Timeline: How cult unfolded

  • Updated: April 26, 2014 - 10:27 PM


1961: Victor Arden Barnard born in Hennepin County.

1979: Barnard graduates from Breck School in Minneapolis and earns a scholarship to Hobart College in New York.

Early 1980s: Barnard meets a recruiter for The Way International at college and soon drops out to devote his life to the movement.

1985: Victor Paul Wierwille, founder of The Way International, dies and the movement begins to splinter.

1986: Barnard graduates from The Way College in Emporia, Kan.

1988-1993: Barnard and his wife, Stephanie, have four sons.

1990: Barnard “fell off the map,” a Way spokesman says, cutting ties with the group.

1992: Barnard founds River Road Fellowship at his River Road home in Rush City.

1996: River Road Fellowship buys “Shepherd’s Camp” in Finlayson.

1998: Barnard encourages followers to move to Finlayson.

2000: Barnard sets up Maidens Group, or Alamoth, at ­Shepherd’s Camp.

2004: Shepherd’s Camp sold for $3 million.

2008: A former member writes Barnard, threatening to expose their extramarital affair. Barnard stuns members telling them that he’d had affairs.


Aug.: Barnard and his wife, Stephanie, file for bankruptcy.

Sept.: More questions of adultery surface. River Road Fellowship begins to splinter.

Oct.: Many members of the congregation move to Washington.

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