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” Though I was homeschooled, I personally was only ever on the fringe of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).

I had close friends who wore the long skirts and collared shirts, and for whom “quiverfull” and “courtship” were an engrained way of life.

Apparently, we are supposed to judge a book by its cover.

Anecdotal evidence is as good as any other in this system, as long as it conforms to the party line.

Whenever a leader at this level is ousted or steps down, questions like these come to mind.

In the wake of revelations of sexual harassment and abuse pouring in from survivors of Bill Gothard’s ministry, many of us are asking ourselves, “How could I not have seen this sooner?

Though I hadn’t ever subscribed to Gothard’s message, it was still a shock to me that he was alleged to be guilty of sexual harassment. But once I began to consider the issue in light of my experience working with survivors of sexual abuse, it all began to make a great deal of sense.

My parents had spoken with me about some of the things that were “off” about Gothard’s message, most notably that a single man had so much to say on marriage and child-rearing. The reality is that the essential nature of a fundamentalist society like “Gothardism” functions to shelter and sometimes even perpetuate sexual abuse.A great example of this is in the Recovering Grace blog article, Judging 101.ATI students were instructed, as part of their educational curriculum, to write down assumptions they could make about individuals they saw exiting a grocery store, based on those individuals’ outward appearances.How could he have fooled so many people, so thoroughly?How did the abuse go on for so many years, unacknowledged?Inappropriate behavior by Bill Gothard or Gothard leadership? Many more learned than I have better explained the many hermeneutic problems with Bill Gothard’s teachings.


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