Chip MacGregor

March 18, 2017

Full Circle: The story behind the Wine Press Publishing debacle


Longtime readers of this blog will recall that I wrote about the morons at WinePress Publishing when they threatened me with a lawsuit (you can read that story here), when it turned out they were a cult posing as a business and their Prez went to prison for raping a child (that one is here), and when it all caught up to them and they closed up shop (and that one is here). The church behind the whole charade tossed out accusations at all sorts of people (they once accused me of having contributed to the leader’s wife getting a brain tumor) and tried to damage some reputations. There were lots of authors hurt, books put into limbo, and relationships destroyed.

The one person they went after most was the woman who had first started WinePress Publishing, Athena Dean. She got involved in the church, they convinced her to cut out her family relationships, and she even turned over the publishing company to the people running their little religious operation. Eventually she realized what was going on — she was involved in a cult. When she evaluated her life, she realized the things going on at her church were the very definition of a religious cult: cut off from her family; involved in an insular little group of religious types with a charismatic leader who was largely unaccountable to any outside authorities; the leader dictated how members should act; the church offered  a unique interpretation of scripture; dissent was strongly discouraged; there was preoccupation with making money; they maintained an us-vs-them mentality; members were encouraged to give an inordinate amount of time and money to the group; outside relationships were discouraged; and the ends justified the means (so they could, for example, create entire websites aimed at attacking individuals).

The attacks on Athena were personal and sharp. They detailed her divorce, situations she’d revealed to people in private, they tried to pull apart her statements. I’d never heard of a church do anything like that before. And the funny thing is, it had the opposite effect of what they intended. Instead of dissuading her from telling her story, Athena started telling it, loudly and often. I had started describing what was going on only because they’d had a lawyer send me some phony-baloney lawsuit crap that was intended to intimidate me, and I could see through it… but it was nothing like what Athena went through, with weeks of personal attacks, blog posts, fake media stories, etc.

My reason for bringing up all this ancient history is because Athena Dean has recently come out with a memoir that tells what occurred, and it’s worth reading. Full Circle is the story of one woman’s search for acceptance, how it led to her participation in a cult, how she lost everything (including a successful publishing company), and how she walked away from it all and found a new life apart from that group. Since I played a very small role in this story, I thought it only fair to let people know Athena’s book is out and available on Amazon. You’ll find it an interesting read.

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