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penworks last won the day on May 5

penworks had the most liked content!

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About penworks

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    Author of cult memoir, Undertow: My Escape from ... The Way

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  1. penworks

    Evidence: Letters VPW wrote to the Way Corps

    Hi Socks, I am very familiar with that letter. I quote part of it in my book, Undertow. In 1978 when VPW mailed the letter to Way Corps, I did not personally know any of the individuals mentioned in the letter. I knew them from afar. At the time, I was not involved with research, I was out on the field far away from HQ, and it would be five more years before I returned to HQ to work on the research team. So when I read the letter, I swallowed the party line and asked no questions. I accepted that these guys were disloyal and tricked by the Devil into questioning VP's research and disagreeing with how the Corps was being run in Emporia. I suspect that the guys who challenged VPW mistakenly believed his claim, as many of us did, that TWI was a "research" ministry open to correcting mistakes and "changing as we learned more." From my experience, I don't believe it was. I think it was an organization VPW used to promote himself and his views on the Bible, including plagiarized materials. To me, in the letter VPW sounds very paranoid that anyone might know a thing or two that he doesn't. He's mad to find out he might be wrong. In 1984, when I returned to HQ to work on the Aramaic Concordance with the research team, that letter's contents came back to haunt me. In Undertow, I portray my own discoveries of corruption, Scripture twisting, etc.
  2. penworks

    Evidence: Letters VPW wrote to the Way Corps

    In my view, even though it's often revolting to read VPW's own incriminating words that illustrate how deranged he was, it's a valuable way to gain understanding of how he used classic cult leader tactics to keep us Corps from thinking independently and to make himself appear blameless in the face of evidence to the contrary.
  3. penworks

    Revival and Restoration

    Groups run by former TWI leaders seem to hide in plain sight, at least as far as the general public goes. Whenever I give presentations about Undertow, there is usually someone in the audience who asks about what shape TWI is in today. I inform them about the succession of presidents, the sale of properties, the decline of loyalists. BUT I also let them know about spinoff groups that perpetuate Way-style doctrines, teachings, meetings, behaviors, while most of the time NOT mentioning their origins in Wierwielle's outfit. Signs of that origin would be catch phrases like "the accuracy of the Word," which is something fabricated by VPW, or rather stolen by him from other fundamentalist Christian writers. Most audiences have never heard of Bullinger, etc., so the challenge is to encourage folks who are more than casually interested to acquaint themselves with fundamentalism, not only cults. The ideology of cults varies. The Bible-based cults can seem legit at first, but research on them may tell a different story. Reactions to this news of TWI spinoffs range between disgust and nervousness. I recommend people ask probing questions about the origin of any group recruiter who approaches them and ask about finances and what checks are in place on the power of the leader, and for the name of the person who ordained him or her, etc. All the above is just my two cents ... Why do I still care about all this? Like most posters here at GSC, I don't like to see people betrayed like I was.
  4. penworks

    Lurker for Years, Joiner at Last

    You can do it. We "hold the space" for you, as they say. When I say that, I imagine our arms around you, shielding you, providing good energy for you to stand on your own. As DWBH said, YOU have made this progress. YOU are a beautiful human being.
  5. penworks

    Lurker for Years, Joiner at Last

    Oh Leah, I am so happy you are here. You know I love you and am here whenever you want to talk! I had no idea that you were BecomingMe. Wow! You are cared about here in ways you'll never fully know!
  6. penworks

    Lurker for Years, Joiner at Last

    Hi, this is Penworks. My heart goes out to you, Becoming Me. You have great courage. Take good care of yourself.
  7. penworks

    Revival and Restoration

    Worth every minute, IMO.
  8. penworks

    Revival and Restoration

    Control is at stake. On that topic, check out an excellent video on the topic of "undue influence." It's the second "story" on the home page of the International Cultic Studies Association. "Undue influence" is a term that describes the overreaching control that cultic groups exert over members. Description on website: "This talk will explain how the legal concept of undue influence, which has existed for centuries, can be helpful to former members of cultic groups today. Judges have hesitated or refused to hear testimony about brainwashing, mind control, and thought reform on the grounds, that, in their opinion, these concepts lack scientific validity. How can expert witnesses be more persuasive in court? What will help bring clever influencers to justice? The discussion will focus on how the undue influence concept can be updated and applied to cultic relationships, human trafficking, domestic violence, and other influence situations." https://www.icsahome.com/
  9. penworks

    Cults: The Art of Deception

    In response to the mention of religious fundamentalism, I've benefited from a lot of reading on the topic ever since I left TWI in 1987. If you're interested in part of what I learned, here are a few blogs I've written about that. https://charleneedge.com/the-certain-curtain-how-fundamentalism-hooks/ https://charleneedge.com/the-word-which-bible-is-it-anyway/ https://charleneedge.com/christian-nationalism-notes-for-fundamentalist-friday/ Cheers, Penworks
  10. Welcome to this site, sastain, where you'll read many posts that reveal other sides to The Way story than what you'll find on its website or from Wierwille's loyalists. I was in the 2nd Way Corps (with Gerry Wre*n) and a member of VPW's research team. So I invite you to check out my own website at https://charleneedge.com for blogs on cults and fundamentalism, and The Way. Cheers to expanding our understanding of our Way experiences! Charlene Edge
  11. penworks

    Did vpw cite his sources, or did he plagiarize?

    This thread is a perfect place to refer people to my interview--in two parts--with an eye-witness on this topic of VPW's plagiarism. BTW, the link was posted in another thread right after I published the interviews on my website. Click here.
  12. penworks

    Most of VP's and TWI Stuff here

    In my opinion, it is a disgrace for anyone to consider VPW as anything other than a con man, plagiarist, and narcissistic womanizer. This Charlene, a.k.a. Penworks. I met Gera#d Wre#n at ECU in 1970. I graduated from the 2nd Way Corps with him, and in my opinion, unfortunaly he is lost in his delusional adoration of VPW. We were all brainwashed back then. It is clear that Ger#ald has not sought to snap out of it. P.S. The Ger#Ald I refer to is the Jurry that DWBH refers to.
  13. penworks

    Was VPW a holocaust denier?

    Yes, Engine, I remember who K.F. was. His insisting people stand up when he entered the room definitely was something VPW taught us early Way Corps people. It was worse with men and women he ordained who assumed they represented God wherever they went. So much ego, so much b.s.
  14. penworks

    Was VPW a holocaust denier?

    DWBH: VPW got bolder with expressing his hate speech as the years went by. I was in the 2nd Corps and you were in the 4th and he didn't express his sympathetic views about Hitler in any private meetings with us that I remember, but, knowing you, I do not doubt your recollection!
  15. penworks

    Was VPW a holocaust denier?

    Based on my personal experiences with VPW, I would say yes, he was a holocaust denier. He sold that awful book, The Myth of the Six Million, in The Way bookstore when I got involved in 1970. Karl Kahler cites the following in his book, The Cult That Snapped: A Journey into The Way International: "In a mailing to students of the 1979 Advanced Class, The Way recommended that students read The Hoax of the Twentieth Century and The Myth of the Six Million, which claim that the Nazi Holocaust either never happened or was grossly exaggerated by Zionist propagandists in order to win sympathy for Jews." pg. 119 There are other passages in Karl's book, which can be purchased from Lulu online at http://www.lulu.com/shop/karl-kahler/the-cult-that-snapped/paperback/product-14363949.html The following is from my own book, Undertow (available -- cough, cough-- for sale online at major booksellers): "In 1982, I had attended a small research fellowship meeting during which Wierwille had said, “I’m not afraid of those Jews who are out to get me.” I have no knowledge of any actual threat, but I do know that Wierwille’s selling of the book The Myth of the Six Million, which denies the Holocaust, was evidence of his anti-Semitic attitude. He blustered about dozens of other things, too—the IRS, cult deprogrammers, upset parents, the preachers in New Knoxville. Wierwille would say, “The Devil has his boys after me, but they won’t get me.”