OUR HELL WITH THE CULT; Family claim they were brainwashed at Scottish mansion SUNDAY MAIL March 22nd 1998
Daughter was forced to marry a fat, balding cult member; Phone calls were banned and women treated like slaves.
A FAMILY trapped in a bizarre religious cult claim they were BRAINWASHED and forced into an arranged marriage.
Shattered Scot Christine Carroll and her family have broken their silence to tell of their life of hell at the hands of the secretive group. Christine, her son, Craig, and daughter, Lee, have all escaped the clutches of the mysterious Christian Assemblies Group.
They had first come across the cult when Christine flew back to Scotland with her son after her marriage in Australia ended in divorce.
But last night Craig, blasted the cult leaders who took them in to their Scots HQ, then:
- Forced his sister into an arranged marriage
- Told all women they were only “cooks and mattresses”
- Hid passports of devotees and demanded all their cash
- Banned members from making any external calls or even using the telephone.
Craig, 24, who has Australian nationality, was lured into the cult’s Scots base at pounds 250,000 Pitversie House in rural Abernethy, Perthshire. His sister, Lee, stayed in Australia with her dad but became worried about Craig when the letters she received from Scotland started mentioning a church group.
Craig said: “After we got to Scotland, my mum met these people in the cult. At first they seemed really nice, normal. We both got quite involved and ended up moving in with them. They always said that unless we tried harder to please God, we would be in really deep trouble. You don’t convert people to religion by shouting and screaming at them.”
Craig got a job as an apprentice upholsterer but says every PENNY he earned had to go into cult coffers. And when Lee flew to Scotland in a bid to RESCUE her brother, she ended up as a disciple of the Christian Assemblies.
She claims she was forced to MARRY a complete stranger. And only escaped when her “husband” let her out of his sight for just a few moments.
Lee, 26, told the Sunday Mail: “When I arrived, everything was so nice that I thought Craig had been making it up. I was completely taken in.”
As soon as Lee was baptised into the cult, she was handed a long list of chores and told what to wear and how her hair should be cut.
The cult members included respectable doctors, lawyers and teachers.
The prayer meetings were harmless at first, with prayer music and hugging inside a giant marquee at the back of the massive Scots HQ. But as soon as members were baptised, the “pastors” became more sinister. They would shout and scream at the disciples and hurl abuse at Craig and Lee. They were made to clean floors with tooth brushes and sweep the pavements outside with tiny brushes. But Lee’s biggest nightmare was when she was introduced to a fat, balding middle-aged stranger… Who had been chosen by the cult leaders as her HUSBAND.
She said: “They told me if I didn’t become his wife, my family would be damned to hell. I wasn’t allowed any money and I couldn’t make any phone calls. He kept me cleaning all day and all night.”
It was only after a year in her nightmare cult marriage that Lee finally had her chance to escape. Her husband had, for once, left the lock off the telephone… Giving Lee just enough time to call a friend and tell her where she was. Minutes later, the pal zoomed up in a car and Lee jumped in.
Craig escaped their clutches while on a tour of Australia with the cult. He managed to slip away from the group. His mum got away from the Scots HQ at about the same time.
The Christian Assemblies Group was probed by the Scottish Charities Office after receiving complaints about their status. We understand the group was heavily fined.
Followers are told they can be saved by prophecies – but only the leaders know what the prophecies are.
The cult came here in 1991 after breaking from its mother church in Australia. It stalked students and young professionals in a bid to recruit new members. The boss of the cult in Scotland is Australian- born Scott Williams. He lives in a secluded house in Dollar, Clackmannanshire. From the outside, it looks like any family home, surrounded by fir trees and tall hedges. But anyone taking a closer look can see that the birdboxes contain video CAMERAS. There are movement monitors, heavy iron gates and a one-way intercom.
When Sunday Mail reporters visited, one of William’s assistants replied gruffly: “No comment. Just leave us alone.”
At Pitversie House, Stewart Benzie and his wife Marjorie are caretakers for the cult. They are both locals who have joined the Assemblies.
Stewart said: “These people are telling lies. Yes, they did stay here, I can remember them all. They once belonged to us.”
When asked whether THEY belonged to anyone, Benzie added: “Perhaps that was the wrong phrase to use.”
Pitversie’s security system is better than the one at the local police station, which is less than 100 yards down the road in the sleepy village. It too contains video cameras nestling inside birdboxes, movement monitors, intercoms and guard dogs.
Razor wire and barbed wire also runs along the perimeter fence at the cult’s Scottish headquarters. Locals say they don’t know whether that’s to keep people IN or OUT.
One said: “We have witnessed so many strange things there. Hundreds of them turn up for meetings and happy-clappy sessions.”
Wolfgang Frantz, one of the cult’s leaders in Scotland, regularly invited locals into Pitversie House for “prayer meetings”. But after seeing inside, most locals decided his “church” was not for them. Frantz and other cult leaders refused to comment on the Carroll family’s allegations.
Now Craig, Lee, and mum Christine are re-building their lives. They are receiving therapy to overcome the brainwashing they say they endured.
Craig said: “I just want to forget about the whole thing now, but it has left its mark on me. I still have bad dreams about it.”
And Lee added: “This has brought us closer together. Only we can understand what we have been through. It has created a special bond between us.” SOURCE
But Assembly documents reveal something even more sinister. Four Corners has discovered members were also being fined by Williams for minor misdemeanours.
Williams, now 70, is living with his wife Ree in a luxury apartment in the beachfront Pacific Towers complex in Coffs Harbour [New South Wales]. It is one of many properties Williams purchased using money donated by church members who believed much of it was being used for charitable purposes.
Today, the CAI boasts an impressive multi-million-dollar property portfolio including Pitversie House and Douglas House, a hotel in Abernethy, Scotland.
All were renovated to luxurious standards by church members, who have told Four Corners they worked hundreds of hours updating the properties while Williams monitored their work and punished them for any mistakes or minor misdemeanours.
Katja Forkin was recruited into the Assembly as a teenager living in Germany. She says women and men were expected to work on the properties night and day, and if they did not they would be severely punished or excommunicated.
She says life in the Assembly got worse once Williams began to purchase more and more properties.
“It started to change once the Assembly owned properties in Scotland, because basically all we did from then is just work on the properties, renovating, looking after Scott and Ree more or less, and everything evolved around their lives, So the little spare time that we had sort of dwindled away more and more to the point that we started to have less and less connections to the outside.”
As members disconnected from the outside world, following Williams around the world and moving away from family and friends, they say their leader’s language and demeanour began to change.
Former members told Four Corners they were regularly denigrated and humiliated, losing their self-identity, confidence and sense of self.
CULTWATCH | Brian Tamaki’s Destiny Church is Now a Cult
Controversial religious group in Aberdeen, Scotland. Led by ‘Pastor’ Jim Addison. Formerly operated under the name “Word of Life (International).”
Posted by: judith Date: December 23, 2012 01:27AM
I’m right in the middle of this but I’ve just realised that this church is a cult and I’m in a mess. I’ve been going to this destiny church in edinburgh and its come to ruin my life. At first I didn’t know what was going on. They were very friendly and they seemed to understand when I told them that I was upset about my parents separating. This anne woman became my spiritual mother and looked after me but ive lost everything now. It was only after a while when they have one of these cell meetings in home I said things I wish I hadn’t. they tell you to say things like ‘I’ve got plans’ and ‘im busy’ if your family ask you to do things with them. they know everything about me now. I went to one of their healing ceremonies and I lost my mind. I can’t remember anything about it but I was told I was talking nonsense when I got out. They told the pastor and in one of their counselling sessions they . it was so scarey.
Posted by: TrueScot Date: October 29, 2015 03:59AM
I first of all would like to say to Judith, i’m very sorry to hear about your experience destiny church.
I can confirm that Destiny church does have a very cult like atmosphere.
They are obsessed with money, especially the leader of Destiny ministries the (false) “apostle” Andrew Owen who constantly brings money into his messages and tells people they can “tap into God’s superntural financial resources and on at least one occasion encourged his congregation to do better in their jobs/buisnesses etc so they could put more money into the church to spread out and encourage more people to join Destiny so they can have more of an influence on the nation.
They encourage people to tithe 10% of their wages even though biblical tithing was only ever food and animals and not money, they also neglect to mention that there was also a tithe to be kept by the individual and more importantly that tithes were only to the levite priesthood in the temple both of which are no longer around.
Posted by: rachel0705 Date: November 22, 2015 12:12AM
Thanks for your post, TrueScot. Another one is Richard Roberts who was invited to come to Destiny Church in Glasgow in 2009 claiming to be able to heal people of cancer. Glasgow City Council said that he could face prosecution if he made unfounded claims of being able to cure people and Jim Cassidy of Oncology at Glasgow spoke about the danger of giving false hope to vulnerable people. There was an article about it in the Scotsman saying a spokes woman (I wonder if that was Sue Owen) said he really was able to cure the sick. How do they (the Destiny Church) get away with it [watchman4wales.blogspot.co.uk]
I’ve just seen this article on Cult 101 – another indication that the Destiny Church Glasgow is damaging. See Creflo Dollars inviation to the SECC by Andrew Owen. Well done the wee frees for at least attempting to stand up to them. [www.cultnews101.com] SOURCE
Sinister Spread Of Black Magic In Scotland The Glasgow Herald – Oct 10, 1978
DON’T DABBLE IN OCCULT SAY BAPTISTS The Glasgow Herald – Oct 21, 1975
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