Tag Archives: Sam Whaley

Fenner Case takes a turn… July 17th next court date

moon plant
moon plant

As I sit here surveying the latest round of Motions and Orders in the Matthew Fenner case, I can’t help but wonder where the road will lead us. Where will this path that began in 1979 by Sam and Jane Whaley take us as a community and as a group of survivors, where will it end? Will it ever end? Will the destructive dynamics set in motion so many years ago, which have been allowed to strengthen and fester in a small community in Western North Carolina ever come to a conclusion? Does the winding journey have a happy ending for anyone?

This journey begun with possibly good intentions includes people from several countries and many members hailing from various parts of the United States. On this day when we are to celebrate the freedom afforded us by our Constitution and upheld by our strength as a nation; we are experiencing and witnessing a court case unfold which includes allegations of intimidation and fear, along with testimonies and evidence which any sane person would agree do not signify a healthy religious environment.

A survey of the history of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) includes episodes of religious abuse, political and community scandal, physical and emotional abuse, financial doubts and many court cases full of legal wrangling. A journey of over thirty years has touched so many lives in on several continents in such negative ways. I do not believe what we see as the practices included in the WOFF subculture were ones our forefathers intended to protect when they declared “freedom of religion.”
Continue reading Fenner Case takes a turn… July 17th next court date

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Jane Whaley Featured in the New York Times? Really?

On Sunday, I received a text saying Jane Whaley had her picture on page 16 of the New York Times. What? Details were not forthcoming and my efforts to find the treasure online proved fruitless. I refused to become a subscriber in order to possibly see Jane’s picture. Nope. This treasure will have to wait.

Monday, my search efforts were rewarded differently. There it was in an article titled- “Electoral Map Gives Donald Trump Few Places to Go.” by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman. The picture shows Jane Whaley, Leigh Valentine, Sam Whaley easily recognized. Also, with additional examination you see Frank Webster behind Sam and Josh Farmer to Sam’s right with his head down. I wonder if Robin Webster is standing to Frank’s left. Were there other members of the Trump groupies from WOFF? The caption did not list the names of course and it was taken a few days ago at a Trump Rally in Winston Salem, NC.

And yet my thoughts raced. What? Jane is not the center piece of the article? I was confused. There was not even mention of her efforts to promote Holocaust education with her traveling “Holocaust Museum”? No mention of her thriving Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, NC; a growing, loving, caring group of non-denominational Christians who endure “persecution” for exercising their religious freedoms? No mention. Not even a speck of ink about her Word of Faith Christian School and their academic superiority which every student exhibits (with a little help).
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Spring Missions Project 2012- Pictures

The months pass so quickly as each of us in turn becomes overwhelmed with the minutia of daily living, daily drama and the struggle to make sense of it all. Some say that happens quicker as you age. As I have said on this blog before, losing track of the months and years happens even more so when you are a member of the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). There is a constant flow of life which passes by or around WOFF members as they navigate the intense struggle to survive within the group—emotionally, and for some- physically. This all plays out as swirls of emotions, unanswered questions come and go. It does not help that they are required to forget about and certainly not talk about those, who have left the group. Why does this happen? Jane requires it to be so. I heard it several times from Jane: If you want to know about someone who has not been seen in a few services, or is not here anymore, then come directly to me and ask. Many found it easier just to ride out the day and not ask about the missing member, no matter how involved they had been with them.

For this reason and others, I felt it necessary to have a theme to the Spring Missions Project of 2012. The theme has evolved as “Remember Michael Lowry!” We have told part of his story on this blog including his exit drama as well as him filing a report with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department. Here are the links to those posts-

Another Exit Drama Unfolds…- http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=4782

Former WOFF Member Files Report of Assaulthttp://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=5001

Continue reading Spring Missions Project 2012- Pictures

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Religion Used as a Narcissist’s Tool of Control (3) – WOFF Arrogance?

  Before we get into the subject of the third post in this series, I must admit I left out a point when closing the previous post. The source book has been – “Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism” (Copyright©2002, 2003 by Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW, published by FREE PRESS, ISBN-13:978-0-7432-1428-5). Our last post on this book focused on the author’s explanation of “magical thinking” in chapter 2. Since Jane Whaley does not believe in magic, we renamed the characteristic “religious delusion” and have attempted to explain the author’s observations in light of the religious setting of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

  “Magical thinking, exploitive idealization, and the devaluation of others via shame-dumping and belittling are all attempts on the part of the Narcissist to avoid feeling defective and insignificant.” We then explained the shame-dumping as religious shame-dumping and how this occurred in the WOFF setting. The next statement reflects on how the Narcissist characteristics affect the closest relationships for that person. “At best, these tactics create barriers to intimacy and acceptance. In a relationship with such a character, you will never know what it is like to be loved and appreciated for who you really are. At worst, the unending distortions will confuse you and wear away your self-esteem.” (page 10)

  Can anyone who has witnessed the constant belittling and badgering of Sam Whaley in WOFF church services by Jane, put forth an explanation that is any more accurate? The process Sam endured as he was molded by Jane into someone other than whom he really appears to be has been hard to watch and confusing to say the least. The apparent pleasure that Jane exhibited as she belittled Sam in front of us all was confusing as it did not seem like the love of God. Of course there was always a spiritual reason for the cuts and digs. Do any WOFF members remember it differently? Let me know. We move on.

Continue reading Religion Used as a Narcissist’s Tool of Control (3) – WOFF Arrogance?

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Is There Evidence? (2)

    After giving an outline of my past experience in different churches, we ended the previous post with these thoughts, “The basis of my observations about (Word of Faith Fellowship) WOFF comes from the 16 years of being exposed to their teachings and practices. I will share the experiences I had and many of the WOFF practices. My personal observations and experiences are offered as evidence to the practices of WOFF, at least during my time in the group. Could my “experiences” and observations be dismissed as fantasy or lies? Sure, they could, but why would someone do that? What would be their purpose?”  

    In years previous to joining the church at Greenville, SC, I had been in three churches that would be considered non-denominational, Protestant, with traditional, evangelical doctrines, at least, as far as I knew. Before moving from Charleston to Greenville in March of 1992, I had no reason or evidence to think that this new church would be totally dissimilar to the non-denominational churches I had been a part of in the past. After all, each of the previous churches had its individual message or emphasis and personality, if you will. But, all had included the message of salvation through believing in Jesus as Savior, baptism and communion. Each of the others had taught about the Virgin birth and Heaven and Hell.

    Prior to attending the first service in Greenville, I had listened to some sermon tapes of the Greenville pastors and liked what I heard. Since someone I knew and loved, trusted the pastors of this new church, I could easily go along and allow myself to trust them also. There was a connection from several years previous working in that relationship. The pastors and the church members soon took us in and showed us support and love like I had not encountered before. I knew very few folks in the Greenville area besides the new church family. The church and its activities would soon become a very big part of my life.  

    Continue reading Is There Evidence? (2)

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A New Term- “Antinomianism” A New Perspective…

Recently, a local college professor answered my email inquiry. This person has studied “new religious movements” as well as other groups for years. Their work includes a recently published book dealing with a certain aspect of these groups.

This professor acknowledged in the reply that they had read my blog and other resources on Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). My email was this person’s first exposure to WOFF or Jane Whaley. The reply contains this assessment, “From my reading, it seems to be a Pentecostal “prosperity gospel” group with some rather extreme practices and beliefs. Scholars would call what they do “antinomianism,” meaning that WOFF’s leaders (and presumably, some members too) believe that their special spiritual state allows them to transcend the laws and morals of mainstream society and other forms of Christianity. It certainly wouldn’t be the first such group to take this approach.”

The term “antinomianism” was new to me. I did some further reading about the term. In a source found here: http://www.theopedia.com/Antinomianism . The definition mentions that “antinomianism” is the opposite of legalism. So in order to apply the professor’s assessment within this definition, it warrants mentioning that Jane Whaley and the LEADERS exhibit “antinomianism”, but they apply a heavy dose of the extreme opposite, legalism, to the regular members. It is definite continuum according to the situation at hand. For instance, WOFF members are denied the rights of “mainstream society” when it comes to freedom of press or access to media and freedom of speech. (Dissent is squashed!) That is the application of “legalism” on the regular members is at the behest of Jane Whaley and leadership. They apply this from the standpoint of antinomianism. Jane Whaley acts as if she is above common morals and accepted religious mores in this country and applies legalism evidenced by the numerous and ever growing list of rules, restrictions and “don’ts” that are required of the regular members.

Continue reading A New Term- “Antinomianism” A New Perspective…

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WOFF Members Get New Identity – Part 1

    During one service at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) Sam Whaley was up in front receiving the offering. He began to tell about God dealing with him and about his work before starting WOFF. He said it was all worthless; “well some of it was good”. I suppose he was talking about his many trips to other countries for Rhema Ministries under Kenneth Hagin. Later in the service, Jane spoke up to correct him. She told him that all he had done before getting deliverance and getting truly born again was WICKED! Everything he did before “knowing Jesus” was pure wickedness. Of course, he said “You are right, Jane.”  This event seemed to pass as one of the many times that Jane had rebuked Sam publically. It was “normal” at WOFF. No one except Jane “heard God at such a high level.”

     While reading Janis Hutchinson’s “Out of the Cults and Into the Church” (copyright 1994 Kregel Resources) I found her insights very helpful. In chapter 5, she explains how ex-cultists may seem disoriented as when they come out; they lose “their roots, their story, and their identity”. It should be obvious; you can’t lose something you never had. In order to lose a “cult identity it had to be created in that person. She explains how a cult member needs the roots and stories to arrive at the new identity.

      I will not attempt to recite all that she gives as reasons for sharing these observations. In short, she explains “roots, spiritual or physical, tell an individual or a group where they came from, why they’re here, how they started, why they do the things they do, and why they are who they are.” (pg 98) Cults or other groups use myths or sacred stories to give its members roots.

   She goes on:  “Stories are three kinds. First myths and history of a culture’s heritage…these confirm and perpetuate the roots…. Secondly, there is the story of individual community itself- how members relate to that culture with their common problems and how they overcome them… Thirdly, there is one’s own individual story within the culture. This generally consists of accumulated childhood experiences containing the negative and positive, the triumphs and tragedies. It also includes a vast array of input from people, places and situations.” (page 98)

    And finishing her explanation:  “Identity, on the other hand, is the assurance individuals, culture, or nations gain as a result of having both roots and story. .. It promotes self-esteem and a positive self-image, collectively or individually. Without it, individuals are strangers to themselves and to others.” (page 98) Her work deals with folks after they leave cults.

     Continue reading WOFF Members Get New Identity – Part 1

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