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The WOFF “Don’t” List – Part 1

     Life at WOFF was full of “don’ts”. Some were spoken “don’ts”, others were supposed to be understood by example. If you did not catch on to the “don’t” in certain cases, you could be called out during a service or summoned to the office to answer why you did the “don’t” that you were not aware of doing. Does that make sense?

     Now, before we really get into the list, be assured that I will not be able to recount every don’t. I simply don’t know them all and that is probably my fault. But, please, don’t blame me! Some of these don’ts are not bad as a guideline. But, remember to stay at WOFF you don’t have a choice. You do the do’s and don’t do the don’ts or you may be in rebellion and put out!  Also, I may list a “don’t” from one time period of my time of 16 years that turned to a “do” or a “maybe do”, depending on if you heard God or Jane say you could do that thing. Are we confused yet? I hope you don’t get confused as we go through the list.

      Some don’ts were easy as pie. At WOFF, you don’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, dip or chew and you stay away from those that do. That should be no shock. Were there folks that smoked? Well, Jane pointed out one fellow by name during a service and accused him of smoking cigarettes. As far as I could hear, he never admitted to that “sin”. He was real cool on the outside about being called out as a “smoker”.

     During the one service, one fellow got up and admitted to drinking beer and watching a movie at a movie theater. Those were two don’ts you just don’t do and feel “right with God” at WOFF. He was not endorsing his actions, he knew “we just don’t do that”. That phrase was a very common phrase at WOFF. It was usually said to demean and put down the folks who did the don’t.

     So, we have covered the basics; tobacco, alcohol, movies. We also mentioned in previous posts at WOFF – “we don’t read newspapers, (unless Jane or someone approved reads them to you in a service…). (see this post .. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=307 , don’t even read the headlines!)   WOFFers don’t read magazines, (you could lose your job! see previous post here- http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=318 ).   You don’t read books that are not approved. You don’t even read your Bible too much! Some folks were accused of reading their Bible to avoid working! (This reading was “giving to a religious devil!”) One time Jane said Sam had given over to this devil! Of course, Sam agreed.  

     Yes, you don’t take notes during the services. You don’t fall asleep during a service. You don’t talk to someone else when Jane is preaching. She will call you out and tell you to take it in the foyer or hall, if it can’t wait. You don’t get up to go to bathroom during a service unless Jane knows you have a condition that warrants distracting others. Some folks were self-appointed monitors and would point out to Jane that “too many folks are moving around while the Word is coming forth”. So, when someone does get up, DON”T WATCH THEM! You are being distracted and “we don’t let that happen!”

   Well, men don’t wear shirts in the sanctuary that were not white or blue. If you wore the wrong shirt, you could be called out during the service or afterwards and told “we don’t wear that color of shirt in here”, don’t you know that? “Where were you when we got ahold of that?” “Don’t you pay attention when God is speaking?” There were usually some very “encouraging” words for those that either don’t know better or may have been so new to not have told that particular “don’t” yet. Also, you could be sent out to change your shirt.

     One unwritten, but very practiced “don’t”; women went to great lengths so they “don’t” wear the same dress as another woman to the same service, especially to “special meetings”. I saw many women come to the podium and hold up a new dress. They would ask the women in the service, “Does anyone have this dress?” If someone had it, then the second person was expected to return the new dress. Because, “we just don’t want to loose an attack at the other person.”   

     During the singing parts of the services, you participate with your whole heart! “We don’t just check out and look around”. Don’t look around and stare at others while you are suppose to be worshipping God with your whole heart and being. “We just don’t do that.” Several children had a hard time with this one. Some were “helped” in different ways. Also, we don’t stare at visitors or new folks that may not know all the don’ts or be wearing certain clothes that “we don’t wear.”  (no jeans, no shorts, no sleeveless anything, no dresses above the knee, no flashy ties that look like you bought them at a Yard Sale! ) The “don’t” list for clothes will be another post.

     During my time at WOFF, I held a job that required me to take my phone into the sancutary during services. Normally, you don’t take you phone into a service – it distracts – even on vibrate. We don’t want to distract others from hearing the Word. I was responsible to answer emergency calls from the answering service that served the seven apartment complexes owned by the property management company that I worked for at the time. One service in 2008 as far as I remember, I took a call and left the service to talk in the foyer. This motivated another member to “get me checked out” and they went to tell a certain person in leadership sitting on the front row, that I had taken a call and left during the preaching.

     Don’t stop reading here, it gets better. I took the call and solved the crisis of the moment and returned to my seat. So, this leadership person gets up off the front row (Don’t watch him!) and gives me the nod as he comes down the isle. That was a signal you don’t ignore. The person who reported me was a bit smug, but kept still. I went out to see what I had done that was a don’t. (you did not get called out to be praised…) This leadership person stood there with his finger on his chin as if posing and said so-and-so had come to him and said I took a call and left during the preaching. What happened? I said there was a call from the answering service about a natural gas leak and I had to solve the issue. There could been an explosion! He nodded and said he would check with Jane to see if “I had heard God to take the call.” After the service, he came back to me and said Jane said I had heard God that time, but be sure not to be pulled out taking calls and missing the Word. So, what I had done was a “don’t” but, it was okay. But be careful and don’t do it too often or “the devil will pull you out of your place”.  Are you getting the picture?

     This is just a few examples of life at WOFF. Honestly, living in “Don’t-ville” was tough. There were so many “don’ts” to keep track of you would of course miss one or two and be told, “We don’t do that”. Of course, how stupid could I be? The flow of life has already been determined and I don’t have to think for myself. Others have done that for me. But, oh we don’t say that.

     This is just the first installment of – The WOFF “Don’t” List. There is more to come and we have yet begun to scratch the surface of how deep the don’ts could pile up in “Don’t-ville”… Don’t miss the next post! 🙂

     Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I hope this is a help to them.

     Look on the right side of any post for “Categories”, select the drop down box and view any previous post by selecting “Uncategorized”. Use the slide bar on the right to scroll down to the bottom. Select “Previous Entries” to review older posts. As always, comments are welcome.

      (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. )

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Follow-up to “Toilet Paper Revelation” – A Poll

     Previously, we shared Jane Whaley’s take on this subject. She “heard God” on the direction best suited for installing toilet paper on the roll. She also gave her insight into folding the ends.

    Here is the post link:  http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=243 (complete with a picture.)

    One very concerned toilet paper manafacturer has put up a poll where folks can vote. So far, it looks like the vote will be “over the top”…  🙂 

     You can vote in the poll here… http://www.cottonellerollpoll.com/  Be sure the click the “Join the Debate” option for the map and videos, as well as the “Roll Poll Throwdown” option. However, none of that changed my vote.

     Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I hope this is a help to them.

     Look on the right side of any post for “Categories”, select the drop down box and view any previous post by selecting “Uncategorized”. Use the slide bar on the right to scroll down to the bottom. Select “Previous Entries” to review older posts. As always, comments are welcome.

      (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. )

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A Knock at the Door… A Visit from WOFF Members

     Recently, while working from home, I received a knock at the door. This in itself was strange as the number of visitors has been limited. The door to my place had been recently replaced and thus no peephole installed. So, I asked, who is it? The person identified themselves and I knew it was a WOFF member. So, I opened the door to two WOFF members. They expected an invitation inside, but since they had given no call ahead of time, I refused them entry and we talked in the hallway. I asked them why no call ahead of time? “We could have met somewhere”. The reply – “We just wanted to show-up.”  There were smiles at first, but they soon faded.

     Before I go any further, let me say that I was not recording and have no real way to tell everything that was said on either behalf, mine or theirs. So, upfront know that this post is NOT a full account of this encounter. Also, I am leaving some parts out on purpose to not reveal the identities of the two ladies. For now, it does not add to the purpose of the post to identify them.  For sure, you the informed reader will understand the main points and get the gist of the events. I purpose to make it plain as possible.

     The first lady admitted she had been reading this blog. She then went on to assess the content as being “lies, full of lies!” I asked which part? She said “All of it. It is all false!” I got the message she did not like my blog. 🙁 I mentioned to this person that I was telling my experiences. (Remember, my experiences cannot be taken from me. Learned that at WOFF.)  She asked at some point, “How could you have slipped so far?” She gave me the impression that she thought I was “backslidden”.

    Then the second lady said the piece I wrote about her was wrong and false. She claims to have spoken in person to me on a Saturday morning about the thoughts I was having. ( I disagreed..) She did not dispute that I was “put out of the Church” with a phone call. At this point, she was “gagging on gnats”, as far as I could tell. She said many things about losing the “call of God” and “blaspheming God”. She made light of the place I lived. “What are you doing here?” She gestured with her hands as if to mock the place of my residence. From my memory, this was a common tactic to use on those who have left WOFF. The fact is most everyone in WOFF lives in very nice houses, but at what cost? The main difference in the place I live now  and the one I left, is just that- I live here. No one from WOFF, ” in authority” had to approve of my decision. In that regard, this is a beautiful place to live!

     The next door neighbors came up the stairs and I introduced the two ladies at my door. I told them that these ladies said I could not or should not have a blog about my previous experiences at the cult church. The neighbors were a little taken aback, nodded and went inside. This comment set these two ladies off into a rant. They again gestured with their hands and said “See there, why did you have to add the last part?” I asked isn’t that why you are here? You think I post “lies”? You want me to stop, right?  No, “We are here to encourage you to find God and the call of God.” “We are not telling you that you can’t post on your blog.” The second lady began to recount my previous “evangelistic” activities while at WOFF.  I told her I gave those folks so much “false religion” because that was what I was hearing. I repeated what I was told. She looked a little more upset but, did agree that “we have all given others religion, that is what we came out of…”

     They went on to say that I was using the books for sources over the Bible. That I had slid way off the mark. I asked them, “Are there were no other books to read beside the Bible?” They did not answer that one but, they said, “Truth is in the Bible! Not other books.” (okay, so, I will put more scriptures in my posts. I have resisted for not wanting to sound “preachy.”)

     At one point, I told them that when you list the characteristics of other cult groups and chart them against my own personal experiences with WOFF, there are so many similarities! They had no real knowledge of other groups so they could not comment on that point.   I told them that several other folks said I was very accurate! Though I did not volunteer names. 

     The second lady claimed to care about me and the many years our families had spent “in the things of God”.  I mentioned that this was the third time we have talked since I left in July of 2008? One of those times, I paid the her group a surprise visit and that one does not count.  So, if she cared, why so few contacts?  Then I  asked her about her husband?  She had mentioned he was glad to know that I had showed -up at the surprise meeting. “He wished he could have been there”.  Would he talk to me? She said,  “I don’t know.” Then I asked, “Would he be allowed to talk to me?” She did not answer as I feel certain she truly did not know. 

     During the conversation, my landlord came through the hall wanting to enter the apartment across the hall. I again introduced the ladies but, this time left off the “blog and cult” remarks. Then I turned to the second lady and said, “Better?”

      A little later during this exchange, one of my neighbors came back out and asked a question. He said, “Excuse me, you mentioned you had a blog on religious cults. My girl-friend and I would like to read that. What is the address?” At that point, I gave him the address and mentioned I could answer any of his questions. That comment was a surprise to me. It was a question of his own.    

     The second lady did most of the talking and stayed more calm. In fact, she spoke very sincerely and I told her so. The first lady spoke a rehearsed type of speech that obviously had been approved. She got upset and shook her finger at me. She also mentioned my jeans. That bothered her very much. The conversation did get heated at times. At one point, I asked them if they ever had doubts that Jane Whaley heard God perfectly every time? To which there was no reply. (you may read more by clicking the prompt)    Continue reading A Knock at the Door… A Visit from WOFF Members

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Book Review: “Slave and Citizen” by Nathan Irvin Huggins

     This book, “Slave and Citizen” written by Nathan Irvin Huggins, subtitled “The Life of Frederick Douglass” (copyright 1980) was an inspiration to me during the first few months of leaving WOFF. The investment was only 49 cents. The benefit was immense. I picked the book up at a used book store.  It was a relatively quick read of only 185 pages. My emails and notes show I read this book in September of 2008.

     The book outlines the life of Frederick Douglass from his birth to his death at the age of 77 in 1895. He had risen from slave to being a Statesman and Ambassador to Haiti for the United States. He advised President Lincoln and had many other accomplishments. The intriguing part to me was his life beginnings and how he learned to read.

     In 1825,… Frederick was sent to live in Baltimore, MD to the house of Hugh and Sophia Aduld. There is the city he caught his first glimpse of freedom. Mrs. Auld took time to teach Frederick to learn to read the Bible. He was a quick learner and Mrs. Auld was excited to show her husband. Her husband not happy at all, in fact he was enraged. “Hugh Auld with course and brutal language told his wife that slaves should never be taught beyond their station. ‘Not only was it illegal to teach them to read, but it would spoil the best n[igger]r in the world.’ A slave, ‘given an inch, he will take an ell,’ he said. A slave should know nothing but the will of his master. ‘If you learn him how to read, he’ll be running away with himself.” The text goes on… “Frederick … on the other hand learned the most important lesson of his youth: there is something unnatural about slavery;…” (page 5, emphasis added)

     I read this passage in September 2008, about 60 days of being out of WOFF. Those were frightful times as I was struggling with the notions put in me while in WOFF. Those who leave are “under a curse, Judases, digging themselves a deep hole” as some would say. So, this passage woke me up! The reason that Information control is so heavy at WOFF, is because, “If you learn him how to read, he’ll be running away with himself.”  Teaching slaves to read was illegal. Of course members are allowed to read- their Bible.  In the cases of students: textbooks are monitored and censored. Allowing members to read ANYTHING they want is illegal at WOFF. Otherwise, those dutiful, hard working, tithe giving members will get ideas and be running away with themselves!

     After I read this I sent an email to a dear friend. In the email, I share how I read this between 3:00AM and 5:00AM and could not sleep! It all made sense. Keeping members from the newspapers, TV, magazines, most every book and other sources of information; keeps them “in their place”. (if I may be so bold to use a WOFF phrase!) Also, as Frederick Douglass learned, “..there is something unnatural about slavery.” It is unnatural to not have access to the free flow of information. The choice to partake or not partake should be up to the individual, unhindered in any way.

     A common form of information control involves blocking out any critical or negative points of view.” Some cults simply forbid members to have access to any non-cult material such as newspapers, magazines, television or radio, and the Internet…”. These words from “Releasing the Bonds” by Steven Hassan (copyright 2000) make it very clear. Religious cults as well as other mind control groups, attempt to control the information available and thus “keep their members from running way”!

     One main “breach in the dam of control” for me occurred when I searched the term “shepherding movement”. The similarities between the religious move of control in the 70’s and my life experiences at WOFF were too stark to ignore! That started the process of my “running away”.  If the WOFF experience had not been so blatantly like the stories of control I was reading about; I may still be at there, today. Here are some links to the type of information I read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherding_Movement 

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/shepherding.htm

There are plenty of other sources for this subject.

     To my good WOFF readers: you may think that you have free access to all the information sources that you want. You just don’t “want to read the newspaper or watch television or freely surf the Internet”. I remember that rationalization tool. Is it really true or are the consequences of admitting to partaking of the “forbidden” too great for you to risk a violation? Remember– “there is something unnatural about slavery”. In reality, you had to give up your freedoms to continue to be a part of the group. Isn’t that “spiritual slavery”?

     So, to the newest members: did you realize that in order to keep the job or housing you were given that you would have to give up your freedoms in so many areas? Has the spiritual bondage been too slow in developing for you to notice? How is that “..freedom in Christ” working out for you? My critics from WOFF say I don’t use enough scripture. For them:

My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses].
Galatians 2:3-5 ( Amplified version)

     Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I KNOW for sure and will share that post. Holocaust teacher: Are you reading this one?

     Look on the right side of any post for “Categories”, select the drop down box and view any previous post by selecting “Uncategorized”. Use the slide bar on the right to scroll down to the bottom. Select “Previous Entries” to review older posts. As always, comments welcome.

      (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. )

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FLDS vs WOFF – Married Couples – part 9

As mentioned before, many similar behaviors in FLDS and WOFF may not have affected each member the same in every case. If you were “not walking in a certain place in God”, you may not have been told certain things about certain events, happenings or teachings. This will become more evident as this subject is developed.

At FLDS, Flora Jessop in “Church of LIES” (copyright 2009), “Warren began to take even more control over people’s personal lives in a series of what he called “adjustments”. .. He also adjusted people’s private lives, increasing the strictures. He took the pulpit personally to explain the sex act to the congregation, telling them how it was supposed to be done: “If the female enjoys it, ” he said “you are doing it wrong. Sex is for procreation only.” She goes on to explain other restrictions in this area. (page 197)

Elissa Wall in “Stolen Innocence”(copyright 2008), tells her view of these increased restrictions and “adjustments”.    “Rulon (Jeffs) began performing a sort of marriage counseling supposedly aimed at resolving marital conflict, but it was less about solving problems and more about control over husbands and wives.    With his new practice, the prophet became privy to members’ most intimate secrets, and Rulon was not afraid to put this information to use. Under the guise of counseling, the prophet — and later Warren—began making life-altering decisions such as controlling the sexual relations of spouses  … Warren effectively began to encourage some women to spy on their husbands in the name of the Lord, wanting them to come forward with any infraction, no matter how small.” (page 85- emphasis added)

My experience in this area will not be the testimony of others. I will relate my own experience, what I know to be true and as accurate as I can be without being inappropriate. At WOFF, there were at least two time periods where the push to “purify the marriage bed” was made known and preached. The first time frame is not clear in my memory, but I believe it was during the transition from Greenville to WOFF in NC. It continued for a time after we moved to WOFF.

The married couples were grouped in classes to be taught certain subjects having to do with contraception and marital relations. These classes were taught by those who had proven they were not “giving to the unclean” in their relationships. The number of times a month “to come togther” was suggested as well as the approved contraception method. Very explicit reasons were given for using the approved method. Other methods were taught to promote “abortions” of sorts. Many folks lived several to a household, so precautions to keep the time discrete were discussed and how to “cover the tracks” for those who were single or unlearned of the practices. “We don’t want to lose an attack at someone because of your time together.” The classes went so far as to give the approved position for intimate times. Your thoughts during your intimate times were also subject counsel.

During this first emphasis, you were to “check it out with leadership” when you and your spouse were considering “going into the marriage bed”. It just so happens the person I went to was the same fellow that called me in January to complain about this blog. This requirement was awkward, but being submitted to the teaching and wanting to not make waves, I went to him and discussed our private intentions. He seemed uncomfortable at times. Well, that was a mutual feeling! This was someone who represented “authority” in my life as well as had/has frequent access to the pulpit at WOFF. Finally, one evening, he sensed my questions and how the conversation would go. He said,” John, we don’t do that any more.”  I looked puzzled. His next statement I cannot quote as clearly as his first statement but, it was something like, “God is leading us in a different direction.” He was saying that we don’t “check it out with leadership” about marriage relations anymore. I did not have to keep talking to him about that.

Later, I suspected that one couple that had left and moved back West had “spilled the beans” to the press and it hit the papers – somewhere. Events and confessions of former members apparently had/has a way of “changing the direction of God”. Since I don’t know for sure, that only proves my point! Why did God change the direction? Does anyone else consider that a little strange?

During the last quarter of 2007 and/or the first quarter of 2008; the “move of God” went back in the direction to “purify the marriage bed.” God had changed His mind again?  Not really, “He had always wanted purity in this area, we just not been ready for it. Now, He was coming to us again. Lets don’t have this move of God pass us by!” “But, if you are not ready to get down to business, then you need to walk out of here – right now!” These were several of the transition statements used to introduce the subject again to the middle-aged married couples. These classes were held on Sunday nights and were taught by approved “leadership” that had Jane’s blessing. They were not taped as far as we were told. One reason was the intense personal nature of the subject matter at hand.

The topics were intense and were supposed to promote a “holy marriage”. I witnessed the wife of one man rebuke him in front of us all for “taking care of things himself”. He got up to painfully admit it and ask for prayer. After many meetings couples were encouraged to stay for personal counseling. After a few couples “got breakthroughs”, they would be encouraged to get up and share their changes.

My forced exit from WOFF was during the second quarter of 2008. I have no further information as to the outcome of this second emphasis. But, clearly the direction of the second set of classes was in the same or even a more intense direction than the first emphasis. I have no reason to believe that Jane Whaley and the leadership have lessened their desire to control the area of intimate marriage relationships.

Again, we find another similarity between FLDS and WOFF. I am not sure where the list will end. Just for reference, Jim Jones practiced heavy regulation over the intimate lives of married couples in Peoples Temple. But, that will be a post for another day.

Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I KNOW for sure and will share that post soon.

Look on the right side of any post for “Categories”, select the drop down box and view any previous post by selecting “Uncategorized”. Use the slide bar on the right to scroll down to the bottom. Select “Previous Entries” to review older posts.

(Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. )

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A Summary of FLDS vs WOFF posts

     This post will be a quick summary of the previous posts and some information about posts to come. The main subject of this blog is my personal reflections on my years being either part of a sister church to Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) or being a member living and participating in the group. That experience of 16 years is being compared to the information coming from survivors of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) formerly run by Warren Jeffs. The similarities between the two groups including the leaders, have been quite numerous.

     Here is a quick reference list of vital posts on the similarites:

      Part 1-  “report in” or “open your heart”  http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=86   

      Part 2   Words/ certain methods or actions. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=101 

      Part 3     Basis for power                           http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=143   

      Part 4     Music and Movies                      http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=216   

      Part 5  Information control, radio,  TV, etc  http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=108    

      Part 5  cont., info control Books               http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=284    

      Part 5  cont.- Newspapers                     http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=307    

      Part 5 cont. Magazines                          http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=318    

      Part 6 – Broken families                        http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=346     

      Part 7 –  Holidays                                    http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=249  

     Part 8- How people are treated who leave. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=498    

     Why is this list important? It makes very clear that the same methods used for controlling the members of FLDS were/are being used at WOFF. Facts are facts.  

     Steven Hassan in “Releasing the Bonds” (copyright 2000), states when explaining the B.I.T.E. model for determining controlling behavior  – “…A legitimate organization will allow people the freedom to think for themselves, read whatever they like, and talk to whomever they choose in order to arrive at their own decisions, whereas a destructive mind control group will want to do the thinking for the people.” (page 49)

     Clearly, FLDS and WOFF prohibit members to think for themselves or at a minimum express their  thoughts or doubts about leadership and the decisions made. Free and open debate are not the norm in either group. More on that subject in future posts.

      Access the complete list of previous posts by selecting “Categories” in the right hand column from any page and choosing the “Uncategorized” option. All previous posts about Jane Whaley and the methods of control are listed there.

     We will continue to build our list of similarites as well as provide more insight into the daily life at WOFF. What was it like to live at WOFF? That subject will be revealed as well as others. Thank you, for taking time to read these entries. More information is also coming on “help organizations” who purpose to help those coming out of religious or mind control groups. A soon coming post will reveal what happened after “The Knock at The Door…”

     Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. It could very well save their life. There are readers at WOFF. I KNOW for sure and will share that post very soon.

    (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. )

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FLDS vs WOFF – How People Who Leave are Treated – part 8

    The subject matter of this post is hard to begin. During my years at WOFF, I was guilty of treating those who left in the manner that I am about to describe. All I can say is that now that I am out and looking back, it is a convoluted way to treat those you may have spent hours along side working or “worshipping”.  Those who leave are shunned and it is a known reinforced rule from the top – “Do Not Call someone who leaves or speak to them unless you find out from Jane if it is okay. You could loose an attack on them and/or the church.” That was made very clear. If you talk to them without “checking it out with authority”, then the sin that caused them to leave is in you! Your devils will hook-up and you will be out of here!”

    ( One side note: most every phrase in these posts that is in quotes, has a unique meaning to WOFF and in a future post I will attempt to explain how the unique language of this group was used to further their control over members. It is a VERY common practice in religious control groups to re-define words or add new meanings to words in order to prohibit individual thought. This happens at WOFF like NO OTHER group I have been a part of or read about. As I heard recently, “He who names the game, owns the game.. )

     As mentioned in previous posts, frequently fear was pronounced on the members about what would happen if they left WOFF. Many times, those who have left would have their names brought up and used as examples of what happens when “you don’t deal with your sin”, “when you don’t open your heart”, “when you allow one thought to take you over and the devil drives you out of WOFF”, “when you hide the “unclean”, lose hold of the “call of God”. Only one time on 16 years do I remember Jane Whaley ever saying a person was better off outside of WOFF and “back with their parents..” Every other time it was a big deal when someone left. Three times, that I can remember families were “sent out”, but the underlying presumption was that they would stay in fellowship with Jane and the church and the things taught by WOFF; two families did and one family did not. (as far as I know..)

     Sometimes we would be told right away when a person left. Other times it would be a while before Jane would mention that “so and so” is gone “They did not want to serve God.” There were no good reasons to leave for most folks. Many times a “Judas spirit took them over…” or “Their rebellion took them over”.. It was no mistaking the spoken and unspoken meanings to these descriptions of those who leave- they were in trouble!

     Sad to say that when folks I had been close to left, I succumbed to the pressures to not call or speak to them. I do regret my participation in that whole scene. You just knew that there would be “hell to pay” if you were caught “fellow-shipping with the Judases”.. How much true love can be in that? It set a bad example for the children to see adults cut off long relationships over a choice made to leave a church. That is another part that I deeply regret. Our children learn by the example we set. I cannot say I set a good example while spending time at WOFF when it came to talking to those who have left or showing true love to those when may have been “put out to find a place of repentance”.

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

Continue reading FLDS vs WOFF – How People Who Leave are Treated – part 8

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