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Bill Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Photo courtesy of Institute in Basic Life Principles via Wikimedia


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Bill Gothard, an Illinois-based advocate for home schooling and conservative dress who warned against rock music and debt, has been placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexually harassing women who worked at his ministry and failing to report child abuse cases.

Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles was once a popular gathering spot for thousands of Christian families, including the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute conferences were also popular among devotees of the Quiverfull movement, who promote large families and eschew birth control.

He’s also rubbed shoulders with Republican luminaries. He and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee were photographed at a campaign lunch together; former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue spoke at one of Gothard’s conferences; and Sarah Palin, when she was a small town mayor in Alaska, attended his International Association of Character Cities conferences and declared Wasilla among Gothard’s “Cities of Character.”

In a statement posted Thursday (Feb. 27), board chairman Billy Boring told World magazine: “After completion of the review, the board will respond at an appropriate time, and in a biblical manner.” Until then, the statement said, Gothard “will not be involved in the operations of the ministry. The board of directors will be prayerfully appointing interim leadership.”

Gothard is 79 and single.

The allegations against Gothard dovetail with financial woes. In recent years, IBLP’s net revenue has dropped significantly, and the ministry is losing money. In 2009, it reported a net income loss of $1 million. It lost $4.1 million in 2011, and $3.5 million in 2012, according to its most recently available tax forms. Its net assets dropped from $92 million in 2010 to $81 million in 2012.

Since it started as a class at Gothard’s alma mater, Wheaton College, in 1961, more than 2.5 million people have gone through his “basic seminar” training on authority, success and other issues. IBLP held 504 seminars in 2010, but that number dropped to fewer than 50 in 2012.

The financial decline came around the same time that the whistle-blowing website Recovering Grace was formed in 2011. A string of allegations has been posted on the website, including one alleging Gothard molested a woman who was underage in the early 1990s. Four articles allege Gothard engaged in sexual harassment, and four articles allege his failure to report child abuse to Child Protective Services.

Gretchen Swearingen, who goes by her middle name “Charlotte,” wrote on the website that Gothard requested she come work for him in 1992 at IBLP’s headquarters in Oakbrook, Ill., when she was 16.  During her time there, she said Gothard would play footsie with her and hold her hand. Photo courtesy of  Gretchen Swearingen

Gretchen Swearingen, who goes by her middle name “Charlotte,” wrote on the website that Gothard requested she come work for him in 1992 at IBLP’s headquarters in Oakbrook, Ill., when she was 16. During her time there, she said Gothard would play footsie with her and hold her hand. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Swearingen


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Calls placed to IBLP Thursday and Friday were not immediately returned.

Gretchen Swearingen, who goes by her middle name “Charlotte,” wrote on the website that Gothard requested she come work for him in 1992 at IBLP’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., when she was 16. During her time there, she said Gothard would play footsie with her and hold her hand. At one point, she said, he had coordinated a ride from the airport for them to be together. “That’s when he first put his hand between my legs and felt me all the way up,” she wrote.

Now 38, she said the statute of limitations has expired, leaving her unable to sue. She said she told her mother, who told her that she was lying, so Swearingen assumed there was nothing she could do.

“No one was there when the molestation was happening,” she said in an interview. “I never had the guts to say anything. I thought if my mother didn’t believe me, who would? You’re not to bring home false witness against someone at headquarters.”

She said that she and her mother have reconciled since she wrote her story.

Swearingen said she reported her story to the Hinsdale (Ill.) Police Department a week ago. A police spokesman said no investigation has been opened at this time.

“It’s not about revenge, not about suing him or taking him to court,” she said. “It’s about my healing and giving other people voices.”

Gothard would create an emotional bond with several women during counseling, said Rachel Frost, who also worked at IBLP’s headquarters when she was 16.

“There was a very common grooming pattern of creating emotional bonds and physical affirmations, the footsie, the leg rubs, the stroking of the hair, the constant comments on physical appearance,” she said.

She also wrote about her experience on the Recovering Grace website.

Julie Terrell, another woman who worked at IBLP’s headquarters, said Gothard sexually harassed her when she worked there in 1998. But before stories were posted at Recovering Grace, she never thought to say anything.

One woman behind the Recovering Grace website, who declined to be named because she did not want to hurt the reputation of her husband who is a pastor, said 34 women told the website they had been sexually harassed; four women alleged molestation. She said she refers anyone whose story is within the statute of limitations to the police.

IBLP is not the only institution in more conservative evangelical circles currently under scrutiny.

Last year, another prominent home-schooling leader, Doug Phillips, stepped down from his ministry that shut down after he acknowledged an extramarital relationship. The New Republic recently published a piece on Patrick Henry College, a school popular among home-schooling families, suggesting that the college had failed to report sexual abuse. In a statement, the college took issue with some of the allegations made in the piece.

Earlier this month, Bob Jones University, which started popular curricula for home-schooling families, fired and then rehired an independent firm to investigate sex abuse reports just one month before the group planned to release its 13-month review findings.

KRE/AMB END BAILEY

239 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I was there for nine years and know that these stories and so many more are true. Thank you for shining a light in this dark place and helping provide validation and the opportunity for healing for so many.

    • Krista… how awful that things like this happen in a place where we should be safe… breaks my heart ! I am so grateful that fear can be driven away and the evil be exposed and dealt with. I pray healing for the many hurt by such things. I am sorry you were also hurt. Love from above, does not do that.
      We attended one of his basic youth seminars in the early 80′s and loved so many concepts from it. I did not like further teachings he developed and we haven’t heard any more until now. Very sad news though I am grateful for the proper closure for the victims. Love you Krista ~ I also love how you have found so much beauty and fullness in life.

    • Dennis,
      We we taught that God does not allow us to tell (i.e. give a bad report of someone). We were taught to believe it is the woman’s fault. When you combine those two teachings, is it any wonder that we are just now finding our voices? If you want to understand the level of control Bill Gothard exerted over us, please read the articles on Recovering Grace that carefully explain his manipulative teachings.

      My concern is for the girls who are in danger now. Will they be able to believe that it is not their fault? Will they be able to see through the manipulation of their leader? Will they have the courage to get free and seek help?

      • The things Gothard teaches are twisted and unbiblical…that women should always wear dresses, that college and birth control are highly discouraged. Never question authority. And he totally misses that God’s grace cannot be earned. The list goes on. At recoveringgrace.org there are many first person stories of how following Gothard’s rules for living a Christian life have messed up many followers, some even becoming atheist. According to Gothard, his rules are non-optional.

        • Why are we so quick to judge our own? And if you are not a Christian you have no business commenting on this. If you have ever been to a seminar
          you might have noticed that 80% of what Gothard says at a seminar is pure scripture. I took one of my Bibles to Gothards’ Basic seminar and marked every passage he quoted during the seminar. At the end of the first 3 hour evening I had more scriptures marked than most pastors quote in 3 months. When the seminar was over, Bill Gothard had quoted almost the whole Bible, most of which he had memorized. Thousands of people have had their lives and their marriages saved by Gothards teachings. I could list a thousand good and Godly things that have come about through his many ministries. I do not believe there is any ministry on earth that has not offended people, but it is rare that a ministry helps as many people as Gothard has. Be careful when you judge another lest you be judged. P.S. If it matters at all to you, you are totally misunderstanding and misrepresenting Gothards Basic seminar and the principles therein.

          i

          • Still doesn’t do anything to deny or refute the allegations of sexual misconduct or of a culture of repressing such activities from the public (and law).

            Christians like yourself tend to see forgiveness, benefit of a doubt, or non-judgmental attitudes only for your own. Anyone else is treated to talk of damnation, eternal torment and wallowing in unforgivable sin.

          • Your defense of a man charged with serial molestation and sexual harassment charges is that he could quote a lot of Bible verses?

          • I attended the Gothard seminar during its heyday, and it’s true that he quotes a lot from the Bible. But as I went home each day and started looking up the Bible verses he used, I found more often than not that the verses in context didn’t support what he was saying. There’s a huge difference between dishonest prooftexting and sound exegesis, and what Gothard did almost all the time was the former.

          • A person can quote scripture till their dying day and completely miss heaven. Even the devils believe in God and tremble. ONE story is enough for this man to lose credibility. Of course, it’s difficult for me to listen to anyone who tries to tell me how to raise my family who isn’t also walking the same path.

          • You went to seminar? Good for you. That’s how it starts. The real indoctrination happens when you go to the advanced seminar and then enroll into the homeschool program. People have been burned more I, but unless you have been there, don’t judge. Mr. G is good at using scripture to say what he wants it to say. Recovering Grace has done their research, and even things that I have witnessed while there at his headquarters, convinces me that what’s happening is true!

          • william calligan

            I was at ATIA headquarters in 1990. At the time I thought Bill was ok. He seemed more down to earth than my parents thought he was. They gave him almost a God like reverence. I realized then he was very practical and that he was running a business. There where a lot of hypocritical and sycophantic people there who put him on a pedestal. . It sounds like these crazy followers where willing to sacrifice their daughters to be popular in their home school circles. The parents should be held accountable as well as Bill Gothard.
            Cheri I might add that if you haven’t had personal experience with Bill Gothard you should not be allowed to comment. He did take scripture out of context.

          • IBLP and Gothard have done so many great things. I attended the basic and advanced seminars many times and was in ATI (the homeschool arm) for three years. I even met Gothard a number of times and spent 2 weeks in Illinois and another 2 in Indianapolis at ATI trainings.

            I hope these allegations prove false …

            But there is a very religious and controlling spirit that is a fruit of this ministry. I hate to admit it but it bordered on a cult. The teachings were largely scriptural with only a few questionable interpretations (I still remember wading through an audio series on why Christian music was bad) which is why I won’t call it a cult.

            I had heard stories of the some of the intrigue behind the scenes, but had assumed Mr. Gothard was above this. I always assumed he was a eunuch, guess I was wrong.

            As far as judge not… We are to judge but we must be careful that we don’t judge too harshly lest we are judged in the same manner. This is just one of the many helpful tidbits I picked up from my time in this ministry.

            All in all the experience for me with IBLP was great, the teachings on forgiveness, authority and responsibility are still relevant. However, judgment begins in the house of God and if this stuff was allowed or covered over then there needs to be an accounting.

            Hopefully Mr. Gothard and IBLP can dig into their own book of principles and make this right. Take responsibility, repent, make restitution and bring healing to all involved.

          • The problem is only partly with what Gothard taught – though it was hermeneutically unreliable. I personally went through each passage in the basic and advanced that Gothard presented as documentation and found only about 1/3 even applied to that which he as teaching. The greater problem is that while man trusted him, he did not live what he taught and greatly hurt many by the lie that he lived while teaching. The greater tragedy is that he lead others on his staff by his example and evil activities.

          • I have never seen so many people hating someone and their ministry so much at once in all my life. I’ve read what Micah Murray wrote in his Facebook post. I am an ATI dad. I have gone to the conferences in Nashville for the last 5 years. We use the ATI curriculum homeschooling our girls. It is excellent material. It is biblical and sound teaching. I don’t know who Micah Murray is but I am a little apprehensive about his attack on Bill Gothard and the ATI ministries. Let the men in authority at ATI consider the evidence or lack thereof and form their own conclusion. Until then I would encourage everyone to pray for the ATI ministries and Mr. Gothard and ask God to reveal the truth. Some of you folks commenting sound like you hate the Bible. If so, you need Jesus today, you need a Savior.

          • It’s not a “man’s” teaching that sets people free. This is where people can dangerously be controlled by a man. It’s GOD’S WORD that has set you free. I was in a church similar to what is being said here and the pastor was very controlling and used the Bible ALOT!! I was even filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit there. One day he called me to his office and said some VERY inappropriate things to me and then told me not to tell my mother!! I got out of it because I told my mother what happened and she told me to get out now. I lost ALL of my friends because of it. They were told that they were not to talk to me because I left. I love Jesus and I will NEVER admire a man or woman so much that I would believe that they could never fail!! We are to be full of grace and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ but if someone abuses people and uses “their position biblically or corporately” they need to be held accountable!!!

          • “And if you are not a Christian you have no business commenting on this.”

            Why? Because only a Christian could possibly understand the pain felt by young women as a result of inappropriate sexual behavior by a religious leader?

            This is a typical response from a person who is convinced of “truths” so ridiculous that only a select few, indoctrinated in the same twisted theology, could possibly understand them.

            Please go discuss this in a Christians-only forum if my disgust with Gothard’s behavior offends you. Perhaps you will find more support for your dangerous beliefs there.

          • Of course, I was once a Christian. In any case, I have a right to an opinion.

            Must one be a prostitute to care about prostitutes? Or a doctor to care about how doctors treat others?

            Further, the scripture IS the problem. It is divisive nonsense, built for only those in power to lord it over others.
            Your tribalism is on display; unattractive; parochial. And you must know that.

          • @Cheri
            ” I do not believe there is any ministry on earth that has not offended people”

            Please tell me you are not implying that Gothard’s abhorrent sexual predation of young women only “offended” his victims. It is interesting how you never mention them. It seems you are only here looking to find reinforcement for your own dangerous beliefs. Are you having a hard time dealing with the reality of their effects?

          • Cheri,

            Keep in mind that Satan quotes scripture too! I have personally experienced living with someone who spiritually abused me with scripture. I am now free from the legalistic environment, live a Spirit filled life, and have a personal “relationship” with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! THE Truth will set you free!

          • Cheri, Yes, Bill Gothard used scripture to ‘back up’ what he wanted to get across but so did Satan when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. I attended a seminar and our church used Gothard’s teachings about submit, submit, submit and not to question the leaders of the church but obey. To do otherwise would be disobedience to God. Two precious teenage boys obeyed one of the leaders in our church and did what he told them to do. They had told this leader that they were afraid for their lives regarding their mother. In spite of this, the leader told them to obey her. Shortly thereafter we received the news – she had told the boys to take some pills because of her being exposed to a disease (she worked at a hospital) and that the pills would protect them. They did as she said (they were sleeping pills) and in the middle of the night she suffocated them. Our church put the fear of man into us using scripture. To question the teachings of the church was like coming against God. Not all the leaders were like this, however, they too were under the main leader’s ‘spell’ and remained silent with all of the submit, submit, submit (especially regarding the females). I married a man who was also in this church. Their teaching just fed his narcististic and controlling behavior over me and our children.

            Everyone, please think about this. If God had strongly told a woman, a wife, that she was not to go to the Towers on Sept. 11th to have lunch with her husband and she told him what God had said to her but her husband insisted that she submit and obey him because he was her “head” what do you think she should do? If she obeys her husband, is she not making him (a created being) her god? God protected Sarah (OT) when her husband asked her to lie. However, did God protect and spare Sapphira’s (spl?) life when she agreed to go along with her husband and lie to Peter about their giving all of their money to the ministry? Anyone or any organization that makes themselves out to be god(s); those who insist that others follow them and do what they claim is God’s word should serve as a warning sign–a red warning flag. We all make judgments/decisions every day and we need to be discerning. We need to be careful in how we judge–we need the wisdom of God when we do make decisions (which is a form of judging). If fact, Cheri, were you not ‘judging’ others who had commented about Gothard when you said “you are totally misunderstanding and misrepresenting Gothards Basic seminar and the principles therein”? I can personally testify that I was in a Church who used Gothard’s teaching in the way he presented it to control and manipulate others. Yes, there were many good principles in his teaching but I have never forgotten his strong implications when he commented about women being in an abusive marriage when he said “God sees . . .” and then pretty much left it right there. I was dumbfounded when I heard him say this. He got his message across very clearly, which I and others (as played out in our church) knew what he meant. Stay in that abuse situation and say nothing because God knows it is happening. In the beginning of this year God had told me that much was going to be revealed this year—-things that were hidden or hushed up–were going to be revealed and it is sure playing out. For me personally, I am thankful to see this coming to light. God is not asleep! I have heard God say over and over and over again – IT IS ENOUGH.

      • He is absolutely abusive and manipulative. Someone who was not grace filled and very legalistic. Thanks for your courage. These seminars are horrible and unbiblical and so out of context.

        • Mark Yoder, Jr.

          I am one who owes Mr. Gothard a great debt. When I was fifteen, I went to my first seminar in 1971. The principles I learned there were powerful and helpful, and were instrumental in helping me lay a foundation for an amazing relationship with my Dad and Mom, and have helped keep me from bitterness and following a selfish, self-centered life-style. I would credit Mr. Gothard for teaching things from God’s word that helped me come into marriage with purity and have led to 36 years of happy marriage, including a great sex life. No, his teaching didn’t ruin me for a healthy and delightful relationship. And I have six children, soon to have 14 grandchildren, and I’ve never experienced rebellion from them. Five are happily married, and all love Jesus and are serving him in very special ways. I think all of you would be proud of how they’ve done in life.

          It is true, that there came a time when I needed God to show me his grace and help in a way I never heard or understood from Mr. Gothard, but I still am very grateful for the good I got from how he taught Scripture and showed cause and effect.

          I will also admit that I am angry beyond description about what has happened. Mr. Gothard has done a huge amount of harm by his actions and his refusal to take warning and counsel. The worst part is that he seemed to be calculated and had premeditation in his actions. That makes me sick at heart, and in the weeks since I’ve heard of this sickening behavior, I’ve had the normal cycles of grieving that include denial, anger, grief, and now, to some degree, acceptance. Yes, Bill has failed, there is little doubt about that.

          However, some of you are not just angry with Bill and with the the horrible things he did wrong. You are equally angry about the things he taught that do agree with Scripture. In saying this, I by no means intend to defend what he did. But many of you would have the same anger and hostility at what the Bible teaches and what Christians have stood for all these years. Some of you think the Bible is a “cult”, excluding some, condemning some to hell, and being much to “narrow” and rigid. And while I’ve struggled with some of those thoughts, too, at times, I think we must realize that there is no One like Jesus. He stands alone in history, and he taught us that he is the only way to the Father. He is the one who gave some serious warnings about hell and judgement, and what happens if we reject Him. With all my heart, I believe that he is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. I believe that he is the One who has the power to forgive. When men like Mr. Gothard fail and totally misrepresent what Jesus stood for, all of us should grieve. Those who are not Christians will see it as validation of their unbelief and we should grieve that this has made it harder for them. But his failures don’t destroy the message of Jesus, and even though it seems like it, his failures don’t mean that everything he taught was wrong.

          But there was a lot that was wrong, and I have no doubt that our amazing God was grieved by it all. And I’m so sorry for all those who suffered so unfairly. May God give “recovering grace.”

          • The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

            You can sit here all night and day and wrongfully post scripture but you will never understand them… In ALL your intelligence you will NEVER understand or accept them because it is folly to you. And it is foolish to waste time arguing with you :)

      • This is tragic and it keeps happening.
        You describe the consequences of a religion which preaches:

        Hatred of women, Servility, Invigilation, Subjection to absolute Authority, Abjection, self-hatred, Self-denial, Gullibility and vicarious redemption through the sacrifices of others. Complete lack of responsibility – that is the Christian preachment.

        When people leave church and they are not completely destroyed emotionally or physically
        that is the true miracle!

        • @Athiest Max: The “Christian Preachment” you outline is exactly the kind of distortions man has been using to infect Christianity for centuries. Your words come across as so harsh, and almost hateful, that I wonder if you are speaking from experience.

          Hatred of Women? How about the husband should protect and nurture!

          “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should PROTECT,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”
          -Malachi 2:16

          “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and GAVE himself up for her to make her holy.”
          -Ephesians 5:26-27a

          Subjection to Absolute Authority? Have you read Acts 4? Did you bother to notice that even the highest human authorities in the Church were “Brother” and that any Christian had the authority to rebuke another?

          Furthermore, do not give any weight to those who quote Old Testament Law to “support” such a view of Christianity. They understand the Bible as much as a Kindergartener understands physics.

          • @IRON,
            I would love to debate this. And as a former Catholic and Sunday school teacher I can pluck some cherries from the Bible, too.

            But then you’d say I was only cherry picking, wouldn’t you (while excusing yourself, of course).

            First I would need to know why you want to jettison the Old Testament.
            Please take the 10 commandments with you, as that is where you find them.

            “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
            — Exodus 20:17

            Did you catch how “wife” is a few words away from ox and donkey? In other words just another “Property.”

            This is, of course, not the biggest insult against women in the Bible. Others include, God’s injunction to rape a wife as a way to punish…..(wait for it)…. her husband.

            God commands Raping in daylight
            “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall have sex with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11)

            Another is God’s injunction that a women marry her rapist – on account of her lost virginity…. she is ‘violated’ and thus spoiled goods.

            “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her….” (Deut. 22:28)

            One need not dig for this stuff. It is too much to enumerate.
            The New Testament has its own disparagement of women:

            “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

            So…Women are cheaper than men.
            Simple as that.

            Yes I am harsh. Religion is a social infection from a primitive time.
            We’d be better without it.

          • You are misinterpreting these verses. 2Sam 12:11 is telling David that his wives are going to be raped by someone else (his son Absalom). This is a consequence of David’s own sexual sin… David committed adultery and then murdered the woman’s husband. This is not a command, but a statement of something God knew was going to happen because of David’s bad example.

            Dt. 22:28 says the rapist must marry the woman he raped, if she and her family agreed. The girl could get out of it. He had to pay the full brideprice for her, and her father had to agree. The rapist was never allowed to divorce her. That probably sounds terrible to modern ears, but at that time a girl who had been raped would have a hard time finding a husband, and God was basically saying, if you rape a woman you have to provide for her the rest of your life. By the way, if a man raped a married woman he got stoned.

            You are leaving out the part that says a husband should “lay down his life” for his wife. What part of that disparages women?

          • @Janiece,
            Both man and woman are compelled to lay down their lives for each other.
            But women are treated no better than property. Not so the man.

          • You cite a passage that has no rape in it (2 Sam.) and claim that it does.
            You take a character from a parable Jesus tells and claim that is Jesus commanding the murder of His enemies.
            You’re a liar. Simple as that.

          • What a pack of lies:

            God commands no raping. He says to David in 2 Samuel that his concubines will have sex with Absalom, David’s son. Rape is not mentioned. They may have liked his long hair. This is David’s punishment for having committed adultery with Bathsheba.

            And there is no injunction requiring a woman to marry a rapist. You put out a mistranslation:

            25   But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26 but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter; 27 for he found her in the field, the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

            28   If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.

            IMHO, Lay hold on & humbled do not denote rape.

          • @Gum Boocho,
            It is religious people who assert the absolute truth of THE SCRIPTURE. Not me.

            But I can’t help but notice the thousands of arguments about what it actually SAYS!

            Fact: Rape is commanded by Yahweh. And even committed by Yahweh if you include Mary – who is told after the fact that her womb is ‘with child’.

            Fact: Slavery is committed by, and commanded by God.
            Fact: Abortion is committed by, and commanded by God.

            Christians say this is NOT GOD. The real God is not Yahweh but Jesus.
            But this is incoherent because Yahweh BECAME MAN – so this is still your God talking.

            If this sickens you, IT SHOULD. Thanks. It sickens me, too.
            If you decide that God couldn’t possibly do these things – then join the club:
            It is called Atheists of America.

          • One can be an atheist or a non-theist or an agnostic without being so negative about the ancient mythology that is the stories of the gods. Some are older and their gods contain more negativity than others. But we need not resort to a mean-spirited negativity toward mythology. We can accept it for what it is, the older, less enlightened imaginings of people–usually men–trying to explain the origin and meaning of things.

            All mythology originated long, long, long before the advent of proven science. Take it for what it is, old and not factual. But there is never a reason to be ugly about the vastly lesser knowledge of ancient time, not even when some people attempt to use the stories of those times to distort reality as proven with current knowledge. Their efforts might need enlightenment, might need countering, and wrong behavior based on those legends might even need control, but never negativity, never nastiness. When we do that, we stoop to the nastiness of many people who are firm, literal believers in the legends of mythology.

          • @Gilhan,

            “never a reason to be ugly…”

            Tell that to the holy rollers of Arizona.

          • @Atheist Max

            You do realize that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian right?

            Some name the name but are not, if a person is a true Christian they will walk as Christ Himself walked, they will follow His commands which is to love our neighbors as ourselves, to judge with a righteous judgment, to be patient, loving, to seek peace, to show goodness, kindness, to be gentle and to show self control.

            We get our goodness from His example and His commandments.

            The golden rule that you speak of has been around from the beginning of time and was set in the hearts of man from God.

            You say there is no God? Who created the world we exist on? Who created the stars, the sun? Who created man? Was something created from nothing?

            Without God nothing could exist, you could not even take a breath of air without God!

            But my point here is not all are what they seem, and by you judging my motives and me shows who you really are.

            So just because you see some people claiming to be Christian doing bad things doesn’t mean they are Christian. Just like you see millions going against what the bible teaches are “not” Christians, but set to bring a reproach to Christ.

          • @DENNIS,

            YOU SAID,
            “if a person is a true Christian they will walk as Christ Himself walked, they will follow His commands which is to love our neighbors as ourselves, to judge with a righteous judgment, to be patient, loving, to seek peace, to show goodness, kindness, to be gentle and to show self control.”

            UNFORTUNATELY, THAT IS ONLY YOUR INTERPRETATION.
            Other Christians have additional and different lists of COMMANDS of Jesus which counter those you mentioned:

            “Bring to me my enemies, EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

            So….according the Parable of the 12 Minas you must never forgive the Lord’s enemies! (Luke 19)

            Jesus didn’t forgive his enemies – he sent them to Hell! (Mark 16:16)
            Jesus cursed his enemies – “Thou Fools!”, “swine!” (Matt. 23:17)
            Jesus stole things – “untie them” “and bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)
            Jesus destroyed his enemies – “execute them in front of me”(Luke 19:27)
            He didn’t love most of his neighbors, – They are ‘Dogs’!(Matthew 15:26)
            Jesus told people to judge others – “Remove your blessings”!(Matt 10:14)
            He was bigoted – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
            Jesus violently whipped people – attack on the temple (John 2:5)
            He didn’t want peace – “I do not bring peace.”(Matt 10:34)
            Jesus lied to people – “He went in secret” (John 7:8-13)
            Jesus prepared for war – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)

            WHEN JESUS WAS CONFRONTED WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT HE SAID
            “Change nothing! It is the word of God!”
            SO JESUS REINFORCED
            ALL OF THAT STUFF TOO….

            “Utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.” (1 Samuel 15:3)
            “have sex with comely women as you wish.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
            “Save for yourselves every girl who is a virgin.” (Numbers 31:18)
            “Enslave everyone in the villages.” (Deut. 20:10)
            “Kill my enemies” (Luke 19:27)
            “I the Lord…create evil” (Isaiah 45:7)
            “Do not make peace with your neighbor on the land” (EXODUS 34:15)
            “remove your blessing of peace” (Matt 10:14)
            “submit to your husbands” (Ephesians 5:22)
            “Raping a neighbor’s wife is a correct punishment.” (2 Samuel 12:11)

            There are alternatives to Religion.
            They are not perfect, but when they fail at least they can be improved.

            YOU SAID,
            “Without God nothing could exist, you could not even take a breath of air without God!”

            Prove that ridiculous claim is true, or never repeat it – because it is wild and absurd. How would you feel if I told you there is no way to survive without the power of the Magic Marshmallow!!!?? It is ridiculous.

          • @Dennis,

            The people of Arizona were acting exactly at the commands of Jesus in MATTHEW 10:14.

            They were behaving as true Christians.
            They had deemed their neighbors (gays/sinners) “unworthy” and were in the process of attempting to “remove” their “blessings of peace.”

            That is why you should question Christianity. What sinister nonsense!

          • Yes to the NON believer it is nonsense… And again….. just because they claim….

            Jesus is God, and His ways are not our ways… His ways YOU will never understand because you are not one of His. You know nothing about the sovereignty of God… All you know is mans sovereignty, which is nothing at all. You take and post scriptures from a book you cannot understand and take it out of context, and then it seems foolish to you… Which is because you have ears to hear but are deaf, eyes to see but are blind.

            Like I said before…. this is a complete waste of time, because all you want to do is destroy Christ in the eyes of believers, and weak believers may believe what you say and fall, but solid Christians will see the work…

            What I said isn’t absurd… but believing the world was formed out of nothing… from a big bang which came from nothing is absurd…

            But like I said, this has nothing to do with this article, it seems you just like to ague with Christians and try to prove them wrong… Which you have not by taking scripture out of context and even twisting them…

          • @Dennis,

            “all you want to do is destroy Christ”

            Thanks for thinking I could. You reveal your lack of confidence in your God right there.

            But as I’ve said, subjecting oneself to be obedient to AUTHORITY is corrosive to all participants. Believing in God’s absolute authority is how these abuse victims got into trouble in the first place.

          • If you are going to quote me do so in it’s entirety..

            “all you want to do is destroy Christ in the eyes of believers”

            In the eyes……..

            Please don’t do to me like you do the bible and takes pieces…..

          • So you don’t think this is sex?
            “He shall lie, with her”

            If you don’t think that is sexual, then how would you feel about a strange man coming over to LIE WITH YOUR WIFE?
            You okay with that?

            I thought not. Let’s admit God is talking about sex – rape.
            Okay?

          • @Atheist Max, my friend, you derailed such a good thread, although granted with help from us tribalists :) People were sharing and responding to personal experiences in Gothard world, and it devolved into religion as tribalism. Plenty of folks here would be happy to trade e-mails with you, off this thread, about what a particular Bible verse means. I would be happy to.

            But, here, right now, I think the best we can do is keep this thread on point, letting people share. The article relates to abuse allegations, and people are sharing their take on his character. And, WAKE UP, people, 34 women have reported harassment to the Recovering Grace website. One possibility (my take) is that 34 women were harassed. Another possibility is that the website is making this all up. Is that really what you’re going to go with? Got any third ideas?

            And don’t anyone throw out “gossip” as a pretext for silence. The guy runs (or hopefully soon “ran”) an 80-million dollar ministry. He has the same right to privacy as A-Rod.

          • @Aaron,
            At no point would I discourage the honest sharing of a tragic story.

            In fact, I am sharing my own pain.
            As people discuss the suffering from sexual abuse at the hands of clergy, I share the (admittedly more minor) pain of abuse at the hands of clergy.

            We Christians were raised to not ask questions, to do as the priests instruct us, to obey. It is an extension of a sick theory of life – a self-corrupting philosophy of absolutist power which deserves a thorough re-examination.

            The abuse ex-Christians like myself have endured is not always physical, but is psychological with baseless threats of Hell protecting the authoritarian regimes. Religion is a kind of UN-FREEDOM.

            There are consequences for ALL of society – not only the directly abused.

          • @Atheist Max
            I appreciate your openness.

            I think you nail it on the head when you note “not to ask questions.” That is the real problem, denying the freedom to ask and to challenge. However, you are wrong to use “We Christians” to imply that it is a universal in the Christian environment to not ask questions.

            My whole Christian life I was raised to ask questions: questions about our denomination, questions about the wider Protestant world, questions about the even wider global church. Questions about faith, politics, science, philosophy, psychology, etc. “Why?” was a wonderful question. It was encouraged.

            The reason so many younger evangelicals rejected the Republican party (not that they accept the Democratic party) is that we asked questions. Wouldn’t God embrace immigrants? Wouldn’t God aid the poor? Wouldn’t God protect the animals and plant life of our planet from avoidable harm?

            I was fortunate enough to be in an environment where we were all seeking and learning, the pastor included. So, I think the key distinction, the common thread, is any environment where no questions are permitted. This is cult 101.

            Given that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion Christians, and given that we have a 2000 year history, we are bound to accumulate a voluminous track record of both good and bad. My family lives in a very remote area of rural, southern Mexico. We, thanks to the generosity of US Christians, are just finishing a several month operation of delivering corn and homes to families affected by the fall hurricanes. That’s not to pat myself on the back, as we’re only passing along the generosity of others. My point is that Christians are in the middle of much of the good being done in the world, if one is willing to take an unbiased look. Read up on any of the worst natural disaster episodes in the last 10 years (Haiti, Phillipines, etc.), and overtly Christian groups are the most largely represented group.

            Jesus asked a lot of questions, and he troubled those in authority. When you’re told not to ask questions, that’s the first cue to run.

          • @Aaron,

            Please understand.
            You said, “My whole Christian life I was raised to ask questions”

            Yes, me too! But we were TOLD what the CORRECT answers were!
            Never were we encouraged to consider something unbiblical.

            When I was a little boy I once asked my sweet, loving, Catholic grandmother why Christians were different from Jews. She smiled and calmly said “The Jews killed Jesus so they are not going to Heaven.”

            I have learned that religion makes rational, smart loving people say hideous disgusting things. Just look elsewhere on this thread an you will see people DEFENDING RAPE because it is God’s word!

            I am an Atheist. It came at a very high price and it took decades to open my mind to the truth.

          • I’m sorry your experiences with Christianity were traumatic and that most of your experiences with Christians allow you to dismiss them as ignorant. But you are projecting your personal story on all Christians everywhere, which is not objective.

            There are Christian intellectuals who can hold their own in their fields. Alvin Plantinga won one of the highest honors in philosophy last year for his work in epistemology and warranted belief (http://www.philosophynews.com/post/2011/12/13/Interview-with-Alvin-Plantinga-on-Where-the-Conflict-Really-Lies.aspx).

            Mark Noll is a respected historian(http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals/mark-noll)

            Francis Collins is a respected scientist who founded Biologos, (http://biologos.org) where you can read a whole host of intellectually stimulating white papers on the intersection of science, philosophy, and religion.

            Those are the kinds of people some of us Christians look to as we ask our questions, and they aren’t doling out pat answers devoid of nuance in order to stifle conversation about hard questions.

            There is an entire field of Biblical scholarship occupied by feminist believers, so obviously your picture of the inherent misogyny of Yahweh and the Bible is disputed by some people who have spent more time looking at it than you have (http://www.cbeinternational.org/).

            A recent peer reviewed study by sociologist Robert Woodberry found that the biggest factor in whether countries currently have stable democracies with educational opportunities available to the lower classes is 19th and 20th Century Protestant missions work. (http://www.academia.edu/2128659/The_Missionary_Roots_of_Liberal_Democracy)

            Any ideology can be exploited by the powerful and used as a tool of oppression. The atheists don’t have a blameless record either, and there was plenty of raping, pillaging, and bloodshed in China under Mao, Russia under Lenin, and during the French Revolution. But that would not cause me to label all atheists as implicitly supportive of or complicit in those atrocities.

            The argument, “Only dumb people are Christians” is easily dismantled. So is the argument, “Religion always leads to bad outcomes.” There are geniuses and idiots, as well as altruists and sociopaths on all points along the belief spectrum, and atheists do not have a monopoly on honest intellectual inquiry or humanitarianism. To insist so is either dishonest or woefully misinformed.

          • @Christy,

            But what is the truth? That is the question.

            Does God exist or not? The claim that a god exists – even by Francis Collins – is empty if you can’t explain, demonstrate, prove, show or exhibit how or why God is real.

            Don’t say, “It is personal to me” or “To me it is true”.
            Witches are burned even today in Africa because of the claim that this stuff is true. This God you defend remains extremely unlikely.

          • No, the first question is not “what is truth,” it is “how do we know truth.” That is where the philosophical debate really lies.

            Your foundationalist epistemology that rejects all access to truth except via empiricism or logical reasoning is largely disputed by modern philosophy.

            Besides, the intellectually honest default position if God does not exist is agnosticism, not atheism. To insist God does not exist is not rational, nor does it logically follow from a lack of sufficient proof of God’s existence.

            (You should get out of your echo chamber more often and try to hear out some intelligent theists once in a while. Here is a NYT interview with Plantinga that touches on some of the ideas that are not easily communicated in the comment section of a blog. It seems to me you are still settling for simplistic answers, just in the opposite direction these days.)
            http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

          • @Christy:
            You said, “the intellectually honest default position if God does not exist is agnosticism, not atheism.”

            No. Seems I am forever correcting people about this.

            Atheism = LACK OF BELIEF. It is not a claim that god does not exist.
            Agnostic = DOES NOT KNOW if a god exists.

            I am therefor both Agnostic AND Atheist.
            I don’t know. And I don’t believe in god.

            Only the “Gnostic Atheist” claims God is impossible.
            I do not make any such claim.

            God may exist
            but I see no need to believe in it.
            If one admits that one does not know – he might as well admit that he doesn’t believe.

            Only the THEIST claims “I KNOW God exists and I BELIEVE.”
            How one can honestly say this escapes me.
            For the sake of honesty alone this is untenable.

            ATHEISM is the response to that claim. It is not a claim of its own.

          • @Christy,
            No. Plantinga is the definition of Echo chamber.
            We already know the circularity of the logic which supports God claims.

            What is needed is a new attempt at a demonstration in favor of the existence of God.

            Otherwise Theism is simply unsupportable.

          • @Christy,

            I do not reject methods of epistemology out of hand.
            Poetry and metaphor for example are extremely useful in describing the truth in non-logical ways.

            But if the concept (or metaphor) of a ‘god’ is all you have, that is not the same as A TRUE ‘God’ responding to prayers or listening in on one’s thoughts. Those last two claims are where the Theist continues to flounder.

            If one arrives at “God Exists!” without being able to connect the dots which got you to that ‘confident conclusion’ there is no reason for anyone else to believe it to be true.

            Assertions are not truths. Wouldn’t you agree?
            Otherwise Elvis is still alive because I say so – such is the emptiness of assertions.

          • (All of this should be read as if I am saying it in a calm, detached way, because I am honestly not emotionally invested and only get into these conversations because it is a nerdy form of entertainment. Don’t read into it any tone.)

            Assertions are not truths. And I have not once argued that the fact that I believe or anyone else asserts something means someone else should accept it as true. What I have argued is that the claims “All Christians are dumb.” and “The Christian religion is always a destructive force” are not tenable, no matter how many times gung-ho atheist apologists post statements that imply otherwise on news articles Christians are likely to read. The point of everything I have said was to dispute those claims, not to argue that Christianity and the Bible are true and you should believe them.

            I am fine with the fact that you and I have very different a priori beliefs on which our epistemologies rest. It’s also obvious to me that it doesn’t matter one bit if you can prove God exists, and it doesn’t matter if you can show it is an irrefutable historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth died and was resurrected. None of that proves that God wants a relationship with humans, the Bible is divine revelation, much less the claim that Christianity hinges on, that Jesus’ death removes people’s guilt for their sins and reconciles them to God and they are hence forth indwelled by the Spirit of God himself. That’s why I think most of Christian apologetics is pointless. You can’t argue people to faith and you are right to point out that all attempts to argue people into theism become circular to a certain extent at some point.

            It just strikes me as a little pathetic that many atheists like to hang out on sites like this one where they are likely to find fundies who have not thought through things at nearly the same level they have, so they can throw around their proof texts and anecdotes and prepared zingers (in much the same way Gothard and company do from the other side), and then feel good about themselves because they can take candy from babies. They try to make it out like we should all assume that means they can take candy from black belts. If you are always feeling like no one ever can bring anything up that makes you reconsider your assumptions, than you aren’t playing with people in your league, or you are hopelessly closed minded.

            Do you really think the comment section on a news article about fundamentalist sex abuse is the place for honest exchange of deep philosophical ideas about the nature of truth? That’s like saying the Blaze comment section is a place where productive political thought occurs. I think treating it like it should be is an example of the kind of stuff that makes people write off atheists as sociopathic jerks. I’m not trying to impugn your character personally or attribute motivation to your participation in this instance, just share general observations about the kind of stuff I read all the time because I follow sex abuse scandals in Evangelicalism and home schooling.

          • @Christy,

            Look. One nerd to another:

            I have never said “Christians are dumb.”
            I was a Christian for 44 years and I did not become smarter when I became an Atheist anymore than a cancer patient becomes smarter once they are cured of cancer.

            Religious people are victims..

            Is the comment section of a Religious News Service a place to debate?
            Maybe not. But it beats Youtube and reddit for quality of argument.

            Is religion always bad? No.

            Are atheists annoying? Yes, because the Atheist is a direct attack on religion by simply EXISTING. You cannot believe Fire is the only true power in the world if Freezers exist.

            Am I looking for good zingers? Absolutely not.
            My brevity is for YOUR BENEFIT as well as mine!

            WHY DO I BOTHER?
            Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims seem to think this is their world and I just happen to live in it. The religious horror-porn of Eschatological Armageddon is a cultural psychosis which may destroy the world if people don’t speak up – quickly. Christianity is fundamentally flawed with vicarious redemption, a theory which is destroying morality and responsibility throughout the world.

            RELIGION IS ON A TEAR TO DESTROY MANY RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS:
            Proposed laws in Arizona. Texas. Tennessee. Kentucky etc… Creationism pushing out Science, Women’s rights, Sexual rights, Gay rights, Genital mutilation, faith-based initiatives, even freedom of speech is under threat at the United Nations because of religion. Separation of church and State is also under threat.

            Athiests are indeed rising to these challenges.
            I’ll argue with anyone, anywhere to challenge religion.

            But I’m open to any evidence for a God if someone had it.
            Just don’t throw me the failed Ontological, Tautological and Teleological arguments.

          • Fair enough. I would just like a hint of a concession that there are indeed SOME Christians who work tirelessly AGAINST the oppression of women by hierarchical systems (religious or otherwise), SOME Christians think ecological responsibility is a mandate in the face of global climate change, SOME Christians fight trafficking, work on behalf of AIDS victims, immigrants, refugees, and addicts, purely out of concern for the marginalized and powerless, not just to convert them, SOME Christians speak up against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, SOME Christians decry racism and sexism in all forms, SOME Christians advocate evolution-based science, SOME Christians think Left Behind is a bunch of hooey.

            The are many Christians who speak up with you against many of the things you mentioned, but it would be nice if atheists could acknowledge that the reason they find those causes worthy of activism is precisely because of their faith commitments, not in spite of them. When atheists locate the root of humanity’s ills in religion itself instead of the human propensity of the powerful (who often manipulate using religion) exploiting the weak, it erodes the possibility of cooperation to make the world a better place. Being told, “Oh you are a Christian that means you support (all the things you mentioned above)” is as ridiculous as saying, “Oh you believe in Darwinistic evolution, that means you support Nazi eugenics.”

            I don’t think the existence of atheists or any other belief system is an attack. But I do feel atheists often unfairly and rather blindly link every injustice ever perpetuated by people in the name of religion to anyone who claims to be a believer. All Christians are not Bible-belt American Fundamentalists or mindless Republican lap dogs.

            I don’t think it is the Christian mission in the world to prove God’s existence. It is to pursue justice on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves and to try to live in peace and loving consideration with others.

          • @Christy,

            Thanks for engaging in this.

            Yes I always acknowledge – there are millions of Christians who are in favor of sexual rights, gay rights, emancipation of women, justice…etc. They are people doing good – and they want to de EVEN MORE good but are often NOT permitted to because of their religion.

            Example: Catholic charities runs the largest number of clinics in Africa. During the worst of the Aids Crisis women came in to those clinics BEGGING for access to condoms and other help to protect themselves from their husbands who were carrying the Aids virus. DESPITE THE FACT THAT the NUNS knew Aids could be controlled by condoms, they were not permitted to distribute them because successive Popes said “Aids is bad, but condoms are worse”
            Result: 20 Million Africans died of Aids when a huge percentage of infections could have been prevented.

            In other words, the more a Christian or Muslim rejects all Biblical or Quranic teachings and holds fast to THE GOLDEN RULE – the better they behave!

            Guess what? THE GOLDEN RULE is all we ever needed. Every Atheist I know lives by it. It is natural. It is humane.
            No Gods are needed to ‘treat others as you would have them treat you.’
            We need no Heavenly permission or dogma to be compassionate toward one another.

            Another example:
            “Mother” Theresa preached the ‘virtues of’ poverty and preached against contraception, saying that condoms and other contraception are completely ‘evil’ – her conviction coming from Church Dogma.
            Calcutta, and India are absolutely desperate to alleviate poverty. The ONE SILVER BULLET which has WORKED EVERY TIME TO lessen poverty everywhere in the world over the last century has been the emancipation of women. Freeing women is ANATHEMA to Christian dogma.

            Again, The Golden Rule suffices.

            One closing point.
            Mormons, Catholic missionaries, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Quada all give generously and use charity to promote their causes. That doesn’t mean the faiths they represent are therefor ‘true’, nor does it mean their actions are necessarily purely compassionate.

            Doctors Without Borders has 22,000 individuals around the world at any given moment serving humanity – THE GOLDEN RULE – with no gods and no strings attached. I donate to them generously!!!!

          • “Yes I always acknowledge – there are millions of Christians who are in favor of sexual rights, gay rights, emancipation of women, justice…etc. They are people doing good – and they want to de EVEN MORE good but are often NOT permitted to because of their religion.”

            These claim to be Christian, but their fruits shows differently…

            And you say you was a Christian for 44 years? That totally contradicts what the bible says… Jesus says no one can snatch His elect from His hand nor His Fathers hand who is in Heaven. So if you was one of us you would have remained ~ They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us – 1 John 2:19

          • @Dennis,

            All you have done
            is to show that (1 John 2:19) is yet another chapter and verse of the Bible
            that can only be completely wrong. Most atheists are former believers.

            Apparently, John was unaware that Satan once loved God, too?
            So even the theory of Free Will is disproved.

            The Bible is such nonsense. Why bother?

          • @Christy,

            Dennis said, “These claim to be Christian, but their fruits show differently.”

            CHRISTY. Do you see that?
            That is what you, as a ‘faithful’ Christian, are up against.
            It demonstrates what is wrong with religion and Jesus in particular.

            The Golden Rule is all we need to be good, caring people.
            Christianity, Islam, Judaism – are all in the way :-(

          • So I’m not a good person? You judging me? I thought only Christians judge?

            Where do you get the outline for being good? Where does this goodness you say you have come from?

            See, you do not understand the things of the Spirit, you want to give Christians a bad name because we hold true to the bible and what it teaches.. Just because you or other atheist/agnostic do not understand it or believe it doesn’t make it false or a lie…

            The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

            You can sit here all night and day and wrongfully post scripture but you will never understand them… In ALL your intelligence you will NEVER understand or accept them because it is folly to you. And it is foolish to waste time arguing with you :)

          • @Dennis,

            The Golden Rule is all we need: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

            No gods are needed for this rule. No religion is needed.
            Just teach it to your kids and they will follow it.

            Yes Jesus taught it. So did moral teachers before Jesus!
            If you teach the Golden Rule that doesn’t make you a God. Jesus was not a god for teaching the Golden Rule either – it existed before he was born!

            how do I know?

            Because centuries before Jesus the Golden Rule was the morality of every culture – Even in China where it was listed in the Analects of Confucius.

            Gods are not needed and that is a good thing. You can’t find one that is real so it is just as well.

          • Yes, that’s unfortunate. But I don’t take it personally, because Dennis hasn’t looked at “my fruits,” and I think if he did, he might cut me some slack. It is often almost as hard to find common ground with fundamentalist Christians as atheists because our hermeneutic for approaching the Bible is so different. Whereas they see it as literal, propositional, truth devoid of context, I say we need to understand what it meant in it’s original context, try to ascertain how the original human authors’ culture and worldview affected what they wrote, and then decide what it means for us today. Like them, I think the Bible is authoritative, but end up with different ideas of what the Bible actually says and requires. But at least with them, there are some things I know we agree on, even if I count as a heretic in their estimation.

            By the way, the Bible doesn’t speak to condoms or birth control, the Pope does. I’m not Catholic, and I am also bothered by many of the things that the Church of Rome has added to what I would consider the gospel. I think it is tragic that funding for women’s health initiatives overseas is often politicized and withdrawn or shortchanged over arguments about condoms and abortions. I will grant you the point that unquestioning commitment to a religious system often does gets in the way of people actually listening to God, but Jesus spoke out against that all the time.

            I know three people who work for Doctors without Borders and they are all Christians. So is everyone I know who has done time in the Peace Corps. I work for an NGO. Our organizations may not be expressly religious, but many individuals are motivated by their faith to join them (and motivated not just the Golden Rule, but the whole kit and caboodle of Christian theology), expressly because they believe the work fulfills the call to serve the poor, sick, imprisoned, widow, orphan, abused, displaced, and persecuted. And that is how we live our the good news of Christ’s inaugurated but unconsummated Kingdom.

          • Christy I never said anything about you? Haven’t even read any comments by you… So what did I say that goes against you?

          • You didn’t say anything against me personally, which is why I did not take I personally. But I would be one of those Christians who also identifies as a feminist, thinks it’s unjust to discriminate against people in civil society on the basis of sexual orientation, accepts the claims of modern science when it comes to the Big Bang and the evolutionary model, and supports any number of things that don’t line up well with the Conservative Christian Right. You said people like me claim to be a Christian, but their fruits show differently. I was just saying that is unfortunate, because I can defend all my beliefs and practices with the Bible too, although probably with very different interpretations in some cases and focus on different parts.

          • Christy,

            If the things that you believe goes against the bible how can you call your self a Christian? If the bible says God created the heavens and the earth you have to believe it or the Big Bang theory… Can’t be both for one has to be a lie…

            The bible speaks against homosexuality as well as murder, adultery, hate, lying, and so on… So to say homosexuality is ok goes against what the bible teaches… If you say homosexuality is ok, then why can’t murder be ok? Why can’t lying be ok? Why can’t anything someone seems as ok be ok?

            I was born a liar, but it still doesn’t make it ok right? Why? I was born this way….

            A murderer can say he was born that way and sees nothing wrong in it.

            Who gets to choose what is right or wrong? You? Me? Obama? Who? Who do we trust enough to give us our moral code? Our moral standards?

            This country was founded on the principles of the bible and was held in high reverence… And things was good till different doctrines and tolerance came in and now look at what we have…

            Look back just 50 years ago at the movies, music, the way people dressed and acted… The crime rate… We used to leave our doors unlocked, keys in cars and never had to worry…

            My point is, where does the line get drawn? A child molester can say he was born this way and that he is only attracted to minors… Whose to judge him? This is actually happening as we speak… God gave us His standards and commandments and that is the ONLY thing we can safely go by and we cannot pick and choose what “we”want to say God is ok with…

          • I can call myself a Christian because I believe Jesus died for my sins, rose again to give me new life, and sent his Spirit to work in and through me on behalf of his Kingdom mission of reconciling all things to God in Christ.

            I don’t believe anything that “goes against the Bible.” We have different ideas of how Christian beliefs should/must be applied.

            Surely you know that there is a great variety of views on origins within the Christian church and even within Evangelicalism, and none of them reject God as Creator. The Bible says God created the heavens and the earth. It does not say how or when. I don’t think taking Genesis 1-2 as literal scientific history is a requirement for faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, and neither do plenty of other people who are considered conservative Evangelical Bible scholars (e.g. John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis 1).

            What I think about the morality of homosexual practice for confessing followers of Christ applies to what I expect my church to require of members, not what I think a secular government should do to protect citizens who are treated unfairly in civil society. I reject the idea that the Kingdom of God is advanced through political power and governmental influence. I totally reject it. If every item on the Religious Rights’ political agenda were made a reality, it would not change a single heart. I try to follow the verse, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with all people.” That is my attitude toward people outside the faith, and I think it is a biblical one.

            I think hearkening back to a utopian “Christian America” that exists more in myth than historical reality is political rhetoric. It’s politics, not Christianity.

          • By the way, materialism is clearly a sin, perhaps even full-fledged idol worship (you cannot serve both God and money), but I have yet to hear an American Christian advocate for a law limiting all individuals’ accumulation of wealth in the interest of the nation’s moral health. Gluttony is clearly a sin and the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, but I have yet to hear an American Christian congratulate New York’s biblical moral vision for limiting the sale of high calorie soft drinks, which are clearly a symbol of our nation’s inability to say no to a life of caloric excess. Those who want to legislate “biblical morality” pick and choose quite a bit what issues matter, and show that it is not really about having a God-honoring country, it’s about one political party co-opting religious language to further their political goals. It is a truly messed up situation we have going when politicians can hire Bible scholars to defend unregulated gun ownership and anti-environmentalism as part of a “biblical worldview.” (I’m talking about you Wayne Grudem) That is sickening to me, and incomprehensible to Evangelicals in the rest of the world.

          • Christy,
            I’ve been reading through the posted comments here and just wanted to let you know how much your posts have encouraged me. So much truth in what you’ve said. Gives me hope. Thanks.
            –Rachel

          • Only if you lived in the white part of town – life in the USA was not so perfect for the poor and/or communities of color – also, when movies were first made in the very early 1900′s, they were very sexual and violent – that is why the rating system was created in the first place – mankind has always lusted for violence and sex – it is part of our sin nature – there never was a perfect America (I am a patriot by the way after having traveled around the world) and never will be – remember Abraham? He searched for a city whose builder and maker was God – which is yet to come – so keep your eyes on Jesus bro, and understand that this world always has been and always will be a corrupt place, which wonderful islands of love, sanity, and joy; you can’t legislate morality or faith!

          • @Christy,

            Yes – Sexual Abuse is exactly the place to bring up the religion of abjection and subordination of the individual (“I am nothing, Lord”) to the power authority figure of the preacher.

            It is NOT an accident that this terrible Christian philosophy easily subverts the participants.

          • @Christy,
            Because you brought this up, Robert Woodberry’s study of 19th and 20th century missions DOES show cause and effect.
            But not for the reasons you seem to think.

            The Bible was the first universally available BOOK in Western civilization and using it for missionary work would have many easily predictable consequences:

            The Bible was our first literature, our first history book, our first science book, first health book, our first attempt at health care itself (with incantations and propitiations to God) and our first philosophy book.

            Universally preached in the West, THE BIBLE was the spread of LITERACY!
            The correct conclusion from Woodberry’s work would be that a literacy spells success for communities everywhere. Not Gods.

        • Mark, the issue is we all need to be rightly related to the one who created us, Became a man as God and gave Himself for us to take our place in judgement. That is true of those inside as well as outside of “religion.” Please do not let the abuses of men who are “inside” keep you from the one who expressed His perfect character in the 10 commandments and demonstrated the value of it by His ultimately making the change in the world when He returns that will show His great, perfect and pure love for mankind. We all need the Lord. We do not need men who say one thing and live another. Don’t be encouraged to reject by what you see among men.

          • @Gene,
            “We do not need men who say one thing and live another.”

            Indeed.

            “Forgive your enemies.” – Jesus
            “bring those enemies of mine, execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

          • Thanks for providing yet more evidence of the dishonesty of atheists.
            You try to show that Jesus is inconsistent by juxtaposing a command of Jesus to the words of a character in a story Jesus is telling.
            Either: (1) you are a liar or (2) you were mindlessly repeating what some other liar (your source) told you. Which are you?

          • @John Carpenter,

            I am neither liar nor repeater of lies!

            RAPE is commanded by Yahweh.
            Deal with it or reject it. But don’t deny it.

          • @John Carpenter,

            I changed nothing in the text.

            ‘Rape’, ‘lie with’, ‘have relations’ with…these are EXACT WORDS from the texts as I FOUND THEM in my grandmother’s Jerusalem Bible. There are online versions of Samuel which use other terms, also.

            Do some research before you go around calling people liars.

          • For what it’s worth, “bring those enemies of mine, execute them in front of me” is from a PARABLE about a king and his wise and foolish servants.

          • @MB,

            “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” is also from a Parable of the Good Samaritan.

            Would you like to disregard all of JESUS’ lessons which stem from Parables simply because they are contradictory?
            I’m happy to do that if you will.

        • So are you saying that sexual abuse is only a problem for Christians? Surely not. It’s a human problem and Christians are not immune.

          I grew up in a Christian family and my parents read the WHOLE Bible to me, including the parts that talk about rape. There is clear teaching in the Bible that a woman should cry out, should let it be known when abuse is happening. My mom emphasized that to me. That was a good protection for a young girl. There should be more moms like that.

    • @Dennis: read the 1983 transcript article over at Rcovering Grace, then ping back here and see if it all still seems “strange”. Maybe you’ve never had the misfortune to be in a mind controlling group like Bill’s. I hope not.

    • No, It’s not strange at all. This kind of docile non-action, or compliant behavior is a common response in “all-or-nothing” systems, or as it is called, the “psychology of totalism”, in which by fear, guilt, isolation, and other thought control techniques, a guru-type person, is able to take advantage of, manipulate, and take control of another person’s personality. All cult leader type persons are of this type; their controlling behavior (conscious or unconscious), produces a docile or compliant response in their followers. It is simply elementary level brainwashing. It is the common practice of all cult leaders.

      The process is explained in detail by Dr Robrt Lifton; one of the foremost researchers in the field of thought control and its effects. The following link will take you to chapter 22 of Dr Lifton’s book, where the criteria for a “destructive cult” is described: http://www.reveal.org/library/psych/lifton.html
      Since Dr Lifton’s chapter is somewhat technical, and may be difficult for some to wade through, I include this next link which is an easier read, as an application of Dr.Lifton’s criteria to religious totalistic systems: http://www.exitsupportnetwork.com/artcls/mindctrl/lifton.html
      You will also find some helpful lectures by Dr Lifton, as well as by another expert on the subject, Dr Margaret Singer, on youtube.

    • I believe the presences of the internet and vastly popular social media sites (*cough* Facebook *cough*) have allowed people who previously thought they were alone in their experiences or feelings to find they actually are not. It really took a vast number of people who had come through and out of Gothard’s various programs, who saw the problems from the inside, to suddenly see they weren’t just seeing things on their own.

      Back in the 90′s it was easy to isolate and control. Today much less so.

      • That has been the biggest downfall of religion in the west. People are realizing that they are not alone in their skepticism and doubts when exposed to other people not in their church.

      • It’s never been dependent on numbers. It’s always been dependent on people being open and honest about their experiences. Religion causes so many people to hide so much of their lives because they want others to think of them as people who are totally separated from their experience because so many of our experiences are not what others would consider ideal. It could be called the “Miss Goody-Two-Shoes” or “Master Goody-Two-Shoes” syndrome. Either way, it’s phony. And religion ought to make all things honest, never allow dishonesty. We all walk with feet of clay.

    • Bill’s teaching on the “principle of authority” is foundational to the organization and the rest of his teaching. He teaches that a father is under God, a mother is under the father, and the children are under the mother; unless you work in the organization’s premises: then Bill is your authority. The teaching emphasizes that God works through authorities and will protect individuals who stay under that authority – even if that authority is abusive – and anyone who gets out from under authority is in rebellion and fair game for Satan. Just another piece of this complex puzzle.

      • One of the worst results of gothards teaching is the ensuing suspicion of all authority. Scripture is pretty clear on its proper place and nature. But gothard completely eschewed the church, which is supposed to be the proper seat. I’ve seen so many leave their church in the process of joining and leaving gorthard’s group. And so they don’t end up “recovering grace.”

      • Gina, I don’t recall any time that anyone in IBLP espoused abusive authority as being okay, and we were in the ATI program for over 20 years and read and heard lots and lots of IBLP publications, curriculum, etc. If you have any solid evidence of your claim, I’d like to see it! If there has been any wrongdoing on Gothard’s part, I certainly believe that he needs to be held accountable, but let’s not throw around false claims and information.

        • These claims are not false but have 2 or 3 witnesses. Bill Gothard himself back in the 1980′s did confess to ‘defrauding’ many of the girls under him who worked for him.As a result Mr. Gothard stepped down but only briefly and fired his staff after once again taking the helm of his organistation.

        • April,
          In the 20 years you were there, did you not read his teachings on how to counsel and deal with sexual abuse? The one which places the blame on the victims and shames them? -The one that suggests that God might have let it happen because He is not pleased with you, the victim, because you did not follow a Bill Gothard principle. Please see the link below- can you see how damaging this type of teaching is? Can you see how it would create the perfect environment for a sexual predator to silence the victim and continue the behavior?

          http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/04/how-counseling-sexual-abuse-blames-and-shames-survivors/

          Please read this story of the kind of abuse that can occur and continue when Gothard’s principles are applied:
          http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/04/the-danger-and-damage-of-gothards-principles/

    • Dennis..when the sexual harassment and molestation became very evident, Bill Gothard demanded his staff and those involve sign an oath ‘not to give a bad report’ nor speak of the sins committed on those involved.Mr.Gothard as any cult had absolute control over those under him.Those who did disagree and speak out were fired. Mr Gothard used fear tactics and intimidation.

    • Mr Gothard was very SLY in the way he touched these young ladies. It was CONFUSING to them, because it wasn’t OUTRIGHT, CLEAR abuse. Predators know how to groom people in such a way that their abuse feels like LOVE and AFFECTION.

      • Yes MJ, you are correct. He was a master at this type of grooming. Please see this article on the Recovering Grace website, which details the systematic method of his grooming:

        http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/06/a-call-to-repentance/

    • It’s actually not strange at all, Dennis. This is how it almost always works, because the controlling tools of fear and shame generate such a strong compulsion to be silent.

    • If you actually read the article, the one woman told her mother and her mother said she was lying. If her own mother didn’t believe her, why was she going to go tell the police?

      Ever wonder why these people with too much power and no accountability teach people not to trust government? So they don’t go and tell someone who can do something to stop their abuse.

    • Dennis,
      Bill Gothard is a very controlling and manipulative person. He created a cult like environment, and ingrained in the minds of his followers that their authority figures, in this case Gothard, were appointed to their positions by God and that God spoke to these authorities to them. It was as if Gothard’s actions were coming from God, based on the teachings. Also, he had several teachings about never giving a negative report about someone and also never listening to a negative report.
      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/02/silencing-the-lambs-taking-up-offenses/

      So, not only were they trained from a young age, that they would be sinning to give a negative report, but they were surrounded by people who had been taught that they would be sinning to listen.
      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/02/silencing-the-lambs/

      They had no one to turn to. For many of them, it was not for many years, once they had matured and gained the confidence to go public with their accusations, that they were able to do so. It takes a great deal of courage for these women to do this. Fear of not being believed, as you exemplify, is one of the many factors that contribute to keeping women of abuse silent, often times for many years.

    • Dennis,

      It’s hard to read your comment without getting angry. Have you never educated yourself on how pedophiles groom their victims before they make their move? I suggest you do so before implying that Gothard is the victim here. Lighthouse Trails Publishing is a good place to start:

      “The Color of Pain” by Gregory Reid
      “Laughter Calls Me” by Catherine Brown
      “Seducers Among Our Children” by Sergeant Patrick Crough

    • In fact, MANY young women “reported” things over the years to various adults in their lives. I was personally told more than 20 years ago by an 18 year old about how he abused her–but the adults in her life, and others’ lives, did not believe OR were afraid of retribution from within the group OR said the girls were “misinterpreting” his attentions…etc.

    • Thank you for voicing your thought, Dennis, especially being a man, b/c you might be viewed off as being a male chauvinist. But as a woman I ask that question too, not that I doubt these ladies’ testimonies or stories but that to have a balanced and neutral stance. .

      To tell the truth, I don’t know what/who to believe or what/who to doubt. I know there are men & women who are wolves in sheep clothing and also there are women w/ character of Potiphar’s wife’s or men w/ character of Bill Clinton’s. The unfortunate thing is that when a man is questioned on this type of issues, most of the times, he’s considered as guilty as if he were already indicted.

      For a true detective work, should Dennis’ type of questions be considered & accepted too?

  2. This guy is legalistic and spiritually abusive. If you disagree with him or his seminars at all, he calls you the devil or evil. That is spiritual abusive and wrong. He shows no grace. He is no different than what some think of Steven Furtick. This whole seminar he taught is awful.

  3. These kinds of stories are terribly sad. Although, it is extremely important that they are told. My heart goes out to all of the victims of such abuse. I am so sorry you were compelled to endure it.

    Bringing children up in an environment where they are taught that it is wrong to even question authority and, in some cases, that such questioning can lead to eternal damnation, is just plain wrong. It puts children in danger. It makes them prone to abuse by those they are, essentially, forced to respect. Usually, it is their own parents who enforce such beliefs so it makes the child prone to abuse by them too. It leaves a child with no one to turn to for help. If they cannot expect support from their own parents in such a circumstance, who can they confide in?

    My heart grieves for children who are still being taught such things and are suffering abuse because of it. I also grieve for those adults who are compelled to endure their pain for so long before they can bring themselves to express it and move forward. Only a heartless fool could not understand why many of these victims do not come forward sooner.

    I sincerely appreciate any victim who is able to step forward. It is extremely important to do so. It helps other victims heal and it educates parents about the dangers their own children may face as a result of the beliefs being forced upon them.

  4. This kind of thing is all too easy to pull off in the Christian community when the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” phrase, or its equivalent, which was properly applied to the Old Testament king or prophet, is improperly applied to New Testament pastors and teachers and writers. Since the completion of the canon of Scripture, the only words which are not to be critiqued, are the words of Scripture itself. The words of our pastors and teachers are subject to the same scrutiny as are the words of the morning newspaper. Every word of man is fallible and subject to alteration. Interpretations of, inferences from, and applications of Scripture are not the same as the Scriptures themselves, and do not carry the same weight.

    This must be taught to our children (and each other). We must not burden our children with the idea that they must interpret or think like we do. We must teach them WHAT we think, but not to think AS we think. Every generation must win the truth for themselves.
    And we must beware of any leader who harps on the phrase, “touch not the Lord’s anointed”.

  5. Ma’am – Thanks for a well done article. It is good to see independent sources following up on the work of Recovering Grace. I hope that you are able to continue to follow this story and conduct your own investigative work. This needs to be dragged into the light and exposed. Godspeed.

  6. I have attended one ATI conference and am friends with several ATI families. All I heard at the conference was about grace. Jenny Speed a speaker at the conference wore pants all the time and said Gothard was okay with it…if He was legalistic about it she wouldn’t be allowed to speak. Seeing the movement with fresh eyes, I see a ministry that calls Christians to listen to convictions, but in a day when many explore their freedom in Christ to the point of blending in with the world and/or don’t have convictions is ATI as a group as bad as many say. Many parents in the past, especially who were not saved, may have used this as control and ultimately any child not saved would consider any Christian actions (even going to church) rules. Legalism is doing things to be saved, but following convictions after being saved can’t be all that bad. Why say all this…..Bill Gothard MAY have done wrong things, but please watch your words do not attack an entire ministry and possible families involved. I grieve for any forced into any old laws, but call upon being more in tune with convictions of the Spirit. Technically David Platt’s Radical was proclaimed legalistic to the point he had to explain True Salvation first to then want to give up all for Christ. That would be an outside example of how many can take things wrong. Just a thought.

    • Spoken like a true apologist.

      “Many who were not saved…”, making excuses that members of a group acting fully within the accepted behavior of them are somehow not “true members”. This is a dodge to avoid the ramifications of how the ministry really applies what it preaches. I find your remarks in this regard to be less than credible.

      You are quick to defend the ministry in light of the allegations rather than ask if they are true. You worry more about the reputation of the church than the lives of those who may be hurt by the actions of individuals within it.

      • Janice Brewington

        Please show mercy and kindness to people struggling with how to make personal sense of the good they receive/received from the ministry, not necessarily this particular leader.
        We are called to obey legitimate authority, yet have to be careful not to
        worship those in positions of authority, because they could be seducers,
        like Satan was to Adam & Eve.

      • Larry, you have twisted Brian’s words like a pretzel. He was simply calling for people to use restraint, especially if they did not actually have facts or direct experience – sounds like good advice in any situation.

    • Legalism is doing things to be saved, but following convictions after being saved can’t be all that bad…..

      Oh really ?? Well, since your experience with Bill and ATI is as limited as mine, I’d suggest a few hrs over at Recovering Grace, start with “Ruthie’s Story” and then report back. I think your typing is faster than your discernment.
      Blessings. (1983 transcript is also highly recommended to get a feel for the kind of sick, and I mean that in the most literal sense, leader that we’re dealing with here.

    • Brian,

      My family was in ATI for about 10 years, attended dozens of ATI and IBLP seminars, etc and I even worked at Headquarters for about 3 months and had direct contact/conversations with Bill Gothard.

      While this saddens me, it does not surprise me in the least. On multiple occasions I saw Bill alone in a car with one young woman either earlier in the morning or after dark. Now that all this is coming out, it even makes me wonder about the large of amount of Russian girls who were brought in to work at HQ – girls who weren’t great with English and could easily be shipped back to their country… who knows the stories they could tell.

      To begin with: If you don’t see Bill Gothard and the teachings of ATI as legalistic then either you don’t understand legalism or you have no idea what all he taught and what took place. Legalism is not just doing things to be saved, but it’s also doing things with the mindset that doing those things keeps us in good standing with Christ once we are saved. That is precisely what we were taught through ATI, IBLP, and at HQ. If you did the right things, wore the right clothes, listened to the “right” music, weren’t in debt, etc etc. then you had “fellowship” with Christ. That’s heresy… It’s simply because of grace and Christ’ work on the cross that I have a relationship with Him, not because of anything good I did or continue to do. But grace is something I never heard talked about in 10 years with ATI.

    • I disagree with your example. Davids book is carnally motivated. A social gospel. We are to give cheerfully and as led by the Spirit. His book leads people to perform dead works! We cannot add yo what Christ did on the cross. It is a dangerous teaching for those already struggling with their salvation.

    • Not sure what conference you went to, but I worked for IBLP for over six years and if I had appeared outside the door of my room in pants I would have been sent home. Stop talking about things you know nothing about,

    • it’s cute how the religious make up complex sounding words and concepts that have no bearing on reality, arguing over interpretations, meanwhile the pastor who got them into the discussion is molesting their daughter in a back office.

  7. it is always hard to report sexual abuse but even harder when the victim was an adult and the predator is a respected member of the community. But we hope that anyone who has been harmed will find the courage to step forward and begin healing and that anyone who has seen or suspected these crimes will contact law enforcement.
    Barbara Dorris
    Outreach Director for SNAP
    Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
    314-862-7688
    snapdorris@gmail.com

  8. It just goes to show that all of that talk about dressing modestly was just Billy G’s warped way of seducing attractive young ladies into his perverted world, all the while convincing them he was doing the Lord’s work. Sheds a whole different light on what it meant for him to invite them to come into his office. The line from a conservative burlap sack to a blowjob isn’t much when a sexual predator is on the lose. Such a sick man. The sad part is this has more in common with cults than a truly evangelical Christianity.

    • I agree, this whole thing is very cult like and with “the authority figure” as driving force. He labeled people that disagreed with him as evil people and against God’s will.

      Is “messages” are unbiblical and much of his teaching are distorted and taken out of Biblical context. It is extreme legalism.

      This whole thing stinks. I pray for these victims and their families and others who are being oppressed by his teachings.

    • As is said, you must convince a person they are a sinner before they can be saved. In this case, you must convince a young woman that she is the cause of any sexual impropriety directed toward her before you can defile her.

      It is a vile teaching and it needs to stop.

  9. In a California case against Scientology, a woman who was enslaved as a child had no recourse as the statute of limitations was run out.

    But had it? No. The court determined that this clock starts ticking once the victim realizes they DO have legal recourse.

    So when did she realize she could sue? Never. Clock starts now.

  10. Simply how big time conservative/”fundamentalists” and their followers are. The people fall into worshipping a person instead of their god and you don’t speak out against the man in charge. No one believes you, and everyone speaks out against you instead. Seen it happen just about a million and one times. Don’t preach against something that revolves around your entire being, theres a basic life principle for ya.

  11. This should not have been published since it’s basically slander. There is no proof of any of these things taking place and not even an investigation. Just pray for your leaders people.

    • @uberdude: these are first person accounts, dozens of them repeating a tale of consistent abuse that spans decades. Why should I honor your opinion that they are all false, instead of believing the reports ?? What makes you more truthful than they ?? What kind of “proof” do you require , polaroids ? Witnesses to fondling ?? Seriously…

    • However there is documented evidence. Bill is someone who abuse his authority along the same lines of people like Steven Furtick. No difference!

      This is a cult much like LDS or Branch Davidians, very oppresive in nature.

      ttp://www.recoveringgrace.org/tag/institute-in-basic-life-principles/

      He is someone who has misapplied Scriptures, take Scriptures out of context.
      He keeps people in bondage to legalism and false doctrine.

      Chris Jarrell

    • Agree, If in fact he is found to be guilty of these alligations he will be removed and punished. I am currenty in ATI and don’t plan on getting out. I have been to many conferences and have not seen anything like some of what you people discribe. What he actually teaches on authority is directly from Scripture and is not what some of you say. No families are forced to be in or stay in ATI, it is a tool to asist families in home schooling their children and draw closer to God. I do pray that if these alligations are true that he would be punished and that the victoms would find healing and peace. No man should be put on a pedistal to be like a god. I do agree that some families in ATI have done that but that is NOT what he teaches.

      • @Rusty: Exactly! Since you were not personally molested, and since you personally did not see anyone being molested, it is simply not possible that anyone could have been molested! No matter how many people come forward to say they were molested as minors! Stand by your convictions! It didn’t happen, and even if it did, it must have been all the girls’ fault!

      • To Uber and Rusty, Uber apparently the board does not think like you do, they would have denied and would have emphatically stated that it wasn’t so, if they did. The board as an entity of men has gone through this at least 4 times before over the years. Bill’s sister in Meg’s story (part 3), one can tell that his sister has gone through this a number of times before with how ballistic she was with Meg after a trip with Bill to Dallas. Before a number of others Bill’s sister asked her “if she wanted to marry Bill she had better go about it the proper way” and “his family would not approve” and that “You can go back home,” the sister said, “the sooner, the better. I wish you had never come here.” This was all in front of a number of her roommates. I realize that both of you probably at the time of your statements had not read the numerous sexual misconduct stories that Recovering Grace has on their site. I sympathize with Rusty, my response would have been similar if not having read the first story sent to us by one of my daughter’s girl friends who was with her in Moscow many years ago. I knew that this was so serious that it could bring down the ministry. I also said literally and also in an email to my daughter and her husband, I cannot handle this, I have to stick my head in the sand. But no, God did not want that.
        An event that happened that God had impressed on me concerning Bill Gothard before we were aware of this story in early February spoke to me that I needed to seriously consider this. One of these women was a personal friend of my daughter, and my son and her husband are friends. My daughter knew many of them personally. These girls were 14-17 when they came to headquarters these girls were almost all totally innocent and very naive because of their age and because as ATI parents, we have intensely tried to protect our children from knowing, hearing, and discussing these kinds of things with them, I am talking to myself now. Certainly before the internet we could shield our young men and girls from this. A big problem is that Bill has not changed, he should have policed himself and followed the board’s earlier suggestions. He clearly by 22 years ago knew that because of his weaknesses (sin) not being alone with these young women, counseling or “doing work” late at night in various places, in the cars, behind closed doors at the office with no one else around should be off-limits for him because of the past. Instead they allowed girls under 18 to begin coming to HQ lie 23-24 years ago. From a high up source the rules for not under 18 are still there at HQ. Bill should have had 30-40 year old married women as his secretaries and assistants instead of going to young girls who can be so easily manipulated (that is easy to see in the stories of these ladies what happened with manipulation when they were minors. My youngest daughter at 14 was asked in the same mode of operation to come to HQ just a couple of years ago, she still is a minor O.K. He paid for her to get a new wardrobe, promised her a ministry opportunity in South America, and she fit the profile of being one who could be part of the inner circle of gals and had many counseling meetings everyday or night. One night my daughter calls home at 10:30 P.M. very distraught and upset. My wife found out she was all alone with Bill, she then asked to talk to Bill. My wife told him “we do not do that”, (meeting late at night with one on one). Bill did not respond. My daughter was sent home after 3 weeks, thank God. My daughter says, “he is a creepy old man”; creepy is not a part of her vocabulary. She doesn’t want to talk about it either. Today, we do not know, if there was any sexual harassment incidents; and certainly at the time she would not have known what that entailed.
        Uber, saying that the newspaper or news organization should not have printed this is not correct. The Oxford dictionary says that slander is a false and malicious spoken statement. It is hardly false and is by reading any of these articles by these young women, there isn’t an ounce of maliciousness in how they are portraying it. They are sharing their experiences and the things they struggled with at the time, the feeling of being dirty. They were experiencing a ton of emotions and head game issues in all this but not maliciousness. They are trying to get free themselves and some are. Most are wanting to save other young girls from the pains they have gone through. That is noble and courageous.
        Rusty, you didn’t say that you had any of your children at HQ or at any of the other sites. Maybe they are too young for that. I assume when you are saying you haven’t seen anything you are meaning other than sexual harassment for we all know that isn’t something for public consumption by religious organizations. Regarding your authority comments, are you referring to the chain of command for families from I Cor. 11 and Ephesians 6? Also in Eph 6 and the admonition to servants toward their masters in 6:5-8, then he continues in Eph 6:9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. Rusty this is a scripture which Bill does not seem to adhere to at HQ. Many ministers take the authority scriptures for the family and the home and miss-apply them to the church and Christian organizations such as Bill does. He is far from alone, and early on it was a problem in the churches. The clergy class putting down of the laity in the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which God says he hates. It is called power and importance. It carried through to that the priests had to go to God for the people. That is what Martin Luther fought to restore back into the church is the priesthood of the believer. Rusty the application is what is wrong and how we carry it out. Blessings to both of you as you search for the truth of God’s word yourself.

        • This is a reply to MLeeS. Sir, I am very, very sorry for your daughter’s experience, and for the continuing pain and worry that this has caused your family. I do believe strongly, however, that we as parents must educate our children about evil that exists in the world, and how recognize it. Doing this truly protects them, and enables them to protect themselves by recognizing compromising and/or criminal situations and extricating themselves from them. If they don’t recognize potentially damaging situations and know how to respond, they are bound to be hurt.

      • I cannot help but note that the spelling and grammatical errors in your post highlight deficiencies in your education. I can’t help but wonder if that was homeschooling, since you do advocate this approach. And I sincerely hope that your children receive much better, regardless of where they are schooled.

    • This most definitely is *not* slander. Biblically, receiving an accusation against an elder (the church office of an elder not merely an older person) requires only two or three witnesses (I Tim. 5:19). The charges documented over on the recoveringgrace.org site are corroborated by dozens of witnesses who have firsthand knowlege. Many of these are victims who have been willing to go public even though it undoubtedly complicates their lives and those of their families. When that many people are willing to go public with those sorts of claims, it has to be taken seriously.

      Frankly, your accusation that this is slander is actually a sin against the author of this piece. In order for something to be slander, it must be a false accusation. The charges in this case are well-corroborated and well-documented far beyond the biblical requirements. Based upon that, I conclude that your accusation of slander is itself slander. Accusing another believer of slander when it is not true is a serious sin, and I would encourage you to seek forgiven for making such a charge against the author of this article and against all of those who have had the courage to come forward publicly.

    • As if you know anything! There are countless accounts of abuse and mistreatment from honest and good women. While I myself never experienced sexual harassment, in the six years I spent in Indianapolis every aspect of my life was controlled. From anything to what time I got up, the time I had go to bed, when I could go shopping, if I could go shopping, who I could talk to and what I could wear! There are many other things I could list, but you don’t have time for all of my stories! Bill Gothard is a predator that teaches sexual abuse victims are at fault for their abuse!

    • uberbigpete,
      It’s not slander to publish the truth. This man has been behaving this way at least since the 70s. He was forced to resign in 1980 and confessed to defrauding several of his personal secretaries. But, there was no fruit of repentance, and he returned to power in just 3 weeks, consolidating his control of the organization in the process.
      These stories from these 34 women who have come forward represent a mountain of evidence that he has never truly repented or changed any of the behavior from the 70s and, in fact, appears to have gotten much worse.
      Please read this link and the other articles in The Gothard Files.
      Gothard has been confronted regarding this type of behavior and also of his false teachings, individually, and by groups of 2 and more for decades. It is now time for the 3rd step of Matt 18 and the church needs to be warned of this man:
      http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/02/the-gothard-files-a-case-for-disqualification-x2/

      • Roger, the deficiencies in your spelling and grammar do not advocate for participation in this organization. I sincerely hope that your children, wherever they are educated, receive better than you did.

    • To Uber and Rusty, Uber apparently the board does not think like you do, they would have denied and would have emphatically stated that it wasn’t so, if they did. The board as an entity of men has gone through this at least 4 times before over the years. Bill’s sister in Meg’s story (part 3), one can tell that his sister has gone through this a number of times before with how ballistic she was with Meg after a trip with Bill to Dallas. Before a number of others Bill’s sister asked her “if she wanted to marry Bill she had better go about it the proper way” and “his family would not approve” and that “You can go back home,” the sister said, “the sooner, the better. I wish you had never come here.” This was all in front of a number of her roommates. I realize that both of you probably at the time of your statements had not read the numerous sexual misconduct stories that Recovering Grace has on their site. I sympathize with Rusty, my response would have been similar if not having read the first story sent to us by one of my daughter’s girl friends who was with her in Moscow many years ago. I knew that this was so serious that it could bring down the ministry. I also said literally and also in an email to my daughter and her husband, I cannot handle this, I have to stick my head in the sand. But no, God did not want that.
      An event that happened that God had impressed on me concerning Bill Gothard before we were aware of this story in early February spoke to me that I needed to seriously consider this. One of these women was a personal friend of my daughter, and my son and her husband are friends. My daughter knew many of them personally. These girls were 14-17 when they came to headquarters these girls were almost all totally innocent and very naive because of their age and because as ATI parents, we have intensely tried to protect our children from knowing, hearing, and discussing these kinds of things with them, I am talking to myself now. Certainly before the internet we could shield our young men and girls from this. A big problem is that Bill has not changed, he should have policed himself and followed the board’s earlier suggestions. He clearly by 22 years ago knew that because of his weaknesses (sin) not being alone with these young women, counseling or “doing work” late at night in various places, in the cars, behind closed doors at the office with no one else around should be off-limits for him because of the past. Instead they allowed girls under 18 to begin coming to HQ lie 23-24 years ago. From a high up source the rules for not under 18 are still there at HQ. Bill should have had 30-40 year old married women as his secretaries and assistants instead of going to young girls who can be so easily manipulated (that is easy to see in the stories of these ladies what happened with manipulation when they were minors. My youngest daughter at 14 was asked in the same mode of operation to come to HQ just a couple of years ago, she still is a minor O.K. He paid for her to get a new wardrobe, promised her a ministry opportunity in South America, and she fit the profile of being one who could be part of the inner circle of gals and had many counseling meetings everyday or night. One night my daughter calls home at 10:30 P.M. very distraught and upset. My wife found out she was all alone with Bill, she then asked to talk to Bill. My wife told him “we do not do that”, (meeting late at night with one on one). Bill did not respond. My daughter was sent home after 3 weeks, thank God. My daughter says, “he is a creepy old man”; creepy is not a part of her vocabulary. She doesn’t want to talk about it either. Today, we do not know, if there was any sexual harassment incidents; and certainly at the time she would not have known what that entailed.
      Uber, saying that the newspaper or news organization should not have printed this is not correct. The Oxford dictionary says that slander is a false and malicious spoken statement. It is hardly false and is by reading any of these articles by these young women, there isn’t an ounce of maliciousness in how they are portraying it. They are sharing their experiences and the things they struggled with at the time, the feeling of being dirty. They were experiencing a ton of emotions and head game issues in all this but not maliciousness. They are trying to get free themselves and some are. Most are wanting to save other young girls from the pains they have gone through. That is noble and courageous.
      Rusty, you didn’t say that you had any of your children at HQ or at any of the other sites. Maybe they are too young for that. I assume when you are saying you haven’t seen anything you are meaning other than sexual harassment for we all know that isn’t something for public consumption by religious organizations. Regarding your authority comments, are you referring to the chain of command for families from I Cor. 11 and Ephesians 6? Also in Eph 6 and the admonition to servants toward their masters in 6:5-8, then he continues in Eph 6:9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. Rusty this is a scripture which Bill does not seem to adhere to at HQ. Many ministers take the authority scriptures for the family and the home and miss-apply them to the church and Christian organizations such as Bill does. He is far from alone, and early on it was a problem in the churches. The clergy class putting down of the laity in the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which God says he hates. It is called power and importance. It carried through to that the priests had to go to God for the people. That is what Martin Luther fought to restore back into the church is the priesthood of the believer. Rusty the application is what is wrong and how we carry it out. Blessings to both of you as you search for the truth of God’s word yourself.

      • Very well put – I grew up homeschooled partially due to my father’s work, partly due to health issues that I had, and partially because of the heavy influence of New Age philosophy in my local school which I attended till 3rd grade (I still remember being forced to participate in Zen-like meditation – so much for separation of church and state); I went to basic youth, which I enjoyed but took with a grain of salt. I was not in ATI, but my family had the Character Studies Book, which was pretty cool in some ways; however, I remember even as a young kid that I didn’t agree with the Character of Alertness – in the book, Gothard uses Tamar as an example of someone who wasn’t alert! If you don’t remember, she was raped. At 9 years old I thought it odd that she should be blamed for making soup for her half brother and being raped. This began my consciousness that there were victims in the world and actually lead me to a career in Law Enforcement. Since then I have helped mostly minors of both genders who have been sexually abused by people from all walks of life and positions. Stats show that one in four girls have been sexually assaulted in some way by age 18. this is a universal problem.

        I appreciate the comment about the parents of many ATI students wanting to create a wholesome environment for their kids – my friends who were in ATI had parents who had been through the 60′s and 70′s and had only found hopelessness in the free sex, drugs, and rock n rolll. When they found Christ and became parents, they wanted to protect their kids from the world – living in the bay area, I see parents from other cultures rather than my own doing this as well. This is commendable. But, as people, we are all suseptable to personality cults and charismatic persons. If the board had fired BG a many many years ago and repented of trying to run people’s lives, the good parts of ATI may have been salvaged; A message to parent sending their kids ANYWHERE – rock concert to church camp – teach them about abuse and give them a baseball bat!

  12. I served as a hostess 25 yrs. The truths Bill taught in the basic seminar saved my life. I learned to serve in my spirit and not my flesh. It saved me from legalization. It took me straight to the Word of God for which I will forever be grateful. I did not worship or follow Bill. If Mr. Gothard has violated these women my heart breaks for them and for him. If you think for one moment that you are to good to be taken in sin you had better thank again and pray for all envolved. David’s actions did great damage to the cause of Gods kingdom and so will this whether it is true are not. Remember God has not changed.

    • @Gloria Brewster:

      “If you think for one moment that you are to good to be taken in sin you had better thank again and pray for all envolved.”

      Do you understand that this is a heretical position? This isn’t Christianity; it’s a cult based on the Christian Bible.

      • There’s a Bible verse that says “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I think that’s what Gloria is saying, and if so, it is Biblical.

    • Big difference between working at a conference and living in one of the Institutes facilities! It infuriates me how many people discredit the accouns of thousands, simply because they did not have the same experience!

      • Gloria Brewster

        Sir, I spent 25 years under his teaching and searching the Scriptures to see what the Word of God said. Tell me one thing he taught in the Basic Seminar as Bible truth that was not true. How long did you sit under his teaching. If you have not I admonish you to take another look at his teaching of Scriptures and not his methods of religion. We can difffer with methods, but not truth of Scripture. I am a counselor of God’s Word and watch daily, people who are freed from the bondage of Satan’s influence and go on to prosperous lives. The principles work!

      • Gloria Brewster

        You have assumed that I have discredited your testimony. Assumptions will lead us down the wrong path. In no way have I discredited you testimony. I am open to what you have to say and if proven to be true I will stand with you concerning your injury at the hands of a man who proclaims to be a man of God. I do not worship any man and am quite aware that ALL are capable of sin. I stand for the principles of the Word of God that I learned under this man’s teaching. Whatever he has done I will not retreat from the truths I learned from God’s Word. God will never fail you!

  13. Child sexual abuse has historically always been pushed under the carpet. If it takes place within a family the victim is silenced because he/she instinctively knows that by telling she will be ripping the family apart at best and not believed at worst. When it happens within a religious context even more is at stake, they may lose their family and their friends. I know this from experience in the Jehovah’s Witness organisation. Children more often than not keep their abuse secret until either found out or they come forward as adults. Sexual abuse by a trusted religious leader/s is particularly damaging. The effects are life-long.

  14. As a former Chief Justice Brandeis said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” These brave young abuse victims are speaking truth to power. There is no defense for a legalistic power hungry wolf dressed in shepherd’s clothing. I grieve for these young women and the minions led astray.

  15. Not justifying anything done; obviously, a lot of terrible things have taken place. But…why is it SO important that you use the word “conservative” so often? If it was liberal, would you? No, you would not.

    • @Doug: Exactly! There have been so many liberal organizations with as much or more reports of molesting minors. For example ….. uh …. well, I guess they’ve all somehow slipped my mind. Can you provide some examples? There are so many!

        • How about my former mayor… I live in Portland Oregon, about a liberal a city as you can find, and our mayor was accused of sexually molesting an underage guy. And guess what? He kept his job after an apology.

          What about Bill Clinton? He was accused by multiple women of molestation, rape, etc… but he kept his job.

          Sexual sin is NOT limited to Christians or conservatives. It’s a human problem. Christians and conservatives are held more responsible for their sexual sin, and perhaps rightly so, because we preach against it.

          • Two people does not an organization make. Nor do apologies and admissions equal covering up and suppressing incidents.

            Bill Clinton was never accused of rape. He was accused of adultery. He owned up to these every time they ended up in the media.

            Sexual sin is not limited to conservatives, but conservatives cultivate a culture which makes it easy for sexual predators to thrive with impunity.

          • From Larry – “Bill Clinton was never accused of rape.”

            WRONG! Google search Juanita Broaddrick. She said good ole boy Willy did rape her in 1978. A reflection of Arkansas politics that he was never investigated and prosecuted. A real shame, the course of our Country could have been different.

          • Actually the accusations were retracted by Broaddrick herself
            “These allegations are untrue ….”[1] In November 1998, Broaddrick admitted that she lied under oath in an interview with Dateline NBC.”

            A real shame you know how to use Google but missed Wikipedia.

    • Yes. Please name a more liberal group that has these allegations. Read my comment further down if you need evidence I know what I’m talking about. It is always CONSERVATIVE groups….and I have yet to find a *conservative* group that does not have deep sexual abuse hidden deep inside it.

  16. Sarah,
    Thank you so much for covering this and for digging deep. I hope that you continue to follow the story, as the board “investigates”. Unfortunately, the IBLP board does not have a good track record of holding Bill Gothard accountable, so
    it will be very interesting to see where this investigation goes.

  17. I have several family members that went through it for years and still do, their kids went through it and now their grand kids are going through it… My daughters and wife went through it and it totally changed their lives, and now they want their kids to go through it when they are old enough.

    I will believe it when the evidence is presented and he is found guilty. What happened to innocent until found guilty?

    I know people personally that is rebellious and just don’t like what he teaches coming out of the wood works to bash him.

    If it is true, we should as Christians be praying for him, praying that he will repent, praying that those affected will not be damaged, if he is guilty may he turn and repent.

    But is it the Christian thing to do to bash him? We need to think “what would Jesus do” and that I am saying to true Christians!

    • Dennis said,

      “If it is true, we should as Christians be praying for him, praying that he will repent, praying that those affected will not be damaged, if he is guilty may he turn and repent.

      This piety makes me sick. I pray he goes to prison, where he’ll have years to think about the lives he’s damaged.

      • What if God looked at you this way for your sins before a Holy, Holy, Holy God?

        I am so thankful we’re not the judge of others sins….

        I’m not saying if he is guilty he should not be punished for his crimes, but I am praying he has true repentance and is restored to Christ if he is guilty.

        You have already judged and convicted him before he has even been found guilty…

        • I’m not molesting underage boys and girls in the name of God, Dennis. And there’s mountains of very serious allegations against this creep, but you’re too drunk off the “authoritarian” kool-aid to recognize evil for what it is. One proven case is enough, within the statute of limitations, to put him behind bars.

          Be the man of your family. Wake up from your stupor, do the research and learn the facts. He’s just one among many.

          • Well, you can say what you want about me… But I have been the man of my family for 25 years and I have 3 daughters who are all very responsible, mature, love The Lord and been to the conference. The training is biblical and if anyone can show me proof that it is not biblical by scripture not opinion..

          • Dennis said,

            “…if anyone can show me proof that it is not biblical by scripture not opinion..

            Naturally, we should examine the foundation of any ministry. I attended several Gothard seminars when I was a new believer back in the early 90s, and while his volumes are still way up high collecting dust on one of my shelves, I’m not going to sift through his muck to weed out his many deviations. That said, however, I’m perfectly comfortable to assert that Gothard presents a false gospel, requiring one’s submission/obedience to be saved. The website mentioned in this article no doubt delves into Gothard doctrine, so I trust that, as a loving husband and father ought, you will search and discern to see if he is, indeed, sincere (as in “not a cracked pot”).

            Any gospel which adds to Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is a false gospel: not my commitment, submission or even promise to be good will ever be good enough. It is by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alonePERIOD.

            Unfortunately, Gothard has himself [re]defined faith and grace for you, and guess what? It’s a works-based salvation:

            “◾…Gothard defines faith as, ‘Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it.’ Based on his definition, faith is something I do.
            ◾He defines grace as ‘the desire and ability to do God’s will’ and teaches that it can be gained by humbling myself. Grace starts in me.
            ◾If we insert Gothard’s definitions into Ephesians 2:7, it says, ‘By the desire and ability to do God’s will (that you earn through humbling yourself) and through visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it you are saved.’ ”
            (source: RecoveringGrace dot org “Why I Reject IBLP”)

            If you have a problem with this, Dennis, then I have nothing else to say but that I sincerely pray you and yours will come to know of and accept God’s FREE gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

            For a more thorough gospel presentation, I’d recommend Ronald Shea’s “Clear Gospel Campaign” at: clear gospel dot org (from a long list of given languages, choose “The Gospel Booklet” in English to read through it). Additionally, there is a blog called “Notes from a Retired Preacher” which is a tremendous resource to help people understand how the very subtle wording of the majority of gospel presentations is outright false.

        • I have went through his material… And seen absolutely nothing unbiblical about it? Why? Because it talks about the sovereignty of God? Because it put Jesus at the head, then man, wife, kids then church?

          People who know nothing of the sovereignty of God cannot understand the things of God… People are to blind to self… It’s all about self… All about me… Satan used it in the garden and is still selling it today…

          I don’t follow man, I follow Christ and His Holy Word. I am big time on making sure someone teaches true doctrine and not this watered down feel good crap that is on every corner now.

          But as I said…. Show me proof where he is scripturally off and I will agree…. But it seems all you can do is state your own opinions… If you know he is so off then produce for me one piece of evidence…

          Wolfen —- Yes I will be praying for him… Did Jesus come for the whole? Or did He come for the sick? Should I only pray for who you deem worthy to be prayed for? If he is guilty I pray he will repent and be restored to Christ.

          See we judge sins by mans standards… Which is WAY off… Well, my sins aren’t as bad as his or hers…. Why don’t we ask God that?

          God judges us by our hearts not our sins… If He judged us by our sins we would ALL parish and go straight to hell. Thank God He gave His son for our sins… past, present and future… But His grace is not a license to practice sin.

          My point is… Yes I will pray for him and whoever else is in error, fallen into temptation or lost….

          • You’ll get no more “opinions” from me, Dennis. Clearly, I’m wasting my time with you.

          • I agree totally with you. Yes we should pray for him Not only is what he has allegedly done any different in God’s eyes then stealing or whatever but the Bible says to pray for them who abuse you. He needs to repent like anyone that has done such terrible things but he needs to make his heart right with God through true repentance. He needs to pay for his actions. People will disagree with anything about anyone and we must hold to what we believe and not feel like we have to defend any of it. God is our defense.

  18. Bottom line when someone puts man on a pedestal there is only one direction left and that is DOWN. Humans are human not deity….. Christians are called christian because they believe in Jesus Christ…. not because they are Jesus Christ. NO man is capable of carrying that much responsibility without failing somewhere. True Christians are not perfect and will fail in some area of life. DO NOT put your FAITH in them. Jesus came for the very reason all of these posts are talking about. SIN… He came to show us a different path and to DIE and RISE again because NO HUMAN BEING outside of the SON OF GOD is capable of living that way. HE is our hope…. period.
    Sadly at one point Bill Gothard was a highly respectable person. I believe he is probably still a man of faith but he misused the trust that was given to him and now he will account. Fortunately he has Jesus. What happens with him in the Spiritual Realm is between him and GOD not us. If he is indictable that is where he will be held accountable here on Earth. Other than that no one in any of the former posts have the Spiritual authority or right to do anything except stop supporting him. Pray for him and especially his alleged victims because whether they are telling the truth or not they have a story and need prayer about it.

  19. Stacie Earley

    It’s very sad, it’s very wrong and he should be removed from leadership and the program, however he’s just a man subject to the same temptations that any other man/women are but again, he should be removed from leadership, in my opinion. The teachings and things gained from some of the Biblical wisdom should not be discounted however. Look at Paul (Saul) who was a terrible man and then was transformed on the road to Damascus. We can only pray that Mr. Gothard will have his own road to Damascus experience and be brought to his knees in repentance.

  20. These defenses of BG and accusations of slander are yet further proof of how deep this ‘Cult of Gothard’ goes. C’mon people — if you can’t tell the difference between ‘working hard at work’ and ‘getting hard after work’….you are as much of the problem as BG himself. Shame on you!

  21. I read this tonight…and several similar articles. And I wept. I spent nearly 6 formative years of my childhood in ATI, and even more so as they were the years directly following my parent’s divorce, and ATI had very special treatment for single mother families. From ATI it was a small step for my family into the conservative Mennonites, another stricter cult. Another 5 years of my life were spent there when i finally struggled out in my search for truth. I was in my late teens and very innocent and vulnerable. Easy prey for the leader of a very small budding cult to swoop in and do to me exactly what Gothard did to these girls, but in a more intense way. That lasted for a year and a half till I finally got out. A dozen years…more than half my life spent in 3 different cults, but it all started here…with ATI. Now i am finally finding myself and what Truth and Freedom really is….but for the most part there is only judgement from the ones who should care the most. Reading this brought pain to the surface, but also joy that I am finally out and on my way. There IS healing after!

    • Mennonites are in no way a cult. They are a branch of the Anabaptist movement, begun in Europe hundreds of years ago, when people were first beginning to read and hear the Bible in their own languages. Conservative Mennonite churches focus on being faithful to the literal interpretation & application of the New Testament.
      Through the centuries, individual congregations of all denominations have become unbalanced and / or controlled by leaders who turn from the servant leadership example of Jesus- but that in no way makes the whole denomination into a cult.

  22. I see many Satanic worshippers here. Ever ready to destroy, always believing every accusations.

    Remember our Lord Jesus was brought before the authorities because of false witnesses and false accusations. He was crucified despite being innocent of all charges.

    Expect every Christ followers to be similarly treated.

    If you are a Christian, do not believe any accusation against another Christian. Let God be the judge. Keep your silence. What man meant for evil, God can bring goodness out from it.

    If you are not a Christian, you will not understand why we can trust God only, and no one else, to be the true judge. Do whatever is right in your own eyes.

  23. Good to report on Gotthard. But the allegations are kind of mild (e.g. no intercourse) and Gotthard is rapidly diminishing anyway.
    Note that RNS has yet to run a story on Ergun Caner, recently hired as a college president, since he was humiliated out of Liberty in 2010.
    Hence, this selection is all about sex. Sex sells. And that’s all.

    • John, I say this in love: it is clear that there is a lack of sensitivity on your part to the damage of sexual abuse, whether intercourse is involved or not.

      Too bad that this type of comment was posted by you. Why would you attempt to minimize the extent of others’ pain at the hand of another? If you had a family member molested or harrassed in any way close to this, I seriously and sincerely doubt that you would be calling it “mild,” especially with the intensity of emotional component which it accompanies.

      Lord, please forgive John, he knows not what he is doing.

      I pray that no victims of sexual abuse, or other family members, ever have to be subjected to reading your comment. And the fact that BG is “diminishing anyway” doesn’t take away the real impact he could still negatively make on potential victims if he is granted back into associating with his organization.

      Be careful what you post; what you state can reopen wounds of others who didn’t ask for the abuse in any way.

  24. Good to report on Gotthard. But the allegations are kind of mild (e.g. no intercourse) and Gotthard is rapidly diminishing anyway.
    Note that RNS has yet to run a story on Ergun Caner, recently hired as a college president, since he was humiliated out of Liberty in 2010.
    Hence, this selection is all about sex. Sex sells. And that’s all.

  25. I know if I had told my Mom I was molested she would not tell me I was lying. If she did I would be screaming from the rooftops. Funny how many can judge a matter with out hearing both sides. I believe by definition that is a fool.

  26. First of all allegations are not proof of anything. Still, where there’s smoke there’s fire (unless it’s fake smoke). That said, let me add that after urgent recommendations from others who claimed great spiritual benefit from learning at a Gothard-led ‘Basic Seminar,” I attended my first one in Chicago in 1978, if I recall accurately. I learned little new but was greatly encouraged by the considerable confirmation of much that I had already learned through much education, study, reflection, prayer, and experience. My wife and I had already been blessed with nine children. We did not miss any subsequent Basic or Advanced or Pastors Seminar in Chicago for the next 10 years, and were one of the original 102 parent-couples which were in the pilot program for ATI, which began in 1984. We urged friends and the members of our small church (I was the pastor) to attend the Basic Seminar. All of our children, when eligible by age, attended. (We later had two more children.) With hardly an exception all reported having received great benefit to their faith. Moreover, our teen-aged daughter and son both worked for some time at the IBYC-IBLP headquarters in the mid ’80′s. Our experiences indicated that Bill Gothard and staff and all associated personnel were devout and dedicated to God, not greedy for money, and on guard against temptation and sin. With all of that we were in complete agreement, but we did maintain reservations against a few of Bill’s emphases or perhaps over-emphases. I leveled with him personally on those. Neither I nor those I know discerned any sexual or other notable improprieties on Bill’s part. By 1988 I was rejected from ATI for having let my neatly-trimmed beard regrow. By then I came to realize that Bill carried some politely postulated but adamantly held views on some matters on which we were going to have to part company, as friends as brothers. In summary we have always applauded the considerable good promoted and accomplished by Bill and the IBLP ministry and are greatly grieved at these accusations, while we recognize that such a ministry to young people, sometimes very vulnerable, is fraught with opportunity for sexual harassment. We pray fervently to our merciful, just, and forgiving God to bless all efforts to reach full disclosure on the matters in question, followed by, full, honest, “my-most-grievous-fault confession for all sin, including lack of wisdom, and then may the healing balm of divine and human forgiveness heal all wounds and restore all souls. May all of this lead to a vindication of the true Gospel, the glory of God, and the strengthening and growth of Christ’s true Body.

  27. Dennis,

    Though late, I have responded to your last comment. I can’t find a “subscribe to comments” button (don’t know if you’re being notified of new comments or checking back). Anyway, it’s buried up there somewhere…

    To spare you the aggravation of looking, this link should take you to it:

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/02/28/conservative-leader-bill-gothard-placed-administrative-leave-following-abuse-allegations/#comment-797256

  28. {Let’s try this again, and hopefully it won’t get buried in last week’s conversation.}

    Dennis, I responded to your last comment. The following link should take you right to it.

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/02/28/conservative-leader-bill-gothard-placed-administrative-leave-following-abuse-allegations/#comment-797256

  29. Wow! This story of hypocrisy generated more comments than I have seen after most stories, whether they are about secular, civil, or religious matters. We’ve become rather accustomed to the hypocrisy of people in secular matters, and that certainly overflows in increasing volume in politics. We’ve always seen phony religious “leaders” parading as holier-than-thou persons, and we’ve also always known that they tend to hide the nature of sex, pretend it is all evil, and that they have nothing to do with it. The reality of their phony, pretensions of hypocrisy are almost as common as their claims about pursuing goodness through honesty and justice. Doesn’t that make religion a terrible evil?

  30. Leave it to sex, especially sex involving religious leaders, to gain so much attention. Why are religion and sex so indefatigably bound. Different churches, different ways. But religion and churches seem to be as much about sex as they are about what is claimed to be religion. It is frequently impossible to recognize religion as not being based on sex at least as much as it is based on any claims about gods.

  31. Having worked in law enforcement for 11 years and as a certified sexual and physical abuse advocate, I know that even when sexual abuse is reported, many many cases are not filed by the D.A., and after that, the few that do go to court are either dismissed or plea bargained out – thankfully most convictions result in heavy sentences –

    My point is that there has always been and continues to be abuse of women (not only women of course) in all circles, religious groups, races, socio-economic groups, professional workplace, academia, etc etc etc. This is nothing new – I strongly suggest survivor support groups of ANY women ANYWHERE who have been abused by ANYONE – because you are not victims only but are strong SURVIVORS and you have the strength to take back you own life.

  32. If Bill Gothard is not denying these allegations it would add to the credibility of these accusations. I find it strange that it took so long to come forward with these accusations if the abuse happened to me I’d be much more aggressive to expose it right away.

  33. Just like any other cult leader, Gothard uses alot of scripture. But he always uses it out of context. He’s been involved in alot of sex scandals over the years but many of his followers are still devoted. He is the worst kind of sinner according to Jesus.

  34. I have been going to Bill’s seminars since 1973. I have used his material in teaching Sunday School for 35 years and have not found anything that was against the teaching in the Bible. Bill may have done these things but it still does not change his teaching. God has used this man to help thousands of people. That said, if all this is true, he should confess it and ask forgiveness from the ones he violated and his followers. I will still use his material until I find an error.

  35. At least he is being honest and does not fall into a set up that Jesse James is paying
    for now. You cannot possibly fathom the effect of abortion to the women who need it unless you identify with them.
    Yet, once the ’12-step-system’ is learned and applied, men have
    quickly started experiencing a lot more success at dating, attracting & keeping beautiful women.

  1. […] A Christian-run online organization named Recovering Grace has been collecting and publishing victim accounts of sexual abuse by Gothard. According to Recovering Grace, at least 34 different women (including minors) allege they were victims of sexual abuse, “sexual harassment” and emotional abuse by Bill  Gothard. The abuse allegedly endured for decades. Religion News Service also reported Gothard was also accused of failing to report allegations of child abuse.  […]

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