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No Way Out

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Russ's Story

Unfiltered On September 3rd 1997 my wife and I stopped a near 17 year relationship with The Way International (TWI). No longer able to keep trying to be "the best," to be really what Rev. L.C. Martindale (LCM) was teaching that we should be had become impossible. We tried relentlessly to satisfy TWI leadership, but could never quite attain the "perfection" required (but many times acting as if we had, some call this "the renewed mind") knowing we were living a lie, we walked away. It was not just a matter of us not being able to do what was required so much as it was the requirements kept changing. The turn over of TWI leadership at Twig, Branch and Limb levels is awful because it is so frequent and each time there is a change in personality there is a change in how to do most everything. We were Twig coordinators. I became involved in TWI December of 1980 and my wife a year before I. We were not "neophytes" when it came to the "things of the ministry." I was a coordinator my second year in TWI and have ran many Twigs, done many large meetings over the years, oversaw military outreach on local and state level. My wife and I both were WOW ambassadors, and being military, we have lived in eight different Limbs so we have been exposed to a tremendous variety of TWI leadership and people involved with TWI. I also had the opportunity to work with other Limbs and other countries because I traveled, months at a time, because of the nature of my job. Once I was assigned to a unit in Florida for three months and while there, ran three Power for Abundant Living (PFAL) classes, one being onboard ship while at sea. Later, a small group of us military were invited to New Knoxville to meet with Dr. Wierwille and others to talk about military outreach and I was one of the few that attended. This meeting took place in 1981. I had been in TWI for about a year and was "hot" moving "the word" where ever I went. We took every class that became available including "Living Victoriously" in 1982. To date my wife and I have taken all of the new classes, Way of Abundance and Power (WOAP) foundational and intermediate and LCM's advance class. The believer's family class and the Defeating the Adversary class. Our son is a graduate of the WOAP class as well. We just wanted to be our best for God and to help people. Dr., in the class PFAL, talked about how people in the "church" (what he called organized religion) did not have power to help people and that seemed really true to me. The Pastor of my childhood church died at the age of 32. There were many poor people in my church and it all seemed pretty dull. Dr. taught us that the so called church of today had lost the power because they had lost The Word of God and Dr. was giving it back to us in PFAL. I wanted this "true" power to help people, as does everybody involved with TWI. TWI teaches you that TWI is the only place teaching true doctrine and the only place the true God moves. If you want to operate the power of God, you have to take their classes and stand with LCM to do so. Any power operated outside of TWI is absolutely from the devil and his devil spirits and purely counterfeit. This doctrine is taught in every class TWI offers along with the requirement to wholly accept LCM as THE man of God and only man of God for our times you also are to obey all the TWI leadership without hesitation or question (this is refereed to as loving obedience). These years in TWI, what I thought was the "real deal" has turned out to be lie after lie. The nightmare of all nightmares is slowly coming to an end, I am thankful now to be out from under the never ending torment of TWI leadership. The doctrine of TWI is, and I did believe that, TWI is the only real and right ministry available, God only hears and listens to those people in TWI and LCM is the only real man of God today (like Moses or Jesus Christ himself), getting revelation directly from God for the benefit of only TWI its followers.

Two years we began to get frustrated when TWI began making the transition to LCM's WOAP classes. Slowly we had been given the task to systematically study the Advanced Class syllabus and write to LCM personally and tell him when we were done and describe basically what you had gotten out of reviewing the material (today I believe this was to feed his own ego). At one point LCM requested through the "chain of command" (Way Tree) to find out were all Advanced Class grads were in their progress of finishing this task. What happened was an uproar because many people were not even half complete or had not started at all since completing the class. As the Twig coordinator, I handled fears of retribution from higher level TWI leadership for about two weeks after this request came from TWI leadership. One person, whom was extremely busy and on call constantly complained to me about how can you possibly do everything they (TWI) wants you to do? I have finally came to the same conclusion after all these years. For example: we ran Twig in our home three times a week, and attended Twig Coordinators (TC) meetings weekly (at 75 miles away, one way), we held a "research" or "fun" night once or twice a month, opposite Twig night. Each person is required to study the WOAP foundational and intermediate syllabus, the Advanced Class syllabus, Defeating the Adversary syllabus, read the five collateral books that compliment these classes plus several other books that had been written over the years, study LCM's book, study (not just listen to) the weekly Sunday Service tapes, study the Way Magazine articles and teach them in your Twig, study the word to make all this stuff your own, read the word daily, pray for your people daily, prepare for teaching and/or leading Twigs, set detailed plans with maps and tracking methods of weekly witnessing sites, turn-in reports on how many people you spoke to how many contacts were made (phone number attained) who got them (you had to ensure contacts were contacted within 24 hours), keep track of who is tithing and who is not, report all this to leadership at the weekly TC meetings. We also have a family to take care of, we both work and I attend college at night and on week-ends. No matter how much we gave, it was never enough. It was a thankless job with plenty of "butt chewings" in between. (they call it confronting). We began to notice that if leadership had a problem it was because it they were doing the word and the adversary was attacking them for their "brilliant" stand on God's word and hurting the adversary's realm by their almost unbelievable godly believing and effort. On the other hand, If we had a problem it was because we were not doing the word or believing the word big enough and therefore by our stupidity or lack of meekness to leadership or some other bogus reason, we were failures and let the adversary into our lives and he was hurting our realm. We also realized that almost every person in a leadership position that my wife and I have had in all these years has been fired, demoted, marked to avoid (kicked out) or they too have left on their own (we can count those that have not on one hand). LCM says, over and over again, on Sunday Service tapes that "they (I never knew who they were until now) say we are unloving" I understand this now. I've seen marriages destroyed, peoples lives ripped to shreds (of which I have been a part of in many instances) by TWI leadership and TWI teach it is out of love. This is really a new doctrine of LCM's. To love someone with the love of God is means to be as tough on people as you can be, discipline, no mistakes but if one is made you correct it immediately and if you can't immediately, you do it within a 24 hour period. This is taught this way because to love God you have to keep his commandments and those commandments in TWI are what LCM says they are or what current leadership say they are in particular situations. This new doctrine used over and over again by most people to mean to correct people constantly, according to what that person thinks is wrong or correct anything that does not agree with what you think. I have seen TWI leadership make terrible misjudgments about situations and people and treat people like animals. Recently a husband was separated from his wife and kids for about one year because he confided in leadership about a sexual incident that had happened when he was a young child. He had to maintain separate two homes and was not allowed to see his wife or kids or anyone in TWI until he cleaned himself up mentally. I too have been vicious with people in the past because I "loved" them so much. On several occasions I have sat with several leadership and gone through confrontation sessions that lasted tormentingly long, yelling and screaming at people trying to get them to reveal to us what is in depths of their "real sin". One done to me lasted for almost two hours and I was not allowed to leave the room. I was made to listen to a tape and had some letters read to me. My family and I recently went to a family reunion that is held each year and to attend requires us to travel about 300 miles. The reunion was during a week when LCM wanted everyone to have R&R, what he called rest and readiness, no meetings of any kind were to be done on the field. I was cautioned about going out of town, traveling, when we were supposed to be resting, it felt like I was being disobedient to God himself. We went anyway since it done annually and we had reported to leadership well before this R&R was announced that we would be going, I know that if something negative would have happened to us on the trip, it would have been met with, "you walked out from the protection of the household." It is like the leadership (or anyone) in the "household" of TWI believe for and actually desire for bad things to happen so they can use that against you and/or use it to make accusations. Those of you who think you are in the only right thing in this world are greatly mistaken.

I find it interesting that LCM accuses the 4/5ths of leadership that left TWI in the late 1980's and the ones that have left since as being the false ministers of our day, that they "stole" from TWI, taking DR.'s material and using it as their own and so on. Dr. himself "stole" plenty of information for his ministry and plagiarized (see John Juedes research on this subject) from others to write "his" books. How many people in TWI do not know about E.W. Bullinger and his work and how much of Bullinger's work and not DR.'s is TWI doctrine? It was not original work done in TWI nor received by revelation from God, but rather taken from Bullinger's work and made to be seem if it all came from God only for TWI because some guy begged God to know his word or he was going to quit the ministry!? Much of what has been taught over the years and even today is Bullinger's work (or someone else's outside of TWI). It is also interesting to me that LCM teaches today about screwed up you have to believe in the trinity and that no good can come from anyone who does. TWI teaches you cannot be born again if you believe the trinity, if you are not born again then you do not have holy spirit and certainly cannot receive anything from God without holy spirit, because those spiritual things are spiritually discerned, then how did Bullinger get all his research done as a staunch Trinitarian and why is TWI entrenched in so much of his doctrine? Because of TWI basically stole most of it's original material from someone else, TWI then logically would have to be a false ministry and LCM a false minister. LCM has become the most ego driven individual I have ever seen in my life (that gets away with it). He rants about articles against TWI in their local New Knoxville area news papers and him not being asked to give an answer and yet the staff at that paper say he refused comment, someone has got to be a liar. He says TWI has never been in debt, Howard Allen has stated it has, (but I am sure this story of how Dr. wanted to pay off debt on the The Way College has changed since you are not allowed to have any debt) someone has to be mistaken (I am sure it is Howard Allen). LCM constantly compliments himself, his greatness, his great book, his "clean" household and on and on. I cannot believe I allowed myself and my family to be put in so many negative situations over the years thinking that I would be a "grease spot" by mid-night (a common LCM phrase) if I did not do what was required of me by TWI. I wasted much time, effort and life to be the best for an idol that I worshipped so diligently even having been treated so badly the majority of time. Not everyone is a lunatic in TWI, there are plenty of people who are honest and trying their best to be great for God. They do not yet realize TWI leadership keeps them in bondage, making them slaves in their own mind, no matter how they try to "renew it " to the ever-changing doctrines of LCM. It seems impossible to leave TWI since it is the only "right" ministry and if you leave you put yourself in dire straights. Since you leave the protection of the household you are basically being used by and are in control of the adversary, the devil. They teach you this stuff. I have made many career harming decisions over the years because of my stand with TWI. I put TWI over all my other interest and even over my family many times. Being required to put God first in everything you do becomes elusive goal because depending on who is interpreting the idea, what this really means is putting TWI first in everything you do.

TWI says it is a research ministry. They teach you, the individual "how to" let the bible interpret itself and how to rightly divide the word and God never meant for an individual not being able to read and comprehend for himself the written word. Yet you are not allowed to do any of that. They keep so busy learning everything LCM is teaching you never have the time to do anything on your own. If you do come up with any original work it is quickly squashed with criticism and reproof and correction. I know this because it has happened to me several times. LCM teaches that you had better listen to him and his reproof and correction because it is much easier and a lot less harsh than what Jesus Christ is going to give at his return to those who do not do not do what LCM says is right. It is a fear trip all the way: do as I say and you won't get hurt, don't do what I say and Jesus Christ is going to get you. TWI teaches that at the return of Christ a new administration will begin and we will have totally renewed mind. Then why in the world would Jesus Christ need to reprove (correct practical error) when the doctrine concerning an administration is complete and the mind is already completely renewed? There is error in there somewhere because logically it does not make sense. It is used to put fear in people to stay with TWI and obey LCM and his leadership. LCM boasts that the Way Corps training is best training in the world and yet the graduates fail the majority of the time in maintaining leadership positions and adhering to what LCM is teaching and requiring them to do. I do not understand how I or anyone can think they are in control of there own life and can stand on what LCM teaches when his own trained "elite" fail constantly. If they can't possibly do what he requires, how is it a regular Joe will be able to do it? There seems to a pattern of those who have been in TWI awhile to be the most targeted as being offenders, not being meek, submitting whole heartily to LCM and letting DR.'s doctrines die. LCM is consumed with replacing everything Dr. taught and every program he set up. You are not even mention any of the old phrases that Dr. used to give to motivate. It is all right for Mrs. W to write a book about Dr. or for LCM to talk of his memories but God forbid if I mention a memory or personal incident that happened with Dr. At the last TC meeting I attended I brought up something that is in one of DR.'s books and was reproved because it is also in LCM's book and I should have reference the latter. It seems the more you know the worse it is for you in TWI. Knowledge is dangerous...to yourself and the probability to being marked to avoid is higher. Many Way Corps graduates end up marked to avoid. It is amazing to me, those who have received the greatest training in the world, having worked with "the man of God" and the top leadership can be so screwed up.

It is OK for LCM to tear down people, programs and other institutions because everyone outside TWI is off "The Word" and most are directly from the devil or controlled by the adversary and all his devil spirits according to him. In TWI debt of any sort is not allowed including debt to TWI. In a "rif" with Way Corps leadership just a year ago had me so upset that I decided we would not stand with TWI. After about ten days we ended up back in TWI and the very first Twig we went to, Way Corps leadership being present at that meeting confronted us with the TC and his wife on our error of not having a check covering the "back" tithing that we owed God. I asked what tithing was being referenced and it was the ten days we did not stand with TWI! I could not believe they checked to see if we "paid our tithing debt" for the period we were not standing and to do it as soon as twig was over and even have confronted us with it before we left that day blew my mind. Here we were, just coming back into a fellowship at the end of it my wife and I are being questioned by four people as to why we did not tithe for those days we were absent. We were also confronted for having more than two families over for dinner (a birthday celebration of sorts) in fact we were corrected on this doctrine: that anytime we had more that two families over it constituted a "Way" function and we needed prior approval from the branch level before we had such an event. No words can describe how I feel now. We tried our very best to be the best for TWI. We could never get it right, no matter what it was we did not measure up somehow. Every time leadership changes, there is a sort of reproving time that you are worthy of their leadership. It is absolutely ridiculous! I am thankful now to be out from under the bondage and to be in control of my life after all theses years. How truly wonderful it is see life afresh without the tarnished rose colored glasses of TWI doctrine. I very much like the name of this web sight "NO WAY OUT" because when you are in TWI and trying your best to adhere to the doctrines of TWI, to be valiant for LCM's truth, there truly is no way out of the torment and relentless heartbreaks and failures. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to read other letters and insights available on the web, to find I was not the only one going through what I was and thinking I just was not renewing my mind. If you are in doubt about what you may be involved in when it comes to TWI, surf the web and you will find out for yourself other views and insights you will not find at TWI. My wife and I working together to over come all the harmful effects that TWI has had in our way of thinking and doing things. We to have begun making friends and getting re-aquatinted with our families, something we have not done or had since becoming involved with TWI.

Russ Mahan

Copyright 1998, the author

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