The GOTHARD Files: The Early Years, 1965–79

11 February 2014, 06:00



Basic-brochureThis is Part one, of a three-Part series on the history of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Please click here to read the Introduction.

In the space of less than twelve months, from the early months of 1980 until January of 1981, a multi-million dollar ministry suffered a massive public blow that nearly crippled it. The blow came from within its own ranks, and among the headlines were phrases like “gross immorality,” “failure to maintain confidence of staff,” and “refusal to address sin.” Yet somehow, within three years, The Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC) had not only recovered from the scandal, but had launched an even loftier offshoot ministry that continues in some capacity to the present day. What was the Scandal of 1980? More importantly, what happened after the Scandal that made it all go away? And how could a thing like this have happened in the first place?

Bill Gothard’s IBYC seminars were like nothing else of their day. While televangelists like the Bakkers were conning money from the fixed-income elderly for their opulent lifestyles, Gothard quietly set up an overhead projector and began speaking from his syllabus about the basic principles of life, applicable to Christian and non-Christian alike. His seminar wasn’t a one-hour television spectacular. It was a week-long event filled with note taking and—well, more note taking. One evening, Bill gave a chalk talk. At the end of the week, he handed his graduates a red notebook filled with everything they had just heard, and told them to keep the book to themselves and tell their friends about the seminar. From 1964 to 1969, Bill’s little seminar grew from tens to thousands in attendance every year. A ministry to troubled teens that had developed in the heart of a teen culminated in a life-changing message to a conflicted and floundering Christian community. Bill had stumbled onto something, and a lot of people were buying it. By 1971, Bill could fill the biggest conference centers in the biggest cities in America. By 1980, over two million people had attended a seminar.

Not everyone was buying into Bill’s teachings, though. Some people believed it was really more self-help than saved-by-grace. In fact, some biblical scholars have essentially argued that if you scrubbed any mention of the salvation message out of the IBYC seminar, you still had the IBYC seminar. Several Christian news articles and even a book or two were written during those early years, questioning his one-size-fits-all approach to resolving conflicts, and frowning on Bill’s teachings on authority. By the time the well-known magazines were willing to allow print space for articles about this young Wheaton graduate, his seminars were so popular with mainstream evangelicals that it would have felt unwise to dismiss him out-of-hand. After all, no matter how many holes could be poked into his theology—and there were many who did so—his alumni couldn’t stop talking about the results!

So what happened? What was going on behind the scenes in the late ’60s and the entire ’70s that nearly took down one of the most surprising Christian ministry success stories in decades? It may be disappointing to learn that the culprit was the most basic of biblical sins—pride—laced with a healthy dose of the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” Proverbs 16:17 (NASB)


Pride seems to have dogged Bill from the beginning of his time in ministry. Bill told a story that was repeated in A Matter of Basic Principles: “According to Bill Gothard, one day some of his fellow youth workers confronted him, saying they detected ‘spiritual pride’ in him, perhaps due to his success in youth ministry. He said he became convicted this was true and confessed it to one of his fellow workers. That person dealt harshly with him and advised him to confess the sin to several others, including the head of the missionary society for which Gothard worked. Gothard’s boss fired him shortly after he made this confession.” It might be said that this incident was the catalyst for Bill going into ministry for himself. It is significant that the structure of his ministry placed Bill in a position where he would not have to experience that humiliation again. Bill was proud of himself. He had done something big and probably in his mind eternally important, and his parents and most of his siblings were riding the wave with him. We don’t think anyone can really begrudge Bill that feeling of pride in his accomplishments. But what the rest of the world hadn’t seen yet was the darker side of Bill Gothard. He had discovered that he needed the ongoing success of his ministry more than he needed anything else in his life. More, even, than love, marriage, and family. More than he needed to live out his basic principles. And he would do almost anything to keep the trajectory going forward and upward.

Bill’s father had himself enjoyed prominent positions in major ministries started by other great men of faith. When Bill was in his teens, William Gothard, Sr., was hired as editor and executive director at Gideon International, a well-established evangelical ministry known for distributing Bibles free of charge. Individuals who knew Gothard, Sr., in those days said that he took his new job very seriously, arriving at 8:00 in the morning and working until 11:00 p.m. or midnight every day for “quite a period of time. He was a real work horse and yet he refused to hire people until he was sure that these were the people God wanted him to hire for the organization.” It must have been deeply impressed on the young Bill that a life of ministry was of first and utmost importance in a man’s life. In fact, before Bill had even reached his 40s, a close staff member said of his work ethic, “He gets up early in the morning and works until he falls asleep. He doesn’t have the eight to five deal. It’s just all the time.”

We know that Bill’s mother, Carmen, was a strong, opinionated woman and the mother of six: Ann, Laura, Bill, Steve, David, and Joan. We know that his father was hard-working and hard to please. We know that all of his siblings joined him in his ministry at various times, and that eventually some of their own children had a role. We know that Bill entrusted Steve with the creation of popular publications like the beautifully bound Character Sketches that many of our parents had on their bookshelves while we were growing up. Bill’s father was on his board of directors. It is well known that Bill Gothard, Sr., often spoke during a session in the early days of the seminars. We know that the Gothard family was both fractured and insular. They called each other out on missteps when necessary, but for the most part they kept each others’ secrets. And there were secrets. By the time the Scandal was over, though, Bill had banished one brother and had begun to alienate a sister. By the mid-’80s, some of them were fighting with each other in the courts.


Bill famously stated in his early seminars that, although he was open to marrying, he was devoted to his ministry and had postponed marriage to give his time to it. Bill had apparently been tempted to marry once in his youth, but for some reason it hadn’t worked out, and he had never met anyone since that time with whom he could see himself bound for life. What Bill didn’t say in the seminars was that he also preferred his staff to remain single and devoted to his ministry. Bill’s teachings on authority made enforcing this relatively easy.  The following quote appeared in an article in The Wittenburg Door in 1973, a Christian publication:

“On the second night of his Institute and in the second section of his manual, Bill Gothard explains that one of the principles for a successful relationship to God and men is a proper understanding of and obedience to a chain of command which begins with God and extends to a teenager through the Bible, the government, his father, and his mother in a descending order. Gothard claims that God has put a protective umbrella over us, and that whenever we get outside of this umbrella through rebellion or disobedience we expose ourselves to the realm of Satan as though we were entering into witchcraft.”

Bill used different tactics in imposing the authority teaching on his staff. Even though they were no longer teenagers, he encouraged them to remain under the authority and protection of their fathers. Bill himself idolized his own father, and during the Scandal even used the excuse of his father’s influence on why he refused to submit to his board of directors, from which his father had resigned in disgrace. However, even beyond his teachings on authority, Bill was primarily concerned about his legacy. When a staff member would come to Bill with a direction from their father that interfered with Bill’s plans for them, Bill would either suggest that their father was unfit to direct them, or that, as members of his ministry, his staff were effectively his children. As their ultimate authority, Bill would accept no disagreement. One former staff member explained it like this, “Those who questioned his authority were asked to leave and were labeled as failures. Bill would explain that they had failed God and were resistant to God’s chain of command. The Gothard family was at the top of IBYC’s ‘biblical’ chain of command.”


IBYC Staff visits the White House during the week of a Washington, DC, Basic Seminar

So there was to be very little dating on staff, and even that was discouraged. Staff members who wanted to marry each other and remain on staff were also frowned upon. Single staff members were given a document containing suggested answers to possible questions family members might ask regarding dating and marriage, and were counseled on when and how to write letters to parents so as not to convey any unhappiness or questions about the ministry.

Bill was very firm on this rule. In 1971, he fired a secretary because she did not respond favorably to his order for her not to date. In 1973, he threatened his executive secretary with dismissal for writing to a man she was interested in from back home. One former secretary explained that even though nobody was allowed to date on staff, these rules didn’t apply to Bill himself or to his family members. Bill and his brother dated freely, often dating fellow staff members and even their own personal secretaries.

Bill was fast becoming obsessed with staff loyalty and control. Steve wanted to marry, but Bill encouraged him to remain single for a while longer. Much later, following the demands of his board and area staff in the wake of the Scandal, Bill admitted in a letter to alumni pastors, “My pride and wrong priorities resulted in encouraging [my brother] to postpone marriage because of the demands of the ministry, thus disregarding his personal needs.” Bill’s father agreed with Bill and perhaps even encouraged the brothers in this—Steve helped keep Bill on track with the business side and publications, and the success of the ministry needed Steve to stay single, at least for a while. The apostle Paul famously wrote, “if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:9 NIV) We know that Steve agreed to hold off on marriage, but we have also learned that Steve had been “involved in fornication” since his college days. Agreeing to remain single did not mean he planned to remain celibate. Steve’s lack of self-control appears to have ultimately destroyed any sense of moral responsibility or human respect that he may have once possessed.


In 1969, one brother was in the middle of the greatest launch of his ministry to date. Campus Teams had become a traveling seminar in 1968, and the support staff was growing. The other brother was in the middle of a moral dilemma. On the way home from a seminar at Trinity College, a secretary who had been dating Steve for three years confessed to Bill, “Steve and I are failing in the moral area of dating.” In the puritan wording of Bill’s seminars and of the day, she had just bravely confessed the most intimate of sins to her boss about his brother. Bill did not take appropriate steps to stop his brother’s behavior, and in this he committed a great wrong toward this woman and many women to come.

Bill Gothard had a lot to lose. The entire premise of his seminars was that if you follow the principles you cannot fail to be successful. If success is not achieved, you must not be trying or, worse, you have not confessed personal failings that are blocking God from blessing you. If it came out publicly that his own brother had unconfessed sin—and that Bill was aware of it—there would be quite the public backlash. Part of Bill Gothard’s draw was the unassuming humility and almost Victorian purity of his seminar style. The exposure of problems like these under the surface would have seriously damaged his credibility.

Lear 35A delivery  April 1979 TUS

Lear 35A Delivery, April 1979

By the mid-’70s, Campus Teams had become IBYC and the seminars were raking in the cash. These were heady times. One big seminar with registrations and book sales could pull in nearly half a million dollars. Bill charged $45 per person to attend for one week. By 1980, two million people had attended his seminars; generating at least $90 million in revenue ($370 million by today’s standards). His most expensive publication, the Character Sketches, was one of his most popular and can still be found prominently placed on many alumni’s living room bookshelves today. Yet Bill did not appear to take much of the wealth for himself. It wasn’t easy to learn where the bulk of the money was spent, because the board did not choose to offer a public financial statement; although, when pressed, they stated that they would be happy to show their records if asked. The IBYC board replied vaguely to The Wittenburg Door in 1973 that they divided the budget into 20% for publicity, 30% for staff expenses, and as much as 40% for “future development.” There was no mention as to how the final 10% was spent.

In 1973, his Chicago and Midwestern Area Coordinator told a major news source that Bill only accepted a salary in the amount of $600 per month, and that was before taxes. How did Bill pay for housing, food, gas, and his trademark navy blue suits on that salary? He told us at his seminars that he lived with his parents, drove an old car, and led a very simple life. This is mostly true. He did primarily live with his parents, though any housing expenses incurred were swallowed by the ministry, including vacation travel. The Gothard family as a whole appeared to have little to no concept of how to separate ministry and personal expenses. At least three of the family’s privately owned homes were renovated at ministry expense. Bill did drive an old car, but his blue, convertible Olds 98 was expensive to maintain. He relied on IBYC funds to handle those maintenance costs. By now, his ministry owned a MU2 Turboprop plane and a new LearJet, and by 1980 the ministry was in the process of buying a second, bigger LearJet. Bill traveled in a style that most of us wouldn’t dream of. All of his expenses were covered. If he wanted something personal, he would casually mention it and the staff would buy it as a gift or expense it.

What did he spend his $600 per month on, then? Bill explained that away in his seminars, too—he gave much of his personal income to “Christian causes.” However, in 1980, when his largest area seminar committee was demanding answers and his staff was belatedly going through the finances with a fine-toothed comb, Bill was asked what Christian causes he actually gave his personal money to. “I gave it to myself,” he replied.


It appears that Bill was dealing with temptations of his own beyond keeping his ministry going at all costs. Bill traveled regularly with female secretarial staff. According to several accounts, including that of his personal secretary from the ’70s, Bill placed serious emphasis on the importance of staff women learning to wear their hair and to choose their wardrobe in accordance with his personal tastes. He would often defer their clothing options to Steve, who apparently had a more stylish eye. This behavior evidences both his need to be in control and an unhealthy obsession with the form and appearance of his female employees.

As petty as Bill’s lies and partial confessions seem now, at the time he was fiercely protecting his legacy. He had firmly entrenched his chain of command teachings into every individual involved in his ministry save one, and any staff members who dared question his methods were firmly reprimanded as being resistant to authority and summarily dismissed. The one person he couldn’t control was becoming a big problem. By 1975, Steve Gothard’s sexual activities with female members of the staff had grown from one to at least four. The woman who had originally confessed to Bill in 1969 had been in counseling with the wife of one of Gothard’s close friends who was also a prominent staff member. She confessed everything in great remorse. The next day, after talking to Steve, she called the woman back and retracted her story. The rest of the female staffers involved also wanted the immoral activity to stop, but Steve was relentless and the behavior continued. His demand for complete loyalty held their tongues when questioned. Some members of staff continued to try to investigate the situation, but with very little cooperation. Finally, they sat Steve and Bill down and confronted them both about Steve’s immorality. Steve’s problem had become Bill’s problem. Bill and his father agreed that this needed to be handled internally.

Bill was not innocent in his interactions with the female staff, either. In 1976, at a Valentine’s Day single’s retreat, Steve confessed to his immorality and Bill confessed to “defrauding” female staffers. Steve indicated a genuine desire to be helped and restored. Bill insisted to the staff who knew of the issues at hand that he would be Steve’s accountability, and he banished Steve to the Northwoods retreat center. One staffer recalled that it was agreed that Steve would continue his writing and “work on Character Sketch books on the area of becoming a servant because that is what he need[ed] the most. Bill showed no real interest in discussing the matter further.”


The Northwoods was a large property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that belonged mostly to Steve, though its conference center and airstrip was owned by IBYC. Bill had a little cabin up there as well, that, according to him, had been a gift. (It was actually purchased with ministry funds; the receipt for it was apparently later found in a desk drawer.) The Northwoods was a beautiful retreat center, capable of hosting as many as 300 people. There was water skiing on the lake and even a bowling alley and a screening room. Steve did as he was told again, ensconcing himself at the Northwoods where he continued to write and collaborate on new IBYC publications. The money was still coming in via donations and seminars, and the alumni were eagerly buying up whatever IBYC published. Bill sent young staffers up north to help Steve. Bill went to work also, and developed a new teaching on only giving a good report. This was handed out to his staff and incorporated into his seminars.


The IBYC MU2J Plane, Northwoods, Winter 1979

This is where our narrative grows very dark. The remote Northwoods lakeside property became a place of such gross immorality for the next four years that it is difficult to find a universally politic way to explain what went on. The dated interviews and documentation from the resulting 1980 investigation were copied to prominent persons involved. Everything we are about to share has been confirmed by two or three witnesses, including one of the women involved.

Steve began to actively pursue sexual relationships with the secretaries who were sent by Bill to the Northwoods to work with him. Within four years, Steve had ongoing and overlapping relationships with no less than seven women. Their activities included in part explicit conversations, sexual activities which many churches teach are unnatural, pornographic movies and books, and other psychological grooming. His exploits were so indiscreet that others on staff stumbled across him in the act, more than once, with different women. One woman was observed living in the Northwoods’ Crazy Bear Lodge with him unchaperoned.

Steve exercised such control over these women that he was able to coerce at least two of them into vowing to be available for him sexually whenever he asked, and even made them promise that they would continue their activities with him after marriage, should he one day marry. The women were also required to vow to keep their relationship and activities a secret. These sexual relationships were not simply the choices of consenting adults living an immoral lifestyle. Instead, they were the result of methodical behaviors that broke down the psychological and emotional defenses of each woman.

Life at the Northwoods was extremely isolated, and Steve was in charge of operations. Women arriving there were subjected to isolation from the staff and assigned to menial and frustrating tasks. They were excluded from trips to town or dinners out with the rest of the small staff of Northwoods, or they were assigned chores such as washing vehicles in cold or stormy conditions. At staff meals, Steve would completely ignore his current target, and speak to everyone except her. After several weeks or months of being singled out this way, the girl would come to Steve frustrated or in tears, genuinely asking what she was doing wrong.

This is when the strategy changed, and Steve would bring her into the fold, assuming the role of counselor. He would then break down her boundaries by discussing her insecurities, and he would sometimes walk in on these targeted girls in their rooms while they were preparing for bed. He would then put them at their ease and casually discuss their bodies with them. He would ask them to wear their hair a certain way, and once they felt attached to him in some way, he would make them promise to dress according to his preferences. Some of the women complained to each other that Steve even dictated that they should wear push-up style bras. If they were uncomfortable with his advances, Steve would cite Bill’s chain of command teachings and remind the girls that “he could easily have them terminated and removed in short order if they did not respond obediently.”

What is most astonishing is that this behavior went on for years. It wasn’t only the women Steve corrupted. One man witnessed Steve’s activities with his own eyes, then later fell into immorality himself with one of the women involved. Steve’s assistant rented pornographic movie reels and delivered them to the Northwoods or Steve’s parents’ home near the Chicago headquarters, where the two men and sometimes the women would watch them.


Where was Steve’s brother Bill in all of this? Where was the accountability that he had promised to provide for Steve? Where was the discipleship? Bill didn’t leave Steve alone completely. According to reports, Bill was often at the Northwoods, working with Steve and the team that was there. Bill would later state that he had no idea Steve’s activities were ongoing. However, according to compiled interviews with the seven secretaries plus Bill’s own female associates, “Bill Gothard [was] watching secretaries constantly going to Steve Gothard’s bedroom.” Worse, it was Bill who was sending these women to work with Steve. Later, when one of his staffers confronted Bill and asked him why he had sent a particular woman to the Northwoods, Bill exclaimed, “Not her too!” When the women were later asked directly why they hadn’t gone to Bill to tell him what Steve was doing, every single woman stated that she had done just that, but that Bill had done nothing to help her. He and his father both felt that Steve was necessary to the ministry.

Bill’s personal record wasn’t entirely innocent. While at the Northwoods or when traveling for seminars, Bill made it a habit to visit his secretaries’ rooms as they prepared for bed, asking for a long hug goodnight. One trusted staff member walked into Bill’s private cabin in the Northwoods to find a female staff member sitting on his lap wearing a sheer nightdress.  The man was later badly mistreated by Bill and Steve and forced to resign in disgrace.

Bill Gothard wasn’t above coercing his own female staff into obeying his every whim. His executive secretary in the ’70s had been plucked from her family shortly after her eighteenth birthday to work for him. She had caught Bill’s eye a couple of years earlier at a Youth Conflicts seminar that she attended with her parents, who were solid supporters of the seminars. This young lady had turned 18 in August 1970 and was attending her freshman year of college. During Christmas break, Bill convinced her that it was God’s will for her to postpone college to come work for him. In spite of her reservations in leaving her family during the holidays, she agreed to come right away. She arrived at Headquarters two days after Christmas and devoted the next ten years of her life to Bill Gothard and IBYC.

Bill became enamored with this fresh and pretty young woman, and made her his personal secretary shortly after she arrived. Their relationship blossomed into a dating relationship that was tame for its day, but rather shocking by Bill’s famously public dating standards. Bill often asked her to sit on his lap in his office. They would lie together outside and look at the stars. According to her later accounts, his young secretary was not attracted to Bill, but she cared for him and accepted his attentions. She became emotionally attached to him and was very loyal. Bill would often say that he didn’t know what God had for them in the future. Later, he would insist that he never intended to marry her and that he certainly didn’t promise marriage, but the impressions his secretary was left with were very different.

It wasn’t long before Bill began to use coercive tactics with her that were very similar to his brother’s. He required absolute loyalty. She was not allowed to travel without his permission. Her clothing and hair were to be approved by him. She was required to work on average three hours of overtime daily, which was never added to the payroll. By the late ’70s, Bill’s young secretary was exhausted emotionally, psychologically, and physically. She began to suffer an emotional breakdown. Bill was displeased. He informed her that she was out from under authority, and that she needed to decide whether she was going to stay within the chain of command. He told her that she could either work in registration (an entry-level job) at his Chicago headquarters or that she could continue her correspondence for Bill, but only from the Northwoods retreat center.

Bill’s secretary was concerned. She had previously felt discomfort from Steve’s familiar interactions with her and wasn’t sure that working closely with him was a good idea, and she said so to Bill. In the end, she didn’t feel that she was being given a choice. This was her punishment, and she felt that she needed to see it through or go home. After several years, Bill’s secretary had become so emotionally connected to Bill and the ministry that she couldn’t conceive of going home yet. So she packed up her things and moved to the lion’s den. Within months, Steve had snared another victim.

[Click here to read the next part in the series: “The Scandal, 1980”]

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. SuburBint February 11, 2014 Reply

    "...any staff members who dared question his methods were firmly reprimanded as being resistant to authority and summarily dismissed."

    Reminiscent of Mark Driscoll and the rewriting of Mars Hill's by laws which made it impossible to fire him.

    • Lynne Sleiman February 11, 2014 Reply

      I know it can be popular to criticize Mark Driscoll and his church, but did you have to bring him into this conversation? The issue at hand is understanding the background of Gothard and the decades of abuse to women especially and all the cover ups and so on cannot be compared, as you just did, with the ministry of Mars Hill church. I grew up hearing the character sketches and narrowly missed being homeschooled in ATI though I (unfortunately) was influenced by the basic and advanced seminars. I'm still unlearning some of what I'd been taught through the influence of Gothard and his teaching, and the online sermons from Mars Hill have been quite helpful to me in understanding what God's grace really is and repenting from legalism wherever it still dwells from the poisonous teachings of Gothard. Recovering Grace has done such a great job of backing up their information with "two or three witnesses" and assuring us that their information is accurate and not just hear-say. Please be careful to not just accept and pass on gossip and hear-say about other popular leaders. Gothard's teaching points to himself as the highest authority, but the sermons through Mars Hill consistently point to Jesus. I can never get tired of hearing the gospel and talking about Jesus and what He's done and who He is.

      • MatthewS February 11, 2014 Reply

        It is the case that the focus of this site is those who were affected by Gothard and the Institute, not Driscoll or others, regardless of their "rightness" or "wrongness."

      • SuburBint February 11, 2014 Reply

        Mars Hill podcasts wee similarly beneficial to me as I came back to the church. As I became more secure in my faith and was able to evaluate truth from fiction (discernment) I came to realize that a Mark Driscoll's teachings are very damaging. He points Jesus to the Jesus that he feels comfortable with, not the Jesus of the Bible.

        Also, there are numerous witness, from fired elders and dis communicated church members, to words straight out of Driscoll's mouth verifying the change in Mars Hills by laws.

        I stand by my statement. Mark Driscoll is spiritually abusive and so is Bill Gothard. Driscoll hasn't been caught in a sex scandal yet, but his sermons and philosophy are equally damning of women, regardless of rules about dress code, etc.

        Also, my bone fides include being the daughter of the author or a popular homeschooling book from the 1980s. I may not have grown up in ATI but I have plenty of experience with Gothardites.

      • Joe February 12, 2014 Reply

        If Mark Driscoll is your view of "Grace," then you haven't gotten far enough away from Gothard and his teachings. Driscoll is simply a "cool," updated, palatable version of Gothard, and holds to extremely conservatism views of the bible and specifically female roles that allow this crap to happen in the first place. Brian Mclaren's "A new Kind of Christian" trilogy would be a good place to start for a refreshing view of God and Christianity.

      • Holly Massie February 20, 2014 Reply

        Very well said! The issue with Gothard is that he had just enough teaching that was correct to make himself look good -- all that I have seen from Driscoll consistently points back to the Bible and Jesus.

    • LynnCD February 11, 2014 Reply

      @SuburBint, I agree. There is enough youtube material of Driscoll himeself directly implicating him as a spiritual abuser. In addition, his crass remarks about sex, including throwing in a Scripture verse as a punch line once, have angered and sickened me. The one difference between that situation and Gothard's is Gothard was effectively able to cover up so much for so long. He got people under his teachings, and back then, when the scandal broke out, the ensuing silence strikes me as weird. I am surprised at the continued reticence of well known people who were involved, back then. How I wish they would have spoken up! None of us back then could have foreseen what the internet and the information age would bring. If it weren't for the internet, these things would have long been covered over until the Judgment Day.

  2. Ann February 11, 2014 Reply

    This is all sounding eerily familiar as in "North Korea and their "Dear Leader."

    "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."-Lord Acton 1887

  3. MRG February 11, 2014 Reply

    "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds these things together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

    God will have His way.

    Seek Him first. Not man.

    The enemy is the Enemy.

    Wish you would have met with Mr. Gothard face-to-face for reconciliation - without pre-meditated conditions - before becoming so public with all of this.

    The scandals are the responsibility of those who experienced them. Not the responsibility of others who are taking up their cause. The scandals are to be used mightily for God's glory - not man's. Aren't you all "glorying in their shame"?

    He who has no sin - cast the first stone.

    Did anyone ever think Mr. Gothard was perfect? Shame on us.

    God alone is worthy to be praised.

    Why don't we spend this amount of effort fighting against the Enemy instead? Aren't we in the same foxhole?
    I assume, Mr. Gothard will be in Heaven with us?

    • Cassidy Harper February 11, 2014 Reply

      ???? There's so much about your comment, MRG (Mr. G?), that doesn't make sense and is even completely false and baseless! I can't even touch on it all. It's pure insanity.

      Who says that "scandals are the responsibility of those that experienced them?" How is that true? Is there a scandal dictionary somewhere? And that no one should take up a cause for the victims?? "Scandals are to be used mightily for God's glory?!?!?" That doesn't even mean anything.

      If by capitalizing the word enemy, you refer to Satan, then I think it's pretty clear on this site and through these "Gothard Files" articles that the team at Recovering Grace and all who stand with them ARE fighting Satan. Sin and lies and sexual assault and cover-ups and gross immorality by those who were/are in leadership...all works of the devil.

      I won't argue every strange point you were trying to make, but I will say that we cannot assume at all who we will see in Heaven.

      • MRG February 11, 2014 Reply

        Wow - anger permeates your remarks. Sorry my comments stirred that up inside you. Will you forgive me?

        Our response to being scandalized are where God can get the glory or not. As a victim of horrid sexual abuse myself, false accusations, atrocious pain - I have a choice. To glorify Him...or not. To allow His healing Balm of Gilead to permeate my soul....or allow bitterness to rage.

        The Enemy - our fight is not against flesh, but the powers of darkness. There is not a one of us who is immune to his tactics, deceptions, or control in various seasons of our life.
        I am not excusing Mr. Gothard's behavior - whatsoever.

        I just think we should look inside and deal with our own issues - be cautious in following ANY man - and understand that this website is pretty one-sided. There are two sides to every story.

        Blessed are the Peacemakers...

        • greg r February 11, 2014

          MRG:I've only been on this blog for a few weeks, maybe less than that, but I haven't seen much "anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language...v.6" And even if there is some anger, you might want to do something that Bill had never learned to do and not play word games with an isolated verse or thought. Take "anger" for example: want to make a case that Paul, or Jesus, was never angry ?? have you ever been outraged at the misuse of power, especially against the weak and vulnerable ?? Read Galatians lately ?? Granted we ALL like to think we are playing the role of Paul, that our cause is right and just, and our anger justified, but my point is that there seems to be a place for some anger, some of the time. May the Righteous One guide us in that.

          As for the Enemy, the one who loves to hide in darkness, the one who hates the light...yeah, seems he has been very busy. the question is how to fight him in this situation. I'd say large amounts of truth (multiple witnesses; stories compared with our attempts at reconstructing history) and large amounts of light (luv that world wide web...) is just the thing.

          There is a time for self reflection and not getting too wrapped up in the failings of others. Now is not the time, now is the time to expose a false teacher , and try and protect as many new victims as possible.

          Peace that ignores the protection of those who cannot protect themselves is no real peace.

          Not sure where you learned how to apply scripture, are you ATI or otherwise BG connected ??

        • Cassidy Harper February 11, 2014

          Anger is not in my remarks at all. I'm really just incredulous at the seemingly crazy things you wrote as if they were truth. After your explanation, however, I understand you a little better. I really was just shocked at your statements about scandals.

          You see, as a long-time ATI student (1987-2006) and one who worked in and for the IBLP ministry for my entire youth...and as a person who said aloud that I would always be loyal to the ministry and Mr. Gothard... I see both sides.

          I had many "weird feelings" about things that I saw and heard back in the day. I chose to not worry about it, trust Mr. Gothard, and not believe the bad reports back then.

          It's not just from Recovering Grace that I have been learning the truth over the last few years. But I have been impressed with their (RG) attempts at peacemaking. It's not an easy situation to navigate. I'm not the judge of this whole situation, but I am very interested to see how it all turns out. Nothing "scandalous" that I've heard is very surprising in light of what I already knew to be true. And if you have read these articles and so many of the comments, you would see that there are very few - if any - who are "glorying" in this shame. It is shameful. But the blue curtains need to be pulled back.

          If we are rejoicing at all, it is because of truth, justice, and freedom! Those things can be pretty heady if you've been under lies, injustice, and bondage for so long.

          In many ways, this is all of our story.

        • MatthewS February 11, 2014

          fwiw, your comment didn't read as "permeated by anger" to me

        • Tracia February 11, 2014

          Peacemaker... are you kidding? lets follow that logic into other areas... are you wanting to be a peacemaker in the same was the German "christians" sang louder to cover the screams of the Jews? Are you suggesting that keeping the peace is more important than the victims that have the courage to stand and say I was abused and scared and it was wrong? I cannot tell from your comments if you were the victim of abuse, or of false accusations, but I have been through abuse and it is the worst thing one can live through. Having lived through it, I am more sensitive to those who too have suffered. It is not a sin to be dealt with privately and shoved under the carpet. you know that happens then?? The perp keeps hurting more people! THE VICTIMS KEEP PILING UP!

          I know that many of our parents were just trying to do the right thing by enrolling in ATI. but if they would have known the truth they never would have done it. It is scary being responsible for a little one. We do the best we can. But when we make mistakes we repent, seek their forgiveness and learn. The choices to follow this man were WRONG! Maybe pride is why some parents like MRG are refusing to believe these accounts... Maybe they can't handle the knowledge that they put their children in such danger... regardless I am so grateful for RG's ministry and the way they conduct themselves.

      • Tracia February 11, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for answering Cassidy! I think that you are saying what we all are feeling!

        I think that the RG team is working VERY hard to make sure that everything they publish is well documented and validated! I think the the thing that keeps getting to me is HOW MANY KNEW what was going on and did what MRG suggests- basically turned a blind eye, and how may thousands of people have been hurt. If the leaders/ victims/ board of the 70's or even 80's would have held him accountable and allowed the law to become involved, how many would have been saved the pain and abuse? How many "black eyes" do we have to endure for the sake of appearances before someone will stand up and say this man is evil?

        • kevin February 11, 2014

          " HOW MANY KNEW what was going on and did what MRG suggests- basically turned a blind eye,"

          Tracia, it seems there are lots of enablers here.
          The silence of the Board speaks volumes. Where are they in all this? At some level, they had to know that this was going on. Maybe they didn't know every detail, but they had to know something was deeply wrong. Yet, they remained silent, looked the other way. By every appearance, they were and are mere puppets of this man.

        • Jean May 12, 2015

          There is something sick in most of us that makes us remarkably willing to accept abuse, and remarkably willing to stand by while others are abused as well, under the spell of a strong, narcissistic leader. This is part of the roundedness of our human nature, and none of us is immune.

    • gina February 11, 2014 Reply

      Allow me to recommend the "Introduction" link (at the top of the article) to you and other articles on this site; they address many of your concerns.

      Bill's blatant pride and determined lack of repentance time after time are the work the Enemy we are fighting against. "You will know them by their fruit" and IBYC/IBLP has left many wounded people in its wake. Any good that is perceived to have come from Bill's ministry is the mercy of God intervening in the lives of his children.

      • MRG February 11, 2014 Reply

        Appreciate your comment.

        If it were not for the mercies of God we would all be consumed.

        • E. Stephen Burnett February 11, 2014

          MRG, I've read this site enough (clearly longer than you have) to know that many RG volunteers and commentators know this, take it as axiomatic, allow this truth to change them from the inside as they are being conformed to Christ's image, and therefore feel the freedom to act against clear evils and abuses without constant "let he who is without sin" disclaimers. Just because a truth is not directly spoken does not mean the speakers deny this truth. It is folks like Gothard, not RG volunteers, who deny the reality of grace. Even without all the scandals, it is folks like Gothard who end up basing God's mercy toward us on one's outward actions, not the Biblical vice-versa.

        • E. Stephen Burnett February 11, 2014

          P.S.: There is a time to arrive on the scene and immediately begin issuing very spiritual reminders. There is also a time to sit back and, out if human curiosity and Godly wisdom, *listen and learn*.

        • Joe February 12, 2014

          MRG, can you please expand on your comment that the scandals are the responsibility of this who experience them and not those that take up their cause?

    • Joel Campbell February 11, 2014 Reply

      MRG, anyone who continues to defend Bill Gothard (who as yet hasn't even tried to defend himself) should ponder the words of Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

    • Travis February 11, 2014 Reply

      If we do not stand against evil and defend those who are innocent, we are guilty of condoning it.

      • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014 Reply

        Amen and Amen. Rightly said.

      • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        Travis, that is absolutely correct. This abuse was condoned and enabled by many people.

        • Deb February 12, 2014

          I seem to remember from years ago that one of the "principles" Mr. Gothard taught was to "not take up another's offense". I believe it was based on Proverbs 26:17: "Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him".

          It may be that this "principle" was used to keep people from speaking out when they saw others treated wrongly.

        • Karen May 12, 2015

          Deb, your observation about BG's misuse of this Proverb is likely true. Another Scripture for him to twist!

          Abuse we experience or witness experienced, or if we are witnesses to the damage caused by such abuse, makes us more than mere passers by or "meddlers" in terms of this Proverb. Even criminal law in the world understands those who witness wrongdoing and do nothing as responsible for the crime on some level. Even the bullying initiatives in my local public school system understand this much and teach kids how not actively opposing a bully who they see bullying someone else contributes to bullying. Who is it who famously said something to the effect of, "The only thing needed for the evil man to succeed is for good men to do nothing"?

    • Vera February 11, 2014 Reply


      I am fine with forgiving and have forgiven. But the fact is that the consequences of Bill's actions on my family have been long lasting into the future. These are not issues from 1980 but well into the new millennium. When I finally had a run in with him, I think what struck me the most was the way he had led me to believe that he was all those things in Colossians 3 but was none of that in reality. He had no affect or heart toward me or my family whatsoever. He was in charge and what he said went and he could have cared less about me. My son was so screwed up by ATI that it nearly killed our family. If not for the grace of God, we would probably be destroyed completely. But we did turn to God for answers numb, disappointed, grieving, alone, and judged with some unknown sin we know not what because it couldn't be the fact that Mr. Norvell is a pathological bully and Bill is a manipulative psychopathic liar and we had been forced into a poverty situation because I didn't earn any money. So we couldn't afford to pad Mr. Norvell's and Bill's pockets. No ticky; no shirty. We did come out of this with a clearer understanding of the message of grace through faith. The best thing we learned is how, when, where, and who to judge.

      "He is without sin cast the first stone"

      If I had a dime for the times we have heard that in the last few years calling sinners to repentance.

      But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 1 Corithinians 2:15

      And before you say that this must mean Jesus and Him alone. Let me direct you to another point in that same book speaking of the 1 Cor 5 fornicator, a church going "Christian":

      For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already JUDGED (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:3-6. I mean, our heart is for this man to repent and be free. That is the purpose of the judgment.

      This passage further goes on to say: "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person." 1 Cor. 5:11 So then no standards are mentioned as a "sign" that these things are going on in people's lives. It is just what people clearly noted.

      The woman caught in adultery was further told to GO AND SIN NO MORE. Not, I totally understand that you have to sin so just sin sometimes and ask for forgiveness at the end of the day. I think it is possible to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh every day by grace through faith. In Chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that these people who are sinning and calling themselves brothers will not inherit the kingdom. So then, it is deception to see it otherwise. We are all accountable for our own actions before a Holy God. This has nothing to do with watching a tv show.

      Is Bill going to heaven? If he doesn't repent, I simply would not want to be him on that day of judgment. I don't know how this is going to play out because the Bible says that the judgment on someone who offends one of these little ones will be horrific. Just saying. If this is Bill, you need to consider this. The woman caught in adultery might have been Mary M. She was the first to see the risen Lord. You know why? She was a nobody who went and sinned no more. His commandments are not grievous. Perhaps you are receiving the same measure of mercy you showed to others here. Repent or perish.

      But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13

    • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014 Reply

      We are fighting the enemy. the wolf in sheep's clothing who is out destroying the sheep. How can anyone assume BG will be in heaven with us? When he is such a master manipulator, deceiver, and cunningly preys on his women staff members.

      • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

        I'm with you, Karen.

    • Claire February 11, 2014 Reply

      "Wish you would have met with Mr. Gothard face-to-face for reconciliation - without pre-meditated conditions - before becoming so public with all of this."

      RG tried, multiple times. There's an entire article about that subject. He (BG) was evasive, and then lied about the communications. That pretty much invalidates him imho.

      • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

        I have tried too. No response. See, when it was convenient, we were just usin' thas hare tool for educatin' our chillins, which meant that his highness, being such an important person compared to our uneducated less spiritual lowliness, had more pressing issues such as diplomats of state. But of course, we were obligated to keep the standards and outward appearances of the ATI model lest we damage and tarnish the reputation of his highness. :-). We surely did not want anyone to think we were earthy people. So do not ever worry that people have just come out to "attack" poor Bill and persecute him for his righteousness. Wrong again.

    • Taylor Joy February 11, 2014 Reply

      There is documented evidence that Gothard has been approached DOZENS, if not HUNDREDS of times, and yet people are still saying, "Why are you bringing this up publically?" How many confrontations does it take before the church-at-large must know the truth about this man? RG has published attempts to contact him regarding the documented sexual harrasment of four specific female employees--and he didn't respond.

      How many millions has he influenced? How many more COULD he influence if the truth isn't known? Why are you concerned about HIM at this point? He clearly isn't concerned about the lives he's ruined.

      • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        "How many confrontations does it take before the church-at-large must know the truth about this man?"

        It is those that are terrified what will happen if people know the truth. Let the light of truth shine on this evil organization and its corrupt leadership. No more victims. Let it end.

    • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

      "The scandals are the responsibility of those who experienced them. Not the responsibility of others who are taking up their cause. "

      Bill Gothard sought out and preyed upon the weak and vulnerable.

      Scripture tells us that we are to protect the weak:

      Psalms 82:3

      "Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute."

      May we all help protect those who would be his next victims. May we continue to press on until justice is done.

    • phyllis February 12, 2014 Reply

      When the enemy is in our midst, shouldn't he be recognized as an enemy?

      When the enemy is in the midst of us, is it wrong to identify him an expose him?

      “(Jude 1:18) In the last times mockers will arise following after their own ungodly lusts."

      I see a con man who saw how he could exploit people through taking them captive and satisfying his lust for power, money, women, influence. This isn't noted in the Bible for no reason.

    • Samuel Lundmark February 13, 2014 Reply

      MRG, let's take your thoughts regarding how to deal with sin and compare against biblical command regarding even an elder in the church:

      1 Timothy 5:19-21
      19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

      There are no cases provided in Scripture where the "going to be in Heaven" test is used to determine that sin or accusation be disregarded. Where do you get that type of thinking?

  4. William February 11, 2014 Reply

    I made the same comparison on facebook, that ATI was not unlike the DPRK (North Korea), and several of my friends and family (all affiliated with ATI in some capacity) said that I was exagerating. I concurred at the time that perhaps I was exagerating, however I later realised that perhaps the opposers to my suggestion may not be all that well versed into the interworkings/ psychology of the DPRK as I am. I grew up in ATI and I have since been fascinated with cults/ cult of personalities, i.e. the DPRK, Soviet Russia, Cuba etc. and I have found the same eerie similarities in each of these institutions.

    It's a twisted thing to do to another human being, mind control, spiritual bondage, etc. I'd like to speak out against all of these evil organizations however ATI is the only one that I've been intimately familiar with and therefore I'm speaking out against it and Bill Gothard as well. I'm grateful for the staff and contributors that are committed to bringing all this truth to light.

    As a point of reference I completed 2 semesters at the International ALERT Academy, which I enjoyed aside from the Bill Gothard bit. I also grew up in the home school environment in which we studied the "Wisdom Booklets" as a part of academic materials, which I can attest without a shadow of a doubt, are a pile of rubbish and a poor academic substitute for educational material.

    I thank God that I am free to run from bondage, free to live for Him and enjoy His good graces that I could never, not in a million years, earn on my own merit. ATI/IBLP is a false message and Bill Gothard is a corrupt, false teacher.

    • SusannaG February 11, 2014 Reply

      "I thank God that I am free to run from bondage, free to live for Him and enjoy His good graces that I could never, not in a million years, earn on my own merit."

      Beautifully said, William. Praise God for what He had done for us!

  5. Kim S February 11, 2014 Reply

    The reports on Mark Driscoll are grossly exaggerated.
    These are not.

    • Jonathan February 11, 2014 Reply

      I wonder if people will still feel that way in the aftermath of whatever scandal is brewing in Driscoll's regime.

      Just sayin'. The same stuff was said about Gothard in the 70's.

      • Eva February 11, 2014 Reply

        I definitely am not a fan of either Gothard or Driscoll.

      • Kim S February 11, 2014 Reply

        The difference being all accusations are...a random bloggers ideas. There is no paper trail. Just someone of a different perspective slinging mud.

    • SuburBint February 12, 2014 Reply

      When Mark Driscoll's own words reveal his misogyny and hunger for power, how can you say that those reports are exaggerated. Just because he wears blue jeans and listens to Jay Z doesn't really make him that different from Bill Gothard. My point being that Christians flock to charismatic leaders who make it sound like thy have all the answers, whether they are modern hipsters or cling to a Leave it to Beaver mode of dress and etiquette.

      No one is slinging mud. Driscoll's empire is expanding just as Gothard's did, and while their specific brands of legalism are different, they still require more of their followers than Jesus did, and they get rid of those close to them who dare question or rebuke them.

  6. Andrew Harper February 11, 2014 Reply

    I think there is something in our explanations of what RG is doing that might be lacking. RG, please feel free to correct me where I am incorrect in my analysis.

    The Situation: There is a Christian who has set himself up as a teacher and shepherd of sheep. This teacher has not lived by the teachings he has set forth. This teacher has, in effect, removed himself from actual accountability (notional boards aside). Years ago, a scandal involving this teacher's brother (and to some extent the teacher himself) was for all intents and purposes covered up. Additionally, this teacher has for 40 years taken liberties with young ladies which would be inappropriate even in a secular setting.

    The Proper Response: People have commented, "Follow Matthew 18" ad nauseum. The teacher in question has been gone to privately by ones and twos and threes multiple times. This teacher's "authorities" have been contacted and they have proven themselves to be authorities with only the authority delegated to them by the teacher. The teacher has set up a de facto church under himself, so what can be done with a quasi-church leader who is in error and not under the authority of a local church?

    RG's Response: Believing the many witnesses who have come forward, realizing that the sheer scope of error is best understood in light of the history of how it came about, and knowing that no real body exists which would be able to exert authority over the teacher in question, RG is systematically building the story before the eyes of the Church at large. The reasons for this approach are many, not the least which is to warn the unsuspecting who would be lured by this teacher.

    Now for those reading this scenario, take out the name Bill Gothard and ask yourself this: if it were any other teacher in all of Christendom how would I want RG to respond? I hope you can see that there is no better way than the route that is being taken.

    I appreciate RG's systematic and level-headed way of trotting out the facts. The clamor of those for whom the facts are inconvenient only proves the necessity of the story being told. Hiding dirty laundry only grows mold - it does not clean the laundry.

    • Mark R February 11, 2014 Reply

      Not only is there no better way there is no OTHER way. You can't take someone before a church board who isn't a member of that church (or, in this case, any church). Or if the board is made up of supporters who have already made their decision (and who would make great Olympic figure skating judges).

      • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        "You can't take someone before a church board who isn't a member of that church (or, in this case, any church). Or if the board is made up of supporters who have already made their decision"

        It has been said that Gothard hand picked his board. Imagine, if you will, a board made up of Alfreds, who are ostensibly the people to whom Bill is accountable. Their silence over the years speaks volumes. It appears that they are the enables who continue to look the other way.

    • Shane February 11, 2014 Reply

      Andrew well said. I find it ironic that a ministry built on anecdote has what I presume to be it's proponents so worked up over folks telling the story.

    • phyllis February 12, 2014 Reply

      Very well said!!

  7. Darcy February 11, 2014 Reply

    Two words: Jesus. Bull-whip. Stop telling people not to be angry when God's name is drug through the mud and innocent people are abused. Jesus not only told such abusers they would be better off never to have been born, He also said they should put a millstone around their necks and be thrown into the sea. Stop claiming "Christian love" to silence righteous anger. If we were literally doing this "Jesus's way", there'd be whips and millstones involved. We are told to "expose the fruitless works of darkness" and that is exactly what is happening here.

    • N February 11, 2014 Reply

      on point

    • greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

      boooo-yah...there's our prophetic words of the day.. well said, so much for "Meek and mild...."

    • Sad February 11, 2014 Reply

      AAAAAAMEN sister! Bravo! IBLP's teachings have used "Christ's Love" to cover up uncountable crimes. Not just sin, but crimes that should have been prosecuted.

      I know. I saw it first hand myself.

    • Tracia February 11, 2014 Reply

      AMEN! BULLWHIP and MILLSTONES! I 2nd the idea!

    • Amanda February 11, 2014 Reply

      Yes. I don't understand how people can hear information like this (and the stories of Charlotte and Meg and the others) and not feel moved to anger. Innocent girls were targeted, taken advantage of, and left to their own to pick up the pieces. BG used people. I saw some of this during my years of working w/IBLP - and I've heard countless stories from others. BG targeted the weak and the hurting. He manipulated the word of God to serve his selfish, perverted, twisted purposes.

      There has been a lot of Scripture tossed around over the past few weeks. Matthew 18 has been a popular one. I've wondered why - until now, thank you, Darcy! - no one has talked about millstones. Some people continue to see BG as a brother (that was hard to type) or leader. But his behind-the-scenes behavior, his unscrupulous deceit, his arrogance shrouded in a show of false humility seem much more in line w/the hypocrits, pharisees, and zealous religious leaders of Jesus' day. And Jesus made very clear his sentiments regarding that crowd.

      I might add, this borrowing Scripture verses out of context is very familiar to me. Happened quite often throughout BG's publications.

      • Kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        "Some people continue to see BG as a brother (that was hard to type) or leader. But his behind-the-scenes behavior, his unscrupulous deceit, his arrogance shrouded in a show of false humility seem much more in line w/the hypocrits, pharisees, and zealous religious leaders of Jesus' day. And Jesus made very clear his sentiments regarding that crowd. "

        I agree. I've been a little outspoken in my circle in cautioning people about Bill Gothard. One friend likes to point out how wrong it is for Christians to speak bad about other Christians, talking about how we all need to unify and realize that we are on the same side rather than tear one another down. See, I would generally agree with him. I've seen Christians call one another heretics over issues that are clearly open to debate and it breaks my heart to see that. But, we are talking about a man who is so dark in his actions and teachings, I don't know how people can refer to him as a Christian leader. He is a hypocrite and a sexual predator- a person who takes Scripture and twists it into something unrecognizable. A person who has used his position of power to manipulate and hurt people for 40 years, trying to intimidate and destroy all who would dare confront him. Scripture does not deal kindly with people like him. It is really something to read people nit-picking the approach and lecture on the proper way to handle this matter in accordance with Matt 18, or to quote verses on love and forgiveness and suggest that we should move on.

        • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014

          We have to, it is our duty to point out the wolf in sheep's clothing.

    • Taylor Joy February 11, 2014 Reply

      Dear Darcy:
      To quote my favorite Pixar Dog,
      "I have just met you, and I love you!"
      --Dug, from "UP"

  8. Queen of Carrots February 11, 2014 Reply

    Knowing that Steve was behind Character Sketches and knowing more about his character certainly casts this article in a new light:

    Mr. G always liked to cite how "a man's morality will dictate his philosophy" when he encouraged us not to study secular writers. Maybe he should have looked a little closer to home.

    • MatthewS February 11, 2014 Reply

      It is stunning when you first realize that this was part of the background of what was going on behind the scenes when Character Sketches was being written. It is simultaneously a huge slap in the face to those of us who took it seriously, and it helps explain certain attitudes about the female characters in the stories such as in the link there ^

      • phyllis February 12, 2014 Reply

        So true! I was one of those duped by character sketches. I loved to read them even though some of the conclusions seemed off. I was in my teens and thought "what do I know?". Knowing now how twisted Steve and Bill Gothard are is sickening.

    • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014 Reply

      Queen of Carrots

      This is not about Steve and where he stands spiritually today I do not know, but could only pray that God has caused him to repent and live a life of serving Him. To my knowledge he has never repented to my late wife and never to me. I have to admit it would be an awkward call at best. He, while responsible for his actions is also a victim of his brother and family environment. According to the documents RG has and personal knowledge, when Bill was first confronted with his brother's immorality, not once but twice, both Bill and his father gave Steve a pass to continue his behavior by covering it up and continuing to feed women to him. My late wife was one of those women. The rest is history.

      Bill's brother was not unlike others men that I have known and during my association with him, he never proclaimed a spiritual side or in my observation did not live a righteous life. However, Bill did that for him, discussing Steve's fasting, praying and Bible memorization. Before every flight we would always offer a prayer, this was done at our request of various passengers on the flight. When I would ask Steve he would always refuse.

      Bill's is the one who we seek repentance of, his brother is a side note. That is not to diminished the physical, emotions and spiritual damage he cause to many women but it is not the discussion today. 1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteous." That applies to all of us even Bill and Steve.

      Larne Gabriel
      Gothard's pilot 1979-80
      late wife Bill's secretary 1972-1980, one of the abused women

      • Queen of Carrots February 11, 2014 Reply

        I agree totally with you . . . I just think it ironic that Bill published and promoted these materials for decades, knowing full well their origin. And they do have a clear "blame the woman" theme. Many people think the Character Sketches are the "good" thing from the institute and many people not otherwise involved will use and promote them, unfortunately.

        • kevin February 11, 2014

          I have volumes I, II and III. Very nice artwork, beautiful drawings. Other than that, a bunch of garbage, cover to cover. I was given these books and encouraged to read them nightly to my family, as part of our family devotional. I never did get why others thought these were so good.
          Some really bad teaching in those lessons. The big issue with Moses was that he got out from Pharaoh's authority? Really? Abigail was a terrible person because she went out from her husband's authority? Yes, to save his life. Things would have been better had she let David kill her husband, because maybe he would have learned from his mistake and not go on to commit murder in the future? He really suggests that.
          Oh, and the Brown Headed Cowbird, has anyone else noticed the parallels in the description of this bird and Gothard's anti-adoption teachings? The Cowbird lays its eggs in other bird's nests because it is an "irresponsible parent" and wants to live a carefree existence. It's a bird! God designed him to be that way! The Robin, is praises for recognizing the egg that did not belong and destroying it. Other birds, who are not so wise, become foster parents to the baby Cowbird, who goes on to rob its step siblings of the food and nurturing that should be going to them. A most very bizarre take on nature.

        • Vera Berry February 12, 2014

          I think Bill's big thing was that Abigail took matters into her own hands. Doesn't Sapphira wish she had done that! If God doesn't say He hates something, then we can assume He doesn't hate it. There is not one indication in Scripture, for example, that God sees dancing as sin and anyone who dances will suffer terribly as a result. That's the thing. We can't go to the opposite extreme and say anything goes or that God doesn't hate sin because He does. There are both earthly and eternal consequences for those things. He hates the sin of this ministry. There is nothing missing in Scripture on this topic and God is crystal clear. So adding things in like standards doesn't work. Women in some Christian circles thanks to this leaven are equal to Islam and their thinking on women. Let me just say (because this in one of the doctrines that bugs me) women are NOT eternally hopelessly deceived. In fact, if I had been in leadership as a woman, it would not be 40 years before this was judged causing many people to be victimized. Shame on you men for allowing this thing ti infect so many! There is nothing wrong with judging. I wish one of those girls would have judged Mr. Steve right to the police. God wants us to judge righteously. John 7:24

      • "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

        My condolences, Larne. Given the systematic psychological manipulation and the remoteness of the NW property (yes, I have visited the property), Steve's sexcapades can hardly be considered consensual. I am very sorry your late wife was a victim, and I'm sure she would not have received legal justice.

    • Tracia February 11, 2014 Reply

      I am tossing out the character Sketch books because finding out what the man who created them did makes me worry about in information inside! Like another has said, that "baby" is going out with the bathwater and we will find the "baby" someplace else! I will not trust my children with a such bad teaching!

      • Mark R February 11, 2014 Reply

        I am interested in collecting Gothard material for research purposes. If you feel the need to discard them (and that is ultimately your decision) I would like to have them as I don't have anything other than the Basic and Advanced Seminar materials and a few assorted other things.

        You can probably sell them on eBay also.

        • kevin February 11, 2014

          "You can probably sell them on eBay also."

          As someone who has bought many of his books on ebay, this is true. And, it is for sale dirt cheap, as you would expect. Pretty much the cost of postage plus a dollar or so.

      • Jonathan Owens February 11, 2014 Reply

        I would have to say I threw the bathwater out with the baby long ago, not the other way around.

    • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014 Reply

      So it was Steve's immorality that led to that awful teaching in Character Sketches about Abigail and her marriage to a fool She was supposed to obey Nabal the Fool? Abigail saved the men of the household by her brave actions and The Bible calls Abigail a Wise Woman. and calls Nabal a fool.

    • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014 Reply

      And his completely wacky teaching on Abigail. Scripture calls Nabal a fool. the Name Nabal means FOOL. Scripture also calls Abigail a wise Woman. BG was trying to tell us Abigail was not submissive to her husband, but Scripture calls her WISE, for saving the men in her household.

      • Kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        Yes, scripture calls her wise, but with Abigail, Gothard has a real problem. The principals are supposed to be non-optional. Abigail went out from under her husband's authority and so she violated a principal. Where Gothards principals and Scripture do not align, it is Scripture that must yield. So, rather that the wise woman, as portrayed in Scripture, Gothard must twist Scripture to portray Abigail in a negative light.
        Also, another little Gothard Scripture twisting, he points out that Abigail's son's name was changed from Chileab to Daniel, claiming that Daniel means "God has judged me", implying that she is living in shame for her actions regarding her husband. In reality, Daniel means "God is my judge". That is a subtle change, but it makes all the difference in the world.

  9. Nancy2 February 11, 2014 Reply

    RG thank you for the way you are handling this sensitive matter. You have stayed focused on the main issue and not sensationalized the details.

    As one on the outside looking in it has become apparent that the over arching principle that is corrupt in Gothard's organizations is 'Integrity'. Integrity is held firm inTruth. Without truth it doesn't exist.

    As a mom I loved taking our son hiking. One day he stepped on a rock that gave way and found himself sliding down a steep hill. Bumped and scraped he looked completely dazed. After cleaning him up and giving him some water and an apple we talked about 'Integrity' and the dangers of conforming to anything that lacks it.

    A child's definition of integrity is "Who you are when no one is looking." An adolescent definition is "who you are on the inside must match who you show others you are on the outside.". Both are simple concepts yet some adults still try to use many excuses of why they cannot walk with integrity.

    That day many years ago I told my son "You trusted a rock that wasn't planted on firm ground. You committed to it as you shifted you whole weight. The pressure was too great for it and you fell along with it. Next time examine and test the rock you choose. Make sure you are not deceived into believing it is something it isn't. Now tell me other areas this understanding might apply?" What a wonderful time I had listening to his thoughts.

    RG you are helping others examine and test the rock that is IBLP/ATI. You have respectfully left the conclusion to each individual. I will continue to pray for all of you and those who are filtering through the information given.

    • Nancy2 February 11, 2014 Reply

      My above statement in no way is intended to blame those deceived. It's only purpose is to state why I believe what RG is doing is of the utmost importance. They are helping many examine things that were hidden for too many years.

    • Jim K. February 11, 2014 Reply


      That was beautifully stated. Thank you.

      Jim K.

  10. Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

    Just a note . . . the man who observed the "lap sitting" incident in Bill's Northwoods cabin was Gary Smalley, I am told. Gary was in the middle of the investigation that followed the revelation of Steve's immorality. He knew . . . everything. We are told here he "resigned in disgrace". These are things that have been told to me by people who would know.

    It is noteworthy that, after a long, successful ministry of his own he has in recent years been an open friend of Bill and the ministry, speaking at ATI conferences with me in attendance, featured in "Embassy University". This is something I know. Seems incongruous . . .

    • Andrew Harper February 11, 2014 Reply

      Thank you, Alfred.

      Quick question, have you attempted to refute the erroneous assertion on the "Friends of Mr. Gothard" Facebook page that RG blocks opposing comments on this website?

    • MatthewS February 11, 2014 Reply

      So all this time that you have accused RG of not having evidence and have claimed that nothing happened and that you are just an honest seeker of truth, you knew that Bill had been discovered with a young lady sitting in his lap?

      • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        And, wearing nothing but a sheer nightdress.

    • Shane February 11, 2014 Reply

      I can't tell what your scare quotes mean. Are you saying the "'lap sitting' incident" is not as reported here? Are you saying that Gary Smalley didn't resign or are you implying that because they are friends now he surely couldn't have resigned in disgrace then?

      • "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

        Maybe that he sees nothing wrong with sitting on Bill's lap in a neglige? (Hello, folks... sheer nightgown... Where I come from, we call them "negliges"...)

    • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014 Reply


      I am going to very clearly express my observations and opinions here.

      In ATI if you go against Gothard, sure he repremands you and disgraces you. So yep, if you have any class, speak your piece and you leave. That is translated to "resigned in disgrace" in IBLP circles. As a former ATI student and having grown up in the politics of the church and para-church, I don't consider this as meaning anything. You would need to provide specifics in order to convince me that this is anything more than a paper tiger--a straw man of argument.

      The problem with ATI students who have observed and held our peace for so many years is that we now have to reason to be quite, and if you consider us disgraced, well, what does that mean to us??

      Me thinks you think too highly of yourself and of IBLP. What is IBLP in light the entire body of Christ? Really, it's not that significant.

      Allegations of abuse are critical issues, and we must stand up for what is truth, but IBLP shaming people as a reason why we should stop?

      I'm seriously not sure why that should be considered that argument as carrying any weight.

      Why will others who have been closer to Gothard no longer speak for Bill?

      If Bill or IBLP chooses to take legal action to intimidate or silence his critics, that spells very clearly the word hypocrite after teaching us to never do the same.

      What we have here is a very clear and continuing credibility problem with ATI/IBLP between its teachings and its actions.

      • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014 Reply


        The problem with ATI students who have observed and held our peace for so many years is that we now have NO REASON to be quiet, and if you consider us disgraced, well, what does that mean to us??

      • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

        Samuel said, "What we have here is a very clear and continuing credibility problem with ATI/IBLP between its teachings and its actions."

        My story may not seem as horrible as what happened to these women, yet it involves this exact same issue. My children learned these characters but did not see them in Bill or his minions. He was the complete opposite of what he taught and then conveniently told everyone to be silent as this would be sin to speak up. We should yield our rights instead. I have never ever seen such manipulative mastery. When I did see that hypocrisy though, I began to realize that something was very wrong. Due to the fact that people thought they were doing God's will to be silent, I honestly thought I was the only one. Some have suffered FAR worse than me.

    • JulieAnne February 11, 2014 Reply

      So, according to Alfred's logic...since the person Alfred thinks saw and reported a young lady in a sheer nightie sitting on Gothard's lap stopped complaining about it, we should stop complaining about it, too. Makes perfect sense, ya'll!

    • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014 Reply


      I find it interesting that you used Gary's name in association with that "Lap Sitting" incident, his name was not reported in the above story. That only could come from a few sources and since you are not associated with RG or the ex-staff it had to come from Bill or Gary. In general I find your knowledge of the scandal years to be a little too complete. I can only surmise that Bill or his staff is using you to be the voice of dissent on this blog. While it's good to make sure the truth is always being told, a righteous man would only speak for himself not someone else.

      Regarding Gary I would be careful to read too much into their association. Bill and Gary's relationship goes back to the early 70's, it has been and on and off relationship and it's very complicated. It would be like comparing Bill Graham relationship with Nixon and then having the Watergate era tape exposing Nixon other side.

      In Gary's first book after leaving the institute he writes about a relationship with an employer who ran a health food chain (if I recall) but in reality the employer is Gothard. The names were changed to protect the guilty.

      Just my opinion,

      Larne Gabriel
      Gothard's pilot 1979-80

    • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

      Let's see . . . most serious allegation first:

      Bill relayed to my son - and me by implication - middle of last year that he was aware that we were perusing this website, suggested it was not a good idea. That is the ONLY interaction - by proxy - that he and I have had in several years. Sorry - I am likely an embarrassment to him, far from a "plant". So, rest assured, that this is not by suggestion, decree or anything else. What I have done has been entirely on my own. Bill could not even associate my face to my name - or even my son, who had already been on staff for several years - when I approached him on issues in the Don Veinot book back in 2006. Later, as there were several other interactions, and we moved here from California, he finally made the connection . . . and once thanked me - briefly - for my efforts. If Mr. Gothard could, he would ban all ATIers from contact with this site. My son, for the record, has only come here on a rare occasion as I have directed him to things (I am covering for him :-) ).

      On "deleting comments" . . . yes RG moderates comments. Several have contacted me to express their concern at being silenced. Not every "pro-Gothard" comment is constructive, I will warrant that. I personally see no benefit in name calling, slurs. On the other side, while RG has in private reprimanded me on occasion I have actually been encouraged to continue posting . . . around the time I took a long break. I count a number of the principles here as friends, Facebook contacts, so they can see my life, and I theirs.

      I gather that as long as I respect the "rules" and back off when told, there is no problem with being "pro-Gothard". And I appreciate that.

      • MatthewS February 11, 2014 Reply

        "Several have contacted me to express their concern at being silenced."

        Alfred: how many is "several"? And how many comments did they post before being "silenced"? Let me just say up front your accusation is very close to being a lie.

        • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014

          Two for sure, although one was not for being "pro-Gothard". And one relayed being contacted by others with that complaint.

          I don't much care. There are things other do that I would not be comfortable with. So . . . maybe certain types of "agitation" would make it impossible to tell either side of a story well, make everyone uncomfortable. A messed up, uncomfortable website is worse than one that harps only on one side of a story. At least you can understand the one side clearly.

          So . . . whatever I said to answer the question, it is not to find fault with the moderators. Currently EVERY post of mine gets "moderated", checked before posting. :-) I am fine with that.

      • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014 Reply

        Maybe I was a little too strong on the righteous man comment, I was not implying that you were not, please forgive me for that. Over the years we (ex-staff) have seen Bill use people to plant a seed of mistrust by distorting the truth and just plain lying. This is how he operates when confronted. I have personally seen his lies within the last month over another issue involving myself and two other ex-staffers. So this is a sensitive issue and directly deals with the bigger problem.

        But the question I still ask, where did you get the information that named Gary with the lap sitting incident?

        Larne Gabriel

        • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014

          I have no problem with you or anything you have said, Larne. I appreciate the conversations you have given me in private. I know you want to see things finally straightened out.

          I answered the "who" in general . . . I am a tad foggy, because I recall the info coming from more than one source. One was associated with this website, the other not. Neither were "Gothard-friendly".

      • Eva February 11, 2014 Reply

        Bill Gothard's facebook page won't even let ANYONE post a negative comment.

      • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

        Our US Constitution states this "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

        I am exercising those rights. We are assembling peaceably sharing the truth of what we have gone through. In countries such as China, the people must be silent. Can you see how this statement is the statement of a dictator? That if he could, he would ban all ATIers from this web site. In saying that, he is putting pressure on people not to hear this information. Those who are deeply under his authority will fearfully never take the time to hear this redress of grievances and many like me will suffer hardship and absolute failure.

        I personally love to talk to people who disagree. It is a great way to share. I have nothing to hide. So we simply stick to the topic. Lots of people disagree.

        I have had my posts blocked here. RG and I are not on the same page on some issues.

        • Vera Berry February 12, 2014

          In other words, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. That level of control is in his heart and what he would do if he had that power. He simply has lost credibility and we now have the means to expose the problem.

    • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

      The Gary Smalley connection to the lap episode was made for me by those opposed to Gothard, Larne. I did not understand it to be private information, being as it was published briefly on a website . . . somewhere.

      As to their relationship . . . Gary Smalley is a smart man. He can like Bill, or be nice to Bill, do any number of things without allowing himself to be headlined at ATI conferences. That was a calculated message. Perhaps limited, but clear . . . to me.

      • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014 Reply

        Thank you, it's not private but also not out there either.


      • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014 Reply


        RG has been very sensitive to the details of the 1980 scandal. For me my late wife Ruth was very open about what happened and wanted her story told to prevent other the same pain she went through. For her part she repented and only sought the same from Bill. He while sorry for what happened, never accepted full responsibility for his action and cover-up. That said there are still other women out there that were also abused, real live people who's lives were crushed and stomped on by Bill and his machine. My goal in to not to victimize the victims all over again. Thus my question.

        Larne Gabriel
        Gothard's pilot 1979-80

      • Committed Fool February 11, 2014 Reply

        Alfred, you are way more indiscrete than you accuse others of being. I would advise everyone to disenage and not suffer "The Person" anymore energy.

      • Heidi February 11, 2014 Reply

        Well Alfred don't we all have the prerogative to "like" Bill, or be "nice" to him?

        But we have the God given duty to speak out for the victims of abuse. The ones who are oppressed, who have no voice. We have the obligation to seek justice and protect.

        You are not on the side of righteousness here. I am so disappointed, especially after meeting you in CA. I was with my mom when we met and she commented, that HAS to be an ATI family! I was a CA ATI student as were others who are in support of this site. You are right that it is a different culture out here, but I want everyone to know you do not speak for us.

        Alfred, Bill's actions over the years spell out sexual predator, and this is from a profiling standpoint. Sadly I have some experience with this not from Gothard, and yes, being raised in ATI left me vulnerable.

        Furthermore, you left such a sweet note (what a rare event indeed) in response to my story published on RG. I implore you to consider the victims, although aparently you are one yourself. (I have rarely seen a case of brain washing go this deep.) I have dealt with having to protect one of my children and the endless interview process with the police, social workers, who treated us with skepticism and sided with the perp left me in a nightmare beyond belief. I pray Charlotte and all those brave enough to come forward be shielded from such a nightmare. I pray those who have not come forward yet, find the courage to do so. I believe they exist.

        One last thing. I cannot fathom how you entrust your own daughters. . . .

  11. Heidi February 11, 2014 Reply

    This just got worse and worse.

    The only word that comes to mind for the mental, emotional, and spiritual coercion that was used on these women is: insidious.

  12. Melissa Olson Moore February 11, 2014 Reply

    I'm strongly reminded of the "Sword Test" story from the Children's Institute. (Two watermelons look identical on the outside, but one is filled with dirt while one is a sound fruit. Only when the inside is exposed by slicing it open with a sword is the truth revealed.) Yet another concept not intended to apply to IBLP/ATI...

  13. Matthew February 11, 2014 Reply

    I find the reader comments interesting. Whether you agree or do not agree with the particular tenets of Mr. Gothard's interpretation of the scriptures, logic would state that simply viewing the numbers of people positively or negatively affected by the ministry would make be a valid argument of whether the ministry is performing it's purported duty to draw people to Christ. In this case, the numbers of negatively affected greatly outweigh the positive. The ministry does not work.
    Saying this does not imply that one is bitter at the ministry or Mr. Gothard or God. Defending IBLP in light of the basic logical facts would bring one to question the mental acuity of the person defending the program.
    This is not anger - this is truth.

    • greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

      Like your comment , but I don't think the problem is "mental acuity". Not an intelligence problem, IMO, I'll leave it at that for now.

    • Taylor Joy February 11, 2014 Reply

      Unfortunately, intelligence has very little to do with whether or not one is coerced by a cult. :( Things like age, emotional vulnerability, lack of sleep, love-bombing, etc., can all override a person's reason and allow lies to take root. :(

    • Hurting February 12, 2014 Reply

      Illogical and ad hominem, not to mention graceless. People who had a positive experience with a ministry aren't likely to be spending a lot of time on websites attacking the ministry.

  14. Liz February 11, 2014 Reply

    Bottom line in this horrible story is this...Make sure the people you are serving alongside are under authority/accountable to someone outside of the organization. In the church, if it's an independent church, you are NOT safe if these are men that are members of said church. Even if the congregation votes on them. In an organization outside the church the leader MUST be accountable to outside people who can REMOVE him. When joining a church read very carefully the constitution.

  15. Michael February 11, 2014 Reply

    The psychological manipulation that Gothard was able to use on so many people literally makes me sick. Having worked with teenagers and children who experienced sexual, mental and physical abuse, I am very sympathetic to those who have been coerced and then taught by a peer to engage in all types of twisted, warped behavior. Gothard is the ultimate wolf; someone who works hard at being a master of the fleece. It's a completely pathetic existence.

  16. "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

    What was very disturbing to me... As sick as Steve's psychological manipulations and systematic destroying of his victim's persons, was... And inasmuch as his subsequent actions directly confirm it as predatory, grooming behaviors... I, having never met Steve, directly recognized many of the psychological manipulations. Know where I've heard them, before? Not from reading crime thrillers. Not from watching SVU.

    Bill. Sitting under his tutelage as a student for many years, I've heard similar logic come out of his own mouth. That is the point of familiarity for me. There was even a teaching on what type of undergarments a "godly" woman should wear.

    In retrospect, I feel we were all "groomed", as a group. Although not all of us were molested, we were all "groomed".


    • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

      That's VERY interesting Hannah. An important insight from someone who's been there.

  17. Lynn February 11, 2014 Reply

    MatthewS, you are so wise!

  18. Hope February 11, 2014 Reply

    As one who approached Bill Gothard personally with a concern (along with my father), it seems that he wants to leave people with no other choice but to publicize. When we spoke with him face-to-face, he chose to explain away his actions, minimize us and offer that he was sorry we felt that way. I have now, very sadly, discovered years later that not only had he shared a fabrication with someone that undermined our true concerns, but he also chose to belittle my wonderful and noble father for wanting to protect me. We have kept silent about our offense for decades, and now my heart is breaking over the mounting improprieties that continued to take place. I am now reeling from the sorrow of feeling somewhat responsible for the growing numbers of girls who were taken advantage of.

    The goal is not to scandalize, condemn and glory in the shame, but rather to prevent further scandals and heal those who were devastatingly scandalized. How and when will it stop? How does one approach a man who will not listen? I am hopeful that God will not allow the words of these testimonies to, "fall to the ground."

    • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

      Your words are very important, Hope. Please don't berate yourself; you did what you sincerely thought was best at the time with the limited knowledge you had. Sharing your insights now is extremely helpful as it emphasizes how crucial RG's mission truly is, and how terribly important and needed are the testimonies of those victims/witnesses who are now courageously coming forward so that others may be healed, or spared.

    • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience Hope.
      " I am hopeful that God will not allow the words of these testimonies to, 'fall to the ground.'"

      I, too, am hopeful. I have a feeling that God will make their voices heard. Justice and healing will soon be here.

  19. "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

    I'm also thinking there must be a deplorable lack of locks on doors at the NW property?!

  20. Sad February 11, 2014 Reply

    I have not seen this mentioned yet - but I wonder what the I.R.S. rules are regarding the millions of dollars the ministry has gotten? Especially if there seems to be such a blurring of the lines between personal property & expenses, versus those with true ministry purpose.

    Tax code is something I am not an expert on, but wonder if the only way to have justice served would be for an IRS investigation since it seems SoL has expired in the sexual harassment / criminal events.

    After all, it is what brought down Capone. Everyone knew he was a bad man but kept himself out of reach of the law - except for the tax violations.

    Just a thought. Keep up the work RG. If I had known this story back in the 80s when I signed up for the Basic and Advanced Seminars, I would NOT have gone!

  21. DAVID PIGG February 11, 2014 Reply

    And after what was read here[how can anyone not speak out],but sometimes words can't even come close to the shock received from the disparity between the"heightened bars" of "moral purity",of Gothardism' and the utter disregard for the dignity of human self worth,...put on the Gothard Alter.Nothing is too valuable,too inexpendable.In the previous article,ther was a quote that some of the witnesses of these travesties were at "fear for their lives".Absolutely!If these horrers that were committed blatently were swept under the rug in depravity a baby step would follow to do whatever is possible with evidence...[KILL]?That's what was in the article!I read it with my own two eyes.No one gets between the megalomaniac and his empire.Next article coming up.

  22. Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

    On the math . . . let's be clear: As a frequent participant in seminars in the early 1970's and '80s, that $45 - which never seemed to go up - was paid by me . . . once. An "alumnus" could/can return a million times and repeat for free.

    Folks, I am sorry, but this is anything but a money-making deal. At LEAST not the seminars. In Portland the seminar rented out the largest venue, the Memorial Collesium - where the Trailblazers play/played - TWICE a year, packed it out, 10,000 people . . . and I was there almost every time for years. I an many others. Having paid $45 . . . once.

    • Jonathan February 11, 2014 Reply

      I will echo Alfred on this one. I ran the finance office at one the TCs for a short time and while there were issues (Like putting an 18 year old with no training or experience in charge of all the financial aspects of running a building...I should NOT have had that job) you can't say that IBLP is a money making scheme. What I've seen and read would indicate it wasn't even back then. Sure, there was lots of money. Sure, it looks like it wasn't used strictly in line with good, ethical, business practice. That's not you're line to "take Gothard down", though.

      This man teaches harmful, damaging things. I think the multitude of us with first hand experience proves that well enough. This man has a pattern of damaging sin. Sin that creates victims. The chorus of voices accusing him in unison makes that case clearly.

      The fact that he refuses to deal with either of these things in a quieter manner (repeatedly) makes this a public discourse by necessity.

      But let's not muddy the water by making this something it's not.

      • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

        The problem is the duplicity in which we were often led to believe that ATI was near bankruptcy and therefore was unable to pay employees or help us with our older children.

        At one point, one of the doctors from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute gave our family a Lietz microscope to use any way we wished. . You can see one here and note the cost.

        I mean this thing was the creme de la creme of microscopes worth around $10,000. What I could have done with $10,000 at that time. But I was a minion.

        You would have to understand the fact that the vision we were given for our children was not the day to day but these apprenticeship opportunities for the future. So all the money we were pouring in out of our poverty was ok because there would be these opportunities in the end. In one of Bill's hyped up moments, he talked about how they were opening a medical department because God had spoken in His yearly fast to do this. Who would question that?. I am an RN and so I could envision that for my children. So I gave them this $10,000 microscope. But there was no medical opportunities and even if there were, daddy would have to be making six figures to support umpteen children on one salary and afford one of these 2-3 year ventures because Bill surely wasn't going to. We live in a two income society. This hype was all stuff and nonsense. There never was a medical department. I thought, "Now I'm making a real contribution to ATI." Nobody said thank you. Nobody said anything. It was like - snore. And I know not whatever came of that microscope. It surely wasn't offered back to me. Is it sitting on a shelf somewhere or was it sold to support Bill's retirement fund? How many other people who don't do Internet gave like that too?

        Money perverts the message of salvation.

    • Chris Jones February 11, 2014 Reply

      And yet this non-profit organization had enough cash to purchase (presumably without debt), operate, and maintain several corporate jets to ferry BG around in luxury. . .

      • Linn February 11, 2014 Reply

        People with the type of influence Gothard wields often draw donors with deep pockets who want to help with "individual" or "special" needs. Although these kinds of gifts should be properly documented, not all organizations follow through. Gothard certainly didn't. I worked for 15 years in "raise your own support" missionary work. I was with very ethical organizations that required a receipt and documentation for any personal (one-time) gift over $50. So, if someone wanted to give you a car, the understanding was that it actually belonged to the mission, not to you. That prevented people from taking advantage of others for personal gain, or the opposite-people trying to salve their consciences by preventing missionaries with expensive gifts.

      • Jonathan February 11, 2014 Reply

        And yet that's not a crime. It's not even theologically problematic to most of the evangelical world. (I have moral issues with it, but that's not the point.)

        Maybe I'm wrong, but my point is only that we should stick with the stuff that everybody, religious or secular, would agree is a problem.

      • Chris Jones February 11, 2014 Reply

        Alfred said that was/is not a "money-making deal" because they charged only $45 once to attend their seminars. Of course seminar fees was not their only source of revenue.

        My point was simply to point out that IBYC/IBLP generated significant revenues - significant enough to enable IBYC/IBLP to acquire and use expensive assets. If flying around in private jets having a private retreats with airstrips available for use anytime isn't evidence of a "money-making deal," I don't know what is. That's not to say that any of these things are necessarily inherently wrong, but to deny that IBYC/IBLP wasn't a "money-making deal" that allowed G to control millions of dollars in resources doesn't comport with the evidence, even if G wasn't taking a huge salary himself. Who needs a big salary when you still can fly the jet up to the cabin on the lake?

      • Alfred Corduan February 11, 2014 Reply

        Larne: As Bill's Learjet pilot . . . was it accurate to say that he was "ferried around in luxury"? What was the plane like, if I may ask?

        • SuburBint February 11, 2014

          Alfred --

          Learjets designed for the private sector and the less glamorous styles created for the military are vastly different. I highly doubt that Bill Gothard was sitting on the floor/a cargo box, hanging onto a strap rather than being buckled into a comfy chair. Is it possible? Sure. It it likely? Methinks not.

        • Larne Gabriel February 11, 2014

          The Lear 35A was a popular corporate jet of the era. We took delivery of the new aircraft in April 1979. If I recall it had eight comfortable leather passenger seats, plus the two pilot seats. It cruised at airline speeds and could fly any where in the mainland of the US from Chicago. The cost new was 2.5 million plus tax. A similar new aircraft in today's dollars would be over 10 million. The Lear was popular with many large corporations. It did not have a stand up cabin.

          The institute also had a Lear 55 on order, with a stand up cabin, if I recall the cost in 1980 dollars was around 5 million. The other aircraft was a Mitsubishi MU2J eight seat turboprop that was purchased in the mid 70's for about $600,000, before my employment. After receiving the Lear Bill wanted the cabin light switches by his seat and we spent over $5,000 to relocate them.

          Larne Gabriel
          Gothard's ex-pilot 1979-80

    • Jonathan February 11, 2014 Reply

      I'm not defending Gothard and IBLP's financial practices then or now. (The opposite, if anything) I'm just saying that it feels like barking up the wrong tree.

      • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

        It isn't though, Jonathan. Money is what keeps ministries across the board from admitting when they are obviously wrong. The Catholics take the cake but so do others. Jesus never told the poor and needy to give out their poverty 10% to some fat cat preacher to get financial blessing but they did exhort and warn the rich to help those less fortunate. The poor and needy never see this money. How many families with many children drove around illegally because not everyone had a car seat? See the rich would never consider giving a family like that a $25,000 van but yet they would give millions so that Bill could fix the light switches on his Lear jet. And let me just say, that 99.9% of religious organizations today are like this, which is why Bill is saying to himself, "they are picking on poor me when Ken Ham and the Pope have jets too. Duh. Religion is big business and Bill saw that fact early on and used it to make himself and his family wealthy. Let this be a lesson to all of us to test EVERYTHING.

    • JessicaB February 11, 2014 Reply

      Alfred, you are completely correct, IBLP has maintained a "pay one time, come anytime" policy since the beginning. However, IBLP also widely broadcasts that they have over 2 million alumni, mostly accumulated during the period prior to 1980 when it is common knowledge the seminars were at their largest. The claim 2 million alumni is just that, ALUMNI. Not attendees, which would be much, much higher.

      To do the simple math, $45 x 2 million attendees = $90 million from registration. This does not count the book sales or donations, which those involved with the ministry know were significant. $90 million (at least) between 1965-1980 is a lot of cash, even in today. This is not to say that IBYC was a money making scheme, but rather to illustrate that they were hugely financially successful during this era of the ministry.

      Jonathan who also comments with inside information of the ITC finances is also correct, IBLP was not nearly as profitable in following years. In fact, anyone who is curious can view the financial statements of IBLP listed on form 990 available for all non-profits. By my analysis IBLP has been dealing with negative cash flow between $1-1.5 million a year for the last 10 years (sustained by selling assets).

      • Jonathan Owens February 11, 2014 Reply

        There ought to be a copy of IBLP's most resent tax return around somewhere...

        • Nancy2 February 11, 2014

          2002-2006 is on the internet

          Can't find more recent 990's

        • Nancy2 February 11, 2014


          IBLP 990 is a matter of public record.

          There has been a downward income trend.

        • Nancy2 February 11, 2014

          This might be more helpful.

          It gives an idea of how IBLP has contracted through the 2000's

        • Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014

          I'm, personally, not concerned with a response to Form 990, I'm not concerned with the vague concepts or pointing to anything such as somebody's bad responses or failure to follow a specific set of rules set down the the person on the hot seat.

          Direct, honest, transparent answers to the current questions that have been raised would be a refreshing change from the IBLP/Gothard standard operating procedure.

          Without those honest, truthful answers, I'm not that concerned what they do with their money.

          We were taught to discern people and critique their responses. We learned well. I am a former ATI student which no longer considers IBLP with any special favor and watching to see what kind of response will be forthcoming.

        • Nancy2 February 11, 2014

          Samuel, I only posted the links to IBLP 990 and financial analysis from 2011 to show beyond a doubt that they have net assets of $80M+. Their net assets were $60M+ in 2001. What RG has stated in their article of the financial success of this organization is true according to Faqs report on tax exempt organizations.

          With the stories of financial hardships by those like L. Shackelford working for this organization as read in the comment section of "Sleeping Giant" it becomes apparent that there is a leadership integrity problem in the way they responded financially to those who resigned over things they were seeing that was wrong.

          L. Shackelford quote,
          "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. "

        • Samuel Lundmark February 13, 2014


          Ah, I see. Those are good points.
          I did not mean my statement to be a rebuttal.
          Thanks for providing that info.

    • William February 11, 2014 Reply

      Alfred you know all those Character Sketch books Bill sold for $25.00? Guess what they only cost $6.95 to produce and deliver to Oak Brook. The Red Notebooks cost less than a buck.

      • Alfred Corduan February 12, 2014 Reply

        Any idea what rent on a major venue . . . for a week . . . might be? 1970s, 1980s . . . Portland Memorial Coliseum. I really have no idea. I can't remember a parking charge, but that might be because I was oblivious (kid) . . . that was a lot of cars (10,000 people). I probably attended 5-6 seminars on that $45. Maybe there was a book table . . . this was in the early days. Definitely no concessions.

        In any case . . . you get a sense when a "ministry" is angling for money. Even with ministries I appreciate, I cringe every time I head "send in your love gift and receive . . . ". The only appeal for funds have been for specific projects, like the work in Russia. And that would be one time at the end of an ATI conference, never a seminar.

        And you get your own sense of value. The "Character Sketch" books are big, encyclopedias, really nice, full color, high quality drawings on almost every page. For $25, that was a deal, in those days even.

        And I have observed Bill for many years . . . my son lives on campus, has watched him up close and personal for 10 years. He really lives frugally. From the cars to his house to personal amenities. Even the Learjet, that damning thing, was not around that long. Larne will know. It allowed him to work as he flew, and he traveled an insane amount of time, every week splitting his time between at least 2 seminars, coast to coast. I still would love to have someone describe the "luxury" that he enjoyed in this plane.

        Today I pay $9/month for access to "Embassy University". My kids have access to a large library of courses and seminars, which stream live. I am currently paying $150 a year for all of ATI for all of my children (5 enrolled), because I am set on materials. The cost would be $600/year for everybody for all materials.

        The value, financially, of IBLP offering has always been like that. You feel like you are getting your money's worth. Of all the complaints against IBLP, this is the weakest, in my mind.

        • Nancy2 February 12, 2014

          Alfred, no one has to worry about the cost of Portland's Coliseum. Anyone who supports a tax exempt organization can examine their basic financial information before getting involved.

          In 2011 their FAQ tax exempt report states they have a net worth of $80M+.

          "Of all the complaints against IBLP, this is the weakest, in my mind."

          Looking at all the public record financial information it is a very strong complaint.

          Balance Sheet (for 2011)
          Total assets $86,485,180
          Total liabilities $1,489,276
          Tax-exempt bond liabilities $0
          Secured mortgages and notes payable to unrelated third parties $0
          Unsecured notes and loans payable to unrelated third parties $0
          Other $1,489,276
          Total net assets or fund balances $84,995,904
          Retained earnings, endowment, accumulated income, or other funds $0

          Read more:

          Just as JessicaB said they have been selling assets to cover the difference for the past few years. Actually since 2006 when it was reported in their tax exempt report that they had net assets of $100,936,597. Before 2006 their net assets were steadily growing each year.

          Annual Revenue & Expenses
          Fiscal Year Starting: Jan 01, 2011
          Fiscal Year Ending: Dec 31, 2011
          Total Revenue $6,230,236
          Total Expenses $10,384,531

          Support Schedule for Organizations Described in Section 509(a)(2) (for 2011)
          2007 - 2011 Total
          Total support $46,178,561

          Gifts, grants, contributions, and membership fees received $8,433,550
          Gross receipts from admissions, merchandise sold or services performed, or facilities furnished in any activity that is related to the organization's tax-exempt purpose $37,526,857
          Gross income from interest, dividends, payments received on securities loans, rents, royalties and income from similar sources and Unrelated business taxable income (less section 511 taxes) from businesses acquired after June 30, 1975 $218,154

          Read more:

          Out of the top 30 most profitable organizations like IBLP they are #15.

        • eva February 12, 2014

          Alfred, my dad was a pilot and believe me a Lear Jet IS a luxury. Just knowing you have one at your disposal gives a feeling of importance. ANd luxury. It doesn't have to have rosewood interior but I bet it had at least a toilet. And it didn't require that you travel with peons.

        • MatthewS February 12, 2014

          So true! Even if you work at a company where they have a corporate jet (let alone essentially your personal jet), it will likely tend to be a status thing if you are someone who flies on the corporate jet versus flying on a public airline. I know this of limited value, but one the opening sentences on the wikipedia page for Learjet identifies it with luxury: "Learjet was one of the first companies to manufacture a private, luxury aircraft."

        • William February 12, 2014

          Alfred it was about 12-15k for the week.

        • Mark R February 13, 2014

          That would depend on where you were renting and other entities that were using the facility.

          In Dallas, when I attended IBLP's Basic Seminar (twice, in the 1990's), it was held at the Dallas Convention Center Arena. But at that time, the Mavericks were playing at Reunion Arena and the Stars had not yet relocated from Minnesota. So he wasn't having to compete with sports teams.

          The main convention that Dallas held (and still hosts) each year is the Mary Kay convention; even in his heyday Gothard would NEVER be able to bump them out of their slot.

  23. sick of it February 11, 2014 Reply

    I was tracking with this site until this finger pointing, blame shifting crap. If this stuff is true about STEVE AND BILL they had some blame, but these are women or young women we are talking about, not kids. Consenting adults or young adults. They were not brainwashed...they have sin natures just like BILL AND Steve and they chose to follow man instead of God. The way this site makes victims out of consenting adults is sickening. Unless they raped someone and overcame them by force they need to step up and take accountability. I am pretty sure when we stand before God and give accounts for sin being brainwashed is not going to fly for an excuse.

    • greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

      The gist of your comment is that unless someone forcibly rapes you, you cannot be a victim..... wow...

      what makes you think they weren't brainwashed, btw, other than their age ??

    • Beth February 11, 2014 Reply

      Sick Of It, coming from an outsider's perspective I understand what you're saying. From a legal perspective these women were adults and were probably legally consenting, at least at the beginnings of the relationships, but the ethics are much darker.

      These women applied or were recruited to work for IBYC and were sent to work at a remote residential campus where their only community was fellow IBYC staff. Steve Gothard was the all-powerful director of this staff, in function if not in title. He used his organizational position to give these women assignments that artificially isolated them from the rest of the work group, and his social position to spread information that isolated them from the social activities and fellowship of the group. Had he been just another staff member he could maybe have started rumors about each of these girls, but without the position of resident director he couldn't have achieved this scale of almost total isolation for his consecutive targets.

      There is evidence that Steve targeted women who had troubled backgrounds and bad relationships with their fathers, and did this from the perspective of a person who was writing material on character, moral causality, and family relationships. He was very educated and calculating in selection his targets, psychological and physical isolation of his targets, and bold assertion of "biblically"-based authority over his targets. He obtained consent under the false pretense that each of these women was in an exclusive, committed, long-term relationship with him, when he was maintaining several sexual relationships at once. He seems to have rejected any attempts to end or limit the relationships that fell short of a woman finding a way to phsyically leave the remote Northwoods campus, which also would mean the woman losing her job and her housing immediately. So yes, the women were probably legally consenting, but this was not a normal string of inter-office sexual escapades. This was one person bringing every ounce of supervisory authority, social dominance, family power, spiritual pseudo-authority, and very real landlord authority to bear on the kinds of girls who sign up to work for a ministry for modest wages. It may have been legal, but it was a misuse of every type of influence. I'm half surprised that he stopped short of impersonating a police officer.

      Regarding accountability for the women Steve was sexually involved with, most of them confessed their involvement to the IBYC staff in meetings, and were soon after fired, even as Steve stayed on for quite a while. There has never been a lack of internal or external condemnation for these women. They have suffered plenty of consequences.

      • Heidi February 11, 2014 Reply

        Well put, Beth.

    • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

      So, "sick of it," do you not think Bill Gothard should be exposed and called to account for the hypocrisy, lying, conning, lechery, and abuse of power he has been perpetrating in for the past 40+ years and is still perpetrating? Just shut up and let him have at it?

    • Taylor Joy February 11, 2014 Reply

      Unfortunately, you have no idea what you're talking about. This is not a normal workplace environment, nor is it a normal ministry--this is a cult. This is an environment where people were slowly, systemically brain-washed into losing their identities. This is spiritual and emotional abuse, regardless of the age of the victim.

    • SuburBint February 11, 2014 Reply

      Clearly you don't understand how an abusive background, sexual or otherwise, can cause a person to do things that "normal" people with a healthy self-esteem would not do. You have no idea what being raised in a background where you will be punished --not spanked, but punished in a way that makes you, like Job, curse the day you were born -- can do to you.

      Also, courts around the have made ruling after ruling establishing that when an authority figure solicits sexual activity from someone under their authority, the definition of consent changes.

      Not to mention the fact that Bill Gothard espouses purity teachings to the point where not only is non-marital physical activity completely banned, but wherever giving away "pieces of your heart" is severely frowned upon.

      Charlotte and her sisters in suffering were placed in a position where saying "no" never occurred to them. Plus, Bill Gothard has a track record of blaming women for being temptresses while the men they interacted with are never called sinners.

      Finally, sick of it, I'm curious -- when the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, did you blame it all on Ms. Lewinsky or were you one of the ones who wanted Clinton's head on a pike? The issue here is not only that Gothard is a sexual predator, but that h violated the trust of the thousands of families who not only trusted him but held him up as a paragon.

      • SuburBint February 11, 2014 Reply

        Apologies for typos. It's past my bedtime :-D

  24. Linn February 11, 2014 Reply

    Just a follow-up comment on why I continue to read RG, although I was not as disastrously affected by BG as many. I went to a Basic Seminar in 1976. I actually approached BG with a question about my "multi-parent" family (two sets of parents due to a divorce/remarriage), and he gave me a good answer. However, much of the seminar "principles" did not ring true for me, especially for a young woman who had been independent from her mid-teens. Unlike all of Bill's warnings, I was doing fine, rooted in my faith and church, and on my way to being a missionary. I never went back to another seminar after the first one, and I filed my red binder. Several years later, I was home on my first furlough and I thought that some of my Christian friends were nuts. They were "purging" their homes of Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbies, and anything "worldly," pulling their children out of school to home school (even when they were clueless--one of my friends put her child two years back in school until she finally admitted she couldn't deal with dyslexia in the home), and administering corporal punishment that qualified as reportable child abuse. Most of these families were heavily involved with Gothard. I'm not saying that we shouldn't protect our families from the world (I have parenting experience as I raised a family member's children), but Gothard carries separation to an extreme that no one can really do without falling into deathly legalism. I think as Christians we often fall into "easy" ways of being spiritual, instead of searching the Scriptures to find out how to be lights that reflect His glory in our generation. Flip side--when our false "Messiahs" fail, we blame our lack of faith on them and leave Jesus behind. There is no perfect leader in the Christian life, but God has us His Word and the church to build us up. Both have served me well in my 40 years of faith journey.

  25. sick of it February 11, 2014 Reply

    I am saying these women were not forced. They were not children. They may have been brainwashed but that does not excuse their willingness to participate in things that are obviously sin and for that they are accountable to God. Just as Bill Gothard is for his part. Brainwashed is never a good enough reason. Otherwise only Hitler would be responsible for the genecide he inspired with his false teachings.

    • Matt February 11, 2014 Reply

      At the very least it constitutes workplace sexual harassment. To initiate sexual behavior with an employee and then coerce them to keep it a secret falls well under sexual harassment, even if both parties are consenting. If you consent because you feel spiritually or socially coerced, that's not ok either. Sure they did a wrong thing, but if they really believed Steve was their umbrella of protection and they were isolated from everyone else, how can you put up a long term resistance? They are culpable, but not nearly to the extent as the men who wielded all the power in the organization. The girls had a personal moral failing that mainly affected themselves. The Gothards had a systematic, organizational failing that affected many many lives.

    • Queen of Carrots February 11, 2014 Reply

      Was anyone excusing their behavior? This is a website about the public teachings of a public teacher, and their inconsistency with his private life, not an effort to bring every person in the world who has been guilty of immorality to account. These women are private individuals who did not set themselves up as teachers of morality for decades to come. Their individual path of repentance and healing is not a matter for public concern.

    • Karen Jensen February 11, 2014 Reply

      They were seduced. Seduced by their employer. That is workplace sexual harrasment in the very least.

    • "Hannah" February 11, 2014 Reply

      "Just taking orders" *was* a valid defense in the Nuremburg trials. It didn't absolve officers of all guilt, but I would say the "brainwashing effect" was taken into consideration.

      These women were isolated and coerced. In a way, trapped on the NW property. I, for one, do not feel the sex was consensual. It was the result of emotional and psychological abuse, I'd wager of a similar type that occurs in marital rape.

    • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

      "They may have been brainwashed but that does not excuse their willingness to participate in things that are obviously sin "

      Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds?

      brain·wash·ing: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

      So, let's beat up on and focus on the people that were forcibly indoctrinated. What a red herring argument that is.

      Whatever these women did, that is their individual sin that they need to deal with. Their paths of repentance are their own and should be of no concern to the issue at hand. The issue at hand is a false teacher, who is a sexual predator that has harmed thousands of families and individuals and continues to prey upon them. Why on Earth would want to keep turning the focus onto the victims in a pointless effort to shame them? What is your point? What should be done? I think their sin is understandable, given the fact that they were brainwashed, and in a system in which you were taught to obey your authority or face severe consequences. Though I don't really know, my guess is that they have probably all repented for their sins. Regardless, their sins were basically against their own bodies and between them and God. We are talking about men who hurt thousands and, at least one of which, continues to be in a position to do so.
      So, you can spend your time trying to shame the victims, for whatever reason you seem to think this is important. Meanwhile, RG will continue to expose the Gothards for the perverted charlatans that they are.

    • Tangent February 12, 2014 Reply

      Chronologically they "were not children", but for all practical purposes, they really were "children". Look at the way they were isolated and controlled. Not many people have the inner strength to resist such pressure from their "beloved leader" in a setting like they found themselves in.

  26. greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

    mr/Mrs sick of it: I'm going to bow out and let someone else take my place. I don't trust myself to understand your side of this well enough to answer with wisdom. the LORD guide us all in our search for love and light.

    • Shane February 11, 2014 Reply

      Maybe sick of it could state what they think RG should do to get back to what was once valuable about the site.

      It seems you are saying that the only way one can abuse power in relation to an adult is physical violence.

  27. Annie February 11, 2014 Reply

    Yawn. Way too much to drag through. Have you heard of Westboro Baptist Church? Honestly...and I have a right to hold this people remind me of them in many ways. I was told you even had signs put up at Gothard functions. Shame...shame. Somebody has a whole lot of time to spend on this. Do you get a salary from someone? It seems like many readers are coming to get their "soap-opera-fix." Sorry....I call it like I see it. And to me...all this on-and-on-and-on, is one more reason to discredit you.

    Time to grow up.

    • kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

      You can yawn all you like. You are insensitive to the thousands of people that Gothard has hurt; to the families betrayed, to the followers he lead with false teachings and a false gospel; to the girls and young women that he preyed upon. It is the enablers who choose to look the other way, who allowed this to happen for 40 years. We will continue to speak out, until we are heard and he can hurt no one else. So, keep yawning. When you wake up from your slumber, you may find a world with one less false teacher.

    • Lori February 11, 2014 Reply

      Annie, do you have children?

    • Taylor Joy February 11, 2014 Reply

      Well, by all means, if you think it's okay to let your teenage daughter be groomed by an elderly man to play footsie and be "felt up all the way" under her skirt, then you're entitled to your opinion.

      You're also very, very sick.

    • greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

      Just curious, yawning Annie; you say this because Bill doesn't deserve this, or no one could ever deserve this ?? Is Bill being unfairly treated, or is this kind of internet thing out of place for all Christians, all the time ?

    • Austin Gunderson February 11, 2014 Reply

      Annie, why are you here? You obviously feel no concern either for the dozens directly mistreated by Gothard or the millions whose spiritual walk was skewed by his fallacious theology. And that's fine; if you don't understand what all the hubbub's about, you can just pass right on by. But if this stuff bores you, why bother to promulgate your yawn? Are you just a troll getting your jollies by watching others react with indignation to your opinionated obliviousness? If not, then you really need to sit back, take a deep breath, and ponder how it could possibly be that hundreds of former IBLP/ATI students would spontaneously unite under the RG banner and spend "a whole lot of time" (more than either of us could imagine, I'm sure) taking Gothard off his throne in the eyes of the Church unless such opposition was NECESSARY.

      You, on the other hand, you who can't even be bothered to "drag through" a slightly-longer-than-usual blog post, you think you can just "call it like you see it" and leave it at that? The other day you were shouting at RG for not scheduling a sit-down with Gothard, even though RG has clearly, emphatically, and repeatedly stated that what it's now doing constitutes the third and final step of a Matthew 18 process that has been followed in both letter and spirit. Who are you to judge? You know nothing about this situation, and apparently have even less of a desire to learn.

      So I'll ask again: why are you here?

      • Kevin February 11, 2014 Reply

        " Are you just a troll getting your jollies by watching others react with indignation to your opinionated obliviousness?"

        You have a way with words Austin. Well said.

    • Tara-Lee Page February 11, 2014 Reply

      Westoboro baptist are a cult that condemns anybody who doesn't meet in their own tiny 'church' to eternal damnation. Their signs attack people who haven't done any crime, and they've been known to target funerals, including the funerals of children.

      RG is a wide group of people that is mostly (wholly?) christian but seems to accept that there are many worthwhile people out there, including those who disagree with them. They have made it clear that they believe all involved, including Gothard, can come to repentance and a restorative relationship with Christ. In fact, they are aiming for that goal specifically. They speak out about the systematic abuse by those in authority in an attempt to bring the guilty to restoration, to bring healing to the hurt, and to bring protection to the innocent.

      I don't know how you link the two together, but I think it says something about how your brain is wired.

    • Andrew Harper February 12, 2014 Reply

      "Have you heard of Westboro Baptist Church?"

      Um, yes. We are aware that a family of lawyers banded together, called themselves a church, and have been skating just close enough to the edge of the law to incite lawsuits from others, but not so far over the law that they cannot win the suits. Some would suggest it is a cleverly disguised money-maker. None doubt the extreme nature of the hateful tactics used. Congratulations, Annie. The fact that Recovering Grace reminds you of WBC means you have a vivid imagination.

    • SuburBint February 12, 2014 Reply

      Dear Annie --

      Are you familiar with sex offender registries? They are databases online of individuals who have been found guilty of a criminal sexual offense and contain information about both where the offender lives as well as that person's convictions. When a sex offender is released from prison, the neighborhood where he or she will be living is notified, and there are rules regarding how close that person can live to a school, playground, etc.

      Now let us say, hypothetically, that you are notified that a convicted child molester in moving in next door to your house. This new neighbor just happens to go out front to attend to landscaping or wash his car every time your children are playing in the front yard. Would you merely shrug it off or would you tell your children to stay far away from the neighbor and to only play in the backyard?

      Taking it a step further, what if one of your children comes to you and tells you that the neighbor molested them. Would you shrug it off and scold your child for being overly dramatic and accuse them of trying to destroy the neighbor's good name? Or would you immediately report the crime to the authorities and do everything in your power to see your neighbor brought to justice? In the interim would you warn everyone on your street to steer clear of the neighbor?

      Bill Gothard and the fundamentalist Christian movement have been molesting most of us spiritually (and some of us physically) for years. RG is the place where we can go for affirmation that it wasn't just us. It affirms that we aren't crazy, that we didn't imagine it or blow it out or proportion. Unless you have suffered from mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse during your formative years, you cannot begin to understand how crucial it is to hear that we haven't been overreacting, that it wasn't just us.

      I can't speak to the picketing a I have not witnessed it, but if it is occurring, let me simply say this. The Bill Gothars/ATI movement is alive and well to this day. The lives of the second generation of Duggars and their in-laws are proof positive of that. If people are picketing Bill Gothard events, they are simply warning the nighbora about the predator down the street.

      RG is not a place of htemongering. It is a place of healing.

    • Vera Berry February 12, 2014 Reply

      My husband is probably the only street preacher represented here and I can assure you that we have nothing to do with WBC. We find them to be highly inappropriate preaching the wrong message to the wrong people who are hurting. In addition, Doug simply would not preach outside of ATI unless Bill declared himself god or something like that. We try to find people on the streets, interview them, and then dialogue with them online. I further am probably the most versed person here on street preachers and I know of no one that would preach to Bill or his minions. Can you tell us who this is?

      Now, also I want to say that you have some faulty reasoning in your doctrine in terms of judging. You think you can be all nasty because you are a "prophet" and tell people off and bully them around. Wrong again. Try to figure out what real sin is and then judge. That's where you will find some fruit. Lead some real sinners to repentance. Exposing this issue means telling our real life stories. Grow up, Annie.

    • E. Stephen Burnett February 12, 2014 Reply

      Annie, I doubt your salvation. Just as I would doubt the salvation of any professing Christian who says, "I'm a Christian, but I don't care for the poor," or "I'm a Christian, but I couldn't care less about the brokenhearted and spiritually wounded."

      Yes, I understand the desire to excuse or justify pretty much anything because the alternative (Godless moral anarchy) would be worse.

      Yes, I understand the impulse to continually ignore someone's twisting of Scripture for "a greater good."

      Yes, I even understand the very visceral and *good* desire not to judge un-Biblically, to overlook the constant offenses, and to focus on your own spiritual health rather than "judging" someone else.


      If you excuse moral failings in the name of morality, you have no morality. You may be becoming a plain pragmatist whose "chief end" is not glorifying God and honoring His standards, but doing everything for the sake of Image. This is worldly and very sinful.

      If you ignore someone's Scripture-twisting for a "greater good," what "good" is this? What would Jesus, if He were before you, say about that?

      Did Jesus say to the victims of the Pharisees: "What does it matter what they do? Focus only on your own sins." Did He and His apostles say that "forgiveness" includes no recognition of justice or tough love? (In Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 5, Jesus and Paul agree that love for sinful Christians means the church will discipline them so they may repent.) Did Jesus think that certain believers were so weak that they cannot *ever* point out the log in another's eye (Matt. 7)? Or did He say that some believers are so strong that they are above any criticism?

      Finally, if someone, such as a woman, came to you for help, saying that Very Spiritual Evangelical Leader X had been manipulating or abusing her for years, would you really be so heartless as to call her a liar, or say "It doesn't matter; Family Values and Saving America and Personal Outward Moral Improvement matters more," and then turn her away?

      If so, then take this warning seriously: faith without good works, without care for the poor and brokenhearted in the way Jesus cared for them, is a dead faith. It's a non-faith. It cannot save you (James 2:14). Those who make a practice of sinning are not born of God (1 John 1). That means your salvation is in jeopardy of having been a false salvation all along.

      It means, if you're of Jesus Christ, you *will* repent.

      It means, if you are not of Him, no amount of crying out "Lord, Lord" with this self-righteous, uncaring attitude, will prove that your spiritual father is (without any change) anyone else but the devil himself.

    • dreamer February 12, 2014 Reply

      "Time to grow up."

      Oh, the irony.

    • "Hannah" February 14, 2014 Reply

      Oh c'mon... That's it. Yes, Annie, I get a salary (keep reading)! I get a salary from my full-time JOB that I work, in addition to volunteering my time with Recovering Grace. We are all VOLUNTEERS, because we believe in the cause.

      Now, I would like to ask you: who is feeding these rebuttals to you? Because I am hearing the exact same rebuttals from several different sources, across the internet. They're obviously coming from one source, and you didn't even have the creativity to vary it by much. Who is that source?

  28. Joel Horst February 11, 2014 Reply

    After the Meg and Charlotte stories, I thought I was disgusted with Billy Gothard. Now, I'm even more disgusted. Next to my dad and my grandpa, Bill Gothard probably shaped my life, directly or indirectly, more than anyone else. To discover that this man is nothing but a highly hypocritical false prophet who as Jesus said, "binds men with heavy burdens, but will not lift them with one finger", is outrageous.

    As I have been finding out about the disgusting "dead men's bones" in the "white-washed sepulcher" of IBLP, I have thought different times of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:18: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." I have seen a certain amount of seeming "good fruit" in my family from IBLP/ATI (along with a lot of bad fruit) and I have wonder how to reconcile this.

    Today, the Lord reminded me of the next passage:
    "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

    A man like Bill Gothard can actually utter certain things that are true (the sheep's clothing on the wolf). Just like Caiaphas in John 11:49-52, God can even give prophecies through them, and in Jesus' name, they can do incredible things. However, this does not prove that they are of God. A person who is truly following God will do the will of God. As Recovering Grace's revelations are showing, Bill has been far from doing the will of God. One wonders what may have gone on in his cabin when nobody came in unannounced. But God has promised, "There is nothing hid that shall not be made known."

    God condemned men like Bill Gothard in Ezekiel 13:22-23: "Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked [Steve], that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: 23 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

    Bill has made righteous people sad with false guilt over violating his rules (myself included). He has combined his rules with enough Scripture to make them sound Biblical. They are not.

    Joel Horst
    ATI student 1994-2005

  29. Samuel Lundmark February 11, 2014 Reply

    We invested our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor into this organization. That alone lends credibility to our call for clear, honest, transparent answers to sincere questions.

    The person being questioned must yield his personal right to demand that the process follow his path. The questions must be simply answered truthfully and completely without redirection.

    IBLP has consistently failed to respond completely to those who supported its mission and dared question it's actions. That is not good long-term policy.

    It is simply a law of natural consequence for there to be a watershed moment if those answers remain unanswered or if those answers are inadequate.

    I don't think anybody is obviating judicial process here. We are simply asking clear, concise, honest, hard-hitting questions that must be answered without guile.

    Yes, the questions hurt.
    Yet, this does not invalidate them--they remain to be filled.

  30. greg r February 11, 2014 Reply

    to the moderators: I'm glad you included the $$ info in the article, because it's part of the story and an important part. NOT that Bill is all about the $$, but the success and available cash is an important part of what made other things possible (bringing girls, and maybe their parents to HQ, favors for the special ones, etc) Also repentance by a small time pastor of a church of 100 is one thing, but when you are the face of a ministry/industry that numbers in the multiple millions, the $$$$ will make repentance that much harder, imo. This is the IBLP "machine" talked about, Bill is responsible for much more than his own private script.

    Looking thru the IBLP website, it's difficult to imagine that the guy in front of all those initiatives will step down unless forcibly told to. It would be , to my mind, unprecedented. This is where BG's lack of any real church or denominational affiliation hurts him: back to the paper tiger board thing.

  31. FormerATIparent February 12, 2014 Reply

    Gary Smalley has not been to an ATI conference since 2007.
    Joining now is not as strict as it once was.
    BG has a Facebook account? He tells the Youth that it is terrible if they have one!(ATI conference 2012)
    He told my girls at the 2012 conference that they are not to have friends. They are to make disciples.
    At the WIT conference a few years ago, when BG left the building, they brought out the instruments and played praise music.

    I believe there are more easy going families in ATI now, but there are still the more legalistic ones out there.

    • eva February 12, 2014 Reply

      He has a facebook page but no one can comment on it. Only the king himself. Or is he the emperor with no clothes?

  32. Hurting February 12, 2014 Reply

    Dose anyone remember a few years ago ( about 2005) a heavily anti-Gothard Christian leader who hopped all over the abuse allegations at ITC was latter charged with misconduct and abuse himself? I think I read it on the Wikipedia article which has since been edited. Please consider ourselves lest we likewise be tempted.

  33. Deb February 12, 2014 Reply

    "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Matt: 17:18 My first seminar was in the early '80s. It was in Rochester, and it was a video seminar. My second one was in California, and the man himself was present to give it. I remember that he introduced his parents. Maybe it was just his mother. I don't remember. I just remember thinking "This is it! This guy gets it, and he's living it." He was living the standard, he was honoring his parents. He was in the proper chain of authority. He was being blessed. This gave me a sure way to raise my children. The principles came with a guarantee. Nothing to fear if I did it like this, and followed these principles to the letter. I took notes and I hung on every word. I learned in the early 90's that I couldn't live up to the standard - his standard - Bill Gothard's interpretation of scripture. That was frightening, and depressing. I beat myself up all over the place, because he had made such a good case for his interpretation. I read a book, "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" and that was the beginning of being set free. Then came the book "A Matter of Basic Principles." Wow. Well documented, well written. Now comes further revelation, and I find that the tree is rotten from the core. When I gave my former Gothardite pastor the book "A Matter of Basic Principles," His first response was that there are issues of great concern, and we don't need to use his materials since we have the Word. Next thing I knew he was planning a seminar with other area pastors. We were shocked - and were told - they had called IBLP, and were told that the things in that book weren't true. So they no longer had concerns. If people just close their eyes real tight, they don't have to accept that what they have held true and invested so much in is wrong teaching. Quite a price to pay to hold onto something so rotten.

  34. Tangent February 12, 2014 Reply

    This is just horrible! How I wish the problem had been dealt with in the day when it was heard. It makes me so angry to think of all those whose lives have been damaged by this man's teachings. If we had known these things in the early 1980's, we never would have followed Mr. Bill... Of course if he had been dealt with properly at the time, we probably never would have heard of him. Enough of excusing Christian leaders because "of all the good they are doing", or saying "that it would hurt the cause of Christ if these things become public". It's allowing these things to go on that puts a blight on the face of the church.

  35. matthew February 12, 2014 Reply

    RE Driscoll: He and other popular preachers today (Piper, etc) all teach that any person, even one in authority, is fallible, and teach how these are to handle sin and repentance in their own lives as well as others. Gothard teaches, at least by implication, that those in authority are essentially infallible, leaving those who try to live by that teaching at a loss when they find they still have sin despite following all the principles.

    • LynnCD February 12, 2014 Reply

      Matthew and others who keep defending Driscoll -- I know he is not the focus of this board, but just to add another perspective on how Driscoll is so like what I hear of Gothard, here goes (you will need to copy and paste this to your browser:

      Also, the site "Joyful Exiles" put out by Petry, a lawyer and staff member fired by Driscoll, reminds me very much of Recovering Grace in that it is a site set up to give out a warning about abusive men in places of spiritual leadership. Seeing that youtube of Driscoll makes Petry's timeline believable for me.

  36. greg r February 12, 2014 Reply

    Are you ready for some rich irony ??
    Bill's dec.31 tweet As we consider where to invest time in 2014, remember (the) laws of harvest: we reap what and where (we) sow, reap more than (we) sow and in different season.

    Nov.23 tweet There is no sin so great that it can't be rationalized away by the human mind. Prov. 12:14

    I've been very harsh with BG the last few weeks, but folks, THIS TIME, he nailed it....

  37. Mark R February 13, 2014 Reply

    When I first was introduced to IBLP and had dealings with its more "hard core" followers, I thought I was simply dealing with people who thought themselves too good to associate with anyone not in their group. (I also feared they were about to cause a church split; having gone through two in my life I wanted nothing to do with a third, so I left that church.)

    After reading articles from Personal Freedom Outreach and Midwest Christian Outreach (and Veinot's book) I realized I was dealing with hyper-legalism and people who lacked the ability to think for themselves (sometimes a person simply isn't born with that ability, but I've come to learn that you can teach a person not to think for themselves--one way to do it is to feed the young mind to distrust "outsiders" and to keep them isolated from same).

    (However, outside of reading about the 1980's scandal I hever thought that sexual misconduct was involved, and especially not continuing to the present day and involving Gothard himself, until I found RG.)

    At some point, I may submit a story to RG of my experiences as a non-ATI "outsider" and things I saw then which, based on later research and the stories shared here, now make sense to me.

  38. Julia Fetters February 13, 2014 Reply

    I do not mean for this to be off topic - Just a help to Parents. RG established a Facebook page called ATI Parent Recovery Group. Wonderful conversations on topic. Not hate filled in the least. Honest. Sometimes difficult to read. Scripture and very encouraging comments. If you raised your children in ATIA/ATI at any point, please come be part of our group. You will be blessed and helped.

  39. Laurie LaRowe February 14, 2014 Reply

    I remember reading on RG, from several heartbroken moms, that their young adult kids had taken their own lives. I wonder if any of these victims of IBLP had been one of Bill's "secretaries", and/or one of Steve's groomed girls. More things to think about and research...

    • Anonymous February 14, 2014 Reply


      I was not one of Gothard's girls, I worked at a training center for several years. When I left, I was broken beyond my understanding. I was rescued from my life there by a friend. If my friend hadn't come at that time I would have found a way to end my life. I was stuck and couldn't see a way to get out. The oppression was in no way limited to being one of Gothard's girls.

    • 'Megan' February 14, 2014 Reply

      I was suicidal as well, and I know it stemmed from IBLP, even though I never worked there, thank God!

  40. Lewis C Hickman, Sr February 15, 2014 Reply

    I have attended 6 Basic Seminars, The Anger Resolution Seminar, The Finanical Seminar, 3 or 4 Advanced Seminars and have a number of the Institute publications. I have met BG and was able to talk with him for 10 min. or so about some of his teachings. I would not claim to know BG in a personal way except thru the seminars themselves, for which he was present about half the time for some parts of the seminars I and my family attended togeather and seperately. So I would have to assert that I understand and largely agree with his teachings so far as The Holy Spirit has guided me into understanding how BG's interpretations fit into what The Bible actually says. I suppose there are areas for disagreement but since the seminars cover a lot of ground there just aren't any big enough or numerous enough to get excited about. So, Setting aside the sexual issues for a moment, I am very perplexed by the accusations that BG's teachings have caused so much harm and peopled had to be rescued from these false teachings. What Teachings are you talking about? Not once in comment after comment does anybody actually say what these wrong teachings are or why any teaching (un-named) is wrong. What Gives??

    • 'Megan' February 15, 2014 Reply

      Hi Lewis, there are quite a few articles in the 'Twisted Scriptures' section that detail a few of his wrong teachings. Please check out that section.

      Imo, the comment section isn't necessarily the best place for someone to detail a false teaching, why it's false, etc, as it would somewhat go against the rules of the website (asking comments to stay on the topic of the article) AND they would be some really, really long comments that readers would have to find and dig through. It's easier to explain in article format. Today's article details and discusses one of his false teachings, and explains pretty well why it's false.

      Thanks for bringing it up though, you certainly have a valid point. Please check out those other articles for more information if you are interested. :)

    • Sad February 15, 2014 Reply

      Lewis -
      You must not be reading too many of the comments, or not paying much attention to the content of them or the other articles here on the site.

      Just a personal quick testimony for you : Followed BG teachings on courtship and chain of command 20 some years ago. Got engaged. Found out she was a victim of criminal sexual abuse. Attempted to get Justice for her but was rebuffed because she was blamed as at fault and also that to get Justice would be a "bad report". (please see the RG Articles about dealing with sexual abuse victims-where they do place blame on them for their actions - and the current series on the "give an evil report")Her family followed BG's teachings at the cost of her! After my attempt to get Justice, her "chain of command" broke off our engagement. Which, in turn, destroyed my heart.

      Gothard teaches that if you follow his ways and principles, you are guaranteed success. All will be well. NO. You are NOT. As a result of this teaching, a sexual predator (and I am not referring to BG but to the one who assaulted her) walks free to this day. Who knows how many victims he had. Even if she was the only one, for him to get away with it is unjust.

      Take some time, be a Berean, and seek out the scriptures SEPARATE from the publications of IBLP. Read the expose of the "character sketches" that is here on RG. Also, seek some other websites like the Midwest Christian Outreach and see what they have to say about Gothard's teachings. There are other Christian apologists out there who have taken apart, VIA SCRIPTURE, the writings and teachings of Gothard. Again, be a BEREAN, expand your horizons, look beyond what you are being given by IBLP. Research. Read and think for yourself.

      It took a broken spirit for me to look outside of what I had been led to believe. I am glad I am free from it.

      • Lewis C Hickman, Sr February 15, 2014 Reply

        Sad, thank you for responding. Let me add a thought or two to my earlier coment and some to your response. I have noticed after reading more than a 100 of these blogs, that when someone disagrees with a writer, there is a huge tendency to insult the writer that one disagrees with. Why? It's not necessary, and certainly isn't scripitual. But to continue, My knowledge of abuse is a very personal one extending for more than 10 years during my childhood. And, if it were not for Jesus Christ and the Grace he extended to me, I would not be here today almost 70 years later. Perhaps the greatest piece of advice in understand various Biblical teachings from different teachers came from Dr. J Vernon McGee, who said "The Christian should be like a good Milk Cow, Feed on all the Pastures you can but give YOUR Own Milk." BG's teachings have helped and guided me through thick and thin in more ways than I can put into words or count. Did they "Dictate" my behavior? NO,No,no!! Did those teachings guide me? Absolutly, in countless ways! Am I a better Christian because of what I learned from BG's teachings with the guideance of the Holy Spirit? Without question, in all aspects of my life. Has my life been easier because of BG's teachings? In many ways, Yes! But remember that there is nothing about a persons life after they have experenced child abuse that is easy. It's all hard because your not the human being that GOD started you out as. You can never see life the way others do. But that is just the reason Jesus Christ is there..."To heal the broken hearted." And just in case your not aware, the Heart can be broken by many things that are not directly associated with love. I have no personal knowledge of any of the sexual things BG has been accused of. I do note that I also have not read any Sexually Criminal Charges directed toward BG. I can understand what these young women have gone through because I have raised 6 Children (4 of them girls) and have 15 grandchildren(5 of them girls) and 5 great-grandchildren. If these charges are true, BG has done shamefully wrong things for which He must answer to our LORD for, either here on earth or in Heaven one day. And that is not our responsibility but GOD's and he has promised that vengeance belongs to Him. I'm satisfied with GOD's promise, Are YOU? As to BG's teachings, Christian's, Pastor's, Theologian's, and teacher's of all kinds have been arguing about interpretations since the Bible was first penned. The Holy Spirit is the arbitrator of all Questions concerning the Bible and so I think it's best to leave these things in his hands and stop coming with our own private interpretations. At least this is what more than 6 decades of life and more than 45 years of feeding on many pasture and of teaching the Scriptures myself for more than 30 years have taught me.

  41. Paul February 15, 2014 Reply

    Praying for all involved...

  42. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

  43. […] The GOTHARD Files: Part One […]

  44. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

  45. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

  46. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

  47. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

  48. Alfred Corduan November 10, 2014 Reply

    "We know that Bill entrusted Steve with the creation of popular publications like the beautifully bound Character Sketches that many of our parents had on their bookshelves while we were growing up"

    HOW do we know that? I understand that Bill denies that . . . that Steve wrote the CS books.

    • Don Rubottom November 10, 2014 Reply

      Read, Alfred. Bill is not the only witness to those events.
      Because you telephone so many people, why don't you call Steve? Surely Steve will be helpful, after all, who would leave his innocent brother hanging out to dry if he could explain things and clear his name?
      BTW, do you understand that Bill tried to get a number of former fornicating female employees to marry Steve to get Steve off the hook for his evil? Would you consider it sexual harassment if your daughter's former employer dropped in to beg her to marry her seducer supervisor?

    • Alfred Corduan November 11, 2014 Reply

      So many stories . . . If they get repeated over and over they become true. I will investigate . . . Let's see where it shall lead us. Bill says Larry Guthrie and others wrote the CS, not Steve.

      And I know Steve was calling around with proposals . . . The secretary I interviewed was one of them. Bill was behind it? Again, one person says it . . . And over time it becomes a fact.

  49. […] This is not the first time that David Gothard has been in trouble with the law. He was sentenced to 2 years in a California prison in 1986 for illegally selling over a million dollars in securities. David is also not the only Gothard brother to be in trouble. Another brother of Bill’s, Steve Gothard, was accused in the 1980’s of sexually preying on his employees. […]

  50. […] The Early Years: 1965-79 […]

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