Recent incidents, including arrests involving WOFF members, have put the "'church" back in the mainstream news.
For a recap, here's a few links that will get you up to speed:
and the WW links blog to more links: http://woffwatch.blogspot.com/2011/10/links-to-word-of-faith-fellowship.html
Grand Jury seating was interrupted today (12/10/12) by the discovery of a WOFF member possibly having been among those hearing the complaint by Michael Lowry for an incident reported by him in 2011 on WOFF property. It's not known at this time whether the District Attorney will seek a change of venue or other legal or law enforcement intervention.
If this a is a maneuver by WOFF's legal team to buy time and cost Mr. Lowry time and money, it could be to their client's (WOFF) peril as a change in venue would not give them home field advantage. One would think that people outside the WOFF community's reach might be able to look at things more clearly. Perhaps a community not under the influence of WOFF might not tolerate such nonsense as well as consider their track record. Let's see how this works. My considered opinion is that this will come back to bite them. One step forwards, two steps back.
Otherwise, sometime in January 2013 four WOFF security team members will appear in court to address charges of misdemeanor stalking and false imprisonment, a separate incident featured in a story reported by WLOS TV..
In the 18 or so months that WoffWatcher has joined the cause to challenge WOFF, visitors to this site have viewed WOFF related links as well as lessons, a letter to Jane, suggestions on how to leave WOFF, inspirational messages and overall "in your face""tough love".
If you've just navigated your way here via search engines or the very well written newspaper story about WOFF, and just now have realized they have opponents in the form of critics and blogs, read on. You'll find the WW body of work. This newspaper piece has been picked up by national and international media and continues to draw strong interest, if the boost in traffic to this blog is any indication.
Over time, it might be easy for the message to get muddled, particularly if you haven't followed WW or WOFF from day one, so it would be a good idea to review the WW position. Let's sort out what's clear and what's wrong.
It should be noted here that WW has no issue with a person worshiping God. WW does have a problem with someone appointing themselves as a direct line to GOD and then skewing the rules.
Now then, WW seeks to bring awareness about the WOFF (Protestant and Non-Denominational) culture and practices. This congregation has a history of documented controversy, as well as a tumultuous relationship with some residents in it's community, with family members of WOFF members who are not members themselves, as well as a cozy and sometimes secret relationship with business and political enablers who seek mutual gain, as with family members of WOFF members who are not members themselves.
So, in order to create context here are a few highlights:
Among WOFF's core belief is that everyone has devils and thus needs deliverance. Sam and Jane Whaley believe that deliverance is essential.
Prospective members must sign a release before they can join WOFF (courtesy religiouscultsinfo.com)
They are heavy on information control
They have a published Don't Do list (courtesy religiouscultsinfo.com)
They are bothered by blue jeans
They do not celebrate holidays and birthdays
Many WOFF members have a desirable comfort zone in their mind and heart to rationalize whhy they stay at WOFF.
Cremation is thought to be the curse of the wicked
There is dependency on Jane's approval on many decisions including courting, marriage and having sex but also where to live, where to work, how to dress.
Jane Whaley believes she is "perfect"
Some members are screamed at or "blasted" to get devils out of them
Some members have reported that they were confined in what is called "the Fourth Building"
Some members claim, per police incident reports, that they were beaten and or followed around the community or stalked.
Their dependency on secrecy
The "church" encourages or recommend their members cut ties with their non member families, resulting in Broken Families
"Church" members must work at "approved" or "designated" (by WOFF) businesses.
A Formidable(?) legal defense
A Security(?) Team
Reports of members having host families go through their mail
Reports of host families listening in on phone conversations
Chaperoning of members when going outside the church or for visits out of town
Chaperoning of patients visiting their Doctor
It reportedly takes $20,000 a week to run the organization (what's 20k times 52 weeks?)
So, one could surmise that this group is a cult? Indeed, it shows many cult characteristics.
However, no one sets out to join a cult.
Similarities among cult leaders include sharing early experiences of neglect, many resulting in narcissistic tendencies.
Could Jane's early experience growing up with TWO fathers have contributed to this mix?
The underlying concern here is that once cornered, cult leaders have been prone toward the destruction of the cult.
Hence the WW message.
WW challenges WOFF practices and doctrine of a fear based message. This is not a rational dialogue on theology. They don't wish to see themselves in the broader society.
WW challenges the control that the "church" imposes on it's members.
WW challenges the concept, much less the actual practice of having prospective WOFF members to sign a release before they can become members.
WW challenges the "church" and it's leadership on transparency, both financial and organizational.
WW challenges non member business ties with "enablers" who financially or otherwise favor WOFF resulting in financial gain or power.
WW challenges Jane Whaley to account for her personal finances and accommodations as a result of being the head of WOFF. Do you need 65 acres?
WW challenges WOFF leadership and other WOFF members who aspire to take control of the "church" at some point in the near future, to admit that they have other ideas about how the church should run.
WW challenges Jane Whaley's capability of making a transition from the status quo to a more mainstream congregation with transparency.
Jane is consistently ignoring good advice beginning with facing her and the "church's" weaknesses. Jane relies too much on her version of faith.
WW challenges WOFF to stop using foreign exchange "students" to perform work for them without pay.
WW challenges WOFF to admit their members own a stockpile of surveillance equipment.
WW challenges WOFF to stop chaperoning WOFF members as patients at Doctors and Hospital visits as it could violate HIPAA
WW challenges WOFF to produce flight plans for out of town trips on private jets.
WOFF members and leadership have responded to blogs and critical opinion as "attacks" thereby labeling it "persecution" .
That response doesn't work. The challenges are numerous. But they are challenges. They are not attacks.
If they have nothing to hide, well, then let's see it.
As a result, WOFF prefers to play the victim instead of meeting the challenges.
My experience has taught me that anyone that responds to challenge using a tactic instead of meeting the challenge, is prone to be a professional manipulator. How interesting that they chose this response instead of with welcome transparency.
Misinformation and self unawareness brought down the Republican party's bid for a presidency. They had no clue they would lose because they kept telling themselves they would win despite not having any clear math to back up their zeal.
Misinformation is pervasive in our society and so WOFF hides behind the POSSIBILITY that blogs and critics are feeding the same misinformation.
The math they like is the math that fit's their version of reality.
WOFF's only response to WW and other critics/blogs are that we are lying.
They can't back up those accusations.
WE can back up ours.
WOFF: How is the humiliation you suffer in public or from critics/blogs any different from the humiliation you place on your members inside the walls? Is it OK if YOU do it to yourselves?
The issues that WW brings here are of lack of freedom, lack of transparency, carelessness, manipulation, and self unawareness. These issues, more than any one person or organization or government agency, are likely to bring down an organization such as this alone, even before intervention.
WW compels it's readers to ask questions. So here's a starter kit:
Does your church follows or monitors it's members?
Does your church boast about spending millions defending itself?
Does your church allegedly allow violence against those it perceives as different from them and posts signs about how it welcomes all kinds of people, after the fact?
Does your church attract controversy?
WW has identified most of the players in this situation, however, there are two more worth noting.
WW must also chide the community and local media for not taking a pro active position in this matter, or in this case opposition. People in the area certainly do have an opinion and or experience to share. But ask them to take a stand....well, no.
Folks, this is unacceptable. This means you can live with this in your own community. How sad, but more to the point, cowardly.
Same goes for you Forest City newspaper. Your connections to WOFF or concern for the bottom line poses a dilemma. Are you a business masquerading as journalists or are some or one of you on the WOFF payroll? WW gets more news from WOFF chatter than you dole out in your newspaper. Your coverage of this organization is embarrassingly weak.
Together, weak media coverage and community indifference have fed the growth of what we know now to be WOFF.
Both of you should be ashamed of helping groom this mess.
Thank goodness for the area's Faith Freedom Fund. This is a coalition of churches in the area that HAVE pooled their resources to help those leaving or affected by the WOFF organization.
805 Oakland Road
WW does not fool itself into believing that the upcoming court proceedings will explore all discussed here. It expects for the courts to consider the specific charges and accusations and deal with it accordingly. However, the attention won't go away once the dust has settled. Too much new interest may have attracted the right number of those who would seek to investigate further. And, we urge you to.
Spindale, NC 28160
Facts and time and pro activity and courage and common sense will ultimately prevail. We will find the truth through these ingredients, unless WOFF tries to suppress it or respond that the truth are lies. The holes in their system prevent them from going forward, and will ultimately stop them.
There is still time to get this straight.
We should avoid any further tragedy, WOFF, you need to stop. And now. You can't buy credibility. But you need to get it and fast. You can break those barriers and still live without persecution. The only power you have is to change the direction of your congregation before someone in your congregation, the government, or I, make it so.
As always, Real faith is always willing to be challenged.