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George Geftakys
Posted by: Mark Campbell ()
Date: October 10, 2002 09:17AM

Hi Joe, Brent, and others,
I know what the problem is with the e-mail: You must capitalize the first two letters "" and in your post the letters were in lower case. Anyway, I sent you an e-mail to the address you left on a previous post and so you'll get the right one that way. To "beenthere" : Send your e-mail to the above address and we finally will be able to make a connection.
Joe, I was incapable of having one of those houses where force was used to beat discipline into the brothers. (force being not physical, but emotional/spiritual.) I genuinely believed that it was the grace of God that worked in hearts to effect true spiritual life. If you treat Christians like children they will stay that way. You must have the opportunity to make choices, fail, get up, make better choices, and grow-up into Christ to become a strong person. This is why I never climed up the Assembly ladder to Worker status. A brother I know went back to an Assembly tent meeting after being gone for years and his comment was that the meetings and "Saints" were exactly the same as when he left! Same jokes by the preacher, same undevolped squashed personalities; afraid to step outside of the accepted norms.
Joe, you are a humble person who took the Word of God seriously and as such were sucker punched big time by those who are not humble. God loves the humble; expect great blessing ! God Bless, Mark

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George Geftakys
Posted by: beenthere ()
Date: October 10, 2002 10:13PM

i've really enjoyed reading what you guys have to say. i think it is important to remember that there are those in the assembly who seem to have their heads on straight(er). i didn't know you personally, mark, but you remind me of others i do know in the assembly. they also were not in it to see how far up the ladder they could go, and they considered it far more important to let people heal and encourage them in their walks with god than to lay down the law and try and force people through the 'cookie-cutter of the kingdom'. do you guys remember george's analogy that there is a christ-shaped door to the kingdom and to pass through you have to allow all the rest of your 'flesh' to be cut off? its amazing how that door so generally resembled george and so specifically resembled the one whose house of training you found yourself in. or rather, it specifically resembled how your trainer percieved george.

after i left, the ones who were less ambitious and more level-headed were the only ones who kept a friendship with me - who weren't scared to once again go against the assembly norms and fraternize with the 'decieved'. that really meant a lot to me. i just don't understand why people like that stay in the assembly at all - except that they believe god wants them there. its almost as if their calling is to make up for the foolishness and brutality sometimes displayed by others in the assembly, especially leadership. at least its a noble effort.

brent, did you get my pm?

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George Geftakys
Posted by: Mark Campbell ()
Date: October 12, 2002 10:28AM

Hi everyone,
I say everyone because I know there are many visitors to the site. It is great to be in touch with old friends and hopefully to heal old broken relationships with former members of the Assembly.
To "Beenthere's" question re. why a seemingly well balanced individual would stay in a group whose leaders seem to promote abusive control: I am not a psychologist and to the exact science of such behavior I would refer you to some of the books recommended at this site. One such excellent book is "Toxic Faith".
There can be no abuser without those willing to be abused.( I mean this in a context such as the Assembly where one is free to come and go.) Myself, and others like me, enable people like George. I ignored, made excuses for, and rationalized the obvious evil behavior I saw. I could never act the way the Assembly leaders wanted me to (I was told I had too soft of a heart) but I believed the leaders were of God and as such if I submitted to God and their tirades God would change them. All submission to bullies does is to create mini Adolph Hitlers! The nice tolerant members need to wake up to obey God and speak the truth and let the chips fall as they may.
But, I would always doubt myself as the Assembly false holiness teaching always sends the sensitive and honest one into a soul searching journey where they were bound to find some hidden sin. This discovery of sin produces shame which leads to lack of confidence. This is why I say there are two kinds of people in the Assembly: The hypocrite (self confident) and the defeated (no confidence). I stayed because I was hopeful that eventually God would completely sanctify me and I could stand (like George) and declare with boldness my perfection. In George's teaching when you discover sin in your life it drives God far away from your life; in reality God is never closer than when we discover our sin and bring it before him! Indeed, if we say we have no sin we are lying to ourselves and cut off fellowship with God.
I'm sure others can contribute to the above thought and maybe it will give pause to some still in the group who hope they can change the group from within. If you start to be an agent for change in the Assembly you will be shown the door quickly. If you are loyal to the group you can still molest children, abuse your wife and children, and/or all kinds of evil behavior and just get a mild talking to! God bless, Mark

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George Geftakys
Posted by: joe sperling ()
Date: October 13, 2002 12:45AM


Your reply to beenthere was right on the money in my
opinion. I agree with you totally that the Assembly indeed
has two groups of people, the self-confident, and the defeated.
I remember how when I was first saved Acts chapter 2 was
alive in my heart. When you read that chapter and see how
those new christians were acting it brings great joy. I always
knew that true growth in a Christian were the fruits of Grace--
this would be seen in kindness, charity, a giving heart, for-
giveness towards others, etc. It always amazed me in the
Assembly how if a brother had the self-confidence to get up
and "Give a Word" in front of others you would hear "That
brother is really growing in the Lord". I know that there is
a gift given to some to be able to edify, etc., so I'm not saying
that "giving a Word" was a bad thing. But what it lead to was
the thought that getting up in front of others really showed growth in the Lord. Now, that brother that everyone thought
was so "godly" because of his ability to speak, might have lacked
many of the fruits that come from Grace. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Assembly based much on Outward appearances
rather than REAL inner change. Mark--you were the opposite
of this. Before I moved into your house I suffered at the hands of
a couple of brothers who were considered "strong in the Lord, and filled with his Spirit". But their acts towards me were far from the fruits of Christian kindness and charity. When you took over the house it was like a huge congregation of dark clouds lifted and the Sun came pouring in. The fruits of the Spirit shown through you strongly. We had many talks together and you never condemning or condescending towards me. You always sought to
"lift up" rather than "tear down", "comfort" rather than "castigate.
You were a gentle giant. To me that is what true Christian growth is, and that is the fruit that the Father seeks from the Vine.


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George Geftakys
Posted by: Mark Campbell ()
Date: October 13, 2002 09:55AM

To Joe and all who read,
Thank you so much for your kind words Joe. My point re. the many "good hearted" souls in the Assembly is that if they don't make a stand against evil they end up enabling the abusers. I wrote this in response to "BeenThere's" post on how good Christians can continue in a place ruled by brutes. It is the same type of scenario in a dysfunctional marriage where the wife can be a sweet caring person who won't leave her abusive husband. How can this happen? Often the wife is convinced that it is her fault that the husband attacks her, as she touches his anger off by something she does. The wife will make excuses for the abusive husband. As long as the wife does the above she only enables the abuser and it gets worse. The only answer is to leave and bring the abuser to justice. There is a time when a good kind Christian must speak out against evil and especially against those in Christian leadership who are hurting the sheep!
I sadly for many years was an enabler. I saw what was happening to you Joe and many others. I was aware of one brother, from the Assembly, who committed suicide because he couldn't "get the victory". This brother was a kind and sensitive soul, but was driven by the teaching of the Assembly to the point of suicide! I heard the explanations of the leading brothers, "he was just a failure who allowed sin to overpower his life." Aren't we commanded to restore such a one in humility! Or are we commanded to scoff at such "failures" and not even bother to attend his funeral?("after all it might effect the testimony!")
If present members of the Assembly read this understand you will not be able to improve the Assembly by continuing there.
I am happy to say that 2 couples have left the Valley Assembly this week and there may be more to follow. I am impressed by their clarity of understanding of what they are coming out of and I believe it is sites like this that have been so helpful to them. There isn't a whole lot of help for those who came out of the Assembly in the past. It is a specialized field of interest for sure. Much thanks needs to go to those who take the time to reach out to their former associates in the Assembly. I believe the Wounded Pilgrims from the Assembly are a tremendous asset to the church and are especially loved by the original Wounded Pilgrim our Lord Jesus Christ. God Bless, Mark

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George Geftakys
Posted by: joe sperling ()
Date: October 16, 2002 08:53AM

I remember that brother committing suicide, but I can't
remember his name. I also remember being amazed that
no one would attend his funeral. But many times the "Cult"
mentality is like that. In order to keep the "letter of the law" they forget the Spirit of the Word. It's like the Jehovah's Witnesses who will let a child die rather than accept a blood transfusion. Imagine a God who would look down from heaven smiling because you kept the law to the letter, yet let one of his little sheep die. That's not the God of the Bible!! I remember one time my brother who was in the Air Force had come home to visit. I hadn't seen him for a year and a half. This was before I had even joined a brother's house. I didn't go to worship that Sunday so that I could visit with him. The next Sunday I was asked where I had been the Sunday before. When I explained, to my amazement I was told that I did wrongly, and it would have been a better testimony if I had called my brother and told him I couldn't visit because Worship was more important. But that is the Cult mentality---turning my back on a brother I hadn't seen for a year and a half was supposed to be a good testimony!! I'm sure many in the Assembly, or whom have left the Assembly have similar stories---and when you look back on them you almost want to laugh if they weren't so real to the memory. It's great to be able to share here and listen to others experiences. I think we have all learned a lot from what we went through there. I'll shut up now and let someone else share. --Joe

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George Geftakys
Posted by: ex-Geftakys ()
Date: October 16, 2002 10:03PM

Hi Joe

I was around at the time of the suicide you mention, but up in SLO we never heard about it. Last year, one of the "leading brother's" from Madison, WI teenage son killed himself. No one heard anything much about that except, "pray that the family would remain strong in The Lord, and that The Enemy wouldn't use this."

Great Assembly logic here; as if everything was fine until the boy kills himself and now all of a sudden The Devil has an opportunity to do something bad, like make the parents reflect on what might have gone wrong.

For the record, The Assembly is much more lenient now, regarding missing a meeting. It is rather similiar to the USSR under Glasnost, one can obtain a visa to miss a meeting and visit family. This is good by itself, but they won't ever admit that they were abusive in this area in the past. They just silently change, overnight, in order to paint their image in a more favorable light so they can recruit a few more "new ones." Gnats are being strained, down to the 2 micron level, but 2 ton camels are swallowed daily.

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George Geftakys
Posted by: Mark Campbell ()
Date: October 17, 2002 08:21AM

Hi Joe, Brent, and Others,
The Brother's name was Tom Vessi. He was a very kindly brother who loved Christ, but was very self conscious. He felt deeply his own inability to overcome sin.
I think the teaching of the Assembly re. holiness was what caused him to become so depressed that he just gave up. You see this teaching (for those unaware of it) taught that "real" Christians walking in the Spirit will experience constant victory over all inclinations, as well as actions that are sinful. So, for instance, if you are having a morning time in the Bible and your thoughts stray from The Lord while you consider problems at home or work----- BOOM--- you've sinnned! The assembly member thinks that his superiors have through rigorous spiritual discipline and overcoming faith completely dealt with such sin conclusively. Thus, when the "weak" brother/sister comes to a meeting and sees all these "overcoming" strong one's shouting the victory they begin to believe they are some how defective.
The only way to deal with such teaching, if believed, is to sink into despair or to deny what is actually going on in your heart and act like you are victorious. After a while, when one continues to deny their own sin, you can become quite nicely hardened to it and actually get up and preach that you haven't sinned in years (as George did).
For those still laboring under false holiness message: BE HONEST! That's it. Grace frees the heart to be completely honest as we have nothing to fear to bring the exact condition of our lives before him. When I first left I noticed how different Christians were in Church meetings as they felt no need to put on some kind of act. They were not conscious of others evaluating their spirituality. I still struggle with this false spirituality and soul searching kind of holiness, but I don't get far into it before I return my sweet rest in grace.
God Bless all Wounded Pilgrims, Mark

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George Geftakys
Posted by: ex-Geftakys ()
Date: October 17, 2002 10:26PM


I re-read my last post and to my embarrasment and horror noticed that I indicated that a teenage son of a leader in San Luis Obispo killed himself. This is a MISTAKE!

What I was trying to communicate was that when someone did committ suicide, as recently happened with the teeage son of a leader in Madison, WI, people always hear about it with an Assembly spin, or not at all. It just isn't talked about much, because it could be "miscontrued" as a problem with the Assembly.

No one in SLO has committe suicide. No, up here it is mainly spousal abuse, steroid abuse, Internet porn, false ex-communication and stuff like that. No suicide at all. My apologies!

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George Geftakys
Posted by: joe sperling ()
Date: October 17, 2002 11:21PM


Wow!! When I read your reply it brought back a bunch
of memories. I remember Tom Vessi--a very quiet, kind
person. He stayed at Al Hartman's house for a couple of weeks
while I lived there. I remember Al saying "the brother just
couldn't get the victory over alcohol". When I asked what he
thought had happened in eternity he said that Tom had "lost
his inheritance" but probably wouldn't go to hell. I also remember
the super self-conciousness I felt going to Sunday worship. For
some reason I always felt I had to fake joy, because you were
always asked "Are you rejoicing brother?" So I'd pop out a fake
smile, depressed as I was, so I wouldn't hear a sermon preached to me about letting the devil defeat me and bringing others down.
Several times I "ditched" going to worship at the last minute, not
because I didn't want to worship God, but because i didn't want to face the brethren. I'd look around thinking "Why are they all so joyful and I feel so bad?" I'd begin to feel that maybe God HAD totally forsaken me and I'd begin a spiral into depression. I remember also George saying he would not sing one verse in the
hymn "Fount of many blessings". It says "Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love". George said this did not apply to him so he wouldn't sing that verse. I remember thinking
"How did George get so victorious that he never even feels he's strayed away from God at all?" It was only later that I learned what kind of spiritual pride was behind a statement like that. To say "I never stray" is akin to Peter when he said "Though all may forsake you I never will". We all remember the Lord's words to Peter about the cock crowing, and looking at Peter and saying
"Get thou behind me Satan". This was all due to Peter's pride. It's as you say Mark that "if we say we have no sin we are liars". thanks for the input Mark. --Joe

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