Sunday, October 25, 2015

Owners of Big Sandy Campus (ALERT Academy) Being Sued

When the Worldwide Church of God started to loose income because of its doctrinal and tithing changes, one of the fist things to go was the Big Sandy Campus. It was not a quick sale though, it drug on and on while it drained money from the Worldwide Church of God's pocket book. Eventuality it was sold to ALERT Academy, the right wing fundamentalist sect that Bill Gothard dreamed up because he thought the churches around him were too liberal.

Over four decades ago Gothard formed the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). Since that time the belief system he started has been hit with one scandal after another.  From child abuse and pedophilia, to sexual misconduct by Gothard.  Numerous lawsuits have been field over the years which forced Gothard to resign from the board of his various "charities."

The biggest public face of the movement was the Dugger family who let the world into their fundamentalist family with 19 Kids and Counting.  That world came crashing down after their son was discovered to be a serial adulterer and pedophile.  Instead of send the guy to jail, he was sent to ALERT Academy where he received "counseling" from its leaders.  These were not professional counselors that were experienced with working with pedophiles, but men who tried to "pray" the pedophile demon out of Dugger.

Gothards main headquarters was based in Chicago.  There is a 10 part series (Dark Secrets) here detailing the child abuse and sexual improprieties that went on at that HQ.  Listening to it is like listening and reading about the Worldwide Church of God HQ in Pasadena.  When powerful corrupt men who claim to speak for God take on power they end up abusing that power by abusing members, sexually, mentally physically and spiritually.
The Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Chicago-based organization, has operated the Indianapolis Training Center on the city’s Northside for a decade. Its Bible-based learning program has been praised as an example of how state and church can work together to help troubled youth.

But the Eyewitness News Investigators found shocking allegations of child abuse at the center. After we began looking into the allegations, the state Child Protective Services agency opened an investigation into the claims of abuse and confinement of children in a so-called prayer room.
Gothard has announced that they are selling the Chicago HQ and moving  the entire operation to Big Sandy, Texas.  This came soon after 5 women came forward two says ago and filed a lawsuit against Gothard and the group for sexual abuse.

Five women sue Bill Gothard’s ministry that has ties to the Duggars
Five women have sued the Institute in Basic Life Principles, once a leader in the Christian homeschooling movement, charging that the organization and its board of directors enabled and covered up sexual abuse and harassment of interns, employees, and other participants in its programs.

Attorney David Gibbs III Discusses the IBLP Lawsuit and Answers Important Questions 

 No Longer Quivering: Bill Gothard’s IBLP Sued

The IBLP was hugely instrumental in the push in the Homeschooling Movement here in the United States. Along with the public face of the Dugger's, the other prominent face of this movement is Hobby Lobby.  Gothard's group is also heavily into Christian Reconstructionism.
Reconstructionism, which is closely related to Dominionism, found a niche with homeschoolers, especially conservative Christians who bought the idea of being fruitful and multiplying (Quiverfull Movement) in order to take over or subdue the earth. 
I am sure the residents of Big Sandy are groaning again about another cult taking over the campus with weird doctrines and teachings.  After ridding themselves of the craziness of Armstrongism they are now going to be taken over by an even more aberrant cult.


Anonymous said...

"...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9

the default spirit of man is that of an animal, hence his animal like behavior...

Ed said...

I came to the conclusion years ago that all churches are cults. It is just a matter of how destructive they are. Mild to extreme. It seems that more extreme teachings are becoming more apart of even mainstream religion this group is a prime example of that.

Pam said...

I have been keeping track of Bill Gothard and his movement for my Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion research since the late 1990s. I include him in the "Who's Who Digest" on my website and in my book. Here's the short entry about him from my website. I haven't updated this section since Gothard's resignation from his ministry last year after an investigation into his behavior. I was aware of the Gothard/Big Sandy connection when the sale of Big Sandy was in the news, and found it very ironic. Thanks for posting this. I had missed this story in the news.

The book I mention at the end of this Who's Who entry is utterly fascinating. It covers the same basic material as the "Dark Secrets" articles. I would note that Gothard spent his whole life preaching and teaching about marriage relationships and child rearing...when he was never married, and had no children. His theories, practices, and advice have been some of the ugliest in "Christian circles," but were so sugar-coated on the surface that he sucked in huge numbers of people into his web. The "face" of the organization and its outreaches was so beneficent. Just like the Plain Truth magazine. But the details behind the scenes of the spiritual abuse of his organization, particularly of women and children, are despicable.


Founder of the Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP), the Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and creator of the materials used for the Character First! CF! programs being used by various schools, businesses and communities throughout the US and other countries. Through the IBLP Gothard offers seminars on child rearing and family living, including a series called "Basic Youth Conflicts" regarding parenting teenagers. ATI is a comprehensive homeschool program for families, CF! uses character training and success motivation material from the ATI curriculum , after purging it of references to God and the Bible. This program is offered to cities, businesses, schools and other groups as being a totally secular program, and all references to its connection to the Gothard ministries have been obscured.

Gothard's methods and teachings have come under close scrutiny and criticism in recent years. A growing number of individuals and families which formerly looked to Gothard as somewhat of a spiritual guru have become disillusioned and disenchanted with him and his ministries, and some are actively seeking to publicize their concerns.

The most extensive and well-documented material covering the areas of concern about Gothard's ministry is that available on the Midwest Christian Outreach (MCO) website:

And the definitive book on the topic is ***Bill Gothard--A Matter of Basic Principles***, an excellent investigative report by MCO affiliates Don and Joy Veinot and Ron Henzel. Ordering information is at the link below.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the groups that exhibit the most prudish behavior seem to have a lot sex perverts in their midst. I think that sexual repression tends to have the opposite effect of causing sexual perversion. I think it is much better to be open about sex and have a balanced approach about human sexuality. We shouldn't feel guilty about sex. Those groups that are the most prudish also seem to be the most hyprocritical about sex.

Connie Schmidt said...

Looks like more "BS" is coming from "BS". (Big Sandy)

Anonymous said...

"When powerful corrupt men who claim to speak for God take on power they end up abusing that power by abusing members, sexually, mentally, physically, and spiritually."

Or in other words, they end up systematically abusing their members in every way possible. Leave no stone unturned, and no orifice or bank account unviolated.

"The Institute in Basic [Iron Age] Life Principles"

Fixed it for 'em.

Pam said...

Pardon me while I BARF! I just checked the Wikipedia article on Bill Gothard and discovered he relaunched a brand new website in July 2015! Which includes "testimonials" from young people about how wonderful his programs are, to "counter" all the "lies" that have been told about the ministry.

He also mentions that the "shocking" things that happened to him the year before were directly allowed by God to get him to repent ...not for spiritually and emotionally an physically abusing naive people, no-no-no... but for "not meditating enough." So now he's meditatin' all the time and back in tight with God more than ever. Yessir.

Byker Bob said...

Is it possible that the WCG left some of their demons behind when they sold the property?


Anonymous said...

BB wrote-
"Is it possible that the WCG left some of their demons behind when they sold the property?"

No problemo, Bob! Wacko churches like Bill Gothard's perform 'full-on' hokey superstitious purification ceremonies in all corners of the rooms to rid the entire acquired space of evil spirits!

That way, those noticing and involved in the ceremonies can perpetuate their belief that they're better than what/who they actually are.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pam,

I think your comments are apropos considering the subject matter- Yup, I've been following the Gothards and the problems with Bill & Co., too.

BTW, several years ago I posted a link to where HWA wrote of his fascination with pyramidology- (and a book he'd recently been impressed with on the subject). You thanked me for it at the time and remarked that the info was new to you. (The info I offered was straight out of some older writings of HWA- like the Bible Advocate or something like that.)
Just wondering- did you incorporate that into your Field Guide?


NO2HWA said...

You mentioned Herbert's fascination with pyramidology...the A C library in Pasadena was filled with several shelves of pyramidology books. Most from the late 1800's when it was the rage. This was the same time period that British Israelism was in operation. The pyramid measurements supposedly coincided with prophecy that many were into.

Anonymous said...

As someone who graduated from Alert Academy, I always felt like there was something off about that man, (Bill Gothard). I must say though, my experience at the academy was really awesome. I learned a lot of practical things in my time there and I wouldn't trade the memories I made there for anything. Sure, there are always "wolves in sheep's clothing" but there are also a lot of genuine, great people that have studied and worked there. It's a beautiful campus btw!

Donna Walker said...

Great to know, thank you

E Dean Cozzens said...

I just heard today that Bill Gothard has been vindicated.