Understanding the Word of Faith Fellowship Response to Recent Reports of “Slavery”

The text message telling me about the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) press release from July 30, 2017 ended with “smh.” This is a new abbreviation for me, it left me wondering. I searched and found it means “scratching my head.” After I quit laughing about my temporary confusion, I pondered the answer to the obvious question- Why and how would Joshua Farmer and Jane Whaley consider their press release appropriate?

This post is my answer. First, the text of the release – source: www.wordoffaithfellowship.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Word of Faith Fellowship Responds to AP reports regarding “enslaved” members

Spindale, North Carolina – July 30, 2017 — We are appalled to learn of the allegations published by the Associated Press regarding foreign members of our church being “enslaved”. Many of these allegations are obviously preposterous on their face and they are all false. It is ludicrous that people now claim they were in an abusive environment at our church but admit that they traveled from Brazil to the United States many different times, returning repeatedly to their place of alleged enslavement. Clearly, there is a group of people determined to stop at nothing in their campaign to destroy our ministry. We are confident that the truth will ultimately prevail and we remain hopeful that the public will see through these fabrications and see them for what they are.

Next, the release includes a quotation of II Timothy 3:1-5 (Amplified Bible). The release is closed with acknowledgment of Sam and Jane Whaley and Attorney Joshua Farmer- Farmer and Morris Law (828) 286-3866.

The standard WOFF strategy is followed here by saying “Many of these allegations are obviously preposterous on their face and they are all false.” This is standard WOFF practice to deny accounts of wrong doing by calling the testimony of survivors of their group- lies and false.

Next, “It is ludicrous that people now claim they were in an abusive environment at our church but admit that they traveled from Brazil to the United States many different times, returning repeatedly to their place of alleged enslavement.”

This may be confusing for some. However, many of the victims were sent to North Carolina while under the legal age of majority. They were compelled by others making decisions for them. Also, there is the group dynamic which labels these trips as “the will of God.” And though there were hard times awaiting them in NC, while in that group, going against “the will of God” as interpreted by Jane Whaley was a quick road to harsh discipline or forced expulsion. Until a member is ready to cross that bridge leading out, they will do amazing things which include submitting to the dictates outlined in the allegations.

The release goes on: “Clearly, there is a group of people determined to stop at nothing in their campaign to destroy our ministry. We are confident that the truth will ultimately prevail and we remain hopeful that the public will see through these fabrications and see them for what they are.”

If allowing survivors tell their story and get help after suffering the abuses outlined in the Associated Press reports “destroys our ministry,” then it needed to be destroyed. “Fabrications?” The central thread in the survivor testimonies of abuse is the same shape and color on at least two continents. Former members will agree there are additional survivors from other countries as well. Many of these folks do not know each other personally and were not afforded a chance to coordinate the ongoing avalanche of accounts which include physical and emotional abuse and harm.

Still the nagging question remains. How can Attorney Joshua Farmer make such statements in the face of such a tidal wave of well documented evidence from the AP? My answer is that the AP and Mr. Farmer are speaking from two different views and in fact two different realities. The AP is basing their reports on testimonies of ex-members, legal documents, recordings and pictures. The AP functions in the reality known by those in a free-thinking community. The practices which brought on the reports of abuse are compared to the laws of this land and the practices of other churches and individuals.

Attorney Farmer is telling us the perspective from inside the closed sub-culture of WOFF. If you doubt it is a closed sub-culture, try to drive down Old Flynn Road expecting to enter freely to the church services. You will meet with resistance and guards carrying concealed weapons. Farmer can say these things because in his reality and in the WOFF subculture, they are true.

From their perspective, members are not enslaved. They are “sold out to the will of God” and “submitting to the ways of God.” It is believed that the ways of God lived inside that group cannot be understood by those on the outside. This is an accepted manner of thinking, WOFF-think. This justifies the denial of the testimonies of survivors and gives reasons for Farmer to stand firm in the face of the AP reports.

You may still wonder how he can consistently represent the reality of the WOFF sub-culture while at the same time witnessing the damaged lives of survivors. My answer to that includes the skill of justification. He is a master at justifying the stark contrasts in his world. He has honed his skill over the years to manage any cognitive dissonance between what he sees inside WOFF and what he knows others believe about true WOFF-life. How long will he be able to continue the charade? Time will tell…

For now, the quandary deepens as government officials in both countries sort out the conundrum created by a closed sub-culture in North Carolina which recruited folks for dubious reasons glossed over by the “will of God.”

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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.

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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 613.

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2 thoughts on “Understanding the Word of Faith Fellowship Response to Recent Reports of “Slavery””

  1. Can we talk about the fact the statement released by WOFF in so many ways proves the enormous pressure that so many survivors have expressed kept them as prisoners. The hounding of scripture in a way that makes them feel like the mere thought of anything other the serving in “,The Church” brings utter destruction. The scripture they use to describe the state of those who are in opposition to their beliefs in itself shows their level of fanaticism. Seriously who talks and believes that ? I’ll tell you , they do. Imagine hearing this over and over and over and over…… You begin to believe it as well. I believe their statement hurts them more than it helps them. It shows just how deep in the false religion rhetoric they all live in. They don’t and can’t even see the that the very thing they’re being accused of mainly CONTROL is what they are exhibiting in this statement. I believe if the powers that be read this statement (even though scripture are included in a twisted self serving delusional manner) they will get a tiny glimpse into the mindset of JW the leader of the cult WOFF and just how it has had a foothold on the lives of it innocent God fearing followers.

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