These are anecdotes and stories George told about himself and his family. Anyone have further factual information? Several revisions have been made to this record based on reader feedback.
"I invented the Chapter Summary method of Bible Study!" This is probably G. Geftakys' most oft-repeated untruth. Tom Maddux posted on the Assembly bulletin board on September 20, 2005: "Many years ago, back in the 70's, I read the book Daws. It is the biography of Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators....It describes Trotman's involvement with students at UCLA in the 1930's. There is a church just north of the campus called the University Bible Church. The pastor, Milo Jamison, had been using the chapter summary method with a student group for some time. Trotman picked it up and used it in his own Bible studies.
Once GG was sitting in my study, and I opened the book to that page and handed it to him. He said, "I had no idea." However, since at a different time he told me that he had attended Dawson Trotman's Bible studies in Pasadena, I suspect that his statement really meant, "I had no idea I would get caught."
"I was a Marine in World War II" Another of George's
most often-repeated stories was that he had been a Marine. For further
discussion of this subject, refer to the FaceBook group page, "The Geftakys
Assembly". The story
grew over the years. Early on George told Steve I. that he had been a
marine and was discharged due to a back injury
seen active duty because he was discharged after nine months.
(Steve's memory and mine differ on this.) GG did pull down his pants to
show Steve his hernia scar, though! He told an anonymous reader that he
slipped and fell while he was on a ship and injured his back.
Subsequently he was discharged and had back problems that needed to be
treated continuously. The reader's comment was, "At least that is a
saner story than some of the others!" (See Dave M's
To others he claimed a scar on his leg was from shrapnel. He also said he discovered he enjoyed bayonet fighting when he was in the South Pacific. When he realized he looked into his enemy's eyes before striking, it had given him a thrill, which had really shaken him. He also claimed to have contracted a toenail fungus while he was there that caused his toenails to yellow.
Another reader reports, "I distinctly remember George stating (although I cannot give a specific date) that he had led his Sergeant in the Marines to the Lord. He said this man had stood in front of the men and poured out a bottle of whiskey (or some such alcohol), proclaiming his faith in Christ, and thanking George for sharing the Good News with him. I remember at the time thinking that it sounded kind of fake--the guy pouring out the bottle in front of a group of soldiers like that--but I accepted it as truth."
A search of records shows a WWII enlistment record for his older brother Jim, but none for George. A draft registration card for WWII also shows up for his father, George Sr., dated 1942, who was 48 at the time. At the top of the card it says, "Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897". Apparently the US was trying to get an idea of the number of men they had in various age groups as we got into the war.
According to this document, he was married, was living in Franklin, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, and was working on a flood control dam for the Coleman Bros. So in 1942, when GG was 15, he was still living in New Hampshire and his father did not yet have a nightclub/dance hall.
George's brother Eddy confirmed that George never served in any of the armed services. "He did work as a civilian clerk at Camp Pendleton, but that's as close as he ever got to being a Marine." Eddy has asserted that GG passed off his older brother Jim's military stories as his own. It now seems that George may not have "served" in World War II, but he was enlisted at least for awhile.
Another telling anecdote was recounted on the Assembly BB. Someone took their parents to an Assembly meeting. The father had been a Marine in WW II. George happened to tell his Marines story that day, and the father was eager to meet him. As soon as the dad said he was a Marine and asked George where he served, George abruptly ended the conversation and walked away. The father commented that George had the signs of being a phony.
"I was the son of a gypsy sea captain in Greece" (George also claimed he was descended from "the king of the gypsies.") Not hardly. George's father, George Sr., was from Messina, Greece (not Sparta). He was about 15 when he left Greece and came to live in New Hampshire in 1911. In 1917 he enlisted in the US military, and in 1918 he became a US citizen at Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His name was spelled Gyftakis. He married a German woman in the US.
"I grew up in nightclubs and dance halls" A gross exaggeration. George's father had a restaurant on Hollister Ave. in Goleta, right down the street from where the Santa Barbara Assembly met. (This was sometime after 1942, when George Jr. was 15 - see above.) It was just a small restaurant with a lounge in the back that served drinks. George Sr. was a restaurant manager and part of the time the chef as well. He worked long hours that I am pretty sure George Jr. resented. So, yes, his father did have what could be considered a nightclub (if you like stretching it that much). It was hardly a Sunset strip club!
"I led my twin brother and all my family to Christ " George's brother denies this. He says he came to the Lord through a radio program. Same with his parents. also George used to tell about a couple named Rex and Pearl who came to a Bible study he taught. Pearl came in shorts and a halter top, and smoked. George claimed he led her to Christ.
Well, guess who we met at a church a few years after we left the Assembly. Yeah, Rex and Pearl. And yes, they knew George Geftakys, they went to Bible studies he taught, they thought he was a gifted Bible teacher. But no, GG did not lead Pearl to Christ. They had been in the same PB circles as George. We didn't ask about the shorts and the cigarettes.
"Sister, she was a prostitute!" In early 1990, not long before Steve and I left the Assembly, George and Betty called us over to their house for a special meeting to discuss our issues. Betty was busy for a few minutes, and I found myself sitting with George while we waited. Out of the blue he began telling me about how a sister in fellowship had been a prostitute before coming into the Assembly. "She drove me around town one day and pointed out how previously she had a lawyer client in this building and a doctor in that one over there, and so on. Sister, she was a prostitute!!"
I was so shocked and disgusted at George that he was telling me about this--it was gossip and slander--I did something afterward that was probably unwise and unkind, but I thought the sister would want to put a stop to it. I called her and told her that George had said some things to me about her past. She told me what he said was not even true. Yes, she had led an immoral life, but she had never been a prostitute.
"God gave me a vision" I think it was in the fall of 1971 that George had a special class, entitled "Stages on the Journey." If this is the correct date, it would have been just after his first trip to Europe with Sister Harrison and Betty. In this class, which could be attended by invitation only, he wanted to "try out ideas" he had been thinking about for a long time.
Besides myself, there was my mother (Sister Mayo), Sister Harrison, and Joan H. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone. The class met in our home on Spruce Pl. in Fullerton. As I remember it was pretty much based on Madame Guyon. Lot's of charts and diagrams, but very abstract and "airy fairy", to use a favorite phrase of his. I felt very immature and unspiritual that I couldn't understand much of it.
After one of these classes as everyone was leaving, George took me aside in the front yard and said, "Sister, I want to tell you something. This isn't something I would ever say in public, but the Lord gave me a vision many years ago. He showed me the earth, and it was completely encircled by a serpent. He told me this was my ministry. He showed me it was going to be world-wide, sister! Think of it! I was going to go to the nations! And you see it is happening!"
At the time, I was still in my skeptical/rebellious stage about George, and I thought it was ironic that his ministry was represented by a snake. I wonder if the serpent looked like the one in the cover art for his poem Apocalypse XII....
Other visions and revelatory dreams...
Two men in ministry with him Dave Mauldin reported this: " One particular supernatural encounter George claimed, which I found interesting, is a story he has told many times during his messages. It goes like this. He was in a ministry with two other men and one night had a dream, in which the Lord spoke to him, "Why are you with these two other men? They don't love me!" Of course George dutifully followed the Lord's advice and left them. But after I left the Assembly I encountered a woman whose husband and another man were apparently the very men who once associated prior to his revelatory dream. However, the woman said her husband and the other man had actually decided themselves to cease associating with George because he became too authoritarian!"
Comments from readers
May, 2003, Gretchen: The stories about George help, because you can see pictures of him in all kinds of circumstances in the Assembly. It helps me see the errors for what they are. His attitudes permeated everything.
July 13, 2007, Dave M.: "While attending Grace Bible Chapel in Fullerton one of the 'old timers' told me that, George use to say that he was descended from the "king of the gypsies!" She also mentioned the Buddhist statues in his living room. Then one night back in the mid-1990's I was in a restaurant close to Biola College. I was reading my Bible and attracted the attention of an older couple who were in the next booth. As we talked we found out we both knew George Geftakys! This man went to Biola with George. He also was familiar with the current controversies about him. He told me that George left Biola before obtaining his B.A., but returned a year later and finally graduated. The records at Biola confirm this. After returning to Biola George explained that he had joined the Marines and was injured in an accident. "I was wearing a flame-thrower and it blew up!" Anyone else hear this one?
I am just wondering, did George leave Biola for a year because he was disciplined for something? It sure seems to fit the pattern! I wonder if it would be possible to find out?
July 15, 2007, Eulaha said, "During many seminars, I remember George telling stories about how he 'saw his guardian angel'. I can honestly say that I never believed him. I remember thinking, 'This guy must be some sort of nut!' But of course, I could never express those feelings out loud."
July 18, 2007, Tom Maddux: A few thoughts on GG's reported experience as a US Marine.
July 18, 2007, Tom Maddux, regarding GG's night club story: Once GG told me that he "led one of my dad's strippers to Christ." From then on I figured that the "night clubs and restaurants" story was actually just a way of getting his idea across without feeling shame that his dad was a sleaze who ran a strip joint. At one of the earliest seminars at Hillcrest park this woman actually attended with her husband. They fellowshipped in some Plymouth Brethren assembly. I presumed that that is where they met. I talked to them, and I think Steve did as well.
July 20, 2007, Wayne Mathews: Tom's detailed report of the M-1 Garrand rifle experience made me think that due diligence in this area is of utmost importance. Verifying service time is no small issue, and I agree searching the CALVET loan file is s good idea. A vet wannabe is a serious charge, and prosecutable by law. You need to be sure of the verification before you make an assertion in this area. A relative can request DD-214 record through nara.gov. His papers will be there, as only Army was destroyed in the 1973 fire at St. Louis site. This is EXTREMELY important to be sure of, as a matter of accurate reporting.
Wayne, proud to have served!
USN RVN 1972-1975
July 19, 2007, editor's response re. Tom's and Wayne's comments on the Marines story: I forwarded Tom's email to the family member who reported the research. This person acknowledges that the internet database used, genealogy.com, is not an exhaustive source, neither is it completely accurate, and it is possible Tom is correct. However, it seems odd that both an enlistment record and a draft registration card were found for George's father, and an enlistment record for his older brother Jim, but nothing shows up for George. George didn't turn 18 until October 1945, so he wouldn't have gotten in by the draft. He would have had to enlist with his parents' signature.
Based on Eddy's assertion, the enlistment record, personal conversations and family stories, this family member feels confident that George did not serve as a Marine, and could have easily co-opted details related by his older brother Jim, who was the family military hero.
Unfortunately, the nara.com website requires certain information in order to provide records: the veteran's complete name used while in service, service number, social security number, branch of service, date of birth, place of birth, and dates of service. Most of this info is unavailable at this time; if we had it, it would answer the main question, "Was George a Marine?" and we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Until further information surfaces, it comes down to evaluating the reliability of the main sources: George, David and Eddy Geftakys. The family member who has contributed some of these stories has many reasons to doubt George's truthfulness, and none to doubt Eddy's. As important as it is to have only accurate reporting on this website, at this point this article will remain as it stands so everyone has access to all the available information.
July 19, 2007, editor's response re. Tom's anecdote re. the night club story: I also forwarded this email to the family member, and received this reply: "Did Tom ask the woman at the seminar about being a stripper and have her confirm that GG had led her to Christ? If that is the case, I may actually be wrong (wouldn't be the first time)."
July 28, 2008, Bob L., Betty G's nephew, looked at the website recently, and submitted a fiery response to this section. Here is an excerpt describing an event in 1969: ...."When in town in Wisconsin where Betty’s mom lived George had a habit of slipping out, disappearing for hours. Betty, the ever pleasant door knob, "the mat beneath George’s feet”, would cover for him with excuses. (Does this sound familiar?)
One day my father had heard enough and finally followed George’s car. Guess where your church leader was going. To tend flock? The church? The rescue Mission? To share with a fellow Plymouth brother? That’s what he told us when he returned.
But no! the fearless leader, the man you all handed your life to, was actually going to the beach everyday. He’d disrobe to his hidden swim suit and then play volley ball with the college girls & boys. Working on his tan.
After the family heard this, we never gave them money and never saw George again."
Read Bob's complete comments here.