Karl Kahler (graduate of the 14th Way Corps)
This book is a
history of The Way and an account of Mr. Kahler's involvement from 1980
to 1987. Mr. Kahler believes The Way is a destructive and dangerous
organization, and wrote this book because none like it existed. He
wanted to inform non-members, to give current members a different
perspective, and to offer ex-members a journey back in time that could
be both entertaining and healing.
From the introduction to the book:
The Way International is an
Ohio-based Bible ministry often called a cult, a label it has done everything in its power
It was founded in 1942 by Victor Paul Wierwille, a minister who claimed God had promised him an
understanding of the Bible lost since the first century. By the 1980s,
The Way was one the largest cults in America, with tens of thousands of
members. Wierwille was accused of brainwashing his often fanatical
followers, and he courted national controversy by making weapons
training part of the elite Way Corps program. He also used female
followers for his sexual pleasure, and condoned a culture of adultery
that permeated the ministry.
In 1982, Wierwille turned the presidency over to L. Craig Martindale,
director of the Way Corps. After Wierwille died in 1985, rival leaders
questioned Martindale's competence, and the ministry went through an
explosive breakup. Martindale launched a furious counterattack in 1989,
purging thousands of members he suspected of disloyalty.
As Martindale's grip tightened, so did his control over every aspect
of members' lives. He decreed that no Corps wife under 35 was to
get pregnant. He ruled that debt was wrong and that all homeowners
paying mortgages should sell their houses and move into rentals.
He declared "open season" on homosexuals, and boasted
of how many "homos" and "homo fantasizers" he
Martindale's reign came to an abrupt end in 2000, when he resigned after
being sued by a married couple for abuses including sexually victimizing
the wife. He was replaced by Rosalie Rivenbark, a woman who is widely
distrusted by ex-members but is the best friend of Martindale's wife.
"The Cult That Snapped" is a history, memoir and exposé of The Way
International, written by a seven-year member and graduate of the 14th
Way Corps. A personal story within a detailed history, it is illuminated
by interviews with ex-leaders Steve Heefner, Del Duncan, Jim Doop, David
Anderson, Peter Wade, John Schoenheit and others.