February 6, 2013 Flora posted an update to the account of her experiences in the Ottawa Geftakys Assembly. She said, "On December 31st, 2012, almost 20 years after I left the Ottawa Assembly, Armand and Nancy Cossette, phoned me. They said that they had just read my account, and they were phoning to apologize to me and to ask me to forgive them. At no time did they deny or refute any of the details mentioned in this story. They simply asked to be forgiven. Both Armand and Nancy sounded genuine, and therefore I forgave them. I trust and pray that they truly bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance..." (Details of this conversation »»)
Does anyone remember George Geftakys saying that people accused him of brainwashing the young, and his answer was, "Yes I do. Who would you rather brainwash them, the world or me?" A recent blog post, "Societal vs. Institutional Brainwashing", examines a similar defense made by Grace Communion International (the former Worldwide Church of God). The post clarifies the whole concept of "brainwashing" in regard to cultic groups.
February 13 In My Theological House Sandy Blank creates a punchy metaphor to describe how leaving a Bible-based cult, the former Worldwide Church of God, destroyed her spiritual foundation. She sketches her process of reconstruction, using the mind to become biblically literate.
December 28, 2011 We became aware, through a post on the Rick Ross forum, that in 2008 Tim and Ginger Geftakys, Mark Miller and Mike Struven established a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, "Pilgrims Provisions Ministries". The purpose as stated on the PPM website is to support Christian ministries, particularly in connection with education, orphans and missions. The organization solicits financial contributions, volunteer talent, and long and short term onsite workers...(more »»)
November 1, 2011 Begone, false images of an angry God demanding, "Strive harder to enter in!" Rebecca unpacks how God "...sees us, regards us, counts us, declares us as righteous and holy as Jesus is." I would say this is the biggest reason the Reformed perspective is such a great antidote to cultic works righteousness teaching. Read Rebecca's blog post, "Christ's Active and Passive Obedience and Our Justification".
June 9 A former Assembly member and Worker surfed back to the site recently, and was pierced by the soul-searching question, "Why did we go along? Why didn't we speak up?"
In "The Christian in Romans 7" Arthur W. Pink decries Wesleyan perfectionism, and supports the view that Romans 7 describes the life of believers. "To talk of “getting out of Romans 7 into Romans 8” is excuseless folly. Romans 7 and 8 both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every believer on earth today." Recognizing and sorrowing over inner corruption is the result of the Holy Spirit working. Pink cites many examples of men of God who experienced this more and more as they grew in grace - Spurgeon, Newton, and Rutherford, to name a few.
October 24 Dr. Philip Zimbardo gave a public lecture at MIT on The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. The recipe for behavior change isn't complicated. "All evil begins with a big lie," says Zimbardo, whether it's a claim to be following the word of God, or the need to stamp out political opposition.
"A seemingly insignificant step follows, with successive small actions, presented as essential by an apparently-just authority figure. The situation presents others complying with the same rules, perhaps protesting, but following along all the same.....And exiting the situation is extremely difficult."
October 7 Dr. Maria Salavitz, who is the co-author of several books with Dr. Bruce Perry, has this observation about how traumatic discipline affects the development of the nervous system in young children:
While there are genetic tendencies that affect these systems, they are also highly responsive to early life experience. If that experience is nurturing and empathetic, the system will wire up one way; if it is harsh and frightening, the same genes will produce a very different wiring....
....[R]esearch shows that traumatic experience in particular can profoundly affect startle response and skin conductance....
....If you discipline your children in ways that are stressful to them, their stress response systems will change. Children may become more fearful and often, they will have a more easily triggered startle response.
For more on how trauma affects children, read Dr. Perry's article Stairway to Heaven: Children in the Crosshairs of Trauma.
Sometimes we are asked why we don't recommend two books by Gene Edwards, Letters to a Devastated Christian and A Tale of Three Kings. These books would seem to be very applicable. We read them after we left the Assembly in 1990, and they resonated, in the sense that they described our experience to a certain extent.
But they were confusing, because they blame the victim, failing to make a proper emphasis on the deception and control perpetrated by leaders. A look at Gene Edwards' own ministry shows why this is so. Kevin Knox has a series of blog posts about his ten years under Edwards' ministry - déjà vu all over again in many ways. The Barnabas Ministry reviews Letters to a Devastated Christian.
Note: The word 'cult' is used on this website in the sociological sense, referring to the practice and conduct of groups, not their beliefs or doctrine. Read more about the use of this word here ».
Another note: The assemblyboard is an archived forum on the Geftakys Assembly ministry. It has no administrative connection with this site (just in case you're wondering about all the opinions and furor expressed over there).