SkullDUGGARy: An Effect Gothard’s ATI Movement Won’t Own

SkullDUGGARy: An Effect Gothard’s ATI Movement Won’t Own January 7, 2016

by Cindy Foster cross posted from her blog Finding Fundamental

I realize tCindyFosterhat I am the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to this subject


 After poring over the many disturbing facts surrounding Josh Duggar’s  molestations, I want to extend the focus from Josh’s deviance and his parents’ learned, willful  ignorance and denial to what I believe to be at the root of their troublesome response… which would be:

Jim Bob and Michelle’s parenting practices mirror dogmatic parenting policies of the highly influential Christian home schooling curriculum that has become a Movement, the Advanced Training Institute, established by Bill Gothard.   
The Christian fundamentalist movement also known as the Gothard Movement.  It’s the one though the Duggars as well as countless others, have placed unwavering confidence and loyalty, has one (of many) major defects.
that being:
its downright refusal to acknowledge, own and correct its own errors and abuses. 
This movement– advanced, promoted and populated– by many prominent  leaders of Christian fundamentalism at large,  who while eagerly identifying and decrying sins of ‘this evil and adulterous generation, are much less inclined to respond appropriately when its own transgressions are exposed.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (emphasis mine)
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (again, emphasis mine)
Additionally, the faithful followers of these hyper-charged sin detectors can’t or won’t accept the possibility that many of their beloved movement’s militant beliefs might actually be at the core. 
To reexamine those beliefs and renounce the ones lacking would be to accept and admit they actually can be and often ARE desperately wrong…all-the-while imposing these wrongs on their families and others.
It is rare indeed for the typical devout, self-respecting fundamentalist Christian, much less The Movement, to readily admit being wrong for fear of jeopardizing status, respect, credibility and public image.
And then the Duggars are discovered and become the fulfillment of every good Christian Personality and parent’s fantasy of what they want their own family to be (at least in looks and pious behavior).  
They appear so genuine, so humble, so happy, so pure, so attractive and sooooo convincingly Godly.  They validate beliefs converted families have embraced and promoted in their own (non-famous) circles and gradually, they too gain recognition and admiration for incorporating such principles,
forgetting the fact that the Duggars are no more than ordinary people with extraordinary ideals…who being exalted by their Movement (and celebrity status via TLC) are fortified with the religious fervor and determination to live them out.
They are striving to, by due diligence and fear, circumvent the possibility that their children will dabble in the dubious ways of The World.
But, the uglier truth is the level of control, repression and suppression they have to exercise over the wills and lives of individual human souls who, once grown, should be granted the physical and emotional freedom to make choices for themselves.
So when the Duggars are declared “America’s Favorite Family,” it becomes verification that admiring participants have earned a spot (vicariously) in the elite fraternity of Christian parents who ‘do it right’.
Problem is: rearing ‘Godly‘ kids or even healthy, happy responsible kids is much simpler than any complicated formula extrapolated from private interpretations of the Bible by Bill Gothard or any other Christian parenting guru. 
This man has never been married and never reared children of his own but has won over a nervous multitude of parents by merit of his charisma and scholarly-appearing, counter-culture, ‘biblically-legit’, impeccably-organized, highly decorative materials and teachings.     
But, the ‘formula‘ fails.  The champions fall.  And the leaders whose credibility rode piggy-back on the Duggar’s success and fame resort to juvenile-brained defenses to shore up their own Duggar-relied credibility.
It’s as if the fundamentalist Christian community has been so hungry for positive public acclaim that once they get a champion to represent their ideologies, they can’t or won’t accept it nor admit it when they fall. 
So, what could be the cause for such blatant contradiction?
I think it’s a kind of tribalistic pride.
Yes, the same Christians who have always condemned the tribalistic pride they see in the rest of the world, artfully (even if unintentionally) spin their own gratuitous pride into opportunities to promote the cause of Christ by their chaste choice of Duggar-types as supreme examples.
I am no longer surprised at Christian fundamentalist movements and their devoted followers’ defensively deceptive responses.
Because we don’t have to search long or hard to find that historically, this movement is not a culture that is known for owning its own blatant errors.   To give lip-service to the obvious fact that ‘even devout Christians screw up’, is an anemic attempt at diverting attention from the uglier truths. 
Consider how long it took for the Southern Baptist Convention to acknowledge and apologize for its racism and defense of slavery?  Somewhere around 200 years?
“In 1995, the Convention voted to adopt a resolution renouncing its racist roots and apologizing for its past defense of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.[44][45] This marked the denomination’s first formal acknowledgment that racism had a profound role in its early and modern history.”
Christian fundamentalists have yet (as far as I know) to publicly acknowledge its own racism and I doubt seriously it has ever, as a collective movement, renounced it.  
Christian fundamentalists’ positions on: women’s suffrage, segregation, contraception, pain relief in child-bearing and equality for women in the work force….just to name a few, were also found to be on the opposite side of good.
So, could we add beliefs such as:  home schooling; separation; early indoctrination; extra-biblical interpretations of the scripture; excessive protection and control of children by parents in all things even into adulthood; fixated attention to modesty and purity; a quiver as full as the mother’s womb can bear; syrupy-sweet and submissive expectations of women and steadfast, authoritarian, entitlement-prone-with-a-smile fathers will almost  always guarantee children will grow into Godly adults, to the list of things Christian fundamentalists just MIGHT be wrong about? 
Do we dare even consider it?
Judging by the growing online communities of ex-fundamentalists such as Homeschoolers Anonymous, No Longer Quivering, Fundamentalist Cult Survivors etc. etc. etc., could we safely surmise that there are a host of abuses committed as a direct result of incendiary beliefs and practices of radical Christian fundamentalists?  
Considering my past intimate knowledge and experience as a defender and enthusiast, my answer would have to be…. 

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Cindy Foster blogs at Finding Fundamental

Cindy Foster is “Mom” to eight gorgeous, talented, temperamental, noisy, opinionated, alike-but very different kids. She has been married to their daddy, Paul, for 36 years.


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  • I will never understand how people who think Catholics are wrong-headed to believe their pope is infallible could believe that Bill Gothard & their pastors are infallible. You made a great point about Gothard’s lack of personal experience in family life — much like the pope’s inexperience.

  • Astrin Ymris

    The one thing the CPM can’t allow themselves to do at ANY costs is ever ask themselves, “Is it possible that we could be wrong about this?” If they do, the entire house of cards might come tumbling down.

  • Astrin Ymris

    All the upvotes! This should go viral.

  • Abigail Smith

    My sentiments exactly… a former catholic who has now returned to catholicism after abusive fundamental, I can say that people more respect and admire the pope, but with Gothard, he is worshipped and seen as infallible

  • Abigail Smith

    That’s because they are Narcissists…I’ve learned so much about Narcs since I realized my mother was one, and I see the same traits in these CPM leaders. Do any of the below traits NOT belong to the Duggars, Gothard, Doug Phillips, etc?

  • cmfe

    Ultimately, it’s fear driven.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Um, I was thinking more of the lower ranks of the organization than those whose livelihood depends on the meme not changing, but I see what you mean.

    OT: It’s also eerie how closely these criteria match the character of Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m going to see if I can share the image.

  • Abigail Smith

    The “poison” trickles down into the lower ranks because they get brainwashed.

    LOL about Thor. Haven’t seen that yet, but you would kind of expect some of these behaviors from a SuperHero

  • ChrisFromNewEngland

    ATI is a cult, pure and simple. Two hallmarks of a cult are the deification of its leader and believing that your interpretation of a doctrine trumps everything and everyone else.

  • SAO

    Movement members have made considerable sacrifices to be Godlier-than-thou. If most of the stuff is wrong, then they have too many kids, an education that often is no better than a HS dropout’s, and, for the women, a wrecked body and the job of catering to the whims of a petty dictator. Moving on to any kind of moderate success in the world is hard. That’s a huge and bitter humble pie to swallow.

    High control is required for these groups to be successful because without the control, the cracks would be visible. With control, they are papered over and men like Josh get jobs at places like the Family Resource Center (or whatever it was called) and JB and Michelle get awards for their great parenting.

  • SAO

    Lawsuit accusing Gothard of rape and molestation filed, yesterday

  • Julia Childress

    My most devoted quiverfull sister was 27 years old and the mother of five boys. Although definitely the patriarchal leader of the family, her husband was/is a very nice and sensible person. Several years ago, my sister suffered a ruptured appendix with serious complications and a 10 day hospitalization. After trying to maintain the household and take care of the kids for those 10 days, my BIL had a revelation. There is something fundamentally wrong with putting the emphasis on numbers when it comes to children. When my sister came home from the hospital, he shared his thoughts with her and they scoured the Bible for evidence that birth control is wrong or that it’s Godly to keep having children when you can’t adequately care for them. Their house of cards came tumbling down. They left town for two weeks and went to another sister’s home and visited her (Methodist)church. They were astounded at actually hearing the Gospel of love preached from the pulpit and seeing people of all kinds actively engaged with each other. When they went home, they had to completely rebuild their lives since everyone they knew outside of the family was rabid CPM and no one wanted to associate with them anymore once they joined a Methodist church. It was very difficult. Fast forward a few years, and the boys are doing well in public school, and my sister is enjoying being a substitute teacher. I credit my BIL for having the guts to question everything he had been taught from childhood and both of them for risking the wrath of their parents and friends to make a better life for themselves.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Yay for your BIL! And yay for both of them– it can’t have been easy for your sister and BIL to rebuild their lives after that.

  • B.A.

    Pope Francis has actually earned that respect and admiration,even from non-Catholics like me,because of his humble,down-to-earth nature.

  • Abigail Smith

    He was actually the reason I returned to Catholicism….I really like the way he was respected by non-Catholics, including alot in the media…He is very respectful of other people’s religious views and I like that.

  • Evelyn

    “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” Hee hee!

  • Wookie Monster

    You can judge the effectiveness of the Duggar’s parenting by the results they produced in their eldest child.

  • Julia Childress

    Having all of those boys was definitely part of the wake-up call. After spending 10 days trying to manage the household and homeschool the two oldest (even with the help of his mother), my BIL came to the realization that it was not humanly possible to effectively do all of the things that my sister expected to do. Without any girls to help manage the household, it just could not be done without seriously short-changing the children and driving mom over the edge. Sad though that in most quiverfull households the little girls are expected to fill the role of adults.