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Everything posted by penworks

  1. OldSkool, many thanks for your story, a litany of abusive tactics if there ever was one. Your first-hand accounts from more recent years than mine (1970-1987) is valuable to me and many others! This part of your story can't be said enough ... "The way international had been hide vpw's evils for years. But because of craig martindale's evils being brought into a court of law they have had to white wash every aspect of TWI into the bland, boring crap it is today. Most disgustingly, they blatantly hide vps plagiarism, the fact that he was a sexual predator and adulterer. They hide that he was a drunk. he was mean, short tempered, kept body guards. They especially hide the way east and west and the hostile takeover vpw did to Heefner and Doop. My God, where would the list stop if I were to continue? They way is a preservation society that has elevated victor paul wierwille above Christ and knowingly covered sin after sin of it's founder and successor(s)." Keep speaking, keep thinking, keep the healing going ... Ciao for now, Charlene
  2. Hi everyone, John Juedes published a number of pamphlets about TWI over the years, some with Douglas V. Morton. In about 2007, I ordered a packet of these booklets, one of which is called "From Vesper Chimes" to "The Way International: The Founder, History, and Activities of The Way Ministry," by Juedes and Morton. They did amazing research and documented it well. This address may be old, but there it is from the inside cover. Maybe you can still get this booklet if you want to: C.A.R.I.S. P.O. Box 1659 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201
  3. I'm not an eyewitness of those years, but I have some info about that time. First, I was in the second Way Corps (1971 - 1973) with a woman whose parents lived in Troy, OH and who raised her and her sister during the 1950s and 1960s to follow VPW's teachings, although they'd discontinued going to headquarters and supporting VPW. I met her father once, and he said they didn't like VP's arrogance, but stayed faithful to The Word (VP's buzz word for his teachings). She went in the Corps because she got hooked on VP's so-called revelation. She stayed in the Corps despite her parents' not liking VPW, and she's still in TWI today. Last year in Orlando, I met a woman from Van Wert, OH. We have a mutual friend who introduced me to her after she learned about my book Undertow. She met me and we talked a couple of hours while she told me stories, including that she had dated Don Wierwille in high school! She showed me her high school year book with her photo in it and Don's photo in it. He was their class president. She remembers her mother saying something was "odd about Wierwille," but she didn't have enough curiosity to find out more. Maybe her mother did, but her mother didn't share more details with her. I have an old Way Magazine from July/Sept.1969. On the cover is a young couple holding hands, walking through a field with a wooded yard in the background. The words, "The Walk of Youth" are below the photo with an arrow pointing right, as if hinting we should open the magazine. That is the title of an article by VPW called, "The Word speaks to the "Now" generation. The Walk of Youth." A key phrase is, "Become an example of the believers" and the article expounds on I Timothy 4:12. As an example, the second article is called, "The Walk of Youth on College Campus," which is about The Way Home down the street from East Carolina University. This is where I was recruited in 1970. The article is a patchwork of little essays by these people: John T. and Mary Somerville (Mary is VPW's second eldest daughter) who were the Way Home "directors" at that time. Later "directors" would be John and Pat Ly*n, who were there when I took PFAL. Other essays are from people who lived in the house and other students who fellowshipped at the house on a regular basis. The next article is by Pete* J. Wad*. I think there are some posts here on GSC that he wrote. He is in Australia now and runs his own Christian group. Walter J. Cum*ins wrote the next article. It's titled, "Walter Cum*ins discusses the walk in darkness," which is about the two gods and how to be born of either seed, etc. The issue has an ad for the 1969 Summer Youth Advance and for a Way family camp in Minnesota. Bernita Jes* has an article about the Oriental Backgroun in the book of Ecclesiastes, and there is a Children's Corner with Audrey Hamilt*n encouraging kids to learn the Word at The Way. The News from Headquarters section includes a new phone number for HQ 419.753.2523. A report on a Pentecost Truth Rally in Columbus with 300 people. Then the Board of Directors met. 480 new PFAL grads were recorded from the previous year. A Renewed Mind camp was held at HQ and a West Coast Women's Advance was held near San Francisco. 29 women came, including Mrs. VPW. I see some familiar faces in the photo of young women who soon afterward entered the First and Second Corps. There are letters of thankfulness near the end, a Bulletin Board with dates of classes and advances, and an Our Times editorial by VPW. Here are a few quotes from it: Opening, "In our day, the denominationally organized bodies are in a position of ecclesiastical desperation. They manifest an acculturated church marked by a conformity of unbelief and bureaucracy. ..." He goes on to bash churches in ways many of us have heard before. At the end, there's an ad for Sunday Evening Fellowship, offering, "Here positive and accurate teaching of The Word by Dr. Wierwille and other teachers. Enjoy bright singing and good fellowship with like-minded believers. Everyone welcome to these non-denominational services." Yikes! I'll refrain from editorial comments of my own on this material. I suspect you already know my opinions, anyway. I'm at http://charleneedge.com Cheers.
  4. Hi, BlueCord. I am Charlene Edge and I wrote the memoir, Undertow, that Rocky mentioned. You can read the first chapter FREE on my website's Home page and you can order the book online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at independent booksellers. Libraries can also acquire it easily. It's in paperback and e-book form. Below is the link to the thread about old letters VPW wrote to the Way Corps. I am not sure who created that website. Cheers!
  5. Room for another splinter group? Of course there is. This is a big country! I hear there's a small group gathering hoping to establish the good old Way days on another farm in Ohio run by R. Zel*v. But it sounds like peanuts compared with this outfit. Or maybe they'll join together. TWI mind control, in my opinion, runs deep amongst them all ... I knew many of them back in the day.
  6. Congratulations, BlueCord. I wish you the very best on all fronts! (and backs )
  7. ha. guess it should read. marked and avoided former 2nd Corps grad ...
  8. Like I said on the other thread that referred to this letter, the delusion continues. For one thing, the "accuracy of The Word," is a mirage. If you don't believe that, try looking at any number of different versions of the Bible and see the differences. It's pretty obvious to anyone who reads carefully. To me, this letter is evidence that the signers are so enmeshed in the ideology that VPW dreamed up, I doubt they will ever change. But I am proof people can extricate themselves and really change, so I can't predict what will happen with these folks, despite the decades they've invested. I can tell you that in about 1998 or 1999, I contacted Do+tie Mo*nihan, who was at the time the Limb leader of Florida with her husband, Bob. I had found their phone number in the telephone book (ah the pre-internet days, at least for me). I was divorced, attending college, and working full time. I had been out of TWI for more than 10 years. The reason I called was to ask how her experience in graduate school for mental health counseling had helped her help people in TWI. I was considering going into that field. I also wanted to find out how she could justify continuing with TWI knowing of its extreme problems. At the time LCM was still president. She met with me, but she had asked if she could bring another 3rd Corps grad, a TWI-ordained woman with her, someone I had known over the years, too. Understand, I had not seen either of these women since 1987 at HQ just before I escaped. I said sure, bring her. We met in a café in Winter Park, FL. During a friendly, but surreal conversation, at least for me, I asked Do+tie why she had stayed with TWI. She said she wanted stand with her ordained husband. She also said she was a simple believer. Let the research be done by others, she would believe it,. like Uncle Harry used to say. It was then I told her flat out that TWI had never been a research ministry. I had been on the research team, which she knew because she was at HQ when I resigned from the team. I told her that "The Word" was whatever Wierwille said The Word was. Period. She looked shocked. She turned to her friend and they exchanged a glace I knew too well. I'm sharing this because it is not news to at least one of the signers of this document (Do*tie) that The Word was of Wierwille's making, yet she and the others persist in their delusional beliefs about Wierwille and the Bible. Those two things combine to make a strong tonic. In my view, this letter is proof of mind control if there ever was proof. Any ideology that tells you that your feelings do not matter, only The Word matters (which VP said all the time) is abusive. No one deserves to be abused. No one. People who were abused and continue to rationalize it, continue to name it something else, continue to dismiss it, will only continue to perpetuate it. What I recommend is that we keep sharing our stories here. You'd be surprised who might be reading them. There is another way of life, a better way, than offered by The Way International. We need to share our stories with our children and grandchildren. I can't tell you how many second generation Wayfers (or who they are) have contacted me about my story in Undertow, thanking me for shedding light on TWI, telling me it has helped heal them. If TWI was so great, then why do they need healing? Why do we need healing? Isn't it a pity that it's all come to this? That VPW's legacy is pain, confusion, and destruction? My hope is that the generation my daughter is a part of will someday see these GSC posts and learn from them, look through this window into their parents' pasts and understand the seriousness of mind control and its collateral damage. Sadly, they are a part of it in some form or other, some more than others, but many are still in denial just like their parents. Spread the word about helpful resources. I'm hoping to be part of a healing solution, which I think involves serious education. In my view, one of the best books for understanding all this is Bounded Choice by Janja Lalich. To those interested, you can check out Lalich's book and others at your local public library. In 1987, libraries were the immediate source of my healing. Then came people I could trust who did not have any stake in my life other than to encourage things that served my best interest, not their ego. Cheers, Charlene Lamy (former married name: Bishop) Edge former marked and avoided 2nd Corps Grad
  9. Thanks for posting this, Rocky. It made me laugh in amazement ... then sigh with disbelief ... the delusions continue ... really, the delusions began with VPW.
  10. Just a follow-up to the last post. Undertow in e-book format is now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other places, like Kobo. Note: On Kobo they put the book designer's name, Duane Stapp, alongside my name, which makes it appear as if we were co-authors. We are not. He designed the cover and the book's interior. He had nothing to do with writing the book. Cheers!
  11. I have read a book about Wierwille's type of rhetoric that, if you want to really enlighten people about Wierwille, you could recommend: Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg. 2007. Recently someone mentioned it on my blog post series, Fundamentalist Fridays. From Goldberg's book, we can learn a lot about Wierwille's teachings which still influence today's version of The Way: Pg. 53, "It [the Christian Nationalist movement that conflates Christianity with patriotism] was happening in the churches, especially megachurches, temples of religious nationalism where millions of Americans gather every week for exultant sermons that mingle evangelical Christianity, self-help, and right-wing politics. ..." Wierwille did the same thing. Mingled those three ingredients. I offer this information just In case you don't realize what you would be recommending to others ...
  12. FYI - for those interested, on Amazon, the "Look Inside" feature is now active for Undertow. Also, the e-book is finished being converted by IngramSpark and should show up on booksellers' websites in one or two weeks. Cheers.
  13. Hi everyone, and thanks, higherground30, for reading Undertow and sharing your response here. I want you all to know I often mention this website to "outsiders" when I give talks because I want them to know so many people are still sharing and caring about their TWI experience even after so many years. It affected many of us profoundly. The healing continues ... I am getting emails and notes through my website Contact page from people I knew many years ago who say the book is helping them in one way or other. That is my reward. Cheers to the courageous ones who speak their truth here and everywhere. You inspire me. Yours, Penworks a.k.a. Charlene L. Edge at http://charleneedge.com
  14. Excuse me, MRAP, but I hope you realize how hurtful it is to say, "Most folks here on GSC hate, and I don't mean dislike, they hate JS and STF, primarily because of having a past existence with TWI." That's a terrible accusation. I happen to be one of the "most folks here on GSC" and I do NOT hate anyone. I am asking you to consider apologizing for that statement. It is true many of us have serious concerns about TWI offshoots and for very good reasons. But those reasons, at least for me, do not include any personal hatred for the people who run those offshoots. My concerns include these things: I think some groups run by former TWI leaders and biblical researchers use various techniques of mind control just like VPW used. For instance, if you question their authority, you're the one with a problem. Freedom of inquiry is not encouraged. Their position on the inerrancy of Scripture is firmly in place, just like in TWI. (that is a hallmark of fundamentalism). New Testament dogma, primarily based on Paul's epistles, is the most important thing, not the simple Golden Rule. Non-negotiable dogmas, like the Bible is THE WORD OF GOD (really? men wrote it, translators worked on it, versions were formed, etc. etc.), promoted in these Bible groups often bring emotional and intellectual harm to followers. Critical thinking atrophies. Love is lost. That is what worries me. BTW, I happen to have known most of these "offshoot" leaders during my TWI days. I do not like what they are doing, but I do not hate them. There is a difference, at least to me. Cheers, Penworks
  15. Here's my opinion. First, my questions are: which books of "his" do you want to recommend and why? If you do recommend any, I hope by now you have heard that much of what he published he plagiarized from other fundamentalists like E.W. Bullinger, J.E. Stiles, etc.. This fact is documented in many places here on GSC and other websites.. In my opinion, I would not recommend his books based on that fact alone. Also, there are some of his books that have his name as the author but were not written by him. They were written by various members of this biblical research team over the years. None of those people are at TWI headquarters any longer. There are good reasons for that. I'll finish by saying that once you begin looking into what Wierwille's teachings in his books really are, you'll see they prop up the assertion called "inerrancy of the Scripture." VPW put it like this: the Bible is God's Word, God is perfect, therefore His Word is perfect. He didn't say which version of the Bible is God's Word (there are many).There are mountains of problems with inerrancy and with VPW's simplistic statement about the Bible having to be perfect. Think about each part of his statement. Have you done that? If you are going to recommend a book to someone, it is a good idea to know what that book is really promoting. To me, much of VPW's positions reflected in his books are demeaning to other Christians' points of view, bigoted against other religions, and he often twisted Scripture and used it out of context to support his ideas. (he is not the only one who does this). Example: He insisted that the Greek word for "soldiers" in Ephesians chapter six, "must be wrong" because believers are athletes. Again, why did he make things up like that? He cherry-picked what he wanted from the Bible. Sometimes he took things literally, other times figuratively. So, as you can see it is not my choice to recommend anything he has his name on. It's up to you. But think about what you are promoting. What kind of behaviors result from believing the dogmas that VPW claimed as "the truth?" In my experience, which was 17 years in TWI and as a member of his "research team," believing TWI teachings narrowed my mind, warped my identity, limited my choices. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Ciao for now, Penworks
  16. Just listened to it. Good point about our "nature" is to trust others. Can't go through life otherwise very well, but we need to keep our wits about us and ask good questions when something sounds "too good to be true." Keep our B.S. detectors plugged in!
  17. Maybe some of you know this, but TWI has put out a few more websites. I think they think the links give them a way to use search engines on the web to get more recruits. Does anyone know if this online "outreach" is bringing in more naïve followers? As usual, no qualifications are listed for anyone at The Way doing their "biblical research." No transparency about anything is available. On their original site, these links appear in the right-hand side-bar: thewayinternational.com thewaymagazine.com thewayministries.org thewayinternational.weebly.com thewayinternational.strikingly.com
  18. Hi Raf, glad you enjoyed my story. And JayDee, too. There's a professor of "Extreme Religions" who has assigned Undertow this term for his students to read before I speak with them about my experience. This teacher has said this story does what you pointed out - shows how recruitment works and the gradual way people become enmeshed in a high-control group. That was one of the intentions I had when writing it...bring some understanding to the table about that. P.S. if anyone wants to ask me questions about my story "offline," there's a Contact page on my website for that. http://charlenedge.com. I aim to respond within 24 hours. Cheers.
  19. T-Bone, I love this: "Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even specially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts." For some alternative thoughts, some of you might like to read other folks stories about "spiritual abuse" at SAR, a new website produced by the International Cultic Studies Association. Last summer, ICSA published a mini version of my story in their magazine, ICSA Today. It is now posted on SAR. The stories are testimonies about a variety of high-control groups. The common thread: control. Cheers!
  20. So sad. Beyond sad ... it's despicable how people were manipulated, hurt, and used in TWI. My heart goes out to all who were hurt by TWI leaders/members, beginning with VPW who was the one who modeled destructive behavior in the name of following God's Word. Not all leaders became equally destructive, but the potential was there. In my opinion, the root of all the evil perpetrated at TWI was VPW. It all goes back to him. Do not forget that. I knew him. I often wish I'd never met him, but I did meet him, and I was trained by him, and I learned hard lessons. I wasn't paying enough attention. I rationalized his bad behavior. I let his showmanship cloud my judgement about him. T-Bone put it well, "You cannot make someone pay attention to something that he or she does not want to notice." Wake up, people. Do not let TWI doctrines make you feel you should obey them or obey TWI leaders or TWI followers' idealistic view of what The Way is. It is not a transparent organization. Where on their website do you see any credentials for what they say they do best: biblical research? No where.
  21. Yes, the ripples continue. I knew Joey, the author of this article, when he was a baby. I knew his parents at HQ when we were there working on staff and when he was born. His father and mother made their decision to stay at the same time I decided to go. His father and I had a conversation in 1986 when I was resigning from the research team. I expressed my concerns CLEARLY about how messed up the leaders were, as well as the research (which he knew some of) and his reply was only that he needed time to think about things. Obviously, he thought differently than I did ... This son had no chance to decide. He was in TWI because of his parents. Like so many other kids, the choice to be involved with TWI was their parents', not theirs, and this puts things in a different light. My daughter was 12 yrs. old when we broke from TWI. Only recently she told me she had thought we believed VPW was Jesus Christ! Good grief. Now, I know no one ever said that out loud. Never did I tell her that is what we believed, because we did not believe that outrageous idea (at least I didn't). But evidently, as a little girl, she picked up on the way we showered VPW with adoration, kowtowed to his authority on "the Word," and repeated his name all the time, made him into a "king" of sorts. So in her little girl mind, she made that horrific connection. Very telling ...
  22. Thank you for your service here at GSC, Skyrider. I, too, feel an obligation to help mitigate damage. Some of you know, I was a clergyman's wife and biblical researcher at HQ. Keep offering "the other side of the story" and you never know who it may help around the world. As someone pointed out, there will be personal bias in our stories (which is unavoidable since we are human beings) but that is the value here, as together, they verify so much about TWI that has been hidden. I'm reminded of that old story about the many people with one hand on an elephant. Each person describes the elephant in terms of the part they touch. Added together, the descriptions offer the big picture.
  23. Thanks so much for sharing your story, T-Bone. You and Tonto are an inspiration! I love it that you pointed out that you're "into developing empathy." In my view, that is a major step in getting us healed from the narcissistic mindset of our past cult life. The ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes is not always easy. Oddly, during our Way Corps training, in our public speaking class, one principle we were taught from Carnegie was "to try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view." But often we failed at that because we thought we were right all the time when it came to what the Bible said, what God wanted for us, etc. etc. When you think you're right, it's pretty darn hard to see things from another's point of you, but even if you can, you've already made the judgment that their point of view is WRONG. So having a conversation, a civil back and forth, respectful one, is impossible. Thank goodness, when we realize that "certainty" is not possible about most things, we can relax, admit we're human, and appreciate other people ... Forgive me if I'm "preaching." This is just what's on my mind this morning. I'm fresh from Facebook where someone (a Way Corps guy who married one of my 2nd Corps sisters) accused me of supporting Sharia Law and killing babies because I showed up at the Women's March in Orlando to show support for the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and golden rule. Go figure ...
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