Colonial dating and courtship

The IBLP “What We Do” page states, “The Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) was established for the purpose of introducing people to the Lord Jesus Christ, and is dedicated to giving individuals, families, churches, schools, communities, governments, and businesses clear instruction and training on how to find success by following .” [Emphasis mine.] The lack of objectivity in Gothard’s teachings is hidden by the overt declaration of Scriptural basis.To illustrate further, let me give a potential contrast. Gothard’s explanation of the 49 character qualities is presented as fact, when in reality, it is an interpretation of Scripture based on Mr. Some of these interpretations might be good, but they are not objective fact.Apparently, we are supposed to judge a book by its cover.Anecdotal evidence is as good as any other in this system, as long as it conforms to the party line.How could he have fooled so many people, so thoroughly?How did the abuse go on for so many years, unacknowledged?Though I hadn’t ever subscribed to Gothard’s message, it was still a shock to me that he was alleged to be guilty of sexual harassment. But once I began to consider the issue in light of my experience working with survivors of sexual abuse, it all began to make a great deal of sense.My parents had spoken with me about some of the things that were “off” about Gothard’s message, most notably that a single man had so much to say on marriage and child-rearing. The reality is that the essential nature of a fundamentalist society like “Gothardism” functions to shelter and sometimes even perpetuate sexual abuse.

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I had close friends who wore the long skirts and collared shirts, and for whom “quiverfull” and “courtship” were an engrained way of life.

Characteristics that are basic to its existence are exactly the right breeding ground for sexual predators to thrive. The simple fact is that almost everything about the way the organization was structured kept abuses from coming to light. A thing is either all good or all bad, from God or from Satan.

There is no room for learning discernment and discrimination.

There is almost no situation in which you are not specifically instructed to use a Gothard-style teaching as opposed to your own individual decision-making process.

This creates a situation in which people are literally programmed to respond with conformity, especially young people, who may have never been taught how to think for themselves. When your only resource is leadership, and the leadership is at fault, where can you turn?

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