Gretchen’s Story – Part 7

“The group’s language serves the purpose of constructing their thinking and shutting down critical thinking abilities. “Groupspeak” forces members to censor, edit and slow down spontaneous bursts of criticism or opposite ideas. Soon members find it easier to talk among themselves than with outsiders, who are given derogatory names such as “of Satan,” “unconverted,” etc.”

George Geftakys taught that the saints had a “heavenly language” that most of the world couldn’t understand. There were words and activities that only someone in the group understood. The visitors who came out occasionally would see a smiling, rejoicing group of people with young children who were performing nicely. Everyone was nice to the visitors and they were lavished with love and attention.

If you met a person who was in the Assembly mindset you would see someone who was a hard worker and read their Bible a lot (and seemed to know it quite well!)., They seemed to have an exemplary family life, always be happy, able to handle it all, and to have it all together.

If you would get to know that an Assembly person better, you would find that they were someone who has been hurt very deeply. Their families had been hurt deeply, their theology twisted, they didn’t know how to apply the Bible in a healthy Christian way.

They didn’t know how to experience most emotions, and often living life in a whirlwind of activity or in the despondency of depression because they have had a hard time finding balance in their time commitments.

When you know someone superficially who is still in the Assembly mindset, his or her Christian language might seem to be the same as yours. In reality, you are seeing only the tip of the iceberg of what they believe.

A person was often broken down in the area of their strength and was told they were something they weren’t for so long that they eventually believed it. The following are examples from the Omaha group: a beautiful talented woman was kept from marrying; an intelligent man who saw through many of the Assembly facades was taught that he was “mixed up in his thinking.”

A handsome athlete was kept from marrying; an easy-going, fun-loving college student was taught to be Mike’s heavy-handed assistant; a sensitive and intelligent boy was taught to be a male chauvinist; a fun loving adventure-seeking girl was taught to be a perfect child; a quiet, reserved professional was taught to be Mike’s cruel hit man.

A fun loving spontaneous person was taught that life was full of rules and regulations that must be followed meticulously or judgment was certain; an outgoing vivacious girl was taught that she was socially awkward; an intensely devoted and sensitive individual was taught that she was rebellious.

A hard working, conscientious husband and father was taught that he should let others serve him and neglect his duties; a loving mother was taught that she had to use excessive discipline to help her children be ready for heaven; a successful entrepreneur was taught that he was an impotent Christian.

All this abuse and warped views of others communicated that, “You ain’t goin’ to heaven in a rockin’ chair,” and, “Not everyone who thinks they’re going to heaven is going there,” meaning that you had to be perfect to please God and deserve heaven.

Insecurity and fears were propagated. The way to be ready for heaven was to live through boot camp now. Members were taught to welcome many exhortations and consequences because, “If you deal with all these issues now, you will be ready to meet God then”.

This low view of others was a key tool of the leaders, to break down the personality of members and then trap them in a negative identity. Members became dependent on the leaders and the cult for their existence. Satan would love to keep Assembly members trapped forever in a negative identity and keep them from living life to the fullest, enjoying God as the people they were created to be.

This disrespect and dishonor for the personhood of people, and especially for women and children, is a key way to know if an Assembly member has truly repented and changed their thinking.

Previous: Gretchen’s Story – Part 6

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Margaret Irons and her husband Steve and three children were in the Fullerton Geftakys Assembly for twenty years. We left in March, 1990. We are still recovering and learning in Orange County, CA.

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