by Michelle, from Recovering Grace*:
"Before I was born my parents started following the teaching of Bill Gothard and IBLP, and when I was 5, they joined ATI (Advanced Training Institute), the homeschool program that Gothard developed for the families of his Basic and Advanced Seminars.
Gothard emphasized “principles” which simply meant there were many different rules that dictated specific activities in my life. My parents controlled what music we listened to, movies we watched (none), things we ate and drank (no alcohol or anything Biblically ‘unclean’) and the clothing our family wore (specifically the women).
I didn’t choose this life. I was born into it (like your own children are born into the life you chose for them). For me, this life was completely normal, and the world around me was different and labeled “bad.”
Until I was about 5, my childhood pictures show me wearing “normal” clothes, meaning that I resembled any other average American child. After that, I wore a lot of dresses and skirts, even for situations where they may have been less than appropriate for the occasion. I remember wearing skirts over my pants to play in the snow (I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area), to hike mountains, and to play games at AWANA.
In my teenage years, my mom started telling me what I could and couldn’t wear based on my body. Skirts had to be below my knees, shirts must have high necklines so as not to show that I had breasts. Nothing could be worn that “hugged” my body or showed the shape of my body. My mom would tell me to change if things were too tight or low. Accessories like earrings and nail polish were restricted or banned. The list of things I could not wear was a long one.
My parents were essentially taught by Gothard that we were to be under their control (cleverly disguised as the word “authority”) and this extended to my clothing choices. My mom was telling me what to wear into my 20’s...."
*Please check out the rest of Michelle's testimony at the link above.
Over these many years I have certainly seen more than "gothardites" destroying people and families with their control, manipulation, judgements, and legalisms. Groups of "manipulators" who are full of the lack of mercy, the lack of compassion, the lack understanding---
---no grace! no grace whatsoever! and yet saying they have the way that God desires!
They use His name to control and manipulate people!
How abhorrent! Detestable! Despicable! Aberrational! Just plain evil!
How can we stop this?!
The answer is that God is the One who is working. He can work through us also.
Usually we will be coming alongside only one person at time who has been trapped in legalisms. "One at a time" is a good thing, even if your heart is to help many, many people. You see, each "one person" will then become another person who will eventually come alongside others. It will "snowball"---so be thankful to be there for your "one at a time"!
If you have an opportunity to be the "light" to someone in darkness, please do so with the LORD as your strength. Remember that those who have been controlled, manipulated, and lied to all their lives are broken in many ways. They need gentle reminders of His truth and His love to come rightly into His freedom! To be truly set free is a joy!
May the LORD be glorified!