Tag Archives: Leaving a Cult

What Thoughts Helped Me Leave WOFF?? Part 1

     Truthfully, I have put off writing this post for several weeks. But, after certain emails and comments which I have received; I believe it is time to share these events. This post will reveal several of the thoughts I had while I was going through the process of leaving Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). In previous posts, I have shared certain ones, but here the events that led to the thoughts will be put together for a more accurate picture. There came a point where I was forbidden to be on church property. What happened that would cause me to leave the group all together? Not all thoughts and events which occurred are fit for this public forum; but those may be shared under different circumstances. In reality, I did not think the path of separation from WOFF would take the path that it has. But, who can really know the future except God, Himself?

     Readers should not make the mistake of thinking that these exact same thoughts would help their friends or relatives leave WOFF. Everyone had their certain individual thoughts that allowed them to go into WOFF and they must have their own unique thoughts, in order to leave. No two people go in or come out the exact same way. There can be “freedom thoughts” tailored to each individual and those help the most. The struggles of those who leave should be an indication of the mind control and turmoil that goes on inside the group. No other church that I have attended -EVER- has had the intense emotional baggage and wreckage with leaving, as when I decided to leave WOFF.

     Let’s go back to August 2005. During several years previous, I had worked for the property management company which is owned by a family in the church. The hours were long. (Read this post to learn about an event previous to 2005- http://tiny.cc/6ii3q ) August 12, 2005 was a Friday. That was a long day and I ended up working until mid-night in Gaffney, SC. The thought that day was- “That is it! I done. I am looking for other work.” After the events in 2003, I had pushed away the thought because of the junk I went through the first time I went looking for other work. Within weeks, I had secured a contract for other work and approached the owner about training someone else. I was leaving. Over the next few weeks, I trained someone else as my replacement.

     Continue reading What Thoughts Helped Me Leave WOFF?? Part 1

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Everyone Loves Jane and Jane Loves Everyone- Sorta

    In two previous posts, it has been mentioned the phrase used by Jane Whaley of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) to describe her relationships to members and non-members. This post contains material from several different statements that Jane Whaley has made over the years. The statements may not be presented in correct time order but, the main points will be clear.

     The statement by Jane early on, was “Everyone loves Jane Whaley and Jane loves everyone. If they don’t (love Jane) then they are listening to devils.”  This was first mentioned in post about terms.. here is the link:  http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=101    

    There was a statement later about the “love of God”. “The love of God is the love of God.” Jane goes on to explain:  “I love Sam and O____ (man in church leadership..) the same. It is the same love. I just show that love differently to Sam”.(Whaley)

     Yet, another time she was talking about folks that had left and how she loved them all. “Well, there may be two folks if I saw them walking down the street, I would cross over so I didn’t have to speak to them. Only two, or maybe three…”

     Again, these statements may not be in time order and may not be exact quotes, but the meaning is clear. The first statement is revealing all by itself. For Jane to say that if you don’t love her, you are listening to devils??? How narcissistic can a person be? But, Jane was allowed to say it and sincerely believes that statement about herself and about its affect on others. She is no doubt the center of her world. If you don’t agree – you are of the devil.

     Concerning the second statement, I remember being in the service where she uttered those words. She knew it would be “misunderstood”, so she quickly added the part about showing the love of God to Sam– differently. No further explanation was given and the impression was that it was not much “differently”.

     The third statement only ignited a wondering and inquiry into who had made Jane mad enough that she would not even meet them on the street? In public, Jane can be the sweetest thing since jelly toast. But, for her to admit that she was so put out with someone was strange. Well, not that strange since she was referencing those who had “betrayed God” and left WOFF. That left the list wide open.

Continue reading Everyone Loves Jane and Jane Loves Everyone- Sorta

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Dr. Paul Martin of Wellspring Retreat said…

     A few weeks ago, there was a post entitled “Am I Wrong? Please, Let Me Know…..”. ( see link here.. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=117 ) That post seemed to be one of the factors initiating a response by two WOFF members which I tell about here… “A Knock at the Door“.. http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=572 . The basic question was  “If I am wrong based on the facts and not emotions, then please, show me ..?” If my comparison between FLDS and WOFF is off base; then show me with facts.  In the series, “FLDS vs WOFF”‘, I outline many similarities between these two groups, especially in the mind control techniques used on their members.

     To date, there have been several confirming comments posted as well as the reply in the post listed above about the visit from two WOFF members. In January, a leader from WOFF called to complain and question his name being listed in a post. That call inspired a finalization of the legal disclosures on the blog as well as the beginning of regular posting. About five weeks later came the personal visit to my residence of the WOFF members. One of them accused me of posting “lies, all lies”… This criticism did not give me much to go on since there were no facts disputed. There was only intense emotion expressed. I recognize the emotion and respect the right for its expression. Folks in groups like WOFF often have intense emotion.

     The second person mentioned in the “Knock at the Door..” post, did say that I mis-stated the facts concerning our conversation. She said it was in person and not over the phone. Okay, I may have been wrong in telling the circumstances. But, where are the facts being disputed concerning the way WOFF members are treated? What WOFF member will stand up and dispute the major content of these posts and let us all know that things are well and emotionally balanced at WOFF? Has Jane Whaley changed in two years since my departure? Has the religious mind control stopped and are people allowed to leave the group whenever they chose? Has the “Holocaust teacher” stopped chiding folks for wanting free access to all information sources? Sources which may not shed a positive light on WOFF? Is there full, written financial disclosure to the members of WOFF?

    Continue reading Dr. Paul Martin of Wellspring Retreat said…

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“Stolen Innocence” by Elissa Wall- Review

     In previous posts, I have quoted often from this book. This book is 438 pages, beginning with the struggles of a child born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FDLS). The book has three main parts that cover the years of her life up until the end of the trial of Warren Jeffs. In Part 1, she outlines her childhood days living in a polygamous family and the struggles inherent with that structure. Her family grew to include eleven brothers and twelve sisters. At one time, there were three mothers in her house- married to the same man, her father.

     The insights into her childhood including her perspectives and thoughts about Warren Jeffs, were a key to the book’s value for me. She describes her interactions with Warren Jeffs and her eventual marriage to her first cousin- Allen Steed. She fought the arranged marriage vehemently. However, in FLDS, she would be forced to follow the word of the Prophet “Uncle Rulon”, as dictated through Warrren Jeffs.  Her story of anguish at the eventual marriage was heart wrenching. The ominous “authority” that Warren Jeffs secured over the members of FLDS smelled just like the same situation at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) involving Jane Whaley. This fact made reading this book and others about FLDS, so enlightening to me.

    After the illegal marriage ceremony held at the Hot Springs Motel in Caliente, Nevada; Elissa struggles intensified. She explains in the second part of the book her struggle just to survive. She spent many nights in her mom’s company in order to avoid contact with her husband. Later, she would spend nights in her truck and that would lead to an encounter with Lamont Barlowe. Their friendship would eventually lead to a legal marriage and two children.

     Continue reading “Stolen Innocence” by Elissa Wall- Review

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Many Members of WOFF are Sincere in Their Faith

     Many members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) are very sincere in their faith. As Cal Sayles of Faith Freedom Fund, indirectly wrote about WOFF members- “… I believe that most people who find themselves in a cult are simply, in the words of the Apostles Paul, doing their best to work out their salvation (Philippians 2:12), perhaps with a greater vigor and sincerity than most.” I must agree. The regular members of WOFF are sincere and freely give their support to other members, over and over again.  

     Are these WOFF members true Christians? I will not make any blanket statements about the individual decisions of each to follow Jesus and pursue their beliefs. However, that being said; I will offer my opinion that in the WOFF environment, growth as a Christian is hindered and made difficult. Why? Growth in the ways and knowledge of God is hindered by the authority set-up at WOFF. As mentioned before, EVERY decision of any consequence (and smaller decisions) is run through Jane Whaley. The requirement to “check it out” with Jane Whaley about every decision stunts the growth and perverts the perspective of the members of WOFF. The set-up causes idolatry in the leadership and members. Jane Whaley is idolized and she longs for it to be so. Any member who desires to continue in WOFF will at some point admit and submit to the idolatry of Jane Whaley or they will be put out or leave on their own. Jane calls it “meeting the authority of God”. It is sobering to say, but much worse to live in WOFF and have to witness and submit to the idolatry, which is the life blood of WOFF.

     How much can you be helping those around you grow in Jesus, by dictating every decision and more, in their lives? Why attempt to replace the Holy Spirit that is in charge of leading the body of Christ? WOFF members are sincere believers allowing the idolatry of Jane Whaley keep them from hearing the Holy Spirit in their own hearts and leading them on to mature in Jesus. True Christians? I will not say. Stunted in their growth because of the legalistic, authoritative environment at WOFF- most definitely. It is the sad truth. At WOFF, Jane Whaley is the center of their universe and that is perversion of the true Christian faith. This set-up is not unique to WOFF, as mentioned in previous posts. Other groups like FLDS have suffered through the same idolatry of a leader and its consequences.

     Continue reading Many Members of WOFF are Sincere in Their Faith

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Resources, Answers and Hope

     The sub-title of this blog is “Resources, Answers and Hope”. In this blog are resources including book references by some very qualified authors on the subject of cults and recovery from cults. There is also a list of links to other sites that can prove a benefit to those looking for good solid material on religious cult mind control. There is such a wide range of topics in this area, it is difficult to stay focused on what could be the biggest help for the readers.

     The writings of others helped me find many answers, once I was out of WOFF. No, you would not be allowed to read the books listed on the “Books, Resource” page of this blog, if you were still a member of WOFF. Few authors in this field, had knowledge of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and Jane Whaley. However, the characteristics found in other frequently documented religious cult mind control groups existed at WOFF. That was one of the more shocking revelations upon leaving WOFF. Until I was out, I had no idea how much control I was under and how much of my life had been altered while in the group. The growth of the control is so subtle, in many cases.  The strength and depth of the control becomes great a lot of times without the member realizing how many areas are under control of Jane Whaley and other leadership. After I left the reality of the freedom of choice returned. It felt strange at first.

    Talking with former members is a help also. Reading their testimonies on other sites helped confirm my observations of what happened while at WOFF. However, several ex-members just want to forget what happened to them at WOFF and bury it all. Since I still have relatives who are in WOFF, that has been very difficult for me to do. The path to freedom still requires me to look back and remember those who are still attending WOFF. As mentioned before, I believe you can reject the methods, reject the message and not reject the members.

    Continue reading Resources, Answers and Hope

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Does a “Fear-Based” Message Really Work?

      Over the years, members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) who stayed and were faithful would learn that there was no good reason to leave. During earlier years,  there was a WOFF Bible school and the stated emphasis was on going ” to the nations to preach and teach”… As time passed and the Bible school ended, many of the students would go to work and later get married to other members in the church and have children. The songs proclaiming the “call to the nations” would not be sung as often. The music cassette tapes produced by WOFF leadership would wear out and not be replaced. There would be talk of another music tape, but nothing came of it. Jane Whaley would coordinate and write new songs, but sending folks out was not the goal any more. Somewhere in those years, the evident purpose of WOFF changed.

     Now, don’t be confused. There was still the outreach to the prisons and to the nursing homes. Jane Whaley would share about helping local folks who called WOFF, with money for electric bills and food.  But, going “to the nations” was not preached as often. In fact, the early songs had good words. They made for good presentation when sung either inside or outside of the church.  Anyone who has attended WOFF for a special music or heard the Youth sing at a “Charles Taylor Prayer Breakfast”; has heard these songs and others.  Songs would speak of going out to fulfill the “Call of God” and going “to the nations” to preach and teach. It kept the goal in front of the members.

     Over the years, there were trips to Brazil and Africa. Jane Whaley and her leadership group would hold “Youth Seminars” in Brazil in conjunction with weddings many times. Jane was the one to perform or oversee the wedding ceremonies locally and overseas. These trips, in reality were to carry the messages that Jane and had taught in America to these churches. There would be opportunity in the youth meetings for young WOFF members to share “what God had been showing them”. For sure, the message you were allowed to speak had to “flow with what Jane had been teaching” or you were stopped. In other words, I never heard anyone get up and share about “Freedom in Christ”, being free from legalism and man-made rules. That was just not a theme in WOFF messages. If you were allowed to speak- you may be asked “what you had to share” before the meeting. For sure you had to “stay on message”. The message was the gospel and practice of the gospel- according to Jane.

     In hindsight, only three couples that I remember were “sent out”. One couple was sent back to their country in Africa. This was an outreach that still required support and WOFF has helped that couple, tremendously. Another couple was sent back to their country because of their visa issues. A third couple went back to their country and floundered, as far as I know. Nothing more was ever mentioned of them after the first few months. These are the ones I remember over 16 years of attending services. There may be more. But, for sure there was not the practice of regularly sending folks out to start churches.

     The Greenville church had the stated purpose of starting other churches in the early 90’s, when I joined. The leaders wanted to start a church in every county that touched Greenville County, SC. That meant 8 churches. That vision seemed to fade as the intensity of the Jane Whaley’s WOFF message of deliverance was taught and practiced. And it made “sense”. Why would anyone be sent out with “devils” in them? Who could ever be “free of all their devils”? Who could be trusted with the message of deliverance as Jane Whaley preached it? After hearing the message taught at WOFF, the Greenville church never completed their vision.

      Continue reading Does a “Fear-Based” Message Really Work?

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