A few days ago, I received an email from Kristel Leonard. She is a former longtime member of Word of Life Christian Church (WOLCC) in Chadwicks, New York. Her message to me offered to answer questions about her brothers, Lucas and Christopher Leonard. I immediately became interested in her perspective and story. Recently, she publically began speaking out about the damaging effects of mind control. Today’s post is about Monday’s sentencing hearing. In a future post we will hear from Kristel as she recalls her time inside WOLCC and her exit from the group.
As a review:
On Sunday, October 11, 2015; Lucas and his younger brother, Christopher, were called into a “counseling session” by the leader of WOLCC church. Pastor Tiffanie Irwin arranged the meeting which stretched into the wee hours of the next morning. From what authorities learned later, the two teens confessed to sins never committed in an effort to be expelled from the group that after many years they wanted to leave. Investigations revealed these feigned confessions resulted in an untethered rage and anger fueling physical violence ending in the death of Lucas and severe injury to Christopher. Authorities also believe that statements from leader and Pastor Tiffanie Irwin being in contact with her brother who was participating; added to the intensity from which she bore culpability for the outcome. Continue reading Survivor of WOLCC Speaks Out as Defendants are Sentenced→
The email alert feature of CULTNEWS101.com has proved to be a very timely and valuable resource. The emails contain a listing of the subjects or groups referenced near the top followed by headlines and links either directly to the source article or back to CULTSNEWS .com. Yes, it is rare that something “free” actually contains value. However, over the last few months, this service has allowed me to follow news stories about groups I was already aware of and introduced me to developing stories about other groups. Not once have I regretted sharing my email address in return for the quality content provided.
The founders of CULTSNEWS101.com are Patrick Ryan and Joe Kelly. I first met them at the 2014 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) conference in Washington, DC. They were both cordial and helpful in answering my questions. Again, in 2016 at the ICSA conference in Dallas, TX; we met and I felt encouraged talking to Pat. He seemed to recognize we were both warriors on the same team. It wasn’t until I approached Pat about doing an interview for this blog did I realize how experienced and accomplished they both have become over the years. Through email, Pat was kind enough to offer answers to the following questions. Continue reading Valuable Resource: CULTNEWS101.com – FREE Sign-up!→
Yes, I know. Even writing a title like this one scares me. Deep down inside there is a horn blaring- don’t say that! People will think you are SELFISH! You can’t choose yourself-first! You must do for others first. You are a worthless piece of no count nothing. Remember the song- JOY? Jesus then Others then You… what a wonderful way to spell JOY… Announcement! That song doesn’t tell the whole story. It was a fine song for children in summer vacation Bible school who were learning to share their toys.
Do you have that voice in you? Always consider yourself last. Put others first; others and their needs and their desires ahead of everything you need or want? How is that working for you? Sleeping good at night? Always smiling?
Okay, I know from being a parent there comes time to sacrifice and make choices for your children. Those are not the times and choices I am writing about. I am aiming for those thoughts and habits which don’t consider your own needs and therefore you are not fulfilled and able to make those quality choices which help others around you. Let me explain.
First off, after my time at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), I shy away from making blanket endorsements for any man or woman who is teaching their ways to success. It could be business or religion or any other area. I hesitate giving anyone total approval. With that said, today’s post stems from my reading a book by James Altucher: Choose Yourself! –originally published 2013. For disclosure, I am not finished reading this book. It is not a prim and proper book. The language is frank and frontal. However, if you can see past the presentation and hear the message, this book may be one to read. Continue reading Choose Yourself, Choose Your Happiness…→
Updated: December 9, 2016 10:31 AM
The Hearing held December 8th in the Fenner case answered some questions and left many still unanswered. By the time I entered Courtroom #2, the discussions of the State’s request for the Honorable Judge Marvin Pope to hear all cases related to the indictments were well under way. The Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) crowd was seated in the back right of the room close to the main entry door. This was not the normal front left position as in previous sessions. The media and others not affiliated with WOFF were sitting on the left side. Of course, I found a seat up about middle left.
Today was yet another small chapter in the ongoing saga of the Matthew Fenner case. Events from January 27, 2013 are in question. Five present and former WOFF members were formally indicted in January 2015. The indictments against Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. who are still members and Adam Bartley and Sarah Anderson, former members; include second degree kidnapping, first degree assault and one count of inflicting injury by attempted strangulation. After initially attempting to represent all five defendants, WOFF attorneys Joshua Farmer, Mark Morris and all their associates were disqualified by Judge Pope in August 2015.
As a result, all five defendants have separate counsel. Brooke Covington is represented by David Teddy. Justin Covington is represented by Krinn Evans. Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. is represented by Matthew Cabe. Sarah Covington is represented by the Cooper Firm. Adam Bartley is represented by Robert Denton who also represents Nicholas Anderson in his civil case for divorce and custody against Sarah. All five defendants and their counsel were present today.
This series of events has become a pattern for me. I have been coming home late from work, grabbing a snack and plopping down for “a few minutes in front of my small television to watch something to relax me before going to bed…” Ultimately, I fall asleep sitting up sometimes with my contacts in or sometimes not. Startled by an unknown something, I awaken to see some YouTube video playing and immediately wondering how long I had been asleep. I try my best to remember the last time I looked at a clock and do the math. Two? Three? or four hours? Four. It felt like much less time that I had slept.
Last night, I repeated the pattern. After a long shift at work, I arrived home and convincing myself that this time would be different, I promised self to only stay a few minutes on the couch. Well, I am not sure what awakened me just at that moment, but four hours later with my eyes screaming for oxygen, I wake up and see an interview playing on the screen. Two young folks were talking which did not catch my attention at first. Then I honed in on their conversation. They were extolling the benefits of getting the right amount of sleep! Great, as if I did not feel guilty enough, here I wake up on the couch when any normal person would have been in bed getting the “right amount of sleep.”
Next, the lady began to say that when she get the right amount of sleep her dreams were vivid and real and in some ways she felt held keys to her wake hours. She described a sequence of events where she found an apartment which she had dreamed about over and over… Now, I am intrigued. The young man interviewing Elle Luna spoke about her new book. My mind raced, this lady has a book? I grabbed a pen and wrote her name down hoping to search for the book after getting more sleep. Yet, I could not stop watching the interview even after peeling the contacts out of my dry eyes and brushing my teeth. Continue reading “The Crossroads of Should and Must” and Much more…→
Several events have colored this year with surprise and even shock. Unfortunately, the conclusion of the Matthew Fenner case has not been one of them. We roll our hopes forward to 2017. The next step in the process will be this Thursday, December 8th.
Rccatalyst.com recently reported the notice filed by Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers requesting four of the five defendants to appear and address pre-trial motions. Adam Bartley’s attorney, Robert Denton will not be available for the hearing and was not listed in the announcement.
This case stems from events of January 27, 2013 inside the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). Matthew alleges during a session of blasting deliverance prayer he was held against his will and assaulted including an attempt to strangle him. This form of prayer has been a controversial signature practice of WOFF since its inception over thirty years ago. Continue reading Hearing Set in Matthew Fenner Case –Dec. 8th→
Let’s admit we are glad the voting cycle of the presidential election is over. We wait for the electors to cast their votes on December 19th to make it official. This was by far the most vicious political season of my lifetime. I don’t recall the numbers of controversies, accusations and mud-slinging which the voters and non-voters witnessed this year.
The results left several experts scratching their heads in total bewilderment. In order to make sense of the results of the presidential race, pundits, reporters and politicians have given their assessments. Tonight, my phone was pounded by text after text of friends making sure I saw the following article. The picture told the story, but not the one the reporter wrote.
Jenny Kutner opinion piece on mic.com titled, “Female misogynists were Trump’s most crucial ally” includes a picture of several WOFF women in front of the crowd at a Trump rally. The trance-like look on their faces told part of the story to Ms. Kutner. I will recap her opinion piece and give “the rest of the story.”