December 14, 2017/Press

“I Wish that Someone Cared.” Fresh Word of Faith Abuses Raise Questions on Why Lt. Gov. Dan Forest Refuses to Condemn the Group

Raleigh – An isolation room. Beatings for making a funny face at a classmate. Forced labor. A year long isolation from friends and family. Jamey Anderson, a former Word of Faith member shared yesterday these abuses and more suffered from Word of Faith leaders like Jane Whaley, again raising serious questions around why Lt. Gov. Dan Forest fundraised with and refused to condemn the radical group.

This new report sheds even more light on the range of abuses Forest refuses to condemn. Abuses like:

An isolation room that left Anderson wishing “someone cared”…

His most traumatizing memories stem from the “green room,” a storage area named for the color of its outdoor carpeting in a house his family shared with more than a dozen church members. The long stretches of isolation, the incessant hum of a dehumidifier and the pervasive smell of mildew almost drove him mad, he said.

“I remember thinking about it in that room, thinking, ‘I wish that someone cared. I wish that someone got me out of here,’” he recalled.

Brutal beatings with a paddle…

Anderson recounted a particularly brutal attack when he was about 9, when he said a female church member pinned his arms down while his mother sat on his legs and beat him with a paddle.

“It hit me in many other places than where it was supposed to. But they didn’t stop, because I needed a ‘breakthrough.’ The demons were ‘taking me over,’ as a kid. I was going to go to hell. And so they kept swinging the paddle, swinging the paddle,” he said.

Forced work detail…

Anderson said his work details began around sixth grade — sometimes during school hours — on construction and real estate projects performed for church members. He recalled being diagnosed with asthma in middle school, a condition aggravated by the outdoor work, and being rebuked for “laziness and foolishness.”

A year-long isolation from his friends and family…

Whaley placed Anderson and his four friends in isolation for a year, he said. Instead of attending class, he said they sat in a room watching videos of Whaley preaching and were confined to their homes after school and on weekends. Family members weren’t allowed to talk to them. When it was time to eat, someone would open the door and slide food in, “like in a prison,” Anderson said.

Investigators previously revealed the group turned children against their families, took them away from their parents, and refused to cooperate with investigators. Why is Forest standing with this violent, extremist group?

“These abuses from this violent, extremist group are shocking and crushing to hear, yet one of the most powerful politicians in the state actively courted them and continues to refuse to denounce their violent behavior,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “If Lieutenant Governor Forest has any shred of sympathy for these victims and future victims of this violent, extremist group, he will break his silence, denounce them and their behavior, and give back any money he raised with them.”

Associated Press: ‘Nobody saved us’: Man describes childhood in abusive WNC church
By Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr
December 13, 2017

Jamey Anderson vividly recalls being a skinny kid trembling on the floor of a dank, windowless storage room, waiting in terror for the next adult to open the door.

He was bruised and exhausted after being held down while a group of Word of Faith Fellowship congregants — including his mother and future stepfather — beat him with a wooden paddle, he said. As with most punishments at the secretive Western North Carolina Christian church, Anderson said, it was prompted by some vague accusation: He had sin in his heart, or he had given in to the “unclean.” The attacks could last for hours until he confessed to something, anything, and cried out to Jesus, he said.

Sometimes even that wasn’t enough for redemption. Then, Anderson said, he would be locked in a dark place he called the “green room,” where he would bang his head against the brick wall, wanting to die.

Read the full article here.