Introducing our IBYC/IBLP Facebook Recovery Group

31 December 2015, 13:20



graceimageOne of the major problems with the teachings of Bill Gothard is that they are deeply intertwined with aspects of scripture that are indeed truth. Those who have experienced years or decades under such teachings often need the kind of help that can only come through discussing and sharing with others who have had similar experiences. Harnessing the power of facebook, Recovering Grace has had two spiritual Recovery groups: one for former ATI parents and one for former ATI students.

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have created a third group: one for individuals affected by the teachings of IBYC/IBLP but who were not specifically in the ATI program. The purpose of this group, like the others, is to provide a safe place for people to discuss and work through issues related to life inside and outside ATI/IBLP.

Over the past four years, We have seen many people find much needed help and support as they work through their beliefs, and we have found that there is great value in going through this process as part of a group.

If you are/were alumni or anyone who has been exposed to or brought up with the teachings of IBYC/IBLP in your church, family, or homeschool association, but did not go on to become involved with the ATI program, this group is for you: IBYC/IBLP Recovery Group 
If you are/were a student raised under IBLP/ATI teachings, this group is for you: ATI Student Recovery Group
If you are/were a parent who used the teachings of IBLP/ATI with your children, this group is for you: ATI Parent Recovery Group
PLEASE NOTE: Facebook, for privacy/security purposes, doesn’t allow individuals to send private messages to a person not on one’s friend list. Therefore, our welcome/screening messages will arrive as a “Message Request” (check your private messages and then select “message requests”). These screening messages will typically be sent within a day or so after your request to join the group.




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. grateful December 31, 2015 Reply

    ... everybody's a victim ...

    • Katie January 1, 2016 Reply

      It's not about victimhood. It's about supporting each other in a bid to shed legalism and embrace grace. A place to ask questions and share experiences and seek wisdom from others with similar backgrounds.

  2. Joy December 31, 2015 Reply

    I'm possibly interested but I'm wondering if my fb friends will see that I have joined the group.

    • Moderator December 31, 2015 Reply

      The group is set as a "closed" group on facebook, so friends could theoretically see that you are in it, although it should not appear in their news feeds.

      • Joy December 31, 2015 Reply

        When I click on the link, it says it's a "closed group." I was under the impression that a closed group is a bit different from a secret group.

      • Joy December 31, 2015 Reply

        Oops! Gotcha. I understand now. Thanks! :)

        • Moderator December 31, 2015

          Sorry, I mistakenly posted at first that it was a secret group, and then realized I was in error. My apologies!

        • Joy December 31, 2015

          No problem! Thanks for your prompt responses! :) And thanks for creating the new group for those (like me) who were more indirectly (but still significantly) affected by the teachings of Gothard.

  3. David S. December 31, 2015 Reply

    I deleted my Facebook account 2 years ago for personal growth reasons. I may create a new skeleton account just so I can hop on board this recovery group (if that's acceptable).

  4. nicole gardner January 1, 2016 Reply

    I don't have facebook (on purpose) but I might get a fb account so I can be part of this recovery group. I don't want to have to have "friends" other than in this group, though- if I have a picture of my cat instead of myself with a made-up name can I still be a part of the group? I would put real pics of myself on my page, just not as my profile pic.I've had several stalkers in my life & have always been leery of Facebook for this reason.

  5. nicole gardner January 1, 2016 Reply

    Or maybe there are others with facebook who know if fb lets you use your real name but with a not-me-pic- say, of my cat- and that would be the ONLY thing that non-*friends* can see? Because I don't want the general public around where I live to know my town, place of work, or relationship status.

  6. rob war January 1, 2016 Reply

    Many people on Facebook do not use a "real picture" of themselves as an avatar. You could use your cat, a symbol or even leave it blank. You also have controls over your privacy settings as well. No one can be your facebook friend unless you accept the request. It's that simple. You have control over this. You can also "unfriend" people if they get too annoying. If someone is really bothering you on Facebook, you can report it to them. I would say if you think this group will benefit you, then go for it.

  7. nicole gardner January 1, 2016 Reply

    Thank-you, rob! I'm going to sign up right now under the name: "Kathan L. Zurichs". I'll pretend it's short for "Cathanriel", a name I made up that I like. I know I will benefit from a recovery group. As we all know, there has been a lot to go through before arriving at a point where the saving grace of the cross is actually be believed; in spite of this even now a few people out there still think the one thing to be "grateful" for is IBLP.

    • Vivian January 3, 2016 Reply

      Be aware... Facebook has a rule that you must use your real, legal name. They have cracked down on people who use obviously fake names, but if the name sounds real you can probably get away with it. (The rule may have an exception for people worried about stalkers, anyway.)

      They don't care what you use for a profile pic, so your cat is fine. :-) Your profile and background pics are always visible to anyone, regardless of your privacy settings, so it's good not to put anything private there. Your other pictures are only visible to your approved friends if that's how you adjust your privacy settings.

      I believe there is also a setting to make your profile not-searchable - that is, people can't easily find you to look at your public profile or send you a friend request.

  8. nicole gardner January 4, 2016 Reply

    I got on there and my first *friend* that I got is a real-life friend who grew up in the same IBLP church that I had started going to when I was fifteen. I told her about the Recovery group and she went to it & then messaged me that the stories she "read are heartbreaking". She's praying along with me for people's recovery. And she will spread the word about the group to others with the same IBLP background. Thanks, everyone : )

    btw, I'm accessing facebook through the account of my "friend", "Kathan Zurichs". A grey cat is the avatar. Kathan's details jibe perfectly with mine; we seem to have a lot in common ;)

  9. Fred January 8, 2016 Reply

    If I were still on Facebook, I would join this group (I left in 6/15), as I was never part of IBLP but was a part of a church once about 20 years ago that had an IBLP family in it, and they tried to get me to join the IBLP. Thankfully I was too busy with graduate school work at the time to have time for it.

    However, things with that family really went south when I cracked an innocent joke about something to them after church, and the father of that family went OFF on me over some special music (southern gospel) I had done a few weeks before, claiming that I was teaching their daughters, who were 2, 5, 8, and 9 at the time, to be promiscuous (I kid you not -- honestly, him throwing such accusations around like a loose cannon like that makes me wonder if HE'S guilty of doing that to his daughters!). I left the church in tears, thinking I had really offended the Lord, never mind the fact that I had never heard any kind of teaching before that music with a back-beat was evil. While I still found such teaching to be far-fetched, I still tried to avoid such music just in case such teachings really were true.

    Moreover, I searched online for teachings on that and, of course, found no shortage of sites that were all too happy to push such doctrines. After finding so many of those, I then looked for sites that refuted such teachings, and it was there that I saw the REAL attitudes of those who hold such doctrines, their arrogance, and their attitudes of "my mind is already made up, don't confuse me with the facts!" (thanks, Bruce Carter and the Christian Rock Apologetics Index!).

    Some ten years or so later, I learned that such groups that push the doctrine of a back beat being evil are also among the worst when it comes to having child sex abusers among their ranks. That right there, purely by association, caused the teachings against a back beat to lose a LOT of credibility with me, and as such, I now officially consider such teachings on music to be a LIE.

  10. Patrick Goodall January 8, 2016 Reply

    After being exposed to the IBYC seminar in the late 1970's I ended up spending many years as a spiritual casualty....but due to God's mercy and grace alone I did not stay there. I would liken what I went through at that time to a spiritual holocaust. I am still far from making a full recovery from that time of failure...but I am resolved to endure unto the end by God's grace alone.

    • Julia Fetters February 28, 2016 Reply

      So glad to read this, Patrick. He is both able and faithful.

  11. Ben February 7, 2016 Reply

    Tried to join the 3rd group, and fb says something went wrong (when it loads at all) did the link change? Did the group get deleted? changed?

  12. Ben February 7, 2016 Reply

    Actually it was this group:
    If you are/were alumni or anyone who has been exposed to or brought up with the teachings of IBYC/IBLP in your church, family, or homeschool association, but did not go on to become involved with the ATI program, this group is for you: IBYC/IBLP Recovery Group

  13. Susan's Saddle Stands March 20, 2017 Reply

    not sure where to put this or if this is already put on here but a doc was made about BG.

  14. Ruth March 19, 2018 Reply

    Thanks so much to all the brave people who are doing this work. I'm just encountering this group and website for the first time as of last night, and wow, this has explained so much about my life. I was homeschooled in 5th grade and that year was pretty good for me. I got really close to my mom. But my dad had control issues (which he expressed through anger), we were in a legalistic, patriarchal church since I was born, and I was also being taught Gothard's curriculum for families that had all the animals in it. I was made to sit and listen to it at my babysitter's home starting in 3rd or 4th grade when she and her husband also taught their kids. I remember it was very confusing material and I was very uncomfortable with it. I never put the pieces together before coming to this website, but now I realize that I began to be severely depressed in childhood around the same time as I began to be taught this material, and I believe the lessons in those books had something to do with it, along with other experiences in my childhood. I also remember learning the pineapple story, which I now deeply despise. It was presented to me as a "great spiritual lesson" that God will defend you if you give up all your rights and don't get mad or fight people. I tried it over and over. It doesn't work. If people walk on you and you don't fight back, they'll just keep doing it. Plus it makes people easier for cult-groups to control. I bet the missionary in the story isn't even real.

    When I was a little older (I don't remember exactly but I think I was 12-13), Bill Gothard and his basic youth seminar came to Portland, OR. My mom signed me up to go with her. At first I didn't know what I was in for. I thought I was just getting a week of one-on-one with my mom, and that filled a need in my heart to feel special since I rarely felt like I mattered enough to get that kind of attention from my parents. But the conference was depressing. I was ostracised quite a bit at my public school for many years (I was only homeschooled in 5th grade and high school). Bill talked a lot about bitterness, the reasons for suffering, and a lot of stuff I didn't understand or just don't remember anymore or just plain thought was boring. I must have taken quite a bit to heart though because now as I read over the articles on your website and others referenced here, I realize what impact it all had on my life. I was full of guilt, shame and fear after that conference. I was sure I was a terrible sinner and I began to work overtime at stopping "God" from taking out his wrath on me. I submitted to my parents to the point of exhaustion, then rebelled when I couldn't take it anymore, then repented and the cycle started over. I thought being rejected by my peers was my fault even before the conference, and afterward I suddenly also had "God" to blame but wasn't allowed to be mad or question him because BG said that the suffering in my life was God's idea.

    I wish I could say it ended there but I was very vulnerable to controlling groups and individuals because of my experiences. Reading these articles has helped me understand why my life has been so hard. And I'm really glad to have a Facebook group to join to help me process through BG's effects on my life. It's horrifying to think that this one wicked man could have such massive impact on so many. But on the positive side, I believe one person can also do that much good, as can a team of United people like you. Thank you for your courage in doing this work.

    • Nicole Gardner March 20, 2018 Reply


      I’m so glad you’ve spoken to your experiences. Reading the clarity you provide here is one of the most relatable accounts of falling down the rabbit hole of false guilt &/or misattributed guilt. Being told we were evil for having grown past the stage of being “a weaned child resting on it’s mother’s bosom”, plus being told a list of legalistic acrobatics by which we must revert back to that stage in life, had me convinced that still being alive past toddler-hood was condemnable. Therefore, the spiritual/relational gymnastics to try to legalize myself back into regression of development. As was prescribed to all of us.

      “I was full of guilt, shame, & fear after that conference.”
      “I submitted to my parents to the point of exhaustion. Then, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I would rebel, & the cycle would start all over again.”

      Biblical leadership & guidance takes the protege FORWARD, lead by the example of the leader who has already “gone there.” Someone once said, “Once innocence is lost, the only way to go is forward, to the cross.” Furthermore, growth-progression (as opposed to sin’s progression!) is the design ordered by God in His creation. “The weaned child” no longer “rests against it’s mother bosom” because God programmed this child to GROW. Just as mama’s knees can’t bear up under her child once it’s 110lbs, (or 80 lbs!), so also, parents don’t spiritually suckle their kids throughout childhood. Especially for the purpose that the IBLP prescribed; to continuously root-out any sign of the “sin” of “an independent spirit” on the part of the child. I could say so much more. !!!!!!!!!!!! But I gotta get to a dentist appt.

      Thank-you for what you’ve said above, Ruth. God bless you.

    • kevin March 24, 2018 Reply

      Thank you for sharing your story and very glad that you found Recovering Grace. There are so many good articles to help you understand what you experienced and help you recover from the false teachings that you were exposed to, and I hope that you take advantage of them.

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