Source: Assoicated Press
By MITCH WEISS and HOLBROOK MOHR
SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — 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 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.
“I just wanted it to end,” he recalled in a series of interviews with The Associated Press. “Of course, they told us that killing yourself is the unforgivable sin.”