The Secretive World of Bill Gothard
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 03:35:31 PM EST
     During the early seventies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was the largest seminary in the world.  It was the flagship of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Around this time a new movement started that was drawing participants around the nation.  It was named the Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar.  It drew between 10,000-20,000 participants per event.  Eager minds sat for days listening to lectures from Bill Gothard, the founder.  His teachings were contained in the popular notebook that was not to be shared with anyone who did not attend.  Followers were warned not to speak with others about what was taught.  A veil of secrecy engulfed the meetings.
     A couple of results from these annual meetings were standard.  For one, the church I belonged to would lose members.  To counter this, the church arranged for members who had been to the seminar to share testimonies about how wonderful the indoctrination was. Another result was that some women who attended Southwestern without the blessings of their father would leave the school.  
     A local pastor led what was known as a church that embraced Gothard.  He would come to chapel and just about every few moments he would refer to Bill Gothard's principles.  Later on that decade this pastor was part of a fundamentalist takeover of the seminary.  A school that by and large viewed the Gothard movement with a bit of caution, would have new direction.  Later on this same pastor became almost as enamored with David Barton as he was with Gothard.
     Today participation at these seminars has dropped off to a fraction of the original attendance.  The name was changed to Institute on Basic Life Principles.  The impact on the Christian culture is still there.  Bill Gothard sends out weekly emails to over 90,000 pastors across the world.  You could imagine the interest I had when I received a copy of Gothard's Advanced Seminar Textbook.  Someone donated the secret book for a garage sale.  I found the contents to be beyond what I had imagined.  
     Gothard was criticized by people outside of his seminar crowd as placing himself above medical Doctor's advice.  The book is full of such.  He promotes teaching the fetus as well as adopting Freudian sexual theories.  Accused of teaching Judaism as Christianity, Gothard promotes the idea of arranged marriages.  Some have written his legalistic view of Scripture is not Biblical.  He once wrote that Cabbage Patch dolls were supposed to prevent women from giving birth, among other gems.  These other strange ideas flow from the book.
     Chapter one of the work is a response to the Humanistic Manifesto, a small movement with limited followers. Gothard makes it the group he wants to respond to in the book.  Regarding abortion, Bill takes a viewpoint that IUD and other birth control pills kill a conceived child.  Gothard advocates the "full quiver" view of birth control. That is birth control is evil and out of the will of God.  God ordained reproduction and going with birth control is going against God.  
     Violating the cycle of a woman goes against God. He has several pages on this. Gothard  says this can cause medical as well as spiritual harm. It can even lead to infertility which is definitely against God.  Birth control can be murder.  The pill is evil and can cause many medical complications. Sterilization is wrong since there is no problem with over population in the world.  There is more than enough oil and land in the world to keep pace with a growing population.  If you are infertile call for the elders to lay hands on the wife.  You might need to check out the music you are listening to which might be the reason for your infertility.  Rock music as well as loud contemporary music makes conception difficult.  The idea that rock music does not lead to pregnancy is a new twist.
     There are many pages dealing with sodomy.  That and the woman's cycle tend to consume a great deal of interest to Gothard, who by the way was never married.
      Gothad states that fathers must pick out a man for their daughter with a clear conscience, under authority, and who has financial freedom.  The father gives the command, the mother works out the guidelines in the family.  Father is spiritual leader.  The woman is to work out how to properly go forward with the command of the father.  Female chemistry is to be submissive to the will of father.  Gothard rejects the concept of working mothers.
     The manual spends a great deal of print on music.  Certain rhythms and tones can cause sensuous impressions. Timbre is to be evaluated in the song since it can bring harm. All music must be brought under control of the Holy Spirit.  High volume rock music blocks out the conscious.  Gothard states that rock and contemporary music are the "antithesis of what God desires in the life of a Christian."  One husband in the book played a rock music record backwards and of course, "Satanic words spill forth." Henry Ford used to teach that Jews created jazz in order to evoke the sexual appetites of Black people.  Bill Hargis networked with a man who advocated modern music was basically evil in nature.  It appears that Bill Gothard has bought into the theology of Jerry Lee Lewis who said rock and roll was the devil's music.  
     Speaking of finances, the work advises the following, "Being forced to borrow is always a sign of God's judgment."  There is in the book a story of a woman with a good paying job. She quit in order to be submissive and trust her husband as the spiritual leader.  The book claims real Christians should purchase a home without borrowing money.  The book was written in 1985, and one wonders who had cash even then to purchase a home.  Today modern man scarcely purchases an automobile without a loan.
     There are other gems of wisdom that are peculiar to many readers.  Gothard condemned both  drinking at a bar and attending a dance.  The work promotes the idea of home school.  The parents are to be teachers. Modern education groups children by age level which is the seed of rebellion.  TV ultimately will make people the enemy of God according to the seminar.  The prodigal son was not welcome back according to Bill's view of this gospel story.  He had to earn his return in contrast to what most people see as the jest of the parable.  Anyone who offends a believer is God's agent according to the work.  A fatalistic view of reality and prosperity promised for following magical principles seems to be the theory of the book.  
     The book goes so far as to teach women how to stand and gives advice on dressing. The length of slacks for men is even diagramed.  Color choice for women is suggested as well as hair styles that are more attractive for different faces.  
      The work claims pastors must wear suits on Sunday.  This view on dress and music reveals how little influence Gothard has had on many in the mega church movement.  Rick Warren's golf shirts and shorts on Sunday and the contemporary music in the modern church seems to reflect how little impact the movement has in many churches.  Gauging just how much impact the movement had is hard to evaluate.  For certain, few outside of the inner circle of followers realize just how far out on the fringe the teachings of Basic Youth Conflicts are.



Display:
One gem I left out was the advice to never ask your secretary to sew a button on for you.

by wilkyjr on Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 08:57:59 AM EST

I think Gothard came and went.  I most certainly remember being taught by the groups that raised me that Cabbage Patch Dolls were demonic.  I remember walking by them in Toys R Us and being scared to even look at them.

I don't know how much Gothard had an impact on my homeschool education, I know he didn't help, but I doubt that his influence was as strong as it is in some other circles.

A family in a town 20 miles from me beat their home-school child to death with air-conditioning tubing for mispronouncing words in her homeschool lessons.  I don't think they were under Gothard's seminars, but it was one of the very conservative homeschool advocates (one who taught that stealing a cookie is as bad a sin as murder in God's eyes, and vice-versa).

I'm glad to see Gothard left in the dust - I severely dislike the things I've read in his books.  Sometimes I feel like these powerful men release this documentation into the "plantation" population when they wouldn't do anything they teach to their own children.  But, who knows, maybe their kids were subjected to it as well.

As for Gothard's decline, good riddance.

by OldChaosoftheSun on Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 10:44:42 AM EST


This stuff sounds a lot like another huckster of almost a century earlier: John R. Rice, doesn't it? Paricularly with the dress bit! One of Rice's books was Bobbed Hair & Loose Women, or something close to it!

by achbird65 on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 10:59:56 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (60 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (13 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (13 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (8 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (19 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (9 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (9 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (9 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (12 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (22 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (29 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (12 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (12 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (49 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (10 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (10 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (6 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (8 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (15 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (11 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (10 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (6 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (12 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.