Infant Abuse in the Assembly

A Mom Describes Child Training in the Omaha Assembly

Yes, my husband and I were in the Assembly in Omaha, Nebraska for many years. The reason I'm writing? I'm still plagued with so much regret and shame for what I did. The abuse all the parents afflicted on our children hasn't really been talked about here, has it? The mothers' meetings we had to attend, and listen to the crazy teachings from Cheryl Zach and Chris Sjogren. The teachings were all based on fear. Fear that your babies were born depraved sinners and would never become spiritual unless you beat the sin and self-will out of them - fear tactics to get you to believe the teachings. We were taught to start spanking our babies at THREE MONTHS OLD!!! Next time you look at a baby think of that! 

This treatment of my children is one of my biggest regrets, and causes me so much heart pain. I still beat myself up for listening to Cheryl and Chris.

Reports from Moms in Other Assemblies

More on Assembly Child Training

Pearl To Train 
up a ChildChild Training....or Child Abuse? by a former Assembly member recounts further examples of Assembly practices. Not all infants in the Assembly were treated this abusively. The harshness of child training methods increased over the years, as the Pearl method was taught, but there were differences between Assemblies and families in how the teachings were applied. The blog post "Does discipline produce godly character?" critiques Assembly child training.

Child Training for God's Servants by Ginger Geftakys is one of the official Assembly publications. Ginger carefully avoids any mention of spanking, pinching, shaming or isolation, using instead the ambiguous word 'correction'. The teaching on spanking was given verbally, not committed to print. One of my biggest regrets is that I was responsible for rearing my own children this way, and teaching it to Assembly parents by precept and example.

Ezzo Growing Kids Fugate Child TrainingThe Growing Kids God's Way and On Becoming Babywise programs developed by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo were used to undergird Assembly teaching on children. The Ezzos were formerly very involved in John MacArthur's Grace Community Church where Gary was an elder. At some point, the elder board at Grace became alarmed at certain elements in their teaching and issued a public statement distancing the church from it. Grace Church now has a website devoted to the problems with the Ezzo program. In earlier years the Assembly used What the Bible Says about Child Training by Richard and Virginia Fugate. Here are some readers' comments on the Fugate program. In later years Michael and Debi Pearl's methods were implemented to a certain extent.

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