Ex-congregants reveal years of ungodly abuse

Feb 27, 2017

By Mitch Weiss

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — From all over the world, they flocked to this tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lured by promises of inner peace and eternal life. What many found instead: years of terror — waged in the name of the Lord.

Congregants of the Word of Faith Fellowship were regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor or thrown through walls in a violent form of deliverance meant to “purify” sinners by beating out devils, 43 former members told The Associated Press in separate, exclusive interviews.

Victims of the violence included pre-teens and toddlers — even crying babies, who were vigorously shaken, screamed at and sometimes smacked to banish demons.

“I saw so many people beaten over the years. Little kids punched in the face, called Satanists,” said Katherine Fetachu, 27, who spent nearly 17 years in the church.

Word of Faith also subjected members to a practice called “blasting” — an ear-piercing verbal onslaught often conducted in hours-long sessions meant to cast out devils.

As part of its investigation, the AP reviewed hundreds of pages of law enforcement, court and child welfare documents, along with hours of conversations with Jane Whaley, the evangelical church’s controlling leader, secretly recorded by followers.

The AP also spent more than a year tracking down dozens of former disciples who scattered after leaving the church.

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5 comments on “Ex-congregants reveal years of ungodly abuse

  • BTW,
    this awesome blurb from PZ Myers over at Pharyngula really resonates with me:

    There’s something flawed in human psychology that allows grifters to
    flourish in the guise of the godly. You’d think people would wake up
    at some point and realize that this stuff is dangerous.

    Report abuse

  • Of course delusional abuses are not confined to the Christian religion!


    Police in the south Indian state of Karnataka have arrested three people in connection with the “human sacrifice” of a 10-year-old girl.

    Police told BBC Hindi that the child was killed on the instructions of a “sorcerer” to “cure” a paralysed man.

    The man’s brother and sister have been arrested on charges of abducting and murdering the girl.

    The alleged sorcerer told them it was the only way to undo “black magic” affecting their sibling, police said.

    “There are a few more people who have abetted the crime. We are investigating it from all angles. So more arrests cannot be ruled out,” senior police officer B Ramesh told BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi.

    The murder was discovered after residents discovered the body of the girl inside a bag. They also found materials which police believe were used to conduct “black magic” rituals.

    As news about the incident spread, a mob gathered outside the brother and sister’s home and began throwing stones. Police had to use force to disperse the gathering.


    Police in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh say they are treating the murder of a five-year-old boy as a case of “human sacrifice”.

    The child was abducted while playing, allegedly by a man, who beheaded him and threw the blood around his house.

    The suspect, identified as Mr Rao, was caught on the outskirts of Pokuru village, where he was beaten up and set on fire by an angry mob.

    He has been admitted to hospital with severe burn injuries.

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