Survivor Shares about Abuse in Which He Puts the Blame Ultimately on the Teachings of Bill Gothard

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Abuse Survivor Shares Experience with Bill Gothard’s Teachings (IBLP) and Holds Him Responsible

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Bill Gothard, abuse, IBLP, ATI, spiritual abuse
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A comment was left by “Dash” very early this morning on an old article from October of 2014, Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams. When someone comments on an old post, you know they used search engines to find it. I remember doing the same thing in 2008. Something wasn’t right with my church and I was looking for answers. I needed to find out if I was the only one with my experience. Was I imagining this inner turmoil or did it really happen?

 

Some spiritual abuse survivors are able to recover. They may do things differently after their bad experience. They may have trust issues with people in positions of authority at church. They may have difficulty going to church. Sadly, some abandon church and Christianity altogether.

The following comments will be difficult to read, but they express a personal experience, one in which this person’s life has been permanently affected. It’s sad when the ending is not a happy one. However, we need read the good, bad, and ugly. This person’s experience is why we continue to speak out against spiritual abuse and false teachers. I wish no one would have to experience spiritual abuse ever again. This breaks my heart, but I’m grateful this precious soul came to my blog to share their experience. It compels me to continue blogging and speaking out.

I am a survivor of Gothard’s cult. I experienced unspeakable physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from my mother and father, who were at one point among Gothard’s “model parents.” Gothard is not human. Gothard does not deserve compassion. Gothard is not a man, and he does not have the slightest shred of decency or humanity within him. Bill Gothard is a monster in human form, and as far as I am concerned, he can’t die soon enough.

 

Marsha and I saw the comment and responded:

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bgothard

Julie Anne and Marsha, thanks for the replies. I’m doing as well as can be expected. I have PTSD as a result of my experiences with my family and with Gothard, which makes my life very difficult. I hold my parents primarily to blame for what went on under our roof, but as I research the IBLP and ATI aftermath, I’m beginning to wonder if my injuries do not belong solely and entirely on Gothard’s doorstep. My parents were victims as well, after all.

My mother fell prey to Gothard’s teachings as a result of her own trauma; she was sexually abused by her alcoholic father as a teenager in the 50’s/60’s, and her experience with IBYC in the 70’s was part of her seeking help and resolution for her own pain. My father went along with all of it out of love for my mother, which made the results a thousand times more unspeakable. Our family’s horror story with Gothard was a long downward spiral that lasted nearly 25 years, culminating in my parents divorce, which was the best thing for all of us.

To those who defend Gothard, I say this: You are liars and cowards. You are legalistic, petty, unfeeling, remorseless sadists, and you do not love. You don’t know the love of God, the love of man, or even the most basic love of self. You are perpetrators of hatred and abuse, and I do not pray for you and I do not have compassion for you. My own connection to God has gone dark for over 20 years, so I do not claim to be a Christian. I can only say that I would rather spend an eternity in hell than 5 more minutes with your version of “God.”

IBLP is the very embodiment of evil, as is Bill Gothard himself. I believe the man is clearly insane. He deserves no defense of any kind.

[Admin note: JA took the liberty to change one sentence so it doesn’t read as a fact, but a personal opinion.]

 

 

Late edit: I’ve added the pseudonym “Dash” to the anonymous commenter for clarity.

photo credit: BrokenHeart via photopin (license)

64 comments on “Survivor Shares about Abuse in Which He Puts the Blame Ultimately on the Teachings of Bill Gothard

  1. In my opinion Bill Gothard has appeared to struggle with mental health issues and those around him who have some type of influence with Mr. Gothard should strongly encourage him to seek professional help. He and his group should come clean and humbly seek restoration with all involved.

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  2. I’ve suffered from abuse of ‘feminism’. Mother in law and grandmother in law with things they say like ‘I could slap you’ and other dirty words under their tongue. Other things of this nature that led to poor behavior in husband,

    The enemy is who we are putting our trust in as a whole, I do believe. When we put trust in ‘man’ even a patriarchal movement that appeared to work for some families but not for others, the hook line and sinker will sink such titanic some day…. just don’t know when. When the foundation is Christ, that is the hope.

    The good that came out of the ministry *memorization of bible verses* the bad that came out of it……. misinterpretations on how to deal with sexual perversions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The damage and pain just keeps going from these types of “people”. I found you, others and this site through a similar desperate search and thankfully found an old post that spoke to me. Praying for the person so deeply hurt and others, it just seems endless and despicable from so called leaders.

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  5. One thing that I have always thought was strange was that Bill Gothard never married and never had any children. I wonder if this very fact contributes to the abuse his ministry causes?

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  6. Heartbreaking to read, especially when you can relate so much to the words you are reading as your own emotions and pain are some how embodied in the same words. At the same time, I repent for not speaking out sometimes when I should have. I was 17 years old when my horror story was being written but I knew it was all so wrong and should have fought back sooner and harder. Other future victims of the cesspool of legalism wouldn’t have been distroyed by the same hate filled perpertrators if some of us had been bolder. We should have retained legal representation and litigated the living _______ out of it. When bastards like Gothard, CJ Mahaney and Doug (aka dirty doug I like to climb through young girl’s windows ) Phillips are wiped out financially then all this will end. There needs to be a few cases of utter scorched ground retaliation where assets are seized, bank accounts emptied and “ministeries” shut down, permanently.

    We as a church ( as in body of believers world wide ) MUST insist on vetting ministries and leaders much more intently.

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  7. Yet another Gothard casualty.

    I was a young teen when Gothard was in his heyday. Fortunately I never attended any of his seminars personally, but some who were in positions of authority in my church and so had influence on me, as well as many parents (of friends) and youth (friends) were strongly influenced by him. His teaching was everywhere, and I suffered for it. I didn’t understand it at the time but his teaching laid the foundation for a number of destructive choices I made that I will regret forever. I cannot blame these folks for my decisions, but I sure can blame them for influencing me in that direction so strongly by giving up their God given responsibility to follow the Holy Spirit and not some guru, which is explicitly forbidden in Scripture.

    The irony is scathing. Here’s Bill Gothard saying to hundreds of thousands of people, “This is how you do the Christian life. Follow these principles and God will bless you, and if you don’t do it God will get you.” while God Himself says the way you do the Christian life is to follow Him and not to “heap up to yourselves teachers” as though they were the Holy Spirit. Gothard was the Holy Spirit and his book was the Bible. It truly is a cult. And I, too, have the scars to prove it, even though I never once set foot in his “temple” (seminar) nor read his “Bible” (Red book or whatever it was called). So Gothard and his host of fanatical followers violated God’s terms from the start.

    There is no excuse for most of that generation* to have followed a man like Gothard was followed. What I saw was a combination of 2 Timothy 4:3 and 2 Corinthians 11:19-20, and Jeremiah 5:30-31. The itching ears heard “this is how you guarantee God’s blessing” because the Christian life and relationship with God can be reduced to a set of “principles” by which God’s blessing can be assured/the process and results controlled (though if you said that to any of his devotees they would be deeply offended at the thought they were trying to control God), and out of fear of God’s disfavor the others “put up with it, if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself (though I’m not sure if Gothard exalted himself or if the flockers did the exalting, but he sure didn’t do anything to stop it), if one strikes you on the face.”

    An astonishing and horrible thing was committed in the land. The prophet prophesied falsely and the priest ruled by his own power, and God’s people loved to have it so.

    And look what has come in the end.

    *In saying this I do not want to take away from this commenter’s graciousness toward his/her parents. I am sure there are people who did not and probably could not know better so I do not want to paint with too broad a brush. However, none of the adults I knew personally have any excuse.

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  8. Brian, I believe Bill Gothard surely suffers from illness it called narcissism. However it is not something he will ever seek help for because to him he is okay, neither will he ever seek restoration in the true sense of the meaning because he would need to admit he has done something wrong. His system doesn’t acknowledge saying sorry (admitting wrong doing) If you ever come into contact with someone who has swallowed his teachings they may ask you to forgive them but they wont actually admit they did anything seriously wrong. Gothard’s whole view of repentance is shallow and surface level. Anyone who has been indoctrinated with Gothard’s teachings are in fact inoculated from anything approaching true repentance apart from the intervening grace of God. I have had to deal with a few of these individuals. They will seek forgiveness and make mild apologies that almost dismiss their actions as misdemeanors however if they see you as being in the wrong they will start an inquisition to bring the whole law of God down on top of you. Gothard’s recent actions show a complete lack or guilt while at the same time seeking to twist the stories of others so that they are really to blame not him.

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  9. To Anonymous and everyone else who has suffered at the hands of abuse – My heart breaks for you. I am so glad that you are able to feel safe here. Please know that there are many who care for you here and are willing to listen. Grace and peace to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My two conversations with Gothard were very revealing. It was more about him, his image than victims, that’s for sure. I wonder how many individuals and families were harmed by his teachings? I can’t even fathom.

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  11. Anonymous,
    You speak for so many, and I am thankful you have shared your story here. I don’t have any idea what you have been through, but you can help others by summoning the strength to speak out about this.

    Back when Gothard was a huge thing in the 1970’s, there were waves of young families getting caught up in this because they were frightened of everything that was happening around us. Your parents were afraid, too. I’m so sorry you had to pay the price for their fear like so many others did.

    For what it’s worth, even then there were many of us who spoke out against it and tried to help people get out of the bondage of their fear and find their hope in God rather than a man and his system. We did not do enough, though, and we failed to understand how powerful his appeal would be and how it would persist into so many different churches, even today. His ideas will outlive him, but so will voices like yours, and your voices are now being heard when before your cries were silenced.

    I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that there are many who care deeply about you and who understand. I admire your strength and courage, and by speaking out about your story, perhaps you can comfort and strengthen someone else and the healing can spread. Your story and the others like it have strengthened my resolve to shout about abusive systems that slander the name of Christ whenever I can. May God bless and comfort you.

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  12. Can the person who wrote the original post (whose family was harmed by Gothard’s teachings) explain in more depth (unless he finds that too painful)? I do believe what he says, but I’m having a hard time piecing together what it is about Gothard’s teachings that caused his mother and the rest of his family such turmoil?

    Based upon things I’ve read about Gothard in the past, his teachings are very legalistic and can enable abuse, such as (if I remember this right), his “umbrella” teaching, in which the husband is at the top of the family, the mother/wife under the husband, and any children at the bottom.

    Was there something else going on with Gothard’s teachings with this particular family that led to abuse or fall out?

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  13. Crystal Evans said,

    One thing that I have always thought was strange was that Bill Gothard never married and never had any children. I wonder if this very fact contributes to the abuse his ministry causes?

    Please be careful not to make too much of his bachelor and childless status.

    I’m over 40 years of age, have never married, never had sex, and never had children – there is nothing wrong with me, nor does it make me strange.

    Evangelicals and Baptists already treat never married, celibate, or childless adults such as myself as losers or freaks, when they aren’t busy ignoring us. Sometimes they suspect us older singles- especially the males – of either being child molesters or homosexuals, when neither is the case.

    I suspect if Gothard had married and had kids, he would still have the same set of problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for this.

    I am willing to share more of my story if anyone thinks it will help. If there’s an email address somewhere that I can correspond with JA, I would be willing to Q&A, on condition of strict anonymity.

    The dilemma I find myself in is that I do not wish to cause my family any more pain than we have already experienced, and so therefore discussing the situation publicly is somewhat problematic. Before he retired, my father was a prominent community leader at an internationally renowned Christian institution which does great good in the world, and I do not wish to implicate that institution in the process of going after Gothard. The entanglement was purely a coincidental one; Gothard’s teachings are completely incompatible with the other group, as it happens.

    I also don’t want to publicly embarrass either of my parents; they’ve both expressed deep remorse and humiliation over what they did to us, which is why I place all of this at Gothard’s door.

    Please let me know if/how I can share more.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So many have been harmed by these men who say they speak for and work for God. The harm that has been done, in the name of God, is so disturbing. My heart is broken. And my soul aches as each new story surfaces. I know I will bear the wounds of my spiritual abuse forever. I can’t imagine what others are having to live thru.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is why adding to God’s word is just as bad or worse than subtracting from it. I used to think that the real danger was “under-obeying” and that “over-obeying” was safe. As God has been teaching me over the past year, it’s not any safer to add to His commands and doctrine than to subtract from it. The only safe thing is to follow Jesus and not men.

    I think Satan uses men like Gothard to distort our view of God and cause us to run from Him, or at least distrust Him. That was certainly the case for me. Since Recovering Grace blew the top on IBLP a year ago, God has been showing me lies that I had believed as Biblical truth that were destroying me spiritually. I’m still learning. God is truly good.

    But I can understand why this commenter wants to run from the God that Bill taught him about.

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  17. Joel,

    You get it. I pray that many young people will wake up to the doctrines of men that are being marketed in order to make people feel “safe” or “obedient” or “godly” or “Biblical” when those doctrines cannot produce what only the Holy Spirit can produce. You look young, certainly younger than I, and maybe you can help lead your generation out of this mess. There are several young people I’m encouraging who have seen the light and want to avoid the legalism of Gothard and SGM and CBMW and associated organizations. By this shall all people know that we are Jesus’ disciples: if we have love for one another. That is the greatest commandment.

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  18. If you ever come into contact with someone who has swallowed his teachings they may ask you to forgive them but they wont actually admit they did anything seriously wrong. Gothard’s whole view of repentance is shallow and surface level. Anyone who has been indoctrinated with Gothard’s teachings are in fact inoculated from anything approaching true repentance apart from the intervening grace of God. I have had to deal with a few of these individuals. They will seek forgiveness and make mild apologies that almost dismiss their actions as misdemeanors however if they see you as being in the wrong they will start an inquisition to bring the whole law of God down on top of you.

    Thank you for saying this. Your words describe a problem that I have had — failure to listen to and accept a rebuke, especially if I thought that the other person was at least partly wrong in what they said or were in the wrong themselves. Bill made much of a person’s motives and methods in handling situations. Did they follow his 5 step plan? If not, they were in the wrong. Such an attitude leads to a “You’re just as wrong as I am so I don’t have to listen to you” attitude.

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  19. Bill made much of a person’s motives and methods in handling situations. Did they follow his 5 step plan? If not, they were in the wrong. Such an attitude leads to a “You’re just as wrong as I am so I don’t have to listen to you” attitude.

    Ack – that’s classic victim blaming and blame shifting. And the thing is, in Gothard’s teachings you are constantly looking inwardly at what you did wrong so you don’t even realize that someone manipulated the conversation bringing it back to you and your sins. You just can’t win.

    Joel, thanks for sharing your experience with Gothard teachings.

    It’s so important to realize that Gothard’s idea of who God is – is so distorted. He and other false teachers present a false God and so those who have been spiritually abused may never have encountered Abba Father.

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  20. I want to add this, not for sympathy of any kind I patently and passionately deny the need nor even the desire for for sympathy, understanding, comfort, etc. I learned that at church. In my life I have been burned over 45% of my body with third degree burns, have struggled with migraines most of my life, have lost a great deal of my sight. I have had several serious illnesses and watched several family members die horrid deaths, and I could go on. Nothing and I do mean nothing compares to spiritual pain, nothing even comes close, it tears at the soul and it really never goes away outside of reconciliation, which can’t happen in the modern franchise. Never feel weak or like a loser if you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, it is real and it is wrong. You are not to blame the perpetrators of said abuse are wrong. I have met some real vile people who call themselves Christian, but as angry frustrated and twisted my vision has been, most of the Christians I have ever met are kind good loving reflections of Jesus, on and off line.

    God be with you all.

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  21. Brian, what you said is so true. I, too, have had a tough life. But the damage done by the spiritual abuse cannot be described. One of my psychiatrist told me that the trauma of spiritual abuse il likened to rape of the soul. I was diagnosed with ptsd afterward. It doesn’t end.

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  22. My parents, especially my dad, were ones who fell into Gothard’s teachings when they were young, out of fear and some kind of rebellion, I think, against the Mennonite way they were raised. My mother I think disagreed with a lot of it, but she went along with it because she bought the version of spiritual headship that Gothard was teaching which my dad pushed so hard. That vision is one of the primary things that caused incalculable damage in my family, and even though we weren’t in IBLP or ATI proper for many years, my dad founded most of his spiritual thinking on Gothard’s ‘principles’, and we were forced to comply. He was another who could never admit when he was in the wrong, making shallow apologies and insisting that we were just as wrong and until we admitted that we couldn’t reconcile or heal. After he had a four-years-long emotional affair with a woman in the church, he still insisted for years afterward that my mom and the rest of us needed to let go of our anger and forgive this woman and be in close friendship with her again, or our sin was just as great as his infidelity. By the grace of god someone finally got thru to him and he has changed a lot, for the better, in the last couple of years, but he still embraces many of those principles he learned in Gothard’s books and seminars, and it makes it very difficult for someone like me, who (aside from my mother) suffered the most from the spiritual abuse as the oldest child, to talk to him about any kind of spiritual things. I want to say to him, your God is not my God, because we view him so differently. But it’s not for me to say who’s a Christian or not, I just feel very alienated from the concept of God that was presented to me all those years and which he still believes much of.

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  23. To picture what it would be like to be in the presence of the god I used to worship I would imagine myself standing in the exhaust of the engines of an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, somehow held stationary, at full throttle. How this would not kill me I do not know, but even the sensation from being subject to such unimaginable power (if memory serves, each engine generates enough power to drive an ocean liner) was, in my imagination, obliterated by the sensation of angels on ten thousand times ten thousand celestial organs pounding out an endless round of Toccata from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Whether the performance of this Toccata as a round would or would not be cacophonous, or would even be possible, my imagination did not reveal.

    From what others have written above, I suspect that my former picture of god was not unlike the supposed god of Bill Gothard. Certainly my god was the god of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon. No doubt this same false god, a god obsessed with a concern for his power and authority and glory, was the god vainly imagined by those other famous Johns: Calvin, Piper and MacArthur.

    I have abandoned that false god. I now worship the God whose essence is Love, the God whose anger is directed, not at man, but at the evil that has marred the Creation He loves, including especially women and men, his image bearers.

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  24. Dash, if it helps, many people who struggled w/ spiritual abuse in some form or another started anonymous Twitter accounts, using a fictional character that helped give them a voice. I chose Captain Janeway from the Star Trek universe, and have been writing and tweeting as “XianJaneway” for several months now. It’s so theraputic, and the community at The Anon Church has been wonderful as well as revealing. (There are still plenty of jerks out there, and some became anons too!) No one knows who I am unless I *want* them to.
    This means, you could both heal from your own wounds *and* be a light to others who are coming out of the same situation, without your parents being a part of the equation. I’m in the same boat you are. Just last night, someone from another continent emailed me and asked for help, and I *knew how to help her*, but she has no idea who I really am.
    You could even take the “Dash” nickname Julie Anne gave you, and play off “The Incredibles”, with a name like, “DashingFromATI” and use Dash’s picture. 😉 You could watch the Incredibles, and tweet a few satirical lines from the movie, like, “She’d eat if we were having Gothard-Loaf,” or, “Now that I’m grown, I can run as fast as I can away from Gothard’s influence.”
    Anyway, if it helps you, check out the Anon Church, and a few parody accounts that deal with spiritual abuse: Breaking Baptist, The Xian Satirist, Gov_Pappy (who has become a friend), mine: XianJaneway, and many more. We would love to get to know you better, and your parents don’t have to be the wiser. ❤

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  25. Brenda Ratcliff’s recent article at http://goo.gl/h9gjNA, “An Emotionally Unavailable God,” is not, I suggest, unrelated to the question of the false and un-embraceable god Bill Gothard appears to have encouraged his followers to (vainly) attempt to embrace.

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  26. I thought that the reason Crystal said what she did about Gothard never being married and having children, is because here is a man who never married telling married people how and when to have sex, and a childless man telling parents how to raise their children. But I also agree with Daisy that he would probably have been the same false teacher and his wife and children (if he’d had any) would have been harmed. We can be thankful that he didn’t marry and have children.

    I’ve said this before but maybe not here that the thing that showed me what a false teacher he is was his comments on the Lord’s Supper. In the Advanced book (which I threw away and now wish I could refer to it) he said something very close to this; “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.” THat is so far off from Scripture that I can’t believe I didn’t see it. I wrote it in my book – in my own handwriting. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” I’ve read that the filthy rags refers to menstrual cloths. Also this teaching doesn’t tell how an unmarried man can remember the Lord’s blood shed for us. And what about the women. This just grossed me out and that was the end of Gothardism for me.

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  27. “My own connection to God has gone dark for over 20 years, so I do not claim to be a Christian. I can only say that I would rather spend an eternity in hell than 5 more minutes with your version of “God”.

    My heart sank when I read this. I am praying for dash.

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  28. “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.” THat is so far off from Scripture that I can’t believe I didn’t see it. I wrote it in my book – in my own handwriting. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” I’ve read that the filthy rags refers to menstrual cloths. Also this teaching doesn’t tell how an unmarried man can remember the Lord’s blood shed for us. And what about the women. This just grossed me out and that was the end of Gothardism for me.

    That’s just sick – here’s another man shaming women for how God created their bodies. (Doug Wilson shaming small-breasted women and now Bill Gothard shaming women about their menstruation.) You notice there is no equivalent of filthy rags for men. Women seem to get blamed a lot.

    He’s taking something that good and making it just weird – a woman’s reproductive cycle (even though it is sometimes a hassle and inconvenient) is amazing, it cycles like the moon and seasons. I’m fascinated by the whole process all the way to pregnancy, delivery, postpartum/breastfeeding, and the return of cycles. (I guess I’ve had a lot of practice at it.)

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  29. Please be careful not to make too much of his bachelor and childless status.

    Good point, Daisy. Let’s also not forget that Jesus never married during His time on earth, although Scripture tells us He is coming back for a Bride.

    Evangelicals and Baptists already treat never married, celibate, or childless adults such as myself as losers or freaks, when they aren’t busy ignoring us. Sometimes they suspect us older singles- especially the males – of either being child molesters or homosexuals, when neither is the case.

    Believe me, I’ve run into that and worse. In addition, I’ve stumbled and fallen along the way so I also live with a lot of regrets. I’m still sorting out how many of those regrets come from my own sinful behavior and how many of those regrets come from the guilt and shame heaped upon me due to my failure to marry, at least in the eyes of the self-appointed scolds who are far too numerous in today’s church.

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  30. “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.”

    This is freaking nuts.

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  31. Eva wrote

    I thought that the reason Crystal said what she did about Gothard never being married and having children, is because here is a man who never married telling married people how and when to have sex, and a childless man telling parents how to raise their children. But I also agree with Daisy that he would probably have been the same false teacher and his wife and children (if he’d had any) would have been harmed. We can be thankful that he didn’t marry and have children.

    This goes both ways.

    I’ve read so many stories on the internet of churches who will not allow an unmarried adult to act as Sunday School teacher to fellow singles; they insist on having a MARRIED person lead the class.

    Also, a lot of married Christians – often who were married at age 20 or 25 back in 1945 or 1956 or 1974 – think they are experts on what it’s like to be a never-married adult in 2015 at age 30 or 40 something. I can tell you being single at 40 something is not the same thing as being single at age 21 and in college.

    Totally different ball game with different problems, challenges, etc.

    Yet many evangelicals and Baptists and Reformed think it’s okay for a 65 year old man whose been married for 3 or more decades to write books, sermons, blog posts, for never married adults like me (I’m in my 40s).

    Older married people giving me lectures on singleness and dating might not bother me so much if adult singles were treated equally and allowed to lead married people and lecture about marriage and parenting.

    There is also a suspicion among a lot of Christians (and secular people) that if y’ve never married by age 25 or 30, you surely must be a closeted homosexual, a pedo, or a weirdo (you were unable to land a mate for some reason, you must be a loser). So, we older singles have to deal with a lot of unpleasant assumptions and prejudices that married Christians do not.

    Even though I’ve never had a kid, I was a kid once myself, I still remember what that was like, and my mother was excellent at handling me. So, I could have some valuable tips to give harried parents on how to handle their unruly children. I do think parents should be open to considering views of childless people.

    Some childless people work as pediatricians and school teachers, they are around other people’s kids all day long.

    I think Christians make hay out of Gothard’s singleness because deep down even a lot of Christians harbor prejudices or stereotypes about adults who never marry, who never have kids.
    Christians think it’s weird or some kind of “red flag” denoting something is wrong with a person if he or she does not marry and/or have kids.

    I was engaged in my early 30s and broke things off because I could see that relationship would not last, any marriage to that guy would have been terrible, and I would have divorced him.
    I did a wise thing on that score, but among Christians (and some Non Christians) I bear a stigma for being past 40 and never marrying.
    (BTW, a lot of folks assume if you’ve not married by “age X,” it means you never had a serious relationship – not true. You can go through a string of serious relationships and never marry.)

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  32. One point that just crossed my mind, something else about Christians making to much out of Gothard’s marital status (he’s never married or had kids).

    There are a lot of married fathers who work as preachers, or as Christian authors or conference speakers, who make sexist, weird, or rude comments in their sermons, books, radio shows, or blogs.

    Mark Driscoll is a preacher who is married with four or five kids and I could cite 345 pages filled with examples of his rude, sexist, vulgar, and bizarre beliefs and teachings.

    If you want to see some examples of his weirdness, bully behavior, sexism, odd obsession with sex, and his obscene nature, please, use Google search engine, and look up things such as:

    Exorcism at Mars Hill One Woman’s Story of Sex Demons and Mark Driscoll – Matthew Paul Turner’s Blog

    Use these as search phrases on Google:
    – “mark driscoll william wallace quotes”
    – “mark driscoll song of songs”

    Other married preachers (and some of them are parents) have had extra marital affairs, been arrested for kiddie nudie photos, killing their wives to be with a mistress, etc.

    Married pastor Ed Young Jr had a “Sex In” at his church, where he was promoting a sex book he wrote. He put a bed on his church roof and got into it to make comments about married sex, in another sex book promotion.

    Is Kevin “Womb Tomb” Swanson married with children? (He probably is.)

    There is a married preacher named Ernest Angley who – _Report: Ohio pastor accused of genital exams, encouraging abortions_ (link is to USA Today news site)

    There is absolutely nothing about being married and a parent that will make a person more ethical than someone who never marries and remains childless.
    Married people are not necessarily more “normal” than those who marry late in life or who never marry.

    Like

  33. Eva said,

    I’ve said this before but maybe not here that the thing that showed me what a false teacher he is was his comments on the Lord’s Supper. In the Advanced book (which I threw away and now wish I could refer to it) he said something very close to this; “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.”

    😯 😳 😯 ❓ 😕 😯 😕 ❓ 😯 😳 😯

    That is so bizarre and kind of gross. A woman’s monthly cycle has to do with reproduction, which IMO, has next to nothing to do with Jesus’ blood at the cross.

    Jesus was paying for the sins of the world, and he was nailed to the cross by ancient Romans. A woman gets her cycle each month via nature, not via ancient Romans.

    Eva wrote,

    Also this teaching doesn’t tell how an unmarried man can remember the Lord’s blood shed for us. And what about the women. This just grossed me out and that was the end of Gothardism for me.

    Good points. Unmarried (and childless) people do not matter or have any value in most American forms of Christianity, so single men are out of luck.

    And what are women supposed to look to as a reminder?

    Also. When I was engaged years ago, and – I don’t mean to get into TMI or gross anyone out here – but to show how weird and stupid this Gothard teaching is – when I was on my period, I did not parade this information in front of my fiance’.

    I might tell him I was having my period, so he would understand why I didn’t physically feel up to going out to dinner or a movie (I usually feel sick around that time of month, with back aches, fatigue, etc), but I did not show him any or my hygiene products, shall we say.

    I sure as heck would not show my ex anything related to my period to give him some kind of reminder about “Christ’s sacrifice” (or for any other reason I can think of).

    I don’t think men who have girlfriends, wives, or daughters should be squeamish about this topic (they might need you to run to the store to buy more feminine hygiene products if they’ve run out or what not), but I don’t see using it as an example for some kind of theological lesson.

    Like

  34. I attended Gothard’s Basic Youth Conflicts twice and his Advance Training Institute once. It took about 10 years to get all of that legalism and fabricated theology out of my mind and soul.

    Sadly there are new ultra-legalistic groups that the next generation will find tempting. Young people are enamored with a holy desire to be sold out for God.

    A few years ago I warned a college student about a Asian Christian campus group she was joining. I told her that this particular group (which I am not naming) was known for extreme legalism, but she wanted to be part of God’s elite. A year later she was trying to figure out how to exit without feeling the full wrath of their judgmentalism.

    It takes courage to walk away. I did it. She did it. Many of us have to leave in order to keep our faith intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Daisy Like you I am an older bachelor (nearly 51) I concur with what you have said here its as though never marrying means there is something wrong with us. I also agree that marrying or staying single is not the problem with Gothard as though it was so how the magic bullet that would have validated him and maybe changed who he has become. I suspect (and can only speculate) that had he married his potential children may have divulged another side of this man that is even more creepy and sinister than we we know of him already. God in His grace may have kept Bill single for this very reason……. unless of course one is a Molanist or open theist where God could only work with the hand He was dealt or didn’t know that Bill would do what he has done. Bill is a perfect example of what happens when someone is slightly off center where if you look at how he formed his ideas and where he drew them from its not brain surgery to deduct that he was never on the ball in the first place. Why Wheaton never challenged his thesis mystifies me. This link gives a fairly good expos’e on Bill http://ronhenzel.tripod.com/GothardZone/08-BG2BG/index.html

    Like

  36. Daisy, you are right that many single people do a good work with children. I forgot about teachers, etc. And of course Gothard was also a child like you said. But when we attended the advanced seminar, and he started going into great detail about how and when to have sex…..I just rolled my eyes. He suposedly had never experienced that — not as a child or an adult. That’s why I was surprised to read what he had said about mensturation reminding a husband of Christ’s blood. By the time he got through telling us all the times a married couple shouldn’t have sex, I was wondering if it wouldn’t have been quicker to just tell us that it’s only on day 10 of the monthly cycle. I just made that up but really he had so many times you couldn’t that it was about down to one day a month. He really had no exerience with that according to his own telling that he “never touched a woman”.

    Like

  37. chrissymonds65,

    Thank you for the link to ronhenzel’s expose of Bill Gothard. Although Bill Gothard was never more than a name to me, I now perceive that much of what was espoused in churches I attended must have come from Gothard, either directly or indirectly. I had no idea that the horrible, abominable authority/umbrella-of-protection concept was allowed to germinate and grow under the tutelage of the professors of the Christian Education department of Wheaton College Graduate School.

    Interestingly, the Wheaton College professor that was arrested on child pornography in early 2013, and who received an extraordinarily favorable plea bargain, was in the Education Department. His fellow professors continued to “be there” for him throughout his trial, although his now-ex wife reports on her blog that nobody in the College saw the need to reach out to his emotionally and financially devastated family.

    While I grieve at the Wheaton connection where Bill Gothard and the pedophile professor are concerned, I do not include the college in my long and lengthening list of apostate institutions. Much such good as may be seen in evangelicalism hales from Wheaton. For me personally, Wheaton College graduate Leanne Payne, a near-contemporary of Bill Gothard, has been instrumental in much of such transformation as has been worked in me during my Christian Walk.

    Like

  38. In the Advanced book (which I threw away and now wish I could refer to it) he said something very close to this; “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.” THat is so far off from Scripture that I can’t believe I didn’t see it.

    THAT sounds like something from a Medieval monastery or convent, full of celibates since age six. Or some sort of Medieval Scholastic theologian who theologizes EVERYTHING.

    Like

  39. Steve Taylor’s song about Biil Gothard:

    (No wonder ST got in such hot water with the CCM establishment…)

    Like

  40. And of course Gothard was also a child like you said. But when we attended the advanced seminar, and he started going into great detail about how and when to have sex…..I just rolled my eyes. He supposedly had never experienced that — not as a child or an adult.

    1) Look at Job’s Counselors. Or the married-at-18 preachers who write books about what Singles Should do. It’s always those who have never been there who are full of You-Must-Do-This Advice for those who are.
    2) Are you sure that he wasn’t just talking about his own sexual fantasies given acceptable form? (op cit MD and “I SEE Things….”)
    3) As for “never touched a woman”, it all depends on what the definition of “touched” is. Remember Douggie ESQUIRE and “I did not Know that woman in the Biblical sense”? Or the NSFW-on-steroids song “Loophole” by Garfunkel & Oates?

    Like

  41. Sadly there are new ultra-legalistic groups that the next generation will find tempting. Young people are enamored with a holy desire to be sold out for God.

    This is also a MAJOR recruiting point for ISIS and similar Jihadi groups within Islam.

    Like

  42. Because in a religion or cause or group that places great importance on Following the Rules, the more Rules you have and the stricter they are, the more you have to be “sold out”, “on fire”, etc. And when one-upmanship as to who is more sold out/on fire sets in, you have to be stricter and stricter until you Embrace Madness like ISIS and the Taliban.

    VIR: “Londo! This is insane!”
    LONDO: “Insanity is part of these times; you must learn to EMBRACE THE MADNESS!”

    Like

  43. Can the person who wrote the original post (whose family was harmed by Gothard’s teachings) explain in more depth (unless he finds that too painful)? I do believe what he says, but I’m having a hard time piecing together what it is about Gothard’s teachings that caused his mother and the rest of his family such turmoil?

    Dash and I have been in contact and I will be posting a new post soon. I think it will provide answers to your questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. HUG wrote

    1) Look at Job’s Counselors. Or the married-at-18 preachers who write books about what Singles Should do. It’s always those who have never been there who are full of You-Must-Do-This Advice for those who are.

    Yes, this happens a lot.
    People who have been married for 10, 20, or more years (and most of whom married by the time they wer 21or 25) fancy themselves experts at what it’s like being single past the age of 30 in the year 2015.

    But churches will not allow adult singles to teach or guide other adult singles and act miffed if an adult single offers advice, opinions or input about marriage.

    Christian Married people are allowed to bloviate about singleness in evangelicalism, Reformed, and Baptist churches and culture, but the marrieds resent it when singles bloviate about marriage. There is definitely a double standard going on there.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Julie Anne said,

    Dash and I have been in contact and I will be posting a new post soon. I think it will provide answers to your questions.

    I do want to say to the original poster (Dash?) I am very sorry for the pain he (or she?) has gone through. I hope I expressed that in an earlier post.

    I also don’t mean to push this person if discussing anything would be too painful.

    I was curious about how Gothard’s teachings were responsible for the abuse in his family.

    I was waiting for that kind of explanation as I read down the post, but I didn’t really see that. (But maybe that wasn’t the point of the post, it was just to say, “this person was hurt by Gothardism.”)

    I was expecting to see specifics, like, (to make up a goofy example),
    “Gothard taught in his books and lectures that burning cookies to a black crisp was the only “godly” way to bake cookies. So my mother would intentionally burn the cookies and make me eat them. This caused me to feel bad, and I got stomach pains. To this day, I can’t be around cookies.”

    I was expecting to see a link between specific Gothard teachings and how they led to abuse kind of like that. But again, I don’t want the original poster to write or talk about this stuff if he would find it upsetting.

    I am very sorry that he’s hurting to this day, and that his family experienced pain and abuse due to Gothardism.

    Like

  46. Hi Daisy, Julie Anne and I have been in correspondence about details of my experience and I believe she is planning a new article soon based on our correspondence. We both felt that the subject needed clearer articulation than here in the comments section. So please keep an eye out for the new post and hopefully it will answer some of your questions in greater detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. “In the Advanced book (which I threw away and now wish I could refer to it) he said something very close to this; “A woman’s menstrual period should remind her husband of Christ’s blood in the Lord’s Supper.” That is so far off from Scripture that I can’t believe I didn’t see it.

    THAT sounds like something from a Medieval monastery or convent, full of celibates since age six. Or some sort of Medieval Scholastic theologian who theologizes EVERYTHING.”

    This comment hits close to something that I have been mentally putting together for a while. Gothard’s teachings have a marked pagan influence. Many pagan religions worship or deify reproductive aspects. Gothard’s comment of equating menstrual blood to the blood of Christ is reminiscent of this pagan practice, in my opinion. Gothard has also stated (in slightly different words) that women are spiritually glorified in their act of producing children as if to say that they are somehow brought closer to God through childbearing.
    I am not trying to minimize or trivialize the miracle of child birth, but Gothard seems to take childbearing to a spiritual level that is not really substantiated by BIble.
    Also, Recovering Grace had an article called “Christian Karma” which talked about how Gothard’s views on blessings lined up more closely with eastern views on karma than with what the Bible says on blessings for Christians.
    Perhaps all of this stems from the humanistic foundation of Gothard’s teachings.

    Like

  48. Joel Hurst if you can recognize where you went wrong then you are in a good place. God has done a miraculous work of grace in your heart. Walk with Christ in His wonderful grace and forgiveness that He purchased for you through His sacrifice and the shedding of His blood

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I have experienced legalistic abuse. I have been married to a man for 12 years who was raised in that kind of environment. I experienced spiritual abuse about my clothes, etc. there is a harsh coldness and emotional abuse involved. To this day my husband will choose those people over me. His mother and father are pastors at a church hidden in the woods. It just plain scarey. I rebelled at it all shortly after attending this church. They follow the David Terrell Ministry. I love my husband and have tried to stay married but I am reaching the end. His parents use manipulation and picked out scriptures to get people to give to them. They talk bad about their people in private. They are materialistic to the point of constantly bragging. They make make spiritual threats about me behind my back. My husband does not see this….or makes excuses. I cannot bear to be around them. Thanks for letting me share this.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. SJ, I’m so sorry to hear your personal story. Spiritual and emotional abuse are so difficult because it’s a “hidden” abuse. Usually it’s done when others are not present, and it’s done in a cold, calculated way intended to use a position of authority and control over victim. It can be crazy making because of denial and gaslighting.

    If you are interested, I have a private forum where you can process some of this stuff with people who understand the kind of abuse you are dealing with and will offer support and encouragement. You can send me an e-mail spiritualsb@gmail.com to request to join. Grace and peace to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  51. SJ- Run as fast as you can away from your circumstances into the blessed freedom of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t give two s**** about what you are wearing. He sees your heart. It might be earth shattering to leave your husband and his excuses. You are worth so much more than what you are experiencing, you deserve grace & peace & freedom from all the religious nonsense. Glad you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Hello,

    I happened upon this page this evening, 9/2/15. I read all of the posts and noticed the latest was placed on 5/30. (Long ago involvement with Gothard’s ‘check-list approach to Christianity’ lead me to begin an exhaustive search to uncover what others have been and are now reporting.)

    My research has involved countless on-line hours over the past 3 months in addition to the reading of numerous paperbacks exposing legalism. The latest was ‘A Matter of Basic Principles’ by the Veinots & Ron Henzel. This is an amazing read!! Since the completion of this paperback, as a mom (and now a very seasoned senior citizen), I no longer feel so incredibly stupid for becoming subtly lured into his den of obscured iniquity. I cannot live long enough, however, to repair the damage to my family. :+(

    Perhaps any posts during the past 3 months have been redirected or left elsewhere.
    I am no longer involved with FB nor do I subscribe to other on-line avenues for posting.

    I am opting to leave this short message and ‘sign up’ at this time regardless of the lack of recent feedback. I am sorely grieved to know of the incredible suffering of
    others as a result of the ‘Orwellian’ societal structures of Gothard and others…. :+(

    I am persevering in whatever time Our Heavenly Father allows and enables me. :+)

    Prayers…… ^i^ ^i^ ^i^

    In HIS Grip,
    Willy

    Like

  53. Willy, Thank you for your comment and for stopping by. You responded to one blog article. If you are looking for more Gothard articles, try searching for his name in the sidebar, or you can find his nam (or ATI, Patriarchy or other keywords) under the categories on the sidebar. I hope you’ve checked out recoveringgrace.org. It is a site designed to solely discuss Gothard and his teachings. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Like

  54. I can relate to the anger and sense of loss that you and so many others feel over the abuse inflicted by Bill Gothard and the organization he founded and controlled for decades. I was raised in his ‘ cult ‘ for nearly 10 years before finally breaking away at age 18 and leaving home against my parents will. To say my life was difficult would be an understatement, my family cut off all financial and relational ties for a number of years because I was now the ” black sheep ” of the family. The deep depression and anger I felt towards God, my family and Gothard led me to attempt suicide three times in about 5 years. Thankfully I didn’t succeed. For us, the main thing that begin to put our family back together again relationally was my mom’s diagnosis with a condition similar to MS in 2010, almost losing her kind of united the rest of us. I can’t say that Im healed from the trauma of physical, emotional,verbal or spiritual abuse I experienced and I still have a difficult time wanting any kind of’ father – child ‘ relationship with God or my parents still. I often wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t been burned for those 10 years. I have a fairly stable life now, college education, good employment, etc but the emotional pain and memories of my childhood still haunt me to this day. I often feel like Im trapped in a fog of pain and fear thatI can’t seem to get rid of, though Im quite good at hiding it and acting like everything’s ok. I guess that’s an ‘ advantage’ of learning how to be perfect and fake in the ATI program. I wonder if Bill Gothard will ever face the justice he so richly deserves, he deeply hurt thousands of innocent people who are still dealing with that.

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  55. I often feel like Im trapped in a fog of pain and fear thatI can’t seem to get rid of, though Im quite good at hiding it and acting like everything’s ok.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine how awful that must have been. I hope that you meet with someone to talk about this.

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