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Everything posted by penworks

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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 ...
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ...
  6. FREE first chapter of Undertow, "Hiding in Plain Sight" is now stored on my website at http://charleneedge.com/3550-2/ Thank you, readers, for the feedback on the story that you've sent me so far. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of any of my blog posts. Cheers!
  7. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing your story here, Skyrider. So many of us can relate to the pain you went through, the turmoil, the confusion and loss. But you are brave. You are a survivor. You are dear to us.
  8. Hi readers, First, thank you for the outpouring of interest in Undertow. I'm grateful many of you have found it worthwhile. Most of you know now that Undertow is for sale on Amazon (it is also at Barnes and Noble. In Australia, a few people have found it at the Book Depository. Independent booksellers can also get copies directly from the print-on-demand company, Ingram Lightning Source). Rocky suggested folks think about writing reviews of Undertow on Amazon, which is wonderful. BUT a word of caution: I found important advice about how Amazon views the validity of reviews, etc, in this this article. That said, I welcome your responses there or on my website. If you ever want to contact me directly with comments about the book, you can always leave a message on my website Contact page. Cheers!
  9. I agree with Rocky. Keep sharing, Skyrider. Take it from me, telling one's personal story is revealing, not only to readers, but to the writer. So write on! Tell us more about the experience whenever you feel so inclined. Cheers!
  10. Hi folks. Hope you're having a happy holiday season. I'm checking in just to let those interested know that Undertow is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and local bookstores can order it, too. If you go to my website, you'll see links to Amazon and B&N in place of the other buy button I had for the first 30 days when I sold Undertow direct from my front porch Thank you for the lovely emails and comments here and on Facebook. I am grateful my story is proving helpful to so many people! You can read the first chapter of Undertow, called "Hiding in Plain Sight" in the Blog section at the bottom of my Home page. Later, it will be stored on the website under the "Writing Undertow" blog category. Wishing you all the best in 2017! Charlene
  11. Rocky, this is a very important issue. I am glad you posted this link to more info about it. It is rampant in our society. How to offset it? Education and practices that cultivate empathy. Cheers.
  12. Could you give a timeframe for this era? Many of us left in the late 1980s. Readers of this website, too, who never were in TWI, might like to know what years you're referring to. (Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Please don't hold that against me.)
  13. Thanks, OldSkool. I would love to have an off-line conversation with you. If you want to, send me a message through my Contact page. Cheers and thank you for adding your presence to this place!
  14. Good point, T-Bone, about connecting the dots. It often depended on the level of a person's involvement. Until I worked in the research department, I could not, or would not, wake up to red flags I'd seen ... they did not appear red until I reflected on them in hindsight. Here's a sneak peak into Undertow, Chapter 1: Hiding in Plain Sight, Cheers.
  15. In honor of human rights day, on my website this morning I posted Chapter One of my new book, Undertow. How is that connected to human rights? Because over time, cult followers often give up their autonomy, their right to make their own choices. For a sneak peak (scroll down on the Home Page) into "Hiding in Plain Sight" visit: http://charleneedge.com/
  16. Glad the book is helping out! I'm very touched to be of service with this story. If you want to, feel free to contact me through the Contact page of my website any time. I promise to reply within 48 hours, if not sooner. Meanwhile, I'm checking in now to say that due to some technical difficulties on my website blog post feature, comments can't be left at the moment. Hope to get the glitch fixed soon. Ciao for now, Penworks
  17. Dear readers of Undertow who've shared their responses here, I am overcome with gratitude. That's my understatement of the century. Thank you for sharing your hearts!
  18. I'm here to tell you that PREORDERS of Undertow can now be made on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites, but they cannot ship copies of Undertow until Dec. 15th. If you want a copy before Dec. 15th, you can order directly from me on my website and I'll ship it ASAP (sorry, I cannot fill overseas orders). Cheers!
  19. I suspect she is behind the new marketing effort to make TWI appealing to more people before she "steps down." There are several newish Way websites listed in the right-hand sidebar of the main website. IMO, they are an attempt at showing different "faces" for the organization. Here's one A more modern looking TWI website. The common thread: they hammer away with V.P. Wierwille's insistence that TWI offers followers a way to find "the accuracy of the Word." With no credentials, with no understanding of what everyone OUTSIDE TWI considers as "biblical research," it may be that the next TWI "prez" --without R.R.'s marketing skills that she learned first-hand from VPW, will have his hands full trying to convince outsiders that TWI is what it purports to be.
  20. So happy ya'll have found the story worthwhile. Thank you VERY much for reading it. Cheers to you, brave souls, Charlene
  21. So nice of you to let me know. Happy reading ... even through the tough parts. It does have a happy ending :-) Cheers!
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