Greg Moore: I survived Bill Gothard: A personal review of Shiny Happy People DMW#178


This week Greg sat down and reviewed the documentary "Shiny Happy People", based on the Duggars and their use of the Bill Gothard curriculum. Greg's parents used Bill Gothard's text books and was part of ATI (Advanced Training Institute) for the first few years of their homeschooling. Greg talks about his personal experience being under legalistic church leadership that used and endorsed Bill Gothard, and even had him visit their church for training. Enjoy! Website & Merch:


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So let's get into it. Just me today. As you can see, usually we try to bring you a guest every week.
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We want to get right into it here. I watched a documentary last weekend called
Shiny Happy People. It's on Prime Video. A lot of people are talking about it nationally.
It kind of followed the Duggars and kind of the scandal that happened with their eldest son.
Really though, if you watch it, it's really more of condemnation on Bill Gothard and his kind of homeschool curriculum movement, the camps he had for young men and young women, and kind of the scandal that went on with him.
Normally I wouldn't review a documentary like that, but one, it has to do with homeschooling,
Christianity, doctrine, theology, but also two, as the show is titled,
I survived Bill Gothard. I was homeschooled in the 80s and 90s, and my parents were in a church to where the pastor and the leadership were heavily influenced by Bill Gothard.
Many of the members of that church homeschooled, and many of those that homeschooled used
Bill Gothard's curriculum, including my family for a few years. So my very first year of homeschooling was in fourth grade.
If you guys have listened to the podcast for any length of time, some of this will be a little bit of a rehash, but it'll start to put into context some of the stories that I tell.
I've never really got into it in the three years that we've been doing this podcast. I didn't know if it was relevant, but now
Bill Gothard has kind of become this national name right now in the ethos, as it were, in the zeitgeist, and I was part of that.
We were part of ATI, and in fact, I believe it was ATIA, Advanced Training Institute of America, the very first year, and the second year they dropped the
A and just made it international because it was growing so quickly. This would have been 1989, 1990, 1991, right in there, and everything that you see in the documentary, like the wisdom booklets and the kind of authoritarian kind of gist to the curriculum, was there.
I remember some of the teachings, even being fourth, fifth grade, going through those wisdom booklets and character sketches and things like that, which we'll get into that too.
I even have some of the character sketches here in my studio. If you've watched YouTube right behind me here, you've probably seen the three character sketches up on my wall.
Now, I want to preface this with two things. First of all, we won't go super in -depth on the documentary.
I'm just going to kind of pull out some of the stuff that I saw and confirm it, and then maybe give my idea of some of the stuff that might have been exaggerated or had an agenda in the documentary.
Second of all, I also want to say this. I kind of want to give a preference to my experience.
In the documentary, it shows such a kind of, I don't want to say put the duggars in a bad light, but kind of shows some of the things that were ignored and maybe alluding to the fact that people didn't get a good education in homeschooling.
First and foremost, I am a huge advocate for homeschooling, not because I personally homeschool.
Me and my wife are three children, but my experience with homeschooling. With that being said,
I want to talk about that very quickly and kind of preference this whole thing. I was homeschooled from fourth until 10th grade, went to an elementary school near my house up until third grade.
Some things happened there to where my parents pulled us out. They were teaching subjective morality to third graders even early on in the mid -80s.
And then my last two years, junior, senior year, went to a public school as well. With that being said, my parents did a phenomenal job at homeschooling.
The first two years, I believe, and I might have to get corrected on this, I don't think we went three years with ATI and Bill Gothard's curriculum.
But even within those first two years, my parents, my father and mother, they put a lot of emphasis on education.
By profession, my mother was a teacher. She is a, later in life, she was a preschool, kindergarten teacher, tutor, all those things.
My father really put an emphasis on Proverbs and Psalms and reading the word every day.
So when I talk about some of the criticisms of this, of Bill Gothard's curriculum, in no way am
I criticizing my mother and father. I think they did a phenomenal job for being only one of maybe 50 parents in the state of Michigan that were homeschooling at the time.
Remember, this was mid -80s to late -80s. There was very few homeschoolers around. We had social services sent to our door saying, where are your kids?
Why aren't they in school? Are you being abusive parents? When in fact, I look at my parents as pioneers and seeing a school system that was, a public school system that was, even then, 30, 40 years ago, was starting down the wrong path, was teaching subjective morality, was teaching secularism.
And they decided, no, we're going to pull our kids out. At that time, it was me and my brother. I think my sister, who's nine years younger, was just being born when we were in our first or second year homeschool.
And really, we're pioneers in that. So this isn't a knock on my mother or father.
I think they did a phenomenal job. And even so much to, that's the reason why we moved away from Bill Gothard, moved away from Bill Gothard.
And then even in the secondary curriculum, we had some booklets that my mother and father decided were not challenging us enough.
And we switched curriculum again to find that curriculum that was challenging, that had an education, that was focusing on education, not only
God's word, but also a real -world education. So I wanted to say that up front, that this isn't a knock on them.
I think the only reason I survived Bill Gothard and turned out and have a successful business and have a successful run in local politics and a family and a work ethic and all those things is because we didn't rely on just that curriculum and kind of get sucked into that entire world, which a lot of people in the documentary do.
So, Shiny Happy People, I believe it's called, watched it.
I think it's three or four parts on Amazon, so probably three, four, five hours long overall.
Really focuses on this kind of movement in the 70s and 80s by Bill Gothard that was very legalistic, very authoritarian, and then started putting out homeschool material.
What I gathered, here are some true things that I from that documentary. One, they made a point of, you know, a lot of parents in the 80s and 90s were in this weird thing where they felt there's a lot of turmoil going on within the country.
You had the Cold War, you know, basically starting to come to an end, but still fears of that.
You had the moral majority and Jerry Falwell and really people trying to utilize politics, you know, or utilize the,
I guess you'd say the moral majority of the right, the Christian right to change the world through politics, which was kind of a new idea.
Abortion rights were still raging. You had the hangover, the sexual revolution, and now going into the push for homosexuality and things like that.
So, you had this like crazy social world. I would argue, you know, maybe ours is even more crazy right now in the, in 2023, but back then it was like, the parents were like, what are we going to do?
We have kids listening to rock music. We have them go, you know, sexually liberated. Like what are we going to do?
And along comes Bill Gothard. And he says, look at, I know the way that you need, you need to get back to the
Bible, back to the basics. You need to, you know, establish authority in your home and all these things.
Well, a lot of those things are true. When I'm watching the documentary, and we'll touch on this a little bit later, but really the documentary was written and directed by someone with a secular and left -leaning kind of worldview.
And you can see some of that in the documentary to where they go a little bit too far and it's really just pushing their kind of leftist agenda.
But it's based in truth too, that you basically had a man who was taking scripture out of context, who was using certain scriptures to push a very authoritarian view of scripture and a legalistic view of scripture.
So I think we have to define a few things up front is like, first of all, when I say legalistic, what does that mean?
Some people think, oh, well, that means rigid. That means patriarchy. That means the man is in control and head of his home.
Well, hold on. I hold to some of those right now. I think those are biblical. I do believe that there is a created order.
I am a complementarian. I do believe that the man is the head of his home and the wife does submit to the man biblically, but I'm not authoritarian in that.
And I also don't want to take verses out of context when we say that. Does a man being the spiritual head of his house also entail him to be able to abuse his wife, whether it be verbally, physically, emotionally?
Absolutely not. In fact, we are to, as husbands, lay down our life for our wives as Christ laid down his life for the church, which is a very, very tough calling.
I would say even more heavy calling than the wife that's called to submit.
So with that being said, we have to look at it and say, well, what is legalism in its rawest sense of the word?
And that is when we take secondary issues and we make them primary issues or salvific issues.
So when you have a fundamentalist tell you that, you know, if you're a believer and a woman is wearing pants or you're a believer as a man and you're smoking a cigarette and you're in fear of losing your salvation because of those issues, that's a form of legalism.
That's taking those secondary issues, which are outside the, the way I look at it is like this, and I'm visualizing with my hands for those watching, but you have a circle of primary orthodoxy doctrines, the deity of Christ, the
Trinity, the salvific work of Christ, all those things, right? Who God is, what his characters, that's primary orthodoxy.
Then you have some secondary issues out here, which would be, you know, how, how do we talk? How do we dress? What activities can, are acceptable?
Maybe drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco or something like that. Those secondary, baptism would be a secondary issue, very important one, but still a secondary issue.
And then we take those issues, the secondary issues, and we move them into the realm of primary issues and we focus on those.
That, that is a form of legalism. And Bill Gothard had a form of authoritarianism that was legalistic, which was, you know, men are the absolute last authority within their homes.
And it can't be questioned. It can't be questioned. And to use that authority, sometimes violence or emotional or verbal abuse was okay, because you have to keep control and authority of your home.
What made this a little more sinister is then these men in this, in this curriculum would then roll up to Bill Gothard, who had a lot of yes men around him, a board of yes men, and people who looked the other way.
And then Bill Gothard was the ultimate authority. So it almost became a little bit of what you see in the
Catholic church where they say, oh, well, you know, the word of God is inherent and is the ultimate authority, but then the
Pope and the Cardinals interpret or the church tradition interprets the word of God and tells you exactly what it means.
Well, then what, then who is the ultimate authority? It's definitely not the Bible. It's the man at the top, you know, it's the
Pope. Well, guess what? Bill, Bill Gothard was kind of the Pope of his organization.
He couldn't be questioned. He had ultimate authority. And what he said went and it trickled down through some of the curriculum and what he said and kind of how he influenced some of these pastors and men within their homes who were homeschooling and using this curriculum.
And I saw that firsthand. I mean, I have a friend that was at Bill Gothard's camp.
His father took him down there, met with Bill Gothard many times. I mean, it was firsthand experience of kind of the kookiness and craziness of what was going on.
Secondly, yeah, these camps that he would run where you would send your young men down there to learn, you know, how to work and how to be men and how to respect authority, you know, was a form of free child labor.
He had, you know, young men, 14, 15, 16, all the way up to their mid twenties, working on building these campuses and cleaning and doing all these things.
And it was, it was a form of forced child labor, really, when you define it. Now that may sound like strong words, but you know, when you're a 16 year old kid living with your parents and they go, hey, we're going to send you down to this camp for a month, you really can't say no, you're living under the authority of your parents.
And then once you get there, the parents relinquish full authority to the camp directors and the leaders there.
And they tell you to go scrub toilets or build a barn or, you know, build a building or, you know, rehab a campus for future use for the ministries.
Well, that's what you have to do all done in the name of God and in the name of, you know, creating character.
Now I'm not saying that there can't be ministries that do that and do it successfully. But when you watch the documentary from what's presented and from what
I personally have heard, you know, I, like I said, I have a friend who was there and tells me the things that went on.
You went, yeah, that, that doesn't seem beneficial nor godly. So there's definitely some true aspects there of shiny, happy people to where I kind of lived it.
And then I have friends to this day that lived through it. And that can confirm that. So it's not something out of out of sorts.
I would say, you know, some of the talk about allegations about Bill Gothard, and if you've been following the news at all, way back in like 1980, he had some allegations of, of kind of, they call them sexual assault, but it was touching the hair and the shoulders and, and kind of making advances on women that was unwanted or unwarranted.
They settled that in 1980. And then again, just a few years ago, you had 34 women come out and say, yeah, there was some, there were some things where he would use his authority to be able to, you know, maybe touch a woman's foot inappropriately or shoulder.
And then one of those 34 women accused him of rape. That hasn't been substantiated, but it is an accusation.
But you could tell from the film that the, they really, you know, the writers and the director really, really focused it on the word on sexual assault to 34 cases of sexual assault.
Well, um, I don't want this to sound a defensive, uh,
Bill Gothard, because what I think he did was despicable and how he used the word of God out of context and with bad hermeneutic.
Um, I would put them up there with any of the preachers that we rail against on this podcast today.
But at the same time, they, you know, because sexual assaults and is such a hot topic for the left to use against anyone, they really wanted to kind of narrow in on that and say 34 women of, you know, uh, of, uh, sexual assault cases.
Well, I would say there's probably a good number of those that absolutely have, uh, cases in probably some of those that went, well, he made me feel uncomfortable or he bossed me around or, you know, maybe not all of those are a 100 % legitimate, but still at 34, that means there was things going on there that he did that were absolutely inappropriate, especially inappropriate for someone who claims to be a man of God.
So, um, absolutely should be condemned on, on those types of actions.
Uh, you know, with that being said, watch the, watch the, um, documentary.
Um, a lot of it brought back, uh, a lot of memories too, because I mean, look at here,
I'll even pull this up. I'm in studio here for those of you listening, you can't see this, but for those of you watching,
I even have in my possession, which was our prize possession, uh, character sketches, which were these books that were extremely expensive.
They're, they're these, uh, color books that essentially have different characters in them, you know, hospitality, courage, joyfulness, alertness in it.
And it basically takes it and compares it to an animal of some kind, um, you know, and says,
Oh, the bear is like this, or the lion is like that, or here, here's one of courage of the, uh, what is this of, you know, of the meerkat.
Um, and these were for us were very expensive books. You know, you can see, you know, they have sketches, color sketches there.
I'm holding it up, but, um, and these were right from the Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts.
I don't know if you can see that on camera. I'm holding up if it's in focus there, but right from, uh, Bill Gothard, uh, printed in 1988, these three were, and I have those, they were given to me by my parents.
I said, here's the vestiges that we have with some of the stuff that you were homeschooled with. Um, and I remember, uh, and this is one of the points, uh, that they make in the documentary.
They said, look at a lot of these people buying this curriculum that was extremely expensive, you know, thousand, $1 ,500 a year.
The books were a couple hundred dollars a piece. The people buying this were, were usually, you know, either lower middle -class or lower class or, you know, poverty stricken.
And they're, they're spending thousands of dollars on these materials. And then the materials you get weren't exactly, you know, these wisdom booklets, as they say, didn't really have a whole lot.
They had some biblical stuff in them. They had some nature stuff in them, but not a whole lot of actual education in the real world.
You know, stuff that you need when you're going through fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth grade into high school, junior high, high school, uh, you know, finance and accounting and physics and advanced math, not a whole lot of that there.
And what you had is a lot of, uh, kids, uh, graduating from homeschools, just strictly using this curriculum and, and not really being educated.
And I saw that firsthand with, with some friends who I had a discussion with, with, with a friend who's still a friend of mine.
We went through this, uh, together. Like I said, we only went through it a few years, but he went through it for all the way up to high school and then ended up going to high school for a year and dropping out.
Um, and just said, I don't feel like I even got an education in homeschool because there really wasn't a whole lot, uh, in those booklets in that curriculum.
So the, the ding on, uh, in the documentary of, you know, the curriculum being lackluster, uh, was absolutely true in my personal experience.
And like I said before, when we started this, uh, episode earlier was my parents even moved away from it because they realized that.
And I, and I'm thankful for that. Uh, but the point I wanted to make was these were very expensive books.
And, you know, I grew up close to the poverty line, uh, when I was younger and $1 ,500 in 1989 or 1990 or 1991, that was a lot of money.
You know, they'd be like three grand today for one year worth of curriculum to where three grand was, you know, maybe, uh,
I don't know, 8 % of our total income or, you know, 5 % of our total income.
Uh, that was a lot of money. So I had parents that were like, well, we're very worried about our children's, um, education.
We're going to sacrifice, you know, we'll go without foods or trips or whatever it is, uh, to make sure that they get an education.
And we got these books and then realized that probably it really wasn't all that cracked up to, you know, what it should be education wise.
So this was happening to thousands of homeschooling parents across the nation. And when a time at a time when homeschool was under scrutiny too, which makes it very upsetting, you already have the state and the local municipalities looking at homeschoolers.
And then on top of that, this movement comes along to where the curriculum really isn't up to par. And you have some parents that were so enthralled with the
Bill Gothard movement that they kinda either willfully ignored or just ignorantly ignored, um, that the curriculum wasn't up to an educational standard.
And once again, I walk away with thanking my parents that they had enough discernment and wisdom to say, okay, this is something
I think we need to move away from and we're not getting the benefit that we need.
Um, you know, it was, it was a, it was a really a, um, kind of a, um, how do
I say it? You know, a mind screw, if you will, to me of going, wait a minute, uh, we don't have money for, for me to, you know, get new school clothes, but we have money to buy these books that are hundreds of dollars.
Uh, and I remember thinking that when I was younger going, man, the place that we're living right now, maybe not the greatest, but yet we have these books that, and I remember my parents saying, look at, before you look at these books, you have to wash your hands, have clean hands.
We want to treat them rightly. These are, you know, these, this is curriculum books and you just, you know, have them sitting on the floor, but they're still in very good condition because of that.
You know, even these character sketches I have, it was, uh, like, oh man, if you want to look at them, like turn the pages gently, may have clean hands.
Like this is something we've really invested in. So I could identify in that documentary with parents making this investment, you know, they didn't have disposable income like we did.
And yet then you get these books back and you go, oh, there's, there, there's some, you know, look at, there are, there are some educational things in there, but not, not to where you would spend thousands of dollars on these books every year to then use it as a curriculum for homeschool.
So, uh, I just remember, you know, Bill Gothard almost being talked about as like this anonymous guy who it's like, oh my gosh, if you ever get the chance to meet
Bill Gothard, it's like you're meeting the second coming of Christ within this small church that I grew up in, uh, in so much.
So, like I said, friends, uh, went in and parents, or the pastor's kids went and met with Bill Gothard.
It was like, oh, you met Bill Gothard. What was it like? And I'm in like, you know, I'm like fourth grade, fifth grade, like, oh, what
Bill Gothard. So you remember there was just like this all about him, like this guy. And, uh, very quickly realized, uh,
I think my parents realized and we did that, uh, it wasn't all what it was, you know, cracked, cracked up to be.
So there was quite a, I don't know, you know, they use the word cult many times in the documentary.
I don't know if that's fair, but it was a cultish type, a cultish shout out to cultish.
Maybe you should do what I'm Bill Gothard, or maybe you already have, um, the podcast, uh, the cultish podcast.
Um, but there was like a, it was a call to personality for sure. Uh, and maybe it was very cult -like like follow this guy and do what he says, because he's promising all these things of like, we're going to take back the country and take back the young men and women for God and all these things, which is fine until you start digging into, well, how do we do that?
And what are the teachings? And the teachings were very authored, uh, authority -based like I touched on.
And it was like, you know, you can't question Bill and his curriculum.
It's like, what, what we say is, is right and true. Even going down to like, um, you know, even in these character sketches, and I don't have it pulled out, but it's, you know, there's one in there for like a joyfulness and they're talking about joyfulness being no matter what happens, even if something happens to you personally, even if someone harms you, we're happy.
We're joyful. God uses it as a, um, as a, uh, learning process for you.
And it's like, okay, that that's fine. But if there's something going on, let's say within the family, for example, like, um, you know, a sexual assault or something, there's no mention in there under joy, the character of joyfulness of also saying, well, if someone harms you in a certain way, there is proper responses to be taken.
Or if something does something illegal, um, or unmoral to you that there's proper responses that you can take no, no.
Well, go, you know, take it to your mother and father and have the proper authorities look at it.
Now, if it's the mother or father, that's doing something to you, taking it to church elders and, and, and, um, the pastor and, and, and going to the law or whatever, none of that.
In fact, the very next lesson in book two, thereafter, joyfulness is loyalty, the character of loyalty and the character of loyalty.
There's stuff in there of like loyalty is like not saying, you know, not really a complaining when, when someone does something to you that you don't like, it's being loyal to your authority.
It's being loyal to those put in a position, uh, in authority over you by God. So, you know, not out and out coming out and saying, oh, you shouldn't, you know, report this, but making it very clear that the, those character qualities in you are, are dependent on you not really saying anything if something happens to you.
So they, they touch on that in the documentary, shiny, happy people. And I can see how when taken to an extreme, absolutely.
It's like, look at if, if there's abuse or if there's something going on that dad's doing to mom or mom's yelling at dad or like, keep it quiet.
We don't talk about it. You need to be joyful, loyal, you know, um, that that's, that's what it means to be godly when in fact, uh, our, the
God we serve and the God of the Bible, um, absolutely joyfulness and loyalty are good character traits to have, but we also serve a
God of justice who speaks out, um, and who acts on behalf of those who can't act for themselves.
Uh, talking about the, the retributive justice of God for evildoers and those who commit atrocities.
Um, we see the abominations that God, uh, that God calls an abomination and hates the, you know, the shedding of innocent blood, unequal weights, abuse, uh, violence against those who can't help themselves uncalled for violence, all these things.
And none of that's really talked about in the curriculum either, which I think kind of the, the documentary highlights and says, look at there a lot about authority and loyalty and listening to one guy, or maybe even the man in the household, but not not allowed to question that or take the proper steps.
If something immoral or illegal is being done, which I think can really, obviously set you up for failure.
We saw this kind of within the Duggars case, which, uh, that documentary focuses on a little bit.
Um, and you know, there was abuse going on in the family and it was just kind of swept underneath the rug.
And we see this not just in Bill Gothard, but a lot of more legalistic or fundamental, uh, groups, fundamental
Baptists have this issue a lot. Um, the Amish, uh, and the Mennonites have this a lot to where you don't talk about it, uh, because you know, you can't, you can't say anything bad about the authority figure in your home or in your community.
When in fact, I think, um, authority should be questioned, especially when it's doing something that is not just or righteous.
Um, in fact, the Bible tells us to do that, to, to defy tyrants is to obey
God when, when they're doing something that is unjust or unrighteous. So it's not balanced and it wasn't balanced.
And you know, when I said I survived Bill Gothard and ATI, um, I think
I did it because of the discernment wisdom of my parents. Um, it was only two years that I believe, um,
I have to talk, I didn't talk to my parents before the recording this, but I'll have to see. I think it was only two years.
Once, like I said, I was in fourth or fifth grade. I think we did it for two years and it was like, okay, we're not only, I'm not getting the bang for our buck, but I think even my parents saw some things there spiritually and theologically that they went, well, we're not quite there yet.
Um, but, uh, you know, Bill Gothard was real big on like, um, like contemporary Christian music and syncopated beats and drum beats.
And those teachings were in that ATI. And if you've heard me talk on this podcast for any length of time, you know,
I've even said I was sat down by our pastor and our youth leader, and they were mad at me, not mad, but just warned me against playing
Keith green music, uh, on the piano because he used syncopated beats, you know, almost like a
Billy Joel. Think like those, you're not familiar with, uh, Keith green. He was big in the seventies and early eighties before he died in a plane crash.
Uh, but he was kind of that Billy, Billy Joel feel that syncopated not, and I love playing boogie woogie and syncopated beats on, on the piano.
And they were just like, okay, he's contemporary Christian music. Those are drum beats in there. Like that's bad stuff.
And I think even, uh, you know, my parents kind of, I say my parents, but mostly my father really glommed onto like that kind of thought to where like rock music was like the worst thing you could do.
And I think he was, you know, I look back and my dad, I think he was a product of his time as well too.
Like he was worried about the state of the country and like where, where the culture was going.
And, and they took this tact of like, just take it all away. Oh, that fundamentalist view where like, don't touch it.
Don't look at it. Don't talk about it. Don't breathe. Don't even interact with it. Like we have to be separated and can't, can't have that even in our possession.
When in fact, I, as a parent have taken a different approach and said, look at, we're not going to, we don't dwell on that. We don't sit there and listen to unholy things.
But if we're gonna listen to Billy Joel or listen to a queen album, we're going to discuss it. If we're going to watch a movie that has violence in it or sexual content of some kind, and obviously, you know, age appropriate for what my kids age are, we discuss it afterwards.
Okay. What was the worldview of the main character? Why did they act like that? What is the right response to those situations?
Like, why do you think that person was led down that path of that? Um, that, that sexual temptation, like I want my kids to understand it, know it, uh, have the biblical worldview to talk about it because when they're out in the world, their friends and their peers, and you know, their, their, um, if they go to college, their professors are going to be talking about those things.
And it's a real disservice to just take the kid totally out of the secular world and not let them interact with it at all.
Um, you, you can't live that way in this world. We live in a fallen world. We're going to be interacting with people from all different walks, including atheists, secularists, you know, um,
Hindus, Muslims, Buddha, you know, all these types of people, and they need to be educated in that.
And we've done enough kind of rehashing what I've talked about before on this podcast, but you absolutely have to know your enemy.
Um, and when I say enemy, I'm not saying we're out there, you know, fighting people with, with swords and sticks. I'm saying the people who disagree with you, who don't have the same worldview as you, you need to not only know your worldview inside and out and be based on the word of God, but you also need to be able to talk fluently about their worldview and what they know and why they come from that space or, or that type of reasoning.
And to basically put someone on an island, especially children for years and years and years.
And then, you know, when they're 18 or 19, they go out in the world and they have all these new experiences where they go, what people actually believe this or think that, or have this philosophy or this worldview, what a disservice you're not preparing your children to be able to, um, you know, as the gospel says, as you go out into the world, um, preach the gospel, make disciples a nation.
So you're going to be in the world and you're going to be around these people. And what you see with Bill Gothard and with ATI was a very fundamentalist view of ignore everything else going on in the world and just focus on, on what we believe right here, which was very authoritarian as well, which was not helpful.
So you kind of had this, those kinds of cult -like features in not only, you know, there's one guy who who's always right, but also very set apart and only believe and only listen to these sets of ideas and don't explore any other ideas.
So that, you know, not good, not good to have those, those views. I think we need to, we're in the world.
We're not of the world. The Bible says we're definitely in the world. We need to know about, um, what leftists and progressives are talking about.
We need to know what pagans and secularists are believing and talking about and aspiring to.
We need to know other false religions like Jehovah Witness and Mormonism and Muslims and Hindus and all those different religions that skew the orthodoxy of Christianity, um, or totally reject it.
Um, we need to have an argument for those people and be knowledgeable about it. So I don't think separating ourselves completely from the world, uh, cult -like is a good idea.
And Gothard kind of had that feel to it. It was all, all, uh, all my ideas and ignore the rest of the world going on.
Now for context, for my younger listeners who, you know, I'm 41. Um, if you're, if you're, uh, you know, in your teens or early twenties or even early thirties, you might go,
I don't remember a world like that. And it's like, well, there was this big movement in the eighties, late seventies into the eighties into the early nineties where it was like, we have to separate.
It was just like separate culture because everyone was like, first of all, everyone was hyped up really on, on rapture kind of a dispensational rapture theology.
It was like, Jesus is coming back at any time. The Russians can set off the nukes. Uh, the world's going to be ending.
Like we just need to hole up, hunker down, you know, all come together ourselves and kind of, you know, just ignore the rest of the world.
And there was that also real movement where there was a cultural war going on to where it was like everything had the undertones of Satanism, you know, all rock music, all secular toys, you know, they even touched on cabbage patch kids and, and how, uh,
Bill got there said they were satanic, right. And how you're letting Satan into your house. If a kid has a cabbage patch doll.
So there was a lot of stuff there where it was a little wacky, a little wonky. When I look back on it,
I go, yeah. Um, I don't know if, if, if a demon can attach itself to a cabbage patch down and infiltrate your son or daughter, if they have it in their house.
Right. So a lot of stuff there that was, um, that was true.
And like I said, this documentary really was more of a ding on Bill Gothard than it was of the
Duggards. They had a section about, um, the Duggards and how they kind of, um, you know, swept some sexual abuse and molestation under the rug and, and, but they didn't really focus on it too much.
It was mostly how the Duggars were kinda the poster child for Bill Gothard in the eighties and nineties, because they use this curriculum.
And then they use that to go into, uh, you know, um, a review of Bill Gothard and, and all, all his personal issues and things like that.
Um, overall, I would say if you're someone my age or even a little bit younger or even a little bit older, it's, it's a, it's a decent documentary to watch because there are some truths in there.
Um, it feels a little voyeuristic because like these documentaries, you can feel like, oh, well, um, you know,
I wouldn't do something like that. So, uh, I feel like I'm better than these people. I would say if you're a believer, don't watch it with that attitude, watch it with an attitude to be informed.
I would also say, um, there's a lot of good points. This is what's going to get clipped from here.
And someone's probably going to use it. Oh, see, he loves Bill. There's a lot of good points in Bill Gothard, biblical points.
They were just taken out of context with bad hermeneutics, but the points of having good moral character of being loyal, of respecting authority of men leading their families.
I believe all those things within the content, correct context of the Bible, using those things to then advance an agenda and to raise man one up into, to a seat of power to where he can do no wrong.
No, that's absolutely wrong, which is what happened with Bill Gothard. But, but those kind of patriarchal kind of, uh, created order ideas apps.
Absolutely. Those are, those are biblical, but there's all, they're also balanced within what the word of God says and how a man treats a woman and how a woman treats a man and how a man treats his children and runs his family with the love and tenderness of Christ.
Like those things weren't in the Bill Gothard curriculum. And that's where they became authoritarian and, and kind of, uh, uh, one -sided and legalistic.
Right. So they were taken out of context. Um, but overall a decent documentary, uh,
I would say to watch interesting one at that. I had never seen an episode of the, whatever it was called 19 and counting or never even really paid attention to the
Duggars. Um, so it gave, it gave me a little bit more idea of how they really kind of saw their show as like a ministry.
Um, and, and really how, how kind of, uh, Jim Bob, the father really wanted to keep that show going.
But honestly, it was very familiar to me. I know families like the Duggars and I know kids like the
Duggars that are now grown up and they have a lot of resentment towards their parents, a lot of resentment towards Bill Gothard in that movement, a lot of resentment of,
Hey, I didn't get a really good education. You were so, uh, worried about making sure that we smiled and were good children that, uh,
I, I didn't even receive the proper love and care and, and, um, you know, uh, loving admonishment from you that I should have, or guidance through my teenage years into adulthood.
And two, we didn't, as I finish this up here, we didn't really touch on this, but also there was a very, you know, with, with Bill Gothard and, you know, with the
Duggars, there's a, there's a very big emphasis on discipline and physical discipline, physical spanking.
Right. Um, and once again, uh, whether you agree or disagree with physical spanking, um, it was taken out of context.
Uh, you know, we've talked about this on the podcast before, you know, the, the rod of correction, um, is it a physical rod?
Do you actually hit your children with a rod to correct them? No, I think the rod of correction can be a word. Uh, it can be, um, if, if given correctly, it can be a look, it can be, um, a, a word of correction after something has happened.
So, uh, but it was very specific that it was it's physical spanking and it's hard spanking and it's breaking of the will.
Um, they had something in, um, ATI called blanket time, which you would literally put a toy just outside of a blanket that a child was on.
And then every time that they reached for that toy that they loved, you would smack their hand and, and basically, uh, emotionally and physically break them from wanting that toy.
Now I would disagree 100 % with, uh, with that type of training.
I would say someone who puts a temptation in front of you just to tempt you is sounds closer to what
Satan does than what a loving parent does. Um, I, I wasn't involved in any type of blanket time or anything like that.
My parents never took hold of that, but we were physically spanked for sure. And spanked very hard.
Um, and I think that I look at back on that and I go, look at my father grew up without a father.
He grew up in a single mother home. Um, he came to the Lord after the
Lord saved him after a, um, crazy teens and twenties. And I'm not going to get into all the,
I mean, he had warrants out in multiple States and he has a testimony. My dad has a testimony onto himself of how the
Lord saved him and removed all that from his life. So I think he was a first time parent as we all are.
And when I don't want these atrocities that happened to me to happen to my sons and daughters.
So we're going to be, uh, physically rigid with our, uh, discipline.
So I don't fault him for that. In fact, I think, um, you know, looking back on it, I was a pretty wild kid.
So as my brother, we're 18 months apart. We were just rambunctious and started all kinds of trouble. I think that helped keep us in line, those physical, uh, spankings and, you know, um, getting the belt and things like that.
Um, have I chose to done that, do that with, with my kids? No, absolutely not. And, um,
I just had someone, uh, yesterday tell me, or two days ago, tell me, uh, we absolutely love your family and love your kids because they're so respectful and such well -behaved.
And, and my wife and I have found based in the Bible, how to discipline our children without physically, uh, touching them.
And it's worked out well for us. And that's no condemnation for someone who interprets and says, well, there needs to be physical spanking.
I, I agree with that too. That's what you feel best is, you know, for your family within reason and within biblical standards.
Um, but there was that big aspect of it too, to where I remember a lot of people at our church who were
ATI people who were like, yeah, I can't sit down this week. Uh, dad, dad got into me pretty hard because, you know, whatever we, we lit something on fire out back that we shouldn't have or whatever it was, you know?
Um, so there was that aspect of it too, that I related with and saw a big emphasis on, uh, physical spanking too.
Uh, with that being said though, as we wrap this up here, uh, I've probably already went too long. Jeez, coming up on 50 minutes.
It looks like, um, uh, I wanted to give my review of that and say, yeah, go check it out and do me a favor.
Tell me what you think. Leave a comment. If you were part of ATIA, uh, if you were part of Bill Goth or I say
ATIA, ATI, um, if you were part of any of those groups, any of those conflict camps or a part of the
Bill Gothard movement in homeschooling or any way else, leave comments for us. Um, let us know, um, let me know, uh, what your experience was even on this video or on this audio, or you can go to dmwpodcast .com.
Leave us a comment there. You can find us on social media at dead man walking podcast on Instagram and YouTube and Twitter.
Real DMW podcast. Leave me a comment, tag me in it. I'd like to hear what you thought if you grew up in this, or even if you didn't, or then if you watched the documentary, what you thought of the documentary and give me some points on that as well, too, because I would love to hear what you guys think.
And who knows, maybe in the future, I could even bring in one of those guys that met Bill Gothard and we could talk about what his experiences were.
Maybe we've, uh, give given Bill Gothard enough, uh, you know, FaceTime, uh, on this episode here and we'll leave it as it is.
But overall, I would probably give a shiny, happy people. I don't know.
I'd give it a seven and a half out of 10. It tried to accomplish something that got close to it. It was a little skewed to the left,
I think in the worldview, but that's to be expected, uh, to in today's world, but overall, pretty accurate and a good look inside of a movement that most people aren't even familiar with.
I was very familiar with it. I lived it. And, uh, that's why I say, yeah, go take a look and I survived
Bill Gothard. Thanks for listening guys to another episode of dead men, walking podcast. We appreciate you and make sure you check out
DMW podcast to see what we have there for you. As always guys, the chief end of man is to glorify
God and enjoy him forever. God bless. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at dead men, walking podcast for full video podcast episodes and clips, or email us at dead men, walking podcast at gmail .com.