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Bay Tree Publishing, Losing the Way by Kristen Skedgell

$18.95 paperback
288 pages, 6″ X 9″
ISBN-10: 0-9720021-9-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-9720021-9-6

Out of Print

Losing the Way, A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation, Abuse, and Escape

by Kristen Skedgell

Losing the Way is a dramatic autobiographical account of religious belief and brainwashing, sexual and physical abuse, and escape from a nationally known Bible-based group. The author belonged to the first wave of “Jesus freaks,” young people from prosperous suburbs recruited into The Way International, a charismatic movement that appealed to their idealism. What began for the author as a spiritual quest at 14, gradually turned destructive, degenerating into a cult under a deluded leader’s pathological needs. A moving personal story, this is the first book to show where The Way actually led.

About the Author

Kristen Skedgell is a clinical social worker. After leaving The Way, she earned a master’s from Yale Divinity School and an M.S. in social work from Columbia.

More about Kristen.


“How is it that a woman determined to be good—virtuous—can make such an unholy mess of her life? In pursuit of grace, Kristen Skedgell gave herself to one devil after another. She lost her way in life, but not on the page, and her account of finding her way back home, back to the self she denied and betrayed, has something to teach all of us.”
—Kathryn Harrison, author of The Kiss

“Kristen Skedgell writes about restoration, forgiveness, hope and transformation at the risk of losing her mind and even her life. She helps us to see the true power of love and faith. She reminds us of what it means to be genuinely connected to one another and our capacity to thrive after being lost.”
—Frederick J. Streets, former chaplain of  Yale University, professor in pastoral counseling, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, associate professor of pastoral theology, Yale Divinity School

“Some books help readers understand how cults work, how they manipulate, deceive, and exploit people. Losing the Way tells a story. It doesn’t lecture. It shares. Enter her world, and share her soul.”
—Michael Langone, executive director, International Cultic Studies Association

“Losing the Way is a story of seduction and disillusionment. When it opens in the early 1970s, Kristen Skedgell is a typical fourteen-year-old girl simply looking to be part of the popular crowd. Unfortunately, the popular crowd was enthralled with a new ministry, The Way International® led by Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, a small-town Midwestern minister with a mail-order doctorate and great aspirations.”
—from the Foreword by Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.,
Dean of Faculty, Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies