Word of Faith Fellowship (Spindale, NC) Accused by Ex-Members of Being a Cult – Part 2

"Frank Webster and Chris Back — church ministers who handle criminal cases as assistant DAs for three nearby counties — provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member, according to former congregants interviewed as part of an AP investigation of Word of Faith. Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law and lives in her house, also helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents, according to nine former members."

Ex sect members tell AP: Prosecutors obstructed abuse cases

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/9656-word-faith-fellowship-woffWord of Faith Fellowship

UPDATE – 3.10.17, 7:20 p.m.

Prosecutors gone from jobs after AP report on church abuse– Associated Press

A North Carolina district attorney said Friday that two assistant prosecutors no longer work for him amid charges they sabotaged investigations into abuse in their secretive religious sect.

District Attorney David Learner's announcement came just two days after he asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into allegations by former Word of Faith Fellowship members against Frank Webster and Chris Back. As part of an ongoing investigation by The Associated Press, nine ex-congregants had said the men, both of them ministers of the sect, provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member.

"I cannot allow the integrity of the office to be called into question," Learner said in a statement. "My administration is dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice."


I am really angry as I write this post! You see, it was over 22 years ago — February 28, 1995, to be exact — that Inside Edition featured several shocking segments on the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, North Carolina. At that time the church's leader, Jane Whaley, was 55 years old. Fortunately, these segments have been preserved on YouTube (see Part 1 below).

Why am I so mad? Think of all the children over the last two decades who have been involved in this 'fellowship' that many are now calling a cult. It breaks my heart! I am also grieving for the adults involved. Now take a look at another segment aired on Inside Edition.

One of our astute readers, Steve240, tracked down a list of Rules (Do's and "Don'ts) purportedly for WOFF members. Here is a screen shot of the 'Do's".

* * * * * * * * * *

https://www.familiesagainstcultteachings.org/resources/WOFF---RULES-FOR-NEW-MEMBERS.pdf

* * * * * * * * * *

There are 145 'Don'ts" in this guideline for new members. I would be in serious trouble if I were a WOFF congregant. Here are some of my violations:

I have been known to drink root beer, Cheerwine, and Ginger Ale on occasion. I watch movies, and I have watched DVDs in our Surburban (but NOT while driving!). I listen to the radio and read and handled magazines. Someone just gave me some older copies of Our State magazine, and I can hardly wait to read them! I watch television and NEVER get approval for the books I read. I have been known to take notes during sermons, and if I need to go to the bathroom during a church service, I will not hesitate to do so. If I bought a dress already owned by someone in my congregation, I would never return it to the store. I have worn sleeveless dresses to church during the summer. I celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving and I eat turkey on Thanksgiving! Birthdays and wedding anniversaries are wonderful celebrations in our family. And I am occasionally late (but usually only by 10 minutes)! 

Is this list for real???

Perhaps this time authorities will conduct a thorough investigation of WOFF and finally uncover the truth.

The press is continuing to cover this story, as evidenced by the following Associated Press article published earlier today:

Ex sect members tell AP: Prosecutors obstructed abuse cases

This AP article begins as follows:

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — At least a half-dozen times over two decades, authorities investigated reports that members of a secretive evangelical church were being beaten. And every time, according to former congregants, the orders came down from church leaders: They must lie to protect the sect.

Among the members of the Word of Faith Fellowship who coached congregants and their children on what to say to investigators were two assistant district attorneys and a veteran social worker, the ex-followers told The Associated Press.

Frank Webster and Chris Back — church ministers who handle criminal cases as assistant DAs for three nearby counties — provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member, according to former congregants interviewed as part of an AP investigation of Word of Faith.

Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law and lives in her house [emphasis mine], also helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents, according to nine former members.

According to the AP article, North Carolina law stipulates that prosecutors are not allowed to provide legal advice or be involved in outside cases in any way. Those who violate these rules can be brought up on ethics charges, be dismissed and disbarred. Furthermore, offering legal advice in a criminal investigation to help someone avoid prosecution could lead to criminal charges such as obstruction of justice.

When AP reporters attempted to contact Back and Webster, they were "too busy" to respond. No doubt about that!

This AP article discussed missed opportunities to get to the bottom of what is really going on behind closed doors at Spindale's Word of Faith Fellowship. Here's an excerpt from the article that discusses missed opportunities regarding the Inside Edition broadcast that aired over two decades ago:

As part of its investigation, the AP examined decades of the criminal justice and social services systems' dealings with the church. The AP also interviewed dozens of former congregants, legal experts and law enforcement officials, reviewed hundreds of pages of police and court documents, and listened to hours of conversations secretly recorded by now-former congregants.

The first full-scale police investigation of Word of Faith stemmed from a February 1995 broadcast of the TV show "Inside Edition" that included secretly recorded video showing children being subjected to "blasting," where a group of congregants surround a perceived sinner and scream for hours to expel devils.

Acting on a request from the local sheriff and district attorney, state Bureau of Investigation agents interviewed dozens of former congregants and leaders — including Whaley, a former math teacher who co-founded the church in 1979 with her husband, Sam, a former used-car salesman.

Agents heard accusations of child abuse and assault but ultimately deemed them too general and broad.

SBI Special Agent R.C. Hayes wrote that the agency had been told children were "whipped with paddles and rods" and that adults had been "physically restrained and assaulted" during deliverance sessions.

In an unreleased 315-page report of the investigation obtained by the AP, Whaley acknowledged children were spanked but contended they had asked for the discipline. "They all left after the paddling smiling and praising," she said.

Of blasting, she said, "They loved it."

Behind the scenes, former members say, Whaley embarked on a cover-up that continued for the next two decades.

"She said if investigators contacted us, we couldn't tell them the truth," said Rick Cooper, who left the church in late 2014…

If you read the remainder of the article, you will learn how WOFF purportedly coached members regarding what they were to say to authorities. So far, Jane Whaley and her cohorts have been successful in avoiding any legal repercussions.

In their defense, WOFF has posted several videos on its website claiming to have caught some of its formers members 'in a lie'. Here is one of those videos.

And here is Danielle Cordes in a video that was just posted today.

Now that the Word of Faith Fellowship has garnered widespread attention, we are praying fervently that the truth of what goes on behind closed doors will finally be revealed to a watching world.


Comments

Word of Faith Fellowship (Spindale, NC) Accused by Ex-Members of Being a Cult – Part 2 — 178 Comments

  1. Thanks Deb (and Dee) for keeping the heat up on this group.

    I pray for the victims/members who got out and those still stuck in this high-control, violent, abusive group.

  2. That “blasting” the cultists do is horrific – everyone yelling and screaming and this is supposed to drive out demons. They even subject small children and infants to this. I cannot imagine how a child subjected to much of this could grow up healthy.

  3. I’m down with no cargo shorts and keeping your car tags current. Those are some great rules. But can you still play cards, just not with a regular deck? Do they have their own alternative?

  4. @ Velour:
    Since this so-called church is in North Carolina, you can be sure we will keep the heat up on them.

    As a native North Carolinian, I am embarrassed by this cultish group.

  5. Deb wrote:

    @ Velour:
    Since this so-called church is in North Carolina, you can be sure we will keep the heat up on them.
    As a native North Carolinian, I am embarrassed by this cultish group.

    Yes, they are an embarrassment to your state. Sadly, such groups are found in every state.
    The level of abuse is just shocking.

    I hope those prosecutors who violated legal ethics face disciplinary action against their law licenses. They are a disgrace to the profession. They do know better and didn’t do better. They shouldn’t have licenses.

  6. @ Stan:

    It's an if I didn't laugh I'd have to cry situation. What a tragedy, but what a bizarre person to be a cult leader.

  7. How has WOFF been able to operate for all these years despite serious accusations of abuse?

    When you have attorneys (plural) plus some of the actual civil authorities in your pocket…

  8. Jacob wrote:

    That “blasting” the cultists do is horrific – everyone yelling and screaming and this is supposed to drive out demons.

    Sounds like a Scientology “gang bang sec check”.

  9. They left out….”Don’t forget to wear red lipstick, clothes with beads or glitter, jewelry, and please make sure your dyed hair is perfect.” (Noticeable from looking at photos on the website.) The women are clones. My heart breaks most for the children.

  10. That “don’t” list is terrifying–especially number 20, “Don’t read your bible, too much.” I don’t even think the Gestapo was this controlling! Anyone who would willingly subject themselves (and their families) to this desperately needs our prayers that Jesus would rescue them! Sam should have stuck with selling cars…

  11. Velour wrote:

    Thanks Deb (and Dee) for keeping the heat up on this group.

    I pray for the victims/members who got out and those still stuck in this high-control, violent, abusive group.

    Amen!

    if these beatings and the abuses of children are permitted because of ‘religious freedom’, then let’s call it what it is: satanism

    we have freedom of speech, but not to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater;
    why can we not ‘moderate’ destructive behaviors that are ‘excused’ even though victims are innocent and unable to defend themselves AND the perpetrators holler ‘religious freedom’ so everyone will ‘look away’ and let them continue????

    we are all guilty if we know this is happening and nothing is said and nothing is done and it continues even for one more day, one more beaten, screamed at little child ……

    there are types of ‘tolerance’, but when people excuse and look away from the evil done to innocents, that is not religious ‘tolerance’, no:
    it is sin

  12. Christiane wrote:

    there are types of ‘tolerance’, but when people excuse and look away from the evil done to innocents, that is not religious ‘tolerance’, no:
    it is sin

    My thoughts exactly. Especially for those born into the abusive system.

  13. Stan wrote:

    But can you still play cards, just not with a regular deck? Do they have their own alternative?

    Maybe you can play Rook or something. Uno?

    I likethat that you can eat Turkey all year long, but have to skip it on thanksgiving. I think I mentioned in the previous thread, the combo of no sleeveless and no dresses above the knee rules out the vast majority of my summer wardrobe.

    According to the AP article, North Carolina law stipulates that prosecutors are not allowed to provide legal advice or be involved in outside cases in any way.

    This was the piece I was missing when I skimmed this earlier, because I was expecting to hear more than coaching. Which if they had a defense attorney would have been normal (although not teaching them to lie).

  14. @ Dale:
    May I suggest discussing this on the ‘Discussion’ page, if you want to expand on your reply to my comment?
    Thanks, DALE

  15. Stan wrote:

    what a bizarre person to be a cult leader.

    All cult leaders are bizarre, I think, but my thought was that a lot of these rules are so obviously made a by a woman! If it were a man, I think the details would be different.

    This lady was a math teacher and her husband a used car salesman. Because of course he was.

  16. Root 66 wrote:

    Sam should have stuck with selling cars…

    What about Jane??? Uhg. A former math teacher …… imagine having that crazy woman teaching our kids in a public school system. When she taught, staff disciple probably wasn’t like it is now, but …. still ….. I would love to see the files on her concerning complaints and discipline! Today, people like her get their certifications yanked.

  17. Nancy2 wrote:

    What about Jane??? Uhg. A former math teacher

    Ha! She’s you!

    Actually now that you mention it, this list is very teacherish too.

  18. Lea wrote:

    Ha! She’s you!
    Actually now that you mention it, this list is very teacherish too.

    Lea, I may be crazy, but I ain’t that kind of crazy!

  19. Lea wrote:

    I likethat that you can eat Turkey all year long, but have to skip it on thanksgiving.

    At this level, Whalley’s controlling shows a madness that is profound …… the intensity and micromanaging of her ‘controls’ over the beaten sheep does indicate a madness that is founded on great fear of not being in control……. she is afraid of what ever it was that once had control over her and she is dealing with her fear by acting it out on her ‘flock’.

    I knew a woman who had been sexually abused by family members and her own mother looked away ….. this lady had suffered from a terrible inability to control what was happening to her as a child;
    and the way she acted it out was a kind of obsessive house-cleaning routine: everything had a place and everything in its place….immaculate …. she had to keep cleaning and scrubbing in order to be peaceful.

    I do think what people have endured in their past can, if it was extreme, produce some extreme behaviors in their future lives as a way of ‘coping’ or trying to resolve the pain they endured ….. the new behaviors are not always productive or healthy, and if no intervention comes, their suffering may wear a different costume, but it remains. Such people are not to be judged, I think, not in the same way we would look at someone who WILLED to set out to be destructive. Only God knows what people have been through, so if we try to find out the ‘why’ of present behavior that is ‘rogue’ or extreme; rather than judge the ‘presenting problem’, perhaps we are being more aware that ‘for the grace of God’ we might be in their shoes.

    Whalley’s world is devoid of empathy and kindness. For her to maintain what keeps herself ‘together’, others must pay and others must suffer and others must be ‘controlled’ to the utmost degree. . . . what happened to Whalley in her youth? Or is she the real deal: a person who willingly inflicts pain on others and finds satisfaction in doing so?

    Questions? yeah …. sure

  20. I think the list alone is proof enough. We are not required to do anything for any church or organization in the US. The fact that this list has 145 items on it, and most start with “You will be required” shows she is abusive and controlling.

    The line that really gets me is, “Your enjoyment of your time with us will mainly be determined by how well you follow these rules”. Yeah, I’m sure everybody’s going to be a happy camper after they’ve worked 40 hour weeks, then spent every night cleaning the church, cooking for the pastor, and working on work details on the weekend, all while being required to “smile on command”.

  21. @ ishy:
    I look at the Whalley mess and I get a picture in my mind of a scene from the film ‘The Hiding Place’ when Corrie ten Boom’s gentle sister Betsey is being beaten
    (see around 4:30 on)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6imEoy7kj4

    I watch The Hiding Place every Lenten season. The Whalley post reminded me of it for some real reasons. What are we capable of towards one another? We look at the Cross and we know the answer. And we look at the Cross and we also see what heals us and makes us whole.

  22. That smile on command thing is even worse than that page I once read in some IBLP materials years ago. Gothard managed to get into hair styles, clothing, etc. before getting into the importance of the face as where the “joy of the Lord” is seen, but I don’t think even he randomly ordered female employees to smile at various times.

  23. (Death, severe illness and surgery may be considered excused absences.)

    Death itself = an excused absence? Oh well, that’s a relief.

  24. NJ wrote:

    but I don’t think even he randomly ordered female employees to smile at various times

    Right! Like, it’s going to be a test.

    Christiane wrote:

    does indicate a madness that is founded on great fear of not being in control

    I don’t think everyone who wants control is motivated by fear. And ultimately it doesn’t matter, because the damage is done. The only thing to do with a person like this is to run far away.

  25. Dee – I would really get into trouble with Jane Whaley. I read books and magazines all the time. I wear sleeveless tops (I live in the south). I wear blue jeans. I decorate my house without the help of anyone. I don’t always smile at church or anyplace I go. Depending on my pain level. I don’t wear bright red lipstick or beaded clothing. I watch tv and am on the computer a lot. And I’m sure my list of her infractions would go on and on. I wander if Jane herself ever let someone beat her into submission or let herself, hubby or other family members be blasted. Probably not. I watched most of these videos. Brought tears to my eyes. Babies cry in church. They cry everywhere. It’s natural. That is why you take them to the crying room or church nursery. A five year old or 8 year old child shouldn’t be blasted or beaten for any reason (no one should be). This cult just makes me sick. This business of keeping a smile on your face at all times, it similar to the what the Mormons say when they tell the women and children “To be sweet”. Which means, smile, don’t make waves, accept everything that is done to you and yours in the name of Gawd.

  26. Dale wrote:

    “The Pastors of the Church have the duty and the right to be vigilant lest the faith and morals of the faithful be harmed by writings; and consequently, even to demand that the publication of writing concerning the faith and morals should be submitted to the Church’s approval, and also to condemn books and writings that attack faith or morals.”

    Odd how this blog writes quite a bit about the lack of morals in some pastors.

  27. Don’ts –(this is a partial “living” list…at times, it takes on a life of its own, continuing to grow..)

    Seriously, is this line part of the original document? The language used sounds like something a critic would write. If not, then it’s highly telling.

    On a related note, I’m surprised there’s no mention of the internet in the list of media members are not allowed to access. Maybe this is the original version and if it did continue to “grow”, that may have been added later. I’ve heard of other groups like Scientologists and some Mormons being told to either stay off the internet altogether or just not read anything critical of their church.

    I must say, Jane Whaley is a remarkable woman. She has succeeded in outdoing Bill Gothard, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, old school fundamentalists, Scientology, and most of the patriarchy movement. About the only things she missed were the cabbage patch dolls, mandatory circumcision, teen marriage, and going door to door a certain number of days.

  28. Lea wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    does indicate a madness that is founded on great fear of not being in control

    I don’t think everyone who wants control is motivated by fear. And ultimately it doesn’t matter, because the damage is done. The only thing to do with a person like this is to run far away.

    No, not everyone. The Walley behavior ‘indicates’ madness, but it does not prove it …… if you read the rest of my comment, I do also propose that there are those who WILL to hurt others and who derive satisfaction and pleasure from it …. such people are responsible for the harm they do, because they willingly do it and are in ‘compos mentis’

    look at that mother who drowned her five young children ….. she was mentally ill …. and yet people were quick to judge her as ‘guilty’ as see her punished as though she were ‘compos mentis’ …..

    Whalley’s behaviors are extreme. Why? What led her to be such a person? What does her controlling abuse of others feed and what does it feed off of? I’d like to know. This blog deals with patterns and trends. So why not mention the correlation between extreme pathologically controlling behavior and its pathologically extreme causes?

  29. Christiane wrote:

    Whalley’s behaviors are extreme. Why? What led her to be such a person?

    I’m far more interested in why people sign up and let her control them. IF they didn’t do that, she could do no or very little harm.

  30. Christiane wrote:

    So why not mention the correlation between extreme pathologically controlling behavior and its pathologically extreme causes?

    You can mention, but what you are doing is speculating rather wildly, as we have no evidence of anything that anything happened in her youth to make her this way.

    And I don’t like every crime like this being laid at the foot of mental illness. I’ve been reading Bancroft’s book about abusers and he talks at one point iirc about how some of these men act crazy to throw people off, and then in reality they are cold and calculating about what they’ve done.

  31. @ Lea:
    some needs in each side are being met, very sick, yes

    but not all come into that hell willingly …. the children, the babies

    God have mercy

  32. Christiane wrote:

    but not all come into that hell willingly …. the children, the babies

    Certainly not. We talked about this in the other thread. Adults have some choice, kids do not. I am speaking, when I speak of choice, of the adults.

  33. @ Lea:
    yes, I realize that there are those who are ‘compos mentis’ who willingly practice evil….

    they KNOW exactly what they are doing, and they are willingly injuring innocents without hesitation

  34. I hope this isn’t too off-topic, but I’ve been reading “Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape”, by the niece of the current president, and wondering if Scientology has ever been investigated for child abuse or educational neglect. It certainly wasn’t normal the way she was raised – apart from her parents, only allowed contact a few hours a week (later not for years), hours of manual labor, hours of Scientology instruction, insufficient regular education, kept busy all day long with responsibilities far beyond her age (giving medical checks of kids and doling out vitamins at 7!) And why do former Scientologists always say they “escaped” as opposed to just leaving?
    (https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Belief-Secret-Scientology-Harrowing-ebook/dp/B008XOJ7C2/)

  35. Christiane wrote:

    I knew a woman who had been sexually abused by family members and her own mother looked away ….. this lady had suffered from a terrible inability to control what was happening to her as a child;
    and the way she acted it out was a kind of obsessive house-cleaning routine: everything had a place and everything in its place….immaculate …. she had to keep cleaning and scrubbing in order to be peaceful.

    AKA Carolyn Mahaney 101.

  36. Exit question: would anyone respect the neoCal membership contracts more if they actually wrote out a list like this?

  37. Lea wrote:

    And I don’t like every crime like this being laid at the foot of mental illness. I’ve been reading Bancroft’s book about abusers and he talks at one point iirc about how some of these men act crazy to throw people off, and then in reality they are cold and calculating about what they’ve done.

    The equivalent of a Twinkie Defense Insanity Plea.

  38. Stan wrote:

    Exit question: would anyone respect the neoCal membership contracts more if they actually wrote out a list like this?

    They’d at least be up front about being control freaks.

  39. @ Dale:
    14 comments in and Dale’s first comment goes right into NO POPERY!
    Can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

    Take it to the open discussion thread; while everyone’s going back-and-forth over NO POPERY! WOFF’s abuse sails right through like Golden Compass during the Harry Potter Witchcraft Panic.

  40. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Stan wrote:
    Exit question: would anyone respect the neoCal membership contracts more if they actually wrote out a list like this?

    They’d at least be up front about being control freaks.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I was going to say vague rules can be even worse than this list, because you can break the ‘rules’ that you didn’t know about at any time, like Karen Hinkley broke the unwritten rule of not getting an annulment. But then I remember they have rules like ‘don’t read the bible ‘too much” which is also vague. So basically they’ve got you coming and going on this one.

  41. Christiane wrote:

    Whalley’s behaviors are extreme. Why? What led her to be such a person? What does her controlling abuse of others feed and what does it feed off of? I’d like to know.

    I don’t give a hoot about Whaley. I’m more concerned about her victims – the young ones, in particular. Regardless of what causes Whaley to be the way she is, someone needs to stop her.

  42. NJ wrote:

    Don’ts –(this is a partial “living” list…at times, it takes on a life of its own, continuing to grow..)
    Seriously, is this line part of the original document? The language used sounds like something a critic would write. If not, then it’s highly telling.

    Hi there,
    I am pretty sure there is no original document, though I belive the list is real. How that? I think this is a list of unwritten rules, told to the members step by step. An ex-member seems to have written down this list with some satirical exaggeration – the “death may be an excuse” part is a clear sign for that. Plus no church would tell new members from the beginning: “Hey, we gonna abuse you, come to us!” And the list is clearly telling this. On the other hand, satire normally has a true core. So I belive this list is a real one, but not in a physical sense – they are unwritten rules.
    Btw., unwritten rules have one more advantage (from the abuser’s point of view): Members cannot know unwritten rules completely from the beginning, so they will break them inevitably. This gives the abuser an excelent opportunity to humilate them and gain more power and control
    Greetings
    Exing

    PS: Oh, and first (comment by me on this blog ever).

  43. Lea said:

    “And I don’t like every crime like this being laid at the foot of mental illness. I’ve been reading Bancroft’s book about abusers and he talks at one point iirc about how some of these men act crazy to throw people off, and then in reality they are cold and calculating about what they’ve done.”

    Please, please hear what she’s saying. First, the Lundy book should be read by anyone who has lived with abuse, knows someone who has or does, or anyone curious about controlling behavior. Or anyone who wonders about the nature of evil. It’s revolutionary, but very well documented.

    Second, and this is the most important part to me, I agree 100% about crimes being attributed to mental illness. I know that’s not exactly what Christiane was saying, and reading here as I do, I believe in her kind heart. But just last night, my teenage daughter was sobbing in grief and fury about this. Why?

    She has a severe mental illness. She takes medications and receives therapy to help her manage it, and she’s got a blessedly strong will and backbone of steel. But she was deeply angry that she feels she can’t ever have a bad day, can’t ever be grouchy, can’t ever say something “mean” (even if just in the ears of the person who hears it – it might just be a strong opinion), or otherwise do anything that might be perceived as negative or a little strange because PEOPLE AUTOMATICALLY BLAME HER ILLNESS.

    I apologize for the all-caps, but I don’t know how to do bolding. But what my daughter was saying, and this is vital to understand, is that she feels society defines her by her illness. She is furious (and rightly so) that every evil act in the news is automatically blamed on the mentally ill – at least until proved otherwise.

    Do people with a mental illness sometimes perform heinous acts? Of course. But that doesn’t change the fact that speculation, or the assumption, or the expectation, or whatever, about a link between an evil action and mental illness is not just unfair, it’s terribly harmful to the mostly silent people living with a mental illness. Especially the more exotic illnesses, like psychotic or schizophrenic disorders. It’s demoralizing to people who already have the cards stacked against them and are doing everything they can to manage their illness.

    TL:DR – speculation about a link between evil and mental illness is extremely damaging to folks living with mental illness.

  44. Persephone wrote:

    But she was deeply angry that she feels she can’t ever have a bad day, can’t ever be grouchy, can’t ever say something “mean” (even if just in the ears of the person who hears it – it might just be a strong opinion), or otherwise do anything that might be perceived as negative or a little strange because PEOPLE AUTOMATICALLY BLAME HER ILLNESS.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. How terribly frustrating that must be!

  45. I wonder if there wasn’t a bias against “Inside Editions” reporting. “Inside Edition” was classed as a tabloid program, maybe not giving it the same gravitas a reporting by the mainstream network outlets. People saw it, not realizing this wasn’t another sensational story and promptly forgot it. I notice that Bill O’Reilly was reporting from the OJ Simpson trial

    In 1995 the Internet was in it’s infancy as far as disseminating such information.

    That being said, I really hope that law enforcement acts swiftly before we wind i a People’s Temple scenario (the cult either bolting to one of their out of country satellites and/or committing mass suicide) or (God forbid) a Branch Davidian type standoff.

  46. Arlene wrote:

    …wondering if Scientology has ever been investigated for child abuse or educational neglect.

    I can try to field this one, Arlene. Years ago, members of the Sea Organization (Scientology’s slave labour force — which they call “clergy”) had their kids separated from them most of the time, in order to get the most possible work out of the grown-ups. So the kids were pretty much sequestered in something called the “Cadet Org”; by all accounts, conditions there were squalid and disgusting, and adult supervision was incompetent or practically non-existent. I can’t remember whether anyone actually investigated, but I understand that word at least got out to the press. The PR stink led to the abolishment of the Cadet Org, and the implementation of the “no kids” rule for all Sea Org members.

    In general, it is very, very difficult for authorities to investigate the Co$. When members escape (and yes, most members, especially in the Sea Org, actually have to escape) it often takes a long time for them to sort out what was done to them. That leads to statute of limitations problems. Furthermore, Scientology has a reputed billion-dollar war chest, and a gaggle of lawyers on permanent retainer. They’ll make any legal process as drawn-out and painful as possible, all the while screaming “Freedom of religion!!” I’m afraid that most authorities conclude that they simply don’t have the budget to outlast the cult, no matter how much they might want to.

    If you search journalist Tony Ortega’s blog (tonyortega.org), you can find out more. Probably more than you bargained for.

  47. P.S. to my comment above: I doubt that Whaley has a billion dollars at her disposal, but I fear that any action by law enforcement against the Word of Faith cult is going to face similar problems. Hopefully, they’ll be wise enough to figure out a way around those obstacles.

  48. Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    I fear that any action by law enforcement against the Word of Faith cult is going to face similar problems.

    It’s probably tricky in a voluntary organization because ‘being controlling’ is not necessarily against the law. Abuse is, but then you have to have evidence and if the whole places closes ranks? Difficult. Even without a war chest.

    I’m not extremely familiar with scientology but a girl in my freshman dorm dropped out of school because she got mixed up with them and decided to work for them firsthand, and that always seemed rather cultish to me and was basically my first exposure to the group.

  49. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    14 comments in and Dale’s first comment goes right into NO POPERY!
    Can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
    Take it to the open discussion thread; while everyone’s going back-and-forth over NO POPERY! WOFF’s abuse sails right through like Golden Compass during the Harry Potter Witchcraft Panic.

    Agreed. This is way off topic as far as the Word of Faith cult is concerned. It’s getting annoying.

    I see WoF not so much a “Christian cult” but more akin to cults of personality like Kim Il Sung or Josef Stalin, or Hitler – other cults you could mention with unhappy endings would be The Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate cults.

    Where the WoF situation serves as a sentinel to the Christian community would be a case study of where the worst of authoritarian religious belief can lead. WoF members are not uneducated, nor are they “evil” in the strictest sense – or at least most of them didn’t start that way. Anyone can fall under their spell and when we talk about guys like Steve Furtick or Doug Wilson, these churches could go the way of WoF – and some would state they are down that road already. It’s the insidiousness of it, like being slowly sucked into black hole – pass the event horizon and you are trapped in the leaders delusions, a cultic singularity.

    When this cult finally implodes – so much counselling is going to be needed. When these folks realize what they’ve been a part of…

  50. NJ wrote:

    I must say, Jane Whaley is a remarkable woman. She has succeeded in outdoing Bill Gothard, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, old school fundamentalists, Scientology, and most of the patriarchy movement.

    Oh, Whaley’s impressive, in her own twisted way. But as far as I’m concerned, she has yet to outdo Scientology. The scale and scope of their evil and spiritual abuse is simply not to be believed.

    I agree, though, that the more I learn about Word of Faith Fellowship, the more it resembles the Co$. Especially in view of their recent actions: a propaganda website, complete with videos of zombified members, forced to denounce their “apostate” relatives and accuse them of all kinds of horrible things. Smiling on command all the while.

    Whaley has learned from Hubbard’s playbook well… though I wonder how long she can hold it all together. Even Scientology is slowly falling apart, cracking under the weight of its own greed and lies, and crumbling in the light of day. I can’t imagine WoFC bearing up any better, at least not for long.

  51. Lea wrote:

    I was going to say vague rules can be even worse than this list, because you can break the ‘rules’ that you didn’t know about at any time, like Karen Hinkley broke the unwritten rule of not getting an annulment. But then I remember they have rules like ‘don’t read the bible ‘too much” which is also vague. So basically they’ve got you coming and going on this one.

    Like “Hooliganism” in the Russian penal code. So vaguely defined it can apply to anything — anything Putin or his FSB say it is.

  52. Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    I agree, though, that the more I learn about Word of Faith Fellowship, the more it resembles the Co$. Especially in view of their recent actions: a propaganda website, complete with videos of zombified members, forced to denounce their “apostate” relatives and accuse them of all kinds of horrible things. Smiling on command all the while.

    Whaley has learned from Hubbard’s playbook well…

    Make that Hubbard’s and Miscavage’s playbook.

    (And if WOFF lasts that long, things could get REAL interesting when it comes to who gets to succeed Whaley. Miscavage was NOT Elron’s chosen successor — at least not until Elron completely revised his succession plan only hours before his sudden death. Only Inner Ring Scientologists saw the body and did the legal papers before the cremation. Then Miscavage produced the revised LRH succession plan and Elron’s original successor disappeared (or was disappeared) into RPF and The Hole at Gold Base….)

    P.S. Miscavage was not only Commander of Sea Org but had been raised in Cadet Org as Elron’s protégé.

  53. Jack wrote:

    I see WoF not so much a “Christian cult” but more akin to cults of personality like Kim Il Sung or Josef Stalin, or Hitler – other cults you could mention with unhappy endings would be The Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate cults.

    And the type example of them all — JONESTOWN!

  54. Stan wrote:

    I’m down with no cargo shorts and keeping your car tags current. Those are some great rules. But can you still play cards, just not with a regular deck? Do they have their own alternative?

    Several of the rules would require great, ahem, spiritual discernment.

    115. Don’t play or imitate an “air guitar”.

    How could you tell the difference?

  55. Please forgive me here and I’m not trying to mean but it’s just…WOW.

    The list of do’s and don’ts… Are we sure on them? NOTHING can be that stupid, and a church that size have that many people following them? If that is for real… there is no hope.

    I was actually looking for a line item on when, how and how many times a week I could have… you know “relations” with my wife. I’m sure is there somewhere..

  56. Dale wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    No, Dale, you got it wrong. I am citing what actually happened, not some fiction based on petty prejudice.
    http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/translator-william-tyndale-strangled-and-burned-11629961.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wycliffe's_Bible

    Dale,

    Using your logic we can go ahead and write off Protestants, including in America,
    because after all they had punitive documents to control peoples’ lives and the
    Salem Witch Trials.

    An entire denomination – the Southern Baptists – was started just to support its members who owned slaves and supported slavery. So no good could ever be possibly found within their ranks, right?

  57. When I read the rules I thought it rather looked like a set of family rules. And of course there is grandmother at the top of the heap. And there is religion but aside from the abuse (and there is no excuse for the abuse) their religion does not look all that much different from any number of strict pentecostal groups. But there are so many folks there. And some of them are educated professionals. What is this anyhow and what is going on.

    I think it has many characteristics of a clan. We have clans in NC. Due west of this place a few counties is the eastern band of the Cherokee. Due north we have residuals of a Scottish clan. The idea of clan is not foreign to Appalachia in NC. The emotional draw may be to be part of a larger group than family which shares many characteristics of family and with which one can identify and call ‘us’ based on similarity if not actual genetic lineage. Clan/clannishness is seen in the secrecy. Using the clan image then she would be the functioning matriarch of the clan.

    That makes more sense to me than saying that some 700 or so people in that small town may have come down with mental illness.

  58. okrapod wrote:

    The idea of clan is not foreign to Appalachia in NC. The emotional draw may be to be part of a larger group than family which shares many characteristics of family and with which one can identify and call ‘us’ based on similarity if not actual genetic lineage. Clan/clannishness is seen in the secrecy. Using the clan image then she would be the functioning matriarch of the clan.

    that is an interesting insight, OKRAPOD

    I started thinking about ‘clan’ behavior and the ‘secrecy’ thing;
    and I thought about that film ‘Winter’s Bone’ where the Dolly clan has such a demanding and sometimes cruel code of honor that even the most outlaw-type members of the extended Dolly family persist in enforcing on themselves; by their code of silence and the subsequent punishments they have for those who break it, there is some indication of their faith in their ability to control community behavior.

    I can see the fear and the punishment and the code of silence (secrecy) being ‘clan behavior’ among the Whalley group when I remember the way the Dolly clan was portrayed in ‘Winter’s Bone’. I guess the clan behavior thing is not all fiction ….. who knew?

  59. Christiane wrote:

    I guess the clan behavior thing is not all fiction …

    Not at all. There was a book/movie Winter People about Appalachia clan thinking in 1934. Really good.

    I know somebody whose grandmother? great grandmother? was born a Campbell in NC. She married out of the clan and was disowned by the clan. It is all very real, though not really dramatic or dangerous or of cinematic value. Mostly just a bit colorful from my standpoint.

  60. okrapod wrote:

    I think it has many characteristics of a clan. We have clans in NC. Due west of this place a few counties is the eastern band of the Cherokee. Due north we have residuals of a Scottish clan. The idea of clan is not foreign to Appalachia in NC. The emotional draw may be to be part of a larger group than family which shares many characteristics of family and with which one can identify and call ‘us’ based on similarity if not actual genetic lineage. Clan/clannishness is seen in the secrecy. Using the clan image then she would be the functioning matriarch of the clan.

    So this is Appalachian Mountain Culture gone sour.

  61. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    So this is Appalachian Mountain Culture gone sour.

    Well, I like appalachian mountain culture, and a lot of it now is yankees who came down here to retire, so I don’t mean to suggest that this is typical, only that I see something it might be related to.

  62. Exing wrote:

    Btw., unwritten rules have one more advantage (from the abuser’s point of view): Members cannot know unwritten rules completely from the beginning, so they will break them inevitably. This gives the abuser an excelent opportunity to humilate them and gain more power and control
    Greetings
    Exing

    Welcome, Exing. Great point. The unwritten rules are something that’s more implied and you pick it up over time with careful watching but you can never be sure or confident. You’re always chasing after approval.

    In one of the articles I read, it sounded like members were love bombed and the control and abuse surfaced after they had separated themselves from all of their other connections.

  63. Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley’s son-in-law and lives in her house, also helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents, according to nine former members.”

    There needs to be consequences for this. These people deserve jail time, in my opinion.

  64. okrapod wrote:

    a lot of it now is yankees who came down here to retire

    And that may be part of the problem. I remember my parents telling me about some extended family members who moved to the mountains of North Carolina to retire. The local residents were not very excited about the flood of newcomers moving into the area. The irony is that the extended family who moved there were themselves “natives” who had been “displaced” by “newcomers” and did not like the change.

    When people feel threatened by real or imagined change, we cling to what is familiar. Tribalism is a thing for a good reason.

  65. ishy wrote:

    The line that really gets me is, “Your enjoyment of your time with us will mainly be determined by how well you follow these rules”

    This is the kind of thing you’d be told entering a prison or concentration camp.

  66. siteseer wrote:

    I do agree that it gets old. I am sick of the Catholic church being brought into every single discussion here.

    I, too, am tiring of the Catholic references, pro or con, in these comment threads. There have been times when heated discussions erupt regarding Catholicism (or whatever) that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. I can remember several instances when I have pleaded with commenters to PLEASE stick to the post topic. For a brief time the dialog gets back on track; however, it no time at all, the discussion gets hijacked again.

    Lately when it happens, I just gloss over all the comments dealing with Catholicism (pro or con) because to be absolutely frank, I don’t have time to read them or act as referee.

    Dee and I have made HUGE sacrifices to keep this blog going. While I don’t mind commenters going off on tangents from time to time, I don’t believe the Catholic tangent is ever helpful.

    Please know that I love you guys and want you to continue to comment, but I urge you to stay on topic for everyone’s sake. Thanks in advance for your cooperation. 🙂

    BTW, these are my sentiments, and I am not speaking for Dee.

  67. @ Velour:
    Sorry that I don’t have time to follow the Open Discussion and know what’s going on over there. It’s all I can do to post once or twice a week, prepare the EChurch each weekend, and try to keep up with comments under our posts.
    😉

  68. Deb wrote:

    @ Velour:
    Sorry that I don’t have time to follow the Open Discussion and know what’s going on over there. It’s all I can do to post once or twice a week, prepare the EChurch each weekend, and try to keep up with comments under our posts.

    Thanks, sweetie! We all appreciate your hard work. You and Dee are gems.

  69. okrapod wrote:

    When I read the rules I thought it rather looked like a set of family rules. And of course there is grandmother at the top of the heap. And there is religion but aside from the abuse (and there is no excuse for the abuse) their religion does not look all that much different from any number of strict pentecostal groups. But there are so many folks there. And some of them are educated professionals. What is this anyhow and what is going on.
    I think it has many characteristics of a clan. We have clans in NC. Due west of this place a few counties is the eastern band of the Cherokee. Due north we have residuals of a Scottish clan. The idea of clan is not foreign to Appalachia in NC. The emotional draw may be to be part of a larger group than family which shares many characteristics of family and with which one can identify and call ‘us’ based on similarity if not actual genetic lineage. Clan/clannishness is seen in the secrecy. Using the clan image then she would be the functioning matriarch of the clan.
    That makes more sense to me than saying that some 700 or so people in that small town may have come down with mental illness.

    Clans are all over the South. I taught in small towns all over East Texas my entire career and all were clans. Every FBC is clannish. While new members are encouraged, 20 years of membership and you’re still not quite accepted in the clan.
    My one of my favorite jokes- A man moved to a town in East Texas at 6 years old, after college, he moved back home and established a business that employed many of the town’s residents. He was well liked by his workers, was a deacon at the Baptist Church, was a member of the Optimists, the Rotary Club, and was Chairman of the Town’s Parade. He was always the first to donate to any charity or case…..when he died, the following was inscribed on his gravestone….” He was almost one of us.”

  70. @ JYJames:
    Thanks. I see ALL of us as a team working together to shine the light in some dark corners of Christendom. Sure, detractors will stop by from time to time when we step on the toes of their heroes, but I think we are collectively doing something important here. I get discouraged when I see our work getting derailed. It seems so counterproductive.

  71. Deb wrote:

    I think we are collectively doing something important here.

    Yes! Again, I am so thankful, for this whole team, and especially for you and Dee doing the blog in the first place. We are all so blessed here.

  72. Deb wrote:

    shine the light in some dark corners of Christendom

    God’s answer to my prayer. Interesting how in reading the comments, there have been many epiphanies for me, from many different people. We are a global community, seeking answers, sharing insights, finding truth.

  73. JYJames wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    shine the light in some dark corners of Christendom
    God’s answer to my prayer. Interesting how in reading the comments, there have been many epiphanies for me, from many different people. We are a global community, seeking answers, sharing insights, finding truth.

    Yes indeed, JYJames! I’m especially appreciative of TWW because of the work being done to address abusive situations within various religious entities. I have especially been thankful for the comment section where a broad range of voices have added to the conversation. This is not an echo chamber for sure.

  74. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    If Satan ever had a plot to take out the American church, he can sit back and smoke a joint. Between the Neo-Cals on one side and the CRAZIES on the other, he just has to bide his time.

    “I rode a tank
    Held a general’s rank
    When the blitzkrieg raged
    And the bodies stank

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
    Ah, what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
    (Woo woo, woo woo)…”

  75. Exing – Welcome. Your post makes sense – that this list was compiled by an ex-member based on personal experiences and I’d bet other members would add items based on their own individual interests. For example, if someone truly loved flower arranging and what’s her name wanted to add control or to teach that member a lesson, perhaps cutting flowers off plants would become a don’t. Whatever your inherent interest (air guitar), it would quickly become forbidden, so that the only thing left in life was Service.

    On another note – screaming at people dislodges demonic possession? I’d think the demons would love that type of chaotic attention. But what so I know? Im not a demon expert. SMH

  76. Remnant wrote:

    On another note – screaming at people dislodges demonic possession? I’d think the demons would love that type of chaotic attention.

    I wondered about this …. those beatings also … so filled with something not of Christ, especially when directed towards the little ones

    demonic behavior may be an extreme way to describe the Whalley scene, but certainly if the angels and the devils are standing witness to it, the devils would rejoice and the angels would weep

  77. @ Remnant:

    What you said about inherent interests being forbidden so nothing is left but service to the church, reminded me of Piper’s comments on owning a dog. They can become a distraction from God, after all. Just like pretty much anything. Sometimes I suspect John Piper of being a reincarnated monk. 😉

  78. NJ wrote:

    @ Remnant:

    What you said about inherent interests being forbidden so nothing is left but service to the church, reminded me of Piper’s comments on owning a dog. They can become a distraction from God, after all. Just like pretty much anything. Sometimes I suspect John Piper of being a reincarnated monk.

    “The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God” (Annie LaMott)

    I guess Anne LaMott would disagree with Piper. 🙂

  79. NJ wrote:

    What you said about inherent interests being forbidden so nothing is left but service to the church, reminded me of Piper’s comments on owning a dog. They can become a distraction from God, after all. Just like pretty much anything. Sometimes I suspect John Piper of being a reincarnated monk.

    Until Piper gives up his ministry on account of it being a prideful thing to him, I can’t take him seriously in what does and does not bring glory to God. His pride overshadows every live broadcast he does.

    And he’s made comments about how comfortable his life is, and how his wife’s duty is to wait on him hand and foot. I don’t think he’d survive in a ministry that actually works directly with people.

  80. ishy wrote:

    Until Piper gives up his ministry on account of it being a prideful thing to him, I can’t take him seriously in what does and does not bring glory to God.

    He went off about tornados again yesterday I think! Why anyone listens to that man is a complete mystery to me.

  81. When I listened to the videos, I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of evil. I’m sure many of you felt the same way. It was the Holy Spirit bearing witness with my soul. I don’t know how those that attend WOFF can’t feel and sense this. It brought chills up and down my spine. Listening to Jane scream at the young man to stop that, sounded like something out of “The Exorcist”.

    Jane Whaley belong in jail along with many of the other members of the congregation. But once in jail, she would start screaming and yelling so much, that they would put her in a psych ward at a hospital, and hopefully throw away the key. Evilness like she is exhibiting needs to be done away with.

  82. “How has WOFF been able to operate for all these years despite serious accusations of abuse?”

    Leaders like these would have no stage if they didn’t have an audience to keep them there. The WOFF story is just one more sad chapter in a sad book proving that church folks are some of the most gullible people on the planet. Cults exist because members surrender individual and group critical thinking. If you are in a “church” in which you find yourself trending toward a psychological and physical dependency on the system being served up, get the heck out of there! There is freedom in Christ, not bondage.

  83. Dee, I grew up in the town right beside Spindale. One of my teachers went to WOFF. She was an amazing woman who loved Jesus, supported me when I needed help, and was one of the few people who understood that something was wrong in my family.

    However, when the Inside Edition show came out, and I asked her 1-on-1 about its contents, I knew she was hiding something. 🙁 It was one of the few times in my teen years when I realized that people who hide the truth have common behaviors.

    I could also tell that she was reciting something, as if she’d practiced this line over and over again.

    I was sixteen years old–there wasn’t a thing I could do to help. 🙁

    But I pray that she’s out now, and I pray for the people who were trapped in this cult.

    The thing about the community I grew up in is that it doesn’t allow for much deviance in any behavior or social norms. Racism is still rampant. Everyone knows everyone else. No one wants to believe anything is “really” wrong with people that they’ve known all their lives. 🙁

    “Go along to get along” is a theme. 🙁

    Remember witnesses said that they saw people from this church with bruises all over them? And yet they didn’t say anything? No one in the community I grew up in SAYS anything. 🙁

  84. Harley wrote:

    When I listened to the videos, I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of evil. I’m sure many of you felt the same way. It was the Holy Spirit bearing witness with my soul. I don’t know how those that attend WOFF can’t feel and sense this. It brought chills up and down my spine. Listening to Jane scream at the young man to stop that, sounded like something out of “The Exorcist”.

    It’s difficult to imagine because that’s *not* the introduction people have to a cult leader. People are introduced via “love bombing,” and the immediate meeting of some need. Then, when they see horrible behavior like this, their reaction is, “This is what produced the good fruit that I saw? Well, I can deal with it. No one else was there for me.” 🙁

  85. Ha! I love how, in the Inside Edition video, Jane Whaley starts by saying, “Entirely true.” Then switches to “Entirely untrue.”

  86. ishy wrote:

    Until Piper gives up his ministry on account of it being a prideful thing to him, I can’t take him seriously in what does and does not bring glory to God. His pride overshadows every live broadcast he does.

    Just the fact that he thinks he knows what best brings glory to God in “everyone’s” life is a huge problem.

  87. XianJaneway wrote:

    No one in the community I grew up in SAYS anything.

    a popular Sicilian proverb:
    Cu è surdu, orbu e taci, campa cent’anni ‘mpaci (“He who is deaf, blind, and silent will live a hundred years in peace”)

    cults, clans, the mafia: the code of silence seeps into the groundwater and after a while the fear is felt also by those in the larger community

  88. XianJaneway wrote:

    Remember witnesses said that they saw people from this church with bruises all over them? And yet they didn’t say anything? No one in the community I grew up in SAYS anything.

    ….. Just like in street gangs and the mafia. They think they are protecting the community by keeping their mouths shut.

  89. XianJaneway wrote:

    Ha! I love how, in the Inside Edition video, Jane Whaley starts by saying, “Entirely true.” Then switches to “Entirely untrue.”

    Seriously?

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. amazing that you knew someone personally!

  90. XianJaneway wrote:

    One of my teachers went to WOFF. She was an amazing woman who loved Jesus, supported me when I needed help, and was one of the few people who understood that something was wrong in my family.

    And this is how XianJaneway gives a human face to the nameless mass of folk entwined in WoFF, causing me to rearrange a bit of my inherent judgementalism towards the members. I am opening gates of compassion and love towards those (adults)
    who were seeking love and found a hissing snake instead.

  91. If WoFF thinks that they can bamboozle the fine folks at TWW by posting videos of former members who once stood beside Jane and lied on her behalf by saying, “Look, there is a liar in the Camp!” they need to think again.

  92. Remnant wrote:

    XianJaneway wrote:
    One of my teachers went to WOFF. She was an amazing woman who loved Jesus, supported me when I needed help, and was one of the few people who understood that something was wrong in my family.
    And this is how XianJaneway gives a human face to the nameless mass of folk entwined in WoFF, causing me to rearrange a bit of my inherent judgementalism towards the members. I am opening gates of compassion and love towards those (adults)
    who were seeking love and found a hissing snake instead.

    Thank you, Remnant. I’m starting to think this is my ministry–giving abstract concepts and presuppositions an actual name and face. And with that, understanding the consequences, the fruit of theology, and developing real-world solutions.

    Gah, what a Dilbert-sounding mission statement! But I can’t get away from it.

  93. Remnant wrote:

    If WoFF thinks that they can bamboozle the fine folks at TWW by posting videos of former members who once stood beside Jane and lied on her behalf by saying, “Look, there is a liar in the Camp!” they need to think again.

    BRAVO!!!!

  94. Remnant wrote:

    I am opening gates of compassion and love towards those (adults)
    who were seeking love and found a hissing snake instead.

    Yes, as we all should. Folks are drawn to places like this because they have a need to feel needed and loved, and to be nourished in the things of God. Surely, “church” is a place where you can find that! Surely, you can trust “pastors” to meet that need! Well, unfortunately, multitudes have found you just can’t walk into any place called a church and expect it to be a genuine called-by-God sanctuary for sheep. Wolves also go to church dressed as sheep; snakes lie camouflaged in the grass.

  95. Christiane wrote:

    XianJaneway wrote:
    No one in the community I grew up in SAYS anything.

    a popular Sicilian proverb:
    Cu è surdu, orbu e taci, campa cent’anni ‘mpaci (“He who is deaf, blind, and silent will live a hundred years in peace”)

    La Omerta.

    Because he who hears, sees, and speaks up has a Lupara in their future.

  96. Xian Janeway – And I completely understand!

    One day I may be free to share how my life is vaguely entwined with CLC and about how the devastating consequences of their theology and downfal directly affects my life.

    There is no way to quantify some of these things and trying to do so makes one sound like a spiritual nut.

    Your testimony about your teacher touched my heart and I thank you for that.

  97. Remnant wrote:

    If WoFF thinks that they can bamboozle the fine folks at TWW by posting videos of former members who once stood beside Jane and lied on her behalf by saying, “Look, there is a liar in the Camp!” they need to think again.

    You mean parading Traitors and Thought-Criminals before the Masses?

  98. Max wrote:

    Wolves also go to church dressed as sheep; snakes lie camouflaged in the grass.

    And sometimes they dress as pastors.

    That’s when it hurts worst – when snake pastors befriend you and then try to steal your reputation and business. And your children loose faith because of this former friend and ex-pastor.

  99. Remnant wrote:

    And sometimes they dress as pastors.

    Indeed! Since pastors are also sheep in the genuine Church, the counterfeit church deploys wolves dressed as sheep-pastors to deceive the flock.

  100. Max wrote:

    Remnant wrote:
    I am opening gates of compassion and love towards those (adults)
    who were seeking love and found a hissing snake instead.

    Yes, as we all should. Folks are drawn to places like this because they have a need to feel needed and loved, and to be nourished in the things of God

    I remember many years ago watching something on the Jonestown (ed.) massacre, and it talked about the wife of Jim (maybe?) who fought the killing until the children were gone and then she gave up and went to her death.

    That’s what I think of when I think of people getting sucked into cults and although its an awful story it helps me remember that some people fight and some people watch circumstances spin out of control and some people can’t get away.

  101. Lea wrote:

    some people fight … some people watch … some people can’t get away

    It should be obvious by now that the American church is in a war for the souls of men. The enemy of God is in the building – yes, even in some pulpits. Those who can fight need to enter the battle. Those who are paralyzed to the point of watching but doing nothing and those who are too weak to get away need you.

  102. Remnant wrote:

    If WoFF thinks that they can bamboozle the fine folks at TWW by posting videos of former members who once stood beside Jane and lied on her behalf by saying, “Look, there is a liar in the Camp!” they need to think again.

    All WoF has succeeded in doing is expose their own evil. They made it obvious that they train their young people to bear false witness. The word “Faith” in their moniker has no connection to God.

  103. Remnant wrote:

    For example, if someone truly loved flower arranging and what’s her name wanted to add control or to teach that member a lesson, perhaps cutting flowers off plants would become a don’t. Whatever your inherent interest (air guitar), it would quickly become forbidden, so that the only thing left in life was Service.

    Sounds like “Milieu Control”, one of Lifton’s Criteria of Thought Reform. Not that I’m surprised…

  104. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Reminds me of a riddle I’ve quoted here before:
    “What’s worse than a wolf in s

    I know it’s not funny, but I can’t help but think of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Ralph and Cartoons.

  105. Nancy2 wrote:

    All WoF has succeeded in doing is expose their own evil. They made it obvious that they train their young people to bear false witness.

    Takkiyeh.

  106. Nancy2 wrote:

    Serving Kids In Japan wrote:
    Reminds me of a riddle I’ve quoted here before:
    “What’s worse than a wolf in s

    I know it’s not funny, but I can’t help but think of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Ralph and Cartoons.

    Ralph the Wolf, i.e. Wile E Coyote’s OTHER speaking role.

  107. Max wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    some people fight … some people watch … some people can’t get away
    It should be obvious by now that the American church is in a war for the souls of men. The enemy of God is in the building – yes, even in some pulpits. Those who can fight need to enter the battle. Those who are paralyzed to the point of watching but doing nothing and those who are too weak to get away need you.

    Man, can I quote you in my blog? I could not have said it better.

  108. Remnant wrote:

    If WoFF thinks that they can bamboozle the fine folks at TWW by posting videos of former members who once stood beside Jane and lied on her behalf by saying, “Look, there is a liar in the Camp!” they need to think again.

    I was born on a Tuesday, but it wasn’t last Tuesday. Clearly, the WOFF leaders haven’t a clue about TWW.

  109. Nancy2 wrote:

    I know it’s not funny, but I can’t help but think of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Ralph and Cartoons.

    Porky Pig and Daffy Duck are my faves from those old cartoons.

  110. When I was a young child in Sunday School many many years ago, we sang this song – “The Devil is a sly old fox. If I could catch him I’d put him a box. I’d lock the box and throw away the away the key, for all the things he’s done to me.”

    I wander is WOFF teaches this song to the children.

  111. Nancy2 wrote:

    I know it’s not funny, but I can’t help but think of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Ralph and Cartoons.

    Ralph and Sam? Yeah, I remember those too. I hope that Whaley and the other leaders of this cult wind up just as unsuccessful as Ralph does — in every one of those episodes.

  112. Deb wrote:

    I was born on a Tuesday, but it wasn’t last Tuesday. Clearly, the WOFF leaders haven’t a clue about TWW

    Yet more parallels between the Co$ and this violent, evil cult. Like Miscavige, Whaley is evidently obsessed with her image in the outside world, and convinced in her own mind that videos like those on her website will “shudder us into silence”. After all, if it works on her poor, browbeaten followers, it must work on us. Right?

  113. okrapod wrote:

    The net is awash in pro-catholic apologetics as well as enough anti-catholicism to sink the Titanic. There is no dearth of words or sites regarding catholicism and catholic issues.

    Agreed! There are a number of websites that tackle problems within the Catholic Church. As I said before, I don't feel qualified to weigh in since I have never been Catholic.

    As an aside, I did enjoy the movie Spotlight (saw it with Dee and her hubby in the theater and later bought it on DVD,) and we wrote a blog post strongly endorsing it.

  114. @ Deb:

    You all do an awesome job in what you are currently doing. Like I say, I am sooo with you folks, and I am so proud of you all.

    We need a plural ‘you’ in modern English. This gets frustrating.

  115. okrapod wrote:

    The Deebs have never been catholics and have no personal experience to give them a base of authenticity for their opinions.

    Yes. It is hard to talk in depth about a system when you haven’t been inside of it or studied extensively. I think that’s why Leah Rehmi’s scientology show was so successful. She knew what she was talking about. Sometimes blogs have a scope and there is nothing wrong with that.

  116. NJ wrote:

    (Death, severe illness and surgery may be considered excused absences.)
    Death itself = an excused absence? Oh well, that’s a relief.

    Actually, that and some other things on there (the maybe’s) have caused me to wonder if this is a parody put on the web by someone with knowledge of the church dynamics. It’s not from the church website but a site on cults. I believe it’s probably pretty close to actual rules, but it does sound like a parody. That is not to say that I don’t think the abuse is real. 9 witnesses say it is. I believe them. But the list of rules… maybe, but possibly a parody.

  117. Christiane wrote:

    You worried about the film driving Jewish people away from recognizing the goodness of Our Lord, but nothing would be worse than disrespecting them with proselytization. The intent of proselytization is to insult, to show anger and to show disrespect, and it often ends in trying to intimidate and to make people fearful.

    Calvary Chapel on the street corner.
    Jack Chick Tracts.
    Tony Miano screaming into his Bullhorn.

    And I’m leery in general of “Messianic Jewish congregations” and “Jews for Jesus” types. When I encountered them (in the pressure cooker of SoCal), they always struck me as Calvary Chapels with a Jewish coat of paint and Hebrew Buzzword Bingo. None of the respect for learning and the arts and the wry humor I associate with Judaism, more like “HAVE YOU ACCEPTED YESHUA HA-MOSHIYAH AS YOUR PERSONAL ADONAI AND SAVIOR?????” (But then, CC was THE model for most ALL “non-denom Christian fellowships” of the period.)

  118. @ Deb:
    We are officially derailed. This morning’s fight over who is a Jew has taken us down a steep embankment and into an area that is, at a minimum, highly presumptuous.

  119. Christiane wrote:

    The intent of proselytization is to insult, to show anger and to show disrespect, and it often ends in trying to intimidate and to make people fearful.

    What? Insult? Show anger? Disrespect? Intimidate? Make fearful? That is not the meaning of proselytization.

  120. All ^that^ to say that I appreciate TWW for not being an Echo Chamber like so many other Christian blogs out there! 🙂

  121. Darlene wrote:

    Exactly. In that case, how about we delve into Once Saved Always Saved, or pre/mid/post Trib eschalogy, or Arminianism versus Calvinism, or Predestination versus Free Will, or any other number of doctrinal issues in which Christians disagree? Of course, dare I say, that if TWW became this kind of blog, they would no longer retain the same ethos. And they would be very much become like the myriad of other Christian blogs out there.

    Like these:
    http://i1.wp.com/www.nakedpastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/the-theologians.jpg

  122. “Now that the Word of Faith Fellowship has garnered widespread attention, we are praying fervently that the truth of what goes on behind closed doors will finally be revealed to a watching world.” (Deb)

    Long before this mess was revealed to the world, a disgusting stench had already WOFFed up to the nostrils of God. Nothing goes on behind closed doors with God – He sees, He knows, He judges.

  123. pros·e·lyt·ize
    ˈpräs(ə)ləˌtīz/
    verb

    Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.

    Advocate or promote (a belief or course of action).

  124. siteseer wrote:

    Good to see this in the news today:
    Prosecutors gone from jobs after AP report on church abuse
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BROKEN_FAITH?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-10-11-16-55

    Good for the AP. The Associated Press worked a very long time to get this out into the open in a visible and effective way. This is so much like the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team’s efforts to expose clergy abuse.

    Part of the problem in Boston was that earlier accounts appeared isolated, or did not gain traction because of public distaste for the information, or did not have sympathetic characters presenting the information. The Globe itself was complicit in keeping the story obscure for a long time, by not connecting the dots and not looking for the full international scope of the problem.

  125. @ siteseer:
    my thought is that ‘proselytization’ is no way the same as ‘to evangel’ (euongelion)

    euongelion means ‘to bring the Good News’ and it is not a logical argument meant to change someone from one religion to another, no.

    Euongelion means to PROCLAIM the Good News:
    it’s a proclamation made with joy by people of faith

    the ‘logical’ arguments pale in comparison, especially when they involve the strident techniques used by some to disrespect and attack the faith of others that is meaningful for them

    I would say that Christ sent those He had formed according to His own mind and heart forward into the world to proclaim the Good News.

    I would say that the most powerful phrase spoken by the early Christians to the world was ‘He is Risen’; that the proclamation of Jesus Christ Risen From the Dead drew many to the early Church; as it was the first time they had ever been given hope that they might see their departed loved ones again.

    I would also say it remains at the heart of Christian euongelion: He Is Risen! Alleluia

    Logical? 🙂 Or something ‘else’ that when first heard, resounded very deeply within the souls of those who heard the Good News?
    When this chord of recognition resonated within them, they experienced something far more authoritative than any man-made logic: they experienced an awakening by grace of a hope that is anchored beyond this Earth.

    The ‘Gospel’ is not to be argued logically;
    it is meant to be PROCLAIMED. 🙂

  126. siteseer wrote:

    pros·e·lyt·ize
    ˈpräs(ə)ləˌtīz/
    verb
    Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.
    Advocate or promote (a belief or course of action).

    Yes. I don’t see it as Christiane described it either. We have to at least have the same definition of words when we talk about them or we end up in a muddle.

  127. Question… Has anyone ever questioned if any of this is even truth??? It’s generally wide spread knowledge that the media is NOT reliable and truthful but generates stories to make them ‘interesting’ to the reader. It’s sad that reporters will publish stories stories without going to all sources first.

  128. User wrote:

    Has anyone ever questioned if any of this is even truth???

    I doubt that a North Carolina district attorney would terminate two prosecuting attorneys who worked for him after investigating their membership at WOFF and active participation in member “trials” there. District attorneys are all about getting at truth, you know.

    See AP news report provided by Friend in an upstream comment: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BROKEN_FAITH?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-10-11-16-55

  129. @ Velour:

    What a disgrace, sickening. Disbar these attorneys, immediately, and arrest the owners, prosecute, to the highest extent, by the law. And these crooked hillbillies attorneys run our legal system, utter disgust!!! State plea for justice, for the people***

  130. User wrote:

    Question… Has anyone ever questioned if any of this is even truth??? It’s generally wide spread knowledge that the media is NOT reliable and truthful but generates stories to make them ‘interesting’ to the reader. It’s sad that reporters will publish stories stories without going to all sources first.

    And the WOFF Damage Control continues….

    Ever notice how all these Anons come out of the woodwork counter-accusing and blame-shifting every time their MoG is blasphemed? In this case, playing the Lying Liberal Media card.

  131. Stan wrote:

    But can you still play cards, just not with a regular deck? Do they have their own alternative?

    As long as you use a Pastor-approved CHRISTIAN deck.

    “And you’ll only drink milk
    If it comes from a CHRISTIAN cow…”
    — Steve Taylor, “Guilty by Association”

  132. I read the book by John Huddle, “Locked In,” and I got a deeper understanding of the Word of Faith church. Whaley misinterpreted several scriptures in the Old Testament to justify “blasting.” Biblically, when Jesus casted demons out of people, they were free instantly. Conversely, Whaley claims people have to get more deliverences. This is where the abuses come from. I fear that if the worst happens, extensive counseling and deprogramming may be needed to get people back on course.

  133. Velour wrote:

    Deb wrote:

    @ Velour:
    Since this so-called church is in North Carolina, you can be sure we will keep the heat up on them.
    As a native North Carolinian, I am embarrassed by this cultish group.

    Yes, they are an embarrassment to your state. Sadly, such groups are found in every state.
    The level of abuse is just shocking.

    I hope those prosecutors who violated legal ethics face disciplinary action against their law licenses. They are a disgrace to the profession. They do know better and didn’t do better. They shouldn’t have licenses.

    @ Johnny Hopkins:
    Definitely agree.

  134. Remnant wrote:

    For example, if someone truly loved flower arranging and what’s her name wanted to add control or to teach that member a lesson, perhaps cutting flowers off plants would become a don’t. Whatever your inherent interest (air guitar), it would quickly become forbidden, so that the only thing left in life was Service.

    Until everything except Service(TM) is Forbidden and what is not Forbidden is Absolutely Compulsory.

    Saw that one in action, except instead of Service(TM), it was SCRIPTURE(!) and Witnessing(!) Seemed to be endemic to the Calvary Chapel clones that dominated my time in-country; this was also during the Late Cold War/Late Great Planet Earth period so there was no Future to get in the way.

  135. Remnant wrote:

    On another note – screaming at people dislodges demonic possession? I’d think the demons would love that type of chaotic attention. But what so I know? Im not a demon expert. SMH

    Maybe it works on Body Thetans?

    Because that sounds a lot like a Scientology training drill called “Bear Baiting”.
    Or another Scientology security interrogation drill called a “Gang Bang Sec Check”.

  136. I was a victim of that place for almost a decade, I spent my whole childhood there. I can tell you that the do and do not list is entirely accurate. We have all discussed this: that list isn’t complete, but it does give a good beginners guide to the WOFF. And all of the rules posted are 100% accurate. I might sound like some guy posting a comment, but I did go there for a long time, and the investigation that AP did barely skims the surface of what real life was like there.

  137. @ User:
    User wrote:

    Question… Has anyone ever questioned if any of this is even truth??? It’s generally wide spread knowledge that the media is NOT reliable and truthful but generates stories to make them ‘interesting’ to the reader. It’s sad that reporters will publish stories stories without going to all sources first.

    Oh yes it’s all very true. My name is Benjamin Carmona, I went to the WOFF for my whole childhood. All of this is entirely true. The investigation that the AP did barely touched the entire truth of what happened there, but it’s a great start. As far as the list of do and do nots: those are entirely true too. My friends and I still have nightmares and continuous post traumatic experiences because of our upbringing there. It may be hard to believe but it is all true: my friends and I have all been isolated, beaten, yelled at, sleep deprived, etc. All in the name of God, too. They call themselves Christians but they aren’t even anything close. They operate counter to the very fundamentals of Christianity; there website might say different, but do you expect an organization that overlooks child abuse and human suffering to be a truth telling organization?

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