Category Archives: Books, Resources

Books, Resources for learning about religious cults

Sunday Afternoon- Relaxed and Informative (Pictures)

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day in western North Carolina. The gathering at Great Expectations and More in Rutherfordton turned out to be a gentle reflection of the outside weather. Mary Hornback and her family were so kind to open their doors again to a reading from “Locked in” and a time of questions and answers. Those in attendance were responsive with some very insightful questions. Words are hard to find to fully express the satisfaction of knowing the truth about the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) is getting out week after week, month as month since the release of my book, “Locked in”, in September 2015.
Friends and followers of the saga came together to direct questions and express their concerns and observations. My hopes are that everyone left with hope for changes in the near future. There are more copies available and keep checking for announcements for future events.

2016- The Year of Change in Rutherford County! (Thank you, Mary for the pictures! )

Sunday, Feb. 28th
Sunday, Feb. 28th

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On this, I Agree with Jane Whaley…

Recently, I was told that Jane Whaley, leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), declared from the pulpit that many would leave the will of God this year. Translated, many will leave WOFF. Okay, the person relaying it to me called this declaration a “prophecy.” For whatever the motivation, for whatever the reason; I must say I agree with the prediction. Last year was a banner year for defections. The list of survivors leaving WOFF seems to be growing by the week. The exact reasons vary I am sure, but many have already, and looks like soon will leave the WOFF kingdom. The unofficial total ranges from 50 upwards to 80 or more in the last 18 months. I am not sure if any of that number includes ones leaving the Brazilian churches.

For the Faith Freedom Fund, this means another busy year ahead. We are not called upon to help every survivor. Some exit-takers find their own resources. However, last year was the busiest year I can remember for helping survivors. I find the work satisfying on one hand and heart breaking on the other. The stories of abuse coming out of that place seem to grow in intensity with each passing month.
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Who is Jane Whaley to you?

As a part of recent book signings for “Locked in”, I have fielded questions from attendees. The ranges of questions include certain ones which try to comprehend what type of leader Jane Whaley was or is now.

Today, I will quote from a resource written about dangerous groups and point the question to other members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). Ray Farmer? Josh Farmer? Mark Morris? Brooke Covington? Karel Reynolds? Will you take the following descriptions of group leaders and decide what kind of leader you are following? This description was not written specifically with Jane Whaley in mind. So, do not get defensive and think I wrote this myself or gave the authors the inside scoop. If none of this applies, then tell us your own words

Our resource for this post is a book titled, “The Cult Phenomenon- How Groups Function.” The text was originally written in French in 2003 and translated to English in 2006. The authors are Mike Kropveld, Executive Director of Info-Cult and Marie-Andree Pelland, Doctoral Student in Criminology- Universite de Montreal. (ISBN-2-9808258-1-6) I bought this book in July of 2014 at the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) conference in Washington, D.C.
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The Movie: Spotlight- How do you say no to God? (trailer- end of post)

Friday, I saw the movie – “Spotlight.” The movie is a documentary about the investigative reporting of the Catholic priest cases of molestation of young children in Boston, MA. The movie was released in November of 2015 and I planned to see it then, but lost track of it.

From what I have learned after seeing the movie, professional reviewers focused on the investigative reporting and the determination of the team at the Boston Globe to tell a story no one wanted told. There has been great praise for the acting, directing and other attributes. The movie has been nominated for many awards and may still yet win more. I admit the depiction of the struggle of the team from the Boston Globe to dig into library records, interview survivors and fight for access to court documents was one I could appreciate and found very inspiring!
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Book Signing in Rutherfordton- What is Love?

John reading from Locked in
John reading from Locked in
Items of interest
Items of interest
Attendees listening to John
Attendees listening to John

Saturday, December 5th, Great Expectations Books and More owner, Mary, was kind enough to allow me time for a book signing. My first book, “Locked in” was the topic originally. The excitement for me built during the days leading up to the event. Efforts to stop the event made the anxiousness all the more real. Who would show? Would members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) show and cause a scene as was the case in April of 2014 just down the street? The event that day was the National Prevention of Child Abuse Awareness vigil. Who wanted to repeat that fiasco? Though the decision was made ahead of time, if any WOFFers came in they would be allowed to stay as long as they were respectful, no present members entered the event.

My family members from South Carolina and I arrived early to help in anyway needed as well as partake of the lunch menu. Salad and sandwiches were enjoyed as people began to file in and take the seats either at tables or chairs placed in the space between the book displays. Samples of the sandwich choices were provided for those who wanted to try the cuisine. The flurry of activity ebbed and flowed as the room filled. New friends arrived to join with ones I have known for years.
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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.
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Locked in – Daily Courier, Book Signings and Kindle

Thursday, October 1, 2015- Austin Bailey of the Daily Courier published a story about my book, “Locked in.” He included a picture and a few quotes I gave him earlier in the day… Thank you, Austin, for contacting me and running the story. The response has been favorable. See article here.

Book Signings in Myrtle Beach, SC

For those familiar with my story, you know the role my mom took in helping me leave the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). I detailed the destruction of my family in the third part of “Locked in.” It seemed only fitting that my first appearance for a book signing would be among her friends, and students from her memoir writing classes. This past Friday afternoon, over fifty folks crowded into a room at Brightwater Retirement Community in Myrtle Beach. My mom introduced me by recapping the events surrounding my daughter’s graduation in June 2008. From there I began telling about my time in WOFF. I read the Dedication, Acknowledgement and Prologue to “Locked in.” The expressions on the faces of those listening let me know many were hearing about cult involvement for the first time. Before I ended, I shared about the work of the Faith Freedom Fund and asked for donations. Then, I opened the floor for questions. It has been a while since my last public speaking appearance and the occasional awkward moments of silence were uncomfortable for me, but did not seem to bother the listeners.

Saturday, we returned to the same room for a birthday party for my friend and resident of Brightwater. She is turning 100 years old on Tuesday. It was a festive occasion. I wore a special purple shirt in honor of her and that was new ground for me. There were more people than the room could hold as many relatives and friends dropped in to honor her. She requested a copy of “Locked in” and I was only too glad to oblige.
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