Leaving The Way
International without the "blessings" of the Board of Trustees, is a
traumatic experience for all who decide to take this route.
The decision to leave The
Way is one that, according to Way president Craig Martindale, will result in
the devastation of one's life and ultimately one's death at the hand of
Way president, Craig
Martindale, demands that Way followers burn all bridges behind them during
their association with The Way.
teaches followers not to "yoke themselves with unbelievers" and not
to put anything above God - but rather to set their "spiritual goals
Listen to an audio clip
of Donna Martindale warning Way people not to have full sharing and mis-mated
alliances with "infidels" and "unbelievers." This clip is
located in our Documents/Real
This constant pressure to
conform to Way standards results in most Way followers severing ties with
anyone who does not fellowship with The Way.
Bridges burned include
those to families and friends, contacts in the secular and professional world,
trade associations and personal hobby interests. In short, the average Way
follower soon becomes quickly immersed in Way activities to the exclusion of
virtually all else.
As long as the
affiliation with The Way is maintained, many followers don't see a problem with
this bridge burning that is expected of them.
When the Way follower
later decides to end the relationship with The Way, he or she discovers quickly
that they have no friends and no support system available to them. They have
after all, told their families and friend to "get lost."
For some disillusioned
Way followers, to return to families would be like the prodigal son returning
home - having to admit the wrong-ness of their previous actions (which they had
so adamantly defended while in The Way).
Protection and Die
Way staff and Corps have
heard the Martindale's foretell on countless occasions, the deadly
consequences that befall those who leave the protection of The Way.
An audio clip of one of
Donna Martindale's addresses to the Corps and staff at Way HQ in New Knoxville,
concerning the consequences of leaving The Way is available in our Real Audio
(A Real Audio player is
needed to hear these clips - details on downloading a player are also included
in the Real Audio section).
Having heard Martindale's
clear warnings on what to expect if one leaves the protection of The Way
household, not many are willing to take the risk.
at The Way
There are approximately
500 staff and Corps who live on the grounds of The Way International, many are
married and have spouses and children.
Leaving The Way for these
people is much more difficult than it is for followers who are not residing on
For many who do not live
on Way property or who do not hold Way jobs, a simple phone call to their
fellowship coordinator is sufficient to sever all ties with The Way. Not so for
the person who lives and works on Way property. They are beholden to The Way
Way Requires Answers to Some Big Questions
- What if Martindale is right? What if my children get
killed as a result of me making the decision to leave?
- What if my spouse wants to stay and I want to leave -
- Am I willing to risk divorce so that I can get out of
- Where will I go? I have no home, no job, no friends,
These are just some of
the questions that a Way person needs to answer prior to leaving The Way.
Martindale Has Said - If
You Don't Like it, LEAVE!
Many Way leaders scoff at
the notion that staff aren't free to leave whenever they want. They point out
that there are no security fences and search lights guarding the perimeter and
stopping people from leaving. "If anyone wants to leave, they are free to
This position is far from
the truth. In practical reality, many people are not free to leave The Way
International. We ask that you consider all the factors involved.
If the only factors
considered are "is there a security fence blocking their exit?", then
you would naturally arrive at the conclusion that people are indeed free to
When you allow yourself
to look at all the factors, you will see that The Way International is indeed a
prison for many Way followers who are literally unable to leave.
- If a person makes between $60 and $100 per week, do
they really have the financial wherewithal to leave?
- If they own a fifteen or twenty year old car and need
to drive back home to California or Arizona, do you
think that they have sufficient funds to cover against possible
- Do they have enough money to rent a truck to move
their belongings, or do they have to ask The Way to help them reserve and
pay for the truck?
- Does asking The Way for assistance in leaving
"blow their cover", and result in them being thrown off grounds
two or three hours later?
- Do they have access to private telephones where they
can make necessary phone calls and attempt to plan their departure -
locating apartments, finding jobs, making preparations with "earthly
- Can they quietly pack their belongings without anyone
noticing? (To be discovered quietly packing will definitely result in one
of Martindale's famous "bum's rush" same day departures).
- If a person is working 55 to 70 hours per week, 6
days per week - will they be able to find time in which to prepare to
- Can staff of The Way International have access to the
Internet in an attempt to locate new housing prior to leaving HQ, or will
they just take to the road with their families in a truck loaded with
personal belongings and have nowhere to go to?
- Do the staff know how much The Way might help them
with re-location finances or is only discovered once they've committed
themselves to leaving and informed their department coordinator of the
- How does one broach the subject of leaving The Way
with a spouse who is still held spellbound by Martindale's teachings?
(Staff are instructed to tell supervisors immediately when anything of a
serious nature occurs within their marriage - this would obviously include
situations where one person wanted to leave - Way Corps have been
told by Martindale on several occasions, that divorcing a spouse is
preferable to leaving The Way with them in order to hang on to a weak
marriage - "spirit is thicker than blood" is an often used
phrase by Way trustees these days)
Being free to leave isn't
as clear cut as "will someone stop me at the gate?."
The case of
one couple who recently left The Way International helps shed light on some of
described here is Paul & Mrs. Allen who on March 23rd 1999 left TWI after
directly confronting Martindale and the TWI trustees about Martindale's sexual
assaults on Mrs. Allen.
Within days of
their departure from HQ, staff at HQ and all Corps at Camp Gunnison
were informed that Paul & Mrs. Allen were possessed and Mark & Avoid.
The trustees passed the story around that they had gotten possessed by
the internet lies about the trustees on anti-Way sites. No mention was
made that Paul had confronted the trustees about Martindale's sexual assaults
on his wife. The cover up machinery was in full operation.
Once this couple decided
to leave and informed the Way trustees of their decision, no one at The Way was
permitted to talk with them.
They were assigned a
"liason" - (Martindale's bodyguard John Linder).
Linder booked the U-Haul
truck and arranged for The Way security force "Safety Dept." to help
pack the truck and expedite the move.
The packing and loading took
less than three hours. By lunchtime, the couple had ceased to exist.
The financial package
that was given to the couple was as follows:
- They were given $60 dollars for two days food (even
though The Way "liason" was told that the couple did not expect
to have a home to move to for at least 6 days).
- They were given $100 for two nights lodgings. (Again
The Way "liason" was aware that this couple did not have a place
to go to for at least 6 days).
- They were given $100 for fuel for the U-Haul truck.
(This amount did not cover the fuel used on the journey).
- They were given $750 for their first months rent.
(They were not asked what they expected to have to pay for rent, nor did
The Way show any interest in hearing any of these details).
- They were given $750 for a security deposit. (They
were not asked if a last months rent would also be needed).
- They were given one months salary - which amounted to
$824 for the two of them.
- They were given $250 for utilities and deposits.
The grand total of the
financial assistance that was given by The Way was $2834.00. That's $1417.00
Some may say that that
amount wasn't too bad. Before you make up your mind on that, consider these
- At the encouragement of Way leadership, this couple
had sold everything that they had in order to go in the Way Corps five
years before. They had sold personal vehicles, all of their furniture,
bedding, household items etc.
- Along with personal clothing and a fifteen year old
car valued at $750.00, this couple were now moving back "on the
field", with a only tv, a vcr, a coffee table and a bookcase (average
belongings for a resident of the Way's Founders Hall dormitory)
- They had no dishes, no pots and pans, no household
items like a vacuum cleaner, or a trash can, not even a bed to sleep on!
(The Way offered nothing to the couple in these categories)
- They didn't have a second car (vital in order for
both of them to be able to get jobs).
- They were moving from rural Ohio where car insurance was extremely
low to an east coast city with insurance costing three times as much.
- They had extremely limited savings available to them.
(They only had $50 each per month given to them towards savings while
working at The Way. This money had mostly been used up for medical
expenses, traveling to see parents and other such things).
We could make this list
much longer, but we believe that you get the point.
The Way was fully aware
of these things. It moves people frequently from its facilities to the
Way staff must have
accounts with the Way Credit Union and as a result, Way leadership know exactly
how much a person has available to them in personal savings.
The Way strongly
encourages that its staff "travel light". There is very little room
at The Way International for personal belongings, and so The Way tells its
in-coming staff to bring as little as possible with them in the way of
furniture and household items.
The Way tells the Corps
that The Way will meet their genuine need when the time arises.
The couple cited above
worked an average of 119 hours between them each week for more than two years.
That's 476 hours per month and they were paid $824 per month for their
That means that they were
paid approximately $1.76 per hour. Minimum wage is $5.25.
They were not fired from
The Way. They choose to leave. They had excellent work records and were highly
regarded by their fellow employees.
They choose to leave upon
discovery of information pertaining to the conduct of a certain high ranking
The Way's treatment of
this couple illustrates the point of this article, and that point is, that
people at The Way don't really have the freedom to leave when they want.
says "Get the F--K Out"
insistence that people "get the f--k out" if they are unhappy, it's
not as easy as that.
WayDale calls on the Way
trustees to open their doors and let people leave if they want to.
- Give people the ability to leave, give them the resources!
- Give them adequate finances and give them the time
and tools to plan their departures.
- Tell them that if they want to leave, they won't be
blacklisted, marked and avoided, bad-mouthed from the lunch-time lectern,
or any other commonly used Way tactic.
- Tell them they won't be branded as
"cop-outs" and "deserters" when they ask to leave.
- Stop threatening them with Death and Destruction if
they choose to leave.
Craig Martindale wants a
"pure" household. A household where everyone is fully in step with his
We say this to Craig
There are some (WayDale
knows of several people) who currently live at The Way International who want
to leave. However, due to their financial concerns and concerns about possible
marital breakups, and some of the other issues that have been pointed out in
this article, those people feel that they cannot leave.
Thus, they are in effect
held prisoner at and by The Way.
This article deals with
issues as they pertain to Corps and staff who want to leave The Way prior to
the end of their assignment.
Staff leaving The Way as
a result of an assignment change or new assignment find that The Way is very
accommodating to all of their needs.