt, and most importantly their father. The Court also finds that the affidavits of Venessa Mills' parents, sister, and lifelong friends are credible as they have known her for many years.
- Source: Venessa Mills v. Thomas Mills, Temporary Custody Order
The Sound Doctrine Church aggressively -- and in rather clever ways -- defends itself against charges that it is a cult, but in so doing tends to harm itself even more.
In his article from his website Mr. Timothy Williams perverts God’s Word and His grace. Mr. Williams also attacks the church and every Christian indiscriminately with a broad sword and lots of smoke and mirrors. He tells his readers that one can tell who has the “grace of God” by their obedience to the commandments. [...]
Throughout this article Mr. Williams points out that the grace of God means obedience. If one was to substitute “obedience” wherever he uses “grace of God” one would see that Mr. Williams is trapped in a works righteousness and his grace is no grace at all, and he has a flawed definition of these simple words. [...]
As you can see Mr. Williams has clearly has a works orientated gospel message, one that will lead to death, as Paul states: And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6). Again, Mr. Williams switching of simple words meanings perverts the true message of God’s grace. Mark this man, he is dangerous!
Jacob Prash adds:
Certain members of this group have apparently cited Jacob Prasch & Moriel as endorsing it. This is categorically untrue. Upon examination we find this group does not live up to its name of having ‘sound doctrine’ but is biblically unbalanced and aberrational, and in no way carries any sanction from Jacob Prasch or Moriel. Some who have contacted us concerning this group find it cultic, and in reviewing their material it is not difficult to see why someone would arrive at that conclusion. It is not an organization we could recommend and much of their unscriptural emphasis in our estimation is theologically and spiritually off key and potentially dangerous. If anything, this group would carry our caveat and not our stamp of approval, and we would respectfully urge those involved with it to prayerfully reconsider their position.
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.
The Sound Doctrine church was also behind the following websites: jesustips.org, jesuswallpapers.org, sdsoftware.org. All appear to have been taken offline.
hardtruth.sdoctrine.org is one of the church's efforts to combat what it calls 'gossip' (by which they mean: criticism of the Sound Doctrine Church). Slickly presented unpleasant stuff.
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