Recently, one lady attending a book signing for “Locked in” let me know it was not necessary to quote exact dates when relaying events in the retelling of my time at Word of Faith of Fellowship (WOFF). After I gave her encouragement some thought, I decided that for some events it was very necessary and maybe not for others. The process of retelling my WOFF story with certain dates has definitely helped reassemble in some organized fashion those lost years. For other survivors, I believe it has the same effect.
One particular date has eluded me. For the last few years, I have struggled to determine at what point did the lives of the members of WOFF become possessions to the leader, Jane Whaley? On what day did this happen? Some may argue that this day has never come. I beg to differ. How else would you describe the consistent power Jane exercises in her kingdom? Daily, her decisions affect the nature and essence of very minute details of her member’s lives. The manner she molds and fashions the intricate dynamics of her subculture lead me to one definitive conclusion- at least on some level, she views members as possessions. Continue reading WOFF Members Belong to Jane Whaley→
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. Continue reading Who is Jane Whaley to you?→
Before many of us settle into the first Monday of 2016, I need to take a few lines and recap what has been a year full of surprises. Of course, there will be events I don’t mention that were important to others. If you feel so compelled, comment and share with us your signature events of 2015.
On January 22, 2015, the Daily Courier reported the reindictment of the five defendants in the Matthew Fenner Case. This reindictment came after the new District Attorney for Rutherford County, Ted Bell, expressed his concern over the processes surrounding the first round of indictments in December 2014, during the tenure of District Attorney, Brad Greenway. See the post- “Word of Faith Fellowship members re-indicted- Daily Courier”
The five Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) members who were indicted include Brooke McFadden Covington, Justin Covington, Sarah Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley. The charges include second degree kidnapping and simple assault for all five with an additional charge of assault inflicting physical injury by strangulation against Sarah Anderson. These charges stem from the events of January 27, 2013 inside the sanctuary of WOFF. The story of the indictments was picked up nationally and internationally after the first round of indictments in December 2014. Again, bringing attention to the unsafe practices of WOFF. Continue reading After a glance to 2015, we look forward…→
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. Continue reading Book Signing in Rutherfordton- What is Love?→
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. Continue reading They said you had “mental problems…wacko…”→
Friday afternoon, a co-worker caught my attention with her eyes wide open, “John, come here…” She asked if I watched the interview with the former Word of Life Christian Church member Thursday morning, on television. I had not. She quickly found the link and asked me to sit down at her desk and watch it. As the interview played, she exclaimed, “That’s what you describe in your book. He used the same words you used in your book.” (Locked in)
It is at this point, I have mixed emotions about my printing and publishing projects. I am naturally glad the similarities between the destructive group in New York and Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) are not difficult for readers of my blog and book to see. At the same time, I have deep, unspeakable pangs of regret and remorse for the small daily decisions which led to my involvement with Jane Whaley and her crowd. On the one hand, I like to think there may have been some way to stop the progression of involvement in the web of WOFF. On the other, I cannot change the past. We can only move on from here and help those who want help. Continue reading Nathan Ames, “… they did whatever was told to them…” (video)→
Last Monday evening, October 12th, I was privileged to sit among the leadership of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and witness the Honorable Judge Martin Reidinger deliver a presentation on the Nuremberg Trials. As mentioned in a previous post, the irony of the whole night was stark and at times overwhelming. Before the Judge began his delivery, Karel Reynolds opened with a few remarks noting the 15th of October 1945 as the day the Nazi party was dissolved. She mentioned two other statements which I have not been able to forget. She mentioned the results of the Holocaust showed us “…what human beings are capable of…” and that education was not the only answer to stopping such atrocities. Hitler had highly educated scientists and engineers working for him.
As proof of that, in preparation for the prosecution of the defendants at the Nuremberg Trials, each was administered intelligence tests and psychiatric evaluations. (here) Karel quoted Hermann Goering, a leading member of the Nazi party, to say, “I have no conscience. Adolf Hitler is my conscience.” Mr. Goering’s intelligence test score was 138. That score is listed as “gifted.” (2.3% of test takers score this range).