I once observed an example of psychological abuse of unbelievable cruelty. It happened at a Worker's Seminar in Colorado during the 1980's.
A brother who I will call "J" had gotten upset about something in the brother's house where he lived. He had kicked someone. George Geftakys had heard of this and had decided that he needed to be corrected.
In describing this I have to admit my silent complicity. I knew at the time it was wrong, but I "kept my head down". Yes, I am ashamed, and yes, I repent and if you read this J, I ask your forgiveness.
George Geftakys asked me to come to his quarters at a set time. When I approached the cabin I realized that all the "Leading Brothers" from all the Assemblies were attending as well. This means that about 30-35 brothers were in the room. J came in and sat in a chair a little set apart from the large semi-circle that our chairs had formed.
When asked to explain himself he began to protest that this was an unfair way
to deal with him. After one or two sentences J's fear and terror at this
psychological assault broke out and he began screaming about this being a
"kangaroo court". He was right. He continued screaming so George told
everyone to leave. We went outside. We stood there for a few minutes longer
because J was still yelling at the top of his lungs. Tim Geftakys was
standing with us. He said, "What a jerk".
Later I went to J's room. He was lying on his bed reading his Bible. Having been the subject of many "mini-gang bangs" in leading brother's meetings I knew something of how he felt. You have the sense that YOU were at fault, that YOU have done something wrong, and that those who have violated you are RIGHT! This technique is used by most cultic groups to control "mavericks". It works.
J told me that he was "no longer a Worker". He probably didn't realize what a blessing this was. I spent an hour or so talking to him. I hoped to communicate some sense that he wasn't worthless, that someone cared about him as a person. It was too little, too late, I know, but it was all I could think of at the time. I was, like so many others, a victim of and an enabler of this type of evil.
This, as I currently remember, was the only time I was asked to participate in this type of abuse. However, since my departure from the George Geftakys Assemblies, I have heard of others who have been subjected to this evil practice.
One is a long time secretary of George's who kept attempting to assert healthy and proper control over her own life. Another was Steve Irons, a long-time Elder from Fullerton. When he was in the process of being expelled from George Geftakys' little world, he tried to talk to the brothers. He was told to come to George's house one evening. When he drove up he observed brothers from Fullerton, Placentia, and West Los Angeles walking into George's House. Knowing what they were up to, he wisely decided not to attend.
I avoided being "gang banged" in Fullerton, California in 1988. I had left the Leading Brother's meeting some months earlier, and I wished to discuss my returning to the San Fernando Valley with them. When I arrived, at the appointed time, I found the Leading Brothers of both the Fullerton and Placentia Assemblies present. I had brought my wife with me as I wished her to witness whatever happened.
I told them that I refused to discuss my personal business with the Brothers from another Assembly. George Geftakys kept saying, "This is what we do." This, of course, I already knew. I had told my wife that if they tried to gang bang me we would leave. I kept repeating my refusal, and George Geftakys kept insisting that I talk to the whole group. Finally, one of the Placentia brothers diffused the situation by saying, "Why don't we wait outside". The Placentia group left the room.
In describing this practice, I have used a term for it that is not very nice. This is because psychologically it is the same thing. A calculated violation of the victim's very personhood, their very being. People treated like this can suffer such things as nightmares, memory loss and personality changes. It is a known brain washing technique, used by tyrants and cultists all over the world. It is a hideous evil, and I sincerely believe that anyone who knowingly utilizes it has given way to evil in their heart. I believe that Satanic is not too strong a term in describing it.
Dr. Kelton Rhoades writes about the "Hot Seat Technique" on his website Working Psychology.