Bill Gothard, sex abuse, cults, lawsuit, Emily Jaeger, freedom, IBLP
A note of introduction from Julie Anne:
Emily Jaeger is one of the sexual abuse survivors and plaintiffs in the Bill Gothard/IBLP sex abuse lawsuit. Her official statement about the lawsuit was posted on Spiritual Sounding Board a few days ago.
Then someone close to Bill Gothard contacted me. He runs the Discovering Grace website, which is devoted to supporting and defending Bill Gothard and his teachings. We communicated at length, during which he asked me if I wanted to post Bill Gothard’s response to Emily Jaeger’s statement (per Bill’s suggestion). After I declined, it was then published at Discovering Grace website.
I initially said no, because I do not want my blog to be used as a platform for an abuser. However, then I saw Emily Jaeger’s new reply to Bill Gothard’s response statement, and it made sense to me to post both.
I may have more to say later — in fact, I am thinking of doing an SSB “learn to discern” post to analyze these statements in depth. But for now, I’ll say I think his statement is a perfect opportunity to see a spiritual abuser in action, violating boundaries, and hers shows what it looks like when someone leaves the influence of a high-control environment, thinks independently, and makes their own decisions. See what you think …
Bill Gothard Responds to Emily
Response to Emily Jaeger
After reading your response to your lawyers dropping your lawsuit, I want you to know that you cannot say or do anything that will diminish my life-long commitment to serve you and your family in whatever ways I can. I believe that the best way I can serve you right now is to remind you of the real motives behind my attempts to help you.
According to your affidavit, you met me in 2006 at the Total Health Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana when you were 13 years old. You and your mother attended this conference because you were suffering from severe Crohn’s Disease.
The Mayo Clinic describes Crohn’s disease as:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
You were also trying to “cope with the turmoil as a result of abuse” in your family.
Four years later, in 2010, I wrote the following entry in my journal: “I met Emily Jaeger. She was sitting in the hallway in tears. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me about her Crohn’s Disease and the medical complications from it. She also explained that she was having major conflicts with her father. I pointed out the need for her to get away stress because that is a major contributor to Crohn’s Disease. I also emphasized the need to resolve her conflicts with her father.”
Crohn’s Disease is no small matter. It is a life-threatening condition. In 2006, your parent’s requested a scholarship for the ATI program because of ”our 13-year-old daughter Emily’s ongoing illnesses…The doctors said it was the second severest case of Crohn’s Disease they had seen in five years”. The next year, 2007, they renewed their request for a scholarship stating, “the reason for our continual financial duress is our daughter Emily’s physical battle with Crohn’s disease…we have costs that have averaged $2,400.00 per month…last year we paid over $28,000.00 worth of medical expenses not covered by insurance.”
Each year I would see you and your mother at the Regional Conference in Indianapolis, and each year you would report the same problems. Finally, in 2011, when you were 18 years old, I offered to call your father to see if we could work out a plan that would resolve your stress and rebuild your relationship with him. Based on that phone call, you and your mother visited the headquarters for ten days.
During that time, I met with you and your mother, contacted two health professionals who had success with Crohn’s Disease, and bought and paid $1,000.00 for products that would boost your immune system. Once again, I called your father and discussed the need for you to resolve your stress and restore your relationship him.
At the end of that ten days your mother wrote,
“Dear Mr. Gothard,
Thank you, indeed, for sharing God’s love with us for the week we were at IBLP Headquarters. Your sensitivity to our needs and time from your busy schedule to talk with us is greatly appreciated. It is by God’s grace and the influence of your teaching in the Seminars since 1973 for me have been what has kept us together thus far.
In Christ’s Love,
Can you imagine the shock I experienced when you posted your negative account of our contacts under the headline of “sexual harassment”? None of the above factors were included in your story. I brought this to your attention in a phone conference with you and your mother. You both agreed that the article gave the wrong impression and asked the website to remove it.
On May 28, 2012, your mother wrote the following email to the RG website explaining why she and you wanted your story removed:
“First of all, neither Emily nor I ever felt like she was being sexual harassed in any instance. The fact that her post was made under the original article about sexual harassment gives people the impression.”
Then you wrote an additional letter to me stating,
“I want to apologize again for ever posting on RG. I will always regret it. Now that I understand a little more about RG, I am deeply disappointed in what they are doing.”
With all of this as background, can you imagine my greater shock when you became one of the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that has the goal of destroying me and the entire seminar ministry? My first concern was how this was going to affect your health. I continue to pray for you and your family and would be thrilled to hear from you.
Through Christ our Lord
Emily posted this note and drawing on Facebook and I asked permission to share it.
I used to believe that living under an umbrella of “Christian rules and disciplines” would protect me from the pain of life. But when you’re staying under an umbrella of legalistic checklists, “convictions”, and rules, you tend to miss out on God’s GRACE.
Once I learned to toss off that umbrella and allow myself to be soaked by the raindrops of God’s grace, I finally experienced the realness of a relationship that I’d been missing out on. And let me tell you, it’s a beautiful thing!
Discovering God’s grace isn’t about finding a license to sin; it’s about being humbled by the incredible realization and security that YOU ARE LOVED! 💗
* I happen to know a talented artist and asked him to draw this for me.
Here is Emily’s response to Bill Gothard’s public note to her.***
Emily’s New Response to Bill Gothard
I find it interesting that you have chosen now of all times to publish, what I consider, such a detailed, public attack of me, full of private details, when you know full well I am not allowed to defend myself.
I also find it interesting that you have put so much emphasis lately on the “defamatory statements” made against you. Yet, you have openly called me bitter, a vicious liar, and a conspirator aimed at destroying your ministry, among other things. Some of your supporters have even created an entire website against me and my fellow plaintiffs. They just posted a nearly 4,000 word piece filled with very private information and blatantly defamatory remarks toward all us woman.
I promised myself a long time ago I would never address you in this format. However, since I was not given the chance to tell you the following three things in court, as I had anticipated, I will address you here.
1. You remember that letter I wrote to you two years ago that was turned over in discovery? Remember the last page? I forgave you.
And so, I say it again, Bill.
I forgive you.
Not only for all the years growing up in IBLP, but also for the last two years of the lawsuit and for this “letter”. But remember, I also said, “Forgiveness is not forgetting certain actions of people toward you. It’s not staying silent. It’s not excusing certain behaviors. Forgiveness is taking the burden of the pain, anger, and bitterness off your own shoulders and giving it to Jesus.”
And so, Bill, I want you to know I have already released everything and turned it over to Jesus. I can honestly say I have no feelings of hate or bitterness toward you.
2. Honestly Bill, over the last several years you have taken up FAR too much of my time, thoughts, and emotional energy. I truly have no more interest in speaking out against you publicly. I have already said my peace. I am ready to move on with my life and joyously dance in the light of my new found freedom in Christ!
3. I have changed, Bill. I’m so thankful I am no longer that scared little girl you knew back in 2012, the time these emails were written to you. As the song says, “I am no longer a slave to fear — I am a child of God.”
I have learned a lot.
I have learned I have an incredible Father who LOVES me — unconditionally!! His love isn’t BASED off me, it’s PLACED ON me. My God’s love is not poured out because of the worthiness of the object of His love, but because of the abundance of His character AS LOVE.
I have learned about His radical, scandalous grace! I can come to my Father anytime, with any pain. He is always there, offering comfort and security. And when I am too weak to walk? My Father scoops me up and carries me.
I have learned that there is nothing I can do to make my Father love me any more or any less. You see, Bill, I am enough. Not because of anything I do. Not for following the Commands of Christ or the 7 Basic Principles. Not for memorizing scripture. Not for meditating day and night. I am enough SOLELY because JESUS IS ENOUGH!
THIS is freedom. And it’s amazingly beautiful.
Bill, I earnestly pray for you that you may be able to experience this freedom someday. To be able to learn the true meaning of grace and mercy. To see just how incredibly forgiving our God is. To walk in the freedom of grace and be able to depend on JESUS’S righteousness instead of your own.
To quote your favorite hymn: THAT just might make the pain “Worth it all” someday.
~ Emily Jaeger<<<<<<<
**Note: I was reminded that it was originally Bill Gothard’s suggestion to post his note to Emily here at Spiritual Sounding Board. I declined and it was posted at the Discovering Grace site. I have updated the post to reflect this. -Julie Anne 3/1/18 3:39 PM Pacific
49 thoughts on “Survivor Emily Jaeger Responds to Bill Gothard’s Reactions to Her Revealing She is “Jane Doe III””
Bill’s basic defense: “After all I’ve done for you…”
Then a second: “You said you forgave me, so why are you still holding to your story?”
God bless Emily for clarifying the truth so beautifully. First, she owes him nothing. If he thinks she does, then his motives were wrong to begin with. Second, forgiveness released her from the burden of the wounds he left her with, but it doesn’t change the truth about what happened. Third, she has been redeemed and changed by our Lord Jesus, the gracious, personal Savior he failed to reveal to her when he had the opportunity.
Thank you for sharing Emily’s amazing response. She is an inspiration.
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Emily’s letter is just great. That really is the Christian heart that she displays. May she rest in the Lord’s peace and comfort.
“I may have more to say later — in fact, I am thinking of doing an SSB “learn to discern” post to analyze these statements in depth.”
That’s something I enjoy doing, helping people to translate what is actually being said so they can learn to discern and not be deceived. Emily sounds like she can already see through the manipulation and is already thriving, but others still cannot.
Very first sentence actually contains a threat, “my life-long commitment to serve you.” That is called taking hostages, declaring “you’ll never get rid of me. I’ll be with you for life.” Genuine love actually sets people free. Then he violates her boundaries by revealing her illness and attempts to diminish her, to make her smaller and more vulnerable. Genuine love lifts people up,it increases, not diminishes. The rest of the letter of course is all about him, and he proceeds to instill even more guilt by saying, “destroying me and the entire seminar ministry.” Genuine love steps in front of us, intercedes for us, bears all things.
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I didn’t have to read any further than this, honestly, for a ‘warning bell, super creep alert’. Gross.
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So Bill Gothard has been reading SSB, huh? Well, I have a feeling that Bill is still reading all these comments so I’m going to speak directly to him.
Bill Gothard—you have a long history of wanting to correct everyone else. Now it’s time for you to demonstrate a humble spirit by receiving some correction yourself.
Through the years—you’ve misled thousands of people with false doctrine. Many times God sent people to confront you, but you refused to listen because you didn’t want to accept the reality that you might actually be wrong. The Holy Spirit is warning you now that you need to repent before it’s too late.
Here’s the primary errors of your teaching:
1) Your “umbrella of protection” violated 1Tim 2:5 by putting a mediator between us and God.
2) Your ATI training manual taught young adults that if they felt called to the ministry and wanted to enter seminary, but their parents disagreed, then they had to accept their parent’s opinions as the will of God. Again that’s disregarding God’s command for believers to be directly led by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 8:14) You grieved the Holy Spirit by blocking believers from listening to Him.
3) You trampled the words of Christ in the dust by taking away the ability of wives make their own decisions without asking for permission. Jesus commanded us to not allow anyone to steal our ability to say “yes” and “no” because anything else comes from the evil one. (Matt 5:37) Yet you refused to allow wives to set boundaries by saying “no” to evil.
4) You taught people to submit to the evil of abuse as God’s will for their lives. Even Jesus didn’t turn the other cheek when the temple guard struck Him. (John 18:23) Jesus stood up for His own rights. Yet you took those rights away by teaching that wives should be punished for disobeying their husbands. You empowered abusers by giving them free rein to do as they pleased while pressuring their victims to submit. That’s the opposite of how the Bible expects that we purge out the evil among us.
5) You kept trying to put your own words in God’s mouth as you taught your own rules as supposedly being God’s. (Matt 15:9)
6) You routinely violated God’s law of sowing and reaping by requiring us to surrender our decision making ability to outside forces. (Gal 6:7-8) Then accept their decisions for our lives as God’s will. Nope. God is not mocked. We have the authority to decide what to sow. Then God holds us accountable for what we actually did. Not what someone else wanted us to do.
7) You taught people to obey man rather than God. Over and over you emphasized that wives had no choice other than total obedience unless they were being told to sin. That’s pure idolatry. That’s man’s whims on God’s throne—violating Matt 4:4 by telling people to live by every word that proceeds out of man’s mouth. There’s a reason that the Apostle Paul NEVER told wives to obey. He told CHILDREN to obey ad BOTH husbands and wives to “Hypotasso.”
Now Bill—there’s a lot you need to learn. First thing you should do is to stop running from the truth. Stop talking and start listening. The best thing you can do right now is fade from the limelight until you learn the difference between truth and error.
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Love the illustration! It cheers my heart. 🙂
So glad that Emily chose to graciously address Bill Gothard’s vomit-inducing letter. I couldn’t read his letter through without taking a couple of breaks, it is that bad.
This detailed letter from BG is sufficient proof for me to assume that he has diligently kept a “dossier” of sorts on his numerous abuse victims. Strange, no? Who keeps that level of detailed information on folks for years on end? Not that I believe everything BG has to say, because I don’t.
I find it interesting that the overall theme of his letter is to use and twist Emily’s personal sharing, trust, private experiences and hardships as a girl against her. Remarkably, this is what domestic abusers do, they use the inner life, thoughts, emotions, private experiences of their targets as weapons against them in the effort to control and dominate. There is an excellent current series on Don Hennessy (author and Director of Ireland’s National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency) at A Cry For Justice blog, that delves into that aspect. The only difference is that BG is trying to control and shame Emily in a public forum. She answered him beautifully.
I also believe he is continuing to abuse her through the public letter, which is a form of stalking. I agree with Insanitybites22 that he seems to threaten her with his everlasting “commitment to serve you”.
I say to Bill Gothard: You may want to save your “shock” for the final judgement… the LORD has the full dossier on YOU and your wolfish ways.
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I read the thing from BG yesterday at the other site. In spite of all I have read and written on narcissism and abuse in Christian circles, I have to say that I was surprised. Not shocked, but still able to be surprised. His comments were classicly abusive, classicly narcissistic. He must have felt that he was vindicated by the end of the lawsuit and had opportunity to get his jabs in. Dropping the suit did not vindicate him, of course. But the narcissist never thinks he is wrong, so anything is good enough.
A godly man would have let the matter be dropped. A godly man (Alfred?) would not have published the obvious last spit of the abuser. Godly people forgive and receive forgiveness. Even if there is no forgiveness, the godly person doesn’t stab anyone – even an enemy – in the back as BG did.
In fact, the godly person would act like Emily. Be like Emily.
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Emily did a great job in responding to Bill Gothard’s statement. No explanations. No playing his games. Just telling Bill that he no longer has any power over her life! That’s the abuser’s worse fear.
Legal disclaimer: The following is my personal opinion which is still protected by the First Amendment…..
This Bill Gothard statement is fascinating because it shows how he thinks. The more he talks—the more clueless he appears! He sounds so frustrated that people aren’t jumping to obey his orders. Most of the group here is already seeing the same red flags. Now let’s logically analyze Bill’s statement:
1) Bill sounds like he feels entitled to giving orders to young women.
2) His words just drip with accusations and guilt trips.
3) Bill feels entitled to having access to her—when and how HE wants—regardless of what she wants.
4) Bill sounds like he’s writing a script and pressuring others to follow it.
5) Bill keeps trying to paint himself as the holy one and others as the problem.
Here’s his words that really stood out the most:
Bill: “…….lawsuit that has the goal of destroying me and the entire seminar ministry…”
Nope. Bill is the only person responsible for destroying his own ministry. His alleged behavior is the problem—not the whistleblowers. The lawsuit was necessary because Bill’s organization wasn’t dealing with the serious allegations.
Bill: “Can you imagine the shock I experienced….”
Here comes the pity party. There’s a reason God warned us not to pity evildoers. (Deut 19:21)
Bill: “I believe that the best way I can serve you right now is to remind you of the real motives behind my attempts to help you.”
From Wikipedia: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.
This is such a great example of gaslighting. Here Bill is trying to make her (and us) doubt her own discernment by rewriting the past. This is mislabeling questionable behavior as “good” by calling it “serving you” and “help.” Remember when God gets upset at people who put the “good” label on “evil” and put the “evil” label on “good?” (Isaiah 5:20)
Bill: “I called your father and discussed the need for you to resolve your stress and restore your relationship him.”
Bill doesn’t get to make the decision of when, how or even whether she should interact with family members. That’s her decision to make. Again he’s trying to control her decisions.
Bill: “I want you to know that you cannot say or do anything that will diminish my life-long commitment to serve you and your family in whatever ways I can.”
Translation: You’ll never be able to escape from me.
I agree with the group here—this really sounds like a stalker. If Bill really wanted to help her, he would leave her alone. Yet again Bill is implying that he needs to correct her behavior. That implies that she did something wrong—when of course she’s actually on the right track.
Emily, we are really proud of you. You showed so much grace in the way you have handled a terrible situation. We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as you continue walking down that road of real freedom.
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As the mother of five, four of whom were raised in ATI/IBLP, I applaud Emily. I also praise God that she is free in Christ Jesus. THAT is where we want to be.
BG, your email to Emily is CLASSIC narcissist. How gracious of you to point things out to Emily. As others have said – it is time for you to be corrected and see if there is “one piece of truth you can learn from” in this correction. Do you remember that teaching?
Really, Bill, it is best that you do not try to defend yourself. There has been too much carnage in families involved in ATI/IBLP. Anything you can say will fall flat except with those of your most devoted followers.
My husband and I came to Christ in the early 80’s and about 10 years later entered the slippery slope of your terribly legalistic funnel that would help us walk away from our First Love.
I have come to see who you really are. How you dealt underhandedly at ALERT when our son was there and how you “miraculously attained the money for the ALERT campus” by asking for it! So much deception. You can give reasons for everything but they will not stand.
Let’s talk about 2 buzzwords in ATI – bitterness and submission. ATI/IBLP/you have them both wrong.
Oh how our marriage struggled under your teachings on marriage. It about drove us crazy. And believe me, we are not the only ones. We are one of the fortunate ones that are still together. That needs to be studied – how many marriages stayed together after this stuff. Trying to fit a “marriage mold” of what men and women are ‘supposed’ to do/be rather than letting the Spirit of God lead our family. So. much. damage. We now have the communion and friendship and teamwork that could have saved our family had we always walked in it. We have never been so healthy in our marriage. Everything perfect? No. But peace. Communication. Love. Acceptance. Wonderful. We left those erroneous teachings (yours and Doug Phillips’ and Michael Pearl’s) about 6 years ago and it has been a growth in health ever since.
And then there is bitterness… THE buzzword. Good heavens! OF COURSE we will be bitter when circumstances come our way that would naturally cause bitterness and hurt and anger! God made us that way! He tells us not to let a ROOT of bitterness take hold. That. takes. time. And who is the Timeline Watcher? God. Not you, not me. So chill out. No more calling “bitterness!” when someone is going through something. Help. Give real help. Not stupid pat answers. That is so IFB. Those pat answers that help no one and hurt multiplied thousands.
You, my friend, have lost all credibility. These men and women are not making up these stories. Your closet has opened and some ugly things have fallen out. Please stop circulating personal info about those you have already hurt – show at least that much character.
Your redemption from this yuck is in Jesus Christ.
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Thank you, Julia, for sharing your story. It is so important. We need to hear from many more so people understand how it affected people in their daily lives and in their most important relationships.
“In fact, the godly person would act like Emily. Be like Emily.”
LOL! This is very sweet. Now that’s ministry, the real kind.
“A godly man would have let the matter be dropped…….Even if there is no forgiveness, the godly person doesn’t stab anyone – even an enemy – in the back as BG did.”
I’m not triggered by that umbrella cartoon thingy,but I am always baffled that these guys so often don’t get the whole concept of protection? “Love bears all things” and so they would step between her and the harm, not her and the Lord! An umbrella is supposed to shelter people from rain not sunshine! She is not the enemy. This whole idea of men perceiving women as the enemy just makes me ill.
Now watch Bill Gothard display a rebellious spirit when he responds to all this. Watch for the manifestation of the spirit of Cain—feeling entitled to doing whatever he wants regardless of how that affects others and demanding that God accept it.
Avid Reader, I hope Bill does respond.
My concern is that he will either comment publicly on other accusations, or he may try to contact the claimants personally. Now that he feels vindicated, he may well try to re-establish his dominance. Pray that he would not do this.
Reading over this post, I can’t help but wonder if I’m one of the few people that Bill actually admitted his inappropriate behavior to and apologized for it in true “BG” form. Granted, immediately after this “apology” he informed me that he was going to buy me a plane ticket to fly me home that day, but he did give me an apology, such as it was.
I had met a girl passing through HQ on her way to a girls counseling seminar at the Indianapolis training center whom I’d confided my story in. Once she arrived at the Training Center, she had gone to his office to confront him personally, so his only motivation in “apologizing” had been to tell me I was being sent home for telling.
He didn’t feel sorry, though. He felt betrayed. So he called me at 6am that morning, and said something like:
“I’ve just spoken with a young lady who says you told her some things about me that I don’t remember doing. She was very angry about it. Why have you done this to me?”
I replied that he had indeed done everything I’d said he did and then I reminded him that I had proof of it, because my housemates had seen him dropping me off after midnight.
Since Headquarters enforced a strict curfew, there is no way I could have gotten away with that were it not for the fact that my house parent had seen me emerging from Bill’s car at ungodly hours on multiple occasions.
His reply to me that day had been, “You know, Stephanie, now that you’ve said that, I do remember doing those things, and I was wrong. Would you forgive me?”
The next thing out of his mouth was, “And since you are so miserable here, I’d like to buy you a plane ticket home. You can leave today.”
I was stunned.
When I see people refusing to believe that a “man of God” such as Bill Gothard would be capable of sexual harassment and abuse, a part of me wants to shake them back into reality, and another part of me remembers what that intense cognitive dissonance was like.
When a trusted authority figure, be it a father, a teacher, a pastor, an uncle/grandfather/etc begins doing these things to you, your mind can’t reconcile the it. I remember being with Bill in his office and thinking, “This feels wrong.. but it must not be wrong. Bill is a godly man. Something must be wrong with me to feel this way about him.”
Eventually, I realized the truth and moved myself out of his office and to the other building while he was out of town in order to keep from being subjected to his “special attention”.
In fact, if you ever see this Bill, I would be “thrilled” to hear from you, too. I had no qualms about reminding you of your lecherous behavior at age 17, and at age 40, I am still only too happy to oblige.
Things done in secret have been made known. A lawsuit dismissal in this life won’t be able to protect him in the next. Because one day soon, he’ll have to give an account to the only Judge that really matters.
“I tremble when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson
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Wow. Good for you, Stephanie! Thank you for speaking up and sharing your story!
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He may in fact do so, graceformyheart. If any of Gothard’s survivors is in a situation regarding Bill Gothard and needs to talk to Kathi or me, please let us know. We want to assist you in any way we can.
I would like to add a thought or two to my comment above, Julie Anne.
I come off more ‘snarky’ (not bitter) than I normally would in writing a comment. That happens when I read YET ANOTHER account of someone hurt directly by BG – and then also read his attempts at explaining rather than a sincere apology. There are thousands of students that have been hurt by him indirectly but hundreds who can say he hurt them personally and directly.
I also want to point out that the harm done to our family by ATI/IBLP/BG was in doctrine. He never knew us personally. We raised our children with this extra-biblical bilge and that is what harmed our family. The controlling, off balance parenting and patriarchal control. Courtship in its control, submission way off balance and out of whack, the ‘standards’ imposed on girls,… I could go on. Those were harmful to families and we , unfortunately were right up there cheering. We should have seen the signs. Our oldest did (they all did but he chose to become vocal) and we did not listen. When we did finally “see”, we saw that he was right all along. I am so glad he would not be pressed into a mold – even if he had to look like a rank rebel to get away from it. I admire him. My kids HATE hypocrisy and I admire them all for it.
One little aside,- if BG had a wife and family, he would have seen that his ways were/are the ways of death. We should have seen this.
Lesson learned? If someone comes to you with “A New Way of Life” – walk away. Let them know you choose the “Old, old, story of Jesus and His love.”
Thank you for all you do, Julie.
To God be the glory for the freedom He gives in Christ and His love.
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Can I just say here that I don’t forgive Bill Gothard, and I see no need for anyone to ever forgive Bill Gothard. Bill doesn’t need to be forgiven. Bill needs to be ignored.
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Would Bill Gothard then be considered a “theological kook” per Julie Anne’s posting of Gabriel Hughes? When losing a theological debate….simply call believers in Jesus Christ, as your personal Mediator, an unintelligent name…….are not these the mind games theological wolves play? Especially those of the hireling positions of human authority?
Katy, I’m not sure what your point is, but I wouldn’t call Bill Gothard a “theological kook,” no. I would call him a heretic, a con artist, a narcissist, a spiritual and sexual abuser, and a complete useless waste of time.
Many, many people over the years have responded to criticism of Gothard with variations on the statement “Everything Gothard teaches is Pure and Correct Bible knowledge!” No, no it isn’t. Everything Gothard teaches is wrong, all of it, because it places Gothard at the seat of worship instead of Christ. We’re all meant to read Gothard’s writings and say “OH WOW GOTHARD IS SO INSPIRED OF GOD” and then we’re meant to gather around him and fall on our faces at his feet for the remainder of our existence crying “ENLIGHTEN US O GOTHARD, GREATEST OF ALL GREAT TEACHERS.” No thanks. Gothard is a heretic, plain and simple. I have no use for him or anything he’s ever said, done or written.
One thing I noticed in Gothard’s statement is when he quoted the whole thing about Crohn’s Disease. I think he’s trying to tell everyone reading, “I couldn’t have done what I did to her because she has this condition, which I find disgusting. So there’s no way I would have been attracted to her at all!”
It’s very much like when Trump said he didn’t assault his accusers because he found them unattractive.
“Would Bill Gothard then be considered a “theological kook”…”
It’s really painful to me when someone’s theology is sound but their heart is all wrong and they hurt people. Actually Jesus didn’t call people like this “theological kooks,” He called them a pit of vipers and white washed tombs.
It’s really frustrating, in the US we tend to put far too much emphasis on someone’s doctrine and what creeds they claim allegiance to. Instead we should be asking, how do you treat the least of these? To exploit anyone in a vulnerable position and under your care, is a huge violation of doctrine and theology.
I apologize to the confusion as I was referring to Julie Anne’s tweet from a man named Gabriel Hughes per his reference of “theological kooks.” And I personally am in agreement with everything you stated pertaining to Gothardism, for I believe none of it is of Christ, but a sick and twisted view of a religion that disguises itself as Christianity in promoting power and influence over people. It has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ or any of His ways according to the Scriptures, but instead exhibits cult-like tendencies.
And I am truly sorry and grieved over what people have experienced from Gothardism. Many families in our area have been followers of this man, wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I have seen first hand the destruction it causes, particularly amongst the women and their daughters in this heavy shepderding movement. It kills and destroys the souls of people who were created equally in the image of Christ and places the lordship to the man only, as the women totally lose their freedom and liberty in Him, in becoming slaves to men.
And you are correct in labeling Gothard a heretic. I am questioning if a man who calls himself “pastor” would label Gothard as a “theological kook,” or in fact would give him a “theological pass.” Double standards and hypocrisy are tandem within the christian industrial complex and Jesus called them out in His day…….brood of vipers are compelling words in labeling the religious elite who sought power, prestige, and a gathering of followers after themselves.
Thank-you for sharing, Dash.
Just like the old USSR putting extreme emphasis on Purity of Ideology.
More like “a look into Got Hard’s brain, delusions, kinks, and all”.
I like Bill Thrall’s (TrueFaced) explanation of the process of forgiveness. First, we ask for forgiveness from God for the sin patterns in our own life that were caused by the offense. That forgiveness leads us to be able to truly offer forgiveness to the offender, because we no longer blame that person for the effects of their sin on us. Then and only then can we offer forgiveness to the other person for their offenses, and they are only forgiven when THEY ask for forgiveness.
Many churches fail to understand that forgiveness is requested and granted rather than granted without request.
That is why Gothard will never actually be forgiven because he must first recognize his sins and the need to repent.
A lot of my bitterness for past offenses, as egregious as they are, is because I want to hold, for example, my social awkwardness, against those who jealously rubbed every public mistake I made in my face, even though it was my own internal defense mechanism that said, “well, because of that, I’ll never do anything in public again.”
Ah, mark, see I hate that order. First of all it assumes your response to any given offense has been sinful, which is not necessarily true. And even if it were it would not be step one!
I think I drew too many conclusions. Thrall talks about forgiving them before God for the consequences we suffered. I was drawing a dotted line that he really doesn’t draw which is our responsibility for some of the consequences. I’ll quote him on the paragraph that really stood out to me:
‘Yet to go to another and declare “I forgive you” before that person repents does nothing for the relationship and robs the offender of the opportunity for his or her own life-freeing repentance. God uses repentance to heal sinful hearts. … The one who sinned against us must repent for his or her own sake – to be healed from sin. Upon the other person’s repentance, we can forgive’
I think that is very insightful.
What I was trying to deal with introspectively is what happens if someone who was wronged turns to drugs or alcohol to lessen the pain. Can we really say that the sin of the drugs is a sin of the offender or is it an incorrect defensive mechanism. But, that is definitely my struggle. I see a dichotomy between myself as an ~5 year old and who I was at ~13 and I struggle with what was learned behavior to avoid being emotionally abused, and what was my personality developing. I believe more and more that it was learned behavior.
And, like Gothard, part of that struggle is that the very people who emotionally abused me in ways that established that learned behavior refuse to understand or admit that it was learned behavior. Instead, they point to the 13 year old me and claim that it was just my personality (or I misunderstood them or I was oversensitive, etc.)
Nobody needs to forgive nobody for nothin’. Not unless you really want to, and even then, only if you think it will do you some good. “Forgiveness” is one of the most misapplied concepts in the modern church, and the fact that it is wielded like a bludgeon against victims while abusers run amok is what caused me to leave the church permanently and entirely.
If “forgiveness” is a concept that makes you feel helpless and sick to your stomach, then you’ve been taught the wrong concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness should be dispensed when and if you well and truly feel like it, and certainly not under a false sense of necessity or obligation. I have forgiven probably nobody in my life, not even my parents. You know why? Because I’m a grownup and I don’t have to. What I HAVE done is held people accountable and require that they make amends to me, which they are free to not do also. As that is an ongoing process with a great number of complications involved, the “forgiveness” part is nowhere in sight. Fine by me.
I agree Dash. There is no point of ‘forgiving’ a person if you don’t feel it. It does nothing for anyone that way! Forced forgiveness is not real and only does harm.
I don’t actually think any of that is a sin. A defense mechanism, an opiate to deal with pain, sure. But not a sin. If you are out actively hurting other people because of what happened to you, then yes, that might be a sin and need to be dealt with personally.
what happens if someone who was wronged turns to drugs or alcohol to lessen the pain
That must be some pretty godawful pain then, huh? Calling it a “sin” is pointless, and so are self-recriminations.
The first thing you can so is top beating yourself up. It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault.
The second thing you can do is stop trying to self-medicate and get some help. Talk to a doctor, talk to a therapist. Avoid opiates. I have some chronic pain issues and I use ice packs and Ibuprofen mostly. I drink a lot of coffee, caffeine is a pain reliever and inflammation reducer.
The third thing you can do is find healthy outlets for your pain. Pain is repressed rage, and rage is good. Rage is a defensive mechanism that means you are still alive. I channel my rage into physical activity: walking/hiking, running, biking, weight training, martial arts. I swear a lot, I mean a LOT. And I pick easy targets on social media and blow my crater at them, like Roy Moore, that idiot pedophile from Alabama. I’ve spent the past six months on Facebook yelling profanities at him and his dumbass supporters, and oh my GOD it’s just bliss, especially when they fight back, hahahahaha.
The fourth thing you can do is listen to stand up comedy. Humor is the best therapy I know of, I listen to it when I work out. And not polite mainstream comics like Jerry Seinfeld either, I mean the deep dark nasty guys like Doug Stanhope and Lewis Black and Joe Rogan and Tom Segura. Trust me. You will relate to their anger and you will realize you aren’t alone with this s–t.
Hang in there.
I, for one, am glad the Complaint was dropped (a 2nd time). It is important for Emily to move on, for Mr. Gothard to move on, and for all the folks posting (and reading) to move on.
The problem is not getting people to move on. The problem is all the pain that Gothard caused by teaching false doctrine. The problem is that the church allowed someone to teach who knew absolutely nothing about what he was trying to teach.
The problem is Gothard’s arrogance and the ministry board that refused to listen to his victims. If you want Gothard to just move right back into ministry and hurt more people, then something is seriously wrong with you, David.
Yup. I wish that Jesus guy would move on instead of harping on all the dead prophets. The nerve of some people. Are you the one throwing the stones at the martyrs or are you the one holding their coats?
Indeed. His bad ideas have traveled and I feel sorry for people who got caught up in that and are now deprogramming. It’s not so easy as just ‘moving on’.
It’s a little like the kids who had their entire teenage/early 20s dating years taken over by ‘I kissed dating goodbye’. They can’t go back and undo that. They have to process it to move on.
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Bill Gothard’s theology runs deep in many modern Christian books and teachings. You can find traces of it in just about every Christian denomination.
Here’s a very brief example:
Stuart Scott—-The Exemplary Husband
Martha Peace—-The Excellent Wife (both books are widely spread in John MacArthur groups)
John Bevere echoes Gothard in Under Cover
Elizabeth Elliott’s books—-she taught Gothard seminars
We can go on and on with more examples. Gothard influenced whole generations of Christian theology. It’s so widespread that many people are still absorbing his influence.
“Gothard influenced whole generations of Christian theology. It’s so widespread that many people are still absorbing his influence.”
Yup. My abuser dad discovered “umbrella of protection” teaching by his own admission from Campus Crusade, preached directly by Bill Bright to him. This was back when my dad was a hippy “convert”.
I still remember him writing to my mom to taunt her after he had divorced her, saying stuff like, “I’m removing your umbrella of protection,” and “how does it feel to be left out in the cold?”
I give thanks to God, Who is my Rock of Refuge. Way better than a flimsy umbrella when the storm comes.
Thank you for sharing. I had no idea that Bill Bright was so heavily influenced as well. Sorry to hear about what you went through. Each time you’ve shared your experiences, it’s been very helpful and enlightening.
What you described reminds me of something from Mormon theology where women aren’t guaranteed to enter Heaven. They have to depend on their husbands to grant entry to them.
The guy is 82 years old, he is about senile. Who is taking him serious any more? Good grief don’t let him take your power.
He’s not senile. He’s still putting out materials and writing books. And people are still believing him.
Actually, I was a very strong supporter of Bill’s up until a couple of days ago. Asking people to forgive him. I think the thing that I just realized in the last couple of days is that Bill’s heart isn’t right with God and he is going to the scriptures meditating expecting good things to happen. That is like a form of witchcraft or sorcery. God’s Word is there to meditate on and prosperous when our heart is right with God.
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Avid Reader, you are right about Gothard’s theology running deep in many churches, books, teachings etc today. I would add Gary Ezzo, Emerson and Stacy Eggerich and Vodie Bauchan. They may not be official Gothardites but their teachings and theology are just as dangerous.
My guess is that Gothard’s ideas are going to keep going for a long, long time, especially as a lot of the ideas predate him by decades. What happens is that a core of IBLP supporters branch off and spread the ideas through other venues, where it becomes part of corporate culture there.
That’s powerful, even if it’s flawed. I used to work in a factory where anyone older than 55 was effectively working for “Edgar”. Interesting thing was that Edgar had been dead for over 20 years at the time. He hadn’t owned the company for about 30 years, I believe. And if you wanted to get something done fast, all you had to do was approach the problem like Edgar would have.
From Recovering Grace came broad sweeping information that covers many and probably all aspects of this man’s darkness.But since The Great Suppressor thought he was the light it was his duty to recreate us for his light,revelations etc.,and that’s why I write here.I don’t know how many of his former followers thought initially that its us that are the problem,its us that, if only we can become more submissive more yielded,then our lives would be changed.Gothard[The Great Suppressor],would be god for some of us;that is in the caste system, he would conquer us, give us natural religion,”You get out of it what you put into it”,”Memorize this”and “Eight steps to this”;and take our hopes, dreams,and aspirations,and eviscerate them,as he turns us into automatons.But the worst part is for those “qualified to be in his image”Narcissists to powerhacks;even worse than the” passive sheep.”For it is these that will continue to exploit,conquer the lessor,and mandate slavery in the caste system.”For the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted,bind up the broken hearted,proclaim liberty to the captives,freedom to the prisoners”.May these actions come forth through ministry of the enlightened.