From Frank York
Former Editorial Director at Growing Families International
May 16, 2001
Publisher Donald Jacobson
Multnomah Publishing Company
P.O. Box 1720
Sisters, Oregon 97759
Dear Mr. Jacobson,
On March 23, 2001, Christianity Today published an article online entitled, Babywise Publisher Plans Contract Cancellation." The article revealed Multnomah's plans to sever its contract relationship with Gary Ezzo, Babywise author and founder of Growing Families International.
The article exposed the contents of e-mails that Jeff Gerke, a former editor at Multnomah, had written to Dr. Matt Aney, a long-time critic of Gary Ezzo's flawed medical advice for infants.
In my own dealings with Jeff Gerke, it appeared that he was conducting an honest investigation into the allegations that have been made against Gary Ezzo over the past decade. These allegations include:
Just beneath this Christianity Today article was a statement issued by you. In essence, Multnomah has distanced itself from Gerke's findings and the statement said your company's investigation is still in "process."
It is now the middle of May. I am wondering if Multnomah has finished its investigation.
I am sure you must expect a certain amount of skepticism from individuals like myself who have provided your organization with overwhelming evidence showing that Gary Ezzo has serious ethical flaws. His former pastors John MacArthur and Dave Maddox have been very clear about Gary's difficulty in telling the truth.
I experienced his penchant for shading the truth and outright lying while I was on staff. I have also experienced it since then.
As you know, Gary has been quietly distributing a lengthy diatribe against many of his critics, including myself, to GFI-related churches. You have a copy of this document. (I e-mailed it to you on March 24 with a note asking you to refrain from punishing Jeff Gerke for conducting an honest investigation.)
I wrote a point-by-point rebuttal to each and every lie and half truth Ezzo wrote about me in his letter. A copy of my rebuttal was sent to you via e-mail. This rebuttal is also posted on Steve Rein's web site, just below my first "Open Letter" to your organization. This "Second Open" letter is also to be posted on Rein's site.
Have you contacted each of the individuals who were attacked in Gary's letter to get his or her side of the story? Have you contacted Eric and Julie Abel, GFI co-founders and former Ezzo confidants who were on Ezzo's video teaching tapes? Have you contacted Chris Hamilton, GFI's former accountant? Have you talked to Gary's former pastors John MacArthur or Pastor Dave Maddox?
Have you contacted Laurie Moody, a former leading GFI Contact Mom who says she has 50 documented cases of low weight gain or failure-to-thrive infants due to Ezzo's flawed medical advice to moms? Moody was one of the few Contact Moms who had lactation credentials. She speaks with authority on this topic. On January 9, I e-mailed you a copy of Moody's post on ParentsPlace.
In her post, she discusses the accuracy of Christianity Today's article about Gary Ezzo, "Unprepared to Teach Parenting?" (Nov. 13, 2000). Moody points out numerous instances where Gary has been caught lying or shading the truth about various allegations made against him. She confirms the accuracy of the Christianity Today article and the integrity of the author, Kathleen Terner.
Multnomah has had several opportunities to conduct an honest investigation of the allegations against Gary Ezzo. In fact, your company went through the motions of investigating Ezzo back in 2000. You released a "Multnomah Publisher's Position on Growing Families International" statement to bookstores that carry Ezzo's books.
When this statement was obtained by the Christian Research Institute, the CRI staff analyzed your statement and sent you a point-by-point rebuttal that clearly showed that your organization had not conducted a serious investigation. It was apparent that someone on your staff had relied solely on Gary Ezzo's written defenses and had done little or no original research or contacted the critics. The CRI letter, dated February 4, 2000, says the following:
. . . while the Position Statement claims to be the result of a Multnomah investigation, it is predominately a compilation of previous GFI writings, even in cases where you have not referenced GFI or indicated you are quoting them. You sum up your investigation of our interactions with GFI by quoting verbatim from GFI's website.
Is your current investigation going to include interviewing the critics of Ezzo's character and materials? No honest investigation will be complete if you fail to contact several of Gary's main critics. In addition to the critics listed above, you should also contact: Dr. Matt Aney; Steve Rein (whom Gary has accused of a criminal offense); Kathleen Terner; Kathy Nesper of Apple Tree Ministries; Roy Maynard with WORLD magazine; and myself.
Let me mention that one of the primary criticisms of Gary Ezzo — from his former pastors, from his critics, and from former employees like myself — is that Gary consistently lies about his materials and his critics. This is why it is highly unreliable for you to depend upon Gary Ezzo to tell you the truth about those of us who have challenged him. You need to talk to the people whom he has repeatedly maligned.
Please keep in mind the following points:
One would think that a person who has been declared to be "unfit for public ministry" and placed under church discipline by two of Gary's pastors within the past few years would be ill-suited to be published by a company that places a high value on integrity.
As I stated in my earlier letter, Thomas Nelson chose integrity over profits when it discovered that Weigh Down Workshop founder Gwen Shamblin holds heretical views about the Trinity. Nelson gave up millions in profits because it valued the truth over falsehoods and heresy.
Will Multnomah choose profits over integrity in the face of what is overwhelming evidence against the character of Gary Ezzo? I certainly hope you choose integrity and truth over falsehood, whatever the cost.
P.S. — The controversy over Gary Ezzo has only grown since the early 1990s, so failing to take a stand in the hope that this issue will "blow over" would be a serious mistake. Knowledge of Gary Ezzo's lack of integrity has already spread widely in both the Christian and secular worlds, and it would be unfortunate if your company's well-deserved past reputation for integrity were to be permanently sullied by its continued association with a man like Gary Ezzo. Please don't allow that to happen.