Frank York's Open Letter to Multnomah about Gary Ezzo

An Open Letter to Multnomah Publishing
About Gary Ezzo and Growing Families International

From Frank York,
Former Editorial Director At GFI

January 4, 2001

Publisher Donald Jacobson
Multnomah Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 1720
Sisters, Oregon 97759

Dear Mr. Jacobson,

On your Multnomah web site, you state that your company's motto is: "Keeping your trust--one book at a time." In addition, you state that one of Multnomah's key core values is "unquestioned integrity in all transactions and relationships." As integrity is a key core value of your publishing company, I hope that this concern for integrity also applies to the authors you publish. If one of your authors has integrity problems, this certainly reflects badly on your publishing endeavors.

Thomas Nelson, a Nashville-based publishing company recently dealt with the serious integrity problems of Gwen Shamblin, creator of Weigh Down Workshops. After learning that Shamblin had a heretical view of the Trinity, Thomas Nelson pulled her soon-to-be published book and severed its relationship with her. This took great courage, but Thomas Nelson chose integrity over profits.

With the issue of integrity in mind, I am writing to ask that you conduct a thorough investigation of the serious charges made against Gary Ezzo in the November 13, 2000, issue of Christianity Today.

The article, written by Kathleen Terner, is a painstakingly accurate account of the most recent controversies surrounding the questionable character of Gary Ezzo, founder of Growing Families International.

As his publisher--and as a publisher who is deeply committed to integrity--it is important that you make an honest attempt to discover if the charges made against Gary Ezzo are true.

As the former Editorial Director at GFI, and one who viewed Gary Ezzo up close for two years, I can assure you that Mrs. Terner's article is accurate.

As you may know, I was mentioned in the article as one who was given the job by Gary of secretly obtaining a legal opinion to be used against Pastor John MacArthur. It was Gary's intent to hide his involvement in an effort to turn MacArthur in to the Internal Revenue Service for an audit.

I was asked to obtain the legal opinion and pay the lawyer's fee with a personal check. I was then reimbursed by Gary with a check signed by Anne Marie. This "money laundering" scheme was designed to hide Gary's involvement.

Gary also fabricated a supposedly "verbatim" interview with Roy Maynard, a writer with World magazine who had written an article critical of Growing Families International in 1996. I was tasked with proofreading this interview and learned that Gary had created a phony conversation with Maynard based on two phone calls. After viewing Gary's hastily scribbled notes of this interview and comparing it to what he had given me to proofread, it was obvious that he had made up the conversation. This supposedly "verbatim" interview was posted on the Internet as a way of discrediting Maynard.

Gary also asked me to find out if Roy Maynard and Marvin Olasky, the respected editor of World magazine, had prison records. He wanted me to publish these on the Internet as a way of discrediting these men and World magazine. I told Gary that if they did have prison records before they became Christians, this was irrelevant because they had been forgiven by the Lord. Fortunately, he never mentioned the idea again. But this incident clearly showed me the extent to which Gary was willing to go to smear his opponents.

In late 1997, I was asked by Robert Garcia, Gary's son-in-law (who has confessed to the "misappropriation" of GFI funds), to conduct research to see if there were any medical inaccuracies in Preparation for Parenting, the "Christian" version of On Becoming Babywise, one of several Ezzo books that you publish.

I completed my report in January of 1998 and turned it in to Garcia. In my research of Preparation for Parenting, I found numerous medical errors and dozens of statements that were made as "fact," when there was no evidence one way or the other to prove their accuracy.

Gary, for example, claimed that nameless "researchers" understood the importance of parents using "playpens" to teach infants focusing and concentration skills. I asked my GFI boss if Gary had any scientific data to back up his claim but was told Gary had no such research. I could not locate any research to back up his claim--yet he stated this as fact in Preparation for Parenting and also in Babywise. This is only one of many examples of his false medical statements. Neither Robert nor Gary ever acknowledged receiving my report.

During this same time period, I learned that Dr. Matt Aney, a California pediatrician, was also doing research into the medical inaccuracies in Gary's parenting materials. In Babywise, he discovered 35 false medical statements or statements that could not be substantiated. He published these findings on the Internet.

While working for Gary, I was given the job of monitoring GFI's "enemies" on the Internet. In my early months at GFI, I was confused as to why Gary would have enemies, but it became crystal clear soon enough as I continued reading the well-reasoned comments from his critics. I also learned from personal experience why Gary would have enemies. He routinely treated those around him with contempt. In fact, Robert Garcia once told me that Gary thought everyone on his staff (with the exception of Robert) were "idiots." This was a very candid admission and one that troubled me greatly. This attitude seemed at odds with the Ezzos' supposed concern for the "preciousness of others," a term they use frequently in their speeches and writings.

As I read the writings of Gary's critics, I began to realize that he was a very sloppy and uncaring writer who seemed to have little concern for accuracy when making medical statements about infant feeding methods, playpens, sleep patterns, or breastfeeding. The facts and logic used by his critics made me aware that his writings were filled with medical errors as well as theological problems.

In addition, I daily monitored the LACTNET web site, a forum for lactation experts. On this site were numerous discussions of the tragedy of "Ezzo Babies." These were newborns who had suffered from malnutrition or were considered "failure-to-thrive" infants due to Gary's infant feeding recommendations in Babywise and Preparation for Parenting.

Over the period of a year and a half, I sent Gary memos and examples from LACTNET of these failure-to-thrive or malnourished infants. His response was less than satisfactory. He told me these cases were either "fabricated" or "exaggerated." From my perspective, it appeared that he didn't care if babies were being harmed by his recommendations. I thought he would want to undertake a serious investigation of these cases, but he didn't.

The longer I worked for Gary, the more concerned I became about what I saw as his pattern of lying to me. When I shared this concern with a fellow GFI employee, he readily told me that many GFI staffers knew Gary was a liar. This was a disturbing admission, but it did not surprise me. It merely confirmed what I was already experiencing in my interactions with Gary. I found this pattern of lying to be deeply ingrained in Gary's character. In fact, witness after witness has given testimony to this fact--from former employees--as well as from Pastors John MacArthur and Dave Maddox (Gary's most recent former pastor who excommunicated him for lying, gossip, and causing division).

Sadly, Gary continues to compound his old lies with new lies. His most recent response to the Christianity Today article is a case in point. It is a masterpiece of half-truths, innuendoes, and omissions to portray himself as a victim. His response is very much like that of Bill Clinton when he was being questioned under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. One must "parse" every sentence in Gary's response in order to decode the falsehoods and half truths contained in his statement. If you have not read it, you will find it posted on GFI's web site.

Robert Garcia has admitted to misappropriating funds from GFI. Estimates are as high as $500,000. Yet the accounting firm hired to do the embezzlement investigation said that Gary has claimed this was a "loan." Immediately after this apparent deceit, the accounting firm severed its relationship with Gary.>

Witness after witness has come forward over the years to attest to the fact that Gary has trouble telling the truth. I found him to be deceitful and vengeful in his attempt to destroy anyone who criticized his work.

Robert Garcia once told me that Gary will never admit when he is wrong. And in one staff meeting, former GFI Vice President Nick Carter told me never to tell Gary he was wrong about anything he had written. Gary's typical response to criticism is to lie about the person and then try to smear them. I expect he will try to do the same thing to me once this letter is published.

The pattern never seems to change. Instead of dealing with his own serious character flaws and sin issues, Gary attacks his critics and claims "victim" status.

Many of his supporters still naively believe him.

Regrettably, your publishing company is putting its credibility and reputation behind a man who claims to be a parenting expert and biblical scholar. You assure your readers that Multnomah is "keeping your trust--one book at a time." Yet one of your top-selling authors has been deceptive about his own educational background and his works are filled with medical inaccuracies. He fabricated the interview with Roy Maynard, and he created a plan to turn John MacArthur's ministry in to the Internal Revenue Service.

If integrity means anything to you, I would seriously suggest you take a long, hard look at the charges made against Gary Ezzo--not only from the Christianity Today article--but from two previous articles published in the Christian Research Journal. These are highly accurate accounts of Gary's philosophy and his deceitful ways.

I concur with John MacArthur and Dave Maddox: Gary is unfit to be a Christian leader in any capacity until he repents of his past behavior, his lies, and his attempts to destroy those who have honest questions about his inaccurate materials.

I do not believe your publishing company should lend its otherwise fine reputation to such a man. He has forfeited the right to be published or given any authority in the Church as a teacher.

By publishing his books, you are giving credibility to a man who does not deserve it. Nor do babies or children deserve to be harmed by the bad medical advice he gives in his materials.

As Christians, we have an obligation to hold our leaders accountable for their actions. When we fail to take care of disciplining the sinful behavior of our leaders, non-Christians in the media are more than eager to do so. News programs like "60 Minutes" or "20/20" would have great zeal in investigating Gary Ezzo, failure-to-thrive infants, and the publisher who markets his materials. The Church should clean up its own internal corruption before someone else does it for us.>

I look forward to your response to this letter. I would urge you to contact Gary's critics directly to let them tell their story. You would be wise to contact John MacArthur, Dave Maddox, the accounting firm of Hamilton, Boynton, and Speakman, and others who have serious concerns about Gary's character, his pattern of deceit, and flawed parenting materials. I will be more than happy to supply you with phone numbers of these contacts if you wish.>

I am posting this open letter on the Internet in a variety of forums so that Ezzo supporters and critics can evaluate it. I will also be willing to post your response to this letter when I receive it.

Let me assure you that there is far more to this story that still remains untold, but in time all things will come to the light.

For integrity and truth,

Frank York

7046 Bonnavent Drive
Hermitage, TN 37076

Key Documentation

Excommunication Statement

Statement about Ezzo - Materials

Statement about Ezzo - Character

"The Cultic Characteristics of Growing Families International"
(originally titled "More than a Parenting Ministry")

(orginally titled "A Matter of Bias?")

Unprepared to Teach Parenting?

Babywise Publisher Plans Contract Cancellation

Media Alert