I recently shared an interview from my therapist Chantelle Neufeld, entitled, “Raised in a Cult.” I commented that this would give my friends a window into what it was like to be raised in IBLP/ATI under the teachings of Bill Gothart, as my wife was.
I have had significant responses to posting this and other videos. I have decided not to share these responses, as most of them were made in private messages.
In summary, I have had quite a few women — mostly in their mid thirties — either simply “like” the interview, or reach out to me to say that my comments on this and related subjects really encouraged them.
I had two lengthy discussions with men in their fifties. They both were incredulous that I would call ATI a “cult.” When I encouraged them to watch the interview, they responded that the specific issues cited were clearly wrong, but that an entire system should not be thrown out due to “a few slip ups” of the leader. (For those who don’t know, there is compelling evidence that Bill Gothart was using his organization to groom and systematically rape young girls). When asked for evidence as to why ATI was such a wonderful system, they both responded that, “I had a great experience,” and “it is Biblical.”
The difference between these two responses is very striking to myself. Yes, the experience was great to the men who were told that “head of your home” meant that they basically had absolute control over the lives of their children, for life. However, that was not a good experience for the children — particularly the girls, but also the boys — who were trying to figure out how to grow up and learn to thrive under such harsh parenting.
I hope to look more at IBLP, ATI, and Bill Gothart in future posts.