During the research for my soon to be released book, “Locked in”, I remembered my time within Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and the time shortly after my departure in July 2008. For days on end, the emotions washed over me as I recounted the anxieties, the drama and the choices made during those months. At least part of the struggle was discovering who I really was. It was a “spring thaw” from the many years of my “self” existing frozen in the deep recesses of my soul; put there by the many rules, dictates and practices of WOFF. Those first few months of freedom were full of apprehension, while many times overrun with the questions… what do I do here? How do I? When do I? What if I? I was living free and making choices for the first time in many years.
Through the years since 2008, I learned my struggles were new to me, but not unexpected for one leaving a religious cult or a high-demand group. The feelings and emotions of those days were predictable. There was no one close to me who had traveled the same road and could guide me. In a quest to learn more, I turned to resources- books and online sources. Many a night, I traded sleep for the time to read survivor stories or other resources and/or the freedom to write. Both reading and writing helped sort out the jumbled mess of my life from the years within WOFF.
One of the most valuable resources I found is the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Their online resources are many. July of 2014, I attended their conference in Washington, DC. The people I met and the sessions I attended, deepened my understanding of the dangers and results of high-demand groups. One of the benefits of membership is receiving the publication, ICSA Today.
ICSA Today Magazine volume 5 number 3 2014 – contains an article titled “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Breaking Away from Totalism”, written by Ron Burks, PhD. This is my resource for this post. I will quote from it in order to explain my struggles and those of others leaving WOFF during these days.
Continue reading Leaving Thought Reform – Spring Thaw and the Resulting Liberty (1)
June is here and soon the official start of the summer. This summer will be like none other in the history of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). The month of May produced the most convincing defeat ever in a court case involving Jane Whaley. The inability to convince the judge of her claims shocked her and the leadership team. She encouraged those around her to “just let it go…” Honestly, there may be no follow-up, but will she and her followers “just let it go” and forget this case? Can the legal team forget how Jane performed on the stand? Were they even the slightest bit embarrassed? Can those in leadership who witnessed Jane’s testimony on May 29th forget or excuse the display of less than perfection from their long-time leader? What excuses will be hatched to cover the obvious reduction in her ability to convince others of her righteous, holy lifestyle? Will they talk about it privately away from Jane’s ears and discuss the next step? Will her daughter Robin, Brooke Covington and the missing-in-action-Karel Reynolds review plans for succession to the WOFF throne? Will Gerald and Linda Southerland be included in the discussions or not?
This summer will be the Summer of Decision for everyone inside WOFF.
Why? Simple. August and the months to follow will include the trial for the five indicted WOFF members. Can they enjoy the coming weeks knowing the unknown awaits them? Will the recent court debacle cause them to reconsider their confidence in the defense strategy? How will Jane steady the rocking ship? Does Josh Farmer’s apparent slip in proficiency cause anxiety any of the defendants? If they had doubts and second thoughts, could they share them in simple honesty and not risk being disciplined or shunned for a lack of faith? When they lay down at night in the quiet of their own thoughts and reflections, will they deny the coming reality or recognize the fear inside of them? Will this fear be as a result in the lack of confidence in Jane or the haunting knowing they are guilty as charged? Will any of them seek immunity from the DA? Decisions will be made this summer.
Continue reading Summer of Decision- 2015
In courtroom number one at the Rutherford County courthouse; yet, another drama unfolded Friday pitting Jane Whaley, leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) against one of her previously beloved, former members- Jerry Cooper. In 2013, Jane swore out criminal warrants against Jerry for counts of harassment by telephone, and cyberstalking (via text messages). For many reasons, I missed the first half of the proceedings. Upon arrival, I was informed Jane and her team were offered mediation in the morning and promptly refused the option. The case went on to the hearing phase.
Before the noon recess, the opening volleys include four quick objections by Cooper’s attorney, Paul Ditz which were subsequently sustained by Judge Dennis John Redwing. Josh Farmer testified and Jane Whaley took the stand before for about twenty minutes the break for lunch. The courtroom was closed when I arrived about 1:50PM. Jerry and his team were waiting at the door unsure when the proceedings would restart. A few minutes later, the room was opened by the bailiff. She kept conversation going during the wait for the judge’s return.
Again, as in times past, I sat on the right side of a courtroom with a reporter in front of me, advocate to my right and another supporter sitting behind me. Jayne Caulder was so kind to join us on the front row of Jerry’s side. I am not sure why. Jane Whaley and her entourage sat on the left side behind the table for the District Attorney, Roger McCalman. Before the proceedings began there were a few eerie, awkward, mostly silent moments. The clock was high up the far wall to my left and I found myself constantly looking UP and over to avoid any potential eye-locks with the WOFF entourage. My clock watching was motivated by thoughts of returning to work and if today’s matters would be settled by the time I needed to leave.
Continue reading Jerry Cooper- Not Guilty- Jane Whaley Testifies
The week of the May seminar for Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) is upon us. Unless there is a delay, this Friday, May 29th, Jerry Cooper will see another day in court. He is facing charges from a 2013 warrant sworn out by WOFF leader, Jane Whaley. The alleged charges include two counts of harassing phone calls, and two counts of cyber-stalking. We originally reported the story in the rcCatalyst.com article here. Jerry has opened a “gofundme” page to help with his attorney fees. Please, consider supporting the effort to raise money for his attorney. Allow me to explain the ramifications of these charges.
Different opinions abound as to why Jane would pick Jerry for these charges. First, let me say that any attempt on her part to say she felt seriously threatened by anything Jerry could say or do would be based what? Jane has always been able to coordinate her comfort level in any environment. She has many resources for this. She pretends to fear – Jerry?
Speculation runs rampant as to why she picked Jerry. Who knows for certain, but Jane? One thing I believe is sure; these charges against Jerry could have a stifling effect on members inside and outside. This action by Jane follows her fear-based control methods employed for years over members inside and shows clearly her intense efforts to remain in control over ex-members. Face it; she wants to be in control of anyone who will bow. Anyone who she threatens to label as an “attacker” has heard her warnings- You will be cut off from any family member here!
She uses her incantations cooked up from her “knowledge” and “revelations” of Scripture and direct revelations from her god as the basis for her fear tactics. This has worked for her quite well over the years to break-up families and keep the fences high for many who seek to leave. The outcome of this case as well as the Fenner case in August will determine much for ex-members, Jane and her members inside.
For now, Jerry needs representation. Helping members on the inside is difficult until they leave. Fending off the fear-based strategies of WOFF helps us all, in the long run. By donating to help Jerry, in a small way you will also be helping those on the inside who don’t even realize they need help- yet.
8 Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center (viewed on “biblegateway.com” May 25, 2015)
Continue reading Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves, yet.
For years, the video sat on the website for Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) titled- Joe English Testimony- He began his delivery with something like, “Many people have asked, ‘What happened to Joe English?’” He then went on for several minutes, (?) explaining his previous life of drugs and rock and roll. He had played drums for ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’® and gave an account of that lifestyle. I seem to remember a part of his testimony about watching television as a young person and promising himself he would be just like the drummer on the television. The name escapes me, or was it Desi Arnez, Jr.?
Honestly, it was TOUGH getting through the whole video testimony because I had worked with Joe for a short time and was exposed to Joe’s ups and downs, ins and outs – as we all were in WOFF. He was up on stage and then out in the world, then up on stage as Jane’s trophy and then out of the church. It was sad. His testimony echoed through an empty hallway for me. I do not doubt his chemical dependency or his overwhelming struggles. All things considered, it appeared he did not get the real help needed to lead him out of his addictions or other inconsistencies. My one memory of Joe before WOFF included an outside concert in Ladson, SC around 1984. He was playing drums at what was then called, Baptist College. That day, I had no appreciation for his music or his message and left after just a few minutes.
Well, today- we are all asking- What happened to Joe English? The video has been removed and with no evident reason on the website. But, this is where good old fashioned rumors come into play. I don’t usually post such things, but the source seems credible. Yet, as a disclosure, until we hear the true story from the subject himself, this is unconfirmed information.
Continue reading What happened to Joe English? No, really, what happened?
Wednesday, rcCatalyst.com reported the surprise arrest of Jerry Cooper on Tuesday at the Rutherford County courthouse. Jerry was sued several months ago in a civil case by two Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) members represented by Josh Farmer and the required mediation was Tuesday morning. After the mediation session resulted in an impasse, Jerry was set to leave the courthouse. He was approached by an officer who asked his identity. Once he confirmed, the officer announced Jerry was under arrest for charges on a warrant sworn out by Jane Whaley in 2013. Josh Farmer was present to monitor the arrest noting “that Cooper was not often in the country and therefore quick action was required…”
With the help of friends, Jerry made bond and the court date for this matter is May 29th. In unconfirmed statements, sources close to the drama say two high profile surprise participants have been subpoenaed in that case. The earlier civil case between WOFF members, Robert Louis Walker, Jr. and Sarah C. Anderson case and Jerry has a next appearance date of Jan. 2016. What drama this year holds, and we only know part of it, I am sure.
Questions over this drama roll too fast for me to type. Could the civil case have been a strategy move just to get Jerry into the county for the arrest? Why do I ask? A source in the mediation noted Josh appeared disorganized, off his game and disheveled when the court appointed mediator ask what damages the plaintiffs had incurred. His answer was a meek reply containing the assertion the damages were yet to be determined, but the plaintiffs had increased their request for punitive damages from $25,000 each to $50,000 each? Do those two things make sense when put in the same sentence?
Before the drama played out on Tuesday, I read the civil complaint against Jerry noting the apparent disjointed presentation of observations appearing to have been cobbled together in a hurry. The complaint fell way short of the usual standard of Josh Farmer legal presentations. Could this complaint have been dictated or provided for Josh to sign in a rush to piece together a strategy to have the arrest of Jerry before the next appearance in the Fenner case? Is the warrant from Jane Whaley in 2013 being played to bolster Josh’s request for a change of venue in the Fenner case? There are more questions than answers.
Continue reading rcCatalyst.com Reports Surprise Arrest of Jerry Cooper
Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) supports, runs, dictates and determines the direction, emphasis and content of the Word of Faith Christian School (WFCS) Holocaust Museum display. To make statements with intent to misconstrue or blur the obvious relationship is short-sighted, replete with fantastical thinking and borders on deception. How do we know this relationship to be true? The reason is there is no one higher in authority, rank or power in WOFF than Jane Whaley. She is the Principal of the WFCS and the leader of the WOFF. As much as certain individuals would attempt to deny or blur the intimate relationship between these two groups of folks, they are indeed one in the same. Children who attend the school and their parents are members in WOFF. If there are students whose parents do not regularly attend, support and confess agreement with the doctrine and practices of WOFF, they are indeed the extreme minority, if they exist at all.
Ron Shelton, a retired pastor in Florida, viewed the WFCS display in Washington, DC in 2010. He was enthralled, engrossed and possibly enamored with the entire concept and display. He was so moved, he contacted the Jewish Community leaders in the Cocoa Beach area and convinced them to join his vision and help sponsor a display of the WFCS exhibit at the Space Coast Convention Center. He is the director of those efforts as witnessed by the quote from the website
“The purpose of The Holocaust Museum Central Florida 2015 Project is to reverse the trend of ignorance and denial about the Holocaust. This museum is unlike any other of its kind, featuring the incredible artwork of students from elementary to high school age. Designed to be viewed by all ages, this museum tells a heart-wrenching story through the eyes, hearts, and hands of young people dedicated to searching out and portraying the truth of this horrific chapter in world history. The unique interactive nature of this museum allows visitors to speak to the young artists who share the true stories of the people and events portrayed in these artistic creations.
Ron has no doubt put in countless hours of hard work pulling this event together. There are civic leaders and local government leaders as well as many schools anticipating the arrival of WOFF/WFCS for the display April 19th-23rd. Flyers have been distributed, school groups have committed to attend. (The listing of schools attending is on the Facebook page for the event.) Local media has been used to advertise the event and solicit donations. I do not know how much of that money is directed to WOFF/WFCS. For the purpose of this post, the amount is immaterial. In no way am I slighting the efforts of countless volunteers or the education emphasis to improve awareness of the Holocaust and the history surrounding this tragedy.
Continue reading Jewish Leaders Pull Support for WOFF/WFCS Holocaust Museum in Florida