url: http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/homepage.htm 01/03/99 © email@example.com
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH BILL GOTHARD
Hello! My story is one born out of firsthand experiences. I was brought up from the age of six by parents who were official members of Bill Gothardís religious organization. I have several main purposes for writing this article:
(1) To inform and alert those who may be interested in Bill Gothardís
ministries and teachings,
(2) To provide a wake-up call for those who are not particularly familiar with Bill Gothard, and
(3) Hopefully, to invoke thought in those within the Gothard circle.
My story begins in fall of 1979 when my parents attended their first Basic Seminar. They were both new Christians, and immediately soaked up the overwhelming surge of information that was provided at this seminar. Mr. Gothard, who claims to have rediscovered long forgotten and overlooked spiritual truths, seemed to be a fast-ride provider to spiritual maturity. Claiming to have enlightenment from the Lord, which provides him with a much keener insight than your local minister, to some, Gothard becomes very alluring.
My parents attended an Advanced Seminar in the summer of Ď86, and that fall they joined the Institute In Basic Life Principles, which is one of the major branches of Gothardís original seminar ministry. At this point, my parents began to seriously concentrate on living a life of complete separation from society. This was a direction that they began in 1979,a direction in which they are still going. This has resulted in the unfortunate story that I am about to relate to you.
I am the oldest of 6 children, and my parents home schooled all of us, with the intention of doing so through college-level. Our one social contact was our local church. My father allowed this only because my siblings and I provided the entire music program for the church, which put my father in good social standing. All of my motherís family, including her mother, are still in shock over the negative and drastic change that my mother underwent when she married, and became involved with Bill Gothard. My mother who has an undergraduate degree, married my father when he was completely illiterate, and then she taught him how to read. Bill Gothardís patriarchal authoritarian system of control seemed to provide my father with the security he needed to control his wife and family.
So, I grew up with no friends my own age, very limited contacts with older adults, and a handful of pen pals. My parents were very physically abusive with all of us, also, and even looking down at the wrong time became grounds for a severe beating. Naturally, I was almost always in fear, and constantly trying to avoid being beaten, or reprimanded. All of these ideas on handling children were directly taught by, or derived from Bill Gothardís teachings.
As I grew older, I committed my life to Christ, and began to study the Bible in depth whenever I could. The Holy Spirit began to open my eyes, and show me how some things that I had learned from Bill Gothard and from my parents were wrong. Much of this search for truth was spurred on as a result of statements that our pastor made to my father. Statements such as, "I really have cautions about your curriculum," or, "why donít I see any display of Godís grace through this teaching," were quite common.
Now for a brief explanation of Gothardís key teachings! Gothard teaches that the Christian life is built on a series of seven principals that, if we attain, will bring us ultimate success.
(1) We must accept the way that God has designed us, and make no changes to it, except changes that will attract attention to God. Out of this principle stem two other key teachings (a) we must have bright eyes. This is based on Isaiah 60:1, which is a clear misuse of scripture. (b) No forms of birth control are acceptable even for use within marriage. God has designed us to reproduce! (2) We have a responsibility to God to be perfect in every action, word, deed, and thought. This puts followers into a continual confessing process where they are scared they have forgotten to confess some misstep. This step is really tied into the third principle. (3) We must be under authority. This is Gothardsí favorite principle, and the one he spends the most time on. When you join Gothardsí group, you become part of a "chain of authority," originating directly with God. The "chain of authority", diagrammed as a pyramid, places God at the top, Mr. Gothard directly underneath, then his aids, then the fathers of every family in his program. Of course, the mother and children are placed under the father. Mr. Gothard also has a very comical diagram of the "chain of authority: within a family, and connected teachings to this principle which promote the practice of exorcisms, all with twisted scripture interpretations to back it up. For more information, e-mail me. This principle is tied to the second one in that children and wives are to confess all improper words, actions, thoughts, and deeds to the father, as they would to God. (4) We will suffer for committing to such a high standard of living. The endless lists of rules and regulations which are imposed on all members of this cult by the religious hierarchy are explained away as a special standard of living which God expects of those who are so much closer to the truth and to him than the rest of the world. (5) We are owned by God, and by our fathers. This is how Mr. Gothard promotes his teaching of arranged marriages, and a ritual that engages a daughter to her father until her time of marriage. I admit, its bizarre! (6) The more that we submit to authority, and continually examine our minds for where Satan might be inhabiting us, we will find true freedom. (7) All of this brings true success, and success will continue as long as we continue studying Bill Gothardsí teachings. Well, if you arenít completely baffled yet, the best is yet to come.
At the age of 15, as I continues to move in the opposite direction of my parents, they put even more restrictions on me. We left the church we had attended, and my parents began inflicting even more physical abuse. They also began asking constantly what I was thinking. I was able to get help from a family at church, and I ran away from home. I was placed in a foster home, then my parents satisfied state regulations, and I was going to be forced to return home. So, at age 16, I ran away again. My simple motivation was to escape the abuse and false teachings of my family. After almost 5 months on the run, I was found, and taken by my parents to Indianapolis, IN., where My Gothard runs a detention center for juvenile youth, among other things. For almost 6 months, the Gothards held me here as a prisoner, treated me worse than a criminal, and kept me indoors with never a step outside for two months. Then one day in mid October of '98, the Lord miraculously answered my prayers and opened a way for me to escape Indianapolis. For safety reasons, I will not state the circumstances of my escape.
When I reached my home state again, one of my uncles who is a lawyer gave me a place to stay with him and my aunt. We are now in the process of going through a series of hearings so that I will have protection from my parents and the Bill Gothard cult.
The Lord has blessed me, and I am currently engaged to be married. Jesus Christ has taught me so many invaluable lessons about His power and strength, and He definitely is so wonderful.
I would appreciate prayer for my family, and for all those in this cult group. The Gothards are planning to set up their own private community in Arkansas for next year. My mother is now suffering from a serious mental illness, and I still have 5 siblings living in this home.
May God protect us all in these final days before His return I would love to hear how this web page has affected you. The Code...
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Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to Charisma of Bill Gothard http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/charisma.htm
Information on arranged marriages http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/marraiges.htm
Gothard's plans for Y2K and beyond http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/y2k.htm
The culture of the Gothard cult http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/culture.htm
Go to replicas of Bill Gothard's diagrams, and detailed explanations http://members.tripod.com/Glenwood37/diagrams.htm
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