In 1979, math teacher Jane Whaley and her former used car salesman husband, Sam, started Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina as co-pastors. Jane’s charismatic and seemingly caring personality quickly drew in people as the ministry focused on helping drug addicts and other down-and-outers.
As the church grew by leaps and bounds, Jane’s dark side surfaced as she became the most prominent leader, according to former members of the church. Her “Word of Faith” soon became a world of fakes as she attempted to control every aspect of members’ lives.
The church enacted physical violence for anyone suspected of being possessed by devils. That physical abuse included violent shaking, smacking, whipping, punching, kicking, being thrown through walls, and more–regardless of a person’s age, from infants all the way up to adults. People targeted for exorcism were even subjected to hours of being screamed at to get the so-called devils out.
Jane even ordered men and boys who were considered troublesome to be separated from their families for extended periods of time lasting up to a year. She determined who could get married, when and if they could have sex after marriage, and when or if they could have children. Sexual abuse of both girls and boys took place regularly on her watch as she worked to cover the incidents up, guilting the young victims with blame or threatening them to keep quiet. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the vast amount of abuse that occurred. To find out more, see the source link below.
The shocking thing is that most adult members put up with the abuse for years and decades. It’s a prime example of what can happen when people who are supposed to be Christians place human beings above God and lack faith in God to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth. Not only do they get hurt themselves, but the innocent young ones entrusted to them who they should protect end up getting hurt worse.
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him...
20 For ye suffer [i.e. put up with it], if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 1 Corinthians 11
1…there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you… 2 Peter 2
Source: Mitch Weiss (Associated Press), VIDEO: Ex-members reveal abuse at Rutherford Co. church, WSPA.com, February 27, 2017.