New Woman magazine published an article called "The Seduced-- They're Young, Smart and Idealistic-- the Perfect Prey for Modern Cults," which told the stories of several women who were harmed by being involved in several different cults.

It told this story of Donna Latchis (not her real name), who claimed that V. P. Wierwille used her sexually and that promiscuous sex, drugs and alcohol were common among leadership. Here are excerpts from this article:

In 1992, after 18 years in The Way International, Donna Latchis,* too, "escaped," as she says, "with my life."....

Serious indoctrination started as soon as she arrived (at a Way program in Colorado). "Dr. Wierwille told us that he was the Man of God. He was the prophet, like Paul. Way members were of God; outsiders were of the devil."

Whenever Wierwille visited Latchis's campus, she would be summoned to his Recreational Vehicle, supposedly to give him a manicure or pedicure. "He would be sitting in his underwear," remembers Latchis, "and I would be on my knees, giving him a pedicure. When I was through, he would stick his penis in my mouth, just like that. No conversation, no explanation, no passion. I was extremely confused-- and I felt dirty. But he was the Man of God, so I would just try to forget about it. For ten years, I didn't tell a soul."

After her graduation, Latchis was pressured to marry one of the Way ministers. "Even though I didn't love him, it was a great honor. The higher you go up the echelon, the greater the privilege, and the closer you are to God." In fact, she discovered, "There was a tremendous amount of drugs and alcohol. Homosexuality was real big, and there were orgies with married men and women switching partners for the night." An official policy called The Lock Box guaranteed that there was no gossip and, therefore, no ramifications....

A nervous breakdown that left her suicidal precipitated Latchis's escape. The cult sent her to a homeopathic physician, a graduate of The Way who, as it turned out, was questioning his belief. In the course of a month at his clinic, Latchis got to be alone-- for the first time in years. She says, "I started to realize that my involvement with The Way was just plain... nuts."

Latchis told her husband she had to go back to Iowa to visit a sick relative. She took her child, got in the car, and kept driving until she reached her family. "Two weeks later I gave one of the best performances of my life," Latchis remembers. "I called my husband and told him tearfully that I had fallen in love and I wanted a divorce. I promised him that I was looking for a Way fellowship to join. If for one moment he thought we weren't going to stay in The Way," she explains, "he would never have let me leave."

(From "The Seduced-- They're Young, Smart and Idealistic-- the Perfect Prey for Modern Cults," by Robin Westen, New Woman, August 1995, pp. 111, 140)

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