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Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of America's Most Dangerous Cults

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  41 reviews
"I can't imagine a more important book."--Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author

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


In 1979, Jane Whaley, a fiery preacher with a thick Southern drawl, attracted a small group of followers--twenty-two men and women drawn in
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Hanover Square Press
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  228 ratings  ·  41 reviews


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Allison Sesame
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
It feels almost unbelievable that this sort of cult is still active today. This book was powerful and fascinating while at the same time horrifying. I could not put it down.
Kaleah
After watching a documentary on this cult, I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!! I believe this "ministry" is currently still thriving smh.
Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir
In a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, a little church has grown to a worldwide phenomenon, and has not escaped the attention of the press and law enforcement for its bizarre and --- in some instances --- illegal practices. Its history and the personal accounts of some of its congregants are collected here by investigative journalists Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr.

Word of Faith Fellowship was started from the inspiration of Sam Whaley, a former used car salesman. But once
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Katharine
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of Americas Most Dangerous Cults by Mitch Weiss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and Holbrook Mohr, an award-winning investigative journalist for the Associated Press, is a captivating, meticulously reported story on the evolution of Word of Faith Fellowship, an evangelical Christian ministry, under its leader Jane Whaley and lives destroyed by the secretive church.

Weiss and Mohr explore the appeal of the church and its leader Jane
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Jeff McIntosh
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
I am by no means a religious man, and yet, I remain fascinated by cult practices. I must add, however, that the term "cult" is considered by many to be pejorative - the more commonly accepted term is "new religious movement" (doesn't have quite the same flavor, does it?)

Wikipedia define a new religious movement as " a religious community or spiritual group of modern origins (since the mid-1800s), which has a peripheral place within its society's dominant religious culture". But I digress....

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Amanda
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An accurate and well-written account of a truly terrifying cult in western NC that has a surprisingly large and international following. If you've ever asked yourself, "What would possess anyone to get involved with a cult?" this book will help answer that question.
Broken Faith primarily follows the story of one family, the Coopers, dialoguing their experiences and relating legal incidents and documentation. The facts are startling and the epilogue will, hopefully, incite you to want to do
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Lisa Welch
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I am totally fascinated by cults, and this story is a whopper! I can't even get over how things like this happen despite so many people seeking help. If you are also intrigued by how cults function and what draws people in, then definitely check this one out!
Claire
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to be clear about why I gave this three stars. The background reporting and research by the author are definitely five-star-worthy. The book is a great achievement in pulling together the different threads that combine to form a full picture of the Word of Faith Fellowship cult. It's just the writing that is so blah that it *almost* renders descriptions of horrible beatings and "blastings" mundane. If you have never heard of this cult, or of Jane Whaley, its leader, then this book will be ...more
Stephanie T
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I read an uncorrected proof so I won't comment on the things I think an editor will address.

This is a story about a cult and the difficulties the escapees have had in bringing charges against the people who committed crimes under the guise of doing God's will. It made me intensely angry to read about the corruption in local law enforcement and I hope that the people involved with eventually be brought to justice.

The best thing about this book is the sympathetic way it treats the victims. It's
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Aryn
At the Word of Faith Fellowship, in Spindale, North Carolina, the only word that matters is that of Jane Whaley. While they bill themselves as an evangelical Christian church, to those who have left, outsiders, and experts, Word of Faith is incontrovertibly a cult. Jane Whaley is the cults charismatic leader, regarded by some members of her congregation as a prophet. She, along with her deputies, control every facet of members lives. Her preoccupation with the unclean, the groups euphemism for ...more
Janet
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

An explosive investigation
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Tzutse
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great accounting of the interviews and collected information, woven into a fascinating story. It sounds so much like described behaviors coming out of Scientology. My heart aches for the former members, and everything they have had to endure, and continue to endure. My heart aches even more for the members, the children specifically, that are still in Spindale and are not able to escape, or feel like there is no alternative. It sounds like it is very difficult to leave if you wanted to, and even ...more
David V.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Received as an ARC via my employer Barnes & Noble. Started 2-14-20. Finished 2-16-20. A fascinating look into the Word of Faith Fellowship, a dangerous cult in North Carolina. Tales of brainwashing, physical and mental abuse of children (as young as 6 months!) and adults, illegal business schemes, corrupt local government officials. And in spite of arrests and incarceration of some church leaders and lost lawsuits, the organization continues to this day with its leader, Jane Whaley, still in ...more
Ellen
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-read
This book made me angry. Angry for all the abuse that was done to these victims, many of them children raised in this group. Angry at their parents for allowing this to go on. Angry that when victims did do the right thing in going to the authorities, apparently corruption prevented justice from happening.

This book was also compelling. I found it hard to read at times with the abuse described within, but I also couldn't put it down. I had to know what would happen next.

I will continue to follow
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Amy
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Holy wow. Ive read many books on religious cults and cannot believe Ive never heard of this group.

Once again the degree of control, isolation and abuse is just mind boggling. And in this case, the complicity of the local law enforcement and legal world? Disgusting!

Ill be keeping my eye out for news stories about this group- seems quite a bit is still ongoing.
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Andrienne
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
A really exhaustive look at the Word of Faith Fellowship. As far as cults go, it follows the same M.O. and no surprise there. Reading books like this though when the group is still operating can be emotional - there were times where I was getting really angry and in disbelief that those leading can get away with so much.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
Melanie
Feb 27, 2020 marked it as abandoned
I found this pretty dull, so I decided to move on. I listened to an audio version published by Harlequin Audio. The narrator was fine until she was speaking in Jane Whaley's voice. I understand that Ms. Whaley will be the villain in this story but the overdone hick accent was a bit annoying.
Deborah
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well written book revealing a religious organization that's really a cult. It reveals how this "church" is so corrupt and powerful and yet almost untouchable by the courts. The church is still operating in spite of confirmed abuse and financial illegal actions.
Jen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredible. Nonfiction written from many alleged victims POVs that reads like fiction. Cant give Mitch and Bert enough praise for the care that went into telling these stories. 10/5 stars. ...more
Kristen Iworsky
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I listened to the audio version of this book and it was pretty gripping. You know places like Word Of Faith exist in the world, but to exist so openly and get away with so much? Its so horrifying. ...more
Nancy
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This is a terrifying book but I looked up the information about Word of Faith and it is truly a terrifying cult. Small but powerful, Whaley has used all the cult tactics to compel her followers to stay in line.
Erin Goettsch
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is bonkers and it is near me and I had no idea and it is STILL HAPPENING.
TJL
Disturbing.

That these people have, from the looks of it, never been seriously scrutinized by the relevant authorities is extremely disturbing.

I'll be passing this one around.
Michele Burczyk
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well written and incredibly well investigated book.
Julia
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Wow this was a truly eye-opening book. I had never heard of the Word of Faith Fellowship before reading it, and I can't believe what horrific activity this cult is allowed to get away with.
Lauren
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This s*** is crazy, however, there were too many accounts of different people to make it easy to follow.
Olivia Madwell
Feb 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Was not impressed, the whole book is more of a work of fiction than reality.
Aislin Davis
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 but bumped up to 5. Not a light read, but interesting and important.
Tori Hoeschler
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.
Im still reeling from what Ive just read. I am literally gobsmacked.
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Elizabeth
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, crime
Hard read.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Mitch Weiss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist for The Associated Press covering subjects ranging from the Vietnam War to corrupt real estate appraisers to the British Petroleum oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He is the coauthor of The Yankee Comandante: The Untold Story of Courage,
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