Sunday, March 23

Controversial Thoughts on Recent Controversies: Part 2 of 5

To read part 1 click here.

So here we are in part 2 of an increasingly controversial series…

Let me begin by saying that by by very nature I really, really, really dislike controversy! Gossip, false witness, ambition-motivated politics, drama… it's simply distasteful.

Pardon me while I digress...

In high school, I was blessed with several passionate history teachers. As one of few outspoken Conservatives, it meant a lot to me that my Liberal global studies teacher selected my research paper as the best of the year and used it for several years as the 'model' paper when introducing the assignment. Why, you might ask, was this so special? My research paper defended the Iran Contra Affair-- perhaps the most shameful event of Reagan's presidency. 

Here's the point from my digression: to get the truth, one must study the primary documents. 

Spreading unverified information is also a sin. 

What is a primary source? A primary source is a source of information that hasn't been altered. The Constitution, electricity bills, bank statements, journal entries, court transcripts…these are all examples of primary documents. 

So perhaps it was the emphasis on primary sources so ingrained in me during high school, or perhaps it was my firsthand experience with the effects of spreading false rumors, but I wasn't going to believe the allegations made against Mr. Gothard until I formed my own opinion based on the best available primary sources.

All of the allegations against Mr. Gothard seemed to be stirred up by a website/group called "Recovering Grace" therefore, I committed to reading all of the material they published as 'proof.' To be honest, I expected it to be trumped up, creatively written propoganda. But after reading ALL of the material provided by the website (which I believe does have other motives for stirring up dislike of Mr. Gothard's ministry) I came to the sickening conclusion that the allegations were true. 

It appears to be more than just Mr. Gothard committing isolated harassment. Based on reading the accounts and primary sources provided, this is what I've gleaned:
  • Since at least 1970, Mr. Gothard has sexually harassed young women (mostly ages 15-25) 
  • His brother committed sexual sin of the highest level with at least 6 women
  • Mr. Gothard was aware of his brother's serious sins for years, but failed to take action
  • In 1980, the IBLP Board was made aware in complete detail of Mr. Gothard's brother's sin, Mr. Gothard's cover-up of his brother's sins, and Mr. Gothard's misuse of ministry funds
  • Mr. Gothard enforced Sunday fasting for his employees and prohibited them access to food, shopping, and other activities on Sundays
There are several other serious allegations which are well-supported, but I didn't find adequate primary sources to publish with 100% confidence as truth.

I'm most stunned by the fact that many top staffers and board members during the 70's, 80's, and 90's knew of Mr. Gothard's and his brothers' inappropriate behavior yet didn't take appropriate action. This does not appear to be something Mr. Gothard did in an isolated way and nobody knew about it. If that were the case, perhaps we could treat this like the Doug Phillips incident (Mr. Phillips acted in a non-physical manner, publicly apologized and repented, and no one else knew of relationship).

Could these allegations be false? Yes, anything is possible. Only God can judge us. However, after reading for many hours the extensive testimony and primary documents, I'm almost certain the allegations are true. I'm not writing to bitterly and unfairly accuse a man who has undoubtedly built a ministry that has helped thousands of people.

Read for yourself HERE (not recommended for those under 18 as it does get somewhat graphic). Primary sources are included throughout the articles.

Coming up in Part 3: Can we trust/use the teachings/literature/material of a man who has committed serious sin?

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