Doug Phillips: The Sex Abuse Lawsuit Conclusion and Epilogue of His Vision Forum Shipwreck

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Doug Phillips Lawsuit, Lourdes Torres, Sex Abuse, Vision Forum, Spiritual Abuse

 


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Doug Phillips, Vision Forum Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.20 PM

It’s been a long while since there have been any updates on the Lourdes Torres vs Douglas Phillips lawsuit. Normally, I received updates from Attorney David C. Gibbs III, who represented Lourdes Torres. Either he would e-mail or text me, or I would inquire of him, and he or another attorney from his office would respond quickly.

Because of the influence Doug Phillips had in so many lives in the Christian Homeschool Movement, I’ve tried hard to get information from first-hand sources. Sadly, after several requests, I have not received any response from Attorney Gibbs’ office regarding recent updates on this case; however, Free Jinger, a website that hosts discussions on the culture, abuses, and key people in Christian fundamentalism, noted mid-May that the court case was dismissed:

 

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I was also told by a couple of very reliable sources that the lawsuit was dismissed, settled out of court, and a gag order in place, so that would explain why we haven’t heard anything from Lourdes Torres or anyone.

I’m disappointed with the outcome of this case for a number of reasons. Although this case primarily concerned Doug Phillips’ inappropriate relationship and grooming of an underage teen, then using his position of authority as clergy, boss, and mentor to continue the relationship after she became an adult, it represented much more than that.

While Phillips’ ship has sunk, and the case has closed, it doesn’t really feel finished to me. Lourdes Torres was the sacrificial lamb who bravely spoke out about this clergy abuse. She helped to sink the ship of Doug Phillips’ ministry, Vision Forum, which had been a mainstay in the Christian homeschool community for many years. However, it feels like Phillips got away with harming much more than a Titanic-full of people. People who boarded his ship, expected a captain who would safely navigate them. They had no clue that he was going to cause a shipwreck.

One cannot say that this lawsuit only affected Lourdes Torres, Boerne Christian Assembly, and the Phillips family. As a result of Doug Phillips’ so-called ministry demise, some families have shattered and had difficulty picking up the pieces. Some have shipwrecked their faith. I read e-mails from divided spouses and families: one spouse wanted to discard the teachings of Phillips, while the other wanted to continue Phillips’ teachings. How does a family reconcile this kind of conflict?

While Doug Phillips and his family have now abandoned the idea of family-integrated churches (which he claimed was the right way to go to worship as a family), he and his family have joined a traditional church in Texas with segregated age groups (something he taught against). He also failed to abide by the church rules he helped establish when he founded the church, Boerne Christian Assembly.

In November of 2014, elders Jeff Horn and David Fry posted a note at the Boerne Christian Assembly website (which now doesn’t seem to exist) that Philips was excommunicated. Doug Phillips has done nothing to resolve that issue. No big deal for him, he just wiped his hands clean of his old life and is starting a new one with his family.

In closing the final chapter of Doug Phillips and his shipwrecked ministry, I thought it would be good to reflect on a couple of comments left here at SSB by two individuals during the height of the Doug Phillips scandal. I do not believe these two individuals have commented since that time, but they obviously had a need to share what they had gone through. Their personal stories about sex abuse and patriarchy represent real lives and most likely echo the experience of others.

 

I was sexually and spiritually abused by a spiritual leader in our church starting at age 13. Unless you have lived that experience, you cannot understand the anguish and struggle it is to be whole again with both God and self. The shame, the confusion, the lost innocence, losing the childlike faith you had in God and “Jesus loves me this I know” because you no longer “know”. S’s comments obviously show her own unhealed, bitter woundedness from her husband’s unfaithfulness, as it is a very selfish stance to ever blame the one under the control of a man of such age, authority, spiritual position and charm as DP (and my own abuser).

I was sucked into the Patriarchial [sic] mess 9 years ago when our state’s Christian homeschool conference changed from teaching us how to teach our children, to guilting us in how badly we were living as families of faith. In my own spiritual mess of striving to please God, as I was not yet whole from the abuse, I quickly fell for the charm, the smiling, happy-looking families, the mandate that to be right with God we must live their way. To have our children saved, faith-filled, strong in the Lord, we must live their way. To pass on the mantle of faithfulness that the world could not destroy in them or future generations, we must live their way–and of course, that meant buying and using what they sold.

For 3 1/2 years I wore skirts only. I finally convinced my husband to let us go to a FIC [family-integrated church]. We were all miserable, but that only meant that I was failing to “get it right”. Somehow, someway, I was missing the message. So much fear grew in me. My family, my children were not going to turn out right. I was failing them and failing God. Wow!! Exactly what my abuser had once told me, “Saying no to him was saying no to God and failing him was failing God.”

I just found out about all of this on Saturday when I came across the World magazine article on DP [Doug Phillips] someone posted on Facebook. Although we have been away from the FIC for 5 years and patriarchial [sic] thinking in general for 3, it was fresh salt to the wounds. I have thousands of $’s in materials from VF that have been sitting on shelves untouched because I have been so unsure, uncertain in what to believe. Today, I will box them up for the dump. I see freedom in my future. But for now, this is all so very painful.

Unless you have walked in any shoes similar to Victim, you CANNOT understand. To be sinned against in such a way, in the name of Jesus, is indescribable. I apologize for writing so much, but I do appreciate having a safe place to express these deep emotions. Thank you!

 

 

 

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Longtime lurker as I’ve been sorting through extricating my family from this patriarchy culture. As a father of 4 daughters, reading what this sociopath has done makes me want to meet him in a dark alley and educate him in the usefulness of Israeli special forces training. And by this I completely mean I would kick his @#$. Your pushup regimen wouldn’t help one iota Doug.

All these patriarchy wimps can ‘pray’ for him and his wife, and try to sound holier than thou with their long-winded sophistry. Deep down they are still intimidated by him and wondering if he’ll rise like a phoenix. Better to not be too overt in their dismissal right? Quietly distance because ‘its the ‘Reformed Christianese’ way to handle it, right? Some are merely swooping in to fill the patriarchy vacuum and acquire the cash flow stream that was VF.

No. Real men kick @#$ when things are obvious. Real men protect and fight when needed. This is why Lourdes’ family chased this predator down the street after he jumps out her window. They are the real men. They don’t just ‘play’ one on stage or in self-aggrandizing ‘crockumentaries’. They ended it right then and there. Looking down the barrel of a gun. Real men. With fire in their betrayed eyes. No lifts in their cowboy boots needed, Doug.

Patriarchy puts the weight of the world via Old Testament manipulation on families, then runs to the New Testament for ‘forgiveness’ when the fruit of these doctrinal entrapments are shown in the light of day. It’s called EVIL doctrine. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. We’ll know a tree by its fruits. Their brand of ‘forgiveness’ is attempting to hide it (VF Board) to protect the cash cows (I mean ‘ministries’).

Equally culpable are the sycophants who equate Phillips with some kind of modern-day King David archetype – ‘well, he ‘fell’ but I still believe what he taught was Biblical’…are you kidding me?! This knee jerk quasi-biblical response is merely projection. They actually do (or did) view him as their king. Not Christ. Little doug fricking phillips.

They are that blind. *I* was that blind. Lock, stock and barrel. A one time conference speaker, leader in a well known ‘reformed’ church, the whole shootin’ match. Could smell the megalomania on Phillips from the first time I met him, but ignored my better judgement. Just wasn’t ‘reformed’ enough I told myself. Wrong. I was ignoring red flags because something inside me wanted to be in the ‘inner circle’ with these yahoos. That’s how a cult is designed – to make people deeply revere and subsequently want to become one of the leaders.

Strange brew because this cult is more like a network – almost like the tapes and seminar kingpins of Amway. Different leaders and power structures around the U.S. – all vying for paid speaking gigs at each other’s events. They are information and event marketers, pure and simple. These are not ministries. While small potatoes in the world of business, they still rake in hundreds of thousands a year – under the guise of 501c3 status. It’s profitable! And just like Gothard and every other deceived ‘celebrity’ minister turned information marketer – they believe their monetary ‘success’ is God’s blessing. God’s ‘approval’ on what they are doing in this world to ‘take dominion’ and reconstruct America in the vanity of their mind’s eye. And if *they have ‘God’s’ approval, who are you and I to question it? MenoGAWD syndrome in the worst sort of way.

But thank God for the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and getting my family out of this mess. We are truly free in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit and in relationship with a loving Father.

We’ll be reading about this ‘movement’ on wikipedia as another creepy anomaly history lesson in American Churchianity. Beware of future iterations of it however. The wolves have to eat until they stand before God for their duplicity.

 

 

If you were affected by Doug Phillips’ teachings on Patriarchy, the Homeschool Movement, Courtship, family-integrated churches, etc, and would like to leave an update on how you and your family are doing, I’d especially love to hear from you.

Oh, one more thing – – I checked out VisionForum.com to see if there was anything left of the site. It has changed [see updated note below]. I don’t think it is quite what Doug Phillips, Esq. had enVisioned . . . or not.

 

vision forum, doug phillips

visionforum.com

 

Edited to note:  Gary W. correctly pointed out that the Vision Forum website used the address: http://www.visionforumministries.org, not Vision Forum.com.  I’m going to leave the above photo posted because of the irony of a website named Vision Forum. To me, this aptly describes how Doug Phillips lived his life. He lived the high life, while gambling with people’s lives. ~ja

Update again:  Ok, the Vision Forum store/catalog which sold books and gender-specific toys did use the VisionForum.com site!!  The ministry used the http://www.visionforumministries.org site.

Capturing the Minds of Daughters via Reconstructionism, Gary DeMar, The American Vision, and the Homeschool Movement

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Second Amended Complaint Filed in Bill Gothard & IBLP Sex Abuse Lawsuit: 18 Victims in Lawsuit

Bill Gothard, Lawsuit, IBLP, Institute in Basic Life Principles, David C. Gibbs III, Sex Abuse, Sexual Grooming, ALERT

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Blogger Claims Because of our Culture of Death, Our Children Need a Belt and the Bible

Culture, Spanking, Bible, Lori Alexander, Abortion, Feminism, Divorce

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How has the Josh Duggar Scandal affected you? Are you experiencing painful reminders?

Josh Duggar, sex scandal, painful reminders, homeschool movement, patriarchy, purity and modesty culture, Bill Gothard

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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and Their Son, Josh Duggar Release Statement Regarding Josh’s Marital Unfaithfulness, and Poof, it’s Gone!

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Jim Bob and Michelle and Josh Duggar release statements related to reports of Josh’s sexual infidelity

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Josh Duggar Reportedly Had Account at Ashley Madison, the Site Used to Help Married People Find Someone with Whom to Have an Extramarital Affair

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Josh Duggar reportedly had accounts at Ashley Madison for the intention of connecting with  people who want to have extramarital affairs.

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Is homeschooling the vehicle by which abuse can be more easily facilitated?

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Sex abuse, identification abuse, social isolation, food deprivation – Is there a common denominator?

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Incest Survivor Shares Her Personal Thoughts about the Josh Duggar Case: “Truth and Reconciliation”

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Sex Abuse, Incest, Truth and Reconciliation, Josh Duggar, 19 Kids and Counting, Purity Culture

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NonFamily Sex Abuse Victim Expected to File Civil Lawsuit against Josh Duggar

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Josh Duggar’s (nonfamily) sex abuse victim intends to file lawsuit against him.

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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are Still Scheduled to Speak at ATI & IBLP Conferences which Promote Bill Gothard’s Teaching Materials

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Bill Gothard, ATI, IBLP, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Homeschool Curricula

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Victim of Bill Gothard’s Teachings Speaks out about Josh Duggar Scandal, Mike Huckabee: Bill Gothard’s Dangerous Agenda and Influence in Political Arena and Society at Large

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Bill Gothard, Mike Huckabee, Sex Abuse Coverup, Political and Social Influence, and an Agenda

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How I Would Have Responded as a Parent to the Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Scenario

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This past week has been a whirlwind with the Josh Duggar sex abuse allegations from 12 years that recently surfaced. Josh Duggar is the eldest child of Patriarchical family and model ATI (Bill Gothard’s homeschool curricula) family. Josh Duggar and his family star in the popular reality show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting. As this story has been brought to light, I have found myself caught up in intense debates, even with very close friends, on how this case should be handled, how we as Christians should be responding to this specific case, and how we as parents should respond if our child sexually abuses another child.

I recently posted the following (slightly revised) as part of a discussion with a Christian friend on Facebook. We came from very different sides, but because my response was so radically different from hers, I thought it might be good to post for discussion. I never mind push back, so if you disagree with me, please respond. I am open to the challenge and will consider your words just as I have been challenged to rethink many of my former ways/beliefs.

At the end of the post is a highly recommended article that helps to explain the culture and teachings which shaped the Duggar family. It will help to explain why these young female victims are true victims to more than just sex abuse.

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Josh Duggar, sex abuse, 19 kids and counting, Bill Gothard, ATI

I appreciate the opportunity to share my heart which is invested in the ministry to abuse victims. I probably would not have given you this same answer 10 years ago, or even 6 years ago.

I do not believe that Josh’s parents responded appropriately. I believe they did the best they knew at the time and their intentions and heart were right. However, since working the last 5 years extensively studying spiritual abuse and abuse in the church, networking with Boz Tchividjian (founder of netgrace.org), and many other professionals who deal with abuse in church, I am concluding that the Duggars could have done better.

Jim-Bob found out in March of 2002 and waited over a year before reporting. When police tried to interview Josh, Jim-Bob intervened and did not allow that to happen. The statute of limitations then kicked in and Josh was free from any civil repercussions.

I believe this was not a good witness to Christ. What does this tell the world – that Christians get to walk free and don’t need to go by the law? Repenting of sins does not remove someone from the consequences of the laws of the land. Scripture says that God is the one who ordained civil authorities/law. Knowingly harboring a sex offender without reporting is illegal in some states. Not only that, I believe it is circumventing what God has established for cases like this:

Romans 13:1-5:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Because of the statute of limitations, no civil court had the opportunity to intervene, convict, give recommendations on his criminal activity. Could this public outcry against Josh and his parents be sovereignly planned as God’s judgment as implied in the above Scripture? Could Josh’s defenders be interfering with God’s judgment or the natural consequences of his sin?

You asked would I report. Yes, I absolutely would report my sons to authorities if they were sexually abusing. I would allow the civil authorities to bring justice to the offender. This would send a very strong message that sin/sex abuse has consequences and will not be tolerated. And to the survivors, it would send a message that we believe them and the abuse they incurred was worthy of strict punishment. I’ve seen the tremendous burden lifted off of victims’ shoulders when they see perpetrators punished for their crimes.

I would also promptly seek qualified professional treatment specializing in sex abuse for the offender and their victims. I know about the lasting consequences survivors face. If not dealt with timely and by trained professionals, young ladies often have difficulty choosing good spouses, have difficulty with relationships, intimacy, etc. For the offender, it may be uncovered in treatment that he was previously molested. Trained professionals can be helpful in getting to the root issues.

I’m struck at how much time is spent defending Josh, and such little time focused on his victims. It’s disturbing to even discuss whether he touched them over/under their clothes (I read the police report and it’s not clear on all of the interviews). That has no bearing on the suffering the victims face/will face.

Throughout scripture God speaks of protecting the oppressed and defenseless. How is it protecting them when we are outwardly and vocally defending a perpetrator (even if he has repented)? Our first response must be to those who have no voice. You can be sure that sex abuse survivors all over are watching this case and observing how people respond. Any time a survivor hears of another abuse, it brings them back to their own story. We must think of all victims in our responses and model Christ’s love because many times they are questioning why God allowed this to happen. We must not be a stumbling block to the weak and oppressed, but a soothing balm, sharing with them the love of the Father.

The Duggars were the key family chosen by ATI/Bill Gothard to represent Bill Gothard and his homeschool curriculum. I read that they spoke even this year at an ATI conference (they are slated to speak by video tomorrow in Nashville, and later in Twin Cities, and Sacramento ATI conferences). You can be sure they hold to his teachings and it is important to understand these teachings in order to fully comprehend what the victims have faced. I encourage you to read the following and try to grasp what the victims have faced, the ones whom God dearly loves and wants to defend and protect. Here’s how the Duggars’ patriarchal homeschool world teaches kids to shame sex abuse victims

Thank you for reading. Grace and peace! ~ja

photo credit: Hands of Daria via photopin (license)

Did Former Vision Forum President Doug Phillips Play Hide-and-Seek with Process Server?


Former Vision Forum President and prominent Christian homeschool leader, Doug Phillips, apparently made attempts to evade process server


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Update on Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Lawsuit

 

Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Doug Phillips Vision Forum Lawsuit Update

 

Several weeks ago, a reader asked if I had any updates on the Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs. Doug Phillips lawsuit. I contacted David C. Gibbs III to see if he could provide us with an update on the case and he has done so:

 

The Torres lawsuit is proceeding on two fronts, one in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio division, Case 5:14-cv-00758-HLH and the underlying state lawsuit in Texas State Court, 438th Judicial District, Bexar County, Cause No: 2014-CI-05999.

The federal lawsuit was filed by Assurance Company of America (insurance carrier) to deny coverage to Vision Forum and Phillips. That case is set to end discovery in May and is set for trial in July of 2015.

The underlying Texas state lawsuit has been amended to include additional defendants Don Hart, Scott Brown, and James Zes (three men who were on the board of directors for Vision Forum Ministries). Discovery is ongoing in the state case and trial is set for March of 2016.

Lourdes Torres appreciates the prayers and concern of people from across the nation as she wants to rebuild her life and overcome the abuse she endured.

 

  ~David C. Gibbs III, March 28 2015

 
 

 

Related Links:

Man Shares Personal Testimony of How Bill Gothard Used Bible Verses Which Led to the Abuse of Children

Personal Story of Abuse following the teachings of Bill Gothard, ATI, IBLP

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Last month, “Dash” commented on an older SSB article, Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams. He used some strong words to describe his experience:

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.

In the comments, Dash was asked to share more, and did so with me privately. I have compiled them into this article (and at least one more article). Dash’s words were difficult for me to read, especially because of my own abusive childhood, but also because of many years of teachings I was subjected to as a parent, including Gothard’s materials, so I am going to issue trigger warnings for anyone who might be triggered by childhood abuse, by spiritual abuse, etc.

Responses to Lawsuit Filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries

Dash Explains Why He is Telling His Story Now

I have chosen to share my story with you because I’m 44 years old and it’s time for me to start talking, to anyone who cares enough to listen. I’ve already lost more than half my time to Gothard, and I want my life back. He’s 80 years old and I believe he is still damaging people in alarming ways, and he is leaving behind a deeply rooted, vile and secretively violent institution that seems to be poised to grind forth in his absence and continue churning out his awful work upon the next generation. I want to put a stop to IBLP, and I want to end Gothard’s legacy as utterly as possible. Everything he has ever written, touched, or talked about is poisoned and poisonous, and it must be destroyed.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about those aspects of Gothard’s teachings which were protocols for physical abuse: examples include blanket training, beating children with rods, and the sheer exasperation of parents whose children failed the rules of the program which would result in explosions of rage and indiscriminate hitting. In particular, Gothard’s distortions of the following verse were extremely detrimental:

Proverbs 23:13- Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Gothard devoted a great deal of written material, both IBLP and ATI, to using this verse as a premise for encouraging brutal beatings, albeit using roundabout phrasing and “soft” language which absolved him legally of any actual responsibility. At least, that’s how my parents interpreted it.

Part of my frustration in confronting Gothard stems from the fact that my family threw out a lot of Gothard’s most offensive ATI literature, some of which included blatantly racist arguments encouraging white followers to apply the “Quiverfull” practice, and to avoid miscegenation (in addition to the pamphlets encouraging beatings). So I can’t document a lot of these anecdotes. The basic literature quoting Proverbs 23:13, however, is part of the Red Book I believe; so it begins there.

“Spanking” vs Beatings

Also, I would like to be very clear about this point: “spanking” was not what we experienced in my family. These were actual beatings, ranging anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more. The beatings were delivered to the buttocks, thighs, and lower back, and sometimes the hands, fingers, and forearms (defensive injuries), in response to any perceived slight, offense, or rules violation.

Depending on the severity of the of the punishment, anything from a wooden spoon to a 3/4″x2′ dowel rod was used. My parents actually had an array of dowel rods to choose from (at least a dozen) ranging from a thin one about 1/8″ thick to the 3/4″ terror previously described. Occasionally my dad would use his belt, a heavy leather belt with a weighty brass buckle. Not often, though, because the belt would leave visible bruises.

My sister and I would go to school with huge black and purple welts across our buttocks, carefully placed so that they were covered by our clothes, and we would sit at our desks in excruciating pain with tears streaming silently down our faces. This was during our initial participation in ATI, but before we enrolled full-bore in home-schooling.

My parents were very clear that these practices were part of our Gothard instruction.

On the few occasions when I met Gothard in person, he actually stated that he believed spanking made children healthier and more successful. He would then quote the proverb about beating. He was very good about mincing words in order to evade responsibility.

If you have questions at this point, it would help the dialogue. I’m happy to type everything I can think of, but I get so bogged-down and blinded with rage that it becomes difficult to think clearly. Answering questions is very focusing for me.

(JA note:  On the next post, I have asked Dash specific questions and he responds to those questions.

I’m not interested in confronting Gothard on Christian terms, in accordance with church protocols. He forfeited that privilege decades ago. I want worldly justice. I want a genuine reckoning from the man. I want to burn his entire legacy to the ground, and stand amid the ashes and say to the world, “This was a man who ruined thousands upon thousands of lives. Nothing to see here. Please move along.”

The greatest and most dangerous fallacy that I keep hearing from Gothard apologists is the argument “Gothard my be imperfect, but his teachings are still right.” No, no and no. This is a lie: an ugly, flat-out foul and evil lie, intended to continue perpetuating Gothard’s abusive legacy. Everything Gothard teaches is wrong, all of it, even his direct Scripture quotes, because the CONTEXT is wrong. It places Gothard in the seat of worship instead of Christ. Everything Gothard ever taught or ever will teach must be discarded. If people want answers, they should listen to the Holy Spirit, and not any human teacher.

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The Dangerous Fallacies of Gothard Apologists

I’ve stated this in a previous email, but it bears repeating. The greatest and most dangerous fallacy that I hear from Gothard apologists is the argument “Gothard may be imperfect, but his teachings are still right.” This is blatantly false. Everything Gothard teaches is wrong, all of it, even his direct Scripture quotes, because the CONTEXT is wrong. It places Gothard in the seat of worship instead of Christ.

Everything Gothard ever taught or ever will teach must be discarded. If people want answers, they should read the Bible and listen to the Holy Spirit. They should not listen to Gothard or any other human teacher; they should make up their own minds.

 he second greatest fallacy I hear from Gothard apologists is “Many families have a great experience in IBLP and ATI. If your family had a bad experience, it’s because you misinterpreted Gothard’s intentions.” This is also blatantly false. I believe Gothard does in fact intend for parents to beat their children. I would argue that anyone who claims to have had a good experience with Gothard, IBLP, or ATI is either lying, deluded, or sadists themselves. If you got 4-5 years into ATI and you actually applied everything in the publications that Gothard sent you, especially the material based on Proverbs 23:13, you would have had an identical experience to mine.

I would argue that those who believe that they had a positive experience with Gothard are the ones who are in fact misinterpreting his intentions… just as I would argue that those who defend his behavior from the ongoing accusations of sexual misconduct are deluding themselves as to his true nature, and are blind to the damage he has inflicted.

Dash Believes Bill Gothard to be a Con Artist and Explains Why

I believe that Gothard is a consummate con artist. In spite of the endless documentation of the damage he has done, Gothard still manages to convince his inner circle of friends that he is a good man with good intentions who merely stumbled a little bit, and his victims are more to blame than he is for making such a big deal out of “nothing.” There are two explanations for this phenomenon:

  •  The first explanation is that genuinely hurting people, like my mother, who are desperate for real answers and a real connection with God, are easily misled by Gothard’s overpowering charm, his carefully crafted image, and his claims of secret knowledge and a special understanding of the Bible. These people are broken to begin with, and the hurt piled on hurt that Gothard inflicts is too much for them to comprehend; they defend Gothard out of reflex as all abuse victims will defend an abuser, due to Stockholm syndrome and an inability to comprehend their own damages and failures.
  • The second explanation is that Gothard appeals to genuine sadists and sociopaths, such as your commenter Alfred who obviously has zero concern for Gothard’s victims and is committed entirely to defending Gothard and behaving as vindictively toward his accusers as possible. These people are reprehensible scumbags. I would use a more graceful word to describe them, but there isn’t one.

JA note: Alfred, who was mentioned above, is Alfred Corduan, who commented on this SSB post. You can also see his comments on articles at the Gothard survivor site, Recovering Grace website, where he continually defends Bill Gothard. 

I would like to close at this time by saying that while I no longer call myself a Christian, I never gave up on Christ. I still believe in the Great Commandment:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I don’t do so well with the first part; loving God is next to impossible when I don’t know who God is, and I blame Gothard for that. I may yet end up in hell, and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I focus on the second part, and I try to love my fellow-man as best I can. That’s the best I can do. I can’t save myself. Only God can do that, if he wants to.

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photo credit: bark via photopin cc