The GOTHARD Files: The Sleeping Giant

10 February 2014, 06:00



Today’s article is an introduction to a 3-part series on the early history of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). Please understand that behind the scenes of these articles is a substantial library of documentation.

GothardFilesFB-600From the beginning of Recovering Grace, most of our articles have been written by former ATI students and IBLP staff who were with the ministry from the late 80’s to today. We are the product of the phenomenon that happened in the early 70’s with IBYC (the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts) and the evangelical world. We are the children of the Seminars. We have been writing to an audience of past and present ATI students and families in an effort to warn them of the dangers of Bill Gothard’s teachings, and of his ongoing personal failure to practice what he preaches. These stories have spread like wildfire as they have been shared on social networks and emailed to family members and friends; The vastness of the Internet carried our cause further than expected. It woke a sleeping giant.

When Bill Gothard first started bringing young people to his IBYC Headquarters in the late ’80s and early ’90s, those of us who were barely more than children heard the whispers of the big Scandal of 1980. Each department at Headquarters was run by a full-time paid staff member. In the early years of student apprenticeships, many of these staff members were those who had been there from the beginning. Not that they would tell any of us about The Scandal, mind you. But it was referenced from time to time. Bill himself would mention it in vague terms, especially if a student pulled some teenage stunt that violated his list of “don’ts.” Bill would change his expression to disappointed gravity and tell the offending student that this kind of activity once caused his staff to engage in moral failure. His own brother was no longer with the ministry as a result. We didn’t want to fail morally, did we? Well, of course we didn’t. And of course we wondered. What did happen back then? Even our parents who had attended the seminars in those days didn’t know much. But there were people who knew. The Machine that was IBYC in 1980 silenced them with such decisive retribution, threat, extortion, and disregard that some allegedly feared for their lives. What happened to those people? Where are those witnesses now?

Today, we are 33 years away from the Scandal of 1980. Some of us weren’t even born then. For some, however, 33 years is not that long ago. For some, 1980 was a defining moment in their lives and careers. A lot of life has happened since then. Wrongs have been forgiven. Marriages, children, grandchildren, different career paths, and new memories have healed the hurts of those days. But the witnesses of 1980 have not forgotten what happened. Some have moved on and scarcely looked back. Some stuck around and tried to help the ministry heal and move toward a wiser future. Some stayed for a while, realized that nothing was going to change, and regretfully washed their hands of it. Bill Gothard and his ever-changing board of directors placed the documentation in the vault and locked it away.

Bill Gothard had a very earnest, loyal, and hard-working staff. Between the years of 1970 to 1980, his full-time support staff and secretaries grew in number from around 25 to about 75. The majority of the staff were unmarried. IBYC had become their family. But they didn’t all know each other as well as they thought. Nearly every communication and decision went through Bill. Even smack-dab in the middle of the biggest scandal of Bill’s life, most of his staff didn’t know what was going on until the damage was almost inconceivable. Once the staff did realize what was happening within their own ranks, many of them stepped in to do what they could to help resolve things. In 1980, there was no Internet. There were typewriters, envelopes, and the US Postal Service. You communicated by telephone or by snail mail, or you arranged a good old-fashioned face-to-face. Fellow staff members were interviewed. Copious notes were taken. The admonitions in Matthew 18 on how to resolve a dispute among Christians were carefully followed. And in the end, these fine young people realized that they had placed their trust in a man who refused to be held accountable, and in a ministry whose “principles for life” were impossible to maintain. Most of the staff resigned in mass protest, having lost their faith in a man they had trusted with their lives and livelihoods. Others who stayed to see it through were fired because they couldn’t in good conscience let The Scandal go. Bill kept going. IBYC became IBLP. He adjusted his ideas for the future and invented another new acronym: ATIA. His former staff also moved on. Those who stayed kept what they knew to themselves. And those who had left filed it away. The great Scandal of 1980 was pushed into a dozen disparate file drawers, and there the giant slept for 30 years.

The digital age did something for truth that the most conscientious of note-takers and credible reports in 1980 could not. It gave a voice to individuals, and, in the case of Recovering Grace, it unified our stories in such a way that the preponderance of evidence could not be denied. And the witnesses whose stories had been squelched by Gothard’s multi-million dollar machine finally opened their file drawers. There were those who had been silently concerned for years, but who needed a venue and moral backup to address what they had seen to be great offenses of ungodly behavior and promotion of unscriptural doctrines. We knew there would probably be witnesses out there who would be willing to share. But we had no idea just how much paperwork was preserved from those days. Where there isn’t a first-hand account, there’s a document. Where there’s a document, there’s a signed and dated letter referring to the document. There are official interviews, and there are published news reports. There are the eyewitnesses. There are the lists of who was copied on what information. After we picked ourselves off the floor and asked ourselves how it could be possible that these stories had never been told, we knew we needed to tell them. You see, the goal of the whistle-blowers in 1980 is the exact same goal as ours: To show the error of Bill’s teachings, to pray for his repentance and reconciliation with those he has wronged, and to demonstrate based on Scripture why we believe Bill Gothard has disqualified himself for ministry.

We have been entrusted with information that has been carefully preserved all these years, and we confess that we are feeling the pressure to do this story justice. Some of these letters are so personal to the individuals who shared them that we feel obliged to keep them to ourselves for now.  But as hard as it was to learn the details, we have been given a unique opportunity to share what happened during the Scandal and to do our part in helping right these wrongs. What we have decided to do at the beginning of our series is to tell you a story. We have checked and crosschecked our sources, and we can honestly say that our information comes from the mouths of “two or three witnesses.” In the coming days, we’ll share documentation and personal stories that will expound on our “Scandal” series. This information should never have been forced into secrecy. This is a story of family, of faith, of failure, and of betrayal—and in the center of it all was a 46-year-old man named Bill Gothard. The purpose here is to do our part in accomplishing that final step of Matthew 18.

One prominent former seminar volunteer explained to Bill and his board why he believed Bill’s staff was right to seek the truth and to hold Bill personally accountable: “We do not believe that the staff, who love Bill genuinely and who tried to hold him accountable, are ‘defiled with germs.’ Basically, they were not giving evil reports, rather giving reports of evil.”

To paraphrase 2 Corinthians 7:8-9, we recognize that severe words will be painful to hear for "a little while." But we hope for a day when we can say with the Apostle Paul, "Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance." See also I Tim. 5:17–21, Matt. 18:17, Eph. 5:11

[Click here to read the next part in the series: “The Early Years: 1965-79”]

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. Meredith February 10, 2014 Reply

    34 years of silence is long enough. It's time for the TRUTH to be told!

  2. TiaraLi February 10, 2014 Reply

    It's after midnight here, so I'm sorry if I don't make much sense. I just wanted to post encouragement. I don't have anything to add, just wanted you to know I'm reading with interest. I think you're doing a good work. And I'd love to believe that this post will encourage people to stop claiming that you just haven't gotten your facts right, or you should see (yet another) professional, but I suspect that will be naive. Oh well.

  3. Danyne Randolph Bharj February 10, 2014 Reply

    Really wish I could easily disregard what I have read on this site...but I can't. There is truth resonating in the stories I have read. I think my family joined ATIA
    in 85, I was fourteen. It wasn't till 92 that I did anything with the Institute outside of the training for ATI families every year. Our family was at the first one in Indiana. Those first years were good times. Our trip to Moscow, also a good time but went like a text book for some of the experiences of others on this site.
    My sister and I were able to laugh/shrug away the exchanges we had with the leaders.....things like not calling a guy we had known for years and was at least six years our junior his name a "y" at the end because it was too endearing......and so many more illogical standards in those few months. I don't know if we were protected from so much of the pain I have been reading about because ATI was in our life but not our life or maybe by the time these programs really took off we were older. I can't imagine what issues I would have faced if my parents had allowed the institute to parent me. Much of the blame is on the parents for allowing themselves to be deceived into believing we were some elite group of Christians. Mr Gothard was not an elite leader, he was and is human. It's sad him and the institute can't accept he is flawed as we all are. If they could have admitted this along the way he wouldn't have such a tall platform to fall off of. I have been grieving for many of you the last week since I have found this site. You have not come across vindictive, you are healing, and you appear to moving forward in integrity. not sure what you are about to reveal, wish this old man had known about the beauty of grace. While many of you have had a hard time, you are the blessed ones. Can you imagine being 80 (is that his age) and not know what grace feels like. praying y'all will continue to strive for truth and integrity as you pursue to debunk false teachings that cheapen the Truth of Christianity........sorry if there is an incredible about of typos......

  4. Julie Terrell February 10, 2014 Reply

    I know this is exhausting. I know you, the RG team, have lives and families and jobs beyond sharing the truth! Thank you for doing this. It is making a difference!! People who have been fooled for too long are suddenly putting the pieces together and stepping into the truth. Thank you for giving a voice to those who did not know how to speak up! I'm praying that God will renew your strength, protect your health from the exhaustion levels, and allow you to see all the good being accomplished here. <3

    • LauraGrace February 12, 2014 Reply

      Amen, and Amen!!

  5. Jim K. February 10, 2014 Reply

    It's time.

  6. David Pigg February 10, 2014 Reply

    In 1978 I heard a wonderful teacher whose name was Don Crossland.I was encouraged,edified and my faith was strengthened.I was told,as an impressioned 25 year old that Don Crossland was with Bill Gothard,then left.Why?Even then I had questions about Bill Gothard,but as a young man was silenced.Then came the years where I felt if I wasn't such a "rebel",I would be a far more effective Christian.The problem was me.But truth came slowly,and though,I felt I was incapable of becoming an effective apologist.I knew.There were all kinds of movements back then based on "submission to authority".There was the "submitted body movement".This false movement caused a book to be written by Ron Rhoads called "Damaaged Desciples."Another Christian author whose name was Edwards prophetically saw the damage this authoritarianism was doing and wrote A "Tale of Three Kings."The Fort Lauderdale Five",Submitted Body movements are all gone, in some ways barely a memory.But not Bill Gothard.And what were the prices,the cost behind following these false movements?The wonderful website here is full of eloquent testimonies,but I'll add being a human automaton,not knowing or experiencing GRACE,truth being a tool to batter an already wounded sheep,not being led by the spirit.Superiority of rank.The glorification of false, fallen and pagan authority.A failure to see the universal expression of the body of Christ.I'm sorry for all those years of hurting.I want to pray for the sheep and not see someone like Gothard prey on the sheep.

    • esbee February 10, 2014 Reply

      In reading a little bit about the "Lauderdale Five" and other movements within Christianity that turned out bad, like VF, or even Jim Jones cult, it dawned on me that even today God's people are still asking for a "king". Just like in the OT they wanted an earthly leader, so God gave them kings, (Their lives made such interesting reading, they even got their own books in the Bible). Some kings were godly but some were downright evil and of course the people and lands suffered.

      • kevin February 10, 2014 Reply

        Excellent point Esbee. In the 1982 LA Times article, one of the leaders mentioned the exact same thing, that the Jews wanted a king. He pointed out that still today, people want a king and they made Gothard their king.

        You mentioned Jim Jones. I've been reading up on cults and I found some eerie parallels between Gothard and Jim Jones:

        "As part of his teachings, Jones discouraged sex and romantic relationships. He, on the other hand,had several adulterous relationships, including one with a church administrator"


        "Jones also sought to disrupt familial bonds, positioning himself as the 'father of all.'"

        Alfred has actually stated in his comments that he sees Gothard as his father.

        One of our friends has had her family under Gothard for over 15 years. She stated that they have raised their family on the teachings of Bill Gothard. Noted, that she did not say that she raised her family on the teachings of Christ, but Bill Gothard and they are not the same, even though his followers would argue that they are.

        • Lindsey November 26, 2014

          David, esbee, kevin, This is very helpful, especially the part about people wanting a king.

  7. Christine February 10, 2014 Reply

    Yes, thank you for these articles. I am an ex ATI parent; was in the program for 14 years. My husband who got us into ATI, left me 9 years ago and that is when my family left ATI.
    Thank God!
    It is only now since I have discovered this site that I am realizing the false doctrine that I taught my children. Today they are doing pretty good; my youngest had a terrible amount of anger for 7 years after leaving ATI, but has now forgiven me and we have a good relationship.
    However, I am finding this site and the articles very healing for ME. I never realized the extent of the legalism and bondage I was under. My intro to Christianity (I was Catholic) was at a Basic Seminar, so I had nothing to refute; I believed it all: dressing 'modestly', submission and everything else. We were told to smile because a 'sad countenance was a public rebuke to your husband'. It is only now that I realize that he needed to be rebuked, him along with BG.
    Thank you so very much for the site and the work you're putting into it.
    I am finally starting to heal, me too.

    • Joanna V. February 10, 2014 Reply

      Hi Christine, did you know that Recovering Grace has a Facebook group for those who raised their children with the teachings of Bill Gothard? It is a place where people can discuss the affects of those teachings on their lives, and learn together as they discover grace. Here is a link:

      • Christine February 10, 2014 Reply

        Joanna thank you so much; I am a member of that page,but it seems to be more of a forum for what is going on here on RG than a place to discuss the effects of having been in ATI for 14 years...

  8. Linn February 10, 2014 Reply

    I often run into young adults who have left the church, want nothing to do with the church, and then I find out they were involved with ATI or something similar. It is important for their stories to be heard and for them to find out that what they were involved in was a caricature of true Christianity.

    • esbee February 10, 2014 Reply

      It is so sad that some who were so hurt by legalism, QF, Patriarchy, etc have turned atheist and or humanist. They were so hurt and simply cannot follow a religion whose leader is so unloving, false, hurting, etc. So they chunk the idea of a God and Christian life and say there is no God.

      Yet they do not realize that many world leaders of the 20th century were/are atheistic. They were/are THE most murderous, heinous-acting regimes ever. People were/are being put in jail and tortured for daring to have a thought different than the "party line".

      So, they have escaped one prison but are not yet out of the woods.

      • Jeremy Richardson February 10, 2014 Reply

        I am an atheist, only because there is no credible evidence that God exists. Don't feel sorry for me; I feel sorry for you. It's not about bitterness. It's about intellectual honesty.

        And I choose not to live my life by moral codes from the 50's. Not the 1950's. The 50's. mene mene tekel upharsinm, indeed.

        • esbee February 10, 2014

          If there is no God, no afterlife, what does it matter how anyone lives their life? It does not matter if someone was good or bad, caring or evil, since there will be no judgement after death. Hitler went to the same nothingness as all those he caused suffering to. They never even knew they ever lived. Even if you are right, then after we die you can never tell me "See, I told ya so!"

          BUT...............if there is a God, heaven, hell..................!!!!!!!!!!!!

          But the religious who make up and follow all sorts of crazy rules are not to be confused with real Christians. Putting a turd in the cookie jar does not make it a cookie.

          An atheist looks at all the Christians who lie, cheat, steal and are immoral. Who would want to be a Christian when they do all those things they say are wrong? The same can be said for atheistic communist leaders who have murdered millions of innocents, jailed them for having different opinions, etc.

          I know God's people are failures. God knows that too. That is why he sent Jesus to be the payment for our sins. And like I said in the beginning, if there is no God, what does it matter to you how I live my life?

        • Jenny February 11, 2014

          I agree, Jeremy.
          I don't need or want pity for having left Christianity, nor do I offer pity to those who opt to remain in the religion.

          It is a matter of choice. I chose to leave Christianity because it not longer made logical sense to me, not because I was butt-hurt over Gothardism.

        • Jeremy Richardson February 11, 2014


          I don’t know “what does it matter how anyone lives their life?”. I think IF there is no afterlife (and I don’t know that, either) but if there isn’t – wouldn’t life be MORE precious? I don’t know, that’s just how I see it. Maybe there is heaven and hell, maybe there is nothing. Maybe there is an afterlife, but it’s completely unlike anything we CAN know.
          I can only speak for myself. What if I said Jesus is a symbol so close to what [he] stands for, He can be safely substituted for it? Jesus, God, God, Jesus, means the same thing?

          NOTE: The deity of Christ is the only one of the 5 Christian Fundamental upon which all Christians agree.

          When I look at Republicans who serve well, I think “wow! Nice”. There is one such fellow - Jon Hunstman. I like him. I don’t hate Republicans; I don’t agree with the platform, but they are the loyal opposition, not the enemy in my book.

          I am an Independent, tending to with the Democrats.

          Nor I don’t think because SOME Christians are liars, cheaters, or immoral ALL Christians are like that!

          The Five Fundamentals of Fundamentalism are :
          • The inerrant & literal nature of the Bible
          • The deity of Christ
          • The Virgin Birth of Christ
          • The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ
          • The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross

          Many sincere Christians strive mightily against all but #2, the deity of Christ (I maintain) being the only belief common to ALL Christians.

          George MacDonald doesn’t believe in the substitionary atonement.

          Unitarian Universalists don’t believe in the physical return of Christ.

          Coptic Christians don’t believe in the Virgin Birth, and Gnostic Christians don’t believe in biblical inerrancy.

          And Catholics believe in all the fundamentals, yet ironically many fundamentalist maintain Catholics aren't Christians.

          Something else to consider is not all believers in God believe it is admirable to do things for a reward in the first place.

          Are you telling me the only reason you are good is because you would be punished otherwise?

          And, if so, what does that have to do with whether or not I believe in God? If I was absolutely certain beyond all possibility of a doubt this life is all I have, I can tell you with totally sincerity I would keep doing what I’m doing.


        • Jeremy Richardson February 11, 2014


          Butthurt, lol! I cannot help but think these Gothard dudes went wrong somewhere by driving their cult in such a prudish direction. It seems like they had something working here, maybe they should have built a sex cult instead of a NO sex cult.

        • dreamer February 11, 2014

          I can't speak for Esbee, but I can say that I am good (or at least, I try to be) because I love my Heavenly Father, I have relationship with Him, and I want to please Him.

          Religion is just rules. Relationship with God is what Christianity is truly about, and what separates it from all other religions.

          I encourage you to let go of man-made tenants and seek Him while He may be found.

        • Jeremy Richardson February 12, 2014


          Wake up.

        • Jeremy Richardson February 12, 2014

          "Religion is just rules. Relationship with God is what Christianity is truly about, and what separates it from all other religions."

          I disagree. Almost every religion in the world has a personal relationship with it's God(s). Good Muslims have every bit as much personal access to Mohamed as a Christian has to Jesus in reality.

          The religious sentiments of people across the world-stage have a degree of commonality. The belief that you are somehow in personal communication with the Creator of the Universe is by no means limited to Christians.

        • LauraGrace February 12, 2014

          Intellectual honesty. *sigh*

        • Jeremy Richardson February 12, 2014

          I, myself, sigh over intellectual dishonesty.

          An intellectually honest person will, when addressing an argument, not misrepresent it.

          And, be willing to publicly acknowledge when they are wrong.

          And, address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument.

          And, show a commitment to critical thinking.

          And, be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good.

          And, show a willingness to publicly acknowledge that reasonable alternative viewpoints exist.

          …what’s not to like?

        • Amy September 2, 2015


          Coptic Orthodox Christians very much believe in the Virgin birth of Christ. I just wanted to clear that up.

      • littlelake February 13, 2014 Reply

        Fellow atheist here speaking.

        Esbee, in one paragraph, you mentioned that without fear of God, there would be no incentive to do good.

        For many atheists (not all), the history of the world itself is the proof of the untruth of that statement. We have seen, time and time again, many people who did good, not because they feared they would be punished, but because their own inner morality told them to.

        For me personally, as an atheist, I refuse to do evil because it would be betraying myself, not because I am afraid of God. As Jeremy so succinctly puts it, isn't the belief that there isn't an afterlife and that you don't get second chances enough to make everyone treasure the life that they are given and strive to do all that they can to live a good and full life?

        In addition, most of the good part of Christianity that most of the Christians I know rave about can be found in many other religions and belief systems (some atheist as well). Of all the Christian ordinances, the only one unique to Christianity is the belief in Jesus Christ.

        Most of the other 'Christian' teachings exist in some shape or form (often identical) in other societies that pre-date Christianity and sometimes monotheism by many centuries.

        To you, I say that if fear of punishment gets you to be a good person, then more power to you and Christianity. For me personally, punishment has never worked. Every attempt to use 'sticks' just makes me want to go the other direction. Of this, I speak from experience. People have used 'sticks' on me in the past, and it inevitably just drives me away from whatever their goals were.

        The 'carrot' is much sweeter, and thus my motivation to trying to live a fair life is internal. I want to believe I'm a good person, so I'll do everything it takes to be a good person.

    • kevin February 10, 2014 Reply

      My pastor recently said that more people have walked away from the faith because of legalism than any other reason. I think he may be right.

      • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply

        I do too.

  9. Ginger February 10, 2014 Reply

    I want to thank the RG team for the tireless efforts, the blood, sweat, and tears that you are putting into your work. Thank you for being the voice of the thousands that have been hurt, silenced, and lost in the aftermath. As someone who heard the whispers of The Scandal, I echo the above statements. It is time.

    ~ Ginger

    • LauraGrace February 12, 2014 Reply

      Yes, Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  10. David February 10, 2014 Reply

    Expose Bill Gothard's heretical authority teaching for the error that it is, and his entire kingdom will come toppling down, because in one way or another, that teaches glues it all together. It is his authority teaching that has made it possible for all of these abuses to take place. If his authority teaching is error, then he is obviously clueless about the Truth of God in Jesus Christ. Bill Gothard's authority teaching is the same heresy that gives every cult on the planet, and every religious tyrant power -- and has for two thousand years. It is, in fact, a denial that Jesus Christ is the ONE and ONLY Mediator between each believer and God. Instead, this teaching imposes additional mediators -- to which I must submit in order to be in God's will, or to be right with God, or to escape the realm of Satan. Bill Gothard teaches many false things about Christianity -- but he teaches a false Christianity. His authority teaching is the control point that results in people putting aside their better judgment -- all in the name of submitting to authority and averting God's wrath. In other words, this teaching is why they drink the Kool-aid Bill tells them to drink. I'm not sure we realize just how evil this is -- but we are hearing stories of the fruit.

    • greg r February 10, 2014 Reply

      Just caught up with your post, and your point about the teaching on authority is spot on. First you accept the position (authority), then you dare not question the exposition (of scripture) which leads to Bill taking the place of Jesus as mediator, and the Holy Spirit as HE will guide us unto all truth. The rest is details. Look at any cult, and the structure is the same. 1)high exalted , anointed, special leader 2)interpretation of scripture that is untouchable.

      It's been many yrs since my IBYC seminar, didn't BGj say ONE interpretation, many applications ??? What a load of .....

    • Linda February 10, 2014 Reply

      THIS is profound truth. My husband attended an IBYC in the late 70's. We didn't become entrenched in the teaching, however, we have witnessed the effects on others.

  11. esbee February 10, 2014 Reply

    "IBYC became IBLP. He adjusted his ideas for the future and invented another new acronym: ATIA."

    IBYC--I Be Your Christ

    IBLP---I Be Life Principles

    ATIA----All Through I Am

    • Susanna February 10, 2014 Reply

      The one we used to joke about (that really isn't funny anymore, given the things that have come to light in recent days):

      IBLP - "I'm Bill's Little Pal"


      • RyanR February 10, 2014 Reply

        I always heard "I'm Bill's Little Pet" instead of "I'm Bill's Little Pal" which in light of the stories that are coming to light is even worse.

        There also was ATIA - "American Teenagers in Agony." We dismissed that at the time as funny but dramatic. If only we knew then what we are learning now . . .

        • esbee February 10, 2014

          The fact that someone even DARED to make these little funnies shows there was dissent, discontent, and a modicum of independent thinking, OOPS, I mean rebellion, among the ranks.

  12. Rebecca February 10, 2014 Reply

    Yes, it is time to "wake the sleeping giant" and shine light on the truth. Praying constantly for all involved, strength and protection for Recovering Grace and all who seek to bring truth and healing.

  13. kevin February 10, 2014 Reply

    Thank you RG team! Yes, it is time. Keep up the good work. We'll all keep doing our part and forwarding the stories to the church, via Facebook, emails and personal conversations. Word is spreading. The truth is going to be like a flood that washes away the rotten teachings and practices of Bill Gothard. It is beginning.

  14. Matthew February 10, 2014 Reply

    Many supporters of Bill Gothard will be quick to point out the good that the program has done, the evangelism in different countries and the glowing reports of success stories. Unfortunately, the success stories are few and far between the tales of hurt, families divided and hearts broken through the teachings of Mr. Gothard.

    We can get into "Berean Pissing Matches" over who has the correct interpretation of this and that scripture, whose rhema came from the correct version of the Holy Spirit or who is living the most consecrated life - but when it all comes down to it, the Bible clearly states that you will know false prophets by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). Those fruits are laid out in Galatians 5:22-23. This ministry is not showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If they claim that they are, then clearly they have spiritual blinders on - no further evidence is needed then by looking at the people who have turned away from God due to Mr. Gothard's tyrannical interpretations of scripture.

    I continue to pray for everyone who has been touched by this ministry. Just when you think you know enough about God to start a ministry in His name, God reveals Himself to be even larger than a ministry. Be well!

  15. "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

    "Those who fail to learn from history, are destined to repeat it." -- Bill Gothard

    • RyanR February 10, 2014 Reply

      That statement actually is attributed to George Santayana (though growing up, we never would have known that as Bill didn't often provide attribution/citation to much of anything he used)

      • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

        Thank you for correcting me. Of course he got it from someone else. It just seemed ironic to me, in light of this.

        • RyanR February 10, 2014

          Oh, I absolutely agree :)

    • Tara-Lee Page February 11, 2014 Reply

      "The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" - Abraham Lincoln ;)

      • "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

        Lol ;)

  16. Pablo Dee February 10, 2014 Reply

    Can I weigh in on the other Side? Nearly 20 years of personal experience and raising a large family in the movement. All of our kids are sound in faith and living for the Lord and NEVER really experience profound rebellion. About the movement, Sure there were people who took things to extremes and their little petty rules at times, but you need to understand ATI in its cultural context. Namely there was a Massive evangelical departure from fundamental (ism) in term of both biblical truth and christian lifestyles which has left the vast majority of so called evangelicals swimming in a sea of foolishness and moral relativity. The institute was raised up to stem that tide. Sure some of their stuff was "artificial" but going into it you knew that, like going to Pensecola Christian college. It's not the "real world rules" but it's their rules. Sounds like lots of ungrateful people out there who failed themselves to walk by the Spirit. We were greatly blessed by the teaching and service opportunities through apprenticeships, missions in Moscow, etc. Furthermore, Bill has opened his phone for direct personal access to ANYONE who wishes to register a complaint or speak with him directly, if they were offended. That sounds pretty scriptural, legitimate, and honest. Why are you taking to this forum instead of that one? Where does this forum cross the line to gossip and slander?
    Scripture admonishes us that "the first to present his case seems just until cross examined, or the other side is heard. In a forum like this its just one sided and people's hurts and perceived offenses. i thought Love "takes no account of wrong suffered?" where is the grace here? Funny how the tolerant folks seem so intolerant at times. I wonder if THIS will get printed in your blog

    • Jeff Gill February 10, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Pablo

      If you haven't already, please take the time to read the stories on this site. Take the time to read about the thorough but unsuccessful efforts that Recovering Grace and many many other people over the years have made over the years for reconciliation with Bill. Take the time to consider that a number of the very credible allegations in the stories are about illegal behaviour. Take the time to understand that this site is full of people who are grateful to have found grace once they fought their way out from under Bill's umbrella.

      If there is intolerance in the articles posted by Recovering Grace, it is intolerance of the idea that Bill is continuing to do great damage to people.

      I write this as a former ATI student who is grateful for the opportunity to travel to Moscow three times and even for some of the things Bill taught. His teaching on self acceptance and standing alone have helped me tremendously (especially as I worked through the rejection I experienced from the top IBLP leaders in Russia). His focus on analogies served me well for the last 25 years. (It is a way of thinking that can be very helpful in exposing how ridiculous most of his teaching are.)

    • Elizabeth February 10, 2014 Reply


      From the outside, my family appears to be stable and following the Lord as well after 20+ years in the program. I am the oldest of nine and all of us are walking with the Lord (mostly). I would be curious as to what your children would say is the basis of their faith. My siblings and I only came to a saving knowledge of Christ and his grace after rejecting the legalism that ATI and IBLP taught. From the outside, it may look as if the system worked, but we know the difference. It has been an extremely painful journey.

      I would ask you to ask your children their thoughts.

    • kevin February 10, 2014 Reply

      "Funny how the tolerant folks seem so intolerant at times. "

      Are you suggesting that we need to be tolerance about sexually abusing children?

      Hey, that's great that your family didn't go deep and that you kept things in perspective.

      "Sure some of their stuff was "artificial" but going into it you knew that,"

      No, you knew that. Many took his teachings as coming directly from God and swallowed everything he fed them.

      "Bill has opened his phone for direct personal access to ANYONE who wishes to register a complaint or speak with him directly, if they were offended. That sounds pretty scriptural, legitimate, and honest. Why are you taking to this forum instead of that one? "

      He's been confronted by one and more witnesses many times. As I think you'll see if you stay tuned, or read any of Larne Gabriel's posts, they took it to the board, and then to Gothard's church. He has not repented and has continued his behavior for 40 years now. This is the late stages of Matt 18, taking it to the church.

      "i thought Love "takes no account of wrong suffered?" "

      The man fondled a minor. There are 34 women who have come forward and alleged sexual abuse and/or harassment. Please don't hide this monster behind some verse on love, while enabling him to continue abusing young women. I find that sick.

      • E. Stephen Burnett February 10, 2014 Reply

        Once again I recall that cultural fundamentalists enable flagrant injustices, and themselves spawned the same compromising "God is love = love is God!" lies that they themselves feign to condemn.

        Pablo, I know you mean well. But you are basing "discernment" on appearances and results, rather than on the all-sufficient Word and the fact that Satan hides as an angel of light.

    • David February 10, 2014 Reply

      I have a few Mormon friends who would say the same thing. The fact is, if a religious system of error produces the desired results, those deceived by it will proclaim good fruit. If you are a legalist and the fruit of your ministry is legalism, you will say that your fruits prove you are teaching the Truth.

      • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

        Right on.

    • Debbie February 10, 2014 Reply

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. My children are all following the Lord and we never followed any man. We were led by the Holy Spirit and gave grace to our kids. We saw the legalistic ones but they would be the same ones that are in every church. They take things legalistically because they are legalistic in behavior. My kids were home schooled, in AWANA, and played sports. I even coached both my son's soccer teams. We are not legalistic. It is the people who take it that way and the men who are the pain. My husband came across those men and would try to show them their ways. Gothard, himself, has had numerous teachings to balance these things out. He has had women speakers. I am sorry that the dad's of these people were so out of balance. Get in any church and there are problems.

      • Brandon February 10, 2014 Reply

        What would have happened if your husband had wanted to grow a beard? He would have been put down as a less spiritual man.

        I am glad you did not listen his teachings as deeply as others. It sounds like your family may have been one of the lucky few who were able to leave without major damage - which speaks to you and your husband tremendously.

      • Andrew Harper February 10, 2014 Reply

        "He has had women speakers."

        This is hardly conclusive proof as to BG's attitude toward or treatment of women. Especially the pretty, young volunteers in his office. That you would raise this as a talking point is very disconcerting to me. Women are capable of much more than just giving public talks, as you well know. BG's line of reasoning was that women should always be under the authority of a man, but I find in my Bible that the Proverbs 31 woman bought and sold land and made other investments without so much as consulting her husband. I wonder how that would sit with BG, regardless of who is on his speaking schedule...?

        • Nancy2 February 10, 2014

          "Proverbs 31 woman bought and sold land and made other investments without so much as consulting her husband."

          Just because she didn't consult her husband doesn't mean she wasn't submissive.

          My husband knew on our first date that I was independent thinking and adventurous. He was told the places I would never allow my independence or adventurous spirit to take me. He was in agreement with my boundaries for living. He knew they were boundaries established through much prayer and study before I knew him. He has never desired to limit my freedom because he knew I was trustworthy already. He knows my freedom will never bring him harm. He married a woman who fully shared his vision of the future. Many may disagree but for us that is submission.

          Likewise even though he takes the lead publicly, in our private discussions we brainstorm and submit to each other.

          Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

          My freedom is one of my husbands greatest assets. He told me 37 years ago, "Only a weak man needs to lord over his wife." And much of what I have read of Mr. Gothard's view on marriage fits in that catagory.

          Our one Basic Seminar left both of us confused over how anyone could live under a system that was limited to the mind of one finite man.

        • Andrew Harper February 10, 2014


          Sounds like we see eye-to-eye.

      • Vera Berry February 11, 2014 Reply

        You must have missed the Knoxville when the young man, with head hung in shame, got up and shared how he wanted so much to play baseball and was really good at it but through Bill and his parents, he saw that this was going to be a distraction in his life to The Lord and gave it up. There were also other testimonies of people falling into sin after being involved in sports. I still get proclamations from people who were leavened with this doctrine proclaiming that all those who participate and practice sports are hell bound sinners. It is just more of the same leaven that leavened the whole lump. Getting rid of sports has no effect on the flesh and nothing in Scripture even remotely suggests otherwise. It further confuses people on what real sin is!!!

    • Brandon February 10, 2014 Reply

      I find it interesting that I consistently hear arguments from people defending Bill talk about tolerance.

      At the Indianapolis Training Center (at age 15), Brandon McDonald worked me 18 hours a day to a sleep deprived state then put us in meetings with Bill Gothard so I would have no critical thinking ability. That is called brainwashing.

      I was repeatedly deprived food and human contact (as were many of the young boys in the Life Focus program) for days because I questioned Bill's teachings.

      "Going into it I knew that"? "Gossip and slander"?
      How about I lock you in a room with no food or human contact for days and then let's chat about "Sounds like lots of ungrateful people out there who failed themselves to walk by the Spirit."

      • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

        I am so sorry, Brandon. Yep, that pretty well fits the definition of brainwashing.

    • MatthewS February 10, 2014 Reply

      It's awesome that your family ties have remained healthy!

      Many families found that the controlling environment, including not allowing their kids to go to college (it was strictly taught that college is a "high place" of idol worship), did a lot of damage to the relationships. There are so many families that were damaged.

      I don't mean to pry, so feel free not to answer, but you say your kids have done well: are they all going to use the ATI program with their kids? As you are likely aware, there is an extremely low return rate, almost no second gen ATI kids. It would be intriguing to hear from a family like yours why they think that might be the case.

    • Andrew Harper February 10, 2014 Reply


      You can definitely weigh in on the other side, but I would be careful. I believe the revelations which have come recently are only going to increase in scope and severity. You may want to reserve your judgment until you have more information.

      Personally, I approached the "Institute" with a similar attitude. It was their rules for the time I was working with them. That being said, the teaching I was marinated in growing up was toxic. A low dose of poison will not necessarily be noticeable until the damage has been done. This was the case for me and my family. I would suggest that if you feel the need to come to BG's defense at this time and to accuse everyone on this site of "ungratefulness", perhaps you haven't noticed you're being poisoned... yet.

    • Shelley Randolph Romey February 10, 2014 Reply

      This sounds a whole lot like the end justifying the means. Because the end result appears good does not mean that the methods to get there are okay. Humiliating and abusing people in order to control them into proper behavior has no room in the Church. It makes me angry that any Christian would think this way.

      My family did not end up being damaged long term by ATI but in no way do I credit ATI for that. Our faith and success are due solely to my parents' teachings from the Word of God in spite of what was going on with ATI. To be truthful, I believe it was because of how strong our family was that we were not targets. If anything had happened to us we would have told our parents and they would have believed us 100%. There would have been no way to do to us what some experienced without a big fight from us and push back from our parents.

      "Sure there were people who took things to the extreme and their little pety rules at times..." The whole problem is their petty rules. Those rules many times were blatantly unscriptural and only existed to make followers who could be controlled, not to make stronger Christians. Addirionally, sometimes those petty rules had deeper meaning and intent. I once filled out an application for something in ATI which asked me if I would be willing to wear my hair in soft curls in order to be a better witness. What?!? So, according to Institute teaching I should accept how God made me physically. God made with me stick straight hair that only curls with an extreme amount of time and effort that can not take place on a daily basis. If I don't have soft curls I can't be a good witness. So, God can't use me as a witness due to the flawed physical attributes he gave me. One of those "petty rules" right? Wrong. It turns out this was part of a fettish of BGs's. Thank God I didn't give in to following this seemingly "petty rule." This kind of pettiness has many people trying to figure out why they weren't acceptable the way God created them.

      That is not "fundamental (ism) in term of both biblical truth and christian lifestyles." That is controlling, anti scriptural, damaging, and yes, "artificial."

      • Nancy2 February 10, 2014 Reply

        "only existed to make followers who could be controlled, not to make stronger Christians. "


      • dreamer February 11, 2014 Reply

        I find it interesting that Pablo admits that there were petty rules and artificial teachings, but he or she embraced them anyway. Is it possible that your family has been damaged, but you just don't see it yet?

    • Beth February 10, 2014 Reply

      Pablo, all the kids in my family are walking with the Lord too. Is that because of ATI/IBLP? I honestly think our family survived in spite of the program. Why? Because my parents loved Jesus first and as much as they made some pretty big mistakes I know it was specifically my Dad's genuine faith that he lived out before us that kept us and showed us that God was real.

    • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

      We knew that, going into it? You make it sound as though we had a choice. And no, no one ever told this to me, prior to entry! I was 13.

    • Vera Berry February 11, 2014 Reply

      I believe your success can be attributed to one of two scenarios. Either you were a Mennonite and lived in a Mennoite community or someway were removed from people in the backwoods of TN or you were a hypocrite to ATI standards. That is the only possibility. You said, "Yes, yes" to all of Bill's rules and then lived a normal life at home. We met lots of people like that in our time in ATI and you would be right. Those people didn't remove the TV from their home, they occasionally went to a movie or watched movies on DVD zipping through inappropriate scenes. They participated in sports and even particpated in the youth group. They didn't narrow their friendships to only those in ATI or people likeminded in standards. In the case of living away from others, they never were tramatized by people coming into their home judging the fact that they had a TV. But more than that, Dad made a good salary that allowed the family to live **very** comfortably on one salary. I know this because you sent your children to Russia, which would have been impossible for our family. There is no way we could have afforded such an expensive trip. The most successful families in ATI who had children who are normal well rounded folks were relaxed about these standards. If their young adults wanted to do something like say go to a party, they didn't panic but asked the child to pray about it. They didn't force the girls to wear dresses. They had more than one pair of shoes for each child too. Did you? We never did.

      We were successful once we lived that way too and I went back to being a nurse which gave us that amount of money to afford some creature comforts. We recognized what God hates, how to lead our children to repentance and walk free from sin without the law. Did your children ever repent? Or did you raise perfectly sinless children? That's the façade of the standard teaching.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014 Reply


      I also was in for 19 years.

      It's funny Bill did not respond to my questions and concerns when I brought them to him privatly.

      Friends of mine went to him this past year as he requested only to again be told that they were wrong and that he was right. I regret to say that his public appearrance is again out of touch with reality. To be quite direct, that translates to hypocrisy.

      It's hard to listen when you receive continuing evidence of a lack of accountability to reality--both in this life and that of spiritual nature.

      To quote Bill himself, "If only half of the reports that I've received are true", it's enough to dismiss him along with his word and message.

      Unfortunately for Bill, I also have reason through personal observation that concur with these reports to believe them and not him. Some of these I have shared publicly--others I have not and may never find the need to do so.

      God's message is apart from that of both Bill Gothard and IBLP. God's word is trustworthy and true, of this I remain fully confident.

    • dreamer February 11, 2014 Reply

      "Do everything right so you can get 'God's best.'" "Mess up and He will punish you." "If something goes wrong in your life, it's probably because you don't have enough faith or because of some secret sin." Isn't that kind of exactly what moral relativism is?

      And I'm sorry, but you need to read a little more of this site before you say that they are not presenting their case in a scriptural way, or that they haven't tried to contact Mr. Gothard directly.

    • Retha February 15, 2014 Reply

      Pablo Dee said: "Sure some of their stuff was "artificial" but going into it you knew that, like going to Pensecola Christian college. It's not the "real world rules" but it's their rules."
      Many people on this site got into Bill Gothard things as children, because their parents did. In fact, any time two parents with one or more children get into these programs, there are some people who are going into this not knowing this is artificial. Did you tell your children, before they got into it, what they were getting into? If not, you yourself contributed to people (children are people!) getting into this without knowing.
      If you say your children are "following the Lord" are they following God alone, or him plus man-made artificial rules?

  17. Tangent February 10, 2014 Reply

    So true. Anything good that he presented came from someone else, and he took all the credit for it.

  18. Lynn February 10, 2014 Reply

    Hannah and Ryan, I grew up in the 60's and 70's, and when I heard Bill Gothard use that quote I knew he had borrowed it. I learned it in the public school of all places. The perspective of you students is incredible.

    • Lynn February 10, 2014 Reply

      Lynn, I am another Lynn who comments here infrequently. I've seen your name in a few of the comments, and I believe we are approximately the same age. I'll sign in from now on as LynnCD, so there will be no confusion.

    • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

      Hm, not sure what is meant by, "incredible", but glad Ryan has set the record straight. It was a quote Gothard was fond of, and I shared for irony.

  19. Alfred Corduan February 10, 2014 Reply

    Unless I am mistaken, this is a copy of the same archive which was given to the LA Times. Back in the 1980s. They published an article with general accusations . . . and then "sat on it". Been preserved in their vaults all these years. It has been "out there" for all these years . . . being "sat on". Why?

    You will do what you feel you must. We all stand before God, the "Righteous Judge". The glee that I see expressed in some of this is just revolting to me. You have no idea what you are doing.

    • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply

      What you perceive as "glee" is more likely joy at the prospect of truth and justice triumphing over evil. You're on the wrong side, Alfred.

    • pvproof February 10, 2014 Reply

      So what if it is? Why all these insinuations of conspiracy? You tend to post these questions that are really just thinly veiled passive-aggressive accusations.

      Just be honest and speak your mind: "This is BS, this is just the old LATimes archive, you guys should not be posting it"

      If you firmly believe this stuff is BS why is it so hard for you to say so? Perhaps it is because you don't believe this stuff as firmly as you think you do? Perhaps you hope that one day you'll read something here on RG that will give you a reason to throw off the shackles that Gothard has on your mind?

      Dude, something is wrong when you are standing up more publicly for Gothard than he does himself. You're taking up offenses for him, something which can destroy your health, and your life... some Basic Principles right there.

      You need to just let it go and say like Gamaliel (I paraphrase) "if it be of man then it will die away, but if this be of God, we cannot stand against it."

    • pvproof February 10, 2014 Reply

      Alfred you said:

      > You have no idea what you are doing.

      You left me hanging there.

      Since RG has no idea what they are doing, and since I have no idea what you're talking about, please explain: What exactly are they doing? And why is it wrong?

    • "Hannah" February 10, 2014 Reply

      I think RG knows exactly what they are doing. And I think that's what you're afraid of.

      Stay tuned, there is more to come.

      • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply


    • John February 10, 2014 Reply

      Alfred I am in two minds here, on the one side I see the need for a cult to be exposed for what it is a cult there is no way you can look at IBLP/ATI in the bigger picture and say it isn't a cult. You say these people don't know what they are doing! Are you implying that RG is trying to bring down something that is the work of God?

      These people invested there early lives and childhoods in something that turned out to be a lie based on very faulty doctrine and interpretations of scripture. These people have been betrayed and used by a man that on first impressions appears gracious but underneath it lays a control freak who will not tolerate anyone questioning him. I have been following this site for a long time in silence I think these people know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. You can accuse them of being vultures waiting for the corpse to rot and satisfy their bitterness and revengeful hearts or you can look at them and the many witnesses and say if they can stop one person going through the pain they did then it is worth it

      On the other side I do see something that unsettles me. I am not certain if RG has taken the right tact in exposing Bill Gothard at all times although I do believe he should be exposed its the how that is the question.

      I have watched you Alfred, I have watched you deflect and diminish the pain and hurt these people have suffered. You are loyal to Bill Gothard, you make no bones about that so even in the the face of all these people who say Bill isn't what he appears to be you defend the man. I noted on another subject here and asked you what happens if this man you so admire turns out to be the person RG says he is what happens to your faith?

      Although you haven't said it yet, although you have stated that these people don't don't know what they're doing does that imply that the hand of God will fall on RG and those who seek refuge here? Does that man that like Bill's cause an effect formula that he uses to misinterpret so many scriptures will come true here? Why not just say it Alfred pronounce judgement, don't beat around the bush.

      Come right out and say what you mean, get to the point of it all man!!!!

      • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply

        "I do believe he should be exposed its the how that is the question."

        Promptly, courageously and with unflinching honesty. Just as RG is doing.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 10, 2014

          Standing Firm. How to Stand Alone.

          It is good to stand on what we know to be true without yielding to intimidation or threat.

          God is fighting the battle.
          We will all see the result, and I sense that day is coming very soon.

    • Austin Gunderson February 10, 2014 Reply

      "You have no idea what you are doing."

      Really, Alfred? RG has actually read this archive. You haven't. And yet you claim to know that they don't know what they're doing? Prejudge much? Why not wait for the documents to get published before condemning those who have the unmitigated gall to publish them?

      Or is this in reference to your previous doomsaying about how the actions of Recovering Grace constitute a direct threat against American Christendom? In that case, I've got news for you, Alfred: the Kingdom of Heaven is a whole lot bigger than IBLP. Astonishingly bigger, actually. And if IBLP is afraid of bright lights being shone on its activities either in the present or the past, then IBLP exists in darkness.

      Learn to love the light, Alfred. It's inescapable - if not in this life, than most certainly in the next.

      • John February 10, 2014 Reply

        *sorry to go off topic*
        No offense to my american friends but American Christendom is is not the gauge by which any Christian should measure themselves. If RG is following what is the biblical thing to do then Every nation or community that calls itself Christian should take note.

        If Alfred thinks American Christendom is under threat from RG I want to know what is so special about it? I don't see any nation that has a Christian model that I would follow.

        Christendom today is mostly a pale shadow of what it is meant to reflect. Bill Gothard in his attempt to amend that went too far the other way, way too far! You can look up where he got his ideas from when he studied his MA in theology. I am surprised someone was't alerted to his leanings then.

        Here is a good place to start for anyone who came in late... you might want to comment on this as well Alfred

    • Karah February 10, 2014 Reply

      Have you considered the idea that you might be mistaken? You act like you alone have all the answers. You speak as though every dissenting opinion comes from a 15 yr old who has no clue about the world. Has no real idea about right and right and wrong. Who is currently making a huge mistake that they will soon regret.

      Alfred, we're not teenagers anymore. We're adults. With real world experience. Who learned the lessons of telling the truth and standing alone.

      And you know what I find revolting? The idea of a 60 yr old man preying on teenagers. The idea that he told girls who were being molested and raped to go back to their families in order to protect his image. Or told them that they were at least partly to blame. That's what is revolting here.

    • TiaraLi February 10, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, you are using some rather manipulative tactics there. "We all stand before God, the "Righteous Judge"... You have no idea what you are doing."

      What YOU are doing here is threatening anybody who speaks the truth about your hero. You're threatening them with eternal judgment if they continue. To suitably brainwashed people, this is an effective tactic, too.

      There is some element of truth to it, however. We all will stand before the Lord one day. My name is in his book, and I am sure there are some things in my life that I will be ashamed of when I see him - as we all will. However, I am saved because of what Jesus did on the cross, not because of any act of mine. There is one thing I am glad about, however. I am not ashamed that I helped perpetuate a coverup of sexual abuse, because I refuse to do so.

    • Shelley Randolph Romey February 10, 2014 Reply

      Who do you see enjoying this? I guarantee that anyone who went through this has no glee. There is a lot of hurt, disappointment and sadness. There is a desire to keep others from suffering the same damage. And yes, there is a desire for justice. My heart breaks for the girls who have been hurt but there is definitely no glee.

    • kevin February 10, 2014 Reply

      "You will do what you feel you must. We all stand before God, the "Righteous Judge". The glee that I see expressed in some of this is just revolting to me. You have no idea what you are doing."

      Somehow I doubt that God is going to have a problem with exposing a sexually abusing false teacher.

    • David February 10, 2014 Reply

      I know exactly what I am doing. I am calling Bill Gothard a heretic, plain and simple. No apologies and no regrets. I base this on the authority of the Word of God. As a pastor of 40 years this is so clear, so simple, and an incredible shame that people can be so blind to the simple Truth of grace.

      • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply

        Amen, Pastor!!!

    • Jeremy Richardson February 12, 2014 Reply


      My mom used to say "You aren't sorry you DID IT. You're just sorry you GOT CAUGHT doing it."

      And, I have been telling her, and my other family and friends Bill Gothard is a cult for over 10 years.

      No one believed me; until now. So, although I don't give two figs for this Matthew 18 theo-logic or really agree with the R/G belief platform, I am nonetheless grateful for this public service they (r/g) is performing here, before our eyes.

      Sir, may I suggest it is you who have no idea what you are doing?

      You consistently and at length continue to defend Bill Gothard, which I also find revolting. So, it may be true (albeit obliquely) that we have more in common than a causal look suggests.

      To be very clear: I am NOT happy that these things happened.

      But, I am happy VERY that Bill Gothard is being exposed for the fraud he is.


  20. Brandon February 10, 2014 Reply

    Glee? What I see is a thirst for Justice. Justice that keep the eyes bright of future naive teenage girls.

  21. Rebekah February 10, 2014 Reply

    It's time.... is all I can say.

    I am absolutely horrified that my family was involved in any shape, way, or form with this cult. I think my parents are more devastated than I am. They can't believe they just didn't know what was going on! I talked to my mom the other day about this and all she could say was, "I'm just so thankful the Lord protected ya'll from most of this. That you weren't exposed to this kind of pain. I can't believe these parents who belived a man rather than their own children. If you called me up and told me that Mr.G or any other man had put his hands on you, I would have ridden a bicycle up and get you if that's what it took!" I know many of you didn't have such supportive parents, but I just thank God that I do.

    I was two weeks away from going to HQ in Jan of 2011 but it fell through at the last minute. I didn't want to go and it makes me cringe to think of how close I came to being in the middle......I don't even want to know.

    • pvproof February 10, 2014 Reply

      >I was two weeks away from going to HQ in Jan of 2011 but it fell through at the last minute.

      OH WOW - I read this and immediately cringed... I'm thankful that it fell through for you.

  22. L. Shackelford February 10, 2014 Reply

    My parents attended the first west coast seminar in 1970. I began using the IBYC materials in my discipleship of college girls that year. The materials were very helpful! We attended our first Seminar in Dallas the next year. We had close friends who went to Oakbrook. Bill told them to feel everything, that he would give them a house and take care of them for life. They sold everything, dropped their insurance plans, as commanded, and moved. In 1974 we made plans to move there too, very excited to be a part of Bill Gothard's ministry. He was just Bill then, not Mr. Gothard. We wrote to our friends already there, asking questions, but go little or no response. Strange. My husband worked as a TV cameraman, traveling with the Seminar, I stayed home with two small kids. My husband asked how this kind of schedule fit with what was taught about a man leading his family and ministering to his wife. Bill said, "These are times of war. In times of war, the men go and fight!" They were looking for a house for us, we were to be ready to move at any time… from November to March… We were becoming less enamored with the organization… our hero worship died, and it was a very good thing. God in his mercy spared us great heartache.
    Meanwhile our friends were suffering. Husband were kept away from home for months on end, wives who complained or asked how this followed what was taught in the seminar about how families should function were shot down and called rebellions wives, un-submissive, and a few other bad names. Husbands were admonished to straighten out their wives. Wives and kids were nothing to Bill. Both the men and women were seeing things that were wrong, and this was before 1980. Several families resigned and asked Bill for the money they had given him from the sale of their houses, so they could start over again, and he refused to give it to them. They now had no money, no insurance, no savings or retirement funds. And they were out on their ear with a kick in the pants. All the families that I know who left at this time endured much, said very little and grew spiritually as a result of their sufferings. They had been praying we would not come to Oak brook, not wanting to give a 'bad report.'
    Then the news broke about Steve. My husband knew and had travelled with these men, knew the women. We were appalled and grieved. We knew one of the single men who turned his back on the Lord because of the experience he had in the North Woods. The rest of our friends left… Our friends loyal to Bill hung in there, saying it was just Steve, helping Bill to rise from the ashes. Yes, the Principles have helped so many, and have been foundational to my walk with the Lord, even as I walked the slippery edge of legalism for a while and then came to balance and grace! Praise God!
    Years later I began homeschooling and ran a home school group. I was not in ATIA, but had a lot of opportunities to observe these families. And I was concerned with what I saw. So many seek control. They are afraid. They was a guarantee that if they follow a plan, their kids will 'turn out right.' There is fear, there is pride, there is a need to let someone else tell them what to do so that they will not have to accept responsibility. There are men who want to have control. ATIA gives them the perfect format. "Mr. Gothard says…" So, I observed that the families who were grim followers of Bill (grim , even with those pasted on smiles), humorless and rigid, did not do well in the long run. The families, even if they were in ATIA, who could laugh at themselves, and have fun, who were not grim or super rigid, survived with kids who could think and rebound from the legalism. My thought back then, observing the first group, was, "These girls, what will happen when one day they wake up surrounded by their 6 kids, and realize they have never made a choice in their lives?" That day has come, and I am grateful to hear the voices of those who have made the choice to follow Christ, knowing that it is completely different from following a man! He is Good! His grace is good!

    • Lori February 10, 2014 Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, L.

      Alfred, are you reading?

      • Alfred Corduan February 10, 2014 Reply

        I am, Lori. What do you want me to focus on? Bill has disappointed a lot of people who relied on things they felt he had promised. And maybe did. Probably.

        In the end, any one of us that does anything for a man and not specifically for the Lord are open for heartache. He painted a rosy picture for the wonders of a large family . . . let me tell you (we have 11 children), there were plenty of bleak, dark, broke, painful, end-of-the-rope times . . . and he was nowhere around. If we had launched out because Bill had told us it would work out, we would feel misled. But we got our directions from the Lord first . . . and for that reason my wife - particularly - never looked back.

        Interesting too . . . no finger pointed at Bill here on the moral side.

        • Lori February 10, 2014

          Alfred, it's not just about some people doing things for Bill rather than for the Lord. It's about his false teachings, his mistreatment of people, and his destructive influence. When the sheep are misled, the mature ones do bear responsibility for listening to false teachings but the shepherds who mistreat and mislead them bear an even greater responsibility, especially when their victims are young lambs.

        • Vera Berry February 11, 2014

          You are missing the point, Alfred. If you had asked me, "Are you following Bill Gothard?" back in say 1994 - 5 when I was 3 years into this, I would have said, "No way." I didn't know Bill Gothard personally. He has never been to my home. In fact, in all the years that I ran Wisdom Searchers, he never once called to ask if there was anything he could pray for or do for our family as we were working tirelessly for this ministry. So, I never considered this as following Bill.

          The problem was the MESSAGE that led to Bill being manipulative and full of rotten fruit. Plus, it leads to sin because when we try to be righteous by doing things, we fall from grace and it is grace that frees us from sin without the law. Can you see that?

          So, for example, if my child had two earrings in one ear, they were shunned for sinning because this would be an obvious sign of hidden sin and of course, we are told in 1 Cor 5 to shun sinners. If a person liked to listen to say Keith Green, they were shunned as sinners because Keith was a CCM artist and listening to him is a surface issue stemming from hidden sin. So people were judged sinners based on the standards they kept. The more standards one had, the more righteous they were judged.

          Often we are called on to make choices in this life. Bill said to make right choices, we needed to follow exactly what those in authority said to do becaue that was God speaking through them. Now, that is true perhaps to a certain extent but we are supposed to led of the Spirit in Christ. If we are rigidly under authority and failing to hear the voice of The Lord, we will fall into the trap Sapphira fell into. God was not impressed with her submitted heart to her authority.

          As long as you are under these teachings, you are not on the right path that Scripture clearly teaches which is freedom from sin by grace through faith. No man can bring that to you and no standard can accomplish this in your life. It leads to liberty and real freedom and love.

        • Eva February 11, 2014

          Shame on you again, Alfred. You can't even recognize that you are so full of yourself.

      • john Norvell February 12, 2014 Reply

        you know something i don't feel sorry for you or anyone who serves in Ministry Jesus didn't have place to lay his head,I suppose its because of my parents,they worked for Bill for iblp ministries for twelve years with no salary, they went on faith,They worked and managed Eagle mountain for 12 yrs,when i went up to see them i would see my Dad pull 18 hr days day in day out! literally, building cabins ,fixing tractors ,scolding kids praying with kids,putting in roads,Lakes fixing wells ,nonstop passionately doing Gods work,they kept doing serving without pay ,my mom worked endlessly feeding and cleaning a huge lodge on her hands and knees day in day out ,serving young men great meals every day for twelve yrs again going all on faith, You know what my mom and Dad do now they get up every morning and pray for Bill and his ministry everyday,they aren't bitter they don't own a home,very little money remember they worked for no pay, there home is serving God, I am so blessed,because they are showing me what a real Christian looks like,aged and seasoned warriors for God.they are the real thing,and I'm awestruck by there humility towards this mans ministry, From what i see on hear its just bitter people who feel that they are owed something out of life.You people need to walk a mile in my mom and Dads shoes you would learn real quick what true Christianity is,they live it everyday of there lives.

    • Jonathan Owens February 10, 2014 Reply

      L Shackelford
      Thank you for sharing. I am one of those kids who woke up surrounded by six kids and realized "I have no idea what I am doing" And I'm not a girl.

    • ElisaM February 10, 2014 Reply

      Wow! LShackelford, what a story! And what heartbreak for those early families who left the Institute. I guess would be one of those girls you wondered about, home schooled in ATI in the 80's. Glad to hear there were those on the outside looking in, concerned. Thanks for your kind words. And thanks for your confirmation about how things went down at that time.

    • LynnCD February 10, 2014 Reply

      Mrs. Shackleford, I have been selling some of my good books on Amazon (ones that I do not plan on reading any more). One of them is a book by Ken Nair. In that book, he references moving to Chicago, and his wife wanted him to not leave her so he could go on a ministry trip, immediately after moving, in winter. The ministry leader called her and told her she was making her husband a prisoner of her expectations. After I read the book, I found out Ken was referencing Bill Gothard. Ken Nair and Gary Smalley both were involved in IBYC in the early days. I wonder what their input would be to all of these matters. What you said about wives missing their husbands and Bill's reactions matches exactly Ken Nair's description of Bill upbraiding his wife (who was a young mother at the time). Regarding your last remark - yes! God's grace is good, and greater than all our sin!

      • L. Shackelford February 10, 2014 Reply

        Yes, Lynn, they are among the friends I mentioned. It was a heart breaking time for those families, but I am happy to say that the suffering they went through, the wrongs done them, have produced couples with a deep compassion for people. Both Ken and Gary work with hurting couples now, and two other families are in Biblical counseling ministries, using what they have learned to help heal others. May the Lord do the same with all the rest!

        • Vera Berry February 11, 2014

          Dear Mrs. Shakelford,
          Thank you for sharing your story. Doug and I were in ATI from 1992-2007. I want to affirm some of the things you said. The amount of money this ministry was generating through those seminars etc must have been astronomical if you consider 2.5 million people at $45 a pop. Then there were the massive donations from companies. The families who received curriculum for 12 students were not as many as some of us with 5. I had 6 children but not all of them were ever in school at once. That is again a lot of money for paper printed mostly in black and white. Plus the Knoxville seminar was another expense. Plus, plus, plus.

          With that in mind, at one point Doug and I went to Big Sandy to help them clean up the property. We volunteered because volunteers were called on. So at our own expense, we went. We were offered a job if.....perhaps.....maybe.....we might have a place to stay in a dorm room in community living if we sold our house and lived on the sale of the house until the funds ran out. No salary would be provided. We declined. Thank you, Lord!!! I knew that we would regret that. Even at that time, which was long after the time you mention, I knew of families that did this and have since regretted it. It is so sad. When a person is old and has to start all over trying to make ends meet, it is a nightmare. Actually, that's where we are at now as I am working at night as an RN.

          The second thing I want to affirm is the way we as women were silenced completely. If we said something was amiss, we were being rebellious and this was a sure reason why our children were sinning and rebellious. It couldn't possibly be the long lost sinning dad. I saw that in families as well. These poor moms had no earthly idea what they were doing and the dads were sinning in ways that would make your hair curl ---- speaking of not so soft curls. I thank God that God created me the way He did because I was never like that. But I did feel very grieved over this aspect of the ministry.

          We are trying to share with people everywhere how to be reconciled to God. That is what we do as a couple. Anyway, thank you for sharing!!

      • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

        It is worth noting that Gary Smalley remains a friend of the ministry today. He addressed at least one ATI conference with us in attendance. Knowing his character and compassion it does speak volumes about how he interprets what he knows, since he was privy to everything going on at the time of the scandal - all of the information about to be released, apparently. I doubt he would give Bill a clean pass . . . it is just important to note that he has allowed his name to be associated with the ministry in the last 10 or so years.

        • MatthewS February 11, 2014

          Of course, "Righteous Lot" lived right next to Sodom and his soul was "tormented" every day. The parallel I intend to draw is not to Sodom but to the "righteous man" who suffers internally more than he lets on externally. Assuming Smalley was privy to everything, he could just as easily speak up and say this was all false, couldn't he? If you are familiar with the term "argument from silence," that's basically what your comment is here - an argument based on someone's silence.

        • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014

          He allowed himself to be headlined at conferences, allow his messages to become part of "Embassy University", so this was a deliberate move on his part after years of "silence" to declare basic support for Bill and IBLP. I presume you can see that he has everything to lose, and nothing to gain, if he knows of serious "secret sins" which will eventually be disclosed.

        • Beverly February 11, 2014

          I love that you pull the one staff name that still supports Bill out of the hundred or more former staff from the 70s and 80s who seemingly want nothing to do with him, in a feeble attempt to say, "See--everything's just hunky dory; Otherwise this one person wouldn't be supporting him." And yet you fail to recognize the 99 others who claim he has damaged their lives. If this were an Amazon review from the 70s and 80s, Alfred, Bill would only get 1 star. But you're welcome to glory in that one-star review if it helps keep your spirits up. ;-)

        • Eva February 11, 2014

          And I know the ghost writer who wrote Gary Smalley's books. So what does it mean to me that Gary Smalley is a friend of IBLP? Absolutely nothing. I've never read any of "his" books. You still bring shame on yourself, Alfred.

  23. claypigeons February 10, 2014 Reply

    Staff at RG, you are doing a phenomenal job, carefully and courageously telling the truth, while not being vindictive. Don't let the haters get you down; most of us support you.

  24. iBob February 10, 2014 Reply

    What do you mean by "substantial library of documentation"?
    I don't disbelieve you have documentation. But what is it? Where did you get it?
    I am a former ATI-er and have family and friends that have survived abuse (not related to ATI) and want to make sure the allegations are corroborated and, where possible, law enforcement involved.

    • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

      I am quite certain this is the documentation assembled in the 1980s at the time of the scandal as some interviewed a great many affected ones . . . without Bill Gothard's approval and not at the Board's direction, as I understand it. A copy of this archive was given to the LA Times, where it remains in their vaults. I believe the Veinots and Ron Henzel had access to it as they wrote their book. I have been asking the one who conducted the interviews for years to review it. Because it contains a great deal of sensitive, personal information I can understand the reluctance of him it to make it available to me. It also represented thrusting me in far deeper than my wife was comfortable - the requirements he was setting for review were too much for me.

      I suspect there is also an issue of it lacking the rigor that would generate unimpeachable evidence for a court of law. Which is the reason - I suspect - it has sat there. "Hearsay" Which is not without value, but also makes the legal situation much more volatile. (and I am not a lawyer)

      It would be nice if "Gothard friendly" eyes could peruse the collection before things were made public. Maybe that has happened?

      "Trial on the Internet". Without the rigors of fairness instituted by a court . . . I have a tad of a problem with that. If "Charlotte's Story" is any indication of how this is to proceed - a witness which may not be interviewed, challenged, corroborated independently.

      • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, it's God's sovereign will or it would not be happening.

        • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014

          If he is innocent, none of it will "stick."

      • Jeremy Richardson February 12, 2014 Reply


        I had a personal relationship with Bill Gothard for almost 10 years, that began when I was 8 years old. I have ridden in his car, I worked for his institutes at home and abroad. I know who Bill Gothard is.

        What I think you (as a Goathardite PARENT) don't seem to realize is this: to us (me and Gothard's other victims) what we lost was our entire childhood.

        If we can't get him in criminal court, there should be a civil case set up to fund all the therapy we have required.


        P.S. - and even though Bill wasn't attracted to my legs, I am still his victim -

      • Sue June 26, 2015 Reply

        Given we have the documents now it appears "gothard friendly eyes" did view the evidence, hence the change of name and a new board. If Bill had submitted to his own board, the umbrella over him, the scandal would have been resolved and the original board would have remained intact stronger than before as is often the case. It would have been revival of hearts and renewed vision for all.

        You also mentioned Gary Smalley, having the notes now we see he was paid off as was Ken Nair who was generously paid off. $50,000 the board notes says. I heard Gary speak at Big Sandy awhile back. You failed to mention is topic was on lust and greed. I read his books before ati and after listening to him I see he has gained little new information or knowledge. I couldn't help but think the Gary Smalley I heard sold out for less than $7,000. Was it generous or were the ties with BG good for his ministry as well? We will never know but to say he brings credibility to BG lessens his.

        • Larne Gabriel June 26, 2015

          Most of the staff in the 70s made very little money but did have free housing. The Institute also do not pay social security taxes which were not required for all church workers at the time. That law changed under Reagan. In lieu of SS the Institute paid each person $1,000 for every year of employment. They also would pay moving expenses on termination if pressed. Some people left not getting a dime and later pressed Bill for what had been promised or given to others. Some people gave up businesses and homes to work for Bill then left with nothing. I would not want to judge any distribution of funds till I knew all the facts. Bill made all kinds of promises that he never followed through on.

  25. Michael February 10, 2014 Reply

    I commend RG for being bold enough to come forward with this information. I started ATIA in the early 90's as a 10 year old. I was in the program for 5 or 6 years (enough to go through the Wisdom Booklets more than twice) and attended the summer conference at UT-Knoxville multiple times with my parents. Two things really stand out to me about ATIA:

    1. People literally worshiped Bill Gothard. I remember very clearly standing in line at a Wendy's somewhere in Knoxville with my dad waiting to order. The Wendy's was packed with ATIA people and there were fathers and sons throughout the line with my father and I. Being within earshot of several conversations going on, I overheard one kid (approximately 12 or 13 years old) describe being in that same Wendy's the night before when BG walked in. You would have thought the kid saw Michael Jordan the way he described BG and his entourage. I remember thinking, what's the big deal here?

    2. The issue of dating/courtship. I vividly recall a fellow teenage boy being publicly reprimanded by BG because a note had been found stating he wanted to have lunch with an ATIA girl while in Knoxville. The note had no sexually explicit messages or anything of the sort. It was simply a, "hey, I think you're cute can we have lunch" note. BG scolded him like he was literally trying to sneak the girl in his UT dorm room after hours. If I wasn't completely turned off to BG and his legalistic teachings before then, I sure was after that encounter. I begged my parents to get out of the program not long after that and thankfully, my mother finally had sense enough to see some of what was going on and convinced my father to get us out of ATIA.

    I went on to attend a public school during 11th and 12th grade and then to a state university where I graduated. I am BEYOND thankful my parents never sent me to Russia. They begged me to go for at least a year or more, but after experiencing Knoxville, I knew I wanted no part of being halfway across the world with a bunch of Gothardites and no one to protect me. I realize there is grace (even for BG) but there is also justice and it's way past time that BG answered for all the gross manipulation he has committed.

  26. Anonymous February 10, 2014 Reply

    I was born into ATI/ IBLP (or ATIA as it was then). My parents had been a part of IBYC in the 70s. I really knew no other way of life. I was raised to respect and revere Mr. Gothard almost to the point of idolization. We were even a headquarters family for a while. I left my family and HQs (where we were living at the time) pretty much as an atheist because of the hypocrisy, deceit, and the covering up of sin that I saw on a daily basis. I thought that if this is really how the "godliest" live I don't want to have any part of it. My parents chose to remain loyal to Mr. Gothard rather than listen to the concerns of their child. And by child I mean adult child. Our family is broken. Mr. Gothard’s "Steps" did not work. The fail proof plan did indeed fail. It has taken me years to come to any healing at all. It has taken me years to realize that not all Christians are legalistic or hypocritical. I still struggle with the concept of grace. There has been such heartache in my own life and my family because of the teaching of Mr. Gothard. I applaud RG for bringing to light a little that has been hidden for so long and for being a huge part of my recovery.

    • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

      I'm so sorry you suffered so much, Anonymous. I grew up in a church that taught that being baptized saves you; then you have to work very hard to keep your salvation. After years of believing in a false demanding god that offered no real hope of of ever pleasing or appeasing him, I finally understood that Jesus paid it all and offers the gift of the water of life freely to all who simply trust Him. I highly recommend a book called "Classic Christianity" (by Bob George) to fully understand God's fathomless grace and the complete acceptance and infinite love which are ours in Christ.

    • john Norvell February 12, 2014 Reply

      this is so typical ,your family was not broken because of Bill Gothard ,you thought that taking the right steps doing the right things would just automatically make your life work out come on man thats just childish,your life was shattered because thats just the way things go sometimes,we have all been hurt and broken ,lied to misunderstood,yada yada,stuff happens,life is so short if were lucky we might get 80 yrs and probably not remember much after 70, Are you going to quit blaming everybody even blaming yourself,forget all that and enjoy the life that God has given you,thank God for every breath every day of your life ,we are not here long were only passing through.

      • 'Megan' February 12, 2014 Reply

        John Norvell, where is your pity for the hurt and suffering of your brothers and sisters?
        'We have all been hurt, broken, lied to, misunderstood, yada yada...' It's as if you are admitting that Bill did all these things to us, yet it's ok for him to have done this?

        Besides, isn't the motto of the seminars something like, 'The Institute in Basic Life Principles is dedicated to giving clear training on how to find success by following God’s principles found in Scripture.' (copied from their facebook page) And I seem to remember Bill saying that following his principles WOULD guarantee success, so pardon us for taking a 'man of God' at his word. But it's our fault that it didn't work out? And for those of us, like myself, who were raised in this program, there is no way we could have discerned for ourselves whether or not what Bill was teaching was even the truth, it's all we'd ever known, but it's still my fault? I disagree.

        • john Norvell February 12, 2014

          why are you living in the past it serves no purpose and will only bring you down,It is not bills fault or your parents fault or your youth groups fault,that things haven't worked out in your life,we all have to learn from our experiences , and move forward,it doesn't do any good to keep rehashing the past, it just makes us insecure and sad,If your still breathing air its an opportunity to thank God and serve others,there are soldiers men and women who have no limbs, blown off faces who have given everything for us ,and i for one will not tolerate pity for myself when i see there attitudes of gratefulness,if you have been hurt ,molested, robbed, divorced,taken advantage of,spit on,had people you love dearly turn on you, or die in your arms,well its time you got introduced to the human race,accept it and move on you have know other choice

        • dreamer February 13, 2014

          I think you mean "no other choice." These writers have accepted what has happened to them, and they have moved on. And now they WARN OTHERS so they can avoid some of the same sufferings they went through.

      • Anonymous February 17, 2014 Reply

        John, you really have no idea what my family or myself has gone through, so I wouldn't judge. Blame myself? I was conceived on this man's misuse of scripture. There are some really sincere people who I have come in contact with...(yes, I know your parents and worked closely with them).... but there is so much that goes on that no one knows about and is easy to ignore if you want to remain ignorant....some serious wolves in sheep's clothing who take advantage of. Not just Mr. Gothard but also those he put in leadership. There also is a difference in blaming others for what happens in our lives and holding someone accountable. I think most of us would like to see some acknowledgment and some accountability as well as give a warning to others.

        • 'Megan' February 17, 2014

          It's useful and wise to remember that people like John's parents would never have seen whatever corruption was happening. Why? Because his parents are high profile people, whom Gothard has a vested interest in keeping happy.. and blind to what's really going on. Perhaps that is why certain people have such a hard time believing what is being said. Factor in those like John's parents who by now have a vested interest in making sure this ministry doesn't fall, because if it does, they are in for alot of embarrassment at the very least.

          It breaks my heart to see it.

  27. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  28. Robert Newhouse February 11, 2014 Reply

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Eph 6:12

    When I started reading the testimonies and comments on this website it all seemed vaguely familiar for some reason, but I had not been here before nor heard of these accusations. My spirit felt terribly grieved and it was for more than just this. Then I saw the connection. I went through a church split several years ago and saw the Body of Christ bite and devour one another under the guise of exposing sin. It started out with an accusation made about our pastor by a young lady, that he had “inappropriate emotional relationships” with young girls at church. She believed what she saw enabled her to look into his heart and see his motives. The accusations spread through the church much like a cancer. People who listened sympathetically to the accusations became carriers of this plague. The accusations stimulated memories of what they would now interpret as other “inappropriate emotional relationships” and they would add those to the accusations as supporting evidence. As the fire spread, people became more emotionally energized and locked in. If someone defended the pastor, or said they were going about it wrong, they became an enemy and accusations were leveled at them too. Eventually Satan was successful in dividing the church. Where there had once been harmony and love and joyful ministry, there were now broken relationships and the carnage of bleeding, hurting people. Nobody won except Satan.

    As I looked back at the circumstances and devastation, I wondered how it could have happened? The body of Christ seemed so strong at our church. No, it wasn't perfect but it was the Body of Christ for us and the service and fellowship was sweet. Then I noticed that there was one missing ingredient when the battle started: a lack of Christ’s love for one another. This is always the tell tale signature of the enemy at work - the body of Christ trying to solve their problems without the grace of God.

    There is evidence of a man whose heart has been transformed by God's Grace and if our church had this, we would have been able to defeat our real enemy, instead of destroying ourselves.

    A man whose heart has been changed by Grace avoids sitting in God’s chair. This chair is the bema seat; the judgment seat of Christ. Only Christ has the right to sit in that seat. Only Christ has the knowledge to sit in that seat. Only Christ knows all the facts in a matter. We only see life from our perspective and we just don’t know all the facts of someone else’s life and we certainly don’t know what another deserves. Only Christ has the power to judge someone without becoming evil himself. When God’s grace has changed our heart, we avoid sitting in God’s chair and we leave all rightings of wrongs to God. These thoughts were taken from a sermon by Timothy Keller entitled “Reconciliation” and can be found on this website.

    I asked a man in my church, who at the time was leading the charge to expose our pastor’s sin, what would happen if he discovered at the judgment seat of Christ that the accusations he was so zealously spreading were not true and that our pastor was innocent? He said that God knew the sincerity in his heart and all he was doing was passing on information he had heard from others. He took refuge in that he didn’t start the accusations.

    There already is one whose job it is to accuse the brethren and he is quite skilled in recruiting people to zealously do his work under the guise of righteousness and righting wrongs. One day soon enough we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and we will be judged. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt 12:36,37) - We will be judged not how zealous we were in exposing other people’s sins but how we loved one another – especially our enemies.

    If the love of Christ is in us, then it will be most noticeable by how warmly we love those we find impossible to love: our enemies and those who persecute us and despitefully use us. That kind of love is not in us, but we have access to this amazing love through Christ. He is the ultimate example of good coming out of evil, and He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Joseph said to his brethren, "You meant it for evil, God meant it for good" The love of Christ sets us free from the bondage of hurt, pain and bitterness. Without this love motivating us, whatever “good” we think we are doing will come to naught. “though I give my body to be burned and have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Cor 13:3)

    Brothers and sisters in Christ, I hear your frustration and have experienced a little of your pain. Bill is by no means a perfect man and IBLP is not a perfect ministry. My experience is that when I have come to him personally and expressed an offense he has made to me, he has humbled himself and asked for my forgiveness. I consider him my friend and I hope that you are too.

    “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev 12:20)

    A public stoning is a horrible thing to witness. I assume the first stone was cast by someone who was without sin?

    • MatthewS February 11, 2014 Reply

      Love Tim Keller.

      Public stoning: if people turn out to stone someone for the sake of bloodlust, that is indeed an ugly and truly ungracious act.

      However, silence: if people remain silent when vulnerable ones are oppressed, their silence is a terrible thing. The same value that causes me to oppose abortion is the same value that causes me to oppose Catholic priests molesting children, for example. And even if on a different scale, what Bill did was to exploit the vulnerable. And then cover it up, cover it up, cover it up.

      Ironically in light of your quote from Keller, it was Keller's book "Generous Justice" that moved me toward understanding that God's justice and righteousness do not involve passivity in the face of evil. It is part of the character of God that he cares about justice on behalf of those who are vulnerable. This most certainly does not make any of us God's police officers, but "Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord: to defend the cause of the poor and needy (from Jeremiah 22:15-16)

      Quite a few references here (all these links point to Biblegateway). Not all of them apply directly but I think there is a pretty clear sense given when you read through them:

      • Robert Newhouse February 14, 2014 Reply

        I appreciate you asking me to read all of those 84 verses you cited. I noticed that they were all from the Old Testament and that every one affirmed the position that God would judge His people. Several of the verses also pointed to human judges who would be appointed to carry out judgment. So, are you claiming to be appointed to be a judge and sit in God's seat in this matter? Christ is the only one who can sit in that chair and judge evil without becoming evil Himself.

        God has set up a protocol by which offenses between people can be resolved. Do you personally know if every one of these people who have publicly written about their personal offense toward Mr. Gothard have gone to him directly? If so did they return to him with other people who could also hear Mr. Gothard's response to their accusations? If so, did they then did they bring it before the IBLP board of directors? Are you basing your answer on personal experience or on other people's claims? If you have not been appointed a judge in this matter, you have no business sitting in the seat of judgment over Mr. Gothard. If you do, it will defile you.

        " Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged." This is the law of the harvest.

        I say this not to defend Mr. Gothard. I don't know what he did or did not do. I am not God nor I wasn't there in any of these situations. I respond to you with the desire to protect you.

        • MatthewS February 14, 2014

          " I noticed that they were all from the Old Testament" -- interesting comment - I wonder how that might apply to Bill's many teachings based on the OT?
          "and that every one affirmed the position that God would judge His people."

          So for example this:
          "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."

          I would say that this verse indicates that justice means not showing partiality. If you say that one person gets away with something because he is rich, famous, or powerful, whereas someone else is not allowed to get away with the same thing, then that would be partiality, and both unfair and unjust. According the Old Testament, then, God's justice is not partial to people. Which reminds me of James, in the New Testament, which forbids us to show partiality.

          I do not accept the words you are putting into my mouth, to suggest that we sit in God's seat of judgement. As I said in the previous comment,
          This most certainly does not make any of us God's police officers, but "Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord: to defend the cause of the poor and needy (from Jeremiah 22:15-16)

          In practical terms for us as people, God's justice at least means not showing partiality, and it means defending the cause of the vulnerable (the "poor and needy").

          Would anyone seriously suggest that that has changed now in the New Testament to be the opposite: God's justice means we DO show partiality to the rich and famous, and that we no longer defend the cause of the vulnerable?

    • Straitgate Split February 11, 2014 Reply

      “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

      Personally, I have seen that over the years that men of God often become blinded to their own weakness. When confronted with a concern they allow their pride to rise. Question: if God is our defender, why do feel the need to defend ourselves? My understanding in your situation is that the church leadership went to the pastor, and simply asked him to take some time away from the pulpit to spend time with his wife/family. What if he had done that? What would have been the end result?

      Again, my personal belief is that God gives Elders/Pastors double honor because of the responsibility they bear.

      Mr. Gothard / The pastor you speak of....BOTH godly men, who were distracted by their own ego and pride, caused their own fate. I don't sit in the judgment seat, nor do I want too. I would hope that in the end someone would count me valuable enough to call me brother and share my fault with me face to face and that I would humbly listen so that I too would gain a brother.

      Everyone on this site will be judged according to the words they allow from their mouth (or typing hands), and not by each other, but by a righteous, and holy God. Oh be careful hands what you type.

    • dreamer February 11, 2014 Reply

      So was Paul not living in the love of Christ when he publicly called out Peter for his hypocrisy?

      And do you honestly think sexual abuse and/or misconduct should not be called out and abolished, in the name of "loving our enemies?"

      I have been through a terrible church split too, and a big part of what caused it was that people were AFRAID to call out the false teachings coming from the pulpit, all in the name of "not raising our hand against the Lord's anointed." Love sometimes involves rebuke, too.

      • Robert Newhouse February 14, 2014 Reply

        Paul withstood him to his face. He did not talk about him behind his back.

        • greg r February 14, 2014

          And then wrote a detailed account to others, to make that a teaching moment to others. Paul said nothing to his Galations audience that he wouldn't and hadn't, said to Peter. My point: curious that he did NOT leave it at that, but underscored the lesson taught by telling others.
          Jesus gives us even better examples with the sadduccees and pharisees, warning his audience repeadetly about their false teaching , and about their hypocrisy. Again, public , high-profile sin, called out in public, to help protect the lowly, the weak, the unprotected.
          Thanks, for the reminder, though, if I ever see BG, I'll try and stay consistent and call him out (doubt if his entourage would let me get that close , though)

    • kevin February 12, 2014 Reply

      That's great that in your experience when you went to Bill to express an offense, that he humbled himself. That has not been the case of countless people here.
      For 40 years Bill has been confronted with allegations about his false teachings and his various abuses. And the teachings continue and the victims continued to pile up. The stories of broken families keep coming. Parents, former students, recognizing the severe harm that his false teachings on grace and authority did to their families finally have a voice to speak up.
      34 women have come forward claiming sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse. When is enough enough?
      You would suggest that the victims continue to confront him? Ask Larne Gabriel if Gothard ever repented with respect to the things that he did to his wife Ruth in the 70s. I'm not sure how many of the testimonies you have read here. Have you read the 5 victims who have written their accounts of sexual abuse and/or harassment?
      Have you read about the fallout from the false teachings? About families that had sexual abusive family members who were allowed to continue their abuse? Why? Because of Gothard's insane teachings on how to handle sexual abuse and his teachings on chain of authority. False teachings have real life consequences. Falsely teaching people that they will be ravaged by Satan if they go out from their Earthly authority, to the point where people feel that that can do nothing to speak up against those abusing them- this is real. This is a real consequence of false teaching and teachings based on fear, not on God's loving grace.
      This man does not have the right to keep violating people. Feeling up a teenage girl and telling her that she has to keep the things that happen between them secret? This is your man of God?
      His teachings on adoption are horrible, encouraging people to send their adopted children away- something he calls an "adoption reversal".
      I would not be surprised if many of his followers actually have taken his advice and done this. Those poor children. I challenge you to read his teachings on adoption and ask if this is a man of God.

      If your advice were to be followed, should then the Catholic priests have been allowed to continue to have their way with the children? As Bill sent Steve to the Northwoods facility, knowing full well what he was doing to women and continuing to send women there, the Catholic Church often took a pastor who had been accused of molestation and moved him to another location, where he was free to continue his abuse. Is this okay? Was it okay for Bill to send Steve Northwoods and keep sending women his way, knowing what he knew?
      What about the victims? You talk about love in the body, what about love for the victims? What about the dozens of women who have been victimized? Have many lives would you have destroyed because of your love of Bill Gothard?
      Your rhetorical question about who shall toss the first stone- so then how can any man be accused of anything? How can anyone be brought to account? Jerry Sandusky, 10 boys testified that he abused them sexually. But since all have sinned, who really had the right to cast the first stone against him? I guess we should have just let Jerry continue doing his thing and told those boys to go talk to Jerry about it, just as you would have Bill's abuse victims go talk to him about it.

      Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

      Luke 17:2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

      This madness ends now. No more victims. No more looking the other way and enabling this man to continue to ravage lives.

      • john Norvell February 13, 2014 Reply

        where and what are these false teachings i really don't see to many false teachings, i see some things i don't really agree with,but those are more interpretations ,most of the teachings are actually pretty solid, although i don't think drums or electric guitars are from satan i actually am a professional musician but again those are just things to agree to disagree on I'm not bothered by that at all,but i would like to know about the false teachings ,i really don't see that at all through the books and videos and I've pretty much seen them all?

        • greg r February 13, 2014

          John n. wrote:

          where and what are these false teachings i really don't see to many false teachings

          well, that kind of says it. This comes across like Greg R is a know it all, John, but this is a big problem. But since many that you know and love don't see the false teachings either, you would be "the black sheep" to chart a new course , wouldn't you ??

          Christians across many, many denominations, in churches that you would respect (if you didn't hear what they had to say about Bill) are united in their view that Bill's teaching is basically poison: LEGALISM in a different coat. Maybe they (like myself) are wrong, and Bill, and Bill alone knows the bible. Maybe. You might want to look into this, brother.

          The numbers don't prove Bill is a false teacher, but if multiple millions say "hey there's a duck....."

        • john Norvell February 13, 2014

          i don't see any legalism ,maybe oddism ,memorizing scripture , meditation, having a quite time ,not listening to rock music would probably do us all some good,forgiving others, tithing from the heart ,helping the poor,discovering your spiritual gifts ,having several kids and raising them right, being morally poor,studying nature,these are just a few things i learned growing up in a family that was affiliated with this ministry,legalism has become a buzz word by people who have failed to do what they know to be right in there own conscience, i know that for a fact because I've done it myself, just like when we don't push our physical body to be in shape,when we eat everything in sight and don't exercise we get sick, the same is true in our spiritual bodies we have to push our minds and our heats,to stay true and honest or we get spiritually sick, you can call that legalism if you want ,but to me its just plain smart.

        • greg r February 13, 2014

          Ok... I'm smiling (not smirking ) and yes, I'll take you up on your generous offer: yes, that IS legalism, but do NOT beleive me, get out of you Bill Gothard-only authorized shell, and travel around a bit: yes Gothard has his raging fans, but the numbers shouting (well, I WISH it was shouting) legalism is "bigger than texas...." as they say.

          This very large body of believers, that are very sure that BG's view of scripture is not life, but death.... this entire group has "defiled their conscience.." ?? and you know that because..??

          I'm not saying this to change your view (today) on BG theology, it should be apparent that you won't change my view, but check it out, take a "theological stroll", take a walk on the internet and consider the chuck swindoll's the Andy Stanley's (there are more) and check it out yourself.

        • john Norvell February 14, 2014

          in all your comments though some were good,you did not give one example of a false teaching from iblp ministries ,can you give me a clear example that you were taught through this ministry of false teaching I'm still waiting on one.i don't think you will come up with one example that will stick,there may be some you don't agree with but tested by scripture you will not find one ,almost everything that i was taught at those old seminars i attended i really can't disagree with when i test it by the word of God ,believe me i have tried

        • john Norvell February 14, 2014

          i just want to hear from you greg one false teaching that you can clearly define i don't care what other churches are saying there not in this discussion ,can you personally give me one example

        • Mike February 14, 2014

          John, read some of the other posts done by RG, specifically the Upon Further Review--Twisted Scriptures.

        • greg r February 14, 2014

          @ John N. thanks , John for your request, and I'm glad to post back. Gothard has taught so much error, let me get something together and reply within a day. you'll have something by Sat. 10pm. fair enough ??
          BTW: what other teachers say is part of the discussion, only because the website is often characterized as a group of "bitter, conscience defiled, authority scorning losers" or something like that (those aren't your words, the " " are not for you)
          the truth is: BG has been exposed in his TEACHING , by multiple pastors/preachers , many of whom have very little IBLP connection. They aren't bitter too, are they ?? I'll answer back, soon. Thanks.

      • Nancy February 13, 2014 Reply

        John, sin is an interesting subject. If we look at each sin we miss what sin really is. Sin is an assault on the Person of God. Adam knew God was loving. He also knew God was firm about not eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This commandment reveals God's holiness in that the quality of love returned to Him would include respect/reverence for His person.

        By Adam and Eve's sin they were showing they wanted God's love without His holiness. They hid because they knew they had separated themselves from His love.

        The word 'death' means separation. Their actions through the deception of Satan attempted to separate the love of God from the holiness of God. The sin we were born into is a constant reminder of how God's character was assaulted with the intent being death. At that point God revealed His answer that was laid before the foundation of the world was created. Satan's attempt at the death of God would be conquered by death. Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection conquered sin and death. He took on Him the punishment for us all. God the Father's full wrath was upon Him and Jesus' full love was given for us. The Cross is a very clear picture of God's character in action.

        Any organization that uses overt corporal punishment for sins that have already exacted that punishment from another doesn't understand Grace. Does this mean not to train our children? No. This means "if we spare the rod we will spoil the child." What is the rod? Some groups say it is a stick for punishment. Yet it is also a standard for measurement. Jesus is the rod. When we teach our children about the love and redemption of Jesus we have not spared the rod. We do not need to hold back food and spank a child until they smile. Are we to love our children or instill them with fear? Too much fear/fright and not enough love once again separates the true character of God. True love will always come with reverence. If there is no respect it isn't love.

        1 John 4:18
        There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

        Grace doesn't give us a lisense to sin. Grace gives us a reason to love. The Person we first love is the One that loved us first. No man should ever place himself between the believer and their Savior. And no man should ever claim that anyone other than Jesus is the Apple of God's Eye.

        My prayer for IBLP/ATI is that they will lose the harshness that is driving so many away from the Kingdom of God.

        • Nancy2 February 13, 2014

          The above by Nancy2

  29. Robert Newhouse February 12, 2014 Reply

    Ro 12:19* Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    Ye are the children of God, and he loves you; and because he loves you he will permit nothing to be done to you that he will not turn to your advantage. Never take the execution of the law into your own hands; rather suffer injuries. The Son of man is come, not to destroy men's lives, but to save: be of the same spirit. When he was reviled, he reviled not again. It is the part of a noble mind to bear up under unmerited disgrace; little minds are litigious and quarrelsome.

    If our heart has been changed by the grace of God we will avoid the temptation to sit in God's chair. Only He has the omniscience to know what actually happened in these cases. Reading a defiling testimony twenty years after it happened - how can anyone know if there was exaggeration in it or if it is the complete story? The point is - we don't know. God does. And He is able to avenge His children if it is true. Leave room for the IBLP Board to do their duty, and if they be unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, leave the matter to God, who is the righteous judge: for by avenging yourselves you take your cause out of the hands of God.

    Leave the matter to the judgment of God. If his law in this case has been broken; then to him the infliction of deserved punishment belongs.
    (These comments are paraphrased from Clark's commentary on the Bible)

    • greg r February 13, 2014 Reply

      Robert: as long as you believe the way you do about 1)chain of command and 2)believing a "defiling report" there will be no real discussion with those (like myself) who see this incident (and what the bible says about those two topics) differently.

      That's what false teaching does to a person: it sets the stage where bad actions cannot be corrected because.... and out come the "scriptural reasons". You need to rethink not only what BG has DONE but how he thinks, and what he has taught. Or stay the same, and see how that works for you...

  30. Adam February 12, 2014 Reply


    '"Reading a defiling testimony twenty years after it happened - how can anyone know if there was exaggeration in it or if it is the complete story? ... Leave room for the IBLP Board to do their duty, and if they be unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, leave the matter to God, who is the righteous judge: for by avenging yourselves you take your cause out of the hands of God." These comments are paraphrased from Clark's commentary on the Bible'

    Really? The above are comments paraphrased from Clark's commentary on the Bible? Not contesting some of the content you posted as drawing it's inspiration from that source, but these lines? No personal bias at all in attempting to belittle or cast doubt on the accounts?

    Robert, we've met before and I know your sons Jonathan and Jeremy as our time at Headquarters overlapped. Do you understand that some of the accounts shared are considerably more recent than Meg's - the one I'm assuming you are referencing as the 'twenty years after'. In fact, some took place around/during the time I was there to friends of mine. Does it change your perspective to understand that there is simply no proof that this behavior has actually stopped? These are not teenagers making up stories or being fuzzy on details. In my experience, it's very difficult to misinterpret footsie or many of the behaviors brought up in the accounts shared. It's unquestionably sensual, communicating attraction and physical desire. Based on your posts, I'm not sure you see this as sinful behavior in these accounts. Or is it that you're choosing to believe it never happened? If you do believe that part of the stories, tell me again why it's wrong after confronting the perpetrator and being brushed off, to not warn others?

    It's probably reasonable to be skeptical of one or two scattered multi-decade old accounts. But, Robert, seriously? 34 accounts (5 published so far) and growing? You're right that there is a need for balance and to give opportunity for those in position to effect change to do so. I trust you can also see that had this site never surfaced, and those who have experienced these things found their voices, that NOTHING would be happening. It sounds like you see the current efforts by the Board to investigate as a good thing and I share that opinion with a caveat that this has come with the appearance of it happening only under extreme duress otherwise business as usual with attempts to silence and discredit these ladies who have bravely come forward and shared what they experienced. Does it not tell you something that should be highly concerning for those still somehow defending Bill, how readily so many of us who have served at HQ and throughout the ministry believe and support these ladies? We saw and experienced things you didn't. Does that make all of our experiences suspect? Is everyone making it all up or overexaggerating? What items presented as facts do you feel you're in a position to stand up and tell one of these ladies that they're lying? Sure it's reasonable to want to hear both sides of the story, but I'll paraphrase Bill's for you... 'I just don't remember any of that. She was a deeply troubled girl and perhaps she simply misunderstood my attempts to be like a father or grandfather to her. It deeply saddens me that she feels pain, but I pray God will show her the many ways He has benefitted her life and the lives of tens of thousands through her efforts in serving this ministry. What a testimony of His faithfulness.'

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but this is the type of response he's made in the past when confronted with some of these stories. Assuming that is the type of response he makes again, would you find that sufficient to disbelieve all 34 women who have come forward so far? Or stand against those who would raise their voices with them that this behavior is sinful, it must stop, and the only reasonable course is for Bill to be removed from his position of leadership. Open to your thoughts in response.

    • "Hannah" February 12, 2014 Reply

      It is not the report of it that defiles, but the original wrongdoing :/ I don't even believe in "defiling reports", anymore.

    • Beth February 13, 2014 Reply

      Thanks, Adam. I read through the Newhouse exhortation yesterday during a break and thought, "This must be unpacked. But I don't think I can muster the energy to approach it with the rigor required." So glad that now this is a burden borne by many, rather than one shouldered in isolation.

  31. john Norvell February 12, 2014 Reply

    i read many of the articles,and comments,I don't really know Bill I know my Dad has worked for this ministry for many years I don't like to see him my Father and Mother who are great people hurting for the man over this,I see many people who seem very bitter over allegations.they have been posted here. if there true it still doesn't change the fact that many people have benefited greatly beyond imagination for this mans ministry,I think its very ironic that many of the hateful posts are coming from young people who more than likely would have never been born had it not been for Bill encouraging people to have many children,I think that had it not been for Bill preaching this truth that many people would have stopped having kids at one or two.I have noticed that many homeschoolers have gone on to great jobs and are in good positions well paying jobs living debt free because of this mans financial material,I know a young man personally who stayed true to these principles that he was taught and he is a true inspiration to me,and he got his training from great parents and a good stay at Eagle mountain.Ive talked to his dad many times and the material that iblp put out was a big key to this Young mans success,he's now married and still active in Church.I guess what I'm saying here is that even if Bill is guilty of some wrongful behavior ,God has still used this ministry through his teaching,I myself have learned about how to forgive people that have really hurt me,i learned this through going through that freedom material at a seminar many years ago,many people just can't stand this ministry that are posting comments on here and that is just wrong ,I really believe that Bill has made some problems for himself but i don't think that they are near as damaging as people who just hate him because they were raised atia and are now totally running from God because they feel this man and his ministry have train wrecked there lives.We are all responsible to work out our own salvation through reading our Bibles ,memorizing scripture,giving tithes from our hearts ,abstaining from the worlds draw,not speaking evil of no person,loving one another the way God shows us as he lay stretched out on a cross,were all guilty everyone of us,Bill deserves to be loved and forgiven, not just bashed over the head for some things that everyone of us could be guilty of .and all these things I've posted i learned from studying through those Red books, as well as those Character Books,God has really used this Ministry,had it not been for Iblp i would not have four nephews the fourth on the way because again my brother and sister in law were taught these Godly principles about having your quiver full through Iblp ministries,They both met through this ministry and they are wonderful people ,My brother is an incredible Christian man who loves his wife and family ,and it all came to pass because they were both involved with Iblp.So people need to be very careful about bashing this Ministries leader,because again another truth its not Bills ministry it belongs to God

    • 'Megan' February 12, 2014 Reply

      Hi John Norvell, you said, "Bill deserves to be loved and forgiven, not just bashed over the head for some things that everyone of us could be guilty of."

      But see, none of us ARE guilty of what he has done. God does not hold us accountable for sins that we MIGHT commit, or COULD commit, He only judges us for sins that we HAVE committed.

      And, none of us set ourselves up to be a prophet, or man/woman of God, who preaches and teaches about being above reproach, and refuses to be above reproach himself. He is a leader, why is he exempt from being held accountable? Especially when innocent people have been hurt?

      Are we not commanded to stand up for those who are oppressed? Scripture does not say, 'stand up for the oppressed, unless it's a Christian leader doing the oppressing, in that case, just keep quiet.' No, in fact, Christian leaders/teachers/preachers/ are held to much higher standards, and for good reason.

      Please read Charlotte's story, and a few others, and perhaps you'll see that you are mistaken about a few things. I do not owe Bill Gothard my life, although thanks to his teachings, I nearly took it. But there is no bitterness for me. If I am angry, I am angry about sin in any form. This is not bitterness.

      • john Norvell February 13, 2014 Reply

        your right I'm not free in many areas of my life I'm still working on me,but that is no ones fault but mine,the teachings on moral purity are rock solid,its pretty hard to not stay morally pure when those scriptures you have memorized on purity keep ringing in you head,as far as the financial stuff God does care about how we manage the money he gives us it is very important to him ,there are more scriptures on finances then almost anything else if you would study it you would see it for yourself, I've noticed a trend,here on this site , I've read many many comments before i posted, there is a lot of hurting people on hear but wether iblp is takin down or not by this its still not going to mend broken souls, thats our own job to do for ourselves nobody can do that for us nobody.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 12, 2014 Reply

      So, John, I'm hearing that the end justifies the means and that as long as we do enough for God, we can justify and tolerate sin in our lives, in our churches and disregard those who attempt to deal with it.

      Hmm....just hmm. I have to ask where the holiness of God is found in all of this rationale?

      Does this express your opinion clearly enough?

    • Becky February 13, 2014 Reply

      If those close to Bill are hurting over this, that's Bill's fault for his behavior, not the website's fault for exposing it.
      I have no root of bitterness in my heart. Rather, it's like for the first time I am finally free of the evil root that was planted in my heart by erroneous teachings. Many of the ex-ATIers are running TO God after being forced away from God by legalism.
      It is interesting how you list some rules to follow and I suspect you yourself are not free.
      The financial things you mention...success...all of that was described by Bill as important. God doesn't really care if we are successful or if we are in a pile of debt. All of that is transient. He cares about our heart.

      • john Norvell February 14, 2014 Reply

        the way we spend our money is a direct line to how and what we think about God, its pretty frightening to view sometimes,but we have to be honest with ourselves

  32. john Norvell February 12, 2014 Reply

    I've read the stories,God has called us to love one another ,and we are all guilty of not loving one another,and i can tell that you are actually very bitter still,I don't know why you nearly took your life but i can promise you that it has nothing to do with iblp teachings.WE have all been hurt to the core every human being on earth,Im sure i could tell you some things in my life that are quite shocking and start the blame game on why things didn't work out ,But it would serve no purpose,we are only called to love ,serve and forgive,and quite honestly to love and enjoy our lives and thank God for every breath we breathe, you see life is just way to short to live in the past I'm almost fifty now and I'm seeing very clear now that we can't live in the past we only have today this little window .we have to live our lives the way Christ lived his,its the only way we will ever make it with out derailing ourselves. its not another persons responsibility to keep us happy and fulfilled, they will at some point let us down and may even hurt us,we have to rely on God and ,and use that to share with others

    • dreamer February 13, 2014 Reply

      >I've read the stories,God has called us to love one another ,and we are all guilty of not loving one another,and i can tell that you are actually very bitter still,I don't know why you nearly took your life but i can promise you that it has nothing to do with iblp teachings.

      This comment is very presumptuous and almost cruel, John. You don't KNOW this person. You do not know that they are still bitter, and you cannot say for sure that IBLP teachings are NOT the reason they almost took their own life. You speak of love, but you are very dismissive of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

      Also, periods, capital letters, and spelling are very helpful to good communication.

      • 'Megan' February 13, 2014 Reply

        Thank you dreamer. I'm not bitter at all, that time of my life is just a part of my history now, and it certainly did stem from IBLP. For me to tell my story is not a matter of bitterness, it's just my story, and who knows how I might help someone else by telling it? That isn't living in the past, the correct word is 'testimony'.

        • Anonymous February 17, 2014

          Well said!

      • john Norvell February 14, 2014 Reply

        i see ,well blaming a ministry for suicidal tendencies is ,lets just say we own our thoughts and actions, nobody can be blamed for that but ourselves, Ill stop posting its useless to try to get through to you all ,i don't want to argue that is not my intent so we will have to agree to disagree, i do see a lot of powerless Christians on here because they refuse to move past there hurt feelings,Believe me when i say this ,the world the people were trying to see saved will not respond to people who are feeling sorry for themselves ,thats why they reject Christianity, They want to see people who have forgiveness and power in there lives.thats being a normal christian ,we have come so far from the power of God we once saw in our own lives ,Look at the book of Acts ,there was only power and prayer in that whole gospel,In the life of Christ there was power and prayer and love ,and passion in his life ,i just want that in my life ,i hope we all can get to that ,that is what God wants for each Christian ,i hope Christians will get back to that mindset, God Bless i won't post any more sorry you misunderstood what i was trying to say,

  33. john Norvell February 12, 2014 Reply

    Samuel your only hearing what you want to hear,you missed the whole point,What i said is clear ,The lord used all kinds of strange weird people to bring his message,If he didn't you can through out half the old testament, half the psalms, and pretty much every proverb that was written by basically a sex addict

    • Samuel Lundmark February 13, 2014 Reply

      John, take heed that you do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

      Let me explain what I mean in total clarity. Solomon sinned gravely, yes, but what does that mean to Christians today?

      How can what we might perceive as "undealt with" sin in one life be used as a justification of wrong actions in another leading to a conclusion that somehow those wrong actions are acceptable? There is some kind of twisting going on here.

      The holiness and righteousness of God will not be perverted. To speak against the Holy Spirit is a sin that cannot be turned from. Please, for your own soul, do not do this evil.

      Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10 tell the gospel very clearly.

      • gina February 14, 2014 Reply

        "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!"

        Rom. 6:1

    • Samuel Lundmark February 13, 2014 Reply

      As another note, David who wrote at least some of those proverbs as well as most of the Psalms also sinned in the same vein. He was broken and repentant, and yet, the sword never left His household. God dealt with it. For us to think that God did not is to reject yet more truth.

  34. john Norvell February 13, 2014 Reply

    I'm done hear its quite obvious most of you people are just hear to tout if you look at what I've written ,I'm not hear to defend anyone ,I'm just very saddened by people who refuse to grow up and move on in there lives ,I'm done hear because i won't waste precious time on foolish people who are feeling like they are carrying the world on there shoulders, it really does make the lot of you look very childish, samuel i have a mom and dad who are real honest Christians who worked for this ministry for years without pay ,they are a bench mark for the lot of you, the way they conduct there lives is an honor to watch,they still pray every morning for this ministry ,they will probably die penniless but they have worked there whole lives in honor to God and helping young people get right,I see people on hear just full of self pity and it really makes me very sad that people who claim to have a relationship with God are so self focused, Im done here.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 13, 2014 Reply

      John, I do not think I provided any reason for you to think I diss your parents. I will not compare, but I can say the same for myself and my parents.

      I face the raw fact that we ALL gave a lot--we empowered this system. Now, it's time that answers be provided to the questions that have been asked. It is that simple and that unpersonal.

      • john Norvell February 14, 2014 Reply

        you empowered a system? ,what does that mean?.that doesn't make sense,If you work in ministry you do it for the sake of the Lord,You serve because Christ served us ,You serve others because its a command of Christ himself, You give of your self because Christ gave all for us, You sacrifice your time and your life because Christ was our sacrifice.We work for the Lord not a system,Systems are for people that want a quick fix,but the work of the Lord is a lifelong pursuance of knowing him and being drawn by him to the very end ,life is very short ,I'm probably a good deal older than you and I've seen a lot of leaving God and him drawing me back because he won't let us go,I know at the end of my life he will have drawn me to himself for eternity because he loves me ,he loves all of us ,and he wants to draw us out of self,to himself our whole lifetime

  35. mitchell chapman February 13, 2014 Reply

    veterans of iraq war and veterans of ATI are both suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. Veterans of Iraq war are getting help through the government and veterans of the ATI are not getting any
    help. Some of the buildings the institute has needs to be sold and put into a fund where these veterans of ATI can get the help they need. Something recovering grace lawyers can negotiate out with the bd. of directors at Institute of Life principles.

    • Heidi February 13, 2014 Reply

      Amen to that Mitchell

      • john Norvell February 13, 2014 Reply

        your comparing soldiers who come back from a war in many cases no limbs burned up faces,shellshock,in trenches with no sleep! ,to your little world of getting your feelings hurt, Is that what Christians in this Country have come to ,Shame on you mitchell shame ,that is so self centered My God you all have to get the focus of your self! ,What is wrong with you people ,Grow up! Atia post traumatic syndrome,I can't even relate to that nonsense,You were given an edge on life by being raised in Christian homes and there is no appreciation for the people who sacrificed blood sweat and tears to give you a Godly heritage the best they knew how!! unbelievable, that is very sad ,and the only thing you will come back with i guarantee you is more of self focused self centered wimpy self pity.How does it make you feel when you think of Christ sacrificing everything toting a cross with all his passion a bloody mess, to save you from Hell! And you want to feel sorry for your selves.He wants fighting Men and Women in his army, people who won't give up or give in.

        • Tammy February 14, 2014

          John Norvell,

          Your insensitivity, judgemental and pharisaical attitude is actually very repulsive. You have no idea the level of pain and suffering that some commenters on here have gone through.

          I am a Mom (Grandma of soon to be six) with many regrets for ever raising my family using Gothard's teachings. Many of us Moms have much guilt. While we may not bear the scars of having a missing limb or burned up face, many of us suffer from a broken heart that God in his tender mercies is granting us healing as we learn to trust Him alone. God will not allow His glory to be shared with another and it's time for people to quit elevating Gothard to the level of a demi-god.

        • Kevin February 14, 2014

          I can not help but find your insensitive remarks towards victims of this man as extremely unChristlike. I really don't think you've convinced anyone here of anything, other than perhaps you are a person who has a remarkable lack of compassion.
          Don't be angry at the victims for warning others, so that they would not be preyed upon by Bill Gothard. I think you are angry because your parents are grieving right now. I understand. They have been following a man who has turned out to be a serial abuser of young women. That must be an extremely hard thing to come to terms with. But don't blame the victims. To the extent your parents are troubled, they have only Bill Gothard's abusive behavior to thank, that brought on this outcry.

    • Patrick Jayne February 14, 2014 Reply

      I know personally a war veteran who came back from war "over there" with PSTD. He was put under a military doctors care, and all this soldier wanted to talk about was the trauma that he experienced under Gothard's care at HQ in Oak Brook. The doctor happened to have a 'Red Textbook" on his shelf, had gone to Basic Seminars in the 70's, and was familiar with the spiritual abuse dolled on out his "flock" by Bill Gothard. It took the horror of war for that soldier to be able to finally come to grips with,and move on from the abuse of Gothard.

      • john Norvell February 14, 2014 Reply

        well i know a special forces war veteran to patrick ,who fought a hellish war in vietnam, only to come back and get rotten food thrown at him by his own citizens as he came off the ship,he became really bitter and experienced true healing through that same red book, he's my Dad,

  36. john Norvell February 14, 2014 Reply

    i never elevated Mr Gothard Ive only met him a cpl of times,but i know this ministry through my parents,My folks are incredible people they worked and managed a training center for years,I was raised with the material the institute provided ,I'm fairly old i was never homeschooled, I do know this for a fact because I've been there,as i know you have to, if we are going to follow the Lord we are going to be hurt by people.The Lord was hurt deeply by his closest friends,but he finished his job on earth by taking that cross for us,and he never wasted time ,he didn't stop and have a pity party and say I'm not sure if i can do this those guys just cut and ran and I'm not sure i want to do this sacrifice thing,He was passionate till the end,we can't allow our feelings to get us down ,it takes our hearts and minds away from the Lord,Tammy i do know that level of pain believe me i do,but it will not keep us moving forward, to the place God has for us ,So we take those pains we all struggle with, get alone with the Lord cry them out with him at our side ,and when we come out of the closet we leave that pain there and continue following Christ with the same passion he has for us i will stop posting on here because i see most people don't understand what I'm saying, I don't like to see people hurting and i know the only way to get passed the pain in our lives is to take everything in our being and focus on the Lord ,he is the only one who can heal us ,but even if people take Bill Gothard down or God himself takes him down ,It still won't matter people will never heal by watching someone get theres ,you know that , Only God can heal a broken heart ,but he really doesn't heal our hearts the way we want him to,He does it his way in his time.

    • Brenda February 20, 2014 Reply

      You never met Mr. Gothard? Your parents devoted their whole life to this ministry and you never met the man? You were never homeschooled in ATI?

      That about says it all there. I am sorry but you do not know what you speak of.

  37. mitchell chapman February 15, 2014 Reply

    from mitchell chapman

    To John and his dad.

    Do not give up on Jesus. He will get you through this even though
    it is very painful for you. God has used you in the past and will
    in the future.

  38. mitchell chapman February 17, 2014 Reply

    from mitchell chapman

    to John Novell and his dad.

    Try and stay on this site and get your emotions healed. You need the people on this site more than ever.

  39. john Norvell February 18, 2014 Reply

    what is wrong with you people i put a comment on here and you don't have the guts to keep it up, when there is nothing at all wrong with what I've said,and then you want to show me some kind of weird sympathy that i never asked for ,you must be fond of msnbc news is that were you get your ideas for censorship, who is the moderator on hear [comment redacted by moderator]

    • Moderator February 18, 2014 Reply

      John, we have blocked less than 1/10th of 1 percent of all comments. We welcome all perspectives at Recovering Grace (RG) but ask that the comments be couched in temperate language, in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, and also be pertinent to the topic at hand. When we block comments, it is generally because one of these two characteristics is lacking. Our approval of a comment does not demonstrate agreement or disagreement with the views expressed therein, but only that it is civil and pertinent to the discussion.

  40. mitchell chapman February 18, 2014 Reply

    from mitchell chapman

    To John and his dad

    Just trying to help you guys out because I know your both having to face reality and it is heart breaking for you.

  41. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  42. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  43. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  44. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  45. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  46. […] Introduction: the Sleeping Giant […]

  47. […] of life. According to them their way is the only way to live life. This system is a cult formed by perverted fundamentalist Bill Gothard. To explain some of it I will use parts of articles written by others who have explained it way […]

  48. […] much encouragement from my husband I’m sharing my experiences with Bill Gothard and the ugly influence of Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and Advanced […]

  49. Pam Gall June 26, 2015 Reply

    Bob Newhouse, It was very interesting reading your comments about the church split at the church you were attending. I visited that church long before you and the families that followed you and Bill G ever went there. It was a very loving church that was longing to witness to their neighborhood. It was when the flux of people from ATI and your organization came that the people that had been there first started being pushed out of their ministries and feeling like they did not belong. When you talk about judging I remember many times you writing about families in your newsletters that did not measure up. I had hoped that after the shake up at that church that you would have grown in grace and really embraced Jesus because it is Jesus who died for our sins, not you Bill Gothard or the pastor of that Church. We must all decrease so that Jesus will increase. I'm so thankful that my husband saw through all this shaming and belittling and pulled us out of ATI and your business. My husband said what kind of followers of Jesus do this, shame each other and find fault with each other and exalt themselved. I'm glad that my husband did not want to stay at that church because he felt that man was more highly exalted than Jesus. It kind of makes me sick when I think of the years and money that we spent to go to Knoxville and listen to Bill shame families. I remember how worried I was that my son would meet a girl down at Oakbrook and be sent home and we would be shamed. I was so worried that I had a nervous breakdown. We were shamed once before by a person that we held in high esteem and had paid a lot of money too. We thought that person was our friend.
    I'm so glad that we are back to loving Jesus, and the least of these and sharing his love with others. God is so good, and we don't have to try and measure up anymore because we have a righteous Judge who alone is worthy to judge us. Praying for you and your family.

  50. […] much encouragement from my husband I’m sharing my experiences with Bill Gothard and the ugly influence of Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and Advanced […]

  51. Gerogiou December 2, 2016 Reply

    I am not an atheist but I walked away from what I termed 'organized religion'. Religion is supposed to be about spiritual transcendence, yet all religions are now heavily mired in temporal structures, dating back to the time of the Catholic Church. We have televangelists and preachers who hobnob with politicians and actors, fly business class and run 'non-profits' that pay them inflated salaries. They insist they speak with the authority of God (which in itself is blasphemous) and that only their version of 'spiritual' truth is the right one. They manipulate their followers, take advantage of them and then ask forgiveness from God while leaving the victims to pick up the pieces.
    Where is the religion of Christ? The Saviour ministered to the poor, the downtrodden, the prostitutes, the taxmen and the fishermen, the sick, the crippled and the lepers of society. Not just to the mighty and the well connected. He accepted everybody. He did not feast with Herod or the Romans in pursuit of money. He was neither a politician nor did he bar anybody from coming to him for help. He delivered his message, he didn't force it down anybody's throat. And he delivered it out in the fields and hilltops, not in multimillion dollar churches with reserved sections.
    When did we lose that message? Of charity, mercy and reaching out a helping hand to ALL people, not just to those of your sect, religion, country or colour. Why is every religion today now devoid of those attributes? And when did every church, regardless of denomination, forget Christ's admonition about the fate of those who hurt children (Matthew 18:6). Do the 'great' and 'good' of the various churches really believe they are going to heaven after lying and covering up for the perpetrators of child abuse to protect their own positions?
    I apologize for the anger conveyed in my statements. Especially in light of the grace and forgiveness shown by others in this forum who have been sinned against. The world needs people like you. Too many people find it easy to hate nowadays.

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