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. Renee wrote: 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.”

    Are you asking that we attempt to understand the heart of B.G.? Did you miss the fact that SSB is a safe haven for people who have been abused by the likes of this man & his teaching?

    I know BTDT said not to feed the trolls!


  2. IMHO, it’s not feeding the trolls to have responsible discussion like I’ve been seeing. Many of you who have been in abusive environments have been silenced by authoritarian bullies. This is the place where you can use your voice to express yourself, even against those who do not validate the real abuse many suffered under BG. Have at it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JA, can you change the other Mandy’s moniker to something that distinguishes her from me? Thanks.

    Mod note: got it 🙂


  4. JA: Be sure to see Alfred’s comments on Charlotte’s story at Recovering Grace. That will give you some background.

    Charlotte: Thanks for your courage in telling your story. I hope you are doing well.

    JA note: Bendeni – I did a quick check and found exactly what you describe. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Boy, the Gothard apologists seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Looks like you’ve hit a nerve with this article, Julie Anne.

    I wasn’t too surprised to hear that Alfred has a history of defending the old man. When I read his comment, I kinda suspected that he wasn’t here for the abused. He wasn’t obvious about it — just seemed wearily dismissive of JA’s questions, and not terribly sympathetic to Gothard’s victims.

    Renee, on the other hand, had all the subtlety of a falling anvil. In her own words:

    I have no idea what he did or did not do…

    Then, Renee, you should probably educate yourself. Then you might have something to contribute here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie Anne, Persephone and Eva are correct. I just spent WAY too much time over at RG (followed the link in the comments above) and watched Alfred and a couple others turn themselves into pretzels in order NOT to admit BG did anything that crossed inappropriate boundaries. It was really kinda sad and Alfred has daughters who are being looked at by the Big Guy. Scary.


  7. Well, I guess now is as good of a time as any to share some feedback I’ve been getting privately. It’s really no surprise to me because I experienced it way back when I started my first blog sharing about the abuse my family and others incurred by an abusive pastor who then sued me and 4 others for $500K and lost his minister’s license. Even after he lost the lawsuit, he continued to behave inappropriately – started an attack website (probably illegally since he used my blog’s name in the URL), bought out other websites with the same name, but .net, .org. He showed behavior just like we’d expect from a godly man, right? NOT!

    So, what’s going on behind the scenes? Since I have publicly posted this article about Gothard and his new project, Gothard defenders have decided to question and attack my character on various forums around the internet. They are trying to find dirt on me and they can find a lot of imaginary dirt at my former pastor’s blog, but then they are passing it around and trying to discredit me. Some even mention trying to find local people to ask about my character.

    Do you see how this works – if you attack the person providing the information (me), then the heat gets diverted onto someone other than Gothard, the man they are trying to protect. There are certainly a number of people who still want to defend Gothard and will behave ungodly in doing so.

    Since the impostor blog has been passed around in attempt to spread dirt about me, you can read about the background of it here: Scroll down to “Activities of Mr. O’Neal and BGBC Members
    ~ After the Lawsuit is Over ~” and grab some popcorn.

    My former pastor really does not like me and so he tries to malign my character by saying I corrupted Mormon teenagers at a HS choir trip. I think the school district would have pulled the plug on my volunteer work if that were a reality. If you did some digging, you might find that I am on my 7th year of volunteering at high schools (having passed strict background checks each year). My reputation locally speaks for itself. I also don’t think I would be on the board of a local nonprofit if I had the kind of reputation that O’Neal CONcocts.

    So, anyway, if you do venture over to the “impostor” blog and read his words about me, then be sure to put on your critical thinking skills hat. When he quotes something outlandish about ME, click on the link and see if it is actually ME who is speaking. I have found that most of the time, he quotes a blog commenter or even a guest poster and NOT me. You see, quoting a statement, attributing it to me, and providing a link looks really good and most people won’t bother verifying by clicking that link; thus, they start to believe Chuck O’Neal (initials CON). If you want to know the truth, you’re going to have to work a little bit. It’s not going to be handed to you on a platter.

    Anyway, I’m putting this out there. I have nothing to hide. And as I said earlier, if you have questions/criticisms about anything, my e-mail is always open. I don’t lose sleep anymore about the negative chatter about me. It’s just a distraction and the small price I pay for exposing a fraud like Bill Gothard. It’s far more important for me to see that the truth is made public so that people can make educated choices on whether or not to follow a false teacher and have their family harmed.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Predators do not change. However, when they are revealed they will try their best to explain away their actions, hide the results and shift blame to others. Especially their victims. Another hallmark of predators is that they will, unfailingly, offend again. I appreciate the light that is being shed in this area, I hope it’s effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JA,

    It’s not surprising for those who cannot defend the indefensible to attack someone who is exposing their idol. SKiJ is right that you have hit a nerve with this article. Gothard has ties to those with deep pockets and even political aspirations. (Anyone interested can search Jeri’s blog, Heresyintheheartland. She was raised in ATI, and has really pulled together research and her experiences to give a solid depiction of the environment.)

    I’m not one bit surprised at the pushback. I’d be shocked if there wasn’t any. What saddens me is that some who bear the image of Christ would rather stand for a sexual abuser than “the least of these.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Keith, you’ll need to be specific. I’m about to head out now, but it is true that while on a high school choir trip in Portland, I took orders for the students for VooDoo doughnuts (a very popular place the students had been wanting to go to all year). If you look at the menu, it’s very clear that the menu items are not what we’d hope our children would say in ordinary conversation. So, I told them that if they wanted me to get their order correct, it was fine for them to say the actual name of the doughnut because I didn’t want to come back with the wrong doughnuts.

    So, he twisted around the story to say I corrupted the students (primarily Mormons) by forcing them to say the inappropriate (actual) donut name. No, I didn’t. They could have spelled it, or they didn’t have to order.

    And lets’ be clear – do you really think those students wouldn’t say inappropriate words out of my presence? Whatever. He made a big deal about nothing by snooping on the comments of my blog. The “corruption” word was a quote from a commenter who jokingly said I was trying to corrupt high school students by taking them to VooDoo doughnuts. He took that quote and ran with it. Let’s keep in mind, that all of this was approved by choir director who was there and ordered his own doughnut.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Let’s keep in mind, that all of this was approved by choir director who was there and ordered his own doughnut.”

    If the choir director had no problem with it, if the parents didn’t complain about it, then CON and his minions prove themselves to be busybodies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well of course, because it helped to keep the focus off of him, just like what is being done now with this Gothard case. Lots of busybodies scurrying around pursuing nonissues.


  13. I found two of Jeri’s posts that will give readers some idea of the far-reaching influence Gothard had.

    This post contains a list of Board of Directors or Board of Advisers for IBLP:

    This post is very telling. It lists the political associations influenced by Gothard. This should give people chills.:

    So, yeah. I’m not surprised that Julie Anne finds herself being maligned for reporting on recent Gothard endeavors.


  14. If they need to find a local person to comment on your character, send them my way! 😉

    And, Voodoo Donuts is harmless. Kids say worse things at high school. Plus, there are better donuts around town!


  15. We live about 3-1/2 hrs away from Portland and kids always want to do the “in” thing. Voodoo doughnuts fits in very well with the “keep Portland weird” theme and it’s just a novelty thing – I suppose like when my daughter and I went to Vegas for a tournament and visited Pawn Stars. The only thing I bought was a refrigerator magnet with “old man” on it. That grumpy old guy cracks me up.


  16. You might also be interested in how Gothard words his “apologies” to the women he contacts about his past “offenses”. He is at once delusional and a creepy stalker.

    This woman found the courage to write her story AFTER Gothard attempted to make contact with her:

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Gee, Julie Anne, I’m kinda disappointed that the whole story is about DONUTS!! Here I was, expecting to hear that you treated them all to a diet Coke or a cup of coffee or something……


  18. Ah ha! So, you allowed teenagers to order VOODOO Donuts and have also gone to “PAWN STARS” in LAS VEGAS!

    Evil incarnate. Clearly. Renee was right, thank goodness we have people like her and other Gothardites to set us straight…and start righteous godly whisper and slander campaigns when people dare to give victims a forum to tell the truth about their idol…in a godly manner, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your favorite aunt is very proud of you for “hanging in there”. The whole BG thing is very disturbing but well-discoursed (if that’ s a word) and discussed through your efforts, Keep up the good work and don’t let the turkeys get you down!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. When people don’t have anything legitimate to criticize, they try to kill the messenger. You need to take that good advice you heard and get that mascot duck. 😉


  21. Renee, someone else has probably answered you already, and more eloquently than I can. But your rant stopped me cold in reading comments and I had to respond.

    As someone who has watched other families, *friends* fall apart, lives and relationships blasted because of the destructive teachings of this man, and to know he’s at it again, targeting fathers as he did once before… It implies (to me, anyhow) that the potential for more abuse is on the horizon, and that men who mean well may be taught to be monsters who devour their own kin. Metaphorically speaking, of course. But the damage is real, and lasts a lifetime.

    It is good to have watchmen on the wall, to sound a warning, when danger is sighted.

    Turn away, if you are uninvolved. Nobody forces you to read this blog, I hope? Then don’t read it. Go in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. JA, have your high schoolers been to Salt and Straw? Best ice cream I’ve ever had. And I discovered it even before the VP publicized it on his recent trip.


  23. You know Julie Anne most of my ex tripe has me labeled an apostate, thats fine, I wont go into what they would say about you, because you are a lady they would say far worse. I never got that, if truth of abuse comes via anyone you would think someone would want to hear about it. Your pastor was wrong in suing you and he lost. He could have apologized and I believe you would have dropped any rebuttal if it was done in time. I dont get this real man chest thumping. I will tell you one thing go after the wallet and you will see the scream like a little child scared by a bug. No offense to little children I am terrified of bugs.

    People dont talk about it but the wallet is the heart of the matter, there are sins and then there’s The Sin, that is interrupting the revenue stream. It is the unpardonable sin. When I had a tv I watched a show about bidding on public storage lockers I think it was called Storage wars. In the beginning they had a phrase “Cash is king, and winner takes all”, that is the purest theology I have ever heard, it is consistent and it is true, always and twice on Sunday.


  24. Here we go again; it’s like the rattlesnake biting you twice!

    Wolves in sheep’s clothing are still wolves, the covering only camouflages for a short time until the truth is fully revealed….


  25. I’m not trying to be a “troll” and I apologise if it has come across that way. Until yesterday, i had no idea what this site was or what it was for…I simply clicked on the link a friend of mine posted on FB.

    I do have a background with IBLP and it was a somewhat negative one. I saw, first-hand, the indoctrination and control people were subjected to, families attempting to hold their kids to impossible standards and so on. I walked away as soon as I was old enough to make that decision.

    I may have come across as angry in my previous post and it’s because I was. I have seen so many people allow their lives to “fall apart” cos their god fell. And subsequently, a huge number of “warriors” rise up to ensure BGs downfall through online hammering.

    I, in no way, disbelieve the allegations or think people are being petty, and i can see how that has come out in my prior post. I apologise for this. What I intended to present was my opinion that people should not immerse their lives in seeking the downfall of an individual without lawful reason. This is known as character assassination or slander. If their is a case against this man, take it up. Fraud, sexual harrasment, gains of benefit by deceit and so on. When stating understanding the heart of a person…..WHY is he doing this? Not “omg he’s doing this, what a ….”, why? Make your pursuit for justice, if so inclined, at least honorable, as opposed to slashing someone with unprecedented opinion of fact.

    I recognise i wrote emotionally in my previous post, I truly apologise. I cannot stand people being held back from moving forward with their lives because they are caught up in the death of an ideal. If the guy has done you wrong or if you feel that you should advocate for the weak, which is awesome, isn’t it better to do it right?

    And finally, my last comment referred to self-observation. I am slowly learning of the journey of sanctification and part of that is me recognising that I am a horribly sinful person and yet I am loved. I understand that BG has been accused of some awful things and i hope that he will be brought to justice if guilty. He has influenced many lives, including my own. But i will value that for I have learned many lessons. And I will move on with my life and do my best to understand how broken and lonely he must be to have been to have compromised his faith and integrity and how humiliating it must be for a god to have been dethroned. I don’t hate him or feel contempt, I pity him. I implore you, for the sake of your own mental health, to find a way to move forward.

    Once again, deepest apologies for my insensitive and thoughtless post. I honestly didn’t know the background of this site.


  26. 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.

    Julie: “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).”

    Thank you for the welcome. I grew up in Hillsboro, OR.

    *I* have a great deal of information on it as I have spoken with him personally about it. As have others with whom he is in some sort of formal contact. Including Dr. L and members of the Board (they meet periodically). It is the Board’s position that Bill needs to complete the “work in progress” before any further steps are taken. There is a great deal of meticulous purpose behind the separation, so this is no “Chinese wall”. Noone inside IBLP is allowed to assist Mr. Gothard in any way.

    I love you, Eva. Just because I back out of public debate does not mean I have lost interest. In fact, that usually means I am really busy elsewhere.


  27. Dear Renee,

    Thank you for coming back, and for taking the pains to apologize for what you said earlier. I’m also glad that you explained more thoroughly what bothers you so much about our discussion of Gothard here. Still, I think you’re under some serious misunderstandings.

    I have seen … a huge number of “warriors” rise up to ensure BGs downfall through online hammering.

    …people should not immerse their lives in seeking the downfall of an individual without lawful reason.

    I, for one, am not interested in seeing Bill Gothard’s “downfall”. I don’t think anyone else here is, either. What I want is for him to wake up, and realize that he is unfit for anything resembling ministry. It’s clear to me that, if Gothard was ever qualified to lecture or minister to others, he lost that qualification long ago.

    Furthermore, he said himself that he was committed to making amends with those he as hurt. According to some of the commenters here — and even by his own admission to Julie Anne — he hasn’t finished doing that. And yet, here he is, trying to start up another “ministry” or something, when his penance isn’t even done. What was the point of his stepping down from IBLP, if his only intention is to make bank off of the Bible on his own, and on the sly? Remember, he didn’t announce this oh-so-important life-changing discovery publicly. It seems he only e-mailed selected loyalists. If this new “ministry” of his is so revolutionary, why not tell the whole world? And why charge money for it?

    Considering that his alleged behaviour towards numerous teens is very likely criminal, I would be very happy to see him behind bars. If the SOL makes that impossible, I’ll be content if he never sets foot on a podium or pulpit again, trying to sell ideas that no one needs to pay for. If he can’t be sued or prosecuted, he should simply retire, and focus on making amends. That isn’t a downfall, Renee, except maybe in Gothard’s eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. What I intended to present was my opinion that people should not immerse their lives in seeking the downfall of an individual without lawful reason.

    Who is immersing their lives in seeking the downfall of Gothard? Can you please identify that person(s)?

    Bill Gothard, because of various factors (statute of limitations, women afraid to come forward, etc), still has the opportunity to use his influence to lead people just as he is attempting to do with this new program.

    This is not seeking his downfall, this is calling out a false teacher, one who never again should have influence over people’s lives. He needs to stay out of the public limelight as he has done enough damage. The fact that he chooses to once again put together something like this (with 2 pages of nonsense bragging about SELF) shows us all that he has no remorse and no intention of living the rest of his days quietly and in humility. It’s all about him.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Alfred said:

    *I* have a great deal of information on it as I have spoken with him personally about it. As have others with whom he is in some sort of formal contact. Including Dr. L and members of the Board (they meet periodically). It is the Board’s position that Bill needs to complete the “work in progress” before any further steps are taken. There is a great deal of meticulous purpose behind the separation, so this is no “Chinese wall”. Noone inside IBLP is allowed to assist Mr. Gothard in any way.

    Are you saying you have great deal of info regarding the Total Success program? Because you’ve spoken with “him” as in Gothard about it?

    I have more to say, but need clarification on this first. Thanks.


  30. Serving in Japan, your words …trying to sell ideas that no one needs to pay for… triggered an old memory in me, of Don Francisco in a stuffy little room, strumming his guitar and singing with joy: Ho! If you’re thirsty, come to the waters! Ye who have no money, come, buy, and eat! Wine, milk, and honey…

    It comes from Isaiah 55 (see below), which Jesus quoted in John 7:37,

    Isaiah 55: (NIV version, courtesy of Bible Gateway)

    “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
    and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.

    2Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
    Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.

    3Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
    I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.

    There’s more, and it’s good to read and be reminded that the good news comes at cost to One only, not to the ones He died to save.


  31. JA, our rule for Salt and Straw is that you have to try at least three flavors before you decide on something to buy. There are some amazing flavors there! One that I’ve tried that sounds awful (at least for ice cream) and tastes wonderful is Pears and Blue Cheese. Lavender and Honey is good, too, and there was one last spring/summer that was sort of lemony with edible flowers sprinkled throughout, I forget the name and it’s seasonal so I may not see it again until next spring (if ever).

    Of course, as a confirmed chocoholic, my favorite so far is the chocolate brownie flavor, but I haven’t tried a single flavor (even the very strange ones, like Balsamic Black Pepper something or other) that wasn’t yummy.


  32. Julie Anne: “Are you saying you have great deal of info regarding the Total Success program? Because you’ve spoken with “him” as in Gothard about it? ”



  33. Julie Anne said: “Are you saying you have great deal of info regarding the Total Success program? Because you’ve spoken with “him” as in Gothard about it?”

    Alfred responded: Correct.

    Ok, Alfred,

    And when you found out about this program, did you encourage Gothard to continue with it? Did you endorse it? What was your response?

    BTW, why are you talking with Gothard? Did I read that your son is at IBLP and they have severed ties with Gothard, yet you are continuing a relationship with him? Why?
    Do you believe Gothard has sufficiently repented? Do you think he has reached out to all of the victims? Charlotte (earlier comment) said he’s only reached out to one person.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank you Julie Anne for your work on this, and posting it. It answers one question I had. Another was one that Alfred has sort of answered; how is IBLP/ATI doing without BG? Are they walking on eggshells? Are all employees being paid fairly for the hours they work? Are the training center leaders learning about leadership in a more godly way than continuous punishment? What is being taught in the seminars; is it any different? I imagine they may be a lot longer now if there are Q & A times after.
    It brings up another question; did BG ask for your blog address? Do you think he would be reading here? Personally I think there are some public events he should NOT attend. He turns 80 on November 2. I have a weird feeling that just may be the time he should stay in his quiet home. Just my thoughts. Thanks again for your sharing.


  35. Alfred,

    If you’re in contact will Gothard, would you ask him to get back into contact with Don Veinot to discuss and resume the meetings with Midwest Christian Outreach which he completely abandoned a number of years ago? So far as I know, Gothard didn’t recant any of his aberrant teachings, though he claimed at the time he started meeting with Don that he wanted to be accountable.

    Do you share Gothard’s false doctrine on grace? Do you share his understanding of the hammer and chisel concept of authority and submission? If so, why did Gothard “abandon his own chisel” when he would not show himself accountable to the Body by working with Don Veinot?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Alfred thinks Charlotte’s story is all a fabrication….all lies. At least that’s how I took his comments at Recovering Grace.


  37. Alfred, I hope that the IBLP now at least understands that locking staff and volunteers in a room without food for rules violations is a felony. They are not going to get away with that these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Since I post under my real name, I wanted to make clear that I oppose Gothard, and obscene doughnuts.


  39. I am going to take a stab at Celeste’s question from WAY UP THERE;

    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.

    A bunch of factors, starting with no bishops to excommunicate, going on to a perception of weak evidence and a LOT of itinerant teachers. It’s therefore hard to clamp down on the bad apples.

    What you can do to help; make the case as airtight as possible and as public as necessary. We remember Alexander the coppersmith and Diotrophes because they were rebuked by Paul and John, no? Get the evidence beyond blogs and into mainstream publications and into legal documents. It’s harder to ignore that way. Send the evidence to your church’s leadership and your church association/convention/synod leadership if you think appropriate.

    And if the evidence is pretty airtight–you’ve got the CT/Sun-Times articles, 30 affidavits filed, ministry dismissal–and your church ignores it and wants to use Gothard’s (or whoever’s) work, don’t be afraid to leave. Church leadership responds to empty pews and collection plates.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Bubba,

    I’m not sure if you saw the news that Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill. Many people from inside and outside were calling him out and yet look at this part of his statement:

    “I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry.”

    Unreal!! So, even doing what you suggest is not foolproof.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Julie Anne: Although I pretty much hate modernity, I have to say that blogs and other independent sources of news are a big help to folks who just 15 or 20 years ago would have had no way to let the world around them know what is happening.
    This particular story is investigative journalism, which seems to be rare these days. You went to the trouble to call the subject of the story and interview him. I think that is impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. JulieAnne; agreed 100% that it is not foolproof. You can lead a horse to water, right? This is why sometimes you just have to leave. I just did a month back regarding another popular teacher’s work being used at my former church. Hard, but sometimes necessary.

    And regarding Driscoll, I would have hoped that his history of bullying, vulgarity, shock tactics, deception, association with non-Trinitarian prosperity theologians (T.D. Jakes), and some iffy theology (e.g. wives must give oral sex to husbands, etc..) would have made the conclusion you recommend. The irony is that the reason he gave for leaving is that he was being threatened–he noted it was no longer safe to serve where he was.

    I don’t condone threats, and if true, I hope those responsible are punished, but there is some poetic justice to the matter. The sad thing is that the nine elders who called for his resignation were also pretty much forced out. Shooting the messenger, I guess.


  43. Cindy K,

    to Alfred: “Do you share Gothard’s false doctrine on grace?”

    Would you mind sharing what Gothard has taught about grace?

    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Cellestebella,

    Here is one of many posts about Gothard, but this one is more recent.

    Essentially, Gothard says that because God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, we can essentially earn grace through good works which translates into spiritual power. You get grace points that you can bank up for power. (That may be why he thinks that he was brought under scrutiny for sexual harassment. It wasn’t his sin but the fact that he wasn’t humble enough and didn’t bank up enough of God’s blessing.)

    This ties into his submission doctrine because resisting any authority is exiting God’s protection. It is a show of pride and removes God’s blessing from your life. Women are told to submit to domestic abuse because submission is a mystical power that changes people — and tolerating abuse will convert their husband from his state of abuse. It’s all part of the formula. Suffering is a means of earning grace points through humility.

    I actually have a whole list of things I’ve written about Gothard here, several of which address his doctrines about grace. I have them categorized by topic:

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Celestebella,

    I’m sorry that you “froze,” but I hope that the info helps you thaw out. Manipulation and control have the same basic elements whether they are used on groups of people or just with one person. The subtitle for one of the best books for dealing with practical problems after you get out of a group is “recovery from cults and abusive relationships.” And much of what is suffered by true believer followers of these groups is very much like battered person syndrome. You love and invest so much, it’s hard to call what you experience abuse, and it’s even harder to walk away.

    It sounds as though you are out of that abusive marriage and on your way to greater and greater wholeness.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Total Success Power Team hits Don Veinot’s radar, and Alfred isn’t listed in his post. Julie Anne is. 🙂

    >>>More recently accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual conduct have been made by well over 30 women most of which are posted on the Recovering Grace website . On March 5, 2014 Bill Gothard again resigned from what is now known as the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Julie Anne in her blog Bill Gothard launches new accountability ministry/program: Total Success Power Teams gives a time line of these recent events including his reason for resigning as:

    …that he wanted to follow Matthew 5:23-24 and listen to those who have “ought [sic] against” him.<<<


  47. 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.

    Alfred isn’t interested in being on anyone’s radar, thank you 🙂 I have no formal role . . . anywhere. I am not on staff at IBLP, and I do not speak for Bill. I am his friend, grateful for all he has done for me and the kingdom of God over many years. I wield a “muckraking shovel” from time to time as you do, Julie, since a great deal of what is published about Bill is, well, baloney. The parts that are real is of utmost concern to me as I seek to help him address those things as I am able.

    I think the general idea he has on “meditation” and “prayer” is super great . . . whether he should proceed with that now while things remain in play is another issue. From some degree of involvement I do know that for some “reconciliation” is a fancy term for doing as much damage to him as possible. Because other agendas remain that have nothing to do with seeking to correct a brother or be reconciled to him. Which reminds me of the verse that says “As much as lieth within you . . . ” when referring to coming to peace with grieved brothers and sisters in Christ. There comes a point where I hardly know what to suggest.

    As far as Grace is concerned, I think Bill has it right. The longer I live the more convinced I am of that. I find that those with the greatest problem with his teaching are either Calvinists – who believe God arbitrarily gives grace to some and withholds from others – or Universalists, who believe everybody gets it . . . and will be saved, no matter what they have done. Both positions are heresy.

    I have so little time . . . so forgive me if I don’t respond to every comment. I . . . just . . . can’t.


  48. Acorduan, if Cindy’s explanation of Gothard’s doctrine of “grace” is accurate, and you agree with it, get thee to Ephesians 2:8-10–not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Sorry. Grace is God’s work, not ours, and if we try to add to it by our works, we are confusing justification with sanctification and falling on the wrong side of the Council of Trent.

    And the allegations against Gothard are not “baloney”. They are affidavits filed by 30 individuals or more that convinced the board of IBLP that Gothard was no longer suitable for ministry. I am not familiar enough with the allegations to comment on whether they’re criminal in nature or not–though failure to pay people for hours worked certainly is criminal–but I can say that they are definitely sufficient to disqualify Gothard from ministry.

    I have to wonder if Gothard’s new foray into this has something to do with IBLP’s financial collapse over the past decade or so. If he somehow forewent Social Security in his career, he could be in heap big trouble, financially speaking.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Alfred:

    I’m looking through your comment to see if you answered my specific questions (bolded):

    when you found out about this program, did you encourage Gothard to continue with it? Did you endorse it? What was your response?</b?

    Is this your response? Because if so, you are beating around the bush:

    I think the general idea he has on “meditation” and “prayer” is super great . . . whether he should proceed with that now while things remain in play is another issue.

    Do you believe Gothard has sufficiently repented? Do you think he has reached out to all of the victims? Charlotte (earlier comment) said he’s only reached out to one person.>b/>

    Is this your response to my bolded question above?

    From some degree of involvement I do know that for some “reconciliation” is a fancy term for doing as much damage to him as possible. Because other agendas remain that have nothing to do with seeking to correct a brother or be reconciled to him. Which reminds me of the verse that says “As much as lieth within you . . . ” when referring to coming to peace with grieved brothers and sisters in Christ. There comes a point where I hardly know what to suggest.

    My response: Unbelievable. Un-freaking-believable.


    Ok, on to your new material:

    I am not on staff at IBLP, and I do not speak for Bill. I am his friend, grateful for all he has done for me and the kingdom of God over many years. I wield a “muckraking shovel” from time to time as you do, Julie, since a great deal of what is published about Bill is, well, baloney.

    I think a more appropriate question should be how many people has he and his teaching harmed? The Bible talks about 2 witnesses when someone is in sin. There are far more than two and you seem to ignore them. You will be held responsible for defending a false teacher, Alfred. Think about that.

    Secondly, while you say you do not speak for Bill and you are not staff, your comments came across that you were an insider and had insider information – you said son is on staff and you are close personal friend with Bill and so you used those relationships to be in the know and speak with authority about situations. A true friend and father would never, ever, put himself out there in the public sphere to fill the public in on what you know as an insider. Not appropriate whatsoever.

    The business about people who don’t like Gothard are Calvinists is laughable. Didn’t Doug Phillips also like Gothard? Pretty sure he did.

    Ok, as blog owner, I’m going to call the shots here. Your comments are annoying me. You have not answered questions directly. You are minimizing real abuse. You are minimizing false teachings. You have put yourself here on my blog as someone in the “inner circle of Bill/IBLP. Don’t do that anymore. In fact, I think I’m going to add a disclaimer to all of your previous comments so people won’t give you unwarranted credibility.

    This place is for survivors of abuse in church/church groups. IBLP and Gothard himself has admitted to some degree of harm done, obviously, so for you to sing his praises is just not appropriate.

    Oh, and this business about: “I have so little time . . . so forgive me if I don’t respond to every comment. I . . . just . . . can’t.”

    Don’t make me laugh. I’ve seen how you comment on RG. You comment when you can get away with commenting to your heart’s content. You won’t be able to do that here. So either run along, or play by my rules. ~Julie Anne

    Liked by 3 people

  50. “Alfred isn’t interested in being on anyone’s radar, thank you”

    Are you a narcissistic illeist?


  51. JA,

    “Ok, as blow owner, I’m going to call the shots here.”

    I think you meant to say “blog owner?”

    JA note: HHAHAHAHAHA – what a funny typo. Totally LOLed in my quiet house. Probably scared the cats. Thanks for catching that – I fixed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Gothard is nothing more than a narcissistic, unrepentant sexual deviate in a suit. The fact that his former org doesn’t censor him makes me sick. Where does the purification process begin if the institute is spineless?

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Hi Cindy K
    I had feared “getting out from under the umbrella” (my marriage) for a long time. I thought God would punish me, not take care of me, or squish me like a bug!

    I’m actually still with him, but now my thinking is changing and since past behavior is indicative of future behavior leaving seems the only sane thing to do.

    Thank you for the book recommendation.


  54. “JA note: HHAHAHAHAHA – what a funny typo. Totally LOLed in my quiet house. Probably scared the cats. Thanks for catching that – I fixed it. ”

    My kids kept asking me what was so funny. “Ummm. Nothing.”

    You are always so gracious to correct the typos in your readers’ comments when we notice them. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. I am sincerely sorry to have irritated you, Julie. I haven’t commented anywhere for some time . . . and this, apparently, was a mistake. Feel free to expunge me.


  56. Alfred, the mistake is coming to a blog presenting yourself as an insider, defending a known offender, minimizing harm done, not directly asking questions and then giving an excuse that you don’t have time to answer questions, yet you keep coming around.

    If you are willing to answer questions directly, that would be a good start.


  57. I did not misrepresent myself. I have met with Bill on several occasions, and he did present his program to me. I thought it was useful to add what I know to the dialog, that IBLP is completely uninvolved and not even friendly to the new program. So . . . that was probably enough. I completely misread you – should not have stuck my neck out. Again, my apologies.


  58. I did not misrepresent myself. I have met with Bill on several occasions, and he did present his program to me. I thought it was useful to add what I know to the dialog, that IBLP is completely uninvolved and not even friendly to the new program. So . . . that was probably enough. I completely misread you – should not have stuck my neck out. Again, my apologies.

    So how about answering these questions directly:

    What did you say to him when he presented the program to you?

    Did you tell BG this program was not appropriate considering his moral failures? Did you encourage him to stop it? Did you alert IBLP that he was working on it?

    I’m ignoring the “woe is me” mantra. It’s just not helpful to the conversation.


  59. Alfred,

    It sounds to me like you are deflecting. The problem here isn’t about Julie Anne’s alleged “irritation.” Maybe you are projecting your own irritation on to her? Maybe you are offended that people here have called you out? I believe you may be “sincerely sorry” that people asked you questions that you are unwilling to answer.

    And now this: “I completely misread you – should not have stuck my neck out. Again, my apologies.”

    Stuck your neck out for whom, exactly? For the young women who Gothard sexually abused?

    Liked by 1 person

  60. JA,

    Alfred comes across as moderate but insufferably glib; it’s obvious he’s not interested in engaging in a dialog in which he will be held responsible for what he says or have to answer a single question put to him that does not further his agenda. Appears to be no part of his makeup. This should surprise absolutely no one who knows about those with whom he associates.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Alfred is certainly true to form here. He consistently displays at least one hallmark of an abusive personality himself: refusal to answer questions directly and with integrity, while attempting to spin, change the subject, and put those who are trying to pin him down on the defensive.

    It’s just so pathetic at this point – and utterly, tediously predictable. Or maybe just pitiful. What a sad, miserable man.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. I might have missed it but just to be sure, I wanted to include here Gothard’s definition of grace. Several have asked and commented on it. Here it is: “the desire and power to do God’s will”. Am I misinterpreting this – it sounds like it’s something I DO.

    And just to be clear–Alfred doesn’t know me from Adam and so I’m not sure why he said “Eva, I love you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  63. I am trying to disappear, but it is not working 🙂 Eva: you and I have a long track record over on “Recovering Grace”, right? Unless I misfired on that.

    As far as “Grace” is concerned, that is correct . . . grace is “desire (motivation) and power (ability)”. It is so in the Lord, as He has the motivation and ability to help us . . . and Jesus was full of grace as He desired to save us and came to do it. That is ALSO what God does in us, to enable us to, first of all, trust Him, be saved, and then to live the Christian life. All those things are unnatural to us, hence that “desire and power” comes directly from God. The best expression of that is in a verse that has no reference to the word “grace”:

    “12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2)

    Honestly, I don’t mind answering your questions, Julie, but I hate the notion of being vilified . . . where you don’t even know me. If it is possible for me to have my opinions and not expect to be savaged here, I will happily engage your questions. Up to a point. This appears not to be a “safe place” for me. Which may be fine for you – and I am bracing myself for the jeers to follow . . . but could explain to you why I am not all that interested in continuing.


  64. Well Alfred, the jeers are deserved when one spins and incessantly plays games.

    Why don’t you just answer JA’s questions point by point, calling them out #1, #2, #3? That is so simple.

    And when you deem this “not a safe place”, what are you concerned about? Is someone going to reach through the world wide web and physically grab you (such as Gothard has done to various and sundry young ladies…remember, this has more-or-less been admitted, otherwise the discipline he’s under is a travesty)? No, of course not.

    JA did not ask unfair or rude questions. Just answer them like a normal human being, then perhaps we will see that you are not at all a sociopath but just a reasonable person who’s hemming and hawing out of loyalty to a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. “I am trying to disappear, but it is not working”

    How dreadful it must feel to be forced to read and comment here.

    “Honestly, I don’t mind answering your questions, Julie [Anne]” (I corrected the name for you, Alfred.)

    How lovely. We’re all ears. Or, rather, eyes, to be more precise.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. BTDT – What’s very cool about having an ongoing community is seeing people who once who lived in fear because of having been involved in cults or spiritually abusive churches, now present themselves as confident and willing to challenge when they see something as off. It’s very exciting to see that growth in you. I frequently say “woohoo” when I read your comments 🙂 So cool!


  67. Why did Alfred Corduran change his name to acorduran? Even if we’ve had “discussions” on RG, that doesn’t mean you know me at all. Just so you all know, I’m old enough to be his mother. That’s a scary thought.


  68. Eva, I don’t know what’s going on, but most of his posts, I have had to approve (this may be a WordPress glitch). Some of them have come in as “acorduan” and I have changed them to “Alfred Corduan” the way he initially posted, just for consistency. I see that I missed that one. I’ll change it now. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Alfred, here is the situation as I see it. Gothard is a sexual predator who preyed on young girls of a certain physical type. It does not matter that he didn’t rape them or see them naked or any of the defenses you and he have given. He still used them and frightened them. When they stood up to them he vilified them and even had some of them locked up and deprived of food, a serious felony. The evidence is overwhelming. Many girls have come forward and there are corroborative witnesses. Any one can see that he chose to surround himself with girls of a certain physical type instead of qualified people to do the needed work.

    He is a sick and twisted man and his theology and instructions are sick and twisted too.

    I know it and you know it. You are having trouble reconciling how much of your life and your family life has been consumed with this man with what you now know. If you could dismiss the evidence (everyone is lying or misunderstanding), you would do it and stop engaging with the rest of us. But you can’t because you are troubled.

    Gothard is 80 years old. He has wasted his life and learned nothing. Do you want to end up like that? Look, we all make mistakes, we all go down side paths from time to time. Don’t let your connection to Gothard define your life! Read the Bible for yourself. Study it. I think you will find it liberating. Follow Jesus, not man!

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Alfred,

    Could you please explain how Gothard teaches that we obtain the grace that God gives us. I agree that it is God that gives each man the measure of grace that he has as His sovereign act — Paul said this clearly in the Word.

    Before I ever heard of Don Veinot or his organization MCO, I found Gothard’s teaching disturbing. In Scripture and per the grammatical historical hermeneutic which concerns how the word “grace” was understood when it was used in the New Testament, grace means nothing more than “unmerited favor.” That definition or meaning did not change when Paul used it, and that is the supported opinion from the world of counter-cult apologists.

    Though Gothard would agree that God first offers us unmerited favor when we place our faith in Him for the first time, Gothard teaches that for the ongoing process of sanctification, one must demonstrate the attitude of humility and servitude to merit grace as a Believer. This is how God continues to “give grace to the humble.” A “work of humlity,” if you will, in Gothard’s estimation comes about by submission to authority through a very rigid chain of command. You’re not permitted to sin, but one must submit to parents/circumstances/abuse/servitude/someone else’s “vision” to bank up the reward of grace to have power for living the Christian life. He demonstrates this understanding directly in what he told Julie Anne:

    >>>The reason that God’s favor and blessing left Gothard came about because he failed to meditate on the Word to a great enough of a degree.<<<

    For people outside of Gothard's influence and informal logical fallacy bombardment, the kerygma of what he's teaching means that man is responsible for his own standing with God through works of submission. Submission is pitted against critical thinking/discernment and is given higher significance — as some kind of magic key to obtain more power (to serve God). This is nothing more than salvation by works. The first dispensing of grace is free — then it must be sought out through humility and humiliation in many cases. This does little more than create a sense of moral disengagement which destroys discernment and creates the illusion that the buck for responsibility for one's actions gets passed on to one's authority.

    This is not faith, Alfred. This describes nothing more than salvation by works which begins the moment after one accepts Christ and a mystical type of freewillism.


  71. Dear Alfred,

    I can see plainly that you’re facing a number of questions (mostly from Julie Anne) and comments. I appreciate that it can be daunting for new readers on SSB’s comment threads. But I’d like to give you a few things to think about.

    You say that this blog is “not a safe place” for you. Well, it’s not primarily meant for you. Julie Anne runs this site to be a safe place for victims of abuse, especially spiritual abuse. And you’re not a victim, at least not in the sense of Charlotte and many other women. I do fear that you’ve been groomed by Bill Gothard, both personally and through your family, not to be abused but to support him. It pains me to think that he might be using you this way. At the same time, you seem very reluctant to acknowledge, despite the evidence and testimonies, that Gothard is an abuser. While I sympathize with your discomfort, you have to realize that anyone who defends or apologizes for abusive leaders is going to have a tough time here.

    You also said (quite a few comments ago) that you had “misread” Julie Anne. That makes me wonder what exactly you were expecting when you first spoke up on this thread. Yes, JA is a Christian woman, and a homeschooling mom. She has also suffered spiritual abuse first hand, and admitted to thinking long and hard about her experiences. I imagine that she is very alert to the warning signs of abusive behaviour, as are many of the readers here. If they notice any red flags in your words or attitude, they will call you out on it.

    If you continue to defend your friend, you cannot expect to be treated with kid gloves. However, if you give straight answers and engage in dialogue honestly, you can at least hope for things to go a little easier for you. Please consider that, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  72. Marsha,

    I agree with you and am reminded of what Walter Martin used to say. As Christians, it’s not just enough to have sound doctrine. One must also produce good fruit. He said that we need the fruit of “the life lived and the doctrine taught.” Gothard has regularly failed on both accounts, and he’s shown no humility in the company of Christians outside of His sphere of influence.

    Gothard teaches that one must submit to God’s hammer and chisel of authority which works to craft a person, transforming them from rock to faceted jewel. The crux of this process is submission to authority. Sadly, Gothard has resisted accountability among fellow Christians for whom he should present himself as a living epistle to be known and read of all men. He goes through the motions of pretense, claiming that he wants to be accountable, but he has bugged out several times, as I understand matters directly from Don Veinot. If submission and humility are so essential to the Christian life, then how is it that Gothard did not return to MCO to show himself accountable, especially after his recent resignation and scandal?

    All he’s managed to do has been to spin new fables out of his own old lies to which he himself cannot obtain, just like the Pharisees did.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Let me add this to those who would say, “He’s just human and needs compassion.” I agree that this is the case, but God doesn’t forgive us if we don’t put our faith in Him and then repent of wrongdoing. I don’t get a free pass for being a good person or for doing some good works. Even if I live a “godly” life (as this is frequently used as a modifier for Gothard), I don’t get to circumvent justice. I must become justified in God’s sight through repentance before I am shown mercy. And as a teacher, he is held to a higher standard — not because he “keeps watch” for anyone’s soul but because he’s propagated misinformation about the meaning of Scripture, making God nothing more than the cosmic bellhop.


  74. Victoria, “So glad my parents were smart and spiritual enough to resist this man”

    I am one of those parents who according to you was neither smart nor spiritual enough, along with many thousands. There are 50 families in my town who were shining lights of how to raise big happy families, with obedient children who were busy serving the Lord and becoming accomplished in many areas. They were paraded at the annual convention in Knoxville. I was raise in an alcoholic home and had been taught to put on appearances and make everything look good. I married carefully wanting a godly home and children who would be mighty in Spirit. My young husband and I (we were 23!!) boarded a large bus with our church family and went to Detroit every night for 6 days and proudly claimed our life-time membership and RED notebook as a badge of honor in our church. The rest is history. I have begged forgiveness of my children for the decisions we made to join the IBLP/ATI cult. Financial crisis ended our home educating after 16 years so we dropped out with shame in 2005. My husband considers me a failure as a mother and wife, because I took our children to private schools and brokered deals to get full scholarships for them, then I returned to university to renew my certification (HI JA!!) after 25 years since college days. This was paid for by the state of OHIO so debt free education. Our marriage was then all but dead because I helped my daughters to get into universities (again with mega scholarships, because of their outstanding scores and talents). But I broke every Gothard rule for family and my husband then began to blame me for going against him and ruining our family. I have worked 3-5 part time jobs every year since then to try to gain the financial ground to make a future for my family.
    In January I was jolted into this pain again, when GOTHARD and PHILLIPS crisises rocked my world. We were deeply involved with Phillips ministry also throughout our home educating years. I know both of these men very well and was truly deceived, hoodwinked, brain washed, you name it.
    I wanted a Godly family that would break the chains of dysfunction in my family of origin.I wish I would have been smarter and more spiritual like your parents. So I will own your condemning words the rest of my life, along with the scars from raising my children in the ATI cult.


  75. Deb,

    You should be proud of yourself! You found a way out! High fives and {hugs} from me. I think it is great that you have put your kids through school. I keep encouraging my daughter to find something she loves and her dad and I will make it happen.

    I get the allure of Gothard and Vision Forum – those idyllic homes and situations portrayed in their materials, it’s hard not to want that.

    But, your daughters do know better, because you changed course. Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Deb, please do not beat yourself up. You did the best you could with what you knew then. You must have done a great job with homeschooling for your kids to do so well with scholarships and it is wonderful that you made sure your daughters got a good education.

    None of us are perfect parents. Every one of us makes mistakes. It is important for our children to see us admitting to our mistakes and growing as people. If they knew they were loved and I bet they did, that counts for a lot.


  77. Alfred will walk the line just short of abusiveness, he is passionate but sincere, and can take a punch, even if he will systematically avoid answering direct questions. He will claim inside knowledge but not disclose it, or disclose what has been confided in secret, so it’s never a quite balanced conversation. I pray that he will recognize that this is not the place to throw punches, because this is a recovery room.

    I do believe it is healthy and beneficial for those here to defend their positions against such as Alfred. For, despite the runaround sometimes, such dialogue can refine your own views, and help define the views of all. No need for strawmen when you have a genuine opponent in the debate. But don’t let him make you crazy. He can have effect.

    Be patient if you can. I believe interacting with you, if you are able, may help Alfred understand the harm and understand the damage of both legalism and direct abuse, as hard as it is to face. He is not void of empathy. I do not mean to suggest that you do more than you are able. You have no obligation to tolerate the intolerable. I merely see those who stand becoming stronger through a challenge to explain and defend one’s position.

    I for one admire and applaud your stand. The above article is excellent investigative journalism and has provided to many families both important information and valuable insight that are unavailable elsewhere due to the absence of transparency inside the Gothard bubble. To those who think that all critical information about a fallen false teacher should be withheld from the church, I say tell it to the church. Shine the light of truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. “I wanted a Godly family that would break the chains of dysfunction in my family of origin.”

    Bravo to you, Deb! That’s not a bad thing to desire at all. I think that those of us who come from dysfunctional families (speaking of myself here) lacked the nurturing and guidance to discern what we were getting ourselves in to.

    I agree with Marsha saying,”You did the best you could with what you knew then.” One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes is, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” I’m grateful that you and I know better now.


  79. I for one admire and applaud your stand. The above article is excellent investigative journalism and has provided to many families both important information and valuable insight that are unavailable elsewhere due to the absence of transparency inside the Gothard bubble. To those who think that all critical information about a fallen false teacher should be withheld from the church, I say tell it to the church. Shine the light of truth.

    Thank you, Don. The article took a while to put together, but it was done for the many “Debs” out there (and their families) who need to see that they are/were not going crazy. Some people who have been following Gothard for years have had something in their gut that tells them that something is off, but they can’t put their finger on it. This kind of discussion I think helps – especially from those who have been involved in the program first hand. I greatly appreciate their voices and know that sometimes it’s painful to stir up the uncomfortable feelings, but I think it is doing some good.


  80. Deb and others,

    I didn’t contribute to Gothard, save to attend the IBLP once, but I did give lots of money over the years to a church and a seminary that used his material and viewpoints extensively. We used to send money to both Sprouls. We supported Chalcedon, American Vision, and the Constitution Party. I gave these folks the money to be able to take their harmful ideas and requirements and helped them harm people, basically. I aided and abetted what they’ve done.

    We all get duped from time to time, and it’s the best people with the earnest hearts that get duped. Love hopes and believes all things, and loving people are loyal. But when we trust, we take risks, and if we are deceived or follow someone else who is deceived, we suffer. That is human, and whether people will admit it or not, it is a common human experience.

    Even Alfred is trying, showing loyalty to someone he loves and sticks by what he believes is true. But I pray that he will one day come to see that he’s also aiding and abetting terrible things that have had life-long, life-altering, sometimes life long debilitating effects on so many, particularly those who are raised under the legalism of Gothard and those like him.

    May God anoint the ears of those who truly love Him to receive and discern the truth so that they can hear it and receive it. God watches over His Word to perform it, and I always pray that it will be the undoing of people who follow the Gothards of the world. Jesus said that those who are of the truth hear Him. And He’s bringing us all together in the knowledge of the truth so that we might be in unity. May it be true, and amen.


Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s