Former member of Word of Faith Fellowship calls for authorities to investigate church
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."
On Monday, the church posted several videos of former members who have spoken out while they were members.
Those videos show those individuals contradicting what they are currently saying about the church.
One of those videos is dated June 5, 2011, and features Danielle Cordes saying, "We've never been abused in this church. We've never been beaten. The DSS came in, and they asked us all these questions, and we were like, 'That's never happened.' We've never been abused."
In 2017, Cordes said there was abuse and that, "This is happening and it's going to continue to happen until someone stops it or Jane tells everyone to drink the Kool-Aid, and everyone does it and dies."
Huddle said it points to a bigger issue.
"Inside that subculture, they're not going to recognize the issues," he said. "We didn't think we were part of a cult."