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penworks last won the day on November 8

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    Author of two books:
    Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International (2017)
    From the Porch to the Page: A Guidebook for the Writing Life (2022)
    Blogger at https://charleneedge.com

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  1. Just for the record, from my files: Wierwille's contradictory teachings on "soul life" 1971: Wierwille's Power for Abundant Living book, Pg. 237 “The soul life is in the blood and is passed on when the sperm impregnates the egg at the time of fertilization.” 1977: Christian Family and Sex class, 1977 syllabus, Pg. 12 “The most dramatic part of the birth is the crowning because this is when the baby takes its first breath of life and becomes a living soul.” 1979: Advanced Class on Power for Abundant Living, Segment 9 (on tape which I no longer have): “The first breath of a child is soul life, until that time, there’s no soul life.”
  2. Just a note to say thank you, Greasespotters, for your support of Undertow over the years. It's out there doing a good job waking people up to the problems with high-control groups. To celebrate YOU, I thought I'd re-publish part of a post I wrote back in 2016 on my website. This came out before Undertow was published. Cheers! Good People I Met At The Way Greetings, subscribers and other readers who stumble across this website. By now, you have probably noticed I have a book in the making. It’s my very personal story of seventeen years in The Way International, a biblical research, teaching, and fellowship ministry that became one of the largest fundamentalist cults in America in its heyday of the 80s. I met many good people at The Way and you’ll meet some of them in my book soon. Ever since I launched this website in March 2015, I’ve written many posts about cults and fundamentalism. Today, I just want to make some points clear for those of you who have never come in contact with any Way people before. Good people in The Way First, not all Way followers treated outsiders or insiders badly, at least while I was in the group. Most people who left, however, were considered influenced by the Devil. Not all Way people tricked recruits into joining just to get their money, either. Most of us really believed The Way had the methods of getting the right interpretation of the Bible (termed “the accuracy of the Word”) and offered great fellowship with loving believers, so we genuinely recruited others from a good place in our hearts. The most loyal of us believed we followed “the man of God for our day and time,” Victor Paul Wierwille. He died in 1985. Most Way folks had good intentions about helping people, many desired to serve God in every way, and others sought a godly cause to live for. However, I now consider even the most sincere of Way followers (then and now) as misguided, deceived, and in some cases … gulp … brainwashed. Myself included. Thankfully, with help from many folks, I’ve learned to sort the good from the bad over the years, and am still doing it. My book, Undertow, tells a lot of my story. But the sorting and learning will never be over, even after Undertow is published, which will be soon after the elections next week. In my book, Undertow, you will meet many good people I knew at The Way. Some who have left are still my friends. Believe me, I’m more than grateful for this chance to tell my story (many others cannot or will not or just don’t know how to do it). I’m also unimaginably thankful I chose to publish it myself (that’s another story!) with the help of talented experts. Question: What is one major problem that caused me to leave The Way and that persists to this day, since The Way is still around? Here’s my answer: The Way insists that the only way to know God, at least their notion of who or what God is, is through knowledge of the Bible. Therefore, the more Bible knowledge you have, the better you know God. Problems with that answer involve issues like, what are we really referring to when we say the word God? Which version of the Bible are you talking about? What do we know about the material in the Bible and who wrote it? Isn’t the Bible written by and for people who lived long ago? Is the Bible true? What is truth? Does the Bible really have to be “perfect?” like Victor Paul Wierwille, founder of The Way, said? What parts of the Bible are still good-to-go, if you’ll pardon the expression? I do not know the answers to all of those questions, but I think they are worth asking. They were part of my journey out of The Way. Undertow not only tells my personal story, it sheds some light on those issues, especially in the last part of the book. END The above content is from this post: Good People I Met At The Way | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com)
  3. FYI, right now there's one used copy at Thriftbooks. But maybe postage is very high for overseas shipping. Twinky, have you checked online used bookstores in the U.K.? I know that there were/are folks over there who've bought copies of Undertow. BTW, all 7 free copies are spoken for now. Thanks those of you here who requested one!
  4. Last update: Greetings, readers. You may know this month is Undertow's 7th birthday. On Nov. 1st, I began giving away seven (7) FREE copies. UPDATE: As of this morning, Nov. 4th, there are only two (2) FREE copies left. Keep reading for details. But first, what's a memoir? A memoir is a true slice-of-life story Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International is a memoir, a true story of my years spent in a Bible cult. One thing I like about memoir is that it usually (not always) focuses on one major event in your life. It's not your whole life story (that's autobiography). In memoir, you include only parts of your experience that relate to the overall theme or lesson you learned during that time in your life. And then, one way or another, you let the reader know how you feel about that now as you look back on it. In Undertow, I stated its theme in the first chapter: "In the beginning, I only wanted to know, love, and serve God and understand the Bible. What harm could that possibly bring?" Right away you know what the book is about. You know what's motivating me. Will I get what I wanted? How did that quest turn out? Did I change in some way by the end of the book? Writing a memoir Writing this memoir taught me many things: perseverance, for one, courage, for another. There were times I thought I might not finish it, much less publish it. It's hard to know when a story is "finished" and scary to make yourself vulnerable by telling a very personal story. How about you? If you're thinking of writing a memoir, I say try it. No one but you can write something about your life like you can. Maybe this will inspire you—my favorite quote about memoir. It's found in Patricia Hampl's book, I Could Tell You Stories: "If we refuse to do the work of creating this personal version of the past, someone else will do it for us. That is the scary political fact. 'The struggle of man against power,' Milan Kundera's hero in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting says, 'is the struggle of memory against forgetting.' He refers to willful political forgetting, the habit of nations and those in power (Question Authority!) to deny the truth of memory in order to disarm moral and ethical power. It is an efficient way of controlling masses of people." Get your FREE copy of Undertow Offer is good until November 30, 2023. Limit one per request. Fill out the message form here → Contact. Include your snail mail address. I will never sell or give away this information. This offer is available ONLY to USA addresses. Tell me who the book is for so I can sign it, making it personal. I'll mail you the book via media mail and email you the tracking number. Undertow is sold at major booksellers. List price: paperback ($24.95), eBook ($9.99). Also order it at Indie bookstores and public libraries. Next blog post: Nov. 11 - When is International Cult Awareness Day? Thanks for reading! Your writer on the wing, Charlene
  5. Update: There are only 4 FREE copies left. Get yours today. Details in the blog. Happy Birthday, Undertow! FREE Copies, Event Photos, Reviews & More | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com)
  6. If anyone wants a FREE copy of Undertow, here's the link to today's post with details, plus links to book reviews, my YouTube talk, photos of presentations, etc. You can subscribe to my blog posts on any page of the website. Cheers! Happy Birthday, Undertow! FREE Copies, Event Photos, Reviews & More | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com)
  7. penworks


    ohmygod. I'm shocked and saddened by this news. Lloyd was a brave and beautiful person. So sorry for Tricia, a lovey woman I knew from back in 1971. Peace, Charlene Lamy Edge
  8. From today's blog at https://charleneedge.com Happy almost-7th birthday to Undertow in November. In this post, I’m pleased again to honor the very first former devotees of The Way International who read drafts of my memoir, Undertow, offered valuable feedback, AND THEN stuck their necks out to publicly endorse the book. If you know anything about The Way, their speaking out is HUGE. FREE copies of Undertow On Nov. 1st, I’ll send you the scoop about getting a free copy of Undertow. I have only seven (7) to give away. So, stay tuned. A few words about Undertow If you’re not acquainted with my story, here’s a section from the Preface of my book: In its heyday in the 1980s, The Way International was one of the largest fundamentalist cults in America, with about forty thousand followers worldwide.1 Founded in 1942 by a self-proclaimed prophet, Victor Paul Wierwille (1916–1985), who marketed the group as a biblical research, teaching, and fellowship ministry, The Way still operates in the shadow of its dark history. I knew Wierwille personally. As one of his biblical research assistants and ministry leaders, I am a witness to his charisma, as well as his abuse of power and manipulation of Scriptures to serve his own agenda. I discovered his sexual abuse of women and chronic plagiarism. Today, those underbelly facts are hidden, denied, or otherwise squelched. The years of Wierwille’s authoritarian reign and the chaos after his death provide the context of my story. Former Way devotees endorse Undertow “Undertow could be called ‘The Great Mystery of The Way Revealed: How the Research Department Really Worked.’ Every sentence rings true. In telling her story in Undertow, Charlene has also told mine. Holding degrees from the University of Toronto, having studied Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac, I taught and conducted biblical research for The Way International, albeit in a minor role, from 1976 to 1978. With remarkable clarity, Charlene tells her journey of recruitment, service, eventual disenchantment, and escape, which mirrors much of my own. I heartily recommend and endorse this well-written, captivating, engagingly told tale.” —Marty McRae, former Eighth Way Corps member and former faculty member, The Way College of Emporia “A tenderly written, intensely personal narrative about being swallowed alive by a cult. Charlene Edge’s encounters with the abusive Victor Paul Wierwille and her firsthand observation of how The Way’s Research Department twisted the Scriptures are enlightening and chilling.” —Karl Kahler, author of The Cult That Snapped: A Journey Into The Way International “In Undertow, Charlene Edge manages to bring to life the inexorable, age-old struggle of light triumphing over darkness, of the search for truth in the misty range of a ‘false prophet’s’ deception which she encountered firsthand as a research assistant in The Way International. While she was promised liberty, she found herself a ‘servant of corruption’ (2 Peter 2:19). Ms. Edge’s heartfelt and earnest journey will leave you in awe of what the human spirit can conquer when it launches out in the search for truth. Well-written, compelling, and inspiring.” —Kristen Skedgell, author of Losing the Way “Undertow is a gift to young people and their families who want to understand the inner workings of fundamentalist cults. Charlene Edge’s experience parallels much of my own twelve years as a follower of Victor Paul Wierwille’s ministry. Undertow sheds light on the decisions, questions, and longings that she encountered, and ultimately worked her way through. In the words of Canadian author Matshona Dhliwayo, ‘Books are kinder teachers than experience.’ May Undertow be a kinder teacher to you than Charlene’s seventeen years in The Way International were to her.” —Steve Muratore, publisher of award-winning political blog the Arizona Eagletarian —END— Public Service Announcement International Cult Awareness Day November 18th is set aside to honor victims of dangerous cults and help others avoid the lure of harmful groups. For more information on this topic of public concern and interest around the world, visit here. Next post: November 1 – How to get a FREE copy of Undertow Thanks for reading! Your writer on the wing, Charlene
  9. Some of you know I write a blog and have warned people about offshoots of The Way International because they perpetuate Wierwille's plagiarized materials, beliefs, and high-control practices over followers. Because I was embedded in The Way in the "early days" of 1970- 1987, I happen to know some of the people who run these groups. Today, just to participate in this thread, I'd like to say that what I mean by an offshoot of TWI: The leader of the group was formerly a leader or follower in the original organization, The Way International, but broke off from it to form their own group. Most of them still promote the teachings of V.P. Wierwille. Sometimes they revise these teachings. Sometimes, they don't. Some divulge their former association with Wierwille. Some don't. Some of these break-away groups consist of only one home fellowship attended by family members and friends who left The Way. They continue to mimick what they did while involved with The Way, i.e. recruiting people to their group, promoting Wierwille as the man of God, etc. Others are highly organized, like one run by Vince Finn*gan who is a graduate of the Third Way Corps (I was in the 2nd Corps so I knew him) and was a Way leader for the state of New York, among other responsibiblities, before he broke away from Wierwille's original organization. His group has a website and offers lots of teachings, etc. There are other groups, like one run by Wierwille's grandson. It's called S.O.W.E.R.S. About S.O.W.E.R.S.® – S.O.W.E.R.S. (sowersonline.com) To me, it looks as if he's trying to recreate the Way Corps program. The 5 principles are the same ones his grandfather gave us in 1971. There's also a group headed by Michael Gud*orf who was on the biblical research team with me at Way headquarters 1984 - 1985. He doesn't mention his devotedness to Wierwille. And there's one run by John Shoenhe*t, also on the team during that time. There are some threads here that refer to him. All these folks seem to be really nice guys, but our ways part like the Red Sea when it comes to beliefs about Wierwille and the Bible. Enuf on that. To each his/her/their own. We live in a country that says we have freedom of religion. Cheers, Charlene
  10. From one of my upcoming blog posts: International Cult Awareness Day November 18th is set aside to honor victims of dangerous cults and help others avoid the lure of harmful groups. For more information on this topic of public interest around the world, visit here.
  11. Agree! Now, for the story about why/how I wrote the Undertow story, which I imagine may be prohibited reading for some Way kids. Making Waves with "Undertow" - Why I Wrote the Book | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com)
  12. Today I'm ticked off over the book ban situation going on in this country. Are you? I feel as if I'm back in a cult, and you know which one! If it weren't for libraries, Undertow would most probably not exist. My post today: Don't Fear the Library | Charlene L. Edge (charleneedge.com)
  13. For those interested, here's a FREE copy of Undertow's first chapter. Feel free to share it with interested folks. Charlene Hiding-in-Plain-Sight.pdf
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