Examples of Domestic Abuse in Assembly Families

These anecdotes show the results of the Assembly teaching on marriage and child rearing. The blog TH in SoC by a former Assembly member has several posts on this as well: Daddy Hammer and Mommy Chisel, and You Don't Bring Me Flowers (It's against Your Religion).

A reader says:  Here's an example of wife training that I remember from my Assembly days: Sister J. invites me to stay for dinner after I spent the afternoon helping her with her chores. Leading brother R. comes home, and is miffed that I was invited to dinner without his permission. We sit down for the meal, and R. immediately lights into J. "Did you mail that package I left for you?" he asks. J. replies, "No, love, I wasn't able to because..." He interrupts her before she can finish her sentence. "I said mail that package. I want you to mail it tomorrow morning. Is that understood?" "Yes, Amour". She begins to cough a little. R. goes berserk on her again. "Cover your mouth right now!" "Yes, love." (She covers her mouth, her eyes fixed on her husband). "Don't forget again!" Thankfully, the meal is over. I put on my coat to go home. R. goes into his bedroom, completely ignoring me (as he has during the entire meal!). J. looks at me apologetically, thanking me for my help. I walk home, thinking about the way R. treated his wife.

July 30, 2003 from the Assembly bulletin board:  What is this 'breaking your wife’s will' deal? I don’t know about other Assemblies, and tell me where this demented idea came from? The Bible clearly states that the marriage is a reflection of the godhead and its harmony. Three different identities, functions, equal in importance yet still existing as one. I’ve heard recent examples of a husband taught to 'cross his wife’s will' by switching or changing situations so the wife can be accustomed to 'first time obedience'. Men were encouraged to be 'the man'. I’m all for men to be men, and not milk-sops, but Jack Nicolsons running around treating their wives like servants?? She’s a helper, not slave.

September 24,2005 from Verne Carty on the Assembly bulletin board:  "Brothers in the Assembly were taught to exercise tyrannical control over their wives to the point of being literally abusive. I remember being in California at the home of a couple, I think the names were B. and V., and was flabbergasted at the way her ordered her to quit what she was doing and go get something he needed.

It was unspeakably vulgar and disrespectful the way he said it. They were recently married and I could tell his poor wife was totally humiliated. She nevertheless obediently complied. It was evident that his sole purpose was to demonstrate to all present that he was large and in charge.

Anonymous: "I remember a couples' meeting based on a talk by Danny and Kimber. They were set up as a model of how to give consequences to your wife when she didn't perform the way you wanted.

I remember driving on our second anniversary with my wife to go to breakfast. I was trying to hedge her into the standard (which was given to her by one of those helpful "training mothers") of telling our infant son to "come" ten times a day. For me, this would be a simple matter because I am very much a linear/checklist thinker. But I couldn't pin her down to doing this, and the conversation got tense. She felt I was badgering her, and I felt she was being rebellious by "muddying the waters" of the conversation. It accelerated to some sharp words, until L. got out of the car in anger and I found myself driving around the Knott's Berry Farm parking lot with Nathan in his car seat thinking to myself, "This technique isn't working well."

I learned over the years that the issue was not her rebellion against the standard, but her feeling of being threatened and overwhelmed with people coming into our home and imposing their methods of child-rearing. L. and I both have our baggage and issues, but these things are better faced in an atmosphere of patience, example, forgiveness and encouragement. Years later, we have become more of a team and we know how to discuss and implement strategies for our kids in a way where neither mom or dad feel threatened. Both of us changed and grew in areas of weakness but the change never came about due to heavy-handed techniques."

"Josh" gave his wife obedience and submission exercises like telling her to walk down to the corner for no reason at all, and "Jerry" demanded a month of daily sex as a training exercise for his wife.

April 17, 2007, Tom M. posted the following on the Assembly bulletin board:  This week, as I was talking with one of my daughters, she told me that in her teen-age years, essentially the 1980's, there was talk about men in leadership who hit their wives!...Yesterday, I ran into a long-time Assembly member, one who was around during my time and for many years after my departure. I asked him if he had ever heard anything like this. He said yes!!! What he told me was that there had been talk of "spanking" wives as part of "training" them!!!  I would like to place a few questions before the readers. During your tenure in the Assemblies, did you ever:

  1. Hear this taught or recommended in any of the public meetings?
  2. Receive counsel from anyone that you were to participate in this activity?
  3. Experience it, witness it or hear of it directly from anyone who was involved either as a perpetrator or a victim?
  4. Hear of it being done from someone who did not claim to have witnessed or participated in it.?

This is really sad, and I take no pleasure in discussing it. However, if it really happened I feel it should be brought to light. The past cannot be altered, but at least it can serve as an example of just how evil and dangerous the George Geftakys Assemblies were. It can also serve as a warning to others who are in or considering involvement in similar groups.

June 30, 2008, John Steinke, formerly from the Norfolk Assembly, had this reply to Tom's questions:  Mike Zach told me of a discussion he had with a husband about how to handle a wife who was not being submissive. Mike indicated that he would physically force his wife to do what she was refusing to do. The husband replied rather humorously asking what one should do if the wife were bigger than the husband.

In retrospect I find it rather interesting that Mike was giving this type of counsel. As I remember Mike’s testimony, he and Cheryl were on the verge of divorce at the time, with Mike searching for verses in the Bible to show Cheryl that she needed to be submissive to him. Some wise individual redirected Mike's efforts into searching what his own relationship was with God and led him to the Lord.

My wife and I often have commented that very little was ever discussed about how men are to treat their wives. The man’s command to “love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it” is a tall command. This is a far cry from the “wife training” espoused by the Assembly.

There are volumes that could be written about the child abuse I observed--from my first visits to Fullerton, what was perpetrated on my brothers and sisters, from the times I lived in various homes and finally as I started my own family prior to our departure in July ’92. My wife and I married in March of ’91. The child training to which we were to subject our daughter born in February ’92 had a lot to do with our leaving in July.

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