Tag Archives: thinking for myself

Analogy: The Truman Show vs. the Life of a WOFF member

(This post was written and submitted by someone wishing to remain anonymous. I edited for readability and share it now. Comments welcome.)
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Is your boat about to hit the dome?

Recently, I watched The Truman Show (1998) and it is a perfect analogy if you are, or have been a member of the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). If you have not, I suggest you to watch it. It is a great movie and will certainly trigger your mind to look at things in an entirely new perspective.

The Truman Show is a movie based on a reality television program, where the central character, Truman Burbank (Jim Carey) lives in a small town. The small town is encapsulated in a huge dome. There are thousands of cameras hidden throughout, and his every movement is captured by one of them.

Since the star was a little child, he thought that where he lived in his town was the best place in the world to live, and there was no place which could even compare. Over and over, the members of WOFF are told that. No better place than Spindale! No other church gives so much truth as we do.

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Leaving Thought Reform – Spring Thaw and the Resulting Liberty (1)

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.
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New Page Added- Quick Links to Posts

Yesterday, I spent about an hour talking on the phone to some new readers. In answering their questions, I found myself referencing certain posts. Unfortunately, I also realized these posts were in essence buried among hundreds of other posts and not easy to find. The solution has been to set up a page for vital links to previous posts of interest. The “Quick Links” page header at the top will take you to a page of links to previous posts grouped by subject. We start with survivor stores and at the bottom of the list are posts about the WOFF obsession with the Holocaust.

Today, I realized I had left off the post about the Mind Control Forum last year and have added that link. In the future, I may add other links or pages with certain themes. The Matthew Fenner case may one day have its own page. The story is about to explode again in the media on April 1st. Revisit this blog in the near future for other exciting news about the drama of destruction called Word of Faith Fellowship.
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WOFF members: “…they were “hammered” by the “ministers”…

The following post was submitted by Lee Buris. He tells his exit drama in this narrative. He has also sent a second narrative with insights reflecting life inside of this group. For survivors of WOFF and other controlling groups, I welcome your submissions for posting. As mentioned, I firmly believe writing out the experiences can help in the healing process. ______________________________________________________________________
Recently, I have became reunited with John’s website and sent him a short message to tell him how much I appreciate his piece on writing to sort through one’s thoughts; to come to terms with one’s self. Another description may simply be “doodling with words.”

Writing is a wonderful tool and a powerful tool. The founders of our political nation used writing extensively to persuade loyal British subjects to rebel against the Crown. I, myself, have employed writing since my early teenage years to help gain access to, and by gaining access to, understanding my inner emotions. Writing became a friend which helped me through tumultuous teenage years. Later in life I would sometimes enjoy writing to another friend (person) to use him or her as a sounding board to express myself, my thoughts, and my emotions. So, writing is not only a tool, not only a weapon, but also a friend.

There are so many places to begin, so many subjects to cover and so little time and space to write it in. And I know each word is critical to other people. I must ask God to help me choose carefully, as if my own family will be reading this. I will begin my story as such.
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The Life-Changing Moment(s)

A few days ago, a blog reader shared a link to another blog with me. This particular blog was new to me; however, the person writing it had left a group/movement of which I was familiar. The movement was patriarchal based as opposed to Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) which is a matriarchal based structure.  In recent days, the posts on the blog—“Under Much Grace” have captivated me attention. About the time I was introduced to these posts, I had outlined struggles which face those inside of WOFF in a rough draft of a post. In my musings, I began to outline the inward struggles of a faithful WOFF member who has begun to doubt the foundational beliefs of the group or the supremacy of the leader’s gift.

From my notes: The Jane-vow

When WOFF members struggle with leaving — they have a choice; will they privately and publicly deny the one foundational belief inside the group that Jane is the only one who can “speak for God”? Once that unwritten, yet sacred, foundation is denied by members then the “benefits” of association with WOFF– are GONE. These benefits may include camaraderie, protection, provision, fellowship and “friendship.” Breaking fellowship or shunning present members can come by one merely expressing a desire to leave. By doing so, you are in danger of or have already disavowed the one and only reason the group exists- the edification and support of Jane Whaley- the Jane-vow.

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35 Years Later, Jim Jones Cult Leaves Lessons for Believers – Charisma News

Wow! This part of the Charisma® group got one right! A Google Alert® brought the notice of this article to my inbox Friday evening. The article was written by A. James Rudin/RNS and was posted on the “Opinion” page at 8:00AM EST 11/15/2013. The link for the entire article is here. I am unfamiliar with the author but at the end there is information about one his other works –  “A. James Rudin, the American Jewish Committee’s senior interreligious adviser, is the co-author with Marcia Rudin of “Prison or Paradise: The New Religious Cults.” That book sounds interesting.

Recently, I mentioned to a blog reader that I planned to do a post about Jonestown and sent links to two previous posts from a few years ago. They said to be sure and include the links for others to read. We have made comparisons between Jim Jones and Jane Whaley before and we will again as we review further the material in “Raven” by Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs (copyright ©1982 Tim Reiterman, Introduction copyright 2008 by Tim Reiterman, ISBN 978-1-58542-678-2); the authors tell “The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People”. For now I will include the two links and then continue the review of this article.

More From “The Raven”      and              More From The “Raven” (2)

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WLOS 13- July 23, 2013 – Mother Alleges Son Being “Brainwashed”

News content for WLOS 13 website includes a story with the headline- “Mother Alleges Son Being “Brainwashed”- dated July 23, 2013. Reporter, Ashlea Surles, tells the story of Keela Blanton’s attempt to take back her son from the clutches of Jim and Laura Bridges. There was a temporary custody order in place which has been extended beyond reason by the non-response of the Bridges and their attorney – Mark Morris. It is my understanding that the Bridges have had since March of this year to reply to the request to return Ms. Blanton’s son to her. The report states that Ms. Blanton has custody of her two other children and has been cleared by the Department of Social Services of any reasons to be deemed unfit. For the Bridges to continue to withhold the young boy from his mother goes beyond reasoning- unless you are familiar with the WOFF mindset, or more accurately – Jane Whaley’s perception of herself and her group. Let me explain. Here is the link to the story…

http://wlos.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wlos_mother-alleges-son-being-brainwashed-12571.shtml

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