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July 28, 2005

Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 3: Other Concerning Patterns

When asking ourselves "Is Gary Ezzo someone I trust as a resource in my Christian walk?" there is more to consider than the pattern of unresolved church discipline.

One of the Bible passages on qualifications for Church leadership comes from I Timothy 3. It is not the only passage in the Bible about what is required for leaders, and I encourage you to look up other passages as you evaluate Gary Ezzo's qualifications.


Must be above reproach:

1. Gary Ezzo has not only been confronted about issues of integrity by elders in his church, but has a pattern of formal church discipline action that is still not resolved.

2. He has not been above reproach in the area blurring the business/ministry lines to GFI's supporters. Gary Ezzo has had questionable financial situations that resulted in Ezzo's accounting firm of nine+ years, Hamilton, Boynton, & Speakman, choosing to end its business dealing with Ezzo and GFI. Chris Hamilton, who was a long-time friend of Gary Ezzo and a partner at the accounting firm stated that Ezzo lied to him regarding an embezzlement investigation at GFI.

3. He has had prominent leaders in the Christian community publically voice concerns about his materials and qualifications for Christian leadership.


Sober-minded and Self-controlled

1. Is it sober-minded to fabricate quotes, as Ezzo did for World Magazine's Roy Maynard and quintuplet-dad Scot Shier?

2. Is it self-controlled to borrow so heavily from an article like Barbara Lerner's National Review article "The Killer Narcissists" that reading Ezzo's "Parental Affection and Character Development" seems like flagrant plagarism? Gary Ezzo was confronted about this privately, but it was not until it was mentioned in a public article that he footnoted the article to give any credit to Ms. Lerner.


Respectable

1. Do you think it is a sign of respect when key employees, board memebers and supporters begin disassociating themselves from Gary Ezzo's ministry? These include:

The Abels: Eric Abel, GFI's Director of Ministries, resigned in September of 1994 because of concerns about Gary Ezzo's integrity. Eric and Julie Abel were among the original co-founders of GFI and featured on some of the earliest GKGW videos.

The Williams: Dirk Williams was president of GFI at one point. Dirk and Cheryl Williams ended their involvement with GFI and concerns about integrity were a factor.

Frank York: Read the full account of his employment with and then distancing from Gary Ezzo and GFI in Adventures in Ezzoland.

Bob Gaby: GFI's non-profit counterpart is Christian Family Heritage (CFH). Mr. Gaby resigned as Chairman of the Board and voiced concern over Ezzo’s response to church disciplinary actions of LHEF. He had been a member of the board for nine years.

Sharon Nelson: A medical doctor who has endorsed Ezzo’s books resigned as the CFH board secretary in August 2000.

Mark Severance
: A GFI spokesman and an assistant to Ezzo resigned without comment.

Paul Luedke: Ezzo’s son-in-law who had resigned without comment.


2. Is it a sign of respect when former supporters, teachers and Contact Moms distance themself from Gary Ezzo?

Laurie Moody: A prominent GFI “Contact Mom” who handled many calls about lactation concerns also resigned, stating Ezzo’s response to LHEF was a factor in her decision.

Contact Mom M: A pastor's wife and Contact Mom who was vocal on the now-defunct GFI support forum. (Sidenote: This is a mama who was very encouraging to me through the early years of motherhood. I still look up to her today. Reading what she shares in the above link really meant a lot to me.)

Another Contact Mom: Who states she no longer supports Ezzo in any way.

A 10-year GFI Teacher: Taught GFI/GKGW materials for ten years before realizing it was detrimental to her family.

Another 10-year Ezzo Family: Writes about deep regrets using Ezzo's materials.


Able to teach

1. Gary Ezzo is can be charming and convincing in his teaching videos. He can be persuasive to young parents striving to do the best for their children. But is he able to teach material that is theologically sound?

2. Is he able to effectively communicate what is Biblical and what is simply cultural? Is he able to help his readers differentiate between what is his opinion and what is fact? Looking objectively at his materials, can it really be said Gary Ezzo is able to teach?


Not quarrelsome:

1. Consider Ezzo's reaction to the World Magazine article that reported on controversies about Gary Ezzo's teachings:
"Ezzo pressured WORLD to retract statements in the article, even objecting to the word "controversial" in the subtitle claiming it created a negative spin. Ezzo also "sent letters to World editor Marvin Olasky suggesting the magazine consider asking for Maynard's resignation. He asked Maynard's church elders to take disciplinary action against him." from the Timeline.

2. Ezzo unsuccessfully attempted to press charges against Steve Rein of the Red Rhino Ezzo-related website for "hacking". No charges were filed. Steve Rein is now owner of the meticulously-documented www.ezzo.info website.

3. Ezzo successfully filed charges against Australian psychologist Robin Grille. Australia has noticably weaker free speech laws than the US, which is prehaps why Ezzo has not yet filed suits against his stateside critics. The current status of this lawsuit is unknown.


Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders

1. Consider Salon magazine's article, Getting Wise to Babywise. This is not simply a case of "being persecuted for righteousness' sake" but rather having a poor reputation among non-Christians because of conduct.

2. Does a seeker-sensitive church really desire to promote materials by someone so distrusted by the secular community?

3. The American Association of Pediatrics has investigated Babywise and found it be be lacking in sound medical advice, and therefore issued a broad statement against scheduled designed by parents.

4. Multnomah Press dropped the high-revenue Babywise book.


Not double-tongued

1. Anne Marie Ezzo recently stated that they do not teach "cry it out." However, crying before naptime is considered "normal" from five to forty-five minutes and many Babywise users and Contact Moms encourage one another to apply the Ezzo teachings in a way that is supportive of crying-to-sleep-train.

2. Ezzo has published a comparison chart between the Babywise teachings and AAP teachings, in spite of AAP warnings about schedules determined by parents.

3. Gary Ezzo has a pattern of name calling both in his books and in communications both privately among his supporters and publically. These include dismissing critics because of their gender, "Wow, talk about women and emotions. . . I feel like I walked into the hen house during egg laying. . ."

He has also belittled those who challenge him publicly, publicly criticized those who come to him privately, and circulated private letters against those who speak out about him publicly--as they did with an 18-page letter to close followers in response to the Christianity Today article. This letter included disparaging comments about the article's author and the critics quoted, including Frank York, former GFI editorial director.


Let them also be tested first; then let them serve if they prove themselves blameless:

After doing the research yourself, are you convinced that through the years of "testing" and ministry that Gary Ezzo has "proved himself blameless"?


Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 1: Why Bother?
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 2: Church Discipline
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 3: Other Concerning Patterns

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Comments

I read the article written by Contact Mom M - I felt like I could have written it almost verbatim. We followed Prep 7 years ago with my first child, and even today, with my third who's 3mo, I still struggle with throwing off that GKGW mindset. It's amazing that so many who followed GKGW had such similar experiences!

I'm enjoying your website.

Thanks! :)

Posted by: Dawn at July 31, 2005 02:16 PM

Welcome, Dawn. *hug* It can be hard, can't it?

We hear the same sort of stories again and again--it isn't just an isolated mother who doesn't "understand the principles" who has struggles. It's the mamas who really are following Prep/GKGW/Ezzo that struggle--the materials themselves are faulty.

Have you thought about writing up and sharing your story for the "Voices of Experience" page?

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 14, 2005 11:11 PM

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