Chronology of Ruth, Annette, Charlotte, Meg, Rachel, Lizzie, and Grace

18 February 2014, 07:00



Editor’s note: Over the past two years Recovering Grace has posted interrelated stories of seven different women’s experiences working with Bill Gothard at IBLP Headquarters, and the overlapping relationships among these stories can be complex. The following is a brief chronology of the seven women’s narratives  posted on Recovering Grace: those of Ruth, “Annette,” “Charlotte,” “Meg,Rachel, “Lizzie,” and “Grace,” and the four related narratives of Larne (part of Ruth’s story), Dixie, Ryan, and Marcus. It is not a complete history of Campus Teams / IBYC / IBLP / ATIA / ATI, nor is it a complete history of all the women and girls who have had similar experiences with Bill Gothard. Please see also the chart of patterns in Gothard’s behavior with these individuals.

1970: Ruth, age 18, is pressured by Bill Gothard to leave college and come work at Campus Teams Headquarters in Illinois.

1971-73: Ruth becomes Bill Gothard’s personal secretary, and he asserts control over nearly every aspect of her life. Ruth is pressured to break off her relationship with Larne.

1971: “Meg” is born in Blenheim, New Zealand.

1973: “Annette” is born in Ohio.

1974: Campus Teams is rebranded as the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC).

1975: “Charlotte” is born in California.

1976: Rachel is born in South Dakota.

1978: Ruth suffers a breakdown. Bill Gothard gives her a choice between an entry-level position at Headquarters and working for Steve Gothard at the Northwoods Conference Center. Ruth moves to live and work at Northwoods, and is soon targeted by Steve Gothard.

1979: Larne joins the IBYC staff as an airplane pilot. “Lizzie” is born in North Carolina.

1980: The IBYC scandal breaks. Ruth and Larne leave IBYC and marry. Steve Gothard permanently resigns from IBYC. “Grace” is born in Georgia.

1981–1983: Ruth, Larne, and other current and former Headquarters and Northwoods staffers attempt to address the issues of the IBYC scandals, including not only Steve Gothard’s but also Bill Gothard’s conduct with young female subordinates. Their efforts are stonewalled.

1984: The Advanced Training Institute of America (ATIA) homeschooling program is launched. Prospective ATIA parents are required to enroll all unmarried children in the program, and many, therefore, call sons and daughters to leave college to participate in the program. College-age ATIA young people begin working at IBYC Headquarters. Charlotte’s family joins ATIA, and some of her siblings leave college to go work at Headquarters.

1988: Dixie comes to IBYC Headquarters at the age of 17 and is told by Gothard that she is the first person under age 18 to work there.

1989: IBYC is rebranded as the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).

FALL 1991: Annette, age 17, is offered sanctuary at Headquarters from her physically abusive home.


1992 IBLP trip to Russia

APRIL 1992: Ryan R., Charlotte, and Charlotte’s parents go on an IBLP trip to Russia with a very large group. Although Bill Gothard is on this trip, he and Charlotte do not meet.

JULY 1992: At the annual ATI conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, Rachel and Charlotte individually meet Bill Gothard for the first time. Charlotte is invited to Headquarters right away, and Rachel writes a letter to Gothard that results in an invitation to Headquarters not long after the conference. Marcus, age 17, travels from the Knoxville conference to Headquarters with staff.

JULY–AUGUST 1992: Rachel, age 15, arrives at HQ for a three week stay. She works in Gothard’s office for a week then moves to the ATI department. During these three weeks, Gothard fires Marcus for an alleged flirtation with Rachel. Bill connects with Rachel mostly at morning staff meeting and lunch, and begins pushing her boundaries of physical contact. Rachel leaves at the end of her scheduled three weeks to care for her mother. Marcus is allowed to remain at Headquarters until his parents’ planned visit, and is required to come to Gothard’s office every evening after work and remain as long as Bill is there. Marcus sees Bill in counseling situations with various individuals.

AUGUST 1992: Charlotte, age 16, travels to Headquarters and soon begins working on the landscaping crew with her brother. Her tenure and Marcus’s briefly overlap, but they do not work together. Gothard begins intensive counseling with Charlotte and spends a significant amount of time with her right away.

SEPTEMBER 1992: Gothard begins picking Charlotte up to meet very early in the morning most weekdays, and lies to Dixie that Charlotte has complained, effectively alienating Dixie from Charlotte. Gothard holds intensive morning counseling sessions with Charlotte alone, after a group Bible study and before morning staff meeting. Charlotte discloses to Gothard the part of her paternal sexual abuse that she remembers at that time, and Gothard blames her for “tempting” her father. One of Charlotte’s housemates raises alarm over Charlotte’s report of being hugged by Gothard, and Charlotte is summoned to a meeting with IBLP supervisors wherein she is sternly rebuked for this statement. Gothard privately instructs Charlotte to not speak of the physical component of their counseling relationship.

OCTOBER 1992: Charlotte, Rachel, and Dixie join Gothard and a large group on an IBLP trip to Australia and New Zealand. Meg, age 20, meets Gothard while the group is in New Zealand, and a few weeks later travels to IBLP Headquarters to begin working in Gothard’s office.

OCTOBER–DECEMBER 1992: Rachel works at Headquarters for two months following the Australia trip, and moves into the house with Charlotte as Dixie leaves Headquarters. Gothard adds late-night counseling sessions with Charlotte and becomes more physically transgressive, touching her breasts through clothing. Ryan and his brother see Charlotte and Gothard together late nights in Gothard’s office. Charlotte visits her parents and returns to Headquarters, and Gothard gropes Charlotte’s genitals through clothing on the car ride from the airport to Headquarters. Rachel is advised by Gothard to limit her conversation with and distrust Charlotte. Rachel travels to the Northwoods Conference Center with Gothard and a group of assistants, and Gothard escalates his physical behavior with her. Ryan leaves Headquarters.

JANUARY 1993: Charlotte’s brother successfully agitates for Charlotte, now age 17, to be sent home from Headquarters. Gothard kisses her on the lips at their last meeting, and she does not meet him in person again.

WINTER AND SPRING 1993: Meg becomes Bill Gothard’s correspondence secretary, and is soon asked to spend most early mornings and late evenings in his office.

SUMMER 1993: Meg travels extensively with Gothard, who escalates the physical and emotional intimacy of the relationship and takes her to a doctor for cosmetic removal of skin tags.

FALL 1993: Ruth and Larne take their final trip to Hawaii. Meg travels to Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia with Gothard and an IBLP group. Some of the group stop in Hawaii on the way back to Headquarters, and Meg faces possible deportation. Meg is able to return to Headquarters for several weeks but ultimately is required to leave the country and return to New Zealand. She never enters the United States again. ATIA is rebranded as the Advanced Training Institute International (ATII, soon shortened to ATI).

WINTER 1994: Lizzie, age 14, meets Gothard for the first time at an ATI Girls’ Counseling Seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana. Rachel is Lizzie’s team leader.

SPRING 1994: Ruth passes away.

SUMMER–WINTER 1994: Rachel, now age 17, returns to Headquarters on an open-ended basis. She works in various departments, accompanies Gothard and IBLP groups on international trips, and becomes a well-known face and voice in IBLP promotional materials.

SUMMER 1995: Rachel leaves Headquarters. Though she later works with IBLP on educational projects, speaking engagements, and international trips, she declines Gothard’s invitations to rejoin the Headquarters staff.

SEPTEMBER 1995: As a result of becoming romantically involved with another IBLP staffer, Annette is sent away from Headquarters, back to her physically abusive home. Within six months she has moved out and begun a new life in a different state.

SPRING and SUMMER 1997: Lizzie, now age 17, is pressured by Gothard to defer her plans to begin college in favor of working on a project at IBLP Headquarters. Lizzie accompanies Gothard on trips and is alarmed by the level of physical contact initiated by Gothard, but he assures her father that if she is uncomfortable with the physical behavior, it will cease.

FALL 1997: Lizzie travels to Headquarters to work in the Telos department. Gothard’s campaign of physical contact and attempted emotional intimacy resumes, while her intended project is killed. Grace, age 17, meets Gothard for the first time at an ATI Girls’ Counseling Seminar in Indianapolis and is invited to start working at Headquarters as soon as possible.

SUMMER 1998: Lizzie leaves Headquarters.

JANUARY 1999: Grace, now age 18, travels to Headquarters for a promised job in the finance or purchasing departments, and is assigned to a series of jobs in unrelated departments. She quickly becomes uncomfortable with the physical attention Gothard shows her.

SUMMER 2000: Grace leaves Headquarters.

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.


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