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


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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, t

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!  

I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say, it really is very good. One of the questions I get asked most is, how did you get suckered into joining a cult? And I think Charlene

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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2016 at 7:46 PM, penworks said:

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

 

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!

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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!  

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16 hours ago, penworks said:

If you want a copy before Dec. 15th, you can order directly from me on my website ........

This book would be a nice Christmas to give loved ones.......and yourself.

Heck, this book should be on every therapist's bookshelf that is counseling someone who has exited twi's doors.....or any other cult.

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3 hours ago, skyrider said:

This book would be a nice Christmas to give loved ones.......and yourself.

Heck, this book should be on every therapist's bookshelf that is counseling someone who has exited twi's doors.....or any other cult.

Emphatically agree on both points.

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9 hours ago, skyrider said:

This book would be a nice Christmas to give loved ones.......and yourself.

Heck, this book should be on every therapist's bookshelf that is counseling someone who has exited twi's doors.....or any other cult.

good idea - Christmas came early for us - I'm almost finished with my copy - - tried not to mark it up too much with stars, arrows, underlining, and highlighting - - so i can give it to Tonto when I'm done....I'll post about it soon to give Penworks some feedback 

6 hours ago, Rocky said:

Emphatically agree on both points.

me too !

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Penworks.......time and time again, I can cross-reference your twi-experiences with my own.  Same mold.  Same patterns.  Same techniques.  Your chapter, Blindsided in Toledo, is one that wierwille and his lieutenants used to manipulate/exploit on a regular basis.  Whether it was someone in our branch, area, pfal-class, or wherever......we were held responsible for some else's actions [or unbelief --- ppfftt].   Like, say for example, someone in the pfal class drops out and I'm running the class.....well, that was MY FAULT because I, apparently, wasn't spiritual enough to prevent them from dropping.  No, no......it wasn't that they'd used their critical thinking processes and determined that this was NOT IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS, it was because I failed to recruit....er, believe to keep them protected from the adversary, the devil.

I could cite DOZENS of instances of this technique, Blindsided in Toledo, thru the years by wierwille, martindale and corps leadership.  Heck, at corps week, the corps were blamed for NOT STOPPING THE RAIN.....what about "ye of little faith/believing" wierwille, lcm, don, and howard? /sarc  This chapter alone, penworks, was one of twi's premiere modus operandi techniques for decades.  Double standard elitism.....to rule over the "schlubs." 

In those night owl meetings, wierwille would whine about those who took his foundational class and, within a matter of weeks, went back to their churches and communities ......so why heap shame/guilt on US, when he couldn't stop others from leaving?  Manipulation-monger, that's why.  The guy was standing behind the curtain pulling levers and pushing buttons.  He, wierwille, was a fraud, a deceiver.  All those times that we were sent out as Light-bearers, to "get a class together".......yet, the John Lynns of twi-hierarchy-fame struggled time and time again to recruit others for a class and set the class schedule.

And, the ultimate?  Believing for HEALTH and PROSPERITY.  Through the decades, wierwille struggled immensely to jump-start his ministry.  He stayed on church payroll for 15 years [1942-1957].......having claimed to have started The Way, Inc. in 1942.  He had to heavily lean on his brother Harry's upholstery and furniture business for support and the renovation of the old wierwille farmstead home before they could actually move there in 1961.  The filming of the pfal-class was done on the cheap....as they "bought" furniture/desk from nearby Dayton.....only to RETURN IT after the filming of the class.  And, regarding health......how many people died through the years while in-residence?  Under wierwille's spiritual oversight.  Was wierwille responsible?  Hell--yeah.  Many people died under his "oversight." 

And......regarding health, how many hundreds of people were blindsided by confrontation thru the years with health issues?  Where was wierwille during this time?  He taught this stuff in his pfal class......yet, he wasn't around to pray and/or minister healing to corps and staff?    And, in the end......wierwille doesn't even petition the staff or corps for their prayers or support, and dies of cancer.  The man was on his deathbed.....still deceiving others.

See, penworks........your story and personal experiences will resonate with all of us who look back on how we were "recruited" and more fully understand twi's deceptive methods.  Thanks again.  Yep, every chapter of your book, I hold dozens of vivid examples of their undertow......trying to sweep me off my feet.

 

.

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"Heck, at corps week, the corps were blamed for NOT STOPPING THE RAIN"

 

R.O.A. (1973?) :

There was a bad series of thunderstorms that left everything a muddy mess and temporarily knocked out the power to the main stage. Wierwille walked up the the, then live, microphone and smugly announced, "I'm still here!", like it was a major spiritual accomplishment. 

 

If you're still here, why don't you use your mythical law of believing to clear the weather?

What a "maroon"!

 

 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2016 at 6:08 PM, Rocky said:

Link to ordering Undertow on amazon.com.

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

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Penworks,

Please excuse this mess – I kind of jump around - hope you don’t mind – I’ve rewritten this post… I don’t know how many times – so I figure I better just put something down – I owe you some kind of feedback for writing an exceptionally deep book that I know will help so many people. Like Skyrider said Undertow should be on every therapist’s shelf !

Undertow is red-hot poker into the dark underbelly of TWI !

I was involved for 12 years - but was late to the party (if you want to call it that) - I didn’t go into the corps program until the latter part of my involvement – and just shortly after my 2 years in residence I left during my assignment year – slowly distancing myself from the madding crowd post-passing of a patriarch. I heard it in the Chapel on that fateful corps night – and it was very eerie reading your experience of being there in person when G33r read it! Every time any way-leader shouts “lock the doors” you know something bad is going down!

On another thread – TWI’s spiritual legitimacy is waning – Skyrider spoke of a lot of reasons for the mass exodus in ’86; and that got me thinking about the perspective of seasoned corps – involved in the daily grind…life out there in the trenches following vp’s dictates to the letter - which is of course the bulk of your story….I believe I have a better understanding of why there was such a massive breakup after passing of a patriarch - - - it was a train wreck that was so many years in the making….vp may have designed The Disoriented Express but it ran on the tracks laid down by his loyal way corps. And what is the payoff for them? Never have so many given so much for so little…the sacrifices, frustrations, fears, vp’s constant berating takes a huge toll !

You certainly delivered the goods on giving this reader an engrossing glimpse of the inner workings….not only of TWI’s deleterious group dynamics but I was also fascinated by how you walk the reader through your thought process. Like Skyrider was saying about seeing similarities in his corps experiences - I could identify with you in so many ways when you spoke of your early involvement. I mean that hooked me big time – and that was only the early chapters.

Things like you mentioning getting rid of the “old man” stuff (things that tied us to our old identities) I have not thought of in a long time. But reading your book did more than bring up old memories of my early years. It got me looking at the bigger picture – trying to wrap my mind around the whole shebang. After I took PFAL for the first time, I threw out songs and poems I wrote, sketchbooks from art school…even gave away my customized Fender Jazz Bass and amp to a believer – thought I didn’t need it anymore because I was going WOW.

Flash forward to being in a band while in residence. I submitted a song I wrote to the assistant corps director for approval so the band could play it in the Chapel. The song was nothing special – it was just another PFAL influenced song – but a lot of folks liked it at coffee houses back home. But his nitpicky critique to make it “line up with the accuracy and integrity of the word” kinda squelched any musical aspirations I had – figured I was still not there spiritually. Talk about creative frustration. Never wrote another song after that…life goes on – maybe I want to believe in reincarnation….of my “old man”….this would be for a different thread or maybe something for a private message -  you talked about mourning the loss of those things. I was wondering what got you back into writing – if it was partly a return to your “old self” or a discovery of a different side of you or what?

You referred to vp’s audible voice of God / snow story several times as that being a key element of your belief system – you often coupled that with the assumption that he had more of the rightly divided word than anyone else – and that pretty much describes my belief system too. It’s embarrassing how gullible we were back then. Chalk up another demerit for lack of critical thinking skills in youth. And besides that – factor in idealism, curiosity, lacking real life experiences a young person could easily get swept up in the one-stop shop of PFAL, TWI, etc…not sure if this makes any sense but I kept thinking of that phrase “don’t go shopping on an empty stomach” while I was working on this post. Maybe I spent too much time in the junk food aisle. Do I have any coupons? No – but I have this green card.

Then there’s the emotional frustration that you articulated so well in Undertow. TWI was such a man’s world – don’t know what it’s like now; how annoying - you seeking counsel from the limb coordinator’s wife – only to have her defer to her husband – such “diplomacy” as you put it! I appreciate your candor in talking about relationships –with your dad, your husband and others….way-speak certainly leaves a lot to be desired….come to think of it – I could have made this post a lot shorter by simply saying “I really got delivered by what you shared.” :biglaugh:

But seriously getting down to brass tacks – by far the biggest thing I get from your book – and it goes a long way to satisfy some curiosity I have about the whole mess – and why it was doomed to fail; it was the suppressive political culture (I use that term to describe the beliefs and assumptions that govern life in way-world see political culture )

everything was geared to reinforce vp’s doctrine and practice. This was especially evident in the pressure put on the research department to never contradict vp…. I love the account of you all stewing over how to handle vp’s insistence on a certain Greek word in Ephesians should have an athletic reference – whereas according to context as well as strict definition it is a military term – and then a co-worker leans in close to you and says something like “I love Doctor Wierwille but his Greek is not so good.” Oh I love that !!!!! I just love your book…well done, Penworks !

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penworks, I just finished Undertow this last weekend.  i would say I couldn't put it down but I actually had to work last week.   I'll get to the content in a minute, but first I wanted to say that I sincerely hope this is not your last piece of literary work, as tempting as it might be to make it so.  You are a very, very talented writer.  You have a gift or talent for putting phrases together with adjectives that just transport a reader to the location.   The opening chapter and your use of foreshadowing there just grabbed me immediately and I found myself 3 hours later coming up for air without realizing that time passed.  You have the talent, team and approach to be on the NYT best sellers list like the gentleman who wrote your first endorsement quote.  Please keep writing.  Oh to all potential readers, this book also has something seldom seen in Way International publications - a bibliography.

With the book content, the first thing that comes to mind talking about it is that my life just flashed before my eyes. In my life, the people and faces and even personalities were different, but the story is so remarkably similar all related to the x, y and z's in your first chapter.   The timeline of my story dovetails in with yours.  As your story of involvement was ending, mine was at its start.   Another 20-30 years, my story of involvement is ending, and others are beginning.

This is one reason I say that the Way is an old wineskin and must be thrown out before any new wine can be poured.  If you have deleterious practices and impact on God's people with the same organizational structure generation after generation, it should be an indication to those not completely lulled to sleep to change.

I'm sure right now there are people my kids age out there who will go through a 20-30 year cycle like you did, like I did after you, like another generation did after me, and there are still other generations maybe in high school now waiting to go through a 20-30 year cycle starting with the next head honcho Pharisee.  The prep work is in place.  The classes are recorded.   The simple are out there ready to be duped and controlled.  People still crave abundance and power, and have no clue that this organizations' teachings, while fulfilling some emotional hype, has long-term deleterious effects and they will end up with little of either, abundance or power.  In a lot of ways, it is like a drug addiction.  And not in a good way.  "Addicted to the ministry of the saints" - the cravings for standing, approval, power in the organizational hierarchy drive people more than genuine Christian love.   Those addicted cravings cause many evil and criminal acts - like the heroin addict that robs the family best friend, murders someone, and then spends the rest of their life trying to cover it up.  That's what the Way is like now whitewashing Wierwille's story, establishing their little place in the pecking order and continuing on with business as usual.  

penworks, thanks for your story.  I enjoyed it, and my spouse and at least my oldest child will also enjoy reading it.  The younger won't be able to relate, thank God.

 

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Sorry for the delay, Charlene. I just ordered the book and I will be reviewing it on my personal blog [and publicizing it on my twitter account(s)].

Looking forward to the read.

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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/

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  • 2 weeks later...

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 :rolleyes:

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Charlene, I finished your book last week and I want to thank you for sharing your twi experiences...it was a great read and so nice to have a peek behind the scenes at HQ from a researcher's perspective.

You wrote about the untimely death of your mother and how you didn't get to properly grieve, which struck a nerve with me.  Although I wasn't yet in the way when my mother died of cancer, I was nineteen when she passed. My father met and married my stop-monster six months after my mother's death and I moved out of my childhood home the day before their wedding.  About seven months after that, I was witnessed to and started going to twigs.  Being young and naive made me vulnerable, but my grief and family upheaval made me ripe for a cult.  It all happened so fast.  Like a high-speed crash.

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On 17/11/2016 at 2:39 AM, penworks said:

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

Thanks Penworks for sharing your heart and life

I will be purchasing my copy soon thanks to those who provided the links for purchasing

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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!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎12‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 6:46 PM, penworks said:

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

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!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say, it really is very good.

One of the questions I get asked most is, how did you get suckered into joining a cult? And I think Charlene answers that question by showing how incremental the process is.

I found the story to be a deeply personal one (unlike The Cult That Snapped, which was "about the Way," Undertow is about the author). 

Beautifully done, Charlene. Congrats!

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