Assembly Teaching and Practice

Indonesian fish trap The articles on this page are specific to the Assemblies of George and Betty Geftakys. They describe and evaluate the teaching and practice of the Assemblies, and the effects on the members. Also take a look at Assembly Artifacts & Curiosities.
• Assembly Teaching
• Assembly Practice
• Author Index
• Alphabetical Index
• Intro to the Geftakys Assembly Ministry

Photo: Indonesian fish trap

Assembly Teaching

G. Geftakys' seminar lectures were so long and convoluted that people came away with a fuzzy idea of what he said, and the "saints" never read most of his books. Consequently many people are confused about what George actually taught. Many of the hymns we sang so repetitiously were full of blessed truths, further confusing the issue of what was actually believed in the Assembly. Full Salvation by Devout Effort tackles George's teaching on the issue of rewards and how rewards are related to sanctification. Steve Irons wrote it in 1991, a year after the Irons left the Assembly. George distorted every aspect of salvation as "rewards" and taught that the believer must earn these blessings of salvation through diligent effort. George placed the emphasis on our effort to achieve this "so great salvation" rather than God's gracious working in our lives.

•  Adoption becomes a reward.
•  Inheritance becomes a reward.
•  The kingdom becomes a reward.
•  Membership in the body of Christ becomes a reward.
•  Election becomes a reward.
•  Resurrection and rapture becomes a reward.
•  Heaven becomes a reward.
•  Beholding Christ's glory becomes a reward.

Lee Irons wrote an excellent summary of the mistaken teaching in George's published writings. Both these articles are extensively documented with direct quotations from George Geftakys.

An email discussion about the Handbook to Happiness shows how Dr. Solomon's teaching was distorted in the Assembly to become a tool of bondage. In 1990 Margaret wrote a letter to Dr. Charles Solomon expressing her concern regarding George Geftakys' teaching on the inheritance. Here is the reply she received from a colleague of Dr. Solomon.

Steve Irons takes a look at the book Jesus is the Son of God and learns what George means by "sonship". George taught a form of "sinless perfection".  For related articles see Is God's Grace Suspended Until We Act? and The Two Natures.

What was George's purpose in teaching us the cycle of devotion (or heavenly ladder)? Was it possibly to give us an "altered state of consciousness" to enhance our receptivity to George's ministry?

Mark Campbell points out that the Assembly's understanding of holiness was doing rather than done. A condensed version of this article is also available.

Dave Sable looks at the problems with the ideal of "getting back to the book of Acts".

Brent T. explains how George equated the "Heavenly Vision" to his own ministry ("this ministry"). This is illustrated by a hand-drawn diagram.

In 2002 Brent T. wrote Glasnost, Perestroika and the Assembly.

Read the Galatian Crisis for a Scriptural answer to the teaching that fuller obedience will result in a fuller salvation.

One component of George Geftakys' teaching was based on the "higher life" concepts promoted by the Keswick Conference. In fact, the Assembly songbook, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, is a reprint of the Keswick hymnal! Here is a webpage on the Keswick theology of sanctification. The author provides a very informative PDF outline of how it developed historically and where it stands today. Answers to FAQs on Assembly "overcomer teaching" are provided by Tom Maddux--a great overview.

In Already Glorified Joe Sperling points out how George twisted the truth in Romans 8:30 that as believers we are already glorified. In Simple Trust he  underscores that we do nothing to save ourselves, but simply trust in what Christ has already done for us.

In the 1990s George Geftakys preached that the "Beginning of Sorrows" mentioned in the Book of Revelations had begun.

This bookmark is a snapshot of the Assembly's twisted and lopsided teaching on the cross.

In 2001 George published a "spiritual poem" entitled Apocalypse XII. Steve Irons comments on the preface.

Two of George's published pamphlets contradict each other.  Which one are we to believe?

Steve Irons reported on his meeting with Samuel Ochenjele when he visited Fullerton in 2003. Samuel preached some of the things George taught.

Betty Geftakys' nephew and niece came across this website. They wrote up their perspectives on the effects of Betty's family history on the Assembly. It's a fascinating analysis which shows that the roots of the "death to self" teaching went deeper than doctrine.

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Assembly Practice

"Assembly Weddings" addresses a question that has been raised by a former member about the legality of Assembly marriages. We outline the basic elements of the situation, and attorney Bob Anderson weighs in reassuringly. There is probably nothing to worry about, in most cases, but everyone who was married in the Assemblies should read this article.

Brian Steele analyzes the Assemblies using the eight criteria for thought reform developed by Robert Lifton. "Anonymous" relates this incident on brainwashed prisoners of war from the Korean War. A fictional dialogue shows mind control in action in the Assembly.

Rachel Geftakys recounted how the similarity between the Assembly and the "Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization" (3HO) turned the lights on for her about Assembly dysfunction.

"Could There Have Been a Few Sociopaths Among Us?" This article focuses on the implications of this possibility for all former Assembly members. There have been effects on children, on singles, on the consciences of many. Becoming informed is the first step to a remedy. The " Relationship Checklist" is a tool for recognizing people like this. As of 2006, a practical consideration among ourselves is the ongoing need for apologies. The article, Apology 2006, based on the writing of Beverly Engel, gives some helpful information and pointers. These three articles should be read by everyone who was effected by the Assembly.

TH in SoC is a blog put up by a former Assembly member from Fullerton and later Placentia. Many of the posts are about the Assembly, bringing a unique perspective and many valuable insights.

A Message to Wives, notes from a talk given by Betty G., shows some of the elements of Assembly mind control: A wife is to be a servant to her husband, willing to be inconvenienced, obedient, accountable to him. In a word, wives were to be dead to their own feelings, plans and wishes.

Ginger Geftakys delineated the broad spiritual-sounding outlines of Assembly teaching on child training. Two former Assembly members show how it worked out in practice in Child Training...or Child Abuse? and Infant Abuse in the Assembly.

The Selfer's Prayer originally appeared in the book, The Handbook to Happiness, by Dr. Charles Solomon. Betty Geftakys introduced it into the Assemblies in the late 1980's. Its use in the Assemblies was very different from Dr. Solomon's original intention. Here is a chart with comments on the Assembly teaching about self and the Selfer's Prayer.

A former member of the Spokane Assembly exposes some of the errors found in the doctrine and practice of the Assemblies.

An anonymous former worker (and second-generation adult) wrote An Open Letter to Assembly Folks a month after G. Geftakys' excommunication in 2003. He said he "hopes it would be helpful to someone who might still be stuck in the Assembly, or confused about what happened in their Assembly experience. I also found this webpage extremely helpful, Spiritual Abuse Profile." The perspective of this article is a valuable contribution to the whole picture, and we hope that it may even reach some who are still in former Geftakys Assemblies.

In 2002 Brent T. wrote a summary of Assembly life and practice for the Rick Ross website called What It Is Like To Be Fully Committed To The Geftakys Group. This piece is intended for people who are not familiar with the Assembly.

The Role of the Leading Brothers is a discussion excerpted from the Assembly bulletin board.

Mark Campbell wrote a brief article, Defense Mechanisms of Addicts, about how criticism is deflected in the Assembly.

Brent T. wrote "Three Filters" on Assembly misinterpretation of the Bible. The example he uses is the all-too-familiar verse from Hebrews, "Submit to those who rule over you.."

In November, 2002, Brent T. wrote Fear, Pride and False Virtue: The Weapons That Protect the Assembly.

Tom Maddux explores the inversion of the proper priorities of loyalty in the Assembly, and the results of this inversion.

Tamilla P. wrote a piece on how her view of God had changed after being out of the Assembly for a year. She titled it A God Unlike the Assembly God, because the Assembly system immersed us in fear, but our God truly is a God of love. Tamilla names some of the fears and how they were ingrained in us. And she shares some insights into the wonderful love of God. 

Nancy N. provides historical and sociological context for the Assemblies. Many fringe church groups with authoritarian and legalistic traits like the Assembly came out of the Jesus Movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Nancy references the Irons story that explains why the Irons left the Geftakys' ministry in 1990.

Brent T. writes about the unspoken code of silence rule in the Assemblies, and describes the pharisaical spirit: an actor, appearing beautiful without, but filthy within.

George Geftakys's Treatment of Others, written by Steve and Margaret Irons in 1990-1991, quotes verbatim from George's published writings, notes taken at leading brothers and workers' meetings in which George presided, and a transcription of a tape recording from a workers' meeting dated December 27, 1986.

The Irons concluded back in 1990 that abuse was operating in the Assemblies. They wrote these articles out of concern for the individuals being abused. In the quotes from the worker's meeting you will see how George demonstrates amazing insensitivity to people's personal dignity, convictions, opinions, and feelings. By contempt, labeling, shame, and discipline, George emotionally and spiritually wounds people.

What George Believes About His Ministry, written by Steve Irons in 1990-1991, shows how George believed he was "the Lord's Servant" and as such had the right to hold a position of power and authority over others. And because he had the "mind of the Lord" he was not to be criticized or spoken against.

Many of the abusive practices of the Assemblies in the USA have been exported to Geftakys Assemblies overseas. The report on the Geftakys Assemblies in Nigeria is one example.

Leaving the Assembly was written by Eric B., a former San Fernando Valley Assembly member, in 2002. He discusses excommunication, shunning, and other methods brought into play when people left the Assemblies.

Brent T. wrote about Assembly finances in November, 2002 about the secrecy and the failure to pay taxes. Did you know that the Assembly was never a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, like most churches, and that all donations were received as personal gifts in cash by George Geftakys?

Kimberly T. wrote Of Gnats, Camels and Televisions in November, 2002. She shows the dynamics of Assembly control through legalism that majors on the minors.

The blog TH in SoC by a former Assembly Member has two revelatory posts on child-training and marriage in the Assembly:  Daddy Hammer and Mommy Chisel, and You Don't Bring Me Flowers (It's against Your Religion).

Ezzo Growing Kids Fugate Child Training The 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 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. Some years later the Michael and Debi Perl method was introduced.

A former ten-year single Assembly member from the West Coast has some observations about child "training" in the Assembly. A mom who was in the Omaha Assembly for fourteen years writes about infant abuse in the Assembly.

The Plymouth Brethren heritage of the Assemblies is important background to understanding Assembly teaching and practice. The BBC online has a page on the Exclusive Brethren. In 1981 Bryan Wilson wrote a scholarly article, "The Brethren": A Current Sociological Appraisal.

In 2006, the continuing West Los Angeles Assembly invited George Geftakys to visit on a Sunday morning. He was not allowed to preach, but he was allowed to partake of the Lord's supper. Mark Campbell and Brent T. commented on this event.

During the collapse of the Assemblies in early 2003, a former member of the Lombard Assembly wrote a brief piece on Assembly Friendships.

Tim, from Ramona, CA, filed a " Rip-Off Report" about Geftakys Assembly practices.

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Reflections on Assembly Life and on Leaving

In Who's Your Daddy? Dave Sable provides a plausible explanation why Brother George became to some of us the father we longed for.

The article Stress Making Churches by Dr. Ronald Enroth first appeared in the magazine Christian Counseling Today, August 1996. Dr. Enroth graciously sent us a copy of the article, along with a memo letting us know that it contains material from interviews with post-Assembly folks. In Recovering From Churches That Abuse Dr. Enroth also incorporates material from his Assembly interviews. Patrick Zukeran has written an excellent summary of the book.

Joe Sperling shares a brief and funny anecdote as a young man in the Assembly hoping to get a promise from the Lord for a wife. 

Dave Sable nails G. G.'s peculiar rhetoric in a funny parody In Fond Remembrance of Our Dear Brother...

Wayne and Pat M. provide these anecdotes (puzzle pieces) that fit very nicely into the Assembly puzzle. Here are a few more insightful pieces to the Assembly puzzle.

Robb M. tells us what impressed him the most as a young man when he heard the announcement from the leadership in the Assembly in Tuscola not to have anything to do with Gerald and Marilynn M. and Jim and Brinda M..

M. Irons wrote, "One of the things that makes the dissolution of Assemblies painful is that we miss each other so much, because we really do love one another. The pattern of Christ's love in us is something of lasting value and significance and it abides."

M. Irons develops the metaphor of the green bay tree from Psalm 37 to describe the effect of George Geftakys' sudden disappearance from the Assembly.

Al Hartman explains that in following George's example we became something God never intended. The antidote is to come to Christ, take his yoke and learn of Him alone.

Dave Sable takes a look at the underlying assumptions and emotions we bring into new church situations and helps us understand what is healthy Assembly afterlife.

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