Readers' Comments on "Kristin's" Story
April, 2009: Kristin, I would like to thank you for sharing your story and for sharing it in such a transparent, detailed way. I went through a similar experience to yours, although not in the Geftakys Assembly, but in another church affiliation. I truly understand your desire to honestly serve God by submitting to leadership, even when it made you uncomfortable.
The man who victimized me took advantage of that desire in me, and also made vague, spiritual-sounding comments about our relationship, and alternately, blamed me for his inappropriate behavior. It was very helpful to hear of someone else going through such a confusing situation and to know I am not the only one.
November 28, 2008, Anonymous: I was once part of an assembly much like this one. In the end, I realized that an elder is still a man like any other man. We hope they are more mature in Christ, but it is immature on the part of a sister or brother to think they are "perfect" like God. For this reason, I have made sure I am never alone with any man, especially an elder.
On one occasion an elder who was a chiropractor wanted to give me a body massage in his office, but I said, "No thank you." He kept on insisting, but I said no. Even though he was an elder, I knew he was still just a man. I have always been an independent thinker and although I am committed to Jesus Christ, I am very cautious around men, even those that claim "godliness".
Sad are the stories of young women who trust their elders to the point of giving up their better judgment. I have seen a young lady or two who acted this way. They found themselves caught in a web of deceit and rumors later on regarding the elders. The elders seem to be "protected" by their position in the assembly but it is the young lady that is looked down upon.
Almost reminds me of The Scarlet Letter to a point. That is my experience. Not all elders, just like not all men, are this way but one has to be cautious nonetheless. Sad that some elders use the name of God to cloak their "private sin". A young woman's life will never be the same, and even though she is not completely at fault as she was "trusting and naive", she or others may feel her reputation is tainted.
June 11, 2004, John J.: "It is easy to see how "Kristin's" story remained hidden during her involvement with George. The victim still uses very cryptic euphemisms for the verbal and physical advances George made toward her. "Fondled" is too kind if he touched her breasts and genitals. Few in his ministry had the gift of stating the obvious. This is why those who did were so refreshing.
"The thick tapestry of euphemism and understatement pervaded George's ministry. When the underlings in good faith revealed their own failings and struggles, these same confessions were used against them as leverage, but his own, his family's and his ministry's failings were protected with the utmost secrecy. The victims played by a different set of rules than the abusers. Unfortunately George was an effective teacher of his methods. He dragged those closest to him into the roles of abused victim, hiders of abuse and finally abuser. This is spiritual reproduction of another sort altogether.
"It is the abuse of power toward the most vulnerable that is so disturbing. Given the human physical nature, sexual infidelity is not very surprising, even in Christian ministry. Incorporating entire seminars ("The Silent Conversation", School of the Bride III?) for a worldwide audience into one's sexual fantasies and using these to psychologically overpower and manipulate the reality of young female followers is much more diabolical. George's son Dave is reported to have used the pulpit to cover over his physical abuse and other aberrant behaviors. George appears to have done the same at a much higher level.
"What will it take to put the final nail in this coffin, so everyone involved can move on without looking back? How much more evidence could any thinking person need?
May 22, 2004, Beth A., one of GG's former secretaries: "Margaret--Wow! I would like to meet this Kristin. Yes, I had the secret letters from George as well, but they were more about the ministry. Still, I felt privileged. He seems to have gotten a bit more over the edge with her than he did with me, but the story is hauntingly familiar. It is such a mirror of what I thought about myself at the time. Interesting to have a 30-year perspective on it. More interesting is that I stayed another 14 years!! Wanna' hear the eye opener for me....most disturbing..... Betty treated me the same way after she found out! She read Fenelon's book, Christian Perfection, with me, too. I have never seen so clearly how culpable she is....it's a charade."