This article details some of the odd but absolute rules for those in relationships and married couples. I have included a few excerpts. The full report is here.
SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — When it comes to relationships, marriage and sex, Word of Faith Fellowship members must follow strict and unusual rules — or risk severe punishment, former members say.
Some of the edicts:
— Congregants need permission from leader Jane Whaley and other ministers to get married, and it then can take months — or even a year — before the newlyweds are allowed to have sex.
— No one is allowed to date without permission, and most relationships and marriages are arranged by Whaley and ministers.
— On their wedding night, couples are permitted only a “godly peck on the cheek.” When they get in bed together, they must roll over and go to sleep.
— For all married couples, love-making is limited to 30 minutes, no foreplay is allowed, the lights must be turned off and only the missionary position is sanctioned.”
In my book, “Locked In”– I share some of the same odd practices. I detail many of the same rules as mentioned in the above article and the one following. I list 145 rules in my book. The list was never written down; you were expected to remember “by the Spirit of God.” Of course, when you forgot one, you were “in sin and out of God’s will” and subject to a rebuke or worse.
The concept of a person being “radicalized,” becoming a “radical” and the process of radicalization have all been in the news lately as the world deals with new terror threats almost daily. What does it mean to become “radicalized” or go through a “radicalization” process? The concept of radical includes when a person becomes a) very different from the usual or traditional; b) favoring extreme changes in views, habits, conditions, or institutions; c) associated with political views, practices or policies of extreme change. (here)
There are so many aspects of this question to consider. I will not attempt a comprehensive discussion of the term “radical” or radicalization” as it pertains to today’s world, but will limit this post to the question, “Are WOFF members “radicalized?” Allow me share my first remembrance of the term as it applied to my religious experience- years before Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).
During my childhood and teenage years, my family attended a Methodist church. It was considered mainline, conservative during those years. After leaving home, I chose an informal non-denominational church. On occasion, while attending that church, the concept of being a “radical Christian” was mentioned. Looking back, I took it to mean following the rules for behavior which were instilled in me as a child and adding to them other things such as being aware of the music I listened to, the movies I watched, the places I went for entertainment, etc. In other words, I started taking the Bible as a guide for my life. That is what being “radical” meant to me then.
Today, after living several years at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), I see the former concept as not very “radical” at all. Life before WOFF was not radical compared to life inside WOFF. Life before included a devotion to God out of a sense of respect and a freedom to accept, delay or even reject a suggested interpretation of the Bible which required a change in conduct. In other words, I still had free-will. I believe the concept of retaining one’s free will in the exercise of religion is very traditional. Do you agree? Continue reading Are WOFF Members “Radicalized?” (Video)→
Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day in western North Carolina. The gathering at Great Expectations and More in Rutherfordton turned out to be a gentle reflection of the outside weather. Mary Hornback and her family were so kind to open their doors again to a reading from “Locked in” and a time of questions and answers. Those in attendance were responsive with some very insightful questions. Words are hard to find to fully express the satisfaction of knowing the truth about the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) is getting out week after week, month as month since the release of my book, “Locked in”, in September 2015.
Friends and followers of the saga came together to direct questions and express their concerns and observations. My hopes are that everyone left with hope for changes in the near future. There are more copies available and keep checking for announcements for future events.
2016- The Year of Change in Rutherford County! (Thank you, Mary for the pictures! )
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…”→
Thursday, October 1, 2015- Austin Bailey of the Daily Courier published a story about my book, “Locked in.” He included a picture and a few quotes I gave him earlier in the day… Thank you, Austin, for contacting me and running the story. The response has been favorable. See article here.
Book Signings in Myrtle Beach, SC
For those familiar with my story, you know the role my mom took in helping me leave the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). I detailed the destruction of my family in the third part of “Locked in.” It seemed only fitting that my first appearance for a book signing would be among her friends, and students from her memoir writing classes. This past Friday afternoon, over fifty folks crowded into a room at Brightwater Retirement Community in Myrtle Beach. My mom introduced me by recapping the events surrounding my daughter’s graduation in June 2008. From there I began telling about my time in WOFF. I read the Dedication, Acknowledgement and Prologue to “Locked in.” The expressions on the faces of those listening let me know many were hearing about cult involvement for the first time. Before I ended, I shared about the work of the Faith Freedom Fund and asked for donations. Then, I opened the floor for questions. It has been a while since my last public speaking appearance and the occasional awkward moments of silence were uncomfortable for me, but did not seem to bother the listeners.
Saturday, we returned to the same room for a birthday party for my friend and resident of Brightwater. She is turning 100 years old on Tuesday. It was a festive occasion. I wore a special purple shirt in honor of her and that was new ground for me. There were more people than the room could hold as many relatives and friends dropped in to honor her. She requested a copy of “Locked in” and I was only too glad to oblige. Continue reading Locked in – Daily Courier, Book Signings and Kindle→
Tuesday was another busy day. This news piece was initiated, arranged, shot, edited and went live all in one day. Sure my part was easy, show-up, talk and go home. The WLOS reporter and the news team did the hard work. Thank you, to Ashlea Surles and the entire new staff for putting together a concise story about my time in Word of Faith Fellowship and my departure. Thank you, also to the McDowell County Library in Marion for allowing us space to shoot the video. At first, talking in a library seemed against the rules! But, we had permission.
From the text-
“When you’re inside the group, you don’t concentrate on what you’re giving up, you concentrate on what you think you’re gaining, which is a relationship with God and God’s people and salvation,” said Huddle. “A lot of the restraints are out of fear, fear that you will lose your family, fear that you will lose your job, fear that you will lose your house.”
There is hope. Anyone can wake up and take back their life.