Locked in pulls back the thick curtain holding many of the secrets inside Word of Faith Fellowship. This small mountain church in Spindale, NC first came to the national stage in 1995 when Inside Edition aired video which included their signature practice of blasting deliverance prayer. As the first published survivor memoir of this group, Locked in follows John’s journey of hope to live in “God’s ways” by moving his family to Spindale, only to discover the cult’s unique doctrines and practices destroy the family he loves and cherishes. Locked in examines these group practices including communal living, deliverance prayer, fund-raising, as well as revealing the essential beliefs and many unwritten rules governing each member.
John serves as a member of the Faith Freedom Fund helping survivors from high demand religious groups. He is also a member of the International Cultic Studies Associations (ICSA). John attended their annual conference in July 2014 held in Washington, D.C. There he read the Prologue to this book (above) and it was well received, garnering mention in their first magazine published in 2015. Membership in this Association allows John to meet and connect with survivors from many different types of high-demand groups, gaining from their experiences and friendship. Look for John’s next book revealing the struggles and victories after leaving WOFF, expected to be published in 2016.
From the FOREWORD:
“This is an account of how an innocent person can be vulnerable to the deceptiveness and exploitation of a pastor, whose Christian church had all the elements of a cult. Many cults are deceptive and appear as legitimate organizations at the outset. Members are taken on a step-by-step journey that exposes them to increased manipulation and control over time. If John knew in advance the extent of all that would be required of him, he most likely would have been reluctant to join. Whaley’s unique doctrine demanded that members totally conform to her messages from God; and these messages encompassed every aspect of her followers’ lives, including family, career, and financial matters, in addition to spiritual concerns.”
Lorna Goldberg, L.C.S.W., Psy.A.
Past President, International Cultic Studies Association
Dean, Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies