Friday, October 12, 2012

The Cult That Snapped, by Karl Kahler

The Cult That Snapped: A Journey Into The Way International, Karl Kahler.  self-published? 1999.  e-book, 410 pps.

Karl Kahler has written a fairly comprehensive book dealing with both some history of The Way, International and his own personal experiences as a W.O.W. [Word Over the World ambassador].  Kahler had dropped out of high school and was seeking his fortune working at his dad's business when a co-worker insisted one day that a hitchhiker be picked up.  Her name was Valencia from Connecticut.  She was cute and sexy and drank and shot pool. It was a walk across the street to meet the rest of the gang, self-styled quasi-teachers of the Bible a la V.P. Weirwille, the leader of The Way. 

V.P. had some erroneous notions-- the biggest one being that the Bible-- the part starting with Matthew at least-- was written in Aramaic, not Greek.  His followers smoked cigarettes, cussed, drank, and were as free with having sex with anyone that moved, just like he was.  His empire fell apart with the advent of his death and L. Craig Martindale's assumption of the mantle of leadership.

Kahler was around for the last part of V.P. and the first bits of Martindale.  [Martindale is out now.  According to the official website of The Way, International, the new leader is a woman who was a vice president when Kahler was around].  Martindale was intent on having his own witch hunt.  So he dumped a bunch of people, including folks who opposed him. 

Kahler had been having doubts about the teachings, lots of doubts.  He studied Joshua and Judges and found internal inconsistencies and stuff not substantiated by the historical record.   A trip to Israel cinched it for him pretty much when he found that the story of Jesus casting a bunch of demons into some swine was cited in two of the gospels as happening in "the country of the Gadarenes" and in "the country of the Gergesenes" were two really different places some miles apart during the tour.

At any rate, Kahler found that he no longer believed the stuff he had been taught in V.P. style classes and biblical study groups.  He left, but Martindale kicked him out officially by letter three years later.

sapphoq reviews says: The Cult That Snapped includes a lot of history of the movement started by V.P. Wierwille and how the cult operated to recruit members.  I applaud Kahler for getting out after he found that he no longer was a Christian.  I suspect that this book won't have the same appeal to others that some of the other "losing my religion/leaving my former cult" books I've recently read because of both the historical content and the scriptural exigeneses in its' pages.  Still and all, The Cult That Snapped is worthy in its' own right.  Recommended. 

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