Quoting Quiverfull: Alleged Sexual Abuse is the Mother’s Fault?

Quoting Quiverfull: Alleged Sexual Abuse is the Mother’s Fault? March 3, 2014

by Nathaniel Darnell, former Vision Forum Ministries employee, at Persevero News – Of Men and Megalomaniacs: Getting Beyond Alleged Sexual Abuse of Certain Homeschool Leaders

(Trigger Warning: Blame shifting, sexual abuse, abuse by fathers and leaders)

There’s been quite a bit of buzz recently about complaints against Bill Gothard, founder and teacher of IBLP (the Institute of Basic Life Principles) and ATII (the Advanced Training Institute International), for allegedly being involved in sexual harassment of several young ladies who served at the ministry’s headquarters in Chicago. To be clear, dozens if not hundreds of young ladies have circulated through the ministry doors over the decades, but according to World Magazine, 34 of those are alleging private sexual abuse from Mr. Gothard.

In the wake of the recent events with Doug Phillips, it’s unclear how these complaints should be taken. Apparently, some of these accusations point back to events from decades ago, but they are just now becoming a hot topic—and one has to wonder if it’s not due to many folks getting swept up in the flurry surrounding Doug Phillip’s recent admission.

So the questions that arise: Are there common denominators between Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard? Could these complaints against Mr. Gothard be genuine, or are they part of a pendulum swing taking place in the Christian homeschool movement in the wake of events surrounding Doug Phillips?

Some have pointed out that there is a general concern growing about ministry leaders getting away with sexual abuse. The media is rife with reports of pastors and priests of various denominations getting away with adulteries and never being held accountable. No doubt, there is a problem here.

As we ponder these questions, it behooves us to step back from the controversy and ask what led up to these events.

Surrogate Daddies

Since the homeschooling movement first began, there has been a tendency among Christian homeschool families to (usually subliminally) set up surrogate fathers of a sort. Typically, these surrogate daddies were set up because a family heard some profound Christian speaker cast a vision for using homeschooling as a means for family discipleship, and the mother caught the vision, but the father was so inundated with his work life (or something else) that he could not visualize himself being the spiritual leader in his home that the homeschool visionary was talking about.

So what did the family do? In a lot of cases, the mom attempted to step out and do the family discipleship without much help from the dad other than his stamp of approval. She actually did the teaching, much of the Bible teaching in particular, beyond taking the family to church on Sundays. But feeling the need for the support of a man, she often directed her children to mentor under the teaching of various respected men in the homeschool movement. Men like Bill Gothard, Greg Harris, Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, or Kevin Swanson. In effect these men began to be treated and thought of as the surrogate spiritual fathers of these families because they were filling a role abandoned by the local daddies.

As these homechool children grew up, thus, it seemed only natural to send them off to the distant visionary’s ministry for a few years to personally work under the man. After all, the man had been serving as the surrogate father from a distance for so long, the experience would seem complete by having the young person go off in a rite of passage by serving personally under the leader for a season. Sometimes, if a family was having trouble with their youth, they would even send the young person off to one of these ministries in the hopes that the visionary would be able to reform the young person.

After being treated as the super-father of so many families for so long, this type of treatment has an effect on a man. It’s easy for it to go to his head, and it’s easy for him to perhaps assume certain intimacies with a young person that a father would have that an outsider would not normally have.

Is it possible that some of the accusations being made against Mr. Gothard (and other surrogate daddies) are due to his assuming a “daddy” role in the life of many of the young ladies that came to his ministry and talking to them about various intimate things, or treating them in various intimate ways that might would have been appropriate for a father (but not necessarily appropriate for a non-relative)? The trick of putting a man in such a surrogate daddy role, and him assuming that role, is that it creates something of a nebulous, ambiguous position for the characters involved.

Is the surrogate father really effectively operating as her father? Or not?

So, for example, it’s not unusual for a daddy to hug his daughter for an extended time, but it would be unusual for a man not a lady’s father. But if people treat you as a surrogate daddy, would you assume that this was okay for you? While this type of assumption would be wrong, it would not necessarily be “sexual abuse” because it would not have been intended by the leader to be an sexual advance but rather as a misunderstood part of mentorship.

Of course, all of the details related to each of the allegations against Mr. Gothard will need to be reviewed by the appropriate authorities investigating these incidents. They should consider whether perhaps Mr. Gothard’s actions, in each case, were really intended as sexual advances, or whether perhaps he was operating under an inappropriate understanding of his mentorship role in these young ladies lives.

Hopefully, however, this incident is also a wake-up call to the Christian families of America to the vulnerability that sending your daughters off to serve away from their families under another man puts them in. It’s not dangerous merely in ministries, but also in the corporate world for a family to send or abandon their daughter to the work force. Not only does it make her vulnerable, but it also tends to train her to think feministically—not as a helpmeet to a man serving God in the context of a family.

The Christian homeschooling families of America need to step back and consider the implications of setting up surrogate daddies to fill in for the fathers of their personal families. What expectations do those scenarios create—especially when we send our daughters off alone with these surrogate daddies? Moreover, what are the solutions to the underlying problems?

Getting to the Bottom of It All

Of course, it’s not going to fully solve the problem to go on a witch hunt for all the surrogate daddies that we speculate might be abusing their position. In each case where abuse is alleged, the Word of God is clear as to how Christians should work to bring reconciliation to the relationships and restore the victims—and they do not involve starting web sites that detail the nitty-gritty of the private accusations. The internet is not the ecclesiastical court God has set up for resolving these kinds of issues.

God’s Word is clear that public sins should be condemned publicly. But conflicts that are private need to go through the Matthew 18 procedures before they are made public and anyone is condemned.

If a lady claims to have been sexually abused by another Christian, the first thing she should do is talk with her shepherds about what happened, so that they can help, comfort, and steer her in what to do next. If she is married, then that would mean speaking with her husband and possibly her church elder(s) privately. If she is unmarried, that would mean speaking with her parents and possibly her church elder(s) privately to have wisdom in what to do next. If she cannot prove that she was abused, then she should beware the consequences of Deuteronomy 19:16-21, which hold her accountable to the same penalty as the one she accuses, if she is proven wrong.

Her counsellors need to help her overcome the hurts she claims to have experienced, and there are many hopeful truths of Scripture that should be a source of encouragement to such hurt individuals. But our zeal to deal with their alleged hurts should not lead us to rashly jump to condemn someone else without following God’s process for proving guilt and bringing restoration.

Specifically, we should not be spreading gossip, slander, backing-biting, or other similar things. We should not even read or listen to such complaints if we are not tied closely to the alleged victim and/or part of the solution.

John Calvin wrote on this subject:

“[H]ere is also rebuked the vice of undue credulity, which, when any evil reports are spread against our neighbors, leads us either eagerly to listen to them, or at least to receive them without sufficient reason; whereas we ought rather to use all means to suppress and trample them under foot. When anyone is the bearer of invented falsehoods, those who reject them leave them, as it were to fall on the ground; while, on the contrary, those who propagate and publish them from one person to another are, by an expressive form of speech, said to raise them up.”

Dr. R.J. Rushdoony in his Institutes of Biblical Law addressed how each accusation by an alleged victim must be collaborated by two or three witnesses to the same event, and the alleged perpetrator must be given the opportunity to defend himself before being condemned.

“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed (Deut. 19:15).”

Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1, pg 565.

In the Larger Catechism, questions 144 and 145 deal with the principles of the Ninth Commandment. Question 144 asks: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

“A.: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and grace, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely and of good report.” (emphasis added)

Commenting on the phrase “covering their infirmities” in his book Authentic Christianity, Dr. Joe Morecraft writes:

” ‘He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates chief friends (Prov. 17:9).

“Love, the most excellent of the Spirit’s gifts (I Cor. 12:31), is to be expressed and practiced in all our relationships. This includes not revealing unnecessarily what has been said or done by others against us, especially when it does not affect their situation. … Nothing tends more to the separating of friends than the repeating of sins for no edifying reason.”

Morecraft, Authentic Christianity, Vol. 4, pg. 920.

Commenting on the phrase “unwillingness to admit an evil report,” Dr. Morecraft writes:

“Those who enjoy family fellowship with God in His church not only walk with integrity, work righteousness and speak truth in their hearts, they do no slander others, nor do evil to their neighbors, nor take up a reproach against their friends. [See Psalm 15:1-3.] … [H]e will not use his tongue to bring down the innocent.”

Id. at 922.

We can certainly sympathize when people who believe they are victims feel desperate and they desperately do anything that they think will get a response for help, but once wise Christians are there to help them, they need to guide them to a course more in sync with these directions given in Scripture for handling conflicts. Spreading internet gossip and slander does not help or bring healing or restoration to anyone. It does serve to embarrass the Body of Christ before unbelievers, which is something the Word of God discourages in I Corinthians 6:1.

It is not unthinkable that homeschool visionaries who are committed with too much power and trust could be susceptible to the same kind of autonomous mindsets that have plagued many esteemed Christian leaders throughout history. As the old saying goes, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We think of how autonomous power corrupted men such as King Saul, King David, and King Solomon—each men who had respected beginnings.

It is entirely possible that men in such positions of undue influence and lack of accountability have had that power go to their his heads. They may begin to think they are unapproachable and unaccountable, and sometimes people in their organizations with a sense of misplaced loyalty (idolatry) try to shield him from accountability. When allegations arise, those questions should be investigated and tried by the appropriate authorities.

But as we attempt to deal with autonomous abusers of power, we must take care that we ourselves do not become autonomous abusers of power. We must exercise  care to not condemn someone for any sin until he is first proven guilty by the burden or proof that Matthew 18 and other such passages require.

Surrogates of Other Sorts

Ridding the world of the surrogate daddy homeschool leaders will not really solve the problem either. If the these objects of misplaced trust are removed, they will be replaced by others.

For many Christian families in America, the surrogate father becomes the pastor of the local church. Families turn their children over to the youth pastor or other pastors in the church and expect them to be the spiritual fathers in their lives, and often the pastors are more than happy to oblige. In many cases, these scenarios have also led to allegations of sexual abuse. But there are plenty of other harms that occur when the father of a family is not being the spiritual leader that God has called him to be in his household. Pastors can also abuse their power in these situations to act autonomously in how they lead the young people of their church.

Then there are mothers who try to be surrogate fathers. These are the mothers who try to wear both the hat of the mommy and the daddy. They try to rule their homes with all the authority of the father, and sometimes they experience some degree of success, but they ultimately always fall short because they are not designed by God to withstand all the responsibilities of a man. Indeed, in some situations, such as those addressed in passages such as I Timothy 2:12-15, a woman is commanded by God not to attempt to exercise male authority.

Because women often experience insecurities, especially when their husbands are being negligent in their roles, this can lead a mother trying to wear both hats to overcompensate and act overbearingly and dominating. To act as an arbitrary tyrant in her family. Sometimes the children get used to it for a while. But time and time again we have seen such mothers eventually run into a major clash—usually with the grown-up sons or prospective son-in-laws of her family, who especially do not appreciate her dominating ways.

Solution: Christian Daddies Needed!

There is no substitute in God’s social design for Christian daddies who are serving God as the providers, priests, and protectors God has called them to be. No surrogate daddy—be they homeschool visionary, youth pastor, teacher, or mother—can adequately fill their shoes because a special bond exists between a father and a child before the Lord.

This is why God specifically zeroed in on fathers in Ephesians 6:4 when he commanded them to “bring [their children] up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (NKJV)

Thus, the best thing that homeschool visionaries, local churches, Bible teachers, and mothers can do is to help equip and encourage a father to rise to the task that he has been called to fulfill. A task that only he can adequately fulfill. (See Ephesians 4:11-12.) Sometimes it takes a great deal of patience and long-suffering, but the long-term investment will be worth the abundant fruitful harvest it will yield for Christ’s Church.

To be clear, even fathers are not given a blank check by God to be autonomous in the lives of their children. No one is given such leeway. All authorities must follow God’s Law-Word in their sphere of influence. We are all called to accountability to one another in the Word of God. But the father has a special jurisdiction in that network of accountability that cannot be be replaced. We have to build up our men to the noble task of Christian fatherhood.

Because we ultimately are not merely trying to prevent our daughters from being abused. Ultimately, we are working and praying to see God raise up strong battalions (families) in the Kingdom of Christ for multiple generations.

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Nightshade

    ‘…it’s easy for him to perhaps assume certain intimacies with a young person that a father would have that an outsider would not normally have.’ So in his world a father sexually abusing his daughter is a normal intimacy?

  • LisaP

    Why didn’t he just say what he is thinking? “Attention Christian homeschooling males: Nothing is ever your fault! There will always be a woman for you to blame!”

  • Nea

    it’s unclear how these complaints should be taken

    Seriously. The word you spend all that verbiage avoiding is “seriously.” Take those complaints seriously.

    And as for “surrogate daddies – dude, when my father hugs me or tickles me, he keeps his hands OFF my breasts, butt, and crotch. It’s not that hard for a guy to keep his hands in G-rated territory.

    But then, this isn’t about actually catching predatory men. It’s all about blah, blah, bible, bible, christian commentary and all of that just to try to veil the victim blaming.

  • quietglow

    It’s definitely not about catching predators. It’s right there in the wording:

    “all of the details related to each of the allegations against Mr.
    Gothard will need to be reviewed by the appropriate authorities
    investigating these incidents. They should consider whether perhaps Mr.
    Gothard’s actions, in each case, were really intended as sexual

    That’s amazing. That’s really an amazing piece of work, right there. The first sentence gets it right, the second completely nullifies that. “The police should investigate this. But they should consider that it was actually harmless and the hysterical girl just doesn’t know what a father should do. Cause he never did more than things that could be thought of as advances and they should never come to the conclusion he actually DID anything, because that’s not for the woman making the allegations to say.”

  • gimpi1

    I actually view articles like this as a positive thing. Groups and churches with this mindset are hemorrhaging members. For every person that lauds this crap, two or more will be shaking their heads. Membership rolls drop, contributions dry up, subscriptions are cancelled, materials languish unsold. All good.

    Let them take off the mask. Let’s see just how ugly this belief-system is. I have confidence that the majority will recoil in disgust.

  • tulips

    The solution is status quo. Observe my total lack of surprise.

  • Nea

    I’d missed that because I’d skimmed the letter. No wonder the OP is so desperate to have it handled by the church. Secular authorities know that intent doesn’t matter. The Titanic wasn’t intended to sink, after all!

  • quietglow

    And secular authorities won’t like to have it dictated to them that they should look in every case and treat it separately, because they know “there’s been a pattern” and “there’s been a series of isolated incidents” mean two very different things.

  • Nea

    Treating every case separately is how the Pearls are continuing to pretend that they have nothing to do with fatal child abuse. It was an anomaly! And another anomaly! And a third completely unrelated anomaly that proves no pattern whatsoever!

  • quietglow

    Look, these are good, god-fearing people. That kind of thing doesn’t happen around here.

    Okay, it may have happened, but that doesn’t prove anything.

  • Guest

    “Because we ultimately are not merely trying to prevent our daughters from being abused.”

    That said it all.

  • Yeah that was the biggest thing that jumped out at me. They sure are trying REALLY hard to twist some half-assed rationalization for this if they have to settle for something so awful.

  • tulips

    Unless it proves that Mothers …who have devoted their entire lives to following these prescribed lifestyle patterns because they’ve been told it’s the only way they can be safe…have some explaining to do (young lady) and lots of room for improvement. Sigh.

  • tulips

    The formal distinction between these morons and MRA bloggers requires a very powerful microscope.

  • $190147

    Dr. R.J. Rushdoony in his Institutes of Biblical Law addressed how each accusation by an alleged victim must be collaborated by two or three witnesses to the same event, and the alleged perpetrator must be given the opportunity to defend himself before being condemned.

    Well, um, be careful what you wish for, especially when you wish it in the name of Dr. Rushdoony. Your prayers might just wind up being answered, and how. If what you’re saying is that you haven’t got enough victims, haven’t got enough stories, haven’t got enough collaboration, and haven’t got enough people coming forward with sustained and provable injuries, my intuition is that you may yet get all that and get it good and hard (to parse H. L. Mencken).

    God willing.

  • Brennan

    I feel weird for “liking” this, because the quote itself is so horrible. But, yeah, you boiled their mindset down to its simplest form.

  • tulips

    I want them to keep quoting Rushdoony. A lot. I want them all to quote Rushdoony as much as possible, as often as possible. So they’re allllllllll associated with Rushdoony. Then I want to expose Rushdoony.

  • $190147

    Dr. Rushdoony has a habit of exposing himself (in all but the literal sense) without the aid of Heaven, Hell, or other people. He’s a bad deal and corrupts what he touches. The upside of which (if one can speak of such a thing) is that this is so obvious in his case that all one need do is hold one’s nose and wait. Developments, as the old scandal-mongers used to say, are certain to transpire.

  • Brennan

    Holy hell. Even by the standards of Persevero News (which consistently takes a level in vileness) this is a truly despicable piece of work. I suspect that Nathaniel Darnell hasn’t bothered to acquaint himself with the allegations since journalistic integrity matters far less to him than maintaining that careful doublethink that lets him pretend everything is fine. If Nathaniel Darnell actually believes that Gothard was just “misguided” and “trying to be fatherly” when he groped women’s breasts, mandated what kind of underwear they should wear to best show off those breasts, and talked about marrying them, then my next two questions are (1) does Nathaniel Darnell have any daughters and (2) what is the number for CPS in his area? But, it hardly matters which it is, since he’s doing the same damage either way and *his* intents don’t matter any more than Gothard’s. You cannot write a three page victim-blaming screed in which the *central argument* is that we should “cover transgressions” and “disbelieve an evil report,” frame it with two throwaway paragraphs about how this should totes be investigated by the proper authorities, and expect to get a free pass on the basis of those two paragraphs. Everyone can see that Nathaniel Darnell’s real argument is (1) that you should never, ever believe a victim, no matter how convincing the evidence and (2) that if, by some mischance, you are forced to view definitive evidence of the perpetrator’s guilt, you are somehow unable to explain it away, and it is causing you existential angst, you should conceal their guilt (not “forgive,” but “cover”) at all costs. Because, that’s the “loving” thing to do. Bullshit.
    The good news is that these assholes are clearly running scared. You don’t put that much effort into using the Bible and the words of patriarchal “thinkers” to shut people up unless you’re very, very worried about the consequences of them speaking.
    That said, the pollination of angry former Vision Forum employees into even more radical fundie groups is clearly underway. I worry about the kind of influence Persevero and the rest will be able to accrue with this new infusion of trained patriarchalists.

  • tulips

    Oh he totally does, he’s just not well known in the gen public and his influence in more mainstream circles isn’t well known either. Love to close that gap 🙂

  • Guest

    Persevero News features articles by men who don’t care about the wellbeing or happiness of people. All they are concerned about is the proper application of all the laws in the Bible.
    I’m not surprised they are more concerned about how poorly these events make the Church look, about following “proper Matthew 18 procedures” and demanding that there be more than one witness than the wellbeing of the many victims. They don’t care about people they consider to be “below” them in their chain of command.

    A bit like Michael Pearl…
    Does he write for Persevero?

  • quietglow

    There’s another troubling line here:

    “The media is rife with reports of pastors and priests of various
    denominations getting away with adulteries and never being held
    accountable. No doubt, there is a problem here.”

    One of the problems being that several of those coming forward were under the age of consent at the time, making it not “adultery” but “rape.”

  • tulips

    Oh well done, nice catch. You’re right. Even whilst I sat here scrutinizing this and criticizing it they still pass bits…important dastardly reframing…right under my radar.

  • quietglow

    I missed it the first time through, but on second glance I realized that’s one I’ve seen before:


    Victim-blaming strategies are powerful, but there are only so many in the playbook. Once you’ve seen them, the camouflage fades.

  • Nea

    Rape doesn’t seem to exist in the fundie world. Defrauding, impurity, and adultery, but not *rape.* Rape suggests that it isn’t the woman’s/child’s fault.

  • Saraquill

    Nathaniel Darnell, you fail as a human being.

  • Allison the Great

    There is so much wrong in this it’s hard to begin. I wasn’t abused, but I could only skim through it. This asshole is quoting Rushdooney? Wtf? That guy was five kinds of psycho. From what this piece of shit writing this article is saying is 1) We should never believe rape victims, because they probably think rape happened when it really didn’t because they don’t really know what rape is. 2) This kind of power easily gets to your head, and that can happen to anyone. We have to remind this Christian leader not to over-step his bounds while we cover his ass and blame the victim because you know, his story is the one we’ll believe anyway 3) it’s a little bit of the father’s fault for not being manly-leader-y enough 4) while it is a little bit of the father’s fault, it’s way more of the mother’s fault for not staying in her place in the home and for causing chaos in her family ranks.

    Basically, this article is shit salad with an extra bit of fuck head sprinkled on top. This is bad mojo.

  • Allison the Great

    What have we learned from these quiver full folks? Seriously? Whatever it was, it was the woman’s fault and we don’t know what happened or who did it, but the woman did it, just fyi. Yep, it’s the woman’s fault.

  • Allison the Great

    You just won… something. I don’t know what but you did. That right there is awesome.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    It is interesting to me that, in a post where Nathaniel specifically blames the father, the headline of the comment thread is about blaming the mother. Not to deny that he mentions the mother, but the way I read the post, anyway, is that the foundational failure he points out is that of the father. The family seeks a surrogate father cause Dad ain’t doing his job.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I read it till “…If she cannot prove that she was abused, then she should beware the consequences of Deuteronomy 19:16-21, which hold her accountable to the
    same penalty as the one she accuses…” I couldn’t take it anymore after that. How can you “prove” groping if the perp denies it?

    After that, I skimmed for awhile. This is really, really nasty stuff. It’s the victim’s fault for “misinterpreting” fatherly affection as sexual harassment; it’s the mother’s fault for letting their daughters leave the home before getting married, it’s the father’s fault for not being manly enough thus forcing the slandered “surrogate daddy” to step up, it’s the mother’s fault for not being submissive enough… and most especially it’s the fault of victims who publicly accuse sexual predators, enabling other victims to realize they aren’t crazy, and bringing the secular world’s attention to this embarrassment!

    Have I summed it up adequately?

  • Allison the Great

    I want them to quote him too. It does expose their true agenda. I got kicked off of LAF for asking one of the bloggers if it was wise to quote Rushdooney. I pointed out that he was a holocaust denier, and several other of his vile attributes as well. They didn’t take too kindly to that. They view him as some sort of hero. Rushdooney died in think in 2001 and they probably worship him more than Jesus Christ.

  • Astrin Ymris

    So according to Rushdoony, all sex offenses must be confirmed by at least two witnesses, or the victim is lying?

    That’s not very different from Muhammad requiring three “honorable” men who can testify to a rape before the victim can bring charges, is it?

  • Allison the Great

    I don’t think either of the parents are to blame for their daughter being abused by the likes of Mr. Gothard. This would have happened regardless of whether the father was doing his job or not. It seems to me that the reason this happened is because the families who follow this man revere him and they didn’t think twice about letting this man be alone with their daughters because after all, this is a godly man, right? Wrong. He was in a position of power, and he abused it. He found ways so that he could be alone with these young women and their families thought it was a huge honor. The only thing that these families as a whole failed to do was that they failed to stop following this ATI crap. They only failed by being the followers of a sexual predator and religious cult leader.

    And why did this creep even bring up the mother to begin with? I mean a girl gets molested by her pastor because her mom didn’t “know her place” in the household? What the hell is that? So not only are they trying to dodge responsibility for their actions they’re trying to blame more women (and not just the victims)?

    Now, Mr. Ohlman, I have a question for you, and I seriously want to know and it’s not meant in a mean way at all. I know that many of your articles and your quotes are featured as “Quoting Quiverful” but I don’t know which movement, if any, that you might belong to. I do have a question, or a several part question regarding all of this. Is there any time when you’re listening to what’s being said to you, and you’re listening to all these beliefs, that you see any of it as being toxic? Are there some ideas that you believe and some that you throw out? Is there anything about this man’s article that rubs you the wrong way in regards to how they treat their victims and how they view women in general?

  • tulips

    Apply ad libitum:
    “Allow us to express our certainty that disaster both did not occur and could have been prevented had these wives and mothers been more submissive and more enthusiastic sex partners to their husbands.”

  • tulips

    Perhaps a few Rushdoony quotes could help?

  • Allison the Great

    “The Male Party(ies) does not assume any responsibility for abuse (be it of a sinful sexual nature or not) that may or may not occurred. Any questionable activity that may or may not occurred are directly caused by any female involved in the life of the male party(ies)”

  • Allison the Great

    Didn’t Rushdooney like the idea of stoning people? I know that his son-in-law, Gary North, loved the idea. According to North, rocks are cheap and in abundant supply. Why not stone the victims so they’ll shut up?

    Seriously, just seeing Rushdooney’s name gives me the creeps. There was something SERIOUSLY WRONG with that man.

  • Trollface McGee

    Oh FSM this is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start. This is by far one of the most sickening things I’ve read in a while, and I’m privy to some sickening things.

    1. Letting your child go to school/day care does not increase their chances of being abused. Neither does “allowing” a grown woman going out in the world. Isolation is a welcome sign for abusers.

    2. Biological fathers abuse biological kids.

    3. “If a lady claims to have been sexually abused by another Christian, the first thing she should do is talk with her shepherds about what happened, so that they can help, comfort, and steer her in what to do next. If she is married, then that would mean speaking with her husband and possibly her church elder(s) privately. If she is unmarried, that would mean speaking with her parents and possibly her church elder(s) privately to have wisdom in what to do next. If she cannot prove that she was abused, then she should beware the consequences of Deuteronomy 19:16-21, which hold her accountable to the same penalty as the one she accuses, if she is proven wrong.
    No. No. Just.Do.Not.Go.There. Stop with the victim blaming. Stop with the silencing of victims. If someone is abused, go to the police. All of these tactics are meant to silence the victim and talk her out of pressing charges, and that last threat that she’s going to hell for making accusations – just don’t go there.
    And why the hell does it matter if the perp is a Christian? Are we supposed to give them a break because of their faith? No. Just no.

    “how each accusation by an alleged victim must be collaborated by two or three witnesses to the same event, and the alleged perpetrator must be given the opportunity to defend himself before being condemned.”
    Right, so every case where there isn’t an audience to the abuse is incapable of being addressed? Just stop. The accused has a right to defend themselves – it’s called court.

    We don’t need “Christian Daddies” or fake tribunals that are going to blame the victim. We need to condemn sexual abuse, we need to make sexual abusers accountable legally. We need to make the system more hospitable for victims and we need to stop silencing and shaming victims. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re doing anything to impede a victim’s search to get justice and healing, you are at least morally accountable to her.

    Sexual abuse is the mother’s fault if a) she’s doing the abusing or taking part or b) knows about the abuse and does nothing (a lesser offence but still and offence).

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    You seem to contradict yourself. First u say there is nothing the parents could have done, then u list things they could have done. Yes, I disagree with a lot that many of these other teachers say.

  • Allison the Great

    I could reword that here, and thank you for catching it. Correction: It’s not that they were not manly fathers or submissive mothers that is to blame, but what is to blame is that they followed such a man in the first place and allowed themselves to be a part of a cult. Better?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Hey, that worked. I just replied to the email and it posted!! The Disqus god’s don’t let me on about 3/4 of the time.

    Certainly that is better, and I would agree with you that they shouldn’t have been part of ATI. I have had huge problems with Bill Gothard for decades. Starting with the fact he isn’t married 🙂

    But I would disagree with your other point, of course. Indeed even secular authors talk about how bad it is for a family for the father to ‘check out’ of his family, being occupied with work, etc. It would seem that even the most ardent secularist would see how that kind of void would seek to be filled.

    But I guess we all have our blind spots.

  • Allison the Great

    I do agree that fathers need not “check out” of their families and bail on their kids. It’s always helpful to have 2 parents as opposed to one.

    However, I don’t think that is to blame for what happened to those girls. I don’t think that you can really say that these girls are just saying that Mr. Gothard did this because their father “checked out”. From the list of things he did to them, you cannot argue that they were inappropriate. Should their father have been there to protect them? Absolutely but the real problem lies elsewhere.
    In this culture, they tend to blame the victim a lot more than they make the abuser take responsibility for his actions, and they treat women as a sub-species who are not to be trusted. I think this culture is to blame. It puts these girls in a position to, not only be easy targets for abuse and unable to defend themselves but also it puts them in a position to be treated terribly because they’re viewed as property that shouldn’t have any rights. I mean look at this article! It is so full of crap like “the victim doesn’t know what happened and cannot be trusted”. If that happened to me and I lived in a household where people had that attitude, I would be afraid to speak up and tell my father what happened too. If the girl cannot talk to her parents about what’s going on for fear of what will happen to HER (because they say that if she can’t prove it she will be punished and what not) how can they know what’s going on and how can they stand up and protect her?

    A huge problem with this culture is misogyny and victim blaming. As long as they keep treating victims the way that they do, and they don’t take the perps to the cops, sexual misconduct will continue to be a problem.

  • persephone

    This is how the Jehovah’s Witnesses let pedophiles and rapists get away it. They kept bringing in the two witness rule, and doctors’ reports weren’t accepted as a witness. Just absolutely disgusting and this is when I wish there was a hell for these people to pay for what they’ve done.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Once again DD you seem to contradict yourself. There is a lot in your article, and I need to get to bed, but one issue comes up quickly. You mention families who, because of their dynamics, leave the daughters feeling that they cannot come to their father about an issue like that.
    I would point out that that, too, represents a failing of the father. On another thread discussing the situation regarding Patrick Henry I pointed out that a chain of abuses typically requires someone at the beginning of the chain to fail to raise the hue and cry, or to be silenced. I was told that the young women were told that they were not allowed to discuss the situation with their parents.

    That is a red flag I have taught all of my children. If someone says, “don’t tell your parents about this,” then the very first thing they should do is… tell their parents about it!! (Anniversary parties excepted). So your post reveals another real failure in parenting in situations like this: parents who have not built that kind of trust relationship where the child feels they can come to the parent with the problem; that the parent will blame them, or make it worse.

    That is a failure in parenting. Not, I’ll admit, one that Nathaniel pointed out.

  • Allison the Great

    Ah, I see now that we were not really seeing what the other was saying before. You were saying that fathers should not check out and by that you meant they should be there for their kids to talk to, and I agree, I thought you meant something else and I see where you’re getting now.

    You are absolutely right that daughters should be able to come to their fathers without fear. However, as I said before I think that the culture that these daughters are raised in, this patriarchal culture (not always the fathers themselves) creates that fear in a way. What they preach, about purity and being damaged goods and all that is something that causes these girls to be afraid to tell their fathers. Their fathers can be the most open men in the world, but what these girls are being told day in and day out about themselves would cause them to be reluctant to speak out when such abuses occur. I’ll use myself as an example of this, When I was a teenager I was sent to Christian schools because my parents thought that they’d be nice and that I wouldn’t be bullied anymore. We had several speakers come and talk to us about purity and they would put the girls in one room and the boys in the other. We girls would have it drilled into our heads that, we had to be pure, no matter what. And if we weren’t, well, we were like a half eaten sandwich, nobody would want us. If we were violated, what did WE do to bring it on, because it would be our fault if rape or something sexual would have happened to us. Now hearing this so many times created fear in me, a fear that, if something should have happened, the reaction I feared I would get would shame me and it would be best not to tell anyone. My father is the most open man in the world, he is a great man, but despite our relationship, I was afraid. Fortunately, my sister got it out of me and then she told him what I was learning and they made it to where I would not have to go to assemblies and both of my parents undid the damage that was done. So now you see what I mean by the culture creating the problem. The fear to speak up does not always come from the perp, and it doesn’t always come from the parents, but it can come from a ministry that acts like it’s doing a godly thing when it’s really not. Kids, if they’re not completely isolated from the world, get their information from more than just their parents.

    I am not arguing with what you’ve said, that fathers should not create an atmosphere in which his children fear him and that for another adult to tell the kids that they shouldn’t tell their parents about something is indeed a red flag. Granted, there are small failures all along the way, especially in this culture. The biggest failure of course lies with the perp. And another failure is the way they view things. One cannot argue that this patriarchal movement that treats women in the way that they do, and worse still, one that treats victims of abuse the way they view, with all this biblical law crap, is a toxic environment in which to raise a family.

  • Madame

    “Have I summed it up adequately?”


  • tulips

    It’s generally a problem for parents, their children, and intimate partners to be “checked out” aka “not invested” in what is going on in their own lives.
    Re your red flag…this is dangerously naïve advice that suggests you are entirely unfamiliar with the concept of conditioning as well as the real world dynamics of abuse. Competent predators are neither sufficiently inexperienced nor witless enough to make such a rube error anywhere but your live action role play fantasy.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Actually Madame, I was quoting a post (on a private FB page, unfortunately) where an administrator said exactly that to a female student regarding an issue between her, a male student, and the administration. The administrator made the claim that, somehow, because the university was ‘dealing with’ the issue, the student was forbidden from discussing it with her parents.

    I will leave it to others to discuss whether sexual predators ever tell their victims not to tell anyone about what goes on. It was my impression, and what I had been taught both as a nurse and a school teacher, that telling the children ‘not to tell anyone’ was a fairly standard technique. Perhaps they were wrong.

  • tulips

    Reading comprehension…is not your friend. Perhaps a few years of higher education could sharpen up that blade? Would anyone who is capable of playing connect the dots be so kind as to explain to Vaughn where a school administrator falls wrt power dynamics in the life of a student?

  • Edie Moore McGee

    “[T]he hurt she claims to have experienced.”
    Head smack. Yep, all the victim’s imagination. Even her pain isn’t real.

  • “how each accusation by an alleged victim must be collaborated by two or three witnesses to the same event, and the alleged perpetrator must be given the opportunity to defend himself before being condemned.”

    Funny how these Old Testament quoters – when the OT is convenient, at least – forget the OT here?:
    “Deu 22:25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:

    Deu 22:26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter.”
    The field, in that case, was the place where she was not within earshot of help (the city was tents not walls at the time, people did not have our notion of privacy and lived very close together, so in the city she could have shouted for help if it was against her will). When not within earshot of help, a woman’s word would be accepted that it was rape.

  • lodrelhai

    Oh god, this. I hit this line and I have yet to bring myself to read past it. I am horrified and disgusted. The accusations include PUTTING HIS HANDS BETWEEN A GIRL’S THIGHS AND SLIDING UP! The last time my father was anywhere CLOSE to touching me anything like that was when he was changing my diaper. Which, according to these assholes, is a woman’s job anyway, so how the HELL is anything like this a normal intimacy from a father?!?

    I am going to be physically ill…

  • Gypsy Rose B

    Never have I seen such eloquent and in depth victim blaming!

    Also, does anyone else find the phrase “surrogate daddies” creepy?

  • Rhino

    Nathaniel’s comments might lead one to believe that Dr. Morecraft would be in favor of his position, when in fact, he was one of the men who confronted Doug Phillips. Ironic.

  • Timothy Swanson

    Thanks for the re-post!

    I mention it a bit in that post, but Gothard’s ideas were heavily influenced by Rushdoony’s teachings as well.

    If you want a bit of irony, I am a graduate of the Gothard affiliated law school, just like Darnell. We have obviously taken different paths.

    I am troubled by the way Christian Patriarchy treat women, and I strongly believe that the teachings contribute to an atmosphere where sexual abuse and rape thrive.

  • Kristofer David Gray

    I’m wondering what the author thinks now that Bill Gothard has resigned.
    I can appreciate the arguments from a legal perspective, (e.g., are these cases technically sexual abuse?), but this is sort of a moot point since if some of the cases against him do go to court the judge will make sure the burden of proof is there.
    Are the allegations by the alleged victims possibly being championed by people who have negative biased opinions of Bill Gothard and would like to see his ministry fail regardless of sexual abuse? Probably.
    Surrogate Daddy is a good insight. I do appreciate your perspective of speculating on one of the possible factors in why Bill Gothard found himself surrounded by beautiful young, vulnerable women.
    Let’s all commit to think twice before assuming that a good speaker can be a good father figure.