Brad Mathias: What Went Down
Brad posted this on the Assemblyboard in February, 2003. This is his perspective as an AK (Assembly Kid), whose parents, Dr. Gerald and Marilyn Mathias, were Workers. Brinda M.'s account paints a fuller picture.
In broad general strokes this is my summary of what happened in Tuscola in 1988.
The Progression of Events
• I know for a fact, that my father was removed from leadership in the late 70's or early 80's for standing up to George Geftakys in the area of "finding the Lord's will" individually.
• I remember my father calling GG in a fit of anger over David Geftakys' treatment of his wife, Judy ( who lived with us at the House of Promise). GG promised to deal with it, and then David & Judy moved to St. Louis.
• Later....I know Betty and George turned my mother against my father to keep him in line. It worked only for a little while.
• By 1988, the old issues revived and others were tired of it, too. Without presuming to go into too many details, I know the basic issues were autonomy of leadership, and the real friendships and respect among the leading families of the Tuscola Assembly. Denny Fredrick, Jim McCumber, my father Gerald Mathias, and Mike Houk, Dr. Bob Middleton and several others would not stand with George's slander and manipulation of the others. Their individual knowledge of each others genuine faith destroyed the innuendo's of the Assembly rumor mill.
• This growing awareness was arrived at simultaneously by each family. The initial one to leave, I believe, was my father, then Jim and Brinda McCumber, and so on, until within about a month's time the Assembly in Tuscola was wiped out. I don't recall any organized movement of the "rebels" to leave, rather a similar burden and freedom to leave individually for their own reasons.
I am sure there are many details, including friction with the Workers and the youth outreaches, dating and ministry content, doctrine and insecure leading brothers. But overall I think many had gotten tired, disillusioned and worn out by GG. One little push was all it took for many to pack up and move on.
• My personal experiences were varied over a long period of time. I remember working in David Geftakys' garden in Fullerton after summer school lectures and receiving my fair share of his abuse, anger and physical punishment for not weeding his chive perfectly, or keeping the rows straight.
• I remember hearing GG berate the leading brothers over the phone when I was sleeping in the room underneath his office at night. I distinctly remember GG on the phone with Cecil Smith (1985-86) railing against my father and Jim M., explaining that they were controlling and weak men. This really bothered me and I never told anyone but Lee Irons about it (who was my roommate there).
• Later, in May, 1988, when I was trying to decide whether or not to stay in the assembly after my family had left, Betty encouraged a relationship with a beautiful "older" woman from Providence, RI, whom I had met on the Mission & Training Team the year before. The obvious nature of this manipulation to keep my allegiance to the Assembly by offering me a beautiful bride was enough to freak me out...and it did! I realized that to BG, it didn't matter that she was 11 years older than me, and that I had just gotten through my first year of college!
• During the Midwest Seminar that year, two weeks after my father left the Assembly, GG wouldn't speak with me and avoided me like the plague, although I sat on front row and repeatedly requested to have lunch with him, or go up to his suite and discuss my father's leaving. It took me very little time after that weekend to realize how messed up this had gotten and how manipulated our family had been.
• My father had been taken for a large sum of money by GG in the early 70's...something I will let him detail, but it was a LARGE sum of money, and it bothered me for years that no one could tell us what had been done with it. My father has forgiven and moved on, but he has many wounds from GG and BG. I say none of these things to grind an axe or to revive a "root of bitterness," rather to reveal further evil actions by a man and his organization that need to be held accountable!