Saturday, July 31, 2004

Movie Recommendation
If you haven't seen M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, go see it. Think training center life.

Friday, July 30, 2004

X-ATI Guy is Not Bill Gothard
SOMEWHERE, USA - Responding to pointed questions from readers, X-ATI Guy today denied that he is Bill Gothard. "No. X-er is not Bill Gothard, and Bill Gothard is not X-er," he said in a statement.

"Although I may occasionally post while on IBLP property, I am certainly not Bill...I'm not that funny."

X-ATI Guy acknowledges that there are striking similarities: they are both of the male species, and they both communicate to youth, thus the confusion is understandable. X-er could point out some of the dissimilarities between Mr. Gothard and himself, but does not feel that this comparison is necessary.

Institute Staff Types We Don't Like
The Rat
Part gossip, part friend, part information center. This type loves to know everything going on. The problem is that a lot of his information finds its way to the leadership. We're not saying the Rat told, but we wonder...

The Marlon Brando
"Bad boy" wannabe. He thinks he is the big poppa of the Institute because he secretly watches R-rated movies, listens to unapproved music, and is charming with the ladies. Loves to drop hints of his unauthorized behavior. Survives in the Institute by emulating the Brownnoser.

The Brownnoser
This suckup is on a first name basis with the entire Institute leadership. Not that that's wrong, but his attention always goes up. He could care less about you if you don't carry a walkie or work in some management position. Can usually be seen close to the head table at meals, or somewhere in Mr. Gothard's entourage, if he's in town.

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
This type believes that the Institute rule book is hers to enforce. She spots violations like a drill sergeant, and announces your misdeeds in a voice loud enough to wake up people a Character City away.

The Apologizer
This type apologizes for ever potential violation. "I'm sorry for my words, I'm sorry for my wrong attitude, I'm sorry if you were offended, I'm sorry I'm sorry." The only way to shut them up is to tell them you won't forgive them: "I can't forgive you if you haven't done anything wrong." Silence. "Well, I'm sorry for apologizing if that bothers you....."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Youth Discovers He Needs College Degree After All
ALBANY, New York - Sam Thompson, a 25-year-old ATI graduate, recently discovered that despite assurances from Bill Gothard, he actually does need a college degree to succeed in the real world.  Thompson recently began job hunting, but has been unable to find gainful employment.  "On my resume I listed every Institute training conference I ever attended," he says.  "I also listed my ten strongest character qualities."  Surprisingly, Thompson's character qualities were not enough for him to get a job.

Thompson learned in ATI that if he focused on character and the Faith Journal, government and business leaders would be eager to hire him.  "Well, where are they?" Thompson asked rhetorically, and looked around his empty bedroom for effect.

Thompson is not picky about his career.  He is willing to be a lawyer, a real estate agent, a financial advisor, or even a brain surgeon.  Yet despite his flexibility, he is amazed at the Strongholds of Education that exist in corporate America.  "When I tell them I'm not attending college, they burst out laughing."

Thompson is not sure about his next move.  "I'm 25 and still living with my parents.  This isn't working out.  I may end up going to college."

How to Survive a Shakedown
A shakedown is when an ATI authority seeks to bring a student to the realization of his sins.*  The person in leadership "counsels" the student until the student agrees he is in sin and offers to make a public apology.  The shakedown technique has been used by the Gestapo, the mafia, and military intelligence, but it was perfected by ATI.  If you work or volunteer for the Institute, chances are you will face a shakedown at some point, so we offer suggestions on how to survive.
  • Sit very still.  Do not make eye contact with the authority.  Respond to the interrogation with small whimpering noises.
  • Resist appeals to your conscience.  Disagree with everything the authority says.  "Don't you think you exhibited a rebellious spirit?"  "No!"
  • Run downhill.  ATI leadership is fast, but cannot run downhill.
  • Plea bargain.  "I'm not going to admit to watching a movie.  Let's say I owned a country music CD."
  • Don't get caught in the first place.
  • Avoid billiard tables at all costs.

  * The shakedown is also known as a pool stick session, deriving its name from a movie in which a crime boss tortures a "rat" in his organization.  The crime boss gets the traitor to confess by tying him facedown on a billiard table, hitting him with a pool stick, and placing the pool stick in uncomfortable places.

ATI Movie Makeovers: Dude, Where's my Car?
We all enjoy entertainment, but we should never enjoy entertainment at the expense of our godly standards. ATI Movie Makeovers takes popular Hollywood blockbusters and infuses them with Biblical principles and character development.

Dude, Where's My Car? by X-ATI Guy
Indianapolis Training Center transportation guy Chet Jones works all day driving back and forth from the airport to the ITC, picking up eager, shining-faced students and dropping them back off. His airport runs occur early in the morning, during the day, and late at night. Chet hates the late-night "midnight" runs. "The parents are too cheap to send their kids on a normal flight," he complains. "They buy these red-eye tickets and I'm the one that has to suffer."

Chet seeks out relaxation from his duties by watching a movie now and then. He takes his Institute vehicle, drives to the local movie theater, and then returns to the ITC. All of the security guys assume that he's on an airport run and never question him.

One evening, after a very frustrating airport run where the ATI student kept yapping about how the training conference blessed his soul, Chet decides to drop in for an action movie. He goes to the movie theater, grabs a bag of popcorn, and enjoys the feature.

Upon exiting the theater, Chet can't remember where he parked. He locates the spot where he thought he left the car, but it's not there. Suddenly, the truth dawns upon him:

His car has been stolen.

But it's not HIS's an Institute vehicle. Chet begins to panic. He reaches for his IBLP cell phone to call the transportation manager, but realizes that he's standing in a movie theater parking lot, which could raise a lot of uncomfortable questions.

Chet reviews his options. He could: a) call his manager and confess everything, b) report the missing vehicle and say he was just using the theater's bathroom, c) call the police and hope the theater doesn't come up in the police report, or d) find the car himself.

Chet quickly eliminates option (a). He figures that option (b) is a little weak, but might be one to fall back on. Option (c) is risky because the police are likely to report where the theft took place. Chet is left with option (d) and he embarks on an adventure that will change his life forever.

Chet's search leads him all over Indianapolis, and when he finally recovers the car, it has been used as the get-away car in a bank robbery, and has drugs stashed in the glovebox.

Chet makes it back to the ITC by breakfast time. He is innocently eating his oatmeal and brown sugar when police officers investigating last night's bank robbery trace the vehicle to the ITC parking lot.

The truth finally comes out during Chet's subsequent shakedown, and Chet is sent home in disgrace.

X-ATI Guy Admits to "Inner Turmoil"
Investigative report - Earlier today, X-ATI Guy acknowledged the risks of operating a satire site such as his. He confessed that running the X-ATI site has taken a toll on his soul. "Sometimes I'm in fear of hellfire," he said. "What if we're making a huge mistake?"

X-er has no plans of letting up, but he fears the possibility of an IBLP reprisal. "They could permanently curse me. I'm nervous that I'll be held in spiritual bondage. Worst of all, it would go in my ATI student profile, because they always document this stuff."

"I block the inner turmoil by listening to very loud rock music," he said. "The only way to handle the guilt is to think of all the good we're doing."

No Thanks, ALERT Men
BIG SANDY, Texas - Home education conference workers in Texas are fed up with the ALERT program, which relocated to Big Sandy, Texas several years ago.  "The problem is that these ALERT guys show up at every homeschool event in the state," complained one coordinator.  "We may not want an affiliation with a para-military program, but we aren't given a choice."  He pointed out that ALERT men, in their distinctive navy blue BDU's and t-shirts, always attract media attention.  "And then the whole city thinks we're a bunch of G.I. Joe's, when that's not what homeschooling is about."

"You go to pick up a box and 15 ALERT men swarm around you to help," said a homeschool vendor who sells books at homeschool fairs throughout the summer.  "They're all so polite you hate to tell them to get lost."

A conference manager in west Texas is grateful for the help at homeschool conferences, but he has a different concern about ALERT men.  "They're shameless flirts.  They end up getting in the way of our vendors because they hang around the attractive young women working the tables."  Numerous suggestions have been made to curb the coquetries, but nothing has been effective up to this point. 

Conferences and vendors have no intentions of banning ALERT men at this time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

It's True! The Exorcist in the Training Center
It's True! is our feature where we recount weird news or occurrences from our ATI days.
Perhaps my worst memory ever is renting The Exorcist and watching it in my training center room.  (Don't ask how I actually watched it.)  I always wondered what the big deal was with the movie, but it was terrifying.  I could hardly sleep for a week.
-Submitted by a former TC staffer. how did you manage that?

Student Forced Out of Training Center after Confessing Sin
HOUSTON, Texas - Hugh Stephens,* a student in the Advanced Training Institute, spends most of his days sitting around at home and trying to think of how he could have done things differently.

Until just recently, Stephens, a sincere-looking 18 year old, worked in the kitchen of the Indianapolis Training Center, a juvenile delinquent center and satelite of IBLP.

Stephens' reversal of fortune came about after making a confession to his "team leader" at the center.  "I confessed that I once struggled with some of the pictures in K-Mart advertisements," he said, "and I asked my leader for prayer."

This moment of transparency led to a "huge uproar" as Stephens called it.  "My team leader freaked out.  He called the TC leadership and they counseled me for about 3 days.  I think they even called Mr. Gothard."

Stephens' counselors informed him that he should no longer work in the kitchen.  "They said they didn't want me serving food and polluting it with impure thoughts," he remembers.  Ironically, they relocated him to work in the laundry room.

"I was a little confused," says Stephens.  "I just asked for prayer.  Are you telling me none of these other people have ever struggled with lust?"  Stephens' worst moment of frustration was when one of the men told him that he needed to "turn your sexual energy into creative energy."   

"Pardon my French, but what the heck does that mean?!?" Stephens remembers replying.  Ultimately, the leadership determined that it was not appropriate for Hugh to be on staff, and they released him from his duties. 

These days, he regrets bringing the whole thing up.  "I'm sure they call me 'K-Mart orgy boy' when they joke about me."  Stephens feels that the situation could have been handled differently.

"What's a training center for if it isn't to encourage the staff?" asked Stephens rhetorically.

*name changed

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

How a Midwife's Godly Character Can Improve Your Sex Life
Here's a precious little moment that I hope I never forget:

At a young ladies' session in Knoxville in 1995, Mr. Gothard was extolling the virtues of the midwifery program. ATI would raise up a new generation of women who could challenge the ungodly medical community, by doing things God's Way. (Not that he used those exact words.  I think Ezzo has the copyright to them.) These young midwives would be so highly trained in Biblical wisdom that -- and I quote fairly directly --  "They can minister in every conceivable situation."

It's a haunting mental image. 

-Submitted by guest poster SRJ.

Buy a T-Shirt, Support Legalism
Buy it here.

Cabbage Patch Sues Gothard
HINSDALE, Illinois - Citing "years of defamation and business interference," the manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Dolls has sued Bill Gothard for lowering the nation's opinion of the popular 1980's toy.

"The Institute of Basic Life Principles boasts an attendance of 2.6 million," said a Cabbage Patch spokesman.  "We estimate that at least half of the IBLP alumni either burned their children's dolls, or failed to buy one when the rest of the country was in a frenzy over our product."

The manufacturer hopes to recover millions for lost business, as well as punitive damages "to teach folks a lesson about maligning innocent dolls."  The company hopes to place a Cabbage Patch Doll in each ATI home in the coming years.

IBLP plans to fight this lawsuit with a strong defense by calling witnesses who can testify to the oppression that the Cabbage Patch Dolls brought into their home.  "We are sure that a jury will agree with our defense," said an IBLP press release.

Monday, July 26, 2004

ATI Movie Makeovers
We all enjoy entertainment, but we should never enjoy entertainment at the expense of our godly standards.  ATI Movie Makeovers takes popular Hollywood blockbusters and infuses them with a message of Biblical principles and character development. Instead of learning about Hollywood's negative values, we are able to watch the characters live out the seven Basic Principles.

You've Got Mail, by X-ATI Guy
In this uplifting ATI remake, the two main characters are played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Meg Ryan is a young single woman who finds great fulfillment in children's ministry, while Tom Hanks is a successful business man.

These two characters happen to discover each other on the Internet, and engage in the ungodly practices of Email and Chatting. Meg finds fulfillment in pouring her heart out to Tom, while Tom enjoys giving Meg advice about her life and acting like her father figure. After several months of communication, Meg suddenly realizes that she has given her heart away. She takes three steps to overcome this condition: 1) she prays to repent of the sin of giving her heart away, 2) she purposes that she can be more effective single than married, and 3) she tells Tom that if he wants to email her, he will have to ask her father.

Tom is surprised. Meg's example of submission to her father encourages him and he is gripped with amazement that women of character actually exist in New York City. He begins a character development program in his company and decorates his office by hanging posters of cute animals exhibiting character qualities.

Meanwhile, Meg is grieving that she has given her heart away. She fears that Tom will never call her father, and she resents the ungodly soul tie that has developed. She decides to dedicate herself to a life of singleness.

Tom finally approaches Meg's father and is granted permission to court her. Unfortunately, she is on a self-imposed 40-day fast in solitary confinement and refuses to see Tom. Tom responds by emailing Meg every day throughout the duration of her fast. On the last day of her fast, he sends her an e-card that says "Will you marry me?"

When Meg opens her email for the first time after her fast, she is overwhelmed by the depth and insight of Tom's emails. She cries out, "I wanted it to be you! I am beautiful and desired! He loves me, he loves me!" She sends word through her father that she accepts Tom.  

In the movie's final scene, we see a huge wedding ceremony.  Tom and Meg enjoy their first kiss.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Courtship Rule Book
Everything a guy needs to know to do it right
Choosing a life mate is a huge project. It takes lots of research, much prayer, wise counsel, and careful thought. Because of the importance of this decision, we can offer only one sure-fire way to end up with the right one: don't think about it. You must go to sleep. All mental, emotional, and spiritual thought regarding a life partner (particularly when there is a specific girl in mind) must cease. You must follow the example God gives us in Genesis. Before God presented Eve to Adam, he caused Adam to go to sleep. Scripture tells us this was a deep sleep, and young men would be wise to follow Adam's example. Until you die to the thought of ever getting married you will never be satisfied. After you stop thinking about this important issue it will become so much easier to make a wise decision. Therefore, purpose to become an Adam fellow.

A testimony from an Adam fellow: "I first heard this exciting truth of falling asleep when I was eight. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, so I purposed to go to sleep in Christ and allow him to provide the perfect mate for me. As I reached my teens, I discovered that I preferred to catnap in Christ. I could get my rest in Christ as long as no females were present, but as soon as a girl walked in the room, I was jolted awake. Of course, this was sinful, and I decided that sleeping in Christ was not enough, so I became Comatose in Christ. I accomplished this by taking a 15 lb. sledgehammer and hitting myself in the forehead several times. I can testify that going Comatose in Christ works!"

Once a young man or woman understands this dynamic truth, he or she is prepared to think rationally about a life partner.

After a person becomes comatose, he still faces many challenges in everyday life where he comes in contact with the opposite gender. Most young men going into their 20's are reaching a point where they are prepared to support a family.

Steps should be taken to avoid compromising situations where one is alone with the opposite gender. We must avoid all appearance of evil. Many people justify themselves by saying, "We're just friends--we're not doing anything wrong," but even the most innocent of activities can lead to temptation when alone with someone of the opposite gender. Avoid all activities, however innocent, if they could lead to temptation. These activities would include: roller-coaster rides, watching TV, road trips, going to church together, holding hands, kissing, and taking showers.

Additionally, many young men struggle with the difficult questions of where to draw the line in their friendships with girls. Is it okay for a guy to write letters to a girl who is a casual friend? Is he allowed to call her? What if they grew up together and are now going to colleges in different states--is he allowed to have contact with her? How often may he do this? Should he ask the girl if he can send her e-mails? Should he call the girl's father for permission? Should he ask the girl if he can ask the father for permission? Or should he ask the father if he can ask the girl for permission?

This is a very delicate time in the relationship between a man and woman. Therefore, we are going to give you the tools of how to do it right.

To answer all the above questions we turn to a more romantic time period when the world was not complicated by Internet relationships: the biblical example of Ruth and Boaz. As the story goes, Naomi, her husband, and their two sons moved to Moab. There the young men met and married two beautiful young women, Ruth being one of them. Sadly, the women of Moab seemed to have a bad effect on the men of Israel and Naomi's husband and sons all died in a very short period of time. Naomi and Ruth returned to Naomi's home.

Ruth took the initiative to provide for the family by gathering wheat from the fields. While she was gathering in Boaz' field, he took note of her and spoke kindly to her. So the first rule for young men is, of course, to buy some property and raise wheat. Additionally, always speak kindly to young women. Boaz generously invited Ruth to continue gleaning in his fields, which she was very happy to do. We learn an important lesson early in their relationship: it's a good sign if you can get free work out of her.

At mealtime, Boaz called out to Ruth, "Come here, and eat some bread, and dip your morsel in the wine." We are very concerned with Boaz' alcoholism--we do not recommend for young men to imbibe while working in their fields.

Ruth went home that night and had the talk with Naomi: "He's so very generous and wise and kind and cute!" Meanwhile, Boaz and the guys were engrossed in watching a football game and eating Doritos with no thought of Ruth. We see this pattern repeated in many relationships.  Young men, you have no idea how easily you can enthrall a girl. At this stage most young men are still avowed Bachelors and Out-of-the-pot eaters, while young women are entering into the "confused" stage. We urge you: dip your morsels in wine alone.

Back at Naomi's place, Naomi gave Ruth some risky counsel. They laid a plan, washed and perfumed Ruth, and Ruth went out of the house to catch her man.

Meanwhile, Boaz was deep in sleep. Ruth came up to him, uncovered his feet. (Some marriage counselors advise against this, as it has been known to cause bed-wetting, so discretion should be used.) Ruth then laid down at Boaz' feet.  Again, bright young men will instantly recognize the lesson: when faced with the swirling questions of "what should I do," the answer is simple. Nothing. Prepare your fields, remain unconscious, and the women will come to you.

Friday, July 23, 2004

It's True! ATI Students learn to Swear
It's True! is our feature where we recount weird news or occurrences from our ATI days.

Today's memory is about the movie Cromwell, with Richard Harris.   Mr. Gothard loved to show this movie at conferences and gatherings.  Because the movie had some mild swearing, ATI created a copy of the movie with the swear words bleeped out. 

Perhaps the tech guys didn't test it before showing it to the crowd I was in, but the beep was about three seconds late.  The movie characters would be talking, one would swear, and then you'd hear the belated beep.

English Gentleman: "Where is that bloody Cromwell?  I think we ought to [BEEP!]."
Other English Gentleman: "Yes, d*** him!  Shall we ride over to [BEEP!]?"

The other IBLP.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Unknown Christian Artist on why he left CCM
An unknown Christian artist has released a book on why he left the Christian Music Industry.  His book, "Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement" is heralded as a "hard-hitting investigative look at Christian music."  The unknown Christian artist cites his concerns about CCM: sensual performances, drum beats, divisions among Christians, and backtracking.

But those aren't the real reasons.

Upon obtaining a copy of this book, X-ATI Guy discovered that the book, read backwards, says repeatedly: "I couldn't make any money.  I couldn't make any money.  I couldn't make any money." 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

ATI Concerned about Attrition Rate
A secret document circulated among the leaders of the Advanced Training Institute International program discussed the organization's concern over its inability to retain students.  This document was leaked to X-ATI Guy and we're passing it along to you: 


A ten-year membership study has revealed that ATI graduates typically choose not to enroll in the ATI program when they begin their own families.  

Our program growth should be exponential.  Since our inception, our families have an average of ten children.  If each graduating student had re-joined upon reaching adulthood, our enrollment could be in the hundreds of thousands.  Unfortunately, only 1 in every 10 ATI students actually re-joins the program upon reaching adulthood. 
When asked why they left the program, the most common answers from former ATI students were: 
  • "I'm tired of giving the Institute my time and money through 'apprenticeship opportunities.'"
  • "The program is too legalistic."
  • "I have all this character and no education.  How am I supposed to get a job?"
  • "ATI families are proud and cannot get along other Christians."
  • "I hated the Faith Journal."
This growth crisis must be halted.  Our recommendation is a two-part strategy:  first, make immediate revisions to attract these former students.  This involves abandoning what are viewed as "restrictive requirements" such as the prohibitions on beards, music, television and other damaging sensual influences.  The second part of our growth strategy is long-term: foundational, structural changes to the ATI program, such as elimination of the promise of success and the use of rules and formulas, development of a real curriculum, and other changes.  

Our growth strategy may be criticized by our core families as abandoning principle due to financial pressure.  We can spin these changes in a positive light by saying: "We are not abandoning principle due to financial pressure.  We want these backsliders in the program so we can reform them."  Perhaps this evangelism campaign will pay off.

IBLP Raises Pay, Staff not Enthusiastic
OAK BROOK, Illinois - IBLP staffers will no longer work for free.  "In recognition of your years of service to God and to me," said Bill Gothard, "staffers will now be paid minimum wage for their labors."  This policy change will only go into affect for staffers who have been with the organization two years or longer.

IBLP staff heralded this as a "sham."  Each staffer is required to pay a $200 a week housing fee, which practically eliminates a minimum wage salary.  "Before this change, I at least had the spiritual satisfaction of laying up treasures in heaven," complained one staff person.

Another person, on the condition of anonymity, admitted: "When I figure in overtime and the required 'staff encouragement' meetings on the weekend, I make about 18 cents an hour."

Some of the staff disagreed.  "I've been saving up for the new Character Sketch book...I should be able to buy it as soon as it comes out!" said one.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

ATI Announces New Theme Song
The Advanced Training Institute announced today that Metallica's The Unforgiven is now the program's official theme song.  The song will be learned in all homes and sung by student choirs at annual conventions.   "We believe that the powerful message of this song, enhanced by the four-part harmony of youth dedicated to purity, will speak to many hearts," said a spokesman.  The song will be accompanied with hand motions, which are in development at this time.

The Unforgiven
Verse 1:
New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pain disgrace
The young boy learns their rules
With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt / What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be / Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt / What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free / Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

Verse 2:
They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me


You labeled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Monday, July 19, 2004

Ask X-ATI Guy
Dear X-ATI Guy:
I've noticed that "perfect" families often experience rebellion among their children.  Why does this happen?  How can you avoid this?
-Scared I'll be Next in Minnesota 
Dear Scared:

Chances are your family is not in danger of being labeled "perfect."  Don't sweat it.

No, just kidding. Many parents join ATI believing they will never experience a child's rebellion.  Parents assume that everything is going great and their family is in order.   Then all of a sudden some tragedy occurs and a child is a spiritual casualty.  Parents are devastated and mystified.  We here at X-ATI guy can give you insight into why this happens.    

We believe ATI facilitates and contributes to dormant, passive "rebels."  These are the silent conformists who outwardly comply with rules and standards, but who inwardly believe that it's all (or mostly) a bunch of bull.  They will never say this, and may never even think it, but subconsciously they're waiting until they can get out on their own.  Whatever the reason, they feel compelled to shroud their disagreement.

A child who cannot communicate honestly will have no internal balance.  When they establish their own independence they will overreact to their freedom.

Here are some tips:
  • Teach wisdom, not obedience.  Children soon become adults.  You should train them to make wise decisions according to biblical criteria.  Don't merely demand obedience, because someday you won't be around to guide them. 
  • Honest communication.  Children need to know that they can express their thoughts and feelings (with the proper attitude, of course) and that parents will be willing to listen.  ESPECIALLY if the child is expressing disagreement with something.  Listen carefully.  If the child is in error, guide him to the truth.   If the child has identified a real problem, be willing to accept it.  Parenthood does not have the guarantee of infallibility.  
  • Sometimes kids just need to talk.  There are times your child will want to talk and is not attempting to elicit your advice; he just needs to get something off his shoulders.  Children will stop sharing struggles if parents always respond with: "Here are ten steps you need to take to solve your problem."
  • Don't create an environment of fear.  If children fear their parent's reactions to a struggle in their life, they will not communicate with their parents. 
  • Watch their HEART, not just behavior.  Kids are good at parroting something they have learned.  They can be good at hiding sin, good at behaving "in front of the camera."
  • Avoid using spiritual authority to pressure your children in non-spiritual decisions. I know parents who would not allow their 20 year old child to get a job because they wanted her to learn how to "serve" around the house.  Stop saying it's God's will!  You just want the free labor.
  • Avoid the "rebel" label.  First of all, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Secondly, it's overused.  Finally, it doesn't correct the situation.  Instead, use questions like: "Why do you feel this way?  What caused you to come to this conclusion?  How can we fix this problem?"

Happy parenting!

Announcing a New Program: CharacterCursed!

People of character are annoying, petty, boring, and proud.  They impose themselves upon the rest of the world and assume that they are authorities on any given matter simply for having character.   
Therefore, we are announcing a new character-reform program: CharacterCursed!  This program is designed to identify people of character and reform them, eliminating all traces of character.
CharacterCursed! uses a ten-step reform program for persons of character.  Steps include: 

  • Burning all character-related materials
  • Eliminating all character words from vocabulary
  • Sleep deprivation to bring out irritability
  • The use of Demotivators from, including Potential reminders.
  • Public relations campaign employing slogans such as "Character doesn't pay"
  • Exploiting a person's character qualities 

Example of how the program works: 

Person of Character: "Hi, I'm a person of character!  I exhibit obedience!"
CharacterCursed!: "Here, drink this poison."
Person of Character: (enthusiastically) "Yes sir!" 

Another example of character exploitation: 

Person of Character: "Hi, I'm a person of character!  I exhibit loyalty!"
: "You can work for my company for free.  Also, please will your first-born to my corporation."
Person of Character: (enthusiastically) "Right away!" 

This extremely effective program will ensure that we no longer have to endure people of character.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Gothard Admits that ATI Conference "wasn't so hot"
OAK BROOK, IL - Bill Gothard today admitted that the annual ATI conference "wasn't so hot, in my opinion." 
"I don't think we gave the world a new approach to life this year," he said in a moment of candor.  Gothard cited low attendance, poor speakers, and the lack of interesting sessions for the disappointing results.  "Enthusiasm was at an all time low," he observed.  "I actually saw people fall asleep during sessions."
An overwhelming number of attendees indicated disappointment.  "We just won't be coming backing, if this is what we can expect," said one parent.

"Frankly, I'm grieved," said Gothard.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

IBLP Stress Resolution Seminar
Get away for a Stress Resolution Seminar in beautiful Dallas, Texas.

New Stress Resolution Seminar in Dallas, Texas
On July 26-28, 2004, an introduction to total health training will be given in the new Stress Resolution Seminar. Offered for the first time in the Dallas, Texas, area, this seminar is designed to help you assess the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional factors that affect your health and prepare you for wisely and successfully responding to them. MORE >>
Also offered will be spa treatments, seaweed wraps, massage, aroma therapy....

Sounds familiar.

What's in an ATI word?
I was never called a rebel until I started attending ATI events.  And I never understood why.  So for your benefit, we unveil What's in an ATI word?, a feature which will unpack and clarify those difficult terms we heard so often.
noun, reb-el (reb' el)
1. Anyone of whom we disapprove, we being the leadership.  Application of label is used to manipulate the labeled. 
2. You (see above).
3. A person in obvious sin.
4. A person in non-obvious sin.
5. A person who verbalizes disagreement with the rules.
6. Anyone for whom being sent home is a distinct possibility.

Gothard Replaces Board with 80's Rockers
OAK BROOK, Illinois - IBLP today announced a massive restructuring of its advisory board.  Bill Gothard fired his board, replacing the respected pastors, businessmen and politicians with ex-80's rockers and other entertainment figures.   Seated on the new board are Stevie Nicks, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Gene Simmons and the entire Journey crew.
"These men and women bring the wisdom of Solomon to IBLP," said a spokesperson.  "Just as Solomon lived a profligate life and saw in the end that all was vanity, vanity, these ex-rockers have experienced every sinful pleasure in life and are now ready to raise up godly generations."
"I'm just really [deleted] honored," commented Osbourne.  "I've been attending the Basic for years and now to sit on the board--it's a dream come true."
Staff at IBLP Headquarters indicate that despite their age, the ex-rockers bring a certain energy to the HQ site.  One staffer admitted to being a little skeptical: "When Mr. Gothard first announced this I thought he lost it.  But I'm starting to come around.  Rod Steward is just a really cool guy."

Friday, July 16, 2004

Link of the Day
Modest, godly swimwear.

Boy Disappointed at Knoxville Cancellation
KNOXVILLE, TN - Tom White, a 14 year-old from Arkansas, arrived in Knoxville this week for the annual convention of Advanced Training Institute, a home education program. Expecting to learn how to give the world a new approach to life, imagine his surprise when he learned that the conference had been cancelled. Evidently, after 13 consecutive events at the University of Knoxville, ATI decided to hold their conference elsewhere. "I was a little shocked," admitted White, a polite, fresh-faced lad. "I bought my ticket for this year as soon as we finished When We See Christ last year. No one ever told me the location changed."

White was unable to change his ticket having purchased it using an Internet-based bargain service, so he spent the week recreating the conference to the best of his ability. He slept in non-air-conditioned dorm rooms, dressed in a navy suit despite the 90 degree weather, ate at the campus cafeteria and dashed back to the Thompson-Boling Arena for music practice.

When the week came to an end White professed his renewed faith. "It's like a shot in the arm for me," he said. "Knoxville always does this. I really feel like great things have happened this week."

Tell your story!
Have a good ATI story? Need to vent? Our creative staff works round the clock dreaming up new ideas, editing, etc. and we welcome your perspective. If you're hip enough we may even post you. Send your thoughts here.

Welcome to X-ATI Guy - a site for satire, commentary, news and rehabilitation for all those ex-ATIers out there. It is our intent to explore the pros and cons of this life experience, poke fun where necessary, and generally create a forum for discussion.

With any program exists a subculture of insider-knowledge, language, humor, and experiences. This site exists to satirize ATI's subculture. We're not ATI-bashers like other groups out there. We are ex-junkies who appreciate the lighter side of our background. And unless we indicate that we're telling the truth, you can assume we are making it up. It's satire, folks.

A lot of Xers and people still in ATI are seriously messed up. Perhaps some of the information provided here will allow you to uncomplicate and de-formulize your life.

ATI is the shorthand name for the Advanced Training Institute, founded by Institute of Basic Life Principles president Bill Gothard. X-ATI Guy is in no way affiliated with any of these organizations.

Who is X-ATI Guy?
That's a very ATI trait: seeking answers to questions when none are necessary. Life is full of mystery and the sooner we accept this truth, the better.

I'm just an ex-ATI guy. Worked for the Institute, worked with some cool people and shared a lot of good times.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do I know who you are?
Probably not. While X-er worked for the Institute for many years, he was never in the spotlight and never spoke at Knoxville.

Will you tell me who you are?
No. X-er has followed a strict policy of anonymity and has declined to be identified.

Are you available?
No. I'm happily married to X-ATI Girl.

Where are you at in life now?
Living life. Making money. Enjoying my family.

Are you a Christian?

Did you enjoy working for the Institute?
Yes. I enjoyed my friends, and there were men and women I admired a lot. Of course, there were some negatives.

Why did you start this site?
The evil penguins inside my head told me to.

Can I post a comment without revealing my identity?
Yes. When you click on the "comment" link below each post, you are given two options. Existing Blogger users may sign in and comment. Or, you can choose to post anonymously, in which case you are not asked for any identifying information.

Do you mind if I swear like a sailor in my comments?
X-ATI Guy exists as a tribute to lively discussion and free speech. However, we value wit and clever articulation over a profusion of curses. A well-placed swear word may be the only way to express a particular idea, but a string of salty speech usually fails to evoke any humor. So use your own judgment. Of course, if you cross the line we'll just delete your comment.

Will you post my email if I send you something?
Story contributions to X-ATI Guy are encouraged and if it's funny enough we'll post it. We'll even give you credit by name or by attributing it to a "guest poster." Open letters to X-er are published, especially the entertaining ones, such as "Dear X-er, I think you will rot in hell for your sins." Of course, if you are sending a private email/rant, we will not publish it without your permission. Usually.

The Power of Crying Out

Apostle Paul deals with 7 Basic Principles
New evidence suggests that the apostle Paul was writing about the seven Basic Principles in his book to the Galatians, announced a biblical scholar today. This discovery came about by replacing "the law" with "the basic principles." Exerpts below....

Galatians 2:15 We who are Homeschoolers by nature, and not sinners of the Nonhomeschoolers, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the Principles but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the Principles; for by the Principles no flesh shall be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the Principles died to the Principles that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Principles, then Christ died in vain.

3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the Principles, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the Principles?

10 For as many as are of the Principles are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Basic Textbook, to do them." 11 But that no one is justified by the Principles in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." 12 Yet the Principles are not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Principles, having become a curse for us

19 What purpose then do the Principles serve? They were added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Principles, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the Principles were our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage, with the Principles. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you follow the Principles, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who follows the Principles that he is a debtor to keep all the Principles. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the Principles; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the Principles are fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

X-ATI Guy is a satirical weblog and is in no way affiliated with IBLP, ATI, or any other program. X-ATI Guy uses fictional names in all posts unless satirizing public figures. This blog is not intended for those who will be offended and may cause irritability if used improperly. Solicitations for repentance are not acknowledged.

Unless we indicate that we're telling the truth, you can assume we are making it up. It's satire, folks.




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