“Know the Marks of Cults” Part 5

Know the Marks of Cults” by Dave Breese Part 5

    We will return to a few insights from the book:  “Know the Marks of Cults” by Dave Breese, (copyright 1975, SP Publications, ISBN 0-88207-704-x). In the fourth post from this book we reviewed the “Presumptuous Messianic Leadership” as a mark of a cult. Next, Breese writes about “Doctrinal Ambiguity”. Again, let me repeat that I will not be able to cover all the good information given by the author. I encourage readers to obtain their own copy and read this book.

    Breese mentioned several points in this chapter from which I will use a couple to support my opinion about Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) lead by Jane Whaley. I will be cautious not to assess every doctrinal area that is proposed from WOFF. Some of the areas I am still working through myself after having been under Jane Whaley’s teachings for so many years. After I left; there was a time when I put everything I believed about Christianity and the Bible on a figurative shelf. One by one, over time, I have been examining my beliefs and attempting to hold onto to what is true and right. What I have found as questionable or unsupported by Scripture and “good sense”- I have been throwing out. Contrary to the confession of some, I do not believe that the two standards are mutually exclusive.

   The author defines doctrine as the “systematic presentation and understanding of truth”. (page 60) In a previous passage he writes; “Doctrinal ambiguity is a mark of a cult. One of the very fascinating characteristics of the cults is the interesting and sometimes hilarious changes of doctrine through which they pass. Their doctrines are being continually altered in order to adapt themselves to new situations, arguments or the whims of their leaders.” (page 59)


     During my time at the church in Greenville and WOFF, there were a few changes in the doctrines of the WOFF. Some were reflected in the practices that changed during my time there. Jane Whaley was the source of any doctrine which was meant to explain “truth”. When I first arrived, the doctrines included the beliefs that after being crucified Jesus descended into hell and was at war with the devil, overcoming him and “leading captivity captive…” Okay, without a long dissertation about the whole surrounding doctrines and beliefs; let’s just say that one service without any warning, Jane announced she no longer believed that set of doctrines/beliefs. She had re-read the Gospels thoroughly and now believed that Jesus did not descend into hell to defeat the devil. She also changed and denounced the belief of a separate experience post-salvation experience of “receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.” Her new beliefs were that when you received Jesus as your Savior, you got it all and every born again believer could speak in tongues. There was no second experience of “receiving the Holy Spirit in order to speak in tongues”.

    Which doctrine(s) was right and true is not the point. The point is that at WOFF, when Jane changed, you changed. For sure, if you did not change, you would not tell anyone you were still stuck on “old manna”. Yes, Jane would answer questions in private or before the whole congregation. If you asked a question in front of others- especially children; be prepared for an “intense” response. No one expressed alternate beliefs and was able to stay at WOFF for any length of time. That is the point. What Jane believes is “Truth” to all faithful WOFFers. Even if there are holes in the ever changing doctrines or “theology”, you did not seek to question the gap or apparent contradiction in any of Jane’s beliefs. Doctrines and practices at WOFF can be a “fluid situation”. When you cross Jane- you could get all wet.

    An example of changes that are to fit the whims of their leaders would be what I saw yesterday. After work, I was sitting in a restaurant and in came a WOFF member and her son. I waved and caught their eye, but they did not wave back. They picked up their food and at first set down in a direct line of my sight. Shortly afterwards, they moved to another side of the dining area. It was what it was. But, the interesting sight was seeing this WOFF member’s son in SHORTS! Yes, this young boy was maybe five years old. That was an unheard of practice during my time at WOFF. These shorts were long plaid shorts that came just to the knee. At first, I thought they were knickers. But, no, they were genuine shorts.

     How does this reflect on Jane? First, this mother was “locked in tight” while I was at WOFF. I have no reason to believe that she has “come out from under authority”- Jane’s authority. She would not have her son in any “unapproved clothing”. So, the key is that now Jane has a grandson in the same age bracket as this mother’s son. Could she be rethinking some of the long list of “don’ts” that were levied on other parents? In the overall scheme of things, this is a small matter. However, this one thing does reflect the changes that come at the sole direction of Jane Whaley.

    Another change that came while at WOFF was the temporary backing off of heavy regulation of married couple’s private lives. In the post listed here… http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=596. The title is “FLDS vs WOFF – Married Couples” – part 9. Please, read it along with this post on the progress in the “relationships”. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=335 titled “The Church Service No One was to Talk About”.

      We shall review two more quick points. Breese writes, “The “mindlessness” of the cults is a most useful device.” (page 62) The teachings of Jane Whaley and WOFF ministers encourage members to continually mistrust and ignore their minds. Yes, the scriptures do warn us of allowing our minds to overrule Truth. And that would make sense if there was “Truth” being taught at WOFF, for Biblical Truth can withstand scrutiny. But, the practice of discouraging members to use their minds has the effect of canceling and discouraging independent thought and consideration of the practices of WOFF in general and specifically where personal choices should be allowed. Personal choices which may contradict Jane’s declared edicts are thus not allowed and considered “sinful thoughts”.   

    Next, “The words of the cults are the products of a corrupted language. The words themselves have no real meaning. They have become emotional triggers connoting to you whatever you want them to mean.” (page 62) Breese may not explain it was well as some other authors, but he does rightly mention the code language of cults as well as the redefinition of words that occurs in cults. He calls them “emotional triggers”. Certain WOFF words generate certain automatic responses or “non-responses” in the faithful WOFF members. Certain words are definitely “thought stoppers”; critical thoughts are stopped and only positive, agreeable with Jane thoughts come. This was covered in a previous post. Here is the link to a post from January 22, 2010; “FLDS vs. WOFF – the Similarities – part 2”  http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=101 .  

    It should be noted that Breese does not explain a lot about “religious cults” that may be “Bible-based”. He does expound on cults such as Worldwide Church of God, Inner Peace Movement, The Processians, Jehovah Witnesses and Moonies and others. Several of the groups mentioned I am not familiar with but will research in the future. For now, we will continue taking Breese’s “marks of cults” and seeing how they affirm or deny my experiences with WOFF and Jane Whaley. Thank you for reading these posts.  

    Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. The author is not a licensed mental health professional and encourages those that need professional help to seek it. The intent of the material is to inform and be a resource. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. There are readers at WOFF. Comments are invited from all readers, including present or former members. Polls are not scientific and no private information is gathered.

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      (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. ) Scripture references are Amplified Version unless otherwise noted. (Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 160.

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2 thoughts on ““Know the Marks of Cults” Part 5”

  1. I remember when Jane came out with the Christmas being of the devil. She told us to allow God to show us about it as He had shown her. But, as a few weeks went by, if you had not allowed God to show you what Jane had said, you were “blasted” from the pulpit. I remember one person who said they still did not have that “revelation” and really got it from her. Jane’s daughter had an obscure Old Testament scripture about baking cakes to the gods of the heavens as a reason not to do special baking and cooking for Christmas. Jane allowed us to have Thanksgiving meals (it was during seminar week) for many years. Then that changed, you could no longer celebrate Thanksgiving. You could have lunch together and with those that had come to the seminar but it would not be for Thanksgiving. However, I understood that Jane and her family still went every Sunday to have a big meal at her mother’s house because she still loved to cook the meal. The shorts with the little boys did come around with her grandson. She had found Little Lord Fauntleroy dress clothes for the boys that were silk and were knee length pants. So, then it changed. As her grandson grows older, it will continue to change. They got a dog for him that was allowed to come into the service. They drove down south to another state to get the dog which ended up having a lot of medical problems. Then everyone got a little dog. For years and years they would not allow anyone in the church to have a dog because they were not responsible and dogs took too much time. I remember Jane’s grandson’s father (her son-in-law) said from the pulpit that he would never let his son watch anything that was not “truthful” on tv. At the time I thought, we are not allowed tv, but Jane’s grandson can watch tv? Again, things will change as needed by Jane and her family.

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