The True Cost of WOFF Membership… (1)

There are times when different themes of several posts will begin to converge and allow more insight into the life of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) members. This is just such a time. On Saturday, I pondered the events over this last week and actually the last few weeks. Without going into great detail, I have seen the cost of WOFF membership from a new perspective. After having been a member and now a former member; my experiences and observations cannot be wholly dismissed. I am not an outsider who has never seen the intimate cozy surreal almost “family atmosphere” of the homes and the church buildings.  For some, my words may still be considered highly prejudiced. Yes, that could be assumed since I have lost my immediate family, many friends and sixteen years of my life to WOFF.  But, in this post, I hope to present a more complete assessment of WOFF membership.  In this post, I will attempt to list the benefits AND what I see as the actual cost of being a WOFF member.

In recent posts, we have discussed the many conflictions and conundrums of life at WOFF. We have discussed the advertising of WOFF member-owned businesses in media that regular members are not allowed to partake of. These WOFF member-owned businesses are not advertising for new members- directly. But, if WOFF were to run some commercials on radio or television, what would it sound like? We have all seen or heard commercials for churches before. What if WOFF had to hold to the same standards as drug companies? That makes sense as some say that during a WOFF membership, some faithful members are so addicted to Jane that it can be like a drug addiction.  Hmmm…

In advertising, one is generally trying to sell the benefits of a product or service and thus convince the listener to buy. Have you seen a commercial for any new drug recently? In these commercials, the people are seen smiling, laughing and obviously in better health after taking the new medications. But, have you noticed the disclaimers? You hear the instructions to ask your doctor if this drug is right for you and make sure to tell him about all your medications. Use of this drug may cause certain side effects which include but may not be limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and so on. Tell your doctor if you notice a sudden change in your mood, sleeping patterns or have thoughts of suicide. A simple blood test is used to determine liver function and if your liver function changes as a result of taking – whatever drug. Why do advertisers do this? I suspect to try to deflect any lawsuits and/or disclose full knowledge of how their drug affected some who had taken it during the trial period.

Well, you get no such disclosure when Jane Whaley or some other WOFF member plays their commercial for you! You may be told how God has a plan for you, how you need to fulfill the call of God, you need to meet Jane, or just simply be invited to a special service or Friday night fellowship. You may be invited to a wedding or graduation. From my experience in years in WOFF, just one visit and a person can be “hooked”. For sure, WOFF members will be on their best behavior and in their best dress for such a “commercial” presentation. When you are invited to WOFF or to meet Jane- THEY WANT YOU TO BUY!  But, what if they were required to disclose the side effects others have experienced after spending time at WOFF? What would that commercial include?

The scene would open with a hundred or so children on the WOFF stage singing some old hymn so you can relate and sing along! The announcer would begin with extolling the benefits of living among God’s people. “Are you seeking answers? Are you without a job? Do you need a place to live, clothes to wear or even friends that will help you walk in the ways of God? Come to WOFF, talk to Jane, she will hear God for you. Previous members have come and been provided jobs, housing, clothes, instant friends, and Scriptural teachings on walking with God, big houses, nice cars and much more. The teachings of Jane Whaley can show you how to be the minister you have always wanted to be! To the Nations!” Call the number on your screen right now. A WOFF member is standing by to answer your questions and pray with you to receive your blessing!” All of this  could be “true”, well sorta.

But, for full disclosure, the announcer would also have to give the side effects. “Warning: if you are allowed to join WOFF, you will be required to ignore and shun relatives and friends that do not “go with God” or believe Jane hears God perfectly every time. You will be required to submit to Jane’s direction regardless of your desires, your talents, and your rights under the U.S. Constitution. All of you rights are subject to being taken; this may cause dizziness, vomiting, severe chest pains, severe emotional swings, diarrhea, crying, bewilderment and other signs of severe stress and confusion. You will be told how to dress, how to relate to your family, how to personally, intimately relate to your wife or husband. You will be prevented from freely accessing outside information sources. You will be shown how to correct your children and how to teach them that whatever is done inside the group is right and true. You will experience a slow and ever growing distrust of those living outside the graces of WOFF. You will be told where to live, where to buy your insurance, your car and other professional services provided by WOFF member-owned companies.  If you do not accept these rules for you and your family – your spouse of family members will contact Jane and you will be subject to loud blasting prayer for a few minutes to several hours. Once you begin a regiment of daily life inside the group, you may lose track of the days, weeks and months as they pass. Please, tell your family and any other person who is concerned for your well-being before you go into WOFF of all of these possible side effects and that you may not be back in touch for years to come.” All the while the announcer is listing these DOCUMENTED side effects of WOFF-life, the scene would show WOFF members happy and dancing and running around the sanctuary as happy as any person could be under the circumstances. For an example of this visit their website. Now, that displays the true conundrum of WOFF-life. There are some temporal benefits, but at what cost?

Honestly, I have shared my perspective while being inside WOFF. Once you are in and drugged and/or intoxicated with WOFFness; you are not concentrating on what the costs are, you are taught to focus on the “benefits”. While you are surrendering your personal freedoms, personal property, personal life-direction, relationships with family and friends who chose not to go into WOFF as well as the authority of your family to Jane herself; you are told that you are in the move of God, walking with God’s people, serving Jesus, taking back your life from the devil, being delivered from sin, you might make it to heaven- (maybe)… you get the picture.

In a recent conversation with my brother, he likened it to what he had seen before. He called it “verge-ism”. It was preached that you were always on the verge of a breakthrough! You are so close to that next place or level in God! If you will just open your heart more, read your Bible more, work harder, work longer, give more money, AND give more time… WHAT EVER is needed… if you will just do more of that then you are on the verge of your next BREAKTHROUGH! In my opinion, this one aspect of WOFF-life is so intoxicating that it causes folks to lose track of time. The ever elusive breakthroughs eat away years of your life and cost you dearly! While you chase the next breakthrough, Jane finds yet another sin in you or devil that has deceived you for years. Back to the grindstone you go to get delivered, all the while Jane proclaims her perfection and holiness as a reason or excuse to be your apostle, prophet and/or pastor worthy of receiving your tithes, offerings and gifts while being accountable to no one. Verge-ism is another way to describe legalism. A pastor recently defined legalism as “Jesus plus anything”. How costly is living under the WOFF style legalism?

It is not practical to claim to tell all of the costs of living at WOFF in one post. Certainly, what WOFF-life cost me may not be the exact cost you paid or will pay for being a part of WOFF. Not all folks suffer the same level of stress and emotional turmoil from spending time in WOFF. But, for many the impairment goes so deep it takes years to heal. We will continue in the next post.

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.

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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 380.

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2 thoughts on “The True Cost of WOFF Membership… (1)”

  1. For someone that has never been a WOFF Member this Blog really puts things in to prospective as to what basic freedoms one must be willing to give up (Or unfortunately for some that have never had) to be viewed as an upstanding member of the Cult. You did an outstanding Job in presenting this information in a way that can be easily understood by individuals that have never been a member of a Cult like WOFF. You See, I believe that alot of time people view those medication commercials and only think about the Positive aspect of the drug. (They obviously hear the negative things that could possibly happen however they focus on the positive side)
    A visitor at WOFF hears only the positive things without any Warnings of the Negative and that is just sad! (Talk about the Devil being at Work) No matter how hard I try I just cannot seem to imagine this concept. My entire life I have always thought that Cult members had to be very weak minded and desperate individuals however the more I educate myself on the topic I have learned that this is not always the case. One thing that I have learned is that all cults (Like WOFF) all have one thing in common. They are led through intimidation and deception! I’m also curious as to which cult member sands off Jane’s horns each morning as they begin to surface. And is doing this considered a privilege for the cult member?

  2. “verge-ism” this is the oil that keeps the whole mechanism running. Great word. We survivors of the long defunct New England spinoff call it chasing the rabbit dummy around the track.

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