Four Corners “Cult of Horrors”

What a horrible situation! Four Corners – Cult of Horrors

Leaders in Christian churches should watch this and ask themselves difficult questions? Because some church leader at some stage must have been complicit with Scott Williams in allowing this dreadful saga to start; and the damage it is causing!

I thought Caro Meldrum-Hanna reported this really well. Maybe two questions!

Was anything paid by The ABC for interviews, pictures, information or stories. If not, this could be an ethical point of difference with other media organisations. Best for viewers to know!

The other question… did the Production Team consider interviewing another ‘Christian’ to test whether the portrayal of ‘Christianity’ by Scott Williams, was a truthful representation. Otherwise, it could place unnecessary and false emphasis on the religious beliefs  of many good Christian people.

But, good job Four Corners!

Another area interests me. I hear people in media say they do the awful stuff, because their audiences want it. Demand it! Or, they’ll turn off. Media organisations are very good, thanks to good writers and other content producers, at communicating the things that go wrong with people. Scott Williams and the Christian Assembly International are an excellent example.

However, if Australian society is to integrate greater fairness, well being and shared prosperity, which is the goal of AMEP, we need narrative that helps make things go right.

Now, respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Australian journalists are actually called describe Australian society to itself; the good, bad and ugly. Journalists prophetically convey information, ideas and opinions to Australians. Whether we’ve thought about it or not!

Journalism is a privileged role! They inform us and animate our sense of democracy.

They have great public responsibility. While they scrutinise power, they also exercise it. Because of this they need to be primarily accountable to the Australian people; well ahead of media organisations that employ them.

On the plus side for journalists, accountability engenders trust, and without trust, journalists can’t fulfill their public responsibilities. With high levels of public trust they can work to the ideals of their calling.

And, what would engender trust more than helping to make things right?

Therefore, independent, fair and honest journalists need to work to their calling; at all times ahead of the business case demands of media organisations.

Returning to Four Corners “Cult of Horrors”

Having determined the facts behind the reality of what went wrong, further questions might help make things right:

Who is currently on the board of Christian Assemblies International, and who retired or resigned in the last 5 years?

In what ways have the board and church members of Christian Assembly International removed Scott Williams from all pastoral and teaching activities of this Church? Otherwise, what stops them? And, are these reasons valid? Not only is this a matter of good secular governance, isn’t it, the right thing to do?

What would enable the board to redeem all assets, owned by, or under the control of Stewart  and/or Ree Williams, and bring them back under the proper control of the Church?

How will the board effectively release people from the Church, with appropriate compensation and spiritual and psychological support?

What evidence is needed to bring appropriate criminal and civil charges against Scott Williams, Ree Williams and past and present members of the Board who directly, or indirectly abused Church members?

What governmental and bureaucratic oversight failed? And, who needs to be accountable? What processes already exist to bring these people to account?

Who, in Coffs Harbour and outside the Christian Assemblies International, would stand with Scott and Ree Williams on the challenging path that (should) lies before them; to facilitate restitution, forgiveness and the redemption of relationships?

Who, in Coffs Harbour and outside the Christian Assemblies International, would stand with others from the Church on the challenging path that lies before them; to facilitate restitution, forgiveness and the redemption of relationships?

This is not about retribution and judgment. It’s about doing the right thing to make community, and Australian society, fairer, and with a deeper sense of well being, and shared prosperity.

Would Four Corners follow this through? Probably not! The ABC business case might stop them. But are there fair-minded, honest and independent civic journalists who would do this for the Coffs Harbour community and Australian society?

We do need to understand the good, the bad and the ugly in Australian society. But it will be for the better of Australian society, if journalists work from the different mindset of helping to make things better.

About Bob Simpson

Bob is project manager of The Australian Media Engagement Project (AMEP). He believes that ethical and independent journalists are vital to the continuing freedom of Australian citizens. You could argue that In recent decades media organisations have subtly subverted journalism to their own private commercial interests, and away from an integrated sense of fairness, well being and shared prosperity in Australian society, especially for the disempowered. AMEP aims to change general media narratives towards greater fairness, well being and shared prosperity in Australia.
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3 Responses to Four Corners “Cult of Horrors”

  1. Tony says:

    There has been deep emotional damage by Scott Williams to people who were in his church. Ree (Maree) should not be held responsible just because she was his wife.

    I wa one of the early members. I left many years ago having realised something was seriously wrong but not able to see or expose it. I went with Scott Williams to set up the church initially in Germany. I did not realise he was homosexual, although it is obvious now in retrospect.

    Something was wrong at that stage but I couldn’t see what it was. I was never targeted or felt targeted for homosexual activities although I spent months with Scott Williams sharing a flat, 5 weeks on a ship, and many difficult and challenging times. At that time he and I had given up everything to preach the gospel. I believe he was sincere at this time. When he fell out with Pastors he was no longer accountable and things went wrong from that point in a serious way.

    There doesn’t seem to be any remedy to ease the hurt and damage. At least it has been exposed, but for many (including myself) it reopened deep wounds. This re-opening of wounds includes the people who were with me at the time in the church (my wife, sister, brothers in law, friends). Fortunately we left and missed some of the worst treatment.

    I am deeply ashamed that I did not understand what was happening and that I did not take stronger action.

    I thought I was following Christ and his calling and sacrificed everything for this calling.

    Now I am very disillusioned,


  2. Al Warraq says:

    Some good comments, one point about the board of directors, there probably are none. Maybe there should be as a legal requirement. PCBU’s under work cover legislation requires OH&S bullying policies. Scott Williams is a Person Conducting Business Undertakings (PCBU). Can be prosecuted under their legislation. More laws are needed.

    I have attached comments to another organisation that may be of interest. Have a read.

    “Thank you Mr. xxxx for your reply

    Since I wrote my concerns below, I have noticed that a number of Exposé programs have been aired on TV. Some on the Exclusive Brethren Church and another one on Scott Williams. I know that focus can be on money misappropriation issues, but it is the abuse that is of the main concern especially so, that to children or young people.

    Public Office, be it lay or state sanctioned / permitted, must incorporate checks and balances for Pastoral roles on progressive intervals basis, as one mechanism to flag a range of psychopathic or mentally unsound behavioral tendencies. Unbalanced absolutism and extreme nonviolent applications of doctrines or positions forced on to adherents by malevolent leaders need to flagged and identified.

    I would strongly recommend you take a look at the 4 Corners program called Cult of Horrors By Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Janine Cohen – Updated July 29, 2014 11:50:00 : Children are affected:

    I think it is reasonable to assume with good leadership the corruption would not be there and hence 4 corners would not have a program to air. I think 4 corners did a good job not condemning the beliefs of the people but rather the crimes of the man Scott Williams.

    So on that point the freedom of religion is respected, but the actions of a corrupt man should be made known and bought to the attentions of the authorities and hopefully prosecuted if proved guilty.

    Best wishes


  3. ian g says:

    hi tony how u going, you know me from the prc. do not feel guilty brother scott has done these wrong things and he has to answer to god for it, it is sad that he lost hes still with god n these days i see people the way god sees them. i feel very sad for those people scott hurt n damaged.pray for you tony n keep going for god brother . peolpe will fell n fail but god never fails us . anyway all the best my brother ian g

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