Category Archives: Locked in

Audio Resource Round-up – John Cooper, Mitch Weiss, John Huddle

Everyone is busy and may not have the time to experience all the different resources on the unfolding drama surrounding Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). Also, I know there are folks who just recently started following this story. 2017 has been a year full of new information from the Associated Press, updates on the Matthew Fenner case; including some survivors sharing their individual stories through different media channels.

This post includes three audio resources which you may have missed. First, we have a two-part podcast featuring John Cooper’s story. Even after living inside WOFF for years, I was captivated by John’s narrative. Within the first two minutes of Part 1, he describes a confession session where he is thrown to the floor and “…it all becomes a blur…” “…this guy is sitting on my legs and punching me in the chest…”
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Repost of Podcast Explains Struggles of Life Inside WOFF

After publishing “Locked in”, I was afforded the opportunity to participate in an interview from Steve and Becky Lyles. The connection was over Skype and the sound quality is not perfection, but it is adequate. During this podcast, I answer questions about life inside of Word of Faith Fellowship. This was recorded before the AP Investigation- Broken Faith was released.

Listen, comment and share. I go into more detail here than in the book.

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AP – Broken Faith- Unconventional Rules on Sex and Marriage

This article details some of the odd but absolute rules for those in relationships and married couples. I have included a few excerpts. The full report is here.

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — When it comes to relationships, marriage and sex, Word of Faith Fellowship members must follow strict and unusual rules — or risk severe punishment, former members say.
Some of the edicts:

— Congregants need permission from leader Jane Whaley and other ministers to get married, and it then can take months — or even a year — before the newlyweds are allowed to have sex.

— No one is allowed to date without permission, and most relationships and marriages are arranged by Whaley and ministers.

— On their wedding night, couples are permitted only a “godly peck on the cheek.” When they get in bed together, they must roll over and go to sleep.

— For all married couples, love-making is limited to 30 minutes, no foreplay is allowed, the lights must be turned off and only the missionary position is sanctioned.”

In my book, “Locked In”– I share some of the same odd practices. I detail many of the same rules as mentioned in the above article and the one following. I list 145 rules in my book. The list was never written down; you were expected to remember “by the Spirit of God.” Of course, when you forgot one, you were “in sin and out of God’s will” and subject to a rebuke or worse.

“Sect rules include no TV, movies or reading newpapers”
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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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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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