Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Martha Copp, Dr. Joseph Baker

Committee Members

Dr. Candance Bright Hall-Wurst


This research analyzes the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOF), a female-led Evangelical church that social scientists have not yet studied. My thesis explores how a female leader operates within a patriarchal space and why WOF owns a Holocaust Museum. I conducted content analysis of the church and museum websites, Google reviews, and visited the museum in person. My research highlights the limitations of current taxonomies of religion in sociology. I address this oversight, argue for the re-introduction of “cult” as an analytical term, and propose a rubric for cult identification. I suggest that WOF is a sectarian cult with similar features to other female-led cults. I also find that the group expresses philosemitism through the museum and the tragedy of the Holocaust to pursue church legitimacy. I thus expand on current understandings of philosemitism and posit the concept of tragedy appropriation to describe narrative theft at the group level.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.