The GOTHARD Files: Corresponding with Bill

4 February 2014, 06:00



The Gothard Files: A Case for Disqualification


Dear Recovering Grace Reader,

As mentioned in our Gracenote yesterday, our leadership team had a brief period of correspondence with Bill Gothard in June of 2013. After much consideration, our team has decided to make the entirety of this correspondence public.

The following emails were exchanged between Bill Gothard and the Recovering Grace Leadership team from June 20, 2013, through July 1, 2013:

--- <[email protected]> Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM
To: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>

Dear Committee,

In accordance with the earnest appeal of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 17:21, I request that we have a meeting for the purpose of reconciliation.

Through Christ our Lord,

Bill Gothard

Recovering Grace <[email protected]> Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 8:45 AM
To: --- <[email protected]>

Dear Mr. Gothard,

Thank you for your email. We wanted to acknowledge its receipt and let you know that we are prayerfully considering our response. As we do so, could you please be more specific as to your intentions and purposes for such a meeting?


The RG Leadership Team

--- <[email protected]> Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM
To: Recovering Grace <[email protected]>

Dear RG Leadership Team,

Thank you for your response to my request. It would be my sincere desire to do all that I could to make reconciliation with those who have been offended.


Bill Gothard

Recovering Grace <[email protected]> Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 2:23 PM
To: --- <[email protected]

Dear Mr. Gothard,

One goal of our ministry at Recovering Grace is to nurture the healing process for thousands of students that have come through the ATI program. We realize that our differing views of key doctrines will make it difficult for us to ever come to a unified position with you on many fundamental issues; however, we would love to see true restoration and healing occur where clear offenses have taken place.

That being said, we are still unsure about your specific goals for this potential meeting. Please realize that we have a sizable network of volunteers from around the globe, so such a meeting could be a large and expensive undertaking.

For the sake of clarity, could you please answer the following questions?

1. If there is a meeting, who should attend?
2. To whom, specifically, do you seek to be reconciled, and for what specific offense?
3. What steps toward reconciliation do you want to follow should such a meeting occur?
4. What role do you envision Recovering Grace playing in your ongoing efforts toward reconciliation with those whom you have offended?

We welcome any other insights you might share.

In His grace,

The Recovering Grace Leadership Team

--- <[email protected]> Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM
To: Recovering Grace <[email protected]>

Dear Recovering Grace Leadership Team,

I have a deep sorrow in knowing that there are those who have painful memories from their involvement with this ministry. It is important to me that these painful memories be resolved and reconciliation be achieved. I would appreciate meeting with several on your leadership team to discuss the best way to achieve this goal. I do believe Recovering Grace could have an ongoing part in this process.

Sincerely In Christ,

Bill Gothard

Recovering Grace <[email protected]> Mon, Jul 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM
To: --- <[email protected]>

Dear Mr. Gothard,

Thank you for your response. We certainly do consider this ongoing dialogue to be very important.

We agree with your assessment that there are many individuals who have “painful memories” of their involvement with the IBYC/IBLP/ATI ministry. This is an important acknowledgement on your part because painful memories do not simply happen, but are the result of very specific behaviors, teachings, and sinful actions. Due to your non­-specific answers to three of our four previous questions, we are unclear whether or not you are accepting responsibility for these issues. This leads us to believe that you may lack any specific plan for how you intend to repent and clear your conscience with those you have wronged. Without this, we believe that there is little that could be accomplished through a face­-to-­face meeting at this time. We are not closed to the idea, but we also do not wish to go into it without knowing that you have a plan for public repentance.

One specific area that needs to be addressed and repented of is the well­-documented and ongoing pattern of sexual harassment and emotional abuse of many young women with whom you have worked. A number of these girls (many of whom are now grown women with families of their own) have contacted us expressing the pain, confusion, and disillusionment that this behavior caused them. We have addressed this issue on our website, and we know that both past and present members of your Board of Directors have warned you against this pattern of sinful behavior, yet we continue to hear current stories of girls experiencing the same treatment.

We firmly believe that the first step towards reconciliation with those you have offended must be sincere repentance. While we respect that you feel sorrow over others’ painful memories, we do not believe that sorrow alone is sufficient to mitigate others’ pain. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 7:10, a godly sorrow leads to true repentance. Until we see some evidence of this repentance and a desire to turn from your sin, our organization will be unable to assist you in reconciling with those you have sinned against. Reconciliation apart from repentance by the offender is, quite simply, impossible.

We truly understand and are not unfeeling as to how hard public repentance will be. We are not sharing these thoughts lightly or without much prayer on your behalf. We simply believe that this is the biblical way to resolve public sin, especially sin that has so deeply affected countless people across the span of your many years in ministry. As Scripture clearly teaches, “whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy (Proverbs 28:13).”

In His Grace,

The Recovering Grace Leadership Team

Our team decided that we should share this correspondence with you for two reasons:

1. We have heard from multiple sources that Bill Gothard is telling people that he has attempted to “reconcile” with the Recovering Grace team, and that we have refused to do so. This is patently false, and this lie, if left uncorrected, could potentially undermine the redemptive purposes of our website. As the correspondence shows, he did request a meeting for the purposes of “reconciliation.” But as we attempted to clarify his intentions, it became our opinion that, whatever his intentions were, repentance was not one of them. The last email was sent from us to him on July 1, 2013. We never received a response.

2. This correspondence demonstrates Bill Gothard’s long-standing tendency to avoid answering direct questions. Meg, the young lady who recently shared her story on Recovering Grace, also experienced this kind of deflection in August 2013, when she emailed Bill to ask if he had indeed asked the board for their approval of a marriage to her. She had learned of this from the wife of one of the board members, a woman who had been very close to Meg during her year in Oak Brook. In her initial email to Bill she stated that “as part of this process I would like to have confirmation from you personally that this in fact did happen. I am not sure that I am ready to discuss this matter in a conversation with you at the present time by telephone, hence my initial contact by email.” After an exchange of emails that lasted from August through December (each with her asking more pointed questions), she had received seven emails from Bill Gothard without receiving the yes or no answer she desired. It was Bill’s refusal to be honest and direct with her that finally convinced Meg that she should share her story publicly.


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.


  1. gina February 4, 2014 Reply

    I have a definite recollection that Mr. Gothard taught that clearing one's conscience should never be done by letter (that was before email); I was under the impression this was so there would not be a record of wrongs. Apparently he has more than one reason for this teaching.

    "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." James 3:1

    • Andrew M. R. Kelly February 9, 2014 Reply

      What the e-mails show is that you presented Mr Gothard with an ultimatum. Either publicly repent on our terms and conditions or else we will simply go on exposing you in public anyway. It is what is generally known as a self righteous hanging.

      • Daniel Woodworth February 18, 2014 Reply

        Repentance is a necessary first step to repentance. Either deny the charges outright - and, since so many have made charges, he would need evidence for his innocence in order to be credible - or repent and ask forgiveness. The fact that Gothard wanted to meet to "reconcile" without admitting to any wrongdoing implies that he wanted to meet simply to silence those who are bringing out the truth about him.

        The wrongdoing was on one side. Reconciliation, in this case, is Bill Gothard's repentance.

        • Jonathan March 11, 2014

          Maybe he wanted to meet and repent in person. I kind of don't blame him for not writing back. If someone had written to me like this I would have met with them in person to hear them out. The place for repentance is not necessarily in an email conversation for which the purpose was to ask for a meeting.

          He didn't say in these emails that he wasn't going to repent. Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. But at least go and hear him out. If he doesn't repent you can tell us about it when you get back.

      • Mike Douglass March 11, 2014 Reply

        Now that Bill has resigned, do you feel any differently about him?

        It's very sad that even with overwhelming evidence against Gothard, some (such as yourself)seek to defend him.

        Don't be part of the cult of personality that Gothard has created.

      • Shane March 11, 2014 Reply

        Public sin=public repentance

    • Dan Perritt November 16, 2014 Reply

      He asked to meet. Biblically, you should meet. Why would you avoid meeting with the man? Jesus would welcome the conversation and attempt restoration. Let's go! Meet with the man!

  2. Maria February 4, 2014 Reply

    It's interesting that BG stopped responding when he was asked a direct question. He was cornered with a question regarding sexual harassment and he never answered back. That's just shows that he is not ignorant, something did happen that he doesn't to open up. I think he is scared now or back then. Thank you RG for taking further steps.

  3. AnnH February 4, 2014 Reply

    It is apparent to me now more than ever that Mr. Gothard is unaware of what the church did to heretics. Thank you RG team for exposing the truth. I will be praying for you as this journey to the truth continues.

  4. Shari February 4, 2014 Reply

    The reason Bill wants to meet with RG in person is NOT so he can repent, but so he can size up his opponent.

    If a narcissist cannot avoid the exposure of his wrong actions, he will try and discredit the one who exposes.

    • "Hannah" February 4, 2014 Reply

      Nail on the head, Shari.

    • Amy Robert February 18, 2014 Reply

      You got it right Shari

    • Cyndi Winzeler March 4, 2014 Reply

      What about innocent until proven guilty?

      • KH March 4, 2014 Reply

        He admitted guilt back in 1980 both to inappropriate behavior and an addiction to masturbation! He continued in his inappropriate behavior beyond that!

      • Mike Douglass March 11, 2014 Reply

        Is that a "Biblical principle" or judicial one?

        The fact is that there is overwhelming evidence that Gothard has behaved inappropriately for years and as KH points out, his own admission of guilt for "defrauding."

  5. Flynn February 4, 2014 Reply

    I somehow don't think Mr Gothard is used to dealing with a united front; he probably wants to find out the names of those on the RG team and use that information to personally go after them. Mr Gothard must not be used to people standing up to him that he cannot intimidate by sending them home.

    I have personally emailed Mr Gothard, and asked several very direct questions; he answered none of them. I replied to his email, again, asking my questions. His reply? "We should pray for each other" and that was it.

    • Vera February 4, 2014 Reply

      I agree with this definition of grace. However, ATI always had more included in this then what was listed in the letter. For example melodious music could make man righteous. Also there was a fundamental flaw in the message that stated that there were reasons for people to sin other than the fact that they were choosing to sin. This whole little diatribe on Hudson Taylor is a classic example of how sin was considered a daily event. But it could've only been considered sin for Hudson Taylor if we assume that all anger is sin. So with that in mind sinners that were inside the ATI machine were not lead to repentance, grace and reconciliation. They were judged, kicked out and their parents were left with the blame. However if all sin and fall short of the glory of God, how can we parents produce sinless children? I for one appreciate Bill's attempt to fix the message because the message of legalism that has survived is leading thousands of people to hell.

    • "Hannah" February 4, 2014 Reply

      "We should pray for each other." Haha, you know what that means, right? ;)

      • BeverlyB February 4, 2014 Reply

        That's the Christian equivalent of the Southern "Bless your heart!"

  6. SaraJ February 4, 2014 Reply

    I wrote Bill in 2012, taking him up on his offer to hear from students who were offended. After eight months of no response, RG published the letter. Oh! THEN I got a response! Except it doesn't really seem like Bill actually read my letter before sending back what looked like the leftover text from a newsletter. I was not impressed. He made no effort to reconcile with me, despite having INVITED me to write to him.

    My letter:

    Bill's response:

    Dear Sara,
    Thank you for your e-mail and for the years of service that you invested in the various aspects of this ministry. The involvement that you and other ATI students have had over the years has opened incredible doors to nations and has produced marvelous fruit that will last throughout eternity.

    I was very sorry to hear about the inward struggles that you experienced when you were 20 years old. However, I can understand them because they are not unusual. They have, in fact, been common to many—including heroes of the faith such as Hudson Taylor.
    When he was a missionary in China, he experienced bouts of anger, frustration, and discouragement. He wondered how he could possibly be a leader of others when he himself was not a “victorious” Christian.

    One day, a Godly friend sent him a letter and the Holy Spirit illuminated his heart and mind to understand what it really meant to abide in Christ.

    He suddenly realized that it was not his job to struggle and strive in order to be a good Christian but rather to simply abide in the vine, and the life-giving energy from the vine would produce the fruit in his life. This life-giving energy is the power of God’s grace which is accessed through our faith as Paul explains:

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

    The concept of the vine and the branches is also significant because it relates to the commands of Christ. Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you…If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:7, 10). The teaching of Jesus centers around the commands which He received from His Heavenly Father and taught to His disciples (John 15:15).

    The Basic Seminar Message
    When I began the Basic Seminar in 1964, it was simply an explanation of my experiences in trying to apply the commands of Christ and of God’s amazing rewards to the extent that I was able to do it. Over the years, some people have reacted to my teaching of “principles.” However, these were intended as different ways of looking at the commands of Christ, and my foundational message focuses on His commands.

    I have learned that Christ’s commands are not suggestions or man-made rules but the means by which God reveals Himself to us and works powerfully in our lives. As Jesus states, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

    Our relationship with Christ must be one of love and fellowship. The Lord accepts us as we are, but He teaches us the practical ways to love Him and others through His commandments. As He said, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15).
    Further verses on His commands are:

    “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (I John 2:3). “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).

    “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (I John 5:2). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).

    The Definition of Grace
    Our key issue on this point is whether the grace of God contains the power that we need to live the Christian life. It is significant to note that in the Old Testament, they were continually told to “keep (which means to carefully watch) and do (which means to obey)” the commandments.

    However, in the New Testament we are instructed to simply “keep” the commandments because the Holy Spirit will give us the power to do them. Scripture states, “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

    It is for this reason John states that “his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). Further verses that affirm the power of grace are:

    • “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ… That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord…For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under [the reign of] grace” (Romans 5:17,21 and 6:14).

    • “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).

    • “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).

    • God’s grace is freely given but can be resisted: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).

    Sara, we both agree that grace is God’s unmerited favor. However, is this all that grace is? God gives us grace to keep us from sinning and He gives us mercy when we do sin. Grace and mercy have two different functions and are listed separately in Scripture. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrew 4:16, see also I Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:3).

    My prayer is that all of us will live in the power of God’s grace and in the compassion of His mercy. I would appreciate your comments on this letter.

    • Vera February 4, 2014 Reply

      I agree with this definition of grace. However, ATI always had more included in this then what was listed in the letter. For example melodious music could make man righteous. Also there was a fundamental flaw in the message that stated that there were reasons for people to sin other than the fact that they were choosing to sin. This whole little diatribe on Hudson Taylor is a classic example of how sin was considered a daily event. But it could've only been considered sin for Hudson Taylor if we assume that all anger is sin. So with that in mind sinners that were inside the ATI machine were not lead to repentance, grace and reconciliation. They were judged, kicked out and their parents were left with the blame. However if all sin and fall short of the glory of God, how can we parents produce sinless children? I for one appreciate Bill's attempt to fix the message because the message of legalism that has survived is leading thousands of people to hell.

    • Heidi February 4, 2014 Reply

      Wow, SaraJ,

    • "Hannah" February 4, 2014 Reply

      "Our key issue on this point is whether the grace of God contains the power that we need to live the Christian life."

      Just off the top of my head, I would say this is false. That it is the holy spirit that gives us power to live the Christian life. It's a very subtle theological difference that has a huge "butterfly effect". "Change one thing; change everything." It's a distinction that has made all the difference in my Christian life. It took me from constant futile striving, to simply resting.

      • Dave February 4, 2014 Reply

        Hannah, this is a key Gothard error. Grace separated from the Person. For Gothard and the gang, grace is just another idea, perhaps some kind of force or ability, but not a person.

        Gothard's grace is just another work, just another level or method of performance.

        Good for you to bring this out! It does make all the difference. Jesus is our Hope and Strength - and He is in us and we are in Him. His life is our life. That's the good news!

        • pvproof February 5, 2014

          Bill Gothard said it himself in the letter to Sara:

          "This life-giving energy is the power of God’s grace which is accessed through our faith"

          Grace is life-giving energy which we access through faith? Do the right things, and the energy flows towards you... is that really the purpose of grace?

          Everything in Gothard's system of teaching has an end goal of enabling us to "live the Christian life" - He cares more about living a successful life than knowing the Person of Christ.

          His letter to Sara just further confirmed in my mind that Gothard has missed the true meaning of the Good News of the Gospel.

          Christ did not come just that we might have a successful life - He came that we might HAVE LIFE and HE is the WAY, the TRUTH and THE LIFE - He came that we might KNOW HIM!!! The Creator of all that is!

          Sadly Bill seems more interested in the practical details of how to live successfully, than how to personally know the Father through Christ the Son.

        • Daniel Woodworth February 18, 2014

          pvproof, I think you're mistaken in faulting that aspect of Gothard's teaching. It is actually a close paraphrase of the Bible, which tells us that we are saved "by grace through faith." Faith is not something you do - the Bible makes it quite clear that works and faith are two separate things.

          While it is wrong to overemphasize the importance of works, as Gothard may do, it is also important not to underestimate the importance of works. Remember, "faith without works is dead." Our goal is not living a "good" life, but personal knowledge of God will change the way we walk.

      • MichaelD February 5, 2014 Reply

        To state this up front - BG's letter really states nothing and doesn't address the actual letter received.

        But since we're on the topic of grace, here is an interesting perspective from the Orthodox perspective:

        • Another Hannah February 6, 2014

          Thxs for this comment. I'm Orthodox myself. :)

    • Karen Richmond February 4, 2014 Reply

      The big deal with this response is not the specifics of what it says, but that it clearly says, "Hey, I didn't actually read your letter, don't care what you have to say or feel, but would love the chance to repeat all my sterling insights about how to run your life, which, if they haven't worked for you, is clearly because you didn't try hard enough." In other words, same old, same old.

      • Julia Fetters February 4, 2014 Reply


      • Brandon February 5, 2014 Reply

        So true and so sad.

    • Julia Fetters February 4, 2014 Reply

      I honestly could not stomach reading that entire reply from BG, SaraJ.
      I will tell you from experience that when we have hurt someone, especially hurt their spirit or hurt them any way connected to spirituality or the Lord, they do NOT want to hear scripture from us. The offender has no right or place sermonizing to the offended. It is offensive in itself to give such a reply.
      When I repent , now I am going to be honest and graphic here, I usually am so broken as to see myself as a scumbag. Really. As BG taught, I put myself in that person's shoes and try to see the situation from their perspective, and boy it is a mess. I mean my heart is a mess. I sob, when the Holy Spirit shows me how I have hurt another. Repentance can be messy business with an ache so deep you think your guts will come out. When I see the immense grief and hurt I have caused I think "If that person ever glances my way again or per chance smiles at me I am the lucky one. I don't deserve any of their thought or time." To me, again from my own experience, repentance is real and true and deep and final. Sorry so personal but I knew of no other way to get it across.

      • SaraJ February 4, 2014 Reply

        Julia, yes! The ability to understand and mourn that we've hurt someone else is what makes repentance so powerful.

        I wasn't looking for tears and abasement from Bill. I would have settled for the basic courtesy of having my letter read and responded to. Even if he had said, "I had no idea you took my teachings that way. I can't say I agree that it's my fault, but I can see how you're hurt." That response wouldn't have satisfied me, but it would have at least shown some respect for me. It would have been a step toward resolution.

      • Vera February 5, 2014 Reply

        Amen, Julie. That is real repentance and then looking to the grace of God for freedom. Thank God that He does that for us.

  7. Kody February 4, 2014 Reply

    Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey My teaching, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." (John14:23). It is devistating to read the stories of the countless people who have been hurt by Gothards sinful acts and false doctrines. But as Christ said, "For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world." God's will is for Bill to repent of his many sins, to be saved from his guilt and shame that he has carried for all these years. Perhaps it is fear of man that is keeping him from repenting...but how much wiser would he be to fear God over man! (Matt 10:28). To truly love God is to obey what He commands! May God do a great work in Bill's heart, so that many of the people that he has hurt can begin their healing.
    Thank you RG for stepping out in faith, to speak for those who have no voice. To God be the glory!

  8. Brandon February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thank you very much for your willingness to share at such a level RG.

    I respect an organization/person that is transparent, as that is the best way to stay accountable. I know it must not have been an easy decision to provide this level of transparency for the general public, please know I respect your decision very much.

    Absolute power corrupts, transparency breeds accountability.

  9. KC February 4, 2014 Reply

    As Shari posted, Bill wants to size up his opponent. I think if Bill truly got this opportunity, he would be overwhelmed. No only does RG have many volunteers but the number of students hurt by the teachings of Bill number over a THOUSAND! It is truly impossible both physically and financially to make meeting in person with everyone whom his teachings have hurt. Due to the impossibility, many have tried to communicate via email and even phone calls but he continues to give generic answers and avoid any direct questions while tossing around scripture that is completely taken out of context. Not only that but many of the responses seem to be form letters!

    Since he refuses to repent, it will be shouted from the rooftops.
    Thank you RG for your grace and hope to those who have been hurt by the teachings of IBLP and ATI.

  10. esbee February 4, 2014 Reply

    I read your letter after I read Mr. B's response and if he ever steps down from his current position, he could make a great second career as a politician.

  11. Grace February 4, 2014 Reply

    Would it hurt to even talk to him face to face? i mean, would it hurt to even try? I don't think everyone who even been hurt my this ministry should have to meet with him together, maybe just a few people and then see how it goes...

    • Andrew Harper February 4, 2014 Reply

      I think the point is that over 40 years it's been proven that talking to him face-to-face won't help.

      • Samuel Lundmark February 6, 2014 Reply

        Agreed. If he will not hear those on his own board, why think that he would listen to anyone else??

        The harsh reality for Bill Gothard is that many of us have moved on.

        Outside of standing up for others he has abused, trying to help prevent repeats, and trying to deal with the false doctrines, he simply does not hold much relevance in our lives any longer.

        • Jerry Wood April 25, 2014

          "The harsh reality for Bill Gothard is that many of us have moved on."
          The harsh reality actually is that none of you huddled together with your continual going over and over the same things, blaming someone else for your misery whether it be BG of someone or something else demonstrates you all are in bondage while declaring freedom. If you are truly free then actually move on and trust God to deal with this man you obviously hate or dislike to the point you cannot get over it. Most of you complain of being controlled by him in the past, in reality you are still being controlled and bound to the point your not free at all. I can only go by your comments as I do not know any of you but it smells like bondage to me. Crying peace, peace when there really is no peace. I've been where you are and know it is misery, I pray for God's mercy never to return there.
          by grace alone

        • 'Megan' April 25, 2014

          Jerry, please do not speak for me. As you said, you don't know those posting, therefore you can't know who is in the midst of a long healing process, and who HAS moved on, yet for the sake of others still in bondage, won't stop crying a warning.

          If your version of 'moving on' means that I cease to support victims who are scared enough as it is to post their stories, then that's not going to work for me, as I feel that it would be me 'ignoring the cries of the poor'.

          Also, there are many here who have 'moved on' for the most part, but still have dearly loved family members who are still embroiled in bondage. They are here for their families, getting the word out, in hopes of helping their families see the light.

          Lastly, no two people heal and move on at the same rate. This isn't something that can be forced, and mind you, I have a family member who I long to tell, 'get over it! stop feeling sorry for yourself!' etc.. but I can't, because I know it doesn't work like that.

          For me, I believe I have moved on, very much so. But I can't and won't forget how awful my time in IBLP was, or the damage it caused and still causes my family. Therefore, until this program is fully and completely exposed for what it is, false teachings etc.. I can't just shut up and move on with my life. The folks that are in need of healing need those of us who have 'moved on'/paved the way.

          Didn't mean to write a book, sorry!

        • Shane April 25, 2014

          @Jerry I don't know where you've been but please don't stay where you are. Yout posts reveal it is not a good or healthy place. I hope you find grace along the journey.

    • Brandon February 4, 2014 Reply

      Meeting makes sense if there is a reason. Meeting together to pray with Mr. Gothard or just to look at each other would be a useless enterprise.

    • Timothy Baldridge February 4, 2014 Reply

      Perhaps it might work if the entire session was recorded. This is the reason I think Bill Gothard prefers face-to-face meetings: the lack of evidence. To back up my claim one needs go no further than Bill's teachings on how to correct someone. The gist of his views are this: praise should be done in writing so that a written record exists for the person to read during times of depression. While correction should be done in person so that no record exists and the person doesn't have to dwell upon it afterwords.

      Of course none of this helps if you need to hold the person accountable for their actions. So yeah, only meet with him in person if you can record the entire event.

      • Mark R February 4, 2014 Reply

        I need to check my copy of A Matter of Basic Principles but IIRC Don Veinot and Midwest Christian Outreach wanted to record their discussions with Gothard about the concerns they had regarding IBLP and Gothard's leadership, to which Gothard initially agreed but later changed his mind (if he ever agreed at all in the first place).

    • Another former ATI student February 4, 2014 Reply

      I think if every person he's hurt or attempted to destroy, tried to meet with BG, we'd need a bigger venue than the Knoxville conferences...

      Not sure that many in one place could be restrained from physically attacking the man for the hurt he's caused in so many lives!

      DAILY, I'm reminded of his underhanded methods. They are 90% of the reason I haven't spoken/seen much of my family in years.

      • Soul Knots February 4, 2014 Reply

        While my family was not involved in ATI, my parents attended the seminars and I grew up in a heavily Gothard-influenced church. I actually have no contact with my family now as an adult, and I trace that decision directly back to the legalism, abuse, and isolation my parents bought into while following Gothard. I have read comments from several others on this site who have also limited or cut off contact with their families after leaving the program, and I wonder just how common this is?

        • 'Megan' February 4, 2014

          Probably more common than anyone here even wants to think about. :(

        • Lottie S. February 4, 2014

          I think it is a lot more common than we all realized. I feel like between BG and another man I was involved with I have been robbed of my parents and a good relationship with them. I still have contact with my family but it is limited for my own emotional wellbeing.

        • Martha February 4, 2014

          The number of children that have been abandoned by their families is, I would venture to guess, staggering. I am also one of them.

        • Brandon February 5, 2014

          very common. I did not speak to my mother for 8 years due to stances she was forceful about that she got from Gothard.

        • Naomi February 12, 2014

          It's common enough that as I started to read your comment, I double-checked to make sure it wasn't my own. In contrast with you, I do have contact with my family, but we've learned that the only way we can maintain this contact is by keeping conversations very superficial. Thanks to Gothard's teachings, our family dynamic was such that I learned early not to expect anything from my parents. The point of my existence was to meet their needs.

          Also I have a letter from Bill Gothard from the mid-90s that admitted family tensions among adherents was quite common. I should scan it and submit it to RG.

        • "Emee" April 25, 2014

          @ Naomi, please do send that letter in--I'd be interested in reading it. I also have Gothard-related tension in my relationship to my parents.

        • Elease Hill June 25, 2014

          I had to reply to this comment. I come from a family who was involved in the first meetings held in Seattle, WA, my grandfather considered BG a close friend and was part of the team in Seattle. My parents raised me in his beliefs and my Father's narcissistic tendencies were validated by BG's Umbrella of Authority. As a married adult with my own children I have little communication with my family, the only communication I had was because I did not want to separate my children from their Grandparents. My husband does not know how wise that is considering the psychological and emotional scars and issues that I have to work through on a daily basis.

  12. Brandon February 4, 2014 Reply

    Does Mr. Gothard want to meet just to try to squeeze the names of the victims who have stepped forward from RG? Because it seems there are so many young women with similar stories, he may not be able to figure out who is writing some of these stories without divulging even more names.

    It saddens me so much when leaders are corrupt and give in to their base desires. It hurts Christianity so much.

  13. E. Stephen Burnett February 4, 2014 Reply

    More than likely, Gothard wanted to extend the offer just so it would be refused at some point. Then he could "honestly" (perhaps deceiving himself as much as anyone) say, "See, I was open to reconcile and even on their terms -- though this may not be necessary -- and they did not accept my offer. This merely proves that their offer was a bluff all along, and all they want to do is continue in their sins."

    Any "offer" of "reconciliation" without even the pretense of humility and acceptance of the possibility of looking at one's own behavior and repenting of it, any such "offer" is just a farce. At best, it's a guise for the "offerer" only to attempt defending his own motives and actions. At worst (if you will excuse the expression) it's simple CYA.

    • Austin Gunderson February 4, 2014 Reply

      And again, what's so pathetic about Gothard's messages is the hypocracy they exemplify. IBLP requirements for confession are exhaustive. Merely saying "sorry" doesn't even come close to what is needful for "clearing your conscience." You must explain your sin, express your regret, and ask the offended party for forgiveness. You are not allowed to be vague. You are not allowed to equivocate.

      Time spent on this site will divulge dozens of accounts in which IBLP underlings of all ages and positions were forced to confess a private infraction publically before incurring punishment. For those under Gothard's thumb, there was no concern for privacy or proper procedure as per Matthew 18. And now Gothard is counting on being afforded the same privileges his organization routinely denied to others.

      I've dealt with people like Gothard -- entitled and egotistical "spiritual leaders" who, when confronted with their own obvious sins, hem and haw and stall and obfuscate and pass the buck and blame the messenger. I've confronted a whole council of elders who had such a mentality. Boy, did those people love meetings! Nothing -- NOTHING -- could be accomplished in writing or over the phone. Ostensibly this was to facilitate communication and forestall "gossip," but I gradually realized, as the fiasco stretched on and on over the better part of a year, that face-to-face confrontation played to the strengths of the "spiritual leader": in person, he was able to stack the discussion participants, intimidate people with his body language and verbal charisma, and limit conversation to ninety minutes every sixty days. I'd leave a meeting thinking that progress had been made, then belatedly realize that nothing had actually changed.

      The bottom line ended up being this: the offending party wasn't willing to admit to wrongdoing in writing, and he wasn't willing to admit to wrongdoing in person. The means of communication didn't make a difference; how could they? He wasn't repentant. He simply wanted to do whatever was necessary to make the unpleasantness go away.

      And besides, it's much easier to cloud an issue in person than in writing. I haven't personally met Bill Gothard, but most accounts paint him as a rather overwhelming and charismatic presence. Reading his replies to RG, it seems obvious to me that he's jockeying for the most advantageous positioning -- the forum least conducive to a ruthless clarity of thought. If he was truly repentant, he'd be EAGER to offer clarifications and concessions. As it is, he's just throwing dust in the air.

      • Lori Baldwin February 5, 2014 Reply

        I truly wonder if he might fit the description of a sociopath.

  14. Eric February 4, 2014 Reply

    I've seen other similar situations in the past few years where cult leaders seek "reconciliation" with their victims. In many if not most cases, it gradually becomes evident that by "reconciliation" they mean "bringing the victims back over to our side so they'll acknowledge the leaders were right all along."

    Of course without a clear definition of "reconciliation" from BG we can't tell exactly what he was after, but it's pretty telling that he stopped pursuing it after it was made clear that reconciling would involve his repentance for his sins.

    • "Hannah" February 6, 2014 Reply

      I can verify from past experience with Gothard's "apologies" (not to myself, but to a close relative), that this describes his MO, quite well.

  15. Annie February 4, 2014 Reply

    OF COURSE MR.GOTHARD WILL NOT ANSWER IN DETAIL BY EMAIL!!! His lawyers would have forbidden it, for one thing. Clearly, you do not have legal experience. IF YOU REFUSE A MEETING face-to-face, I will write you off as immature, misguided, disgruntled scaredy-cats on a witch hunt...with too much time on your hands. Time and energy that could be spent in more positive, Christ honoring ways. Should you begin face-to-face meetings with Mr.Gothard and his lawyers...I would give you a hearing.

    • JulieAnne February 4, 2014 Reply

      Annie, no one refused to meet with Gothard. They tried to get Gothard to answer a few questions such as "If there is a meeting, who should attend?" and "To whom, specifically, do you seek to be reconciled, and for what specific offense?" These seem to be things that would be necessary to know before setting up a meeting with the people who should actually be there. Gothard is the one who stopped responding, not Recovering Grace. Have you left a similar message with Gothard, about writing him off as an "immature, misguided, disgruntled scaredy-cat" if he does not respond about moving forward with a meeting?

      I thought not.

      • Annie February 4, 2014 Reply

        You know, It feels as if I am trying to answer a fool according to his folly, but here goes one more time. I am in the corporate world, and let me tell you...nobody is going to conduct these kind of matters in writing. NO ONE! Mr. G is so right to not answer your demands in writing. You say you have attorneys looking into this...send THEM over! My stars. One of these days, when you grow are going to have many regrets.

        • Phillip February 4, 2014

          Not sure how this is relevant, and your palpable intolerance is completely unecessary, however, I'd agree with you in a corporate setting. Never externally admit liability in writing. Deniability is king.

          However, the bigger issue is Gothard, if he cared, he could have called as well and said "I want to reconcile privately, and apologize for these things that I have done." That'd have been a great start...much better than silence.

          But he doesn't care, nor does he want to reconcile or repent, so neither of us is surprised that he preaches humility, but turns and hides behind the corporate machine.

        • E. Stephen Burnett February 4, 2014

          Annie: So you agree that Gothard is thinking more like the head of a corporation, more than as a Christian dealing with wounded and grieving spiritual siblings who are claiming he teaches false doctrine and abuses those under him.

        • Vera February 5, 2014

          Yes, and attorneys would have a field day with this web site and the duplicity in judging. You are right, Annie.

          I do want to disagree with you on one thing. Bill didn't just start a homeschool program. No. If it was a curriculum ordering company, that would probably be no big deal. But instead, he dictated a lot of rules for our families to demonstrate to the world that we were different. To join, there were prerequisites of more seminars and more demands. I felt like if I wanted to join, I had to agree with the idea of trusting God for my family size, for example. I had to get rid of the TV, stop working, never go to a movie, wear dresses 24/7, never associate with anyone other than those in ATI or those "likeminded" and never ever ever be around or listen to rock music. Plus, we had to agree that Doug couldn't have a beard, which for us was no big deal. However, I will never forget the time that Michael, Doug's brother, went with us to Knoxville and people looked at us horrified because Michael has a very neatly trimmed beard. We made a lot of promises that I feel were none of Bill's business. I desperately needed to work but was constantly told that if I went to work, my children would start sinning. Well, once we understood the message and our liberty in Christ, just the opposite happened when I went to work. Of course, I am 57 years old trying to keep up with girls as old as my daughters. Anyway, the system was a fail and Bill never lifted a finger to help or take responsibility for the mess. Trying to be righteous by standards leads to sin and more sin of the worst kind. So Bill's sin is predictable. He needs to repent and be free. Although, Eileen did tell me that she did not notice him being inappropriate to her when she was there. But we are brunettes and not exactly the typical style that Bill loves. We sent him our children to serve and that was hit or miss. Eileen had a bad experience in Indy but had a great experience with Excel and the Bells. Michael had a horrible experience of being falsely accused of stealing computers and more. Michael was destroyed by ATI opportunities which we had all been led to believe for 15 years would be there for us. Michael needed to repent and receive The Lord but there was nothing in that organization built around the idea of seeing sinners become saints. It was all standards, standards, and more standards and judging, judging, judging over standards.

        • Brandon February 5, 2014

          I am also in the corporate world. And when people use excessive exclamation points in communications or colloquialisms such as *my stars", I ignore them as fools.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 6, 2014


          Nobody is demanding anything. Questions were asked which did not receive responses. That is ignoring--not demanding. It is impossible to have a conversation or meeting when one side ignores your questions and refuses to work out arrangements.

          Fortunately for the health of the wider church body today, fewer and fewer people are loyal to Bill Gothard and more have painstakenly rebuilt their loyalty upon Jesus Christ. This is the way things should have been for so many years.

          Go ahead and call people swine and fools. I perceive you speak out of bitterness.

          The answers provided by the IBLP board will be important to IBLP's survival. At this point, I have personally concluded that it's better for IBLP to no longer exist. I do not say this out of hate, because I love a lot of the people I who know on the inside.

          I respect those on the board of Vision Forum who closed it down. I suspect they agonized over the painful decisions they needed to make. If IBLP needs to go the same route, so be it.

          If I were you, Annie, I would want to be paying close attention since it seems you are quite loyal to IBLP. These things matter because one more indication of a lack of concern for justice, and IBLP clearly demonstrates that it indeed does NOT concern itself with principles as much as it does with power.

          It matters what happens to Bill Gothard out of the allegations and personal life testimonies of these women because these are matters of justice--not just stories to discredit and get past.

          I have come to conclude that Bill Gothard is not a significant factor in God's kingdom. Gothard's principles as such do not concern God. Sure they have helped some, but so have the teachings in Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other religions and systems of thought. The classis question still exists, "What is truth?"

          IBLP principles do not matter--it has become its own religion. What matters is that Jesus is found preeminent in each heart.

        • Jerry Wood April 25, 2014

          Be careful Annie. I have observed on this site that if you say anything that remotely sounds like you support BG or the ministry you too will be called to be crucified along with BG. And if you say "my stars", or use exclamation points you will be labeled as a fool as Brandon has done in a later post as well as being declared palpably intolerant according to Phillip. It is simply incredible how those who accuse others of intolerance are so intolerant. I have followed this site way too long and not knowing either of the parties in this feud the only thing I know to offer is prayer for each of them & that Christ would ultimately be honored and glorified. Lord be merciful to each of these folk on both sides of this battle as well, have mercy on my soul. God speed brothers and sisters, it would be best if I don't return as I feel I have given in to a morbid curiosity sort of like it feels to pick up one of those tabloids, entertaining but definitely not edifying.

        • P.L. April 25, 2014

          Ummm, Jerry, since Annie's comments date back to February 4 and no one has called for her crucifixion yet your caution seem unnecessary. Maybe check the dates on the comment threads?

          But since you've already decided to leave and never return, no worries.

    • 'Megan' February 4, 2014 Reply

      Please stay tuned for the next few articles. You may very well find out why Gothard isn't keen on having a meeting or acknowledging his wrongs, publicly repenting, etc. His lack of co-operation is a refusal to meet, even if he doesn't put it in those words.

    • "Hannah" February 4, 2014 Reply

      RG was never obligated to meet with Gothard, at all. I, for one, am content to continue posting our stories for the world to read. I don't think die-hard Gothard supporters will suddenly start giving credemce to RG just because there is a face-to-face meeting. So that's mostly an excuse on your part. If we shoot down that argument, you will find another reason to discredit our stories. You believe what you choose to believe, and you are free to do so.

    • ruth February 6, 2014 Reply

      Exactly the tone of this website exposes the immaturity that still exists in many this probably is one of the detriments of a sheltered home schooling life

  16. "Hannah" February 4, 2014 Reply

    His correspondence is manipulative. If someone from my past sent me such correspondence, I would also refuse to meet with them.

    Personally, I feel the whole Matthew 18 thing is a waste of time and simply does not apply, here. I'm all for public exposure of the heretic. It's a free country and we can, and others may be more receptive to our message than Gothard, himself is. So why not focus on the fish we can catch, vs wasting effort on the ones who will not hear us? And Gothard himself would be at the top of the second list. I care not for someone else's list of Biblical "rules" that they try to impose upon me. There is nothing in Scripture saying one cannot expose a false teacher publicly, and plenty to say one can.

  17. Travis February 4, 2014 Reply

    "I want to repent..."
    "Ha ha! Just fooling! Got you good!"

    A la Bill.

  18. Julia Fetters February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Recovering Grace. You are doing a great service for the Church.
    I have asked my husband to read today and yesterday's RG article (or whatever they are called on here. :) He has been very impressed, as I am, with the grace, maturity, thought, and dignity given to each item you post. There has not been hate or malice. Grace and truth are what we see.
    As a parent of adults raised with ATI, I want to thank you.

  19. Nancy February 4, 2014 Reply

    I am impressed by the incredible amount of grace shown by the Recovering Grace staff. Unfortunately, the success rate for reforming sexual predators is extremely low. In Meg's story, Bill Gothard only loosened his grip on her when he was forced to by law. Bill Gothard is never going to repent and reconcile in a meaningful way. He will continue to prey on innocent young women as long as he has the opportunity. Time for the Recovering Grace lawyers to put together sexual harassment cases against Bill Gothard, to stop him once and for all.

    • Lori Baldwin February 5, 2014 Reply

      Amen. This man needs to be taken down.

  20. Richard February 4, 2014 Reply

    Ah . . . wonder if it will still be worth it all?

    • Jonathan Owens February 4, 2014 Reply

      I wonder the same thing!!!

    • Brandon February 5, 2014 Reply

      This is the only thing I have laughed at all day....

  21. Lana February 4, 2014 Reply

    The wisdom booklets teach that you should go to your brother in person to reconcile if I remember correctly.

  22. former student February 4, 2014 Reply

    I guess you all are wanting him to tell you what you want to hear prior to the meeting? Isn't that the reason for the meeting? His advisors will never let him answer questions over e-mail like that. Clearly BG is not completely aware of all the accusations or reasons for which you want to meet.

    He clearly stated that he would meet with the RG leadership team, be strong, set the meeting, have it well documented and require it be video taped!

    He clearly stated his intentions in the first e-mail "to reconcile". then RG replies asking what his intentions are. I am sure you were asking for his definition of "reconcile", but then his reply e-mail again, he says he wants to reconcile.

    This e-mail transmission reminds me of the dog chasing a car and then caught it. Come on guys, go talk to him! Don't do it with a large group, it should only be about 4 - 6 of your "leaders". Talk to him, see what his response is, if he is repentant and complies then set a bigger meeting, or video his confession. Is it that you don't want a meeting but rather a public confession? Put on the big boy pants and go meet with him, and take a gopro camera :-)

    • Lori Baldwin February 5, 2014 Reply

      I doubt he would ever agree to the meeting being recorded. Read Midwest Christian Outreach's accounts of their ongoing communications and meetings with BG. He lied, denied, backpedaled and manipulated like a pro. I would fully expect a repeat performance.

      • Brandon February 5, 2014 Reply

        It takes special skills to be a predator for so many decades and still try to take the moral high ground. If I was not so disgusted with him I would be impressed.

  23. KR February 4, 2014 Reply

    I also emailed Bill explaining how his direct instructions to my parents about what to do with me specifically were incredibly damaging to my life and to my family. What he advised was the worst advice he could have given them. Granted, they are to blame as well for falling for it, despite good intentions. I received an email that basically said he was sorry I was hurt but never took responsibility for it. He wanted to call me. I asked a few direct questions about the reasons for such a conversation and received a very indirect answer. I decided not to give him my number. I've moved on, it just bothers me that others are still trapped in the mindset.

  24. Dorsey Walker Ochoa February 4, 2014 Reply

    As a mother and wife who sat under the teachings of this man, as well as homeschooling through ATI, I thank you for bringing out in the open many of the difficult and severed relationships that have occurred as many families (mine included) suffered extreme loss directly related to the years of following the teaching of BG. My husband (ex - once his hidden demons were exposed) used and abused his position of authority to establish the process of not allowing anyone in the household to question any of his desicions or actions. After many years of maintaining this dysfunctional lifestyle, God opened my blind eyes through the testimonies of my girls. I am thankful that God has used this drastic life-changing exposure to begin a now life-long process of healing for my family. I am thankful I now have healthy and open relationships with seven of my eight children. My heart aches as I state that my oldest daughter cut off all communication with her siblings and her mother. My heart aches when I think of severed relationships and broken hearts, the direct result of many families following Gothard.

    • Martha February 4, 2014 Reply

      How old is your oldest daughter?

    • Lori Baldwin February 5, 2014 Reply

      Praying that the Lord will bring you back together, Dorsey. Hugs to you, sister.

  25. […] Recovering Grace Correspondence with Bill Gothard […]

  26. Bill February 4, 2014 Reply

    Quite amazing. Personally, I gave up long ago in seminary on a lot of the Institutes teachings. Found out that the Bible was a lot easier to understand than the big red notebook. I did like some of the things I heard. But, as I read the articles on the harassment ...... I got the strange feeling that I was reading about a socially awkward man who really wanted to be married, but didn't know how to go about it.

  27. John February 4, 2014 Reply

    sounds like Bill is going to do what he has always done over the years I don't mean to be a prophet of doom but he wont specifically acknowledge his wrong doing and from his response he has diminished the seriousness of your claims and will dismiss them altogether.

  28. Helen February 5, 2014 Reply

    Why not meet with Bill? What are you afraid of? After all no one really knows who is behind this web site. Might be just a single person using many different names to write different stories. Everyone is afraid to use their real names. I find it strange. Bill, if you are reading this, my advice is for you to ignore it all. It's just a "trend". It will pass.

    • Helen who? February 5, 2014 Reply

      Sounds like a Pharisee talking to the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:38-39... "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (NIV)

      This will be more difficult to pass than recurring kidney stones. At least Jesus is the Great Physician. Don't fight Him.

    • SusannaG February 5, 2014 Reply

      Helen, are were/are you involved with ATI/IBLP? Your point about meeting with Bill is valid in some ways, but it seems to me, if you were someone who had experienced what it is like being on the inside of these programs, you would recognize the validity of the stories on this site and better understand why RG has followed the path they have in this. So many students (and parents too) who went through ATI and the seminars experienced the same things, and are now struggling with pain and confusion as a result. I, for one, had no idea anyone else had "left" the program and felt like I did. I thought I was the only one.

    • Brandon February 5, 2014 Reply

      Ignorance is bliss?
      I hope he ignores it until he is forced to resign in disgrace as a sexual predator. We all know how successful he was the first time he did damage control when he was caught doing the same things in the 80s - I pray this time it will be different and he is forced to stop destroying young girl's lives.

    • esbee February 5, 2014 Reply

      I am one of the people who was invited to tell their story. (Designed to be a Finger!) Though not deeply involved as others on here, I went to one seminar but our church was infected with the teachings of Mr. B which still had a deep and not good effect on my life. I could not write all those other stories never having met Mr. B and certainly never knew about the predatory stuff. I was only messed up by the religious aspects he taught. You can see I am a single entity different from the RG moderators. The proof is you can go to my website and see who I really am.
      p.s. Mr. B would never deign to meet with a nobody like me. Wrong color hair, wrong age, wrong weight. Too many pets, messy house, couch potato husband of 38 years.

      • esbee February 6, 2014 Reply

        and if I may add, NOBODY would make up a crazy story like mine with all the cats and horses unless they had truly lived!

    • Samuel Lundmark February 6, 2014 Reply

      Helen, do you care to address me. My real name is on all of my posts. I'm not afraid to use it.

      Helen, it is time to pull your head out of the sand. Multiple testimonies lend credence to a matter. This is not just a trend. There is no single script, and there is definitely not a single poster!! ha ha...

      I didn't used to believe the reports by the so-called "rebels" in ATI. I have come through many trials and much consideration to believe that the fault lies not with those who are labeled but with the person who is consistently labelling people around him.

      For Bill Gothard to bring up in the mid and late '90s "A Matter of Basic Principles" naming both Venoit and Henzel (who I would likely have not discovered for years sans his mention) and to blacken their names claiming that they were telling lies about him and "this ministry", etc. makes me wonder, "Why did Bill Gothard get a free pass to speak evil of another whether true or false causing so many to distrust and disbelieve their reports sans due consideration when nobody can do the same concerning Bill Gothard?"

      As is so many times the case, the chickens came home to roost when I realized that it was Bill himself who was including us nearly 12,000 ATI adherants who were neither part of the problem nor part of the solution in his act of mass gossip against Henzel and Venoit. By Gothard's own judgement of gossip, he is guilty of it on a grand scale. This added validity to the argument that Bill realized that he had a lot to lose personally if he did not take this preemptive measure to control the situation. Otherwise, would he have not simply ignored the false claims and dealt with Venoit and Henzel personally and quietly without causing dissention in the body of Christ? He always said, "False accussations don't stick--it's the ones that are partially true that hurt the most." My take on this: The issues brought forth in that book must have been very important for him to need to mitigate them that much.

      While not always entirely symetrical, justice, indeed, does cut both ways.

  29. Jonathan February 7, 2014 Reply

    Matthew 18 says you must GO (not discuss terms first) to the person who sinned privately, and then if they are not repentant, bring one or two more witnesses with you (it says nothing about announcing the problem to the whole church at this stage either), and THEN to publicly tell the church; finally, if he does not listen to the church, this is the point the church should treat the person like a Gentile or tax collector.

    Matthew 18 does not say you get to decide the intentions of the person who sinned/conditions the person must agree to before you go to them; please show me where this idea is found anywhere in Scripture.

    My Point? Recovering Grace has violated Scripture by publicly denouncing Bill Gothard without actually going to him according to the biblical pattern in Matthew 18.

    I have never met Bill Gothard, so I have no idea whether these allegations are true or not; what I do know is per Matthew 18, Recovering Grace is handling this situation in an unbiblical manner while claiming the opposite, and that is disappointing. If you actually follow the steps of Matthew 18 (and also publicly apologize for violating Scripture by not speaking with him according to the pattern of Matthew 18 before publishing these stories), you will be in line with the Scriptures and your voice will carry weight.

    If you allegations are true, it is very important that your voice carries weight, so I am praying you will handle this in the proper and biblical way from this point forward - Jonathan

    • greg r February 7, 2014 Reply

      This whole approach to scripture is unnecessarily confining and bogus. The idea here is that unless the WORD specifically says that something must be done THIS way, then it is prohibited. This is an approach, a way of interpreting scripture: it is not scripture itself. BTW ALL of us have some kind of "lens" or hemenuetic, our interpretive grid to the word. That's not bad: it's unaviodable. Many others have chosen to interpret scripture the way Jonathan has, I'm not calvinist, but it reminds me of John Calvin.

      My point: you could just as easily say, if scripture doesn't clearly forbid x, y, or z, then it's free game. If RG's approach to BG and this whole mess does not explicitly break a scripture , or the "heart" or intention of a scripture, then it's OK to proceed.

      Irony of ironies: BG himself is fastidiously specific in ways that the scripture never was (see outline above) and did not mind BROADLY interpreting scripture to fit what HE felt GOD meant by what GOD said. In other words, Bill did not mind taking general brush strokes and turn them into a "pointalist" picture. Life by the numbers....his numbers.

    • Jonathan February 7, 2014 Reply

      Okay, after reading other parts of the site, I see RG considers themselves to be serving as the "church" overall from Matthew 18 and is stating people already completed the previous steps of Matthew 18 - please delete this and my above post of you are a moderator.

      • Jonathan February 7, 2014 Reply

        Greg, the page just updated, so I didn't realize someone had already responded to what I wrote. I agree that just because the Scripture is silent on an action, it doesn't mean the action is wrong. (I'm not sure it matters, but I'm not a Calvinist.) I actually agree with almost everything you said, except I'm surprised you consider deviating from Matthew 18's specific instructions to be an example of following the explicit teaching of Scripture; I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. In any event, the overall outcomes is the same as long as one of the stories posted here shows someone followed the specific instructions of Matthew 18(i.e., we will both agree in the end that Matthew 18 was followed).

        • greg r February 7, 2014

          Jon: thanks for the pingback. I'm just a "mostly lurker" here, I went to a IBYC seminar or two, back when Reagan, or maybe Nixon, were president, so I don't have the personal stories that many here do. I'd say it is fairly evident (to me) that Matt. 18 has been tried repeatedly, by multiple saints... and here we are.. taking Gothard before an elder board that he sculpted and fashioned (apparantly) does NOT, imo, fulfill the spirit of matt. 18. The cold hard truth here is that BG is accountable (actually, and in an earthly sense) to NOBODY. the layers (local church, elder board, ministry peers) of alleged accountability are rotten baloney... and now the health dept. wants to know where the smell is coming from.

          That's sad, but long overdue. And if the church will not clean this up, Rome (our gov't) will be forced to step in (at least I hope so, for the protection of many).

          I wouldn't get too hung up on Matt. 18 as being THE text to go to here: look at the entire life/ministry of 1)Jesus 2)Paul. Get the big picture and work backwards: BG has tripped over much scripture here... while churning out more notebooks and outlines...ironic.

  30. brenda February 9, 2014 Reply

    So, have any of these victims gone to the police?
    Had we lost personal responsibility of our own actions?
    My family was in ATI and we didn't become legalistic. My son work at headquarters and he still isn't legalistic. We gained a lot from the training. Our lives better. I guess we felt it was okay to be responsible for working out our own salvation and that it was okay if it wasn't in step with ATI. But when we were at ATI functions we followed the rules because that is what we agreed to. But many times others were there that didn't and I never found the "clothes police" on their tails.
    I think the problem comes when someone believe that follows a set of rules will change a heart. It won't. But they try and wanting the best for their family become legalistic in the hope it will bring about a new heart of love. That their actions will somehow bring salvation to their families. Not a bad hope. But rules without love drives families apart. Love without rules will does produce more "worldly" Christians.
    Love with rules -- " if you love me obey me" ( that's in the Bible)
    can bring about the mature Christian we so desire for our kids.

  31. Kathy Jefferies February 9, 2014 Reply

    Bill Gothard is like Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon rolled into one.

  32. Heather February 11, 2014 Reply

    I agree that you should send a delegation to meet with him, but insist on having it recorded. I think seeing him equivocate and hem and haw on the record would help some people see it's not just "he said, she said." Not everyone, but some. I'm a former student, and I'd be willing to go! But I didn't have as much personal involvement in the ministry as many of you did.

  33. Dan February 14, 2014 Reply

    Reconciliation is an all-encompassing word. Give him the benefit by meeting with him.

  34. David February 14, 2014 Reply

    The only kind of reconciliation that is acceptable to God is reconciliation in Christ, which means reconciliation in Truth. Reconciliation between two people IN CHRIST means that I am in agreement with Christ, and they are in agreement with Christ, and thus, we are in agreement with each other IN CHRIST. Agreement or reconciliation upon any other basis than common agreement in Christ is nothing more than a LIE. I could reconcile with someone by agreeing that their sin is OK and we would have peace. But is God in that? No. It is a LIE.

  35. Lance Roberts March 4, 2014 Reply

    What's obvious from the emails is that they assumed his guilt instead of trying to ascertain his side of any story. There's certainly no sense in not just setting up a time to meet with him and discuss things as Christians should.

  36. Becky Miller March 12, 2014 Reply

    This is all so very sad, on both sides. So divisive!

    • Shane March 12, 2014 Reply

      I think rather than divisive what we're seeing is the long festering results of sin and corruption finally coming to a head and by God's grace it will lead to healing. Lancing this boil is nasty and painful but necessary. I know it's a gross metaphor.

      It's not divisive to point out that the emperor has no clothes. That's what I see RG doing.

      It's divisive to blame the messenger and refuse to deal honestly with the naked truth.

      BTW- I'm not saying this is what you are doing. I don't know. But others certainly have.

  37. S Davis April 22, 2016 Reply

    I have read many things on your web site and personally it appears that someone is upset/angry about something and they want to punish the people they believe are at fault. I read these emails between your leadership and Mr. Gothard and all I see is your people being argumentative.

    Mr. Gothard indicated he wanted to meet with you face to face to discuss the best way to proceed with clearing these offenses yet all you did was attack him for not confessing what you believe he did wrong. If one is not allowed to know what you think they did wrong how is one supposed to even begin to make things right?

    Reading your email responses reminds me of immature women who are in marriage and get their feelings hurt over something that was said. So they go hide in their room and cry and when their husband asks "what's wrong" in an effort to understand and make things right he woman responds, "nothing" or "if you don't know that's part of the problem" or "if you don't already know then me telling you won't matter". These are all immature and idiotic responses. How is someone supposed to know what you think and feel if you don't communicate that? It appears to me Mr. Gothard attempted to open a dialog and all you did was shut it down making unfounded accusations.

    I am and have been in ATI for many years. I've seen no abuse nor do I know anyone personally who has been abused. I do know some children who walked away from their faith and used ATI to blame their parents for bad parenting. People are people. There are good ones and bad ones everywhere. ATI doesn't make a bad parent.

    I am thankful for all that ATI has provided for me and my children. I have spoken to Mr. Gothard several times and never felt anything but christlike love from the man. Now, I have never sent any of my children to work anywhere. But that is my choice. I don't believe young people should be unsupervised except in certain circumstances.

    My son has been through the ALERT program that many of you refer to as Gothard's military. If you believe that then you have obviously never been in or around the ALERT program. My son wanted to go. He was never forced. He could have quit and walked away but he chose to challenge himself physically and go through the basic training which is very physically challenging. It was all his choice. It is very similar to a military bootcamp and this is made very clear from the start. Many young men quit. My son did not. He has volunteered with ALERT to help after disasters and I have only ever seen good things come from this program. It isn't for all young men but it is a great program for those who choose to go through it and have the stamina to do so. My son wanted to challenge himself physically and now he stands straighter, he has confidence, he has skills he never had and he knows that he can handle anything life throws at him. Before ALERT he was very self-conscious, unsure of himself, awkward and weak physically, emotionally and spiritually. Now, he has been strengthened in all aspects of his life. He still volunteers to help from time to time and he will always value what he learned at ALERT.

    If your organization truly wants to help people heal then the first thing they need to do is speak the TRUTH and to be open to true healing. All I see on your site is people whining and complaining and blaming others and no one seems willing to actually COMMUNICATE with the people they claim hurt them.

    I don't know if Mr. Gothard did anything wrong. He is a man able to sin as anyone else is. But all our dealings with him and with ATI, IBLP and everyone we know in this program has been nothing but positive. And...we are far from the perfect ATI family. I wear pants! I just don't do so at ATI conferences! I have short hair! and yes, we listen to more popular Christian music and no one has ever made us feel ashamed for doing so. We choose not to waste our time watching television but no one has ever forced anything on us nor harmed us in any way for not prescribing to some of the choices other families have made.

    I'm sorry for all the hurt and anger you people have over your childhoods. I pray that God opens your eyes and your hearts to find true healing and stop blaming others.

    • nicole gardner April 22, 2016 Reply


      I'm glad that you, also, are making the most of the opportunity as we members of the general public have to be able to post comment on this site. It is a medium generously provided for this purpose.

      Many others have also provided full-length articles/emails/letters/phone-tapes/transcripts of widely attended meetings/summits that document extensive connections to & experience with Mr. Gothard & his programs. I encourage you to look into "Robyn's Story", "Meg's Story", & the accounts of Ruth & her husband confronting Mr. Gothard directly. In doing so, you can find out the results of each of just these 4 (plus Robyn's father on 2 occasions) when they tried to confront Gothard on his sexual harassment & his emotional affairs that he pushed onto young women. Other colleagues of Mr. Gothard, along with several cycles of board members did the same regarding the issue of his conduct towards young women. This site is the only one I know of where former IBLP-ers like myself can research the extensive attempts of people to meet with Mr. Gothard in person to present his offenses to him. Just because he denied their addressing of issues does not mean that these many people were negligent.

      Likewise, his heresy in handling the Bible has been presented directly to him by the late Dr. Earl Radmacher, also Midwest Christian Outreach, also several other theologians. These meetings, back-and-forth correspondences/phone calls/emails lasted for months in every case, in some cases, continued for years.

      I relate to what you said about your child; after I had had IBLP crammed down my throat in a neo-IBLP church, I was the female version of "was very self-conscious, unsure of himself, awkward and weak physically, emotionally and spiritually", no less so even when I'd reached my late teens. And I am very certain that this was not due to my having been home-schooled all the way from preschool though the 12th grade. I have supervised many 16-to-18 year-olds on the job over the years: home-schooled kids, private schooled kids, public schooled kids. I am glad to say that not one of these 2 dozen-plus have ever been hindered by this same syndrome of stunted development that I & your child manifested at the same age & older.

      It's not normal. Just as non-Christians who will end up spending eternity in hell still grow up, competent & adept at making their way in the world, it's important for Christians to grow up as well. We have tried to do this. We have also, for the most part, tried to become Christians (Christ-ones). Doing so means we move beyond the heresy of Mr. Gothard-the-unrepentant-sexual-assaulter-and-harasser.

    • Larne Gabriel April 22, 2016 Reply

      Mr. Davis,

      There is much more to the story and I suggest you read:
      We were just one of several groups that engaged Bill, we were not part of Recovering Grace, just former staff of IBYC from the 70s and 80s that dealt with similar issues as those of the ATI era.

      Larne Gabriel

    • Renea April 22, 2016 Reply

      Right off hand I can't remember the name of the book but I think it's called a matter of basic principles. In the book it is detailed how many people have tried to talk to Mr. Gothard and would set up appointments with him only to have him back down and refused to meet with people. He is not someone who can be confronted in fact one chapter of the book is about his being non-confrontational. Also, the examples you used to depict those seriously hurt by the man was extremely rude and inconsiderate. The fact that you did not do everything according to his teachings show that you yourself saw flaws in them. But to those deceived by him there is a righteous anger against that kind of manipulation and brainwashing. Let the people heal.

    • Julia Fetters April 23, 2016 Reply

      S Davis,
      Oh the true accounts we could give, were we free to tell all of our adult childrens' stories. ALERT, EXCEL, ITC, OTC, probably even Russia. (Don't know - never went.) Go back and read those given on RG - given by both parents and children.

      I am honestly very happy and grateful that you have neither seen or known the abuses that have taken and still take place through IBLP/ATI and in places where their teachings are propagated - both church and home.

      I am not happy that it has been such a great experience for you that you consequently espouse the teachings. That is sad since the vast majority of these teachings do not line up with the God's teachings - the Bible. They are teachings taught from a certain perspective using cherry picked verses using terrible hermeneutics usually from only one translation of the Bible since it is the only one that 'got it right'. I say this with no malice intended but sincere sadness.

      I met BG personally, as well, and he was the opposite of the way you perceived him and that was back in about 1982 when I thought he really had something to say. So did my daughter and daughter in law at Excel. They had the same experience. Yours and my impressions of him have nothing whatsoever to do with his faulty hermeneutics, inappropriate ways with young women, lying to parents about their children's safety with him, etc...

      Our works - the very fruit of our lives - show the world who we are. His philosophies could not help but dictate the way he lived, and it has all surfaced. I am sorry for him to have to live this out so publicly with the internet but at the same time, it may take something that drastic to bring him to repentance. So far even this is not working. The same with D.P - even this open forum before the world is not working. Sad.

      No, RG is not filled with disgruntled peeps. It is filled with those who regret looking to a man; those who shake their heads in amazement that they could be fed such a line "Dad, let your daughter come up to Headquarters..."; those who have come to realize they lost their first love in all the legalism and external works put upon them; and last, RG is filled with truthful testimonies of the children who had no choice but to smile and not be honest, keep secrets from their families or B.G., dress, talk, think, act, like they were told all under the assumption that without doing so, they were displeasing God. Bottom line.

    • David April 25, 2016 Reply

      To S. Davis,
      If Bill Gothard were innocent of every single charge of harassment and abuse of which he is accused, he is still a false teacher of, "another gospel." Somehow that gets lost in all of this other stuff. The man has shipwrecked the spiritual lives of thousands, and what is now happening to him is simply the judgment of God -- if he would only repent and turn. Frankly, I find your dismissal of the damage shared by others as "hurt and anger...over your childhoods." That is an appallingly ignorant statement. You are absolutely clueless as to what you are talking about.

      • Don Rubottom April 27, 2016 Reply

        As Austin said above on Feb. 4, 2014:
        "And again, what's so pathetic about Gothard's messages is the hypocracy they exemplify. IBLP requirements for confession are exhaustive. Merely saying "sorry" doesn't even come close to what is needful for "clearing your conscience." You must explain your sin, express your regret, and ask the offended party for forgiveness. You are not allowed to be vague. You are not allowed to equivocate."
        BG taught a very strict formula for "clearing conscience" which, looking back, was really about feeling better about yourself than truly reconciling. But the issue keeps arising because Bill violates ALL his teachings in dealing with those he has wronged.
        You must acknowledge you have done wrong and had wrong intentions. BG refuses to do this, and has resisted for 30 years. Read through the attempts by Ruth and Larne, and later attempts by Larne and others. Read through the confrontations that Don Venoit has documented. BG refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing.
        You must accept responsibility. You can't blame what the other person wears or any other provocation. Jesus did not respond to evil with evil and when we do, we sin. No excuses, no misdirections, no appeal to difficult circumstances, full responsibility must be accepted. BG does not do this. He loves too well. He is misunderstood. He is challenged because of sin in the quesitoner's life or bitterness in their heart. These things never reside in his heart. He is never responsible.
        Reconciliation required agreeing on the truth (I did this), agreement about the wrongness (it was evil), agreement about the harm inflicted (you were damaged), and a willingness to make restitution (with your own life if necessary) based on agreement about the satisfactory nature of the restitution (it is not for the one paying to decide how much is enough, there must be agreement). Forgiveness can reduce the cost of restitution, but only by the one wronged voluntarily, graciously, forgiving the debt. A wrongdoer can never demand or expect forgiveness and remission of obligation.
        BG added things like only interact face to face, don't put anything in writing, but in his practice, he proved these to be tools to insulate himself from accountability. If you are truly confessing, you don't mind doing it in writing. If your are truly remorseful, you don't insist on one wounded meeting with you before THEY are ready to do so. You acknowledge the legitimacy of their pain by saying: I understand.
        These events have questioned whether RG and the accusers should have met BG face to face. Others have fully explained why it was legitimate not to meet with him. I only wish to summarize:
        1) Having injured others, he is in no position to demand any form or forum for addressing the injury but is bound to respect the victims' requests and procedural proposals.
        2) His long term experience has shown a pattern and strategy to meet, deny admitting anything, attempt to "reconcile" without admission of fault, demand forgiveness without repentance. In light of such pattern, it makes sense to demand works in keeping with repentence, including admissions of wrongs, admissions of sinful intentions, admissions of impurity. Without admissions of truth, or successfully convincing his accusers of any truth contrary to their convictions, there can be no reconciliation.
        3) He uses dialogue on his terms to fish for information he can use to refute accusations. Knowing all the facts first hand, he needs no such information. All he needs to do is set all the facts out in writing and stand by them, allowing others to cross-examine witnesses, debate over interpretations, etc. As long as he tries to control both the process, the description of the facts, the cross-examination, and the interpretation, he simply is continuing the self-willed evil of controlling others over whom he has no authority and no such right and to whom he is greatly indebted.
        BG has publically admitted all the kinds of touching alleged on RG except Charlotte's claims. But he steadfastly DENIES, publically ANY sexual intention at any time with any girl. Unless he can produce some kind of psychological/physiological proof that he is somehow incapable of sexual desire, I call him phony. (No sexual desire--but he expressed intentions to marry both Ruth and Meg?) There is no reason to meet with a phony to discuss reconciliation. It's like meeting with a demonstrable fraudster to discuss lending him money.
        I have personally asked someone who was in close proximity to his operating behavior and in position to know if inappropriate behaviors and inadequate IBLP responses to complaints were common. That person confirmed the commonness of the things alleged. That person is a reliable witness who has never badmouthed or displayed "bitterness". I believe that eyewitness and therefore I believe the accusers. I do not believe BG. It take two witnesses to establish a matter and BG is but one.

        • Elizabeth D April 27, 2016

          ^^ Preach it, Don! ^^

        • huzandbuz April 27, 2016

          It 'appears' that the general consensus is that Bill 'asked permission from the Board to marry Ruth and/or Meg'.

          In actuality, it is apparent from my exhaustive reading regarding his actions & activities that Gothard felt he was 'above Board' (pun) and never believed he was required to ask their permission for anything whatsoever.

          Do you care to comment on the 'marriage request' confusion?? :+)

        • nicole gardner April 28, 2016

          Don you said it! That is IT. Exactly it.

        • Elizabeth D April 28, 2016

          huzandbuz - I will! I need to state first that my IBLP experience was very limited thankfully, but as I've mentioned before several times, I have extensive experience with a manipulator/pathological liar. And a disclaimer that the following are my own opinions, as neither I nor anyone else can get inside BG's head.

          The inconsistencies in the "board permission" story don't phase me really ... I take it as a "CYA" attempt by Bill at some point to imply honorable intentions with any young lady he would've been questioned about. It would be interesting to track down early versions of it ... I doubt it started with Meg; it might've originated with Bill, or even evolved over time. There may possibly be a slight element of truth that it has been built upon. Over at the DG website, Alfred said he didn't feel the need to contact former board members to corroborate anything, though, saying just Bill's story was all he needed.

          As with many Gothard stories, you have to first figure what to take at face value ... what makes sense to have happened or not, versus what WAS likely happening and his motive for spinning his own story. Remember, narcississts are ALL about image, and will go to any lengths to make themselves appear honorable when they're not.

          Basically, there's no way Bill actually went to his board and asked permission to marry anybody (sincerely, at least ... he could possibly have done it as a ruse). First, because Bill WAS absolutely "above Board" and it makes no sense that he would feel the need to have to ask them that, and second, because Bill had absolutely no intention to marry anybody ever ... because first, he was unable to commit to an "honest" relationship; second, he had access to what he wanted and didn't want to give that up and wasn't going to be accountable to anyone ever, ESPECIALLY a woman (recall he has a crippling case of misogyny); and third, he had to keep playing the "called to singleness" card to prop up his piety.

          Bill may have talked to any number of young ladies about their "future" with him, but that would've been only to pull them in tighter. And his (or whose?) claim that he "asked the board for permission to marry" was likely just a cover when confronted about his intentions. Just as when he covered for being caught in an unacceptable predicament with his secretary by telling staff (and the board?) that he was dating her (which would make the physical contact "acceptable" or at least "understandable" so they'd leave him alone), but told her father that they were NOT dating, because he really had no intentions of marrying her and did not want to be accountable to her father.

          Regardless of what Bill may have said or allowed to have been said without correction in the past, he's currently denying that he asked the board for permission to marry. I don't doubt that it did not happen, but I'm sure it's a more convoluted story than "it didn't happen."

          Bottom line - to question the story of him going to the board to ask permission to marry is NOT a question of whether he actually had marital intentions or not ... he obviously DIDN'T, as is his current story. It's only a question of what was he trying to spin, or allowed to be spun.

        • Don Rubottom April 29, 2016

          I have no knowledge of BG denying that he asked the board for "permission" to marry "Meg", although I agree that he would feel free to do what he wanted. He seemed to ask permission when he thought he would get it and not ask when he thought he might not, but that is surmise on my part.
          I do know, as an attorney, that when BG's sister submits an affidavit that she never had any conversation with "Meg" as presented in Meg's story and when a member of the board submits an affidavit that BG NEVER spoke to the board about marrying an employee, Meg's credibility and that of all RG "victims" would take a big hit. Of course, no such affidavits or comparable statements were publicized during the "internal review" preceding BG's firing. Had they been, and had their existence been publicized, this would have all been over back then. I don't care what a non-witness like Alfred may think or speculate. As a lawyer, and one who would want BG fairly tried in the court of public opinion, the church and any court of law, I find it very telling that no such counter evidence has surfaced. All I know is what witnesses say. Others' statements and beliefs are irrelevant. It is these situations that are not merely "he said, she said" that will corroborate the claims of the victims. (By contrast, Charlotte's story is "he said, she said".)
          I believe RG corroborated as much as they could before they published. The burden is on BG to prove that these conversations with third parties never happened and that should be easy to do, unless they happened.
          I merely hear Larne's statements that Ruth had good reason to believe Bill intended to marry her at one time. I do not recall anyone ever saying he asked permission to do so, but rather that he used marital intentions as his excuse for being alone with her in a compromising position. Whether the "lap sitting" was at the cabin or the lodge is irrelevant. Alfred has defended and exonerated the compromising position in a "engaged" relationship. My point about it is that the "touching" had some sexual content while BG denies EVER touching a woman with sexual intent. Alfred has concurred that it was sexual and just fine if they intended to get married soon.
          When Alfred was commenting here on RG, I tried in vain to help him understand the differences between evidence, accusations and speculation. He is incapable or unwilling to understand and so he can fan his hope with speculation while ignoring and denying evidence and the lack of contrary evidence. To explain what I mean, saying that you "can" do so and so with a pure heart is not the same as offering evidence that you did not do so and so with an impure heart. If there is evidence (eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, statements of the accused tending to corroborate) that you did so and so with less than pure (or non-sexual) intentions, you must offer contrary evidence to "prove" you did not do it. Without evidence there is no proof. You can be acquitted of a charge or claim without evidence, by the judge or jury disbelieving all evidence of guilt, but that does not prove your innocence. It merely fails to prove your guilt. There is difference. Guilty people are acquitted every day because the evidence of guilt was not convincing, not because they are innocent. Hopefully innocent people are also acquitted. But it is usually helpful to have evidence to offer tending to prove that you are innocent, particularly when eyewitnesses say you are guilty.

    • Leigh April 26, 2016 Reply

      Can someone here, anyone here,explain to me what "clearing these offenses" actually means?

      • Don Rubottom April 29, 2016 Reply

        I had a good answer going yesterday but got involved in something else and shut down my computer before I posted. Let me try again:
        Austin, on Feb. 4, 2014, gave a good explanation. Gothard taught a systematic method of clearing consciences that was supposed to deliver us from our sins. Of course, the death of Jesus delivers us from our sins but that is a different debate. Generally in IBLP circles it means 1) acknowledging wrongdoing, 2) accepting responsibility (not blaming any other), 3) confession, 4) repentance (turning in different direction), 5) making restitution as much as possible. For some wrongs no restitution can be satisfactory. I steal 5 dollars, I return 5 dollars, plus interest and cost of recovering the 5. But if I kill your son, there is no restitution sufficient. I may offer to be your slave, or offer you 75% of all my earnings the rest of my life, but nothing can restore your son to you.
        Restitution can be absolved by a forgiveness of the debt. But there is no duty of the victim to forgive the debt. Sometimes tough love requires that restitution be paid even if the victim is happy to forgive and doesn't even miss the thing that was lost. But it compounds injustice to require that a victim forgive the debt. Grace forgives. But I do not need to be forgiven by you to obtain a clear conscience. I need to be forgiven by God and I can't have any assurance of that without taking steps consistent with repentance. Only as I abide in HIM can I have assurance of forgiveness.
        In the case that the letters refer to, BG shows no evidence that he acknowledges doing wrong to these girls. His history, amply explained by Larne and others on RG, shows that he uses face to face confrontations to get people to back down on their accusations and to get them to "forgive" him without his EVER acknowledging wrongdoing. This trick of manipulators allows them to refute subsequent accusations by saying: they forgave me and their bitterness is their sin, not mine.
        He likely taught that you should never confess in writing as a defensive method to keep from being held more accountable than he ever wanted to be, to avoid being publically humiliated by admissions, to not have his reputation damaged or a "ministry" or "ministry revenue" decreased by such publication. Of course, if you do not jealously guard your reputation, even from the truth, if you are so humbled by your sin that you don't care who knows, these things are no concern.
        If you abuse my confession and go out and try to damage me by publishing it, I can accept that MY wrong created the situation and allow you to be bitter. I can trust god with that result of the truth coming to light. But BG never walked away from any confrontation with any such humility that we can see. If such a man with such a history will not acknowledge in advance specific wrongs as a condition to meet with his victim, he is not going to acknowledge the specific wrong in person. There then can be no face to face reconciliation because there can be no agreement as to the wrongs done and the validity of any proclaimed "repentance". "I'm sorry you were hurt" is neither confession nor repentance. "I said 'I'm sorry'", does not make it so.
        It seems to me that when BG a couple years ago wrote to ask the man he had called 'agent of satan' to provide specifics on all his accusations, he was merely attempting to get his arms around the evidence against him for defensive purposes. He never completed that dialogue, has never confessed to writing the slanderous letter (that is published here on RG) and never apologized for injuring that man who, naively, attempted to hold BG accountable for his failed leadership way back in '80 or so.
        Those who say the victims should meet with BG need to show that it would do any good and not further harm. Nearly all say they would or have forgiven him. But none say he has ever acknowledged doing wrong to them. He only admits doing things that were misunderstood. EVERY molester uses the same defense: I did not have sexual intent. BG thinks that claim exonerates him and he will not admit to more. He is unrepentant. He has been for decades. It makes me very sad to know these things. His half confessions merely corroborate the accusations. They do not resolve them.

        • huzandbuz May 1, 2016

          To Don:

          Thank you for your response regarding Bill's 'marriage request'. I so appreciate your acuity.

          If Gothard should have to defend his actions regarding Meg (or anyone) by stating 'his intentions to marry', he may then have to explain his initial 'call to a celibate life'. Who doesn't remember this pronouncement from his seminars.... (He did not want that 'distraction' as he served God.... Hmmmm....)

          I cannot comprehend a deponent even pondering their signature on an AFFIDAVIT when they are not cognizant of the truth. Perjury?? Very frightening indeed from a legal as well as a spiritual standpoint. :+(

  38. huzandbuz April 22, 2016 Reply

    'A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life',
    authored by Don Veinot, is a fabulous book. It denotes the many individuals and documents the numerous occasions in which attempts were made to appeal to Bill's conscience regarding his unbiblical doctrine and MORE....

  39. huzandbuz April 22, 2016 Reply

    S. Davis:
    As per Renea: ..the examples you used to depict those seriously hurt by the man was extremely rude and inconsiderate.

    No doubt multitudes will agree with the above statement!!

    You have NO idea what has taken place 'in the shadows'. Please do not be so harsh. Perhaps you are thrilled with your experiences.... Many may have been thrilled with Bill Cosby too.... :+(

    • Renea April 23, 2016 Reply

      That's a great point about Bill Cosby. So many people are 'star struck' by celebrities and cannot believe that the persona they display for the public is not always what they are like in private. People need to get ahold of that truth. Also, it should have read 'were inconsiderate and rude' and not 'was'. My daughter and I are grammar freaks and if she sees that error I'm in trouble! Lol

  40. huzandbuz April 23, 2016 Reply


    Yes, 'examples' is plural = 'were'. Chuckle. (I just copied & pasted your sentence.) I, too, was an English major. However, we do not always realize our own errors. Blessings.... :+)

    • Renea April 23, 2016 Reply

      I make a lot of mistakes trying to type on a small cell phone screen and I have big thumbs. I leave a lot of mistakes because it's hard for me to go back and put in commas etc. But that one was bothering me too much. 😂

  41. huzandbuz April 23, 2016 Reply

    I am 'too old for a smart phone'. I do not need the 'features'. W/cataracts, I cannot view the small screen. I text only from my computer. :+)

  42. Pegasister April 23, 2016 Reply

    I'm curious if anyone could tell me a little more about the ATI music stance...I was never part of ATI but I've been reading RG for over a year and I'm appalled at what I read. I'm also a college student in a music appreciation course and I have to say, the classical composers I listened to growing up certainly did not lead Christian lives. And even some of their less worldly activities would be considered bad by Gothard--case in point, the beautiful Moonlight Sonata was written to woo Beethoven's current lady love.

    Anyway, there's a song I heard a while ago that if considered with no context at all, actually sounds very beautiful and heartwarming. It seems to meet Gothard's arbitrary standards of 1/3 tempo emphasis and minimal percussion. Here it is:
    If the word "magic" early on is replaced by something else, this song seems to be about a lonely girl waiting for someone to care enough to be her friend. But if you get an eerie vibe from the singer, you should... The song was a fan creation inspired by the video game The Witch's House, which I do not recommend playing because it is genuinely nightmare-inducing and disturbing. Long story short, the singer is a witch intent on stealing her unsuspecting victim's body. But considered without context and based solely on musical mechanics and superficially on lyrics (ie, Gothard's standards in a nutshell), this would be a lovely song. But knowing the truth and author's intent makes it creepy and heart-wrenching. I guess my ultimate question is this: if someone played this song for Gothard, with the word "magic" replaced, with no video accompaniment, and no explanation other than the song's vague title "Friend", what would he say about it? If someone could tell me I'd appreciate it.

    Also, I apologize if I caused any problems by posting that link. I know the whole concept is quite dark and borderline demonic. I just wanted to find something that we could largely agree was evil but that largely met Gothard's standards.

    • Don Rubottom April 24, 2016 Reply

      The Umbrella Song is evil and Gothard approved. :-)

      • Julia Fetters April 24, 2016 Reply

        Unfortunately, even some of the most well known preachers in the country teach what the Umbrella Song espouses.

        The concept is man made and cannot. be. found . in scripture. Period :)

        It is extra-biblical and best and evil at worst ( the fruit has shown it to be man made)

        I taught those songs to my kiddos :(

  43. nicole gardner April 24, 2016 Reply

    That's a decisive way to get an assessment, Pegasister, but nobody CAN meet with Gothard anymore to get him to listen to anything. (per his own choosing).
    I didn't listen to the link, mostly because I'm still so creeped-out by a cd I bought from The Institute years ago. This album was simply called "Trusting". What you described that link to be is exactly how the lady trilling opera on the Gothard cd sounded. I threw it away after one play-through even though I'd paid $17.99. Apparently, Gothard's concept of "trusting" had to have every track comprised entirely by a woman's screams. Figures.

  44. Renea April 24, 2016 Reply


    The whole reason the music thing is so confusing is because it's all based on a mans ideas. Hence, you have so called godly music with ungodly musicians and ungodly music with so called godly musicians. I can't help but reiterate that the whole problem is fixing our eyes upon a man instead of doing as the scriptures say and fix our eyes upon Jesus. That is what God has been drilling into my head for the past three years. It has been difficult and freeing at the same time.ASK HIM what is ok for you to listen to. WAIT FOR HIM to give you the answers. DONT GO CHASING AFTER ANY MAN for the answers. (Of course, the Lord may direct you or give you someone).There will be NO CONDEMNATION when HE speaks to you.

    If I understand correctly, you are looking for an musical example someone can give you that would be Gothard approved but yet show how even that standard could be false because of bad lyrics or immoral lifestyles on the part of the composers. I never got far into gothardism ( I recognized right away a false spirit in it) so I didn't hear any of his music selections.

    On the same note, I've listened to contempary Christian music and found a similar dilemma. Where the musicians lifestyles, or lyrics, would disqualify it as honoring God. Everything needs to be judged individually with the Spirit's leading. This way you know you are doing right and will not be in bondage to any man. Especially a false teacher.

  45. Pegasister April 25, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I don't expect to literally hear about that song being played for Gothard, my question was just hypothetical. I wanted to know more about his arbitrary standards, from people who actually heard it straight from the horse's mouth. I've just been reading the testimonies online.

    Besides, I listen to an incredibly wide variety of music and I've seen the inconsistencies myself. It makes me angry that my favorite Christian music group the Newsboys would be condemned for singing "Stay Strong" (beautiful song by the way), "God's Not Dead", etc. while the Romantic-era playboy pianist Franz Lizst gets a free pass on everything, just because of when he lived and his choice of piano.

    On another note, it's actually surprising how many "contemporary" songs, Christian or otherwise, are actually written in 1/3 time. I know that doesn't make them "approved" but it is interesting.

    • nicole gardner April 26, 2016 Reply

      Pegasister, great points! "Stay Strong" is my favorite of the Newsboys; I can't hear it without remembering the season in my life in which God noticeably carried me the most.
      Also I think you hit the nail on the head about the mindset that mandates that a particular person "gets a free pass on everything just because... his choice of...." and here we could insert "food", or "music", or flaunted unmarried status, or....... "jalopy." While of course castigating everyone else as down-&-out for not getting these things "right."

  46. Pegasister April 28, 2016 Reply

    @Nicole Garner Absolutely! That is the embodiment of a double standard and makes no sense logically or biblically. I can condemn someone's ungodly life choices while enjoying their music, and I can dislike someone's music while respecting their godly lifestyle. I don't always listen to the Gettys, but I have a lot of respect for them--they're absolutely on fire for God. At the same time, I can know Tchaikovsky was a homosexual (at least allegedly) and still enjoy The Nutcracker ballet. It's a radical concept known as Christian liberty. Something Gothard apparently missed.
    On another subject, I'm glad "Stay Strong" spoke to you as much as to me. ;) Another example of how God can use anything in our lives to bring us closer to Him.

  47. nicole gardner April 29, 2016 Reply

    @Pegasister I'm really glad for your great points being made; keep it up :)

    • Pegasister April 30, 2016 Reply

      @Nicole I shall, thank you :) I just wish I was more familiar with Gothard's teachings and had more to contribute.

  48. huzandbuz May 1, 2016 Reply

    To Pegasister:

    OMG!! Be grateful that you are not more familiar with Gothard's teachings....

    For me, the indoctrination began 37 years ago. Though I later learned to meditate on Psalm 40:2, there are still times when I feel I am treading the 'muck & mire' of Bill's 'persuasion'. Most individuals have suffered even far more grievously from his 'brain washing'. :+(

  49. nicole gardner May 2, 2016 Reply

    Yeah, Huzandbuz is right, anyone would be way better off re-tracing their steps so that they can walk their same path again only this time so they could step on all the broken glass, cowpies & snakes. As my passengers in my car have been known to me: "I think you missed a pothole, better back up!"

  50. nicole gardner May 2, 2016 Reply

    ^^^have been known to *tell* me^^^^

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