WOFF Members are NOT Brainwashed- Really? (1)

   Wow… What’s up with that? Before you accuse me of listening to Jane Whaley tapes… I will explain the reason for the title in this post. (I turned in all my WOFF tapes years ago – before I left WOFF! We were not allowed to keep them – even if we had purchased them!???) During my years of being involved with Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), I was made aware of the accusations and chuckled along with the rest of the congregation when KR explained there was “no such thing as brainwashing!” What better way to push away doubt than to tell trusting members that brainwashing does not even exist? Actually, in previous posts, I probably have made the statement or at least the insinuation that those who remain a part of WOFF are being brainwashed. However, after rereading material found in Steven Hassan’s book, “Combatting Cult Mind Control” (Copyright©1988, 1990- by Steven Hassan, Park Street Press, ISBN-0-89281-311-3), I learned the difference between brainwashing and mind control. From Chapter 4 of this book titled: Understanding Mind Control, I will quote the author’s insights and compare them to my experiences during WOFF days.

   Mind Control Versus Brainwashing

   As we introduce the subject, allow me a few comments on the subject at hand. For some readers, the difference between brainwashing and mind control may be one strictly of semantics. Trust me; it is much more than that. Brainwashing has occurred in years past, and I have no doubt there are places in this country and around the world where individuals are being brainwashed. “Brainwashing is typically coercive. The person knows from the outset that he is in the hands of the enemy. It begins with a clear demarcation of the respective roles—who is the prisoner and who is the jailer—and the prisoner experiences the absolute minimum of choice…” (page 55). This is just not the case at WOFF. The roles are not clearly marked. Faithful WOFF members do not see themselves as prisoners- until it is time to leave!  And over time, within certain strata of the group, the roles can change and one who once was lower in the pyramid structure can be elevated higher than those who once where over them. For regular WOFF members, Jane and those in leadership are not cast as “jailers” until it is time to leave!

   

    Don’t get me wrong; when a person is being pressured inside WOFF to change and give up individual freedoms and choices, it can get ugly. There have been, and from what I have learned, still are abusive measures employed in order to help someone “serve God with all their heart”… Overall, and in comparison to brainwashing, the process of mind control used at WOFF is much more subtle. Hassan writes, “Mind control, also called “thought reform,” is much more subtle and sophisticated. Its perpetrators are regarded as friends or peers, so the person (being influenced) is much less defensive… Mind control has little to no overt physical abuse… The individual is deceived and manipulated – not directly threatened – into making prescribed choices. On the whole, he responds positively to what is done to him.” (page 56) Jane, Sam and the leadership certainly do not show themselves as “enemies” of those regular members who are “submitting to them” or “opening their heart” to them. Therein is a large part of the deception within WOFF-life. As we move on, we will compare in more detail what Hassan describes as mind control to what I experienced at WOFF.

    In my opinion, the major source of confusion for those who live in the surrounding community and for relatives of those still inside WOFF, lies in witnessing the extreme changes that occur when one becomes a faithful WOFF member. A new member takes on the dress, the language, the mannerisms and the legalistic lifestyle very quickly upon entering WOFF. For those unfamiliar with or who have not lived through the indoctrination process of a mind control group, these radical changes could only occur when someone has been forced at near gunpoint! I can understand the confusion and I am not ignoring the severity of the control measures used. But, for sure, the new WOFF member RARELY ever is aware of how many changes are occurring and how quickly they are changing.  The new WOFF member does not realize how those on the outside would view the obvious effects of WOFFness. Why? From one who has lived through the process, when mind control techniques are being used, the new convert feels as if they are an active part of the change process. The reality is that many folks are rendered helpless to make critical thinking choices as the sea of fears washes over them and the ground they stand on turns to quick sand. On one hand Jane is helping supply them with clothes, a job, a place to live, instant “friends”, structure and a “purpose to their life”. For every need supplied, valuable personal freedoms worth much more are being eroded and will eventually be thrown as far as the East is from the West.  

   Additionally, another point made to support the accusation of WOFF-brainwashing for outsiders is the total uniformity of the members of WOFF. It is not just the new converts, but, it is the obvious fact the individuality is outright destroyed for WOFF members. Set aside how and why; who can ignore that Jane obviously dislikes and does not allow freedom of choice. For those on the outside looking in, this is glaringly ABNORMAL. Before we end this series on mind control, I hope show why I believe this uniformity could not happen as easily with brainwashing, but, it could with mind control. The subtle processes of mind control include the use of peer pressures to assure acceptance of a group identity. Mind control used at WOFF is more seductive and harder to detect. After that lengthy introduction, we move on…

   Steven Hassan begins Chapter 4, “When I lecture in colleges, I usually challenge my audience with the question, “How would you know if you were under mind control?” After some reflection, most people will realize that if one were under mind control, it would be impossible to determine it without some help from others. In addition, one would need to understand very clearly what mind control is.” (page 53)

   This is a vital first point to make on the subject. WOFF members do not believe for one second that they are under either brainwashing or mind control! I know since I did not have any idea that the “gift” that Jane operated in was full of mind control techniques. Why, how could that be? When I was inside, I admitted to someone near the end of my tour that I knew there were things that were things not right with life at WOFF, but I stayed for the preaching. Can you see what I was really saying? For MANY YEARS, I was never willing to admit that anything was ever WRONG with WOFF-life. I defended WOFFness to my relatives and to my few acquaintances outside the group. Over time and somewhere in my thoughts, I came to admit some things did not measure up, but, I was willing to overlook those things- for what? Preaching from a woman who could at times rage with anger and excuse it as the anger of God? Was I duped? Was I under some type of influence? What do you think?  No, WOFF members have no idea the control measures being used against them are not “the way God’s people live”. God’s children should not be spiritually raped in order to benefit the person leading the group. That is not God’s will no matter how spiritual Jane makes it look to obey what she hears as “the word of the Lord.”

    But, to realize how far under mind control I actually had been was so far from my thinking that I still doubted it for months after leaving! For me to admit to having been under the mind control techniques of a person or persons I had at one time trusted to bring me the “word of the Lord”; that was a tough place to come to. It hurt on the inside. It prompted so many questions! Because WOFF was/is a religious cult and uses Scripture to justify the measures used against its members; there was/is the temptation to blame God for allowing “His ministers” to use you and fool you. Who wants to be caught blaming God? So, those who stay and many who leave, it is much easier to ignore the facts and scoff at the truth.

   Yes, I realize that not everyone goes through the same level of WOFF drama/trauma and everyone handled the stresses of WOFF-life differently. Not everyone has their family destroyed. Does that make it safe to say that WOFF-life must be okay since not everyone ends up vowing to never walk in a church for as long as they live? Though I must close for now, before we finish this series on mind control, I hope to make it very clear why after helping several former members, Paul Martin of Wellspring Retreat  assessed WOFF as “one of the top five emotionally destructive cults in America”.  

  Thank you, for taking time to visit and read this blog. 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.

     Look on the right side of any post for the option to subscribe by email for notifications or RSS feeds notifying of new postings. It is a great feature. Also, find more posts by selecting “Categories”.

     Guest posts reflect the opinions of the writers. Their opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of John Huddle or any other persons affiliated with this blog.

       Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, for posts written by John Huddle, any information about WOFF is from his 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 348.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “WOFF Members are NOT Brainwashed- Really? (1)”

  1. Hey John, Great article! I always learn so much when reading your posts. We have been dealing with the topic of murder and triple murder suicide of mind controlled members of the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc. Not sure if you’ve had to deal with this subject yet but we hope not. The ntcc has one former lay pastor that was recently arrested for murdering his female room-mate. The story is very twisted and convoluted. The ntcc is right in the middle of controversy due to the murder taking place a few miles from their cult compound in an apartment owned by the ex-wife of the man who confessed to and was arrested for the murder. His ex-wife had is said to have a on going business relationship with the founder of the ntcc and rents out apartments to ntcc seminary students in exchange for tithe.

    There is another story that came to the surface that involved a former member that murdered his pregnant wife and young child before killing himself a few years ago. A very recent development on this story is that this man caught his pastor at a whorehouse in Japan, and reported this to the overseers of the ntcc. The pastor was promoted and this man was castigated for outing the minister. They made his life miserable for his honesty and eventually ran him off. There are credible witnesses to the events that led to this man murdering his family and then taking his own life.

    We wanted to share this with you and your audience because we want people to know how lasting and devastating the effects of mind control can be to those who are exposed to it for a long time. We hope that this might help someone that is considering joining a cult. If anyone that reads this blog regularly, is a member of WOFF or considering joining WOFF or any other cult, please consider these consequences that can happen to anyone. For more details of these two tragedies, you can visit our blog:

    http://ntccxerblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/kelly-merz-former-long-time-member-of.html

    http://ntccxerblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/moreno-tragedy.html

    We appreciate all you do to educate people on the dangers of being involved with cults.

    Sincerely,

    Don and Ange

  2. Don and Ange,

    This comment first ended up in the Spam folder. Spam software is not perfect! Thank you for the links to show the effects of mind control. Please, keep up the good work. There is plenty of room for more messengers to spread the warnings.

    Hoping for Freedom for those caught in the web of mind control…

    John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *