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About The Way:

The Way is a high intensity Christian faith group which requires a strong commitment from its followers. It was founded by Victor Paul Wierwille (1916-1985), as an outgrowth of his radio program, Vesper Chimes.  In 1955, (or 1958; sources differ) he incorporated his ministry as The Way, International (a.k.a. TWI). He took the name from Acts 9:2 in the Bible. "The Way" was a name used by some of the early Christians to identify their movement. Wierwille is reported as having claimed to have received audible revelations from God who promised to teach him Christian truths that had been lost in the 1st century CE.

Various problems, including at least three lawsuits and the death of the founder, reduced the number of TWI supporters from about 100,000 to perhaps 3,000 by the turn of the century. More information.

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Beliefs about homosexuality:

There is no consensus about the cause(s) and nature of homosexuality. The two principal beliefs are as follows:

bulletMany conservative Christians believe that everyone is born a heterosexual. However, some individuals become addicted to homosexual behavior or make a conscious choice to engage in homosexual behavior.
bulletGays, lesbians, mental-health professionals, human sexuality researchers, most religious liberals, and others generally believe that a homosexual orientation is a normal, natural orientation for a minority of persons. It is not chosen, and is unchangeable.

President Martindale of TWI promotes a third path. He defines the cause of homosexuality to be "devil-spirit possession." -- that is, possession by an indwelling demonic spirit. There are many passages, largely in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) which describe various mental and physical illnesses as being caused by indwelling demons. However, mental health professionals abandoned this belief in the 19th century.

During Wierwille's leadership, gays were only dismissed if they were actually caught in the act. During the mid-1990s, concern within the group over homosexuality seemed to reach a fever pitch. Anyone who was suspected of being a sexually active homosexuals was purged from within the leadership Corps of the organization. Gays and lesbians are not allowed to join TWI. Some events:

bulletIn 1993, President Martindale augmented the TWI Five-Point Family Plan to include a sixth point: "Prepare and do what it takes to protect your mind and the lives of your children and families from the homosexual devil-spirit onslaughts that are coming."
bulletIn 1994, TWI cancelled the commissioning of hundreds of Word Over the World.  (WOW) Ambassadors after almost 10% were discovered to be homosexuals. 1
bulletAlso in 1994, President Martindale blamed the concentration of "practicing homosexuals" in the leadership Corps on "the homo logic" present in many Corps members. He criticized them for their lack of passion "about the truth of God's Word -- God's holy, magnificent Word -- as it stands totally against homosexuality in any form or fashion." 2 In a letter to Corps members, he implied that gays were no longer permitted to remain in the leadership Corps. However, if they honestly sought help for their condition, they could still "be a part of Way Ministry fellowships." Gays and lesbians were given biblical teaching about homosexuality, direct confrontation, and help to cure them of their behavior. They were expected to convert from homosexuality to heterosexuality; they were not allowed to remain celibate gays and lesbians with homosexual fantasies. Those gays who did not lead a celibate life were formally abandoned "to Satan for the destruction of the flesh." The members and supporters of TWI -- are instructed to have nothing to do with any abandoned person.
bulletIn his letter, he claimed that the Bible says that gays and lesbians are the "lowest of the people." We have been unable to find a reference to this in the Bible. He described lesbians as "female fags," male gays as "wimp-ass fag men" He refers to homosexuals generally as "an abomination to God," "detestable and despicable and repugnant and worthy of death." 2 His attack on gays and lesbians is too strong to be further quoted here.
bullet"Corps coordinator Rev. Horney reported that '163 sodomites...had been purged, marked and avoided' by January 1995." 3

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  1. "The Way, International," by the Watchman Fellowship, at: http://www.watchman.org/profile/waypro.htm
  2. Letter by L.C. Martindale to the TWI leadership Corps, 1994-JUL, at: http://www.excultworld.com/pdf-docs/homos071294.pdf You need software to read these files. It can be obtained free from:
  3. Christian Research Journal, Summer 1996, Page 6, quoted in Ref. 1.
  4. The official web site of The Way® International is at: http://theway.com/

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Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-SEP-30
Latest update: 2002-SEP-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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