Not everyone caught in the clutches of a cult is able to get free.
Athena Dean Holtz has.
First she was drawn into the Church of Scientology. After she escaped that deception and came to Christ in 1986, she was lured into a toxic, legalistic Christian cult. Among other abuses the leaders committed, they fraudulently coerced her into turning over a custom publishing company she had cofounded.
That took place five years ago. Eventually she was able to walk away from the traumatic situation, get counseling, and go public with her story. The cult leaders lashed back viciously and created entire websites dedicated to humiliating and discrediting Athena and those close to her.
“I’ve learned a lot from that experience,” she says. “God has taught me a great deal about why I was vulnerable in the first place. He has also given me great insights into deceivers and the people they have deceived.”
After spending twenty-five years in the book-publishing industry in the Pacific Northwest, Athena served as a broadcast missionary under Commission to Every Nation with her program for women, “Always Faithful Radio,” on AM 630 KSLR in San Antonio, Texas.
Early in 2014, she returned to publishing in this area and cofounded Redemption Press. “The amazing part of that story,” she says, “is God brought me full circle, back to the same offices I used to occupy.”
As a speaker, author, blogger, publisher, and now a pastor’s wife, Athena helps people who have been wounded by the church and other traumatic life experiences.
On Friday, May 15, at the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Athena will lead three sessions of an interactive WriteCoach Lab:
Build Your Platform & Promote Your Work Through Speaking – Let Athena Dean Holtz help you map out your own individualized plan for using public speaking to build your author platform and promote your book. Includes hands-on exercises to get you started on your journey.
Athena is passionate about encouraging people to learn to trust God, even in the wake of spiritual abuse, trauma, or loss. “My prayer is that they will experience God’s faithfulness and restoration in the midst of the difficulties of life and suffering,” she says.
Her involvement at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal is borne out of that passion. “I pray that people who’ve been wounded will learn to comfort others with the comfort God gives them,” she says.
As a Renewal sponsor, Redemption Press is holding a drawing at its vendor booth. The winner will receive a professional bundle of publishing services valued at $2,200.
To enter the drawing, as well as have the opportunity to be coached by Athena in one of her three WriteCoach Lab sessions, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.
Diana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.