S310: The Prophet – Matthew Fenner vs. the Word of Faith Fellowship Part 1
Play • 32 min

Jane Whaley recently turned 80-years-old. Obviously, the Word of Faith Fellowship can’t go on forever. At least not the way we know of it today. So, who’s taking over? Can it go on without Jane Whaley’s vision and authority? Or will it all just fall apart?

John Huddle, a former member, says that Jane’s biological daughter Robin Webster is believed to take over the church. But he suspects that, when Jane Whaley dies, there will be a power struggle within the church.The case against the Word of Faith Fellowship

We’ll talk more about this alleged attack in the next episode. Today, we’re going to focus on how we got to this point. Before Brooke Covington was charged with kidnapping and beating Matthew Fenner, she was actually the person who recruited him into the church. How did she go from being his spiritual leader, to being charged with beating him? In order to understand the case against Brooke Covington and the Word of Faith Fellowship ministries, you first understand how Matthew Fenner joined the church.

Cults recruit the vulnerable

The biggest questions I get all the time is, how do people get sucked into a cult. Everyone says that they would never fall for it, so how did Matthew and his family become one of them?


Before Matthew Fenner joined the Word of Faith Fellowship, he thought they were freaks. He heard rumors of the demonic possessions and members vomiting in buckets to evil spirits. Let’s just say that he wasn’t exactly a perfect candidate. And on top of that, Matthew was openly gay and considered himself an atheist. So, how does someone like him get sucked into a ultra conservative Christian cult?

The Word of Faith Fellowship found Matthew Fenner, and his family, when there were at their lowest point. Matthew’s family rejected his sexuality, his mother was in a bad marriage, and they were running out of money. These were desperate times.

Matthew attended his first service in February 2010. During this time he had friends, was a member of a dance troupe, and attended public school. By December of that same year, he cut ties with everyone he knew, quit dance, and enrolled in the church’s private school. How did it happen? How can someone go from gay atheist to a god-fearing cult member?

Matthew Fenner describes his journey into the Word of Faith Fellowship. Listen to episode 10 of the Prophet on Apple podcast, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher.

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