Word of Faith Fellowship

A church in which the leader controls every aspect of member's lives and members are ritualistically abused as a form of exorcism

1979 - present

Sam and Jane Whaley, who force the Word of Faith Fellowship cult to follow a strict set of rules

Jane and Sam Whaley (founders)

The Word of Faith Fellowship, a notorious religious cult founded by the infamous Jane Whaley, is known to enforce an oppressive set of rules that dictate every single aspect of its members' lives. Former members have revealed details of the cult's beliefs, which include the idea that every misstep is caused by a demonic force. By screaming and physically assaulting the victim, the cult believes they can expel these demons. Such extreme beliefs have led to abuse, resulting in various lawsuits and investigations.

The cult goes to great lengths to isolate its members from the outside world, forbidding them from communicating with their families and discouraging them from disclosing the church's actions to outsiders. To maintain its grip on its followers, the Word of Faith Fellowship actively discourages any form of outside communication, with strict instructions to cut all ties with families and outsiders. This isolation, coupled with the group's strict code of conduct, has enabled instances of abuse to thrive within the cult.

Despite the numerous investigations and lawsuits, the Word of Faith Fellowship remains active.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Evangelicalism

Founders: Jane and Sam Whaley

Founded: 1979

Size: 720 (2012)

Location: Spindale, North Carolina

Reported list of rules that all members must submit to

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An explosive investigation into Word of Faith Fellowship, a secretive evangelical cult whose charismatic female leader is a master of manipulation

In 1979, a fiery preacher named Jane Whaley attracted a small group of followers with a promise that she could turn their lives around.

In the years since, Whaley’s following has expanded to include thousands of congregants across three continents. In their eyes she’s a prophet. And to disobey her means eternal damnation.

The control Whaley exerts is absolute: she decides what her followers study, where they work, whom they can marry—even when they can have sex.

Based on hundreds of interviews, secretly recorded conversations, and thousands of pages of documents, Pulitzer Prize winner Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr’s Broken Faith is a terrifying portrait of life inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the harrowing account of one family who escaped after two decades.

(Buy here)

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