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Home arrow Editorials arrow Prisoners of The Way
Prisoners of The Way Print E-mail
Written by Ex-Twi   

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 the devil.

Way president, Craig Martindale, demands that Way followers burn all bridges behind them during their association with The Way.

Martindale constantly teaches followers not to "yoke themselves with unbelievers" and not to put anything above God - but rather to set their "spiritual goals first."

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 Audio section.

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).

Leave God's 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 section.

(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.

Prisoners 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 Way property.

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 for everything.

Leaving the 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 - then what?
  • Am I willing to risk divorce so that I can get out of here?
  • Where will I go? I have no home, no job, no friends, inadequate savings...

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 do so."

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 leave.

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 breakdowns?
  • 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 families".
  • 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 leave.
  • 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 decision?
  • 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 these issues.

The couple 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 per person.

Some may say that that amount wasn't too bad. Before you make up your mind on that, consider these factors:

  • 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 "field".

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 contribution.

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 Way leader.

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.

Martindale says "Get the F--K Out"

Despite Martindale's 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 "present truth".

We say this to Craig Martindale:

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.