Who is Bill Gothard? He is the controversial minister who Jim Bob and Michelle follow. Gothard was the3rd of six children born in 1934 to parents Carmen and William Gothard, manager of an engineering firm.At the age of around ten, he believed Jesus was his personal savior and his family joined a fundamentalists church. Gothard earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1957 from Wheaton College and Master of Arts degree in Christian Education. From there he worked with gangs, youth group, camps and high school clubs. Gothard devised seven character qualities he believed was not an option based on working with gangs and families in crisis.
He was ordained in Chicago at Lagrange Bible Church and Wheaton college allowed him to use a program called Basic Youth Conflicts. the first year 46 students joined and the next year around 100 took the course. In 1961, Gothard began his Campus Teams organization which changed to Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts. now it is called Institute of Basic Life Principals. The Basic Seminars attendance grew in the 1970's with from 10,000 to 20,000 attendants. Attendance slacked during the 1980's. Currently, it has grown to over 2 million. He started a homeschooling program in 1984 the Advanced Training Institute of America which uses 52 Wisdom Booklets.IBLP advanced seminar textbook instructs women on hair, makeup, and tells them how to stand , sit, and avoid slits in skirts.The men's book tells them how to be leaders and avoid peer pressure.
If you haven' heard of him or ATI, it's because Gothard doesn't actively promote himself. Applicants to ATI .must meet strict requirements and not let anyone borrow or sell their materials. Gothard believes there is only one interpretation of verses but they have many applications. Most criticism comes from the legalism and cult like beliefs. For example, in the 1980's, he condemned Cabbage Patch Dolls because they provoked questionable behavior in children. He is not married nor has any children but yet gives out advice on the subjects. Gothard is an advocate of no birth control and male headship. Children should be homeschooled and associate with like minded people. Courting is preferred over dating and suggests youth remain with the parents until marriage. He also forbids dancing ,watching tv, rock music, and even contemporary Christian. this is just the beginning of what Gothard teaches. Learn more here