Thursday, February 27, 2014

Who IS the Institute in Basic Life Principles?

According to a post on, Bible teacher and homeschool program founder Bill Gothard has been put on administrative leave by his board of directors while numerous reports of nonconsensual sexual contact, some perpetrated on minors, are investigated. 

In light of that interesting fact, I am trying to make some sense of the dense thicket that is currently the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Besides Gothard himself, who is the Institute?

* * * * *

UPDATE 6/18/14: Ralph Hudgens is no longer listed on the IBLP website as a member of the board.

UPDATE: Billy Boring and Bernie Reese resigned from the board early in March 2014
  • John Stancil is a member of the IBLP board, and also chairman of the board for Crown College in Tennessee where Erin (Bates) Paine is a student. A former director at Sword of the Lord forced out after a scandal, Stancil now owns a transportation company near Nashville.
  • Dr. Stephen Paine did research for Gothard's book How to Resolve Seven Deadly Stresses, which "offers Biblical insight on tracing disease and health problems to five basic factors—what you think, say, do, eat, and inherit." Paine worked at Gothard's centers in Indianapolis and Oak Brook, but is currently practicing medicine at a prison in Cushing, Oklahoma. 
Paine's son Nate conducts IBLP seminars for prisoners through the Florida Department of Corrections*. His children Tabitha and Thomas were working at IBLP Headquarters last year. Paine's son Chad married Erin Bates. Erin is enrolled in Crown College.
  • Gil Bates is on the IBLP board. His family has been featured on the Duggars' television show. Bates' daughter Erin is married to Stephen Paine's son and is currently a student at Crown College. Alyssa Bates is engaged to John Webster, son of Congressman (and long-time Gothard follower) Daniel Webster.

The rest of the IBLP board members, according to the IBLP website, are:

  • Dr. Billy Boring, a physician in McKinney, Texas (chairman of the board).
  • Ralph Hudgens, Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Georgia.
  • Bernie Reese, Sr.a lawyer in Rockford, Illinois.
  • David York, a pastor in Greenfield, WI.
  • Anthony Burrus of Waco, TX.  

* * * * *
  • Dwight Fredrickson is IBLP's Chief Financial Officer. His wife is Bill Gothard's niece and his daughter is engaged to marry Jordan Webster, another son of the Florida Congressman, next month. 
  • Robert Barth is General Counsel for IBLP (also their donor contact) and is also on the faculty of Oak Brook College of Law, the unaccredited correspondence law school IBLP established in California in 1995. Barth has ten children.
  • George Mattix is IBLP's executive international director. Two weeks ago, he told The Christian Post that the board "would prayerfully consider what course of action members would take before releasing any public statements."  

These men, and a few others, have represented the Institute for decades or more. Board members come and go, but these directors have been loyal to Gothard through thick and thin.

The question now is Why? 

And can they extricate themselves from their leader's downfall without losing their own integrity?

*Note: Bill Gothard himself has participated in "prison revivals" inside a Florida women's prison alongside Florida Representative Charles Van Zant, a former pastor who now "has 144 prisons under his care":
"The inmates watch powerful messages and had bible studies which helped them identified blind spots or secret sins in their lives that prevented them from completely surrendering to God. There were small group sessions held and testimonies that expound on guilt, past hurts, bitterness, hidden sin, and emotional life stories that resulted in prayers and encouraging one another. The seminar was a great success and ended on Sunday with a graduation where Bob Holyfield, Mr. Gothard and Representative Charles Van Zant was in attendance."


  1. Thans for writing this. I was not sure who was on the board.

  2. Found this while searching for Dwight Fredrickson ... knew him in the 70s and 80s ... oh, the stories I could tell ...