Word of Faith Fellowship – Church cult controlled sex lives, Former La Luz Del Mundo Member Alleges The Church Ran Child Sex Slavery Ring

February 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

Church cult controlled sex lives … even on wedding nights
By Ben Steelman Feb 15, 2020

New book documents story of Word of Faith Fellowship, a bizarre Pentecostal spinoff in N.C. foothills

…. Word of Faith believers saw this as a demon-haunted world, with even the most faithful prone to demonic possession. To exorcise these demons, believers practiced a ritual known as “blasting,” in which the supposedly possessed were surrounded, shouted at, shaken and sometimes pummeled to drive out the evil spirits. Some exorcees were thrown brutally against walls.

Now, Associated Press reporters Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr tie up their years of research into a straightforward, coherent account of the controversies surrounding Word of Faith. The two interviewed 100 former members of the fellowship, building a harrowing picture of faith gone horribly astray.

….Word of Faith was and is a world unto itself. Members attend three or more services per week on the fellowship’s large campus. Their children almost always attend the fellowship’s private school. Members did not watch television (particularly after a series of “Inside Edition” exposes on the congregation in the 1990s), did not read newspapers or books other than the Bible or Fellowship literature, and did not eat in restaurants that served alcohol.

Believers were encouraged to move to Spindale, where they frequently wound up living communally. Homeowners would be “encouraged” to take in other Word of Faith families or children in trouble. If you wanted to buy a house or car, you needed church permission.

Youngsters were pressured to “help out” at businesses owned by Word of Faith members, often with little or no pay. Adults were expected to report each other for breaking any of the many church rules. To prevent masturbation, for instance, men were forbidden to put their hands in their pockets.

….Word of Faith had been founded by Sam Whaley, a former used car salesman, but the real boss and preacher was his wife, Jane Whaley, a former math teacher. Although women in the fellowship were forbidden to wear makeup, Jane Whaley dressed in expensive outfits (generally obtained on long shopping trips to second-hand stores) and wore a lot of jewelry. She was known to have a temper, especially when people crossed her, and she had to face assault charges in state courts.

These cases went nowhere, though, and neither did multiple accusations of abuse by former members. Both the Rutherford County sheriff and the local district attorney were elected with the help of Word of Faith votes, and neither pursued charges against the fellowship with much energy. Word of Faith members took key jobs in the county courthouse and sheriff’s office to keep tabs with what was going on….


Former La Luz Del Mundo Member Alleges The Church Ran Child Sex Slavery Ring
by Aaron Schrank in News on February 13, 2020

A new civil lawsuit filed Thursday against religious leader and self-proclaimed “Apostle” of La Luz Del Mundo, Naason Joaquin Garcia, contains shocking allegations of abuse.

The filing, made in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, came as the religious group is holding its “Holy Supper” event at the Pomona Fairplex, attended by thousands.

It also comes more than eight months since Garcia, the Mexico-based megachurch’s religious leader, was arrested in Los Angeles on dozens of felony child rape and human trafficking charges. He has been held without bail in downtown L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail since then, after the court refused to grant bail citing him as a high-flight risk.

The lawsuit filed by Sochil Martin, a former Luz Del Mundo member, marks the first time a former La Luz Del Mundo church member has spoken openly about abuse allegations. Martin’s lawyers held a news conference Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles to detail her claims against the religious organization, Garcia and other top leaders of the organization.

The 34-year-old woman says she grew up deep in La Luz Del Mundo, primarily attending the flagship temple in East L.A.

Martin says she was groomed as a child, beaten, forced to work for no pay for the church’s communications department, and raped hundreds of times over two decades by Apostle Naason Joaquin Garcia and his father, Samuel Joaquin Flores.

Martin’s complaint alleges a ring of child sexual slavery and financial manipulation within the church and points fingers at Naason Joaquin Garcia’s family members and La Luz Del Mundo bishops, many of whom are based in Southern California.

“For nearly 22 years, I was made to work for, travel for, lie for and give my body to an organization who saw me as nothing more than a source of profit and sexual pleasure,” Martin told reporters gathered at the offices of Greenberg Gross in downtown Los Angeles Thursday. “Hundreds, if not thousands of other children before me and after me suffered the same fate.”

Church officials rejected Martin’s account Thursday morning.

….The Light of The World reports 1,500 temples in 58 countries and between 1 and 5 million members worldwide.

It has a big presence in California, with more than 50 temples, including churches in East L.A. and Pasadena.

Joaquin Garcia’s father, Samuel Joaquin Flores, led the church from 1964 until 2014.He was the subject of sexual abuse allegations in 1997, but never faced criminal charges.

….Sochil Martin is stepping forward and alleging years of abuse and manipulation growing up deep inside the religious group’s flagship church in East L.A,, where the jailed church leader and self-proclaimed “Apostle” of the religious movement was once a pastor.

In her civil complaint, Martin says she was trafficked throughout the U.S. and Mexico, beaten and raped dozens of times and even forced to have sex with children — all to satisfy the desires of “the two Apostles,” Naason Joaquin Garcia, and his father Samuel Joaquin Flores.

Martin also claims that since age 16, La Luz Del Mundo’s senior leaders forced her to do more than 30,000 hours of unpaid work for the church’s communications arm, International Berea USA. which is run out of East L.A. and was established by Naason Joaquin Garcia in 2009.

Martin alleges church leaders used their positions of power to benefit from her trafficking and unpaid labor. She named 12 additional people in the lawsuit, including several bishops in La Luz Del Mundo, some of Martin’s former bosses at the Church’s communications department and Naason Joaquin Garcia’s family members.

She alleges a widespread culture of coercion and control inside the organization. Martin says countless members have been forced to work for LDM. The complaint claims most of the employees at Berea International were unpaid.

“For far too many La Luz Del Mundo members, everything they have is taken by LLDM. Every dollar they make goes to La Luz Del Mundo because they truly believe their money will be used to do the work of God on Earth,” Martin said. “But all the hard-earned money goes to making Naason and his enablers rich.”

….Naason Joaquin Garcia and several co-conspirators were arrested last June and charged with dozens of felonies in a case filed by California Department of Justice. Garcia was first held on record high bail in L.A. county, and now without bail on charges involve three girls and one young woman in L.A. county in recent years. Garcia had denied the charges.

The case has been dragging in the pre-trial phase since Naason Joaquin Garcia’s dramatic arrest at LAX, at least in part because the child victims in the case were guaranteed anonymity when they reported alleged abuse to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office.

But the criminal case filed today is the first where a former member of the church is publicly accusing La Luz Del Mundo and its leadership of manipulation and sex abuse. Sochil’s attorneys, from Greenberg Gross and Jeff Anderson & Associates, said they hoped more victims will come forward.

Church officials and active members maintain the innocence and righteousness of their leader and Apostle….


Abuse Of Minors & Apocalypse Predictions: Words From A ‘Children of God’ Cult Survivor, ‘It’s like being in a cult for one’: 14 tactics used by coercive controllers – domestic abuse, Jane Fonda reveals rape and child abuse, abuse and cover up by Word of Faith Fellowship

March 7, 2017 Comments Off on Abuse Of Minors & Apocalypse Predictions: Words From A ‘Children of God’ Cult Survivor, ‘It’s like being in a cult for one’: 14 tactics used by coercive controllers – domestic abuse, Jane Fonda reveals rape and child abuse, abuse and cover up by Word of Faith Fellowship

– Abuse Of Minors & Apocalypse Predictions: Words From A ‘Children of God’ Cult Survivor
– ‘It’s like being in a cult for one’: Read 14 tactics used by coercive controllers –  domestic abuse
– Jane Fonda reveals rape and child abuse
– AP Investigation into abuse and cover up by Word of Faith Fellowship

Abuse Of Minors & Apocalypse Predictions: Words From A ‘Children of God’ Cult Survivor
March 2, 2017  By Jancy Richardson

Cults & Conspiracies seeks to understand the evil that we do to each other and the psychological drives that inform those actions. Inspired by season 2 of Hulu’s #ThePath, Cults & Conspiracies investigates how cults and radical ideologies work their dangerous magic on the unsuspecting.
MP Super News’s dark-leaning, inquisitive show has looked at the Jonestown Massacre and de-programming techniques, but this episode we’re talking to Flor Edwards, a survivor of the Children of God cult (a.k.a. The Family International).

The Children of God cult became famous for the bizarre teachings of leader David Berg, particularly those encouraging the sexual abuse of children and forced prostitution of young women (a technique to recruit new members known as ‘Flirty Fishing’). Several celebrities escape the cult, including Joaquin Phoenix and Rose McGowan.

What Did the Children of God Believe?

Berg encouraged his followers to move away from “corrupted” Western society to South East Asia and South America. They were poor, idealistic, and convinced by their leader that the world would end in 1993.

When the foretold apocalypse didn’t happen, Edwards says, Berg made a public apology to his flock, but said that God had granted them an extension for being good. Berg “believed that he was God’s middle-man,” which he used to promote his strange teachings:

He had these free sexual beliefs, people had to have a sexual revolution and it needed to happen very young, believed adulthood began from 12… He had absolute power.

Fortunately for Flor Edwards, the bad publicity from the cult’s sexual abuse of minors meant that there were stricter rules in place when she was a child: she wasn’t witness to sexual abuse but did see a lot of physical abuse: “they would punish us a lot.”….

Cults & Conspiracies’ guest for episode 5 is cult survivor Flor Edwards, who left the cult with her family at the age of 13.

‘It’s like being in a cult for one’: Read 14 tactics used by coercive controllers
06 March 2017 Gemma Mitchell
….Experts in the field of domestic abuse gathered in Suffolk today to explore the intricacies of a crime that is “invisible in plain sight”.
Keynote speaker was American university lecturer and author Lisa Aronson Fontes, who described a manipulative relationship as “like being in a cult of one”.

Dr Fontes said dangerous romances often started out happy, with abusers using methods that seem loving such as constant texting or only not wanting to be around anyone else.

She added: “It looks like the care that many women crave, then over time that warm beam gets narrower and narrower and she wants to get that back and she feels like it’s her fault she doesn’t have it….

According to Mr Stark, around 25% of women in abuse relationships are never assaulted, and in some cases it is “low level” harm which police may not take seriously, such as biting, pushing and shoving.

This is where the new law, which was passed in England and Wales in 2015, can come into play.

It carries a maximum prison term of five years for perpetrators who repeatedly subject spouses, partners and other family members to serious psychological, social, financial and emotional torment.

Mr Stark deems coercive control a “liberty crime” that turns victims into “slaves in their own homes”…..

Here are 14 ways coercive control can exist in an intimate relationship:
– Controlling access to a phone and social media
– Enforcing a certain diet
– Prohibiting or limiting contact with friends, family and health services
– Monitoring and controlling time and movement
– Regulating what clothes, make up, hairstyle is worn
– Continual belittlement, telling someone they are worthless
– Harming or threatening children
– Jealous accusations
– Constant phone calls, texting and emails
– Controlling access to money and transport
– Forcing sex
– Name calling
– Refusing contraception
– Preventing a person from working and sleeping

Jane Fonda reveals rape and child abuse
3 March 2017
Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda has revealed she is a rape survivor and suffered sexual abuse as a child.

In an interview with fellow Oscar winner Brie Larson for The Edit, the 79-year-old also said she had once lost a job because she refused her boss’s sexual advances.

The star added she thought being a young actress now was “terrifying” because of female sexualisation.

“You have to get naked so much. There is even more emphasis on how you look.”

Fonda said she “felt diminished” growing up because the men in her life were “victims of a [patriarchal] belief system”.

She also said she had been “brought up with the disease to please”.
‘We were violated’

“To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females – I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.

“I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said no the wrong way’.

“One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realise that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”….

Part 2: AP Investigation into abuse and cover up by Word of Faith Fellowship
by MITCH WEISS Associated Press; Karen Zatkulak
Monday, March 6th 2017

SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — At least a half-dozen times over two decades, authorities investigated reports that members of a secretive evangelical church were being beaten. And every time, according to former congregants, the orders came down from church leaders: They must lie to protect the sect.

Among the members of the Word of Faith Fellowship who coached congregants and their children on what to say to investigators were two assistant district attorneys and a veteran social worker, the ex-followers told The Associated Press.

Frank Webster and Chris Back — church ministers who handle criminal cases as assistant DAs for three nearby counties — provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member, according to former congregants interviewed as part of an AP investigation of Word of Faith.

Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley’s son-in-law, also helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents, according to nine former members.

Under North Carolina law, prosecutors cannot provide legal advice or be involved in outside cases in any manner. Violation of those rules can lead to ethics charges, dismissal or disbarment. Offering legal advice in an ongoing investigation to help a person avoid prosecution could lead to criminal charges.

The receptionist for Back and Webster at the Burke County Courthouse said the two men were “too busy” to talk to AP reporters. They also did not respond to a note seeking comment about their roles in the church…..

Last week, the AP revealed decades of physical and emotional abuse inside Word of Faith, which has 750 members in Spindale, North Carolina, and nearly 2,000 members in churches based in Brazil and Ghana. Former members described being punched, choked and thrown through walls as part of a violent form of deliverance meant to purify sinners….

Cooper said social services personnel were investigating complaints that students were beating classmates at the church-run K-12 school to cast out devils, and that teachers, including Whaley, encouraged the violence….

Former congregant Jamey Anderson said parents and children were ordered to lie to social workers…..

Former member of Word of Faith Fellowship calls for authorities to investigate church
by Justin Hinton  Monday, March 6th 2017
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — Allegations of abuse and a cover-up plague a controversial mountain church after the second part of the Associated Press investigation into Word of Faith Fellowship is released.

“We didn’t think we were part of a cult,” said John Huddle, a former member of the church.

He held a news conference Monday afternoon calling for an investigation by local, state and federal authorities.

“From what I read this morning, it’s highly likely that an investigation could be beneficial,” Huddle said.

In that AP article, former members said they were beaten, choked and thrown through walls. Then when it came time to investigate, they say they were told to lie.

“It makes me feel sad that it has gone on for so long,” Huddle said.

After part one of the AP’s investigation, the church released a lengthy statement saying in part, “We do not condone or allow abuse – in any form – at our church. Period.”….

Teen sentenced to life in satanic killing, N.C. Church Members Charged With Beating Gay Man to Banish ‘Demons’, 130,000 children were forced from the U.K. to Canada, Zimbabwe and Australia, GCHQ to help tackle ‘dark net’ child abuse images

December 12, 2014 Comments Off on Teen sentenced to life in satanic killing, N.C. Church Members Charged With Beating Gay Man to Banish ‘Demons’, 130,000 children were forced from the U.K. to Canada, Zimbabwe and Australia, GCHQ to help tackle ‘dark net’ child abuse images

– Teen sentenced to life in satanic killing
– Trial Begins for Teen Accused in ‘Satanic Ritual’ Killing – NBC News
– N.C. Church Members Charged With Beating Gay Man to Banish ‘Demons’
– A Different Kind of Deportation – A Del Rey Oaks man struggles to get his unreal life story recorded before it’s too late.
– GCHQ to help tackle ‘dark net’ child abuse images

Teen sentenced to life in satanic killing
By Brian Rogers  December 11, 2014  Houston

Corriann Cervantes’ beaming smile and bright eyes lit up a Harris County courtroom Thursday, even though it was just a posterboard-sized photograph that her family brought to show Jose E. Reyes he had not beaten them.

The 15-year-old’s aunt, who had just seen Reyes sentenced to life in prison for capital murder in a killing prosecutors said was part of a satanic ritual, made sure the 18-year-old saw the photo on an easel in the center of the courtroom as she berated him from the witness stand….

Reyes, who prosecutors said had bragged that he brutally killed Cervantes with a friend so they could sell their souls to the devil, showed little reaction during four days of emotional testimony and grisly photos, and was emotionless during the verdict….

Among other inflammatory evidence, the jury saw graphic photos of heinous injuries including an upside down cross carved on Cervantes’ stomach….

The last piece of evidence in the trial were letters from jail in which Reyes said the Devil was in the room directing him to act during the slaying.

“He was standing there, watching me and Victor,” the teen wrote in a letter read to jurors Thursday. “It’s all good. It’s what the Devil asked for.”….

Trial Begins for Teen Accused in ‘Satanic Ritual’ Killing – NBC News.com

N.C. Church Members Charged With Beating Gay Man to Banish ‘Demons’
Five members of the Word of Faith Fellowship face kidnapping and assault charges.
BY Trudy Ring December 11 2014

Five members of an evangelical Christian church in western North Carolina have been charged with kidnapping and assault in connection with an attack on a young gay man, which he says was meant to rid him of “homosexual demons.”

Matthew Fenner, now 21, says that in January 2013, “he was threatened with confinement for two days, slapped, strangled and verbally assaulted” by members of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, reports North Carolina’s LGBT outlet QNotes.

In an affidavit he submitted to local law enforcement, Fenner said church members confronted him about being gay, telling him it was disgusting. They then began a ritual called “deliverance,” which, he wrote, “meant extremely rough pushing, loud screaming, and other violent measures intended to ‘break me free of the homosexual demons.’”….

The Word of Faith Fellowship has previously faced other accusations of abuse and cult-like practices. In one such instance, in 2012 another man said church members held him against his will for weeks because he is gay, and the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a hate-crime investigation, but the man then recanted his story. Now, though, he says he was manipulated into recanting and has left the church, according to the newspaper. Fenner has also left the congregation, although his mother and brother remain in the church and testified on its behalf before the grand jury….

A Different Kind of Deportation – A Del Rey Oaks man struggles to get his unreal life story recorded before it’s too late.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Mark Anderson

Roderick Mackay’s earliest memories are of explosions and urine.
He lived at an orphanage in London, sent there from the squalorous Edinburgh housing project where he was born. His father, fresh off a divorce from his mom, sent him there as he was heading off to fight in World War II….

Sixteen of those small children were loaded on an old banana freighter called the SS Bayano that wasn’t any safer than the shelter. As they were shipped across the Atlantic to Canada, the convoy with them lost an oil tanker and nearly an American destroyer to German torpedoes….

Suddenly his entire family was an ocean away.

He and the others were bussed from Quebec to a group home/school in rural Victoria. When he reached his new home, the Nov. 10, 1941 Victoria Daily Times headline read “‘Orphans of Blitz’ Arrive at Fairbridge School After Hazardous Journey From Britain.”

Life at Fairbridge School proved more than enough to make Oliver Twist blush, and inspired a memoir that recently topped 240 pages. Ritual humiliations, head trauma and lashings all figured in.

Decades later, then-prime minister Gordon Brown invited Mackay and company to England to personally apologize….

All told some 130,000 children were forced from the U.K. to Canada, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and Australia.

“Many child migrants were sent overseas by specialist agencies such as the Fairbridge Society, established for the purpose of migrating young children to populate the empire with ‘good, white British stock,’” reports the Child Migrants Trust, which eventually sprang up to help reunite families split by the moves….

GCHQ to help tackle ‘dark net’ child abuse images  11 December 2014

Intelligence experts and organised crime specialists will join forces to tackle child abuse images on the “dark net”, David Cameron has said.

The prime minister said a joint GCHQ and National Crime Agency unit would hunt online paedophiles with the same “effort” used to track terrorists.

Speaking at a London summit, he said online child exploitation existed on an “almost industrial scale” worldwide.

He also unveiled a law to stop adults sending children “sexual” messages….

Mr Cameron said the new unit was part of a drive to remove millions of “sickening and depraved” images from the internet.

The term “dark net” refers to parts of the internet that are hidden and can be hard to access without special software, and Downing Street said the new unit would be able to analyse huge volumes of images….

Mr Cameron said children were being “abused to order” by some international gangs….

Responding to Mr Cameron’s comments, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said there were “very serious gaps” in the government’s plans because “thousands of cases of abuse are not being followed up by the police”.

“We know the National Crime Agency has details of over 20,000 suspected of accessing images of child abuse under Operation Notarise, and yet they have only investigated a tiny proportion of these – and arrested fewer than 1,000,” she said….

Fran’s Day Care/Keller Case  http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/frans-day-care/

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