An Open Letter To Pastors Who Use Gary Ezzo’s Parenting Materials

Fall, 2002

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Dear Pastor:

As the overseer of your congregation, you deserve to be fully informed about Gary Ezzo, including his character and his ethics. By teaching his materials, your church is identifying with him as a man of integrity and one who is to be trusted. You have a serious responsibility to your congregation to know who and what you are endorsing.

In churches where Gary Ezzo’s materials are taught, his philosophy of parenting very often becomes viewed as the only accepted way of rearing children. This frequently leads to tension within the church when Ezzo parents view non-Ezzo parents as unwilling to train their children “God’s Way” and are therefore viewed as being deficient and inferior parents.

In numerous churches throughout the United States, Gary Ezzo’s parenting materials have created an “Us-Versus-Them” mentality that is unhealthy for any church. In fact, one pastor recently emailed me to say that when Ezzo’s materials were taught at his church, it became the most divisive thing his church had ever done. He stopped allowing Ezzo’s materials to be taught two years ago, but is still trying to rebuild a sense of unity and trust between parents who had split over Gary Ezzo’s teachings.

As one who worked on Gary Ezzo’s staff for two years as his editorial director, I think you might be interested in learning more about my experiences working with him from April, 1996 to May 11, 1998.

I am including a link to a recent article I wrote for Midwest Christian Outreach, a reputable cult-watch group based in Illinois. The article, “Adventure in Ezzoland,” describes my experience working with the Ezzos and reveals a number of disturbing facts about Gary Ezzo—including his plagiarism of the work of a psychologist, his untruths, and his shameful mistreatment of family members. You can access my article here: “Adventure in Ezzoland”

I am also aware that Gary has distributed a letter to GFI-supportive churches to explain away the controversies surrounding questions about his character and teaching materials. In his letter, he has targeted a number of individuals, including myself. His comments about me and others are a series of untruths.

I am writing to you to set the record straight about the things he has written about me. You may have received one of these letters and have assumed that he is telling the truth. So, in the interest of fairness, I am going to include a number of links to materials that will show you that Gary is disseminating untruths and libelous statements about his critics.

Just to give you a bit of my background: I served for eight years as an editor with Focus on the Family; served as staff writer for Tim and Beverly LaHaye in the mid-1980s; and worked as a writer/researcher for the Christian Broadcasting Network in the early 1980s. Focus and Tyndale Publishers recently published my book, Protecting Your Child in an X-Rated World, which is being sold by Focus on the Family and by various other ministries. I have also written for WorldNetDaily and other Christian organizations during the past 22 years.

My experience on the GFI staff is explained in three letters I wrote to his former publisher, Multnomah, over an eight-month period last year.

Here are the links to those letters:

In the link below, I have responded to letter that Gary sent out to churches that are supportive of his teachings. His lengthy letter attacks each person who has criticized him. I know all of these people and their integrity is unquestioned. I have responded point-by-point to Gary’s fabrications about me. As you read these accounts, you will observe a troubling pattern on the part of Ezzo’s responses to criticism and concerns about his teaching and personal character issues.

I am also including links to other resources for you to read about Gary Ezzo.

If you will honestly examine these materials, you will come to the same conclusion that I did—along with two of his former pastors, another former employee, several former contact moms, his former accountant, etc.—that as Dr. John MacArthur has written: “It appears rather obvious on biblical grounds that Mr. Ezzo's refusal to heed his own church's discipline disqualifies him from Christian leadership or public ministry in any context. After all, the first and most important qualification for those who would lead the church is that they be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:6).”

I am sure that when your church adopted GFI’s curricula, there was not as much known in the Body of Christ about the unsound aspects of GFI’s teaching, nor had Gary Ezzo’s background been exposed.

This link below will take you to the site. You will find the full text of Grace Community Church’s and Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship’s public rebukes of Gary for being a liar and slanderer. Gary typically leaves a church before the church leadership can complete its disciplinary process of his sins. You will find a wealth of other information about Gary on this site.

In November, 2000, Christianity Today did an expose on Gary. I was interviewed for this article because of my insider knowledge of how Gary operates his organization and how he treats his critics. Here it is:

Unprepared to Teach Parenting?

In July, 2000, Christianity Today published a story indicating that Multnomah had decided to drop Gary as an author. Immediately, Multnomah Publisher, Don Jacobson overruled others at the company and published a statement that the investigation was still in process. The link to this story is below:

Babywise almost dropped

On September 12, 2001, Multnomah issued a statement saying it was returning publishing rights to Gary Ezzo for all of his books. The statement praised Ezzo and attacked his critics who are accused of refusing to meet with Multnomah in a “reconciliation” meeting with Ezzo. The critics, including myself, declined to meet with Multnomah because we knew this was nothing more than a public relations ploy to make Multnomah and Ezzo look good. The press statement was classic spin-doctoring.

I hope you will read each of the articles I’ve linked to in this letter. You have probably only heard Gary Ezzo’s side of this controversy. It is important for you to hear the other side.

Yours in Christ—and for the truth,

Frank York

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  • A Mom Says

Rosemary Shy, MD , FAAP
Director, Children's Choice of Michigan Ambulatory Pediatrics
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Mich

"It is dangerous to do it the way he describes," Pediatrician Dr. Rosemary Shy says of Ezzo's technique. "It puts these babies at risk for jaundice, at risk for dehydration, and at risk for failing to thrive, all of which we’ve seen." -- Wilson, Steve, "Baby Care Controversy," WXYZ-Detroit, November 14, 2004


Arnold Tanis, MD, FAAP
1999 recipient, John H. Whitcomb Outstanding Pediatrician Award, presented by the Florida Pediatric Society and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

"There is no scientific basis whatsoever in their philosophy....It is contrary to what nature intended.

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Although Babywise says to feed a hungry baby, it usually instructs parents to observe a time interval between feedings, or a certain order of events, such as only feeding the baby after she wakes up. There's another way to tell that your baby is hungry. You can watch your baby for her own signs of hunger.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends watching for the following early signs or cues by which your baby lets you know when she's hungry.

  • Small movements as she starts to awaken
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  • Putting hands toward her mouth
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Maternal use of parent led routines associated with short breastfeeding duration.

Published Feb 12, 2014
Brown A, Arnott B (2014) Breastfeeding Duration and Early Parenting Behaviour: The Importance of an Infant-Led, Responsive Style. PLoS ONE 9(2): e83893. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083893

"Results: Formula use at birth or short breastfeeding duration were significantly associated with low levels of nurturance, high levels of reported anxiety and increased maternal use of Parent-led routines . Conversely an infant-led approach characterised by responding to and following infant cues was associated with longer breastfeeding duration."

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This KET Special Report looks at the importance of social and emotional development in the first years of life, featuring experts on infant and child development in Kentucky.

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Our first child was born in the summer of 09, and I promptly began trying to apply the Babywise method. The book had been highly recommended by a distant relative, and promised structure and sanity amidst the exhaustion and upheaval I felt as a new mother. However, our baby did not respond the way the book promised he would if we followed the schedule. All my attempts to adhere to the book led to deep frustration, arguments with my husband (who knew better than to let a book dictate our newborn's schedule), feeling like a failure, and the worst--resentment of my infant. Why couldn't he sleep and eat like the book said he should be doing? The Ezzos presented their arguments as infallible.
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Babywise and Preparation for Parenting

Free downloadable parent education brochure

research-based answers
print and share with your pediatrician
leave some with your health department
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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