Former WOFF Member Files Report of Assault

Before I begin with the content of this post, let me acknowledge there will be some who disagree with my position to present this information in this forum. Some survivors of WOFF choose to “forgive and forget” and attempt to put everything that happened to them as far away from them as possible. That is a choice each is free to make, but, I don’t recommend it. Privacy prevents me from sharing the emails I receive on a regular basis from survivors of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and other groups. Many of these emails contain regrets for waiting so long to process the events that happened to them in years of being involved in a controlling group. Trying to ignore the injuries, the injustices, the hurts, the confusion and the emotional trauma will not prove helpful in the long run. The emails I receive with these aches and hurts are from survivors who were in WOFF and relatives of those who are now or have been in WOFF. It is with that understanding that I proceed to share the ongoing story of a survivor of 21 years of involvement in WOFF.

In a previous post titled, “Another Exit Drama Unfolds …” found here: . In that post, we did not name the survivor for various reasons. As of a few days ago, by his choice, his name was put into public record and therefore we will mention it here. Michael Lowry was born in 1990 in Rutherford County while his family was a part of WOFF. The family was from Michigan and have lived in the area every since his birth. He grew up in WOFF as his only social environment. In the previous post, we recounted his experiences in the “fourth building”. Those experiences had been traumatic to say the least and were a major part of his decision to leave his family and the only group of “friends” he had ever known. Today, we will give you excerpts from an incident report he filed with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s department outlining some of the events in the fourth building.

  Remember, this report is listed as “Further Investigation” needed. The people listed in this report are innocent until proven guilty.  No event or claim in this report has been proven in a court of law and no person in this report has been convicted of any crime(s). This is an incident report that is in public records that anyone can obtain a copy of from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s department.

The date the report was taken is listed as February 20, 2012. The OCA number is 2012-000720. Several of the terms in this report I am not familiar with but, I will provide them as needed. The incident was reported to have taken place on or about August 1, 2011.  The location is listed as 209 Old Flynn Rd, Spindale, NC at a church. Under the M.O. section, the activity is listed as “by holding the victim down and hitting him”. The block for “Forcible” is checked. Weapons are listed as “Personal- hands, feet, teeth, etc.” the number of victims is listed as one and he is named- Michael Lowry.

The narrative contains these statements: (all caps in the original report)

   Victim stated he used to be a member of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale. Mr. Lowry stated that last August a group of men held him down and hit him about the face and chest area. Mr. Lowry stated that (he) told them to let go but they would not. The reason they done this was because he was homosexual. When this incident was taking place, the group would tell him he had demons in him and he was going to hell. Mr. Lowry also stated he was told his family would have nothing else to do with him. The group stopped and he was let go. Mr. Lowry stated that it was months later he left the church. The names of the church members who were involved in this are Adam Sudano, Kerrick Hudson, (redacted name- a minor), Warren McKnight, Mark Morris and Chris Hall. Mr. Lowry did not stated (state) which subjects hit him. No other information at this time.”

I redacted the name of the minor but, it is in the original report. That is the bulk of the report. There are crime codes listed and explained as “0890 All Other Simple Assault” and “2490 All Other”. I could not find the exact definition for the numerical codes. One could probably find out from the sheriff’s office.

There is so much background to give as this report is just a skeletal outline. Hopefully, more details will emerge with proper investigation. Michael has confided much more detail to me and others. He told of more overt body contact when he conveyed the incidents to me. With the proper environment, he will retell and enhance this scenario with more detail as to the abuse he suffered. Every time I have talked to him, the details coincide and are all linked together nicely. In my opinion, these events took place. As with all trauma and emotional upheaval, you can remember some parts at times and other parts at another time, with additional details. You may agree that events such as this can be as a sea of nightmarish pictures, smells, sounds and feelings. Not all of the details emerge at once as there is a tendency to concentrate on certain aspects at certain times according to your mindset and emotional state. I believe further interviews of Michael Lowry are essential to obtain more detailed information.

Before we review certain parts of the narrative, let me share some thoughts.  I am learning that being held down and beaten has become a method of choice for certain “sins” inside WOFF. This practice has emerged even with the young children, I am told. Two different survivors, independent of each other, report that children under ten are being allowed the physically correct their classmates by hitting, punching, shoving and kicking. The fears and pressures to conform must be extremely traumatic for the children who are the focus of this activity. I have also been informed that Jane’s grandson has been allowed to lead sessions containing these measures — used on children and adults. From the descriptions, it sounds like a feeding frenzy wrought with hyper –spiritual justification for the physical abuse and blasting loud prayer. How can this take place? Let me quote from one source to explain at least part of the answer.

Again, quoting from Steven Hassan’s book, “Releasing the Bonds”- Empowering People to Think for Themselves (Copyright© by Steven Hassan 2000, Freedom of Mind Press, ISBN-0-9670688-0-0), he has a section titled: Cognitive Dissonance Theory and the Evolution of the BITE Model. He begins by explaining the theories of Leon Festinger.

“In 1950, psychologist, Leon Festinger summarized the basic principle of his cognitive dissonance theory: “If you change a person’s behavior, his thoughts and feelings will change to minimize the dissonance.” 13 As Festinger described, “dissonance” is the psychological tension that arises when a person’s behavior conflicts with his beliefs… People prefer that their behavior, thoughts, and emotions be mutually consistent, and can tolerate only a certain amount of discrepancy between these three components of their identities. Psychological research has shown that if any of the three components changes, the other two will shift to reduce the cognitive dissonance.” (page 40)

He then lists certain situations where this theory is seen at work. One of them fits the activities listed in the narrative above. “When people who think of themselves as reasonably humane are in a situation where they hurt innocent people, they reduce the resulting dissonance by marginalizing or “putting down” their victims.” (page 41) Let me explain how this applies here.

It is reasonable to think that the men participating in this events listed above thought of themselves as “reasonably humane” and in fact- faithful WOFF believers- “Christians”- if I may be so bold. Would you agree that physical aggression and abuse of someone is NOT a NORMAL Christian activity? After all, weren’t Christians the ones persecuted for their beliefs and physically abused (martyred) in times past and now, in other countries- certainly NOT in North Carolina- right?  Notice in the narrative, Michael repeats what his attackers were saying about him.

“…The reason they done this was because he was homosexual. When this incident was taking place, the group would tell him he had demons in him and he was going to hell. Mr. Lowry also stated he was told his family would have nothing else to do with him…”

I believe this was their way to quiet their own cognitive dissonance and justify why they were physically attacking another member of their own church! They were not saying what a non-partisan observer would say, “Why is that man being beaten? What did he do to deserve physical abuse? Why are the attackers forcing themselves on him and taking away his right to physical safety? Why are his civil rights being violated? Is this a hate crime?” These would be the natural questions for a non-member to ask if they were viewing this event- do you agree? Do you have other questions I missed?

We will close with two observations. Mark Morris is a NC attorney and has been mentioned here on this blog in previous posts. If he was present or had knowledge of these events or ones similar, it would be interesting get his justification for such treatment. How does he “reduce the resulting dissonance” if there is any for him? If there is no trouble for him in being a part of events such as these, that would be very concerning, do you agree? As an attorney, he has sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Does this sound like Michael Lowry received – “the due process of law” while inside WOFF? Will he have it now? Did Mark or any other person present try to stop the beatings and verbal abuse? If so, how long did that take?

Second, gender identification issues are common with second generation cult members (those born into the group) according a cult expert I spoke with recently. Several other young men have admitted, in their WOFF days, to confessing to “sins” without even knowing what the sin actually consisted of. Is it possible that young men and boys inside of WOFF who are accused of being homosexual confess to being so just to get out from under the inordinate pressure to confess?  And they actually may not even know what being a homosexual means? I think it is very possible. We will continue to follow this investigation and report on meaningful developments. Your comments are welcome.

Remember, this report is listed as “Further Investigation” needed. The people listed in this report are innocent until proven guilty.  No event or claim in this report has been proven in a court of law and no person in this report has been convicted of any crime(s). This is an incident report that is in public records that anyone can obtain a copy of from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s department.

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 388.

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10 thoughts on “Former WOFF Member Files Report of Assault”

  1. I’m not surprised, as Jane believes she is untouchable and doing God’s work. Her obsession with sex and controlling what she deems to be sin are outrageous. I wonder what is still in darkness because of the fear and controlling witchcraft. Yes Jane, I said WITCHCRAFT. By the way Frank or Robin, may I have a condom please?

    Michael, I applaud your courage. It’s the thing to do to. You nothing to fear from crazy Jane.

  2. John – this is heart breaking story and my prayers are with this young man. All I know that if the homosexual community got a hold of this story there would be an up roar in Spindale like they never saw. The homosexual community is very powerful in this country and are quick to fight what they consider injustice. They also seem to be more protected than most groups and are very bold. Who knows . . . . God can work in mysterious ways. Even ways we may not have foreseen.

  3. John – By current as well as former Members of WOFF using the philosophy “Forgive and Forget” and “putting incidents behind you” only enables the Word of Faith Fellowship to continue current and future Assaults on the Members. Based on my sources these Assaults range from Psychological, Simple Physical, to Aggravated Felonious Assaults. (Not to mention other criminal misconduct which occurs at the hands of WOFF) It is for this reason that victims should come forward and hold the cult accountable for their actions. I think it is quite obvious that the Word of Faith is led (By Jane) using intimidation tactics on its members. Unfortunately In this type of environment it would be common for individuals to “Forgive and Forget”. I think it is important for current and former Word of Faith Fellowship members to recognize that it is OK to reach out for help if they have been verbally or physically assaulted. However, I do understand that without being educated it may be tough for members/former members to see that their rights have been violated. Ok, now to the case regarding Michael Lowry. Based on my source of information Michael was not only kidnapped (Held for a period of time against his will) but also feloniously assaulted. If this case is properly investigated by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and reported to the County District Attorney’s Office then these charges should be forthcoming. (Once again I’m basing my opinion on details that I have learned through a reliable source of information, that is willing to testify in court, and not the details listed in the basic report that has been filed).

  4. Chad,

    An effect of the mindset within the group is to think that anything bad that happened while you, the cult member, were inside was YOUR fault. It is preached, “If you are in faith- God will take care of you.” So, if you experience negative feelings and emotions, then you were not in faith- or some how weak and you deserve it because you were not in faith and God could not protect you. Yes, twisted, but, many are taught to feel that way and some may not even see how perverted that thinking really is. Being a victim is not the fault of the victim. From “Recovery from Cults” edited by Michael D. Langone, speaking of cults members and their post-cult needs and problems: “They are indoctrinated to believe that disagreement with or doubt about the group’s teachings or practices is always their fault, as are any personal problems…The very core of their sense of self is attacked as deficient.(Ofshe & Singer,1986)” (pages 10-11)
    So, it is a process to unlearn these thinking patterns as many are foundations to WOFF-life.

    Thank you for taking to time to read and comment…


  5. Once again an excellent post. There have always been serious abuses within WOFF and there will always be. It is part of the cult system. You have researched this thoroughly and scholarly. Whaleyism is absolutely interesting from a sociological perspective. The movement and phenomena will be studied in the future. There isn’t an heir “apparent” to Jane’s thrown. It is impossible to have two “hearing from God perfectly and all the time” at the same time. The unravelling will continue. The damage control will continue. There will be new battles and there will be more leaving.


  6. Wow! The account Michael shares rings so familiar that I don’t for a bank second doubt it happened. My heart goes out to you Michael.
    My son suffered an incredible assault by Doug McDonald many years ago around the age of five. For guess what … homosexuality. It has traumatized him all his life. The hurt and anger is still something he struggles with. I myself battle tremendous guilt for allowing myself and my most precious gift to be so abused and controlled by religious fanatics. It sickens me whenever I have to think about it. Michael, I beg you. No matter how alone you feel or how the years of brainwashing make you feel – that somehow this is wrong- to finally get free of their physical heaps. Don’t succumb! ! It will be a long road to real freedom but it will come. God bless you! I left when you were a small child. You won’t remember me I left around 93′ I believe your account of what happened, seen it myself many times. Be sure and write things down it helps remember things that may not seem significant now, but maybe later. Things you have seen over the many years will seem normal but, to the outside world are scary and inhumane. I see since Jane whayley doesn’t get her hands dirty anymore. If anybody goes down it won’t be her.

  7. Kim, I hope that one day you and your son can come forward and talk to the police about the things that happened to your son. I know that all crimes are not punishable after a certain period of time however, any felony has no statute of limitation. I hope to see a class action civil suit against this group in the future. Everyone involved in this mess needs to be compensated for the loss that they have suffered in the name of Jane, better known as ” God ” to those who are still inside of WOFF. I wish you and your son much much luck. Maybe we can all learn something from Michael’s strength.

  8. I am truly amazed that this cult is allowed to abuse people and that Jane is not in jail yet. Jail is where that beast belongs! When will law enforcement step in? Are they waiting for another Waco event? The Rutherford County Law Enforcement are either afraid of the cult or a member of the cult. Someone needs to form a Class Action Suit against WOFF. I am a victim of this cult, yet I was never a member. I just lived near them. They destroyed my life and who I once was. For months I was afraid to leave my house, while they drove by it slowly everyday to remind me that I better not press charges against them. Their intimidation tactics worked. WOFF (Jane) controls that entire area and that is why I moved far away. I feel for the victim, Michael, mentioned in this post. God Bless him!! In response to your questions, John…of course he is a victim of a hate crime for being homosexual and yes, he was held against his will and they should be charged with kidnapping and abuse. The problem is this…can he prove his claim? They are masters of cover ups. Was anyone else there that could testify for Michael? I hope so. A Class Action Suit I feel is the only solution. Without people coming forward together…Michael and many others probably will never get justice for the abuse they suffered. Jane needs to be stopped. It’s too late to get justice for myself, but I want nothing more than to see justice for others…justice for the many victims of Jane Whaley and her troops. Rutherford County would be a wonderful place to live if it weren’t for WOFF. That local hospital is riddled with Woofers, too. When I lived there I’d rather die then enter that hospital. John, I’ve read most of your posts here and I really appreciate all that you do. Your courage is admired!

  9. It has come to my attention that the Rutherford Coutny Sheriff Office is on top of this matter. Under the circumstance I hope that many people spend much time in jail. In the past people laid down and turn the other cheek? I think that it is a new day and WOFF is going down this time. Contact the Sheriff and Local politicians and tell them your stories! Tell them it is time to bring Rutherford county into the 21st Century WOFF free! They work for us and owe us safety and we need to demand this! The children in our County have got to be put above the money that lines the pockets in this County. If the stories here on this blog aren’t enough to open some eyes, I say light up those phone lines. Be heard. There is power in numbers. John has given us the info now we need to stand behind he and others and have the authorities handle this once and for all. Rutherford county sheriff Chris Francis…..828-287-6247…Please call and speak out against WOFF!

  10. Yes I agree with you annalisa. I am too afraid to come forward now after all this time has passed. I would really hate to wake the Beast and her troops. However; if there is a class action brought against that corporation I would want to be informed. What they did to me can not be proven in the eyes of the court because I was afraid to press charges knowing my situation would only get worse with them…I was afraid for my life. I reported it to have it on record in case some “strange accident” occurred thru the doings of them. Besides when I did report it, all they did was ask me if I was on medication. FBI did the same as well. I guess they don’t know what being truly frightened looks like? I was NOT on medication at all and I am a very sane individual. Months later when I requested a copy of the report I found out they never wrote up the report, so I had to report it again. I believe it was their way of trying to cover-up the names of certain people in uniform that were somehow involved. I am very happy with my decision to move away, but I miss the beauty of that area and my dear friends that I left behind. I would consider being a witness for the victims should they all stand together to fight for JUSTICE! Only an army can take them down in order to put an end to the corruption and sabotage in that County. God Bless ya’ll.

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