Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that David Learner, the District Attorney for Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties has asked the State Bureau of Investigations to look into the allegations against his employees, Frank Webster and Chris Back, who are members of Word of faith Fellowship (WOFF). This stems from Monday’s AP article – here.
The most recent AP release went on: “Nathan Key, a spokesman for Learner, said in an email that Webster and Back will keep working during the investigation but did not say if they would continue to prosecute cases. He did not respond to follow-up questions.”
So is there “light duty” for an Assistant District Attorney? What exactly Webster and Back will be doing exactly during any investigation? It is not clear right now. How prudent is it to allow them to prosecute on behalf of the State when the allegations include betrayal of their duties?
How much of Webster’s annual salary of $93,600* will he be paid during any investigation of these allegations?
Likewise, for Mr. Back and his $72,800* annual salary? How much of that will the taxpayers of North Carolina have to pay while this matter gets settled? What is an ADA supposed to be doing at the office while his professional conduct and judgment are being investigated? What can the citizens of North Carolina trust Webster or Back to do? Please, let’s think of something if both of them remain working. This is a question for Learner. Or is it really?
(* latest figures for 2016)
A follow-up question is how many times, if any, has Learner visited Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF)? Has he ever been drawn into Jane’s aura? Did he have any idea of the intense loyalty required of Webster and Back to their leader, Jane Whaley, as members of WOFF?
There is no question in my mind of Webster’s and Back’s quality of work in their professional duties. From time to time, I have picked up the local paper in Morganton and read of their successes. However, this question goes to their conduct under the compunction to serve the “will of God” in deference to their duties to serve the citizens of their district. If these allegations are proven true, I credit it to the delusion which permeates the sub-culture of WOFF.
Jane explains it like this. There are facts and there is “Truth.” Truth is what she hears from God and facts are what non-spiritual people see. In WOFF world, Truth supersedes the facts. If a person was hit or pushed of shoved, that is a fact. In Jane’s world the facts are not relevant to her version of Truth which may be totally opposite of the facts. Frank, Chris and Cleveland County Department of Social Services employee, Lori Cornelius; from the accounts I read were helping children and adults see “Truth.” It sounds like this time, the facts did not agree with Jane’s version of what “she heard from God,” which in WOFF is the only “Truth” that matters.
In the understanding of the sub-culture, one must accept the above WOFF-logic and know the consequences if Frank, Chris or Lori had refused to obey Jane and helped the children see “Truth.” Jane would have turned on each one of them and at a minimum excused them from the whole charade as being full of devils and rebellious or worse, out of the will of God.
The key point in this whole scene, the blind loyalty to Jane blinded Frank, Chris and Lori and others involved in the process to seeing that they could ever be doing anything wrong. In fact, within WOFF, they were hailed as ministers of “Truth” helping others “walk in the will of God.” There is no ability to admit wrong when deep down they cannot recognize the convoluted logic of WOFF.
This WOFF-think also helps explain why in the answer to the AP Investigation- Broken Faith, WOFF issued this response, “We do not allow or condone abuse- in any form- at our church. Period.” They do not see their activities as abuse. The signature practice of loud, deliverance prayer and all that it has included in recent years; within that subculture cannot be labeled as abuse. In many cases, the prayer is abusive is a fact, but it is not the (WOFF) “Truth.” The leader of WOFF defines “Truth” regardless of the facts. Each member must accept it as so in order to continue living inside.
Understanding this conundrum will be a hurdle for any investigator on any level looking into any aspect of WOFF.
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(Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 593.