They said you had “mental problems…wacko…”

Well, it should be no surprise. Publishing a book about my time inside of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) has caused some reaction. Honestly, many have asked if I have heard from WOFF. This week, there was blow back. But, to put it all in context, let’s review events from a few days before.

Monday, I used my last contact for my left eye and called the local eye doctor to see about getting new ones. My prescription had expired and they required an exam to obtain more contacts. As it worked out, there was an opening for Tuesday morning. I took it and thought no more about the issue.

Tuesday morning, I arrived at the Eye Clinic and recognized the receptionist as a present WOFF member. She was cordial as I called her name and said I did not know she worked there full time. She quickly replied, “I do not.” Yes, the tension in her voice spoke louder than her pasted smile. I took my seat and soon was called back to the exam room.

Once in the room, the technician went through the normal questions updating my medical history. I stopped her and asked who had access to my records? She quickly pointed to a fingerprint recognition device and said only her and the doctor could access the details of my history. That was a relief and I explained why. I mentioned the name of the employee and said I used to belong to WOFF and did not want her having access to my records. Can you blame me? Anyway, the technician went on to say she had attended the employee’s wedding and almost simultaneously, we both made a comment about the reception food! She said the food was great and the people were friendly. She was clearly staying neutral and I understood her position. I told her the employee was probably a very good worker and if my memory served me right, we went on the same trip to Brazil in 2005. From there I mentioned my book and again, the technician kept a neutral position and did not ask me details about the book. She left the room and my comfort level was satisfied for the moment.

During the interim until the doctor entered, my thoughts included the many survivor stories I heard over the years and the facts I knew about my exit drama. Jane Whaley controls a lot about daily life inside WOFF. She is perceptive and uses all means to appear mystical and spiritual. But, she does not know the inner thoughts and plans of those who appear compliant on the outside, while on the inside are actively making plans to leave her grip. I also knew my book had been labeled a “work of fiction” from Jane. Knowing all these things, I decided to offer the WOFF member a copy of my book before leaving. Yes, I was subject to rejection, but she just may be willing to take it if she knew she could read it in privacy. Besides, if it contains fiction, what was Jane so worried about?

The rest of the visit went well and I did not mention my concerns to the doctor. I received new contacts and ordered new glasses. Before I left, I retrieved a copy of “Locked in” and took it to the desk. Calling her name, I offered her the book in a bag so she could receive it and not announce it. She politely refused my offer- twice. Again, her forced smile only slightly covered her obvious unspoken emotion. Okay, I had offered and she refused. No doubt she locked in with her husband and whoever is over her in the pyramid structure of WOFF. Little did I know how soon the offer I made would be a bigger issue.

Wednesday was the 38th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre. I wrote a remembrance post for the blog. The horrific events which played out many years ago should never be forgotten.

The rest of the week was filled with work headed toward Saturday when I planned to attend a book signing in Rutherfordton. The location was Great Expectations Books and More. Unfortunately, my Saturday started out slow and I was tardy to the event. I took a seat a table and listened to the author tell of his research and events surrounding his newest book. No doubt, I wanted a copy. During the small talk with the author, the store owner asked me if I had mentioned my book to him. I had not and did not plan to since the subjects were totally different. One thing led to another and the author was from Virginia and we shared common interests. As I explained my book, the surprise on his face was evident.

Another man standing by casually mentioned that someone from the church had been in the store earlier in the week to speak to the owner. This was news to me! I wrongly guessed a few names and finally with great angst the store owner said the visitor had been my ex-wife. After a few prodding questions, the store owner relayed bits and pieces of the conversation. She said my wife wanted her to know I had “mental problems” and was basically wacko. My ex asked questions about the owner’s policy on what kind of books she sold. The owner felt required to defend her personal position as a conservative Christian and said as long as the book did not violate her personal faith, she would sell it in her store.

The owner hesitated and told me there were two visitors. The second was my daughter. The look of pain on the owner’s face to have to convey the conversation was evident. She said she was not going to bring it up, but since I had learned about it, she would tell me. She didn’t want to hurt me. Can you say- sweet person? She wanted to protect me from what most every survivor goes through after leaving family behind- shunning and ridicule.

She said during the conversation, I was accused of insinuating the WOFF was a cult. That is wrong. I don’t insinuate. I declare- WOFF is a cult. Something was said about the events at the eye doctor saying I had talked bad about the WOFF member. I had not; I had only wanted to protect my personal medical information. Another mention was made that I believed my daughter was forced to marry her husband. She declared, “I love my husband!” Also, included were remarks saying I had visited my daughter at her job and made a big scene. Now, let me explain.

In March of 2013, I did attempt to make contact with my daughter on her job after hearing from a survivor that my daughter had expressed an interest in calling me and Jane stopped her in January 2013. I recorded both attempts to contact her and both times was told my daughter was not working that day. Nowhere in the audio will you hear me raise my voice or even give my name. As a result, I was contacted by the head of hospital maintenance posing as head of security telling me to not return unless I needed medical attention. In April, the chief of Spindale police called me. It was a whole big bogus deal born out of my concern for my daughter. If you suspected your daughter was stopped from calling you, would you do the same or more?

Well, the news of the attempt of my ex-wife to stop the book signing in two weeks meant at least one thing. The “work of fiction” must have some truth in it. If it were fiction, then it would not be so concerning. Thank you, to Mary at Great Expectations for not bowing under the pressures of those who I suspect had not read the entire book. If my ex-wife and daughter had read “Locked in” all the way to the end, they would have seen the following passages:

Second, I am persuaded and want to make clear that by telling this story, I do not blame my wife and children for how they responded or acted during this drama. We were marionettes on strings. This drama was being overseen and played by the head Puppet Master. During the previous years, we were conditioned to play the parts we acted out. With each sermon, each public display of correction, each small group or class attended the dye was set…

The drive to tell this story does not include any desire to hold the players in this drama to their past. Telling the secrets of this past does not limit their future, as living through it did not dictate or limit mine. My, now, ex-wife and my children can each have a change of mind and heart and, if they choose, leave WOFF. Members can and do find ways to break the strings of the Puppet Master. By telling this story, I encourage others to cut the strings and find their own way in life. For the leader and the leadership, my hope is not as strong that they will change; but none of them should be limited by my hope. (pages 182-183)

As of today, there are 19 reviews on Amazon for “Locked in” and all are positive. Several are written by readers I do not know personally. At least one is written by a former member confirming the details of my account. “Locked in” is the first published memoir of a WOFF survivor. I hope others will come forward and share their stories. Many others could share accounts which make the slow train wreck of my family seem like a day in the park.

If you are able, please, consider attending the book signing on December 5th at 1:00PM. There is a lunch time Café at the Great Expectation Books and More for those who may want to sit a spell and chat. I will read a selection from “Locked in” and take questions about my life experiences surrounding my time at WOFF. Show your support to Mary, the owner for allowing this event. Her telephone number is (828)286-9616.

For those who may have missed it, WLOS 13 moved the video to their channel.

Season of Changes is upon us. Will this be a cold winter in Spindale?

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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. Jane told me and Josh confirmed it.

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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Scripture references are Amplified Version unless otherwise noted. (Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 551

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2 thoughts on “They said you had “mental problems…wacko…””

  1. Thank you once again for a great post. Mental problems, wacko….

    To the WOFF leadership:

    Open the doors!

    Show the world a long service with groaning, travail and blasting, (With mental health professionals, audiologists, speech therapists and child protection services!) If this is the “move of God” why hide in darkness and ambiguity? Show the world the benefits of blasting and how it changes lives. Show the nation the advantages of “household living”. Please share how sexual orientation can be changed “by the spirit”.
    (Won’t mention any names….but 25+ years hasn’t “delivered” anyone.)

  2. Arthur,

    Great point! If their practices are the answers to whatever ‘ails ya, then stop keeping the cure locked up behind closed doors. If you (JW) love ALL people then share your unique practices with ALL people and let the world beat a path to your door! If what you practice is truly of God, then it would not violate any of the laws of the land and would be applauded as what you say it is – Truth. Let the world into your closed subculture! Don’t be like Word of Life Christian Church in NY- we see where their reclusive boundaries led them.


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