Bill Gothard, IBLP and ATI, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Spiritual Abuse

Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams

Bill Gothard launches new accountability ministry/program: Total Success Power Teams


A few weeks ago, I was given some information regarding a new “program” that Bill Gothard is promoting.  I was shocked that he’d want to get back in the saddle of ministry work so soon after resigning from the Board of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP)   Gothard founded IBLP in 1961 but was banned from participation due to accusations of sexual harassment from more than 30 women. The  IBLP Board did eventually clear him of what they called “criminal activity,” leaving unanswered questions. (Source).

I think it is important to show a timeline of events related to Gothard’s scandal:


March 5, 2014 -Mr. Gothard indicated that he wanted to follow Matthew 5:23-24 and listen to those who have “ought [sic] against” him. In considering what was in the best interests of the Institute, the Board of Directors accepted Mr. Gothard’s resignation.

April 17, 2014 – A Statement from Bill Gothard:

God has brought me to a place of greater brokenness than at any other time in my life. It is a grief to realize how my pride and insensitivity have affected so many people. I have asked the Lord to reveal the underlying causes and He is doing this.

June 17, 2014 –   IBLP statement:

We believe God still desires to use Bill Gothard for His work in the Kingdom of God, but we also believe it is important that he be held to the high standards clearly taught in the Scriptures and upheld by this ministry. At this time the Board unanimously agrees that Mr. Gothard is not permitted to serve in any counseling, leadership, or Board role within the IBLP ministry.

  June 19, 2014 – A Christian Post article quotes from the above excerpt and says:

The letter, made public by Homeschoolers Anonymous, states that Gothard referenced a “desire to follow Matthew 5:23-24 and listen to those who have ‘ought [sic] [any grievance] against’ him.” Gothard said at the time he planned to “give his full attention to this objective,” and emphasized his commitment to that objective.

Somewhere between June 19, 2014 and September 8, 2014, in less than three months, Bill Gothard sent out an e-mail information to ATI families members. Do you find it interesting that Mr. Gothard has access to ATI e-mail addresses while he is not to serve in any capacity with IBLP?  Is that appropriate?

I’d like to share some of the e-mail and commentary.

Bill Gothard’s New Objective

The new program is called Total Success Power Teams.  I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like a multi-level marketing promo gimmick to me.  The information I received seemed credible. The design was familiar and similar to other literature I’ve seen from IBLP/Gothard.  It contained two pages giving historical background on Gothard and the last page went into more detail about the program without answering any obvious questions about the program itself. The whole thing felt like a teaser to me. Before I begin, I plugged the excerpt of Gothard’s historical background into my word counter.  The word:

  • “I” was used 33 times
  • “me” was used 8 times
  • “my” was used 11 times
  • “grace” was used 1 time
  • “God” was used 7 times

On the first page, see the picture of the large crowd, the boasting of numbers (2.7 million youth/adults have attended the seminar), the PhD credentials behind Gothard’s name, two pictures of awards or certificates, awarded to Gothard, of course. Humility?  I’m not seeing it.

Total Success Power Teams Bill gothard

The second page shows four pictures down the left side:

  1. I’m guessing it’s a picture of the Chicago Art Institute with a caption: “The La Grange Art League gave me an unexpected scholarship to take a course at the Chicago Art Institute.”
  2. The next picture shows Gothard doing chalk art, apparently in front of an audience.
  3. A photo of a packed out Basic conference in Detroit.
  4. Another shot of a Basic seminar with a packed-out crowd at the Dallas Convention Center.

If you were counting along with me, that makes a total of THREE pictures in two pages showing packed-out audiences. This seems to be a theme that he wants you to see:  Gothard gets packed-out crowds wherever he speaks. Ho hum, humility.  ::::yawn::::

The first part of Gothard’s history opens up with a woe-is-me, humble beginnings (get your tissues):

As a young boy, I certainly would have qualified for the title of “least likely to succeed.” I did not have any talents or abilities that compensated for my dismal performance in school. I flunked the first grade and barely passed the next seven grades on probation. In addition to not being able to read or remember what I read, I had a very short attention span and probably an undiagnosed case of dyslexia.

I often wondered what my future would be like, and as I approached high school I dreaded damaging the academic reputation of my two older sisters. Everything began to change when a family friend asked me, “Bill, do you really want to be successful in your life?” I immediately replied “Yes.” I was then told that if I wanted to be successful I must carry out one vital daily activity.

Then we read how God worked in Gothard’s life in amazing ways:

Something very unusual was taking place in my life. I knew that it was certainly not my doing. It was a living demonstration of God’s promise that if I was faithful in this one activity, whatever I did would prosper. This promise even extended to working with Chicago street gangs. I found a way to transform their thinking with two questions. These two questions have been 100% effective in other cities and nations.

He seems to contradict himself. He said that he was not responsible for what was happening in his life and gives God credit, yet he gives himself the kudos here:  “I found a way to transform their thinking with two questions.” That’s pretty powerful stuff Gothard has. He claims he can actually transform people’s thinking? Where’s God in this?

We see more humble bragging coming up. Isn’t it cute when you kinda sorta give God credit, but then slip yourself into the equation and give yourself the credit – kind of like magician’s sleight of hand?  Oh, no, no, no, not me, I didn’t do it, it was God, no me, no God . .oh wait . .

When I was 30 years old, God wanted to demonstrate to the world the vital importance of this activity. I put together a 30-hour seminar which explains the activity and how God rewarded me for doing it. Soon tens of thousands of youth and adults were packing out Colosseums across America. Thus far, over 2.7 million people from all walks of life have attended this seminar. They came by the enthusiastic word of mouth recommendations of their friends with no media advertising.

Yea, because for 2,000 years, our life has been in turmoil without this newfangled way of thinking.

Ok, and here we get to the crux of the matter. He’s been leading you with a carrot to bring you to the announcement of his new program. But look at what he does right here:

I’m sure that those who completed this seminar were convinced of the importance of this activity, and motivated to carry it out. However, it is doubtful that they had someone to personally encourage them to do it on a regular basis. Thus, many were overrun with daily cares and never experienced the rewards of faithfully doing it.

I too, became so busy with the ministry that I failed to continue this activity on a daily basis. Consequently the blessing of the Lord was lifted from my life and ministry.

Do you see what he did? He alluded to his moral failure in a slick way by saying, “consequently the blessing of the Lord was lifted from my life and ministry.”  He’s blaming his moral failure on not following his program (or is it God’s program? his problem? I’m sooo confused), but he also implicates others – that they, too, have probably not had the encouragement on a regular basis. The underlying message is that they probably have failed just as he has failed. I think he wants a universal pity party . . . or something.

Whoa!  Way to blameshift, Mr. Gothard.  Do you see that it’s the program’s fault, it’s not the fact that Mr. Gothard has been running a group like a cult, has made inappropriate emotional/sexual advances towards young ladies.  This is not a man who has recovered. This is a man who is still looking for the limelight in a new program, trying to move along really quickly from that disgrace.

For this I am deeply grieved. By God’s mercy and grace, He has brought me back and I am committed to carrying out this activity for the rest of my life. I am also determined to help as many others as I can to faithfully carry out the one thing by which God promises success in everything we do: meditating on God’s Word day and night. We will accomplish this through Total Success Power Teams.

After we read about Gothard and his compelling success story, we are led along in those two pages – – to something, but he does not disclose what. He feeds us bits and pieces of something that cause us to continue to read, that build the momentum and excitement.  What is this thing he is talking about? How can we get successful?  I want to know! How can God work through us like he did Mr. Gothard?  (I can hardly wait ::::sarcasm::::.)

And here it is – – voila:

“The Overlooked Plan to Benefit Everyone”

Did you know that you and I and everyone has overlooked a plan to benefit everyone?  He still hasn’t divulged what it is, but we’re still following that carrot stick. God’s Word says we have everything we need, but Bill Gothard tells us we have overlooked something.  Thankfully I now have this plan in my possession so that I can make the last decades of my life count. This is how Gothard sells or lures you in to his new hype.  Now, I don’t know if this “plan” costs anything, but let me continue. I feel like I’m pulling a Gothard, leading you all on. Are you ready for it?  Here it is:

The plan is basically this:  pray for everyone.  

Pray for everyone!

That’s it! Wow.  That was really powerful and profound and  . . . . original?    I think it is appropriate to throw in a couple of Bible verses right now:

What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9

Mr. Gothard, there is nothing new under the sun.  Your “overlooked” plan is nothing new.   It’s just a remake of this verse below, but you are trying to get the credit:

 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thes 5:16-18


 Julie Anne Contacts IBLP

After getting over the initial shock that Bill Gothard, after less than three short months of his commitment saying he was going to make things right, has started something new, I wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth before posting something about it – you know, due diligence and all of that. I wanted to hear from someone – at least someone from IBLP – a voice within that organization to confirm the existence of this program. Now, I knew that Gothard was no longer connected with IBLP, but assumed with his long-standing relationship with the ministry he built, that they would have information about this new program.

So, I called IBLP headquarters.  I first connected with a young lady. Was she a teenager? I’m not sure, but her voice was very young. She was very polite (actually oozing with politeness) and wanting to help me. She said she thought she knew what I was talking about, but transferred me to a gentlemen who would surely know.

This man was aware of the new Total Success Power Teams that Gothard was promoting and launching from his home, but was very clear to say that it was not connected in any way with IBLP.  It makes me wonder how he knew so much about it if Gothard is no longer connected with IBLP.  hmmm

He told me that Gothard is trying to launch the program now and suggested if I had any further questions, I could call the phone number on the e-mail, Gothard’s home phone number. I asked if he would mind sharing it with me as I did not have the number handy, and he gave it to me. Wow, I was getting somewhere, and fast. I already had the program verified, but now the opportunity to hear from the man himself was too good to pass up, so I let my fingers do the dialing.

Discussion with Mr. Gothard

I heard a familiar voice answer the phone – his voice sounded more frail than I remember from the two seminars our family had attended in the early 90s (hmm, I’m wondering if we were counted twice in that 2.7 million number he quoted above?)  Whoa! I was talking to THE man – the guy whose face has been seen on screens all over the world giving us God’s plan for our lives.

I identified myself as Mrs. Smith (the ATI people I know use Mrs./Mr. more than first names, so I followed suit, being respectful and all) and asked, “With whom am I speaking?”  He identified himself as Bill Gothard.

Now – in full disclosure – I was in a state of “whoa!!!!!-I-am- really-talking-to-Bill Gothard” and failed to identify myself as a blogger. But my mind was on a mission and so I continued by asking several questions, about the program, who is it for, is it with IBLP, that kind of thing.

I found out that fathers sign up for it and they become part of a team. Evidently it’s some sort of accountability group concept where questions are sent out and men have meetings online. The fathers then instruct their families and encourage them to pray and meditate. He told me he was very excited about it and was encouraged about the growth he had already seen in his new program.

He spoke about meditation – that the blessing of God left him “when he was not meditating day and night.” He said that he had been meditating in the morning, but had neglected meditating at night. Notice he didn’t identify specific sin, but said, “God’s blessing left” him.  The real sin as he sees it seems to be that he was not meditating. Those of us familiar with this kind of response would label it as minimizing. It’s a way to avoid dealing with the full weight of responsibility.

One aspect of meditation I found interesting was when Gothard excitedly told me his views about meditating, specifically meditating at night. Gothard said that God instructs him at night after meditating. He said that God instructs through dreams while we are sleeping. His voice was excited as he shared this with me. Gothard said, “God’s calling in my life is to encourage people to meditate on scripture.”

The conversation was not long. It ended up with him telling me if my husband signed up that evening, he would be the 92nd man to join. I later asked my husband if he was interested in joining and he gave me a strange look (the usual wondering-what-I-was-up-to-now look) and declined the offer.

Ok, so after the shock wore off that I had just spoken with the Mr. Gothard, I realized I should have disclosed that I was a blogger. I was too busy with activities on Thursday, so I called again on Friday. He didn’t answer and I didn’t leave a voice mail as I planned to try again a couple of hours later.  What do you know, within a short period of time, my phone rang and I saw this on my Caller ID:


Bill Gothard, Total Success Power Teams


I grabbed my notebook/pencil and answered the phone. Mr. Gothard asked for my husband (you know, the man of the house, and the name on the caller ID). I told him he was not available, but I was the same Mrs. Smith who had called two days earlier. This time, I made sure to identify that I was a blogger. I mentioned that I’d like to feature his new ministry on my blog.

His tone changed immediately – a 180 degree change from our earlier conversation (you can come to your own conclusions about that tone change). He quickly corrected me and said it was not a ministry and denied being responsible for it, saying a group of people were working on this “program.”

He then told me that it would not be a good idea to report on the program.  I asked why not. This is where it got interesting.

Let’s think back – on Wednesday, I spoke with a man who was pumped up telling me about a new program/ministry. He was excited to share details about it, the growth it was experiencing, and the excitement men were sharing with him. He ended the conversation by saying he hoped to hear from my husband soon to get him signed up (before he left for church at 6:30 pm).

What had happened in less than 48 hours?  Something must have happened between Wednesday and Friday. Now the new story on Friday was this: numbers were not as good as he had hoped, they were going to have to rework things, and he said it wasn’t public. I challenged him on that by saying that he had already sent out e-mails to ATI families, so it was indeed “out there.”  He insisted that it would not be a good idea for me to report on this “program” until he had an opportunity to first announce it himself.

This phone call was a bit tense. But I had questions to ask, and interestingly, he readily responded to them.

I asked if he had reached out to the young ladies who had come forward with grievances against him:

He said he has attempted to and would love to have anyone offended contact him so he could have the opportunity to make things right.

I asked if this accountability ministry was based on fallout from last year’s allegations:

He responded that this indeed was “part of my reconciliation.”  He also said that this program is also to reinforce what “we’ve been trying to do all these years.”  He mentioned that this is God’s calling on his life – to encourage people to meditate on scripture.

Going Public

People who have been affected by Bill Gothard have the right to know about this new ministry program. People who have been harmed by this man who has “allegedly” emotionally, spiritually, and sexually harmed people have a right to know that Bill Gothard is back to the same old stuff, promoting his own works, calling it God’s works, saying we need this to have successful lives.  This is hogwash. God certainly does not need to bring a “success” program through a man who has left a lot of hurting families in his wake.

Thirty-four days have passed since the initial e-mail was sent out to ATI families. Sixteen days have passed since I last spoke to Gothard in which he said he wanted to post something about it first. He has had sufficient time to make this public.  At this point, as days go on, I cannot be certain if he has ever had the intention of going “public,” as he suggested. Additionally, the news is now public on the internet. When I first got the information, there was nothing I could find online. Now there is talk about it in the comments at the Recovering Grace site by people who have received the same e-mail. It is public.

Ironically, while Gothard is pushing this new ministry/program for accountability, who is holding HIM accountable?  Who gave him the green light to be involved/launch this new program? Who decided that he has shown repentance, shown over time, that he has not fallen back in his old ways of that he describes in his own statement of repentance from months ago?

For many years I have been building the Institute but losing my first love for the Lord. God warns “I know thy works, and thy labour . . . Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent. . . ”(Revelation 2:2, 4, 5). I was finding value and affirmation from the accomplishments of the ministry and those involved in it instead of filling this void in my life with God and His love. I have repented in deep sorrow. However, over the years many people have been offended in different ways because of my lack of genuine love.


229 thoughts on “Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams”

  1. IMO, this does not sound like a man who has repented. This sounds like a man who still wants power and is putting on a show of repentance. And where does he get off launching an accountability program when he himself has failed to be accountable to anyone?

    I’m a former member of the Crossroads Movement of the Churches of Christ, which morphed into what is now known as the International Churches of Christ. The leader of that movement, Kip McKean, resigned as head minister back in 2001 . . . and then, just a few years later, started the International Christian Churches. He has learned nothing from his experiences. Bill Gothard’s story sounds like Kip McKean’s.


  2. My only criticism of the presentation here is that I would argue that church leaders who are sold out to Gothard do maintain accountability according to the Shepherding Discipleship Movement from which he sprang. The Christian Growth Ministries International group taught this. People of Destiny/SGM/Tomczak/Mahaney taught this. The New Calvinists teach this — having resurrected the practice of signed covenants and their intense focus on discipline. Gothard’s not provided anything new here at all. Those who follow the movement still talk about obedience and submission to one’s overseer which is an essential part of church life. No accountability groups are needed. He’s just putting new spin on his old tripe.


  3. My heart breaks for those who have been harmed by this man. To see him nonchalantly launch this program when there seems to be so much unfinished business and pain is so insensitive and cruel. I’m so sorry if you are one of those precious souls.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent work JA! Sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what great comback Doug Phillips has come up with. Maybe Bill and Doug can get together and compare notes 🙂


  5. Wow. Just wow. I’m not often shocked by this sort of thing, but even MY head is spinning right now!


  6. Thank you for sharing you interview with Gothard. He has never reached out to me. As far as I know he has only reached out to one woman. Out of 30 that have come out against him, one, just one. He is a snake oil salesman.


  7. Someone on Facebook just pointed out his own error in his credentials that I didn’t catch. What is a P.H.D.? Piled High and Deep? It’s supposed to be Ph.D., is it not?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I suppose it isn’t surprising that he would think the the problems with his ministry would be solved by more of the sort of legalistic thinking from which the problems arose to begin with. But is is sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Cindy, Yes, it is magical mystical fantasy, too. The legalistic aspect is in thinking that God’s favor (grace) is conditioned upon our performance (praying the right number of times in a day, or meditating in just the right way, or implementing the right principles, etc.). All such legalism is magical mystical fantasy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sounds to me like he’s selling the same old, same old. (And speaking of old, isn’t it about time the old geezer put himslef out to pasture?)


  11. When we first moved here, we were looking at a couple of different churches. Two were kind of “tied” as far as us considering. Then one of them started talking about having an accountability partner (that was not your spouse)… Hubby said this church is not for us.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Is he really as untouchable as he appears to be? Is it his daring, or his posture, or that Men of the cloth have special clout? I don’t understand.

    Do people that connect with him not care that he has nearly destroyed lives, do they have consciences? I don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing you interview with Gothard. He has never reached out to me. As far as I know he has only reached out to one woman. Out of 30 that have come out against him, one, just one. He is a snake oil salesman.


    Thanks for your comment and welcome to SSB. Is this yourstory?

    Charlotte, this really makes me sick. I asked him directly about reaching out to you and the many others. He assured me that he had, and if he missed someone, that he would welcome them to contact him. Does he have a way of contacting you? Can he use that as an excuse for not contacting you?

    As far as comparing him to a snake oil salesman, as soon as I hung up the phone from him after the first call, the first feeling I had was that I was being “sold” something – like a used cars salesman. I could not believe the amount of hype and energy he used to sell the program get my husband on board. Even the tactic to have him call before 6:30 pm before he goes to church was high pressure. The sharp contrast in his tone between Wednesday was quite revealing to me. When he said it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to post about the ministry/program, he came across very firmly with me, saying it a few times even though I challenged him that it was already public via e-mail (it wasn’t discussed online at that time). I’m not sure he’s used to dealing with a woman who is not afraid to challenge a man. Oh well.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. “The real sin as he sees it seems to be that he was not meditating. Those of us familiar with this kind of response would label it as minimizing. It’s a way to avoid dealing with the full weight of responsibility.”

    Ding, ding, ding, ding.

    Yep. In other words, sexual harassment wasn’t the real problem here according to Gothard. He was forced to resign IBLP because of . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . neglecting to meditate at night. Whew! So glad he was canned for THAT grievous sin, aren’t you?

    I hope people are smarter than to fall for this. You know, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, Gothard must be missing the adoring throngs and lime light! Didn’t take him long to package something to peddle. I cannot believe there were still 90+ men out there willing to sign themselves and their families up for the program.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am deeply troubled that bg has once again decided to ignore his sin and fails to apply scriptural directives to ask forgiveness of the 50plus women who now have come forward and identified themselves as victims of bg’s sexual a use. The testimonies on recovering grace website follow a protocol to verify and corroborate the stories. People who observed the signs of abuse have come forward to apologize they did not connect the dots to recognize the patterns of abuse rampant throughout IBLP/ATI. As a former ATI cult family we have personally witnessed the implosion of ATI churches, families and it is devastating. It is incomprehensible that bg can assume any ministry again. I am physically ill as I read of this news. Is this a sign of PTSD??


  17. Great work, Julie Anne! Good on you for getting all that info directly from Gothard.

    He mentioned that this is God’s calling on his life – to encourage people to meditate on scripture.

    And, no doubt, to get paid scads of money for his “encouragement”.

    I do give Gothard credit for one thing, though — he knows how to fashion a come-on. Personal sob stories, intimations of God’s blessing on his work (packed conferences and all), his own certificates and awards… all good ways to rope people in. Too bad there’s no “there” there. He’s offering nothing that anyone should have to pay money to know.

    Reminds me of the opening sequence to this video (0:35 – 1:10). [Not sure whether the video will embed. If not, just follow the link.]

    It would be nice if the folks who received Gothard’s e-mail will open their eyes, and react the same way as the crowd in the vid: Walk away in disgust.

    P.S. to Charlotte (and any of Gothard’s other “alleged” victims): I hope I haven’t offended you by posting this cartoon. I’m not trying to make light of your suffering, just seeking to highlight the ridiculous nature of Gothard’s self-hype.


  18. I feel terrible for his victims and I disagree with his board that he did nothing criminal. In addition to the sexual offenses, he had young people locked up and deprived of food; that is a felony.

    Surprisingly, I also find myself feeling sorry for this man. He is almost 80 years old, he screwed up his life – and other people’s – and all he can think of is to make the same mistakes all over again. And I don’t think he has a clue about what he did wrong.

    There was something very wrong in his family of origin by all accounts. He seems to have done what he was told by his parents for years and even in his forties he was asking his board for permission to marry someone, which he didn’t get.

    I have never met him so I could be wrong and he is a narcissist or a sociopath but I don’t so. I think that his psychological development stopped in his mid-teens. He sounds and acts like an adolescent and even his sexual predations are adolescent.

    Maybe it is because I am getting older myself and want my life to have meant something but it just seems sad and pathetic the way he has wasted his life.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As a former ATI cult family we have personally witnessed the implosion of ATI churches, families and it is devastating. It is incomprehensible that bg can assume any ministry again. I am physically ill as I read of this news. Is this a sign of PTSD??

    Deb – I don’t think any of us can diagnose PTSD here, but one can certainly get PTSD from spiritual abuse. I think even others who have not been so affected by BG can feel physically ill when they think about the destruction and pain this man has caused. (I’ll add a trigger alert to the post – thanks for the reminder.) This is very sad, indeed. I’m sorry to have to resurface this old junk for you 😦 Please feel free to vent all you want here.


  20. JA,

    I’m not sure he’s used to dealing with a woman who is not afraid to challenge a man.

    Almost for certain, he isn’t. I haven’t read many of the stories at Recovering Grace yet (I keep meaning to). But from what I gather, Gothard likes to surround himself with acquiescent teenage girls who don’t understand their own rights. I’m not sure he can even comprehend a confident, knowledgeable Christian woman.


  21. A number of things are really bugging me about this situation:

    ~The guy I spoke with at IBLP knew so much about this program, yet was very clear in telling me that IBLP was not connected. Shouldn’t Gothard have severed ties with IBLP?

    ~I’m bothered that this has been hush-hush, and only sent out through ATI families – the families who respect and have defended Gothard the most. If this program/ministry is so “right,” he wouldn’t be afraid of posting about it publicly, but this feels sneaky to me.

    ~How in the world is it appropriate for Gothard to use ATI mailing list to send out this info? Does Gothard own the ATI mailing list or IBLP?

    ~In Gothard’s e-mail, he boasted how IBLP conferences spread through word of mouth and no advertising. Isn’t this just what he was doing with this new ministry – hoping it will spread via word of mouth/e-mail, starting with ATI folks?

    (Do you sense that I’m worked up and the article could have been twice as long? – lol)

    Liked by 3 people

  22. “Gothard likes to surround himself with acquiescent teenage girls who don’t understand their own rights.”

    Yes! When I think that this “program” is aimed at fathers, and that, a least, 91 men have already signed up for it . . . I mean, what DO these men hope to learn from Gothard? The icky creep factor is through the roof. After learning from “Mr. Footsies” himself, these men may very well need an accountability partner.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. There was something very wrong in his family of origin by all accounts. He seems to have done what he was told by his parents for years and even in his forties he was asking his board for permission to marry someone, which he didn’t get.

    I am not familiar with this story. Does anyone have anything on this?

    Marsha, what strikes me so much with Gothard and people like my pastor, Driscoll, Mahaney, and so many abusers is a sense of entitlement. Common sense would say that he’s done with ministry, period, but yet he feels entitled to get his hands into more ministry work once again. A truly repentant person would never put themselves in any ministry position launching anything. They would humbly and quietly serve people so as to never cause anyone to stumble.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Great article Julie Anne! I remember that I about peed my pants when you told me you talked to him on the phone!

    I am not familiar enough with ATI/IBLP to know the history of it, so when I read the first part of this I was confused. I couldn’t tell if he was writing about what had happened or something new. I’m sure those familiar enough with him and the programs knew.

    Here’s what I found funny/ironic: “I found out that fathers sign up for it and they become part of a team. Evidently it’s some sort of accountability group concept where questions are sent out and men have meetings online.”

    What has been Bill’s teaching (if any) for women being online? I know that a lot of these guys will blast women for being online and using the internet citing that it’s another form of gossip or using up time that could be better used serving the family. But, obviously men can meet and encourage each other online.


  25. Deb – I cannot diagnose PTSD, but I have worked with others who have been diagnosed with PTSD. If feeling physically ill is a result of reading about a place/event that has caused you trauma, then yes, this could be a symptom of PTSD. I would encourage you, if you are not already, to work with a counselor to help you work through the trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. @TinaSergentSeward:

    IMO, this does not sound like a man who has repented. This sounds like a man who still wants power and is putting on a show of repentance. And where does he get off launching an accountability program when he himself has failed to be accountable to anyone?

    Like Jimmy Swaggart after he got caught with a prostie and Ted Haggard after he got caught with a male prostie — drop out of sight, make some media releases about your “Repentance(TM)”, then start another Ministry(TM)/plant another church and hit the Comeback Trail.

    “From the cover of Heaven’s gate

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Kathi – check out this about ATI.

    ATI is essentially the homeschool program of IBLP. In the 90s, you had to attend the Basic and Advanced seminars before you could sign up to be a part of ATI. They provide all of the homeschool curricula which is supposed to be multi-level (Wisdom booklets, etc). I have not heard a lot of positive things about the academic quality. There is a heavy emphasis on character training.


  28. @BTDT:

    Yes! When I think that this “program” is aimed at fathers, and that, a least, 91 men have already signed up for it . . . I mean, what DO these men hope to learn from Gothard?

    How to feel up underage interns and get away with it?

    Liked by 2 people

  29. $675 for the curriculum???!! Holy cow! I didn’t even spend that much for one year’s worth of curriculum – maybe two years worth.

    It’s too bad that Gothard can’t fully retire and do the right thing by owning up to his misuse of power. It really would be interesting to know if the women who worked for Gothard can file any legal complaints.


  30. I have read most of the material on Recovering Grace and that’s where I learned about the dysfunctional family dynamics. I am still looking for the material on his family, but the story about trying to marry one of his secretaries (she was twenty) is Meg’s story. The information about the board is in part six and in part three Meg is confronted by Gothard’s sister who asks her if she thinks she is going to marry him and informs him that the family will never stand for it.


  31. Marsha – I was hoping Julie Anne could get a question in to him about his family. From what I’ve read, there are issues with Gothard’s brother allegedly abusing girls too. The impression I’m left with is that the issues are deep seated in the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Anyone want to take on Celeste’s great question:

    Do people that connect with him not care that he has nearly destroyed lives, do they have consciences? I don’t understand.


  33. By the way, thinking of the last thread, in reading Meg’s story, I noticed that Gothard used the term ‘soul ties.’ He knew that Meg was interested in a young man back home and he demanded to know if they had ‘engaged in intimacies’ since it seemed to him that she had strong ‘soul ties’ to him.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Gothard’s ongoing followers aren’t thinking about victims. Judging from comments I have read, if challenged they think some are lying and some misunderstood innocent gestures of friendliness. Followers tend to be people who have invested a lot of time and money in what Gothard had to sell and do not want to feel that they wasted their efforts on an ’emperor’ with no clothes. The more they invested in Gothard, the more resistant they are to accepting the truth about his predatory behavior, un-Biblical legalisms, and twisting and misusing Scripture.

    There are also some people such as a woman who posted that she came to know Jesus through a Gothard seminar. Her mother died when she was young and she was brought up in chaotic poverty. I can see how the whole experience was transformative for her and how it would be hard for her to separate out what was Jesus from what was Gothard.

    I have great admiration for anyone who recognizes and gets out of a spiritually abusive environment. It is very difficult.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. For Gothard not merely to start a new program but to focus it on of all subjects accountability— the sheer amount of hubris is staggering. It’s as though Bernie Madoff started a program on financial responsibility.

    To meditate is to withdraw into silence and solitude and humility. It is hardly a good qualification to boast about teaching crowds of thousands.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Celeste: Marsha is right and that’s your answer. They aren’t even thinking about the victims. Any thinking that goes into any of it is only the thinking needed to justify all they have invested as well as to rationalize why they will continue. When all this came down with both Phillips and Gothard, my friends who used their materials and who basically were their followers, would actually say, “Well, we don’t follow man; we follow Jesus.” End of discussion. To try and carry the discussion further was met by the proverbial roadblock of, “That’s gossip.” So they continue with the unbiblical materials and lead their children down a sure path to hell under the guise of raising a godly family. When the blind lead the blind – the thing to remember is that they are ALL blind – and those who are graciously provided with light, snuff out the candle – and quickly. I’m not excusing it. It’s willful ignorance. So… the bottom line is they are too self absorbed and too self righteous to care about the victims – and hardened enough to watch the train roll right over more people.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thanks so much for taking this public. Great article! (I could see how it could easily be twice as long. Such rich subject material.)

    Just a few things that might improve your article:

    [removed corrections]

    Admin note: Thanks, Will, for the corrections. Two sets of eyes missed those. I always appreciate help with typos 🙂 ~ja


  38. There is probably one other reason for Gothard’s actions here. Remember how in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal, it came out that Clinton was all worried about his legacy, and stuff? Then there’s what happened with Paterno. Mr. Gothard may well have similar worries about his reputation going down in flames right at the end of his “ministry” career.

    Personally, I think on that Day when he has to stand before God to give an account of his life, most of his works will be burned away as chaff, and that’s IF he does not hear those dreaded words, “Depart from Me; I never knew you.”.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. As an ex-ATI student, I’m very familiar with this man & his cult. “Luckily” I’m not pretty enough to be a Gothard Girl, so I was never sexually harrassed by him. I did observe that there was a “type” of girl that got to be close to him, so I have no reason to doubt the stories.

    I have 2 observations to make, regarding his “credentials.”

    1. His “P.H.D.” (LOL) was honorary. He didn’t actually study for it. Meanwhile, I, like thousands of other young women and even young men, was denied a college education as higher education would expose us to the wrong philosophies of the world. Funny how his having a “Dr.” in front of his name, and flashing that around at every opportunity, is fine.

    2. Those packed-out pictures are from 30 or so years ago. I’m pretty sure that first photo was Atlanta c. 1985. He hadn’t drawn a crowd like that in YEARS. The Basic in the city closest to where I live ran 200-300 in the heyday of the early 1990’s. In 2011, the last year I know anything about, the attendance at the Basic was around 40, and that was “big.” That city hasn’t even had a Basic in 2013 or 2014. City-wide Basics have dropped from 4-5 *every week* from May to September, down to 4-5 in a whole summer. Most people watching the Basic do do online (Embassy Institute, last I heard) or in small groups in homes. For BG to use these photos to show his own importance is definitely false – or at least, very old – advertising!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Oneh20one,
    I’m not thinking about any of his followers stopping him.He has them tied up and brainwashed. Where are the people of faith that see through him, those that detest what he has done to young women, those who stand in the pulpit weekly and claim to know and speak truth. How about the politician who claims to be for those who need someone to be their voice, those that like to gather signatures on a petition. I wonder if there isn’t greater responsibility for those of congregations of thousands, who have financial resources and a platform to serve the greater good.

    He is as a Hitler. Satan is so pleased that no one really dares to touch BG. Satan doesn’t really have to do much if people agree to let BG continue on.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Reblogged this on Grace for my Heart and commented:
    Narcissists and legalists rarely quit. That’s because they don’t believe they are ever wrong and don’t understand the propriety of stepping back. They are usually driven by their need for affirmation and control.

    Now, I am not accusing anyone in particular of being anything in particular here, but I wanted to pass on this information from Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board. This came through on Recovering Grace without more information, but the rest of the story is here. What do you think?


  42. There are some legitimate comments/concerns mentioned on Free Jinger I’d like to address (these comments are from different people):

    Is it at all possible that between JA’s first and second phone calls the IBLP BoD clamped down on him for a premature come-back?

    I don’t think so. The IBLP staff were only answering general questions. I don’t think they would have a reason to go to the BoD. As far as Gothard is concerned – I said my name and that I was interested in posting about it on my blog. He did not ask the name of my blog, but quickly went into gear to convince me not to mention anything publicly.

    What’s with Julie Anne? She says she sat on this for 7 weeks waiting for someone else (comments at RG) to spill the news first. Does she have some moral objection to breaking scandals herself? I find her attitude rather odd.

    Where are you getting the 7 wks from? It’s only been out since 9/8. I got the info on September 23, talked with BG on 9/26 and finally got it finished and posted 10/12.

    I started the post Sept 30 – 4 days after speaking with Gothard for the 2nd time. Part of my initial work was asking around to seasoned bloggers about posting about it before Gothard himself publicized it since he had requested several times that I not post it. I’m not a reporter and want to make sure I’m being careful and respectful to all. The consensus was “yes,” it was okay to post, and it was my intent to get it posted the following weekend, which would also give him time to get something posted publicly as well. (Not that I had to give him time, but some would claim if I posted immediately that I just wanted to rush to tell the story. The more important matter is to focus on him without distractions.)

    Unfortunately, it took longer than I expected to pull everything together (links/source info/background) in addition to keeping current with college homework which has been kicking my butt.

    That said, I’m thinking she said something a couple weeks ago indicating there was something brewing. (Although I might be imagining that.)

    I did send out a Tweet and then removed it because I realized the post was taking longer than I expected. Good eye!

    This may seem overly critical of Julie Anne, but I think she can be a bit gullible in believing her sources. Also I’ve been shaking my head over her taking David Gibb III’s self-sanitized resume at face value initially. If she had dug a little deeper and been a bit more suspicious she would have uncovered his very recent Old Schoolhouse “mediation” cover-up connection. Not cool, David Gibbs III.

    FJ is a huge site with a lot of seasoned sleuths who have been covering all kinds of stories for years. I’m a single blogger who gets limited info sent to me. Otherwise, I do all the research work. The David Gibbs Jr/III was very confusing. People mistakenly posted wrong information on my blog. I was seeing confusion in comments and even articles, as people forgot to add the Jr or III. I requested that Gibbs III clear it up for me, which he did and my friend, Brad, worked up a chart to help identify cases between Gibbs III and his father. At the time, I couldn’t pinpoint which Gibbs had the Old Schoolhouse case.

    I have spoken with Gibbs III once or twice on the phone and by e-mail during the heightened part of the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel/Phillips case. I may have been gullible. Now I see that while he was forthright about correcting the prominent cases he worked on vs his father, it is apparent that some cases were not mentioned at all. Failure to disclose is not being honest. Ugh!

    On Julie Anne: I respect her usually, because she does try to be careful and judicious, research thoroughly, and go to the source where possible. And, yes, it was giving BG the chance to go public himself. Why wait though? The old molesting monster does not deserve to have his machinations kept secret just because he asks. Why honor Gothard’s request to keep it quiet until someone else made it public? She has a lot of credibility but this one still doesn’t sit well with me.

    Well, shoot, I guess I’m going to have to abandon my family/school to please you peeps! LOL Really, there’s no other reason why it wasn’t posted earlier except for trying to keep my head above water at home/school. Now that I’m back to school, I’m unable to be as quick to report on breaking stories as I used to do. Sorry!

    There are often good reasons why I do things, but I may not make those reasons publicly known. Rather than speculate, feel free to send an e-mail. I don’t bite. I’ll be happy to read questions, comments, even criticisms:


    Liked by 3 people

  43. Bill Gothard is a very godly man who had dedicated his life to helping people, cities and nations trust God and trust in God’s word. I think there is currently an evil and coordinated attack against him by godless liberals who can discredit all the rest of us conservative Christians by use of the same measuring stick. IBLP saved my life when I was a teen and the organization is doing such good work all over the world. Like any organization there are difficulties. It certainly has not improved without him. Like any person he can be criticized. But we should be mature Christians and overlook shortcomings of members of our own body. My family and my daughters know and love Bill Gothard. He has never been anything but good to and for us. He advises but there is never any pressure to be his “sheep”! We will be standing up for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I’ve been waiting for a comment like yours, Karen. Thanks for stopping by.

    Do you think God wants His work to be accomplished through a man who has violated young ladies emotionally and sexually? Why would God allow that when there are other godly leaders who don’t cross those lines?

    I just don’t get the idea of good works + sexual sin – – it’s like water and oil – you can’t mix them. What does the Bible say about sexual sins? It sounds to me like you are not even following what the Bible would say on this. This man does not fit the qualifications of a leader. He has failed.

    I am very concerned about your daughters, Karen – that you have taught them by your example to elevate a very sinful man. You could be putting them in harm’s way to trust someone like him. Please be careful and look to God as your source, not man.

    Liked by 4 people

  45. Bill Gothard is back to the same old stuff, promoting his own works, calling it God’s works, saying we need this to have successful lives.

    This sound like nothing more than a subspecies of the prosperity gospel.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. These verses are about false teachers. One note about false teachers is many times there is another component in character that they are also sexually immoral. Interesting that the Jude passage also mentions dreams and Gothard went on quite a bit with me about how important it was for him to listen to his dreams. Hmmm

    2 Peter 2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    Jude 1:

    3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Well, I don’t know why it’s marked that I like Karen D’s post because I didn’t do that–or if I did, it was by accident.

    It’s not “godless liberals” who are criticizing Bill Gothard, Karen. It’s God-fearing, God-honoring Christians who are looking at his actions and seeing a strong disconnect between what he preaches and what he actually does. It’s young, God-fearing, God-honoring Christian women who have been confused and hurt by his attentions. And it’s God-fearing, God-honoring folks who are looking at this new “ministry” of his and wondering when/if he has truly repented. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t repentance. Turning away from sin and making things right with those he has sinned against is repentance. As we can see from at least one response here, he has done neither.

    I’m praying for you and your daughters, Karen, that they would be spared the anguish Bill Gothard heaped upon the young women he hurt and that you would dive into the Scriptures to see where Bill Gothard’s walk doesn’t match up with his talk.

    Liked by 3 people

  48. Dear Karen D,

    You said, “But we should be mature Christians and overlook shortcomings of members of our own body” — Would you overlook YOUR daughter, other family member or friend being sexually abused?! One is enough and Bill Gothard has a *PATTERN* of sexually abusing 30 women that we know of. God does NOT call us to *overlook* sin. He calls the church to restore such a one with gentleness and should the offender not repent, to turn him out of the church. BIll Gothard did not come forward of his own accord, he was caught. How many others would have been molested. We do not turn our heads from the victims just we escaped his clutches.

    Bill Gothard didn’t save your life, God did.

    Liked by 5 people

  49. Bill Gothard: “It is a grief to realize how my pride and insensitivity have affected so many people”

    — No Bill Gothard it is your sexual abuse and abuse of a leadership position that has affected so many people—how about starting with those young women, then their parents and siblings and the countless people who attend your “Seminars”, you know, 10 steps to this and 7 steps to that, and Waala! You will be a SUCCESS! Jesus is our SUCCESS; He is EVERYTHING we need and want.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. I’m just wondering, is BG’s phone number public? What if a lot of people called him with the exact same agenda…..politely and firmly asking a pointed question and making a statement. If someone here could come up with it…….I learned in Boundaries classes that that is the way to deal with someone who is wrong and is trying to confuse you – how to bring someone as close to accountability as possible – keep making the same statement over and over, calmly and quietly persistent.

    By the way, did he say what he was doing instead of meditating at night all these years?


  51. Reading through the excerpts of his program in your post reminded me repeatedly of watching late night infomercials. All hype and no substance. DO you want to find out how his program maximizes on prayer? Pay your money and you’ll learn it all! But really all you’re likely to learn is that his program maximizes nothing but filling his bank account with your money. That’s how infomercials work.

    Re the person at IBLP knowing of Gothard’s new program, I think there is an alternative to them somehow being in cahoots. Perhaps IBLP is keeping tabs on Gothard so they can at least be aware of what he’s up to. If it turns pout they’ve allowed him to use their resources, that would be another thing altogether, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. This man creeps me out. I wish I could be more mature about it— but there it is. I was never really that familiar with him until all the scandals broke but as I read I recognized some stuff that seeped into some churches and it sounded familiar. It never took hold, thank goodness, as those folks usually did not stick around long.

    I remember reading somewhere he has a landing strip for small planes at his place. A prerequisite for rich evangelists, of course.

    Eeek. I need a shower.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Hi Celeste,

    You asked: “Do people that connect with him not care that he has nearly destroyed lives, do they have consciences? I don’t understand.”

    I have experienced this in our church when I went to the pastor, his wife, and closest friends of my husband==>who has verbally, physically, emotionally, and now financially abusing me. My husband has been UPHELD as being a good Christian man because he is in church every Sunday and I am not. I have been sick for the past 10 years and the last 2 years I have not attended. They just cannot bring themselves to believe that what they see on the outside could be different from what really goes on inside my husband. I asked myself WHY? The things that I have come to learn are:

    1.) Pride on the part of the pastor, etc… They don’t want to admit that someone like that sits in “their” church pew week after week. I mean what kind of pastor does that make him?! For sure he would NEVER have someone like that in their church. He would SURELY have discerned this.

    2.) There is something in it for them being friends with my husband. Helping out with church programs, financial support, having our children participate, and someone that knows how to charm, make THEM feel special and all warm and fuzzy. And maybe somewhere down deep they carry some of the same “man is the king of his castle” attitudes.

    Countless abuse victims in churches, because they (the church) value being right over finding out the truth and dealing with it as God wants them to.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. “I think there is currently an evil and coordinated attack against him by godless liberals”

    Oh, I get it. Being a “godless liberal” is supposed to be far, FAR worse than being a sexual abuser. Therein lies the problem with evangelical thinking today.

    Liked by 5 people

  55. The idea that agnostic or atheistic liberals would have ever heard of or care about Bill Gothard is ridiculous. I happen to be a Christian liberal and I can assure you that the idea that liberals with or without religious belief would plot against him is just silly. I never heard of him before his moral failings were made public.

    As a liberal, I believe in the separation of church and state and religious freedom. As long as religious leaders aren’t committing crimes or spiritually abusing their members then I don’t consider it my business what people believe. Karen, you, Bill Gothard, and Christians in this country are not being persecuted.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Nice article Julie Anne. I think it was awesome how you went right to the source and actually spoke with Gothard.

    One question for you – how old is your cell-phone? Looks like you are utilizing some seriously outdated technology! 🙂


  57. @marsha:

    The idea that agnostic or atheistic liberals would have ever heard of or care about Bill Gothard is ridiculous. I happen to be a Christian liberal and I can assure you that the idea that liberals with or without religious belief would plot against him is just silly.

    But Having those Enemies of the Faith(TM) plotting against him makes him IMPORTANT! (Cue “Blessed are Ye who are Persecuted…”)

    Liked by 1 person

  58. @Susan:

    I have 2 observations to make, regarding his “credentials.”

    1. His “P.H.D.” (LOL) was honorary. He didn’t actually study for it. Meanwhile, I, like thousands of other young women and even young men, was denied a college education as higher education would expose us to the wrong philosophies of the world. Funny how his having a “Dr.” in front of his name, and flashing that around at every opportunity, is fine.

    When it comes to a ManaGawd, I always assume the “Dr” is Honorary until PROVEN otherwise. These guys always award each other Honorary Doctorates:

    Reverend Larry awards Reverend Moe an Honorary Doctorate.
    Reverend Moe awards Reverend Curly an Honorary Doctorate.
    Reverend Curly awards Reverend Larry an Honorary Doctorate.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Celeste,

    More people should do what you are talking about and I don’t know why they don’t. I wonder if some of them know what is going on, even. I used to attend MacArthur’s church and several of the homeschoolers use ATI – or at least I saw a lot of ATI materials at the homeschool curriculum trade fair, but I never ever heard people at church actually talk about him until I ended up in a small family integrated church.

    Believe it or not, there are tons of Christians who don’t even know that this whole subculture exists. Having now seen the damage that can be done by the subculture on so many lives, I do think we ALL need to alert pastors, etc. and not assume they know. When they know and don’t say anything is a different story and all I know is that there IS a boys’ club mentality at times. JA put up an article by a pastor that was in favor of discernment bloggers on her fb page. It was one guy who really got it and I can only hope more and more do.

    On a side note, JA, I always check “Notify me of new comments” and Notify me of new posts” and yet I am never notified… ?

    Liked by 1 person

  60. I hate saying I homeschool when I go back and find uncorrected typos! 🙂

    JA note: I think I got the typos. Regarding getting emails from comments, I have no idea how to fix that kind of Word Press issue. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll figure out that kind of thing in one of my computer classes one day.


  61. I haven’t read all of the comments yet, but I want to say that I took the Bill Gothard seminars back in the 1970s. Some of them, such as the “Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts,” I attended twice. We used to take busloads of people from our church, all of us with our huge red notebooks. My church backed away from Gothard in the late 70s and early 80s. Thank goodness.

    It took me years to get rid of that guilt and the toxic false teachings.


  62. There are three tell-tale terms in the name of Gothard’s new initiative = Total, Success, Power. That tells me all I need to know about this dufus.

    By the way, it’s amazing what last week’s sermon and 6 Wheaties box-tops can buy you now days by way of an honorary doctorate…

    Louisiana Baptist University
    Location: Shreveport, Louisiana, USA • Regionally Accredited: No 
    Established: 1973  • Type: Baptist, Non-Profit, Bible Institute 

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Interesting article. I’ve followed the gothard saga over the years with a disconnected interest. My family was part of ATIA, having been accepted in the second year of the program. I have since “fallen” from the lifestyle and don’t even consider myself religious anymore. I have 3 sisters. 1 is extremely “anti gothard”, the other 2 have no ill will toward the man. I occasionally check out the recovering grace site. I have no idea whether the allegations are true as they have been presented and the majority of the readers/posters don’t either. The allegations that I have read trouble me in several ways. If true, obviously gothard is another in the long line of religious leaders failing his god and his calling. On the other hand, the victims in these cases( from what I have read) never once contacted law enforcement and to this date I am not aware of any lawsuits being filed against IBLP or ATI. I could be wrong of course since my life is busy and I am not consumed with this news. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming any alleged victim. We all make choices in how to deal with circumstances we have encountered. I am saying that posting on a website(RG), oftentimes anonymously, is not pursuing justice. As far as the matter at hand, no one “needs” gothard to tell them the benefits of meditation. Any person signing up for the “new” program without asking the questions that the blogger herself has brought up is probably someone who will not be influenced by the allegations anyway. Sorry for the long rant but I will sign it with my full name- Tim Baker.


  64. Moderator note: Please take all of Alfred’s comments with a grain of salt. He is a Gothard friend and sympathizer. He is not an IBLP spokesman nor Gothard spokesman.


    1). Bill Gothard is officially banned from contact with any and all IBLP staff, on or off the clock . . . And is not permitted to set foot on any IBLP facility or have use of any IBLP resources. I know this first hand. My son is on staff, and I have been in contact with Dr. Levendusky, current President.

    2) Bill has no access of any ATI mailing list. The list he compiled has been word of mouth, from personal contacts he has made.


  65. It is my understanding that law enforcement has been contacted but the offenses fall outside the statute of limitations. And if the victims filed suit, wouldn’t you suggest that they were lying in the hope of getting money?

    The fact that so many victims and witnesses from different decades have come forward lends their stories credibility. At least two of the victims have not been anonymous, by the way.

    Gothard’s own known behavior is suspicious, choosing girls for staff positions based on a physical type rather than any qualifications and locating his office in the girls’ residence.

    Marsha Miller

    Liked by 2 people

  66. Just a quick note to thank you for your work, Julie Anne. Gothard has been a major influence on my father’s obsession with authority since before I was born. To a large degree I credit Gothard for my family’s fragmented relationships. Nevertheless, I’m quite sure no scandal will ever dim my father’s devotion to his teachings.

    As one of the FJ posters you quoted at 9:11 AM, I appreciate your generosity in responding to those comments. Best of luck to you in your schooling. I’m an academic mother myself, so I’m in awe of anyone who can do that AND keep up such a ground-breaking blog at the same time!

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Welcome, Alfred,

    I think we’ve all been doing a collective sigh with you, perhaps for various reasons.

    Thank you for that information you shared.

    I’m unclear, however, how the staff person that I spoke with had so much information about the new program (unless he was connected to Mr. Gothard’s personal contact list as you suggested).

    And further, if Bill Gothard is banned as you say (and I have no reason to doubt your word), it seems inappropriate for a staff person to discuss any ministry/program connected with Gothard.

    I find this whole thing very disturbing.


  68. Welcome to SSB, Naomi. I’m saddened to hear that your family has suffered negatively because of the extra-biblical teaching on authority.

    I think this is where the rubber meets the road when it negatively affects families. I have read accounts of families torn apart because of the teachings. Unless all members want to restore the relationships and make a big effort to do so, they remain fractured. Imagine the strained family holidays. It’s so, so sad.

    Best wishes to you in your academic endeavors, Naomi.


  69. Marsha;
    I in no way would accuse the victims of “lying” in order to obtain money. I encourage the victims in this case to “hold accountable” the “predator” that they label gothard to be. I only brought up the law enforcement angle because I have been in law enforcement for 20 years now. Regardless of the statute of limitations, most, if not all depts would take a report of an allegation of a serious law violation. I am NOT a gothard apologist in any way. I am a huge advocate of holding people responsible for their actions. The proper way to do that is to use the legal system and make sure that any predator is held accountable. That is way more effective( in my opinion) than posting serious allegations on a site(RG) that is at best, seen only by those of the same mindset. Either way, it is only my opinion as I am affected in no way. I long ago reconciled my issues with gothard’s teachings and believe that I am better for working through those feelings. My best to all involved. -Tim Baker

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing your insight in law enforcement.

    As you might have seen on my own blog, most people here do not use first and last names. Abuse blogs are a bit different. And think about it – -do you really think it would be appropriate for a sex abuse victim to reveal their identity online in such a public way? How would that affect their family/friends/job, etc? Even news media generally does not identify sex abuse victims.

    There can be a lot of ramifications for abuse victims to reveal themselves – especially in abuse cases. For example, in my lawsuit case (I was sued for $500K in a defamation lawsuit), my friend Meaghan was the first person to use her real name on my blog. Within days, she was added to the lawsuit. This is dangerous stuff.

    There is also the issue of reliving the trauma that victims must face. There are so many factors involved. In the legal sense, it would make things easier to prosecute, but victims need to feel safe to do so.


  71. *sigh*

    I thought Alfred had dug a high hole since I hadn’t seen any comments from him on Recovering Grace for awhile. But then he does take an occasional break. I would not accuse him of lying but he can be sadly informed. He views Bill Gothard as his father figure and so far has seen him do no wrong. I’m sure that the plan was for Bill Gothard to have no contact with IBLP and all the rest, but that doesn’t mean he is following the rules.

    Liked by 2 people

  72. Oh boy, I have been very frustrated reading Alfred’s willfully ignorant (and endless) posts at Recovering Grace. Most people there have been so gracious to him, considering his blatant agenda there. I’m sorry to see him again, I have to say. It’s painful at times reading his defense of the indefensible, his ad hominem attacks on victims, and his complete inability/unwillingness to engage in respectful, logic-based conversations regarding Bill Gothard.

    I was never part of ATI, had never even heard of BG before January when a Recovering a grace article shows up on my Facebook feed. But I’ve read nearly every article at RG, and have learned a tremendous amount about spiritual abuse over the last nine months. People like Alfred, apologists for abusers, make me very angry. Especially ones who dare to invoke the name of Jesus in their attempts to shout down, shame, or otherwise silence those who speak out.

    Hopefully he will have turned over a new leaf here.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. i will never forget this guy. more than 10 yrs ago, i attended his 3 days intensive seminar. armed with a pen, a notepad and a bible. they gave us also “Manuals”

    after the seminar, i learned a lot of “Todos”.

    now. fast forward today, as i recall.

    i never fell in love with Jesus.

    all i got from his seminar was a “Manual on how to live your life” and a bunch of “Laws and Rules” to live by.

    my life has never changed.

    you see, this is the problem when someone teaches Morality or Good works, or The Law. they themselves are subjected to what they preach.

    I am not surprised why he is being accused with somethings. the Law is perfect, but we are not. our flesh is enticed to commit sin whenever it hears “thou shall not commit sin”.

    the Law points us to Christ. i hope Mr. Gothard sees Jesus.

    let us move away from Works…

    Romans 1:16-17

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
    For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
    as it is written,
    “The just shall live by faith.”

    – grace and peace

    Liked by 1 person

  74. I admit and I have been reminded most of my Christian life is that I swim near the shallow, polluted part of the spiritual pond, the one next to the sewer outlet.I would have preferred they call me a piece of blank and to blank *ff. I actually respect that more than the fained spiritual rebukes and calls for repentance. The first time I heard Gothard was back in the early eighties, I went to a seminar with some friends and after about 10 minutes I walked out because the guy was a tool. He still is a tool, but he does make bank so I guess that means the evangelical “Jesus” loves him, the real Jesus not so much but he has been handed his hat many moons ago.

    This guy has fondled and abused young women as has been reported by many sources. So he brings out the all sure way to get passed that, introduce another product. I am not an evangelical and even not a christian by most accounts but I dont want to crucify Jesus again. Why do evangelicals in America want to tack him back up on that cross and make sure it takes this time. I never quite got that part of the American religion. Help me out here I dont get why people still listen to this guy and give him money, I wish they would just wake up. The guy is a tool, stop supporting him and if you have been abused by him call the authorities and report him. Then get a lawyer and sue him into oblivion, that is one language all these guys speak $$$$$. You want to hear them scream go after their wallet, that is where their heart is.

    Liked by 1 person

  75. This is unchristian of me, even atheistic but my hope for Gothard and his ilk is that they would repent, seek to reconcile and seek true healing via God’s holy spirit. I admit that is blasphemy and another black mark on my evil vile soul. I would hope that a true revival of accountability and transparency in leadership would take hold and servant leaders would take the helm and restore many. That God would heal the land and be a light to all involved. Do you want to hear something totally pathetic, and it is pathetic, I still believe that can happen. I really do. Shame on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. I will respond in a manner that will shock your innocent and sheltered minds: who gives a sh*t? Seriously? Who cares what he is doing and how he is going about his life?

    The man has no criminal charges (of which I am aware) and allegations which surpass the statute of limitations. I have no idea what he did or did not do, I do not support IBLP, its principles or Bill Gothards approach to life and Christianity. However, it does piss me off to see these wonderful “Christian” vigilantes who will not cease their fight until BG is buried.

    Why does this annoy me? The hypocrisy. Who are YOU to determine justice for an individual outside of the law? Who are you to judge another person of a great lack of humility amd repentance when your blog and consequent responses are full of scathing contempt, pride, intentional deception and scorn for a person, based on their alleged lack of repentance?

    And you have the gaul to refer to yourselves as followers of Christ whose sole responsibility is to love God and love others through words, actions and lifestyle? Shame on you. Take a step down from that high pedestal and spend some time in self-reflection, instead. I dare you. Seek truth, pursue justice but most of all, attempt to understand the heart of a person.

    This opinion of mine comes from a perspective of someone who barely understands grace and the incredible amount that I have received. I do know that I have so far to go and with that in mind, I have no time to waste on BG’s alleged sin and weaknesses. Truly…you bunch of Pharisees.


  77. My goodness. This makes me so sad. Wow. Ironic how he was always speaking about wolves in sheep’s clothing…maybe he was hinting towards himself.

    It makes me so angry how he holds no remorse towards all the girls he wronged. And to the comment that he is not used to a woman standing up to him…that’s absolute correct! He will cower at that.

    I was one of the 30+ that spoke up. I was forced into the IBLP realm by my parents. And when sent to Journey I was not happy…I knew he was a snake. When he attempted to make inappropriate contact with my 15yr old self, I rejected him boldly.

    When asked if I had ever been sexually abuse before, I informed him that he was highly inappropriate in asking that. When he tried to touch me I jumped up and told him to stay away from me. And I also told him that I would not be another one of his pretty little puppets.

    He then pulled me aside later on in front of everyone to “pray that satan releases his hold” on me. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    This man is NOT a man of God. It breaks my heart to know all the people he has led astray.

    Mod note: Mandy, I changed your user id to Mandy2 because we have another long-time reader, Mandy, here 🙂 If you’d like to use something else, let me know. ~ja

    Liked by 1 person

  78. The best message Bill ever gave was buried in the blur of do this and do that to be righteous. And sadly, he is doing it again. The only thing you need to DO to be justified before God is repent of your sins and be born again and be free from your sins and the law by being led of the Spirit. You don’t need another seminar. You just need the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Don’t add anything to what is written, follow what the writer is saying, let the Spirit ask questions and find the answers. Go out and share Jesus. You’ll learn everything there. And Bill, give someone in need some money especially people who are overburdened with financial needs after feeling like they were sinning if they didn’t have children. I thank God that He provided for me!!


  79. Some of these comments leave me speechless. The answer to several of the above questions is clearly “statute of limitations”. The answer to some other of the above questions is because this man’s teachings are still being imposed on thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) by his followers, who never even mention his name, in a huge con game.


  80. Julie Anne, I think Persephone described Alfred pretty well, but I would have to say that he WILL be back. Maybe not today or soon but he will be back with some sort of defence of BG. That is if he does what he has done at RG. I do think that someitmes they block him so maybe that’s why he is posting on here. I guess from his posts I would have to say that he has never defended one of the abused and he has NEVER seen BG do any wrong, etc., etc., etc. I sometimes feel sorry for Alfred that he is so deceived but I feel that he is essentially saying you are a liar because BG couldn’t possibly be doing what you said after your phone call. Probably thinks you talked to someone who pretended to be BG.

    Liked by 1 person

  81. “I will respond in a manner that will shock your innocent and sheltered minds: who gives a sh*t? Seriously? Who cares what he is doing and how he is going about his life?”

    Seriously? Then why are you even commenting here?


  82. “People who do not defend/protect victims usually don’t stay long here.”

    Julie Anne, Alfred has been defending BG ad nauseum over at Recovering Grace. He lives to defend him


  83. BTDT: In my view, it all depends on what you are feeding said trolls. A knuckle sandwich (or three) would do many of them no end of good…….


  84. Well, let me put it another way. If I see someone minimizing or negating real abuse on a continuous basis, this place then becomes unsafe for survivors.

    He has to play by my rules. If he doesn’t, then we have the SSB doghouse, which is reserved for people who do not follow the blog rules. (If you are out in the doghouse, it means your comments will be moderated before they are approved.). If we don’t see better results after that, there is a permanent ban list.

    So, as I said, people like Alfred won’t be hanging around too long if they cause trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

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