Rachel Geftakys Steepleton: Part of My Story

 1971-1983  Judy and David

Leaders involved at this time: David Geftakys, Betty Geftakys, George Geftakys, Gay Walker


Judy was 19 when she started coming out to Assembly outreaches on the Pierce College campus, and then to Assembly meetings in the San Fernando Valley. Almost immediately Betty took an interest in her and started meeting intensely with her. Judy and David Geftakys started spending time together studying, etc.

Here is Judy's account:

"When I moved to Fullerton in January of 1973, I had already been one of Betty's regular disciples. I also was David's friend through contact with common friends, the Youslings.

David became my study partner once I was in Fullerton and both George and Betty regularly included me in their household activities. Betty and I met for breakfast once a week in order to teach me.

Part of that teaching was how to understand David. She addressed what she saw in me as a willingness to judge others harshly. When I questioned why David didn't have to participate in things the same way the rest of us did, she taught me that this was just more of my judgmental ways. Her viewpoint was that we were all going to be surprised with how much David did with how little he had in the way of health.

This proved to be a standing theme with Betty during all the following years. I was judgmental if I questioned David's behavior, and David was a hero in disguise because he was actually doing far more than he should be expected to do. 

I believed Betty's assessment for many years. Once I no longer believed it, I still offered it as an excuse to all those around me with the same questions about David. But in private I began to challenge my husband when he would say one thing and live another. This proved to be the thing David would not allow. If I questioned him, he would be very angry and early on (6 months into the marriage) he became physically abusive when I questioned him.

He believed that a woman who loves God knows she should not challenge her "head." Betty supported him and enlarged this idea to include the teaching that a loving wife covered her husband's weakness, because "love covers a multitude of sins." If there was one thing I was committed to, it was to be "the best wife David could ever have had." And so I covered his weaknesses and believed I would win David's love in the end."

1974 David and Judy got married. About 4 weeks after their marriage David disabled the car before leaving for work because he had gotten it in his head that Judy might leave him. There was really no argument, or any other reason she would leave; he was just paranoid and very insecure. Judy was told and believed that this was a side effect of his diabetes. Judy was not allowed to work because David was afraid that she would cheat on him if she worked outside the home. Judy said this was the result of a talk between George and David.

About 6 months after they married, after they had moved into the house on Carhart in Fullerton, David attacked Judy for the first time. She started to pack but then stopped. She had made a commitment before God to stay with this man for better or worse, so she called Betty for counseling. Betty pointed out, as she would many times in the future, that Judy had a sharp tongue and that she, Betty, believed Judy had provoked David. Judy was told she needed to work harder, do better and then the violence wouldn't happen.

This became a recurring theme. Every time David beat Judy, she called Betty and was told it was somehow her fault. David always eventually apologized, but it never stopped him from doing it again. Throughout their marriage, David made most of the family decisions, along with Betty, his mother, and then told Judy how things would be done. This included everything: budget, diet, where they would live, if they would buy a home, birth control, how many children, everything.

This was a point of argument between David and Judy. Judy wanted it to be her and David making family decisions together, like a normal family, but David would not have any part of that. Many times he would say it was because of the "Work," by which he meant his father’s ministry, or that he had talked to his mother about something and that to serve the Lord in his parent's ministry they would do it the way Betty had decided.

1974-1977 David and Judy were sent to the Midwest. They lived with a number of different people in different places.

1977 I was born. Two weeks after my birth, my family was moved back to Fullerton supposedly for David's health. On the trip home he was intolerant of the needs of his wife and baby. He wouldn't stop for bathroom breaks and wanted Judy to have me on a schedule immediately. Therefore, she was not allowed to feed me unless he said it was time, and he wouldn't allow me to cry at all. He wanted instant mat training, and he exerted extreme control to see his wishes take place.

In retrospect, Judy said David's behavior with the women in the Chicago sister's house, which he was supposed to be taking over, was aggressive and angry. That may have been the reason they had him come back to Fullerton. [It is interesting to note that David was never again asked to head a sister's house and only had brother's houses. He was less abusive towards men then women, probably because the men could fight back if pressed too far.]

Soon after David and Judy returned to Fullerton, they went to the Worker's Conference in Colorado. I was very ill with an ear infection and Judy was also ill. We were not able to make it to many of the meetings, so my grandparents, George and Betty, put David and Judy and myself into a hotel.

David was angry because he felt his parents were disappointed by our family's performance. Upon entering the hotel, he shoved Judy through the door, back outside, and slammed it shut. My mom took me to the car to try to stay warm, as it was then night and very cold. We didn't have the keys but the car was open. Since we couldn't start the car, it too was getting very cold.

Finally when Judy was afraid that harm was going come to us because of the cold, she returned to the hotel room and pounded on the door. David let her in, but then grabbed her by the arm, bruising her. He then slapped her.

When they got back to Fullerton, he was placed in the Rheam clinic. While David was in Rheam, Judy was supposed to take care of George and Betty's house while they were away on the European "journey." When they got home, they found Judy exhausted. They decided she needed a "rest," but should have to "pay for it some way."

The solution was to send her to La Vita Hot Springs with Karen Krusich (now Karen Ing). There, Judy did the Rheam Diet process for Karen.

I had colic and cried a lot. Judy ended up having to go into the closet of the hotel room on at least a daily basis because my crying disturbed Karen. David was very sick at Rheam and angry. The diet had caused him to lose a lot of weight, messed up his blood sugar and aggravated his diabetes.

1978-1983 We moved from Fullerton to the Midwest and back again a number of times. Just before my brother was born, Judy talked with Dan Notti about her husband's abuse. Dan was a pretty young guy and really didn't want to have to believe this, let alone deal with it. Nothing was done to hold David to account.

While in Saint Louis, Judy gave birth to my brother, David Michael. She was sick the entire pregnancy. During this time David was gone on Itinerate preaching a lot. Two days after she gave birth to my brother, David was supposed to leave on a ski trip. Judy did not want him to leave, because she needed help in her postpartum state.

David became so angry that he tried to smother her using a pillow. While David was smothering Judy, she was kicking her heals on the floor, trying to get out from under the pillow. She kicked them so hard that she bruised them badly. She couldn't walk for nearly a week. David went on his ski trip after this.

David took her to the Houk's house in Oakland, Ill. While Judy was at the Houk's, David took me to Omaha on a trip. While at the Houk's home, Judy got shingles and milk fever.

Since my parents were still having problems, they went back to Fullerton for a little while. While in Fullerton they stayed at George and Betty's house. It was there that again, and even more so, David beat Judy. This was to be the worst beating she received, until years later when we moved to the second house on Augusta Street in San Luis Obispo.

There was blood on the sheets around her. It was coming mainly from her left nipple, since he had beaten her mainly in the breast. After the beating, Gay Mau (Walker) was sent over to help Judy. When Judy was in the shower, Gay was going to pour cold water on her wounds. When Gay saw the bleeding and injuries she became alarmed and went to Betty.

Betty diffused Gay's concern by telling her that she didn't know what really happened and that Judy was responsible for provoking David.

At the present time, I cannot think of anything a person could say to explain those kinds of injuries but I am also away from the influences and controls of that group and of Betty. If any people could be brainwashed into thinking it was fine to beat your wife bloody, it would be the "saints." I can remember a time when I thought, because David said he was sorry, that should be the end of it. But I never thought that the physical abuse was OK.

They returned to Saint Louis and at that time Judy told David she was leaving him. His response was, "Fine, go. But you won't get the kids." Judy believed him and responded by telling him that he had until David Michael was 18.

David wouldn't let her go anywhere with both David and I. She could only take one of us at a time. Obviously, this was in order to control her, and prevent her from leaving him. He told those around him that she was just suffering from post-partum depression and not to let her be alone with my brother and me. Even using birth control she got pregnant again, this time with Rebecca, and they moved back to Fullerton.

When I was 4, I witnessed David shove/throw Judy against the sink in our Carhart house and grab her by the throat. I never told anyone about the event, until I was in my teens, because I supposed I didn't know what was really going on, or that it was only a bad dream.

In 1982  My sister Rebecca was born. After Rebecca's birth, Betty and David decided my family should not have any more children and that Judy should get her tubes tied. They said it was much too risky for David to get a vasectomy because his health was so delicate. It was also after my sister's birth that Dan Notti was once again confronted with the abuse Judy was suffering from David. Dan acknowledged, at that time, that David had grabbed Judy hard, slapped and shoved her. However, he was still unwilling to acknowledge that there was anything more then slaps or that there were "beatings." As usual, nothing was done, and David was not in any way made accountable.


  Rachel's Story: Introduction 1984-1993  Judy and David  »
1994-1997  Rachel and David  »
1997-2000  Judy and David  »
1996-2001  Rachel  »
Betty Teaches on Families, and We Finally Leave  »
Conclusion, Epilogue and List of Witnesses  »


Menu ·  Top of Page