Sacred Grooming, Part Six: A Secretary’s Account of Life With Bill Gothard

31 January 2014, 06:00

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[Editor’s Note: The young woman referred to only as “she” and “her” in the following account is the author herself, “Meg,” but she has written it in the third person. The author was twenty-one years old during the events in this post. The following is a true story. Click here for Part One of Meg’s story, here for Part Two, here for Part Threehere for Part Four, and here for part Five. Today’s post is the sixth and final post in this series. On Monday, we will share an important message from the RG team as we begin another series of articles and a more frequent publishing schedule.]

 

All AloneHonolulu airport

It was hot in the airport immigration room. She stood in the long line of people waiting to get stamped and checked off before they could officially “arrive” in Hawaii. She was queuing in the non-American line, while her boss, Bill Gothard, and all the other staff were getting processed much more quickly in the American section.

She saw him go through, then turn and stand to wait for her just beyond the booths. She was up next, and as she stepped forward, she smiled at the native Hawaiian immigration officer as he took her passport from her hand.

“Where are you going?” he asked curtly.

She told him she was going to Chicago, but first she would be staying in Honolulu for a couple of nights.

He looked up at her, and then back down at her passport. He asked how much money she was carrying.

She answered that she wasn’t sure, and would check. She put her carry-on bag on the floor and pulled out her purse. She told him she had about $250, and showed him.

He tapped something on the computer in front of him, looked at her passport again and then looked back at her. He wasn’t smiling.

She knew that immigration officials were characteristically unfriendly. It was part of their job. That wouldn’t have normally worried her, but what did worry her now was the way he was looking at his screen. She saw him bend down and touch something underneath the desk, then look over towards the row of windowless offices behind the booths. As she did, her eye caught the red light at the end of his booth. It was on. He had bent down to flick on a red light.

The dread in her heart settled down on her like a lead weight as he told her to go over and meet the woman coming towards them, a Hawaiian immigration officer in navy trousers, a tight white shirt, and a short, mannish haircut. She wore a hard, tight facial expression, and her eyes were cold.

The woman officer took her by the arm to lead her into the offices.

She asked the officer what was wrong.

“Wait here,” was all the woman said.

She sat forlornly down on the bench. There were others in the room as well, and hushed voices anxiously talking about their own predicaments. She heard two girls with backpacks talking to each other. One of them was crying. Their accent immediately told her that they were Australian. She wanted to go over and meet them, talk to them, but she dared not. Then she sighed with relief as she saw her boss come into the room and sit down next to her. He put his arm around her.

With her voice trembling, she told him she didn’t know what was happening, that she had asked and not been told.

He said he would stay with her and not leave her.

“I’m scared. I’m scared they’ll take me away from you. I’m scared they won’t let me back.”

He said that God knew this would happen, and that they should pray now and commit it into His care. She bowed her head as he prayed quickly.

Just as he finished, her name was called and she approached yet another booth. The same hard-looking woman was there waiting.

Her boss started to introduce himself, but she cut him off immediately.

“Are you a lawyer?” the officer asked.

He replied that he was not, but that—

“Are you a family member?”

He said that he was not, but that—

“Then you have no reason to be here. Please leave.” She clicked her fingers at a guard who was leaning against the partition, and he came over to them.

Her boss looked at her helplessly. He said that he was sorry, and sorrow was evident in his voice as the guard escorted him from the room.

She was alone now. All alone.

The One-Fingered Typist

She and the woman officer sat facing each other over a small desk in a small room. There were no windows. There was no paint on the walls, just a grey, cold, merciless brick, a concrete floor, and one door. The door was open because it was too hot to have it closed. The woman in the man-tailored trousers was perched on the end of a hard chair, leaning over a computer keyboard typing with one finger.

She sat opposite the woman, feeling exhausted after the long flight and the emotional and mental energy this interrogation was taking out of her. The woman had a badge pinned to the pocket of her shirt identifying her as a supervisor, and spoke to her in a gruff voice. There was no hint of the soft lilt of the local accents, those lovely, easy-going inflections that reflected the island way of life, reflected warmth, sunshine and timelessness.

“This man. He looks after you in Chicago?”

She nodded and said that yes, she was staying in one of his houses, and that he ran a Christian ministry—a charitable organization. She went on that he was quite well-known, that she was sure the officer had heard of him. She handed the woman one of the information brochures he always kept available for telling people about his ministry. He had put them into her hand before he was escorted out. The woman picked up the brochure looked at it.

Oh yes, she said, she had heard of this ministry. “I do not like this man.”

Oh, she asked, why was that?

The officer said that her own son heard Bill speak once, had changed his mind about going to university, and had instead gone “off to some god-forsaken country as a missionary. I will never forgive him for that.”

“Who? Your son?”

“No. This … this minister. This preacher.” The officer spat the words out, threw the brochure onto the floor, and ground her foot on top of it. “That is what I think of that,” she said, turning back to the computer. The woman asked her, “Do you work for him? What other things do you do?”

She was puzzled by the officer’s words.

“What do you mean?” She explained that she only did the one job she was allowed to do under her visa, and that she didn’t do anything else, didn’t earn any money, was a volunteer.

The woman looked up at her and squinted, narrowing her dark eyes. “Well, how do you live? How do you pay for things?”

She replied that he provided her with everything she needed and that her parents sent her money for extra things.

Well, said the woman, didn’t she live in this house, with other people?

She replied that of course she did.

Didn’t she help with the chores, the woman asked.

She admitted that she sometimes did.

“Such as….?”

She explained that the girls took turns cooking, cleaning the bathrooms, and vacuuming, but that she was really hardly ever there.

Vacuuming, the officer said, that was work, wasn’t it? And cleaning and cooking, that was work, too. So, the officer continued, she did work other than what her visa specified, didn’t she?

She replied that she didn’t get paid for it.

The officer replied that it was still work, then again started typing with one finger on the computer.

It was driving her crazy watching the woman tap, tap, tap, stop, look for the letter, then tap, tap, tap again. She asked the officer whether she knew how to touch-type.

The officer answered that she did not, but that they were too busy today to have someone come and type, so she had to do it for herself.

“Would you like me to do it for you?” She asked. She said that she was fast, and that maybe the answers would be more accurate if she did the typing. She knew as soon as the words were out of her mouth that she shouldn’t have said that.

The woman looked up at her, mouth set in a hard, straight line, and said that immigration had reason to believe she was violating her visa conditions. As an officer, it was her job to find that out and record it.

She sighed. She knew then that, no matter what else she said, this woman was resolved. There would be no mercy. The woman had a personal grudge against the ministry. Otherwise, it didn’t add up. Her visa was legitimate, she had every right to be in America, and yet they were trying to find a reason to kick her out. There was nothing she could do to fight it right now. There was no going back.

Welcome To Hawaii

What followed this interrogation in the small room was an indignity she would try to block out of her memory. They searched her. They put her up against a wall and took her photo, and she actually tried to smile at the woman taking her picture. They took her up to a room where a man put ink all over her fingers and, manipulating her hand, touched the pad of each finger onto a sheet, imprinting her identity on its smooth surface. He gave her a cloth to wipe the ink off, but it didn’t really come off. She would be left with the black smudges for days afterwards.

Then they took her downstairs to the now-deserted baggage claim area, where a little man with a stern scowl on his face pointed to her little bag and ordered her to put it up on the table in front of him. The man refused to look at her. She heaved it up, giving the man a withering look of contempt over him not lifting the bag himself, but he never noticed. He made her take out all her clothes: her undergarments, her nightwear, her skirts, dresses, and tops, her scarves, and her makeup, hairbrushes, and shoes.

In her bag she had a little framed picture of Jesus with the children, a picture her Grandmother had given her for her first birthday. Tears silently rolled down her face now as the man took the frame and, turning it over, slit the back of it open with a small knife. She couldn’t imagine, didn’t want to imagine, what he might be hoping to find behind the small print. She just watched. When he was satisfied, handed her the pieces. She hugged them to her chest.

The man did this with many things, even slitting the bottom of her suitcase and checking under the lining. When the process was complete he leaned back on the wall and ordered her to put her things back in the case. They were piled up on the table, an ugly, messy pile of her belongings, reduced to this disorderly, disrespected heap. As she packed them away, the woman officer approached her again.

The officer announced that immigration had booked her a plane-seat back to her own country. The flight would leave at midnight. She would be released now, on trust, but if she did not turn up at the airport at the appointed time, the officer would send out an order for her arrest. She would be imprisoned in the Honolulu jail indefinitely if she tried to leave before her flight tonight. Did she understand, the officer demanded?

She nodded numbly as she handed her over an airline ticket.

“You may leave now,” the officer said, and showed her the exit door.

She picked up her bag and rolled it behind her heavily as she stepped towards the bright sunshine outside. The doors rolled open and a warm gust of island winds blew her hair behind her as she stood on the platform. She looked down and saw him, her boss, waiting there for her. Her boss picked up her bag.

“It’s not over yet,” he said. He told her he’d been on the phone to a friend of his who had been a senator in Hawaii for many years. The former senator thought he might be able to help.

She looked up at him, amazed. Grateful. A small spark of hope sprang into life in her eyes.

“The car is here. Let’s get to the hotel.”

Island Breezehawaii-part6

She stood on the balcony of the hotel room and breathed in the clean, salty air of the Pacific Ocean, wafting towards her on a friendly island zephyr. She was on the second floor, and her room looked out over beautiful Turtle Bay. Below her she watched hotel staff wandering around the lawn, setting up tables, chairs, and lights. They strung lanterns through the palm trees dotting the lawn, and around the small open-air hut that stood at the end of the beach. The soft light of the gathering dusk gave the resort a muted look of perfection. In the warm air she imagined how nice it would be to dress up in an island muumuu with plumeria around her neck, breathing in the flowers’ heady fragrance as she strolled barefoot beneath the trees and among the lanterns, down onto the beach. She drank in the view of the rippling sea washing over the dark, volcanic rocks at the edges of the beach. The sun looked like a ball of gold melting into the ocean. The sparkle of colors, the last dash of flair and drama—you never forgot a sunset in Hawaii.

A knock at her door made her turn and leave the balcony. She opened it. Her boss was standing there.

He said he bad both good news bad news. The senator had managed to overturn her deportation that night. Her boss paused.

She said that was wonderful news.

He grimaced. He said the deferment came with a catch, he was afraid. The officials had only agreed to overturn the immediate deportation if her case was taken to court, to be heard in front of a judge. The senator had agreed, and Bill said he had signed as guarantor. He showed her the official papers. He continued that she was scheduled for a hearing in Honolulu within a month, but that he was sure a lawyer could easily get the case transferred to Chicago.

She sighed that it was at least something. Something that gave them some time.

He nodded and agreed. Yes, but not much. She wasn’t to worry, though. He would get the best immigration lawyer he could find as soon as they were back in Chicago. He would head back early the next day, and she would follow on the flight scheduled before all this had happened. It meant she’d have to stay in Hawaii an extra night. Was that okay with her?

She answered that yes, she was okay with that. She leaned over and took his hands into her own. “Thank you. Thank you for doing this for me. I’m so glad. So relieved. So glad.”

He looked up at her and his eyes softened. He said that he was doing it for himself, too. He said he didn’t want to lose her.

After he had gone, and she had locked the door and got ready for bed, she pulled back the bed covers and climbed in, flicking out the little bedside lamp. She had left the doors to the balcony open so that she could be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.

Where Is God?

It just kept getting worse and worse, she said, nearly in tears.

Bill was sitting with her in a small coffee shop in downtown Chicago. He was leaning over and holding both her hands. They had spent the morning with the immigration lawyer. Forty floors up in a Chicago high-rise they had sat in the chrome and marble office of a lawyer who had frizzy grey hair, silver-rimmed eye glasses, and ungainly limbs. She was twisting the handle of her bag around in her fingers as the lawyer explained to them that there was not much they could do.

The lawyer said that the woman officer in Hawaii had it in for them. She hadn’t left much room to wriggle.

Bill asked about a religious visa; could they get it changed to that?

The lawyer replied that unless she was an ordained minister—he paused and looked over at her, and she shook her head. Or a nun? The lawyer raised his eyebrows as he said that, and she actually laughed out loud. He squirmed a little in his seat and leaned forward, suddenly tucking his long legs under his chair. He said that he knew the judge who would be at her hearing, and that the only thing to suggest was that the lawyer meet with the judge prior to the hearing and ask the judge to grant her mercy. It was unconventional, the lawyer said he knew, but the judge owed him a favor. It was up to her, though. If the judge turned the lawyer down, there was nothing more to be done.

She looked at her boss, and he looked at her. She could just discern the slight shake of his head.

“Do you mean like an under-the-table deal with the judge?” he asked the lawyer pointedly.

The lawyer grimaced as he threw his head back. He said that was putting it bluntly, but yes, that he guessed that was what one might call it. The lawyer said it was either that or nothing, and threw his hands up in the air.

Her boss stood up, and so she stood up too, standing next to him.

“No,” he said, shaking his head firmly. “No. We’re not going to do it that way.”

She and Bill shook hands with the lawyer and left. She took his arm as they left the building.

She asked what they were going to do. There was nothing they could do, was there? Despair was filling her mind. She asked him why God was punishing her this way? Why did she have to give up this? Give up this job? She said she didn’t want to leave. The tears ran down her face and she got more and more upset.

“I begin to question your salvation when you start talking like that,” he said. He continued that she couldn’t question God like that, that she had to trust Him, had to believe that He knew what He was doing.

She looked up at him, shocked. It was the first time he had ever doubted anything she had said, had ever really told her off.

She replied that this was easy for him to say, that he was not the one having to go through it.

His voice was quiet as he replied, “You can’t blame God. Don’t blame God.” He said that she had to be stronger than this, had to show him that she could trust God.

She sniffed and looked away, frowning.

Quietly she spoke. She told him that she had been in foreign countries where her security was threatened. She had been followed on the streets of Thailand by men looking to kidnap white women as sex slaves. She had been ambushed in remote villages of Indonesia by crowds of excited men, and they’d pulled her hair, pinched her bottom, and grabbed at her arms. She had been surrounded by gunfire in the northern parts of Burma before, and that every time God had come through for her, that every time He had brought her through miraculously. He had always made a way of escape.

So yes, she said, she questioned Him now when it looked like there was no escape, in a Western country of all places! When it looked like she would have to leave him, leave the U.S.A., and maybe never be allowed to come back. Her voice broke as she tried to choke back the sob that was about explode from her chest.

He stood up and walked over to her, and took her hand in his. He said they would wait to find out the hearing date, then decide what to do. They would pray. He said they’d pray like they’d never prayed before, that he didn’t know what else to do. He said he was powerless before them, but that God was greater than the INS, that God could work a miracle. He said that God could do this, and that he was not going to give up so easily.

She turned to him, tears beginning to fill her eyes as she spoke softly. “What if this is what God wants?”

He shook his head and said that he didn’t believe that. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have been waiting all my life for someone like you. Someone with your heart. With your spirit. Someone I can trust.”

She answered that there were people who didn’t like her, people who thought she and he were too close. She said some people thought it was a threat to the ministry, to God’s ministry. That she would destroy his and God’s work. He knew that was what some people thought, she said. Maybe, she said, she was a distraction?

He shook his head firmly. No, he said, that was not true. She was not to believe that. He said she must promise him that she wouldn’t even think that.

She couldn’t make such a promise. She couldn’t.

My Soul Still Flies

Her plane ticket sat on top of the dresser in her bedroom. As she moved around her room, packing up her things, she would always see it sitting there, like a beacon; like a fire, devouring her old, loved life that she had here, and at the same time lighting the way to a new life.

An hour before she left for O’Hare Airport, she walked out of her bedroom for the last time. With one sad, fond look around the room she had grown to love, she closed the door behind her, picked up her bags and walked downstairs.

It was late Sunday afternoon, and there was that familiar lull in the atmosphere, of rest and peace and lazy days.

They drove her to the airport. In her hand she held a hand-written letter from him. He told her to open it when she was on the plane. He hadn’t been able to come. He had said goodbye at the office, but now, as she stood at the departure gate, she saw him coming towards her, striding purposefully down the long airport corridor. The tears rolled down her face as he gripped her hands.

A sudden sadness for him filled her heart. He was growing old and he had no one to love him. She would have loved him. She would have given her life to him. She would have cared for him and nurtured him and given him the companionship he craved. What did the age gap matter. It wasn’t unheard of. When two souls connect, age is no barrier.

It would be twenty years before she realized that he didn’t love her. Not really. It had been a selfish love. It would be twenty years before she learned that he had tried to marry her back then, and that he had been refused by the Board of Directors. His game, this dangerous game, could end only in hurt and disillusionment—and not just for him, but for all those he perpetrated this upon.

As she turned to leave America, she looked back at his face. At that dear, familiar face she loved and trusted.

Epilogue

Twenty years of doubt. Twenty years of being angry at God for tearing me away so drastically from the people and the job and the place I loved. Twenty years of wondering why God was so angry at me. Believing God had removed me because I was a hindrance to the IBLP ministry.

Why did you have to do it so drastically, God? Why did you have to make it difficult for me to ever return to the USA?

When I returned to my home country, I continued working for IBLP for several years until I met and married my wonderful husband who, along with others, has patiently helped me find the freedom in Christ that I used to have, before I met Bill Gothard.

God in His great mercy used the INS to save me. It was one of the few places where Bill Gothard’s influence and power could not reach.

The true heroes of my story are Lizzie, Annette and Grace. Without their courage I would never have begun the incredible journey to freedom. When I first began seeing a counselor I had a difficult time understanding what could be so very wrong with Bill’s behavior. My counselor encouraged me–as a way of understanding things–to write out my story in third person, as though I was on the outside looking in. It was only then that I began to see the systematic method of grooming that has defiled the hearts and minds of so many young women. The “innocent” wooing that beguiled us into believing our desire to serve God could be achieved through serving this man.

It is my hope that by reading my story from this viewpoint, others will see how he took our innocence, used it against us, beguiled us into trusting him, and ultimately led us down a pathway we never knew existed. I did not write this intending it to read like a romance novel. It is just how it was. This is what he did to me.

In my attempt to understand the past I corresponded with Bill last year, but his refusal to answer me directly and with compassion helped me make up my mind to sound another warning bell for those impacted by this man and ministry.

Half of my life I lived to please men. The second half I will live to please God.

 

"Meg" at IBLP Headquarters

 “Meg”
Secretary to Bill Gothard from 1992–1993

“No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.”

Charles Weigle

 

Meg’s family was in ATI for more than ten years. After leaving Bill Gothard’s office, Meg continued to work for IBLP for several years before she met and married her wonderful, non-ATI, Mr. Right. She is now busy raising their family and enjoying a happy and ATI-standard-free life.

[Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two; here to read Part Three, here to read Part Four, and here to read Part Five,]

See how the experiences Ruth, Annette, Charlotte, Rachel, Meg, Lizzie, and Grace had with Bill Gothard fit together chronologically here, and behaviorally here.

All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.

403 Comments

  1. Donna Moore January 31, 2014 Reply

    A happy ending!!!!!

    • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

      It is a happy ending if we don't count the many wasted years of stress and pain that it took to deal with the aftermath.

  2. former ATI student January 31, 2014 Reply

    It took a lot of courage to share your story. What he did was wrong, completely inappropriate, and totally hypocritical. His ministry almost destroyed my life and nearly tore apart my family. I can't get those years back, but thank God my life is wonderful now. I hope your story is another nail in the coffin of this cult.

  3. Lauren January 31, 2014 Reply

    I'm so glad God rescued you when He did! Thank you for your courage in speaking out when you did. May you continue to receive the grace to move past this oh so painful chapter in your life. God bless you!

  4. esbee January 31, 2014 Reply

    wow! never saw that INS thing coming. A woman filled with hate for Gothard because her son became a missionary was misusing her position as an agent by taking it out on Meg. She was legally looking for a way to discredit the ministry. Not finding any, she would just make Meg miserable under the guise of following INS rules. That woman thought in her mind she was justified to do what she did as revenge against Meg. Legalism is rampant worldwide.

    God KNEW no one would ever be good enough to earn HIS love or a way to heaven, all those useless rules, jots and tittles that must be strictly followed, and men making up new rules all the time on how to get to God. Just look at all the different religions there are around the world. Do this, this, this, this and this to earn God's favor and do that, that and that and God will love you or at least give rain for crops! And so many of these rituals and rules conflict.

    I once heard a preacher say that if there was any other way besides Jesus' death on the cross to pay for our sins, God would have done it.

    Jesus summed up the whole law in a few words...love God and love your neighbor. So simple, so easy. The Holy Spirit will help each individual interpret that on a daily basis.

    And people like Mr. Bill are more to be pitied than pissed on. He went to the board and they said no to his wanting to marry. Had they refused his wishes to marry before. I see a man trapped by his own organization's rules.

    I wish the best to Meg and her family.

    • "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

      He was not trapped. The IBLP board does not issue marriage licenses. The state does. He was free to marry whomever he wished. He just may have had to give up his ministry, a ministry HE founded and HE wrote the rules for! But if one's ministry is more important to you than the woman you love... It isn't love.

      No, Bill was not the victim, here. IF he was trapped, it was a trap he created, himself. IF he loved her, he should have been man enough to give up everything he had worked his whole life for.

      So if indeed the rumors were true that the board refused him, we can conclude that either he didn't love her, or he wasn't man enough to show it. Or both.

    • Julia Fetters February 2, 2014 Reply

      He is to be pitied, I agree 100%. I so pity him. He hit it right - "I see a man trapped by his own organization's rules."
      He is human like you and I and in no way could keep all these rules - nor would Jesus have him do so. I hope he too breaks free from IBLP/ATI.
      In saying all that, I am one of the many hurt by this organization and his deception. We witnessed it first hand.

      • Ruth February 5, 2014 Reply

        I could pity him if he hadn't made the rules himself, AND if he had been open and clear about his intentions with Meg. There's nothing wrong with a boss falling in love with his much younger secretary, but that's clearly not what happened in this story.

  5. BeverlyB January 31, 2014 Reply

    "God in His great mercy used the INS to save me. It was one of the few places where Bill Gothard’s influence and power could not reach."

    That is a powerful line that says it all. Thank you for your courage and boldness in sharing your story and being that warning to other girls to avoid this man.

    A heart for Jesus can be developed in so many other ways---one does not have to risk it all and get close to this man in order to be close to the heart of God. In fact, in my experience, the closer I got to this man and ministry, the more my heart and passion for the Lord felt like it was dying. If in doubt, just don't! Avoid the man and find a deeper relationship with Jesus through seeking Him directly!

  6. Christine January 31, 2014 Reply

    Bill Gothard always said God uses the government as a "bigger hammer" when we are resisting His will. It looks like God had to pull out that "big hammer" to pry this girl out of Gothard's grasp, releasing her into the life He intended for her. Bless you as you live for Jesus, "Meg"! May He shine through you as you seek Him and walk in His love.

  7. Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

    I am a little slow . . . what was the issue with immigration all about? Was she a foreign national?

    Interesting that Bill had intentions to marry her. I am still trying to understand if, from the point of Meg, this would have been for her a good thing, or a bad thing? It has been my opinion that marriage may have been a very good thing for Mr. G . . . heard 3rd hand that his father encouraged him toward that end. To find that he actually sought to make that happen is noteworthy.

    • guest January 31, 2014 Reply

      "That he sought to make that happen is noteworthy" because he broke his own declared standards, pursued a girl young enough to be his granddaughter (more than one) in secret, and had to be restrained by his board.

      • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

        Which declared standards are you focusing on at the moment? I have never heard him address an age difference, other than in a positive light. Jacob was 70 when he fell in love with Rachel. About interactions with secretaries? Maybe he never should have had young female secretaries . . . and, as you know, that practice came to an end.

        • Lora January 31, 2014

          Can you at least admit "wow, this is bad: Gothard should never have behaved like that toward a woman"?

          And let me ask you this: would you be okay with him bestowing this kind of special treatment on one of your daughters? In secret? Late at night? In his hotel room? Special shopping trips? Asking her to modify her appearance for him?

          Would that be okay with you? Or would you be furious?

        • MatthewS January 31, 2014

          Alfred, just to clarify, are you going on record as saying that Bill Gothard's behavior, including what has been told in these four stories (Lizzie, Annette, and Grace, and now Meg) is above reproach?

          For reference, the code of ethics for Christian Counselors in the AACC is here: http://aacc.net/files/AACC%20Code%20of%20Ethics%20-%20Master%20Document.pdf Sections 1-130 and 1-140. I realize that Bill is not a licensed counselor and has not agreed to this code, but Bill claims a higher standard and is in a position of trust, offering to help these girls, making it a valid point of reference at least for comparison.

          Ephesians 5:3 says, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people."

        • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014

          I am just asking . . . Matthew . . . if you were in his situation and found yourself thinking about a secretary more and more in terms of a life partner, very much in love with her . . . what would you do? You are 50, she is 20. Would you send her away because 50 year old men do not marry 20 year old women? Was the board correct? Wondering . . . if there had been a Mrs. Meg Gothard . . . might there not have been a Lizzie? I am guessing so . . . assuming I have the time frames right.

          Knowing how hard it is to be rational when it comes to matters of love, I am just wondering at what point you start to feel sorry for him. I know that Mr. G is not "all together" in private, at least in terms of the standards he promotes. The standards pull him and others forward, sometimes way out of balance, but he really is human. He has never figured out "the way of a man with a maid" . . . maybe few of us do, given the amount of "fornication" that goes on among the brightest and the best.

          And, again, I was waiting with trepidation for the bombshell. The one I was promised years ago when someone gave me "the book", which talks about "sexual immorality". I continue to wait . . . not that I have not discovered things that make me uncomfortable and cringe, make me wonder what can and should have been done. The more I ponder, the more I think a "Mrs. Gothard" would have been so good. But the bomb . . . has never exploded. Yet.

        • MatthewS January 31, 2014

          But I really am asking an honest question. Do you say that Bill is above reproach?

        • David January 31, 2014

          Thank you, Alfred, for once again confirming to us all that spiritual blindness is a choice -- a choice of refusing to see what is right in front of you. My prayer for you is that one day you would wake up and see you are involved with a cult that teaches another gospel, and that to the extent that you promote and affirm Gothardism, you share the blame.

        • matthew January 31, 2014

          Matthew, Alfred believes sincerely that Mr G is completely above reproach. His repeated and continual messages here on RG prove this.

        • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014

          "Above reproach": Being "human" means to mess up . . . and Bill Gothard is human. "Reproach" gets to be a political word . . . if it means "worthy of excommunication from his church" or "worthy of a fine or time in jail", I have not seen anything on that level. Beyond that it becomes a matter of whose standards are we judging by". If "reproach" means having allowed himself to do things that he would likely judge others for, he is not above that reproach. Which is a pretty high standard, we all agree. As Gothard trained as I was, I did not make it through "courtship" without kissing . . . a lot . . . passionately. He has never done that . . . but his standards are far beyond even that.

        • Josh January 31, 2014

          How dare you. What a callous heart. Implying that a young, vulnerable girl, used as an emotional 'treat' for Mr. Gothard, should have married the man? You are completely ignoring the entirety of her story, her hurt, and her experience. Why you are bothering to comment here at all is beyond me, seeing as you apparently care nothing for the author or the others who have experienced similar. Your idea that a Meg Gothard would have prevented a Lizzie, is subhuman. You are saying if Meg had been sacrificed to his appetite, others would have been spared. NOTHING of the real problem. NOTHING of what this has already, and would have done, to Meg, and the others. NOTHING of the impropriety of it all. But that's not surprising, he has trained you well. Protect the abuser, fault the victim. It must have been Meg's fault, after all. But you won't listen, I've thrown my pearls to the swine, if only to make the swine notice something other than the slop for a moment...

        • Blesses Mommy of Six January 31, 2014

          Alfred,

          First of all, people have been sent home for way lessor offenses. Secondly, are you not familiar with the principles of Biblical Courtship?

          To find out what offenses Bill Gothard is guilty of I would encourage you to reflect on the teachings of Mr. Gothard himself.


          DEFRAUDING: Arousing sensual desires in others which can not be righteously satisfied.

          SENSUALITY: Planned appeal to the physical senses for personal gratification.

          CONCUPISCENCE: Possessing stronger sensual drives than spiritual desires.

          LASCIVIOUSNESS: Stirring up lustful desires.

          DENIAL OF SELF: Dying to the natural impulses of fulfilling our rights and expectations.

          PRIDE: Avoiding necessary character changes by expecting others to fit their ideas and feelings around mine.

          REPROBATE: Believing a philosophy of immorality through the motivation of personal impurity.

          CLEAR CONSCIENCE: Being able to look every person in the eye without any of them pointing a finger and saying, "You offended me and you never tried to make it right."

          Below I have included a little about Biblical Courtship and have included a link:

          The process of courtship seeks to avoid many of the pitfalls that often exist in dating relationships, which are frequently focused on the selfish pleasures of gaining entertainment or sensual gratification. A man and woman engaged in dating often do not share a long-range goal for their relationship. The couple is often seeking momentary pleasure, and consequently they do not assume proper responsibility for their behavior toward one another. (See 2 Timothy 2:22.)

          http://iblp.org/questions/what-are-basic-facts-about-courtship

          I understand that you are currently still involved with IBLP, so I am surprised that these things would not be on the top of your mind when reading Meg's story. These are some of the most basic of Mr. Gothards teachings which is why Meg's story is so alarming to those of us who have been raised in IBLP families. This all has been deeply ingrained into our hearts and minds.

          I have read many of your comments for a long time now, and the impression that I get is that IBLP is a place where you feel acceptance. However, by always trying to defend IBLP makes it seem that you are still trying to win favor by "standing up" to the people who have come to Recovering Grace for healing and refuge. You may win favor with a few IBLP people, but you are not winner favor with the Lord.

          This is not a challenge of who knows more about IBLP, because I am confident that the ex-IBLP'er members of Recovering Grace know way more. But thankfully it's that over abundance of knowledge that has allowed us to see all that is wrong with the teachings of Bill Gothard.

          In closing, I have a recipe for you for the BEST chocolate chip cookies in the world! The only problem is that they have a teaspoon of dog poop in them. But don't worry, you'd never know if I didn't tell you... Just like the teachings of Bill Gothard... By all outward appearances everything looks wonderful, but under the surface it stinks. With the teaching of not giving bad reports, or not taking up offenses for others, etc... no one ever learns about the teaspoon of dog poop that is blended in so well under the surface...

          You would never eat a cookie with a pinch of dog poop in it, but you defend an organization with hidden dog poop. When a teeny tiny bit of dog poop, or poison is blended in with everything else it makes everything bad!

        • Austin Gunderson January 31, 2014

          ^ What 'Blesses Mommy' said.

          Bill Gothard stands condemned by his own exacting standards, Mr. Corduan. No one in his organization would've been allowed to get away with a fraction of these abuses, or sins, or missteps, or whatever you prefer to call them. Which now leaves you with a choice: you can either admit that Gothard has sinned and call for his confession and repentance, or you can defend him by ignoring his standards, thereby tacitly admitting that said standards are but convenient contrivances. You cannot uphold IBLP principles without rejecting Bill Gothard. You cannot defend Bill Gothard without jettisoning IBLP principles.

          Which will it be?

        • Alfred Corduan February 1, 2014

          Josh: I obviously read Meg's participation and interest in the relationship differently that you did.

          Anyway . . . no, I am not at all indifferent. I treasure my 7 young ladies. I would do anything to keep them from harm.

          Isn't it something, though . . . we have Jack Schapp, conservative mega-pastor in crazy immorality . . . I hear Doug Philips has taken a fall. One of our big preachers where I go fell recently, mind numbing . . . anyone remember Jimmy Swaggart? Down they go, right and left . . . and Bill Gothard, after being in as potentially compromising positions as anyone could be with every opportunity to do the same . . . is found guilty of lap sitting, and footsie. And has never kissed a girl . . . or worse. The hypocrisy charge has "legs" . . . it is offensive to anyone who respects him, took him seriously, even suffered to implement the rules he promotes. But . . . let's keep it in perspective. At least . . . that is where I am at. "Sexual harassment" and even "grooming" charges are over the top.

          Want to do something godly? I understand he is at this very moment alone in the Northwoods seeking the Lord with an extended fast. Some of these things are likely on his heart. Pray for him . . . pray for his blessing, his grace, to come out of there with the strength and conviction to do whatever is necessary to address all such issues in a proper, complete way. That would be the height of triumph of "Recovered Grace", would it not?

        • BeverlyB February 2, 2014

          Bill was "found guilty" (your words) of a girl sitting in his lap!?! And this was NOT sexual? Let me guess... you think this was Grandfatherly, Alfred?! Holy Cow, There are words I cannot say in public to describe how I feel about your lack of willingness to see what is sexual and not sexual behavior. You do astound me.

        • kevin February 1, 2014

          "Some of these things are likely on his heart. Pray for him . . . pray for his blessing, his grace, to come out of there with the strength and conviction to do whatever is necessary to address all such issues in a proper, complete way"
          Alfred,
          I am happy that you agree that he needs to address these issues.

        • Vera February 2, 2014

          Repentance requires fruit meet for repentance and it the kind that does not lead to sin - repent - sin - repent - sin - repent ......Hebrews 6. as so often happens with those coming out of legalism. We need to receive grace to be set free. Anyone can repent and believe. Also none of us is greater than another. Let us come down off the throne and let Jesus have It!

        • Austin Gunderson February 2, 2014

          Aaaaand ... Mr. Corduan dodges the question! Never saw THAT one coming.

          But because this is a site of second chances, I and many others will continue to pester you for an intellectually honest response. Muttering that "the hypocrisy charge has 'legs'" just won't cut it here. Will you, personally, after familiarizing yourself with all the stories on this site which at bare minimum attest to gross hypocrisy and abuse of power on the part of Bill Gothard ... will you PERSONALLY call for Bill Gothard's confession and repentance instead of, in weaselly fashion, calling for us to pray for him? Will you stand up for everything you ostensibly believe in by refusing to show partiality to the man who taught you to believe those selfsame things? Will you?

        • Sad February 2, 2014

          Alfred -
          Since you are unclear on what Sexual Harassment is, here is something from the EEOC:

          Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when

          1 submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,
          2 submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals, or
          3 such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. ( 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 [1980])

          Based on "Meg's" description, the footsie game was clearly a sexual event. She was his employee, and a foreign national to boot, how was she to know how to handle his advances? Especially being a naive young girl brought up in the IBLP "Authority Chain of Command" structure. Also, knowing the ultra legalistic rules for male - female interaction that has been perpetuated by BG, any other physical contact, no matter how "innocent" to the rest of the world, could be construed as sexual in nature. This is a clear cut case of sexual harassment in the workplace. PERIOD. There is NO room for argument here. I work in the public sector, had I done this with/to a female employee I would have been charged and fired. PERIOD. The same goes for those that work in private sector. IBLP should NOT be exempt from the laws of the land. Hearing the stories here that also mention violations of Fair Labor Standards is also egregious and appalling. I can scarcely imagine the hours and hours of overtime owed to their prior employees. Doubtlessly, in the millions of dollars. BG should step down from his leadership, apologize profusely and publicly for his behavior, and seek a quiet retirement. Allow IBLP Board to deal with the ramifications of his actions.

          As a man in his late 40s, I also find his interest in girls, not women, to be extraordinarily creepy. Why he was / is incapable of pursuing women even remotely close to his own age is beyond me. Based on my experience in my job field, it speaks to me of predatory behavior. But I may be seeing that since I interact with profoundly evil people on a regular basis, and do my best to stop them. I know we have discussed BG and the dying of his hair before on this blog, and you had mentioned that he did so because he wanted to appear the same in his videos. Now, with his grooming/ stalking of these young girls who he had work for him, perhaps there is an ulterior reason for him refusing to go grey like a normal man - a desire to appear more youthful and appealing to the young ladies he has had on his staff. Ugh.

          One last definition for you Alfred - intransigent - in·tran·si·gent
          adjective \-jənt\: completely unwilling to change : very stubborn

          I think this applies to you. Volumes are being spoken against the behavior and actions of BG and you still defend him. Please, take a serious look at all of these issues. Does BG need to be prayed for? Certainly. But he needs to be confronted as well. Repeatedly, until he lets go of his own personal intransigence against the people who have addressed him about his sin issues over the years.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          If I were "transigent" I would not be doing half of what I am doing. When you have something you know is from God, you don't abandon it easily.

          The sexual harassment charge is simply going to be insanely difficult to make stick. First you have to prove it to be sexual . . . then you have to prove that it was unwelcome . . . and then, in Illinois, the report must be made within 300 days of the event. AND it has to be "work", which is an interesting term in a Christian ministry like IBLP. That would be the least of the issues.

          To prove harassment there must be evidence of distress, i.e. telling others about it, work deterioration.

          In a nutshell, there is a non-trivial standard that must be met. It is so to avoid people with various agendas to pile on "sexual harassment" after the fact, just to harass someone they don't like.

          I bring this up because that keeps being bandied about. The man is close to if not in his 80s . . . the events happened many, many years ago (Meg is 20+). But . . . we are going to find the point of greatest weakness, the most embarrassing thing possible to "take him down". God have mercy.

          Just a comment, too. The Enemy is coming in like a flood. Unless you are into drugs or sexual perversion you might agree. The last couple of years are a nightmare. If you believe in "spiritual wickedness in high places" with whom we "wrestle" (Eph. 6), then there is a real war underway. The "other side" is not people, but the devil and his minions. Old barriers are breaking down, he is consuming this nation like he has never been able to. And . . . at this same precise moment, the enemies of this ministry are finally finding a unified voice, the emotional energy, the financial resources to finally take Bill Gothard down. Yes . . . to me it is a tidal wave.

        • "Hannah" February 4, 2014

          I didn't think anyone was trying to "prove" it. I expect that after 20 yrs, it's too late for a court case, anyway. Just because a thing is not "provable", does not make it less of a sexual harrassment. Emotional abuse is another thing difficult to "prove". Doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I think this is about Meg telling her story. She is obviously distressed about it. Just because she was too naive to be distressed at the time, does not discount her current distress; her realization of how wrong it was, and how she was used.

        • "Hannah" February 4, 2014

          I've also attended enough sexual harrassment training sessions, to know that it doesn't have to be unwanted to be sexual harrassment. So that part of your comment is just bs.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          First of all, I have gone to Mr. Gothard personally . . . as have other members of the family. And, no, I am not going to pursue him on "gross hypocrisy and abuse of power". Nobody in authority has an easy time of it. What president has not been accused of the same? Being in Christian ministry is 10 times as bad . . . you wonder why anyone would stick their necks out for the Gospel. To try to build and run a world-wide ministry full of type A personalities (people like me), taking unpopular stands, being subjected to criticism and second-guessing at every turn . . . at what point does that alone break a person? And having to make payroll with no certain source of income . . . and to do it without a life partner? I am sorry - I guess I see things just a tad from his perspective.

          I am on record calling certain behaviors unacceptable, and this has been communicated. So, whoever asked, my statement is that he should have not allowed himself to be that close to the young lady without first starting the process of speaking to her parents, the board, his parents, whatever he would normally expect to be done. In fact - he should not have had a young single secretary.

          But . . . he did. And we have to figure out if this is a "really bad" thing, or just "inappropriate". Regardless it is the proverbial (literally) "fly in the ointment". It needs to be addressed. I do hope that all involved can find a way to bring it to a godly conclusion . . . without the need to publicly humiliate Mr. Gothard.

        • MatthewS February 4, 2014

          Boy, if the day comes that the best defense of my lack of integrity is that "it's hard being a minister of the gospel" please just give me some strong meds and tell me to shut up. Paul made a point of telling the people he had not used them and he had acted in line with the gospel. Follow me as I follow Christ, he said. Paul said he had NOT come with words only but with power. Gothard claimed to come with higher standards but really he was the blind leading the blind.

          As you pointed out, Alfred, Gothard questions everybody. He judges those who dare disagree with him. Christian Rock = Christian Pornography according to him, for example. But for the man himself, apparently he's entitled to a little compromise here and there? I'd love to hear that in a sermon: As your pastor, I am entitled to a little compromise now and then but you folks are not. You normal folks must live by higher standards but it's hard being me, so I am entitled.

          "Without a life partner" but whose fault is that? Either God called him and didn't equip him or else maybe God didn't really call him to that.

          Your cognitive dissonance is really starting show, Alfred. It's ok to be humble and admit you were wrong. You have been well-intentioned in trying to defend someone you trusted. Most of us here at RG can say the same. We've been there. We know exactly how it feels for it all to finally crash to the ground and become indefensible. And that's why we are now so passionate about telling the truth.

          I know you think I'm reviling you. I'm not reviling. I'm talking straight truth, brother.

          You want to talk about the enemy coming in like a flood? I'll show where I see evidence of that: Preachers who claim the name of Christ and who get rich off of the message but who fail to live it, leaving a trail of broken lives in their wake. He is no shepherd who uses the sheep for his own benefit - that's what wolves do.

          Closing thought: where are the string of secretaries who have a complaint with Billy Graham? How many did he harass? Actually, my mom was a secretary there for a while. She knows what harassment is like because she experienced it at Boeing. I'll ask her if she experienced it at the Billy Graham office. What do you think she'll say? "Well, you gotta understand, he's entitled because it's hard being a minister on the world stage?" No, I don't think so. I think she'll say "no, never." And that's why Graham is a true minister of the gospel and Gothard is not. One of them fed the sheep, however imperfectly, and one of them fed ON the sheep.

          Please excuse my passion. I'm neither angry nor mocking - this is coming straight from my gut. If I EVER backslide into that entitled mindset, I truly hope God just sidelines me or takes me home.

        • Austin Gunderson February 5, 2014

          I'm glad you admit that Gothard shouldn't have acted as he did, Mr. Corduan. But what on earth does his status as a "minister of the gospel" have to do with this? Are you actually claiming that Christian leaders should be held to a lower standard than their followers? Are you really insinuating that Christian ministry counts as an extenuating circumstance for hypocritical sin? Are you serious?

          You see, the Bible says the exact opposite: "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." (James 3:1) First Peter 5 says that Christian leaders, far from hiding behind their temporal authority, should be "examples to the flock." And how can Christians see repentance exemplified if not in their leaders when those leaders sin? This is one of the primary reasons I find your defense of Gothard so distasteful: you're so eager to downplay his obvious, glaring sins that you completely ignore his potential to exemplify repentance therefrom.

          This game doesn't have to end with RG's release of documented evidence of Gothard's wrongdoing. It's not as though RG somehow "wins" by discrediting the man; he's already discredited himself. But all that'd be necessary for him to regain some small measure of credibility and actually glorify God in this situation would be for him to let go of pride, confess his sin, accept responsibility for his actions, and turn from his wicked ways, falling upon the incredible grace of God. THAT is how Gothard can "win" here, not by ducking and dodging and hiding behind the semantics-and-martyrdom-complex screens you're trying to run for him.

        • Eva February 5, 2014

          Alfred, I think I am old enough to be your mother. So as a person of that age might say to their child......"Shame on you. Shame. Shame. Shame" That would be accompanied by the hand and finger gesture where the index finger is pointed at the offender and the other index finger moves across the pointer while saying, "Shame Shame Shame". If your mother never did that then now you have experienced it.

        • Alfred Corduan February 5, 2014

          If you are old enough to be my mother, you can say anything you like to me. I am 55, for the record. :-)

        • Alfred Corduan February 5, 2014

          Austin: We are in agreement on the high standard for Christian leaders. Read back through Megs account . . . what part of Bill Gothard's behavior do you specifically object to? Short, bullets ... I see

          o Developed an emotional attachment to a young secretary that he decided he would like to spend the rest of his life with".

          o Played "footsie" in a way that was being more than "playful".

          Some would add to that

          o Questioned her salvation because she appeared to be blaming God.

          People laugh at me as I keep bringing it all down to "footsie", which is the thing I am having the hardest thing with. Am I wrong? Didn't kiss her, didn't touch her in places that are off limits . . . Didn't bribe a government official . . . Didn't buy her lavish gifts with ministry money . . .

          Eva, finger having been wagged, teach me . . .

        • Austin Gunderson February 5, 2014

          Alfred,

          Where to begin, oh where to begin?

          First, there's the mere fact that Gothard was spending long hours alone with his young female secretary. Such a situation would, for obvious reasons, be suspect in any corporate environment, but exponentially so at IBLP, where Bill Gothard forbade men and women from so much as glancing at each other. For a man obsessed with appearances, such regular violations of his own teachings raise a huge red flag. And while Gothard's predilection for young, solitary, female companionship doesn't necessarily constitute actual sin, it DOES exemplify rank hypocrisy of mind-boggling proportions.

          Second, the "footsie." Go back and retread that section. If you think "footsie" an accurate description of what went on in that van -- that it was all just some playfully affectionate little game (which nevertheless would've been EXTREMELY inappropriate under the circumstances) -- then I might be forced to call your sexual experience into question, Alfred. That wasn't footsie. That was sexual stroking. Bill Gothard was pleasuring himself upon Meg without her consent, and likely without even her knowledge. It made my skin crawl just to read it.

          Third, the long frontal hugs, close sittings, and late-night examinations of Meg's feelings toward her erstwhile boyfriend. None of which were even close to appropriate for a pair of people operating under such a vast disparity of power. You seem to dismiss out-of-hand any insinuation that Gothard would've been out-of-line had he begun an above-board romantic pursuit of Meg, but the fact is that even had that been the case he would've been abusing his position. Had Gothard declared his desire for Meg (instead of expressing it furtively and guiltily), it wouldn't have constituted some sweet winter-spring romance; it would've been the ensnarement of a helpless young woman by a man who was (A) her elder, (B) her employer, (C) her spiritual mentor, and (D) the reason she was even in the country to begin with. Are you actually gonna tell me that ANY romantic overtures toward Meg on Gothard's part would've been even REMOTELY appropriate?

          Fourth, the blanket. In case you missed it (it WAS covered by a blanket, after all), Gothard proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he held Meg's hand with a guilty mind by going to elaborate lengths to conceal such contact. Isn't it standard IBLP dogma that, if one feels the need to conceal an action around others, then said action is by definition sin, since it's obviously being done with a guilty mind? Doesn't Gothard himself define "sincerity" as the "eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives"? Would you describe Gothard's eager hand under the blanket as transparently motivated?

          Fifth, the photograph. This recollection of Meg's chills me most of all. What do you think Gothard was doing with that photograph, Alfred? Go on -- imagine. I'm sure you can come up with something. For myself, the implication was obvious, unavoidable.

          Like I said -- chilling.

          Gothard is a world-class hypocrite. He applies the standards of Mother Teresa to those under his thumb, and the standards of Bill Clinton to himself. You've been doing this as well. By standing up for IBLP, you endorse its astronomical expectations for Christian behavior. But when it comes to Mr. Big Cheese Bill Gothard himself, you split hairs and haggle over semantics, pretending that it's impossible for anything short of intercourse to constitute sexual contact. Reminds me of Clinton's self-evidently absurd statement that "Oral sex isn't sex," except in your case it's especially rich: your equivocation is offered in defense of a man who fired young men for smiling at young women, and young women for giving young men the time of day. And now that we've all read Charlotte's account, it's a moot point, anyway. Even Gothard's suspiciously-precise statement to you, Alfred, that he'd never "touched the private parts of a woman," has turned out to be a lie. That is, unless you're gonna tell me that it doesn't count if the woman's still got her clothes on. (Honestly, that's what I'd expect from you at this point.)

          It's time to call it quits, Alfred. The substance of your defense is a repudiation of Gothard's teaching. It appears that you've chosen to jettison IBLP principles in order to provide cover for their purveyor.

        • Austin Gunderson February 6, 2014

          Guess you're speechless, huh Alfred?

          See, this is the point at which everyone usually begins to doubt your intellectual honesty: when all your initially-reasonable, carefully-distraught-sounding rhetorical questions have been thoroughly answered, and all you do is wander off to regurgitate the same questions elsewhere on this site.

        • Dee July 2, 2014

          From what I've read here, Bill Gothard is a very sick individual. Meg's story isn't about Bill's love for her. Bill preyed on far too many girls and young women for anyone to mistake what he felt for love. The title says it all: she was groomed for a relationship with him. I pity Mr. Gothard in that he prefers relationships that manipulate and exploit young women who are powerless to stop him, but it doesn't excuse the damage he has done. If there is a God, may He make Mr. Gothard truly understand EXACTLY what he has done to these women.

    • Lora January 31, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, does it not bother you, even a *little bit*, that the entire time the relationship was mostly secret? that he was breaking all his own rules (he sent many, many young people home for far, far less)? That he was hiding under the guise of having male assistants while in public, keeping her presence under-wraps?

      The systematic grooming, combined with the fact that we were taught that our authority spoke from God for us, combined with the fact that if she HAD been uncomfortable with what was going on and protested he job was on the line -- it makes me SICK.

      Just her story should be enough to tell us that Gothard has a problem -- a very selfish problem.

      But she was not the only one, this same basic story has been repeating itself over and over and over again over many, many years.

    • Barnabas January 31, 2014 Reply

      Exactly. I think if a happy marriage had been the result, the events here would be viewed very differently.

      Now that asks further questions to which we will never know the answer- would it have been a happy marriage, and would she have seen it as her decision?

      And while clearly he should not have behaved as he did... I do see him as a victim of this situation as well. He had been taught these rules, he was struggling with desire, and he had a board and father telling him how to run his life.

      • gina January 31, 2014 Reply

        Do you really think after so many years 'playing the field' with secretary after secretary that he would be content with one wife for the rest of his life. Or, for that matter, that any woman would be happy living with such a manipulative man? What a horrible marriage that would have been.

      • Katie January 31, 2014 Reply

        He was not taught the rules. He made them, and enforced them. Yes he was in bondage to a legalism of his own making. No pity

    • Karah January 31, 2014 Reply

      I find it more interesting that Bill LIED to her and her parents to get her there. Kept her completely in the dark about his intentions (took 20 years before she realized) and broke every rule he had written on courtship and dating in the process.

    • Karen Jensen January 31, 2014 Reply

      BG's father had actually gotten Bill to promise him that he would NOT marry.

      • phyllis schneider February 4, 2014 Reply

        1Timothy 4:1-3 I do believe this passage would apply to Bill Gothard and IBLP. My family was very much influenced by this organization, especially one of my brothers and his wife. They very much disdained those of us in the family who pointed out error in their practices and beliefs. My brother is now divorced from his wife after they pretended for 25 years to be the ultimate Christian family/couple. My brother ended up having an affair and is now living immorally in a relationship with the woman (they each have six children from their marriages) he left his wife for. They have not married each other to date, but are intimate. This must have been a crushing blow for my six nephews and nieces, since all of their growing up was completely based on Gothardism. It has been sickening to watch from start to finish. They were taught the courtship thing. Imagine Gothard teaching this to thousands of families while he himself is violating those very principles. The pride that my brother and his family exhibited was incredible. Sick, Sick organization.

    • KariU January 31, 2014 Reply

      When you interpret scripture based on a single verse (as Gothard often does in his publications) and then check it against your previously held viewpoint, it is more than likely that you will come to a conclusion that verse never intended.

      Likewise, when you take a story like this on its own, and apply it to your current knowledge of the evils in this world, it is more than likely that you will come to the conclusion that nothing untoward happened.

      On the other hand, when you take scripture as a whole, back away from jot and tittle and place yourself in the time and context of the writing, a fuller meaning of the words makes sense of the scripture in such a practical way.

      Likewise, when you take the past forty-plus years of Bill's ministry, back away from each individual story and find the common theme, a fuller realization of what is really going on strikes you like a sledgehammer.

      It is such an insult to these innocent young women to shrug one's shoulders and say "you should have been so lucky." They were exploited. Meg was exploited. I was there in the early 90's, and saw it first hand. I was too innocent myself to understand it, and in fact didn't fully grasp that what I knew happened was predatory until I learned more about the world. But I do know now. And I wish I had known enough to help stop it then. I wish the people who witnessed the scandal of the 80's had been able to stop him then. I wish we all had been spared this man's very personal agenda. Because even though we weren't all "his girls", we still suffered from his oddly virginal prurience. So subtle, yet looking back it permeated every single youth conference I attended, every staff meeting, every Sunday night event. And it hasn't stopped. It will never stop, until Bill is stopped. I believe that with all of my heart.

    • Jon February 1, 2014 Reply

      Alfred What do you not understand?

      The entire "international person" aspect of this account really sheds more light on this whole thing. It would be interesting to find out what kind of visa she was entering the U.S. with… Perhaps it was a student visa or a tourist visa?

      No wonder INS was taking a very close look at the situation given that BG was not her lawyer, relative, or any relation really. I mean the INS didn't really "have it out for her". They were looking at the facts, and as is plain to see, they didn't look good. Young foreign woman traveling to America from Asia with a bunch of Americans… Without her family. And being given all this special treatment from a much older man who was clearly possessive of her.

      Praise God Meg was questioned by an INS officer who knew about BG and IBLP… It was definitely His hand of protection on her life. Imagine the life she would've been confined to…

      Notice too Meg's never was approached by BG in the proper context to ask for permission to court Meg.

      All the secrecy, hypocrisy (with BG breaking his own rules), and deception turned this into something awful. I'm very glad that it didn't work out between Meg and BG.

      I'm very glad Meg found her now husband! And ultimately so glad Meg found freedom in Christ!

      • Jon February 1, 2014 Reply

        Edit: left out part in brackets
        *Notice too Meg's {{parents and specifically father}} never was approached by BG in the proper context to ask for permission to court Meg.

  8. Editormum January 31, 2014 Reply

    Alfred, let me give you some perspective here.

    When I was at IBLP headquarters, there was this guy who kept showing up at everything I showed up at. We became friends due to multiple shared interests. We never touched one another and he never commented on my appearance or behaved inappropriately in any way. And yet we were brought before BG and told that we were "not to be in the same room, not to breathe the same air" as one another.

    But it's okay for BG to be all handsy with the secretary? It's okay for him to make personal comments about——and pay for her to alter——her appearance?

    There is ONE word for that. HYPOCRITE.
    And that is the problem. The rules that applied to EVERYONE ELSE did not apply to him. And that is wrong.

    • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

      "EditorMom": Do you suppose there would be ANY difference if it involved adults? Do you really think anyone believes that these strict "courting rules" apply to 30+ year olds? Un-Emancipated students committed to his care . . . yes. But, adults?

      • Alli January 31, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, you know as well as I do that BG did not consider this girl an "adult" anymore than he considered any other unmarried woman an "adult." While I don't have anything inherently against an older man pursuing a younger woman, it's the way that he went about it that was awful. He isolated her, got her to trust him, and manipulated her all while she was naive.

        Even outside of the idea that courtship is the only way to go about a relationship, this behavior is not ok. For BG to be defensible here he would have had to have made his intentions clear to her; told he her found her attractive, that he wanted to possibly marry her, and let HER decide if she was ok with continuing her professional and personal relationship with him.

        The fact is, he coaxed her into trusting him as a father figure, when he was viewing her as a sexual companion - that's a disgusting way to treat a woman.

        Was it bad for him to think she was attractive? No. Was it bad for him to act on those feelings? Not necessarily, but his approach was completely dehumanizing and disgusting. Solid relationships between equals never come from manipulation and secrecy, let alone relationships between an employer/employee situation.

        • BeverlyB January 31, 2014

          Alli, you hit the nail on the head: "Solid relationships between equals never come from manipulation and secrecy, let alone relationships between an employer/employee situation." And that's why this is a big deal---it's an inappropriate emotional relationship that was not between equals. Gothard severed her emotional tie between "the boy" (who would have been her equal) earlier, so he could bond her to himself emotionally. That is both manipulative and highly abusive, even if he never laid a hand on her (which he DID in tender touches). Anytime a romantic relationship is between people who are not considered equals, it is a perfect setup for abuse. This is why every serious employee handbook has rules against employee/employer romantic relationships.

      • WendyA January 31, 2014 Reply

        At what point do you consider someone an adult, Alfred?

        I was a 24-year-old college graduate with ten years of workforce experience (including two years at management level) when I went to HQ to work, not an 18-year-old who had never been away from home before. And my father made it clear to the leaders that he was sending me to work there as "adult staff" NOT "apprenticeship student."

        My father was involved because that was how the system worked. My family were in ATI, and so my dad was the point of contact for headquarters. But I was not an "unemancipated student." I was an adult.

        I was 26 when I became engaged and was told that I would have to go home instead of continuing to work at HQ. So are you saying I wasn't a responsible adult at 24? at 26?

        And yes, I did see the courting rules applied to adult staff who were even older than I was.

      • Hope January 31, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, there are people who think that those strict courtship rules apply to adults. When I was at a training center I remember another girl(she was really a 20+ woman) getting reprimanded for talking to a 20+ guy. It ended up being her brother, but they still got in trouble because it "appeared" that an unmarried girl and guy were talking in private. Got to avoid the "appearance of evil"

        And yet there was Gothard, running his foot up the leg of his secretary, holding her hand, hugging her, talking in private with her. And you think this is fitting behavior for a spiritual leader and boss? If your daughter was working for a man who was running his feet up her skirt to feel her legs you wouldn't have any problem with that?

      • Alisha January 31, 2014 Reply

        Ok, I finally had to write a response to you Alfred.. 'editormum' said the truth. And I am appalled at your insistence on ignoring the obvious truth of what ppl are saying, continuing to bring up foolish logic on your part for the sake of evading the light. The fact is, that he was a HYPOCRITE.. may I say that again... A HYPOCRITE OF A HYPOCRITE. He was selfish-ly enforcing idiotic rules, and then breaking them himself. It has nothing to do with 'adults' or no. Nothing WHATSOEVER !! Ok now if you can cut out the nonsense and let the light shine!!!!!

      • Blessed Mommy of Six January 31, 2014 Reply

        If Bill is/was interested in someone and his intentions are pure, he should follow his own protocol and use the principles of Biblical Courtship. All the friends I've known have all been over 18 when they began the process of courting. No one I knew was allowed to court before they were 18+, I always thought it was for adults who were in the market for marriage. Before 18 we just fellowshipped as families if we were interested in someone.

        Anyway, even *if* Bill decided not to follow his own protocol and wanted to date instead of court... Why was it so secret?! Why didn't anyone else know? In the very least Meg's parents or grandma should have known!

        Sensual touch is very dangerous especially for women. This is what one of the benefits of courting vs. dating is. But maybe for someone like Bill, who's been around the block a few times when it comes to being with women, sensual touch might be no big deal for him... But for every other IBLP person I know, it's a huge deal!

      • Pod January 31, 2014 Reply

        Alfred: I've never commented on this site before, but I'm finding your comments so unbelievable that I will now.

        Do you honestly believe that it's somehow wrong for two kids/adolescents/teens/early twenties to be having fun together/flirting/whatever but it's somehow perfectly OK for a 50+ year old to do the same to one of those kids? What the heck?

        Seriously, what's wrong with you?

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          He's duped. Blinded. A member of a cult mentality. And emotionally reliant on Gothard, as so many of us once were.

          But there's hope for him yet!!

        • kevin February 1, 2014

          "He's duped. Blinded. A member of a cult mentality. And emotionally reliant on Gothard, as so many of us once were.

          But there's hope for him yet!! "

          Yes, there is hope for him. I am very happy that you are no longer emotionally reliant on Gothard. I pray that Alfred and all the other followers would have such freedom some day.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          Hey, "Pod" (I love all the pseudonyms) . . . If you are coming from the outside, I will excuse you. If you have lived "inside" and seen the "courtship" process lead young people in the 30s and beyond to follow the same set of "rules" that the younger set is expected to follow for their safety, then you might feel differently. I recall women in their late 30s, early 40s asking parents for permission for this or that. I, for one, think that is an abuse. Strange, that one of the strongest proponent in all of this – Vision Forum – has had its own major problems. I am getting tired of it.

          Michael Pearl is one who has come out quite strongly on this “abuse”. Obviously Christian leaders need to be "above reproach", more than the average Christian.

          But . . . There is a point where adults are adults - they need to assume responsibility for themselves before the Lord.

          There, I said it.

          And - seriously - having "fun" together?!

        • MatthewS February 3, 2014

          That is an interesting situation. ATI fathers are implicitly giving their approval to Bill that it is OK for him to do these things to many different girls but it would never be allowed for a young men to date their own daughters and do those same things to them.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          Every situation is different, I suppose, Matthew. The parents are invisible in this account. Trying to find some sense in all of this. My point remains that "courtship standards" alone seem insufficient reason to condemn the interest he expressed in her.

          However . . . The entire situation of a young, single personal secretary is problematic. As long as I have been aware that was no longer the practice (we joined ATI in 1994 - his sisters have had that role). I am sure "Meg" is the reason.

        • guest February 3, 2014

          The parents are not invisible. The author says in the comments that her father was told she was working with a group of 4 or 5 other young ladies, and that the father asked Mr. Gothard if anything was going on. The author says that had he known the true story he would have intervened.

        • kevin February 3, 2014

          Alfred,
          you said:
          "Strange, that one of the strongest proponent in all of this – Vision Forum – has had its own major problems"
          It's own major problems? That's putting it lightly. Perhaps you haven't heard, they have gone poof:
          http://www.visionforum.com/
          This was immediately following and as a result of Doug Phillip's inappropriate behavior with one woman. Gothard is accused of inappropriate behavior with 34 women and counting.
          Without Doug Phillips, there was no Vision Forum. I don't think that there can be an ATI/ IBLP without Bill Gothard and believe that soon it will be going the way of Vision Forum.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          Inappropriate behavior?! I understand this to be a whole lot more than footsie. Please don't equivocate the two. That is not honest.

        • Jonathan Owens February 3, 2014

          Alfred,
          Inappropriate behavior in Mr Bill Gothards terms included not allowing guys in the guys dorm to leave their room unless they were fully clothed including socks. He told Rick Lambert to make it a rule at 9 Pine that no guy was to go barefoot.

          But Bill can play footsie with a female?

          I was there, you were not.

        • kevin February 3, 2014

          Alfred,
          No they are certainly not equal. If anything, Gothard's transgressions are probably far worse, given the number of victims and the age of his victims, and because they were, in fact, victims.
          Without question, both men behaved inappropriately. What is dishonest is to characterize Meg's experience or any of the other 33 victim's experience, as footsie.

        • "Hannah" February 3, 2014

          Alfred, do you really not see the similarities between Meg's story and the recent Doug Phillips scandal? A young, vulnerable female, in love with and being groomed by her much older boss, who was also head of the organization that was her entire life?

          By your logic, Doug Phillips should not be at fault, since he didn't have intercourse. His apology was so intentionally vague, it's really hard to know how far the relationship went or didn't. But so far, we think he didn't have intercourse.

          What if Phillips had not been married? Suddenly, is the relationship okay, even moral?

          The issue at stake is the power differential that existed between groomer and groomee. The fact that both men in both situations took advantage of their position of power in wooing a girl's heart. That the girls did not have opportunity to approach the relationship on an equal footing. That makes it all a coercion of a naive young girl. And that is never appropriate in a romantic relationship.

          I see the two situations as very similar. It doesn't matter to me that intercourse never occured. These sort of relationships do not begin in the bedroom. The unhealthy dynamic exists long before that.

          I've been as gentle and as clear as I know how to be, and hope I won't be called back for clarification.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          Obviously time will tell with the Phillips matter. Some obvious points are that he is married, and the relationship may have extended back to when the woman was a girl. Whatever they actually "did". Neither of these are true here.

          And - yes - as I reread the articles when it comes down to "the scandal", I find footsie as the act to question. No kissing even. As I go back through all of the stories . . . It's footsie. We go for "grooming" because it is condemning and scandalous . . . Yet this "grooming" results in him taking formal steps to marry her. No . . . There are significant problems with Phillips that do not come into play here.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        > Do you really think anyone believes that these strict "courting rules" apply to 30+ year olds? Un-Emancipated students committed to his care . . . yes. But, adults?

        The answer is YES! 100% YES - Gothard expected, and expects, his peeps to apply the whole enchilada to their live... ALL OF IT, OR GO HOME.

        Holy cheez-ballz Alfred... you amaze me. You pick and choose your way through Gothard's stuff. Sometimes you support him, sometimes (as in this case) you say "Hey that's a stupid teaching, who would believe that?"

        Go the full length of the field, ok man? Throw it all out. All the bathwater. There is no baby.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          Do you have anyone that you support 100%, "pvproof"? That is a strange notion . . . Jesus is in that category, nobody else I know.

          Yes, I most certainly pick and choose. Always have. Sometimes I have "out-Gotharded Gothard" . . . I wrote letters to him in the early days about the lax music standards at conferences. Over the years we have held to things that fit and worked, and jettisoned the rest. Maybe that is why we have survived so far.

        • pvproof February 4, 2014

          You completely ignored my MAIN POINT. That's not cool.

          I now repeat it: Gothard fully expected, and expects his students & followers to apply all his teachings to their lives. Then he applies different rules to his life.

          And you are willing to overlook this behavior. Why not hold him accountable for his double standard?

  9. Kevin January 31, 2014 Reply

    Meg, thanks for your wonderful labors in telling a difficult story. I hope sharing it is a healing thing for you... because I know it is a healing thing for many others.

  10. guest January 31, 2014 Reply

    Actually I was not referring to the age difference. You said that it was noteworthy that he made an effort to try and find a wife as his father encouraged him to do. That makes it sound like you approve of the way he went about it. This and other stories are rife with violations on his part of what he was instructing others to do in courtship. It isn't that difficult to see.

    • Lora January 31, 2014 Reply

      Not to mention that he was THE BOSS/COUNSELOR/LEADER so what he was doing was incredibly inappropriate and unethical EVEN if it had been some kind of consensual romantic relationship.

      Truth is, I don't think that he really wanted to marry her. Bill restructured the board in the 80s and they have little to no power over him. He fires them, not the other way around. So if he had wanted to marry her, he would have followed her back to her home country. There would have been no stopping him.

      Although the age difference (he was old enough to be her grandpa) adds a creepy factor, there are so many other things wrong with it that I don't even bother to focus on that.

      • "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

        Yeah, honestly, we know it's been a "puppet" board since the restructure following the '80s scandal. I can't figure out how a "puppet" board would seriously have control of his personal decisions, or could take any actual action if he did disregard their ruling. The bylaws are written in such a way that Gothard cannot be fired. So really, it all sounds like a lame excuse, to me. "Oh, the board won't let me marry you..." Right.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          "hannah" - yeah it's TOTAL BS.

          Gothard could have been married 20 times over in the last 40 years. There is nothing preventing him from doing so. All he would need is a new "rhema" to give him the rationale for the marriage.

          I'll say it straight up: Gothard has a fetish centered around young innocent-looking women and he gets off on power-tripping through their lives. He's a narcissist who loves the attention of others, and has developed this very specific type of fantasy.

          He acts out his little games with a young lady, then after he's tired of her, gets rid of her and acquires another victim.

          Gothard mentally & emotionally rapes them, slowly and methodically... then dumps them and moves on.

          Alfred and gang support this because in their mind, he's not doing anything they wouldn't do. (that's what they admit to by not standing out against this behaviour)

          It's creepy & disgusting & complete & utter BS.

  11. Another former ATI student January 31, 2014 Reply

    Gothard's "ministry" ruined my family... My older brother and sister both worked at HQ, and the rest of the family was at ITC. Various incidents with Bill at both locations tore our family apart... Parents are still involved to some extent... havn't talked or seen them in years... All thanks to Bill... Thank you Meg for your courage!

  12. Tammy January 31, 2014 Reply

    Meg,
    I'm so glad God ultimately protected you and got you away from Bill. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of this.
    It's a strange thing how we often blame God and get angry with Him about things that happen in our life until later when we see the bigger picture. Thank God for your healing and the freedom you are finding in Jesus Christ.

    May God continue to heal you and bless you.
    Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

  13. Maria R. January 31, 2014 Reply

    What a jerk! If he truly loved her and wanted to marry her he would never ask his board. Did BG ever contacted Meg's father permission. To "court" her in that way. Why didn't he pursue her to her own country. He loved his ministry more or rather he loved himself more! I would never want to marry someone who loved ministry more than me. No way. Sounds like BG was sad because his toy was taken from him. She was not a soul person but a soul toy for his comfort. How low of him. He is not a gentleman at all!

    • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

      Maria R.
      Yes this has been my question! "Did BG ever contacted Meg's father permission. To "court" her in that way."

      Where is Meg's dad, legal or spiritual authority in all this? Bill clearly teaches that a fathers or spiritual authoriy must give a blessing before courtship could begin. Is Bill above his own suggested requirements for courtship?

  14. Vera January 31, 2014 Reply

    Bill,
    I hope you have read this story because if I understand correctly, it is the only time in your lonely life that you actually had a taste of your own medicine and stupidly submitted to the board on a matter of your will because they had a selfish vested interest. Now, doesn't that just show you how off this whole message of authority really is? I mean, this beautiful sweet young lady, against all odds, and to the utter amazement of us all, (I am still in absolute shock) was willing to marry you a man old enough to be her grandfather!!! Ay yi yi. That is astounding. You really blew it, sweetheart. That's all I can say. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Could you get any stupider? Do not fall back on the old, "God saw this coming." Uh no. You chose this by your own free will to choose it. Not to worry, I have been through that quite a few times in the last 15 years after trying to pick up the pieces of our family. Sometimes though the consequences of those actions, where we didn't listen to the obvious leading of the Holy Spirit, are so painful. I think of all the beautiful children that could have been here today and how they would have loved you. That is the life you could have had. But God gave that to a better man - one who would love dear precious Meg the way she deserves to be loved and cared for. There are choices in this life to be made and we need to make the right ones. The romance part of this was not evil because God loves a good romance. But instead, you chose to manipulate everyone around you to death. Shame on you.

    • KariU January 31, 2014 Reply

      I actually have a problem with even the romance portion of this story, and I do truly love a good romance, and agree that God does, too.

      My problem is not only that there was a 40-year age gap, although that is a big enough difference to give me pause.

      My problem is Bill Gothard was this young woman's boss. He placed himself in the position of being not only her boss, but her counselor. He invited her in a fatherly way to tell him her deepest, darkest secrets, and she trusted him fully. Her family trusted him fully. And in her innocence, she grew to love him in a pure and holy way. But Vera, Bill had already gone through this with women before. He was not new to this game. And he did manipulate her into loving him. He led her down a very carefully scripted path that he had rehearsed many times before. She was putty in his hands. As beautiful as this girl's heart was toward him, this is textbook sexual harassment. Even if he had claimed her has his wife, his ill-gotten gains would have surely bitten him in the end. She was not to remain innocent forever. Nobody remains innocent forever.

      It does make me wonder what Bill is really thinking when he brings these young women under his wing. Does he think they will never figure it out? Do they just never grow up in his mind? What made him think he would never be called out for his behavior? Such a shame.

      • Tammy January 31, 2014 Reply

        Kari U- "It does make me wonder what Bill is really thinking when he brings these young women under his wing. Does he think they will never figure it out? Do they just never grow up in his mind? What made him think he would never be called out for his behavior? Such a shame."

        This may be a reason why he was so against anyone having a computer, internet and why he began Character Link.

        • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014

          Or perhaps Bill thought that a public report of his actions upon a young girl from a far away country would somehow would be lost or discredited because of distance if she was sent home? (girls and guys were sent home for looking at each other wrong, never to be heard from again) Thank God for Facebook and the internet! Things done in secret will be shouted from mountain tops, or so I have heard!

      • Vera January 31, 2014 Reply

        Even if there were many others before this, even if we all are disgusted, even if we are all judging the fact that a boss should never act this way, Meg loved him and had accepted the idea of being in a romantic relationship with Bill, a man many times older than she was. That's why this whole story was romantic. We are seeing this through her eyes at 20 years old so in love with Bill Gothard, so accepting of his advances. She reasoned through all the objections. We can't become legalists on that one point. You know what I mean? Otherwise, we are no different than Bill's horrific message of legal perfection. People in that ministry were shunned for marrying people of different races and skin tones ie. black man and white woman. The message on adoption mirrors this as well. I don't see this as any different. Legalists set these rules to signify some sort of sick perfection. I said in a previous post that I thought it was similar when Harrison Ford went after Calliste. That's the thing though about the love between a man and a woman. It can defy these conventional boundaries. I work in a children's hospital and with the many children we have had there, we have seen many relationships that are weird. One was the older uncle with the very young niece. I think their age difference was well over 20 years. In medicine today, we are taught not to judge those kinds of things. I do judge certain relationships, but not when it involves a man and a woman because God is so much bigger than our rules. Meg said that he was considering marrying her. If I could read between the lines, I think she waited for him.

        But all this legalism had boxed him into knowing that if he did, a huge number of supporters would have walked away. Ministry is big business and there is a lot of money at stake when a ministry leader makes a decision like that and it is my opinion, that there were a lot of people in this gravy train that didn't want to lose their investment. Companies were giving millions to the Gothard family. Where is that money? It surely was not given to those of us who were serving.

        I agree with you though. He is a psychopath where it comes to the feelings of others. That was something that made me so angry when I realized it many years ago because he had led us to believe that he was a person who understood the feelings of people. In real life, he could have cared less about anyone's feelings. He was an idiot for not seeing then the dead end of his message and letting go. Even then apparently, people were telling him that he was off and he didn't listen.

        My family started ATI in 1992. That was the year Meg was there . Here we are 22 years later and I am only now finding out. That is how much these things were covered up for those involved in this homeschool program. Even in 1992, these people on the board knew what a hypocrite Bill was and they didn't do what Matthew 18 clearly states to do. Think about the sister's response to Meg. If that were your brother, wouldn't you want to see him married and have a nice family? They allowed us to get involved and so I blame this "board" as much as anyone for not warning us.

  15. Pingback : Sacred Grooming, Part Five: A Secretary's Account of Life With Bill Gothard | Recovering Grace

  16. former student January 31, 2014 Reply

    If I remember the timeline correctly, The board reprimanded him severely after this, and he was no longer allowed to have a female assistant. I don't know if that rule has stayed enforced since the board has had a huge turnover since then (maybe Bill not listening is the reason why the turnover has occurred). I'm curious where Meg's parents were in all this, or did I miss that part of the story?

    • David January 31, 2014 Reply

      Nice. God's man -- and his own board has to forbid him to have a female assistant. There are many unbelievers who have female assistants and never sin.

      • former student January 31, 2014 Reply

        Not like this! Lol. So the "big sin" is that he led her on? I kept waiting for the punch line. They were dating, held hands, hugged, played footsie... there was no sexual contact. She consented and dated him, and got hurt. That is the risk of any relationship. I could have written this story about several girls I dated and pursued. Hers was a very risky relationship to embark on. They didn't do anything that any of us would have done in a "normal" dating relationship. Hypocritical of Bill to do those things with her? Absolutely. Delusional of both of them? YES! I'm not sure her posting all these details is the way to address this if she is still trying to get him to respond to her or "protect" other girls. All the personal details and personal romantic escapades that happened between the two of them would be better voiced to the audience of a loving and caring counselor, not on the internet. She tried Matt 18, so now she needs to let it go and forgive him. You can warn others in a much simpler post, something about the way this is being written and done is wrong. It's like she wants to embarrass or humiliate him, or ruin him... not forgive him and warn others. Not judging motives, just questioning the way this is being done.

        • MatthewS January 31, 2014

          "She tried Matt 18, so now she needs to let it go and forgive him."

          Could you expand on that? What do you see as being the Matthew 18 process for her in this?

        • former student January 31, 2014

          Matthew I can't reply to your reply's for some reason, there is no reply button on your postings... weird, you a moderator?

          But to answer your question, It is my understanding that she is writing this to "warn the church" which is the last step in Matt. 18. Last step after going to him personally and taking a few people with her (not sure that was ever done, at least it wasn't mentioned) so now she is too "bring up the charge before the church" Is recovering grace the church? Well maybe... we are all part of the body. but I don't think this avenue is what Jesus had in mind when he said "bring up the charge before the church". This is way more than bringing up the charge... this is sharing every gory detail. That is what I am questioning. Now all she can do is seek forgiveness in her heart since she can't control his responses, or as Matt 18 says, "treat him like a heathen".

        • MatthewS January 31, 2014

          Yeah, the comment system here is not perfect. It allows several levels of indent and then you just have to keep replying to the message at the top of that level.

          Thanks for your response.

          fwiw, I don't see her using RG as the church, but rather RG as a way to inform the church. If there were a local church that Bill was in submission to, perhaps it could just have stopped at that level right there (assuming Bill would submit to its leadership)? I can't speak for Meg or anyone else but if I put myself in their shoes as best I can, I see them saying "hey, something wasn't right but I'm confused and don't totally understand." To which I see someone like Alfred saying, in effect, "quit your whining, nothing happened." But if nothing happened, why are multiple ladies still dealing with real problems years down the road? So the issue becomes, how do I process this for myself (thinking from their perspective), let alone, communicate it with others? It seems to me that telling their personal story and putting themselves out there for people to either care or not care is one of the last resorts.

        • former student January 31, 2014

          never mind about the reply thing, i just figured out what i was doing wrong, obviously :-)

        • WendyA January 31, 2014

          But WHY were they dating? And did SHE know they were dating?

          He hadn't expressed such intentions. He hadn't approached her father for permission to date her. He taught——and rigidly enforced on everyone else——a strict pattern for courtship. Dating was wrong. And here he is, above the rules, dating his assistant.

          And he was her boss. It is not acceptable for the boss to hug, hold hand, or play footsie with his secretary.

          What you have to understand is that the actions would not have been wrong if he had made his intentions clear, moved her to a position where he was not her boss, AND not been sending people home in humiliated disgrace for far, far less. It's not the actions themselves, really. It's the whole situation that is such a problem.

        • Lauren S. January 31, 2014

          They were dating? How do you figure that? I thought that when two people were dating they should both be aware of it. At what point did the dating start and when did she give her consent? It seemed obvious to me throughout the entire story that she really, truely, thought that she was just being a good secretary and a loyal friend. Not until she is leaving the airport does she first have the thought that she would have loved him forever. Meg, did you know that you were dating Gothard?

        • Vera January 31, 2014

          //What you have to understand is that the actions would not have been wrong if he had made his intentions clear, moved her to a position where he was not her boss, AND not been sending people home in humiliated disgrace for far, far less. It's not the actions themselves, really. It's the whole situation that is such a problem.//

          Excellent point, Wendy. He never made his intentions clear and again, if I could read between the lines a little, I think Meg waited for him to come after her. He never did. Bill judged my daughter harshly for meeting up in a group with three young men and another lady in the park. Nothing sexual was happening, just hanging out and talking.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          > Not like this! Lol. So the "big sin" is that he led her on? I kept waiting for the punch line. They were dating, held hands, hugged, played footsie... there was no sexual contact.

          HAHAHA

          Yet again we see the mindset of the Gothardite. "There was no P inserted into V. Heaven be praised!!!"

          Well former student, I'm here to tell you, by the authority invested in me as a HUMAN BEING WHO KNOWS THINGS that Sex starts in the Brain, and the Brain is where the Sex happens.

          All it takes is for one party to be sexually aroused by "Holding hands, hugging and playing footsie" for these actions to be "sexual contact" - as you put it.

          Gothard has demonstrated a clear pattern of behavior that leads me to believe he is sexually aroused by doing these things. That's my opinion.

          But at the very least, you're being delusional by saying this stuff is not sexual.

          Playing footsie not sexual? Give me a break.

  17. 'Megan' January 31, 2014 Reply

    Bill is so obviously NOT a one woman man, therefore all this fine talk about 'if he'd gotten married, everything would've been fine!' is nonsense. Perhaps if he'd been married from an early age, before he had the opportunity to play on these nasty habits, he might have been all the better for it, but once he was past 30, I doubt it'd have worked for him, and I'd pity the woman he married.

  18. A Former ATI Student January 31, 2014 Reply

    This is a wonderful piece of fiction! You (if it really is "Meg" writing this) Obviously really wanted that greencard! From what I am seeing this is a bunch of girls from other countries misinterpreting and making up stories. And from everything that I have heard "Meg" was at headquarters last year! And guess what she left having made things right with "The Boss". I would like to read a believable story on here, then I will become a believer.

    • BeverlyB January 31, 2014 Reply

      Oh wow---you mean Mr. G has hit on MORE International girls since the 90s?!! You said that you believed "Meg" was there last year and you interpret this piece to be written by her. I happen to know the author, and know that she was there in the 90s, yet you say this happened LAST YEAR?!! Could there be more girls who could write the same story? Oh wow, I'm EXTREMELY concerned now. He's still doing it. Bill NEEDS to be stopped. What you just said gives witness that this is still going on.

    • KariU January 31, 2014 Reply

      Different girl, different story. Bill has a lot of women to apologize to. And he isn't apologizing, by the way. He is justifying. In his very charismatic style. He is working very hard on damage control. And he has a lot of backers. If he was Loki from The Avengers, he might say he has an army. And to that, RG might reply as Iron Man, "We have the Internet."

      Take that.

    • kevin January 31, 2014 Reply

      I hope your comment lights a fire under every reader here to do everything that they can to stop this man. He is still at it! You are confusing Meg with someone else who was there just last year! I'm sick- he's still at it. I am thankful, so thankful to Meg and the others for having the courage to come forward. And to think that they have to endure being accused of fabrication, by those so blinded by this cult that they refuse to see what is painfully obvious to any rational human being. He is still doing this. How many stories could be told here that would sound just like Meg's?
      I hope her strength gives others the courage to come forward and share. I hope we hear from that girl who, apparently, was his victim last year, that you refer to.
      He can be stopped. But, Meg's story needs to be shared. Link it on your facebook accounts. Email your friends- particularly those in ATI and those who are mutual friends of ATI families, so that they are informed when the ATI families try to recruit them. Share your story with your pastor- share Meg's story, share the false teachings. Warn them. They are actively recruiting people to this cult- an attempt was made to recruit my wife and I 3 years ago. Thankfully, it just didn't seem to make sense to me and we were also warned by a friend who was informed about Gothard and encouraged us to steer clear of him and research the man before even considering any of his programs.
      He has done tremendous damage, but with the information age, we can get the word out and prevent the next Meg from being victimized; prevent the next sexual abuse victim who is subject to years of continued assault, because her family follows Gothard's atrocious guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse; prevent the next adopted child whose adoption is reversed at the urging of Bill Gothard, because of his evil teachings and twisted scripture regarding adoption.
      I honestly don't believe that his ministry would have survived the scandals of the 80s if those events happened in this information age. It is within our power to inform others in the Christian community. Get the word out and pray that his empire will crumble and repentance will be sought.

    • Flynn January 31, 2014 Reply

      The fact that you recognize this story as happening last year is pretty scary. That means that nothing has changed, and some other girl is just taking the place of 'Meg'. The fact that Mr Gothard is still at his destructive ways 20 years later means he is a psychopath...that he has a big problem that only a major intervention could only begin to address.

      Now that you see it, and you know its wrong yet don't do anything, you become part of the problem. Jesus treated people with respect; plying with hearts and emotions to gratify you own desires is the total opposite of respect.

    • Author Meg January 31, 2014 Reply

      It was most definitely not me. I have not ever returned to the USA.

      • "Annette" January 31, 2014 Reply

        Meg, thank you for being brave enough to share your story. ~"annette" http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2012/05/another-witness-sexual-harassment-at-hq/

        • kevin February 2, 2014

          Annette,
          Thanks also to you for having the courage to share your story.
          Reading your story again, this jumps out at me:
          "Oh my word! I was so incredibly starved for and craving physical and emotional attention and so incredibly naive that I could not even recognize the inappropriateness and lines that were crossed a million times over"
          He was fully aware that his system of protected upbringing and isolated service to him would create this starvation in young girls. He took full advantage of that starvation, and he did it over and over and over. The courage of you women coming forward will put an end to his abuse of these young girls. You, Meg, Lizzy and Grace are all to be commended for coming forward, to shine daylight on this very dark side of this man.

  19. Christine January 31, 2014 Reply

    By his own words and teaching:
    "To defraud another person is to stir up in them desires that cannot be righteously satisfied... A man can defraud a woman by improper touching or by talking about a marital commitment that he is not able or intending to carry out."

    You could say that BG defrauded many of his secretaries. The operational words here are 'improper touching' and 'not...intending to carry out."
    Thank you Meg, for exposing this immoral(by his own definition) man.

    • Julia Fetters February 1, 2014 Reply

      Very good. Thank you for posting this. I remember that teaching and he certainly did not heed it.

  20. TiffanyW January 31, 2014 Reply

    These stories hit home. My own sister was BG's personal secretary in 91 or 92. So many of her stories about him ring true to the facets of these stories. I remember thinking, at the time, that it was amazing that my sister was his personal secretary. Now I cringe. Too much to say about it all here, but I wish the best to Meg and I thank HEAVEN that my sister left the institute and I will personally never use ATIA with my own kids, even though I would like to homeschool. How can people follow a man who considers himself "above" his own legalistic rules and regulations? Hypocrisy really is unacceptable in a leader. May God get through to BG's heart...he is a very troubled man.

    • Robin Hood January 31, 2014 Reply

      So well said Tiffany.

  21. David January 31, 2014 Reply

    As a 62-year old pastor, who had personal experience in a cult 40 years ago, and who has counseled many damaged hearts that have come out of them over the years, I can honestly say that the Gothard cult is one of the worst. It is the very definition of all that Paul warned against in his epistle to the Galatians. It is a system of law that brings the destruction that law always brings upon those who are looking for Christ. I am very grateful that these girls have shared their stories. There is only one word I have to add -- Gothard's conduct has been shameful and wrong -- but only part of the greater whole. The bigger issue here is the false Christianity that he teaches and around which his kingdom has been built. It is within this kingdom that all of these things and worse have happened over the years. And there are many other things that have been birthed from Gothardism in local churches and in people's lives that we will never hear about. Maybe the ones most deceived are those who are happy defenders of Gothardism. It is a total blindness. Hopefully, this site and these stories will be used of God in a redemptive way.

  22. A Former ATI Student January 31, 2014 Reply

    No she visited Headquarters because she was invited to make things right since she accused him of these things and she supposively left having made things right??????

    • BeverlyB January 31, 2014 Reply

      In Meg's case, she was kicked out of the USA by INS. She couldn't have been that girl, because she's not allowed back in the country for visa violations. So clearly you're thinking of another girl Gothard did this to. Which keeps proving my point that there are too many to keep track of.

      • esbee January 31, 2014 Reply

        wait- an American citizen is not allowed back in the US for a trumped up unreal charge by an INS agent woman who was mad at Gothard for her son being a missionary? Why isn't this in the news? Does Meg live in a foreign country?

        • "Hannah" January 31, 2014

          She was not an American citizen. She was a foreigner that Gothard brought here on a work visa to work with him, then started hitting on her. Which just makes the power differential between them, that much greater.

          (Did I get that right?)

    • MatthewS January 31, 2014 Reply

      A Former Student, if you had to guess, how many girls do you suppose this happened to?

      • former student January 31, 2014 Reply

        Matthew why would you want to know that? Isn't one enough?

        • WendyA January 31, 2014

          Apparently not, since people keep asking why such a big deal is being made of this girl's story.

        • inquiring mind February 12, 2014

          I hope God's Justice stops this pervert from having to "apologize" to more and more women going forward.

    • Katie January 31, 2014 Reply

      It is becoming quite obvious that "Meg" was not the only girl this happened too. It happened long before Meg, and long after she left. Yes. It is scary that you recognize Meg's story, and yet it is not the same story.

  23. Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

    Curious: Topic is "Sacred Grooming". What was she being groomed for?

    • MatthewS January 31, 2014 Reply

      Ah, your ignorance here might explain some things. Google "the process of grooming" and see if you don't recognize certain patterns.

      • Tammy January 31, 2014 Reply

        Honestly Alfred, you are never going to see the truth as long as you are unwilling. You may deny and say that you are open to the truth, but imo, I don't believe you are.

      • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

        OK - I am catching that I am not the only one confused by the title. Since now apparently *I* have also been groomed? Groomed for what?

        I know what sexual grooming is. I have never heard of such a thing that never ends in sex . . . have you? I have heard of "flirting" . . . and "playing the field" . . . of "defrauding", even, the notion of raising desires in someone else to see if you can, then backing away. THAT he confessed to, before the board . . . and resigned, back in the 1980s. Speaks to a conflicted person, longing for a companion, a mate on the one hand, feeling that he is too important for such a yoke on the other hand . . . or that this would be losing face . . . or abandoning vows or commitments he has made on the other?

        But . . . "grooming"? This is a new application of that term.

        • TiaraLi January 31, 2014

          Can you please share with us your professional background (ie registered psychiatrist) that shows you to have a thorough understanding of the issue of grooming and sexual harrassment?

          You never hearing of anything simply means that you are ignorant. No more, no less.

        • Patricia February 4, 2014

          I am a professional, licensed social worker and I absolutely have to answer this question for you, Alfred. I have ABSOLUTELY heard of cases of sexual grooming behavior that does NOT result in an act of oral, anal, or vaginal sex. The reason for these behaviors not ending in consummation are various, such as an offender deciding that a potential victim isn't capable of being completely groomed successfully. This does NOT make the act of grooming any less wrong to do.

    • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

      Oh, humor me. I know child molesters groom for sexual encounters . . . I know that adulterers groom to seduce and . . . get sex. I don't understand what Meg (or whoever invented the title) is alleging he was "grooming" her for. Almost sounded like marriage.

      • Hope January 31, 2014 Reply

        You don't groom someone for marriage. If he had wanted marriage he should have been up front with her about his intentions and then followed his own advice about secretaries.

        He was grooming her to allow him to touch her in inappropriate ways without complaining. It didn't start off with him running his foot up her skirt to feel her legs, it started off with holding hands, and then talks, and then hugs and then the feeling of her legs. That last one was very much a sexual encounter but by that point she had been groomed to allow it even though it made her uncomfortable.

        • John January 31, 2014

          If a man isn't grooming a woman for marriage why is the man called the groom?

        • Patricia February 4, 2014

          John, the word groom comes from the Old English word 'guma', which simply meant 'man'. It comes from the term bride-groom. Bride, or in Old English, 'byrd', simply means 'to be married'.

      • Alfred Corduan January 31, 2014 Reply

        So . . . grooming for footsie? Seems like he was aiming for marriage . . . overtly. When I was aiming for marriage I, well, didn't play footsie, but held hands, maybe a kiss . . . I guess I am from a different generation.

        • KariU January 31, 2014

          This being just one story among many--Bill sure was grooming for a lot of marriages.

        • Hope January 31, 2014

          If he had been grooming her for marriage, why did he not tell her that Alfred? If he wasn't grooming her for marriage why was he touching her in sexual ways?

        • 'Megan' January 31, 2014

          You don't GROOM someone for marriage! Ick! You pursue with clear intentions! The other person should know very quickly that the person at least wants a relationship with them, and given it's ATI, hopefully one that will lead to marriage, although that may not happen, and both parties are fully aware of it. Stop this mincing words, Bill Clinton would be proud! And I agree with Matthews assessment of the situation. The thrill of the hunt.

        • Tammy January 31, 2014

          Alfred,

          Lets assume he WAS grooming for marriage. Why did Bill not follow his very own teachings on "Courtship?" Why would he be exempt?

        • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014

          Alfred,
          I would be ashamed to post "Soo... grooming for footsie? Seemslike he was aming for marriage... overtly." In regards to Megs account. You show no normal human morals for someone who isn't a Christian. I married someone who was 7 years younger than me, she was 21, I was 28. She got a huge amount of pressure from her fellow workers to call off and give back the ring to me because I was robbing the cradle. Imagine if I was 59, the secular world would go viral unless it involved a pervert like Hugh Hefner who is a known pervert.

        • Vera February 2, 2014

          The point is not all this yada yada but that he defrauded this girl. We generally call that a liar but of the worse kind - a con man.

          Now I am going to guess that you are under the false assumption that you are different where it comes to this man. I probably wouldn't have believed it in the day either but he has a nasty habit of starting relationships and then without a drop of conscience, breaking them. I defended him in that day too. I didn't understand why people were so upset. Now I know.

      • BeverlyB January 31, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt on this issue. If you'd like to understand more about sexual grooming, here is a good article that explains the various stages of grooming: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Child-Sexual-Abuse-6-Stages-of-Grooming. To answer your question bluntly, grooming usually ends in molestation, given the chance. It's very rare for a sex addict to do all the stages of grooming and then stop short of molestation or rape (and no, molestation does not involve penetration, for those who may be unaware of the difference). In reading this article, you may balk because it uses the word "child" in it to describe the process. Please know that grooming can happen to ANY aged person, but is most often targeted towards children or teens, or those who are more sexually innocent or unaware. Sadly, many ATI girls were extremely innocent and not worldly wise enough to understand this process. But innocence is never an excuse for taking advantage of someone, nor is it a reason for culpability in an unequal sexual relationship.

      • MatthewS January 31, 2014 Reply

        It "almost sounded like marriage." But what if it was never about marriage?

        The hunt is the thing. People who like to fish may enjoy eating fish, but mostly enjoy fishing. People who hunt like venison but you can purchase meat in the store for less money than many hunting trips cost. It's the joy of hunting.

        Your extreme examples of predators, the molesters, are fishermen and hunters, so to speak. They bait a hook, toss it out, reel someone in, enjoy the fight and the tug on the line, and when they are done they may even have the next one lined up before they toss the current one back in. It's about as equal a relationship between the young person being groomed versus the man in authority who has the experience and the money as it is between a fisherman and a fish. From the perspective of the fish, it's not such a nice "relationship." (apologies to fishermen and women everywhere!!)

        I think what sets off alarms in these stories is similarities between Bill's behavior and how predators behave. True, there may not have been the culmination of some outrageous sex crime. Those things are real, they happen, and they are horrible. But what happened here is the dissonance between Mr. Higher Standards versus the man rubbing his foot on who know how many different legs. Imagine the fish feeling special (to use the metaphor) but then being tossed aside, traded for 1 or 2 others. Now imagine it's you. What does that do to your ability to trust people, and for that matter, to trust God?

        To me, that pattern of behavior does not seem to pass the "above reproach" test of 1 Tim 3.

        • kevin February 2, 2014

          "It "almost sounded like marriage." But what if it was never about marriage?

          The hunt is the thing"
          Matthew,
          This is becoming more and more apparent. He had many chances to marry. Meg talks about the many marriage proposal letters Bill received. He was idolized and put so high on a pedestal in such a way that I suspect that there were dozens of women who would have been honored if he chose them. But, he enjoyed the hunt. He enjoyed the power of manipulating a young girl to fall in love with him, and then he moved on to the next victim.

      • TiaraLi January 31, 2014 Reply

        People groom others for control. Yes that can mean control of someone sexually. It doesn't have to though. The fact that Bill was this girl's employer means that the behaviour was extremely manipulative - if she'd said no, her job was on the line. He may just enjoy making young girls squirm knowing that he was all powerful.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          BINGO

          A lot of you are missing the point, Alfred especially. It's not so much about the physical sex action. It's more about the mental... it's all about the Power-Trip that Bill gets when he does this stuff.

    • Blessed Mommy of Six January 31, 2014 Reply

      Alfred,

      I'm assuming that you must be kidding, and if not I am even more concerned. I do not find your childish contrarian behavior amusing in the least, you should know better.

      So you know, you have also been groomed by him. They fact that you are defending and denying shows that you have been groomed. A perpetrator of abuse grooms other people in the organization to defend and deny allegations. It is called Institutional Grooming.

      Because of a pattern of behavior we are able to call Bill a "perpetrator", and grooming is what perpetrators do. They may all have different different types of abuse intended, but their methods are the same.

      Bill grooms his victims so they will be "loyal" to him and not "betray" his trust and not tell anyone else what is going on. Just for the simple fact that Meg never told any of her girlfriends about her new boyfriend should be a huge red flag to you Alfred! Why do you think that is? Any of my girlfriends who are or have been in heathy, Godly courting or dating relationships are so giddy to share everything with their close girlfriends!

      And if you tell me that she didn't have any close girlfriends, that also supports "grooming"... Just the fact that she was isolated from having not even one close girlfriend is another red flag.

      In the context of abuse, grooming refers to actions deliberately undertaken by a perpetrator with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a victim. The victim is "prepared" in this way, so they unwittingly allow abusive behavior or exploitation to occur later. The abuser typically befriends or builds a relationship with the victim in order to establish a relationship of trust.

      Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults. In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a "nice guy" and that he can be trusted.

      It is not only a perpetrator's victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims' family and friends, the perpetrator's own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation).

      The grooming of doctors, nurses, mental health carers, family support workers and other public servants is called "Institutional Grooming" and the perpetrator does it for the purpose of self-preservation.

      Institutional grooming refers to the manipulation of professionals who have contact with the victim, so that any allegations of abuse made by the victim are doubted or outright disbelieved.

      http://safe-at-last.hubpages.com/hub/The-Fine-Art-of-Grooming

      • "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

        Huh. I never heard of "institutional grooming", but it totally makes sense. I've seen this take place in my own family. Does it have something to do with, "I won't tell that you are getting around the law somehow, if you will perform x service for me"? As in, the two parties bind each other in a sort of mutual blackmail? That's rather how I see Meg's whole dental repair. And rather how I saw it happen in my own family.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          Emotional dependence is a great way to put it.

  24. Gloria January 31, 2014 Reply

    Wow. I didn't see the INS thing coming, either. It's something that a woman can travel to places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Burma and not see how wrong the whole situation was with Bill. I don't remember why Meg was there in the first place (I read the first installment when it was first published). It is hard to believe that someone with her experiences could be so naive, and yet I know that within ATI circles it's possible. I think that if Bill hadn't kept her so isolated and she'd been able to make more friends at HQ, it wouldn't have happened (obviously).

    I was at HQ a few years after Meg and being there felt like being in a whole different world where different rules applied than "outside." While Bill did have a male assistant when I was there, his fondness for a certain type of pretty girl was obvious. And I was just fine with not being that type. I was there because I was "in rebellion" and my parents had called BG to get me "fixed." I was willing to go because I wanted to please my parents and they were telling me the things I wanted were going to destroy my life and I didn't want to do that. I was 21, but like many long-term ATIers, I was emotionally immature (we'd been in ATI since I was 11). My parents loved BG (and still have quite a bit of respect for him and some of his teachings. I disagree, of course.). I came to not think much of him and avoided him. Being at HQ did help me regain some faith, but that was really owing to the love of other people I worked with in the ATI dept. There were some good people there doing their best and I learned some very good things. But it was really hard to stay grounded in reality and I could only do it by leaving frequently and breaking rules (some small, some not so small). And learning to be that duplicitous was NOT good for me spiritually.

    I was always confused by how he seemed to be surrounded by so many young, pretty, women, many of whom came from bad families or were otherwise vulnerable. People were vying for his attention and I got "told on" a few times. I didn't really care and am still amazed I was never sent home. I chose to leave after a year and went to work for another ministry that was a polar opposite in style and mission. Nothing like ricocheting between extremes! LOL! I suffered from spiritual whiplash for years. :) I read a book recently about a man's journey from fundamentalism and he referred to the teachings he had learned as "spiritual head injuries." He often wouldn't even know he had them until he bumped his spiritual "head" against the true Gospel of Christ and would only then know how deeply he'd been hurt. That's how I have felt reading this site. But even though it hurts, finally treating the wounds brings healing, even if there are ugly scars.

    Meg, God sure helped you dodge a bullet! Thank you for telling your story and I hope that it has brought healing to you. It was beautifully told. I hope that it gets read by lots of people and helps to set other people free. God bless you and your family.

  25. Bea Weir January 31, 2014 Reply

    Forgive me, but I don't see BG as a monster. I think this whole thing is the natural result of bad theology. He clearly has a track record of poor theology regarding authority, placing himself on the throne, instead of God. It seems he is not capable of trusting God enough to let individual soul liberty exist in his realm. His desire for companionship and his physical attraction are both understandable. It becomes less understandable in light of the age difference, but even that makes sense if you look at it from his perspective. In a theological system that is all about power and manipulation, I can see how easy it would be to fall for someone at such a malleable age. I seek a more biblical worldview, so I admit I can't relate personally, but looking at it from his worldview… it kinda makes sense. Yes, he was wrong to manipulate her, but I think the root of the problem goes way deeper. It's a theological problem. Considering what Jesus said in Matthew 23, my only advice is to beware the man who shuts the doors of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. Beware the man who obeys detailed human rules, but neglects the more important matters of the Law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. Beware the man who is focused on the outside, while the inside is full of greed and indulgence. BG may be a manipulator, but he is also a victim… a victim of bad doctrine. We should all beware that we too could fall, when we take our focus off of our relationship with God, and put it on the hope that our compliance to human standards will earn us credit with God. Any of us could fall for that if we are not careful. Just be careful not to wish him justice alone, but mercy as well. Pray for repentance!

    (And no, Be a Weir is not my real name.)

    • Blessed Mommy of Six January 31, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for making this point! I keep reminding others of this as well. The real issues go much deeper. (But I do think BG is a monster/perpetrator which is the consequences of bad theology and undealt with sensual desires and impulses)

    • esbee January 31, 2014 Reply

      I think of Mr. Bill as more of a Saul. Saul knew God and had actually heard from God, made a mistake or several and chose not to repent. David probably did worse than Saul by lusting and then having the husband killed, but he repented.

    • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

      What a load of garbage.

      You are basically saying "Bill Gothard is a victim of his own theology. We should all be careful, because we can be victims of bad theology too. Pray for repentance! Because we can all sin!!"

      Bill Gothard is NOT the victim here. Looking at it from his worldview it STILL DOES NOT make sense, especially when he disciplines others for lesser behavior than he exhibits. Not cool!!

      He crafted his own doctrines, he has made his own theology, he is entirely responsible for his own situation. You're standing up for him in a very subtle way, and you've said a lot of nice things in your comment.

      But you're making excuses for Gothard's behavior and it's reprehensible.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        My comment is aimed at BeaWeir (http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/01/sacred-grooming-part-six/#comment-27264)

      • Bea Weir February 2, 2014 Reply

        Pvproof, I think you missed my point. I'm not defending him, I'm just stating where the root of the problem really is. It's bad theology! My point is this: If you sit in judgment of BG, but maintain the same theology… beware! It could be your future too! I bring up this point because it seems that so many point fingers at the reprehensible actions of BG, but not many point out the fallacies of the theology that fed those actions. By stating the latter, you felt that I was defending the former, but we actually agree that his actions were evil.

        When I said it makes sense, I'm saying that it makes sense from his theologically errant position. That does not mean it actually makes sense!

        • 'Megan' February 2, 2014

          Thank you for clarifying, Bea Weir. As it happens, there are entire sections of this website, devoted to exposing his bad theology, and if I'm not greatly mistaken, we will eventually see an article addressing HOW his bad theology led to this. Please feel free to look around this site a little more if you like. :)

  26. Kim S January 31, 2014 Reply

    Meg, thank you.
    Thank you for standing up for many women.
    Thank you for speaking the truth.

  27. Leisl January 31, 2014 Reply

    I was at HQ from '91-'93.
    I was brought on originally as a family coordinator but was considered for a position in the famed "correspondence department". During my time there, I saw plenty of footsy, special attention, money handed out, and the differing set of rules. However, as a resident of Joy Manor (or 5 Cheval), which was at the time home to several other secretaries of Mr. Gothard's, I was already quite familiar with this pattern of behavior.
    I was warned by the girl training me that I would not earn a permanent position in the office if I continued to question the vague answers dictated by Mr. Gothard; he danced around theological questions, preferring to answer with formulas and sometimes accusations. She was right. I lasted three whole weeks. :)
    I, too, am a former student.
    And I will gladly stand up and say that I have no problem believing Meg's story as I saw the same things happen with different characters.

  28. Jordan January 31, 2014 Reply

    This is not the first time Mr Gothard has tried to marry a young woman. In 1992 when my parents were in his program we attended a seminar in Knoxville TN. One of my teachers (for the sake of privacy will not name), later became Gothards personal at a very young age of about 20 or so in the Indianapolis training center (now an ivyTech culinary building-Win!). My brothers and one sister worked there for an extended period of time and knew this young lady and later found out that Mr Gothard asked her parents for her hand in marriage. To which her parents said no (Praise God!). Anyway from the little of the story that I do know (because I was young), he was grooming her for marriage by going on trips and things as this article mentions. Whats sick is that she was between the ages of 18-19 when she was my teacher, and he asked withing three or four years after she was my teacher. No more than 23 years old. in 1992 he was 57 by the time this happened he would have been in his sixties. I know no stories of him pursuing older women just younger ones, and I know my story to be true. My parents left his program in the late nineties because he did and does more damage that he helps.

    • Blessed Mommy of Six January 31, 2014 Reply

      I knew about this too Jordan... At first I was wondering if Meg was her...

  29. "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

    My Dear,

    If he had really loved you, he could have given up his ministry for you. I am not buying this, "the board refused him," for one moment.

    Love does not control,

    Love does not try to change you,

    Love does not take advantage of position or power,

    Love does not place ambitions, business ventures, or other pursuits above you.

    You are right, he never loved you. Go and live your life with those who do.

    • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

      Yes "Hannah" What you said!!!

  30. Peggy R January 31, 2014 Reply

    The devil uses the truth to hide his lies in,so they will be more easily digested by the Christian. This is what he has accomplished through Bill Gothard in I.B.L.P. What the devil intended for evil during my time with this organization God used for good. Instead of studying Institute material I studied God's word, under the Holy Spirit and found liberty. When our sole focus is God and His word we will be able to and only then, will we be able to see the deceptiveness of this Works based religion. I don't pity Bill Gothard, this "ministry" was born out of his own narcissism and rebellion. I do however pity the countless, well intending people who are truly seeking to please God, who get sucked into this. This man exploits that desire for his own purposes and RG is shedding light on that. Many Pharisees in Jesus day really, genuinely believed they had the whole truth, that they were right but as we all now know they were absolutely wrong. This happens even now in our day and age. That is why it is so important to stay in God's word and close to Jesus personally. 1 Peter 5:8 If you really want to test whether this organization is of God, go on an I.B.L.P fast, only use God's word and nothing else for a month or two.

    • kevin January 31, 2014 Reply

      Peggy, can you share what an IBLP fast is? I once heard a teaching from an ATI dad on fasting and there were some strange things said. Looking back, I am wondering if this was material from Gothard. I recall he said something to the effect that a person can fast for long periods of time, without food or even water. I felt the need to say something at the time, because a person can die going just a day or two without water.

      • Peggy R January 31, 2014 Reply

        Joe, I am sorry I was not more clear. To clarify what I said about I.B.L.P fasting;I was intending to say that since that organization is (supposedly) founded on Biblical truth, a person should have no problem going on a fast from all of I.B.L.P's materials and just use God's word and the Holy Spirit for a couple of months. Just give God a chance to speak to them directly without the devil whispering in their ears through those false teachings. Instead of fasting from food, fast from anything to do with I.B.L.P.

        • Peggy R January 31, 2014

          oops I meant Kevin.

        • kevin January 31, 2014

          Okay, I see. Such a fast would be a good idea.

  31. Joe January 31, 2014 Reply

    I bet it takes immense courage to put your story out there. I know it's an incredibly personal thing. As an ATIA family for over ten years, we struggled through the legalism and it has had lasting effects on what otherwise would've been an incredibly tight, well respected family. Unfortunately, Bill's legalism and standards have ruined the lives of many individuals and entire families.

    Being as far removed from this level of conservatism for so long, reading this site and this story has gotten me right back into the mindset, and the memories come flooding back. My brother was locked in a tiny bathroom on a boat in Moscow for three days at the age of 15. Apparently sledding in mixed company warrants imprisonment in a 3x3 cell, 4,000 miles away from your family with no way of communicating. Why he was even there in the first place is another valid question, one that ATIA parents nationwide need to ask themselves and beg repentance for. Why on earth would you send your child to headquarters? To Moscow in the early 90's? Are you kidding me? 14-16year olds were taking the Metro with no supervision. In Moscow. It's systemic child abuse, and very close to clinical psychosis. Shame on the parents, mine included, despite a residual deep love for them.

    The problem is, most of us won't go far enough in identifying the real problem, which is how this farce could even be constructed? Where did Bill get his ideas? How far off is he really from the biblical teachings? The answers are hard to accept, but I encourage everyone reading to find true freedom in searching the historicity of the bible, not just from conservative evangelicals, but from serious scholars. I'll comment more in a bit, but the real crime is that this con man has made a living out of preying on gullible Christians willing to blindly accept the biblical narrative from their parents or pastors, and then taking it a step further by enrolling in a ponzi scheme called the ATI. WE ARE MISSING THE POINT. Unfortunately, what I hoped would come from this story did not, namely, that there would be some serious impropriety of which serious actions could be taken. As it is, despite some wonderful prose on Meg’s part, Bill gave extended frontal hugs and played footsie. No amount of dressing that up in colorful language and “her perspective” (“He looked at me wistfully and held my hands…”) mean ANYthing. In fact, this story and the accompanying outrages goes to show just how incredibly off base conservative Christian standards have begun, when those that have LEFT the ministry are treating this like sexual contact. NOTHING HAPPENED. And to those that say “Would you want your daughter to be treated like this?” I would say several things. First, my daughter (I do have one) would NEVER be in a situation where she’s sent away to the care of another man. Unbelievable that his occurred. Incredible. Secondly, she will have received enough instruction in REAL LIFE values that she would kick this 60 year old clown in the balls the second things got creepy, told him off and walked away from the entire situation thinking and knowing that the wildly religious, regardless of denomination, are serious whackos.

    Anyways, I’m certain to face criticism from those, like me, who are eager to see this man burn. I just can’t help but feel disappointed by this story because I was hoping there was finally a way to get this spiritual predator locked up. Instead, we’re left with a well-written romance story, one in which ultimately the antagonist makes a few hypocritical, bad choices, slightly crosses the line, and nothing else happens. I’m genuinely sorry, but that’s the way it is- I wish we could get something to crucify this spiritual monster. If ANYONE has a story where Bill truly crosses the line, PLEASE SHARE it. We’ve got to get this guy at some point.

    • Hank January 31, 2014 Reply

      I agree with your perception of this woman's experience, Joe. Although I have never been part of the ATI cult I know several people that have and still are. One family I know have three daughters and I have observed them grow from children to married women. They were always bright, intelligent and well mannered children. The oldest followed in their tradition and married a man basically picked and approved of by her father. She seems to be happy from all appearances. The next basically rebelled against her parents and married an 'unapproved' man and her marriage didn't turn out so good. The youngest married an 'unapproved' man and seems to be quite happy. I know some others and the problems they have socially and sexually growing up I would blame 100% on their parents. That is, until they are adults. After they are grown up it is up to them to take responsibility and quit using everything and everybody as an excuse. BG is a strange man but I have not seen any evidence that he has been sexually inappropriate with any of his volunteers. (Toothpaste scandal? Get real!)

    • Vera January 31, 2014 Reply

      Joe, today's courts do recognize this behavior as sexual harassment in the workplace. It started as Level 1 and went up to Level 2 but never crossed that line.

      Part of the reason the men posting here don't get it is because they don't understand something that Bill does understand. Women are very motivated by good feelings especially complimentary, flattering, romantic attention.. We love a good chick flick that shows a warm caring man that understands the heart of the woman in the movie. My husband hates chick flicks. zzzzzz. A real classic was Runaway Bride. In it Richard Gere plays this man who tells this girl everything that all us girls want to hear but has no basis in reality. What guy wants to wake up in the morning and listen to his wife because he can't wait to hear what she has to say? Ha.

      Let me explain this from a position that you will understand - money. Bill figured out early on that people with money don't give big buck to those who beg for it. They might give a dollar or two but not the millions variety. However, if that same person thinks that God is doing something and is meeting a specific need with their money, they will rush to give. So instead of begging for money, Bill would tell these stories that I do believe were only partially true but certainly not what they appeared to suggest about how there was a need, they had prayed and lo and behold, an envelope would arrive with that exact amount enclosed. Do you have any idea how that kind of story would effect someone who has money to give? That is exactly what they want to hear and Bill knew it and used that manipulative tactic to get people to give to the Lord's work. Only the money never was dispersed to the Lord's work. The programs were not what they appeared to be and all that money did was to give the Gothard family a great deal of power and money. I explain this in my own story.

      Bill had an ability to see people's weaknesses and needs and use those things to his advantage. He never allowed people like me ten feet close to him. It was people who were innocent and easily manipulated who were allowed in his inner circle and then they were told that if they spoke out against him, this would be giving a bad report or gossiping ie sinning. Around 1998, I recall when the first wave of exposure came to light but it was presented to us from BG's perspective as an attack against The Lord. We as believers need to stop when any ministry says this and realize that we can check things out. I am only now reading this book that came out at that time and I am amazed at how much of what they say mirrors my own research in seeking The Lord on legalism and ATI.

      • Martha January 31, 2014 Reply

        This is classic cult leader behavior.

        dependency - an intense desire to belong, stemming from a lack of self-confidence
        unassertiveness - a reluctance to say no or question authority
        gullibility - a tendency to believe what someone says without really thinking about it
        low tolerance for uncertainty - a need to have any question answered immediately in black-and-white terms
        disillusionment with the status quo - a feeling of marginalization within one's own culture and a desire to see that culture change
        naive idealism - a blind belief that everyone is good
        desire for spiritual meaning - a need to believe that life has a "higher purpose"

        Cults center around deception and manipulation.

        Read more on how cults work: http://people.howstuffworks.com/cult3.htm

        • Joe February 1, 2014

          Vera, what you're saying is that Because "women are very motivated by good feelings especially complimentary, flattering, romantic attention..." that if they are showed those things, they then cannot be held responsible for their actions- it's the fault of the man. That's exactly what's wrong with this picture. We're not seeing the TRULY evil things this guy does- we're focusing on sexual contact and he HAD NONE (in this story). He did exactly what he did- played footsie, frontal hugs, held hands...

    • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

      Joe, I too wish there was more incriminating evidence against Bill Gothard. But I disagree with you about nothing happening... Bill has been behaving like this for years. You say "NOTHING HAPPENED" but in my opinion, it has to be sexual to him on some level. I've said elsewhere I think it part of a sex-power fetish that he's been acting out for the last 40 years.

      But your other points are RIGHT ON. People are missing the most important aspect of all this:

      Bill Gothard is the head of a spiritual cult. He has duped and blinded millions of people with his false teachings. He has directly & indirectly destroyed families. He has broken up churches. He has created a massive cult of personality which raises up laws, standards & regulations above the Person of Christ Himself.

      His real crimes are that of spiritual deception, false teaching & disruption of the body of Christ. He is the man of whom Jesus spake: "But whoso shall offend (cause to stumble/sin) one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

      • zooey111 February 3, 2014 Reply

        Pvproof has zeroed in on what I was thinking the whole time I was reading Meg's story by saying:" part of a sex-power fetish that he's been acting out".
        BG is apparently one of those people who are not only sexually aroused, but sexually satisfied by the kind of contact that he has carried on with one young person after another. These people are sociopaths.
        I am ever so grateful that BG was satisfied with his carryings-on. A man as, say, a Bundy or a Ramirez, these poor girls would have ended up brutalized & then killed.....
        Its all part of the spectrum of the sickest,most ungodly persons on this earth.It is nauseating to hear a deluded follower like Alfred try to defend BG.

  32. Lynn January 31, 2014 Reply

    Alfred, I am from the same generation as you, and I see this as grooming and sexual harassment. I knew to run when two different guys tried to manipulate me into a relationship. My grandmother knew to run when she was 11 years old and an old man looked at her and starting following her. Don't blame the current generation and their exposure of sexual predators.

  33. Reader January 31, 2014 Reply

    If indeed Meg had been surrounded by gun toting militia in Burma, the INS experience wouldn't have been so frightening. I believe that some of the credibility of Meg is lost when she talks about Burma and mean men who pinched her bottom. Fiction!

    • 'Megan' January 31, 2014 Reply

      Why don't you ask her about it instead of assuming? There's a vast difference between knowingly going into a dangerous situation (adrenaline rush and survival instinct), and having one pop up on you unexpectedly. It takes you off guard.

      • Travis January 31, 2014 Reply

        Particularly when you're already held hostage and people have taken away any freedoms you possibly had. I think I'd rather face men in Burma than the INS. American positions of authority can be very frightening indeed.

        • Reader January 31, 2014

          My further thoughts are: As someone who had contact with the Gothard and the Institute in Basic Youth Conflict in 1990 pertaining to a census - he wanted no notoriety. He wanted nothing having to do with the government having attention called to himself for his organization. Very how key with nothing very visible signifying HQs in Oakbrook. I find it highly unlikely that he would be consulting a lawyer in Chicago pertaining to an immigration issue. He had his own staff. And the insinuation of a bribe and the crooked lawyer knowing the judge and having a "favor" owed. Nah!

        • Lori Baldwin February 3, 2014

          Reader,

          There are lawyers who specialize in immigration. It would make sense to consult a specialist in such a case.

          And do you really doubt that shenanigans (such as exchanging favors) often go on in the court system behind the scenes? I have a very good friend whose husband is a federal judge. I'm sure she would get a chuckle out of your naive skepticism. (Alternately, the attorney could have made it up - or exaggerated - to make himself look good.)

          Not only does Meg's story completely mesh with the articles posted on this board by the other young women who were sexually harassed by BG, but it is backed up by the many, many comments by others who experienced and/or were eye witnesses to the same sort of behavior by Bill Gothard. Are they all making their stories up too? Such an allegation would strain credulity.

    • kevin January 31, 2014 Reply

      Reader, your logic is very twisted. You doubt her story because she should not have been so frightened by the INS? You can't be serious. On this basis of this and your comment on Burmese men, you conclude it is fiction. All the other women who have shared their stories about Gothard's advances? All fiction? It takes great courage to come forward like this. I find it disgusting that a person can so flippantly call another person's courageous act fiction. You are in no position to call her story fiction.

      • Reader January 31, 2014 Reply

        Sorry. See above comment in response. The INS and the bribing of the judge to keep her in this country?

  34. Travis January 31, 2014 Reply

    What an intense and well written story. I was completely floored when Bill said, "I begin to question your salvation." The balls on this guy! As if Bill is qualified to question Jesus' redeeming work.

    It took great courage for you to write this, and I truly hope it is used in such a way to help other victims and prevent future ones.

    God bless,

    Travis

  35. Karen January 31, 2014 Reply

    Dear Meg,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I recommend www.letgoletpeacecomein.org . My friend Peter Pelullo is trying to get people like you, dear Meg, to get their stories out so that others trapped in situations like yours can be set free. Remember, it never was your fault. You were trusting and kind. A sick man took advantage of your innocence and goodness. Please go on the website and find the little video. Listen to the song, "It Never Was Your Fault" and watch the stories. God wants to heal the battered lambs in his flock, but He can only do this when brave people like you speak up. Keep up the good work. I believe you!
    Your sister in Jesus,
    Karen

  36. DAVID PIGG January 31, 2014 Reply

    There needs to be a question facing the IBLP "machine".You guys knew Bill Gothard's conduct, every one of you who knew the sexual abuse,and wanted to stonewall it;to offer these young girls on the alter of "Gothardism",to be devastated,molested,emotionally shattered.Then you looked the other way.What will be the cost in your lives for doing this?To keep your job,maintain the status quo,at the cost of ruining some innocent,trusting young woman...to be groomed.So your job,position is worth the shattering of these young girls?You, the IBLP machine consist of individuals that ultimately will be separated.And that will happen.To love justice is to hate injustice.

    • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

      There are many well known "leaders" within IBLP machine that should be known as "whistleblowers" due to their verbal commitments to follow Scripture, knowledge of what the average ATI student at HQ knew, but at this point are nowhere to be found. I'm restraining my fingers from typing out their names....

  37. LA Committee January 31, 2014 Reply

    I would like to address my comments directly to Alfred, “former student”, and Joe and indirectly to people who have written posts here who have written to downplay Bill's actions or trivialize them and do the same with things that happened to other family and/or staff members at IBLP, ATI, Indianapolis, and any other acronym subcompany of the IBYC (original name) machine . If any of you have not read my post in Part IV of this story, I was a member of the Los Angeles Committee during the 1970s through 1980. Our committee was the one who spearheaded the exposure of the sexual immorality of both Bill and Steve, sexual abuse, immoral and improper behavior, mind control and abuse, payroll taxes and payroll payment violations, etc. that was going on at the time at IBYC. The Gothards and IBYC have a long history of immoral behavior and breaking laws.

    First, I must address Alfred’s comment that “Being ‘human’ means to mess up…” To categorize what Bill (and I will discuss Steve later) did to and with these women over the years as “mess up” is to mock and trivialize the trauma, degradation, humiliation, and severity of what these women endured. You demonstrate your shallowness as a human being to consider what Bill did as merely “messing up”. What happened to these women goes far beyond “messing up” in its egregiousness. They were truly “lambs sent to the slaughter”. Just because a law says in the eyes of the law a person is an adult at the age of 18 does not make them so. These women may have been chronologically over the age of what the law considers an adult, but their mental, emotional, and psychological maturity was nowhere near adulthood. These women were true innocents, “children” in those areas. They had no frame of reference for or experience to be able to identify what Bill (and I will discuss Steve later) were doing to them. Remember, all these women were away from home for the first time. “Meg” was from another country—far, far away from her family and familiar surroundings. Bill and the IBYC machine were these women’s only “family”, their only “home”. Many women have stated they were seldom if ever allowed to call home or see their family. A very basic and important human need is that of belonging. These girls were far from home, far from known comfort and loved ones. Couple that feeling of wanting to belong with their being sent to a man and an organization that purports to emulate, propagate, and practice the highest ethical, moral, and Biblical standards, and conditions are ripe for what these women experienced. Bill was and is viewed as a father and shepherd figure. Surely a father would not take advantage of his daughter, surely a shepherd would not take advantage of his sheep?....unfortunately wrong in these women’s cases.

    Some of the comments by Alfred, “former student”, Joe, and others who make comments supportive of Bill and/or the IBYC machine and downplay what happened and happens there may be coming from a place of honest ignorance. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. Or, their or other people’s comments may come from a place of willful ignorance or denial because they don’t want to or won’t allow themselves to see Bill and the IBYC in a bad context. In this latter case, love for a person or an entity can “blind”—cause one to overlook—the truth that is before them.

    “Former student” says, “So the "big sin" is that he led her on? I kept waiting for the punch line. They were dating, held hands, hugged, played footsie... there was no sexual contact.” Joe says, “Unfortunately, what I hoped would come from this story did not, namely, that there would be some serious impropriety of which serious actions could be taken. No amount of dressing that up in colorful language and “her perspective” … mean ANYthing.” The stories on the RG website are bravely told by women and men. The stories are their real-life experiences with Bill and the IBYC machine. Because the stories are theirs to tell, what they share and how they share it is up to them and should be. Under the category of “You don’t know what you don’t know”, we who read the stories on the RG website don’t know if there was even more egregious behavior (notice I said even more egregious behavior, because what happened was egregious enough) that took place. It is traumatic enough for people to come forward and relive the horror they lived through. They may have feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, feelings like they let down themselves or their family or God. There may be additional information that would satisfy “former student”, Joe, Alfred, and others for the “punch line” that these women and men don’t feel comfortable sharing and we must respect that. What they do share raises enough kinds of alarms for the reasonable person. The shear preponderance of the evidence presented in the stories on the RG website gives credence to each person’s story.

    You may wonder why I mentioned Steve above since many may think his egregious acts happened so long ago who cares. I share the following to demonstrate the type of perverse mindset that was demonstrated by the Gothards and how Bill and Steve’s behavior with women and their control of same did not just happen sporadically over the last 45+ years, but that such behavior has been cultivated for over 45 years. I do not share the following for voyeuristic purposes, but I feel the need to present some, as “former student” calls, “punch line” examples to illustrate how Gothard behavior went beyond mere hugging and hand-holding. The information I will share is documented lest Gothard and IBYC supporters reading these posts think I’m spinning a false tale. Bill knows this information to be true. Also, I personally knew the women involved.

    During the 1980 investigation, during one of the meetings with Steve and Bill, Steve admitted to having sexually immoral behavior going back 12 years, which would put it in 1968—the beginning of IBYC. Steve admitted to having sexual intercourse with seven women at IBYC at the time of the investigation. Bill had been approached in 1976 regarding Steve’s immoral behavior with the women at IBYC. At that time, Bill’s way of “dealing” with Steve was to send him off their Northern Michigan location, unsupervised. Steve continued his immoral, perverse behavior unabated at the Northern Michigan location. Bill regularly allowed and sent naive, unknowing, and unsuspecting young women to the Northern Michigan location knowing full well about Steve's aberrant behavior, proclivities, and immorality. The investigation also revealed that IBYC monies were spent by a senior staff member to purchase pornography for Steve. Bill knew about all these behaviors and practices of Steve, which makes him an accomplice, which makes him just as guilty as Steve. It would not be a stretch to consider that Bill probably participated in the pornography with Steve. Bill’s mindset of treatment of women has been influenced immorally since at least the late 1960s. I had hoped what happened during the 1970s and early 1980s would have stopped, but stories on this website reveal nothing stopped, except Steve was ultimately let go from IBYC. Just to briefly respond to those who might say, “If your committee knew all this, why didn’t you do something? “ We did; we tried very hard. Even after our committee formally resigned because of Bill's continued defiance and rejection of acknowledgement and repentance of any kind, we continued our efforts into the early 1980s. We shared the information we obtained with churches, church leaders, the Christian community, and there were even lawsuits that were filed. Back in the 1970s and early 1980s Bill and the IBYC seminars were immensely popular and the IBYC machine was well oiled even back then to counterattack our efforts. Bill had powerful minions who supported him and IBYC. Unfortunately there were also some well-known Christian leaders who couldn’t or wouldn’t) believe the information they received. We had well-known people on our side also, but the IBYC machine was bigger and more powerful than us. Remember also we did not have the broad-reaching communication options that are available today.

    To add another “punch line” for Alfred, “former student”, Joe, and others, for almost 29 years I have worked in the profession of human resources. I serve at the executive level, have my MBA, and have my senior-level designation in my profession. I share the foregoing credentials to validate I know from whence I speak on the following. What Bill did with these women was indeed sexual harassment; he did indeed break the law. In opposition to “former student’s” statement, Bill did indeed have “sexual contact” with these women (“sexual contact” is not just sexual intercourse). In opposition to Joe’s statement, Bill’s conduct did indeed demonstrate “serious impropriety”. The minute he touched them in the way he did, he crossed the line. He is held to a higher accountability as the employer. The fact that these women because of their innocence did not recognize his behavior as hostile work environment sexual harassment and did not resist does not negate or mitigate his responsibility or his requirements under the law. He is held to the standard that he knew, or should have known what is appropriate employer-employee behavior. The employer cannot claim an “oops” or a “she didn’t complain” defense; the employer is held to a higher accountability as the employer. The numerous stories on the RG website validate that Bill’s behavior was defiantly willful, premeditated, and in violation of both federal and state employment laws. When Alfred says Bill “messed up”, “former student” says, “there was no sexual contact” and Joe says, “NOTHING HAPPENED” they are speaking from ignorance…..honest ignorance, but ignorance nonetheless. They are wrong.

    Another “punch line” I would like to mention is I have worked with employers to bring foreign nationals to work here in the United States. The work visa is known as the H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is connected to a position and not a person. There are requirements as to what positions qualify for an H-1B visa. H-1B visas are issued for various technical-skill positions, positions requiring special skills and education, exempt-level positions, etc. A secretarial position would not qualify for an H-1B work visa because secretaries can be obtained from the available labor force in the United States. In theory, the requirements for an H-1B visa are to protect jobs for people who live in the United States. An employer must demonstrate, with much paperwork, that the skills it is looking for are not obtainable from people from the available labor force in the United States and thus the need to bring in a foreign national. “Meg” may have used the term “work visa”, but my guess is that she used that term because she was coming to work in the United States and therefore thought she had a “work visa”. If Bill procured an official work visa, an H-1B visa, for “Meg” then he did so fraudulently and broke immigration laws.

    Another “punch line” I would add is there are numerous stories of Bill and IBYC not paying employees for hours worked, not paying employees for overtime hours worked, and requiring his employees to work “off the books” (translated—not record hours worked). All of such activities are in direct violation of federal and state employment, payroll, and tax laws. Also, IBYC has many “interns” who work there on a volunteer basis. IBYC may feel they can justify not paying these people because they are interns. By definition, an internship is supposed to be a learning experience for a person, to give them a preview of what work duties are involved in certain positions….to help them make a decision on what line of work they want to pursue. An employer cannot “benefit” (be helped) from anything an intern does. For example if IBYC has interns working at IBYC assembling materials for seminars, workshops, ATI, etc. to be sent out, the company is benefitting from their efforts. If IBYC has interns take mail to the post office, generate correspondence, generate marketing materials, run copies at the copier machine, do accounting work, or anything that would benefit IBYC in any way, they are not interns, they are employees. It follows the adage “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” In these examples if these interns are doing duties like any other employer is doing or would do, they are not interns they are employees and should be paid. The federal and state employment laws on the books regarding interns are there to preclude employers from getting free labor and evading their payment of required taxes and insurances. So, in summary, the many unpaid hours Bill and IBYC required (i.e., mandated) their employees to work, IBYC’s use of so-called “interns”, and if IBYC obtained an H-1B visa for “Meg” are in direct violation of federal and state employment laws and immigration laws.

    There are many stories on this website that testify to Bill and IBYC’s violation of God’s Word (not only in the sexual area), Bill and IBYC’s violation (on many levels) of their fiduciary relationship with and responsibility to these young men and women for whom they had responsibility, and Bill’s moral failure. All of these stories are “punch lines” even if Alfred, “former student”, Joe, and others refuse to acknowledge them as such. I have listed some additional “punch lines” for Alfred, “former student”, Joe, and others to educate and further illustrate how Bill and IBYC have not only failed spiritually and morally, but also failed to obey federal and state employment, payroll, tax, and immigration laws. People, please open your eyes to the evidence before you.

    • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

      What have you to say Alfred, "former student" and Joe! The world is waiting...

      • Sad January 31, 2014 Reply

        I doubt these guys will have much to say in response! Thank you LA Committee for your very insightful, educational response. If these "doubting Thomases" do not have the scales removed from their eyes by that reply, nothing will work.

        Thank you MUCH to LA Committee for speaking up and continuing to bring out the TRUTH of what has been going on for so long at IBYC.

        To the moderators - has Recovering Grace ever considered compiling all these articles into a book of some kind? I am sure these articles, along with some of the more thoughtful replies like those of LA Committee, would make a compelling book to be a companion piece for "A Matter of Basic Principles".

        For those doubters here that don't see anything wrong with BG's behavior, I can testify his organization built a mindset to coverup felonious child abuse, by the way they directed how to handle sex abuse victims. What have you to say about that? Such a backward mindset comes from the top and becomes gospel to the followers of it.

        Again, thanks to "Meg" for being brave enough to share her story.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        > What have you to say Alfred, "former student" and Joe! The world is waiting...

        They will admit nothing. They will not change their tune until there is incontrovertible proof that of a physical act of consummation. In short, they want to know beyond doubt that a P was inserted in a V. Christ said that adultery starts in the mind... clearly there is a level of indecency that comes BEFORE the physical act.

        And yet they will still defend & stand up for Gothard right up to the point of the specific act of insertion. They are willing to overlook any and all actions up to that point.

        It's a rather hopeless case. And disgusting to boot.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          you are very wrong, and nothing of the sort was ever said.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          I stand by what I said. I apologize for insinuating that you were involved... my comment was aimed more at Alfred and those of his mindset.

          Alfred on this site has several times expressed a desire to know if the physical act ever occurred... then expressed relief upon learning it didn't. He, and others like him that I have met, cannot (or will not) understand that there does not have to be a physical act for sexuality to be involved, and for misconduct to occur.

          By setting the bar for misconduct at the physical act, Alfred & Co. are voicing their approval for Bill to do whatever he wants, all the way up to the point of coitus. So long as that barrier is not breached, anything goes.

          That's just sad.

          ( in reply to http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/01/sacred-grooming-part-six/#comment-27279 )

      • Joe February 1, 2014 Reply

        Passive agressivity as it's finest, i'm sure the world is waiting...

        You, Jonathan, and others, have chosen not to read my words and instead focus on my dismissal of how egregious these specific acts in this specific story are. They aren't that bad, taken alone, and somehow you take that to mean i'm good with Bill Gothard, his actions, and even his actions in this story. To clear that up: IT'S NOT OK WHAT HE DID. It's just not sexual abuse. Can you possibly understand that? To convict a man for stealing because he thought about is wrong. HOWEVER, there are countless other things that this dude should go downtown for. Namely, the spiritual abuse and the overlooking of some serious crimes, both civil and sexual, that have been outlined in this thread. I have personally been affected by this guy, and I want him to burn as much as anyone else (and I couldn't care less if you believe me or not, you are irrelevant to my life). That's why I want SERIOUS accusations to come out, not romanticized versions of crossing the line, which, again, he did. He crossed the line. But facts are facts, and he never did anything egregious sexually. Hypocrite? yes. Abuse of power? Quite possibly, and definitely in other stories i've heard and read. Sexually? there's nothing here. Doesn't matter what she thought she saw in his "wistful looks." It just doesn't. We need something concrete, and I'd encourage anyone with legitimate crimes to come forward, name names, and get it on record.

        • Patricia February 4, 2014

          Joe:

          Are you saying that if your naive, foreigner, 20-year-old daughter's 59-year-old employer put sexual (and yes, I mean sexual. Touching one's back, stroking one's hand, caressing her calf with his foot, touching her neck, putting his cheek against her cheek are all sexual behaviors.) moves on her, you'd have absolutely nothing to say about it?

        • esbee February 4, 2014

          In today's working world, a woman can accuse a man of sexual harassment if he just wolf- whistles or says "hi, beautiful". Both men were only trying to complement what they thought were attractive woman. They were not wanting to go any further than a "hello how are you today" type of encounter. In both cases it ended with both men being transferred to other locations within the corporation. These and other "harrassment" situations happened where my husband worked. The women always won.

        • Amy February 8, 2014

          I'd encourage you to read up on definitions of sexual abuse. Most clinicians, especially in the field of integrative Christian counseling, consider sexual abuse to have various stages which range in severity of the contact. According to Allender's model, the abuse reported here would fall under at least stage 3 sexual abuse (out of a four-stage model).

          For the healing of the abused, it would be important to identify the behaviors described as psychological, emotional, and sexual abuse--they certainly were violations of her trust, emotional boundaries, and physical boundaries (i.e. unwanted physical contact). Though a court may not define the actions that occurred as rape, the behaviors that did occur would certainly hold up as sexual harassment.

          I'd encourage these ladies to at least file police reports, as well as reports to the Child Protective Services in the area. This will at least make a case file for BG, so that when more recent abuses are reported, the stories will be taken seriously and have a better chance of being quickly investigated.

    • "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

      Thank you, LA Committee.

      • Jonathan Owens January 31, 2014 Reply

        Yes, THANK YOU!

    • kevin January 31, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for sharing LA Committee.

      "Remember also we did not have the broad-reaching communication options that are available today."
      But today we do. It is up to us, each of us, to get the story out; let our ATI friends know, let families who would be recruited know, let your pastor know, let the media know. Email a link, post a link on Facebook, email your pastor, talk to your friends, tell your stories, share the stories of others.
      I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with two pastors, with whom I shared some of Gothard's more outrageous materials. Both were shocked- one is a mega church pastor. The next Sunday he gave a sermon about steering clear of any organization that gives you principals and formulas for success and spoke of grace over legalism. His church has over 5,000 people. The other pastor has about 30 homeschooling families at his church, many of whom have been exposed to Gothard's teachings. As an adoptive father, Gothard's awful teachings against adoptions made his jaw drop and my hope is that he will influence many to stay away from ATI and Gothard.
      My point is that with just a little time invested, you can reach so many people, especially in the media age of today.
      We have the power to end this false ministry. We just need to get the information out there. It is up to us.

      • Vera January 31, 2014 Reply

        Now that my husband and I have understood what the message of salvation actually is, we target places where we know we will find sinners to lead them to repent. Doug has linked up with a number of street preachers to accomplish this. Many of them are fine people. Please, do not misunderstand me and some are definitely not legalists. But many are. There was even talk of doing a reality show on street preachers and all I could think of was, "No way are Doug and I doing that when we have these men preaching the wrong message." So... I just spent about an hour talking to one of them after he has posted about 3 or 4 posts on the evils of rock music. He made a comment that people who listen to "CCM" do not read the Word as much as they listen to CCM. So here we have a man who has been saved 40 years, and this legalistic spirit is rearing its ugly head. I try to share. But it falls on deaf ears. Just like Bill, he accused me of being bitter. Legalism has all the appearance of righteousness but is full of deception and hypocrisy. To get the "word out" to others who might even fall into this is very, very difficult. Even in a normal situation, there is abuse involved and name calling but when it is someone who is using the Bible like a slash and burn type weapon, it is hundreds of times worse. They are the toughest group to get through to. I can have a more civil rational conversation with an atheist over scientific issues than I can someone entrenched in legalism.

        • kevin February 1, 2014

          I see your point and I know from my own experience how hard it can be to try to convince a legalist about grace as God's free gift. But some will see the light. I know a family that was ATI for 15 years + and the father was unaware of any of the controversy over Gothard's teachings until I brought it to his attention. It is very hard when someone has been in it that long, but he promised to read up on the points that I made and research it.
          I think the most important thing is to reach families with the caution, before they are encouraged by a Gothardite to get involved. My wife, thankfully, had a good friend that cautioned her about Gothard years ago. So when a new friend encouraged us to attend a Basic Seminar, we had already had that warning and had good reason to research him first. This same friend has tried to encourage others I know to get involved with Gothard programs, but I made sure to inform all of our mutual friends, and since I've done that, none of them have participated. Really, all you have to do is to send them a link to RG and let them check it out. Anyone who does a little due diligence, will almost certainly stay away. Once they are at the Alfred state, it's real hard to bring them out of the cult, but never give up hope.

        • Mercy February 2, 2014

          I agree that it is very, very hard to reach a legalist. Jesus' harshest words were directed to the Pharisees; they did not see their need for Him.

    • Tammy January 31, 2014 Reply

      Thank you LA committee for declaring truth on many issues.

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      Is the real point here to bring a man to repentance or to destroy him? Where is the love?? Why are we crying because of Bill when we should be crying for him? We are still giving him power, so many people on here... "Bill destroyed my family". Why did you give him that power? Nobody should give somebody that much power.

      Back to "meg's" story... I am not defending Bill, I'm just seeking to call a spade a spade. Bill obviously has issues. Spiritually and morally,and needs to be addressed, yes. Also I applaud her for coming out with her story to warn others. I know that wasn't easy and I'm sorry for her sake that even all of this is taking place.

      Should she warn everybody, YES! Should it have been written in gory detail? NO! Again, what is the goal, to ruin a man and humiliate him, or to warn the body and put a call out for repentance? If it is truly the latter, then the heavy verbiage and details are not necessary. Love speaks differently.

      The last thing I am struggling with, and I hesitate to say this because I'm not wanting to say Meg was not a victim, because I believe in a lot of ways she was... and I'll say again... WHAT HAPPENED WAS WRONG. So for a minute push Bill's standards of dating and courtship aside. From the worlds viewpoint, this was a consensual dating relationship. Correct me if I am wrong (i am being serious) but this is not punishable by law!!?? Was it Weird, yes... between a boss and a secretary. Hypocrisy, yes! Inappropriate, absolutely!! But it was a workplace romance. He did not force hand holding, she could have rejected it the first time. But she was flattered by it and received it. I get the feeling through her writing that she initiated some of this hand holding as the relationship went on. He did not "touch her in a sexual way". Should it have taken place? A THOUSAND TIMES NO! From what I understand (Meg please correct me if I am wrong) Bill had her parents permission and he WAS making his intentions known. How many times did he tell her that she was special, he showed her affection and she received and participated in it. I am sure she regrets it, and did not know what was going on, but at the time, and she admits it in her story that she liked the attention... she was hurt at the end because she wanted to marry him and that didn't happen. I think Bill really loved her, I don't think he was being deceptive at all, I think he was delusional. He went to the board and told them of his intentions and he went to his parents to ask permission... he would not have done either one of those things if he was not serious. Reality set it that he could not marry Meg and have the blessing of his parents and the board, which he needed to continue the ministry, so he chose what meant the most to him. Sad. Heart breaking. A sexual predator punishable by law? A man who needs to be warned about, yes.

      I do not doubt the facts in Meg story for one second. and I applaud her again for stepping up. But what now? What do we do 20 years later. Re-visiting old hurts are good for the purpose of healing. It hurts, it is not fun, but necessary. However there are right ways of going about this to allow for healing and not festering. IN private you go through all the details of every little incident.... but in public, it is not appropriate to share all the same details. This was written as if to draw people in, it feels vindictive. However God knows I'd probably be tempted to handle it the same way if I was in her shoes.

      So this argument could go on forever.... and here is the sad thing as you are proving LA Committee... this type of dialogue is going to allow this old wound to fester for another 20 years, even once Bill is dead some of you will not be satisfied. So I ask, what is the real goal here?

      A. To live lives free from such "wolves in sheep's clothing (BIll, IBLP) and to warn others, or

      B. To destroy the man?

      I'll end by saying this.... are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ? Should we not all be about admonishing and challenging each other to live as Christ and repent from any and all sin? We were all deceived for a very long time, light has come and truth is known by the Word, let us all unite under the banner of truth from God's word and run to the battle together.... let the church be warned of Bill and IBLP, but let's move forward with the real truth, let them know we are Christians by our love, not by how well we can articulate a word battle between each other over a by-gone ministry.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        At this point, you can't have "A" without "B" happening. Either Bill will self-destruct, or the mass of evidence against him will pill up to a point that it destroys him. Or his organization will finally topple, pulling him down with it.

        And maybe it won't happen till after he's passed on... but there will come a time when all of the deception is laid bare.

        Gothard runs a cult that preys on young families. He himself preys upon young people and enjoys a power-control fantasy through them.

        He doesn't display behavior consistent with a true brother or sister in Christ. I don't consider him part of the body of Christ, and even if he was part of the body... I would still speak out against false teaching and predatory behavior.

        There is never any room for this sort of behavior.

        It's not that I want the destruction of anyone. But I don't want Gothard and his teachings to brainwash any more families. And I don't want his organization to continue leeching life from honest people.

        • Joe February 1, 2014

          Former student: What are you talking about? Of course his life deserves to be destroyed. He has ruined thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of lives. The individuals themselves can choose to forgive him if they want, but the point of consequences is keep people from continuing their misdeeds. Bill is teaching crap, and leading a generation to think sex is dirty, rock music is bad, and too many countless things to list. Forgive? Sure, i guess. But there are still consequences.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        > We are still giving him power, so many people on here... "Bill destroyed my family". Why did you give him that power? Nobody should give somebody that much power.

        You call out for love... which I agree with... then you write this remark which demonstrates a lack of love for everyone who has been duped by Bill & his teachings.

        This remark shows a lack of understanding about how cults & cult leaders work, and how easy it is to become slowly deceived by them.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          the above comment in reply to http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/01/sacred-grooming-part-six/#comment-27278

        • former student February 1, 2014

          pvproof - by saying this you are stripping a person of their ability to be a truth seeker. I know how easy it is to be duped when exalting a man over the word of God, such as many many many on here did. I did it for over 8 years, and regret it. People need to be lovingly challenged into freedom from this control. I apologize if the way i said that was harsh. But helping people realize they are giving up control to a person is the most loving thing you can do... I am pretty sure that is the motivation behind this whole site. Love gives freedom, it says "here is a way out of bondage into truth". People who gave Bill the power to dictate their life were in bondage. They need to be set free and educated. The way of freedom is to give no man power over your life except Jesus Christ. He is the only way the truth and the life. And some point the people who were hurt by Bill gave up that freedom and turned over power for their lives, in a way, to Bill. I lovingly admonish all, this should never be done! Yes, we were duped, but the most loving thing is to point them to the cross where true freedom is given through Jesus so that never again would they ever subject themselves to such helplessness. So maybe our definition of love is different, but I stand strong on setting people free to never give themselves over to anybody for control of a belief system other than the word.... this is love.

          Maybe you know more about cults than i do... that is very hard to quantify and I'm thinking you said this to more get a reaction than to make a point. However is our view on love really that different?

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          You said: "Where is the love?? Why are we crying because of Bill when we should be crying for him? We are still giving him power, so many people on here... "Bill destroyed my family". Why did you give him that power? Nobody should give somebody that much power."

          Keep in mind that in many cases, power is SEIZED - not given. Cult leaders in particular often manipulate your emotions, and seize control over you by ingratiating themselves into your life & deceiving their way into your mind.

          It's awfully hard to show love when you're grieving over all the wasted years thanks to false teaching that has been hammered into you since a young age. Sure, Bill deserves love just as much as anyone else!

          But what you're saying here is: "It's your fault. Stop crying for yourself. Instead feel sad that Bill is so deceived." Before people can grieve for others, they must process their own grief and get back in touch with Christ Himself.

          Again you said: "If it is truly the latter, then the heavy verbiage and details are not necessary. Love speaks differently."

          Not according to Paul & Peter, who both graphically called out sin in the church when it was present. And not according to Jesus, who graphically called out the legalism of the organized religion of the day.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          > However is our view on love really that different?

          Yes, "former student" it may be different. Love is doing for you what you cannot. Love is serving you with no expectation or desire of return. Love is telling the truth even when it hurts. Love is sharing the gospel of the kingdom with all - there is no barrier to entry. All are welcome to become Children of God.

          There is no law, rule or regulation that you need to keep (or even CAN keep) that makes you good enough to be a Child of God.

          And there is no law rule or regulation that is good enough to KEEP you a Child of God.

          Part of loving those still caught up in the cult of ATI is doing for them what they cannot... sharing with them the TRUTH about the false teachings of ATI... asking them questions to help them question their worldview.

          And if someone is caught up in Gothard's cult of personality, loving them is doing my best to share the TRUTH of who Gothard is, and what he has done... so that they decide if they should continue trusting him or not.

          Love is doing whatever I can to help others be free to experience this amazing grace & freedom that only comes from our Father of Lights.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          You said "It's awfully hard to show love when you're grieving over all the wasted years thanks to false teaching that has been hammered into you since a young age."

          Been there, and I wasted even more years grieving over those wasted years. It is saying Christ's power to redeem is limited by my past circumstances and it will take years to recover. In no way am I saying it is our faults completely, but what I am saying is that we have a choice. Especially now. The choice is always life or death, and anytime we choose to live in the past it is death. We learn from the past but we must move forward. Not sweeping under the rug, but learning from it and using it to propel us toward truth.

          The first 10 years of my adult life were wasted on IBLP, but praise Jesus for freedom and redemption, and I push into the future with the grace of the cross, stronger because of the past, not allowing it to weaken me any further... I curse the past from bringing anymore death to me, and I say yes to life in the spirit, I seek truth and I seek freedom.

          We can choose to allow the past to garnish off more years, or we can look to the one who creates new from the old and believe that because of Jesus, the better days lie ahead, and it is not contingent on my circumstances.

          Paul and Peter never described sins in detail, not sure which part you are referring to but Eph 5 he says to expose darkness with light, but the verse directly before he clearly says that it is a shame to speak of the things that were done in secret. What everybody is calling here "sexual abuse" is most certainly deeds that were done in secret.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          We agree on love then. FYI - Father of lights - incredible movie every person on here should watch.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          Good post and I agree with your views on this. I too am dealing with these things in like manner. I am not currently grieving over the past, and I rejoice in the present and look towards the future.

          But other people process things differently than you or I. Sometimes we want to come alongside and say "Snap out of it!! Just get up, dust yourself off, and move on! Embrace Christ and let His Power take back the years the locust have eaten!!!"

          But we must also keep in mind that it's OK to have the feelings of outrage, anger, despair & grief. And sometimes it's our job to just listen, and be there for people as they work through this. Often a shoulder to lean on is more appreciated than a pep-talk.

          I appreciate what you're saying, and agree. I would just add that you're in a position that others are not. You have already gone through the years of turmoil and emerged on the other side. They are still in those years. So just keep that in mind.

          --- --- ---

          In regards to details or no details when calling out sin: 1 Corinthians 5:1 is pretty clear: http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/5-1.htm - Paul calls out the sin loud and clear.

          And sorry but no this is wrong: "What everybody is calling here "sexual abuse" is most certainly deeds that were done in secret."

          So what? Read this: http://biblehub.com/ephesians/5-3.htm - how does Bill's behavior amount to "not even a hint of immorality" it's not acceptable according to this verse.

          And http://biblehub.com/ephesians/5-11.htm "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." EXPOSE THEM! REPROVE THEM!!

          "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

          "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light."

          You're using this verse to say "don't even talk about this stuff in public" - sorry you're wrong. Exposing and reproving sin requires discussion of the details.

          Paul is saying "This stuff is so gross, that it's shameful even to speak about it, LET ALONE DO IT" Just because it's shameful to speak of, does not mean we should not speak of it... When we reprove & expose the things of darkness with the light, it is made clear to all that the things of darkness are disgusting and gross.

          Sometimes we have to talk about shameful things, to expose them and reprove them, so that it's clear that we have NO fellowshipw with the works of darkness.

          Your viewpoint does not shine light on the darkness, but rather sweeps it under the rug, and allows the evil to breed more works of darkness.

        • dreamer February 2, 2014

          >Been there, and I wasted even more years grieving over those wasted years. It is saying Christ's power to redeem is limited by my past circumstances and it will take years to recover. In no way am I saying it is our faults completely, but what I am saying is that we have a choice. Especially now. The choice is always life or death, and anytime we choose to live in the past it is death. We learn from the past but we must move forward.>

          Former student, I think you presume a lot about the readers and writers of this website. You presume that they are living in the past, that they do not have the true love of God in their hearts, that they want Bill Gothard to be brought down, etc.

          You said yourself that you went through the process of coming out of damaging ATI teachings and into a true, free, and loving relationship with Christ. Keep in mind that others here are on the same journey, and that they may not be as far along as you are. Maybe show a little grace for those who are still hurting, and still grieving. You say that you wasted years of your life grieving, but it is important to remember that the grieving process is a part of life. Everyone goes through it at one time or another. It isn't a waste; it's a part of being human.

          I have never gotten the feeling that anyone here is sharing their stories in an attempt to drag themselves or others back into the past, but rather as a way of sounding a warning. Just like the watchman on the wall in Ezekiel.

      • kevin February 1, 2014 Reply

        "let the church be warned of Bill and IBLP, but let's move forward with the real truth, let them know we are Christians by our love, not by how well we can articulate a word battle between each other over a by-gone ministry."

        The ministry is small compared to what it once was, but it is no way bygone. I know a family that was recruited in the last couple years and continues to go deeper and deeper and this is happening to families all over the country. The Gothard cult continues to seek out new victims. To call it a bygone ministry, as if it existed 20 years ago and can be put behind us is misleading. As uncomfortable as it sometimes is, the past must be exposed to warn others of the depths of deception of this man and his cult. I totally disagree with you on keeping the details under the rug. The details are what make people understand the extent of his manipulations, hypocrisy and deception. Her way of telling the story, and the level of detail was her way and it was effective in my view.
        The problem with sounding a "warning" as you say, but leaving out the details, is that those who are in the system and want to give him the benefit of the doubt, will minimize any vague warning.
        Another charismatic cult leader whose ministry has been dismantled just recently, initially had some vague confession of impropriety. A person who was a follower of him me at the time told me: "He most likely just hugged a friend frontally or something like that. He sets the moral bar so high for himself, that things like that, which most of us would consider no big deal, he considers to be inappropriate." Let's move on and keep buying his stuff and going to his seminars , right? Well, in the months that followed, details came out that did not allow for such white washing of his behavior and the ministry crumbled.
        The details can be critical. When challenging those who will go to any lengths to defend, you need to be specific. Of course, even with details, there will always be those who refuse to see or hear.
        I don't believe anyone here is trying to destroy the man. I would love nothing more than for Bill Gothard to discover the true meaning of God's redeeming grace. Yes, even cult leaders who have deceived millions with false teachings can be totally redeemed by God's free gift of grace.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          I appreciate your response. we have a different view on how this should be handled, but i agree that the word does need to get out. I had no idea the ministry was still going strong, for some reason I thought it was pretty much at a stand still... I never hear of seminars anymore and i thought ATI had dwindled significantly. I have literally been out of the loop for over 15 years, but was very involved in the late 80's through the mid 90's in my late teens and mid 20's. I tell you what this has done for me more than anything, I am praying earnestly for Bill, and all effected by him. My heart goes out to all involved that were hurt. Maybe, just maybe we will see a change before it's too late.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          >I don't believe anyone here is trying to destroy the man. I would love nothing more than for Bill Gothard to discover the true meaning of God's redeeming grace. Yes, even cult leaders who have deceived millions with false teachings can be totally redeemed by God's free gift of grace.

          I agree 100% - I don't want to destroy Bill either. Heck, I was sad to hear Osama Bin Laden had been killed... I had no joy in my heart at his death.

          So I am very happy to tear down Gothard's construct of False Teachings, and I would be VERY HAPPY if he publicly announced a change of heart, and an apology for his past years of false teaching.

          But no evil towards him individually do I intend.

      • MatthewS February 1, 2014 Reply

        "I’ll end by saying this…. are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ?"

        In all sincerity, I'm every bit as concerned for the victims as the perpetrators on this front. Are not they, the wounded ones, worthy of our being inconvenienced and standing with them and taking some of the heat on their behalf? The tale of abuse here is the tale of two sides: the one with power and money, and the ones who were vulnerable and used. It's so tempting to maintain status quo and try to shift blame to the victims instead of the perpetrators. Its the offenders who abused, then covered up, tossed the victims aside and moved on to do it again. It's been a profitable business for them. I believe with all my heart we must act from grace and love. I also believe that Jesus was full of grace and truth, and that we are called to truth in love. It would be wrong to be hateful and vengeful. But to stand up and tell the truth, even when it incurs that wrath of those who put on a mask of purity and who attack viciously those who would expose their hidden sins, is not only ok, it's imperative. I would love to see Brother Bill Gothard, if indeed he is a brother, be reconciled to God. But the first step along that path will be that he's got to admit what he is doing until the present day, he would need to stop doing it, and like Zaccheus or the Prodigal Son ask forgiveness from a broken heart and truly seek to restore what he has wronged.

        Preserving their silence and helping to hide their skeletons in the closet is not at all a loving thing to do for the abusers. Nor is it like Jesus.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          Amen, well said.

      • Karah February 1, 2014 Reply

        I would like to point out that many of us didn't have a choice in giving BG power. My parents enrolled my family in the program when I was 5. I grew up with the fact that BG was a righteous man and following his principles would give us success. It was a fact of life. My family didn't get out and do much and the highlight of the year was the annual ATI conference. Where it was reaffirmed to us that this was THE right way to go.

        It wasn't until I was in my mid 20s and desperate that I started questioning the system and realizing that BG didn't deserve all this power and that his teachings weren't the next edition of the Bible.

        There are people like this still in the system. According to comments after these articles, there are girls that he has behaved this way to in the last few years.

        There are parents that still don't believe their adult children when they tell them that improper and illegal activities have gone on at Training Centers.

        There are new families that join every year (and I have family members that attended a conference last year).

        The TV show "19 kids and counting" on TLC serves as a very ATI success story that is touted in homeschool circles and continues to show Bill Gothard and his teachings in a positive light.

        Nothing else has stopped BG in the last 30 years. He's been approached by dozens of former students - personal visits, emails, phone calls - where they've shared their concerns and hurts. This story says that "Meg" approached him without any repentance on his part.

        Since BG isn't changing at least this website will serve as a public warning to people urging them not allow BG to have any power over them and their spiritual life. And show people who have been abused in the system that they are not alone and that help is available

        • dreamer February 2, 2014

          There are also other ministries very similar to ATI that are still going strong and deceiving people. Maybe by sounding a warning here, others involved in those ministries will see the similarities and the damage these false teachings cause. Remember that there is nothing new under the sun.

      • 'Megan' February 1, 2014 Reply

        Former Student, why does Bill get to be the only person wept over? What about the families he's hurt, who are going to be ripped apart even more as these scandals continue to come out? Most of us here, myself included, WANT Bill to come to repentance, and it is NOT motivated by vengeance. (Thanks to the incredible Grace of God). There will probably be a few motivated by hate, vengeance, etc.. but please do not equate outrage, disgust, hurt from betrayal etc.. to automatically be coming from a place of hatred and desire to see Bill burn, or whatever.

    • Alfred Corduan February 1, 2014 Reply

      I am out all day today . . .and tomorrow, so cannot respond properly. I do find it interesting that there is apparently still a need to be incognito when making such claims. We are approaching 30 years now? And . . . that there still is a need to talk in generalities. The claims here mirror what is in Don Veinot's book - and I have detailed my fruitless attempts over many years to get him to even name the offenses of which he appears to be aware. I have spent a decade looking for clarification, speaking with a number at the heart of the scandal, some on this website who have communicated with me privately.

      Nobody questions that Steve committed grave immorality . . . but this equivocating of "the Gothards"? Somewhat "disingenuous". If you have evidence that Bill knew what was going on, or participated, present it. All I have heard, even from those closest to the situation, is that Bill had his loyal "rose glasses" on, and refused to believe.

      Is is quite important to me to know what Bill did. I have yet to find anyone who knows the facts and denies the statement that Bill made to me personally, twice . . . that he has never in his life "seen nor touched the private parts of a woman". Do you, "LA Committee"? And these claims of gross financial impropriety - bring it forward.

      Dr. Gary Smalley was there, actually observed some of the "worst" behavior . . . and is a staunch friend of Bill and the ministry today. Dr. Karl Coke was brought in by Steve to confront and expose Bill, Veinot book in hand . . . and after his investigation came away a committed friend of both Bill and the ministry, speaking at many of the conferences over many years. The reputation of these gentlemen having the facts in hand stands in opposition to the generalities presented here.

      Let's stop dancing around - if you are not comfortable giving details in public, click on my name and communicate the "egregious" things you know to me privately. For whatever reason, you will be the first. Yes, I will check them out. I presume that is what you want me to do.

      • Linn February 1, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, I respectfully submit that you are living in a bubble and do not want to deal with the truth regarding BG. I can understand as it might meant that you have based many years of your life following a man who is a liar, but facing the truth is always better than delaying it. I was part of a church many years ago when many of the people in leadership knew that the pastor was a serial adulterer (the average Joe in the pew was not privilege to this information). When the scandal blew, it split the entire church as many could not deal with the deception they had been dealt for so many years. It was hard, and some people have never recovered spiritually. I strongly suggest that you take off the blinders and start dealing with the truth. Fast forward two decades: my current church leadership realized that one of our elders was involved in sexual sin. It was dealt with biblically, quickly, and decisively, including long-term counseling for the elder and his wife (still together two years later). It was not easy living with the truth, but continuation of the lie would have been much worse.

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        Thank you Alfred for proving my point once again. You said:

        > "Is is quite important to me to know what Bill did.
        > I have yet to find anyone who knows the facts and
        > denies the statement that Bill made to me personally,
        > twice . . . that he has never in his life "seen nor
        > touched the private parts of a woman"."

        So that is the defining line for you. You will not admit to anything wrong in Bill's life unless he has physically seen the privates of a woman, or has physically had relations with a woman, oral or otherwise. You want definite proof of P in V.

        You are willing to excuse any and all of Bill's actions up to this point. It matters not to you what he says, does, or thinks up to this point. You are willing to stand up for him long as he has never seen a woman's genitalia, or had relations with a woman.

        Why do you have such a single-minded focus on the action of coition? Why is the physical act so important to you??? Christ clearly taught that sin begins in the mind, and mental adultery always precedes the physical act.

        By being so fixated on the physical act, you give a blank check to Bill. You effectively are saying: "Bill, do whatever you want. Treat women however you want. Show any kind of attentions to them, manipulate their emotions... whatever... just so long as you don't look at them nude, or have sex with them."

        You are willing to completely ignore the fact that Bill has done something much worse than psychologically & sexually manipulate young women. He has built a cult organization founded on false teachings. He has deceived many into a false gospel. He has abused many both spiritually & mentally... and he has much to answer for, and much to publicly apologize for.

        By your incessant focus on the Sex Act (or lack thereof) you are setting up a STRAW MAN argument and diverting the focus away from the core issues.

        The core question is not: "Did Bill have sex?" - The core question is: "Where did Bill's false teachings come from? Why is ATI such a powerful cult? Who is supporting this organization financially? Who stands to benefit from the propagation of such false teaching in the body of Christ?"

        Stop focusing so hard on the SEX. Start looking at the bigger picture and question every aspect of ATI, IBLP, Gothard, Character First... anything that has anything to do with Gothard.

      • Larne G. February 1, 2014 Reply

        Alfred,

        I have done just that Alfred and privately emailed you and you still won't believe. I think you have been so taken in by and invested in Gothard's ministry that accepting the truth would destroy your self worth. Yet that's what God calls us to do.

        Larne Gabriel
        Former Gothard's pilot 1979-80
        formerly named by you as the "former husband"

        • guest February 1, 2014

          Yeah, I didn't think that "send me a private message" request sounded like a great idea.

        • pvproof February 1, 2014

          Thank you Larne for taking the time to email Alfred. I appreciate your effort in this.

          Is your information available to the public? Perhaps you would consider posting an article here on RG, or another site?

          Thank you for speaking out.

        • Alfred Corduan February 1, 2014

          Larne: Do you consider the information you emailed me to contradict the statements I just made? If so, I need to clarify. And I do appreciate very much you taking the time to communicate with me. Exceedingly rare.

        • guest February 1, 2014

          What's your point in saying "exceedingly rare? Maybe that's by design.

        • Larne Gabriel February 1, 2014

          Alfred,

          I do consider my comments contradictory to your statements. If the things I discussed in my email last June were done to one of your daughters you would probable agree too. You work for a major company and I'm sure have to attend some sort of sexual harassment training on regular basis. Bill's actions in yours or my company would be cause for no less then immediate dismissal and probable state or federal sexual harassment charges. How would you view me a 64 year old airline captain "dating" your 25 year old flight attendant daughter ( I know she in not one). I'd call that sick! But we are not talking about a dirtbag airline captain but a legalistic spiritual leader who fires staff for far less. Christ calls for him to set the example not only to his staff but to his greater audience. In this he is a complete failure and hypocrite. He has failed miserably over the past 45 plus years. Gothard no longer meets the standard set in 1 Timothy 3 to serve as elder/teacher. He needs to repent and step down and spend the rest of his life righting his wrongs and submitting to a group of godly men who will mentor him.

          The battle for Gothard's repentance had been on going for the past 34+ years and continues to today and he resist at every turn much as you have turned a blind eye to the truth. What Gothard did to Meg was done by him to my late wife twenty years prior and there are other as well. It's just plain evil! Alfred wake up and smell the roses if nothing else to show your children you are a man of conviction and character.

          Larne Gabriel
          Gothard's pilot 1979-80

        • MatthewS February 1, 2014

          It's never been about the evidence with Alfred. He's here as a partisan spokesman at best. http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/03/stolen-treasures/#comment-16020

        • Alfred Corduan February 1, 2014

          I leave that to others to figure out. Even if people don't like me, seems like shutting me up with the facts has some advantage . . . right? Otherwise one leaves the "Gothardites" with the suspicion that it is all part of an evil, deceitful smear campaign. Don Veinot said that he would not disclose the details because he did not wish to "damage the ministry". Very words, I have the email. I am all in favor of that . . . but . . . you can't lob accusations out there and then not be prepared - at some level - to defend them. Meg has posted what she experienced, for better or worse. She stands behind her accusations . . . others may ask her questions to clarify. I respect that. Trust me . . . a lot of people are reading what she wrote.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          Larne: I don't think like everybody else. 64 vs 25 is not an enormous problem in my thinking, under the right circumstances. We see even more "strange" things in Scripture and don't blink - 70 year old Jacob marrying his two cousins . . . David and Abishag, even . . . but our cultural norms makes us declare unfamiliar things "sick" or "weird". And back in the 80s that gap wasn't there.

          And . . . would that be worse - that marriage - than the twists and turns that have followed? What do you think? Personally I think people would have gotten over it fairly quickly.

          "Sexual harassment": Yes, I attend training yearly. Advances are "harassment" if unwanted. Workplace romances are common . . . there are obviously protocols to keep the object of affection from gaining an employment advantage. But . . . that hardly applies to a ministry . . . the "employment advantage". If we are talking about minors we, again, have a different problem. Please correct me with my understandings.

          The fact that it is "Bill Gothard" makes everything different. That keeps coming up. His standards, his materials on "Defrauding". I get it. But that is enormously different than "sexual harassment" or even "sexual abuse" (grooming is not a legal crime, just becomes evidence at a trial . . . and I have yet to see it applied in the absence of a crime). We need to clarify the accusations or it becomes a general "smear campaign" which has no hope of resolution.

    • Lisa Drake February 1, 2014 Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing this, LA Committee. I worked at HQ in the late 80's and the early 90's. We as a staff were aware of the scandal of the 70's, but were made to believe that Steve was the only one at fault. We were told that he had been confronted about his sin and eventually fired from the organization. We were told that Steve went to the Northwoods facility to "seek God", not that he was still being employed by the organization. We were NEVER told that Bill himself had been involved in any way. Bill was viewed as the victim whose wayward brother had nearly destroyed Bill's flawless ministry. We were also told that Bill had stepped down for a short time after the scandal to seek God's direction, to discern how to recover the ministry from his brother's errant behavior, not that he had resigned only to return a few weeks later to lead again. Again, there was NEVER any acknowledgement of Bill's behavior.

      I pray that those who have been hurt by years of deception and abuse will find freedom through God's beautiful, unending grace.

  38. Paul Dankers January 31, 2014 Reply

    I Timothy 4:1-5 talks about men exactly like Bill Gothard. I believe that celibacy is a perversion. Ask the Catholic Church's lawyers how it is working out for them. His will-worship in the form of self-imposed celibacy laid a nest of viper eggs that have hatched and continue to rear their toxic heads. Bill Gothard was an incredibly charismatic man with an almost Messiah-like potency. He had a way of surrounding himself with beautiful people and making everything he was doing sound like it was cutting-edge and world-changing. The sheer energy it must have takent to build and maintain his super-successful image is staggering. Yet, when you hear stories like Meg's (and pretty much all of the rest of us too) you begin to realize what a price was paid for his ego-mania. The worst thing is that he has created a whole culture of people who not only refuse to enter into the Kingdom of God, they serve as gate keepers--doing their best to prevent other people from access to God as well. If you imagine that Jesus is a bridge between us and God, then imagine people coming along, wanting to cross over the bridge to God, and Bill and his cronies are right there in the moment, declaring that before people can cross the bridge, they must believe that the bridge is a suspension bridge and subscribe to their theories about the workings of the bridge as well as its composition. Of course, one cannot skate board across the bridge, or run, or drive, dance, or roll. There is really only one way to cross the bridge--their way, on their terms. Crossing the bridge in the wrong way can actually get you kicked off the bridge. Now, as he nears the end of his life, the internet has brought an end to his embargo on information. We have all discovered that the truth indeed does set you free. I honestly don't think about Bill Gothard very often, but when I do, it is with real pity. I don't know if he actually believed all that he said. If so, I feel pity for his well-intentioned ignorance. If his deception was intentional, I pity him even more. How many little compromises led to his utter loss of the ability to be honest with himself and the people around him. He made us all believe that the world was full of banana peels, leading ultimately to that slippery slope landing you in the lake of fire. It's no wonder that he was such a fan of Jonathan Edwards with his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" picturing of mankind suspended ubove hell, balanced on the edge of a knife. The truth is, God is extremely unscrupulous and there are banana peels everywhere, but imagine my surprise to discover that it isn't hell waiting at the end of the slippery slope. It is God. So uncompromisingly loving that even Bill Gothard will probably find salvation in the ashes of his failed "ministry." I wish I could be there for that moment to welcome him into the real meaning of Grace. If you ever get a chance, listen to the score for Stephen Schwartz's "Children of Eden." Pay attention to the finale of Act I when Eve (yes, THAT Eve) sings, "I still believe in second chances." Redemption is something we all hunger for. I recognize and honor your need to speak the truth about the old goat. Once you get that off your chest, I hope that you will make your way to the bridge, and skip, dance, hop-scotch, leap-frog, leap, roll, crawl, or otherwise make good use of the bridge for the purpose it was intended: Crossing over to God. Maybe somewhere part way over, you can sit above the water passing below and let go of the hurt and anger and let the water carry it away, cleaning your heart and bringing something new and wonderful for your life. Hugs, Love & Peace...

    • "Hannah" January 31, 2014 Reply

      Beautifully stated. I would love for Gothard to come to true repentance, although I admit I have little hope for it.

      In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help neutralize his toxicity...

      • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

        may I recommend ipecac?

        • "Hannah" February 2, 2014

          Sure, but how do you get people to take it? [sarcasm]

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      Wouldn't calling celibacy perverted to speak against Paul's exhortation to be celibate? I agree it's a tricky path to walk especially in our world. I love your point of redemption... I unite with you in longing for the day to see Bill truly repentant and redeemed.

    • Lisa Drake February 1, 2014 Reply

      "...imagine my surprise to discover that it isn't hell waiting at the end of the slippery slope. It is God."

      Thank you, God! *happy tears* :)

  39. Becky February 1, 2014 Reply

    Bill is a complete hypocrite. I know a female who was in trouble at Headquarters because she went back to work to get her purse and didn't know a male had stayed to work late. So they were in the same building at the same time (even though they didn't know the other was there), and even though the female was only in the building for several minutes it was made to sound as if they'd had a makeout session. Yet somehow it was fine for Bill to be alone with young girls.

    Anyone who says this is story is not about abuse should imagine if a young American girl went to Russia and worked as a secretary for a 60 year old man who was the head of a big business. Meanwhile, he keeps her isolated from friends, and her family is far away while he has her staying up late in his office alone, hugging her, asking about her sexual history, holding her hand and rubbing her leg, and making her think he might marry her. No one would consider that appropriate. Even if he was somehow attractive and rich, offering her the world while telling her he was madly in love with her, obviously her family would be suspicious of his motives.
    Now we change the businessman for someone who is a respected Christian leader and who holds those under his control to the insanely rigid standards above. We have the right to be outraged about this.

    Bill took the groomer/pervert route; rather than saying he loved a girl, he would sneakily touch her body without permission and see how she responded. In other words, he'd go as far as he could without having her react, pushing a little more each time.

    Finally I understand something. Bill always taught that there is not a right person that God has picked out for you to marry. Instead, there are many that you could end up with. I see now that this was how he justified his own behavior. I always disagreed with this: Why wouldn't God with His amazing foreknowledge create a person who was made specially for you to meet at a certain time in your life? He might have more than one person for you in your lifetime, perhaps if your spouse died, but it seemed strange that we couldn't just say God had made someone special just for us.

    We weren't supposed to date, but yet we were supposed to believe that we could end up with any number of different people and it would work out OK. Instead, I believe that God works powerfully for us when we seek His will. "Meg" had a Mr. Right and it was NOT Bill Gothard.

    • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

      hey Alfred, does this sort of behavior pass muster? If you stand up for Gothard's behavior in this case (or any of the above cases) you are publicly stating: "I approve this behavior, and am 100% comfortable with my daughters being treated this way. Suitors, take note... This is a good way to treat my daughters."

      I'd hate to be your daughters.

  40. Laura Iversen February 1, 2014 Reply

    I had forgotten, but this article reminded me of an incident that happened at a Pastor's conference. My whole family was there, parents and a brother. I got in trouble and was shamed in front of BG and Rick Lambert for hugging and rubbing my brothers back when He had a breakdown in a meeting. They said no one knew he was my brother. (I should have had a sign?) Now I scorn their opinion, but then, it was horrid.

  41. happyescapee February 1, 2014 Reply

    I’m surprised that I keep seeing comments from people expressing doubt about “Meg’s” story. So I’ll speak up---I heard about this when it happened. Throughout the first 5 installments I kept thinking, “This sounds just like… but that girl was from Australia or New Zealand.” Today’s installment cleared that detail up.
    So yes, ostriches—this is true. It happened.

    At the time, the story went that Bill told his father that he wanted to marry “Meg” (from now on I’m going to just type Meg and you can just mentally insert the “ ”, OK?). Pappa G went ballistic. THAT is why Bill’s sister confronted Meg. (In the Gothard family dysfunction, the oldest sister never blames Bill for anything. It’s always someone else’s fault.)

    His family was very opposed to him marrying any of these young girls—it had nothing to do with Meg herself. I think Meg was the first one he said wanted to marry, more followed—but hers was the most shocking because she was first. The suggestion that his father had encouraged him to marry does ring a bell, but he meant someone age-appropriate. (And for all the commenters who keep trying to dismiss the age disparity—his family didn’t!)

    The board was involved in the situation—at the instigation of Mr. G. Sr.
    Re: the board--there've been a lot of comments thrown around that are erroneous assumptions. Maybe this will help: After the scandal broke in 1980, the board took control of the ministry. One of the board members became the VP and ran the day-to-day operations, including being over all staffing. Bill was tasked with focusing on what they felt were his strengths—developing new material and presenting the seminars. This continued through the early years of ATIA.

    Eventually that VP retired (he’d already retired from one career before taking the helm at IBLP). Over the course of a number of years, Bill kept taking back bits of control until he was running things again.

    The more control he took, the more rocky things got with the board. Looking back, the confrontation over Meg seems to signal the beginning of the end of that board. Or maybe it was already disintegrating and this just hastened it. Several of the strong board members that staff relied on to be the voice of reason resigned (probably in part because of things like Meg’s experience) but also because of unwise financial decisions Bill was making that they didn’t want to risk being personally liable for.

    With those strong leaders gone, Bill cleaned house, pushing out the other members who wouldn’t rubber stamp his plans. Since then there’s been a lot of turnover and the positions function merely as a formality.

    However, there is one element of the story as it was known at the time that is missing from Meg’s account (it’s possible this detail was inaccurately reported at the time, Meg?) and that is that Bill HAD talked to Meg's father about his intentions and her father did not say no, or remove her from the situation, but rather her family seemed flattered by the attention.

    Meg, please let me say how courageous I think you have been to share your story. I was so sad and convicted as I read it to realize how deceived you were and the heartbreak you suffered for years. I’m thrilled for you that you can now see it for what it was…but wow, if I’d even actually thought about it, I would have speculated that it might take a couple of months for the blinders to fall off and you would have realized you’d escaped. (I say convicted because I realize I SHOULD have thought about it, and when I’ve heard these reports should have been praying for the victims from a different perspective—not just assuming they were glad to be out of the situation, healing, and moving on in a healthy way.)

    But what has overwhelmed me this week---although it has been a strong thread running through so many of these stories—is how woefully unprepared these teens and young adults were. So parents reading: please, please, please, teach your children to LISTEN to their conscience. Tell them over and over again from the youngest ages: If it doesn’t feel quite right, even a smidge off, remove yourself! Don’t go there. Ask someone to go with you. Tell a safe adult. It doesn’t matter how much you might look up to the person that’s making you feel that way. It’s the Holy Spirit talking to you. LISTEN.

    Empower your kids—as small children—to listen and respond to that small still voice.

    Be a parent who is safe to talk to—don’t shame them if they’re overly sensitive and cautious or foolishly do something they really knew better than to do. Use it as a loving teaching opportunity. Talk it through…what will they do next time? And keep talking to your young adult kids. Know what’s going on with them. And if something doesn’t sound quite right, caution* them. They may tell you you’re an old fuddy-duddy, but speak up, for pity’s sake! I find the idea appalling that Meg probably told her parents how she was spending her time and they weren’t concerned!?! I can just tell you, if that had been me at 20 and my parents found out how much time I was spending alone with my boss I would have been on the next plane home, or my father on the next plane there. (And that’s not even including the details of inappropriate touching.)

    Sorry for the long comment, but just one more thing before I shut up: the toothpaste incident. OK—in the IBLP world we were taught over and over and over again—in seminars and in resources—that it is inappropriate for a boss to ask his secretary/any female employee to run personal errands for him. Rebuilder’s Guide anyone? (I also think it was in the Men’s Manual…1?). So I don’t think the girl was judging Meg for saying she was going to pick up toothpaste—I think she was probably just absolutely shocked to hear that Bill was asking her to do something that clearly violated teaching he’d drummed into them.

    (*Please note the deliberate use of the word CAUTION here—when talking about young adults, that’s your role now. Don’t order or command them.)

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      Great response. Thanks for the accurate facts. I was involved in those years and can attest to the validity of the facts stated here. This is a healthy balance of truth, warning, and personal responsibility. Thanks so much for posting.

    • Author Meg February 1, 2014 Reply

      "HappyEscapee"--your comments above really surprised me. I'm curious where you heard this information? Did Bill tell you this himself, or did you hear it through the grapevine? I have talked with my parents, and know for a fact that Bill DID NOT talk to my dad about it---in fact just the opposite. My dad saw some things that concerned him and asked Bill directly if there was "anything going on" between him and me. Bill replied there was not, and it was "nothing like that" (I believe those were his exact words). My parents trusted Bill and believed what he said was true until I shared more of the details with them last year. I'd be very interested in hearing your source for that information, because if it came from Bill, he is lying. If it came from someone close to him, they either gravely misunderstood or were covering for him. But I wanted to clear that up. Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      former student, please understand that I bear no ill-will towards Bill. It was very hard for me to go public with my story and there is no pleasure in doing so. The details are there because I believe the reader needs to understand the process/method of how he deceived me, and so many other young women. He uses this same formula for the girls who found themselves in my situation.

      • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

        Meg thanks for sharing, I too had heard "through the grapevine" that your Dad had been approached. It is good to have that cleared up. I can't imagine the courage it took to share all this, so I am not knocking you for doing so. You shared it all in a way that I would not have chosen to do, but many on here feel it was the right approach. It is good that the truth came out especially if this behavior is still continuing. There is a spirit among some on here of vengeance and hate. People that just want to see Bill burn forever. My heart breaks when i see this as much as it does in reading your story. At the end I am praying for the unity of the body of believers (true believers) that were all involved in BG's ministry, including Bill himself. I wish we could all unite in prayer for him and gather the people who were directly affected and go to him, face to face. I have it on good authority that he has approached 3 or 4 of the men from leadership in the 80's and 90's in the last 6 months and asked for forgiveness for wrongs that were done. 2 months ago I heard that Bill said he was "broken". He has lost almost all of his trusted board members and old friends of the ministry, I can't imagine the anguish and shame after reaching his 80's, having a life time in ministry realizing many of the people you loved and provided for were hurt by you and mad at you, and your entire ministry was considered "cult like" and damaging to the body of Christ. Unlike many on here, I believe that Bill is a brother in Christ, albeit a very mis-guided brother. I have not talked to him in ages, but out of love I am considering going to meet with him now. Love requires that we get involved, more than just facebook and the internet. Knowledge is responsibility. We are all very responsible now. What if a bunch of us out of love and concern for his spiritual state began reaching out to him to hold up a mirror? Maybe others are doing this? I know it has been done in the past with no avail, but I wonder if things are different now. There seems to be a lot of support on here for former Followers of Bill, but what about Bill? My heart breaks for the old man. In saying that please don't think I am trying to turn the attention from the victims... I am not, I just think a different attitude may be needed toward Bill. John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

        Meg, thanks again for sharing, and for allowing yourself to be vulnerable... you are motivating the church, God bless you.

        • Karah February 1, 2014

          Former student -

          Bill lied to people. Again. And again. And again. He covered up sin, he covered up illegal activities, he broke his own rules when it suited him.

          I have chronic health issues due to his teachings and the long hours I put in at a training center. Where I paid to work even though my family had very little money.

          Imagine the anguish of reaching 28 years of age and knowing you've based your life on a lie (told to you by people you trusted.) Then figuring out how to go to school, how to work within the constrains of health issues, how to have a relationship with your family, how to have a relationship with God.

          I was broken. I had no real friends (I never really had any growing up since friends could be an evil influence). I had no people that I really trusted to be "safe" confidants that I could go to for counsel. It was me and God.

          I wish BG no ill will, I do not seek revenge. I hope that he humbles himself, repents and seeks forgiveness and restoration. There is redemption with Christ.

          But he was an adult. He made his choices and lived his life. He garnered the praise of men and lived a fairly lavish lifestyle. I was a child, I grew up in the program and was given no choices.

          Once I found out that I did have choices in life, some of the best years of my life were already spent.

          I don't dwell on this, but it is reality for me and hundreds, if not thousands, of other students.

          I can understand your desire for redemption and healing for BG, but please realize that there are many, many students who are/were broken and need healing, too.

          And that is why we write.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 1, 2014

          former student,

          I wrote a letter to Bill Gothard asking questions out of brokenness and challenging actions that I had observed which stood in contrast to his own teachings. I did this as nicely and respectfully as possible. These were presented to him and the IBLP board to address. I have direct report by someone EVERYBODY in ATI knows by name that these issues were presented and that Bill was being "dealt with over them." However, I never received any further response.

          My father also addressed his concerns directly to Gothard himself without response of any kind. I will not speak for him except to say that he was very disturbed that as a pastor and loyal supporter he received a distinct lack of response.

          I had asked numerous questions about the system of courtship without any answers. I was broken and had a lot of questions. I was very wary of Bill's actions having observed too many discrepencies between his teaching and his actions. After receiving no response, I walked away from IBLP and Gothardism and searched the scriptures discovering that these teachings, indeed, are a false gospel and false way.

          This is a major reason why the second ATI generation will never be more than a paltry sum. If you cannot answer questions, we will search and find answers hopefully in the Scriptures and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

          In my case, the book of Job shattered my false IBLP theology followed by Galatians and Hebrews. A clear study of Romans finished it off and made me wonder, "Why on earth did I follow this false way??" I feared that I had resisted the voice of the Holy Spirit by my own desires so that I could be led away into falsehood. Now, I realize that God is loving and merciful to bring me back to Him and out of the entanglement of the complicated system of Gothardism.

          A friend close to Gothard and on the IBLP board of directors through 2005 (I believe that is the correct year) told my father in law when asked what could be done to help Bill Gothard, "There is nothing that we can do to help Bill--he doesn't listen to us anymore."

          So, feel free to contact him. Maybe by the free, undeserved gift of God's grace it will do some good. Maybe Bill can still hear. Maybe not.

          I'm afraid that if the 'law of sowing and reaping' work, then it would be natural to conclude that a man cannot repent after a certain amount of sowing to the hardening of the heart. Yet, I DO believe in redemption and restoration, and it would be joyous to see that happen. Still, if a man's morality dictates his theology as Bill judges so many others, then his teachings themselves have been dictated by his own morality as well. If Bill demonstrates true repentance, I believe that he will be the first to lead the way away from his teachings of earning right standing with God via our own efforts and point to the One Way of Jesus' work which by the will of the Father set aside the old covenant and established the new by his own blood as the prophet David spoke.

          Righteous acts can never earn right standing before God. Jesus pays the penalty of our sins exchanging them in return with His own righteousness. This is grace, amazing and free. This is the true gospel. Teachers are held to a higher standard. If they fail to teach the truth, they don't make the grade.

          I believe Bill Gothard himself can find salvation and restoration. In fact, if restoration of free grace is not possible without regard to the depth of one's sin, then the gospel is a sham. That statement neither disregards the holiness or God nor His effectual work in replacing our stony heart with one of flesh. In salvation, He writes His commands on our hearts changing our very nature. While I do understand that we war against the flesh as a reality, I do not believe in the status of 'carnal Christian' because if the heart has not changed, the saving work of Christ has not taken place.

          These statements do not scare God--it's His design, not mine--while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We love Him because He first loved us.

        • former attendee and parent February 1, 2014

          Luke 12:2,3 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
          I appreciate your care and concern, former student. However, Bill has been confronted time and again. He has been able to use his extreme power of influence to escape each time. Both he and his brother need to be held to account. Wrongs need to be righted. Yes, he is an old man, but age has nothing to do with righting wrongs. Yes, once he repents, we need to forgive. Repentance also needs to be accompanied by restitution. When I think of the money we parents have spent on his programs including sending our children to work at his various institutes and paying money to have them work like slaves and experience broken health the rest of their lives, well I need to see that brokenness accompanied by restitution to demonstrate sincerity.
          I appreciate Meg and so many others that were willing to share and open our eyes. I am one that thinks it is time for more drastic measures.

      • happyescapee February 1, 2014 Reply

        Meg and Meg’s sister—please forgive me! I can tell from your response that you felt attacked by the way I brought up my question. Adding to your pain was not my intention and, well, I just can’t even express how sorry I am for clearly having done so.

        I hope I can respond to what you asked and clarify what I was trying to ask you, without doing more damage. I’m praying over this as I type it—so please bear with me and try to hear my heart:

        I really was trying to ask the question, “this is what I was told—repeatedly from different sources—was that true?” I’ve always had a sense of disbelief in the “her father knew” part of it the story—mostly because that was so contrary to how my parents would have responded. However, I saw lots of ATI parents making incredibly bad decisions for their children that I couldn’t comprehend and still can’t. (And yes, my parents were “Gothard-ites”—but in the way Don describes above. Never drank the Kool-Aid and were honest with their children about the parts they disagreed with. So in a lot of ways, while we lived in the middle of it, we were [mostly] protected from the crazy.)

        I clearly failed in how I worded that paragraph with my question. I am so sorry. Maybe you would have preferred that I didn’t bring it up at all? Let me explain why I did: For those of us who heard about it at the time, the FIRST question everyone asked was, “Did he ask her father’s permission? Was he in favor of this?” (BG had talked to WG—his father—about it...it sounded like he doing the “courtship model.” )

        The story was that he had. I am so, so, so glad to hear that your father didn't know and would have acted to protect you if he had.

        You also wanted to know if Bill himself claims he asked your father’s permission. I have no idea—but I think you must realize now that he is the MASTER of saying just enough to lead you to believe what he wants you to believe without ever actually speaking a lie. It’s lying all the same. But he’s convinced himself that it’s not. Just like he’s apparently convinced himself that engaging in all this other disgusting behavior isn’t sinning against the you and the other girls he preys upon.

        You asked who I heard your story from, and if it was from Bill. Ha. No, it wasn’t Bill. (I don’t think he was going around talking about this—he doesn’t like to hear criticism and NO ONE was affirming this crazy-bad idea.) I was gone—had “escaped”—by the time you were there. But I still had many friends and family at HQ, in Indy, etc…

        I know from your perspective—and because of the details that you’re just now making public—this is YOUR story. But at the time, for the staff, board, etc., it wasn’t really about you. I hope that doesn’t sound cold or unfeeling. Honestly, from the way I heard about it, you were completely seen as the naïve young woman who had made a very lucky escape. No one (to my knowledge and by your own recounting of the events) had any idea of the ways Bill was sinning against you. But everyone was disturbed (to put it mildly) that Bill wanted to marry a girl hardly out of her teens. So that was the story at the time: “You’re not going to believe what Bill wanted to do!” I do remember several specific conversations with several different people, but I’m not going to name names—they weren’t talking about “you,” they were talking about Bill. (I don’t remember that I ever knew your name—I just remember that you were just described as from Australia. Although 20+ years later, I was even a little fuzzy on that—I remembered AU or NZ. It’s all “down under” from up here. Sorry. :{ )

        Meg, in my original posted comment, I was an attempting to corroborate your story. I did aim for a non-emotional tone because I was seeing that other people weren’t reading carefully and leaping to conclusions from other commenters statements and I was trying to be very clear in everything I said.

        So I want to clearly say to you, in case it didn’t come through before: My heart breaks for you. It breaks for the trust violated—in such a way you didn’t even recognize the violation, the lies believed, the years of sorrow and grief over a loss you felt, and for the painful healing process you’ve gone through. And I’ll continue praying as I have since I made my escape that God will act and expose all this and make it stop! It’s horribly, horribly wrong. (I’m also for intervention by the government—those “ministers of God for good!” Bring on the GOOD! The labor board alone should have shut down the place years ago. I know they’ve come out several times in response to reports, but somehow he skates every time. Maybe a fine. Maybe they change the OT/work hours policy for a little bit, but then it all just reverts right back.)

        Keep healing Meg—my thoughts and prayers are with you.

      • Larne Gabriel February 2, 2014 Reply

        Meg,

        Dealing with custom and immigration (ICE) is a pain on a good day, I as I read your story I started taking up an offence till it dawned on me that ICE was your “Knight in shining armor”. That stern agent, who was out for revenge, saved you a life of torment and grief. In the end it was Bill’s failure to follow the law that got you deported and gave you freedom to start a new life.

        That said, the comment about your father is typical of Bill’s style of control. His failure above is something he could not accept the blame for, so he hung it on your father, a likely target. (Not my fault is his mantra)

        When the Institute first asked me to join their staff, as a pilot, two years before I finally did, I lacked a peace about their offer and turned down it down. Bill response was telling the staff that I was afraid to fly in the nasty weather of Midwest, which was never the case. Another time after join the staff, I asked Bill if he had reconciled with a senior staff member I knew that had left in the mid 70s. His replied that, “poor (such and such) always had a problem with authority and could never quite measure up.” At the time that gentleman was the superintendent of the largest Christian school in Los Angeles. Seemed to me he was fairly successful yet Bill had to cast a shadow over the man to take to focus off his own failures and why the man left staff.

        More recently and within the past six month Bill called me asking to reconcile, we formed a team of the ex-staff to put together a plan and submitted it to him, after a couple of emails he stopped replying, finally after over three months of no contact we sent him a final email in January but this time with a deadline, Jan 31st. Shortly after receiving our email and long before the dead line, he started working the phones telling ex-staff that we were trying to close him down and get money. Base on 1 Timothy 3 we feel he needs to step down, but we never demanded the Institute be shut down, that’s up to his board. In all our correspondence we never once asked for money and in our final email I state specifically that “I don’t want any of his or the Institute’s money.” Over the years Bill has learned he can deflect the focus off of himself by misrepresenting and twisting the truth along with outright lying to shift the focus to others. Lying for him is a way of life just like his fined tuned method of disapproval that cuts to the heart, it’s a family trait. By the way the deadline has come and gone with no response.

        Your Dad, 9000 miles away was an easy target and excuse for Bill’s failure and in the end you gained your freedom. As a dad I’d be happy to take that blame for my daughter’s freedom any time. Thank you so much for your story and for sharing the freedom you finally found. Hopefully your story and others will bring about the end of Gothard’s abuse, pray fully thought repentance. You are indeed a brave lady who is blessed with a supportive husband and loving family.

        Larne Gabriel
        Gothard pilot 1979-80

  42. MeganC February 1, 2014 Reply

    For those that feel like "footsie" and a few "hugs" are not a big deal: there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the mental stakes involved. I've been the victim of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse and if you were to juxtapose my story with "Meg's" most outsiders probably would think mine is "worse" so to speak. But personally, I don't think it really is and here's why: psychological abuse (at least in my, personal, opinion and experience) is by far the most insidious. It literally encompasses your whole world and life, and is far more responsible for suicide counts then any other form of abuse. IMO what Bill did to her (and other secretaries with similar treatment) was psychologically no different from what Jack Schaap did to his victims because he followed all the right steps: BG groomed her, isolated her, made her completely dependent on him for her perceived physical, mental and spiritual well being, and then used her for whatever he wanted. Even if he had done this behavior for the sole purpose of reserving her as his personal shoe-shiner (instead of emotional masturbation, which is what he did, and we all suspect more down that road) what he did to her mind is the worst part of mental and spiritual rape. Undoing that damage can take as much or more therapy then becoming whole after physical rape. Taking back your body is something strong women do every day around the world (and they are very brave for it), but taking back your soul can be a tad more complicated.

    • pvproof February 1, 2014 Reply

      BINGO - this is psychological abuse. Again, Bill is a master of mental manipulation... it's more than just the sex people. He loves the power and control he has over people. And he seeks more of it.

  43. Meg's sister February 1, 2014 Reply

    I am Meg's sister. I was there for part of the time and was in total ignorance of all this happening. Let me state emphatically that my parents knew nothing about this until last year. My father was led to believe that my sister was working in an office with a total of four other students and staff at the time. You may have heard that my parents knew about BGs intentions towards Meg but be assured if they had known what was going on, they would have removed her immediately. Please be careful how you can further damage victims in this terrible tale by false accusations, no matter how well informed you may think you are.

    • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

      Meg's sister,

      Thank your for standing up for and supporting your sister and your father. Bill Gothard taught us to be under parents authority. Suddenly we were at HQ, out of the house and under his "authority" then for some reason the fathers authority was meaningless. It happened to me and I am a guy. I can only imagine the control tactics the female gender,
      underlings of BG went thru while working for him.

  44. anonymous February 1, 2014 Reply

    RE: comments on celibacy--I am approaching 60 and I have never married. I have also remained sexually pure my entire adult life. It ia not for everyone but possible if it is God's calling for your life. I am a well-adjusted adult woman with a career and significant ministry in my local church. It does mean much care in my personal relationships with the opposite sex but it a joy to have the freedom to serve God.

  45. Don Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

    "THE GREATEST EVIL OF ALL, IS EVIL DONE IN THE NAME OF GOD"
    I would like to make an appeal to ATI parents, and to former high level staff who have been reading this week, to summarize and post their thoughts. I'm sure many are reading this account and the comments which flow from it. The time for gentle persuasion is over.
    I am a 73 yr old father who with my late wife, brought our family into the Institute in the 2nd year of its existence. We lasted about 5-6 years...which was about 2-3 years too long. I had attended many basic seminars; my first one being the first seminar in the Phila area (at which there were about 110 attendees.) I never drank the koolade completely, but as I do with everything else, chose what I agreed with and jettisoned the rest. The parts I agreed with were for me helpful and even lifechanging. The parts I disagreed with were...(well, I could write a book about them). But that wasn't unusual for me; I've never agreed with anyone about everything!
    My son, who was at headquarters for some time in the mid 80's told me about Meg. Reading her story this week and all the comments, has been painfully wrenching. I feel hurt and betrayed, kicked in the spiritual gut, and often on the verge of tears. Thank you, Meg, for a beautifully written, though painful account. I am so sorry that a self-proclaimed brother in Christ, shepherd of Christ's flock treated you this way.
    I have no sympathy for BG...He betrayed, he sinned against his own light, he took advantage of the helpless. I have no sympathy for "the old man" as someone has called him. I believe he should step away from any public Christian ministry, and slither away into anonymity. And let others decide what to do with IBLP. As far as I am concerned, it should close down. And any attempts to get him to repent should include that he is finished.
    I urge any who have been associated with BG over the years, (who themselves may even have been spiritually and personally bullied by him), former upper staff persons to come out of their safe shadows to join forces, and to make a relentless effort to convince him that it should be over with him. He has been given many more chances to stop this behavior, than almost any other abusive Christian leader. Whatever is done on the forgiveness issue, it should not include continuing in any leadership. He has demonstrated long ago that he is not qualified for Christian leadership. There should be no more chances. He needs to close up shop and go away.
    His deeds need to be written up in an article, and he should be told that if he doesn't completely step down and away, the article will be sent to every Christian magazine.
    And every former associate should join in the effort to expose him if he refuses to disappear. No matter at what personal cost, what push-back from supporters, those who have been formerly associated with him, and have been aware of his proclivities, should join in an unrelenting effort to unseat him from his throne. It is time for those of you who were or are "in the know" to get some backbone, to stop walking by on the other side.
    And those of you in that group who have been reading this week, need to appear on RG, and make your own statement of apology, sympathy, or explain why you have not raised holy hell when you knew things like this were going on. ...or what you tried to do to stop it. (Kudos to the LA group for their statement. Where are the rest of you?)
    God Bless you "Meg" and all you other "Meg's" out there. As an old man now, I feel the same fondness for you as I feel for my own daughters and granddaughters. And it hurts terribly. May you be completely healed.

    • Jon February 1, 2014 Reply

      Don Owens: "I have no sympathy for BG...He betrayed, he sinned against his own light, he took advantage of the helpless. I have no sympathy for "the old man" as someone has called him. I believe he should step away from any public Christian ministry, and slither away into anonymity. And let others decide what to do with IBLP. As far as I am concerned, it should close down. And any attempts to get him to repent should include that he is finished. "

      Thank you for sharing Don. I agree with you here ^^

    • Patrick Jayne February 1, 2014 Reply

      Don,
      You said: "I urge any who have been associated with BG over the years, (who themselves may even have been spiritually and personally bullied by him), former upper staff persons to come out of their safe shadows to join forces..."

      I think what we have seen over the last week is that is starting to happen. There are still those who haven't reached that point in their journey where they feel they can speak up, and there are others who are still in the grip of the "Cult of Personality", but this power Bill has had over so many is slipping by the day. Patience is called for. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that "something was rotten in the state of Denmark", and an even longer time to get over my doubts that perhaps I was the one in the wrong.

      I imagine that even at this moment, Bill is frantically calling around anyone he can think of from the past and working his magic to do "damage control", which is one thing he is Very Good at doing, as he's had lots of practice over the years. Unfortunately, he will doubtless be violating his own teaching on "Giving a Bad Report" in doing this, just as he has violated and ignored many of his own "Principles" over the years.


      You also said: "He has been given many more chances to stop this behavior, than almost any other abusive Christian leader."

      Someone told me in all of this that over the years, Bill Gothard has stoned, reviled and run off more "Elijah’s, Nathan’s" and other Prophets than you can count, that God sent to warn him of his error. At some point, God stops sending Prophets, and starts sending Judgment. It's my belief that we are seeing the beginning of this judgment.

      "With what judgment ye judge, you will be judged..." Matt 7:2 Gothard has judged a lot of people and sent them to the desert for much less than he is being accused of here. What’s that saying he has on his Facebook page right now? “You reap what you sow, and you reap later than you so? It’s sad to watch.

      It's been said that sin does not just affect you, but affects those around you. The Sin of Gothard not only has offended and damaged individuals, but through his sin, the American Church has suffered. This has been documented on these pages and elsewhere, and doubtless more in the weeks and months to come.

      Gothard claims to call his followers to "A Higher Standard". And as anyone in leadership will tell you, true leadership is by example. At a minimum, Gothard is guilty of "gross and continuing" leadership failures.

      I'm sure we will be reading more about this hypocrisy and "do as I say, not as I do" over the next few weeks, as God uses the pages of this blog to hold this man accountable for his actions. I'm sure he will suddenly be full of contrite words, and appear to seek reconciliation. Sincere or not, like those people who begged Noah to let them on the Ark, after rejecting his warnings for decades, the answer will be "Too Little, Too Late."

      "...To whom much is given, much is required..." Luke 12:48. Gothard, like King Saul, has been given much responsibility, but like King Saul, he let it go to his head, and his pride has been his undoing. Let this be a warning to all of us.

      We regret the consequences of his actions.

    • kevin February 2, 2014 Reply

      Don,
      Excellent points. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
      You said:
      "His deeds need to be written up in an article, and he should be told that if he doesn't completely step down and away, the article will be sent to every Christian magazine.
      And every former associate should join in the effort to expose him if he refuses to disappear"
      It is within the power of those here to see that he does no more harm. It is a choice. If we want to prevent the next Meg, the next Lizzie, the next Grace and the next Annette; if we want to stop the false teachings that have shipwrecked so many families, we have the ability to each play a small part in putting pressure on him, until he has no other choice. Expose him to the media, expose him using the internet, let our friends know, contact Bill Gothard directly and demand that he repent. We have a responsibility to share what we know that others will not be harmed. We need to do it with much prayer and God will certainly lead in stopping this false teacher.

  46. 'Megan' February 1, 2014 Reply

    Here's a thought. No, a fact.


    Bill Gothard is a human being. Nothing more, nothing less. I DON'T CARE whether he lived his life with the righteousness of Job, or the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. He is STILL a human being, and righteous or not, he does NOT deserve the adulation, adoration, and awe that many people seem to feel for him. I see something in his supporters, the same something I see from Justin Bieber fans. Idolatry.

    I know this because I used to do it too. And I've never seen other Christians outside of a cult LATCH on to their favorite preachers/teachers, the way people latch on to Bill.

  47. Helen Klinck February 1, 2014 Reply

    I was there with "Meg" at HQ. And I also experienced the same things she is talking about. Hand shakes, hugs, and yes, EVEN the black socks. Would I ever call that abuse? Sexual abuse? Are you kidding me? If 15 years later you feel the need to "recover" from the actions, then you have much, much deeper underlying issues that have NOTHING to do with Bill. She was about 21. One is an adult at that age. Be responsible for your own actions or the lack of them.
    You should talk to people who have really been sexually abused, raped, etc.
    THose of you that agree with me, you MUST SPEAK UP. This is getting absurdly slanderous. Stop calling Mr. Gothard names. Deal with issues that effected you without dragging his name through the mud. This is disgraceful to you and to GOD.

    • 'Megan' February 1, 2014 Reply

      I assume from the general tone of your comment that you would be just fine with any male doing those things to you without your permission? Would you say that that is an accurate reflection of your opinions?

      • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

        Meg did not reject his advances... she welcomed them and she said she was flattered by them. For a whole year she participated and never blew the whistle.

        • 'Megan' February 1, 2014

          That was not the point of my question. Given Helen's tone, I assume that she doesn't find this behavior sexual at all, therefore, logically, should have no problem with any other male doing this to her, with or without her permission. Perhaps I should have worded it more clearly.

          But I wonder if Meg had known that Bill supposedly had marriage in mind, would she have been so eager to allow his advances? It seems deceitful to me, therefore the 'without permission' as she did not know his intentions. And the part where she tried to pull her hand away from his thigh, that doesn't strike you as going against her will, which would be 'without permission' in a roundabout way? No means no, and all that?

    • Moderator February 1, 2014 Reply

      Helen, you are welcome to express your opinion but please do not cross-post one comment across many articles. The other four copies of your comment have been removed.

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      This is what I take issue with as well. Some of the people here say it was "sexual abuse" and punishable by law. I just don't see it.

      • Patricia February 4, 2014 Reply

        It was sexual harassment, which is indubitably punishable by law.

    • Lynn February 1, 2014 Reply

      Helen, the main issue is this has happened multiple times, and not just to those over 18. What falls under the category of "sexual abuse" or not is quibbling, imo. For example, it was reported in the book A Matter of Basic Principles that a Pastor Jones witnessed (if memory serves me correctly) a minor girl taking Gothard's dinner to him alone in his hotel quarters. She told Pastor Jones she did this frequently, and the pastor became alarmed. Though there was no gross sexual imposition anybody knows of, the behavior counts as predatory grooming behavior, such as with Meg, and is breathtakingly hypocritical, given that other TC youth were called on the carpet (Wendy Anderson, for example), punished, or sent home for absolutely nothing. There is a spectrum of sexual abuse, and although what happened here does not fit your category - you would reserve that term for rape and behaviors along that line - obviously there are many here who disagree with you. Including me.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 1, 2014 Reply

      Had the man's name been anything but Gothard, he would have summarily sent home and his name blackened with some story. Whether the rumor was true or not would not have been questioned by most. I am not advocating this type of treatment--just indicating that Bill would not have tolerated it of other males.

    • ruth February 11, 2014 Reply

      I agree with Helen and believe that the sensitivities for physical touch and translating this to abuse is most likely triggered by a misplaced emotion or even misunderstood based on past history or experience the the bottom line is how you ffeel about something doesn't make it true none of of these sound like intentional abuse to me but what I think doesn't matter nor you none of us are gods crawling in each others souls or reading minds you want some one tto say that was their true thought but they didn't you must accept the answer further pressure is abuse by you the abuse of a controller

  48. Helen Klinck February 1, 2014 Reply

    Megan, I hold hands with my pastor when we pray. He gives me hugs. I have not seen his socks yet, but I will let you know when I do.
    I realize my tone and attitude is without pity or empathy. But honestly, what you all have said about Bill needs to to hit you back with a doze of reality.


    Moderator, sorry, didn't know the rules.

    • Jon February 1, 2014 Reply

      Helen I read this in the last couple days and it resonated with me… Re: tone and attitude is without pity or empathy.

      :: Why is it that when women step forward saying they were emotionally, sexually, or physically abused, they are met with skepticism? However, if a man then comes forward and corroborates their story then they are suddenly believed or at least finally listened to?

      Let's stop the second guessing and be a support system for these victims of abuse! Let us protect the innocent, stand up for truth, and expose the abuser.

      We are the body of Christ! Let's start acting like it! :: ~ Mike

      Food for thought.

    • kevin February 1, 2014 Reply

      "I realize my tone and attitude is without pity or empathy"
      When people refuse to have pity for or to empathize with victims it allows serial abusers to continue their predatory behavior.
      How old where you when Gothard played footsie with you? Did you read Meg's story? Even if you didn't empathize, did you read it? Go to the section titled "This is no Game". Footsie was sexual for him- from her description there is no question that it was a sexually stimulating act for him. This activity is a common thread in almost all, if not all, who have worked closely with him. Over and over again we have heard him do this. I suggest you read that section again. He was aroused. The heavy breathing, the look he gave her, the riding the foot sensually up her leg. From all indications, it appears that he did this behavior with minors as well. This is okay with you? Even if it was sexual for him, and clearly it was, it was okay with you? It is okay that he continues to do this to girls?

      • Shane February 3, 2014 Reply

        "I realize my tone and attitude is without pity or empathy"...Indeed.

  49. Helen Klinck February 1, 2014 Reply

    Bill was not just "any man". He was not a cab driver or grocery store clerk. He was a man who took me under his wing and took care of me while I was there away from my family and my country. I was also a foreign student. It is was a big responsibility for him. "Meg" should have said something if it was making her uncomfortable. But she didn't. I met her. I knew her. I am certain she had a voice. She chose not to use it.

    • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

      Helen Klinck,

      Could you give a bit more detail into both how Bill took care of you and why it was a big responsibility for him? He is a very busy man. What would have garnered his attention to take care of you?

  50. kevin February 1, 2014 Reply

    Helen,
    you said:
    "I was there with "Meg" at HQ. And I also experienced the same things she is talking about"
    Which things you describe as:
    " Hand shakes, hugs, and yes, EVEN the black socks."
    This is not an honest description of what happened to Meg. Shame on you for trivializing her experience this way.

    • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

      ^
      What Kevin said.

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      I don't think Helen is trivializing it. She experienced the same things Meg did, only Bill wanted to marry Meg... so he took it further emotionally. Meg had a much deeper connection, so when it ended it hurt much more, and I am sure has caused much more emotional turmoil. But just because she chose to walk that path with him does not give her the right to yell abuse or even "grooming" unless it was "grooming for marriage". Bill made his intentions known, and she knew full well he liked her and was falling for her.

      • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

        Did Bill ask Meg's father before making advances towards her?

        • former student February 1, 2014

          I was under the assumption from others that he did. But Meg cleared it up today by saying NO. In the Gothard world that is huge NO NO and very hypocritical, but how could this continue for a year without Meg telling her Dad what was going on, or anybody for that matter? If I had a daughter I would want her to tell me if something like this was going on with a man like Bill! I am sure Meg regrets that, but I don't understand why no responsibility is taken for this, and I think that is what Helen is trying to point out.

        • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014

          She was from another country. No cell phone. No email. No texting. I'd like to know how the options Meg had to contact her parents.

        • 'Megan' February 1, 2014

          Perhaps Meg's isolation had something to do with that.

      • "Hannah" February 2, 2014 Reply

        When did he ever "make his intentions clear"? This, he never did. Here, decades later, we are still puzzling over what, exactly, his intentions might have been. IF he had ever made his intentions clear, if he had ever told Meg clearly that he had a romantic interest in her, if he had given her opportunity to either give permission for this pursuit or deny him, if he had moved her out of a position of being his direct inferior... All of this would have been more honorable, in spite of the huge age discrepancy.

        No, it was never about what Meg wanted.

  51. 'Megan' February 1, 2014 Reply

    Helen, you may not realize that what is hurtful to one may not be hurtful to another. Does that seem reasonable to you?

    • former student February 1, 2014 Reply

      I don't think she was feeling much hurt...

      "She felt happy here, with him. She had cut her ties to the boy back home. He had helped her do that. If she left here, she didn’t know what she had to go back to. Her life was here now. She depended on him as much as he depended on her. She wanted to stay with him."

      • 'Megan' February 1, 2014 Reply

        Really? considering that Bill manipulated (not helped) her into cutting ties with that boy, whom she did love, and as you say, supposedly made his own intentions known, Bill then lead her on, and dropped her when an inconvenience happened. And, as you say, she didn't know what she had to go back to.

        YES, hurt.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          I disagree, I don't think he was intentionally leading her on. I believe he really wanted to marry her, he was wooing her, and it was working since she was responding.

        • MatthewS February 1, 2014

          Just curious, honest question: Is there a number, such that if this story was repeated with x number of girls you would conclude that he had been leading them on rather than sincerely wooing them?

        • 'Megan' February 1, 2014

          Intentional or not, why drop her at an inconvenience? If he really wanted to marry her? I'm not buying it. (Especially when I keep hearing from multiple sources that she wasn't the only person he did this too.)

        • former student February 1, 2014

          She was the only one that he truly wanted to marry, the only one that he went to the board and his parents and expressed intention and desire to marry. He didn't follow through because he was afraid he would lose his ministry, but it does not negate the point that he did want to marry her. That was huge for him to ask the board, at the time those men were not puppets.

        • MatthewS February 1, 2014

          So if he had wooed another girl either before or after her, then that one would seem more suspect? Honestly asking, not trying to badger you.

        • former student February 1, 2014

          More suspect to what? That he wanted to marry other girls? Sure! but there is nothing wrong with that. He is human, lonely and a man. I do not deny the fact that he flirts and pushes the envelope with girls... the number of girls that have stepped up speak to this. This is wrong, and he needs to stop, i am not defending him. However, specifically in Megs case it is different. Mainly because it was mutual and ongoing for such a long time.

  52. Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

    Helen Klinck

    Bill clearly communicated in the many seminars I have attended as well as in person, while at headquarters and in his writings, that if a woman comes in for a hug that it must be refused. He clearly expressed steps to avoid hugging a human of the opposite sex.

    Helen, if you hold hands with your pastor when you pray and hug him, then God bless you. Thankfully your pastor does not have the same strict standards that were inforced by the staff hired by Bill Gothard. This blog is not about your pastor and how you relate with him, this is about BG and how he related to a non-USA citizen.

    • guest February 3, 2014 Reply

      I'm not sure holding hands with her pastor as they pray is something she should be bragging about.

  53. Helen Klinck February 1, 2014 Reply

    Look, I grew up under the regime of the Soviet Union. I know what real abuse it. I KNOW what it's like not to have rights, voice, freedom.

    Do I have a web site dedicated to anti Soviet regime? Am I bitter? Am I seeking revenge?

    No.
    Not at all.

    I am grateful for where I came from. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned in life. No matter how painful they were.

    Now, I am not comparing the Soviet Union and AITA. It is just an example. (Had to clarify it to save some of you arguing time)


    You all need to be realistic!!!!!

    And again, my reason for writing all my posts is to ask you to STOP the unintelligent accusations!!!
    IF you must seek counseling and "recovery" from your "hurts", please do it through other sources vs. exposing your bitter hearts to the world!!!

    I realize my words are very direct, forward and strong. I stand by my opinion and I hope that one day you would be able to leave all this behind.


    "Meg", look in your heart of hearts and see what you have done!!!

    Helen

    • Jonathan Owens February 1, 2014 Reply

      What is unintelligent? It seems to me, and as a former student of ATI, everything I have read here is accurate, intelligent an very clear.

      I once burned my hand on the electric stove and to this day I warn my six children to be carefull of hot stoves. If I don't teach them to be careful of hot stoves (my youngest is 4), I would be neglecting my God given responsibility.

      Meg, along with thousands of other former students of ATI are simply warning others to be careful.

      • dreamer February 2, 2014 Reply

        Jonathan, clearly you are still bitter and unforgiving towards the electric stove that burned you all those years ago. Didn't that stove cook many wonderful and nutritious meals for you and your family for many years? Chew the meat, spit out the bones. You need to move on with your life and stop living in the past. ;)

        • kevin February 3, 2014

          "Chew the meat, spit out the bones"
          Not a good idea. When the foundation of grace is off, and the scripture is twisted, the meat is rancid. Best to spit out the whole lot. There is no baby in that bathwater.

        • dreamer February 3, 2014

          I was being facetious. I tend to think that, if something truly is from God, there will be no bones in it.

    • 'Marie' February 1, 2014 Reply

      Helen,

      I'm stunned by your reaction to Meg's story but maybe the geographical differences may have something to do with it. Employers in the US are to steer clear of anything remotely closely to sexual harassment. Pretty clear this was going on.

      But the biggest issue for me is the HYPOCRISY. Teaching us staff/apprentices to refrain not only from physical expressions of affection but even being near and talking to one of the opposite gender --- all the while doing the opposite.

    • "Hannah" February 2, 2014 Reply

      There are plenty of websites dedicated to the abuses of the soviet regime, and no one would fault you if you wished to create one. I don't even understand this comparison. Make a website or not, it's not a moral issue. You experienced abuse on a national level, we experienced a similar loss of freedoms on a more local level. Specifically, at the hands of a cult or the hands of our parents. The agency perpetrating the oppression, makes little difference. The oppression still existed.

      • "Hannah" February 2, 2014 Reply

        In fact, let's take this one step further. Hypothetically, what if you did create a (another) website exposing the abuses of the Soviet regime? How would you feel about the person who tried to shut you up, or get you to take it down? Who tried to shame you for publicly sharing your experiences? You would probably think they had a political axe to grind, or that they stood to lose something by this information coming to light.

        What if they had even suffered something worse, and they told you that you "hadn't really suffered". How would you feel? Once you start invalidating experiences, everyone's experience is invalid. Including yours.

        • kevin February 2, 2014

          Hannah,
          Excellent points.
          Yes, it would be like someone trying to shame her for sharing the abuse she suffered under the Soviet Regime, trivializing it or invalidating it because they had a completely different experience.
          "How can you say those awful things about Uncle Joe (Stalin). He use to take me ice skating and was always so sweet and kind"

        • "Hannah" February 2, 2014

          EDIT: Remove quotes around "hadn't really suffered". I realize Helen did not say this, directly.

    • dreamer February 2, 2014 Reply

      Helen, since you are being direct, forward, and strong, I will be the same.

      You don't get to come here and tell others that they need to be quiet, to stop, or to shut up. Just because you handled abuse one way, doesn't mean others will handle it in the same way. You don't have the right to tell those on this board that they must deal with their hurts somewhere else, or in some other way. It's not up to you how they deal with these things, and they do not have to take down this website just because you told them to.

      "Unintelligent? Bitter?" Where do you see those things? Meg's post has been extremely intelligent, well-written, and I personally see no bitterness in it. Hurt? Yes. But there is a difference between feeling hurt and being bitter.

      • kevin February 3, 2014 Reply

        Absolutely, right on. And, yes, of course the problem is that we are all bitter. I think anytime I hear the word "bitter" for the rest of my life, I'm going to have a knee jerk reaction. It has to be on of the top 10 overused Gothard terms.

        • dreamer February 3, 2014

          Bitterness IS dangerous. But just because you feel hurt or sad over an injustice does not mean you are truly "bitter." Only God can know what is really in our hearts, but I honestly don't see bitterness from most of the posters here. At least, based on what they write.

    • Patricia February 4, 2014 Reply

      "I know what real abuse is."

      Helen, just because you may have experienced worse abuses than Meg does NOT make Meg's story of harassment any less important or any less meaningful or any better. Please respect that.

    • ruth February 11, 2014 Reply

      Thank you Helen for speaking the truth!

  54. former student February 1, 2014 Reply

    As I read Megs posts I hear a girl that was flattered, enamored and falling in love with Bill. At the end of this last installment I hear a girl who was infatuated with Bill, and I believe Bill really was infatuated with her as well. They were breaking all the rules of the house concerning dating/courtship. But they both were breaking them.

    I have a lot of friends that were severely hurt by Bill, and still struggle to this day with being free from the damage that was done, 10, 20, even 40 years ago. He should not have this much power. We have the power to be set free, even from the most nightmarish of situations. Warnings should be given in a God honoring way, Bill should be confronted directly by the people offended. They should gather their pastors, mates, friends, whoever necessary to confront him, and then they must forgive. The longer we hold onto these hurts and perpetuate them the longer satan wins by holding us into captivity.

    I am going to bow out of this conversation, I don't want to drive a deeper hurt into Meg... AT ALL, out of respect for her I am going to stop. I am sorry for the directness and prying for some of my comments, but I just feel that responsibility needs to be taken on her side as well.

    We must look to the cross. Jesus blood is more powerful than any sin, more powerful than any hurt, and yes, more powerful than the damaging effects of Bill Gothard.

    Lastly, Meg, I just want to say I am very sorry for the pain you experienced. I cannot begin to pretend I understand, but i do hurt for you. Thanks for being vulnerable. Thanks for letting us be honest and ask questions and express opinions. please forgive me for anything that i said that was insensitive or brought you more pain... I did not intend that at all, and I sincerely mean I am sorry. This was your life, and the hell you went through during and after is very real, I do not discount that at all. I pray for your complete healing and freedom, and that Jesus becomes the lover to you and comforter that will never defraud or abuse you. He is fully trustworthy as I am sure you know. I love you in Christ - another broken ati brother seeking grace and freedom.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 1, 2014 Reply

      I agree... IBLP phones should be ringing off the hook. It's difficult to get resolution when you receive no response after contacting Bill. It is a closed door. Many walk away from IBLP after this encounter.

      Bill very often slams the door on their backside by labeling them "bitter", but Jesus says, "Come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."

      Jesus says, "Come and let me heal your hurting, broken heart." Bill says, "Bitter! If only you follow the 14 steps in this seminar to resolve that yourself!"

      Jesus gives full healing and restoration to the bitter and hurting, but Gothard merely calls for more legalism for those who continue to be diy'ers.

      Which response represents the true gospel??

      • 'Megan' February 2, 2014 Reply

        Love this comment Samuel!

    • "Hannah" February 2, 2014 Reply

      Thank you, Former Student.

  55. MJ February 2, 2014 Reply

    At the risk of angry replies, can I just ask that we not lambast Mr. Alfred for taking a different view on this? He is simply looking at things from a different perspective. Mr. Gothard is only human, with many faults albeit but still...there are two sides to every story. I'm not saying that 'Meg's' story isn't 100% true, but the side that we don't see is Bill Gothard's. I'm not defending him, what he did was wrong on so many levels. The hypocrisy and sneaking around mainly. And while Mr. Gothard is not a predator he took advantage of a vulnerable young woman. He seduced her. But he was attracted to her, treated her kindly, maybe even loved her. And she had feelings for him as well even if they bordered more on pity than love. He took advantage of his position to woo her, but it was ultimately his position that kept him from marrying her. He had spent so much of his life in devotion to his career, sacrificing relationships and marriage to women his own age along the way. So when he realized his mistake his options were limited, leading him to chase after the readily available PYT's(Pretty Young Things) who already were fawning over him. So he took the infatuation as romance, and took too many liberties with those young women. He didn't even follow his own rules of courtship. Basically what I'm saying is realize that not everyone is for burning BG at the stake, and we need to respect all opinions here.

    • MatthewS February 2, 2014 Reply

      It is certainly important for a community like this to be able to allow spirited disagreement without going all "Lord of the Flies" on anyone who has a different opinion.

      At first look, Alfred does appear to be asking honest questions, which would be a good thing. If you follow his history of comments on this and other sites, however, he often does not act in good faith and often hijacks threads.

      I believe that Dave's comments to him a while back were very enlightening:

      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/03/stolen-treasures/#comment-15733

      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/03/stolen-treasures/#comment-15788

      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/03/stolen-treasures/#comment-16020

      • Tammy February 2, 2014 Reply

        MJ,

        Yes, Alfred does have quite a history with RG.

      • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014 Reply

        You can't quit your reviling, eh, Matthew? Everything I have done has been in the open. I publish my name, links to my website and email. I have openly talked about every facet of my life. I have apologized as necessary. I have openly responded to and respected the admins on any issue that has come up. The Lord be a witness between us . . .

      • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014 Reply

        Since we have shifted from the topic at hand . . . to me: Dave and I (and an number of others here) were on a Yahoo! forum years ago that would be comparable to RG, except with an openly antagonistic owner/moderator, clear agenda. As a result the "debate" was a lot more furious at times, me often completely alone in a 600 member forum. I guess I have a few screws loose. But I did so because Don Veinot said I should, as part of my inquiry into his book. I am determined that I will always under all circumstances be able to look anyone in the eye on any issue.

        If Dave has anything to discuss, I am not hiding. In the absence of that, I kinda hope you can stop trying to smear my intentions each time I show up on a matter. Since the moderators indicated your protocol was OK - posting links to unrelated topics with the sole purpose to make others doubt my sincerity - I leave it at that. What it does is make me less likely to participate. Which is, I suppose, the intent.

        • kevin February 3, 2014

          " What it does is make me less likely to participate. Which is, I suppose, the intent."

          Alfred,
          I hope you do continue to participate. You play a more important role than you may realize. Your defense of Gothard, serves as a warning of how deep a family can get into this system and how emotionally and spiritually invested people can become in a man. In fact, it was one of your posts which removed any doubt in my mind that this is, in fact, a cult.

          A few months back you acknowledged that you and your wife were aware that Gothard does target the beautiful ones. You said:
          "I asked my wife around that time what she thought about the allegations. She said, 'Oh, I see how he looks around the room at meals, asking about this one and that one, clearly focusing on the beautiful girls.'"

          You also pointed out that your own daughter was one of the ones targeted by Gothard.

          You said:

          "Daughter #2 is indeed "the type" and has gotten positive attention on several occasions. In fact, Mr. Gothard indicated that he would be contacting us about having her serve"

          Hold the phone for a moment. Look at what you have already acknowledged and let me ask you: On what planet is is okay for a Christian ministry leader to hand pick the "beautiful" ones only, as the ones who get to work as his personal assistant; not based on qualifications, but physical beauty?
          He is not hiring waitresses for Hooters! This is a Christian ministry! The fact that he is doing this selection of the hot babes to be the ones who will be working with him, often alone, should be causing red flags to be going off all over the place. You and your wife, by you own admission, observed this focusing on the beautiful ones and this seems normal to you? No little voice inside that says that this feels very wrong?
          And then, your own daughter is selected as one of the beautiful ones, in your own words as "the type", and no parental protective instincts kick in from you and your wife?? Forget about the scores of girls who have come forward to allege misconduct, set that aside for a moment. At the point that you and your wife understood that he was hand picking the beautiful ones and one of your daughters was his type and he was seeking after her, any sober minded parent would have had alarm bells going off all over the place. But, this was not at all the reaction. You seemed happy that she had been chosen by the leader.
          But, it gets worse. You, sir, are aware of the scores of women who have come forward to allege sexual harassment. You know that there are multiple women who have had depression and counseling to deal with the sexual harassment that they endured from this man. And still, no alarm bells, but, rather, by all appearance, delighted that the leader had chosen his own daughter as his type. See, that seems extremely cult like to me. You think so highly of this man, that you can't see what is right before you, or the potential life altering affects he could have on your own children.
          I mean this out of love Alfred- I pray for you and I hope that you get help at some point. I see your reaction to indisputable facts over and over again, as a person whose thinking has been very conditioned and who is mesmerized by a charismatic leader.
          If you have a Christian man in your life who has ever been a mentor of sorts to you, one who is outside of ATI, I would ask that you present the above info to him and ask his honest opinion. Ask him if it is appropriate for a Christian leader to select his assistants this way. Ask him to read up on it and to give his honest opinion about if you are responding to Gothard's interest in your daughter in a healthy way, particularly knowing what you know about the multiple allegations.
          Sorry to be so direct, but I am very concerned about your family. I also believe that Gothard will be forced to resign in the months to follow and you will likely need to be preparing for life for you and your family without Gothard.

        • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014

          I am not concerned about the safety of my young ladies. I have had some excluded from service, which hurt them . . . and we have felt that appearances have been bad, which is an opinion very few would disagree with. There was a specific effort made to address this with Mr. Gothard of late, and a fairly dramatic action was taken in response . . . with tears. But safety has not been the issue.

          On the beauty issue - we have had long discussions about Mr. Gothard's "Dress for Success" perspectives. Most would find that onerous . . . I am not thrilled with it, but I do see the point. When I consider that God specifically excluded people with physical deformities from serving in the priesthood (Lev. 21) - deformities He assumes personal responsibility for - it makes me wonder about "appearance", beauty, whether it may matter a tad more than we like.

          There are things that a majority of young ladies find uncomfortable, and have every right to expect to not have to deal with. Touching – footsie – long hand holding, massaging the hand . . . I use the term “manners” – that is as far as I am going to take it. Knowing the old male sex drive it is incomprehensible that an intent to gain sexual attention would not have found a fulfillment somewhere. He clearly considers it within the bounds of propriety, not sexual. He has gotten frustrated with the unhappiness of others, communicating that it is an “appearance” issue.


          We are in agreement that boundaries have definitely not been observed that would have eliminated the concerns. It has wearied many of his friends in the past that this has not been taken more seriously. I have reason to believe that it is addressed.

        • guest February 3, 2014

          So you're only willing to take it as far as it having been poor manners- don't really care how far you're willing to take it. And as far as this statement from you:
          " When I consider that God specifically excluded people with physical deformities from serving in the priesthood (Lev. 21) - deformities He assumes personal responsibility for - it makes me wonder about "appearance", beauty, whether it may matter a tad more than we like."-- let me just tell you how offensive that is. Deformities excluded one from the priesthood because the perfect sacrifice had not come- don't you see that we are all disabled and are all in the same boat? To negate that by saying it's okay to show deference to the unblemished is counter to Christ's sacrifice and to the gospel. UNBELIEVABLE.

        • Jon February 3, 2014

          Alfred, just so you know I agree 100% with Kevin. Your comments have had the exact opposite of your {percieved} intentions of defending BG/IBLP. I'm more convinced now than ever that IBLP is a cult and BG is a narcissit.

        • pvproof February 4, 2014

          Let's create a scenario. Suppose that:

          Alfred's daughters are working at a local restaurant. The owner of the restaurant has expressed specific interest in one of Alfred's daughters to work in close proximity to him. Alfred's wife has noted to him that said restaurant owner has a 'roving eye' and routinely checks out young women.

          It has comes to light that the restaurant owner has been playing footsie with several of the waitresses, has been holding their hands, has been massaging and caressing their hands and been very attentive to the general appearance of each of his waitresses. This restaurateur has even been known to spend time alone with different waitresses, among other things...

          I am interested in Alfred's reaction to this situation, and if a different reaction... why the difference?

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          YOU tell me why He said this:

          "16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. 22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. 23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them. 24 And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel."

          Those deformities "profaned" the sanctuary. God's sanctuary. What does that mean? I am not sure . . . if you are not sure, please don't condemn me for bringing it up.

        • guest February 4, 2014

          Alfred- I just look at this in an uncomplicated way, but am open to others. It was a foreshadowing of Christ- it showed us our need for an unblemished sacrifice. In the context of this author's experience and other stories on here, my point was that Christ stood up for the marginalized, the blemished. And so I think it's wrong to defend anyone choosing the attractive to show attention to, to represent a ministry. It doesn't seem to me that it's consistent with the gospel and Christ's love for all of us "blemished" who needed a perfect sacrifice. You seemed to be saying, or have said outright on other comments, that it's fine to choose the "type," even that it's how the secular world does it. That's the impression from other threads you've commented on and this one as well, and I really stand against any thought that undermines the disabled in any way.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          IS there are reason God makes some beautiful . . . and some of the rest of us . . . not? Clearly He does the genetics, even as much as assuming responsibility for deformities:

          "And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11)

          Why does He do that? Bill Gothard has taught that deformities form a custom "frame" for the ministry He has for us. That perspective, which Joni Erickson Tada heard in a Basic Seminar back in the 1970s while she was an unknown, depressed quadriplegic. I heard her speak live at an ATI conference. It became the basic for hope for her . . . and the rest is history.

          But . . . is beauty also chosen as a "frame"? What God-ordained purpose does physical beauty, intelligence play in a person's ministry?

        • MatthewS February 4, 2014

          Really? Who says you aren't beautiful? Maybe it is the case that people are enamored with the outward and treat preferentially (exactly what God said not to do), while God looks on the heart. What if, bear with me for a wild thought here, what if when God looks at Alfred, he chooses to see Jesus and therefore sees something unimaginably beautiful? What if every time you assert that you are not beautiful, Alfred, what if God shakes his head with a small stab of pain due to your rejection of His perspective? To quote God's words from the Genesis account: Who told you you aren't beautiful? I can point to an empty cross and an empty tomb that says otherwise.

        • WendyA February 4, 2014

          You're dodging the question, Alfred. It's not these girls' evaluation of themselves that is the problem. It's how their evaluation by a man they admired and respected —— idolized, even —— damaged their self-confidence because they weren't up to his standard. They were too chubby, had hair that was too straight, had "problem" skin, whatever it was. They were shoved into less public service, asked to keep out of sight, not favoured with opportunities like the "beautiful people" were. In doing so, Mr. G caused many of them to stumble into the sins of envy and self-loathing.

          God's standard for beauty isn't in question here —— It's Mr. G's standard of beauty that is the problem. It's CLEAR that Mr. G chose certain people for their physical attractiveness, and rejected others because they did not fit HIS idea of "beautiful." Several people have pointed out that Mr. G had a "type" and if you were not that type, you weren't as favoured as those who were the type. I was never drop-dead gorgeous, but I was a lovely young woman who thought, due to rejection from people like Mr. G, that I was ugly as sin. I was forty-three years old before God caught me poring over old photo albums and said, "I want you to SEE this picture of you." When HE opened my eyes, I realized that I had been a beautiful girl. I wept for days over the years I spent thinking I was not worthy to serve God because I wasn't pretty enough.

          You yourself have mentioned that this happened in your own family. Don't you see a problem with a man who claims to serve God —— the God who said "Man looks on the outward appearance, but I look on the heart" —— choosing his assistants and staff members by their outward appearance? Who is oblivious to the hurt he causes when he tells a plump girl that she is "too fat" to be seen by visiting dignitaries, or when he gives a girl a disapproving frown because her hair does not meet his standard of long, soft curls?

        • guest February 4, 2014

          There may be a reason God makes some of "us" (ha) beautiful, but it's not so that they can be shown preference by ministries while pushing others that are more qualified to the side.

        • guest February 4, 2014

          Just one more thought- Lazarus the beggar, certainly not one of the favored in any way, was being comforted in Abraham's bosom in heaven "for the things he had endured on earth." Maybe God takes responsibility for the disabled and allows it, and maybe things will be better for them in heaven than if their disabilities had never happened. I say let's be in line more with that thinking and not look for ways to favor anyone based on looks or defend those thoughts or actions.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          We wander. Yes, I have seen this up close and personal. I, for one, am short . . . short man syndrome . . . I will never be taken seriously for a leadership position . . . or at least, not in the natural course of things. It may be why, as loyal as I am, I have never been considered for a role at HQ (there may be a great many other reasons). Presidents, CEOs are invariably big. Even the original "Dress for Success" said so, so it must be true.

          Offspring have assumed certain roles, and were refused from certain others. Sometimes I thought it incorrect. God made me short for a reason. Maybe to keep me from leadership roles, and focused where I really am more effective.

          Charles Spurgeon made a point to notice men who had a voice that could project. He figured God designed aspects of preaching into the ones prepared for that purpose. Makes the godly ones with squeaky voices feel bad, I am sure.

          In any case, I do see a point with regard to "beauty", height, intelligence. Not an endless point.

        • MatthewS February 4, 2014

          Me: Hey Alfred, you are beautiful to God. He proved it with the cross and empty tomb. With that as evidence, what other opinion really matters?
          Alfred: I'm short and will never be taken seriously for a leadership position.
          Me: :-(

        • Nancy February 4, 2014

          Alfred, James Madison was 5'4". That was shorter than average in his day.


          When jimmy Carter was 5'91/2" running against Gerald Ford 6'. Height didn't help in that election.


          Maybe not all Dress for Success literature isn't correct.

        • Alfred Corduan February 4, 2014

          Thank you, Matthew, for what sounded like something nice. I do appreciate it.

          I am not unhappy with being short . . . and ordinary in appearance. And, yes, I appreciate my beauty in Christ, knowing that the body that is now is not that which will be. I accept who I am, and seek to work within the bounds of that. I seek to have a full life on many fronts, so the occasional slights for things I cannot control are lost in the flow of all that God is and is doing.

        • pvproof February 4, 2014

          My earlier questions were completely ignored. That makes me sad.

          Now we're talking about whether or not God created the pimples on our face. :(

          Our stature and physical condition is more a result of the genetics of our father & mother. Not because "God made me this way" - if you have a pre-disposition to high blood pressure it's likely because it runs in your family. Not because God gave it to you on purpose.

          We blame too much on God, and blame Him for the physical characteristics we don't like.

          It's not His fault!!! We live in a fallen world! We are part of a race that has tried to live apart from our FATHER & CREATOR!

          Any abnormalities in our bodies are because we live in a deaying world, or they are directly a result of our bad decisions.

          It's amazing that He reaches out to us and LOVES US just as we are. Every single person becomes beautiful when the Father gives His love to us. Truly a gift!

        • dreamer February 5, 2014

          Alfred, in the comments for another article on this site, you asked the EXACT same question and pointed to the same example (qualifications for Levitical priesthood) as a defense for Gothard's actions. And you got the same response from me and from others that you are now. Why do you keep making the same points, asking the same questions repeatedly, and ignoring pointed questions directed at you?

  56. Jon February 2, 2014 Reply

    It seems regardless if one was part of ATI or IBLP this story causes a reaction in people. Particularly those in the Church. Perhaps the reason for this is we point to physical abuse and say "that is so wrong" but when it comes to emotional or spiritual abuse the lines seem a bit more blurred. Perhaps too it is the fact that so many see or know of situations such as the above and we're too afraid to do or say anything.

  57. Michael February 2, 2014 Reply

    At the end of the day I feel sorry for both parties. (I'm not justifying Mr. G's actions.) Mr. G probably should have married in his 30s or 40s and maybe he would have naturally grown out of his legalism as he learned what true love is about. Instead, I think he fantasized about the possibility of love which caused him to play games with his young staff. (Repeat - I'm not justifying Mr. G's actions.) He's likely lonely, and he likely should have married to ultimately deal with his passions and be in a truly committed relationship. I hope he continues to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Let's not justify his actions - but let's extend him some grace. (I almost went to HQ in 1996 but after coming face to face with IBLP staff that were much more legalistic than myself, I realized something wasn't right. I'm grateful I broke away from my staff role in 1996 and finally went to college and embarked on a different path.)

  58. Becky February 2, 2014 Reply

    It might be difficult for some to understand, but experiencing sexual harassment at a young age is very emotionally damaging and it is extremely difficult to speak up about it. I don't believe Meg would have found it easy to speak up or speak out about what was going on, because she herself was too emotionally immature to respond assertively.

    When I was 18, a year before going to Headquarters, I worked with a manger who sexually harassed me. No, he didn't rape me or even technically touch me in a wrong way. He just whispered things into my ear that I couldn't quite make out, grabbed me when he "thought I slipped," and leered at me. Some of the things at the time that puzzled me were if I was imagining more than was really happening, if he was actually doing anything reportable, if my own conservative upbringing was making me too sensitive. Was this the "real world?" Did I actually want the attention? This went on for months.

    However, his worldly-wise girlfriend who also worked with us hated me, and that was one clue that what he was doing was unacceptable. When these things were going on, it was a bit later than when Meg was at Headquarters. At that time, sexual harassment in the workplace was only beginning to be brought up; it was a "new thing" to talk about when hiring. It was only after I left the situation that I thought perhaps I should have reported it.

    Another issue with ATI girls in general was that we were brought up to be kind, thoughtful, and basically door mats. In every situation we would consider whether we were just being selfish, whether speaking up might cause harm to the person. I can't imagine what would have happened if my manager had been a Christian man that I truly respected who was also in a place of authority over me. The conflicting emotions would have been far too complex for an inexperienced young girl to figure out.

  59. Mercy February 2, 2014 Reply

    One thing that jumped out at me in the story was when "Meg" shared her fear and confusion and Bill immediately QUESTIONED HER SALVATION. No grace. No compassion. No understanding. He immediately jumped to the worst conclusion: "You're not responding with perfection acceptance? Oh, you must be a fake believer bound for hell." It's a common ploy among people who do not understand grace or true love.

    • Sad February 2, 2014 Reply

      This, x 1,000. Thank you Mercy. Perfect point.

    • Julia Fetters February 3, 2014 Reply

      I caught that as well, Mercy. And it is not a small thing. No, it is actually a very sad and telling thing. Elizabeth Eliott and many other writers helped me to understand that we certainly can question God. Hard questions do not put him out in the least. In fact, these questions grow us as, over time, we see that He certainly does not always give us the answer (seldom in my experience) but in His power and grace assures us of His love and guidance even when we do not understand the "why' of it all.
      End of sermon but that statement in Meg's story really stood out to me. I am so sorry for Mr. Gothard if that statement of hers would cause such a reaction - it shows me his relationship with the Lord a tiny bit in one area and I hope he gets free of that.

    • Alfred Corduan February 3, 2014 Reply

      You haven't lived until you have witnessed an "open eye" altar call at an ATI Conference (Ray Comfort). Bill Gothard is very much into, "by their works ye shall know them". I was startled when he - to me - questioned the salvation of a prominent Christian leader . . . but it was based on actions he had taken which seemed inconsistent to him with salvation. We have many today that question nobody . . . and he is prepared to question everybody.

      Maybe he thought she was getting hysterical. Maybe insensitive and not appropriate regardless.

      • BeverlyB February 3, 2014 Reply

        "We have many today that question nobody . . . and he is prepared to question everybody."

        I found this rather ironic. Recovering Grace IS questioning Bill---as well as the seeming majority of his former students. FINALLY someone is questioning him, and yet we're reprimanded by many for questioning him and labeled as "bitter" or "rebellious," but he gets lauded for questioning everyone--including their very salvation! Things that make you go "Hm..."

      • "Hannah" February 3, 2014 Reply

        "Maybe" insensitive? Ya think? Just let my husband try that one on me! As the meme says, the only truly safe response to an emotional woman, is, "Have some wine."

        [In case it isn't clear, this is a rhetorical question]

        • esbee February 3, 2014

          "........response to an emotional woman, is, "Have some wine."

          My husband would say "You had your Whine!"

        • "Hannah" February 3, 2014

          Nope. Wrong response, Esbee. It clearly should be, "Have some wine?"

        • esbee February 3, 2014

          Hannah---you don't know my husband---
          I was having a vocal outburst about something one day then realized it might be that female thing we face every month...so in humbleness (gothard influenced) I approached my earthly lord and master and told him I was sorry my outburst caused him to have any problems and it was probably my hormones acting up. With out missing a beat he said "you're right, it's HER moans about this and HER moans about that...!!!"

      • David February 3, 2014 Reply

        You ought to hear yourself....the very words you use. This is the gospel?

      • Jon February 3, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, ironically I read this today... Notice the terms "negative," "divisive," or "unloving." Also notice the lack of accountability comment.

        ----

        From the "Forward" section: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2011/10/a-call-for-discernment/

        "As in the days of Paul and Timothy, the contemporary church seems to be caught up in a mind-set which promotes exhortation while shunning refutation (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Those who refute unsound doctrine are often labeled “negative,” “divisive,” or even “unloving.” Ironically, such an attitude usually results in further division in the body, and even worse, faulty belief and spiritual insecurity. Such an attitude also discourages accountability among teachers and the need for the church to examine what it is being taught (Acts 17:11). As elders it is our desire to be found faithful in both exhorting in sound doctrine and refuting those who contradict (2 Timothy 4:1)."

  60. DAVID PIGG February 3, 2014 Reply

    One thought that perhaps needs to be reflected upon.Meg is a member of the body of Christ,the true body,irregardless of denominational preference, or church affiliation.This holds true for every believer,Russian Orthodox to Southern Baptist.Here's the question.Through Christ the Head, if Meg is being hurt,the body will enevitably suffer,and yes will be hurt.If she is oppressed,how can I,in the body be joyful?No I am not the Head, but I do profess to be the body.I don't know Meg but as a member of the body,I am truly sorry that one of "these little ones,"was mistreated.Be careful with the truth for it doesn't always follow that you will have free will after rejecting it.Your options will disappear and you will only believe all and any possibilities without it.I'll close with a thought from Alexander Solzhenitsyn,"Remember the past and lose an eye, forget the past,and lose both eyes".Could this have something to do with the truth?

  61. Reader February 3, 2014 Reply

    It is interesting to read the comments that this is generating. For the record, I agree that Meg's story is valid, but I question some of the details that I previously stated. Hypothetically speaking, had Mr. Gothard had a successful marriage with a much-younger woman, would this be such a horrible thing? I see the similarities to this and the Warren Jeffs polygamy cult. However, if those involved don't see it as wrong, you can't convince them that it is. With or without her parents' consent, Meg seemed to be genuinely moving toward a relationship with her boss. Groomed, or otherwise. Did anyone take away from the read of the story that she only concluded twenty years later that she was being wooed? Despite the supposed conversation with the sister?

    • Becky February 3, 2014 Reply

      That's like saying, "If Elizabeth Smart was content to stay with her kidnapper, then where is the harm?" That is exactly what happens to people who are groomed. They are systematically brainwashed into feeling they only have one choice for their life, and then they try to make the best of it. They convince themselves that they can live with the abuse, or that they like it. I see no evidence that Bill would be capable of a healthy marriage. His treatment of women is demeaning, self-centered and abusive. When Meg's eyes were opened, she was able to understand how she was mistreated. Elizabeth Smart could have convinced herself that what she went through was her own choice for many years as well. Once a person discovers the truth, and that they were only using a coping mechanism so their brain could handle what was happening to them, they will never go back and say, "That was what I wanted." It is the same with other cults and brainwashing. The Jim Jones folks all went along with him by their own choice. Yet those who made it out realized later how deceived they had been.

  62. Reader February 3, 2014 Reply

    I suppose what I am hung up on is that Meg was mad at God for being taken away from the people and place that she loved. I assume she is speaking of Bill Gothard, ATI, and Oakbrook, IL. She didn't come to realization that she was victimized herself, until twenty years later, and a therapist pointed it out. I doubt that Meg thought she was being taken advantage of when she was the secretary. I wonder if she might have become Mr. Gothard's wife had the INS VISA issue not have come up. I believe that Mr. Gothard's behavior is adolescent and foolish, especially in a man his age. Disgraceful is more like it. I am not sure that he is capable of mature marriage and love. Conversely, I wonder if his motivation for these relationships and pursuits was marriage. And he was just emotionally impotent.

  63. ML February 3, 2014 Reply

    Your first aspect of healing, Meg, is doing just what you did, and how you did it...doing an excellent job of sharing in hard copy. We become adept at telling our victim experience because it makes us right.

    Next, I would encourage you to gain further release by replaying your story (to yourself and other close confidants) with personal accountability. Not blaming others or yourself, but simply retelling your story from a different perspective focusing on your own choices while letting go of any blame.

    Wait a minute. You've already done all that! You told bare facts for what they were...exposing without placing blame. Thank you.

    Feeling like we've been deceived, this silver-haired seasoned X-ATIA mom would like to throw out all and any material from the Institute (some boxes are still unopened even though it's been it's been 17 years since we've used the curriculum). It would sure make more space! Oh, the Character Sketch volumes ought to be OK yet. And maybe Financial Freedom since it was Jim Sammons work, right?

    And I thank your husband for allowing you to share your Institute saga.

  64. Hamilton February 3, 2014 Reply

    TO THOSE WHO ARE OR WERE LEADERS, PARENTS, OR ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS WITHIN BILL GOTHARD'S MINISTRIES:

    If you are extremely concerned, hurt, angry or indignant at the publication of this article (and any or all others on Recovering Grace), let me say this -- please question your response. Question your emotions. Question your affiliation with Bill Gothard. You need to find out for yourself what the TRUTH is. Do not think that simply asking Bill Gothard in person and having him say "it is not true" is sufficient in the face of the mounting evidence against him. A great deal has been hidden that is coming to light.

    "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL." 1 John 1:5

    Recovering Grace is simply shining the light of TRUTH onto the darkness of Bill Gothard and IBLP.
    There is no shame in speaking the Truth.
    HIDING the truth, hiding wrong deeds, that is darkness.
    Why should something that really happened by kept secret?
    I ask you, which truths are to be shouted from the rooftops, and which are to be carefully hidden?

    In a ministry that encouraged courtship (a very open, public and above-board way for romantic relationships to develop) and disapproved of physical contact and emotional entanglements between the opposite genders, a ministry whose very banner was "PURITY", a place where people have gotten in trouble or sent home for merely talking to the opposite gender at times, his behavior was completely hypocritical!

    Many ministries and churches recognize the need for the leaders to be extra cautious and take measures to be "above reproach". This is something preached to ATI families and students. And yet, Gothard did not take precautious for himself. Instead of not having any female secretaries and not being alone in a car with a female, he exhibited the behavior you have read here for DECADES.

    "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Galatians 6:7 Bill Gothard is reaping what he himself has sown!

    "5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

    6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR THEM TO HAVE A LARGE MILLSTONE HUNG AROUND THEIR NECK AND TO BE DROWNED IN THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!" Matthew 18:5-7

    For those who think Gothard has done "more good than harm", I urge you to think again. Firstly, in diminishing the significance of the "few" who have been hurt and thinking this is insignificant in God's eyes. Secondly, in thinking that only relatively a few people have been hurt, which is the unavoidable happenstance of any large organization.

    The numbers are much larger than you may think. The numbers who have been DIRECTLY hurt by Gothard is not known, although some of these stories are being shared here at Recovering Grace, but there is also the vastly larger group of people who have been hurt by his teachings, by creating spiritual and emotional oppression, as well as enabling abusive parents instead of calling them and their misdeeds out into the light. Various abuses including emotional, spiritual, verbal AND physical are included. Misdeeds and wrongful punishment/discipline at the hands of various leaders at many levels are included. Long lasting damages of all kinds which are still being dealt with. As well, it is not uncommon for students who were raised in ATI as earnest, devout Christians to have now fallen away in a way directly attributable to IBLP.

    Perhaps you are thinking of Genesis 50:20: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." YES, GOD can use ALL THINGS for the good of those who love him, this is true. However, that means he can use EVEN EVIL THINGS. God's ability to use things for good does not excuse the wrong things that happen. It does not excuse abuse of power, hypocrisy, misleading the sheep. It certainly does not excuse sexual harassment.

    TO THOSE STILL AFFILIATED WITH BILL GOTHARD'S MINISTRY:
    WE WERE YOU. Recovering Grace is not the voice of outsiders. The voice of warning and caution is coming from people who at one time were inside ATI/IBLP and believed the teachings of Bill Gothard. These words of caution are coming to you from insiders with similar backgrounds and real life experience.

    TO PAST AND PRESENT LEADERS: If you realize you have been enabling and continuing the various misdeeds by keeping them quiet "for the good of the ministry", please realize that this is part of the problem and is widespread. If you have seen injustice and not spoken out or attempted to rectify it, you are part of the problem. However, it is still not too late.

    If you cannot listen to and consider these words of caution from FELLOW BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, you have a serious problem.

    Consider now your future. You must certainly became involved with Bill Gothard's ministry with the very best of intentions!
    Do not consider your past or present affiliation as something to be violently protected at all costs. Bill Gothard is not "the truth". He does not preach the truth. GOD'S WORD is Truth. Nothing added to it, and nothing taken away.
    Bill Gothard is a human. He is not God's holy anointed prophet -- and even if he were, in the Bible God clearly held his chosen prophets and ministers to even higher accountability and judgement.

    THERE IS HOPE: You can still have a powerful, joyful future serving God with a variety of other ministries and churches who do not have these dark elements, abuses and false teachings woven throughout. You can even start your own ministry! There are many options open to you, and although it may be humbling and deeply sorrowful to realize what you have been a part of, the only real shame is that of sticking with something and defending it once you realize that it is wrong and destructive.

    "10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
    Ephesians 6:10-13

  65. Discerning Damsel February 4, 2014 Reply

    I read Meg's entire story, waiting for the damnable offense to be revealed. But it never came. What I see here is a young, romantic woman, who was clearly either falling in love with, or infatuated with, her older boss. Young women certainly can be in love with older men, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. I don't really care so much about Bill Gothard's absurd rules for himself and his entire organization (and yes, I did follow many of his principles for a long time, and was part of an ATI family for many years), or even that he was hypocritical about it all. For heaven's sake, is everyone just hating him because he violated his own unreasonable standards?

    Am I really supposed to feel like "Meg" was hurt by all this romantic attention BG lavished on her? She loved it, she ate it up, she recognized it, she kept going back for more. Her life was ruined when she was separated from him by events beyond their control. It took her twenty years to finally realize she had been grievously hurt by this man? To the extent that she required a counselor to help her put her story on paper and publish for the masses? Please!

    I am not defending Gothard as much as I am questioning whether, and how, "Meg" was actually hurt by all this. She paints a very lovely picture of her life during this "traumatic" experience.

    And PS - What on earth did the heavy-breathing phone call have to do with any of this?????

    • Laurie February 4, 2014 Reply

      The thing is "discerning damsel", Meg was hurt by the romantic attention. That sort of manipulation has grave long term consequences for a young woman.I came from a very religiously manipulative family, and was a sucker for all those seminars back in the mid eighties. Unlike Meg, I actually married my boss and then spent the next 30 years with a narcissistic, manipulative man.It's only since I've researched abuse on the internet, I've been breaking free from my prison of legalism. It's only when I challenged my husband & was willing to leave, that he actually came around & started to treat me with respect. Trivializing a person's experience of abuse by their self appointed authorities lacks compassion & grace. I wish to God when I was Meg's age, I never went to those seminars, & lost the best years of my life trying to follow the "right steps" to a "godly life". Meg dodged a bullet. Some of us out here didn't & need to hear these stories.

  66. Paul February 4, 2014 Reply

    Alfred....keep drinking the kool-aid of your precious master and demi-god "Bill". The fact that Bill's supporter's are so foam-at-the-mouth when it comes to defending him should raise any skeptic's eyebrows. Bill groomed these girls to take liberties with them that he would not be able to do if he wasn't in the position he was in. He makes himself the exception. Don't you find it a little two faced that ATI kicked people out of the program for far less, while he consistently behaves in the same manner? The guy is the greatest huckster and fraud I have ever seen.

  67. Leisl February 4, 2014 Reply

    Discerning Damsel, you stated "I read Meg's entire story, waiting for the damnable offense to be revealed. But it never came.".
    Would you consider the testimony in the original post to be witness of "damnable offense" if there were 34 men testifying that Mr. Gothard had played footsie or spent secret alone time on a sofa or under a blanket with them?
    By definition, behavior that is "non-sexual" is acceptable to either gender. Therefore, if Mr. Gothard's actions are truly "non-sexual" in nature, they would be fine in the context of either gender.
    Imagine the outrage, the disgust, the HORROR if this had happened to young men. The control and "immorality" would have been so obvious that IBLP would have been shut down decades ago. Does gender insulate these women from the sick feelings of betrayal and violation afforded them by hindsight? Have they suffered less damage than our hypothetical young men? Or do these accusations that Mr. Gothard's actions were the benign, non-sexual acts of a lonely, imperfect man just reveal that in this culture, women and their hurts, especially sexual ones, are worth "less"?
    The many times in scripture where exhortations are made to "stand up for the oppressed" contain no gender qualifier.

  68. Alexa Myers February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hi 'Meg'! I remember you since I was at HQ at the same time. In the summer of 1991 at an ATIA seminar(in an info talk about the counseling apprenticeship week) BG invited me to Northwoods for the counseling app. However, I was too young to go (15), so I thought "phew, dodged that!" But, no, a few weeks later my dad gets a call from him saying I'm in, but I had to go live up there (HQ) for a few months. I begged not to be made to go, but to no avail.

    By the time I got there I had turned 16 (Aug.). I won't go into all the details here, sufice it to say that he had me ride in his personal van and sit next to him, tried to play footsie with me and took me aside privately a few times during my 2 months there. He majorly creeped me out, so I tried to keep the physical contact down as best I could, but I was taught that whole authority thing so I would give respect because of his age and position. So after I go home after Thanksgiving (1991)I think I've survived and won't be bothered anymore. No such luck.

    My dad is called (Mar 1992) inviting me to work directly with BG but this time I have to live there for at least a year. Again I plead to not go. So my BG adoring parents say yes for me but that the invite has to include my whole family. We go up for a "job" interview in March, where my parents spill their's and my personal laundry, to get his advice on how to deal with me. I'm marched in after this interview and made to feel the lowest, dirtest creature all because back in our hometown I've met the man I'm going to marry. I'm told I must repent and renew my vow to courtship, renounce the man I want to marry as unworthy and not my father's pick, and finally confess that I'm under my father's authority and will abide by his direction. On the inside I was completely humiliated, hurt, betrayed by my own parents no less! On the outside I cooperated to keep the peace, knelt at the famous couch and defaced myself, telling myself that eventually I could escape. And my father wondered why I wouldn't talk to him for the 12 hours it took to get home! I completely and utterly lost any shred of trust and respect, let alone any tender feelings of love, towards my father at that time.

    So a few weeks later we move up to HQ, where no one's heard of us and didn't even know we were coming. BG wasn't even there for about a week after we arrived, and I lived in a girls house seperated from my parents during that time. After BG arrived he tracked me down and for 3 days in a row asked me to work directly with him in his office. The first 2 times I was able to put him off with answers like, I'm not sure I'm qualified, I'll have to check with my parents. But on the 3rd time he brought me into his office and asked me why I didn't want to work with him. I knew inside me that the time had come to be point blank. So I screwed up my courage and told him that I wouldn't work for him because he's a manipulator. He immediately told me that I didn't know what the true meaning of manipulation was (thank you for proving my point!!) and that he was saddened that I misunderstood things. Frankly, I tuned out the rest of what he said, knowing that it would be more of the same, I'm at fault, don't know what I'm talking about, yada yada yada. I left his office through his sister's (I called her dragon lady in my head)office and as I did, I stopped and told her that I would never work with her brother. If looks could kill then I would've been dead - hates you because her brother is looking at you, hates you because you don't think he's good. I often wondered what was between brother and sister, at the least she was an enabler, at the worst incest(?).

    Anyway, I get home and tell my parents about this hounding of me to work with him and my answers, so then my dad gets all concerned about the whole chain of command thing-why didn't BG come to him, my dad, about me working with him? The next day my dad gets a pink slip and marches over to his office demanding to see him, asking why he's being fired. He's told we aren't a fit, that there's really no place for my dad or me to work. My dad says you can't fire him since he just got there and sold all he had to move his family there. Either BG give him the $ to move or he keep us on for at least a year to recoop our losses. So we stay for a year exactly-April 1992 to 1993. I worked in the Publications Dept. so I wouldn't have seen you much, Meg, but I do remember you and thinking how lonely and tired you seemed, and I felt sorry for you. I made some friends while living there with my parents, but I was considered a "rebel" so not too many wanted to be seen with me.

    I think the greatest evil by far is the anti-Christ message of Gothard's whole organization. I'm grateful to and completely sure that only Jesus inside me is what kept me going and mostly sane throughout my childhood and teen years. I did, despite all my dad's machinations and humiliations of me, marry the man from my hometown. :) He is the man of my dreams and much more. I finally found my safe harbour, could detox and find the real me, as well as learn the true Gospel of Grace & Peace that my heart had been searching for. Thanks for sharing Meg, and I'm glad that you too have a safe, loving family to help you grow and move on from the emotional and verbal abuse that you received at BG's hands.

    • Sad February 4, 2014 Reply

      Alexa, thanks for sharing your story. I think that alarm bells and claxons should have gone off in your dad's head when BG was willing to "fire" your family because YOU didn't want to work for him. I applaud your bravery at such a young age. Your dad should have told BG to recompense him for the move and lost wages and left instead of staying there a year.

      I do find the actions of his sister in some of these stories to be peculiar in the very least. I do not even want to guess the "why" behind them.

      Also I am very happy that you were able to overcome the way your father attempted to deter you from what your heart told you was the right person to marry. I wish the same had happened in my life. Alas, it did not, and it is one of the reasons I found my way OUT of the teachings of IBLP...and eventually landed here at Recovering Grace.

      Thanks again for sharing your story, blessings to you.

  69. Laura February 4, 2014 Reply

    Reading all of these installments made my skin crawl off of my body. While his behaviour may appear to be sexually harassing, I believe he believes it was some sort of "courting". And while the aftermath of his behaviours has left many troubled, it would have been easier for the victims to get justice if there had been some physical assault - something easily proven in a court of law. After reading Alexa's account of being hand-picked, made me think of the rumours about Elvis seeing a girl he liked, pointing to her and having security arrange a backstage meeting after the show. Sadly, BG may think he's a rock star, but wait ... rock music is evil ... sick and twisted, all of it.

  70. Allen February 4, 2014 Reply

    I'm reading all of these comments -- including all the back and forth with Alfred -- and at the risk of sounding like Bill's conduct towards these girls was trivial -- does anyone realize that the primary issue here is his false teaching? "He did this...he should not have done that...this is abuse...no, it is a mistake..," etc. There is no question that some terrible things have gone on in that organization including the scandal of 1980. Horrible things. But assuming that the goal here is TRUTH -- and that people might be set free for a relationship with Jesus Christ in grace -- I am seeing that yes, there was a need to tell these stories -- but all unto the end that the false gospel and cult of Gothardism might be exposed for what it is. As it stands right now, those who don't know Gothard, and certainly those who support him, are going to read this as a smear campaign. I'm already reading this in some of the comments. But get to the teachings -- start with the heretical authority teaching. Far more people have been damaged by that one horrible picture of God than by Bill's personal conduct. Again -- I'm NOT trivializing those who were. I am simply pointing out that the goal here is the Truth of God in Jesus Christ -- focus on that and these other matters will be resolved as well.

    • greg r February 7, 2014 Reply

      Allen, here's another way to look at that: for Christians, truth isn't a stack of typed doctrine, not the preamble in our church bulletin (though that's not a bad idea) but a person JESUS. Both Bill's teaching and actions are an affront to Jesus, both demonstrate a departure from following a person and what HE said. It might be easier for some to question the IBLP take on authority now that we see where it can lead, how it plays out. I see them (his actions and teaching) as quite connected. They are kind of the same issue, or two sides to the same issue.

    • JCR February 7, 2014 Reply

      I agree. It may be a case of sexual harassment, but if you read the entire story, essentially he flirted, held hands secretively, and played footsie with a 20 year old 20 years ago. I'm sorry for the fact that he took advantage of his position as her boss and used Christian beliefs as an excuse for his behavior. However, he did not kiss her, fondle her, or rape her. And she was of age.

      So comparatively, I have difficulty calling him a "sexual predator." I say this as a survivor of a rape and as the child of parent who survived a priest sexually molesting them. I do feel for her that this drove a wedge between her and God, but I'm sorry, it's just not the same. I realize that both are about power and not sex, or both are about lust, and I know people won't agree with me. But when you have experienced being tied up and violently raped or being molested as a child and have someone compare that to having their boss "almost" kiss them and ask them to buy some toothpaste... quite frankly, it's a bit insulting.

      More telling and more troubling to me is the cult-like behavior and the twisting of doctrine to fit his teachings. It sets up a pattern of abusive controlling behavior where his teaching is twisted and he places himself as THE interpreter of the Bible and THE last word in things as if he is a prophet. When you look at that, it's much more chilling how many people have been lead astray.

  71. Vivionne Keli February 7, 2014 Reply

    Dear Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors,

    Happy ending indeed! Yet, my heart is heavy as I continue to read other posts. With deep sympathy’s I say that I am so sorry that this happened to you and to many other young ladies. As a survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse, I understand what you may be experiencing. If you or any of the ladies affected by clergy sexual abuse and would like to seek support, please visit us at www.thehopeofsurvivors.com.

    As people who have been where you are and understand your confusion, feelings and pain, we desire to help victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct and their families by making information readily available to them. We are available to provide encouragement, support via email, written correspondence, phone and conferences.

    What qualifies us to help you and guide you? It is our own personal experience with the horrible trauma of pastoral sexual abuse. We do know exactly what you’re going through. We share with you from the perspective of 1 John 1:1—“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (NIV)
    Clergy sexual abuse and misconduct (including spiritual abuse) is wrong. It is the pastor’s (or any other person in the role of authority) responsibility to maintain appropriate boundaries. Read what some of our former clients say about us…

    “Thank you for your commitment to advocating in behalf of victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse. The survivor community is unified and strengthened due to your daily work. May your faith become your reality. May the joy, peace and love of this winter holiday season delight you daily. On behalf of survivors all over the world, we sincerely appreciate you. May God bless you, increase you, and make you a thousand times more than you are.”—MD

    “I am an attorney representing a girl who suffered abuse by her Youth Pastor at the age of 16. We found your site and it has been of great help and comfort to my client. I would like any information you have or could share so that my client(s) can interact with other survivors and get help moving on. The church never apologized to the family, said it had no way of knowing such a thing would occur again, and the congregation and clergy have turned against them. The church did not offer any counseling, support, or legal help with the prosecution. The entire family is broken and suffering. I appreciate all the help you can offer via survivor support. Thank you very much for having this site on the Internet. It has already helped the family greatly, as the church's reaction has stunned them, and they feel lost, at fault, and guilty.”—Attorney, FL

    May God continue to give you comfort and peace.

    Vivionne Keli

  72. Anna February 8, 2014 Reply

    I've read the other victims' accounts, but in Meg's story, I've a couple of questions -

    1. What was that "love note" she gave to BG saying "I love being your gem, love being with you" and then saw him folded up this note put in his pocket, then later on, the holding hands and playing footsie?

    2. The thought of leaving BG devastated her, to the point of questioning/blaming God --- that doesn't sound like something a victim would say

    3. she admitted that there's fondness towards BG and emotional attachment

    4. She said the age difference didn't matter to her towards the end of her story.

    5. He wanted to marry her, but being a man in such position, he is not free to make free decision as would for other ordinary men

    6. I see this a very sad case. He never kissed Meg as he did with other girls later on. I think Meg has left such a void in his heart that although at the time he tried to be morally upright, after Meg was abruptly sent away and board members wouldn't permit him to marry Meg, he started behave recklessly towards other young girls.

    7. I feel sorry for BG. I think what he did with all other girls was simply wrong, crossed the line, shouldn't have happened. But with Meg, pardon my slowness, for some reason, I see some genuine care and love there, and in a mutual way, but ended in a very sad way for both parties.

    Meg happily married, she's on the road to recovery. But BG was never married, and went down the road of self destruction after Meg was sent away.

    Please, pray for this poor old soul. Loved by many, but so lonely, with no one to love.

    • Steve Schlerf February 8, 2014 Reply

      Anna, I think you've hit the nail right on the head. This sounds to me like he just simply came across his soul mate but found himself boxed in by the relationship to the Board that he'd agreed to. What a tragic story!! And I question Meg's conclusion that his love for her wasn't genuine -- but her version of the story is all we have at this point. Wow.

      • kevin February 8, 2014 Reply

        The 34 other victims, also his soul mate? 16 year old Charlotte? His soul mate?

        • Brandon February 12, 2014

          I hope all sexual predators get boxed by something at some time. People who prey on children like this make me literally sick to my stomach.

        • Steve Schlerf February 17, 2014

          Kevin, this story reads differently than the rest. I'm still not sure what to make of the others. I'm sure Ketura wasn't Abraham's age when they married...our culture seems horrified at an age gap of anything more than about 10 years. Do I think Bill did the right thing? No. Do I think he's a "monster"? No. I'm still processing it all.

    • kevin February 8, 2014 Reply

      "Please, pray for this poor old soul. Loved by many, but so lonely, with no one to love."

      I have been and I can say with a pretty high level of confidence that others here have been too. But, also please pray for his dozens of victims and their families. Pray also that he does not sexually abuse any more girls.

  73. Robert J. Mayer February 8, 2014 Reply

    I am in broad sympathy with your understanding of Gothard's theological teaching. And the descriptions of Mr. Gothard's actions towards the women who have described their interaction with him certainly raise large questions in my mind about his qualification for ministry. One pointed question: In your interviews, do any of the accounts arise to a violation of the law and if so, have the police been contacted and reports filed? Even if the statue of limitations has run out, it is vitally important for the sake of those who have been harmed to contact the police and file proper reports. While I recognize that not all actions that we could class as "sexual harassment" are not necessarily illegal, a good number are and when they are discovered it is the responsibility of those who have been told this information to report it to the police. Please respond.

    • Moderator February 8, 2014 Reply

      The first steps we take after receiving stories with legal ramifications is to point the person involved towards the proper legal channels. Only after those channels have been exhausted do we consider publishing stories as warnings to others.

      • Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014 Reply

        Thank you for posting this.

        When my motives, method, and means were questioned this weekend, I expressed this very point.

        Some are blinded to the possibility of possible wrong and wish to drop directly to criticism of method instead of picking up on the fact that there indeed does exist a very real problem! I suspect that prejudice is strong. It is fact that some will never acknowledge the truth because truth is many times not nice, not uplifting, and not encouraging.

        I can say that I have sensed God's presence in my life this weekend in a unusually powerful way. His comfort and peace is increasing in this time--not decreasing. He is very near.

        I have received a clear confidence as I did about the MTC during my prayer for that resolution. Man did not heed my cries, but God did--I continued to take it to God until I received the confidence in my spirit that it was done. I've never been questioned on these point even by those to disagree with my position. If you doubt, that's fine. My question is this, "Where is it today?"

        To stop calling out for justice would be an error, and I also believe that calling on God to deal justice is also in order.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014

          I guess my point is this, in retrospect, I'm not so concerned with what this and that person did as much as with what God did.

          Do we believe that God is sovereign? I do.

          I always keep in mind that it is error to consider the sovereignty of God as a valid reason to avoid pursuit of justice.

  74. Jed Brien February 9, 2014 Reply

    Hmmm, this comment won't end up being shown. However, someone will read it...

    I’ve just come upon this website through an old missionary friend in Mexico. I now serve as a missionary in Nicaragua for the Australian Christian Churches (same mob as Hillsong and Planetshakers).

    I haven’t read up enough to work out how the website works, but I do know one thing, you (Meg) don’t tell your entire story.

    My name is Jed, and that’s my actual name. I don’t think your name is actually “Meg” but that’s besides the point. I was the first ATI student in Australia. I believe you are from New Zealand. I was at the Training Center in 1993, but didn’t last long…

    I had innocently made a comment about a Christian “pop star” and you turned me over to Gothard. I was a 16 year old kid, growing up in YWAM (Australia), unfamiliar to ATI ways, and because of your actions experienced some of the anger you talk about with the “family” that were removed from the organisation due to their opinions on rock music. He was angry with me and I sat there and bawled my eyes out and was also sent on a one-way ticket home, back to Australia, completely humiliated - you just sat there doing your clever speed typing. Cheers for that.

    What I don’t see in your story, is a repentant heart for how you mistreated others and participated in propping up this chap’s sinfulness. Oh yes, Gothard is the bad guy… What actions did you take to make others’ lives a hellish nightmare. I sat and chatted with you “on the couch” and you pretended to be my friend – but you were really just a horrid spy… Are you repentant for the meanness and gossip you participated in?

    I do still love you as a Christian sister. Truly I do... But I think you need to have a little look at the wee speck that's in your eye...

    Jeddoxo

    • JulieAnne February 9, 2014 Reply

      Wow, Jed--I'm so sorry you were hurt in this way. Thankfully, my parents stayed on the fringes of ATI, but I did end up at a fundamentalist college where a lot of people seemed to enjoy tattling on others for silly things. It was a major way to move up the ladder with the administration. This sort of system has damaged so many young people--both the innocent people that were tattled on, and the tattlers that had the inner need to be approved of by the petty tyrants in charge. I've despised the actions of the tattlers for years, but now I'm wondering how many of these young people were majorly sexually, emotionally, or physically abused while growing up? It makes me feel more compassion for these young people. Getting others in trouble to make themselves look good would still be very wrong, but somehow much more understandable.

    • kevin February 9, 2014 Reply

      Jed,
      I just read your story on Facebook. I wish you would have shared all of that here. I was very touched. I'm very sorry that you feel that Gothard de-railed a part of your life that you will never get back. You were a victim of him too. Given your hurt, I can understand you lashing out at Meg, as you did, but please understand that you are both victims of this man and the culture he created.
      I'm glad to see the way that you are giving your life to helping others and I'm sorry if I implied that you were lacking compassion for a missionary. It's just that a lot of folks are coming down on these girls and some of the posters are very suspect.

    • "Hannah" February 9, 2014 Reply

      I am sorry this happened to you, Jed. There are things I did while under the "brainwashing effect" of Bill Gothard, that I certainly regret. In my opinion, this is just one more testimony to the abusive nature of the Gothard organization.

      Now, honestly, it's completely unrelated to the story at hand, and does not detract from Meg's story. I have no reason to doubt this actually happened, and every reason to believe it. I, too, experienced the wrath of Gothard. I doubt that "Meg" would do the same, if she had opportunity to do it over.

    • Author Meg February 9, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jed,

      I'm so sorry for what you went through. I have to be honest in saying that I don't remember you. But as I've thought about it more, there is one situation I do remember, and I wonder if it could have been you?

      I do remember a guy from Australia that visited HQ for about 3 days, and at the end of those 3 days Bill asked him to leave. Bill told me that it was because he had expressed an interest in me. I was shocked! This guy and I had had some good chats and got along well together, but I had never mentioned the music issue to Bill. But it did get me thinking that it is actually unusual for Bill to turn someone away who was admitting to liking christian rock music. He usually counselled them or persuaded them on the evils of it, so I suspect Bill may have seen that this guy and I were just being friendly, and used the CCM issue to kick him out. I know that Bill would often try to separate me from any guys who might even appear on the surface to be friendly towards me, even if there was no mutual attraction. That was usually how guys got sent home the fastest---it didn't usually happen over music, without him trying to counsel and talk them out of it.

      All that to say, I'm not sure if this was you or not. Either way, I'm SO sorry for what you went through, even more so if I was the one who created your problems. Please forgive me. So much of my life has changed in these last 20 years, and I appreciate the chance to ask forgiveness and make it right.

      • "Hannah" February 9, 2014 Reply

        My sibling was sent home over the music issue, but not until Gothard spent several hours with him, trying to persuade him. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that sibling could not honestly agree that all rock music is sin, even though he honestly refrained from that genre while at hq. So basically he was sent home for disagreeing and not cowing to the big man, in a horrendous, 4-hr session on the famed couch.

        I do believe your story of the couch session, Jed. I would not put it past Gothard to have misrepresented some things to you, though, including who "turned you in".

        • "Hannah" February 9, 2014

          Erm, I was just putting together that your sending home also happened "on the couch", as for so many others... Sorry if I got that detail wrong.

        • Beverly February 9, 2014

          From stories I've heard from friends, Gothard frequently sent males packing who even looked twice at one of his favorite girls. There was always a "reason," but it was usually petty and made no sense. He pretty much believed he owned all the pretty girls, and how dare any other guys talked to them?!

        • "Hannah" February 10, 2014

          He also has a history of pitting the students against each other, threatening them if they don't inform on each other, and giving misleading information to breed distrust of each other (Dixie alludes to the last one in her testimony on behalf of "Charlotte"). Wouldn't be surprised if you were a victim of some of that, Jed. Again, my condolences.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014

          Hannah, that is very true.

          I as well as most others I knew cowed to Gothard in contrast to our true convictions and this has been probably the largest motivation to stand firm in the truth and resolve in and after leaving IBLP/ATI.

          The wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood.

      • 'Megan' February 9, 2014 Reply

        How ridiculously sad, if Jed was sent home over what was essentially a 'made up issue'. And how much worse it makes Gothard look, really, if the real reason for sending Jed home was a 'turf war' issue. Barf. Very sorry for all involved. :(

    • Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014 Reply

      No sure Jed, but it appears you might be mixing in a personal issue you might have with Meg into the issue. That does not discredit the account.

      Also, almost everyone on the inside spied--it was considered a valid means justified by the end of the good cause we all supported. It was validated by leadership and not considered gossip.

  75. kevin February 9, 2014 Reply

    Jed,
    You sure seem to have a lot of inside information, which would give credibility to your account, but something seems off about your post. Trying to put my finger on it. For someone who didn't last long in the system, you sure seemed to have picked up and retained a lot of the Gothard teachings; blaming and shaming the victim of sexual abuse; making her feel responsible for his sinful actions:
    That she should show repentance for how she: " participated in propping up this chap’s sinfulness"
    I can see have such an event would hurt, but zero compassion for what she went through? Maybe it's must my experience, but I haven't met any missionaries who lacked such compassion that their first response after reading Meg's story would be to find some way to shame her. But, hey, I'm sure they're out there.
    In any case, if her actions caused you to get removed after only a short stay, she did you a huge favor. That is not to say that reporting on someone for mention of their favorite pop star is not wrong, and we do know that this is the culture that Gothard cultivated. But, be glad that you got out of the cult when you did, regardless of how it happened.

  76. Pingback : Bill Gothard, sexual predator in Oak Brook, still goes uninvestigated by police | Running With A Book Cart

  77. Lana February 10, 2014 Reply

    So Meg looks just like this girl I grew up with, who Gothard asked to go work for him at HQ a couple years back and he told her parents she had the most beautiful daughter (then she met her husband at an ATI event and thankfully that did not happen). I don't know who former student is, but he/she needs to realize that this is a reoccuring story. I did not even work at HQ, but it was always obvious he was telling women what to wear or how to appear - even for those who barely saw him. These stories are totally believable.

    Meg I am sorry for what you went through, and thank you for telling your story. I'm glad you are free now, but I am sorry you are not allowed in the USA over a stilly lady.

  78. Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014 Reply

    It is a decadent church which errors to the stillbirth of justice during difficult circumstances. History records such periods as dark.

    To knowingly refuse to hear the cry of the abused and error to the covering of sin in refusal to provide due process is evil. The justifications will not stand. IBLP has courted the judgment of God for decades in abortion of justice of many types. God is very merciful, and yet if they reap what they have sown, they will become unable to hear God's voice and will proceed to destruction from God Himself.

    To refuse to take due diligence for reason that it is God's job is to simply be irresponsible and unloving. The mark of Christians is our love.

    In matters of justice, love is not an opponent--it is a valid cause.

  79. Pingback : Sacred Grooming, Part Four: A Secretary’s Account of Life With Bill Gothard | Recovering Grace | Recovering Grace

  80. Mark Andrew Ritchie March 2, 2014 Reply

    Meg,
    My wife, Nancy, worked for Bill in 1972. I had to win her from him. We've now been married for 40 years. Thanks so much for this. It is so important for you to say these things. So many women need this healing you have begun. Please contact us. We now work with orphans and pastors in Myanmar. We need to meet you. Nancy needs to meet you. Thank you again and God bless you.
    Teacher Mark
    [e-mail address withheld by Moderator and passed along directly to Meg]

  81. Pingback : Sacred Grooming: A Secretary's Account of Life with Bill Gothard | Recovering Grace

  82. Frank April 13, 2014 Reply

    Great Meg,

    Remember all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. God will use your experience to help others through your experience.

    I appreciate you attitude. .......the second half your are going to live for God. Do it.

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