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.