Did He Do It? – Some Facts

Bill has not confessed to sexual harassment in any form, remains adamant that he was not morally improper in any way, whether legally defined as such or not. The matters he has addressed in past statements involve what most ministries consider normal boundaries for men counseling young ladies.

Bill is an idealist, and he has always considered himself in the role of a father to the young men and women under his care. As such he felt it appropriate to touch their shoulders or tap their feet in an affirming way, young men and women, and he has for 50 years held the hands of young ladies he is counseling as he speaks to their hearts, usually in front of others, in some cases large audiences.  His hours are 4AM to midnight and he fills every minute, including late night counseling, which sometimes was alone with the individual.  All that have observed this know that he always kept the windows uncovered, bright lights showing the room to all walking by.

However, many in the ministry were deeply concerned that failure to maintain a much higher standard of formal, accountable boundaries, especially given Bill’s interest in working with young people with severe problems, could expose a righteous ministry to the whims of unbalanced individuals fabricating stories to get attention or money. Their concerns were not unfounded.

The 7 published testimonies detail boundary issues that made them feel uncomfortable, such as long hand holding, sitting too close, touching the shoulders and feet. Some of these women openly acknowledged not being bothered by such things until making contact with the website, in a number of cases being sought out for that purpose.  Bill strongly disputes a number of key elements in the accounts, again, accounts presented with the help of professional editors.  That website indicates that they have many more accounts they could publish but cannot because of the need to protect the women from harassment.  Based on our experience we have reason to believe that the reasons they have not done so are not driven by the need to protect identities but rather a need to protect the story.  Recovering Grace continues to operate with the sole purpose of disrupting Bill Gothard’s ministry, whatever it takes.

It must also be noted that Recovering Grace has a history of banning input from those that counter their agenda. Several of us were terminated in this way after attempting to provide exonerating information, told to set up our own website.  As a result the give and take on the website is definitively skewed to favor this “agenda” they cited.  Somehow this doesn’t speak well to an objective perspective seeking only to promote the truth and correct problems that harm the agenda of our Lord Jesus Christ vs. an agenda of personal vengeance.

Continue to Did He Do It? – Reconciliation and Summary or visit previous in series, Did He Do It? – IBLP Board Action

47 Comments

  1. Kenneth LeFebvre Kenneth LeFebvre
    October 30, 2015    

    “It must also be noted that Recovering Grace has a history of banning input from those that counter their agenda. Several of us were terminated in this way after attempting to provide exonerating information, told to set up our own website. As a result the give and take on the website is definitively skewed to favor this “agenda” they cited. Somehow this doesn’t speak well to an objective perspective seeking only to promote the truth and correct problems that harm the agenda of our Lord Jesus Christ vs. an agenda of personal vengeance.”

    By making this accusation against Recovering Grace, you are setting the bar quite high for yourselves, in the amount of dissent you tolerate on your own website. I (and, I imagine, many others) will be watching to see how well you handle opposing arguments on this site.

    • Jerry Jerry
      November 4, 2015    

      Sounds like you intend to be as nasty and mean as you can be in hopes your comments get censored in order to say I told you so. Real sweet person you are. I thought you folk had a site where you could spew your lack of forgiveness and bitter hate, I think it was called recovering grace, isn’t that ironic.

      • David David
        November 4, 2015    

        Jerry, have you ever read Recovering Grace?

  2. rob war rob war
    November 2, 2015    

    To claim that Recovery Grace “bans” people for supportive views of Bill is misleading. The biggest supporter that regularly contributed on Recovery Grace was Alfred and yes, he eventually was banned and Recovery Grace did state to the reasons why. There are many comments through-out Recovery Grace that are supportive of Bill Gothard and his teaching. Many such posts on RG that support Bill often times are angry rants that are hit and run comments. There are a wide variety of people that post there and not everyone is from fundamentalist or evangelical circles. Time is going to tell if DG is going to be just as broad as RG is.

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 4, 2015    

      Yes, I am familiar with that (Alfred here for this round). This is the statement banning me:

      “With respect to the value of healthy discourse, we at Recovering Grace have made the rare decision to block one of our regular commenters for the foreseeable future. We have appreciated the opportunity Alfred has provided our readers to think and express their thoughts in response to his commentaries, and we have allowed his opinions to rise or fall on their own merits. However, after years of giving him the benefit of the doubt, we feel that Alfred’s assertions that he is seeking the truth have been overall disingenuous. We freely confess that we started Recovering Grace with an agenda, which we have clearly stated in the FAQ section. We feel that Alfred has been less than honest about his own agenda, and would like to invite him to launch a website of his own to promote it if he so chooses. To the rest of our readership, please do not feel any concern about expressing your own thoughts in the comments sections of our blog, as these can give rise to answering questions we hadn’t thought of, and clarity to our readership, and we truly welcome your God-given diversity of opinion. Please consider this a very rare and well-deserved decision on the part of our leadership team.”

      So I was left with two conclusions. My agenda – which incidentally was never cloaked or hidden, besides never posting under a pseudonym with links that anyone that wanted could contact me privately or view my website – conflicted with theirs, and that I should find or found my own website. Many months later, and at some focus and expense, we have succeeded in doing this, although in much simpler fashion. The team assembling RG did a really fine job on a professionally functioning website.

      The statement that got me banned was in response to a debate on Tony Guhr, the source of much of the documentation and allegations against Bill from the 1980s, questioning his story a tad. It was factual, not nasty . . . in fact, I will post it here and it will make me feel better to do so :-):

      “I doubt Jim Sammons today is any different from the man you saw and respected. However, Tony is well known to the man. Tony has a way of deeply offending people, particularly those older than he, imperfect yet with a reputation for furiously pursuing the cause of Christ, while he is busy, as he sees it, correcting them.

      With regards to his complaints regarding Bill’s actions towards him, it was disingenuous of him to not disclose that he had previously alienated the leaders of his home church through repeated attempts to straighten them out on matters unrelated to IBLP. Perhaps he did it in the same threatening, bullying manner manifested to the IBLP Board and individual members in letters written to them this year (posted above). He willingly and knowingly gave his church technical cause to kick him out, essentially daring them to . . . When Bill’s letter and representatives showed up the church apparently had had enough, and excommunicated him without input, denying him the platform for his concerns he craved and had abused.

      Boy, that sounds a lot like where Jim is coming from, a long track record with Tony. Read the letters, starting with the “Agent” letter. Read Tony’s letters . . . I get sick every time I do. I see unbridled arrogance, a man that sees himself as the paragon of virtue and thus despises these people. This is not a man interested in reconciliation for Jesus sake, but vengeance. Tony is the reason I concluded for myself months ago that full reconciliation was impossible. And maybe Bill needed to move on with the rest of his 80 year old life. I saw the voluminous list of demands supplied by Tony to forgive Bill. Nothing but declaring Tony righteous in every matter and instance in the most humiliating way possible will do. Regardless of Bill’s faults, Tony is not worthy of such praise and adoration. I know some of what Bill formally proposed to do, which was dramatic and substantial.

      I respect Tony’s tenacity, willingness to stand alone – there was a cause. What a crime if it should end up being for nothing.”

      Not “nice”, but factual. THAT got me banned. Can you tell me why? I pleaded with the moderators to work this out, mostly to save me the trouble of having to set up, or help set up, a new website, a lot of work. My point to them – multiple times – was that it just made so much more sense for them to allow me to be able to post and control the debate, than what they were suggesting . . . which is this.

      So . . . that is my response, “Rob”. You know me well enough to know if I tell the truth.

      • David David
        November 4, 2015    

        Alfred, I saw many of your 994 comments over on RG, and one of my friends is a moderator over there. To say that you were banned for one comment is a complete twisting of the truth. This comment may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, but it was by no means the sole comment that caused your permanent banishment. You were consistently tone deaf, insensitive to victims, stubborn, and even rude. I can’t blame them one bit for the decision they made.

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 5, 2015    

          :-) I found that for many anyone supporting Bill after everything posted on that website was implicitly “tone deaf, insensitive to victims, stubborn” . . . maybe rude, just for existing. But the fact remains . . . that was the post that “broke the proverbial camel’s back” with the explanation provided. Presumably an example of all that you describe.

          But . . . now, regardless, I feel better.

      • rob war rob war
        November 5, 2015    

        Alfred, I’m not sure what your beef is, why would you want to continue on a blog that is not supportive of Bill and his teaching if you think they are not correct. All it does is degenerate into circular arguments. Now you have your own platform to state why you still believe in Bill and support him. Circular arguments between you and the others becomes boring and boorish. It doesn’t serve you nor anyone else. You were not banned for one thing, but an accumulation of a bunch of things which also include getting off topic of the different articles posted and on either the Gary Smalley or Tony even if the article was not even remotely dealing with them. Now you have your own blog to do what you want in support of Bill. Most of the old issues of gross immorality should be unacceptable to yourself Alfred. What is sad is that while you and I were attending IBYC in the 1970’s, the behind the scene story was not what was being taught by Bill to the public which is a Peyton place type of immorality under Bill’s nose. This is totally unacceptable for any Christian ministry and is likewise unacceptable even in a secular environment. The touching, footsie, stroking hair, girls sitting in laps is totally unacceptable and in fact illegal between a boss and supervisor and those under their employ. Even with Bill’s brother and father gone from the ministry, it appears Bill still didn’t learn the lessons from the first scandal and continued his behavior. Now you don’t want to see it because you care very much about Bill and his obviously means a lot to you but loyalty shouldn’t blind you to the truth. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 6, 2015    

          Let’s see. I found a blog of people citing problems with Bill and ATI and allegedly trying to fix them. That is a good thing, something I wanted to be part of. Pretty soon I discovered that it was a blog of people citing problems with no intentions of fixing anything. It still represented a public platform being pondered by lots of people so it was the best place to correct some of the inaccuracies. And I was permitted to post very freely for several years. In the end, quite frankly, I think the staffing levels dropped and I represented too big of a strain to keep policing :-) I was driving, at some points, half of the traffic to the forum, which kept somebody busy.

          Boring and boorish? Aw, come on, Rob. I cannot tell you the number of Bill and IBLP supporters that really appreciated it, thanking me – they thought it was exciting. :-) And from the perspective of RG I would have thought giving their opponents reason to come over and check out the latest discussions would have been favorable. I thought it was win-win . . . I could take advantage of their excellent forum to get some points and facts out that needed to be heard, and they could manage me, basically framing the discussion.

          “Most of the old issues of gross immorality should be unacceptable to yourself Alfred. ”

          Of course they are. What says they are not? It was completely disgusting, from all I have heard, the 1970s and Steve Gothard. I have heard first hand accounts from some who witnessed some of it.

          “The touching, footsie, stroking hair, girls sitting in laps is totally unacceptable and in fact illegal between a boss and supervisor and those under their employ. ”

          Now you are mixing and matching. There was one girl on lap that I am aware of, and that girl also went on private canoe rides and allegedly lay on the roof of HQ gazing at the stars with Bill. He said he was dating her, told several people. I also have a letter written in her own hand years later being away from Bill and IBLP, where she said that although he had every opportunity to take advantage of her, he never did, never crossed any of the immorality lines.

          Hair touching and “footsies” come out of the 7 accounts on RG. I am starting to disbelieve at least aspects of the accounts, representing apparently some degree of exaggeration. The more I get into it, the more this conviction is growing. I have people who should have seen this behavior over a period of multiple years of close proximity never see it at all. I know one who could see into Bill’s office from her room, again for years, herself constantly in the office late at night while Bill was conducting business, writing, counseling. Bill was never out of line in anything she saw or experienced. She did see “foot tapping” but is adamant that it was absolutely not sexual in any way. This is no sheltered ATI girl, someone from the courts. With no reason to defend Bill, other than disgust over what she sees as a bunch of baloney.

          Loyalty to the truth keeps me in this thing, Rob, and it drives all of us. I assure you that not a penny has passed in our direction from Bill for any of this. I work full time and still have 7 kids at home. So I have plenty of other things to do.

          • rob war rob war
            November 6, 2015    

            You stated that you thought RG was trying to “fix” problems. That is your assumption about the purpose of the blog. Part of the problem is Bill’s teaching and how it hurt people lives in many many ways and on RG, there are many more testimonies about how much of Bill’s teaching has caused damage in people’s lives, especially those raised in ATI. It is curious that it appears that the people behind this blog appear to be made up of those that attended in the 1970s and are parents of ATI kids but not ATI kids. In other words, the promise that people were lead to believe that raising children in this cradle to grave way of life will result in leaders which no one can honestly point to at all. That is something that can’t be “fixed” unless Bill renounces all of his teaching and it’s basis which really isn’t going to happen even though there are those on RG that mention it, wish for it and pray for it. Bill has been approached by a number of leading seminar professors and leading pastors about concerns and issues with his teaching. They have been well documented in books and articles. The fix to the problems is to expose them and talk about them and that is what RG has done. Things done is secret will be exposed. You feel that his teaching is spot on Biblical, now you have your own blog to state why but from most of the comments I’ve already seen on here, they do not really fall in the “I love Bill” category.

          • Moderator Moderator
            November 7, 2015    

            ” It is curious that it appears that the people behind this blog appear to be made up of those that attended in the 1970s and are parents of ATI kids but not ATI kids.”

            We are a mix, seminar attendees from the ’70s and ’80s, ATI parents, ATI kids, court appointees to IBLP programs.

            “Bill has been approached by a number of leading seminar professors and leading pastors about concerns and issues with his teaching.”

            We would love to interact with such learned men and women. I actually tried several times to engage on such issues on RG. At the urging of many I was directed to “Twisted Scriptures” as the place to interact. As you can see, after a couple of attempts to get some interaction . . . I quit. That exchange was so intensely telling about what was going on. Even the “doctrine” was geared to damage Bill as an end in itself. Since that end was not served by objective analysis, it was not engaged on.

            We took up two of the doctrinal complaint points in a couple of longer articles to launch the site, i.e. “Grace” and “Spirit vs. Soul”. We are working on others.

            See, not everyone follows the perspectives of learned individuals just because they are certified by a recognized seminary. If that were the case, the Pharisees and Sadducees would have had the authority, not the fishermen and doctors and housewives that did the preaching. But the fishermen were right. The authority came directly from Jesus, through His Holy Spirit. We like that, we think that is how God does business.

            See, not everyone “flamed out” after trying the things that Bill teaches. Some credit the things he taught as saving their lives, their marriages, their sanity . . . their businesses . . . and, after 40 years they still feel that way. That is “fruit that remaineth”, as Jesus described it. These are the ones that rise up to defend and help Bill.

            If you have not read the “Salvation Trinity” article, give it a go. I think it deals directly with your points here. http://www.discoveringgrace.com/2015/10/13/a-salvation-trinity/ . . . or http://www.discoveringgrace.com/files/salvation_trinity.pdf

      • Lindsey77 Lindsey77
        December 7, 2015    

        Alfred, I don’t think you were banned for one comment. I read many of your comments on RG. I felt profoundly sad reading them. I felt more than ever that I can never return to church as long there is a chance I will encounter someone behaving the way you did on RG. I mean that from the depths of my heart. Probably the worst part was your lack of empathy. I don’t think you realize you are discouraging the faith of some of us as much as you are encouraging others.

        • Moderator Moderator
          December 7, 2015    

          I (Alfred) am sorry, Lindsey77. As you will likely know, I did try to apologize when I misfired. But when it comes to empathy, my wife and I have not escaped unscathed. We have had our own crying times which we could easily have blamed Bill for. Also have had offspring on staff who got very discouraged from time to time, being mishandled by Bill on some others. So, we have earned a right to speak as well, we think. There are others on our team who have gone through much, much worse because Bill made mistakes, and suffering with life in general. Yet coming to us and wanting to help set the record straight, with a bit of an attitude thrown in. They, even more than I, have the right to say it like they see it.

          I was banned because I was countering their agenda over there at Recovering Grace, especially at a time when they were looking forward, perhaps, to retirement. With traffic dropping off my comments were driving a large part of the traffic, suddenly too much in proportion to the normal comments more in line with their purpose. And that had to stop.

          • rob war rob war
            December 7, 2015    

            So your son was “mishandled” by Bill yet you still defend him as well as claiming all these other stories by other people, male and female are either lying, misunderstandings or faulty memory?

          • Moderator Moderator
            December 7, 2015    

            What I am saying is that we have a real framework with which to evaluate the accusations of others. We know the man, we know his blind spots and weaknesses, and we know that he has been gravely misrepresented by some. Which is kind of the point.

          • rob war rob war
            December 7, 2015    

            You are not making any sense. What retirement for RG are you talking about? That is assumptions and false accusations on your part. What in the world do you mean by “reframe work”? Either Bill is the saint that you have tried to paint a picture of here with powers that heal or he is the jerk and hypocrite that others that have worked with him, male and female have testified to and being a jerk and hypocrite has caused him to not be brought back by the board much to your displeasure and angst.

          • Moderator Moderator
            December 7, 2015    

            We could be wrong, but we are guessing that parts of the RG machine have been retiring, given the lack of activity. You know, big banner, “Mission Accomplished”.

            I think you misread – we said “real framework”, meaning we are part of this, not outsiders. Bill in not perfect, but he is no jerk or hypocrite. The last chapter remains to be written.

          • Lindsey77 Lindsey77
            December 8, 2015    

            You were frequently unapologetic when you should have been remorseful. You were not banned for your position. You were banned because you were uncivil. You drove many threads off topic. You often upset people for no legitimate reason.

          • Moderator Moderator
            December 9, 2015    

            Well, obviously not everyone sees it quite as you do. Some felt there was every legitimate reason. Incidentally, wonder you see my behavior significantly worse than some of the posters on this website? Debates do tend to bring out some fairly pointed and passionate sword fights. Sort of comes with the territory.

  3. DJ DJ
    November 2, 2015    

    Hi again…sorry to be asking so many questions, but I’m really trying to make sure I have all the facts straight and (and provable) as I dialogue with some others about all of this. I truly believe there is a lot at stake in this conversation.

    On this page, you state that “some of these women openly acknowledged not being bothered by such things until making contact with the website, in a number of cases being sought out for that purpose.”

    Can you provide me with some proof that these women said this? This would be pretty important evidence to prove that the Recovering Grace website is making a lot of this up.

    • DJ DJ
      November 3, 2015    

      Just following up on this question in case you all missed it, thanks.

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 5, 2015    

      People in our group and friends of theirs were contacted by RG to see if they had stories to tell. So we know that for sure. We recall reading statements from some of the young ladies to the effect that “I didn’t see it as a problem at the time”, but we haven’t found the quotes of late. Maybe the editors removed them . . . maybe they were in the posts. We are not sure, but they match comments that others have said to us privately. So we will keep looking. And update our statement as necessary.

      • DJ DJ
        November 6, 2015    

        Were the people in your group contacted by RG via email? I’d love to get my hands on that if so. If there is any way you could forward those to my email I’d appreciate it.

  4. David David
    November 4, 2015    

    I’m pretty sure that one of the founders of this site was the person referenced in the below Moderator comment over on RG, from which I’ve removed the person’s name because of the apparent desire for privacy. Someone on the team over there recently told me that the person mentioned in the comment posted at least 994 approved comments on Recovering Grace. This makes the final paragraph above disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.

    “With respect to the value of healthy discourse, we at Recovering Grace have made the rare decision to block one of our regular commenters for the foreseeable future. We have appreciated the opportunity ******* has provided our readers to think and express their thoughts in response to his commentaries, and we have allowed his opinions to rise or fall on their own merits. However, after years of giving him the benefit of the doubt, we feel that *******’s assertions that he is seeking the truth have been overall disingenuous. We freely confess that we started Recovering Grace with an agenda, which we have clearly stated in the FAQ section. We feel that ******* has been less than honest about his own agenda, and would like to invite him to launch a website of his own to promote it if he so chooses. To the rest of our readership, please do not feel any concern about expressing your own thoughts in the comments sections of our blog, as these can give rise to answering questions we hadn’t thought of, and clarity to our readership, and we truly welcome your God-given diversity of opinion. Please consider this a very rare and well-deserved decision on the part of our leadership team.”

  5. Dan Dan
    November 16, 2015    

    Bill is an idealist, and he has always considered himself in the role of a father to the young men and women under his care…

    This statement is alarming. The notion that he assumed the role of a father is true, at least that has always been what he says guided him to control personal lives of his staff. It might also be noted that in the 1980 scandal he was told by multiple single women exactly and explicitly where his brother had touched or tried to touch them and he (Bill) did nothing. When ask why he could never remember his staff telling him exactly where and how the sexual abuse occurred his response was: “I have learned to put these things out of my mind”. While any decent father with a daughter who is sexually abused would have at least called the police, called a lawyer, or grab something of a more violent nature – Mr. Bill Gothard forgot about it because his pure mind could not handle the images of his little brother abusing his female staff. So much for his fatherly protection. He did nothing, which is corporate approval.

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 16, 2015    

      The 1980 scandal had two parts, the first part where Bill heard things about Steve in the late 1970s, believed some of them, had Steve “come clean” with him in private (they were very close), accepted his testimony of what happened and his repentance, and definitely “did something”, demoting him from being Vice President and exiling him to the remote Northwoods property to get straightened out.

      In the second part the horror of Steve’s continued abuse of women up at the Northwoods was finally revealed and Bill resigned.

      What should he have done, do you think? We all have the clarity of hindsight.

      The quote of Bill’s, about putting things out of mind, where can we find that?

      • rob war rob war
        November 16, 2015    

        What Bill should have done? It’s obvious, Steve should have been removed from the ministry a long long time ago. Steve should have been sent off to receive some real help, not sent off in an isolated area of Michigan with female staff in order to write “Character sketches” in order to “learn” to have a servant heart. Bill should never been so involved with “counseling” others, he was not qualified to do so whatsoever. Bill is not trained in any manner, he repeated stated that he does not believe in psychology or therapy in any manner and judges and courts should not even been sending troubled youth to be placed under his “care”. Instead, sending female staff members to be alone with Steve out in the woods makes Bill look more like a pimp than the concerned fatherly type you want to paint here. A real concerned father isn’t going to have his daughters even be near such a man and if Bill’s idea that Steve just needed to get away from it all, out in the woods of Michigan and that will going to “cure” him demonstrates that Bill is more clueless and naive than the wise “mind of Christ” you want to portray here. As Bill repeatedly said “one’s morality dictates their theology” then questioning Bill’s theology is in perfect order here and all of this should have unraveled the ministry long long ago.

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 16, 2015    

          “It’s obvious, Steve should have been removed from the ministry a long long time ago. Steve should have been sent off to receive some real help”

          I would try to envision your proposed decisive and harsh response . . . As a first offense – the believability factor – with your brother or sister that you dearly love, let alone in the face of a horrific scandal that some claimed would have swung the 1980 presidential election. The Lord knows our hearts and weighs our spirits.

          • rob war rob war
            November 18, 2015    

            What is harsh here? Continuously covering up or ignoring immorality on staff because the main person is one’s own brother? Maybe if Bill followed some of the other evangelical guidelines for ministries, there wouldn’t be family involved and working to together in key positions in the first place It clouds judgement and decisions. What is harsh is not being honest and protecting all staff involved. Removing Steve from staff long ago as soon as possible isn’t harsh to Steve, it’s protecting him and more than that, protecting the others working in the ministry. Bill’s first obligation isn’t his brother and if it is because “it’s family” then they shouldn’t be together along with the father in ministry. Many of the 1980’s scandals that involved big names ran their “ministries” with close family members and it clouds judgement and decisions when one of the family members is immoral or corrupt.

      • Dan Dan
        November 16, 2015    

        You won’t it was my question to him at the time (there were plenty of people in the meeting so maybe someone might remember) , and if he is remotely honest you will find that female staff told him before he shipped Steve off to the North Woods exactly what was happening to them. What should he have done? He was the founder and president of a major “Christian” organization. This is not a difficult question. He should have A) fired his little brother, B) apologized to the women involved and provided some kind of restitution, and C) clearly reported it to the Board of Directors with a plan to ensure the protection of female staff. He did none of the above. With his so called “investigation” in 1980 they blamed the victims.

  6. Sandy Sandy
    November 16, 2015    

    So – short of knowing a person’s heart, but best hindsight judgement based on his actions – do you consider Steve’s “repentance” in the “first part” of the 1980 scandal genuine, considering that he continued that behavior afterwards?

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 16, 2015    

      Bill never got to the bottom of it, which he acknowledged. No, Steve obviously had not repented. Some that lived all of that and knew him well then have expressed that there is evidence that he really did get right with the Lord in the years after it all came out.

      • Sandy Sandy
        November 17, 2015    

        I wasn’t asking about Bill; just if you might acknowledge that a person can claim that they have repented, although their continued actions indicate very clearly that they have not.

        Your best assessment of the situation is that “Steve obviously had not repented.” You draw this conclusion from his actions after he claimed to have repented, and I would agree. I’m encouraged to hear that Steve may be right with the Lord now, by the way, and hope that’s true.

        Bill claims to have repented (or whatever “soft” word he substitutes for it) for the 70s-80s scandal and for his “inappropriateness” (another “soft” word he prefers) over the years. I’m just pointing out that he can’t expect to ride the repentance ticket to automatic forgiveness from those he hurt, which is where I think he’s stuck to this day. Similar to Steve, I think he claimed to have repented just to go merrily on his way doing what he wanted to do, thinking he was doing it in secret and that nobody would ever know. All he had to do was intimidate people to the point that they wouldn’t talk. He was pretty successful at it, yet you argue that their talking after many years is yet another indication that they’re lying, when actually it may just be that Bill was that good, but not good enough.

        Bill’s actions prove what is in his heart, and the only thing I think many people that have been personally hurt by him have ever seen is him wanting to pursue details of their experiences so he can explain away what he did and even re-write history for them. Nothing that he has written indicates that he really understands that what he did over many years – and I’m not just talking the sexual stuff – was wrong. All he ever fessed up about were wrong priorities and overzealousness.

        You spend a lot of time shouting from the rooftops that Bill’s accusers won’t talk to him. You draw the conclusion that it’s because they’re not credible, but I hope you’ll realize one day that your conclusion is deeply flawed by how Bill has told you to think.

        Consider that Bill Gothard sexualized every little glance and touch and conversation among young people in his care. How would he then go much farther than what he allowed and claim he didn’t mean it sexually? NOBODY believes that but you and a precious few others he has blinded. THINK about why you believe it, Alfred – only because he has TOLD you he didn’t mean it. Use your brain instead of your ears – I sincerely dare you.

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 17, 2015    

          :-) I find your post full of assumptions that you cannot prove, hence I am inclined to recommend you follow your own advice, Sandy. You are parroting back everything you have heard. Do you know Bill? Do you have any basis on which to judge him?

          God judges between “godly sorrow” and “sorrow of the world” (2 Cor. 7:10). Perhaps someday you will have the misfortune of stumbling somehow, and then get subjected to the second-guessing of any number of self-righteous people who know you better than you do.

          Here is the standard Jesus put forward:

          Luke 17:3-5

          “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

          And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

          And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith . . .”

          That DOES take a lot of faith . . . To be able to forgive people on nothing more than their being willing to humble themselves and say, “I am sorry . . . “

  7. dan dan
    November 17, 2015    

    This discussion is clouding personal responsibility and corporate responsibility. I do not doubt Bill’s love for his brother but that is a vastly different issue than the corporate responsibility of ensuring ethical conduct. How many women have to come forward to express sexual favors for corporate access before someone takes action. Bill and the Board of Directors have consistently been negligent and irresponsible in this regard. Bill has put personal and family power ahead of the basic and fundamental needs of staff being able to work in an environment where they do not have to be concerned for their sexual safety. To believe that IBYC and IBLP is a Christian organization is to suggest that sexual abuse by senior leadership is acceptable.

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 17, 2015    

      In the first matter in the late 1970s you would have a hard time finding anyone who disagrees that Bill was negligent. How so elsewhere? The Board subsequently and consistently asked Bill to curtail his ministry to avoid appearances of evil, which directions he did follow if not always perfectly. Regardless, to this day the Board does not believe Bill violated any legal or moral lines in all that has followed – if they retain that conviction, consistent with all we know, what else should be done? The reality of what went on over the past few decades is substantially different than the picture painted on Recovering Grace. IF the current lawsuit is a publicity stunt as some feel it is, lacking substance because the accounts are false or exaggerated as part of a smear campaign, corporate responsibility demands quite the opposite of acquiescing. It is our opinion the board, in fact, overreacted in the face of a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign.

      “Thus saith the Lord,
      As the new wine is found in the cluster,
      and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it:
      so will I do for my servants’ sakes,
      that I may not destroy them all.” (Isaiah 65:8)

      There are some that consider the ministry that Bill has as useless at best and dangerous at worst. This conviction has nothing to do with secretaries or counselees but has to do with where they are spiritually in relation to where Bill is spiritually. Others find Bill’s contribution to the world, the church at large and themselves and their families overwhelmingly positive and essential. For the first group there are already too many reasons in place to have separated from Bill, and they see the Board negligent for not doing so decades ago. Others – including the Board – have seen a ministry that is crucial and worth preserving despite issues that have come up. They have not been negligent in seeking to preserve the remaining “new wine” because of the Lord and kingdom. We believe that this has honored the Lord. If so, then at some point the Lord will intervene and honor them, and others who are seeking to do evil will be ashamed. Nobody is without fault, Bill included. The Lord is the righteous judge – It is to Him we look.

      • dan dan
        November 20, 2015    

        I cannot agree that the Bill of the 1980 scandal and the present day version is different. Let’s look at his corporate behavior. Is it appropriate behavior for the president and CEO of a major Christian organization (or any organization) to be sitting shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip with teenage staff and young women for long periods of time early in the morning and late into the evening, playing footsie with them, and running his hands through their hair? Having been apart of corporate assessments for large organizations as well as members of boards I can assure you this is not only in appropriate behavior it is OUTRAGEOUSLY inappropriate behavior. In my view he is as negligent now in his corporate responsibilities as he was then. If in practice and in policy single men are not to fraternize or spend long periods of time with single women alone, then it is a corporate ethic and needs to be adhered to at all levels. The CEO does not get preferential treatment.

        But let’s assume Bill actually does feel a fatherly affinity for his female staff. How many fathers would behave in this way with their daughters? Put the question to your readership. I don’t have a daughter but I know a lot of great fathers with daughters and I cannot imagine them sitting hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder for long periods of time and playing footsie. I think their daughters would highly object. And put this to your readership, how many think this is appropriate behavior for a man in his fifties and sixties to be interacting with teenage and young women in this way? Personally, I find it disgusting and my bet is that most adults would feel the same.

        Also, I find your reference to Isaiah curious. If you keep the context of the verse referenced in its original you just raised the value of IBYC and IBLP to that of ancient Israel. This is exactly what Bill does repeatedly in his teaching that is so very dangerous – pull a verse totally out of its context, string it together with two or three others that are pulled from context and you can make the Bible say pretty much anything you want it to say. I think this might be why many years ago Ron Allen (Dallas Theological) referred to Bill’s use of scripture as “abusive”.

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 23, 2015    

          “Is it appropriate behavior for the president and CEO of a major Christian organization (or any organization) to be sitting shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip with teenage staff and young women for long periods of time early in the morning and late into the evening, playing footsie with them, and running his hands through their hair?”

          Not when you put it that way. Sitting close while counseling, if they are close, does not seem terribly troubling, unless Bill is demanding it. Calling “foot tapping” “footsies” is misleading. Others who experienced that have told us that that is absolutely not sexual – a nudge, “I see you, you are important”. Bill emphatically denies some of the more extreme versions of that that have been suggested. Running hands through hair is a new one for us – if you can direct us to that suggestion it would be appreciated. He did touch a girl’s hair or shoulder on occasion in exactly the same way as the feet, a tap, a nudge. To attempt to make this a primary focus, a hallmark, a regular occurrence in the thousands of hours of counseling is completely misleading. See, with the smallest of exceptions, all of Bill’s counseling was out in the open, open windows, cars parked in public places, so open, in fact, that some of the complaints on RG revolved around the lack of privacy, even when very sensitive things were being discussed. We have spoken to person after person who practically lived with Bill for years who never recall that happening. That really should be worth something.

          “Having been apart of corporate assessments for large organizations as well as members of boards I can assure you this is not only in appropriate behavior it is OUTRAGEOUSLY inappropriate behavior. ”

          Please read the new post on the “Shepherd of the Hills” and tell us if counseling of that type would fall into your list of outrageous things. It would most definitely not be “Corporate”, in any case. That is a misrepresentation of the nature of the discipleship programs that Bill has run. The closest thing might be a sports team rather than a corporation.

          “I don’t have a daughter but I know a lot of great fathers with daughters and I cannot imagine them sitting hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder for long periods of time and playing footsie. I think their daughters would highly object.”

          I have 7 daughters and they routinely climb on my lap or sit behind me in my chair as I am trying to get things done. Rushing to get a kiss before leaving or bed. Some will instantly ascribe evil to me, and I shall undoubtedly suffer abuse for saying so. In my youth, why that was precious and normal. In any case . . . I would suggest you are mistaken and will leave it at that. Our messed up world has lost much innocence, innocence that had young women holding hands in a day gone by, for example, without any hint or suspicion of sexual perversion. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15)

          • dan dan
            November 24, 2015    

            I have to hand it to you..
            You keep responding when most would tell us to get lost or just ignore us. However, to equate Bill with a country preacher with a sad past and offering council to uneducated friends and neighbors misses a critical point- Bill was the president and CEO of a multimillion organization that at one time own a fleet of private jets! He was not counseling friends and neighbors but subordinates! Thus the very nature of the relationship is one where the powerful has the position to abuse the relationship.
            As for IBYC and IBLP being more like a sports team than a corporation.
            What difference does this make? Joe paterno lost lost his very fine reputation because his assistant was having sex with boys and Joe did nothing about it! Exactly what Bill has done.
            As for your daughters, congratulations on 7 of them my guess is that your natural kindness prohibits you from forcing them to show you affection.

          • Moderator Moderator
            November 24, 2015    

            Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it.

            Bill has always been a preacher, a counselor. What he was back in the ’60s as he constructed the “Basic Seminar” at his parent’s kitchen table is the same person he remains now, even as he writes books and pursues other means of encouraging others at that same table in the same house. That is why he overtly never had a “succession plan”. To those asking he would say, “This ministry is my personal testimony and should end with me”, something like that.

            You misrepresent him in corporate and “CEO” terms, Dan, regardless of how big his influence and world and resources became. And the jets – I guess there were two at one time – were there for the purpose of saving his time and minimizing wear and tear given the insane schedule you must know he was on. No different from the fleet of semis that carted things around the country for the 10-30K participant seminars.

            And I must again disagree with you with the counseling. At least in terms of the Bill that I have known. That WAS his life, investing a heavy piece of his time and life in many individuals . . . and seeing real results. The difference between a “corporation” and a “team” or even a “band” of performers should be obvious. There is a so much higher degree of personal involvement in the latter. I leave my work at the appointed time and my world and the world of my coworkers never cross. The young people on campus, on the other hand, my son one of them, lived at IBLP and traveled the world with Bill. Bill does work 20 hour days and was constantly surrounded by young people working with, interacting with him. They did holidays together . . . daily “staff meetings” which were really seminars, counseling sessions with Bill directing. Bill officiates at or attends so many weddings and other family events. He sees them as his children, and many see him as a “father”. This is involvement that far exceeds any “corporate” setting.

            I concur that nobody should force anyone to show affection. Bill, for all his wisdom, did not track with the sensibilities of every young lady that he worked with. But he really has only one mode to work with, and that is “full on”, investing at the heart level. When it works, it works extremely well . . . when it fails, there are those that are left feeling awkward. But sexual pervert . . . groomer?! Nothing even close. Any that would allege that either do not know him, or are deliberately working to harm him and his ministry for unrelated reasons.

  8. rob war rob war
    November 18, 2015    

    What is the current relationship between Bill and Steve today? Are they “reconciled”?

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 19, 2015    

      Bill indicated that the relationship is great, they speak all of the time.

      • rob war rob war
        November 19, 2015    

        That is kinda surprising since Steve did sue Bill later on over Northwood and in articles about it, it was indicated that their realtionship was broken. Is that also true with Bill’s other brother David who has some charges in Florida over insurance fraud?

        • Moderator Moderator
          November 23, 2015    

          That is all the information we have at the moment on Steve. With respect to David Gothard, Bill and he appear to be in regular contact.

  9. Tyler Tyler
    November 24, 2015    

    I am not nor have I ever been a member of ATI/IBLP. I have never met Bill Gothard or been to a seminar, so my thoughts on Gothard’s teachings have all come from reading Gothard’s writings myself or online reading. I say that so you realize I am genuinely questioning. I am not a victim or a friend of Gothar’ds; I’m simply looking for the truth. So am I accurately summing up this website’s position by saying that you aren’t denying hugs and foot touching, simply denying the sexual intent in them?

    I am trying to objectively look at both RG and over here now that I have found this site, and I guess what’s got me puzzled is the higher standards the youth at training centers and in ATI churches were held to because of the teachings on defrauding and purity that don’t seem to have been true in Gothard’s personal life. From the accounts of training center life on RG and reading Gothard’s writings myself, it seems as if any young person caught doing what Gothard was doing would have been asked to leave a training center immediately. Am I wrong about that?

    I will admit this has me somewhat stuck. If this is the case, then Gothard spent 40 years teaching standards at his seminars and in his training centers that he was not holding himself to. While a girl sitting on his lap may not have broken any of the letter of the law teachings he said, it certainly was unacceptable in the attitude of ATI/IBLP’s purity culture, correct? So is it this website’s position that Gothard was exempt from these standards that the youth were held to, or that his age and position were permission for this, or that he genuinely slipped up and has since repented of these actions under the heading of “defrauding”? At first glance, this seems like a double-standard. Am I correct or am I missing something?

    • Moderator Moderator
      November 27, 2015    

      We are not going to disagree with your concerns, Tyler. Bill has never fit any standard mold, and that has been a good thing and perhaps at times a difficult thing. He has made it all work spectacularly, at one point being considered one of the top evangelical leaders of his generation. There are many that feel that Bill should have submitted himself to the discipline of marriage (yes, stated in a very unemotional way) if he truly wanted to be effective in counseling young women. We did note your comments in the “Shepherd of the Hills” post of the analogy possibly being helpful to you as a context – even the fictional “Shepherd” had been a married man. Regardless, some of the corners cut should not have been, regardless of how effective or justifiable it way. That is a big part of what we are about, trying to help clarify and straighten out.

      BTW, if you haven’t, you may want to have a look at a couple of Bill presentations which you can view for free. I believe the first session of the Basic Seminar is up for viewing, Bill in the 1980s, several others: https://embassymedia.com/free

      • Tyler Tyler
        November 27, 2015    

        Thank you for the link! I will definitely check that out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories