The Agent of Satan

4 June 2014, 06:00

Moderator

280

Over the past couple of years, several members of the Recovering Grace leadership team have gotten to know some of the former staff from the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC, now IBLP). Most of them talk of the great love they had for the ministry and for Bill Gothard, and they speak with great pain about the events of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

January 15, 1979

Letter of commendation to Tony from Bill Gothard in 1979.

One of the individuals who played an important role in unveiling the cover-up of the 1980 scandal is a gentleman by the name of Tony. You’ve read about him as “the aide” in other articles, and he has earned a great deal of admiration from our readers for his integrity and tireless efforts toward keeping IBYC accountable. Within our Recovering Grace leadership team, we sometimes affectionately refer to Tony as “the agent,” which was a moniker chosen without affection by Bill Gothard in an obvious effort to discredit Tony in a letter Gothard distributed widely. Because of the negative memories surrounding “the agent” reference, we elected to use an alternative reference to Tony in our articles.

In the image to the right, you can read Gothard’s praise of Tony in 1979. Just twenty months later, following the 1980 scandal, a much different letter would be written.

Gothard personally wrote a detailed 19-page letter of “bad report” and used it to wreak havoc on Tony’s church fellowship, his livelihood as a Christian minister, and his relationship with his family. You might remember our mention of the “19-page letter” earlier this year in our Gothard series. At the time, Tony was not convinced that this letter published in full was essential to our story. Additionally, our team was anxious not to re-victimize Tony with the letter, as we feel that he was an undeserving victim of Gothard’s 1980 cover-up, and he certainly suffered for it at the time. Not only did Bill Gothard’s letter do great harm to Tony, but it was intended to do so in a very public way. After years of teaching his followers to avoid spreading a “bad report,” Gothard did just that to Tony, utilizing his position and influence to push Tony out of active ministry for many years to follow.

Tony now believes the time is right to share the letter with you after repeated private attempts to persuade Bill Gothard to repent. He agrees with us that this letter reveals the hubris, manipulations, and character of the man behind IBYC in a way where simply telling the facts of the story can only scratch the surface. We believe that this one letter from Gothard undermines Gothard’s credibility and qualification for Christian leadership as much as almost any other evidence produced thus far. Gothard clearly lashed out in anger and retribution in this letter, and in doing so he betrayed the vanity of his inner man.

Reading the letter today, there are parts so ridiculous that they seem laughable. Tony’s own uncle wrote a response to Gothard at the time, reflecting his incredulity following receipt of the letter. Yet we understand how personal the pain of the contrivance was to Tony, and that Gothard’s evil intent was no laughing matter. The letter is ludicrous and stands alone as such–even more so in light of recent revelations of truth about Gothard. That said, in addition to sharing with you the original letter, we will also share Tony’s lengthy defense against the letter; not because a defense is needed, but because his words are enlightening as to how far Bill Gothard was willing to stretch the truth to destroy a man who had gotten in his way.

Tony has provided a number of documents and files in an attempt to provide detailed clarity to many of the issues raised by the letter, both in the past and in the present. These documents will be linked throughout this article for you to read at your convenience.

Click here to read a short chronology of Tony’s relationship with Gothard and IBLP.

Click here to read an interesting exchange of emails between Bill Gothard and Tony in late 2013, when Gothard was attempting to reconcile with Tony.

RG’s relationship with Tony

Many of our leadership team members have had the privilege of meeting Tony in person as his business travels take him around the country. Tony is extremely likable and jovial, and he enjoys fellowshipping over a good meal. He has obviously spent many years studying the scriptures and coming to a closer understanding of his relationship with Jesus Christ. We have benefited as a team and personally from our interactions with Tony, whose goal today is the same as it was more than thirty years ago–to glorify God’s kingdom in all that he does.

Tony is a prolific writer. His writing conveys his passion and his love of God’s word. Recovering Grace has been fortunate to receive much of what Tony has written, and we look forward to sharing it with you in days to come. We’ll share another glimpse behind the scenes, here–Tony’s writing style takes more than a few minutes to get through! Those of us who enjoy regular emails from Tony also enjoy giving him a hard time for the length of them! A quick question for Tony will often return with a quick response that he will get back to us, followed by a several-page analysis. We know we can trust Tony to think through his answers and that behind the intensity and verbosity is true caring and honesty. We truly believe that Tony’s driving passion is a zeal for introducing Jesus Christ as the all-sufficient source for life and spiritual growth for the believer.

Tony wants to do his best in his work, and he wants to do his best for the Lord. It was for this reason that he originally went into the ministry and joined IBYC. What Bill Gothard likely did not foresee is that when Tony’s zeal kicks in and he sees the need for justice, Tony can be like a bulldog. All of this to say, we do see glimpses of the Tony we know and love in Gothard’s destructive letter about him. But what Gothard did to Tony in that letter was to twist the character of a Godly man into a disturbing caricature of a power-hungry opportunist. Nothing could be further from the truth about Tony.

Gothard’s letter

TonyandBill copy

Tony and Bill, late 1970’s, in the IBYC Learjet

Bill Gothard had already been disqualified from ministry when he wrote the 19-page letter against Tony on Sept. 5, 1981. His Board of Directors, including men who were deeply loyal to him and were loath to push him out, found that in the face of overwhelming testimony they had to remove Gothard as president of IBYC (July 5-6, 1980). Gothard was never officially “re-qualified” for ministry after that scandal, in spite of the fact that he reinstated himself. Gothard is further out of bounds today, especially in the face of more recent testimonies of Gothard’s misbehavior.

You might be asking what Tony had done to deserve this letter? Well, he had done exactly what Bill Gothard had asked him to do: to investigate internally the scope of the scandal surrounding his brother Steve, and to present evidence of and corrective measures for the gross immorality within the IBYC ministry. However, when Tony’s investigation began to reveal that Gothard himself was part of the problem, Gothard turned on Tony, slandering him to his friends, his family, and to Christian leaders across the country. He multiplied his bad report and brought local churches into his sin.

In Gothard’s 19-page, 26-complaint letter, the majority of the “facts” Gothard shared described Tony’s initiative, determination, organization, and ability to ask tough questions and forge relationships for a greater purpose. These are the types of qualities that most employers look for. As a young man in 1980, Tony’s relentless determination to complete his task undoubtedly revealed some “rough edges” that have matured over time.  However, his dogged determination to do well was just that and nothing more. Tony wanted to serve the Lord within the IBYC ministry, and he was eager to be used for that purpose. In the letter, Bill paints Tony’s zeal and proficiency as treachery and manipulation.

Sixty-nine times in the letter Bill refers to Tony as “the agent” of Satan, stating in the introduction that, “I am not going to use the name of your nephew in this document. There is also another reason for the title I will use to refer to him. It is a reminder that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare, not against people, but against ‘the rulers of darkness…’ In this battle, we can either become an agent of the Holy Spirit or an agent of Satan’s influence or power.” Bill’s choice to refer to Tony as “the agent” suggests to us that Gothard wished to dehumanize him in an effort to better discredit him. This tactic appears to have worked with the many Christian leaders who received a copy of the 19-page letter, though it was not as effective with those who knew Tony well.

Dr. G. A. Hemwall signed the letter on behalf of the IBYC Board, and Reverend Everett Hovey signed the letter as pastor of LaGrange Bible Church (LBC).

ORIGINAL LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS

• Bill Gothard’s 19-page letter. This copy of the letter was sent to Tony’s parents.

• Cover letters for additional copies of the letter to Ken Taylor (Living Bible Translator) and Mr. and Mrs. Wood.

• A partial mailing list for the letter, as compiled by Tony.

A number of friends and family wrote to Bill Gothard in defense of Tony after they received copies of the letter. The following are examples of such:

A (rather humorous and pointed) letter from Gerald Wiebe, Tony’s uncle, to Gothard.

• A brief note showing that Wiebe had already been pushing Gothard for an independent examination of the IBYC ministry, and that letters to that effect had been exchanged.

• Multiple letters from Pam (last name redacted), a former IBYC secretary who helped gather information about the scandal, to Gothard, the IBYC Board via Dr. Hemwall, and the LaGrange Bible Church.

Tony's home church, Emmaus Mennonite Church, as it looked in the early 1980's.

Tony’s home church, Emmaus Mennonite Church, as it still looked in the early 1980’s.

Bill Gothard followed this letter by paying for two men to fly to Kansas and visit Tony’s life-long home church, Emmaus Mennonite Church, where the two men falsely accused Tony in a secret meeting with the church elders and pastor. Tony was excommunicated on a technicality, and his family had to ask him to leave the state in order for the family business to survive. He faced repeated shunning and rejection by other churches and leaders who received the letter, loss of standing in his small rural community, and loss of future ministry opportunity in his areas of passion and preparation.

In the 33 years since this letter was written, Tony has never offered a public defense against Gothard’s 26 charges and 69 references to him as an agent of Satan. Rather, he waited on God for his defense, finding consolation in Matthew 10:24-25 and the words of Christ: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” Tony believed that if the Pharisees called Jesus a devil, then as a disciple of Jesus and a member of His household he was to expect no less.

Tony was advised by volunteer attorneys in 1981-82 that this libelous letter by Bill Gothard, the Institute corporation sponsorship and endorsement of it, and the co-endorsement of the letter by the LaGrange Bible Church (Bill Gothard’s home church) could result in an easy $10,000,000 settlement. Tony elected instead to trust God for His provisions in life.

As we stated above, Tony has somewhat reluctantly agreed to let us share with you his response to Bill Gothard’s letter, only because he truly believes that the truth needs to be exposed now that he has exhausted many attempts for reconciliation with Gothard.

TONY’S RESPONSES

• Cover letter from Tony to Bill Gothard, 12/30/2013.

• Tony’s responses to Gothard’s 26 “facts.” This response was included in a package of 140+ pages of evidence and exhortation to the IBLP board, LaGrange Bible Church, IBLP’s advisory board (as listed online at the end of 2013), and LBC’s denominational office. All of this information was sent at Bill Gothard’s repeated request. As of the present, Bill Gothard has neither acknowledged nor responded to this document.

• Cover letter from Tony to IBLP Board, 12/30/2013.

• Cover letter from Tony to LaGrange Bible Church, 12/30/2013.

• Does Bill Gothard understand the damages that come from his hating another brother with libel and false witness? A document written by Tony listing how Bill Gothard’s letter and actions affected him.

About his involvement and devotion to the IBYC ministry, Tony confesses:

I for one bought into the overall scheme of the doctrinal distortions [of IBYC]. I have to deal with that in my community regularly. “How could you have agreed with and promoted so enthusiastically what was so rotten and contrary to the Scriptures? You knew better.” My only defense is that I eventually did come to my senses and saw the conflict between the Seminar teachings and the Scriptures and began to push back. My practice today is to agree with all who complain to me personally that I indeed was caught up in a religious system that was in conflict with the grace of God by faith, so that the promises of God are counted as the only reliable source of life and instruction. Romans 4:16.

Fishing is a favorite hobby for Tony, often as a way of ministering to disadvantaged youth.

Today, Tony seems to have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, and would be just fine without our public “intervention.” However, because Bill Gothard has rejected every opportunity on many previous occasions to right this wrong, we believe that it is necessary to present this as yet another evidence that Bill Gothard does not meet the biblical requirements of Christian leadership and ministry.

We would strongly urge Bill Gothard and the IBLP Board to seriously consider obvious corrective actions that would exhibit true contrition for the sins committed against Tony. We would also ask LaGrange Bible Church to consider if in retrospect they might have done Tony wrong, and to consider that they might have an obligation to make right the wrongs committed by their former leadership, specifically their endorsement of this libelous letter and their repeated refusal to examine the teachings and behavior of their ordained and commissioned church member.

We would also encourage the current leadership at Emmaus Mennonite Church to reconsider their former actions against Tony following Gothard’s false character assassination.

In conclusion, we would like to share with you a short story of life in IBYC prior to the scandal of 1980. Tony wrote this account as a testimony to the loyalty and sincerity of all of Bill Gothard’s employees, and as a testament to “what could have been.”  

A Great Honor Derailed by Bill Gothard

Bill Gothard, in 1980 and since, has placed a lot of blame on his staff for the troubles of the Institute, and for doing great damage to the cause of Jesus Christ. Bill blamed his staff for outright rebellion and disloyalty during the Scandal period, spreading word in forceful and desperate ways to an untold number of Christian leaders.

What Bill Gothard actually did know

Bill Gothard knew he had the most loyal, loving, adoring staff that any Christian leader could ever hope to have. He knew without a doubt that his staff had great respect for him and honored him, as proven over many, many years in thousands of situations on a regular basis. In reality, because of their deep love for him, they were willing to confront him about sin and ungodliness, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

What Bill Gothard did not know

To my knowledge, this story has never been shared with the public or with Bill himself. You and he will learn this bit of history together.

All of Bill’s staff were working on a great honor for him in complete secrecy.

From 1978 and into 1980, I developed a plan that was presented to every staff member (except certain Gothard family members). Everyone embraced the plan without reservation. They were excited about pulling it off in honor of the founder of the ministry.

Bill has so very often told the story of his early days of school and ministry, when he began to realize the importance of spending much time alone with God and His Word, memorizing and meditating on it. Bill has illustrated that effort by recounting his days as a railroad employee. He asked the railroad if he could utilize an idled caboose, where he could sit and read and pray. He memorized the book of Romans, one of his favorite texts of Scripture.

My plan was for 100% of the Institute staff, about 100 people, to memorize the book of Romans. Together, we would recite this Scripture as an honor and expression of our common and shared gratefulness for Bill Gothard’s ministry into our lives.

This caboose is not the actual one from the story, but is similar and representative of what the caboose would have looked like after renovation and installation.

This caboose is not the actual one from the story, but is similar and representative of what the caboose would have looked like after renovation.

Additionally, each staff, as they were able, contributed to an account to purchase the very same caboose from the railroad used so many years previously by Bill. The caboose was to be moved (without permission from Bill) to the Institute headquarters property and set up as a memorial to the importance and value of studying God’s Word and making it a part of our lives.

After the first year of effort, many of the staff had memorized into chapter 8, some even further into chapter 12 of Romans. Others who struggled still faithfully worked on verses as they were able. All were growing in their anticipation of presenting the book of Romans from memory to a very surprised and very gratified Bill Gothard.

I finally located the exact caboose Bill had used, and a price was negotiated, as well as movement of the caboose to Oak Brook. The staff were regularly updated with photos of the caboose. Its foundation and installation were being planned for when Bill was away for a week or two in early 1980.

You can only imagine the excitement of it all!

And now you can somewhat grasp the great sadness as this same loving, loyal, most grateful staff watched their Teacher violate every universal, non-optional principle he had ever taught, and his public disobedience and rebellion against the plain and most basic teachings of God’s Word defamed the Lord God Almighty.

This unusual gift of honor for Bill, which required a very large investment by each staff member, was never made known.

You can imagine how we each felt as we were lambasted by Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Jack Taylor, Dr. John McLario, Bob Jones III, Dr. Bob Wood, and many others. These Christian leaders accepted Bill Gothard’s word on the matter without conducting any careful inquiry before joining him in railing against what they concluded was the terrible sin of rebellion. They simply did not know, did not care, and never took the time to find out.

Bill, for many years, experienced the great love of a wonderful group of staff. We pray that even yet today he would pursue with all of his heart to understand how it is that we love only because God first loved us. And if we know God, we will love each other. “If someone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” I John 4:20-21

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.

280 Comments

  1. esbee June 4, 2014 Reply

    in reading the letter of 26 accusations (I pooped out at 15) here is what I get out of it and if I read all 26 I may eventually have my own list of 26 "facts" of my reactions to the letter.

    1. BG confused and hid the true issue of his involvement by a huge number of "facts"-- usually it only takes a few solid events or even one to get a person fired.

    2. BG made it clear from the beginning that he assumed the agent had a "problem with authorities".

    3. BG's "facts" were based on his personal assumptions of trying to discern what was going on in a person's mind, rather than actual "agent said this" or "agent did that".

    3. Agent's true name kept out of letter to protect BG, he could always claim since a name was never put in letter that it he could later deny who it was really about.

    4. Most of the "facts" seemed to be events or words of the agent that could be given different interpretations depending on who witnessed them.

    5. BG uses the word "fact" as what he has written about the agent that it is undeniable and cannot be disputed.

    What would a real lawyer's assessment of this letter be and how would it hold up in a real court of law?

    Poor Tony, to try to serve the Lord and get treated like this!

  2. MatthewS June 4, 2014 Reply

    That letter would be a funny parody if it weren't so painfully real. Reducing someone to a mean name like that is one way of objectifying them and making them feel like less of a person.

    This is one of the darker sides of Bill that those who only saw him "meek and mild" on the stage can't picture. But for those who have been on the receiving end of it, that kind of contempt for you as a person eventually grinds you down to powder.

    • Jay June 4, 2014 Reply

      It's a strong charge, but this letter is vengeful and indicates that Gothard murdered in his heart, as well as on paper. (James 5:6) I wonder if he dictated it once and fired it off, or if he mulled it over and revised it with great thought? Would seem the latter, with the other men signing off on it.

    • Heidi June 4, 2014 Reply

      It is also a hallmark of an abusive person, Matthew, to dehumanize someone by calling names. And like you said, "grind you down to powder", an M.O. of abusers is to keep someone down and dis-empowered so that there can be no uprising.

  3. Jay June 4, 2014 Reply

    That part about Tony quickly finishing projects for Smalley is hilarious. They kept throwing the stick farther, hoping it would take Tony longer to fetch it.

    Question: Can you name anyone that has written more lists than Bill Gothard? Seriously. Gothard’s publications are nothing but lists for other people to do.

    • Heidi June 4, 2014 Reply

      Maybe Bill needs a list of his own to do. .. written by his former victims for him.

      #1, Seek to make actual restitution, monetarily and otherwise. ..

      • Michelle June 5, 2014 Reply

        Nah...I think #1 should be: "Turn myself in to the public authorities."

        Then proceed from there....Just saying. ;)

  4. Mary Olive June 4, 2014 Reply

    Total forgiveness, according to Dr. R.T. Kendall, is threefold:

    1. Forgiving the offender(s);
    2. Forgiving God for allowing it to happen;
    3. Forgiving ourselves for our part in it.
    (paraphrased from Total Forgiveness by R. T. Kendall, 2002)

    Hard to do by anyone involved, I think.

    • Peter S. June 4, 2014 Reply

      Confessing and confronting wickedness (our own and others') is a necessary part of forgiveness.

    • LynnCD June 4, 2014 Reply

      We don't need to forgive God for anything.

      Forgiveness means to let go of a debt that is owed us. Tony forgave Bill in that he did not seek compensation for all the damages brought upon him by Bill's libel and slander.

      Your last statement seems to imply Tony isn't forgiving. You must not have read this:

      "In the 33 years since this letter was written, Tony has never offered a public defense against Gothard’s 26 charges and 69 references to him as an agent of Satan. Rather, he waited on God for his defense, finding consolation in Matthew 10:24-25 and the words of Christ: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” Tony believed that if the Pharisees called Jesus a devil, then as a disciple of Jesus and a member of His household he was to expect no less.

      Tony was advised by volunteer attorneys in 1981-82 that this libelous letter by Bill Gothard, the Institute corporation sponsorship and endorsement of it, and the co-endorsement of the letter by the LaGrange Bible Church (Bill Gothard’s home church) could result in an easy $10,000,000 settlement. Tony elected instead to trust God for His provisions in life.

      As we stated above, Tony has somewhat reluctantly agreed to let us share with you his response to Bill Gothard’s letter, only because he truly believes that the truth needs to be exposed now that he has exhausted many attempts for reconciliation with Gothard."

      I am sure the damage to the young women who were abused by Gothard has factored into his current decision to make public his side of what happened to him.

      • Mary Olive June 4, 2014 Reply

        Dear Lynn CD,

        My comment didn't imply anything about Tony. Sorry if it seemed that way to you. I was simply making a literal statement about what I think. Hope that's okay.

        • LynnCD June 4, 2014

          Thanks for clarifying, Mary, and I hope I did not come across as mean-spirited in my response. I know you quoted someone regarding the need to forgive God, and I remain concerned about his use of language. I think that "guest" made a good response to Kendall's remark about forgiving God.

      • guest June 4, 2014 Reply

        I agree- it gives me pause to read that we need to forgive God for "letting it happen." You may mean that we need to let go of any bitterness towards God, but the way it's phrased is not a mindset that I want. God does not need our forgiveness, but we can let the challenges in our life mold how we look at God. If He's big enough to get mad at for "bad" things happening, then He's big enough to have reasons that we don't understand. We can let the challenges drive us to the cross, to a greater understanding of His sacrifice, and a deeper understanding of His sovereign love.

        • Mary Olive June 4, 2014

          Dear Guest and Lynn CD,

          I'm not sure, but I think the author is referring to those who might be angry with God and have turned away when something bad or tragic happened because they think God could have prevented it.

        • Lori June 6, 2014

          I would go so far as to say that the teaching that someone might need to "forgive God" is blasphemy (i.e., "the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God" http://www.666man.net/Blasphemy_Bible_Definitions_of.html).

        • Jeff Gill June 7, 2014

          Lynn, guest, Lori,

          I respectfully submit that whether or not one needs to forgive God depends entirely on one's definition of forgiveness, and that one very common understanding of forgiveness leaves plenty of room for forgiving God without worrying about blasphemy.

          Forgiveness can be understood as no longer holding on to an offence. This understanding of forgiveness does not involve the one who caused the offence. If I forgive a person who cuts me off in traffic, they don't know about it. I am the beneficiary of my forgiving them.

          The fact that I'm offended also does not mean that I have been wronged, only that I have perceived a wrong. The person who I believe cut me off in traffic may have a been abiding by the rules of the road perfectly and I simply wasn't paying attention. I might still be offended if I don't realise the incident was not the other's fault (or even if I do). If I am offended, I, for my own wellbeing, need to forgive.

          If this understanding of forgiveness is extended to God, it means that if something happens in life which causes offence or hurt and I believe that God caused it, I need to forgive God. I forgive not because God did something wrong but because I feel (not even necessarily believe) that God treated me badly. When I forgive God, I am not absolving God of sin, I am letting go of my hurt/offence. I benefit from forgiving God. Very often it is this act of forgiveness that frees me to understand that God was never to blame in the first place.

        • "Emee" June 7, 2014

          Well said, Jeff Gill!

        • LynnCD June 7, 2014

          Jeff, if one needs to stop being offended at God for horrible things that God has allowed in that one's life, that one is more like Job, who, when confronted by God's astonishing series of questions to him, repented in dust and ashes. Those particular chapters of Job are kind of in the forefront of my mind right now, and I cannot fathom calling Job's retraction and repentance in dust and ashes "forgiveness" in any sense of the word.

          Human suffering can be horrible. As was stated above, God is more than big enough to handle our anger and feelings of bitterness toward Him. What you and others may call "forgiving God," I prefer to term "bowing the knee in acceptance." Having read your comment, I know we are talking about the same thing. And that is more important than a disagreement over a word definition!

        • Mary Olive June 9, 2014

          Thank you, Jeff Gill, I so appreciated your input regarding forgiveness.

        • Jeff Gill June 10, 2014

          Thanks for your replies, Emee, Lynn and Mary Olive.

          This little discussion is not the topic of the blog post, so I won't say anything beyond this:

          Lynn, what you describe definitely does overlap with the idea of forgiving God, but what I've written about does not require Job's (literal or metaphorical) God-in-thunderstorm to release one's offence at God. A person that is mad at God may be ignorant of God's character or agnostic or convinced that God should have intervened on someone's behalf. The people in these positions can choose to let go of the offence they are holding – i.e. forgive God – without gaining a better understanding of who God is and what God does. In fact, until they forgive, they may not be able to understand better. Forgiveness brings freedom to the person who forgives. (Forgiveness does not necessarily do anything to/for the one who is forgiven.)

          I hope that helps to clarify what I mean.

  5. LynnCD June 4, 2014 Reply

    Well, Bill, here this *rebellious* "agent" was orchestrating an event to what should have been the highest honor you could have received in this life. This event would include a demonstration of commitment to memorizing the Word, and make a lasting visual object lesson on devotion to the Word of God, and this is the way you treated him.

    Wow.

    For decades Tony has not sought what he could have sought, which is vindication of his good name. He is doing this now, presumably because he sees the ongoing damage done to so many, including the young women with whom you have not been above reproach.

    It's long past time for repentance, but even now, you can repent.

  6. Nancy June 4, 2014 Reply

    I absolutely agree with these comments. What I see in this letter is a complete lack of love and grace. Jesus' disciples were a motley crew of problem people. Imagine if Christ has responded to their flaws by writing such letters to their relatives. It's hard to imagine that people bought this hubris from this man (Bill Gothard). Charisma can be dangerous thing.

    • Don Rubottom June 4, 2014 Reply

      Awesome comment! Thanks Nancy!

  7. Larne Gabriel June 4, 2014 Reply

    I have known Tony for 35 years and he is a good and Godly man who truly loves the Lord. He has had nothing to gain personally from his seeking the truth and repentance on this issue. He has been a steadfast servant of God over the past 34 years since the exposure of the scandal.

    Larne Gabriel
    1980 Staff
    Ruth's Story

  8. Sad June 4, 2014 Reply

    From the "Does Bill Gothard understand..." document:

    [i] "Bill Gothard’s rejection of the facts on Dec. 1, 2008 when in a conference call with Gary Smalley and Tony, Bill Gothard declared that he had “never written a 19 page letter in his life” and that he “had never called another person an agent of Satan""[/i]

    Fascinating obfuscation and rejection of facts that exist in physical form via the written and published word. In other words: a bald faced lie. How on earth anyone can defend BG's actions from here on out is beyond me. Sad that so many had invested so much in this ministry.

    • Don Rubottom June 4, 2014 Reply

      Sometimes, it seems that Gothard may not be able to distinguish past events and meetings from one another. He met with Ron Allen, well, no that was Radmacher.... I never wrote such a letter, yes I did,[5 years later] please refresh my memory whether I stated anything false in the letter....

      But reading it for what it says, the 19 page letter is very sad in the picture it paints. I can see why Tony's church was so easily swayed. But that excommunication also reveals the danger of authoritarianism's capacity to deny due process. Tony and his family could not present a case in his defense? How sad that the church cared more about Gothard's reputation than their own flock. The church was sucked into taking up an offense!

      This further light on the interactions in 2008 and this recent interaction in 2013 indicate that Gothard starts reaching out when he is exposed (2008 by Wikipedia, 2013 by RG). He says he wants reconciliation, but is really seeking exoneration or evidence in his behalf. His request for all documents in Tony's possession appears to be a pre-emptive attempt to discover evidence to refute what has been regurgitated in recent years.

      Gary Smalley's repeated appearance in passive mode makes me anxious: Smalley got the letter in 1981, the call in 2008, etc. When has or will Smalley correct the record publicly with the likes of Ryrie, Stanley, et al., who were used at the time to restore and protect Bill Gothard's reputation? Many of us would have avoided any involvement if such slander had been dealt with openly and fully.

      The biggest lie in the letter is the neglect to acknowledge that Tony was authorized by Bill to interview affected staff and authorized by the Board to help organize the meetings confronting Gothard. If one sentence had said: "Tony had authority to interview staff and assist the Board", the entire letter would have been meaningless. The false appearance of free-lance troublemaking is the core of the slander. For that reason alone, it seems to me that Hemwall should not have signed the letter. It places the responsibility for that false light directly on Hemwall in addition to Gothard.

      It is understandable that Gothard would accuse the nephew of cooperating with the uncle, but inexcuseable for Gothard not to correct that misperception to all recipients as soon as it was refuted.

      (PS Never believe a lawyer when they say you can get 10,000,000 in such a case: unless you are a very popular public person. You can only get compensation for the damage to your reputation and a primary defense will be that your reputation was worthless to begin with. Demand only $1 nominal damages and a declaration that the statements were slander. Then you will know your lawyer is working for the truth and not seeking a contingency fee on a confidential settlement that keeps the truth hidden for all time! It also lowers the price of admission! :-D )

      • Vanessa June 4, 2014 Reply

        Great point, Don: "His request for all documents in Tony's possession appears to be a pre-emptive attempt to discover evidence to refute what has been regurgitated in recent years."

        • P.L. June 5, 2014

          I tend to see the request for information that Bill has already seen as a stall...he hopes to wear people out with these repeated, ridiculous requests. Time is on the side of an abuser who has power; if they can just hold on long enough people get tired of trying to hold them accountable.

          If anybody challenges him, he can always claim to be 'waiting on a response' and therefore unable to proceed with his oh-so-sincere (not) desire to reconcile'.

          It's also an attempt to use another favorite weapon of an abuser: confusion! Abusers love to get everyone muddled around in the details because they're hoping noone will see the big picture of their bad behavior.

          Thus the endless arguments over words and definitions and who said what when.

        • Sunflower June 6, 2014

          Yes.

      • LynnCD June 4, 2014 Reply

        Don wrote:

        "The false appearance of free-lance troublemaking is the core of the slander."

        YES! If reading through the charges and Tony's response to them is too tedious, that one sentence sums it up. Tony was authorized to investigate the scandal, and then defamed as though he were a troublemaker.

        Bill, please repent while there is still time to do so!

      • Donna June 5, 2014 Reply

        Don Rubottom wrote, "Gary Smalley's repeated appearance in passive mode makes me anxious: Smalley got the letter in 1981, the call in 2008, etc. When has or will Smalley correct the record publicly with the likes of Ryrie, Stanley, et al., who were used at the time to restore and protect Bill Gothard's reputation? Many of us would have avoided any involvement if such slander had been dealt with openly and fully."

        It is abundantly clear that Bill Gothard appears to be blind to his own sin, to the point that I join some others in wondering if he is actually saved. However, what greatly puzzles and concerns me is the lack of forthrightness on the part of other leaders who by now must realize at least the sinfulness of Bill Gothard's behavior whether or not they question his doctrine and teachings. I personally know people who have remained faithful to ATI because of the apparent condoning of it by men like these. I personally know Jim Sammons (although not well enough to pose tough questions to him) because I live in the same area and at one time belonged to the same church, and our families have participated in many church and homeschool-related activities together over the last 15 years. I know that there are many families in my geographic area who view Jim's continued affiliation with the Institute as a thermometer to indicate to themselves that everything must be OK.

        • Don Rubottom June 5, 2014

          I wish someone would ask Sammons to answer some of these questions. He has been there all along, and if his love for Bill, or any monetary compensation he has received, or his fear of man has kept him from maintaining accountability of the institute to its participants, he should recognize his responsibility to all of us for a complete accounting.

  9. Nicole June 4, 2014 Reply

    When I was seeking to balance my appreciation for a ministry that had been the foundation for my youth, spirituality and the moral compass for my life, with the allegations of Mr. Gothard's lack of integrity, sincerity, truthfulness and adherence for his own rules, Tony's example was my guide. All of these months as I have grappled to reconcile myself with the slow and numbing knowledge that I had been the devotee of a man who failed to live by his own standards and further who was guilty of subterfuge whenever anyone got close to the truth, I always found little glimpses of hope in the few sentences scattered about Tony, who cared deeply about the ministry and about Bill Gothard, but who was also committed to truth, no matter the pain that would follow. Today's article confirms in my mind that Tony may be the most faithful friend IBLP has ever had. His continual patience, longsuffering, and humility, coupled with his courage to confront evil and to accept the ramifications of the truth, makes him a true Christian, a valuable asset to the Body of Christ. His example has always impressed me, and after reading this article I am more certain than ever that his quiet influences and godly responses to wrongdoing were in large part responsible for my gentle extraction from the ministry while still loving God and seeking His will in my life. The abuse Tony has suffered and the unjust accusations against his name, have not been in vain. Thank you, Tony, for your example. It has been a significant influence in the life of many strangers to you, and I am grateful.

    • Amy June 4, 2014 Reply

      Well said! Thank you Tony. The fruit of the Spirit... especially peace, patience, and self-control are evident in your response! Or perhaps "long-suffering" as it is translated in some versions fits well. Clearly you seek to honor Christ first and foremost!

    • MatthewS June 5, 2014 Reply

      Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (some wise guy said that a long time ago)

  10. Pam June 4, 2014 Reply

    What I'm about to say may make some mad. I know I do not know the heart of a man, but I do know what the Bible says is evidence of salvation. People want Bill Gothard to repent and follow the scriptures of repentance and reconciliation. But, I question whether or not he is even saved. The evidence shows that this is a man running a business. Exploiting a market that brings in heavy profits. One does not need to "believe", "live", or "agree" with what one sells in his business if it brings in money. Bill will most likely never repent or attempt any real reconciliation with anyone, because he is most likely not saved. He's a wolf and always has been.

    • Vanessa June 4, 2014 Reply

      I can't comment on whether Bill is saved, but I do think he has many sociopathic tendencies: disregard for the rights and feelings of others, lack of shame for his own behavior, manipulative, lies easily, charming, inflated sense of self-importance, incapacity for love, authoritarian, secretive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to get through to him.

    • Amy June 4, 2014 Reply

      I am DEFINITELY not qualified to say who is saved and who is not! But we all can relate to how denying sin in our lives can make us feel distant from our God. If a believer lives like that for decades... how sad and phony his walk with Christ would feel :( How huge the gap... but of course we are never beyond the reach of God's grace :)

    • LynnCD June 4, 2014 Reply

      I agree with the responses to Pam's remark. When Paul instructed the Corinthians about dealing with someone who refuses to repent, the instruction is to treat such a person as unsaved. We need to regard such a one who has refused to repent, after sin have been publicly shared, as an unbeliever.

      And how do we treat unbelievers? We pray for their salvation, and witness to them. We most definitely do not allow them to be pastors and elders of churches or leaders in Christian ministry.

      And that is because, whether they are believers or not, we need to have concern for their souls, for they, just as we, will stand before God in judgment after this life is over.

      • P.L. June 5, 2014 Reply

        I agree. BG's salvation is between he and God, but regardless he is clearly unqualified to be a teacher/minister of the church.

        • Tangent June 6, 2014

          If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

    • phyllis June 5, 2014 Reply

      Good point, Pam. It appears that the Gothards not only lived very well on the proceeds of this "business", but enjoyed a lot of power and control as well. Not to mention this power and influence, endorsed by some of the heavyweights in evangelical circles, (Charles Stanley, and others named in these documents) gave BG access to bevies of beautiful, naive young women. Not held accountable to any honest body, what could possibly go wrong?

  11. "Hannah" June 4, 2014 Reply

    Wow, no time to read the tomes of documentation. But we all know this is classic Bill Gothard: deflect attention from your own faults by a character assassination (and if possible, total destroyal) of the messenger. I have seen this twice, in my own family. If he can't "win" an argument, his focus shifts to destroying you. Either through verbal and psychological abuse or public slander. Or both.

  12. Vanessa June 4, 2014 Reply

    Gothard implies that he'd always been wary of Tony and his inability to submit to authority. So why would he have assigned Tony the job of investigating the 1980 scandal?

    A few other questions: Why did Gothard attempt to get staffers to "shade the truth" in 1980-81 (see Joy Wood's story)? Why did he go so far in disparaging Tony as to send men to his home church? Why did he e-mail Gary Smalley and try to get him to lie about what Gary Smalley saw in his cabin so that the Wikipedia site could be "cleansed"? And finally, why did Gothard attempt to "reconcile" with Tony in 2013? The answer to all questions: whitewashing and containment.

    I re-read the e-mail exchanges between Gary and Tony, and was struck by this comment of Gary's: "I pray to God that if I ever do something inappropriate with a girl that you are still alive and you have my permission to go after me. You are the very best and Christ's church is fortunate to have you."

    Then there's this one from Joy Wood, which aligns so perfectly with what happened to Tony: "He [Gothard] was determined to destroy the opposition, and he kept his finger on the pulse of where we were in order to disrupt our lives [after they resigned from the Institute post-scandal]."

  13. Stephen Butler June 4, 2014 Reply

    I like how bill says, "through Christ our Lord" to end his email exchange for awhile and then his last one just said, "sincerely Bill." Kind of cracked me up.

    • MatthewS June 4, 2014 Reply

      I say this in sincerity, not spite. Even more than uttering God's name as a curse word, I think saying "through Christ our Lord" on a letter that is in reality an abusive attack is using God's name in vain. If there is a God in heaven who sees and hears, Bill should take this to heart. God may not be as flippant about his own name as Bill seems to be.

      • Don Rubottom June 4, 2014 Reply

        ... for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. I memorized that after being motivated to memorize the Big Ten in a Father's Conference at ITC. I agree with you, Matthew. It is the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Claiming Christ while outside of Christ is unforgiveable because outside of Christ, there is no forgiveness. Inside Christ, claiming him cannot be in vain. Outside Christ, it is always in vain.

      • 'Megan' June 4, 2014 Reply

        I've thought for some time that 'taking God's name in vain' isn't using a name of God as an expletive (although I don't think God appreciates that at all either..), but rather what you are saying, taking/applying the name of God in a blasphemous way. When a woman marries and 'takes a name', she's becoming a new identity. So I imagine it is the same sort of thing, 'taking' God's name as part of your identity and using it in a blasphemous way/out of disbelief, like Judas did. Etc.

  14. joy wood June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony, now they know who walked to and from our house, rather than drive. Also, our photo of you on the Lear looks great. Compare the hair in that photo and the fishing photo...Conclusion... wisdom came after leaving. Now seriously, hooray for revealed truth! Slander and lies have been coupled and handily distributed to all who would receive accusations or listen to them. Truth prevails and after our thirty plus years the evidence speaks with a loud voice. Maybe the release can stir repentance.

  15. 'Flynn' June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony,

    Thank you for your willingness to share. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to have your name and reputation tarnished like this; Mr. Gothard certainly chose to take the low road there. I am still working my way through reading all the attachments in this article, I'm sure I'll have more thoughts once I'm finished.

    As a fellow list maker, I am finding it crazy that the list making talent was used against you. I mean, us list makers get things done! I particularly liked the part where they gave you a list of things to do to keep you occupied for 2 weeks, than you turned it in completed the nest day, lol! That is hilarious. You sound like someone I'd like to meet.

    Thank you for taking the high road; your willingness to show grace and mercy to Mr. Gothard after all this astounds me. You are truly showing the love of God.

  16. David June 4, 2014 Reply

    (1) IBLP is a cult. EVERYTHING about IBLP fits EXACTLY into the pattern of any "Christian" type cult you might want to name. Gothard fits EXACTLY into the pattern of any cult leader.
    (2) It is impossible to leave a cult on genuinely good terms.
    (3) It is impossible to expose the Truth about a cult or it's leaders(s) without being called an agent of Satan. Once exposed, it is really the only option left to the cult leader to call his accusers by that name.
    (4) Gothard fans will dismiss ALL of this, "because Gothard does teach the Truth." In reality, he teaches ANOTHER GOSPEL.
    (5) Spiritual deception is impossible to break with mere FACTS. It takes God Himself to do this -- but the heart must be open to the Truth.

    • Renea June 6, 2014 Reply

      Very good

  17. Amy June 4, 2014 Reply

    This brings to mind all the trademarks of narcissistic personalities... it can be SO exhausting to pin them down on the crux of the issue you need to resolve with them. Words, words, words (19 pages of 26 "facts!")... rabbit trails, deflections, twisting the words of others, misrepresenting facts, sprinkling in confusing bits of actual truth with all the lies. It takes so much energy and concentration to keep the focus on the real problem that a part of you gives up in total despair and frustration. Sadly, it seems that this method has worked for BG for decades. So many in his inner circle must either 1) walk away feeling crushed and bewildered or 2) solider on, too weary and confused to question him any longer.

  18. KB June 4, 2014 Reply

    When RG started publishing the details of the 1980's scandal it took me to a level of sadness and anger that I hadn't been to. It shook me to the core that these big name spiritual leaders treated the staff so badly. What stunned me was that they did nothing. Because they did nothing ATI happened. Because ATI happened the entire course of my life was changed. I was maligned, abused, manipulated, and controlled - by Institute staff. I have spent years putting myself and my life back together. When the information about the 80's scandal took place I was shocked that it was so effectively covered up. The story of Ruth and Larne and now the knowledge of Tony's involvement has been a lifeline for me.

    Tony, you are a hero. You stood up for the staff and for future staff and students (me) in ways that we will never know. Thank you for doing all you could, and more than you probably should have to stop this from continuing. You will never know how much it means to me (and I am sure others) to know that someone did something and continued to try when it was hopeless. I pray that you will see and feel God's blessings on your life in amazing ways. I pray for peace as you relive this horrible season of your life through this article. Thank you.

  19. Christopher Jones June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony, as a former long-time ATI student who has often found it difficult to put the teacher and organization that outside of my parents was the most significant influence in my life until I was in my early 20s in any sense of coherent context that makes sense to anyone who wasn't involved with or familiar with Gothard's cult, I'd like to say THANK YOU. You have allowed me to understand myself and where I have come from so much better and hopefully to continue to move on.

    Thank you for your courage then and now. I can only imaging how much easier it would be to just "let it go" and move on with your life.

    What I find particularly noteworthy, and I think what reveals a lot about who Gothard really is, are the burdens Gothard places on people with whom he tries to reconcile. He started trying to "reconcile" with Tony in 2008, five years before he tried again and then quit again. Gothard seeks reconciliation, then denies doing anything wrong, then demands extensive documentation, then goes silent. I suspect that by this point, most people are going to just go away, because they don't want to argue with someone who claims he is apologizing. Gothard exhausts people even when he tries to apologize. Gothard can then in his own mind claim the satisfaction that he tried to reconcile but was resisted when in reality he was just making things worse and caused even new pain. Disgusting. Why is it so hard for him to just say, "I messed up, I'm sorry, forgive me, and "I'm going to try to make things right in a tangible way"?

    Tony, thank you for putting up with this even now. You are a hero. It's too bad the internet wasn't around in 1981 so the world could have seen the fraud that Gothard was before he entangled so many families and children in the ATI cult.

    • Samuel Lundmark June 11, 2014 Reply

      I suspect that Gothard can neither receive nor extend forgiveness because there is no grace in his system of theology. This likely ties back to thinking such as: "never expose your weakness or others will take advantage of you." In the body of Christ, this is not the call to life. In light of the gospel, this type of thinking is a distraction from finding life.

      Unfortunately, IBLP and ATI have served those in the church increasing levels of this wrong "graceless theology" albeit with "graceful", professional, 4-color smiles and packaging.

      I believe that the entire system is one of an evil rejection of God's grace and those who would continue therein remain under the wrath of God instead of being accepted into the Beloved and able to demonstrate that we have received and are empowered to freely give of God's very tangible forgiveness, grace, and mercy. As long as IBLP persists in teaching a false gospel, it will face resistence from the body of Christ. If there would be a change in IBLP theology to renounce and stand for the truth of the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ, then we have fellowship. I truly believe that this is not a personal battle but between two kingdoms. On one side stands Christ offering us freedom via forgiveness and grace, and on the other side stands the Giant of Despair guarding Doubting Castle and exacting every last farthing.

      • greg r June 11, 2014 Reply

        As days become months, it starts to look unlikely that IBLP will do the massive, and embarassing, overhaul that it would take to put things right. And 'right' would be both relationally and doctrinely. It seems they are waiting for the firestorm of bad publicity to fade, and then.... what ?? BG back as figurehead is unlikely, but what SYSTEMIC changes will be made ? I'm not that hopeful for the future of IBLP, but very hopeful for the Kingdom of GOD, which will not be deterred.

  20. Meg - author of the Sacred Grooming articles June 4, 2014 Reply

    What I am left with after reading through this is that a few good men spent a lot of time and energy trying to reason with someone unreasonable. As a former secretary of Bill's, I am comforted by the knowledge that at least someone, Tony, did try. At least we who came afterwards can rest in the knowledge that a man of integrity and truth was fighting for those very things. How it must have worried these good 1980's men when Bill rose to fame again in the '90s. Thank you, Tony, for sharing with us what clearly is a very painful part of your life. I, for one, am grateful. "Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"

  21. Elizabeth June 4, 2014 Reply

    Alfred –
    If you knew of an account when your trusted friend denied writing a 19-page letter to anyone, but then you found out that his definition of pages in a letter include the cover sheet(s), and he actually HAD sent a 19-page letter with whatever number of attachments … and that since it was typed, he didn’t actually “write” it … would you consider that he was truthful?

    If you knew of an account when your trusted friend denied referring to anyone as an agent of Satan, but then found out that he didn’t actually say “agent of Satan,” but just “agent,” even though he explicitly described and implied who the agent was an agent of … would you consider that he was truthful?

    If you asked your trusted friend if he’d ever kissed or improperly touched a girl and he said he hadn’t, but then you found out that his definition of a “girl” was under a certain age, and he actually HAD kissed or improperly touched a woman of whatever age … would you consider that he was truthful?

    If you knew that your trusted friend went behind someone’s back to dishonestly discredit him among his friends, relatives, and church members in spite of his honesty and desire to do good … would you consider that he was honorable and above reproach?

    If you realized that your trusted friend wasn’t as trustworthy and honorable as you thought, would you be willing to entertain the idea that maybe he’s lied on more than just a few occasions, often using technicalities as tools of evasion … and that maybe he’s used people within his sphere of influence (under his spell) to accomplish his own agenda … and that maybe he’s even orchestrated situations to his advantage, or just to maintain his appearance of character … and that maybe he took advantage of loyal employees and crossed the bounds of the law in terms of labor practices and harassment … then maybe used his sway over them to inhibit their doing anything about it … and maybe he still continues to spout Scripture and preachy words today as he continues as long as he possibly can to sell insincere sincerity to his loyal followers, convincing them that he’s the poor victim of misunderstanding at best and malice at worst, so that they’ll continue to provide him the façade of his own engineering?

    My point, my friend (if I may), is that he may lie to you on technicalities that you may not catch, or that he will – if that’s not sufficient to achieve his goal – lie to you outright. I don’t point this out with malice. I know what it feels like to be lied to and manipulated … repeatedly and consistently over a span of more than 25 years. I also know the feeling of knowing I’ve been had, and how disgusting it is to think of the waste of it all, and how I wish I could go back and make different choices. But I also know that God is as sovereign as He is loving, and that is what trumps all.

    I encourage you to read and learn more about narcissism. It really is beyond what most people can fathom. It’s real. And it’s evil. And you’ve witnessed it up close and very personally on a scale which may never be matched.

    Talk to him if you care to. Whether you do or not will make no difference, and how he responds will make no difference. I will warn you, though, will all good intent … whatever time and energies you continue to invest in this man will be sucked from you with no return on your investment. You may want to consider investing with others who will benefit from your energies. I am very sorry that your trusted friend has not lived up to your expectations.

  22. Clay June 4, 2014 Reply

    I wish that Tony would have sued for the $10,000,000, effectively weakening IBYC's ability to sow seeds of corruption, and donated it to ministries who were doing good work.
    On another subject, the staff's motivation to memorize Scripture, in order to please one man, troubles me. The primary motivation to study Scripture should be to gain the knowledge of what is good and comforting. My concern springs from personal experience. As part of my ALERT boot camp graduation ceremony, my unit recited the entirety of 1 Peter. My pastor and his wife were in attendance, and were so impressed that they asked me to recite it again, solo and in uniform, in front of our congregation. Regretfully, I agreed and fumbled through the second recitation. I was known as a “good boy” and everyone was probably impressed by the uniform and the organization it represented, which had taught me to memorize Scripture.
    At this very moment, I can’t even remember what the book of 1 Peter is about. This is not to say that I shouldn’t have learned the meaning on my own by now, but, it speaks to the reality that ALERT and my pastor and his wife were focused more on outwardly looking impressive and did not care as much, whether or not 1 Peter was actually in my heart and impactful to my life. Also, why would it occur to me to go back and intentionally learn the meaning of the passage: I memorized it! That means I know it, right? Further illustrating the lack of concern for actually knowing Scripture, was the way in which I was punished for falling behind in my memorization. My squad leader required me to carry around a wooden log, both in my day pack and my hiking pack, which already weighed around 40 lbs. I understand that one of the functions of ALERT was to harden a young man up a bit, but I now recognize that that punishment was spiritual and emotional abuse. I understand that the memorization was one of the program requirements I agreed to, but, the resulting outcome should have been letting me fail the program if I couldn’t meet the standard. The result should not have been teaching me that God cared about how quickly I could memorize His Word and how impressively I could recite it. Where do we ever see this requirement in Scripture? Nowhere. As a child, I remember, as rewards for memorizing Scripture during VBS, being allowed to recite in front of the congregation and getting ribbons and plaques. At my old youth pastor’s weekly guy’s Bible study, I remember not being allowed to participate in the pre-study basketball game, if I hadn’t memorized that week’s assigned passages. These things seem appropriate, because, they were simply the loss of a reward or privilege, for failing to accomplish a goal. They were not the painful punishment of failing to meet some arbitrary standard. Again, in conclusion, there is a problem with memorizing Scripture to please any man.

    • Linda June 5, 2014 Reply

      Clay,
      I so agree with you concerning the wrong motivation and methods used to memorize scripture. SO sorry for the abuse you endured in ALERT training. Psalm 19 presents such a different view of the value of God's Word; it rejoices the heart and is more desirable than gold.
      Your leaders were certainly following a Biblical example with that log in the backpack.
      "They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they preach,but do not practice." Matt.23:3-5

      These verses aptly describe BG and those with him who depended on legalism to produce the fruit of righteousness. He adopted the woes of the Pharisees as his ministry plan!
      What an unbelievably wasted life this man has lived! Thank you, Tony, for the irrefutable documentation of his evil mode of operation.
      I can't imagine that the IBLP board could ignore this.

  23. 'Megan' June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony, thank you for putting this out there. It means so very much to the rest of us, some of us may be able to rest easy knowing that we're not imagining things, crazy, and that such evidences take away from the common cry that we're all making things up, or assigning blame to Bill that should be on someone else's shoulders.. etc.. Thank you, and thank you for your graciousness towards Bill in not pursuing rightful justice/vengeance. It may be that this is the Lord 'repaying'. I hope the best for you and your family!

  24. Christopher Jones June 4, 2014 Reply

    The IBLP Board appears to have been entirely complicit with Gothard, especially with respect to these unauthorized payments to outgoing staff members to prompt them to sign confidentiality statements.

    These unauthorized payments appear to have been embezzlement. The IBLP Board could have had Gothard arrested. Instead, they gave him his job back.

    Because the confidentiality agreements were likely made between the outgoing employees and the IBYC/IBLP corporation, the current Board of Directors likely has the ability to void these clauses to allow the former staff members to speak freely without fear of any reprisal.

    If the current IBLP Board of Directors is truly interested in reconciliation, I believe they could go a long ways in demonstrating their commitment to the truth and to allowing reconciliation by publically voiding these clauses.

    • Jess June 4, 2014 Reply

      Wow, this is a great point. I hope the IBLP board is reading these comments and sees your suggestion Christopher.

    • Don Rubottom June 5, 2014 Reply

      On the other hand, I'm having trouble imagining a jury that would require any repayment of the hush money for breach of the confidentiality agreement. Maybe, if the Board won't waive the confidentiality, all those bound could file a lawsuit asking a judge if they are still bound by it. But many of these individuals also had confessed to things that could be brought to light and embarrass them even today. That is one reason confidentiality agreements are so poisonous. They perpetuate evil.
      Reconciliation is much better: "We agree we no longer have any cause against each other." Thus, there is no incentive to disclose things to gain a future advantage. Any future disclosure for malicious reasons would be actionable as a new wrong, but disclosure as part of some broader correction of wrongs would not be constrained.
      To my mind, confidentiality agreements are confessions of no reconciliation. The Board should waive them all and seek reconciliation while honorably protecting the reputations of the victims, not the perpetrators of evil.

  25. Sunflower June 4, 2014 Reply

    I can't help wondering why so many people are still calling for his repentance and presuming he is a Christian. I'm not saying that he is not, just not presuming one or the other. So many wives have stayed in abusive marriages, and why? Because they thought that if they 'appealed' in yet another way, with yet another 'word picture', that their husbands would 'see the light' and be oh so sorry. But it very very rarely happens. Why? We have grown up with the secular idea (and lots of movies and books) that man is born good and just needs the right opportunity, the right logic, and 'ding!' the light goes on and they are changed in an instant, becoming such nice people all of a sudden. We think that they truly, down deep (WAY deep)want to be good. Nope. We are born sinners and Satan is an angel of light, using counterfeit mixed with some of the real stuff to deceive many. How better to get what you want than to pretend you've become a Christian? Then you can get away with almost anything if you are even a little bit charismatic or generous-looking and have the gift of the gab (or writing). I see here that so many people have wasted so much time and effort actually expecting a true repentance from a man who has never showed any inkling of doing anything even close to that. Dr. Phil keeps saying, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." Hello!! We've had how many years of past behavior and still expect him to break character? I seriously doubt that's going to happen. If there was going to be repentance, it would have happened a long long time ago. This boy knows all he needs to know. He has a good thing going and is not giving it up without taking as many down with him as he can. Somehow we as Christians feel so guilty admitting that someone is a narcissist, that there are people that really don't want to do what's right. And keeping all these great people on a leash just keeps them from real ministry.

    • Vanessa June 4, 2014 Reply

      My hope has little to do with Gothard. That's between Bill and God. RG needs to keep up the pressure for an investigation that thoroughly justifies his victims and that repudiates Bill and his teachings. I pray for a complete dismantling of IBLP and ATI (as with Vision Forum) as a lesson to legalists everywhere, and so that grace, joy and love may abound. There are still so many captives to be freed...

      • Heidi W June 4, 2014 Reply

        I wholeheartedly agree--this is my prayer as well!

      • Linda-Lee Bowman June 5, 2014 Reply

        I could not agree more.

      • Amy June 6, 2014 Reply

        "There are still so many captives to be freed.." Yes, yes! As for BG... I can't know how likely true repentance is at this point, or how realistic it is to expect it! But regardless, I think it's still something to pray for! God has been known to do many things that seem impossible. And regardless of the depth of his sin, despite the serious consequences he will face for his false teaching, his soul still has eternal value to his Creator, and Christ died for him as well.

        I don't mean to sound "preachy"... I am talking to myself more than anyone! It's one of those hard things to wrap my human heart around!

        • Beverly June 6, 2014

          I agree with you, Amy, and feel the same way. I am praying for God to grant Bill both justice and mercy---Justice in the eyes of the law so he will understand the depth and seriousness of his sins so that he can then repent and find mercy with God. I have not given up on the grace of God, and pray often that God will break through to his heart and bring him around to a radical personal understanding of God's grace, forgiveness, and love. In human terms, it feels impossible that he would change, but with God, nothing is impossible!

      • Dee June 6, 2014 Reply

        I totally agree. It is up to God how He deals with Bill. It is the victims that should be supported by us now and allowed to heal. Certainly, IBLP and ATI need to be shut down and stopped in spreading the lies and fraud of this cult.

  26. Daniel June 4, 2014 Reply

    I've been trying to wrap my mind around this whole thing for a long time. How does this happen? Is Bill a good man that did bad things or a bad man that seemingly did good things?

    The answer is of course complicated, but here are my results.

    How did it happen?

    Bill basically created an elitist "club" whose membership was so desirable that people were willing sacrifice to be in it. You were either in the club or out. Staying in had certain rules, but it also had bragging rights, lavish retreats, etc. You were either fully on board, or personna non grata.

    Is Bill bad or good?

    Bill is the ultimate product of his beliefs. That's it.

    • Sunflower June 4, 2014 Reply

      I don't think he's the product of his beliefs, but the product of his selfish desires. I don't think he even believes what he's been preaching all these years.......did he even write all that much of it? Seems to me he used people to do that, and 'borrowed' some of it.

      • Patrick Jayne June 5, 2014 Reply

        Bill often taught (a recycled or plagiarized teaching, but that's beside the point) that a "Mans Morality dictates his theology". There was much in Bill Gothard's teaching that seemingly conflicted not just with Scripture, but with basic understanding about how people are. I'm not a professional and can only offer my opinion, but it seems in light of all that we have discovered, Bill has/had some of his own personal sins and weaknesses that he used his position to cover up, but in retrospect you can see the nexus between his moral failings and his errant teachings. I pray that God uses this exposure of the damage he has wrought on hundreds and even thousands, directly and indirectly, to help him understand his own "root causes".

      • Daniel June 5, 2014 Reply

        Sunflower, let me give an example of what I mean.

        Bill's main beef with Tony is that he violated the "Authority" principal as taught by Bill Gothard. In that system, the ultimate sin is working against an "authority." We now laugh at how ridiculous this sounds, but this is what was believed.

        Authorities recognize and assert themselves as God's direct representatives (I'm not sure how President of Seminar Ministry got to be equivalent with the Pope). In the hierarchy of values,one under authority that tries to do anything else than what is demanded is looked on as an infidel, basically an agent of Satan. Those in "authority" may do whatever needs to be done to keep the order, because that is the most important thing.

        If you follow that type of teaching to the logical end, you get behavior as seen in this story.

        • MatthewS June 5, 2014

          Agree with Daniel about the authority thing.

          I think one phrase for that is "lording it over", or in the colorful way of the Message:

          So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

      • Mary Olive June 5, 2014 Reply

        Dear Sunflower,

        A lot of the IBLP teachings seem to be patterned after the old order Amish Ordnung, the descendants of Anabaptists, who settled here to avoid persecution in Europe.

        The "rules" were handed down from generation to generation, including the part about the "anointed" one or bishop, who makes decisions for the members of the congregation.

        Children are taught to obey their parents and have a "meek and quiet" spirit, but when they become of age, they choose whether to be baptized and join the church,or not.

        The time prior to joining the church, usually the two years before they become of age, is called rumspringa. Bill Gothard gave his opinion of the practice of rumspringa during the 2013 family conference in Sacramento.

        • J June 6, 2014

          I've heard of rumspringa. What was Bill's opinion on it?

        • Mary Olive June 9, 2014

          Dear J,

          I meant to respond to you sooner, but my computer is having issues, so I'm borrowing my husband's computer for now.

          Rumspringa literally means "running around" in Amish lingo (Pennsylvania Dutch).

          You asked me what Bill Gothard said about rumspringa. In my above comments, I wrote he gave his opinion of it at the 2013 Sacramento family conference that we attended.

          Bill Gothard didn't say that he didn't agree with the practice of rumspringa. He simply explained that Amish parents with offspring going through rumspringa often "look the other way," and he was worried that the adolescents might do something they would later regret. A video transcript of the conference might have his exact words, for I am paraphrasing, and most likely not very well.

          What concerns me more is when I told Bill Gothard that my daughter, son-in-law and their eight children had withdrawn from ATI after eight years because their pastor told them it was a cult.

          We were standing in a lobby of the Sacramento Conference Center and Bill stopped to talk with us before a session began. He was quiet for a moment, then he said there might come a time when we might need to choose which side we're on. As literal as I am, I didn't know what he meant. We had no idea what had occurred in his life just prior to that conference and he did not share it with us.

          That conference was one of the seven ATI annual family conferences and three ATI regional training seminars I've attended. I've also attended 11 basic seminars, four advanced seminars, three anger resolution seminars and three all-day ministers and Christian leaders seminars. I'm wondering if I'm still considered a "casual seminar attendee" or if I've been promoted into the "devoted follower" category. I have almost all of the IBLP materials and about half of the ATI wisdom booklets. And I just finished reading Basic Care Bulletin 5 on How to Make Wise Decisions on Adoption.

          I've seen several comments that indicate a person cannot possibly understand unless that person had been a member of the "inner circle." And that may well be true. The thing that comes through loud and clear, for me, however, is the pain and anger that lingers in the hearts of many who regularly post comments here. I wonder if all those who are affected, including the leaders, are learning something from all of this. I know I am.

  27. Former bill gothard girl June 4, 2014 Reply

    Just want to say how much I appreciate your heart for Jesus, Tony. As someone who has been falsely accused by Bill and reprimanded in front of others by him multiple times, although on a much much smaller scale than you have been, this article has been very healing to see your response to Bill. I was made to believe it was always my fault for how he treated me, that I was just not spiritual enough. Seeing this helps me see just how selfish, fallible, and wrong he is.

  28. Mike June 4, 2014 Reply

    From the letter: "Love does not keep account of evil..."

    Except, of course, 26 facts about an irritating critic of the ministry. A ministry that God, according to Bill, will "protect against any attack."

  29. Bill Wood June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony,

    We have known each other now for almost 40 years, we did many seminars together and had multiple funny experiences in our travels. The worst thing I have ever seen done to one man is what Bill Gothard did to you in that letter. It was reprehensible and showed his true heart. I only hope and pray that one day, Bill will seek your forgivness without qualification, and start the long process of contacting all the people with whom he communicated this lie.

    I would also like to see the letters of apology from the main group that received this letter, such as Charles Stanley etc...

    Bill Wood former 1980 staff and a proud husband of Joy Wood!

    • P.L. June 5, 2014 Reply

      Bill Wood,
      Given the tales on this site of how woman have been disregarded, lorded over, mistreated, and abused, it warmed my heart to see you say that you are the 'proud husband of Joy'! You're a gem.

  30. Joel Horst June 4, 2014 Reply

    Tony, thank you so much for everything you did, tried to do, have gone through and are doing now. As a former Mennonite myself, I know that the Mennonite church runs uncomfortably like IBLP in its handling of sin (blame the victim). It's not terribly surprising that they did what they did.

    God's blessings to you.

  31. Libby June 5, 2014 Reply

    I am aghast! At the same time, I am encouraged by the humble patience of Tony! He has demonstrated selflessness in the face of lies, and lived Gal. 5:22 for over thirty years.

    When I think of the reproach that the sins of these legalistic ministries are to the nature and character of God it grieves me. How in this world does the church overcome such abuses? I see the havoc my own legalistic approach has wrecked in my limited sphere of influence. The level of offense by BG, IBYC, IBLP/ATI is incomprehensible.

    Certainly, fear of exposure goes all the way back to the garden; denying, covering up and casting blame have their origins there as well.

    God has been so very merciful and long-suffering. I pray for justice for the people who have been victimized. I pray for true repentance and healing.

    Thank you RG for your persevering help in exposing the truth. Thank you to the courageous, gracious victims who have relived abuses so that fellow victims can receive help/validation in their healing process.

  32. Myron Horst June 5, 2014 Reply

    Last year, before the articles that came out about Bill Gothard this year, my one daughter had a prophetic dream in which she went into a room. In the room were three demons. One was Bill Gothard and the other two I will not disclose for political reasons. On the floor was a pile of bones which was Doug Phillips. When she told us her dream, we laughed like it was a joke that Bill Gothard, who we thought was such a Godly man, was portrayed a demon.

    As I read the 19 page letter that Gothard wrote accusing Tony of being an agent of Satan, I realized that a number of the accusations that were given as proof that Tony was an agent of Satan are basically what Bill Gothard has done to Jesus. Gothard was not under God's authority or under the authority of the IBLP board. Gothard in his most recent statement confessed that he had put his own agenda ahead of Christ.

    Gothard also demanded a loyalty and obedience from the staff that should only have been given to Jesus. No Christian leader should ever demand the type of loyalty, obedience, and standards that Gothard required of the staff.

    It is obvious from the lying, deceit, sexual sins, sexual perversion, slander, the demonizing of Tony, and the lack of true repentance that Bill Gothard has not been a Christian for many years.

    It is hard to imagine that Bill Gothard, who appeared to be so Godly and to have so many insights into Scripture, could be a false teacher and an agent of Satan. But Jesus warned us over and over to beware of false prophets and teachers and we have not been as alert as we should have been. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing (conservative navy blue suits), but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits..." Matthew 7:15-16

    The revelation of Bill Gothard deceiving us is a wake up call to each of us to be alert and discerning. God has told us that Satan's ministers will transformed as the ministers of righteousness in an effort to deceive us. Gothard's teachings were from Scripture, but were slightly twisted and made into the work of Satan to lead us away from following Christ to following Bill Gothard. I am grieved that we were so easily deceived by Satan.
    "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
    2 Corinthians 11:13-15

    • 'Megan' June 5, 2014 Reply

      Whoa. I will say that I tend to be a bit skeptical when people talk about 'prophetic dreams', probably because of ATI's teachings on prophecy, not because I don't believe they're a real thing.. (That and anytime you see someone claiming to be a 'prophet' on the internet or whatever, they NEVER give specific prophecies, just stupid stuff like, 'The Spirit of God is moving in a big way, get ready!'.... ok, yeah, I coulda said that..)

      Anyway.. but I'm impressed with your daughter's dream. Was that all there was to it besides the unnamed demons? (one of whom's initials are most likely BHO?)

    • wolf hunter June 5, 2014 Reply

      One of the wisest things I recall being said on this subject is that when looking for wolves in sheep's clothing, most of us are trying to spot wolves. What we are supposed to be looking for are sheep.

      A good way to distinguish between the two is to look at the crap they leave behind. A quick Google image search for wolf crap and sheep crap will show a very distinct difference in the two.

      If you want to know the distinguish between a wolf and a sheep, look at the mess they leave behind.

      • P.L. June 5, 2014 Reply

        By their fruit you shall know them! Wise counsel.

  33. Karen June 5, 2014 Reply

    Tony's faith puts me to shame. What a wonderful example to emulate. What a sad thing that BG could not take advantage of so many good opportunities to come clean.

    BG has apparently had numerous such opportunities over the years and yet resists. I feel profoundly sad for this man and his lack of genuine faith in God's mercy and grace to love him as he is to true spiritual wholeness, rather than as he would like people to think he is. What will become of him if he takes this stiff-necked resistance and pride to the grave? What will become of those who enabled and who still enable him to live such a lie? Lord, have mercy! Ultimately, there is only one hope for this man--that all those who know of his true spiritual state and have entrusted themselves to God's grace pray fervently and with love for BG's deliverance from the death-dealing principalities and powers to which he is in bondage.

    • Tangent June 6, 2014 Reply

      Enabling, that's what Alfred and all those in attendance at Big Sandy (whatever it was) are doing. That is what the board of directors, and all those other nationally known leaders are doing. I hope some of them will step up to the challenge and call BG's bluff.

  34. Don Rubottom June 5, 2014 Reply

    Did Gothard sell Stanley's and Ryrie's books? Did Gothard sell Smalley's books? Did any of these men owe some of their market to IBLP? Did Gothard give big money to his home church or just bring honor to them? Did IBLP give money to any of the ministries that cooperated, wittingly or unwittingly in the cover up and restoration of Gothard to leadership of IBYC/IBLP?

    I remember that Bob Jones literature was promoted in ATI. Did the Board know that John McLario lied to Bob Jones about being a Mason and then claimed to have repudiated Masonry but refused to allow that to be used publicly? Who told Tony about McLario's secret sin? Was McLario recommended as a hit man or just Gothard's most available at the time?

    If Gothard's lawyers got all of Tony's documents during depositions in the lawsuits in the 1980's, why did Gothard ask Tony to give him copies again last year? Has Gothard employed a lawyer to represent him in the present controversy? Have any lawyers presently employed by the Board been in past (or are in present) attorney/client relationship with Gothard? Does the Board fully understand the conflicts of interest that now exist and have they waived any conflict of interest in employing any attorney?

  35. phyllis June 5, 2014 Reply

    To Don Rubottom,
    This is a great list of questions and it would be very interesting to see the answers to all of them. I pray they will be answered, and publicly. I have personally been a supporter for many years of the Bob Jones University in the form of buying their home school curriculum for at least 15 years and listened to Charles Stanley on the radio often.

    I did not know about BJU's involvement with Bill Gothard in any way.

  36. Betty June 5, 2014 Reply

    It is interesting to hear De Boer's name in this article. It makes me wonder if he has a daughter-in-law or granddaughter(niece, etc)-in-law who was so willing to be an instrument in carrying out Gothard's backlash at my family (me in particular). Having met her in person during that time period I do not believe she was innocent of what was going on at that time.

    I also know the local area committee coordinator. I worked in the area office for several years. It is interesting to put the facts together. Did he know what was going on? He obviously joked about Gothard with another area coordinator as well as headquarters staff and held Gothard at what appeared to me to be disdain. Now that behind-the-scenes information is coming out their attitudes, comments, and reactions make more sense.

  37. Jeff Gill June 5, 2014 Reply

    Over the past six months RG has driven so many nails into the IBLP coffin that it's starting to seem that there are more nails than coffin. (Of course, I am heavily biased towards the nails, and I think a coffin is an apt metaphor. It may look different to an enthusiastic ATI fan.) This particular post was more like a railroad spike. Thank you for your willingness to share, Tony.

    I am utterly fascinated to see what the IBLP board's eventual public response will be.

    • greg r June 5, 2014 Reply

      I am utterly fascinated to see what the IBLP board's eventual public response will be.

      Myself, as well. In addition to all the sexual, psuedo-sexual creepiness, this testimony puts several different areas in brighter light: Bill was mean, vindictive, and not above being a bully. I find that very ironic: any FARGO fans out there ? Lester Nigard anyone ???
      The point, for me, is not so much bill this, bill that, but be careful that the leadership you follow TODAY is not-like-Bill. That's the takeaway.

    • KariU June 5, 2014 Reply

      It is entirely possible that the board is so untraditional for a typical board of directors that its members were initially unaware of their role when catastrophe strikes. After several months of public silence and many long private phone calls with people who do know what their role should have been--there are really no more excuses.

      At this point, I suspect there may be some embarrassment. Perhaps some regret that they found themselves in this position at this unfortunate time. I have to say for me personally, though, that I find it to be so refreshing and healing when an individual or entity discovers that it has been in the wrong and publicly admits it. There may be many things going on behind the scenes at IBLP Headquarters right now. The board may be on the phone with each other and meeting regularly to determine what to do next. I hope they are, and pray that they will come to a workable resolution. But at this point it is all really too little, too late. Their leader has fallen, and there was not one man or group of men prepared to step forward into the gap and take responsibility for what needs to happen next.

      To the board of directors: you may be reading through the comments at some point, and if you have made it as far as mine, you may be feeling frustration. You may be feeling misunderstood. You may even be rolling your eyes, because many of us are speaking without knowledge of what is actually going on behind the scenes even now. My response: That is exactly the problem. The secretive nature of Gothard's ministry is still so secretive that nobody has a clue as to how the board actually feels about it. The staff isn't allowed to speak more than in generalities. The public has been left almost completely in the dark. The empty silence is growing, and people are filling it in with conjecture, concern, and clamor for responsiveness. They are right to do so. The work of Christian ministry does not require privacy--and in fact should never find itself in such an environment, lest it become twisted, as was IBLP.

      I would like to humbly make one more suggestion to IBLP's board: get rid of your counselors. Anyone who ever had Bill Gothard's ear should be considered suspect in your minds, including yourselves. In order to remove the veil of chains that is clouding your judgement, you need counselors. But right now, you are perhaps the blind leading the blind, without even realizing it. Seek counsel outside the IBLP ministry. There are many wise individuals in ministry now who have weighed in publicly about IBLP's current situation. Go read some of their blogs, make some phone calls outside of your comfort zone. Pray. But whatever you do, please do it quickly. Real people with real families and real life problems are waiting, even hanging their very faith on what IBLP will do next. Fill in that empty space, or the rest of the world will fill it in for you.

      • Jon Owens June 5, 2014 Reply

        Thank you Kari for your wise words. You put into words what I have been thinking but have been unable to type.

  38. Daniel June 6, 2014 Reply

    A couple more thoughts... 1 A key characteristic of a good "Systems Analyst" is "Impertinence," meaning that they question everything.

    2. Tony's kindhearted plan to honor Bill by memorizing Romans and buying a caboose brings up a really interesting dynamic. This is a really odd/extreme level of appreciation for a Christian leader. Think about the belabored applause at seminars. Low/unpaid staff bought him a brand new minivan. Think about the crazy feats of excessive work that staff would accomplish (printing department, construction crew, decorating staff, secretaries up at all hours, etc)to please Bill. And he liked it.

    I'd be interested in seeing an analysis of this by some good minds.

    I think the need for adoration drove this train off the cliff.

    • P.L. June 6, 2014 Reply

      I believe the technical term is 'narcissistic supply', Daniel! And those who supply the supply are the 'narcissistic extensions'. I have a narcissist family member, so I'm coming to understand the supply part. But those who allow themselves to be extensions (so named because the narcissist sees others as mere extensions of himself) are harder for me to understand.

      I think in a church/ministry setting it is even more complicated, because the extensions conflate serving and honoring the narcissist with serving and honoring God.

      Wow, even writing that it seems scary close to idolatry. I'm not applying it to any one person or story here, just commenting in general.

      • wolf hunter June 6, 2014 Reply

        What a great observation about idolatry. The sad truth is that we can only blame ourselves for our own idolatry. We can not blame the idol. Also, we are accountable to God for it. Should be a warning to those "narcissistic extensions" who blindly follow or passively enable.

        Wolves are wolves. It is in their nature to operate in stealth. That is how they get their prey. We are no less devoured because the wolf is very crafty in delivery, or really did a lot of good for a lot of people, or that they can assemble large crowds of unsuspecting wanna-be me-too-ers. You could say the same about witch doctors. But at the end of the day, the fruit of their efforts will indicate their heart.

        When ministries come crashing down, you can tell a lot about the heart by what they try to resurrect. If fallen leaders try to resurrect themselves, it indicates whom they serve. If fallen leaders try to resurrect those they have wronged in their relationship with Jesus, they are on the path to restoration.

        This is all that they should have ever done in the first place.

        • Vanessa June 6, 2014

          One of the difficulties in the Christian life is loving with abandon and at the same time not enabling wolves/narcissists/sociopaths in our lives. My mother-in-law is a narcissist, and she spent several Christmas holidays with us. The more we served her, the more unpleasant she became. We finally had to say enough.

        • P.L. June 6, 2014

          Excellent comment, wolf hunter, particularly the part about watching who the fallen leader tries to resurrect. Very helpful, as I am even now keeping an eye on a wolfy pastor. Thanks.

          I hope the Bill Gothard fiasco makes many more people aware of the characteristics of abusive spiritual leaders, and willing to stand against them.

        • Jim K. June 9, 2014

          You do a narcissist no favors by feeding his/her lust for attention and submission, any more than you do an alcoholic any favors by paying his/her bar tab.

          Jim K.

      • Karen June 7, 2014 Reply

        Actually, it is not just "close to idolatry"; it is idolatry. Those who allow themselves to be "extensions" of the narcissist are taking their identity and life from the narcissist and not God. Any form of what might be more broadly termed codependency like this is idolatrous. It is a struggle we all will have to some extent and in some circumstances--and to which the young still forming their sense of self are especially vulnerable. Narcissists are so skilled at manipulation and deceit, it is very easy for someone without a very stable and healthy support system, and without the resulting firm connection with the unconditional love of Christ, to become so ensnared. Anyone who finds themselves in a ministry or church headed by a narcissist should run, not walk, as far away as they can get from such a place! If it's in your family, it's much more difficult to completely avoid, but the ability to "detach with love" (a principle from the 12 Steps of AA) from the narcissist and establish and keep firm boundaries will be essential to the maintenance of personal spiritual and relational health in such a family.

  39. Daniel June 7, 2014 Reply

    "Fact 14" is very interesting.

    Let's talk a scenario. Steve Gothard buys some swampy, scrubby property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Not worth much. Now imagine that that land was improved with connecting roads, proximity to a lodge and vacation resort. Imagine that an the property was desired by said lodge and posh conference center. I wonder what the value of the property would be then? What kind of tax write off would he be due as a charitable donation that would be a DEDUCTION FOR HIS OTHER BUSINESS ENTERPRISES?

    Good question, Tony.

    • Daniel June 8, 2014 Reply

      I have some impertinent questions to add, if I may.

      1. Would getting Steve married do something for his tax rate? For example, when he was "kicked out" did he sell remaining property to the Institute for a large capital gain?

      2. Did Steve have a mortgage on his property? If he was putting his entire paycheck into the property, it would speak of incremental payments.

      3. How much money did the Institute put into the North Woods property? The Oakbrook property?

      4. If the Basic Seminar has 2.5 million alumni, and the Advanced has 500,000 alumni, that would be 3 million attendees. That would be $180 million dollars at $60 each. Of course there were facility expenses, but a lot were hosted at churches. That's a lot of dough, right? Where'd it go?

      • Don Rubottom June 9, 2014 Reply

        What is the fixation on Steve's taxes? Is there evidence that anyone involved was in a high tax bracket due to big salaries or any big investment "gains" (which require a sale or transfer for value)? There may have been a marriage "penalty" in the tax code before Reagan rewrote it. A gift may only be deducted at the cost of acquisition or less if depreciated. The typical integrity AND tax problems in similar organizations is moving business cash into private real estate through free labor or materials for improvements. It sounds as if this is the likely reason the Board demanded Steve to "give" his interests to the Institute.
        It is reasonable to ask how much IBLP money was invested in real estate, but these investments have been open to observation for decades. It is also reasonable to ask if business resources were consumed by officers for personal benefit without accounting for such benefits as income. But some grand tax benefit from any of this does not seem likely.
        Moreover, the best explanation for Gothard shopping a marriage was to "cure" at least one case of fornication in a "Biblical" manner, rather than any significant marriage tax benefit. Typical legalism, of course. (In my view, marriage is no more a "cure" for lust or fornication than a banquet is a cure for gluttony. Our entire "christian" view that marriage as the "legal" way to satisfy lust completely misses the point of Genesis 2 and Jesus's teachings on marriage and lust. Purity is matter of the heart, not of civil papers or other externals like Talibanish clothing.) If one of the abused had married Steve, that might be one less offended person to war against, and one more abused person compromised by promises of love and forgiveness. And the "honor" coming from merely offering marriage in each case of fornication might merit much grace for the brothers (in their self-justification).
        It does not appear to be tax planning that drives them.

        • Daniel June 10, 2014

          Don, the questions about the taxes are attempts to understand the strange behavior. Someone that used other Institute assets so freely should at least be asked some hard questions.
          Point definitely taken about the marriage proposals, but it seems like there are other things going on... just like to understand.

  40. Jerrod Forrest June 8, 2014 Reply

    I'll be among the many to laud Tony's approach to the matters at hand, and give him high marks for his admirable attitude from 1981 (and much earlier) to the present. I'd also like to join the chorus of those who seriously question the ethics of a businessman who claims to call himself a follower of Jesus, but who for decades has displayed behavior that's diametrically opposed to that of our Savior's love-focused commands.

    As I've mentioned in other RB articles' 'comments' sections, I heartily commend those who call for repentance from BG, despite the likelihood of his snickering behind his hands at repeated, sincere attempts to induce spiritual reconciliation. Were I to make a humorous allusion to which we can all relate, I'll quote the innocent-minded Aunt Abby character in the 1944 dark comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace".

    Viewers will recall her earnest line near the film's beginning, after reading of Germany's dictatorial leader, and his nefarious doings across Europe. So reluctant to pass judgment on anyone despite strong evidence to the contrary, she remarks with genuine disappointment that "I've almost come to the conclusion that this Mr. Hitler isn't a Christian." :) I'm not making THAT strong a statement, of course, but after years of testimony from a variety of credible sources, perhaps it's time that we too, come to solid conclusions, and then act on them accordingly.

  41. DAVID PIGG June 9, 2014 Reply

    The comments made by KariU,Don Rubottom,Gregr,and David are always great.ButI have a chance now to respond to a comment made by Matthew S.,this one about when Gothard "turns on you" and "grinds you down into powder",in your words,Matthew.This probably would have been many years after the events of this article from Tony,an awesomely brave and honorable guy, transpired.By this time[and I'm saying it was Matthew S.as a young teenager]Gothard ground this young man into powder;[far from the meek and mild demeanor he often hides behind],Gothard took the wrong turn on having to pass thru many moral crossroads.Crossroads that caused the 19 page letter,going to Tony's church in Kansas,hooking up with Charles Stanley,etc.Moral crossroads that made it small potatoes to grind young impressionable naïve boys into powder if they dare cross him on a small infraction.I wonder how devastating that feels like if you are a young man?I wonder who out there is still hurting from it?I also wonder from the vantage point of the Kingdom of God,if there is just as much moral weight put on this infraction as others?On behalf of the Kingdom of God,you are required to repent of this transgression,Bill Gothard.Sometimes few words are needed in exposing the moral gravity of the thought that God may be reduced in the transpiration of His gentle urges to bring one to repentance,to have to rely on His Sovereignty for justice.And to have to bypass what He up to a certain point in time would rather not do.May compassion come for all those young men so devastated.

  42. X-Staff June 12, 2014 Reply

    Although I find it sad, I have agreed with RC on many points they have made. But this is one which I think they are incorrect, and reading the above letter from Mr. G again, (I had seen it before while on staff) only further convinced me. Tony's actions sound very much like that of Absalom's. Any time there is money and power to be had, there will be people who seek to promote themselves, often by putting down the current leaders.

    And the little pity party sob story at the end... Who memorizes scripture to impress or show affection for someone else? His whole life and motives while at HQ smell of bad intentions, through and through.

    • MatthewS June 12, 2014 Reply

      Honest question: applying Bill's teachings, how was it not being "defiled by an evil report" for you to read his letter against Tony?

    • "Emee" June 12, 2014 Reply

      "Who memorizes scripture to impress or show affection for someone else?"

      I did. While a child in ATI, I spent over a year attempting to memorize a large passage of Scripture that one of my parents had previously memorized. I did it out of love for that parent and a genuine desire to imitate them (and, ok, a healthy dose of self-righteousness and pride). So, no, I don't find it hard to believe that Tony and the other staff wanted to memorize Scripture due to their love for BG.

    • Jerrod Forrest June 13, 2014 Reply

      As a 24-year U.S. diplomat, my thoughts on this statement can be summed up through an historical analogy. If after examining the exhaustive body of evidence from the Nuremberg Trials or Stalin's 1930s political purges, one still resists reaching logical conclusions, I have to wonder what's behind the denial.

      Even as someone who has had no involvement with BG or ATI, I and any other reader can make 'parachute-drops' onto the RG site, read well-documented, reasoned arguments about what was wrong with this organization (I can't call it a ministry), and understand that unbridled greed, lust for control over others' lives and a self-absorbed pathology underlay the entire sordid structure. To therefore express disbelief in this case about who wore the white hat, and who had the black hat firmly ensconced on his head indicates, IMHO, an unhealthy bias for the wrong team.

      I'm all for people expressing their opinions - which is more than what BG allowed under his decades' long reign - but the obviousness of the flaw here would be chuckle-worthy, if the charge weren't so egregious.

    • Don Rubottom June 13, 2014 Reply

      I don't understand how you can approve the Gothard letter, even if you find Tony unsympathetic. Do you believe Tony had no authority from Gothard or the Board to interview the staff? Do you believe that Gothard correctly accused Tony of provoking his uncle to write Gothard demanding reform when the uncle denied that? Do you believe it was appropriate for Gothard to approach Tony's church and demand his ex-communication without a hearing? Was it appropriate to use information against Tony that he had confessed in a pastor-penitent relationship? When did Gothard go to Tony with a second witness? Why is your view so different from the Woods' and Gabriel's who were involved in all the events described? Was Dr. Schultz trying to take over too? Why was Bill Gothard unwilling to be wronged? I believe Gothard's letter is very convincing as well, but only if I refuse to hear another side of the story. I believe Proverbs speaks to that. If you have additional evidence based on your own observations and first-hand knowledge, I would be delighted to understand these events better. But your apparent primary reliance on Gothard's letter seems very injudicious at this point in the story. Wow. Do you write letters like that about people? Did Paul write a letter like that about John Mark? Do you see no spite in that letter?
      Also, just to understand, at what point in time were you shown the letter on staff? Do they bring it out annually to remind staff how evil critics are and how they will be handled? I can't imagine a good reason to show a letter like that around after the fact.

      • David Pigg June 17, 2014 Reply

        Samuel Schultz's resignation spoke volumes on top of these points you made,but then when you've been steeped in the simmering intoxicating personality cult,nothing may offer a valid reason against BG.Thanksfor good points,Don.

        • Don Rubottom June 17, 2014

          I'm not so sure that Mj is steeped in the personality cult, but possibly in the "father is patriarch" cult. That is intoxicating for a young father, as long as his wife keeps her peace about any trivial imperfections that might appear, such as unaccountability, harshness, self-will, isolation from the Heb 10, "assembly". But after about 20-25 years, she will probably unload on him, or one of the children will jump ship and then he will have to face it. It's not BG, it's what BG represents for all those who would emulate him. That is why men and women are reacting so very differently to the disclosures in this matter. Women don't want to admit that blind submission enables. Men don't want to admit we are unworthy of blind submission.

    • Joy Wood June 16, 2014 Reply

      Dear x staff member,

      You are so wrong and lack understanding about the implied charges of self promotion and asking for money. I am very interested in how you read the letter about Tony. We are talking about an letter from the archives.

    • Alfred Corduan August 18, 2014 Reply

      Regardless of the tone, the intent, the distribution . . . let's be clear. Bill never called Tony an "Agent of Satan". Not once. What he did was suggest the possibility, leaving the reader to decide whether "The Agent" is working for Jesus or the devil. Obviously his conclusion on the matter was clear . . . but this is nothing like the angry, unbridled railing I was lead to believe this was. For the 10 years I have been hearing about it.

      Read it.

      "In an attempt to help you to be more objective, I am not going to use the name of your nephew in this document. There is also another reason for the title I will use to refer to him. it is a reminder that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare, not against people, but against "the rules of darkness. In this battle, we can either become an agent of the Holy Spirit or an agent of Satan's influence or power.

      You, and any future reader of this document, must determine whose agent your nephew has allowed himself to become. Please carefully consider the following twenty-six facts."

      He proceeds to use the term "the agent" throughout the rest of the document. It bothers me when facts are misrepresented. Nobody wins.

      • GuyS August 18, 2014 Reply

        "let's be clear. Bill never called Tony an "Agent of Satan". Not once."

        I think what you said is technically true. Furthermore, I think that most of the time you might be technically correct. That was my summation of BG. However, I would say that both what you and BG promote is false by misdirection. I think you both are very expert at swallowing gnats.

        • GuyS August 18, 2014

          Correction: gnats and especially camels

        • Don Rubottom August 19, 2014

          More accurately, he chokes on gnats and ignores the camels. I can't believe this latest assertion. It is not "technically correct" when it is obviously substantively false. No man who writes such a slanderous letter can be defended on the grounds of being "technically" misrepresented.
          This is what Alfred sounds like to me: "The accused did NOT intentionally and gruesomely murder 101 people! Two of the 101 died of heart attacks! And I won't allow you to lie about that!"

        • GuyS August 19, 2014

          Don I think I agree with your statement

          "It is not "technically correct" when it is obviously substantively false."

          There are 2 times "it" is used in your statement. I am assuming the "it" refers to the over 200 word reply Alfred made on Aug 18 beginning with "Regardless of the tone..."

          There is no question in my mind that Alfred is way out of line with his obviously substantively false over 200 word reply. Words fail me when I think about responding to such madness. Of course both BG and Alfred write slanderous trash and should be condemned never defended. Only a naive fool would do so. (Lord forgive me for being such a fool for so many years)

          However, there are 13 words of that over 200 word reply that I think are technically true but false by misdirection. In my option, that makes it way worse than false, it is deceptively dishonestly evil and false. But that seems to be the way both BG and Alfred play there games. Without a little truth mixed in, no one would swallow the Kool Aid. The small amount of "technical truth" does not make it less poisonous and evil, it only makes it more deceptive.

          The Alfred crowd (Lord forgive me for being part of that crowd) love to beat on their chest and shout, "I have the truth." Yeah, well a small part may be true, but it always comes out how much poison and how many lies there are.

        • Don Rubottom August 20, 2014

          I actually meant that Alfred's statement that Bill never called Tony "agent of satan" is not technically true because that statement is the substantively contradicted by the entirety of the letter as others have much better attested below. You call it "technically true but false by misdirection". I am just unwilling to attribute any form of truth to such. The word "true" is to valuable in my universe to apply to such rhetorical trickery. I know we agree about the substance, and the foolishness of the errand that Alfred pursues to defend by technicality great and substantive evil.

      • Aila H August 18, 2014 Reply

        Alfred,
        You want readers to disregard the intent, the tone and the distribution of the letter. Why? Any thinking person will consider the intent, the tone and the distribution of such a letter. It is obvious what BG is implying. You once again have jumped to a new topic, when you hit a dead end in another thread.

        • Becoming Free August 18, 2014

          "You once again have jumped to a new topic, when you hit a dead end in another thread." Exactly what I was thinking.

        • Lemons August 18, 2014

          Becoming Free said: "You once again have jumped to a new topic, when you hit a dead end in another thread." Exactly what I was thinking.

          You are not the only one...

      • Elizabeth D August 18, 2014 Reply

        Maybe I missed something ... did someone say that Bill SAID, "Agent of Satan" when he referred to Tony? IF so, then yes, that is technically incorrect. I remember reading the posted letter and taking note of that.

        I also noted how clear his inference was as far as whose agent "the agent" was ... he spelled it out with great insult at the top of page 2, then kept repeating the thinly veiled but cutting slur in 24 of his following 26 points ... to the man's own UNCLE, no less, while he maintained an air of infallibility.

        And you DEFEND this man because he didn't string the letters "a-g-e-n-t-o-f-s-a-t-a-n" in that particular order?? IT DOESN'T MATTER if he said "agent of Satan" or asked the reader to "determine whose agent [his] nephew [had] allowed himself to become" while listing two multiple choice possibilities (the Holy Spirit or "Satan's influence or power"). The inference is the same, and he took the more insulting route, in my opinion. THEN he kept drilling it in over and over, ad nauseum, throughout his righteous tirade.

        So if somebody says that your friend called Tony an "agent of Satan," I'm willing to give them a pass on that one. How about you??

        It's beyond dumbfounding to see you come to your friend's defense over a hair-spitting technicality, with no apparent regard for the fact that he referred - purposefully and repeatedly - to Tony in that way ... regardless of how the words were strung together. Are you proud of that? Can you justify that?

        It's not quite as dumbfounding, though, as your statement that you're bothered by misrepresentation of facts. What about the time your friend denied writing a 19-page letter ... does THAT bother you??? It should. And it seems like maybe you're not aware that Tony authored a 31-page response to a whole bunch of allegations against him. Because if you were, it seems like you would be at least a little bothered about some of those facts.

        Unless Bill told you to disregard it.

        It's so clear and you're the last one to see it ... you're being played, Alfred.

        • 'Megan' August 18, 2014

          In other words, 'yes that picture of me with a marijuana joint in my mouth is really me, but I wasn't actually smoking it!' (Another Bill.)

      • kevin August 18, 2014 Reply

        Alfred,
        "the rules of darkness. In this battle, we can either become an agent of the Holy Spirit or an agent of Satan's influence or power."

        This is your own quote. When someone makes that statement, and then goes on to make 26 points, referring to the person as the "Agent", when all 26 points argue that they person is acting as an agent for Satan, they are making the argument that the person (Tony), is an agent of Satan. No room is left to the imagination as to which Agent Gothard believes Tony to be. His letter seeks to bring that point home, over and over. So, he is, in fact, arguing and suggesting that Tony is an "Agent" of Satan. The fact that the does not actually say it point blank, takes nothing away from the fact that the letter is arguing that point.
        You're really grasping at straws here.
        It is a silly game, this searching for gnats, and then acting as if you have uncovered some untruth in the discussion about the letter. Gothard is clearly communicating that Tony is an agent of Satan in this letter. He says he is either A or B, then makes 26 points to argue he is B- yes, he is communicating that he is B.
        The fact that the letter was composed, that it told lies about Tony, that it was sent to his friends and family, and that Gothard denied having composed the letter, these are the camels. Playing some game with words to argue whether someone actually used a name, or implied it is really grasping.
        Do you now do what you did with the supposed truth you uncovered with the sitting on the lap incident? Do you believe that now we can cross another one of the items off what you call "the list of bad things Bill did"?

      • MatthewS August 18, 2014 Reply

        To use the KJV, "A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight." Alfred, you are continually using a false balance. You pick over everyone else's statements with a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass, looking for anything to draw attention away from the obvious problems. Meanwhile, you are fully willing to ignore "tone and intent" of Gothard's own letter in order to defend it from charges that it says what in fact it clearly communicates. How many years would it take you to defend Tony from Bill's charges if you were to apply a consistent standard? How much could Tony get away with if you used the same standard of evidence which you apply to Bill? But that's not your game. Your game is a weighted scale, a false balance. It is not unloving to warn you that based on Scripture, you are engaging in an "abomination to the Lord" when you do that.

      • Nick August 18, 2014 Reply

        Alfred you failed the Logic Test.

        Using just basic logic we can see Bill is calling Tony an Agent of Satan in this letter.

        The entire letter is Bill's attempt to demonstrate that Tony was NOT an agent of the Holy Spirit.

        Bill himself said if he's not an agent of the Holy Spirit, then he's an Agent of Satan.

        The only conclusion left to us at the end of the letter is:

        Bill not only calls Tony an Agent of Satan, but presents 26 points to prove that he is an Agent of Satan.

        Alfred if you don't understand or agree with this, you not only fail basic tests of logic, but it's FURTHER proof that you have ZERO business researching this topic.

        • Don Rubottom August 19, 2014

          Your honor, my client can't be guilty of murder because the indictment does not say he "is guilty of murder". It only says he intentionally and with premeditation killed his friend and that killing intentionally with premeditation is murder! Therefore, he is innocent!

      • rob war August 18, 2014 Reply

        Since he was calling him an agent, what do you think what kind of
        "agent" Bill gothard meant? Just reading the 2013 email exchange betweent Tony and BG make me wonder about BG. Does he really not know what he did and how he sinned and make the victim retell so BG can discount the person or pick it apart or find a way to wiggle out of it? I am not sure why you focus on the people pre 1980 and try to pick apart their stories?

        • Don Rubottom August 19, 2014

          Rob, you know that intent only matters in sexual harassment and lapsitting.

      • P.L. August 18, 2014 Reply

        Alfred says, "It bothers me when facts are misrepresented. Nobody wins."

        You mean like Bill Gothard's 26 'Facts' presented against Tony? You mean misrepresentations like those?

        Glad you're concerned Alfred.

      • P.L. August 18, 2014 Reply

        "...this is nothing like the angry, unbridled railing I was lead to believe this was."

        Nobody used those words here, though we can all see clearly Bill Gothard's ugliness (and hear the voice of the accuser of the brethren). If you want to argue about those words, go talk to the people that used them.

        For your edification, here is a link to the definition of the "straw man" argument, of which you are so inordinately fond: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

        Perhaps you don't realize that you are repeatedly engaging in this logical fallacy. But we do.

      • Alfred Corduan August 19, 2014 Reply

        Wow! A lot of air time.

        No . . . my point stands. It is a tad personal because this has been tossed at me in private for 10 years. Never was given a chance to read the letter. A man screaming "You agent of the devil" 60-some times in a 19 page letter is, well, vile. This, on the other hand, is a carefully reasoned out and documented historical account of accusations which, if you took a word processor and replaced the phrase "the agent" with "Tony" would not read any different. Try it.

        10 years. Just me, amazed . . . at what I find when the actual item appears after it has been described to me. Sorry . . . you just can't take that away from me.

        • GuyS August 19, 2014

          "you just can't take that away from me."

          True. But some adults on this site can offer correction, reproof and so on. Even with all these adults and air time, it seems like you have not seen anything new. There is no force used to wrest away your point. It still stands in your mind. Perhaps the many hundreds who read this see otherwise.

          If you choose to hold on to your beliefs and loyalty, see how that works out for you in a few years with your kids. It is clear how you respond to adults with years of wisdom and experience. We adults seem to have no voice to reach you.

          Others here have pointed out how your kids may respond in time to you. I am guessing that it will not be pretty.

        • Don Rubottom August 19, 2014

          Alfred, ask a God-fearing non-Gothardite pastor who has never heard of the incident to read the letter and evaluate it's tone and intent. Please, for your own sanity.
          You can't take away from me that it is the close to the most railing letter I've seen and I read angry letters to politicians regularly as part of my work. That letter is pathetic and childish, and if even one statement is false, it constitutes a horrible crime against the church and all of us who were kept from knowing the kind of man that BG has been all these years.

        • Aila H August 19, 2014

          Actually, Alfred your point does not stand. Many have tried to engage you with thoughtful responses. Elizabeth, Matthew, Kevin, Nick, Rob and others have challenged your assumptions and conclusions, and you simply ignore them and proclaim your "point stands" as if saying something loud enough and long enough will make it true. There are people on this site who care enough about you to try and interact with you, but you don't appreciate that. You claim to have suffered, but ignore all those who have suffered because of the teachings and behavior of BG. Without even realizing it, you are also a victim of BG's errant teaching.

        • Elizabeth D August 19, 2014

          So (if I’m reading you correctly) you’re saying that since someone described something you didn’t have access to as the 10th degree of horrible, and then 10 years later when you finally saw it for yourself it was only 9 degrees of horrible because they’d paraphrased something a little too harsh for your tastes. So you complain about the paraphrase and the paraphraser?? What about the content and the author – nothing wrong with them??

          This is not the harmless document you describe. It is character annihilation. It was a desperate attempt by a person backed into a corner with no defense to turn all the attention to his accuser … the fine, upstanding person once in good graces who had been charged with investigating facts, but who had discovered facts that would be far less than flattering to your friend.

          Think about why this letter even exists. Why did Bill feel the need? If he was truly infallible, he wouldn’t have needed to verbally assassinate anybody … the truth would have come to his defense. People that are innocent tend to fare much better when they back off and let the chips fall. People that are innocent don’t have to rail former associates, MUCH LESS send copies to their family, churches, and other associates. People who are innocent tend to focus on their own defense when falsely accused, not the undermining of those armed with the actual facts. He was in a desperate situation and had to come on strong against his accuser. He succeeded, at least to a degree, because this was his only way out, and he had to play hard or go home.

          You don’t owe me the time of day, Alfred, but I’m still rooting for you, and would love to hear a direct response to a couple of very specific questions.

          (1) How do you justify in your mind what your friend Bill taught about giving and listening to bad reports with this letter that he authored? (Was there an exception clause in what he taught to others, or was there one only for himself maybe?) And
          (2) DID BILL LIE when he said (sorry, I can’t find the reference right now, AND [warning] I’m paraphrasing) that he never wrote a 19-page letter to anyone.

        • P.L. August 19, 2014

          Alfred says, " It is a tad personal ". Umm, hate to break it to you Alfred, but not as personal as it was to Tony, when the "26 Falsehoods" were sent to his family, friends, and church.

          Once again, you elevate your personal feelings above those of the true victim. Once again, I call narcissism.

        • Nick August 19, 2014

          Alfred: "Never was given a chance to read the letter."

          Because it's none of your freaking business. And it's none of my business either. The only reason you and I had a chance to read the letter is because Tony decided to share it publicly. So thank you Tony.

          You seem to have no concept of privacy or personal boundaries. This combined with your lack of care and respect for others is un-Christlike - is this how Christ would act? Come on, man!

          Alfred: "A man screaming "You agent of the devil" 60-some times in a 19 page letter is, well, vile"

          VERSUS

          "if you took a word processor and replaced the phrase "the agent" with "Tony" would not read any different. Try it."

          DUDE it's the exact same thing. "The agent" = agent of satan. The entire letter is Bill quietly and firmly calling Tony "You Agent of the Devil"

          You say "but Bill didn't write those exact words."

          Dude what??? It does not matter!!!

          That's like saying "The doctrine of the Trinity is false because God never says 'I am a Trinity!!'"

          Use some logic here.

        • J.B. August 20, 2014

          Alfred,

          Once again, your inattentiveness to the plight of others and your inability to past the surface level of meaning in dialogue is apparent. In your defenses of Bill, you continually reference what he's saying explicitly. That's all fine and dandy, but the concern of those who are trying to engage with you is focused on what Bill did NOT say. And this is a very valid concern. This is an issue that has reared its ugly head time and time again. Unspoken expectations, coded language, limitation of information: these are all characteristics of an abusive environment, one that you've been enabling. You continually refuse to recognize that you're being played, and you will continue to do so as long as you do exactly what Bill is doing: steadfastly refusing to engage with people on their terms and holding up your own as the standard to which everyone else must conform.

          And once again, you have the audacity to talk about being persecuted. How? No one wanted to share the letter with you? People are disagreeing with you? You've continued to remain in IBLP despite its decline after being exposed for the sham it is? Please. This isn't persecution. People have been hurt by the very institution you continue to uphold. I'll say it again:

          People. Have. Been. Hurt.

          Do you not care one bit for them? You say you do, but your words and actions say otherwise. You minimize their pain. You say things that basically amount to, "It's okay, plenty of people have benefited from what's damaged you!" and "One day, God will set this straight and will reward Bill for the legacy he's left." Do you not see at all how this discourages people from stepping forward - the very people whose stories need to be told?

          I still don't think you do.

        • Alfred Corduan August 23, 2014

          I remain interested in the question if anyone actually read this letter all the way through, no skimming . . . without the presupposition to automatically hate it and the author. Just try it. the-Agent-19-Page-Letter-9.5.1981.pdf

          People were hurt? A lot of people were hurt. We were hurt. In fact . . . a lot of Christians have been hurt just by trying to follow Jesus. Sometimes it just hurts. People who fight in a war get hurt . . . a lot more than the folks that stay at home. Part pf our job is to see people that hurt like we have hurt and do whatever we can to help them the way Jesus helped us.

          To blame all of our troubles on Bill Gothard? When God is so big and powerful? Does that make sense?

          Like James said:

          "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of endurance." (James 5:10) They got knocked around pretty good, in some cases by people whom they irritated. For their attempt to life a holy life the way they understood God wanting them to. They didn't have Bill back then.

          How Paul put it:

          "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

          "Much trouble" . . . that is our birthright, in this life.

          So . . . I cannot speak to anyone else's trouble, just my own. I have cried a lot of tears over the years. I have to take my broken heart to Jesus and see what He can do with it. He really does care . . . Oh, yes He cares.

        • MatthewS August 23, 2014

          So if the letter were written the other way, if Tony had written it about Bill, and sent it around to important people in Bill's life, and it resulted in significant and painful losses to Bill, you would defend the letter to Bill even if Bill were to say that this was Tony bearing an evil report?

        • Elizabeth D August 23, 2014

          Exactly what question are you still interested in? I asked two direct questions and asked for your responses, but as before, they've been ignored.

          If you care to enlighten us -
          (1) How do you reconcile your friend's teaching on giving AND listening to "bad reports," (and on how to "suffer" when offended) with his letter to Tony? and
          (2) Did Bill lie when he reportedly said he'd never written such a letter?

          And don't think your "challenge" went unnoticed. You offered to delve into questions based on others doing their homework. That's a tactic of your mentor. Speak for yourself, regardless of whatever anybody else has done or told you to do.

        • Alfred Corduan August 24, 2014

          Elizabeth: "Evil Reports" are gossip and the like . . . digging up stuff to just to hurt people or even to satisfy curiosity. Obviously there is a place to present your complaint against a brother to 2-3 witnesses and ultimately the church, right? Bill composed a letter that went to Tony's advocate - his uncle - and the leaders of his church . . . people part of the problem or part of the solution. This letter was never intended to be broadcast across the internet. Tell me if I am wrong . . . but that is how I understand it.

          What do I want? I want people to actually read the letter and ponder what it is saying. There are situations where attempts by someone to right a wrong can cause long term problems and complications, actually sabotaging any hope of resolution.

          I have a hard time of calling Bill a liar. It would be a silly thing to deny something like that if you know that a number of people have copies, let alone the person who is quite angry about it . . . unless you really didn’t put the accusation together with what happened.

          Matthew: Again, if Tony is following the steps of Matthew 18 he might be composing letters to those that are part of that process. I know I have done that. I see nothing wrong with that. When it goes outside of the scope of Matthew 18, especially when it is broadcast to the world of unbelievers, then we have violated clear commands of the Lord.

          BTW . . . after I sent the last post I started thinking I had seemed a bit flippant with regard to the hurts of others. We all get to suffer . . . but it really hurts. Especially when we feel someone else has caused it. And, yes, Bill has hurt a bunch of people.

        • Don Rubottom August 24, 2014

          Alfred, I did read the letter all the way through when first available online. I found it very convincing, although its length makes me think the author was really, really out to get this guy. But its convincing tone and content make it all the more evil. It was based on a false premise: that Tony put his uncle up to his independent actions. It was rooted in defensiveness, BG trying to snuff out remaining opposition. It misrepresented the authority that Tony had from BG and the Board at various times in the soap opera to investigate. It misused personal confessions from counseling. And it had one objective: character assassination. Add to that BG's motive: his ministry was hanging by a thread after pushing his way back into authority without resolving the issues that had him removed. I can't find anything about that letter that is justifiable.
          Thank you for explaining your feelings about other people getting hurt. I am glad that you deal with your hurts. That is what is important.

          Now fast forward some years. Your former mentor had written a letter like that about you, presume they were completely in the right about the underlying facts. They caused your church to excommunicate you without a trial. The relationship has never been reconciled. They call you and say they want to reconcile. You say they have to address the 19 page letter; they say "I never wrote a 19 page letter." And what do you say to this soul?
          That reconciliation is dropped and forgotten. Some more years pass, the worst stories are coming out about the letter writer. He calls you again and asks to reconcile. You say he has to deal with all the things that he did to wrong you. He asks you to send him all of your records about the relationship so he can find out what in the world you are talking about. Your response to him is what?

        • Aila H August 24, 2014

          Alfred
          Perhaps you don't realize how offensive your questions are. While you pre suppose that no one has actually read the letter completely without presuppositions, you think somehow you have the moral high ground. Really? Yes, I read the letter completely. No skimming. Whenever any thinking person reads something, it is read within the context of what is already known either about the author or the subject. This site is designed for those who are recovering from BG's twisted teachings. Every time you discount others views and opinions, you inspire responses that actually strengthen the case against BG and his teachings. Your comments actually are helping readers clarify and articulate their views.

        • Elizabeth D August 25, 2014

          Thanks for pointing out the loophole, Alfred; I couldn't find it on my own. So apparently it's okay to write a scathing letter and distribute it to one's friends, family, and associates if it's "true." We can assume Bill's "reports" are truth, and others are not allowed to give bad reports because theirs are false. I promise I think that's what you actually said.

          Bahahahahahahahaha.

          And you STILL can't answer the simple question of whether Bill lied about writing the letter about Tony. It's NINETEEN pages, and was distributed far and wide. Forgetfulness is NOT AN OPTION. DID Bill LIE when he flatly DENIED writing such a letter???

          Yes, we all are too keenly aware that you have a problem admitting that Bill Gothard lied. That would make him a liar, after all. And no, the letter certainly wasn't meant for publication to the world ... that puts a serious damper on one's ability to deny writing it.

          You have been asked a straightforward answer repeatedly, and have repeatedly avoided it. Can you answer without running to your friend to ask his opinion about it, to hear his excuse for it, to get his spin???

          DID Bill Gothard lie when he denied writing a 19-page letter about Tony?

        • Don Rubottom August 25, 2014

          Elizabeth, you are missing the most important evidence. IF we presume BG is telling the truth (innocent until proven guilty), and IF we presume that his critics are malicious liars (hostile to the ministry or the Gospel, sour grapes, blaming others, etc.), then you can't believe his critics who are liars so you can't prove that BG lied. It is all very logical for Alfred. Of course, Chesterton pointed out that the insane are very logical. It's just that their delusional circle of reality is far too small to incorporate any truth or fact from the outside. If the things they believe are true, then their seemingly insane conclusions are not unreasonable.

        • Elizabeth D August 25, 2014

          Don - thanks for pointing that out ... it helps to understand the situation better. Love your input, by the way. I, too, was a bystander, not a stakeholder.

        • Don Rubottom August 25, 2014

          Alfred, if evil reports are mere gossip, why did BG make up a new teaching and new rules about "evil reports"? Why didn't he just teach the Word about gossip?
          Tony "told it to the church" when the letter was published on the internet (he told it to "the Church") AFTER 30+ years of non-reconciliation. Also, you are wrong, it is my understanding that the letter was mailed to Charles Stanley and other national figures who had nothing to do with "solving" Tony's personal issues. The letter was a carpet bombing attempt to annihilate BG's paranoid fear that Tony was organizing opposition against him.
          Is it really better to postulate that BG was self-deluded in denial about the letter, rather than that he lied about not writing it? Why would an honorable man have to be in denial about such a practical, honest, appropriate and acceptable letter?
          Congratulations on acknowledging that BG hurt a lot of people. I mean that. When do you think will BG admit that ("inappropriate" doesn't cut it) and show signs of repentance? Are you working as hard for that as you seem to be working to defend and rehabilitate BG's reputation (outward appearance) from unproven or technically imperfect charges?

        • Alfred Corduan August 26, 2014

          Don: “Now fast forward some years. Your former mentor had written a letter like that about you, presume they were completely in the right about the underlying facts. They caused your church to excommunicate you without a trial.”

          I am going to take this opportunity to inject a comment I made in a separate thread. The topic of a “closed fellowship” came up, which I am part of, have been since almost birth . . . and understand well. A fellowship like the Mennonite church the Tony was part of. I said:

          “The process of church discipline is practiced along the lines of Matthew 18 . . . if a member is "put out", they are then "shunned" as a heathen man and publican. There are different degrees of this practiced . . . some I have heard of do not even allow a spouse "put out" to eat with their own family.

          The process of being "put out" is serious and focused. From the perspective I have gained from being inside such a setting all my life I can tell you that it is jealously guarded from influence from outsiders. Part of the reason is that other groups are regarded with varying degrees of suspicion, even outright rejection . . . as "unclean". That is why one is prohibited from attending them . . . and their authorities are given no honor at all.

          If someone came from one of these groups to our Assembly to demand action against one of our members, I am sure it would be listened to. If that action involved proof that they had been violating church rules, that evidence would be used against them. But if it involved matters outside the jurisdiction of the church, it would be basically ignored.

          Meaning . . . if Tony went to my elders and complained about my persecuting him or supporting a wicked man like Bill Gothard, my elders would see whether I have been faithful to the Assembly and generally honorable as a believer. If so, they would let him know that those are matters that do not concern them or the church. To put me out would most definitely HAVE to involve an infraction against the Assembly . . . immorality, drunkenness, financial improprieties, attacks on our leadership or members, or having fellowship in other churches.

          Which is why the veiled reference to "a technicality" interests me. I just can't imagine what that would be. People do not get shunned - which, in our case, at least, requires a special solemn meeting of the entire group - for "a technicality". A lifelong member, with family there? No . . . way.”

          So . . . I question that it was Bill’s letter or team bearing the letter that got Tony into trouble. Since very little if anything has to do with the church. I know that such a “team” would evoke quite the opposite reaction if they tried to storm into our fellowship and demand an action. Can’t imagine those dynamics were not in play there as well.

        • Alfred Corduan August 26, 2014

          Don: “Alfred, if evil reports are mere gossip, why did BG make up a new teaching and new rules about "evil reports"? Why didn't he just teach the Word about gossip?”

          I clearly remember getting that booklet . . . on Matthew 18, when I was a kid. It was powerful – it shook me, I still have it tucked away with my “important stuff”. I was not aware of the scandal, had no context to put it in. It just opened up the section in ways I had never seen before. This is no “new teaching” . . . it is right from the words of the Savior.

          “Tony "told it to the church" when the letter was published on the internet (he told it to "the Church")”

          God’s Word just doesn’t change, not even after 30+ years. It is dead wrong to put the Church’s dirty laundry out to be tried in the court of public opinion. Calling Recovering Grace “the church” is a stretch at best . . . membership has nothing to do with knowing Jesus or loving fellow saints. All are welcome.

          How about this pointed statement:

          “1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
          7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren” (1 Cor. 6)

          “Why do you not rather take wrong?” Rather than spread it out for the unbelievers to judge and mock? Knock Jesus name down in the media? No, it was not right. Whatever good was intended or short term success may be cited, the end will not be good.

          “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) 30 years of pent up wrath. Doesn’t accomplish anything God considers right. Never . . . not even once.

        • MatthewS August 26, 2014

          Alfred, when talking about others besides IBLP:

          How about this pointed statement:
          “1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
          7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren” (1 Cor. 6)

          “Why do you not rather take wrong?” Rather than spread it out for the unbelievers to judge and mock? Knock Jesus name down in the media? No, it was not right. Whatever good was intended or short term success may be cited, the end will not be good.


          Alfred, when talking about IBLP:
          "The ministry -directed by the Board - will most certainly defend him legally..." (here)

          And:
          "There is a reason why there are defamation/slander/libel laws ... "Charlotte" has a responsibility to stand to her accusations... I presume she is prepared to do that." (here)

        • Don Rubottom August 26, 2014

          Alfred, thanks for the closed fellowship information. It makes me think that Tony may have been excommunicated for fellowshipping with Gothard...upon Gothard's complaint! It's like a tax collector accusing Jesus of eating with tax collectors! Of course I am being facetious.
          But why would a body so closed as you have described encourage or tolerate following a man such as Gothard who would be clearly ineligible for their fellowship? I mean if Billy Graham would have to sit in back, I'm sure that Bill Gothard would not be preferred ahead of him.
          I hope you can see how strange all that seems to those of us who have participated in multiple veins of Biblical Christianity. At the same time, it helps me see why Gothard's view of holiness is not disagreeable to you.

        • Don Rubottom August 26, 2014

          Alfred, I did not mean to imply that the 19 page letter was the excommunication complaint. But it was my understanding that related communications from Gothard or surrogates did lead to Tony's excommunication without a trial. I do not recall the characterization of the reason for excommunication but it seems that his has been represented as not being for some continuing adultery, blasphemy, criminal enterprise or other "big ten" offense. I used "technicality" on the grounds that it was not denied but neither acknowledged as major sin. (Maybe he played footsie with a subordinate...sorry, I couldn't resist. I admit the matter is too serious for foolish speculation.)

        • Don Rubottom August 26, 2014

          Alfred, the Word of God indeed does not change. But is this "dead wrong"? Gal. 2:11-14; II Tim 4:10, 14-15. Paul named a number of other names in THE BIBLE airing the church's dirty laundry for all the world FOR ALL TIME to see! God the Prophets and the Apostles have made public and UNIVERSAL examples of Adam, Eve, Pharaoh, Israel, Babylon, all kinds of saints and sinners (all unrepentant, I might add). How does a church shun their own family members without making a public spectacle of it? You, sir, appear to be a respecter of persons, protecting BG while shunning others. Where does the Word of God tell us to hide the unrepentant sins of churchmen? The Light has come! But men love darkness better than light.
          Why not indeed prefer to be wronged?
          How pray tell might those sinned against by Bill Gothard tell me, a member of the church universal and formerly in fellowship with ATI and IBLP of the persistent failure of BG to repent, so that I might be forewarned to shun him? Would IBLP loan its mailing list to those offended? RG's IS the way to tell the church. It is pitiful that BG has brought such shame on the Church, but who was talking to the Chicago Sun Times after the "internal" IBLP findings this summer (sounding like a lunatic claiming sexual harassment is based on intent)? This is not 30 years of wrath bubbling over. This is 30 years of perfidy, ignominy and reprobation coming to light. Be sure your sins will find you out. You are merely perpetuating the "no bad report" teaching, without Scriptural support (false teaching is NOT covered in Matt. 18), yet you yourself are violating that same teaching by bringing charges against Charlotte, RG, and listening to the "bad reports" on this website. You have no credibility on this point, Alfred.
          God makes an example of people to warn others. He killed Sapphira for obeying her husband in deceiving the church! I am thankful that a generation is now warned about the sins and false teachings of Bill Gothard, Mark Driscoll, the Catholic Priest molesters, Jimmy Swaggert, etc., etc. Let us count all our churchy self-respect before the world's eyes as rubbish for the glory of knowing Christ and His sufferings. Turn from idols. Look ONLY unto Jesus!
          I do not recommend lawsuits before unbelievers. I do not care for the judgment of the world on these matters. But the world is a pretty good judge of our hypocrisy, so it has use in keeping us accountable. Paul noted the pagans for having higher sexual ethics than the Corinthian believers!
          My recommended remedy is a full public airing of the truth, with the chips falling where they may, public confessions, public restitution where possible and public repentance and forgiveness. Without fear of or even considering what the world may think. All things will be known one day, the sooner the better. BG taught before millions. His confession and repentance must be according thereto. But rather, he, and you, protect, repress, protect, deny, protect, bargain, protect, cover up and reject. Why not prefer to be wronged?
          I do appreciate your making yourself clear. Now, back to my questions: if you were in Tony's shoes last December, 2013, BG contacted you seeking "reconciliation" but denied knowing of any wrong on his own part, years after "forgetting" a 19 page letter of accusation sent to multiple recipients, do you just copy all your files and send them to BG thinking that will be a step toward reconciliation? Why or why not?

        • Lemons August 26, 2014

          AC said:
          "Which is why the veiled reference to "a technicality" interests me. I just can't imagine what that would be. People do not get shunned - which, in our case, at least, requires a special solemn meeting of the entire group - for "a technicality". A lifelong member, with family there? No . . . way.”

          Aaaaaand...you're off to the races with another tasty morsel. Your giddy interest in the most unseemly details is truly disturbing. In any other corner of the internet, you would be flamed within an inch of your life. And then some.

          My hat is off to the saints here who continue to respond with grace and patience.

        • P.L. August 26, 2014

          Obfuscation, denial, minimization of others' hurts while maximizing one's own, veiled accusations, selective and inconsistent use of Scripture, refusal to answer direct questions, twisting the facts, changing the subject (and the comment thread) when he loses the argument: Alfred has learned very well from his mentor Bill Gothard. Right down to his use of ellipses.

          Alfred, the fact that many here have stopped engaging you doesn't we've accepted your arguments. Picture a room full of polite, blank-faced people sighing inwardly and thinking about how trying it is to put up with your nonsense, yet again, and quietly looking around for an exit.

          It seems that you feel getting the last word in an argument means you have won. But increasingly, it means only that you have emptied the room.

        • Alfred Corduan August 26, 2014

          MatthewS. ["Alfred, when talking about IBLP:
          "The ministry -directed by the Board - will most certainly defend him legally..." (here)

          And:
          "There is a reason why there are defamation/slander/libel laws ... "Charlotte" has a responsibility to stand to her accusations... I presume she is prepared to do that." (here)"]

          Boy . . . Come on. If someone sues you, yes, it would be acceptable to defend yourself. Paul did that. And when accused, Scripture is first to state that a person has the right to face their accuser. Why witnesses always cast the first stones . . . Personally.

        • MatthewS August 26, 2014

          "Boy . . . Come on. If someone sues you, yes, it would be acceptable to defend yourself."

          Of course. But defending yourself when someone sues you is not what you were talking about.

          When someone makes a reputation damaging accusation against a person, it is vital that they are prepared to "prove" it . . . or not post it. There is a reason why there are defamation/slander/libel laws .


          And with regard to taking Christians to court . . . have been pondering that in recent days . . . I am not sure that applies to criminal matters. THAT admonition has to do with “defrauding”, clearly spelled out by Paul (1 Cor. 6), things where we suffer loss . . . monetary, affection, support . . . things you would sue for. Criminal matters are specifically given to the government to judge . . . child abuse/molestation, spousal abuse as examples.

          When it comes to defamation, here the name of Jesus Christ is attached to the matter. All Christians take a fall if Bill Gothard falls, for Jesus name is squarely attached to him and the ministry. If guilty, he must be held accountable for it … if not guilty, for the sake of the name of our Lord, he needs to be cleared. We all have a solemn responsibility to see to it that one or the other is done.


          But to those who are not Bill:
          “Why do you not rather take wrong?” Rather than spread it out for the unbelievers to judge and mock? Knock Jesus name down in the media? No, it was not right. Whatever good was intended or short term success may be cited, the end will not be good.

        • MatthewS August 27, 2014

          Alfred, how strange would it sound to you if you were to hear your words applied to Bill regarding his 19 page letter against Tony? Have you ever spoken to Bill with this level of directness?

          When someone makes a reputation damaging accusation against a person, it is vital that they are prepared to “prove” it . . . or not post it. There is a reason why there are defamation/slander/libel laws .

        • GuyS August 27, 2014

          Ron Henzel June 19, 2014

          "In my own personal experience over several years I have found that dealing with Mr. Corduan is like dealing with a kind of tar baby: once I give him the best possible answers to his questions he will keep coming back at me, complaining that I never adequately answered his questions, or sometimes never answered them at all—over, and over, and over, and over again, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. He requires such an extremely high standard of evidence for charges against Bill Gothard—far higher than the standard to which Gothard holds himself when charging others—that Perry Mason, Ben Matlock, and Horace Rumpole put together would never be able to get a conviction in his court."

          http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2012/03/a-matter-of-basic-principles-a-review/

        • MatthewS August 27, 2014

          A word to the wise.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          I see you are eager to "catch me in my words", Mathew . . . I guess I shall have to be extra careful? :-)

          What Bill did was present his case to a few witnesses . . . And then went to Tony's church. So far I see no contradiction. The letter now was published by Tony to the world . . . Seriously, explain your concern.

        • MatthewS August 27, 2014

          Alfred, I quoted your words juxtaposed to each other because it appears to me your words contradict themselves: one thing for Bill, another thing for everyone else. Other readers may decide for themselves if your words seem consistent to them.

          I think you know better than "What Bill did was present his case to a few witnesses" but I have no intention of running down the rabbit holes with you on that.

          btw, I assume the implication behind your quoted phrase "catch me in my words" is verses like Luke 11:54 or Luke 20:20 where the Pharisees were plotting to catch Jesus in his words? If so, that's a loaded image to say the least.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          Ok. Maybe someone else can explain the problem you see. As I said, I don't see the contradiction.

          I don't know the distribution of the letter, do you? It was intended for his parents, uncle, and was presented to Tony's church. That is all I know. A lot different than publishing in a newspaper or book.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          I obviously didn't read all of the documents. I now see that he sent it to 19 people who were principle players in the saga. Context being a previous mass mailing by Wiebe . . . And the open threat of a lawsuit if demands were not met. Making more sense. A lawsuit which Tony had apparently lobbied for but strangely did not join.

          Looks like this business was already wide open. Not sure what I would do. Lawsuits are a nasty business.

        • P.L. August 27, 2014

          Everyone else has left the room, Alfred. I just stuck my head in this morning to see how MatthewS was doing. Patient as always, and kinder with your boorishness than you deserve.

        • Don Rubottom August 27, 2014

          Alfred, you can't or you won't see the contradiction? Here is the glaring contradiction: you have previously indicated that Gothard had legitimate slander/defamation claims (Matthew quoted an example), implying they ought to be brought in civil court as a matter of justice. More recently, you relied on the Biblical injunction against Christians going to court with one another.
          You may be confused and you may not understand that a counterclaim for slander/defamation is NOT a defense to a suit against you for doing something bad that you did not do. "I did not do that" is a defense. "You lied about me" is a counterclaim that in essence is a different suit, brought in the same proceeding for convenience and efficiency. I don't see the Biblical mandate against suing Christians qualified by "unless they sue you first". (In the past, BTW, Gothard won dismissals of the earlier suits by threatening to counter sue for his attorney fees, so you can be proud that you think like him.)
          Another counsel of Scripture is to settle the matter before you get to the judge, which discourages even defending yourself in court if there is any way to avoid it.
          Nothing fits the "rather be wronged" counsel better than defamation/slander. Seeing that your entire mission here is to defend BG against what YOU imagine to be slander, I understand how just you feel his exoneration to be. But civil courts are not the way for a Christian and you can't promote that principle AND sternly warn Charlotte of her exposer ot liability for slander.

        • Aila H August 27, 2014

          Alfred,
          You have been so strident in your claims and accusations, but you hadn't read all the documents? And weren't you the one asking the rest of us if we had read the letter without presuppositions. Your presupposition was that we hadn't. Wow.

          After reading in another thread about your participation in a "closed fellowship" I'm beginning to understand your thinking. You state that other groups are viewed with varying degrees of suspicion,even outright rejection....as "unclean". Is that how you view the people commenting on this site? Are our views rejected, because we are outside your group. This must be a frightening way to live, always wanting to make sure you are right, that you are in the right group. If you view others as "unclean" are you worried that others may view you that way? It seems so. Perhaps this is why you are such a staunch defender of Bill. It is very important to be right. . .and if you've been wrong about Bill, what else might you be wrong about?

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          Don: I believe I indicated that certain acts were defamation, without indicating what ought to be done about it. I also indicated that IBLP would defend Bill against a lawsuit. So let's clarify that that is all I meant. I agree that turning the other cheek is Scriptural. When unbelievers harm you and others and bring shame on Jesus name by lying, that sort of thing is not under any formal restriction with regard to legal relief. When someone comes as a brother, then the rules are different. A group of Christian employees suing a Christian employer . . . sorry, I don't get it.

          So . . . still don't see the contradiction.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          Why Aila, that is what "provoking one another to love and good works" is all about! We are all sinners and we motivate each other to fill in holes we left. I exhorted you to read the entire letter with a view to rendering an unbiased opinion . . . and you are correctly chiding me for not being more careful in reading all of the available supporting documents. So . . . thank you.

          I spoke in general about "closed fellowships" without defining where we go in that spectrum. The exact group I gather with today is not unforgiving and grumpy as some I know about. It merely addressed the likely response when someone who is big and important and is not qualified to "break bread" with you comes and demands that you do this or that. The reaction might well be the opposite of what you hoped for.

          In all of this the role and responsibility of Tony's church is not really being considered. Unless they are corrupt, in "Bill's pocket" somehow - which I consider unlikely for the reasons give, it just doesn't jibe that Tony was disciplined without cause. The fact that his family stayed in the church afterwards, apparently, further raises questions.

          Filing a lawsuit against a fellow believer, BTW, would be exactly the type of "technicality" that someone in a "closed fellowship" might be "put out" for. You just don't do it. Which Tony did not, although he was part of the motivation and his uncle, apparently, was carrying it forward.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          Missed the Ron Henzel quote GuyS picked out. When I asked Ron WHERE exactly we had interfaced, he did not know. Maybe he is confusing me with someone else. We have never exchanged posts anywhere . . . until months after his post on RG. Just "for the record."

        • Aila H August 27, 2014

          Alfred, why do think you can exhort anyone, and why do think that no one had read the entire letter without bias? As P.L. has already explained everyone is leaving the room, and I was foolish enough to walk back in. But I'm leaving now.

        • Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014

          Don On your impassioned defense of public attacks to correct Christian leaders, all I can say is I strongly disagree. Jesus way is the opposite. Such things come about because the attackers do not love the one being attacked. If it were your son of brother, would you take to the internet to straighten them out, celebrity or no? Bill is your brother . . . Do you really love him, care about his well being, feel like you have to endure his grief if he is crushed or mishandled . . . Look him in the eye afterwards?

          ["I do appreciate your making yourself clear. Now, back to my questions: if you were in Tony's shoes last December, 2013, BG contacted you seeking "reconciliation" but denied knowing of any wrong on his own part, years after "forgetting" a 19 page letter of accusation sent to multiple recipients, do you just copy all your files and send them to BG thinking that will be a step toward reconciliation? Why or why not?"]

          If I were Tony I would not be surprised at all. Bill lives in a different world. A world of all the best motives, where all things work together for good, The Lord will miraculously defend him in all trouble. He doesn't do harsh things. He doesn't lie - he just believes in the best story, past, present, and future. He believes in it so badly that his recollections are shaped by it . . . He forgets negative things and remembers only positive things.

          It would be goofy to allege that he never wrote a 19 page letter when a man on the opposite side says you did, a man that has a reputation for collecting volumes of documentation wherever he goes. Asking for a copy from Tony would give some indication this was more than a bold- faced lie. It was exactly what I said - that selective personality that simply jettisons negative things

        • P.L. August 27, 2014

          Alfred says: "Don On your impassioned defense of public attacks to correct Christian leaders, all I can say is I strongly disagree. Jesus way is the opposite.

          But the Bible says: "But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism." I Timothy 5:20-21

          Leaving the room again now. It's difficult enough to listen to Alfred misinterpret documents, but his misinterpretation of Scripture is more than I can stomach.

        • P.L. August 27, 2014

          But just one more thing before I go:

          "Bill lives in a different world. A world of all the best motives, where all things work together for good, The Lord will miraculously defend him in all trouble. He doesn't do harsh things. He doesn't lie - he just believes in the best story, past, present, and future. He believes in it so badly that his recollections are shaped by it . . . He forgets negative things and remembers only positive things."

          This is an accurate description of someone who is delusional. About themselves, about others, and about the Lord.

        • GuyS August 28, 2014

          Alfred said, "The Lord will miraculously defend him in all trouble."

          Alfred, perhaps it would be more accurate to rephrase that, "The Lord (with BG's heavy handedness and piles of money) will miraculously defend him in all trouble?"

          Consider:

          "One of the LA Committee twins, who had worked on staff for Bill since before the first scandal in 1976, was offered $50,000 “to cover all claims with the expectation of signing a release to that effect.” The staff members were being strong-armed into silence."

          http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/03/the-gothard-files-failure-to-reconcile/

          [IBLP] hired the second largest law firm in the country (at that time), Sidley and Austin. This was from the outset a Goliath vs. David situation. They had a national law firm; we had a nice guy from Topeka.”
          .....
          “[W]hen deposed for 40 hours by [Gothard's] law firm 
in downtown Chicago, the group of attorneys were very good at grinding, testing, cornering and playing chess with details 
in preparation for later days when they hoped to catch you in some inconsistency."

          http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/03/failure-to-reconcile-part-two/

        • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014

          PL: "delusional" . . . . Most people consider Christians delusional.

        • P.L. August 28, 2014

          That's a lie, Alfred. Most people are quite accepting of my (devout Christian) faith, even if they do not share it. Perhaps you are speaking of their reaction to your Gothardism, not your Christianity.

        • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014

          P.L.: I am glad. You do know what the Scriptures say about "the world" thinking well or ill of us:

          "18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." (1 Cor. 3)

          "22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets . . . 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6)

          "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18)

          Sounds like if we are doing it right, most people - not all - will consider us delusional . . . and worse.

        • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014

          Alfred,
          "He doesn't lie - he just believes in the best story, past, present, and future. He believes in it so badly that his recollections are shaped by it . . . He forgets negative things and remembers only positive things."

          In other words, he doesn't lie, I just don't believe he recalls accurately.

          But then, you have said Bill looks you in the eye and denies any sexual contact. And he told us all in his confession letter: "never...with sexual intent". But, if he forgets negative things, why in the world should anyone believe his representations? You have impeached your only witness, Alfred. Irreversibly. He cannot be relied upon to tell the truth about the past.

          And I still don't know if you think Tony should have sent BG copies of all his records last December. And I cannot comprehend how a man who remembers only positive things can write a 19 page letter of negative things. I. Cannot. Comprehend. That. The man you describe is incomprehensible. (But that does not make him Righteous or Holy.)

        • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014

          Now, Don, we are getting somewhere. That is why there are rules in our legal system against forced self-incrimination. It is for others to testify, it is for the judges to certify. Which is why I spend so much time attempting to validate these accounts. They don't all pan out. I wonder how many people yelled "liar!" at Bill when he denied any recollection of "The Cabin Story" . . . it never happened. Other things did happen, including the uninvited touching of feet and hair.

          If you know Bill - do you? - he is a man in a whirlwind of constant activity. Rises at 4, into bed late, days filled with endless meetings and counseling and phone calls and writing and reviewing and travel. I have never known anyone to use every minute as particularly as he does. No, he doesn't dwell on the past. When he forgets, he really forgets.

          On the materials, since you have brought that up repeatedly . . . what is your point? Should Tony have, or would I have? Yes and yes. He quickly remembered the 19 page letter. Still wanting to understand the point.

        • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014

          Alfred, I did not get your "reason" why we have rules against self incrimination. Was it so that you have to get more people involved? Just to arbitrarily require third parties instead of first parties to establish truth? Wrong. The purpose of our rules is to get the best shot at truth. The rule does NOT forbid self-incrimination, it forbids FORCED, COMPELLED, or TORTURE- or THREAT-INDUCED self-incrimination. It is really to prevent false self-incrimination that conceals the truth.
          You can incriminate yourself in any matter you desire, so long as you understand that you are doing it freely, not from compulsion. Of course, that is an attribute of love: freely without compulsion.
          Now, in the CHURCH, as opposed to the world's courts, were are supposed to confess our sins one to another, NOT say: "prove it!" Why a different rule? Because our foundation and our end is Truth. Be sure our sin WILL find us out. We believe God knows the truth and we recognize how foolish it is to deny it. Sepphira anyone? She sure would have been better off to self-incriminate! She certainly proves that lying is no alternative!
          More importantly, our confession is to end disputes, restore us to fellowship with God, anyone we wronged and the Church. And the Church is acting in love, the confession will be voluntary, NOT forced or compelled (as Gothard forced and compelled his employees before he sent them home).
          So, within your beloved Matthew 18, no one has a right to withhold their confession. That is lying to the Holy Spirit. If they do, and if the other witnesses testify and convict them and they still do not confess and repent, then they are sent out. CONFESSION is not only "good for the soul" it is the ONLY true restorative end of a Christian discipline.
          Now, don't you think BG should make a full confession?
          You got me to run down that rabbit trail, but I love you enough to correct you when you are wrong. Self-incrimination is good, but only reliable if it is not compelled. No one is pointing a gun at Gothard's head and saying "confess or die". No one is threatening his job or family "unless he confesses". No, we are pleading with him to freely repent and confess before it is too late! And you are telling us not to bother, nothing there because he has NOT confessed (even though he forgets bad things).

        • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014

          And I say that Tony would be a fool to spend a bunch of money and send copies of all his files to BG without any show of good faith by even apologizing for ANYTHING first. BG has a well-documented history of controlling reconciliation meetings, refusing to acknowledge anything that is deniable and failing to act on the admissions he makes or the compromises he agrees to.
          Consider the allegations recently examined by IBLP: Don't you find it a little bit suspect that BG only confessed to the (many years old) facts that were verified by the "independent" investigation, but did not do so before the investigation BEGAN, only before it was completed? Is that a man who voluntarily acknowledges error, or one who only does so when and to the degree that there is no other alternative?
          Are you sharing all your investigative notes with Bill? If not, would you if he asked you to?

        • 'Megan' August 28, 2014

          Be sure your sin will find you out. That is an absolute given for every human being on this planet, sooner or later, people will find out about your sins, especially the ones you've tried to hide.

          It's not too difficult to suppose that this is God 'finding Bill out' after years and years of sending him people to make him see his sin, confess, repent, be restored, in relative privacy no less, and Bill has refused over and over again, as the testimonies on this site will confirm.

          I wonder if this is God giving Bill 'one last chance', by using RG, or anyone else, to bring Bill's sins to light.

          For all of Bill's defenders who keep saying, 'the truth will come out', I don't suppose it's occurred to them that maybe all these accusations ARE the truth.

          It's not like this is the first time a big wig preacher/ministry leader has fallen because of stuff like this.

  43. Beth June 13, 2014 Reply

    Tony, my hat goes off to you! I read almost all the documents there and it just blew me away. You had your life wrecked and torn open trying to bring out the truth when you could have just walked away. Truth sometimes comes at great cost and I'm so impressed at your sacrifice even up to 30 years later just for truth and righteousness. I imagine it took a lot of guts to let the world see the letter that wrecked your life but if it's any comfort, after reading it, it really made me think that Gothard had completely lost touch with reality and it made me think more of you.

    On a different note, what in the world happened to the caboose? I should not think that is funny but to me it is halfway amusing that his poor devoted broke staff went out of there way for that and then they all got fired. It's not funny for the poor people that were hurt through this at all but there is irony realizing what sort of devotion he had and how he responded by shooting himself in the foot by throwing all his well meaning staff out.

  44. Lance July 6, 2014 Reply

    Realizing that gross immorality was evident way back in the 70's and that Gothard never 'repented' publicly or admitted wrong-doing but instead shamed and slandered those who called him out on his misdeeds is a clear indication....that... Gothard, at the very least, has had serious issues since the 70's (Can an unrepentant sinner have fellowship with the Lord?). Heck, even Lance Armstrong has admitted to and apologized for many of his 'abuses' and he is not even a believer. Tony is a greater and finer man than I am as that letter 'murdered' his reputation and livelihood for many years and I may have brought litigation so that at least my lost wages were recovered. I also would have written off the Institute by now and wished for it's dismantling. As I said, I am working on that sanctification thing. It pains me to realize that the Board and Gothard even now glaze over abuse and possible criminal conduct and downplay the plight of the victims (Read recent statements by them). The recourse may be that criminal charges be brought against the Institute so that Justice might prevail. Involving civil authorities is a contentious issue among believers and the 'statute of limitations' comes into play as well. Many victims may not desire to open old wounds and revisit the pain and confusion but I am concerned that this physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse may continue as Gothard and his Lackies I mean.. Board, plan to continue with the ministry.

    • rob war August 19, 2014 Reply

      I think it is rather sad that good Christians are afraid to bring charges against BG and the institute. When civil laws are violated either in the labor practices, the sexual misconduct etc and so on then good Christians ought to get the courage and bring charges because the only way evil will stop is when people stand up to it t do so. ignoring or sweeping it under the carpet isn't doing anyone any good and that has gone on here too long. My favorite parable of Jesus was about the widow and the unjust judge where the widow constantly and persistently never gave up her fight for justice. She eventually received it because she didn't give up. This web site has started something, I don't think he would be gone now without people coming forward to bring attention to his behavior as well as teaching and the connection between the old scandal of the past is just continued on for today. When people fight for justice for themselves and the other affected, real forgiveness, healing and closure can follow.

  45. rob war August 19, 2014 Reply

    Alfred,
    I forced myself to reread Bill's 19 page letter again. First of all calling Tony "the agent" not only belittles and dehumanizes him but doesn't even answer the bigger picture of the gross immorality on staff and under Bill's nose. So Tony tried to investigate with the staff to get to the bottom of it in order to deal with it and you side with Bill? The letter tries to build some kind of case against Tony in that he has some kind of spirit of rebellion in him and that Tony didn't know how to deal with authority. Really? All of the so called evidence that Bill used in this letter was all judgement calls on his part as if Bill could know what was in Tony's heart and this based on a few fleeting out of context comments of which we don't have the whole conversation of. Yet, his brother can screw with female staff, rent porno movies and do what he wants. Who really has the "rebellious" spirit here, a concerned staff member or a pervert? And to add insult to injury, Bill can't remember this letter in his feeble attempts at reconciliation with Tony in 2013. Either Bill is really senile or his attempt at reconciliation is a ruse to silence his critics again. I am not sure what you see in this man but tolerating perversion on his staff while teaching others to have high standards and live a moral life with a good character is just beyond the beyond.

  46. rob war August 21, 2014 Reply

    Tony is a whistleblower. Something that the submission to authorities all the time no questions asked Gothardism can't handle.
    That is why Bill in his letter attacked Tony by trying to paint a picture of him being a rebellious spirit that didn't know how to submit to authority and causing the staff to revolt against Bill. However, it is gross immorality that is the rebellion here not a whistleblower. The problem is not Tony but immorality and perversion which should never have been tolerated.

  47. rob war August 23, 2014 Reply

    Alfred,
    I did actually read the whole letter Bill wrote against Tony. Bill was trying to make some kind of case that Tony didn't know how to submit to authority, Tony as a malcontent employee and he was trying to stir up trouble. the so called evidence that Gothard tried to use was bogus judgement calls on Tony's motivation, different snippits of quotes taken out of context. Likewise, Tony isn't called by his name but as "the agent". Sorry but Bill doesn't look at the gross immorality that Steve did as well as his own moral issues which caused all of this. I also can certainly say that Bill Gothard isn't causing me any problems because I and my husband never really followed him. If you are in emotional distress then maybe you need to relook at what you have been following all these years and realize that what Bill Gothard taught others isn't something he practiced himself and is out of historic Christianity.

  48. J.B. August 27, 2014 Reply

    Alfred,

    I haven't "left the room" (to use P.L.'s words). I've been quietly sitting in a corner of the room watching this discussion play out, and it's played out predictably: people like Matthew, Don, Kevin, Rob, Aila, and more patiently engage you on very valid points that you deliberately sidestep. Then, you strike back by trying to engage them on your own terms instead of theirs, or by changing the subject entirely to something where you can at least appear to maintain the upper hand, or by simply claiming that their reasoning is inadequate. It's happened many times in the past, and it's happening here too. It's basically the internet equivalent of a five-year-old sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling, "Lalalala! I can't hear you!" Like "Lemons" said, you are very fortunate to be among such a gracious group of people here. I really don't even want to imagine the reception you'd be getting elsewhere online.

    It's obvious that trying to reason with you about circumstantial specifics is absolutely pointless, as you'll find some minute detail on the part of those disagreeing with you toward which you can shift the focus. So I'll attempt to address the big picture here. Feel free to try to change the topic again if you'd like, but I won't play that game.

    First, why exactly is IBLP so critical to "save," at least to the tune of spending this amount of time sparring with people with whom you disagree and dissecting every piece of evidence and testimony that is aired publicly? After all, there are plenty of spiritually mature people outside the confines of IBLP and Gothardism, and none of them need an extra-biblical checklist of regulations to keep their lives in order. Yes, I understand that Gothard and IBLP were a huge part of your spiritual formation. But there is such a thing as recognizing that God exists above our feeble manmade attempts to please Him - which can be displeasing to Him, even though He has the sovereign ability to use those things to accomplish His will. I know plenty of believers who have recognized faults with the church or the pastor or the system that led them to faith, but, of course, that didn't jeopardize their standing with Christ.

    The truth is, you are enslaved, and what's scary is that you don't even know it.

    I think Matthew's comment on the "Bill Gothard Issues Public Statement" article is right on the money:

    "It's almost as if you are walking on eggshells with God, and the scariest thing to do would be to speak against Bill. I get the impression that it is inconceivable in your mind that God could be happy with you and bless you if Bill were to be upset or disappointed with you."

    I'm willing to lean toward this theory because it perfectly aligns with the other thoughts you've shared about spiritual maturity and growth. It's like you need to find the correct combination of opinions, hermeneutics, doctrinal beliefs, and spiritual practices in order to become the most well-developed Christian possible, or else God or Bill will be angry with you. But we're not promised a guarantee of being right about everything. In fact, you, myself, and everyone else commenting here are almost certainly going to be wrong about something in this life. In the midst of your bondage, can't you hear the voice of Jesus saying, "I am enough"?

    Second, you've mentioned over and over again that you want to seek out "the truth," but your approach to information processing says quite the opposite. The disconnect Matthew and Don have brought up is evident each time some piece of information is contested in one of these conversations. Here's what I mean: you'll accept anything Bill says to you as Gospel truth without hesitation because he looks you in the eye, but if there's something that threatens to deconstruct the narrative to which you've been clinging - that Bill's work and ministry are worthy of defense, regardless of who gets hurt in the process - then you'll do everything in your power to discredit those bringing forward the very information that makes you uncomfortable. Just how can you justify this dissonance if you're as interested in "the truth" as you claim to be?

    I think Elizabeth highlighted this perfectly in her comment on the "Bill's Cabin" thread. The hierarchy of what matters to you is really frustrating to the rest of us who are trying to reason with you, quite simply because Bill has managed to hook you in so deeply and subtly that your paradigm is aligned with his - to a frighteningly exact degree that happens to minimize things that really do matter. What matters to him matters to you. What he emphasizes is what you emphasize. It's very telling whenever a "game-changer" for you is exactly what he focuses on in your conversations with him and for what there is no hard evidence: explicit sexual conduct. As long as the focus remains there, then everything else can be played down: starving young people in the Training Centers, belittling and abuse of those who speak out, inappropriate sexually charged conduct with minors, etc. None of these really matter to you because they're not in the "game-changing" pile of behaviors. So as long as the focus is removed from them, or they are proved to be a fruitless diversion, then the conversation can shift somewhere else. We can sweep this under the rug and move on.

    Third, you responded with this comment on this article:

    "People were hurt? A lot of people were hurt. We were hurt. In fact . . . a lot of Christians have been hurt just by trying to follow Jesus. Sometimes it just hurts. People who fight in a war get hurt . . . a lot more than the folks that stay at home. Part pf [sic] our job is to see people that hurt like we have hurt and do whatever we can to help them the way Jesus helped us.

    You're absolutely right about all of that, but you have successfully downplayed the nature of the abuse others have experienced by equating it with the type of hurt that you have experienced as an enabler of the abusive system. The fact that you view abuse in the IBLP culture this callously tells me that you really, REALLY don't want to understand the depths of it. To do so would be to place the focus where it can't possibly be placed, to validate what can't possibly be validated, to tear down the house of cards that can't possibly be torn down. So you'll continue to marginalize what others have gone through by lowering their pain down to your level. Is this "do[ing] whatever we can to help them the way Jesus helped us"?

    No, it's anything but that. It's disgusting. Shameful. Absolutely disgraceful. And as long as you continue to do this, people won't step forward to share the very stories that need to be told that would tear down the fabric of your reality.

    Convenient, I suppose.

    • Don Rubottom August 27, 2014 Reply

      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

  49. Alfred Corduan August 27, 2014 Reply

    J. B.: Thanks for your concern and earnestness. I hang in there because Bill preaches the truth unlike anyone else I have ever heard. Really is the bottom line. In the end you open your eyes . . . and you look, you discern, you search the Scriptures to see if it is so . . . and if so, you can't leave.

    As noted earlier, back in the olden days there were no salacious stories to pass around, but Bill always has had a committed, focal, even angry group of opponents. They could not stand that he took the Bible so literally, believed every word, preached it even if unwelcome. He believed in a living God that lives in His Word and works powerfully and miraculously in the hearts of those that seek and serve Him. Lives were changed . . . many, many lives were changed . . . marriages saved . . . souls saved . . . ordinary, even broken folk - like Joni Erickson Tada, BTW - turned from nobodies into powerhouses in the Kingdom of God with some of the simplest things. That is the power of God. I lived it, it changed me, it was Jesus there.

    You accuse me of never speaking against Bill. If you hold that you have not been reading what I have written. I have even in the last couple of weeks looked Bill in the eye and told him what I felt he must do. His friends know me as well as his enemies, and not all are pleased - I have not shied away from telling the truth.

    Having said that, a lot of the slurs you use are based on stuff that I know is not true. I cannot tell you the number of times Tony himself described the "cabin story" to me in detail, complete with pictures. If this is an example of the facts that he has held and promoted, that, folks, is dead wrong. To think that Bill Gothard will come and humble himself before a combined mixture of truth and outright misinformation is ludicrous. Again, this serves noone. Any . . . ANY sense that a good story, any salacious tale is good for promotion with minimum vetting if it enables the ultimate goal to destroy Bill and his ministry destroys any hope of this being used by God for a righteous end.

    And . . . for the record . . . I challenge any still left "in the room" . . . IF God used Bill to seriously bless you in a life changing way . . . say so. You don't have to endorse anything he has done or deny any account for which you have no information. The man is a sinner . . . just as much as David or Solomon or any number of other men of God. No excuses. But . . . tell the truth. Tell what God has done. Now is the time.

    And I will continue to do all I can to encourage what is of God, to see Bill assume full responsibility for what he has done, and to see that his legacy, which continues to mean the world to some of us, is preserved.

    • kevin August 28, 2014 Reply

      Alfred:

      " I hang in there because Bill preaches the truth unlike anyone else I have ever heard. Really is the bottom line."

      No, Bill Gothard teaches his own opinion and claims that they are directives from God. In so doing, he usurps the role of God.

      As Michael Farris of HSLDA said so well:

      "Gothard’s teaching is also unbalanced regarding family relationships and the treatment of women, but he does not specifically promote the patriarchy movement. Rather, it would be more accurate to describe his teaching as legalism. In this sense, legalism occurs when someone elevates his personal view about wise conduct to a level where it is claimed that this person’s own opinions are God’s universal commands. It is not wrong to have personal opinions. What is wrong is to usurp the role of God."

      http://hslda.org/courtreport/V30N2/V30N202.asp

    • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

      I love Mike Farris . . . looks like he and I may have a difference of opinion. Still a member (HSLDA).

      • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014 Reply

        Better read what he said, Alfred. You will have to begin to confront him with his slander and anti-biblical public attack on dear Brother Bill. I dare say more people will read Mike's essay in the next two weeks condemning Gothard than will ever read anything on RG. New battle. Good luck! But know that Mike has known Bill for decades and the relationship has grown more and more distant over that time. But Mike will lose a lot of paying members like you so he will suffer for his deeds.

    • Becoming free August 28, 2014 Reply

      Hi Alfred –

      Thank you for clarifying for us what you believe regarding Bill Gothard and how you stand regarding his teaching. And thank you, MatthewS, for your very gracious response to Alfred’s statement.

      I drafted a response to a statement J.B. made toward the end of April, and have now pulled it out for posting. J.B. commented, “You mentioned in a previous comment something to the extent that you ‘feel safer with IBLP than without it.’ Is this really what this is about, Alfred? Do you cling to Gothard for security - because you feel that without the principles of IBLP, you would be inferior as a believer?” J.B. more recently made a comment in his post of yesterday, which quoted Matthew’s statement: “"It's almost as if you are walking on eggshells with God, and the scariest thing to do would be to speak against Bill. I get the impression that it is inconceivable in your mind that God could be happy with you and bless you if Bill were to be upset or disappointed with you."

      I have three questions for you to consider.

      A few days before J.B.’s April comment you posted that a couple of your children were going to be involved in IBLP projects over the summer. This sounds like you have a lot invested in IBLP/Bill Gothard/ATI. It sounds like you’ve built your family’s life around the organization.

      The first question is, Other than through your (and your kids of working age) job relationships during the workday, do you have friendships and activities that you attend outside of ATI/IBLP and your closed fellowship? If you entertained the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there was something wrong with Bill’s teaching, and maybe, just maybe, people like Tony, ‘Charlotte’, Heather, and others are telling the truth about their experiences, do you feel (fear) you would have to eventually give up your entire support network and have no “life”? Would you be totally ‘lost’ in terms of fellowship, friendship, spiritual guidance?

      The second question needs some “setup” first. You’ve mentioned that you’re 55 and you’ve been part of IBLP for 41 years. That means you became involved at the age of 14. Someone’s also mentioned that you lost your father at a young age. I’m not sure of the timing of your involvement in IBLP vs. your father’s passing. It’s also been mentioned you’ve referenced Bill as “Dad,” even though he didn’t know who you were until recently.

      My second question is: Are you looking at Bill through a 14-year-old’s (or thereabouts) hero-worshiping eyes, as a father figure (especially if you lost your own father around that time)? Are you saying, “My daddy [BG] is the best daddy in the world, and if you talk bad about him, I’m going to beat you up!!”

      My third question is: Have you explored Bill’s teachings as an adult? Truly E.X.P.L.O.R.E.D them? Researched them? Have you sat down with the red notebook with the textured pages (if you still have it from 1973) and/or the more recent Basic Seminar textbook and page by page, LOOKED UP, IN YOUR BIBLE, each passage that Bill uses to illustrate a concept? – and read the FULL PASSAGE, the FULL PARAGRAPH, the FULL CHAPTER, WITHOUT ELLIPSES, to see whether Bill’s concept/ teaching matches what is truly being said in that passage? You’re an intelligent person, and you research issues that others have brought up about Bill’s behavior, so it should be easy for you to do that type of study.

      • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

        Thanks, BF. I was trying to find that exact comment when writing everything out yesterday - I really appreciate you bringing that up.

        Honestly, Alfred, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that this is the real issue at the crux of your defensive behavior on here. And when I say "defensive," I don't mince the word. Whenever anyone tries to engage with you, I have not seen one instance where you entertain the possibility that they might actually be correct. You are dead set on Justification Mode - because the thought of Gothard not actually being "God's anointed" would unravel the reality you've constructed for yourself in which you've built that idea up as Gospel truth. So whenever you're backed up against a wall, you can either play your victim card and be the sufferer, or play the superiority card and call out the disagreers for some detail they got wrong. Either option is a power play. It's a win-win for you.

        And if neither option shuts up the people who say what makes you uncomfortable, you can always play what you perceive to be the trump card and invoke God: "He will judge one day." In other words, Bill will be vindicated, and the legacy of abuse and shattered lives he has left in his wake will be referenced when he receives his "Well done, good and faithful servant" commendation.

        • Becoming free August 28, 2014

          You're welcome! :-) Glad it was a blessing. Thanks also for your comments here - and in other places as well.

      • Alfred Corduan August 29, 2014 Reply

        I missed this . . . easy to do when multiple shots are aimed in one direction.

        Thanks, Becoming Free, for your kind advice.

        "My third question is: Have you explored Bill’s teachings as an adult? Truly E.X.P.L.O.R.E.D them? Researched them? Have you sat down with the red notebook with the textured pages (if you still have it from 1973) and/or the more recent Basic Seminar textbook and page by page, LOOKED UP, IN YOUR BIBLE, each passage that Bill uses to illustrate a concept? – and read the FULL PASSAGE, the FULL PARAGRAPH, the FULL CHAPTER, WITHOUT ELLIPSES, to see whether Bill’s concept/ teaching matches what is truly being said in that passage? You’re an intelligent person, and you research issues that others have brought up about Bill’s behavior, so it should be easy for you to do that type of study. "

        I have my red notebook. And I have studied every part of what I have learned intently, of that you can be sure. I know it seems incomprehensible to you, but, yes, it really makes sense and has proven itself over the decades. If you have spent any time on this forum, or the old Yahoo forum, you know I have been part of every corner of the discussion. I give a basis for everything I hold, Bill-taught or otherwise.

        Actually attended a Basic Seminar just a couple of weeks ago . . . in the context of all that has gone on . . . with a bunch of folks what are also somewhat close to the epicenter. My wife and I probed and considered again all that Bill said . . . and said over and over, "He's right, he is so right."

        Meaning . . . Bill's behavior has not matched all that he taught. Starting with contact/distance/respect for women . . . the highest of standards. We mentioned that to him when we met with him . . . he acknowledged it was true.

        We appreciate what God has done through Bill. It has borne fruit that lasts. As he said to us as we were leaving, "now, to live it", speaking of himself as well as us. Amen.

        • Becoming Free August 29, 2014

          Hi Alfred - Thank you for your appreciation. I wish you well. God bless, Becoming Free

        • Don Rubottom August 29, 2014

          So it appears from your response that Bill's teaching, and "what [you] have learned", still make sense, so there is no need to study the Scriptures given for support, in context, to see if they say what Gothard says they say. You say you give a basis for everything you hold, Bill-taught or otherwise, but your response glaringly does not mention Scripture or studying Scripture.
          "If you continue in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Please, Alfred, take a break and just look up the first 50 verses noted in the textbook (you know, that long list of hundreds of verses that are supposed to support the teaching) to see if they say what Bill uses them to say. Just the first 50. You have a 3 day weekend ahead, please attend to God's Word instead of Bill's and "what you have learned". For a change of pace. We will pray for your success.

        • Becoming Free August 29, 2014

          Amen, Don! Thx. BF

        • Alfred Corduan August 30, 2014

          I cite Scriptures with all my defenses and explanations, JB. Have you not found me so? Rather than send me off on a wild goose chase, how about you pick a verse that best represents your concerns, post it here, and see how we do. Fair enough?

        • Lemons August 30, 2014

          Oh for the love…
          If we all cry "Uncle" in unison, will you promise to go enjoy the weekend and spend some time with your family?

        • Don Rubottom September 2, 2014

          Sorry, Alfred. Your post to which these are replies, beginning with "I missed this..." cites not one passage in the Word of God nor even represents that you have studied Gothard's Bible citations to confirm whether or not the content of the teaching is in fact Biblical. No one has any doubt that you remain firm in your convictions that the teachings are true. But I find it very strange that your response to Becoming Free was void of any Biblical reference or reflection on a "noble Berean" study. You are so certain of yourself that you seem incapable of even understanding that you do not "give an answer" to most of our direct questions. It's like you assume we know WHY you believe Gothard taught truly (unless your life as anecdote is all the reason you have or need). Honestly, to my recollection, I can't see any reason you have supplied other than "it worked for me!".
          RG has published a number of Biblical problems with the teaching, most by scholars and not "bitter" ex-Gothardites. You do not seem to have reasoned through those from Scripture. All I encouraged you to do was look up a few verses and compare them to the teaching that BG claimed they supported. But your response indicates that you are too good (or too gone) to open the Bible, or to test BG against the Bible. If you will not study to show yourself approved, or test the spirits I do not see how you can have such confidence.
          If you are simply offended by my suggestion, you should at least give evidence that you are not afraid of it. If you had replied that you have repeatedly over the past 40 years, walked through every verse cited by the Seminar materials and become more convinced of the teaching every time, I would have been impressed and endeavored to find a couple of those citations to challenge you with, but instead you simply dismissed my suggestion. Throwing it back on me. But given your history, I am convinced that I cannot offer any Biblical argument that you would receive in good faith. I have thus concluded that only your own study of Scripture, with the Spirit's guidance, could possibly change you mind or heart. That was the motivation of my challenge.
          I myself once, while a loyal ATI parent, took up the review of Gothard's Seminar Bible citations and found the verses so disconnected from the teaching that I just gave up trying to correlate the two.

        • LynnCD September 2, 2014

          Don, that was exactly what I was thinking. You were asking Alfred to be a Berean, and he refused. "It's got to be true because it worked for us!" is the only apologetic given. And Scripture has been misused, like food in a food fight is misused. Any negative Scripture applies to Bill's critics, along with other ad homs, because we are (here comes another gross misuse of Scripture) daring to touch God's anointed. I will admit, Scripture has been cited, but it has been ripped out of context and misapplied.

          PS I'm surprised Alfred would find really studying the verses in the seminar books to be a "wild goose chase." That says a lot right there.

  50. MatthewS August 28, 2014 Reply

    "Bill lives in a different world. A world of all the best motives, where all things work together for good, The Lord will miraculously defend him in all trouble. He doesn’t do harsh things. He doesn’t lie..." (quoting Alfred above)

    I'm stunned but appreciative of this helpful description of Alfred's thoughts.

    Two things are jumping to my mind about this. 1) Copernicus, and 2) "they just took it to extremes."

    Back in the good old days before Copernicus put the sun at the center of our universe, there were diagrams to show how the planets were orbiting around the earth. The problem was that these diagrams kept getting more and more complicated, in an effort to explain all the little variations. Two illustration's of Ptolemy's model for Mars here from this page and here. Also one applicable wiki page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model

    Copernicus tried an alternative: what if he put the sun at the center of his model and moved the planets around that? And of course he found that he could more elegantly show the motions of the planets with this new model. And as the story goes, he was promptly met with serious resistance to change.

    The thing with this description of Bill as a sort of modern-day Saint Francis of Assisi is that so many of us used to believe that. I did. That's how I saw him, too. That's why we "drank the kool aid." Bill was a special leader with special wisdom from God and special insight into the Bible and into life.

    But just like modelling the movement of the planets around the earth keeps getting more and more complicated, so the explanations for Bill's behavior kept getting more and more complicated. One minute, Bill has all the wisdom in the world to explain marriage and the next minute he's a goofy clueless single man who has to be forgiven for his lack of experience. And so on and so on and so on.

    And one day the aha moment comes. Or perhaps it's a process of many days, even years. But suddenly, I'll say it in first person, suddenly I was seeing it from a different perspective. One day a new realization: hey, there is another explanation for all this. The alternative explanation is this: Bill is a calculating, scheming man intent on gaining power, money, and control. He is a man who values appearances more than substance. He is a salesman with cure-all snake oil, and he uses whatever pitch needed in the moment to sell it.

    When you redraw the orbit of the planets around Bill with that new understanding, suddenly it all makes sense. Now the odd little details fit and make sense. People fired at a moment's notice. Families kicked out with no place to go - no job, no money, no home, and with children to feed. People accused of things they did not do and were never given a chance to set the record straight. Girls who seek counseling 20 years after they last saw the man and are still struggling with huge emotional wounds caused by him. Healthy families got less healthy while following his teachings, and sick families got sicker. That's why Bill glared at people who asked questions and why he gave them the cold shoulder if they didn't immediately fall back in line. That's why the selective memory and the games with words. The constant disorientation when you quote what he said and magically he never said it. The razor-sharp memory for small details that comes and goes when convenient for him. It's why I felt so strange when I heard him mocking and laughing at someone who had sent him a letter, asking Bill to make good on his money-back guarantee for the seminar. He held the letter up and pointed to it and we all laughed on cue with him, all behind closed doors of course.

    When it clicks, it clicks hard. This is not a man who radiates simple goodness. Rather, this is just another authoritarian leader, a salesman of religious snake oil. And when it clicks, so much stuff suddenly makes sense.

    And when it clicks, the people around don't thank you for the insight. As often as not, they want to shove the old geo-centric charts down your throat and burn you at the stake. But at some point, most of them will eventually have their own aha moment and realize it is madness to keep trying to draw the earth at the center.

    • MatthewS August 28, 2014 Reply

      For the second point, I can be a bit more brief!

      It is not uncommon for people to drop by and comment that whatever damage was experienced as a result of ATI was due to the parents, not Bill. They will say that Bill is just simply one guy giving information and ideas, and you can't blame him for over-zealous parents who took it to extremes.

      But as I read Alfred's description, I had a mental image of Saint Francis of Assisi, the animals gathering to him and the birds hovering overhead. I remember my own parents' endorsements of Bill as they tried to convince others to get involved, saying that Bill had such piercing insight into Scripture and life, and such good wisdom for root problems and so on.

      Surely many parents did take things to extreme, but if Alfred's view of Bill is normal and encouraged among Bill's followers, what chance do the kids and families in ATI have of NOT taking things to extreme? If that is not an example of a cult-like devotion to a leader, I don't know what is. So yes, the parents did take it to extremes but that is what Bill and his teachings encourage, if not require, of the devotees.

    • rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

      Matt, bill cant be a modern day st Francis of Assisi at all. St Francis public ally broke away from his father in a very dramatic way when his father objected to st Francis helping the poor and giving away family resources. St Francis renounced his father and wealth which is the total opposite of what bill teaches which is that children are to obey their parents in all things no matter what. Iagree with everything else you are saying but bill is no st Francis at all in any way

  51. rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

    Alfred' I don't know whether to laugh at the things you say or cry for you. The is basically nothing biblical about bill but the verses he quotes to setup his unhealthy view of things and none of which is taught by any historical christian leader no matter what branch of Christianity you look at. If you really believe bill is the most accurate then have you even verified this by studying actual christian history? Are you saying and believing that everyone else got it wrong in 2000 years but BG? These are the same sorts of claims made by people like Joseph smith, Mohammed, and other cult leaders that took at little bit of bible combined it with visions and came up with the claims the have it all right to lead the gullible astray. Look at the home school program set up. There is no legitimate high school degree at the end, the only things open and available for its graduates is working at some internship with bill. These kids arenot

  52. rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

    Sorry my tablet gave out. The home schooling program does not prepare any for real jobs in the real world but only for bill's ministry and you Alfred want to defend him as the most biblical? I shake my head, you are in my prayers.

  53. Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

    And . . . then we all stand before Jesus. Stunningly . . . I have an awful hard time matching up the modern church with Biblical Christianity. It just . . . doesn't fit. So many things we do are so contradictory to the written Word . . . just doesn't fit our modern culture.

    Paul offered this indictment: "2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, , lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3)

    We claim that God has power, that this stuff matters . . . but when push comes to shove, solving our problems, putting our weight down on what we can count on, He might as well not be real at all. From what I read in the Bible, that is really offensive to Almighty God.

    God is judge, in the end we all individually stand before Him and give account for ourselves. He lifts one up and puts another down. Let's see how this all spins out. Final chapter not written. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . this is as much a test for the church as it is a discipline for Bill.

  54. J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

    "I challenge any still left "in the room" . . . IF God used Bill to seriously bless you in a life changing way . . . say so. You don't have to endorse anything he has done or deny any account for which you have no information. The man is a sinner . . . just as much as David or Solomon or any number of other men of God. No excuses. But . . . tell the truth. Tell what God has done. Now is the time."

    Alfred, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I find that last sentence particularly disturbing, if not that whole paragraph. "Now" is the time? Why? You're proposing that "any" salacious story is being shared to "destroy" Bill, despite the vetting that is already taking place. If we who are wounded are so calculated in our intent, then what's your motivation for encouraging us to share positive stories here? It's like the act of stepping back and seeing the big picture - all the stories, all the broken lives, all the abuse - is scary for you. So you gloss over all of the unthinkable by pointing elsewhere toward the benefits of IBLP, either by bringing up the people who are still happily in bondage, or by encouraging us to focus on what God accomplished in our own lives while we were in IBLP.

    This is what I mean by sticking your fingers in your ears. If you can create a wave of positive anecdotes strong enough to drown out the stories of the beaten and battered, then you don't have to pay any attention to them. You can continue to seal yourself off from and shut your ears to the reality that there are countless cries for help in the wake of IBLP's abuse, which is really what this sort of prompt effectively accomplishes. Only on top of that, you're also discouraging those who are crying from seeking out help in the healthy Christian communities that can provide them real support. This is what concerns me the most. A person who is hurt needs validation, which is what we're here for. Do you understand just how this sort of prompt for "positive" stories sounds to someone hurting? To them, you are basically saying, "Yeah, I get that you suffered. But try to think about what God did! Your pain wasn't all so terrible!" I have a friend struggling with depression who was very much marginalized by the IBLP culture and who frequents the articles on this site. She has never left a comment, and she most likely never will as long as people like you are here to dissect her experience and marginalize her pain. You can try to “keep score” and count the stories all you want, but there will be many more untold as long as the ones that have been shared continue to be scrutinized.

    "Bill always has had a committed, focal, even angry group of opponents. They could not stand that he took the Bible so literally, believed every word, preached it even if unwelcome. He believed in a living God that lives in His Word and works powerfully and miraculously in the hearts of those that seek and serve Him."

    I can't speak to what this "angry" group did, but the way you describe this has a very "there's us, and then there's you" dichotomy. It’s the norm for IBLP: either you’re on board with the “new approach to life,” or you’re out among the angry heathen, which include other Christians. There’s no room for any sort of objection. There’s no place for varying positions or interpretative schools of thought within Christianity about issues or biblical passages that are up for debate. The debate has been stifled: everything has been decided for you by Bill and his approach to the Scriptures. This is why cults are so appealing, Alfred. They provide a sense of security in a world of uncertainty. All of the questions you could possibly bring have an answer of some sort. But they also blind you to the possibility that - gasp! - there may actually be fervent, fruitful believers outside their walls. Again, Bill has taught you well, as you turn right to his method to drown out the thought: anecdotes. If you can point to all of the “powerhouse” believers, the success stories, the satisfied people who were in IBLP, surely that means that God is more pleased with IBLP and is working even more within it than outside it, right? I shiver at the thought of how He views those who sought Him out before Gothard shared his “new approach to life” with the world.

    ”Sounds like if we are doing it right, most people - not all - will consider us delusional . . . and worse.”

    This really concerns me, Alfred. I wholeheartedly believe the verses you quoted, but I suppose my practical takeaway is a little different: we will be put down by people who do not believe. That’s a given. We can take comfort in the assurance we have in Christ in those times. We do not, in any way, need to seek out those opportunities as an indicator of how strong we are as believers and engage in a game of competitive suffering. This is called a martyr complex, and it is nothing more than a form of masochism that exists to fulfill a psychological need. It’s just as much a form of crazy-making as narcissism or egotism, only the power plays that come out of it are from a far more passive place.

    If you’re so concerned about “doing it right,” then your focus is on effectiveness. It needs to be on holiness, and that’s not something that can be attained on your own merit. You've found Christ. You can rest in Him.

    ”Bill lives in a different world. A world of all the best motives, where all things work together for good, The Lord will miraculously defend him in all trouble. He doesn't do harsh things. He doesn't lie - he just believes in the best story, past, present, and future. He believes in it so badly that his recollections are shaped by it . . . He forgets negative things and remembers only positive things.”

    I’ll say it again: you are enslaved, and what's scary is that you don't even know it.

    • 'Megan' August 28, 2014 Reply

      That part about Bill living in a different world where he only believes the best, is completely, positively untrue, given the dozens of stories we've hard from many who were accused of minor offenses, or even falsely accused, and sometimes Bill himself dismissed them without allowing them to defend themselves. I'm very surprised Alfred dared to even suggest such a thing, unless he's dismissing confirmed eye witness testimony as some kind of lie. The letter about Tony, well clearly Bill didn't forget whatever negative thing drove him to write it. Etc.. I call foul.

      • Aila H August 28, 2014 Reply

        You made the right call Megan

    • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

      "What eye witness testimony", he asked? You mean the "Cabin Story"?

      • 'Megan' August 29, 2014 Reply

        Dozens of stories means more than just the cabin story, and I think you're the only one who thinks it's been truly debunked.

  55. Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

    JB: ["what's your motivation for encouraging us to share positive stories here?"]

    Wasn't aimed at you. You have your stories to tell . . . I have mine, and others have theirs. There were a literal millions who attended the Basic Seminars back in the 1970s-80s. A full 5% of the population of Oregon went. How many thousands went through ATI? I know our first year had 16,000 men, women and children at the Knoxville convention . . . and ATI was just taking off. The numbers reacting at this point represent a tiny fraction of those. I submit that for every person that feels IBLP hurt them, there are 10 that feel that they were helped and blessed. They don't come here.

    [" You can continue to seal yourself off from and shut your ears to the reality that there are countless cries for help in the wake of IBLP's abuse"]

    Just for a touch of objectivity, there are an equal number who claim that Christianity - Jesus Christ - messed up their lives. They heard things from the Bible, trusted a man (Jesus), went "out into the wilderness", found themselves without food and water . . . and bailed. You know that what I say is true. A great many sites that hate Bill Gothard have an article on him in one column . . . and one on scary fundamentalists in the next, then one on the wonders of sexual perversion at the bottom. Why faith in God is dangerous. I go there to read what they say about Bill. If I am not telling the truth, say so.

    We who try to follow the Lord do get hurt. We also get healed if we trust and follow Jesus, although maybe not all at once and sometimes not all in this life. We live for eternity, not for unbroken peace in our lives on earth. Shame on anyone who follows any other man in the way only Jesus is to be followed.

    ["There’s no place for varying positions or interpretative schools of thought within Christianity"]

    One person wrote the entire Bible. So . . . there is only one position and interpretation. The one intended by the author. Seriously . . . do you think God is the author of all of the division in Christianity? No way. "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." (Philipp 2:2) One mind. "13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. " (1 Cor. 2) One mind for those that are spiritual . . . because . . . it is Jesus mind!

    You know it says that. But I bet you would accept the inevitable conclusions. God is not the author of Arminianism and Calvinism. He has only . . . One Mind. One definition of Grace. It is our problem when we get lost from that. Bill never has had it all right . . . but he has a lot of it right.

    • 'Megan' August 28, 2014 Reply

      I would be interested in actual statistics proving this, and statistics that include whether or not the individuals were one time attenders, repeat alumni up to maybe 5 times in their lifetime, full fledged members, ATI homeschool families, etc.. Not just a guess pulled out of your head, I want to know for sure, what the real statistics are.

      I don't know if this particular study exists yet, but while I'm thinking about it, if such a study is/was done, I think it'd be great to check up on those individuals in 5/10 year increments, see if their lives fall apart like mine did and they realize, like I did, 'holy cow, this is NOT what I thought it was. I was so deceived, but thought I was actually in a great place.' etc...

    • 'Megan' August 28, 2014 Reply

      Funnily enough, I seem to remember Bill using a very similar analogy (one out of ten) to preach against rock music, and something about not eating at a restaurant where one out of ten people would get sick.

    • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014 Reply

      Three Persons wrote the Bible. And Bill is NOT His Prophet.

  56. Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

    MatthewS: ["Copernicus"] You may have hit on something. Because there are planets in orbit that don't fit your model at all. Why demand that my planets get ignored, voted out of existence, because they don't fit your scheme?

    I told you that Jesus worked powerfully and uniquely through Bill in my life in ways no-one else has. I don't exist, right? There are so many others . . . they come to me in secrecy, because, again, they don't exist . . . to you. They get belittled in exactly the same way I am accused of belittling the hurting ones. As soon as there is no room for God to work powerfully through Bill - all an illusion - at that point a part of the solar system is removed from the board.

    But it is real . . . it's still there. Maybe I am the only one foolish enough to waste time saying so. Especially here.

    • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014 Reply

      Why don't you go first. Tell your whole story. You've spent more words characterizing it than it could possibly take to tell it. You have said Bill didn't even know you until about a year ago, so tell us exactly how "Jesus worked powerfully and uniquely through Bill in" your "life in ways no-one else has". (When you say no-one else, are you saying other than Jesus or other than Bill? You lost control of your sentence there. If you meant other than Bill, you should have said: Jesus worked powerfully and uniquely through Bill in your life "in ways Jesus has worked through no-one else." Could Jesus not have done it any other way, or could he have used a jackass just as easily?

    • MatthewS August 28, 2014 Reply

      The old preacher thundered, "If God could speak through Balaam's ass, he can speak through you!"

      God has used Bill Gothard in my life, and he has also used the Christian rock band Petra, and he has also used RG.

      The issue in question is the evil abuse that Bill Gothard has committed and covered up for many years, and the resulting wounds that people received and still deal with. Bill will give account to God for his own life. The very best thing Bill could possibly do right now in preparation for that day is to humble himself and "confess and forsake" and seek to make amends as best he can. That is a true statement regardless of whether Bill has done good in his life or not, and regardless of whether RG is 100% correct, 100% incorrect, or somewhere in between.

      • Aila H August 28, 2014 Reply

        Matthew, thanks for restating the issue at hand. That is the issue Alfred will never face.

    • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

      Was Balaam's ass anointed with the Holy Spirit, MatthewS? The trees and stars declare the glory of God, but they are not "full of the Holy Spirit".

      "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord." (Acts 11:24)

      You know when God has spoken through a person by the power of the Spirit. "Anointed" God's Spirit witnessing with your spirit, confirmed as we search the Scriptures.

      In the end we know, and God knows we know - or knew . . . and by that we will be judged on that coming day.

      • Don Rubottom August 28, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, the world is littered with the carcasses of souls that were witnessed to in their spirits that a fraud was of God. The Mormans call it a burning bosom, the Dervishes whirl, the Benny Hinnites fall out in the spirit. Confirmed in the Word? "Judas went out and hung himself" "Go thou and do likewise". When you reject the whole Word, it is not surprising that you can only confirm what you want in the Word. You refuse to acknowledge the application of I Timothy 5:19-21, demanding Matthew 18 remedies for a false teacher.
        He who has ears, let him hear. Was the jackass filled with the Spirit? More truly than Balaam.
        You have a very long bridge to cross to convince this audience that Acts 11:24 has ANY application to BG. But I am sure he has looked you in your eye and confirmed that it does...in a way that no-one else could.

        • GuyS August 28, 2014

          "what thou doest, do quickly."

          I hope it is OK to add the third line, that is how I heard it.

          "A man was seeking God's will, closed his eyes and flipped through the Bible and let his fingers land on a verse...didn't like that one, so tried again...

        • 'Megan' August 28, 2014

          I don't know who else but God could open the mouth of a donkey to speak a prophetic word (from God) to a human being in the language that said human understands, but hey...

    • Anonymous from Somewhere August 28, 2014 Reply

      Based upon this response Alfred, and all of your endless out of this world, out of touch with reality postings, you should consider joining L. Ron Hubbard's cult, Church of Scientology. Their out of this world works (and $ based) theology could be a good fit...

      That anyone would believe Bill Gothard's definition of grace, and anything else he would espouse (given his nonBiblical definition of grace), while stating a belief in Biblical truths is incomprehensible.

      How can you read Heather's story and the indefensible ways Bill Gothard abused her and her family and still respect this man? Not to mention the many other heartbreaking stories of abuse. He should be in jail. Even a million positive stories would not negate the significant damage he did to so many.

      Until and unless the Lord wills that the scales fall from your eyes, you will not see. I pray for a miracle.

      • Aila H August 28, 2014 Reply

        I too have wondered how he can ignore a Heather's story. . .i asked him that some time ago, but he just ignores anything outside of his comfort zone.

    • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

      Alfred,

      Much like your lord and master, you know how to put words in people's mouths and twist them to mean something completely different. Matthew's analogy did not concern what planets were included or not included in a solar system model. It concerns the very nature of what is at the center of that model - and how that affects everything else.

      I suppose this entire conversation thread is a very good analogy for how you continue to focus on the minute details (or "planets") while we patiently attempt to show you the bigger picture of the entire solar system and what is at the center of it. At this point, I'm absolutely convinced that even if Bill admitted that "Charlotte"'s story is the truth, you would still find some way to completely minimize that pesky uncomfortable detail and continue to uphold that what Bill taught was the truth, despite his faults. You're already doing this by downplaying the wrongdoing he has admitted to and ignoring questions about Bill's patterns of lying. After all, you benefitted, so it must be okay, right?

      In the end, once again, this comes down to pride: it pains you to admit while God may have used IBLP in your spiritual formation, remaining in such an abusive, graceless environment and refusing to listen to those who are trying to pull you out and toward freedom solely in Christ was a mistake. It's like that movie "The Village": the "closed fellowship" that tried to isolate itself from society and protect its children from the outside world by enclosing itself within a wildlife preserve on a no-fly zone and discouraging its children from going out toward the "monsters in the woods."

      Well, the outside world with its actually fruitful believers and Christ-seekers is calling, Alfred. Just let us know when you're ready to take the blinders off.

  57. J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

    "I submit that for every person that feels IBLP hurt them, there are 10 that feel that they were helped and blessed. They don't come here.

    You really didn't take to heart anything I said about "keeping score" and marginalizing pain, did you?

    They [the beneficiaries of IBLP] get belittled in exactly the same way I am accused of belittling the hurting ones.

    Just stop. Please.

    Just for a touch of objectivity, there are an equal number who claim that Christianity - Jesus Christ - messed up their lives. They heard things from the Bible, trusted a man (Jesus), went "out into the wilderness", found themselves without food and water . . . and bailed. (emphasis added)

    Shame on anyone who follows any other man in the way only Jesus is to be followed.

    I really hope I don't have to point out the utter irony that should be readily apparent when putting these two statements side by side.

    One person wrote the entire Bible. So . . . there is only one position and interpretation. The one intended by the author. Seriously . . . do you think God is the author of all of the division in Christianity? No way.

    Of course not. But I would rather approach the study of the Word in humility and with the purpose of knowing Christ more instead of focusing on finding the one position and interpretation about everything in an effort to earn more brownie points with God or feel more secure and spiritually elevated. God honors those who seek Him out of love for Him, not those who try to have every little detail correct or to figure out how to earn that place at His side in heaven.

    Also, your eisegesis is a little rusty. :-) Paul had to deal with plenty of division in the church when he wrote the epistles. Plenty. His response? Focus on what really matters: Christ. We will inevitably have our differences, but Christ, His grace, and the hope we have in Him transcend those differences and encourage us to become more unified as a body of believers. I think C.S. Lewis said it best in 'Til We Have Faces: "I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"

    I have an awful hard time matching up the modern church with Biblical Christianity. It just . . . doesn't fit. So many things we do are so contradictory to the written Word . . . just doesn't fit our modern culture.

    I totally agree. Let's look at premodern culture:

    - Embraced the past
    - Derived truth holistically from multiple sources (divine revelation, intuition, observation, tradition)
    - Structured itself to meet cultural, relational, and spiritual needs

    Let's look at modern culture:

    - Rejects the past
    - Compartmentalizes information, containing truth within a single "silver bullet"
    - Views basic non-physical human needs as superstitious and rejects them altogether

    Let's look at the state of the evangelical church today:

    - Rejects the past with a low view of pre-Reformation church tradition
    - Selects the Bible as a "silver bullet" that is viewed as God's only vehicle for truth delivery
    - Downplays basic non-physical human needs by stigmatizing emotions, pain, and storytelling

    Whether you realize it or not, IBLP is the epitome of the modern church to a tee.

  58. Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

    J.B.: The Bible IS a silver bullet:

    "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Psalms 12:6)

    You hit the nail on the head.

    • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

      [sigh]

      Eisegesis at its finest.

      There really is no point in trying to reason with you.

    • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

      See, this is exactly the sort of dissonance that Gothard's hermeneutical model encourages.

      What the Bible means by "silver": precious, valuable.

      What I meant by "silver bullet": a "magic pill" that's positioned as the only source of truth at the exclusion of all other vehicles God uses to deliver it.

      Stop putting words in my mouth.

      Just stop.

      • Aila H August 28, 2014 Reply

        J.B. You did an incredible job of trying to engage Alfred. Unfortunately I do not believe it is possible for him to actually have a dialog with anyone.

    • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

      And you can see that I was noting the irony in your choice of words. I know what you mean, JB . . . and I disagree with it. The Bible is precious . . . every word . . . God breathed . . . full of power. Infallible, with the answers to all of life's questions in there somewhere. Worth meditating in day and night. No other writings, opinions, reasonings, philosophies are like that.

      You hit the nail square on the head.

      • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

        Alfred,

        If this is what you consider to be a "gotcha," then I truly pity you. You've been so inundated by Gothardism that you've conflated concepts like the use of the Bible and interpretation of the Bible with the Bible itself. What's sad is that for all of the speaking out you've done about modernism in the church, you've failed to recognize that this elevation of the Bible to a magic pill that essentially functions as the fourth person of the Trinity and beyond its scope of authority as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is modernistic in nature.

        This (sub)conversation is a tangent. I promised you that I wasn't going to play this game of taking the focus off the big picture, so I'm going to make good on that and end this here.

      • Alfred Corduan August 28, 2014 Reply

        Well, JB . . . I KNOW there are plenty of folks on even this forum that most emphatically do not share your perspective on God's Word.

        "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)

        Spirit . . . life. That's the Bible.

        • J.B. August 29, 2014

          We're not talking about those people, Alfred. And we're not talking about this topic anymore. In your desperation to get the last word in, you evidently didn't hear me the first time.

          This conversation is over.

  59. P.L. August 28, 2014 Reply

    Friends,
    It is sad to see Alfred's behavior here revealed as increasingly pathological, and we may be contributing to it.

    In these exchanges he appears exhilarated and affirmed; in love with his own words. No matter how we respond--in frustration or patience, with Scripture or common sense--it doesn't matter. Simply gaining a response is a win.

    I worry that attention is his drug; that it tells him that he matters and that what he is doing is important. That would explain why he pushes for another response, and another, again and again, by rejoining old arguments long settled, repeatedly bringing up controversial issues that he knows we can't resist, making the conversation go on and on, and even calling out to people who have 'left the room'. It was very revealing that after those comments he doubled down, and got everyone to come back for the most recent exchange. An empty room is something Alfred fears.

    This is very sad behavior to observe, and must come from a deeply broken place. These are my own observations, and if you disagree, that's ok.

    I have a close family member who is a narcissist. I've learned that setting appropriate boundaries, and sticking to them, is the only way to prevent their neediness from destroying other good parts of my life. Boundaries also help to keep their neediness in check. I fear that our continued attention to Alfred is detracting from the many other good discussions that could be happening at RG, and that it's not healthy for him, either.

    So I've been wondering an appropriate boundary might be. One of the reasons I have responded to Alfred is that I don't like his words to stand unchecked, in case some new visitor--perhaps even one of Gothard's victims--wanders onto the threads and Alfred's words are the first thing s/he sees. But I'm going to try not to respond to him if two others here already have; at that point it is clear that his words do not stand. His arguments are easily defeated when challenged, and it is evidence of his disordered thinking that he can't see that when everyone else can.

    I have come to the conclusion that he literally can't objectively evaluate our comments, or his own. It's not that he doesn't want to, he really can't. And he is certainly unable to evaluate Bill Gothard, the substitute father figure he has created out of his deep need and whose attention and approval he craves.

    I think Alfred is wrong, but I think he is sincere. I think his love for Bill Gothard is real, and that his love for Jesus is too. I want us to respond to him in a way that is healthy for him, healthy for us, and healthy for the vital work of the Recovering Grace website.

    • MatthewS August 28, 2014 Reply

      I have been impressed in recent months with the high quality of dialog here but even so, wow, these last two comments - the one from Becoming Fee and this one from P.L. - are so good. Alfred, brother, you are being treated with true respect as a person here even though I know you think you are a victim of unkindness. There is a whole group of people here who are treating you with enough respect to not settle but to urge you on to being the person they know you can be and need to be. These are high-quality statements that show true wisdom and grace.

      Apologies to P.L. for adding my own bit to this, but Alfred, please know that there is no shame in seeking counseling. At some point, the mental and emotional strain of all this may begin to take a toll (Becoming Free's insightful and probing questions alone could set loose some painful emotions). Please don't have a mental image of anyone here triumphing over you or looking down on you if you were to seek help. You would be cheered on, not judged, by this group. I'm sure that could sound condescending but I sincerely mean it.

      • J.B. August 28, 2014 Reply

        Please don't have a mental image of anyone here triumphing over you or looking down on you if you were to seek help. You would be cheered on, not judged, by this group. I'm sure that could sound condescending but I sincerely mean it.

        This. 100 percent this.

        Alfred, if you were to recognize that you need help and were to seek it from a licensed professional counselor, preferably one who is a Christian and especially one who functions outside the bounds of IBLP or similar cultures, you would be taking an enormous first step toward actual freedom. Please consider this.

    • Becoming Free August 29, 2014 Reply

      Hi P.L., Thanks very much for your thoughts. I think they're very wise and insightful. Best regards, Becoming Free

    • J.B. August 29, 2014 Reply

      P.L.,

      I've been giving this some serious thought last night and this morning, and I believe you are correct. My hope in discussing the overarching issues with Alfred over the past few days was that he could look at the bigger picture instead of the tiny details and, in doing so, recognize that his friend's "legacy" he's doggedly determined to protect has generally amounted to nothing more than shattered lives, broken families, abusive relationships, and, among those who are still engaged, people who will desperately cling to anything that gives them the feeling of security while waiting to meet Christ face-to-face. Like Matthew said, the "planetary model" of Bill's behavior and IBLP culture makes much more sense and require far fewer leaps in logic when viewed through those glasses.

      If that level of recognition was too much to hope for, then I hoped at least that the process of walking down the path of Alfred's logic would get us (perhaps including him) to the point that we could plainly identify what he's basing his own hope on. And I think that has been partially accomplished here. Whether or not Alfred chooses to see this is up to him. But here's how these dialogues have generally progressed:

      1. RG posts an article bringing up an issue with Bill or the culture he has built that is clearly grounds for ministry disqualification as per the Scriptures.

      2. Alfred tries to dissect the claim being brought forward by either repainting the incident being described in a completely different light or by pointing to unanswered questions or holes in the narrative - insensitively and with minimal attention to personal boundaries (see Larne, for instance).

      3. Reasonable people attempt to either point out the flaws in Alfred's own claim or attempt to show him the bigger picture of Bill's web of deceit, the spiritually and emotionally abusive nature of IBLP culture, Bill's own inability to live up to the standards he enforced among everyone else, the questionable nature of Bill's "Jesus Plus" theology, and, of course, the lives that have been broken by IBLP. Depending on the response...

      4a. If a participant in the conversation chooses to engage Alfred on the basis of the details on which he's focusing, he will often either jump around to other details to avoid what makes him uncomfortable or conflate the presence of a fuzzy detail to mean that the entire account is invalid, and one more accusation can be crossed off the list.

      4b. If a participant in the conversation chooses to engage Alfred on the basis of the big picture, he will often either deflect the big-picture advice or exhortation brought forward without actually considering it for himself (look at IBLP through a different lens, see the people who were hurt, etc.) or try to identify something the other person got "wrong" in an attempt to steer the conversation down a rabbit trail, more than likely to prove that their suspect judgment in the "wrong" area must therefore extend to Bill and IBLP. I tested this out by throwing a bone with the "modern view of the Bible" comment, and sure enough, it was the very focus of his next response that he continually tried to press until I drew a firm boundary.

      5. Steps 1 through 4 are repeated to the point where Alfred begins to invoke the Bible whenever convenient, regardless of the text's original context. As he gets more desperate, all it takes is for some word or idea to appear in a verse or passage, regardless of authorial intent, and he will jump to use it in an effort to spring a "gotcha" on his detractors.

      6. Once he can't craft any more responses using the above tactics, Alfred plays his trump card: "God will judge one day and set this straight." This is what this ultimately boils down to: wanting and waiting for God's approval to justify 40+ years of IBLP involvement. There's no room for grace in this pride-based paradigm.

      And on this pattern goes with each discussion on here. Like you, P.L., the only reasons I chose to engage Alfred are for the sake of his sanity and for the sake of those struggling who are visiting this website searching for support, answers, and validation. I shudder to think about the lost and lonely voices out there who are holding back from sharing and engaging with us because we have someone here who makes this environment an unsafe place by trying to dissect and disprove as many of their stories as he can. No matter how much Alfred has been “persecuted” for being in IBLP, the victims get priority in telling a story and having their voice being heard in a situation like this. The victims are the ones who get to decide their recovery and forgiveness process. Others do not get to demand that they forgive and forget. That's absolutely not the place of anyone else.

      Your points about attention are right on the money, and if I may add some thoughts, I really do think this ties into a martyr complex. Although Alfred would never resort to their extremes in behavior, I'm reminded of the attitude exhibited toward those "on the outside" by cult-like organizations like Westboro Baptist Church that thrive on being hated by others. When BBC produced their documentary on the Phelps family, “The Most Hated Family in America,” the family loved all the negative attention, so much that Shirley Phelps-Roper stated she had one regret about the documentary: the fact that it wasn’t called “The Most Hated Family in the World.” Suffering, even if it’s difficult to experience, becomes empowering, and I think we can see this here whenever Alfred references the “shots fired at once in the same direction,” for which this isn’t the first time.

      I didn’t get into this terribly in-depth in my conversations with Alfred, but I also think another issue at stake here is the false dichotomy that IBLP promotes with its view of those who are “in” or “out.” Those who are “out” are generally painted with very, very broad strokes, with several attitudes and opinions about various issues packaged together. To admit that someone who is “out” could have a valid point that you don’t currently hold would be to start down a slippery slope toward holding every other viewpoint that person promotes. So, you solve the issue by looking toward those who agree with you and huddle in a corner to drown out the noise you don’t want to hear. We just saw this amalgamating of opinions held by “Bill-haters” in the comment where Alfred referenced “a great many sites that hate Bill Gothard have an article on him in one column . . . and one on scary fundamentalists in the next, then one on the wonders of sexual perversion at the bottom.” I don’t deny that some people may hold this particular combination of viewpoints, but these people are also immortal souls who are on a journey, and we can choose to point them toward Christ or tally what they’ve got right and what they’ve got wrong, driving them away from Him in the process. It’s no wonder that Alfred is so drawn to what we here on RG have gotten “right” or “wrong” in his discussions with us.

      Whether or not Alfred wants to admit that Bill’s theology is far from Biblically grounded, his behavior on this website is indeed pathological. It will never lead to any actual growth or freedom as long as it continues to be the norm. For now, I'm walking away from the conversation unless something absolutely needs to be said for the benefit of the victims who are reading.

      • P.L. August 29, 2014 Reply

        Excellent summary of the issues, J.B., and thanks to MatthewS and Becoming Free as well. Just to clarify, I think all the interactions with Alfred here have been honorable and in good faith, and if anyone feels led to continue them, don't hesitate. We have the freedom of Christ in this matter. :-) I appreciate all of you.

  60. Melody August 28, 2014 Reply

    Oh my goodness! I am so absolutely OVER anything "Alfred" has to say anymore. His posts are so bizarre and out of touch with reality. I genuinely feel sorry for him and his family members. Not going to read or reply to his posts anymore, they are so un-Christian, illogical, bizarre, and unrealistic. I would encourage everyone else to do the same. Don't fall victimized to his bizarre conclusions.

    • rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

      Yes, in some forums it is called posting an agenda. The poster wants to divert the conversation off topic which is BG, his teaching and behavior to either himself with nutty comments or discredit of the articles. Nothing of substance is ever added or answered.

  61. rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

    No problem I enjoy all your posts? Thanks for all you do

    • rob war August 28, 2014 Reply

      I meant that to Matt but include all the other well thought out and reasons posts. I am having tablet issues

  62. Alfred Corduan August 29, 2014 Reply

    I do sincerely appreciate the heartfelt concern, folks. I know that most here are good people . . . and a great many really love Jesus. But somehow I keep thinking about this section:

    "31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children." (Luke 7)

    I am not the first to be declared insane (needing "counseling") because I don't laugh when everyone else is laughing, or cry at the right points in the narrative. Sort of like an old fashioned melodrama. No . . . I really, truly see a different reality here. Some of the heroes are really villains . . . and some of the villains are actually heroes.

    This forum is like an echo chamber . . . one affirming the other on mutually held realities. Someone with a different perspective is insane - psychologically broken.

    I am not the only one who would do well to pay hard attention to differing perspectives, just for the possibility that I may have gotten some things very wrong. Ultimately the Lord is final reality, the one that weighs the spirits, that gets it all right. May we all come to "one mind" in Him.

    • Don Rubottom September 2, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, has any sincere Gothard follower ever been accused of being a glutton and winebibber? Can't you see that your post has nothing to do with resolving the differences within our discussion? Do you not remember that John the Baptist, the one accused of lunacy, had to decrease so that the Friend of Sinners might increase?
      You acknowledge, at least rhetorically, that you "may have gotten some things very wrong", but do not evidence any interest in examining whether those things are so. I am confident that nearly all of your interrogators are people who have re-examined previous convictions and have attempted to correct errors that have been exposed in our lives. But you have been on a 40 year journey without any apparent course corrections. Might it be that Gothard ought to decrease so that Christ may increase? (Forgive me for meditating on the implications of a Scripture you posted to make a particular point.)

      • LynnCD September 2, 2014 Reply

        Actually, Don, it was someone who was trying to hold Gothard accountable that was being accused of being a "glutton and a winebibber," well, at least a winebibber. When a Richard Fischer attempted to deal with some of Bill's false teaching, Bill dismissed him with a savage Bulverism, saying that Fischer was only accusing Bill because Fischer had a lust for alcohol. The only minor problem with that accusation, beside it being a tactic to change the subject via demonizing someone, was that it wasn't true. Fischer at that point in his life did not drink, and had not done so for many years.

      • LynnCD September 2, 2014 Reply

        Alfred is a disciple of Bill. This is a thread on how Tony Guhr was libeled and slandered by Bill, and Alfred has effectively changed the subject. Let me issue a course correction here, with the the reminder that we are dealing with an evangelical leader who was willing to destroy someone's life by defamation of his character. I'm going to stick to this subject in this thread from now on.

        • kevin September 2, 2014

          "Let me issue a course correction here, with the the reminder that we are dealing with an evangelical leader who was willing to destroy someone's life by defamation of his character. I'm going to stick to this subject in this thread from now on."

          Thank you Lynn. But, I wonder, how then will Alfred preserve the legacy of Bill Gothard unless we follow his Red Herrings and gnat catchers?

        • LynnCD September 3, 2014

          My comment was more for myself, kevin, since I'm no moderator here. Alfred did say that RG is off base and way too harsh, because Bill never called Tony an agent of Satan, which if you use that logic, is the same as saying the Bible doesn't refer to the trinity because that exact word is not in the Bible. That relates to the article, and is appropriate. But if Alfred really thinks Bill is the hero and his victims are the villains, then he needs to offer proof of such instead of simply flinging verses and accusations around like so much food in a food fight, on and on.

    • Joe September 4, 2014 Reply

      Alfred,

      First of all, I am glad you are here on this site. A differing viewpoint is useful for many reasons.

      Quote:"I am not the first to be declared insane (needing "counseling") because..."

      "This forum is like an echo chamber . . . one affirming the other on mutually held realities. Someone with a different perspective is insane - psychologically broken."

      I am certainly not calling you insane, but the fact that you equate a need for counseling with being insane should give you pause. You aren't ready for counseling as you already have all the answers. Within the framework of Bill's system and as long as the system holds in your family, your positions are unassailable. Enjoy that. I hope it lasts for you. It worked for me for some years even after I "graduated" from ATIA. I spent several years in training centers in the mid '90s and counted them as years well spent at the time. It took me way too long to understand why so many others, especially young ladies and including some of my own family members, had such different experiences.
      I find it interesting that many of the commenters and storytellers here are not recently out of the IBLP system. Sometimes it takes time and life experience to receive God's grace and see the truth. When the moments of awakening come for you and yours, I hope they are grace filled. I hope that if someone needs counseling that they will embrace it without fear of being judged as insane.

  63. J.B. August 29, 2014 Reply

    Alfred,

    Your friend really has taught you well. You've been so conditioned to think in technicalities and explicitly stated terms that all it takes to make you feel like you've got the upper hand in a discussion is something simply being stated, regardless of the meaning or context underneath it.

    Tony wasn't explicitly called an "agent of Satan" in the 19-page letter? Ha - no need to worry about that one anymore!

    Feeling like everyone else in a discussion is seeing everything through a different lens? Time to pull out the Parable of the Children in the Marketplace!

    This is what's at the heart of Bill's eisegetical model: the ability to divorce biblical text from its original context, take the words, and shoehorn them into and use them on whatever situation he wants them to fit into, like a magic spell. Honestly, Gothardism has far more in common with witchcraft or mysticism than actual Christianity. The real irony about this passage is that Jesus was actually speaking about those among groups like the Pharisees who tried to have everything together and expected God to honor their checklisting while those who realized they were destitute were really the ones to whom Jesus was ministering and honoring, which didn't fit their "narrative" at all. Sound familiar?

    But really, it's pointless to talk about this with you as long as you cling to this silly fallback strategy of making verses say whatever you want them to mean while reminding us all that "God will judge one day." Because at this point, the idea that God will vindicate Bill and, by extension, those who enabled his behavior is all that you've got left to stand on.

  64. rob war September 3, 2014 Reply

    Yes, lets get back on topic. The fact that through-out the letter Bill called Tony "the agent", didn't use his name at all in it of itself is dehumanizing and demeaning. The tone of the letter was not compassionate concern for the spiritual welfare of Tony but an attacking diatribe of bit and pieces of out of context conversation strung together to try and make a bogus case that Tony was a rebellious malcontent. The problem is that if Tony was a rebellious malcontent, then why did Bill hire him in the first place? The real problem is the sexual immortality going on which flies in the face of any basic Christian standards.

    • MatthewS September 3, 2014 Reply

      Totally agree.

      The point has been made, but just in comparing Bill's letter to Bill's teaching once again, the double standards jump out. This letter is clearly not a sincere attempt to follow Matthew 18, but even if it were and if Bill had been following his own teaching, his own rules would dictate: "If there is even the slightest offense or attitude or neglect on our part which has contributed to a brother’s offense, we cannot follow the steps of Matthew 18."

      And, a day of fasting and prayer to be used as a time for self-examination. If they [the church] realize that they are partly to blame for the offender’s sin, they need to first approach him or her to ask forgiveness before they may continue.

      And, the necessity of beginning a program of teaching of "God's standards" such that the whole church will be of one heart and mind.

      Someone might say that IBLP was not a church, therefore not subject to some of those rules, but if it was not a church and not subject, then how could Bill claim this was a sincere Matthew 18 attempt to begin with?

      The contradictions between Bill's teaching (http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/03/silencing-the-lambs-twisting-matthew-18/) and this letter are stark.

      • rob war September 5, 2014 Reply

        as always Matthew, you are spot on! that is the other side of the coin here, telling others what to do but not practicing it himself.

    • LynnCD September 5, 2014 Reply

      Rob, so true. There were two things Bill gained by sending out this letter far and wide, and flying in men to make sure to it Tony was neutralized - it stopped Tony at the time from revealing sin that should have kept Bill out of ministry (and in counseling) for some time, and it deflected attention on to Tony as the problem, not Bill.

  65. Elizabeth D September 17, 2014 Reply

    Having been told by Alfred that I talk a lot still has me pretty amused. And I’m still pondering the lack of response to repeated questions about Alfred’s friend: How does one reconcile a teacher’s teaching on giving and listening to “bad reports” (in spite of being Biblical or not) with that teacher writing and distributing a scathing report, not to mention dispatching agents to those most closely associated with the subject? And did Alfred’s friend state something untrue when he reportedly denied writing such a letter? I’ve asked before if his friend was truthful when he told one person one thing and another person the exact opposite, but have never gotten a straight yes or no answer on that, either. Right now it stands at, “I have a hard time of calling Bill a liar,” and, “He doesn’t lie.” He just believes the best story, bless his heart.

    Then there were BFree’s and Don’s challenges to go through conference materials and actually look up and read *in context* the scriptural references given in Mr Gothard’s teachings. Any person has the freedom to accept, decline, or ignore a challenge, but I was saddened to read what appeared to be Alfred’s response to the challenges – “I have my red notebook. … IT really makes sense and [IT]HAS PROVEN ITSELF over the decades.” And “My wife and I probed and considered again ALL THAT BILL SAID . . . and said over and over, ‘He's right, he is so right.’" (Emphases mine.)

    Alfred, I’m not the only one that has cared enough about you to encourage you to see that you’re being played. You’re being used and abused, and you’re enabling your abuser. Anyone with access to the national media has seen a high-profile case of enabling within a different context over the past couple of weeks. We wish someone would explain the facts of life to this woman and help her do what she needs to do for her own safety and sanity, but she’s an adult and has to make her own choices. We wish we could help YOU more than you’re willing to let us, Alfred. I don’t speak for all; I imagine some don’t care, and some are justifiably hostile at a bunch of inconsiderate and otherwise dumb stuff you’ve said, but some do still care about your well-being.

    I’ve mentioned before that you’ve been manipulated by letting someone convince you that things matter that really don’t … things your teacher knows may never be resolved, so as to keep you distracted from the things that really do matter. Your friend isn’t someone that a few people have decided to defrock because his teachings offend them. People that tell their stories aren’t just people that didn’t get your friend’s principles right, bringing catastrophe and despair on themselves. There are profuse stories told on this site and others of massive trauma; the common theme is of realizing that the system they once bought in to or that was chosen for them was a sham. Many (sadly not all) have found God’s grace, and I meal REAL grace, which they’ve described as the antithesis to what they used to know in your friend’s system. Does it strike you that the stories, while being similar, are yet so varied? There is spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse … the victims are parents, children, married, single, male, and immensely female … abuse happened in person, via teaching and printed matter, directly and hugely, indirectly. It’s frustrating that you seem unconvinced (though admittedly at least a little affected) by such magnanimous effect.

    Here’s the thing, Alfred – Bill Gothard’s teachings, like anyone else’s teachings good or bad, are debatable. There are tons of preachers and teachers with tons of messages out there. There’s a lot of good teaching, but I’m sure we agree that there’s a ton of bad teaching. If I disagree with almost everything Mr Gothard taught, it’s really not much different than the fact that I disagree with plenty of others’ teachings. It’s not offensive to me that he’s wrong. I think very highly of many people that I don’t agree with; no problem, no offense, and no hard feelings. That he twists scripture is offensive of course, but really no differently than others who do the same.

    Where your friend begins to show his true colors and lose credibility is in the offensive double standard in which he teaches one thing, but blatantly does not live by the standard he imposes on others. He teaches “purity” (albeit a false one), yet he hasn’t kept his hands and feet to himself. Even if you still can’t stomach the idea that he touched stuff he wasn’t supposed to touch, can you at least admit that he spent time alone in closed spaces with young girls (regardless of what you think he did with them, and in spite of stern rebuke not to) while he shamed kids and sent them home for merely talking to people of the opposite gender because THAT was wrong, but apparently being holed up with young girls under the pretense of “counseling” wasn’t? What about giving a scathing report about Tony in spite of his teaching on not giving bad reports? How could it be perceived as anything but a diversion from the damning information that was about to come to light? What about accepting and commissioning reports from moles in spite of his teaching on not listening to bad reports? What about his lack of accountability to ANYone in spite of his foundational teaching on authority? He was told by his board not to be alone with girls, but he did it and CONTINUED doing it anyway. One can agree or disagree with his teaching, but when he doesn’t live the standard he sets for others, there’s a deeper and more offensive problem.

    But he slipped? Transgressed? (Like David???) No, dear, a lifestyle isn’t a “slip.” But he meant well? When he uprooted and disposed of individuals and families at will? Please. He just claims he didn’t mean any harm because he can’t admit to himself or anybody else that he did. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it, and he expects you to stick to it, too.

    So bad teaching is bad, and there is a lot of it around. And living by a double standard is really bad, but unfortunately, it’s still not all that uncommon. What you seem to be missing is that people don’t get riotously upset over those things. But wait, there’s more. You’ve accused your friend’s accusers of being upset (sorry … bitter or rebellious?) because he brazenly teaches “scripture,” and you consider it validation of his ministry that people are offended, because we know that things can get really offensive when the light of God’s Word reveals sin and goes against our human tendencies. But that’s NOT what people are upset about … not enough to fill this site with consistent stories of heartbreak and despair.

    Where you see your friend being unjustly persecuted because of his godly stance, most of the rest of us see yet a third degree of offense … beyond the bad theology and beyond the double standard. He has taken things to a whole new level – what I’d describe as “manipulation via fabrication.” You may label me bold to make such a claim, but how else do you explain teaching about “not taking up an offense” – when the Bible teaches and Jesus did just the opposite – just in time to squelch the momentum of confrontation by a whole lot of followers? “Don’t give a bad report” … about himself, because giving that bad report may cost his “ministry” and his business, and land him in jail. “Don’t listen to a bad report” … about himself, because if you do, you may hear something bad about him, and he knows that if enough people compare notes, he’s going down. He knows that individuals can be intimidated to write things off that the masses never would. “Obey authority” … work unpaid overtime, wear specific clothes and hairstyles, let your father touch you any way he wants then also let him pick your mate for life, and slap a smile on your face to show the world that this system works. Accept as God’s perfect will whatever your authority dishes out to you; don’t dare cry out in protest. But then don’t expect anyone to consider you a credible witness after somebody violates you, because it was your obligation to cry out and you didn’t. Follow these Gothard-prescribed extra-Biblical steps if you dare to differ with your authority. But wait – the steps dead-end where your fault begins, so the authority really never has to accommodate you. Ever heard of crazy-makers? These shenanigans are tools in their toolboxes.

    And to top it off – all this is carried out with a degree of charm, charisma, and innocence most people can only dream of. It makes individuals think THEY’re the ones that are nuts when things don’t make sense. But don’t charm and deception go together?

    Go back to the “umbrella of authority” teaching. First of all, it’s not Biblically sound (find it??), but I can just choose to write him off as a misguided teacher if I don’t like it. Second, to teach the “umbrella of authority” as fundamental and to (1) not be accountable yourself, and (2) undermine the authority of parents over their own children … over and over and over … unravels his whole credibility. But I can still just write him off and consider him a hypocrite in addition to being a bad teacher. But to take things a step further and INVENT the “umbrella of authority” as a means to control and exploit others … to force unpaid labor, cop a feel, or shift blame … is just plain diabolical. Some things are invented on purpose, and some things are occasionally invented by “accident.” Why speculate or debate? It really doesn’t matter; the result is the same.

    Your friend didn’t just read the Bible and get it wrong when he taught; lots of people do that. He’s not your run-of-the-mill fallen preacher who had some lapses of indiscretion in his behavior; there’s too much of a willful pattern, and he did it repeatedly over years in spite of good advice not to. No, he invented a whole elaborate system in which he made up principles and found scripture to supposedly back up what he wanted to say. How else do you explain the story of a woman the Bible describes as intelligent and beautiful, yet your friend slanders her and turns the story 180 degrees just because he’s hell-bent on telling stories of unsubmissive women causing all manner of calamity from the beginning of time onward? He wasn’t teaching the Bible; he was teaching his favorite subject – the ungodly, absolute surrender of female personhood to the absolute control of men. He taught people how to give an apology and do all kinds of other things the way he wanted them to, and told them it was God’s way, but apparently he was exempt from doing it that way himself. He refused to debate or listen to rebuke; he made it so that he had the final say in order to do what he wanted.

    While there are tons of bad teachers and lots of teachers living double lives, the manipulators are fewer because the skill level is higher. And his is pretty darn high; my finite mind really can’t imagine any that match the magnitude of the scope that he has reached. All of the abuse we’ve read about hasn’t been directly from his hand (or feet); as his teaching has spread, abuses have perpetuated throughout the whole stinkin’ system. He may or may not have set out to reach such a huge audience, but he was good at it, and has been highly successful. He fabricated teaching and claimed it was scriptural, Alfred. It wasn’t a mistake, but a scheme. He didn’t just lie; his whole life is a lie, and there IS no baby in that bathwater.

    Body parts, intent, geography (cabins or offices), nor the news media matter. To continue to pursue elusive details when there’s a much more serious issue at hand is just pointless and frustrating.

    So you’re right – I do talk a lot. I may be blunt, but I don’t mean to make you mad, and I’m really not even trying to convince you of anything. I AM begging you to read scripture for yourself and evaluate what is truth and what is a sham. Don suggested looking up just 50 references and comparing their messages with Bill’s. Listening to Bill and reading your red notebook will never help yourself escape the manipulative vortex you’re in. Jesus said that HE is the way, the truth, and the life; none of us can ever go wrong if we look to Him as He is revealed in scripture.

    And if you can ever bring yourself to answer a straightforward yes-or-no question, I’ll still welcome your answer. DID Bill Gothard lie? (When he told one person he was romantically involved with a girl and told her father he was not? When he stated he’d never written a 19-page letter? Any other time?) Everyone knows you “have a hard time of calling Bill a liar.” But that’s neither here nor there when you have to answer the question – is he?

    And there’s one question you asked me a long time ago that I haven’t addressed, but that I’ve been thinking about. What if Mr Gothard was my son or brother or father; how would I feel? To be honest, I would probably be in denial at first. I’d look for the real truth, not his version of the truth. When I was able to think for myself and realize who he really was, I’d be crushed. I’d be ashamed of him and grieve for the victims. I’d do anything I could to help the victims, and at least let them know I acknowledge what had been done to them. When it dawned on me that I, too, was a victim, I’d be angry and grieve for myself. When it dawned on me that I was an enabler, I’d be frustrated and ashamed. I might confront him, but honestly, I might not; it would depend on our relationship, not to mention the Holy Spirit’s leading. Because of his history, I definitely wouldn’t engage him in debate. To tell him something that would just make him angry at me would damage our relationship, so I’d have to be careful and prayerful. I don’t think I could ever stop loving my son, brother, or father, but this I know – I would not defend him, I would not condone his actions, and I would not enable him.

    • MatthewS September 18, 2014 Reply

      I just have a quick minute but this once again reminds me of the experience of one of Lance Armstrong's assistants: http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/road-biking/My-Life-With-Lance-Armstrong.html


      There is a gap between the public image and the behind-the-scenes reality. That gap is guarded fiercely. Neither Lance Armstrong nor Bill Gothard is naive about they were doing.

      And as the assistant said, "Do I think he cheated? Yep. But my real problem is something that diehard fans seem unable to grasp: the vengeful tactics he uses against people who tell the truth about him, on and off the bike." As with Lance, so with Bill, seems to me.

      • esbee September 18, 2014 Reply

        I had to go read it and wow---some folks who want to win, want to win at all costs, and not only do they want you to lose, they want to destroy you!!!!

        I know that many folks are unsaved and therefore justify themselves to act in such a selfish hurtful way towards others....but Christians acting this way???????. My husband and I have been hurt more by "Christians" then by non-believers probably because for years we were careful to only be friends with believers and not be in the world where non-believers are out only for #1, themselves. So we were told.

        But is a person truly Christian if they will not even consider that they might be wrong, when confronted by someone who says they were , that they might ask themselves, maybe there is some truth in what they say, that somehow their actions might have hurt another? Or are they the chaff growing with the wheat that will be separated at harvest time?

  66. Don Rubottom September 18, 2014 Reply

    Elizabeth, I think you have closed the case. Well done.
    Gal. 5:9 "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." The context is quite appropriate (beginning in verse 2 "if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you").
    There is neither baby nor bathwater.
    Instead, there is dough, and the whole lump is leavened.

  67. Becoming Free September 18, 2014 Reply

    Very well done, Elizabeth, and thanks -
    - Becoming Free

  68. Aila H September 18, 2014 Reply

    I commend you Elizabeth for your kind, thoughtful and thorough assessment of the issues at hand. I appreciate so much your willingness to spend the time necessary to explain this once again. Blessings to you.

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