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penworks

Undertow - Escaping from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International

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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

Edited by penworks
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34 minutes ago, penworks said:

....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 think i've read most of the books published by ex-Way folks and i am certainly looking forward to reading Undertow !!!!

I always appreciate a glimpse into the inner workings of way-world - whether in books or at Grease Spot.

this past year I have read several books on Scientology and would have to agree with the second Penworks' statement i red-bolded - the experience of idealism, commitment, disillusionment...etc. are universal indeed.

so glad i left TWI and so thankful for all the brave and strong folks who share their stories!

 

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Penworks........congratulations on finishing your book.  I look forward to getting my signed copy and reading/learning your personal journey, thoughts and insights of having escaped the undertow of twi-currents that were pulling us down and away to death/destruction.

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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

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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

 

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If you want to order Undertow today as I announced, please wait. The link to PayPal is not yet working. But it will be! I'll let you know.

Penworks

Edited by penworks

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Okay, it's working! You can place orders from either the Home page or the Book page. About an hour ago, as it turned out, we received the first shipment of copies of Undertow now waiting to jump in Priority Mail boxes and ride in the car to the Post Office. :rolleyes:

Thanks for your interest and support,

Penworks

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Just a reminder. The Special Offer to order my book, Undertow, is only for US residents. Shipping overseas is cost prohibitive. For instance, it costs about $35 to ship to Australia!  In about a month, I'm told that Undertow will be available through online vendors like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and other vendors around the world. The book printing company that is printing and distributing my book, has world-wide channels for distribution. So, sorry I can't accommodate overseas folks! Thanks for your interest in reading my story.

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I just ordered Undertow !!!!

Congrats, Penworks on getting your story published !

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Happy Thanksgiving, GreaseSpotters. First, thank you to those who've ordered my book already. The books have shipped!

This holiday is especially bittersweet for me, as it is for many whose loved ones are not here to share it. I feel like many of you are my extended family. We shared a unique sub-culture in TWI that bonded us. I am grateful for you. I want you to know that you have touched my life and enriched it. You have exhibited courage in your posts that honestly portray your experiences in TWI and the perspectives on them you have now. You continue to engage people, get them to think critically, and motivate them to look beyond the surface propaganda coming from closed-system groups like TWI that twist Scripture to suit their objectives, like teaching "believing equals receiving," which puts blame on people if they do not get answers to their prayers and keeps people feeling that if they just took one more Bible class at TWI they would be more spiritual, more able to know God, more successful in life. Mmm ... for many of us, that narrow view just doesn't work. If religious tolerance is going to prevail in this country - or anywhere - let it begin with us. If free speech, freedom of religion, and all the other freedoms we enjoy are to continue, let us not be afraid to speak the truth in love.

On a personal note: Today, this holiday is happy and sad for me. It is a prominent feature of my life’s story. In 1968, when I was sixteen years old, on the day before Thanksgiving, after battling ovarian cancer, my mother died. She loved God, in her own Catholic way. She was dedicated to her family. She was kind. She was brave. Her untimely death set me on a path to find “the truth” that changed my life forever. Today, I honor her life and thank her for the inspiration she instilled in me to never give up.

Hold your families close today.

Cheers,

Charlene

 

 

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 7:02 AM, penworks said:

First, thank you to those who've ordered my book already. The books have shipped!

 

Thanks Charlene..........the book arrived in Friday's mail.

Really good read.  I'm halfway thru the book......and your story is riveting. 

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18 minutes ago, skyrider said:

Thanks Charlene..........the book arrived in Friday's mail.

Really good read.  I'm halfway thru the book......and your story is riveting. 

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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You got away.  You got a life.  Definitely a happy ending, or rather, a happy continuing.  The ending isn't for many years yet! :eusa_clap:

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2 hours ago, penworks said:

So nice of you to let me know. Happy reading ... even through the tough parts. It does have a happy ending :-)

Cheers!

Just finished reading it. 

Good read........so much of my past [i.e. good parents, skeptical-of-twi friends I discounted, red-flags] came rushing back to my memory.  Thanks for detailing your story that will impact thousands of others like me.  All the best to you, Charlene.  You are one brave and accomplished woman. :eusa_clap:

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Finished "Undertow" last night. Well done Charlene. Thanks for lifting more of the veil on what continues to be an evil empire among the cornfields of New Knoxville. 

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So happy ya'll have found the story worthwhile. Thank you VERY much for reading it.

Cheers to you, brave souls,

Charlene

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Received my copy today (didn't check the mail on Saturday). I read it last winter/spring. I'm hoping I can get my daughter to read it (a busy mom with a full time job) to understand more of my personal history.

Btw, this is my hope for Rosie, JYDL and company.
:shithitsfan:

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Somebody wanna send me their finished copy?

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On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 0:12 AM, Rocky said:

I'm hoping I can get my daughter to read it (a busy mom with a full time job) to understand more of my personal history.

 

Rocky......yep, Charlene's book would go a long way to explaining twi-doctrine, my thought processes and my personal story as well.

But in my case.......add a couple of WOW years, red-flags during inrez training, a 10-day deprogramming episode, more corps assignments and staying after dem "fog years" to thwart chrisgeer's power-grab.  What a ride! LOL.  Thankfully, I too.....had years of inner-dissention about wierwille since 1978 [and martindale and geer] that had been building and catalogued to memory.  But, all in all......our two boys would understand their parents' journey in a huge way by reading this book.

 

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Hi Charlene .... so glad to have purchased your book.  I'm heading into Part 3 ... and have cried twice already at certain parts.  Wow ... Over the years since leaving TWI I participated in several therapy groups ... had personal one-on-one therapy and have read many, many good books on healing and recovery out of authoritarian groups/cults, BUT THIS BOOK -- because you write of specific SHARED incidents, memories of the same people and places and things (!) -- same, meaning we both know who they are! -- is really having a deep, and very good, effect on me.  There have been several powerful "ah-ha" moments -- so much so, that I realized I needed to have a yellow highlighter with me as I was reading!  Your added, now enlightened, "30-years-out" insights that you pepper in and among those specific ideas that you recount that we all so readily believed as truth (without any deliberation or even consideration of their veracity!) are really quite remarkable ... and yeah, like I said, enlightening, to say the least!  It's like you write it as though you are there ... but then it gets augmented with what you know NOW about what we didn't know then -- and the effect is quite liberating!  I don't know if I communicated well enough what I just meant ... but suffice it to say, I am mad about your memoir.  And a big thanks to you for this literary "labor of love."

I think what is most wonderful about the effect your book is having on me is the lifting of "guilt" that is happening.  I, along with my two sisters, are part of the approximately 35% of American girls/females who have come out of familial sexual abuse.  I remember from reading much of John Bradshaw's work that the most liberating thing one can express to one who has sexual abuse in their history is that it wasn't their fault.  (In fact there's a very poignant scene in "Good Will Hunting" where Robin Williams, the therapist, says exactly that to Matt Damon, and he breaks down in tears ... for the first time in weeks of therapy ... because of the relief that is experienced with just hearing that one powerful truth.)  Well, I see a similar dynamic here ... with those of us who succumbed to the siren call of "love, joy, peace, community -- family! -- and above all, a place to LOVE GOD AND OTHERS TOGETHER ... i.e., who succumbed to years of dedicated involvement in The Way. 

After I'd left TWI ... there were many periods of asking myself ... "How could I have given so much of my heart and soul, and time, and money, and energy for so many years to this group -- and have so little to show for it all in my own life?!"  Even recently I've had that recurring thought waft in!  That guilt and shame that comes over a person, if ever so subtley.  (No college degree, no excellent career, no young marriage with children I got to raise.) The shame and guilt of the unspoken answer to that question was quite real for me.  What your book is providing is the truth of the subtle dynamics of authoritarian, cultic groups ... and how the VULNERABILITY of those of us who got caught in its undertow (!) is key.  With you it would appear to have been the death of your mother.  With me it was the giving up of my child for adoption.  (I got witnessed to just six weeks after that!)  I saw from reading your book that the absence of a MOURNING period was crucial in making one even more vulnerable to something like TWI. So that recurring theme of "it wasn't your fault" is one that brings such comfort and relief -- because truly, it was not.   

Although you wrote about your introduction to the Young Life fellowship (below), as I read it I saw how it applied to me re: TWI! 

"A new high school friend, Judy, came along with 'Jesus answers.'  My vulnerability to her fellowship came from teenage heartache over losing my quarterback boyfriend and angst over my father's strict rules, but I suspect in LARGEST MEASURE (emphasis added) it came from buried grief over Mom's death."   And here's the part that struck me so powerfully, Charlene:  "I did not mourn her fully.  I did not know how.  I rushed back to regular life at school and kept a stiff upper lip, as my dad would say.  But that trauma wounded me and no distraction helped.  ... I needed love.  I needed support.  Cheerful Judy came along with an easy crutch for the emotional cripple I was.  With Young Life, she unwittingly led me back to the God of my childhood."

I never mourned the loss of my child . . . until 23 years later when he found me ... and grief I'd buried in a virtual vault of my heart began to tumble out.  [In fact, at times it still tumbles out!  But I'm usually with trusted friends who care and are comfortable with my tears ... and it is always cathartic!] 

Well, I fear I've talked way too much about personal things here ... but hey ... for me your book is uncovering things needing to be uncovered and in the process, there is a good deal of healing and understanding that it is bringing.  (And I'm only on page 90!  I can only imagine the insight, healing and understanding the rest of the book will prompt!) I just wanted to let you know.  So thanks again for sharing your story, Charlene. 

 

Edited by Lanikaigal
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37 minutes ago, Lanikaigal said:

Hi Charlene .... so glad to have purchased your book.  I'm heading into Part 3 ... and have cried twice already at certain parts.  Wow ... Over the years since leaving TWI I participated in several therapy groups ... had personal one-on-one therapy and have read many, many good books on healing and recovery out of authoritarian groups/cults, BUT THIS BOOK -- because you write of specific SHARED incidents, memories of the same people and places and things (!) -- same, meaning we both know who they are! -- is really having a deep, and very good, effect on me.  There have been several powerful "ah-ha" moments -- so much so, that I realized I needed to have a yellow highlighter with me as I was reading!  Your added, now enlightened, "30-years-out" insights that you pepper in and among those specific ideas that you recount that we all so readily believed as truth (without any deliberation or even consideration of their veracity!) are really quite remarkable ... and yeah, like I said, enlightening, to say the least!  It's like you write it as though you are there ... but then it gets augmented with what you know NOW about what we didn't know then -- and the effect is quite liberating!  I don't know if I communicated well enough what I just meant ... but suffice it to say, I am mad about your memoir.  And a big thanks to you for this literary "labor of love."

If you ask me, I think you communicated that point very well. And I have to wholeheartedly agree.

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