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Everything posted by penworks

  1. penworks

    New Here!

    Welcome to GSC, Lanikaigal. Hope you find some good, helpful, and insightful info around here. Maybe some of it will be upsetting, but this community has some "other side of the TWI story" stories to offer here. And much love, insofar as love can be given and felt online. Goodwill is our intention here. And truth telling. Cheers to your post-TWI life. Penworks
  2. To answer Rocky's question, yes, on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd, my website will have a PayPal link for placing orders for Undertow. The website designer is making this happen as soon as she can that day, so if you don't see it at 8:00 am or something, please be patient. It will be there by the end of the day. Just to remind ya'll: From Nov. 22 until Dec. 22 customers in the USA can order Undertow at my website and receive a signed copy in the mail. Transactions will be secured on my website through PayPal. Undertow is $24.95 plus tax and shipping. There are 31 photographs included (you'll get to see all the fascinating ways I wore my hair from age 6 to 35. And those gigantic glasses I wore in the 1980s. No extra charge for that entertainment.) The e-book version is scheduled for early 2017. Later, all customers, including overseas residents, can find Undertow at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other vendors’ websites and can order it from brick and mortar bookstores, too. (FYI -The print-on-demand company printing and distributing my book says the time it takes for books to become available at Amazon, etc., varies from one retailer to another.) If you have any questions, the fastest way to get an answer from me nowadays is to use the Contact page on my website. I will do my best to answer within 24 hours. Thanks for your support, folks. I hope you enjoy the story! Yours, Penworks
  3. Hi ya'll. The sample copy arrived today in a box that I waited to open until my daughter, who lives nearby, could come over. We examined it together, looked at the old photos that are placed in certain sections of the book, and had a good cry together. She is my biggest comfort and support in this project. She was only 12 years old when we left TWI HQ in 1987 and now she's 41 years old. Sure took me long enough to write this book! Funny how a pile of pages covered in words and a few pictures can make a person break down in tears ... of gratitude. After the book is out, I'll be happy to answer any questions that pop up, if I can, but understand that there may be some personal matters in the story that have to stay ... personal. I can tell you this. That it's very timely that this book is coming out just before Thanksgiving. In 1968, on the day before Thanksgiving, my mother died of ovarian cancer. Her death, I believe, was the trigger that sent me off on a search for answers to the big questions in life. Two years later, I took PFAL, dropped out of college, and the rest of the story is in the book. Cheers, Penworks
  4. Greetings Grease-Spotters and visitors to this website, I’m happy to announce that on November 22 the Special Offer starts on my website for ordering my book, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International. Before I say more, I want to thank Michael Duffy for providing this online community where we can share our stories. Also, a big thank you to everyone who has posted helpful, informative information over the years and keeps doing so. I wanted this community to know that from Nov. 22 until Dec. 22 customers in the USA can order Undertow at my website and receive a signed copy in the mail. Transactions will be secured on my website through PayPal. Undertow is $24.95 plus tax and shipping. There are 31 photographs included. The e-book version is scheduled for early 2017. Later, all customers, including overseas residents, can find Undertow at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other vendors’ websites and can order it from brick and mortar bookstores, too. (FYI -The print-on-demand company printing and distributing my book says the time it takes for books to become available at Amazon, etc., varies from one retailer to another.) Maybe you suffer or you have a friend or family member who suffers from confusion or emotional abuse after leaving a high-control group, religious or otherwise. Perhaps you are a mental health counselor seeking to help people who have left such a group. Whether you are a professor of New Religious Movements or are a parent, student, clergyman, or simply a person curious about the inner workings of such groups, you can find insights in Undertow. My book may only pull back the curtains on one person's seventeen-year experience as a leader and biblical researcher in The Way, but the story's themes of idealism, commitment, disillusionment, and survival are universal. It offers hope. I'm grateful to share my story and thank everyone who has helped me bring it into the world. Read more here Cheers, Penworks
  5. http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/history/learning_from_history.html I witnessed 17 years of history at TWI (1970-1987). I would encourage anyone who is still involved to reconsider what you are doing.
  6. Good morning. Thought I'd share a bit from my recent website post, "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. ... 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. ... 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. Some share stories and information at GreaseSpot Café, an online community founded by Michael Duffy that has helped many people recover. * Read the entire text of the post here: The Good People I Met At The Way I think all of us here at GSC owe Michael Duffy a debt of gratitude for his steadfast courage in making this site available so people can access stories and information about The Way that is not available anywhere else. In a democracy, people deserve to have facts from as many sides of an issue, cults included, as they can find before making any decisions about how to proceed in their lives. Cheers to Michael and all of you grease spotters for taking a stand against the propaganda of The Way and mustering the courage to speak out! You inspire me!
  7. Similar situations arose with other books, meaning the real authors and worker bees never got credit for their work. You can read about the behind-the-scenes story of publishing the Aramaic concordance in my upcoming book, Undertow. I was on the team of people who worked with Bernita J*ss on that project.
  8. I'm thankful this episode of Barnard's arrest and conviction is over! Justice seems to have been served, but, like everyone else here, my heart goes out to the victims and families and other injured folks involved. Peace
  9. Think she'd like a signed copy of my book? It'll be out soon. :-)
  10. Has this new prez been announced in the local newspapers? Is there an inauguration ceremony planned? Do we get invitations by mail or email? :-)
  11. Welcome, StayQuiet. Hope you don't stay too quiet too long. Can you estimate how many Way followers are active in Canada?
  12. Hi everyone, In August 1984, since I'd had in-house training at The Way in Aramaic over the years, and I was a loyal 2nd Corps grad, I was invited to work on the biblical research team at Headquarters with Walter J. Cummins, Bernita Jess, John Schoenheit, and others. It was an "exciting time" in research ... we were getting ready to publish the long-worked-on Aramaic concordance (we did that the following year). But George Jess was dying in the hospital when I arrived at HQ, and he passed away November '84. Sad time for Bernita. For all of us who loved him. He was the first director of the Way Corps, a gentle man, although was misled like the rest of us about VP. In the research room I was surrounded by other members of the team who, in recent years, had published books for Wierwille but it was his name on the cover, not theirs. When I joined the HQ research team, LCM had been president for two years. Less than a year later, in May 1985, V.P. Wierwille died and took many, but not all, of his secrets with him ... Oops, this thread asked for memories about 1981 - 1984. VPW died in 85. If you want, you can read about more of my experiences in TWI from 1970 - 1987 in my memoir coming out next month: Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International Cheers, Charlene
  13. This is your invitation to visit my UPDATED website with lots of information about my book. Hope you enjoy! Undertow's webpage is live!
  14. Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International is my memoir that will be out this November. Check my website (now being updated) next week for ordering information. http://charleneedge.com Meanwhile, I thought I'd share my joy over a few more endorsements for Undertow: “A magnificently written life story that sheds light on the enticing ways of cult recruitment and indoctrination that engender conformity, obedience, and loss of self. Nevertheless, thankfully, the seed of doubt grows, as the author strives for acceptance through hard work and deep faith. Edge’s prose captures the essence of cult life and the personal devastation of having to acknowledge not only corruption and plagiarized teachings but also a “sex ring” at the top levels of leadership. An important and must-read book – more gripping than a mystery. Undertow will sweep you away.” — Janja Lalich, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Sociology, author, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships “In Undertow Charlene Edge has written a brilliant and engrossing warning to the future by dissecting the past. There are really two books here: one is on a cult called The Way (one of the largest fundamentalist cults in America with about 40,000 followers [in its heyday]). The second book is an examination of the dynamic of all personality, religious, and political cults. By looking (from a heart-wrenching insider’s point of view) at a misuse of power in one specific group, Edge has written a book that unpacks a far greater truth. What she exposes to bright liberating daylight is just how our political and religious worlds actually function based on the mesmerizing enticement of belonging to an “in”-group. This is a brilliantly written and timely warning against falling into the trap of thinking we're the self-proclaimed “chosen” (be that religious or secular, left or right) as we exclude the feared ‘Other.’” — Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and New York Times best-selling author of Keeping Faith “Charlene Edge writes with clarity and sensitivity. This memoir on her experiences in The Way International will help readers understand the subtleties and complexities of cultic groups.” — Michael D. Langone, Ph.D., Executive Director of the International Cultic Studies Association, Editor of Cultic Studies Review, ICSA Today’s Editor-in-Chief, and Editor of Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. “Undertow is a cautionary tale for all young people, especially those who are preparing to leave their familiar surroundings to go to college, join the Armed Forces, or move to start a new job. However, the same warning applies to anyone at any age who is going through any life change, such as the loss of a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. The names of high-control groups like The Way will be different, their teachings will vary, but the basic techniques of recruiting and mind control are the same. The extreme difficulty in leaving these organizations is evident in Charlene Edge’s story.” — Marjorie Patton, parent of an ex Way Corps member who received successful exit counseling before Corps graduation. “This is a very personal and eye-opening exposé of the hidden world of life in a destructive group. It took great personal courage and strength for Charlene to break away and build a new life for herself and daughter. A must read!” — Patrick Ryan, graduate of Maharishi International University, cult intervention specialist since 1984 at Intervention 101.com, contributing author in Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse, edited by Michael Langone, PhD.
  15. Hi, I am a survivor of seventeen years with The Way (1970 - 1987). I agree with Galen's advice about keeping yourself available to your grown child. If you are interested in getting more help besides from posters here, there is a source I would like to recommend: The International Cultic Studies Association's website. There are many articles on that site that you might find helpful. Check it out. I have been published in their magazine, ICSA Today, and I've met the Executive Director who is a counselor and very caring person. It's a good place to pay attention to. I was in The Way for seventeen years and have a book coming out about my experiences, especially with The Way's biblical research, titled, My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International. Other books already published about The Way by former members include two by authors Karl Kahler and Kristen Skedgell. You can find them on Amazon. Those books may be helpful to you as background knowledge about The Way. But the main thing is to keep the channel of communication open with your son. No matter what happens. Love is powerful. If you want to, you can email me through the Contact page on my website: http://charleneedge.com I send you all best wishes for peace and love and for getting the help you need. Cheers, Charlene Edge
  16. Hi again, I thought these blurbs would interest readers at this site. They are from former Way followers who also wrote books about The Way. 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 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
  17. Hi everyone and thank you for posting the link to my blog, Rocky. Undertow is my memoir and I'm happy to say it's nearing publication! Some of you know that I was in the Second Corps (with LCM), held leadership positions with my then-husband (another Second Corps grad that Wierwille ordained), and was invited to be a member the biblical research team at HQ 1984-1986. My experiences reveal a side of the story about TWI that not many are familiar with. I hope the book adds something helpful to the ongoing conversation about TWI, its roots, the fundamentalism it promotes, its problems, the idealism so many of us had when we joined it, and the broader, disturbing topic of high-control "religious" groups in general. Here is one promotional blurb from among others that will appear in the book. Charlene Edge’s personal story, Undertow, is a wake-up call to moderate Christians (and everyone else) about the dangers of the respectable-looking kind of fundamentalism that conducts Bible study but in reality twists Scripture to produce self-serving doctrines, demands obedience to a cult-of-personality leader, warps believers’ personal identities, and potentially damages members’ long-term welfare. With non-profit status, such cults are here to stay. Read Undertow and be warned. ~ Julia Scheeres, author of Jesus Land Cheers, Penworks (Charlene L. Edge)
  18. As someone in TWI from 1970-1987, I can say I never heard "mind reading" put that way or taught that way by any Way leader, including VPW. I never feared or hoped that any Way leader could read my thoughts. In fact, during the time I was preparing my escape from HQ, I was VERY thankful none of them could read my thoughts. What I remember being taught was that when a healer laid hands on you to heal you, God would tell them what was wrong with you. As the healer prayed for you aloud, you'd hear the diagnosis then, and the conclusion of the session was the healer saying you were healed in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, if you ask me today what I make of this mind reading issue, I'll say I believe our thoughts are private. Sometimes, when we are on the same "wavelength" with another person close to us, we may "think the same thing at the same time." But I don't believe that is mind reading. Of course, just because I believe or do not believe something does not make it true or untrue. I must test my ideas against evidence. I can believe the moon is made of cheese but then there's some evidence I must contend with that points to the contrary. The mind is a mysterious thing ... one of my favorite writers is William James, author of The Variety of Religious Experience. Now THAT'S a mind blowing read!
  19. Did you know that VP's primary goal with the Corps was to have a work crew? If you can stomach reading the Passing of the Patriarch, you'll see Ge*r reference VP's comments about that. The manual labor aspect was supposed to be patterned after something called The School of the Prophets, which VPW thought he was re-instituting with the Way Corps. We did more manual labor than Bible study in the Corps. I think most of us here understand that any Bible study in TWI was really only VP's interpretation, some of which was plagiarized. TWI's basis for "study" starts with the assumption that the Bible is inerrant. That claim was made up by men (long before Wierwille or Bullinger) who, in my opinion, used it to dominate people, not instruct them honestly about what the Bible actually is--an anthology of different writings over centuries by men from different cultures and languages. Ah but I digress. I'll stop now ... Hey, I get that. Letting the general public know what was really going on in research was NOT going to happen. It would sabotage the money coming in, the adoration of VPW and the acceptance of his authority!
  20. See my post above re: pistis.
  21. What interests me is how people can or cannot change, how willing people are (or not) to adapt to a changing situation. Nothing is permanent. Everything changes. This is a fact of life known since the beginning of time. So, I'm asking Johniam, so what if DWBH wrote in a way that praised VPW in that book, The Living Word Speaks? (I have a copy). That was then. This is now. Over time he changed his views. He woke up. Like many of us here. So what that I wrote a Way magazine article long ago that encouraged people to study PFAL as if it contained THE WORD OF GOD . That was then. Over time I changed my mind after I gained new information. I woke up. Life is a journey. Some people change when they learn new information, new facts, have experiences that show them the error of their ways or that something better for them awaits. I suspect that it is hard for others not to change when new facts and understanding comes to them is because there is some kind of payoff for holding onto the old view. Or they fear what will happen if they change. i.e. they might look bad in other people's eyes. Let's celebrate the fact we can change, learn, grow and not be ashamed of the process. Someone recently tried to intimidate me about my upcoming book, saying it seemed I was proud that it took me 17 years to realize I was in the wrong place (TWI) for me. Proud? That seemed odd to me. It's simply a fact of my life that I was in TWI for 17 years. I often state that fact because for outsiders, it indicates I was not a casual believer and may offer some genuine insight on the subject. So, using an example (citing what DWBH wrote long ago) of what someone said or wrote long ago as a way to discredit what they say today disallows the reality that people can evolve and change. Thank goodness we can. Just sayin'.
  22. If I could put these two sentences in a flashing neon sign, I would. Speaking from experience, this lies at the heart of fanaticism.
  23. Yes, the Greek word "pistis" as VPW taught it presented problems, although I don't have the details of why or how at my fingertips. I do remember this issue coming up while I was on the research team 84-86 at HQ. I suggested that perhaps someone in the graduating corps might do a research paper on "pistis" (a paper like that was required to graduate), but I was told no, no, no, that topic is a problem, i.e. certain team members knew "we" could not substantiate what VPW taught about it. Maybe VP "borrowed" his teachings about faith/believing from some other man's book/teachings. He was known for doing that.
  24. Well put. Wierwille had his own idea of what "doing biblical research" meant (including plagiarism, which is stealing), and it was different than how people in academia defined it. A clash was bound to happen. It did. Many times. In fact, it had happened long before this incident. Other people had left TWI before this because of uncovering VP's plagiarism, narrow-mindedness, etc. etc. I can't cite names due to privacy issues, but I can tell you they exist. Some were in the Corps, some were not.
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