Recovering Grace in the Media

17 September 2015, 21:12



In the past two weeks, two major investigative reports were released in the media, both of which were focused on aspects of Bill Gothard and the IBLP and ATI organizations. Both of these reports utilized Recovering Grace spokespersons as sources. We found both of these articles to be exceptionally well-written, and their content to be much deeper and more well-researched than many of the articles that have been released in the past few years. Both reporters went the extra mile to ensure accuracy of facts, and to create a detailed picture of the effects of Gothard’s teachings. As such, we would like to share them with you, our readers.

The first article was written by an investigative reporter named Sarah Posner. Sarah worked on this article for several months, repeatedly asking Recovering Grace and many other sources for verification of even the tiniest details. Her article can be found here:

Chicago-Tribune-logoThe second article was written for the Chicago Tribune by reporter Manya Brachear Pashman. Pashman chose to focus on the teachings of Bill Gothard, particularly as it relates to issues of sexual abuse. Her article can be found here:

We trust that you will find these articles helpful and perhaps worth sharing with those you know who might find them beneficial.


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. Vivian September 17, 2015 Reply

    It's good that major media are reporting the truth... does anyone know if there are criminal or civil investigations also ongoing?

  2. Elizabeth September 18, 2015 Reply

    What is going on with IBLP?
    HQ is moving to Texas (Big Sandy- ALERT Campus). Of course a smarmy excuse is being given.

    • David September 18, 2015 Reply

      could you provide a quote of it of the "excuse"?

      • B Badger September 18, 2015 Reply


    • Mark R September 20, 2015 Reply

      The "excuse" doesn't matter.

      It's well-known that IBLP has been selling assets for years. Earlier this year they sold an old hotel they owned in Dallas that was used as one of their "training centers".

      Oak Brook is a high-class Chicagoland suburb and I've heard that the property has desirable Interstate highway frontage. Also Illinois is becoming an expensive place to do business and it isn't all that friendly to fundamentalism.

      Big Sandy, meanwhile, is in rural East Texas, a part of Texas which is more culturally aligned with the American South. As such, it's more friendly to fundamentalism, plus being rural they can hide their activities better (East Texas is heavily forested). Texas is also cheaper in which to do business (no state income tax that has to be withheld from the few staff members who do pay taxes).

      However I tried to Google IBLP relocation and outside of the quoted source below (a personal blog) there is no information on any such relocation.

      • grateful September 21, 2015 Reply

        hide their activities better? what does that mean? are the plotting something nefarious?

        • rob war September 21, 2015

          I believe what Mark meant was that moving to east Texas where there is much more sympathy toward them and away from a large metro area with an unsympathetic press (Chicago Tribune). I would wager that east Texas is more homogenous Bible belt type of area than Chicago. I also think it would get them away from where Bill lives as well since Chicago is his home town. Less expensive area also probably plays a role.

        • Mark R September 21, 2015

          There have been concerns raised as to ALERT being a para-military organization and this has been the case for some time. ALERT has been in the forested East Texas area since the outset. Nothing would surprise me with IBLP though I doubt they're planning anything sinister--likely planning to defend against whatever the latest conspiracy theory claims that the government is going to do against them.

          If IBLP is trying to hide something why not do it in an area where the locals are more sympathetic to fundamentalism and the local press likely won't have the time or resources (and maybe not the inclination either) to investigate?

          Again, though, outside of that family blog referenced, I haven't found anything to confirm that IBLP is moving out of Chicagoland.

        • Ileata September 24, 2015

          I think that IBLP is trying to distance themselves from Gothard. The Oak Brook Headquarters has a very different atmosphere than Big Sandy. I think they are trying to portray a completely different "face" to make it obvious that this isn't Gothard's ministry anymore.

      • Clutch September 30, 2015 Reply

        For whatever it is worth, I can absolutely 100% tell you firsthand that DuPage County (Oak Brook's county) is fully aware of the Bill Gothard Institute and has a watchful eye upon the org. In many instances, this might seemingly be a threat to our religious freedom - but I can tell you that I found this out firsthand way back in 1995 - and there is nor has been any unnecessary harassment in this county against religious churches or orgs in general - but they are definitely watchful on BG's ministry. They are in fact aware - and cautious. First hand knowledge directly stated from a representative of the DuPage County Sheriff's office.

        • rob war October 2, 2015

          I'm not doubting your story but I'm not sure in the bottom line "what it is worth". Unless there were legitimate filing of violations of laws with the DuPage County Police department, I'm not so sure what "watchful eye" really means. It sounds more like CYA by the police department in stating that they had a "watchful eye" on Bill and IBLP. Either there were formal filings and complaints that the police had to investigate and then the prosecutor willing to go after or these sort of complaints to the police never rose to the level that they were able to investigate or the prosecutor ignored them which is very risky on their part. Considering that some judge was willing to assign Bill legal guardianship according the Bittney's testimony on Bill's web site, it looks like maybe Bill had some sort of "look the other way" with police, judges and prosecutors. Again, I'm not trying to doubt your first hand knowledge here but I hope you realize that using code names and not stating your source borders more on the "gossip" side of things because there is no way anyone here can confirm this. It is something to think about but in the long run "watchful eye" has little meaning and sound more like back peddling on the police departments part if there were people willing to step forward and file legal complaints which would have resulted in prosecution with the law.

    • Stan Goldenberg October 22, 2015 Reply

      My surprise is how they stayed so long in the Chicago area. Focus on the Family made a move from California to Colorado years ago for various reasons. Chicago government is aggressively anti-Christian (the Mayor declared he would not allow Chick-Fil-A to build stores in downtown since they didn't "represent " the views of that city (because the CEO had dared to mention in an interview that he supported traditional marriage). I have greatly appreciated the ministry materials of IBLP/Gothard for almost 40 years and I pray they deal with the current problems in an effective manner.

      • Don Rubottom October 22, 2015 Reply

        STan, I strongly encourage you to review some of the critiques of many Gothard/IBLP materials on this website, reconsider what the Word of God actually says about legalism and grace, and reconsider the benefits you received. I have apologized to my children for exposing them to the garbage of Wisdom Books and the cultish activities at family conferences and other gatherings. Particularly, I have asked them to forgive me for any "vow" they may have been enticed with by Mr. Gothard. He had no right to do such things and no Biblical warrant for that or most of his teaching on authority, submission, forgiveness, music, food, sex, courtship or most of the stuff he wasted our time with.
        Abide in Christ, not the seminar delusions.

  3. JPU September 18, 2015 Reply

    The second one I couldn't open without paying. But the first, wow. I also read about Chicago HQ being closed down and re-locating to the Big Sandy property where the ATI homeschool conferences were being held. Waiting to see what happens next

    • Elizabeth September 18, 2015 Reply

      I have a Tribune account so I was able to read it.
      Would it be OK for me to copy and post here?
      Or I can email it if you really want to read it.

      • christine Faour September 18, 2015 Reply

        I would love to read it if you wouldn't mind emailing it to me! [email protected]

        • Elizabeth September 19, 2015


      • JPU September 19, 2015 Reply

        Yes, if you can copy and paste it, send me an email at [email protected] I will erase this when I get it

    • Vivian September 19, 2015 Reply

      It actually will let you open and read that one story if you do the "register for free" option. You have to provide an email, password, and your ZIP code. I suspect that only gives you "limited" access to so many stories, but if you're just wanting that one, it works.

  4. rob war September 18, 2015 Reply

    so well written! All I can think is the Bible verse "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free".
    Hopefully this is more of the beginning of the end of IBLP/IBYC and Bill Gothard.

  5. Karen September 19, 2015 Reply

    Great job. I hope this will help many avoid deception and many others to escape the snare in which their complicity in Gothard's legalism, hypocrisy, falsehood and denial has entrapped them.

  6. Willy (female) September 22, 2015 Reply

    Willy (female) Sept. 21, 2015

    If anyone would like to forward me a copy of the above referenced info., I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you in advance for your time....:+)

    Blessings from New Jersey...

    [email protected]

    In HIS Grip,
    ^i^ ^i^ ^i^

    • Karen September 24, 2015 Reply

      Willy, the articles discussed are linked in the post and you shouldn't have any trouble reading them online using those links. For the Chicago Trib article you need to register first to read it, but you can do that for free. You do not have to subscribe. Hope that helps.

  7. gw2304 September 24, 2015 Reply

    I have a question. Supposedly bill is out of the loop and is a in the north woods, hopefully, but yet just to keep track of things I am signed up for the daily success emails that come from ibpl. Is bill writing those fresh or is that something that he had from a few years ago and they are rerunning the tapes?

  8. Thea Kent September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hi Elizabeth! Would you be able to email me a copy of the Chicago Tribune IBLP report? I can't seem to get it online. My family was in ATI for 20 something years, and I worked at HQ back in 2004 and before that in Flint in 1999. I'm now following what's happening with interest. My email is: [email protected].
    If you can email me the article, I would really appreciate it!

  9. John W Royalty October 2, 2015 Reply
    Here is "abuse" ...being "thrown under the bus"... When you leave your country to follow the most fantastic earthly hero you know , join his organization with deep involvement , then he impregnates your wife, stealing/ destroying your closest human relationship , then looks you in the eye inviting you to a great dinner, deceitful he tells your most trusted general that you need to be hung out to dry , and abandoned by most trusted colleagues in the heat of battle . I personally I'm looking forward to the opportunity to have a discussion with Uriah thr Hittite.
    John W Royalty
    In my opinion Francois Duplessis does a great job here..
    If you liked this one R.'Kipling also wrote a poem about Uriah, video on YouTube available .

  10. Asia October 7, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for the update. The BG teachings and ATI seminars in Mandarin Chinese are still being promoted in Asia right now. :(! Since there is so little homeschooling curricula many homeschooling families attend the seminars and use the Wisdom Booklets and follow its principles. Am spreading this message...

  11. Bobbi January 6, 2016 Reply

    Recently I emailed the IBLP in Illinois. I advised them that I have made it my personal mission to continue contacting major TV networks for the purpose of providing them with accurate information about the Gothard Cult. I am attempting to capture the interest of these networks PBS included so a program Exposing the heinous Gothard Cult may be produced. This jerk Gothard need to be exposed for the pedophile & dangerous person that he is. The mission of this Gothard Cult objectifies & exploits women. This heinous Gothard Cult is to promote the absolute power & dictatorship of men over their wives & children. BTW in my opinion, courtship is a loser & huge mistake. That's all for now. Thanks.

  12. mike January 4, 2017 Reply

    I read some of this web site's differences with Gothard's teachings. I have also sat in church for several weeks of a pastor who has been given space on this website. The argumants, such as being against Gothard's teaching on authority, are simply poor theology. As for the mentioned pastor, he truly has turned the grace of God into a chance for the flesh. I do not know the degree of Gothard's violation, but this website is pathetic. REALLY... is this all you have to do???

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