July 2001 - Brent T. and Danny Edwards Discuss Issues
Issues discussed with Danny Edwards on July 12th, 2001, witnessed by Suzie T. and Sheila Foy and documented by Brent T., July 15, 2001.
Items discussed were not meant to be attacks on personalities or doctrinal disagreements except so far as they might relate to the specific events that demonstrate clear abuse and spiritual darkness. The passage Jer. 8, 4-12 was read. Prior to the meeting Danny read, "Consider Your Ways," "Beware the Leaven of the Pharisees," and "Code of Silence," by Brent T. He also read, "Honoring The Truth-Teller," by Roger Sapp.
First Item: Why Brent and Suzie T. stopped meeting at the Sand's. As discussed, it was an amicable situation at first. The fact that we were quickly "blown-off," especially by Jeff, coupled with the soon-to-transpire events with David and Judy moved us to address what we regarded as much bigger issues than the ones that caused us to leave in the first place. Our attempt to address these issues was discussed and Heidi's famous e-mail and the response to it were communicated. The response of the leadership demonstrated an alarming pattern of unentreatability...covering up of abuse and even outright lying by several leaders, both locally and in Fullerton.
All of this was discussed in some detail, as all parties will remember. Danny tried to get Brent to agree not to speak of these things outside of the meeting. Brent did not agree to do so at this time. Please refer to the end of this document for the resolution of this item.
Second item: The trouble with David and Judy. We discussed the history of spousal abuse from 4 months into their marriage, throughout the marriage, and up to the present day. Incidents included everything from hitting to pornography, to testosterone injections. Also discussed was the abuse towards David's daughters, mainly Rachel. David's abusive behavior towards members of the group was discussed and many specific instances were related. The fact that we were discussing things from a biblical perspective, and not a "social worker's" perspective was emphasized. All claims made by me were agreed to by Sheila and Suzie, and were taken 100% from things that many people eye-witnessed, as well as from Judy's personal journals, which go into great detail.
As you know, things like journals, once their authenticity is proved, are considered very weighty evidence, and take precedent over word-of-mouth testimony. Nevertheless, the Biblical standard of 2 or 3 witnesses was easily met on every detail we discussed, as well as many, many more which are documented but were not discussed.
We discussed who knew what and when. Betty Geftakys, Gay Mau(Walker), Karen Krusich, Rachel Geftakys, Brent T., Jeff Lehmkuhl, Greg Holder, Kirk C., Dan Notti, Mark Miller, Tim Geftakys and George Geftakys all knew what was going on at various times. Some knew from the beginning, others only after the public bruises and the infamous "bruised preacher" incident.
Nothing meaningful was ever done.
David's false teaching regarding marriage, authority, submission and child training was discussed. This touched on the doctrinal area, as his false teaching bred and facilitated the abuse.
David's false repentance was discussed. The fact that he has never really confessed to what he did, and the fact that Judy and Rachel are not aware of his "repentance" was emphasized and showed what a total sham his repentance is.
The abusive treatment of those who spoke up regarding David's behavior over the years was discussed. The story of Marge Templin was communicated, as well as several other stories some of which involved Brent and Suzie T. Many people could tell many such stories.
The abandonment of Judy was discussed. The fact that she was supported by "The Work," for many years and was abandoned when she told the truth and left her husband was discussed. The fact that she was in fear for her physical safety was discussed. The fact that she is not being given any financial assistance, while David is, was discussed. It was my position that this is perhaps the most blatant and grievous aspect of the whole messy affair, short of the actual abuse and cover-up.
Third Item: The inability of the leaders to recognize the situation and function in a Christian way was discussed. The fact that Betty knew from the beginning and many others knew at various times along the way was again discussed and emphasized. Again, only the tip-of-the-iceberg was touched on, and every claim can be verified by either eye-witness testimony of 2 or 3, or Judy's journals.
The fact that during all of this David was a full-time worker, representing the ministry, considered an authority on marriage and family, co-leader of the West Coast Conference and an itinerate preacher, up to the time that Judy left him was discussed. The fact that he would still be in a similar role today, if Judy stayed, was discussed. This obvious, blatant special treatment of David was shown as pointing towards the leadership "dealing falsely" in this and other situations. David's "repentance" was contrasted with others and the treatment given to him from leaders was contrasted with the way others have been treated, demonstrating a clear double standard.
Fourth Item: What must be done to rectify the situation was discussed. We clearly communicated that it is our desire to see true repentance and restoration. We clearly communicated that it is not our desire to see the demise of the ministry as opposed to repentance. We see that the following conditions must be met in order to biblically make these issues right.
Support Judy financially, as she would be to this day had she not spoken up and told the truth.
Admit all abuse, by all parties involved. Vague references are not acceptable; details must be brought to light, i.e., spousal abuse, immoral behavior, deceit, etc. The reputations of those truth-tellers who have been tarnished need to be restored, by name, on a person-by-person basis.
Name the false teaching that was inculcated for many years and expose it as false. Replace this insidious error with biblical teaching. Getting help in this area from local Christian leaders would be a wise move. All the local leaders are well aware of what has gone on, and have been concerned for years. Involving them would serve to demonstrate healing of the isolation that was a result of false teaching. These leaders have genuine goodwill and would love to help restoration take place.
Leaders ... need to step down from decision making roles until such a time as it is clear that they have repented and have gained the ability to discern gross, blatant sin, and the fortitude to deal with it in a Biblical manner.
Publicly apologize to anyone who was hurt or damaged by the heavy-handed leadership style over the years. This should be done in a group setting, with anyone who wants to attend welcome to come.
Determine to end the un-biblical practices that allowed all of this to happen.
The tone of this meeting was open and honest on the part of all. I believe that my concerns were clearly communicated and understood by Danny. Although he did not make any commitment to action of any kind, by his words he indicated that he is taking these matters very seriously and has a desire to honor God and the truth. It is my opinion that if his words become deeds, there will be the start of real change in the SLO assembly, which will filter out to other assemblies. I remain hopeful that this will take place, but stand firm in believing that words will not be enough. Concrete action, closely following what is outlined above is necessary.
In light of the overall tone and goodwill demonstrated by Danny, I have agreed not to publish any more documents on the internet for the time being. This agreement was mine alone, and I was in no way under pressure to that end. To the contrary, I made it very clear from the outset of the meeting that I would not allow any sort of "code of silence" to be placed on me. Should the necessary steps be taken, I offered to write an addendum to my published articles in support of the new direction the ministry has taken. Suzie, Sheila and myself all agreed to support whole-heartedly any action taken as outlined above.
In light of the above, should the needed changes not take place, I make no promises to remain silent about any of the experiences I have had in the Geftakys ministry. My current choice to not "go public" is in order to give the leadership yet more time to respond. I recognize that they are not accustomed to having to handle matters such as this.
At the same time, I clearly believe that there is an urgency to deal with these things promptly and openly. Judgment begins at the House of God. I believe with all my heart that the axe is laid to the root. The door is open for repentance and restoration, but it is closing and the opening become very narrow. It is my prayer that the leadership put aside pride and false importance and takes the steps to repent and again enjoy God's blessing.
This will not be easy, and will not be business as usual. In spite of the short term pain caused by taking such an approach, it is the only way to recover that which has been compromised due to the sin allowed in this and related matters.
Danny and I agreed to speak further, regarding other issues that came up during this meeting, among which are what he views as my bad choice to publish articles on the Internet. Also mentioned was the prevalence of "Us and Them" teaching in George's books. There were several other possible avenues of meaningful discussion as well, but the main thrust of the dialogue was as outlined above.
I look forward to having these discussions in the future. However, should Danny decline to discuss these things with me it will have no bearing on my resolve to see the current sin, mentioned above, dealt with in a forthright manner. I hold him under no obligation to discuss my articles, or George's books. However, I do hold him accountable to deal with the sin, which we discussed as outlined above. I also believe that as a leader, and one who represents the ministry as a full time worker, he is accountable to God to do the same.