Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International

Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International


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Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International™ is Charlene Edge’s riveting memoir about the power of words to seduce, betray, and, in her case, eventually save. After a personal tragedy left her bereft, teenaged Charlene rejected faith and family when recruiters drew her into The Way International, a sect led by the charismatic Victor Paul Wierwille. The Way became one of the largest cults in America. Charlene gave it seventeen years of her life. Believing that God led her to Wierwille, she underwent his intensive two-year training program, The Way Corps, designed to produce loyal leaders. When Wierwille warned of a possible government attack, she prepared to live off the grid. She ignored warning signs of Wierwille’s paranoia and abuse—he condemned dissenters as the Devil’s agents, he required followers to watch pornography, he manipulated Corps into keeping his secrets in a “lock box,” he denied the Holocaust, and he surrounded himself with bodyguards. She married a Corps graduate and they served across the United States as Way leaders, funneling money into Wierwille’s bursting coffers and shunning anyone who criticized him. As obedient Way Corps, they raised their child to believe the doctrines of Wierwille, the cult’s designated “father in the Word.” Eventually Charlene was promoted to the inner circle of biblical researchers, where she discovered devastating secrets: Wierwille twisted texts of Scripture to serve his personal agenda, shamelessly plagiarized the work of others, and misrepresented the purpose of his organization. Worst of all, after Wierwille died in 1985, shocking reports surfaced of his secret sex ring. Amid chaos at The Way’s Ohio-based headquarters, Charlene knew she had to escape—for her own survival and her child’s. Reading like a novel, Undertow is not only a brilliant cautionary tale about misplaced faith but also an exposé of the hazards of fundamentalism and the destructive nature of cults. Through her personal story, Charlene Edge shows how a vulnerable person can be seduced into following an authoritarian leader and how difficult it can be to find a way out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997874709
Publisher: New Wings Press, LLC
Publication date: 12/15/2016
Pages: 474
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Charlene L. Edge spent seventeen years in The Way (1970-1987). Since then, she's become a poet and prose writer and earned a B.A. in English from Rollins College. She worked for more than a decade as a technical and proposal writer in the software industry. Her poetry has been featured on WMFE-FM's Poetic Logic and published in The Florida Writer magazine, the Tampa Writers Alliance's Wordsmith, and the Rollins Book of Verse 1885-2010; her essays have appeared in Shifting Gears: Small, Startling Moments In and Out of the Classroom and ICSA Today, magazine of the International Cultic Studies Association. She is a sought-after guest speaker, and a member of the Florida Writers Association, the Authors Guild, and ICSA. She lives in Florida with her husband, Dr. Hoyt L. Edge. Charlene blogs about their travel adventures, writing, cults, fundamentalism, and other topics at: http://charleneedge.com.

Table of Contents

Praise for Undertow Preface by Charlene L. Edge 1: Hiding in Plain Sight PART1:RECRUITMENT 2: The Midwife 3: Brought In 4: Enticed 5: The Way for Me 6: Warnings PART 2: REVOLUTION 7: Snow Story 8: Revelation of My Own 9: In My Father's House PART 3: ADDICTION 10: The Class 11: No Defense 12: It Is Written 13: Mantras and Marriage 14: Blindsided in Toledo 15: Addicted to the Ministry 16: On the Beach 17: Summer School PART 4: LEADERSHIP TRAINING 18: Becoming Corps 19: Literal Translations 20: Nothing Is Perfect 21: The Marriage Deal 22: Those Doctor Moods 23: Family Disconnections 24: Me, Lazy? 25: The Aramaic Dream 26: Do or Die for Doctor 27: Missing Rose 28: Going Forth PART 5: ON THE FIELD 29: California Shocks 30: Climbing the Way Tree 31: A Graceless Fall 32: Boot Camp Again 52: Interlinear Fiasco 53: Spilling Secrets 54: Clampdown 55: Sleeping Beauty 56: Ambiguous Mission 57: Cures and Calamity PART 9: ESCAPE 58: Hanging Threads 59: Exodus Afterword Notes Acknowledgments Bibliography

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Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Robi Green More than 1 year ago
PURE FICTION. I was in the ministry for 20+ years. Yes, the ministry had problems. In the end - we all left. That being said, none of us were duped or controlled. The Way taught what is now being taught by Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and Curry Blake. We all wanted the love we found being a part of the family. What Wierwille taught wasn't new or unique or even from his own work. It was the works and writings of E. W. Kenyon, John G. Lake, J. E. Stiles, E. W. Bullinger, Smith Wigglesworth. F. F. Bosworth - and a whole host of others. The ministry was brought down by Craig Martindale and his hateful ways. When the love was gone - the people were gone. Ms. Edge simply found a way to cash in and get revenge. All of us left by our own free will and no one had to escape.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charlene Edge's journey from early life tragedy and a devoutly religious life to a cult where she lived for seventeen years is a humane and masterfully written books with a message so essential to life and living. It warns us about how our own fears, anxieties and stresses cause us to seek comfort from sources that often blur our sense of distinguishing between good and evil, right and wrong, wise and ignorant. The further I got into this book, I felt myself leaning in more closely, listening to what the characters were thinking, saying, doing. I felt that I had stepped into their skins and I felt their loneliness and the need in those times to rely on the opinions of others for help in finding our own sense of self-worth--and how destructive that can be. This is a book that both teaches, warns and guides without ever condemning. A brilliant work. Marvin E. Newman Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies and Communication Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida