As a religion columnist I have seen my fair share of controversy, however, every so often I find a case so unique that I have to take a deeper look. So is the case with a well-known church based in North Carolina by the name of “Word Of Faith Fellowship” a quick Google search yields conflicting results.
On one hand, the church is known for its countless humanitarian efforts and charity work in the community, on the other hand, we find news articles claiming the church is a “cult” who controls its members. The question that begs to be asked is what is true and what is false, on my quest to find the truth I began to dig deeper.
The Word Of Faith Fellowship Church has been around since the late 70’s and has been home to thousands of members from countries as far as Brazil, founded by Jane Whaley and her husband Sam Whaley. The couple set out to educate the world on the power of Jesus and live a God-fearing life. It was once a small service consisting of 200 to 300 members but grew up to thousands as of 2018.
Going deeper with my research
Now onto the controversy, through my Google searches and a bit of digging, I found claims made by the typical “sensational media”, i.e.; inside edition, associated press, the inquirer, etc.
The claims made by the media reveals that the church is a full-blown cult to that of claiming it as the church which does secret ceremonies and is shrouded in an Illuminati Esque policy that brainwashes its members.
Let’s be honest, initially, I dismissed the claims because it sounds like some kind of Hollywood movie script, but I dug deeper and unsurprisingly I couldn’t find any trace of these claims actually being proven… Is it simply media attempting to profit off of more gossip claims or does the rabbit hole go deeper?
After searching for the churches’ side of the story I came across their official YouTube page which contains a series of recently released videos responding to these accusations. Taking time to carefully examine each video, I began to actually understand what might REALLY drive these claims.
Word of Faith Fellowship – My search results
In one particular video, a senior church member explains how he adopted two brothers who came into the church from a broken family, with no place to go and nowhere to call home. The brothers were adopted and cared for by the member and his wife.
Putting both boys through private school and college, the two decided to abandon the church after securing jobs and other connections through their parents’ efforts.
In a modern-day tale of betrayal, it started to become clear that this may be more of a personal vendetta than an actual controversy. After finding out more I began to research the two brothers to find out exactly what connection they had and why they left.
After a day of furious Googling, I found articles and forum posts explaining that the “Cooper Brothers” never wanted to live in the Christian lifestyle that they were raised in but simply used the opportunity to secure jobs and advance in life.
As soon as the opportunity became available, they turned on the family. I wanted to know more so I did a quick search of their names and what I found did shock me, it seems that the brothers made claims against the church in order to justify their own guilt.
After joining forces they connected with other biological family members to begin a full campaign against the church and it’s members. It seems that they are funding an attack against the church to try and push a smear campaign against their parents, pastors, and everyone who tried to teach them a Christian way of living.
Basically, it became clear to me that for them, taking advantage of everything and to justify themselves, there was no better solution than to claim fault into their past. While I have no way to confirm the validity of these claims, I began to paint a picture of who they truly are!