REFLECTION ABOUT THE ISSUE OF SCOTT WILLIAMS 5
Reflection on Scott Williams’ Issue
A cult regards to a spiritual or social organization that promotessocially deviant beliefs and practices. It is an organizationdepicting extreme attachment to an individual, concept or thing(Long, 1994). Cults apply unethical controlling methods ofinfluencing intended to benefit cult leaders. In most instances, cultfollowers are completely and unconsciously submissive to theirleader. Cult is a criminology issue because it is an intentionaloffense committed by the leader of a brainwashed group. Cult ofHorrors reported by Meldrum-Hanna and Cohen (2014) highlights theissue of religious cults. Four Corners expose a self-styled pastor,Scott Williams, who employed his distorted trade name of evangelicalPentecostalism in operating a secret homosexual sex ring. Williams isalleged to misuse donations received from followers for individualuse.
In the investigation, daring former members of the cult reveal whathappened to them while living as members of William’s religiousgroup. The former members have acknowledged that Williams’ was nota church rather, a dreadful cult organized by one man. They claim tohave remained silent due to apprehension and shame associated withbeing ex-members. The acts of abuse perpetrated by Scott Williams, inthe disguise of religion, range from financial, religious, physicaland even sexual abuse. The pastor defined himself as appointed andpermitted by God to circumvent bible commands refuting homosexuality.Hence, he was able to perform his sexual training on male members bypersuading them to becoming submissive and obedient (Meldrum-Hanna &Cohen 2014).
Scott Williams, based on the investigation, is a perfectillustration of a cult leader. Four Corners also depicts how cultleaders employ spiritual exploitation in committing crime. Cults arecharacterized by having a captivating leader, hierarchical structure,coercive influence and destructive demand groups. Other traitsinclude the leader exploiting members, treachery, confessions andsecreted agendas. These traits are apparent in the confessions madeby ex-members of Williams’ church. The individuals claim to havebeen lured to joining the church by Williams in their teenage, aswell as young adult years, when most were still in school. They claimto have been conditioned to consider Williams as anointed. Many cultmembers are normally educated persons, which relates to Williamschoice of recruits.
One of the interviewees, Mr. Forkin describes Scott Williams ascharming, forthcoming, outgoing, and someone that loves to have fun.Another trait is that he is articulate when discussing issues relatedto the Bible (Meldrum-Hanna, 2014). These traits outwardly convinceanyone that Williams is honest and it becomes almost impossible todetect the malicious intentions. It is also apparent that the pastorcalculated his motives well, which makes his religious group a crime.By targeting school going recruits, Williams envisions individualsthat he will be able to brainwash. He targets a region where childrenhave minimal knowledge of the Bible, which makes it easy to believehis ideologies. His character also attracts people to him, which makehim appear as someone that can be trusted. Hence, as the teenagersgrow to become adults, they associate more with the cult, making itdifficult to defect.
Probably one of the aspects that make cults successful is theability of the leader to isolate members from the public, includingother family members (Long, 1994). This makes it impossible formembers to reveal what happens within the group. Former membersnarrate their disconnection with the outside globe. This is becausethey follow Williams in his alleged missions globally, abandoningfamily and allies. The members also note how they were constantly putdown and disgraced, causing them to lose self-identity or esteem. Forinstance, the ex-members reveal the homosexuality that would happenduring male meetings.
During the meetings, the men would be ordered to undress and performmassages on each other. Williams would then end up with one of themembers as the others left. The members left would be coerced intosexual activity during the night. The ex-members note that thoughthey never talked about the happenings, they are guaranteed that amajority of them have been sexually abused. It was impossible to talkabout the sexual acts as they supposed that it would have spiritualrepercussions, again bringing to light a major trait of cults, whichis brainwashing. Brainwashing makes it improbable to think logicallyinstead, people follow what they are told believing it is right(Meldrum-Hanna, 2014).
A different criminology issue that arises from the investigations iscybercrime. In this case, it refers to the use of the internet incommitting pre-meditated offences (Clough, 2010). Members fromWilliams Pentecostal organization did not live together. He conductedthe recruits on his own, gathering people from different regions.Though the individuals were from different places, it was possible toconnect electronically with the leader. This is illustrated in themanner members were supposed to send their tithe reports online. Inaddition, members that failed to send a report within the stated timewould be notified of their fines over email. Williams also used emailcommunication to send messages to his members concerning what to do,and how to act.
Clough, J. (2010). Principles of cybercrime. Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.
Long, R. E. (1994). Religious cults in America. New York:Wilson.
Meldrum-Hanna, C & Cohen, J. (2014, Jul. 29). Cult of Horrors.Four Corners Investigative Journalism at its Best. Retrievedfrom: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/07/28/4052971.htm
Meldrum-Hanna, C. (2014). Christian Assemblies International: Formermembers detail abuse handed out by CAI leader Scott Williams. ABCNews. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-28/former-members-break-silence-over-christian- cult-of-horrors/5627794