SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — When it comes to relationships, marriage and sex, Word of Faith Fellowship members must follow strict and unusual rules — or risk severe punishment, former members say.
Some of the edicts:
•Congregants need permission from leader Jane Whaley and other ministers to get married, and it then can take months — or even a year — before the newlyweds are allowed to have sex.
•No one is allowed to date without permission, and most relationships and marriages are arranged by Whaley and ministers.
•On their wedding night, couples are permitted only a “godly peck on the cheek.” When they get in bed together, they must roll over and go to sleep.
•For all married couples, love-making is limited to 30 minutes, no foreplay is allowed, the lights must be turned off and only the missionary position is sanctioned.
•Couples need permission from church leadership to have children, and leaders dole out condoms to make sure unapproved women don’t get pregnant.
The former followers said couples violating the rules can be publicly rebuked, subjected to violence or forced to separate.