Who Is Bill Gothard? Where Is He Now?

After watching the soul-christening documentary series, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, you must be left wondering about the mystical figure, Bill Gothard, too. Though he isn’t present in the documentary nor does he wish to speak about his involvement with the Duggars, it is obvious he played a key role in the lives of the 21 Duggars. If you are a TV nerd who enjoys reality TV dramas similar to the Kardashians, you might be knowing who am I referring to. If you are not familiar with the term, you have stumbled here after watching the documentary. So, a quick recap for you: The Duggars are a quiet bunch of religious devotees who spent the majority of their lives on the television set of a late 2000s drama, 19 Kids and Counting.

Back to Gothard, he is a rather charming man who–as the Prime Video series refers to him–is a snake. Only, he isn’t blind and doesn’t sting people who harm him. He manipulates everyone he could and brainwashes them to lead a life that could fit in the framework set by him. If you wish to know more about Bill Gothard, here is a rundown of what and who Gothard is!

Who Is Bill Gothard?

Born on November 2, 1934, in Illinois, United States, Bill’s real name is Willliam. He grew up in America and immediately took an interest in the Bible in his early teenage. As he kept growing up, William started preaching the teachings of the Bible and became an instructor. He dropped the name and became Bill Gothard somewhere along the way as he started expanding his outreach. Gothard started to accumulate several people and preach to them several so-called life-changing lessons.

His life transformed when he founded an organization entitled Campus Teams in 1961. He took refuge in this organization to teach parents the importance of homeschooling, female obedience and male superiority. Gothard then studied Christianity and received PhD in biblical studies in 2004. However, his degree has had little impact on his life as an instructor, author and cult leader.

In a nutshell, Bill Gothard is a cult leader, author, motivational–okay, I doubt that–speaker, founder of two religious institutes, a devoted Christian and someone every parent should stay away from.

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What Is IBLP?

In 1964, Gothard founded Campus Teams which was then renamed to the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC) in 1974. A decade later, in 1989, Campus Teams was transformed into Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). This organization specializes in breeding meek, submissive, backward women and dominant men.

As a founder of IBLP, Gothard conducted several meetings, seminars, one-on-one sessions and tours. In these ordeals, Gothard narrated the teachings of the Bible and stressed several cult-oriented topics. Before renaming Campus Teams to IBLP in 1989, Gothard founded another cult organization entitled Advanced Training Institute (ATI) in 1984. The purpose of ATI was to train parents to homeschool their children and curate a specialized curriculum for them in order to keep them on the right track.

Every sentence Gothard uttered was centred around God and how he envisioned a future of practising religious people dominating the world. Bill aspired to create a world where Christians ruled and followed the principles laid down in his seminars and books. His connection with several reputed personalities such as Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and others gave him clout. Moreover, when the reality TV show stars, the Duggars, started promoting his organization, Gothard got access to a wide audience. And that was probably the worst thing to happen to those kids whose parents got brainwashed by Gothard.

Where Is Bill Gothard Now?

Gothard’s popularity kept skyrocketing in the early 2000s to a point where over 10000 people registered for his seminars. Those parents brought their toddlers or young kids with them and immediately fell into the trap of Gothard’s larky body and polite tone. They then started believing in concepts laid down by Bill. They started controlling the attire of their children, didn’t let them listen to music and dominated any possible relationship they could have. It was due to Bill’s words that were stuffed in their brain–words that revolved around how a father should always be involved in his daughters’ relationships and should decide whom she marries.

Those parents, unfortunately, never for once stopped and thought why, a man who advocated huge families never married or how they’re torturing their kids, especially their girls.

Finally, in early 2014, Gothard was pulled down from his mighty throne. Several women–including his employees, volunteers and students–decided to speak up against Gothard. They accused him of harassment and assault but they didn’t continue with their lawsuit due to some undisclosed reason. However, a consolation for those victims is that Gothard has stepped down from IBLP. 

Yet, true justice awaits them.

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