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Beauty4Ashes
01-05-2009, 05:58 AM
Could someone please explain to me why this man has so much influence in many Christian circles? I did a google search on him last night, howbeit briefly. The man is not even married and has no children, yet he pretends to tell people how to raise their children and how to act in their marriages and people listen to him. I tried looking at his website, and it appears that he doesn't tell anything for free, you have to pay to read his ideas. What is the attraction of this man? He seems to be pretty looked down upon in the blog world and it seems that there is quite a bit of controversy and scandal surrounding him. FWIW, I grew up in a non religious mainstream punitive home so I never even heard of this guy (or Pearl or Ezzo) until I joined message boards. I just don't get it.

debf
01-05-2009, 07:11 AM
I would love to know the appeal also. :shrug

Perhaps it is because some people really want a nice, simple, guaranteed version of child parenting. Most psychologists make no claim that they have the absolute right way to rear all children, but The Pearls, Ezzo and Gothard all claim that they know the one way to parent every child.

Chris3jam
01-05-2009, 07:27 AM
Well, you can hear him here. This would be day 1 of his basic seminar, where he speaks of wisdom. (link broken) http:// iblp.org/iblp/seminars/basic/online/
He attests that you can get the answer to anything from the Bible. . . . . not personal experience. That most mistakes are made because people listen to other people, not going to the Bible for answers. So, really, him *not* having a wife and/or kids is actually helpful in this regard, because it doesn't distract from what the Bible really says about the situation(s). That's basically what it is.

blessedwithboys
01-05-2009, 07:39 AM
:hunh He's not married and has no children? I had no idea, not that I've ever researched him or anything. I just know he's considered to be a huge expert on families. I'm shocked that some of the high profile large families would regard him as an expert when they probably know 100 times more than he does about the subject. :scratch

I see the reasoning of going to the Bible instead of personal experience for answers, BUT don't Gothardites believe that marriage and children are a Biblical imperative? :think

katiekind
01-05-2009, 07:50 AM
There are cult-like dynamics at work. Plus he's a good marketer.

I watched the video for a little bit....you can see how he works at getting the "buy in" from viewers by starting from a biblical principle that is self evident (that God's point of view would represent true wisdom, and man's point of view is limited) and then reminding people of the various distressing things in their lives that they wish could be avoided or solved. And then the hope is drawn....if you had God's point of view, you could solve it.

Next up, how God's point of view is embodied in the scriptures, which by following, we'll be able to solve our conflicts and problems and keep conflicts and problems out of our children's lives, too.

Except it turns out that Gothard's use of scripture involves legalistic, twisted and weird applications.

debf
01-05-2009, 10:58 AM
I will admit that I have always been confused by people who claim that the Bible can guide us in every part of our lives. The Bible doesn't tell me such things as how to schedule a newborn's feeding-or if I should-, or what battles with my kids are importatant to fight and when I should just let go. KWIM?

So, why do the Pearl's, Gothard, etc claim that the Bible can be used to basically micromanage how people parent?

Chris3jam
01-05-2009, 11:31 AM
I will admit that I have always been confused by people who claim that the Bible can guide us in every part of our lives. The Bible doesn't tell me such things as how to schedule a newborn's feeding-or if I should-, or what battles with my kids are importatant to fight and when I should just let go. KWIM?

So, why do the Pearl's, Gothard, etc claim that the Bible can be used to basically micromanage how people parent?


Because of the Biblical principles. For instance, you schedule a baby's feeding, because God is a God of order, God created bodies to work a certain way, and scheduling feeding (or just plain schedules) is how the body and mind work most efficiently. God set it up that way, so it is best that way, and this is the "proof" that it is best that way. That is the reasoning. The "battles" to fight with the kids are set by scripture the same way. . . . you want, say, the children to obey. Immediately and without question, which is the way the Lord expects us to act. So, that is the way we are to "train" them. So, pick the "battles" that have a principle behind it. That is the reasoning. The Bible has the answer for *everything*. . . just find the principle behind it.

ChristmasGirl
01-05-2009, 11:54 AM
our mission organization required us to go to 2 bill gothard seminars (as a team). after i was able to recognize our mission as being spiritually controlling and toxic, i then was able to see how Bill Gothard's teachings are toxic.

he presents everything as "7 steps to forgiveness" "10 steps to ________" as if everything has a formula. i think the one teaching that bothered me the most (because i bought into it) is that all anger is a result of not "giving up your rights". this was a big teaching at our missionary base as well (to the point of using that phrase manipulatively). it brought an awful lot of guilt and condemnation into my life. My pastor recently gave a sermon, and i love the way he spoke about anger. B.G. made it sound like if i'm angry, i'm doing something wrong. i should give up my right to __________. My pastor talked about how, many times, we may feel angry because of a difference in values that 2 people have. which makes more sense to me. it doesn't mean that one is right and one is wrong, it just means that you hold different importance on different issues, and so you find a way to reconcile that, either with changing your expectations of someone else, or accepting the differences, or working it thru. you get the picture. I think B.G. puts too much emphasis on things being a 'sin issue' when that's not necessarily the case. :no2

Chris3jam
01-05-2009, 12:10 PM
Right, Susie. Everything comes down to anger. And no Christian has "rights". *Everything* we have and are belong to God, and, therefore, we do not have the right to even be angry. Because God is in control of everything. So, we have to give up our rights. We don't have the right to, say, happiness. The right bestow happiness is God's. Therefore, if we are upset because of something that is wrong, that is making us unhappy, we are claiming a "right" we do not have. We are not entitled to *anything*, but, by His grace, God gives us everything. . . . everything He deems that we need and want. So, we should be happy. That's kind of the gist, if that makes any sense.

Trishy
01-05-2009, 12:49 PM
Well, its not only some Christain circles that embrace all things Gothard. Ya know the CharacterFirst or Character Counts training in most public schools? It originated with Gothard. The five "pillars" and all that thing.

Not saying character is a bad thing, but like Ezzo, he has a secular version and a Christian version. I simply don't believe that something I pay tax dollars for and is controlled by the government should be given power and authority to mold my kid's morality. Ya know?

He says his Character First program is not religious. I don't think you can have ANY program which focuses on morals and it NOT be religious. "Universal Truths"????? I mean, even atheists in the end, worship something...they just don't realize it.

Blessings,
Trishy

debf
01-05-2009, 03:40 PM
Right, Susie. Everything comes down to anger. And no Christian has "rights". *Everything* we have and are belong to God, and, therefore, we do not have the right to even be angry. Because God is in control of everything. So, we have to give up our rights. We don't have the right to, say, happiness. The right bestow happiness is God's. Therefore, if we are upset because of something that is wrong, that is making us unhappy, we are claiming a "right" we do not have. We are not entitled to *anything*, but, by His grace, God gives us everything. . . . everything He deems that we need and want. So, we should be happy. That's kind of the gist, if that makes any sense.


So, do people who follow Gothard's teaching believe that there is no such thing as righteous anger? :scratch Getting angry that there are wrongs in the world can inspire people to try and fix those wrongs.

Their line of reasoning sounds like it could lead some of their followers to rationalize being in controlling, abusive relationships.

debf
01-05-2009, 03:43 PM
[quote=Chris3jam ]
Right, Susie. Everything comes down to anger. And no Christian has "rights". *Everything* we have and are belong to God, and, therefore, we do not have the right to even be angry. Because God is in control of everything. So, we have to give up our rights. We don't have the right to, say, happiness. The right bestow happiness is God's. Therefore, if we are upset because of something that is wrong, that is making us unhappy, we are claiming a "right" we do not have. We are not entitled to *anything*, but, by His grace, God gives us everything. . . . everything He deems that we need and want. So, we should be happy. That's kind of the gist, if that makes any sense.


So, do people who follow Gothard's teaching believe that there is no such thing as righteous anger? :scratch Getting angry that there are wrongs in the world can inspire people to try and fix those wrongs. Which Bible verses do they use to say that all anger is wrong? I can think of so many instances when my anger helped motivate me to change a situation that needed to be changed in my life.

Their line of reasoning sounds like it could lead some of their followers to rationalize being in controlling, abusive relationships.

Sorry to ask so many questions in another poster's thread. :O

lifethruhim08
01-05-2009, 03:54 PM
I've read about him and I'm actually confused myself about what the appeal is :shrug. Maybe it's for the same reason the other Christian punitive parenting authors/teachers are so popular, because the answers they provide seem very clear cut and simple.

Soliloquy
01-05-2009, 04:33 PM
I'd never heard of him until I saw his name mentioned here in connection w/ the Duggars. Is he really that influential? :scratch

Rabbit
01-05-2009, 06:10 PM
I'd never heard of him until I saw his name mentioned here in connection w/ the Duggars. Is he really that influential? :scratch


Many of the families that use him don't advocate for him the way Ezzo's followers do. You begin to realize that "oh wow, that's a Gothard family" only after you get up close and personal with the weirdness. Very fundamentalist homeschoolers are almost always Gothard families.

Trishy
01-05-2009, 08:36 PM
I'd never heard of him until I saw his name mentioned here in connection w/ the Duggars. Is he really that influential? :scratch


Many of the families that use him don't advocate for him the way Ezzo's followers do. You begin to realize that "oh wow, that's a Gothard family" only after you get up close and personal with the weirdness. Very fundamentalist homeschoolers are almost always Gothard families.


Actually, I first heard about Gothard when we began attending a very relaxed Southern Baptist church...not fundatmental at all. I had gone to a fundamental school and church when I was younger and had never heard of him there. I've seen his stuff in non-denominational churches and my brother got into his stuff from a not fundamental church.

As I've said before, Gothard's Character First and Character Counts stuff is in a great deal of public school systems throughout the country...

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/gothard/general.htm

This link provides quite a bit of information on the different groups (religous and otherwise) which support Gothard's teachings.

Blesings,
Trishy

ChristmasGirl
01-05-2009, 09:27 PM
that's funny...i almost linked to that article too. the end of the article has some very interesting thoughts about problems with "gothardism" for anyone who is interested.

about the righteous anger, i really don't remember, it's been probably 15 years since i've been to one of his seminars. i have his books in my crawl space but they're not easy to get to. so maybe someone else would remember what he says about that.

Rabbit
01-05-2009, 09:40 PM
I'd never heard of him until I saw his name mentioned here in connection w/ the Duggars. Is he really that influential? :scratch


Many of the families that use him don't advocate for him the way Ezzo's followers do. You begin to realize that "oh wow, that's a Gothard family" only after you get up close and personal with the weirdness. Very fundamentalist homeschoolers are almost always Gothard families.


Actually, I first heard about Gothard when we began attending a very relaxed Southern Baptist church...not fundatmental at all. I had gone to a fundamental school and church when I was younger and had never heard of him there. I've seen his stuff in non-denominational churches and my brother got into his stuff from a not fundamental church.

As I've said before, Gothard's Character First and Character Counts stuff is in a great deal of public school systems throughout the country...

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/gothard/general.htm

This link provides quite a bit of information on the different groups (religous and otherwise) which support Gothard's teachings.

Blesings,
Trishy


:grin I think we have different definitions of fundamentalist.

debf
01-06-2009, 05:27 AM
Gothard teaches that children are to obey parents even when they know God's will is something different. He teaches that there should be an unquestioning accountability to the authority of parents, even after the child moves into adulthood, and even if the parents are unsaved (cf. Psa. 1).25 This includes the requirement that both sets of parents consent unanimously in their son's or daughter's selection of marriage partners, again, even if the parents are both pagans. Failure to obey this requirement, according to Gothard, will always lead to future marriage problems (see Rebuilder's Guide, pp. 78, 110, 154, 224, 235). (He also teaches that women are always to obey their husbands instead of God in matters of conscience.)

:hunh

That came from the link that was already mentioned in this thread.

How does Gothard handle the existence of abusive authority?

iburnbrownies
01-06-2009, 05:49 AM
wow. just wow. I guess it takes all kinds. And I don't see the appeal - except for what pp have already said - that people like a clear cut do A get B as a result pattern for their lives.


I will admit that I have always been confused by people who claim that the Bible can guide us in every part of our lives. The Bible doesn't tell me such things as how to schedule a newborn's feeding-or if I should-, or what battles with my kids are importatant to fight and when I should just let go. KWIM?

So, why do the Pearl's, Gothard, etc claim that the Bible can be used to basically micromanage how people parent?


I think the Bible does have principles for guiding almost every aspect of our daily living. ;) I think I would just have very different Biblical principals than Pearls/Gothards?Ezzo's (from what I know of them). It is just reading the same book through totally different filters.

I also think that Titus 2 is the basis for what they use to tell people how to parent. And fwiw, when properly applied, I think Titus 2 can be a wonderful way for new parents to learn from their (often) wiser elders. But I also find that most older people that I know mellow towards children as they age, and so are more likely to guide you toward gentle instruction and discipline than punitive parenting. Not always true, but so often I find it is.

ncsweetpea
01-06-2009, 06:11 AM
As a teen, I was involved in a fundamental SBC church--before I even knew that there was any other kind of church--and we were all encouraged to attend his institute. The appeal for me then was it was clear cut, easy to understand, his system fit neatly together like building blocks stacked upon one another and there were NO gray areas. That appealed to me as a young person...it helped to give my fledgling faith a shape. As I got older and experienced more "real life" I saw holes in his theories and had questions that simply couldn't be answered by his teachings. I eventually threw away my big Gothard book and it felt good! :)

Trishy
01-06-2009, 06:15 AM
I'd never heard of him until I saw his name mentioned here in connection w/ the Duggars. Is he really that influential? :scratch


Many of the families that use him don't advocate for him the way Ezzo's followers do. You begin to realize that "oh wow, that's a Gothard family" only after you get up close and personal with the weirdness. Very fundamentalist homeschoolers are almost always Gothard families.


Actually, I first heard about Gothard when we began attending a very relaxed Southern Baptist church...not fundatmental at all. I had gone to a fundamental school and church when I was younger and had never heard of him there. I've seen his stuff in non-denominational churches and my brother got into his stuff from a not fundamental church.

As I've said before, Gothard's Character First and Character Counts stuff is in a great deal of public school systems throughout the country...

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/gothard/general.htm

This link provides quite a bit of information on the different groups (religous and otherwise) which support Gothard's teachings.

Blesings,
Trishy


:grin I think we have different definitions of fundamentalist.


Probably :)...but the article is very factual and laden with a timeline of the Gothard movement not only as it pertains to religious circles but to secular circles, as well. So, it doesn't matter which definition you go by for the secular groups. I hope everyone reads it.


Blessings,
Trishy

Wonder Woman
01-06-2009, 06:29 AM
it reminds me of when someone I know personally joined a cult - he walked into his office and announced to his coworkers "I'm all set! I never have to worry about another decision in my life. As long as I do what ______ says, I know I'm going to Heaven."

:sigh

Soliloquy
01-06-2009, 06:33 AM
Very fundamentalist homeschoolers are almost always Gothard families.


Well that explains why I'd never heard of him. I don't know a single fund. homeschooling family, in fact, I never even met a homeschooling family IRL until a few years ago.

Zipporah
01-06-2009, 07:10 AM
How does Gothard handle the existence of abusive authority?


He doesn't seem to believe in that kind of a concept.

ChristmasGirl
01-06-2009, 07:13 AM
How does Gothard handle the existence of abusive authority?

i don't remember exactly what he teaches, but i do know that the general teaching is that God will deal with the authority in some way, but you are to remain and trust God to deal with it. it's the "touch not the Lord's annointed" spiel. We had to read Spiritual Authority by watchman nee... :/ same mindset.

ChristmasGirl
01-06-2009, 07:20 AM
well, here is what i found online. however, he definitely stressed the obey your parents concept, even if they weren't believers, so i don't know how that jives with what he's saying here.

2. The principle of authority
Everyone is under certain God-ordained authorities, such as parents, government, and the church. The purpose of God-ordained authority is to provide protection, direction, instruction, and provision. Authorities have a duty to do what is right, and should never ask someone to do evil. When this does happen, the one under authority should make a wise appeal, with right motives, as Daniel did when he was asked to eat the king’s food, but never do wrong (Daniel 1:8–16).

When an authority, such as parents, for example, fail to demonstrate love and approval and be the example that God requires of them, and instead become angry, unreasonable, and condemning, it is easy for their children to reject all authority. Then, they often look to friends or individuals outside their family for their acceptance and approval. All too often, this outside influence leads them to decisions that create a new set of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual problems. God understands the tendency for one in authority to fail. Therefore, He gives grace to those under authority to respond properly and grow in the character of Christ. However, if appeals are rejected, a person should always refuse to do evil, no matter who asks them to do it.

http://bill gothard.com/bill/about/whatiteach/ (remove spaces)

Chris3jam
01-06-2009, 07:37 AM
1. Gothard (as already said above) does not recognize abuse of authority. At all. To him, there is no such thing.
2. We are (us, personally, my family) a conservative, fundamental homeschooling family. And we don't use ATI.

CelticJourney
01-06-2009, 07:56 AM
As a moderator, I would be much more comfortable with this discussion happening in the theology forum, but I'm not sure how many of the posters are active there, so I will leave it with a reminder that the main focus of this forum is parenting methods that are non-GBD.


Try as I might, my 'post flu which lead to a cold' brain can't find any of my old links to Gothard information. Please accept this information as coming from my memory and is open to correction as I find my 'stuff' later.

Gothard has a 'heaven on earth' everything in order kind of mindset that he believes can be achieved if only everyone will do what they are told, when they are told, happily. Unlike Ezzo or Tripp, Gothard's teaching include parenting as an aspect, but not the focus. His organizational structure includes 'inner circles' and 'outter circles'. His popularity in previous decades had to do more, in my opinion, with his packaging of legalism into pretty packages, with notebooks featuring character growth lessons featuring various animal symbolism, etc. that appealed to a consumer minded attitude.

Order and happy obedience are the keystones to everything and the outside reflects the inside. So yes, ladies, by his standards the level of organization of your kitchen cabinets does reflect your spiritual life as it reflects your servant heart for your family and your obedience to that call.

Children are to be born into 'good' Goddard families and raised to be an 'army for God'. By contrast adoption is discouraged because you might bring in the 'sins of the father' and curse your home (let me take an adoptive mother :mad moment before I continue).

As with Ezzo and Pearl, Gothard believes that he has 'every answer' to 'every question' and while he will claim that it comes directly from scripture, it is filtered through his personal variety of legalism rather than an understanding of the gift of grace or freedom in Christ.



A word about homeschooling and ATI - it is a regional thing, if I understand it correctly. I am in the south, have homeschooled for over 10 years and only met one family that I could say was ATI and they were involved with it before they moved here. Being an hour or so away from BJU, I can assure you that you can have legalism without ATI.

Beauty4Ashes
01-06-2009, 08:06 AM
I apologize. I posted not knowing much about him, except hearing about his parenting methods. I didn't mean for it to turn into a theological discussion. :blush

Beauty4Ashes
01-06-2009, 08:11 AM
I wanted to add that it pains me to think that this man would say that a clean house/kitchen whatever is a sign of a spiritual life that is in order. I'm struggling to have a spiritual life, and have been for years. But my kitchen is clean and so is my house. the two are not mutually exclusive.

Soliloquy
01-06-2009, 08:16 AM
I wanted to add that it pains me to think that this man would say that a clean house/kitchen whatever is a sign of a spiritual life that is in order. I'm struggling to have a spiritual life, and have been for years. But my kitchen is clean and so is my house. the two are not mutually exclusive.


Wow, that is really scary. I grew up in a very clean house--my parents' spiritual life was NOT in order. :sadno

CelticJourney
01-06-2009, 08:27 AM
I apologize. I posted not knowing much about him, except hearing about his parenting methods. I didn't mean for it to turn into a theological discussion. Not a problem - it's related. Theology just might have more posters who have information on the topic is all.

lifethruhim08
01-06-2009, 02:44 PM
I wanted to add that it pains me to think that this man would say that a clean house/kitchen whatever is a sign of a spiritual life that is in order. I'm struggling to have a spiritual life, and have been for years. But my kitchen is clean and so is my house. the two are not mutually exclusive.


Wow... that's actually very weird. What about those people who are neat freaks and spend so much time in cleaning they forsake everything else?

MissusLeata
01-06-2009, 07:07 PM
Gothard isn't all about parenting and family. People attend the seminar and find things they really like. He teaches some things that are pretty good. And he's conservative, so conservatives like him.

He encourages homeschooling, encourages courtship, discourages debt, supports quiverfull families, encourages homebirth and midwifery, encourages natural medicine, etc. etc. So, there are plenty of things that are attractive to a lot of families.

He doesn't teach specifics (that I can remember) on things like schedule feeding, but he did promote the Ezzo's material. If he did teach anything like that, it was probably at ATI conferences, not his more mainstream stuff.

He does teach a lot on parenting and marriage. I was in his program and thought I was completely prepared to counsel people in any situation on marriage and family. Alot of that teaching comes from applications or misapplications from the OT law. He supported circumcision on the 8th day, 14 days of abstinence per month in marriages, abstinence on Saturday nights, abstinence after miscarriages. He teaches that girls who make vows can be released from them by their fathers or husbands, but men cannot be released from vows. These are ideas that he gets from the Torah, but he doesn't always apply them correctly or take NT teaches along with them.

ArmsOfLove
01-06-2009, 07:25 PM
because theology is at the foundation for everything he teaches understanding where he is coming from theologically is really important for understanding what he's teaching--and it's rooted in outright heresy :( When I first dug through his teachings I was shocked at some of the connections to things and conclusions he draws.

Needless to say he has constructed a very elaborate "New Testament Law" that has usurped the OT Torah and based on it he gets ideas about obedience and cleanliness/order that are :scratch Odd at best. It's this NT Law that children are held to in a very ungraceful way--and adults. I think some people really feel safest and most comfortable in the black and white of things and when they've been told the Torah doesn't apply anymore they *need* guidelines for living. Gothard is more than willing to jump in and offer them :(

He markets himself like a pro, though, that's for sure.

MissusLeata
01-07-2009, 09:41 AM
A lot of Gothard's "principles" come from stories in the Bible. For example: when God sent manna to the Children of Israel, He sent twice as much on Friday but none on the Sabbath. Mr. Gothard gets from this that God was encouraging people to fast on the Sabbath. He then encourages his disciples to fast on Sunday based on this "testimony" of Scripture. So, he "gets" it from the OT, but it's not what the OT teaches, if that makes sense.

ArmsOfLove
01-07-2009, 09:44 AM
Mr. Gothard gets from this that God was encouraging people to fast on the Sabbath:doh Fasting is FORBIDDEN on the Sabbath! (unless it's Yom Kippur). God was helping them fulfill the command to not WORK on the Sabbath :sigh

MissusLeata
01-07-2009, 10:09 AM
Mr. Gothard gets from this that God was encouraging people to fast on the Sabbath:doh Fasting is FORBIDDEN on the Sabbath! (unless it's Yom Kippur). God was helping them fulfill the command to not WORK on the Sabbath :sigh


I know, but lots of the "principles" taught in IBLP (Gothard's ministry) come from that sort of "exegesis." Passages that are obviously teaching one thing are said to be teaching a principle of life that we should follow.

Another example: Miriam was struck with leprosy after leading the girls in a dance. Though the passage makes it clear that the leprosy was judgment for her attitude toward Moses, Gothard uses it as an example that dancing always leads to judgment.

He does a LOT of reading things into the text. :-(

ArmsOfLove
01-07-2009, 10:12 AM
oh gosh--that is just HORRIBLE. Thanks for sharing all of these examples :hug I think he teaches absolute heresy--what I can't figure out is if he does it out of intent or ignorance :(

MissusLeata
01-07-2009, 10:48 AM
oh gosh--that is just HORRIBLE. Thanks for sharing all of these examples :hug I think he teaches absolute heresy--what I can't figure out is if he does it out of intent or ignorance :(


That's a good question. I've met him personally and so has my husband. There are things about him that make me think that his intentions are good and things that make me think he knows what he's doing. I don't think he could be completely ignorant because I know he's been confronted many times.

Chris3jam
01-07-2009, 12:03 PM
Oh, I am convinced and sure that his intentions are good. That he *really* believes what he says. And he feels that he must 'share' those things. And, I have seen those teachings benefit people greatly. :( I know one lady who was so miserable that she was contemplating suicide. Then she went to a seminar, and she is convinced that he saved her life, because she now had something to live for. She said that he put the Biblical principles into such clarity for her, that she could live properly now, with a good attitude (and not be miserable because of her life situation. . . which included a dh that had a very spotty work track record, leaving them without food and electricity at times).

Rabbit
01-07-2009, 12:07 PM
Oh, I am convinced and sure that his intentions are good. That he *really* believes what he says. And he feels that he must 'share' those things. And, I have seen those teachings benefit people greatly. :( I know one lady who was so miserable that she was contemplating suicide. Then she went to a seminar, and she is convinced that he saved her life, because she now had something to live for. She said that he put the Biblical principles into such clarity for her, that she could live properly now, with a good attitude (and not be miserable because of her life situation. . . which included a dh that had a very spotty work track record, leaving them without food and electricity at times).


That is so incredibly frightening.

Chris3jam
01-07-2009, 12:52 PM
That is the danger. He offers "Biblical" steps to living a Godly life, which offers peace. IOW. ... . give up. Just. .. .. give up. It's all God's Will, and be happy. And I know people that follow his teachings, personally, that are very happy and don't have a worry in the world. Seriously. It's real. It's enviable. There is one family of 10 (parents and 8 children)that lived off around 30,000/yr. There were times they had no food, and they cheerfully said (the parents), "let's pray". And someone would put 50.00 in their hands that night or the next day, or bring them food or whatever they needed. The dh finally got a better job (a pastorate), and the wife lamented "Now, how will I teach my children faithfulness?!" These people are truly hapy and content. And they do tend to have an air of superiority, because *they* are totally committed to and following God 100% (which implies the rest of us, who have problems or such like that, are not).

Beauty4Ashes
01-07-2009, 01:32 PM
That is the danger. He offers "Biblical" steps to living a Godly life, which offers peace. IOW. ... . give up. Just. .. .. give up. It's all God's Will, and be happy. And I know people that follow his teachings, personally, that are very happy and don't have a worry in the world. Seriously. It's real. It's enviable. There is one family of 10 (parents and 8 children)that lived off around 30,000/yr. There were times they had no food, and they cheerfully said (the parents), "let's pray". And someone would put 50.00 in their hands that night or the next day, or bring them food or whatever they needed. The dh finally got a better job (a pastorate), and the wife lamented "Now, how will I teach my children faithfulness?!" These people are truly hapy and content. And they do tend to have an air of superiority, because *they* are totally committed to and following God 100% (which implies the rest of us, who have problems or such like that, are not).


You know, that sounds like the attitude that I encountered at the Spanish Pentecostal church I attended for a few years. I can't find the words to describe it. I'd never actually heard Gothard mentioned at that church. But they kind of looked down on those people who would take a night job or night classes instead of sticking with a dead end day job and attending church 6 days a week. Those people were viewed as being less reliant on God or something. I was in college at the time, and they kept saying or implying that it would be better for me spiritually to be at church all the time and in the ministry...um, I had bills to pay and was working afternoons/evenings plus had homework to do. I came to church when I could, but man did I feel guilty, like I was less of a Christian for getting a degree.

Chris3jam
01-07-2009, 01:56 PM
The thing is, when I am told things like this (like the woman saying, "Oh, dear, how will I teach my children faithfulness now?!"), the perfect answer comes to me. . .. . later that day or the next day. IOW. . . . .too late. If I had been more quick-witted, I could have told that woman, "Well, now it's time to teach the children about thankfulness, unselfishness, generosity, and charity. There are other ways, I'm sure, they will be able to be faithful, and learn more about it. Surely this is God's will, as well."

debf
01-07-2009, 03:53 PM
The thing is, when I am told things like this (like the woman saying, "Oh, dear, how will I teach my children faithfulness now?!"), the perfect answer comes to me. . .. . later that day or the next day. IOW. . . . .too late. If I had been more quick-witted, I could have told that woman, "Well, now it's time to teach the children about thankfulness, unselfishness, generosity, and charity. There are other ways, I'm sure, they will be able to be faithful, and learn more about it. Surely this is God's will, as well."




It sounds like she is looking for someone to admire her faithfulness to God. The comment that she made just sounds a bit false to me. So, I don't think that the perfect answer would have any effect on her.

DolphinMemae
01-07-2009, 04:54 PM
Other than my introduction, this is the first post I have made. I kind of feel like I'm a minnow swimming with the whales, but here it goes...
My daughter, Dramamomma, suggested I read these posts. I have read through all of them, reacting to different ones in different ways. I attended Bill Gothard's Basic Youth Conflicts seminar when I was a teen-ager, and at the time it seemed like something that would bring order and security to my previously unstable life. I embraced it whole-heartedly, as did my father (who was also my pastor). My dad was also very enthusiastic about it and attended several more advanced seminars and seminars that Gothard directs specifically to pastors. He also required that my first husband (yes, I do have a second husband,so you know for sure I didn't continue following the teachings of Bill Gothard) attend a Basic Youth Conflicts seminar with me before we were married.Unfortunately, my first husband was abusive and found Gothard's teachings very appealing as they applied to my obeying and submitting to him. I actually fled from my husband's rage to my father when I was 7 months pregnant with out first surviving child, and he told me to return to my husband and submit to his authority. I have often wondered how different our lives would have been if someone would have held my husband accountable for his behavior toward me. Since my daughter is aware of these things, I'm assuming that she was thinking of that when she suggested that I might have something to add to this discussion. I have to say, though, that the comments about Gothard's teaching about anger screamed most loudly to me. I learned about a year ago that my father used to have a very out-of-control temper until I was about two years old. He saw a geographic move that we made at that time as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and learn to live life without anger. It took him a while, according to my older brother, but all of my memories of my father are demonstrations of unwavering commitment to submissive servanthood and accepting all unfairness and even brutal/aggressive behaviors without complaint or defense. The rule in our home growing up was always "forgive and forget". Since that rule predated Gothard's institues, I never made the connection; but I can't help wondering now if Gothard's teachings about anger were a significant factor in why my dad was so strongly influenced. My siblings and I have many unresolved issues with anger stemming from our upbringing. Maybe the most useful/helpful way to apply this discussion to our lives is to focus on the way our personal issues influence what teachings/philosophies of life we identify with and embrace; and how that impacts our parenting and what we pass on to our children.

Rabbit
01-07-2009, 06:16 PM
:hugheart

ArmsOfLove
01-07-2009, 06:51 PM
((((DolphinMemae)))) I'm glad you chimed in. Lots to think about.

Chris, I want to challenge that those teachings really did "good" things for the people you've shared about. Bad theology can't ever do positive things for you. These people might look "peaceful" or "content" but they can't be. Those things can't come from bad theology.

I do believe there is something about "letting go" and turning control over to God that is going to bless you no matter what--but Gothard teaches forced passivity and unless that just happens to already fit someone's personality it's going to really mess them up inside :(

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control are fruit of the Spirit. That means they come from a life connected to the source. They can't be put on like articles of clothing to create the image of having the Spirit in abundance. That makes them more like the aprons of leaves that Adam and Eve wore :(

CelticJourney
01-07-2009, 07:12 PM
I kind of feel like I'm a minnow swimming with the whales,We try to be gentle whales though, so no fear. Welcome!! :heart

Eowyn
01-07-2009, 07:35 PM
He encourages homeschooling, encourages courtship, discourages debt, supports quiverfull families, encourages homebirth and midwifery, encourages natural medicine, etc. etc. So, there are plenty of things that are attractive to a lot of families.

He doesn't teach specifics (that I can remember) on things like schedule feeding, but he did promote the Ezzo's material. If he did teach anything like that, it was probably at ATI conferences, not his more mainstream stuff.


My first midwife was a Gothard-trained midwife. It has taken us years to undo some of the damage she did with her passing on of his teachings. :mad

katiekind
01-07-2009, 08:20 PM
focus on the way our personal issues influence what teachings/philosophies of life we identify with and embrace; and how that impacts our parenting and what we pass on to our children.

That's a really good insight. Thanks for jumping in!

debf
01-07-2009, 09:57 PM
DolphinM. Welcome.

Perhaps God used Gothard to work in your father's life. That doesn't mean that Gothard is correct or isn't full of bad theology.I wonder if God sometimes uses what is available to reach us.


I feel bad for your father. We talk often about how certain parenting experts expect mother's to ignore their instincts, but men often have protective instincts toward their daughters. So, your Dad must have had strong believes to go against what his heart was telling him. How sad for you both. :cry

ncsweetpea
01-08-2009, 06:13 AM
Gothard's teaching also left me to believe that the abusive male authority in my life was okay--part of God's plan for me. After all, I believed I was under his "umbrella" of protection and that this was part of what I was meant to experience in life as a child. :hugheart To all who have been hurt and broken by his heretical teachings... :pray4

Chris3jam
01-08-2009, 07:34 AM
((((DolphinMemae)))) I'm glad you chimed in. Lots to think about.

Chris, I want to challenge that those teachings really did "good" things for the people you've shared about. Bad theology can't ever do positive things for you. These people might look "peaceful" or "content" but they can't be. Those things can't come from bad theology.

I do believe there is something about "letting go" and turning control over to God that is going to bless you no matter what--but Gothard teaches forced passivity and unless that just happens to already fit someone's personality it's going to really mess them up inside :(
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control are fruit of the Spirit. That means they come from a life connected to the source. They can't be put on like articles of clothing to create the image of having the Spirit in abundance. That makes them more like the aprons of leaves that Adam and Eve wore :(


That's what it is. If it is part of your personality to be told what to do all the time, to feel secure and safe in constantly being under some authority, to not worry or fret because you know, beyond the shadow of the doubt, that you are doing God's will because you have kept yourself under this authority, if you get comfort from not ever having to make any decisions for yourself, and if you are of that personality (or were raised that way) that you just need to sit back and obey, this works very well for these kinds of people. They can talk about a strong sin nature in others (self trying to usurp God's will) all they want. . . . . .it is still, IMO, a certain personality that will cleave to this teaching. The happy people I know are either this type of people . . . ...happy beyond belief to not have any personal responsibility. . . .. or, as in one, she thinks she really feels this way, but her incredibly over-critical, negative nature and thinking about other people (that I have to hear about :(), shows an internal conflict of which they may not even be aware.

debf
01-08-2009, 07:50 AM
((((DolphinMemae)))) I'm glad you chimed in. Lots to think about.

Chris, I want to challenge that those teachings really did "good" things for the people you've shared about. Bad theology can't ever do positive things for you. These people might look "peaceful" or "content" but they can't be. Those things can't come from bad theology.

I do believe there is something about "letting go" and turning control over to God that is going to bless you no matter what--but Gothard teaches forced passivity and unless that just happens to already fit someone's personality it's going to really mess them up inside :(
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control are fruit of the Spirit. That means they come from a life connected to the source. They can't be put on like articles of clothing to create the image of having the Spirit in abundance. That makes them more like the aprons of leaves that Adam and Eve wore :(


That's what it is. If it is part of your personality to be told what to do all the time, to feel secure and safe in constantly being under some authority, to not worry or fret because you know, beyond the shadow of the doubt, that you are doing God's will because you have kept yourself under this authority, if you get comfort from not ever having to make any decisions for yourself, and if you are of that personality (or were raised that way) that you just need to sit back and obey, this works very well for these kinds of people. They can talk about a strong sin nature in others (self trying to usurp God's will) all they want. . . . . .it is still, IMO, a certain personality that will cleave to this teaching. The happy people I know are either this type of people . . . ...happy beyond belief to not have any personal responsibility. . . .. or, as in one, she thinks she really feels this way, but her incredibly over-critical, negative nature and thinking about other people (that I have to hear about :(), shows an internal conflict of which they may not even be aware.


I think that this is a wise observation. I had never thought about how comforting Gothard could be too certain personalities. What you said makes a lot of sense to me.

CrunchySeaSalt
01-08-2009, 08:09 AM
I wanted to add that it pains me to think that this man would say that a clean house/kitchen whatever is a sign of a spiritual life that is in order. I'm struggling to have a spiritual life, and have been for years. But my kitchen is clean and so is my house. the two are not mutually exclusive.


Wow... that's actually very weird. What about those people who are neat freaks and spend so much time in cleaning they forsake everything else?


Strange :think Isn't that what Jesus chastized Martha for? Worrying about cleaning instead of fellowship and His word?

Piper2
01-08-2009, 08:56 AM
I attended Bill Gothard's basic seminar 3 times when I was in my late teens/early twenties. Our then-new pastor took several of us youth from the church to our first one, but honestly, all I remember of that was once somebody fell off the balcony of the upper level of the arena (this was in the old Omni in Atlanta) during a break and a guy stood up in the middle of one session and started yelling at Bill and had to be escorted out. :hunh I went again with some ladies from my church and then once with my now-ex-h because the drug rehab program he was in required them all to go.

The only real effect going to those seminars had on me was making the decision to stop taking birth control pills (which, honestly, wasn't too hard because they were really messing up my cycles anyway). Other than that, I only remember him saying that wheat bread is better than white bread. :shrug I obviously didn't go on to follow his teachings because I also got divorced. It was fun going to downtown Atlanta, riding MARTA, being at the Omni. But as much as I liked the simplicity of the teachings, I guess I found they were too cut & dried and couldn't easily apply them to my life as it got more complicated. This was all way before I was able to even think about having a child, so any parenting-related teachings just either flew under the radar or over my head. I got rid of all my workbooks and THE book since then while decluttering and haven't been struck by lightning yet. ;)

I do remember seeing Mennonites (or Amish) and the obviously fundamental (long skirts, long hair, no makeup) people at the seminars and wondering what they thought about his teachings because, to me, it all seemed to line up with the charismatic teachings of my church (thinking they'd think we were all too "liberal"). Now I realize they were probably looking at us and wondering just the opposite. :P



That is the danger. He offers "Biblical" steps to living a Godly life, which offers peace. IOW. ... . give up. Just. .. .. give up. It's all God's Will, and be happy. And I know people that follow his teachings, personally, that are very happy and don't have a worry in the world. Seriously. It's real. It's enviable. There is one family of 10 (parents and 8 children)that lived off around 30,000/yr. There were times they had no food, and they cheerfully said (the parents), "let's pray". And someone would put 50.00 in their hands that night or the next day, or bring them food or whatever they needed. The dh finally got a better job (a pastorate), and the wife lamented "Now, how will I teach my children faithfulness?!" These people are truly hapy and content. And they do tend to have an air of superiority, because *they* are totally committed to and following God 100% (which implies the rest of us, who have problems or such like that, are not).


You know, that sounds like the attitude that I encountered at the Spanish Pentecostal church I attended for a few years. I can't find the words to describe it. I'd never actually heard Gothard mentioned at that church. But they kind of looked down on those people who would take a night job or night classes instead of sticking with a dead end day job and attending church 6 days a week. Those people were viewed as being less reliant on God or something. I was in college at the time, and they kept saying or implying that it would be better for me spiritually to be at church all the time and in the ministry...um, I had bills to pay and was working afternoons/evenings plus had homework to do. I came to church when I could, but man did I feel guilty, like I was less of a Christian for getting a degree.


That's what I'm wondering if my brother and SIL are turning into. My brother did attend the Gothard seminar a time or two, but I don't know if SIL did. But right now, he's been laid off his job for nearly a year now, and they're surviving (well enough to keep up on their bills and be able to give, also) on...well, basically the kindness of others to gift them with money or give my brother a couple days' work here and there. SIL, to put it mildly, tends to act a bit spiritually superior, and I just hope they don't reject an opportunity for my brother to regain full-time employment just to show how much they trust God to "provide" for them. :/

DolphinMemae
01-08-2009, 11:11 AM
I kind of feel like I'm a minnow swimming with the whales,We try to be gentle whales though, so no fear. Welcome!! :heart
:smile thanks. That helps.

jenny_islander
01-08-2009, 04:50 PM
Gothard's teaching also left me to believe that the abusive male authority in my life was okay--part of God's plan for me. After all, I believed I was under his "umbrella" of protection and that this was part of what I was meant to experience in life as a child. :hugheart To all who have been hurt and broken by his heretical teachings... :pray4


meant to experience

meant to experience

MEANT TO EXPERIENCE

WHERE IS AN EXPLODING HEAD SMILEY WHEN I NEED ONE?

Back when I was in a group for adult survivors of child s----- abuse, we audited a lot of different things. One was a video from this sweetly smiling doe-eyed blonde lady whose name escaped me who explained that "we pull in the experiences that we need in order to grow." That is, we, as unborn children, decide to be born as children of-- Or we decide to somehow act in a way that causes adults to-- That is, adults who do evil to children need not be called out for their sins because, you know, it was supposed to happen.

I dismissed it as the usual antifreeze-disguised-as-sugar New Age poisonous nonsense, and this person is teaching it as Gospel?

UltraMother
01-09-2009, 01:01 PM
My mom and I attended his seminars in the late 80s, both basic and advanced, about 4-5 times. It was one way I could really get her approval, since his teachings really appealed to her personality. We weren't die-hard or anything, but some of the teachings did stick with me.
I first learned about homebirth there, and went on to have 4 successful ones. I followed his ideas on circumcision and abstinence, which I am still unsure about. I really believed in his quiverfull stuff, and it broke my heart when dh decided to have a vas 5 years ago.
Some of his ideas I only believed as a teen, like his umbrella of authority and total submission. It never even occurred to me to question what he was teaching (after all, it was Biblical, right?) until someone I greatly admired went on a mini-rant about the parental submission teaching (everyone remember the story about the guy who wanted to go to Bible school against the wishes of his non-Christian dad?), saying that that totally went against what Jesus Himself taught.
Like most Christian teachers, he does have some good ideas in with the bad. But a very bad dynamic runs thru everything, and I can't endorse him at all. He also falls into the common trap of "I can back my ideas up from Scripture, therefore they MUST be what God wants for everyone".

:hugs to all here who have been hurt by his teachings. My damage has been fairly minimal, but I still kick myself a lot about it. There are some good blogs out there from recovering ATI people that might help the healing process.

GretchenM
01-09-2009, 02:07 PM
I too attended the Basic Seminar about 20 years ago. Here are the reasons I loved it so much (at the time):

1. I was a new Christian, trying to navigate my new life, without any close, credible role models
2. It gave me rules. I liked rules. No, I LOVED rules. (do this, this and this, and you will be "spiritual")
3. I remember Gothard being a fairly good speaker/salesman
4.. My flesh loves legalism (but I think you got that with reason #2)

Because we have always attended conservative, fundamental churches, I personally know several ATI families. Early on in our marriage I was always so uncomfortable around them, because they always looked like they had it so together. It is interesting and sad now that some of these families' children have grown. I see 2 diametrically opposed outcomes:

1. Children who have completely rejected Jesus Christ because of their parent's misrepresentation of Him
2. Children who are cookie cutters of their parents, separating (isolating) from our culture in order to preserve and protect their practices (i.e. courtship, harsh discipline, certain dress standards)

This is hard stuff. We lost a lot of "friends" when we started having children, because we didn't follow Gothard's (or Pearl's or whosever) discipline model I was handed all the books given the party line, and told by well meaning women that they would "pray for my husband". I still have an old friend whom I love dearly who insists that my 8yo's now very sweet disposition is God's reward for my obedience to my husband. (My husband has always been Grace Based - but leans way towards permissiveness)..

But you know, there but FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, go I - because when I start walking after the flesh, my thought life is plagued with punitive, tow-the-line-type, less-than-kind-and-gentle practices I'd like to unleash on the sometimes-less-than-perfect :) people I live with. I pray for my sisters in the Lord who are suffering heartache regarding their their children because they were brilliantly deceived into believing that the outward appearance of their parenting was more important thand their relationship - and now they have neither.
.
Whew. Off to kiss on my kids.

Beth1231
01-16-2009, 12:57 PM
When I asked my parents how they got entrenched in that legalistic mess, they told me it was "spiritual pride." And they both liked the idea that they were better than other "wordly" Christians. I guess it's a good feeling to be in a club where other people feel the same that you do. I'm so glad they were only involved with Gothard for a handful of years. That was enough, definitely.

Some of his lure is based on a basic, human emotion. The desire to be respected and important.

I definitely remember being told "you have no rights" and getting that annoying umbrella analogy. Bleah.