Category Archives: WOFF Updates

Predatory Religion?

    In recent years, a term has come to the forefront in the consumer finance and/or mortgage lending industry. That term is “predatory lending”. What does that term mean? Is it a new practice or a recently discovered term to describe practices that have been in existence for years? A simple search will reveal an explanation for the term. Here are two sources. First, from HUD.gov website link found here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/pred/predlend – the short intro reads as follows:

“Over the last several years, our nation has made enormous progress in expanding access to capital for previously under-served borrowers. Despite this progress, however, too many families are suffering today because of a growing incidence of abusive practices in a segment of the mortgage lending market. Predatory mortgage lending practices strip borrowers of home equity and threaten families with foreclosure, destabilizing the very communities that are beginning to enjoy the fruits of our nation’s economic success.”

Next, another source at Wikipedia explains the term as follows:

    “Predatory lending describes unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices of some lenders during the loan origination process. While there are no legal definitions in the United States for predatory lending, an audit report on predatory lending from the office of inspector general of the FDIC broadly defines predatory lending as “imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers.”[1] Though there are laws against many of the specific practices commonly identified as predatory, various federal agencies use the term as a catch-all term for many specific illegal activities in the loan industry… One less contentious definition of the term is “the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against.”[2]… Although predatory lenders are most likely to target the less educated, lowest incomes, racial minorities, the elderly, victims of predatory lending are represented across all demographics.[4][5]  (source link- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_lending )

    Since 1982, I have been involved in some segment of the consumer finance industry. There have been many additional regulations enacted to curb abuses, perceived or real, within the industry since 1982. From the definitions above, the major qualifications for “predatory lending” appears to be “unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices”.  Using the less contentious definition of “the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against.”; it is not difficult to see the association I have made between this and  what I experienced for years at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). I experienced “predatory religion”. Let me explain.

     Continue reading Predatory Religion?

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Spring Missions Project on Graduation Night at WOFF

   

Blind Zeal 6 5 2011
Sign Used at Graduation

     Simply to avoid any hint at overkill, I have not posted about every adventure during the Spring Missions Project. But, today’s happenings are worth sharing and hopefully there will be some feedback. Let me go back to Friday. There was a wedding at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). How could you tell? There was a SIGN out front that let everyone know where to turn for the wedding. It was no big secret. I spent about 40 minutes at the road in my spot near the driveway to the Tuscany Italian Grille. There were a few folks giving the thumbs up and one phoned in complaint to the restaurant for letting me stand there. How do we know it was not a regular WOFF member? Because, WOFF members do not support places like Tuscany Italian Grille. The Grille serves alcohol. So, it could have been the people in the car I saw go straight across the road from the restaurant to Old Flynn Rd. If that was the case, then they were for sure not regular WOFF members.

    Sunday evening was graduation for the high school at WOFF. I may not get these events in order, but, I will do my best. I arrived about 5:50PM and soon thereafter “took my place”. The WOFF members were continuing to file onto Old Flynn Road to make their way to the church grounds. Some would glance my way but most ignored me altogether. Did I expect any different? I saw several folks with out of state license tags. The states included SC, TN, FL, GA and maybe PA?  That was great. Many folks in those cars would turn and at least attempt to read my sign. Maybe they got the gist of it and asked questions inside? After all, what does “BLIND ZEAL” really mean? I would love to hear a regular WOFF member explain that concept. Would the answer go like this: “Oh, blind zeal? I am sure I don’t have it. That guy with the sign is crazy…” Yes, I am fairly certain that my activities on days like today give Jane Whaley fodder for her preaching cannon. However, Jane, you helped me with much of the content of this post. Please, continue reading and find out how that happened.  

Continue reading Spring Missions Project on Graduation Night at WOFF

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Blind Zeal in “Minimal Loss” Episode of Criminal Minds®

    In October of 2008, an episode aired in the Criminal Minds® television series was called “Minimal Loss”. I did not see it then since I still did not own a television even though I came out of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in July of 2008. Not until August of 2009 did I purchase a television. Some teachings of WOFF and Jane Whaley were hard to measure against the reality of “new” freedoms. Change was hard to come by after 16 years. “Minimal Loss” depicts two of the shows main characters as they attempt an investigation into a religious cult. Yes, I know the whole premise was conjecture and very much “Hollywood”. However, after watching it a few times, I began to see it as a composite of several true aspects of religious cults of years past. A conversation with a cult expert over this question confirmed my thoughts as they agreed the show was a composite depiction of certain known characteristics of cults.

    In brief, the local authorities become suspicious after a phone call is made accusing one of the male leaders of inappropriate contact with underage females. That is not unlike Tony Alamo of Alamo Ministries, Warren Jeffs of FLDS or Michael Tessner of Strong City. All of whom we have written about before and last I checked each was serving prison time for convictions on these types of crimes. The religious cult in the show lives on a compound set in many ways similar to the one the Branch Davidians lived on in Waco, TX. There are weapons and explosives and the like used during the show. Two FBI agents from the BAU team go in undercover to assess the situation and interview the younger females. The whole plan blows up literally when a State leader orders a raid based on an ongoing weapons investigation he was leading. The raid goes bad and I will not go into a lot more detail of the sequence of events except to draw out some interesting content that pertains to the theme of this blog.

   Let me acknowledge here that I am sure I do not recognize all the similarities between the show content and other cults. Even after watching it four times, I see new things. I am also sure I am set to key in on certain things that relate to my experience in WOFF and under the teachings and directives of Jane Whaley. After the State raid goes bad, the BAU is called in to negotiate with the cult leader for the best ending possible. The title of the show comes from the strategy used. Minimal Loss is the chosen strategy otherwise known as the “trickle theory”. Moves are plotted to get one person released, then maybe one or two more and then more. If at any time the negotiations break down the team would go in the extract as many as possible recognizing they will not save everyone. Some will die and in this show some did as we will mention later.   

  Continue reading Blind Zeal in “Minimal Loss” Episode of Criminal Minds®

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Why is WOFF Obsessed with the Holocaust?

    Recently, in a discussion on Facebook®, this question was posed. It is a valid question. For one, is there any other church in North Carolina besides Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) that has been so taken up with this historic event? If there is one, it has not crossed my radar. Also, there were academic areas of emphasis in years past, remember the science conferences or the Thomas Jefferson conference? None of the others have developed into a road show. Road show? Yes, see the article here from an online newspaper in Deming, New Mexico. WOFF is taking it on the road, again. http://www.demingheadlight.com/ci_18082999?IADID=Search-www.demingheadlight.com-www.demingheadlight.com

   Here is an excerpt: Guests to the Night to Honor Israel will have a chance to see works of art on display, courtesy of the Holocaust Museum in Spindale, North Carolina. The museum was a dream come true for the Word of Faith Fellowship and the Word of Faith Christian School in North Carolina. Students, grades K-12 have their works of art across the nation, and now Deming can tour choice works on display at the DPS auditorium.   

   Let me say I was there during the gestation period for the budding event. Who could have seen the development of this academic interest into a full blown take it on the road display? Some years later, I took the online Holocaust class through Cleveland Community College taught by Karel Reynolds from WOFF. The class was enjoyable though the irony did not fully hit me until I left the group. We were studying the beginnings of the Third Reich as Hitler came to power as Chancellor. Some of the restrictions he imposed on the Jews, as well as the Germans sounded awfully familiar. Why did I not see them while inside? I believe it was because of the blind zeal for Jane Whaley and the WOFF cause. Regardless if Hitler stole and violated personal freedoms of the Jews and then the Germans, we at WOFF were “learning God’s ways and walking with Jesus”.  It was as if we were thinking, “If we are in a cult, Jane will tell us!” Really?

   “To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.” Benjamin Franklin

   Continue reading Why is WOFF Obsessed with the Holocaust?

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Spring Missions Project – Part 2

   Wednesday evening was the second part of the Spring Missions Project. It involved a walk up and down Oakland Rd. in Spindale, NC, with the same signs from Sunday evening. Honestly, the whole day was an adventure! Where do we start but- the beginning! I received a call at mid-morning from another former Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) member telling me that there had been an announcement on the local radio station about an open invitation to the public for a meeting at WOFF. The speakers would be two Holocaust survivors. After I got over the IRONY and blatant HYPOCRISY of WOFF prohibiting their members from listening to the radio and then USING the radio to announce their meeting, I began to make plans. How about something worse; that WOFF would be the place of a meeting for two folks that came through the hellish times in Hitler’s Germany which started out with many of the same prohibition of personal freedoms and restraints that Jane Whaley uses on her people- TODAY? It took me a while to adjust to the WOFF-zone that was playing out before me.

   Nonetheless, I made plans to launch part 2 of the Spring Missions Project. It was exciting just thinking of the possibilities! So, I arrived at the chosen hour and began my walk, this time with no hat or sunglasses. The weather turned out to be cloudy but wonderful! At first, I was at a loss as to why Wayne Hall did not fire up his camera and video the 2nd walk? Then it came to me that with the public invited, WOFF would not want several of the security to be seen out front filming a man expressing his opinion and walking up and down Oakland Rd. Why, that would look like they were overly concerned. They could not show that to the general public!

    The first reactions on this walk were more positive than Sunday. Several folks were blowing horns and giving me the thumbs-up! It was encouraging. Some folks would circle around a few times to make sure they were reading both signs. It was a positive time. Some stopped to ask for my phone number and just to say they liked the sign. Then I saw him, Josh Farmer, driving by real slow with his cell phone enmeshed into his ear. No concern, at least they knew I was there and the cameras would soon begin rolling from a distance. All was set to not be too obvious, where visitors to WOFF would easily notice the camera crew. Was that sneaky? I made sure to show myself friendly and waved as often as I could, facing the camera(s).

   Continue reading Spring Missions Project – Part 2

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Taking It to the Street- Spring Missions Project

   

WOFF is UNSAFE
Near the End of the Walk
2nd Sign for Project
2nd Sign for Project

     Today was the Spring Missions Project in Spindale, NC. The two pictures tell only part of the story. I wore the “WOFF is UNSAFE” board in the front and the “Ask Questions…” board on my back. I walked up and down Oakland Road for about 45 minutes. It was hot and I was very thirsty when I was done. Where do I start but the beginning. It took much longer to make the signs than I first planned. But, my previous time helping a teacher in the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) School paid off. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not help every time there was a bulletin board need, but, I helped enough to learn how to make letters when you run out! I had to make several letters in order to complete the task.  Though I have a long way to go in making posters, glad I paid attention during those times!

  Continue reading Taking It to the Street- Spring Missions Project

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Why Should Others Not in WOFF Care? Revisited

     During the month of June, I posted a series under the title Why Should Others Not in WOFF Care?.(the link is here… http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=2038 .)  I took as my reference text a book titled “The Five Thousand Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen (copyright C&J Investments, ISBN 0-9815596-6-2) with a forward by Glenn Beck. One reader, who saw the recent sign posted in the community advertising this blog, took the time to email me and express her concern that I would choose this book as a reference text. She sent her supporting text, from which I will quote,

“Around this same time, Beck began promoting the work of an arcane Mormon conspiracy-peddler named W. Cleon Skousen, whom he described as his political lodestar. Suddenly, Beck had something more to offer than irritable mental gestures…. Skousen’s paranoid politics were an outgrowth of his participation in extreme anti-communist groups during the 1950s. He boasted of a close friendship with then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and said he provided him with research on communist plots, claims disputed by FBI historians.”

   This was from a lengthy piece titled “Days of Rage — The Noxious Transformation of the Conservative Movement into a Rabid Fringe” By Max Blumenthal, Nation Books, Posted on August 10, 2010, Printed on August 10, 2010, http://www.alternet.org/story/147784/

   So, in all honesty, I failed to fully research Mr. Skousen’s past and did not research his all of his sources. In fact, I will say that my excitement about the book was more emotional than purely intellectual. Here was one source that listed the “rights” I had seen violated and surrendered during my time at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). For years, I had submitted to the teachings of Jane Whaley and was not aware of the damages it had done. This one book though not purposed or directed to address my question(s), listed “rights” that I had seen thwarted during my time at WOFF.

   Continue reading Why Should Others Not in WOFF Care? Revisited

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