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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Homeschool Leader Bill Gothard Accused of Sexual Misconduct

  • Kristin Wright
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2014 Feb 14
  • Comments

Bill Gothard, the fundamentalist pastor and founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, as well as Advanced Training Institute, has been accused of sexually harassing women who worked for his organization.

In accusations that go back decades, 34 women who worked for Bill Gothard’s organization have come forward to describe how he sexually harassed them – using his teachings on male authority to silence his victims.

One victim, a woman identified as Lizzie, describes Gothard’s tactics for abusing the women working for him.

“Gothard plays a mind game with certain young women who may attempt to graciously and discreetly evade his physical affections and implied emotional intimacies,” she says. “He wordlessly removes that option from the table while verbally assuring them of the importance of their continued presence in the ministry. He uses his position of spiritual and organizational authority to frame leaving his side as leaving God's will and losing the most effective place for ministry.”

Gothard continues to influence thousands of homeschooling families with his views on patriarchy and family planning. Gothard’s organization preaches that birth control is sinful, women must be refused positions of leadership in church, home or society, and that men are to control their families with absolute authority under what he terms the “divine authority structure.”