|from Character First training materials|
Much abuse, and abuse cover-up, occurred under the auspices of the Institute in Basic Life Principles in the decades since the 1980 scandal. Numerous instances of child abuse were not reported, despite the Institute referring to itself as an "educational" organization and Bill Gothard touting his status as a Christian minister. So who was he accountable to? If they later left IBLP, why did they leave, and did they leave quietly?
We know who currently sits on the IBLP Board of Directors, but there has long been considerable turnover. Additionally, there is the opaque "Advisory Board". For the purpose of this post, I will use "Board member" to refer to any man who has served on either the IBLP Board of Directors or Board of Advisors since 1980. They gave legitimacy to Gothard's nonsense by lending their names to his so-called ministry. I for one would like to see any of these men make a public statement distancing themselves from Bill Gothard and his "principles".
Here is the list I have come up with so far:
- Gil Bates, pastor in Tennessee
- John Beckett, CEO of a manufacturing company in Ohio
- Roy Blackwood (Board of Directors 1980-2012), pastor of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis and member of the board of the Indiana Biblical Counseling Center
- Dr. Billy Boring (Board of Directors 2005-present), physician in Texas UPDATE: resigned 3/14
- Thomas Brandon, pastor in Texas
- Anthony Burrus, linguist? language teacher? in Texas
- Wes Cantrell (Board of Directors 2003-2005), CEO of Lanier Worldwide, Inc.
- Dr. Gustav Hemwall, deceased (Board of Directors 1961-1998), physician in Illinois
- Thomas Hill (Board of Directors 1993-2005), president of Kimray and founder of Character First (now part of Strata Leadership)
- Ralph Hudgens (Board of Directors 2007-present), State of Georgia Insurance Commissioner
- Sam Johnson (Board of Directors 2003-2012), Congressman from Texas
- James Leininger, Texas billionaire and Republican kingmaker
- Dr. Stephen Paine, physician in Oklahoma
- Bernie Reese, attorney in Illinois UPDATE: resigned 3/14
- Jim Sammons (Board of Directors 1980-2002), real estate developer in Fort Worth
- John Stancil, businessman in Tennessee
- Jerry Wells, pastor of Western Hills Church in Oklahoma City and Gothard's "personal pastor" for several years
- David York (2012?-to present), pastor in Wisconsin
- Dr. Dean Youngberg (Board of Directors 1994-2003), physician in Kansas
It may have been possible for board members to maintain a distance from what was actually happening at IBLP Headquarters and the various training centers. Some of them may have truly been ignorant of the abuses that were taking place week after week from Michigan to Arkansas:
- physical neglect and abuse ranging from callous to violating to inhumane
- isolation and solitary confinement
- denial of necessary medical care
- verbal and emotional abuse that left some "student" disciples with longterm disabling anxiety/PTSD/health problems
- educational abuse (especially for minors placed in the care of the Institute away from their parents
- not to mention sexual abuse and harassment that either took place at training centers or was confided to leadership who never reported to authorities
The men and women who used Gothard's teachings as a cloak for their own cruelty should be investigated, as well. Together, they hurt so many more young men and women than Gothard could have alone. Everyone who was put in charge of a training center or an Institute program or lay claim to the "authority" to grant privileges to underlings who were sent there or were paying weekly for the privilege of discipleship should be held accountable for the way they treated those young people.