"An Associated Press investigation has found that Word of Faith Fellowship used its two church branches in Latin America’s largest nation to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale."
The Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale has been making headlines over the last few days in North Carolina (where the church is located), as well as all over the blogosphere. On Monday The Charlotte Observer reported on allegations of trafficking members from two sister churches in Brazil to the WOFF compound here in North Carolina. Then yesterday our local newspaper The News and Observer prominently featured this story on the front page.
We are grateful that the Associated Press (AP) has been diligently digging for the truth, and we pray they are able to uncover every hidden secret about WOFF, which is headquartered in Spindale. Here is an excerpt from Monday's AP article:
“They trafficked us up here. They knew what they were doing. They needed labor and we were cheap labor — hell, free labor,” Oliveira said.
An Associated Press investigation has found that Word of Faith Fellowship used its two church branches in Latin America’s largest nation to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale.
And here is a short clip that summarizes the allegations against WOFF Spindale.
For additional information, see our previous post.
When we first wrote about the Word of Faith Fellowship just four months ago here and here, we included a 1995 segment from Inside Edition focusing on this so-called church (see below). I decided to watch it again and was STUNNED by what I heard starting at the 7:10 mark. I had been so overwhelmed by the rest of the video that I somehow overlooked this part, which is now proving to be extremely significant.
Officer Chris Justice of the Spindale Police Department once helped a Brazilian man who was desperate to get away [from the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale] but he had no transportation, and the church was holding his things. Here is what that Inside Edition clip revealed:
He [the Brazilian man] was trying to leave and they wouldn't take him anywhere. They wouldn't help him get his baggage… Where I made the mistake is I went to a travel agency a few minutes afterwards, and he got plane tickets to go to New York. But then when church members telephoned the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department to claim the Brazilian man was a missing person, the case took a rather unconventional turn. Deputies investigated and found out the man was indeed headed out of here and onto New York. And then that information was leaked right back to the church. And the next morning the officer says a church member ambushed them at the airport to insist unsuccessfully that the man return to the Word of Faith.
Please take the time to watch this important video below.
Remember, this aired 22 years ago! Based on this information, we now know that WOFF was bringing Brazilians to its Spindale compound at least two decades ago! The church was established in 1979.
Pay close attention to the large homes featured in the Inside Edition video. Are these the residences where these Brazilians are allegedly being forced to work?
Inside Edition did a follow-up story that was also extremely disturbing (see below).
Over the years, a number of members have escaped the clutches of Jane Whaley, who co-founded the church along with her husband and who purportedly controls everyone and everything at the Word of Faith Fellowship.
John Huddle and his family first got involved in WOFF Spindale in 2002. Six years later, John felt he had no choice but to leave the fellowship. Because his wife and two children are extremely loyal to Jane, that meant having to leave them behind in order to escape this cultish organization…
Since his departure in 2008, John Huddle has written a book entitled Locked In: My Imprisoned Years in a Destructive Cult, which is available on Amazon.
After publishing his book, Huddle was interviewed by the media. (see clip below)
The back cover of John Huddle's book gives an overview of his experience at WOFF Spindale.
Be sure to check out the Rules for New Members that John Huddle mentioned. Some claim this list is bogus, but given the hyper-control that Jane Whaley exercises over the congregation, does anyone doubt that the list is authentic?
John Huddle's ex-wife and two children are featured on the church website. (see below)
So who appears to be more believable – John Huddle or his ex-wife and children?
The number of videos focusing on problems at WOFF Spindale is growing, and here are just a few of them that we recommend.
And those two district attorneys who were coaching WOFF members about what to say during an active investigation against the church were dismissed back in March. One of them was Jane Whaley's son-in-law.
Here is an excerpt from a March 10, 2017 U.S. News and World Report article entitled Prosecutors Gone From Jobs After AP Report on Church Abuse:
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."
The ex-congregants also said that Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law [emphasis mine], helped disrupt a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015, and had attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents.
Folks, there's something rotten in Denmark — make that 'SPIN'dale.
Why does the mother church have to be located in North Carolina OF ALL PLACES???