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An Update from Recovering Grace
Dear Recovering Grace Reader,
It has now been twenty days since Bill Gothard resigned as the president of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). We have been relatively quiet about these developments since our initial response on March 6 simply because we, like many of you, are waiting to see (a) whether this resignation is going to be permanent and (b) whether the IBLP board is going to issue in a timely manner a public statement on the allegations of Bill Gothard’s misconduct toward and harassment of young women, abuse of spiritual authority, and misuse of Scripture.
Although we do not have many new developments to share with our readers at this point, we thought we would at least share some things that have been transpiring behind the scenes, as well as recap some of our more public activities that you might have missed.
- As you may know, the IBLP Board of Directors appointed Dr. Tim Levendusky as the interim president of IBLP on March 14. We and many of our readers are familiar with Dr. Levendusky, as he has previously served as the director of IBLP’s Dallas and Oklahoma City Training Centers, as well as IBLP’s international offices in Asia. Our team has reached out to Dr. Levendusky in hopes of initiating dialogue with him, and we are hopeful that this will take place in the coming weeks.
- We have also attempted to reiterate to the IBLP Board of Directors our willingness to have direct communication with them about the issues that have been raised on our website. Back in January, we sent a packet of articles and information to the then board chairman, Dr. Billy Boring, along with the personal contact information for one of our team members. We received no response to this packet, although on February 4, another board member, Mr. Bernie Reese, did initiate a thirty-minute phone conversation with one of our team members, Dr. John Cornish. Mr. Reese asked a number of pointed questions, including the identities of the entire RG team, a question that Dr. Cornish declined to answer. Dr. Cornish answered the questions that he could, and expressed a willingness to communicate further with the board if needed. We have had no other contact with the board, and we have since learned that both Dr. Boring and Mr. Reese have resigned from the board. It is our understanding that Dr. Stephen Paine is now chairman of the board, and we have communicated to him our willingness to dialogue further.
- Per a press release from the IBLP Board of Directors dated March 17, there is an internal investigation underway of the allegations that we have shared on our site, and “a future statement will be issued once the review is complete and submitted to the Board of Directors.” While we certainly understand the necessity for IBLP to undertake their own investigation of these matters and we look forward to seeing the subsequent report, we still hold to our previous assertion that it is imperative for the IBLP Board to bring in an independent third party to serve as the investigator of these matters.
- On Saturday evening, March 8, Dr. Cornish and Ms. Kari Underwood from our leadership team had an approximately 90-minute phone conversation with Bill Gothard. This conversation was initiated by Bill Gothard and was mediated by a mutually agreed upon third party. The purpose of the phone call was for Mr. Gothard to listen as we explained in great detail the extent of the pain and hurt his behavior had caused to the young women who have alleged sexual harassment. Per the parameters of the conversation, Mr. Gothard was not allowed to confirm or deny the allegations, but only to communicate his clear understanding of what we had to share. While this was only the first of many steps that need to take place, we are hopeful that Mr. Gothard will choose the long and difficult path of repentance.
- We continue to have opportunity to communicate with both Christian and secular media outlets. Last Monday, Dr. Cornish and Ms. Underwood were interviewed on “Issues, Etc,” a Christian talk radio show that aired in the midwest. In the 40-minute interview, they were able to share some of their personal history growing up in the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the formation of Recovering Grace, and the serious allegations against Bill Gothard. Also, Ms. Underwood was interviewed by The Daily Beast as part of an article entitled “Survivor’ Bloggers Join Forces to Reveal Christian Fundamentalist Abuses,” as well as by the Chicago Sun-Times for an article announcing Gothard’s resignation.
- Lastly, we have mostly wrapped up our series on the scandal of 1980. Our team has worked incredibly hard to bring this information to light, and to present it in a factual manner that did not needlessly sensationalize the events that took place. We are extremely grateful to the former IBYC staff and members of the LA Seminar Committee who shared with us a vast amount of information and documentation, and we are grateful to them for the time they took to dialogue with us and answer the many questions we asked in order to be as truthful as possible about what happened. They have carried a heavy burden of truth for over three decades, and we are humbled to have been a conduit through which they were finally able to share their stories.
Please continue to pray for our team in the days ahead as we strive to continue our mission of “helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard, IBLP, and ATI.” The resignation of Bill Gothard was an important moment in the healing process of many, but we know and understand that there are many who are just now beginning their journey out of the darkness of man-made principles into the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because there are undoubtedly many events to unfold in the near future, we cannot say with certainty what this journey may look like. But please know we intend to continue walking this road with you until the Lord shows us that our work is completed. Until then, let’s continue to seek His face together as we experience God’s incredible, healing grace.
The RG Leadership Team