This is an email conversation with Bob. L. and Linda B., Betty Geftakys's nephew and niece.
August 28, 2006
I am a relative on Betty Geftakys' side of the family, son of Betty's sister, O. I was born in Wisconsin, and moved to California about 25 years ago. I was speaking with my sister last night, who still lives near Milwaukee. I asked her if she knew if Aunt Betty was still alive? She paused a minute, and then filled me in that she had found a huge website regarding the entire Geftakys family. I have just discovered it for myself tonight.
My wife and I are shocked ...stunned.... but not past the point of belief. Betty hails from a long line of oddballs on her side of the family tree. If you had known them as I did, you wouldn’t have followed any of them. All of them have caused great harm and disappointment over their lives as well. I don't want to say much more for now. I need time to study this information. Rest assured I will be back to you with perhaps some missing time moments and history about the Geftakys family.
One thing I will relate. I met them for the very first time in the 1960's when we visited on a family car trip. From that day until we lost real contact with them in 1973 or 74, they made it a practice to suck relatives dry of money anytime the opportunity presented itself--a modus operandi that appears to have become a way of life.
I'm so very sorry for your pain. "Sometimes there just ain't enough rocks!"
What a surprise to hear from a Geftakys family member. George and Betty deceived us under the guise of advanced spirituality. It's been difficult for some to see beyond the guise. It would be very helpful to have a more complete and accurate picture.
Over the years Betty let slip to me a few glimpses into her family of origin that are in line with your statements. She told me that her father left her mother for another woman when she was fourteen. She remained so angry at her father that she refused to attend his funeral in the 1980's. She said her brother was an alcoholic. Her sister, although financially well off, committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Betty herself was unusual in that from the time we met her in 1969 she always suffered from an undiscoverable malaise that robbed her strength. She tried the excellent medical specialists in Fullerton, who detected some kind of blood abnormality, but they couldn't offer any adequate treatment. Eventually she turned to an alternative cancer treatment known as the Gerson therapy. She continued on this therapy for at least fifteen years. She recruited many Assembly members to help her with it, and to go on it themselves (including myself). She was always full of "medical" advice for Assembly members. Betty once commented that she should have become a doctor and never married. Oddly, rumor has it that in the past five years or so her health has been fine, although she must be in her 80's now.
George's past history is a puzzle. I've thought of trying to talk to his twin brother, Eddie, in Santa Barbara, but that might seem like just trying to dredge up gossip. It's hard for people outside of the Assembly group to understand that the more pieces we have to the puzzle, the better we can pierce the cloak of supposed-spirituality and understand what happened to us. The facts help us distinguish between George and Betty as they presented themselves to us, and who they really were.
Any facts and insights you have would be welcome, B. Thank you for contacting us.
August 30, 2006
I've never written before to anyone via the Internet and it seems odd to be talking to people I don't know about family. So bear with me. Let me first say this. What I write is based on what I know. It is fact. I understand some of the pain inflicted by these two phonies, and if this information helps anyone through the healing process, it is to this end alone that I write.
Betty's mother was my Grandmother Eva, whom I lived with my junior and senior year of high school. Eva was originally married to Betty's dad D. Sr., whom I never met. I was born in 1953, and by the time I was old enough to know anything, he was gone. He remarried and lived in Florida.
There were four children in the family. Betty had two brothers, D. Jr. and B., still living, and a sister, O., now deceased, who changed her name several times before taking her life in the 80's. I will provide more on these four.
The two boys tried to visit their father from time to time but were told his new wife did not like them. Their father finally sent the boys a letter asking them to never visit again. To my knowledge, they never did. The two girls found strength in the victim role and never spoke of him.
In the 50's Eva re-married, to Clarence P.. They ran a laundromat for twenty years before he died. Eva lived alone until her mid 80's and died in a hospice in Wisconsin. (Tidbit here...Clarence slept in the basement for most of their marriage)
Now, then, Eva was the original source of religion in the family. I wonder now if not for Eva, would all of you have been spared the years of agony? It was from Eva that both my mom and Betty were indoctrinated to God's word. Heaven help us all! [Linda B's email shows that religion went further back in the family than Eva.]
Eva's belief interpretations of Gawd's word (that's how she pronounced his name) were basically what I would label strings. Everything you thought, didn't think, did, failed to do, should have done, heard about and lied about were tied to the Lord in some way.
Example: I stayed out late; two weeks later I get in a fender bender with my car, and Eva would say, "See, boy, Gawd's punishing you. You've probably forgot that night but God never forgets." Strings...Does this thinking sound familiar?
It's so startling to hear you say, "If you had known them as I did, you wouldn’t have followed any of them." I never trusted George from the beginning, so I gave my allegiance to Betty. Big mistake.
I am so sorry for your experiences with your grandmother. What a horrible situation for a high school boy--the Almighty God coming down really hard on you for being a kid. Exactly what Betty perpetuated on Assembly children. (Betty pronounced his name as "Gawd" also.)
I think seeing this might turn the light on for former Assembly parents, many of whom are still continuing the harsh "child training." It might help the kids, too, to see that this isn't about God at all. It's about sick thinking.
Betty's father's behavior is extreme. He seems to have had zero empathy for his kids. That indicates that he may perhaps have been a narcissist. Interesting that Betty then goes on to marry one.
Thank you for delving into all this, Bob. It must be painful for you.
The belief system practiced by Eva was never designed to cause all the pain that appears in part to come from it. That is a very important point for ALL Christian's to remember. The damage of our beliefs can steal decades of happiness from people we will never know. I assure you there are others within my family tree that also suffered from it. I hope tonight to expose the roots of this belief system so that you can better understand it's puzzling effects.
I define a cult as any teaching that creates a need for itself. Perhaps you agree.
Eva's way of teaching established compliance by a rather simple twisted of truth. Once in place, the need to create a lifetime of compliance could easily be established. CONTROL. Here is how she set things up.
1. Create a void.... that does not accuse the believer, but relates obligation on their part. 2. Confirm and verify this with Biblical facts that appear to support it.
When teaching or talking about Gawd, she drove home the point of original sin. She set about to convince the listener that Adam and Eve's first sin had condemned the world. Obligaton. She next told us no person born since that time is worthy in Gawd's eyes of eternal life. All fall short, and backed up this statement by stating this was why Jesus had to come to earth to die for all of our sins. Obligation.
The set up was now in place. A form of belief had been created that was in need of itself! We became Adam and Eve. Jesus died for us and we are obligated to perform for him. Therefore we are not enough, arriving on this planet incomplete. Consequently we see a world of people who are also incomplete. So self is not enough and the void is created.
Margaret, I will not argue belief with you. We all see the world as we see it and learn from the people around us. But I would point out how subtle this simple belief is. On the day it is believed, self becomes the enemy (coined by Eva as "the flesh") Perhaps this will clarify Betty' personal feeling toward her self and others...why David her son was convinced his wife would leave him. Both could see no value in themselves.
When I began to believe that "being me" in this world was not enough for God, I unknowingly placed my salvation and freedoms...outside of me. Sadly I spent the next 48 years searching for something that...had never been lost. I had begun the terribly lonely journey of performance for salvation.
The God I now worshiped became my judge and jury, all at the same time. If I worked, I was a good boy. If I played, I was not, and there would be consequences for any action that appeared ungodly. No person wants to be left behind because of his/her bad actions, and so I conformed even more. I had internalized that I was not enough for him... Every moment away from obedience to him...was the Devil's time.
Sadly, as I look back at it all now. All the performance, help and strength I provided for others, was secretly to help me sustain my deteriorating self-esteem and personal salvation. Arms of steel...but the heart of a rabbit. A palace on the outside, the contents of a hut inside.
By age 19 the die was cast. I needed Eva's teaching to be right. I read the signs of Gawd's hand in my life like tea leaves. If my car broke down I looked back to see why I had deserved such punishment. As sick as it sounds, punishment at least proved he was still working with me. Yeash?
I shunned the good (missed it), focused on the bad as messages of my failure to serve him. Happiness slipped away like a shadow as I bore the cross for Jesus here on earth.
Who was I to complain? Who was I to question?. He had prepared a place for me...He was trying to love me...he had given his life for me...I OWED HIM MINE. I called him Master and I his slave.
The struggle my sister and I endured was installed by my mother (Betty's sister). So when I say it was Eva's teaching you can understand the connection. Belts and straps, accusations and terror were the tools that were used, my older sister receiving the lions share of all of it.
By the time I was 22, no teacher needed any longer. I had begun to master self-preservation of my salvation. Fellowship was the gathering of other like thinkers to "share" (gosh, how I hate that word). To induce stories to prove how God was moving in our own personal lives. Confirmation from others that they had discovered the same trail. "It must be true." And oh, how sorry we felt for those who did not see and live the way Jesus really commanded.
I began to feel power over others by my in-depth knowledge of the word (more confirmation). I had already enlightened my new wife with my wonderful message and would have gone on doing the same to the lost children I would soon have. However, something wonderful happened to me that changed everything. A tiny gift God has placed in all humans was activated. But that is another story for another time.
The bottom line is, Betty and George used these and similar subtle tools to take over one's thinking.. Once in place.... control is established. In a very short time the believer needs to have his/her belief system "BE RIGHT". It becomes overpowering.
The more it hurts, the safer we feel about our own personal salvation. I might not be enough...but look at my sacrifice!! The more we work, the more self we must give way to please our savior even more. The clay is made ready for the potter's hand. It is a journey away from self and at the same time, it is the futile effort to save self, TO NOT BE LEFT BEHIND.
George and Betty could not fail, if one simple belief system was adopted into their group's thinking. Any who questioned could not stay, for the system, like a house of card's would quickly all come down. Here now is what happened to Betty's family.
Betty attended Bob Jones College. I believe my mother also attended there and stayed with Betty, but only for a year. I was told that many of Betty's weird ideas and indiscernible illnesses surfaced not long after. A family story floated around that she had some type of run in with Billy Graham over Godly issues, but it's my feeling this was another story generated to elevate the teller. In all the times I ever saw Betty, I never her saw her work. She sort of dwelled around the house. At times my mothers animated ways annoyed Betty. Betty never seemed comfortable in her own skin.
D. Jr., the oldest brother (still alive), was married three times and ran a trucking company in Wisconsin. D. never took any godly crap from any of the family. Each one of them had a fear of him.
B. (still alive), at last count that I know of, had produced about 13 kids between two wives. He had other problems, as you might guess by the kid count, and nobody has seen him in years.
O. and my father divorced after 20 years of "combat marriage". She drifted from church to church suffering depression that haunted her all her life. She remarried, and I think talked her dad, D. Sr., in Florida into coming to her wedding. I heard he did show up. I wasn't there. My mother and I had not spoken the last six years of her life because I had crossed her over some simple misunderstanding. Her last words to me were, "I wish you had never been born." Ah, what a family!
She had a face-lift a few years after the marriage, changed her name to J., bought a mink stole, and then took her life in a closed garage with the car running. (It was her second attempt.) The keeper of Gawd's rules for my family, in the end, found no way to even love herself.
Eva died years earlier. She told me once she was in horror of what would happen when her kids came to divide her belongings. I assured her it would be fine. On the day they all did come to claim what they wanted of Eva's things, my mother hit her brother, B., in the head with a bucket. He then proceeded to put her head through a glass window. By the time older brother D. Jr. arrived, my mother's boyfriend had his shot gun and was headed for the door. That was Betty's family tree. I'm ashamed of them. They were given so much. But their fruits did not take long to fall from the silver plate...into the dung.
And now, as I read of the horrendous grief and physical pain created by Betty, George and the boys, I wonder how many generations it will go on after they to are gone. When will it ever end?
Your leaders were not of noble decent. They came from an iron ore town near a lake. All who knew them have suffered. Most had made a business of stealing souls for their own salvation. Nothing more.
To those who have beaten the Betty and George Geftakys labyrinth...I congratulate your hard-earned victory. Raise your face to the sun and breathe in the good life you have earned and the treasures God has given you.
It's a good time to be alive. The best days are just ahead. Have faith in God, and just as important, have faith in yourself, and in those around you. You were always enough for Him.
To those who remain in the maze, let me say this. I promise all of you, the silence of the children you damage in their youth will be deafening when they leave. Mothers, prepare, for your children will leave you, finding you unworthy of their love. Fathers, no son will darken your door for eternity. God has placed in them free will, even over himself. He has given them the right to be.
As for all the men left inside the cult, you are charged by all men to protect whose who cannot defend themselves. Any man who raises a hand to a woman must receive like treatment from the men. (Isn't it remarkable how men never lose their tempers in front of other men? I wonder why?)
Women! Get your kids out! Listen to your heart. It is the one place they cannot reach.
I love being me again. I hope you all do, too.
B., this is an amazing overview of your grandmother's and Aunt Betty's religion! It is amazing to me that Betty is the one who perpetuated it on the Assembly. I thought that George was the main "theologian," and Betty's ideas flowed from the same sources. This information gives a very different picture. Do you know if your grandmother belonged to a particular church or read certain books that taught this view? Her perspective is steeped in "higher life" concepts, filtered through her own life experience. It is fascinating to see these ideas expressed without the precise Assembly terminology which gives them a false aura of holiness.
How this affected you is so similar to how it affected all of us, it's uncanny. I am so glad you have come out from under it. We are all (well, most of us) discovering how great it is to be ourselves, too! It's hard, though, in a way, to figure out who you really are after being subjected to that.
I am so sorry for the way your relationship with your mother ended. You seem to have handled it well, but that is a very, very, very tough thing to come to terms with.
I would like to put your posts together into an article for the website.
Eva really never attended any church with regularity. She did, however, have two or three Bibles she'd study every night.
It might interest you to know that my father was the pure born narcissist in my family. He went on and married three more times. He has not seen my sister in twenty years and has never meet two of her four children. He, too, was someone we learned to never cross. I stayed loyal as "the good son who was taught to honor his mother and father" until a year ago. He continued to pummel myself and my family all those years. So my sister and I received a double-barrel dose of loneliness and control.
Now picture if you would my father (the powerful and most successfully rich self-indulged person in the family) sitting in a room with George and Betty, having discussions. It was a powder keg!!! Hence, George probably left to find more fertile ground where he could dominate with his gifts of healing grace. Oh brother, did we have a petri dish of weirdoes to overcome. Maybe all families do .... I hope not.
God's gift to me, which activated at about 48 years old, was his gift of FREE WILL. It was a tiny voice or feeling inside of me that said, get up...fight back...this is not you. You deserve more than this.... It was the sense that I was only following and performing for everyone else. From 48 to 50 I threw out the rule book and began to realize I had never had the privilege of giving myself to God. I had inherited it!!!
So I started from birth.... and made every decision a frightened, dominated five-year-old or ten-year-old or fifteen-year-old who had been terrorized could not. If there was a God, I was now going to risk all ... to do battle with him. If I came to him again, it would be as a warrior bowing his knee in honor, respect and love. Not as a frightened rabbit clinging undeservedly to the tip of his robe in hopelessness.
"Free will" changed my life, restored my marriage and introduced me to two children who had suffered a bit under my belief systems. My tiny wife had shielded them all those years, and loved me, and waited. What I had missed in childhood I received ten-fold as an adult. My eyes and heart broke open to discover them. Wowser! What a break!! What a woman God had made.
I became me again, and what tiny gifts I can offer up to him ... are my choice and his alone. I get it now!!! He now has a powerful son who has learned to how to love and be loved.
In closing, someone once asked the question, "If you were in a raft at sea with only one day of water and in every direction but one, you were two thousand miles from shore, which would be the absolute right direction to row?" My answer used to be, "Pray on it."
Today my answer is... "PRAY LIKE HELL AND ROW FOR THE BEACH." Trust, row and expect! On the day I stand before him...he will know me, for I finally know myself. He made a good guy with a good heart. I am 53.
Back to you soon. Have a great holiday weekend fellow traveler. The best is yet to come. Keep ROWING!
September 21--Email from Bob. L.'s sister, Linda. B. (Betty's niece, daughter of Betty's sister O.)
I have received copies of the correspondence you have had with my brother Bob. Like my brother, I too was deeply grieved by all confusion, pain and lies George and Betty have passed on. As I read all the info, especially Judy’s story and Rachel’s story, I became flooded with a range of emotions. It was another confirmation of the chaotic life I had once lived, and still fight with today.
I am so saddened to hear about all the Assembly members that have been entangled in this chaos. It is for their mental and spiritual wellbeing that I write. I would have loved to find someone, anyone who could have understood what I was feeling. Anyone who could have helped me untangle the web I was caught in.
So I write hoping my story will assist someone who is searching. I can only tell my story. I can only relay what I remember and what I was taught. I can only convey my opinion and thoughts. I do not believe any of it was malicious. It was what they were taught--but it was still WRONG!. The end results were always the same, and the suffering was and is great. I need to speak up and say, "STOP!" I think of it as the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where The Great Oz was revealed by the little dog. The curtain must be pulled back and the truth must be exposed! So this is my story…
I, Linda B., was born in 1951 to Betty’s sister, O. It is interesting to me that all my mother’s brothers and sisters have gone by different names through the years. My mother was born O., but changed it to J., and then G. My understanding was that Betty was born Olive Betty. My mother and her sister both hated their first names.
Betty's brother D. Jr., named for his father, also went by his middle name G. for many years, and then when he reconnected with his father later in life, he and went back to D. Uncle D. has three children and has had three wives. He disowned his son because of bad behavior. No church.
I don't remember how Betty's brother B. came to be known by that nickname. He has nine children, has had two wives, and many girlfriends. He also disowned a number of his daughters because they are bi-racial. Very messy life. No Church
Interesting that Betty's father, D. Sr., was disowned from his family, and then walked away from his own children. Her brother D. Jr. disowned his son. My mother O. disowned her son Bob L. "If you don’t conform, you're out," was the message for many generations.
Eva and D. Sr. were Betty’s parents. Eva’s parents ran a restaurant up north somewhere and she was an only child. She always believed her parents didn’t want children and that she was in the way. She claimed the patrons of the restaurant raised her. She was a very lonely child.
I was told that Betty's father's brothers, her uncles, were all pastors and that her father D. was the “bad blood” of the family. I once saw a picture of D. Sr.'s father (Betty's grandfather). The book was written by a daughter of one of D. Sr.’s brother’s (a pastor’s wife). Under the picture was written something to the effect, "He was not a nice person and was very mean to his children”. How interesting…..a harshness that continued for generations.
I do not know what denomination these brothers practiced. Uncle D. Jr. (Betty's brother) sought out his father in the 1970’s and began to see him once every three years or so. They got along but not well. B. has never sought out his father. My mother did not hear from their father until a week before her second marriage. He called and asked to come to her wedding. He said his wife had died and he was sorry for ever leaving his children. My mother said, “A little too late”. He came anyway. Mom was furious and fought with him. She was sad my Grandma Eva had to see him. But he was old and not so fierce. O. ended up seeing him a few times before she died. I called him to tell him his daughter O. had taken her own life. His response was, “I wonder what would make a person do a thing like that”. He said, “Thanks for calling”. I, his granddaughter, never heard from him again.
Eva and D. Sr. were Baptist. D. was an elder in the church and they had visiting missionaries in their home often. I do know D. was very strict. One of the expectations of the children was at the dinner table they were not to begin eating until their father took a drink of his milk and put the glass down. Then they could eat. The girls were not allowed to dance or wear make-up etc. Very legalistic. My Grandmother Eva always told me she had prayed from little on …that her two sons would become pastors (leaders of men).
Grandma told me, “My husband came home one Friday night, and said he did not love me anymore. He was in love with the organist at the church and that he was leaving that night.” She said she did not fight him. He left his family…she left her family….they both left the church….and their faith. His new wife demanded he not see his children, and he didn’t. My mother was thirteen when her father left.
My mother O., who was in high school, and Grandmother Eva lived in an apartment on the east side. Eva became very depressed and sometime later had a nervous breakdown while Betty was at Bob Jones College and the boys were in the service. Eva went to live with friends while she was sick, and left my mother with the tenants downstairs, which was very upsetting to her.
Mother said she decided while she was in high school to go to Bob Jones College and live with her sister Betty. She said they were not allowed to stay in the same room together. This was upsetting to my mother and she snuck out one night and stayed with her sister. They were called to the “authorities” and were accused to being lesbians. Mom came home offended….Betty stayed.
In the 50’s Eva married Clarence P., a non-believer. She also took care of her father until he died. Clarence died of a heart attack a number of years later, for which Eva blamed herself. She said it was God’s way of punishing her for marrying again. She made a vow never to attend a church again. She said she was not worthy to worship in the house of God. She listened to Warren Wiersbe, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, and many others on the radio. And spent many hours in her Bible. Shame was a big word for her. It was always, "Shame, Shame, Shame on you!" Even if she was watching TV, she was busy shaming people she saw on the TV. She felt she could share God’s word if you came in her home, but not anywhere else.
I learned from little on, “If you love me, you’ll do what I say.” It was a life of sacrifice. Self was self-centeredness, self focus was a sin. Obedience was love. My mother explained in a rebellious time in her life she married my father, an unbeliever who let her break the rules. But then she had children ….felt she had done wrong and God would punish her….went back to the church……many different churches…..trying to find one my father would attend. (She never found one).
She made a vow to herself that she would stay in the marriage so her children would at least know their father, instead of doing what her father did to her. (A life of sacrifice!!) But she couldn’t do it.
My mother was very different from Betty. My mother was a scrapper…..she fought with everyone and everything. I did not know Betty well. She would come (alone, not with George) to visit her mother, and I did meet her four or five times throughout the years. She always started her conversations with, “So, tell me what the Lord has done for you this week.” It was very intimidating, and I always felt small around her.
I learned life was supposed to be painful. We are fallen creatures in a fallen world. We will not experience joy and peace until heaven. So if we disobeyed my mother, we were harshly punished. If we cried, she said, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”, and, “If you just did as you’re told, this wouldn’t be happening.” It didn’t matter what we were feeling. "Just do it because I said so!," Mother always said. “Do what I say, not what I’d do”.
It was a very confusing message. I didn’t have a mentor, showing me the way--I had a dictator, demanding her way! The twist came at that point--GOD SAID IT IS SO!!!! That was always the twist. I was a sinner, she was a sinner. but, "I am going to demand God’s truths out of you and you WILL be better." The only problem with that is, it wasn’t God’s truths, it was a truth that went through her filter of scared and wounded interpretations, the ingrained rules and expectations of generations. If you questioned, you were weak in your faith. If you sought help, you were “of the world.” God is the Great Counselor, "Listen to ME, little girl!"
I learned to sabotage any joy and proud moments I felt. I felt sooooo guilty with any attention on me. If a complement came my way…..it had to go to the Lord. For example, if someone likes my dress, it is not MY dress; everything comes from the Lord, it is HIS dress so the complement has to go to him. God loves a humble person….so take nothing into yourself…..put everyone and everything before yourself. Glory to God only! I remember being asked over and over again, “Who do you think you are?” “What a self-centered attitude – the Lord’s not happy with you now,” “You’re going to be sorry someday when you have to stand before the Lord and give an answer to that.” The attack was on self. And I obeyed.
Mom allowed no new information in. She could see she was inflicting wounds and could not understand how it had gotten to this point. I watched my mother fight the battle ……She was a good fighter, and she was busy fighting the good fight. One day she would be godly and remorseful of her actions…..she loved the Lord…..she wanted to be good enough for him…..but he demanded perfection out of her……she would fall short……she’d get sad…..and then get mad…..I’m good enough!…..How dare you say I haven’t suffered enough. Then in her anger she would turn on us kids. Her punishments were not out of love, but frustration and anger. It was ugly…..and it would all start again....over and over.
As the years went on she became more and more bitter. Always the victim…it was always someone else’s fault--her father left her, her husband left her. She rejected her son, and in the end she rejected me, too. She could not face the fact that her whole belief system was flawed. Once again she had done it wrong….once again she was not enough.
Her inner pain was so great she finally stopped fighting!!! My mother tried killing herself many times and finally succeeded. She was dead, the battle was over. She had said many times, “I should just get out of here.…all I do is cause pain.” She was lost in the chaos....lost in the confusion…..lost in the lies.
I have even been able to somewhat see how my generations of family twisted the truth. By no means does that get them off the hook. I now believe in a Just God, who will hold them accountable for there actions. Thank God, I do not have to be a part of that. Do I feel sorry for her? NO. You would have had to stand beside her and listen as she turned away from help. Many, many reached out with the truth. She argued and fought…..sure she was right….she knew the way….they aren’t listening to me…..I’m suffering for the Lord…..this is God’s way….no pain, no gain. This teaching has a strong grip on believers…..it robs your very soul.
I was left being the obedient daughter with a teacher who now demonstrated God is not enough. She was dead. The rug was pulled out from under me….and I fell. Where was God? Why wasn’t he there for her? Is he there for me? How could this happen. I ended up in the psych ward of our local hospital. I was so depressed. I was going to follow her…"I’m going to end up just like her....but I have four children….I can’t leave them." So… I turned from this crazy God who took my mother, who destroyed my family…etc. I was done with God.
But what do I turn to? It has taken me so long to find my way back. I now know a loving wonderful God who had always been there. But I came back to Him with a filter that was clogged and distorted. Along my journey I went to the “world” and dealt with my severe depression by medication. I sought counseling and started to get a picture of what the “world” actually was. I joined Co-Dependants Anonymous and understood I was my own worst enemy. That I was allowing others of define my life and not carrying my own responsibility. I read books, books, and books….seeking answers. One in particular was helpful, People of the Lie by Scott Peck. I realized there are real evil people. And people do lie.
I sought Christian counselors. I went to my church, Elmbrook Church (non-denominational), pastored by Stuart Briscoe. I started asking questions. I opened myself up to a small group of friends and told them my belief system. It is easy to hide in a church. Especially a large church and learn the terminology and fit in. But that is not what I was seeking. I didn’t want to just fit in. I wanted to know why they believed what they believed. They were patient and loving. They were angry with my mother and they didn’t even know her. They had compassion and spent years with me asking over and over again, "Who is this God? Why is He seeking all of me? Why am I not good enough? Why do I live in fear of Him? "
I slowly saw a much different God than I was taught. A loving God who loves me just as I am. Who does not set a book of rules in front of me and judges/punishes me every time I fall short. A God that wants me to question and doesn’t not want me blindly following and focusing only on behavior. He wants me to be free and to live a happy and fruitful life. To be full of joy and peace here on earth. Sacrifice is a choice we willingly give. "The rules" are not rules, they are guiding tools meant to help me live the full life he intended for me. I do not save people, He does. I get to worship my creator who values me enough to die for me. I am valuable in his eyes. I don’t have to earn it or prove it. It is.
My journey will not be your journey. My heart weeps for those who are trapped in the deceitful web. Where it started who knows. I’m sure everyone along the way has added their own part. But the evil one is in it. Look what it has produced. Evil is confusion--could we be anymore confused? We are taught to watch out for the devils work and to flee from it, yet it was right in front of us and we couldn’t see it.
My pastor told the story of being a banker at one time in his life. He said to recognize counterfeit money they were taught to study the real dollar bill over and over again, since counterfeit money is constantly changing but the real thing never does.
Refuse to focus on what George and Betty have done wrong…..do not empower it. Seek, ask questions. If you run into red flags, fly--flee, trust your heart. You are God’s creation, he has not left you, you are perfect in His sight. Many people helped me out--not one church, not one leader, not one friend, but many. God’s world is bigger than that. His message is simple….Love. Love Him, love your neighbor, and love yourself! It’s not our battle, it is His battle against evil and it is already won. He wants us to live in that truth, to show the world the battle is won, to be free to be a human BEing, not a human DOing.
I hope this helps explains a little more about Betty’s past. I do not believe they are evil people, but I do believe what they are professing is. I want to encourage “The Assembly” to say NO MORE! I worry so for Rachel….she is so looking for answers. And for Judy and the pain she endured. As for passing the story on--yes, tell it. If it only helps one, it’s worth it. I felt so alone in this journey, and I know my brother did, too. We couldn’t even help each other, it was just too painful. Let people know they are not alone and there is hope. There is a way out of the deception and they can heal. If you or anyone would like to contact me through the website editor I am more than willing to listen.
May you continue to seek Him,
Linda B .
Second email from Linda:
I appreciate my brother's concern about me as a sister and the respect he shows me. He received the same damage as I did from his family of origin. Our parents spent most of their time together fighting. One weekend my father took us to a hotel with a pool just to celebrate that they didn’t fight that week. Our father hid behind his money and all it could buy….it consumed his life, and our mother hid behind her God whom she was always fighting with. Our father inflicted the same message as my mother, but just in a different way: We were not important, we did not matter.
This was a lot harder to write than I thought. Going back and remembering some of those situations (which in turn brought up many more in my mind) caused a few days of angry feelings. I am very concerned when I think that Betty and George are continuing their “ministry”. It is so unfair to just sit back and not do anything but I’m not sure what I could do to help stop the madness. I am very grateful to you and whoever is keeping this information on the web. It is a wonderful way for someone who is lost and confused to read the truth anonymously. May God continue to bless this site.
I agree with my brother about using initials to tell this story, since the internet is a vast world which includes very strange people. And who knows if my great-grandchild would stumble across this some day. I would not like to be any part of passing on the pain. I hope it is a story that will die now……never to be played again.
Your brother Bob told me he wanted to run our email conversation by you, so I thought I might hear from you. Oh my goodness, what a story you have told! You suffered through a horrible wounding family milieu. It's amazing that you have come out at the end of this family saga of despair over a false image of God, and have found the God who truly is! I think the fact is that God had hold of you all along, and safely brought you to himself. And who knows, maybe that was in answer to the prayers of your mother and grandmother, misguided and tormented though they were.
This story provides several pieces to the Assembly puzzle that would be very helpful to have on the geftakysassembly.com website. For one thing, it traces the family history of harsh treatment of children, perpetrated by Betty on Assembly kids as well. For another, it shows the family history of disowning/abandoning family members. (We have wondered how George and Betty could just suddenly cut themselves off from all their grandchildren, and one of their sons, and close colleagues, with never a backward glance.) For a third, it shows the family roots of legalism (as well as whatever Betty picked up from Bob Jones College).
But most importantly it shows, as I mentioned to Bob, the family mentality of "death to self," which was transplanted wholesale into the Assembly. Its roots were not a well-thought out theology--it was the result of Eva's deeply wounded soul pondering the Bible in isolation, coming to wildly off-base conclusions about what earns God's approval, and sternly beating her "truths" into her children. You and Bob have done a great job of exposing it for what it is and showing the antidote. Thank you so much for your effort, and Bob's, to write this account and communicate your insights to people from the Assemblies of George and Betty Geftakys.
September 21 Email from Bob
Good evening, Margaret--
All your efforts have produced a wonderful link that I think will bring my sister and I back together again. I am most grateful. It turns out that after talking for many hours on the phone we both found out we were us again. We had "come back" from a very dark place. The gift you provided was the first real confirmation that it all "really happened as it did." We were so young ......and it has been impossible to explain even to a spouse. We were so alone..... for so many years.
Linda and I remain unsure what will result from what we have written. It is hard to believe we could do any greater damage than has been done. But we do worry for all of them.
I must apologize one last time on behalf of my family..... for all the pain and broken hearts they have caused. I can only pray now it ends with them. I hope so.