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Home arrow Reading room arrow The Cult that Snapped - A Journey Into The Way International
The Cult that Snapped - A Journey Into The Way International Print E-mail

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 to deserve.

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 had purged.

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.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 February 2007 )