Friday, July 16, 2004

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?
Yes.

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.

37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have many questions and some thoughts, being an X-ATI mom. Can I post if I don't wear a denim jumper or neck bow?

Grammy Kitty

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neck Bows!
In addition to all his other accomplishments, he can add Fashion Designer: single-handedly responsible for a fashion craze among impressionable young ladies.
I wonder what they will think of themselves once they finally grow out of it.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when was xati guy working at hq? or was he working at one of the many other battle stations?

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what will they think when they grow out of it? i'll tell you...they look back and say, there was good and there was bad...praise god we can learn, grow and move on. its not the end all. no, i don't have to wear neck bows anymore, i don't have to wear denim jumpers any longer, i wear jeans, i wear tanktops, i wear shorts, but some of the principles have stayed with me, not because of bill, but because of jesus. thats where its at. personal, real, in your face, relationship with jesus. relationship that very consistantly flows out of you and is real, is attractive, is contagious. thats what some will say when they have grown out of it and look back.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The penguins speak to me as well.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was a child when my parents attended ati, so i was blessed with the childrens program. i still have nightmares...oh well. im gay and out now, and my favorite band is TheRasmus, im a doublesinner :)

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome site! I’ve been out of (home!) school & ATI for almost 10 years now. Today is the day I decided to actually Google “anti-ATI” to see if there are any kindred spirits out there. This was great--I feel like I just had a free therapy session...reading about Indy & HQ... Places I’ve blocked out of my subconscious mind for almost a decade. Perhaps this is better than denial, just accept it, have a good laugh & move on.

So I’d like to vent a little bit & get it off my chest. ATI is seriously a cult. Seriously. Modern-day brain washing. I believe Christianity is a farce, created to instill fear and control the masses. Most of the people I met in ATI were hypocritical, unhappy, jealous, self righteous, intolerant, and closed minded.

As the oldest of half a dozen offspring, I was placed under an enormous amount of stress & responsibility. I was pretty much cheated out of a childhood. Blamed for siblings misbehavior because “they must be learning it from you, you’re the First Born!”. How is anyone supposed to live under that kind of pressure? Amazingly, the kids all turned out fine. They’re well rounded, free-thinking, contributing members of society. (Must have learned something from me after all!) I am barely on speaking terms with my parents. I always joke with my husband (who was not home-schooled) about how much I resent his normal upbringing & normal parents. Sometimes I’m not really joking! ;)

Are there any other good “anti”ATI sites out there you’ve found? Thanks & keep up the good work!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, and (shudder) I remember the neck bows too! WTF?! And all the different shades of NAVY blue! Someone should tip off the "WHAT NO TO WEAR" show about Knoxville! I actually got told at Indy I was wearing too much "dark" eyeliner. Funny. I'm now a professional makeup artist. Must not have known what I was doing! Ha ha

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any fellow ex-chalk artist out there?!

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked in a good amount of training centers in my day and having been in ATI from the time I was 10 till I was married at 22 (To a non ATI-er) I would have to say that I was never one of the role models so to speak and at times I hated ATI but looking back I really think that you dont have to agree with everything they stand for - its just a minestry for Petes sake not a religon- And like any strict institution like an IVY league college or the military they have a bunch of rules that have to be followed while you are there whether or not you agree or like them. Yea - I dont agree with everything they stand for but in this world of losers they are trying really hard to help kids to go far in life.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your site is great! I was never in ATI however, I spent some time at one of the training centers. I didnt agree with everything either, yet some things were good. However, the dresscode was nonsense to me. I didnt understand doing yard work in skirts but I guess I never will. Some times I thought that more emphasis was put on what you should and shouldnt do than on God, when it should have been the other way around. I still hold on to some of the values that I learned but as far as dress code Im laid back and stear clear of long khaki and navy skirts!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While there are some things that I do not agree with, Bill Gothard is only trying to help people. He should be commended, not ridiculed. If you call yourself a Christian, it is NEVER right to judge another believer for their weaknesses. Instead, you should pray for them.

4:50 AM  
Blogger jesuislemec said...

Hey, just wondering. Could you add conviction to the list of banned words? I really hate hearing the word conviction from IBLPers as in the example, "I have a personal conviction that jazz music encourages immorality." I really get nauseated when I hear such statements.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on doing the 100% WORST website I've ever seen! HOW DARE YOU accuse Bill Gothard, a man who dearly loves the Lord?? I am going to tell whoever I see on the street today NOT to check out this website. ATI people are the most loving people I've ever met.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would really like to know how a guy who has never been married and has no children thinks he can tell thousands of people how to live? I am not an ATIer or ex-ATIer, but I grew up around many families who were. I am sorry to say that I went through a phase of discontent with church altogether because of the phony, self righteous, and condescending behavior of these people. Thak be to God that He didn't let me out of His sight and I am now closer to Him. No thanks to ATI though. Families are not meant to all be the same, cookie cutter, baby factory, over-conservative. Most of these people deeply and tragically misrepresent the Body of Christ, and it saddens me to see them drive otherwise seeking people away.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is ****, and I'm an X-ATIer. I have been seminar-free for 4 years and 8 days.

Or something like that. I haven't been with the Institute for 6 years and I only started wearing jeans again a year and a half ago. I currently own about 5 skirts, only two of which actually reach the ankles.

I'm also an X-chalk artist.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous hilary said...

Ok, ex-chalk artist, that was friggin hilarious. It does my heart good to see a woman escape with a sense of humor in tact. I was only in ATI for two years, but I still feel the effects. Would you call it a cult?

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o.k. ATI mom - new to blogging because, of course, we have removed the computer from our home and I must go the library to use the internet. . . . Sunday I read a ton of stuff on Midwest Christian Outreach and today I find you. . . never heard of IBLP or ATI until 7 years ago when desperate for the "right" way to raise our then 5 year old headstrong daughter. . . all I can say right now is. . . is this why the Lord keeps me in Galatians every couple of months or so? Why we feel totally blessed with our relationship with our kids, and yet often joke that if ATI ever "found us out", (we wear pants, and my husband leads some lively worship at our church) we would be kicked out? And is this why every 3rd Wisdom Booklet or so I find myself saying "you are going to have to struggle through this with the Lord. . . I just cannot find a scripture that supports a crotch-seam is the determining factor in feminine or non-feminine clothing. Quite frankly, Daddy would look silly in your floweredy- capris" Am I harming my kids by being in ATI, but if we leave, what do we do instead? and . . .I do LOVE most of the stuff in Wisdom Booklets. . .

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of y'all are absolutely depressing. I have 3 words for you "get a life"

if this is such a big deal to all of you then ATI must have made an impact about something or else why would all of you be trying to justify you ways of living?

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is total therapy...made my evening a MILLION times better. Love the satire :D

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo, im not a ex ati or whatever, and im sorry for whatever people felt was done to them. But I have a question, I came to Christ a SINNER remember that. I mean it's fine to have a program. Praise God. I mean if Bill Gothard leads people to HIM great. But I thought we were supposed to follow Jesus, not a cult or anything. Didn't He say I am the truth the life and the way. I don't remember anything about dress codes, only being modest. I'm scared people take the book of proverbs etc. and make a list of rules for everybody to follow. I mean MAry was a prostitute. Do people READ the Bible. Or just make up a list of rules. God loves us, and He didn't create us to be cookie cutters. READ Genesis,. God is an artist, I mean we are all called to be UNIQUE. He didn't call us to be REBELLIOUS, don't get me wrong, cuz I mean He is God, and wouldn't HE know whats best. after all HE made us. not the other way around. I don't knock them trying to improve the family structure, but don't rebel against God who loves you, because of a bunch of rules and reg. And If I'm not mistaken Jesus came for the pimps the prostitutes, the "religious" and the like. Don't miss out on eternal life because of people and rules. and PLEASE don't miss the POint. John 3:16 Peace.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I was never actually in ati, they don't like single mothers, or didn't when my family was really buying into the cult, but I went to a church that was very heavily into bill gothard and iblp. I still carry the scars.

x-atiguy, why don't you have an rss feed?

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a sad site
How can so many have so totally missed the point?
It's not about denim jumpers, neck bows, breaking addictions, navy and white. It's about developing a walk with Christ that yields a true reflection of Him.
It's about "wisdom...the principle thing....all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her."
It's about non-conformity...to the world...fitting in, t-shirts, tanks, flip-flops are not inherently evil, but they are the uniform of NOW as surely as navy and white was back then. Why are we so afraid to be a little different when God Himself refers to His children as "peculiar" people? It's about transforming your mind through the WORD which will in turn radically alter your thinking. "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." It's about the heart, and being conformed to the image of Christ. If Christ were a woman would he choose to wear a denim jumper or prefer shorts and a tank top? As a man, did he indulge in immorality or did he instead believe his own words that "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." What is the will of God for you, for your life, how you act, dress, where you go, who you go with? Does God care? Does He have a standard? All you have to do is believe His WORD. Do you long to know and to do His will?
Do you not yet know that for the born again child of God "all things are lawful but not all things are expedient."? We CAN do whatever we want, go wherever we want, with whomever we want, dressed however we want, but it is often not expedient...helpful, for others or ourselves. There is nothing wrong with a man, an institution which seeks to help others to develop and pattern the character of Christ, especially when the major text book of said institution is not Red, but is the living Word of our Lord and Savior. We are called to lose self, die to self, sacrificing all (even rock music if necessary) to promote the cause of the gospel. The only cause worth living for and the only purpose for which we are here.
In many cases, the "excesses of legalism" in the institute were the misinterpretation and practice of misguided parents who, instead of operating from the foundation of salvation by grace through faith were themselves unregenerate, adhering to and practicing heretical belief in a salvation through self-righteousness and good works (read: legalism) But..."The law brings death; the spirit gives life." Perhaps many of you would have fared better at training centers had you spent more time engrafting the WORD (Romans 6, 7 and 8), as Mr. Gothard not only encouraged but modeled.
I would lovingly encourage many of you to "examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith." If you do not have a testimony of salvation, have not been born again through repentence and faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, then I suggest this is the "root cause" of your issues with the institute, and with life itself.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do any of you remember the various shapes and sizes of the head coverings for some of the girls? I remember marveling about the fact that some girls wore huge "Bunn" sized coffee filters over their heads and others had head covers about the size of a silver dollar.

As for the X-ATI Guy Rebel posture, most all the early families had parents who were serious non-conformists*, many of the later joiners were simply following the crowd. I would guess that X-ATI Guy's family was part of the former group.

* Non-Conformity is good for any society, it isn't radical it simply rejects following the crowd. Many former ATI students now adults are living happy, productive, successful lives because of the investments their parents made. ATI was something that offered a degree of support and community along the way. By the mid-90s most of the early leaders had been replaced by "yes" men/women. I for one am greatful for the strength of conviction and dedication my parents had and for some of experiences offered to me through the "Institute".

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Chantelle said...

LOVE the site - its good to laugh at the past instead of be depressed about it, we can't help it that ATI was part of our life (I am the oldest of 10 kids and was in ATI from grade 1-12, starting in 1985.) Join the discussion on the facebook group ATI Student Recovery
I'm still laughing at x-ati guy! Love your sense of humor!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Angel1 said...

First of all I have to say to all the commentator's who love ATI but are all down on this guy for what he's saying, GET A LIFE!!! Did you not read the part where X-ATI Guy said he ENJOYED his time in ATI? Stop taking things so seriously. I had a wonderful experience with ATI and will love and defend it when neccessary but I don't believe this is one of those times. There are very, (like maybe one or two)very few things I disagree with ATI on and still love and respect the program. X-ATI Guy from what I read this is some funny stuff. You're like the Saturday Night Live of ATI (Oh hey, Mr. Gothard. Saturday Night Live? I don't know what your talking about. Ah hem...). And to those who were down on ATI, oh for Heaven's sake! You never really got the program if that's how you feel. I know some ATI families can act a bit holier than thou (ours used to be one of them) but give them a break, they're still only human and make mistakes just like the rest of us. Quit being so judgmental.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all of you who think we should 'Back off of Bill", CLEARLY you never really knew the man. You were probably one of the thousands sitting way out in the crowd wondering why you could never be as spiritually solid as he is. Yah right. Child abuse, brain washing and guilt forcing is really a way to show God you love him.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lmoa.... I just read the comment about ATIers being the most loving people they have ever met. True, hard-core ATIdiots are the most self-righteous, judgemental, pious hypocrits on the planet.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago I had some "well-meaning" ATIers try to get me into the whole Gothard thing. I was sent to an IBYC seminar. I did not have a strong knowledge of scripture at the time, but even then I was aware that scripture was being twisted. I looked up passages as they spoke.
The big problem I have with the ATIers I encountered was their tactics. They looked for any difficulty in one's life, bamed it on a sin which THEY would identify for you, and insist you comply with their rules to get rid of this trouble. Even after I rejected the Gothard way of doing things, they continued to harass me. I was sent a particularly noxious book when I was diagnosed with a chronic ilness which, in effect, blamed the illness on a sin in my life. This is completely unbiblical. Jesus himself said an illness was not because of a sin of the man or his parents.
Although I have tried to just let these people go their own way, they continue to harass me by claiming that my rejection of their ways indicates a sin problem in my life. They want to fix it by indoctrinating me with further teachings from their ATI materials.
Loving? I'm thinking more pharasitical.
Fortunately, I have a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but I've read of others who just could not see past the ATI manipulations to the real Jesus Christ.
I wrote this because I read through the comments by people who support the Gothard teachings. I hope they will investigate the teachings more carefully and see the psychological manipulations they have been taught and may be using on others. These are not loving.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. Really, thank you for this.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our local church has been infiltrated with "Gothardites". Since we are a rural community, most of the congregation is related to them. Unfortunately the pastor has also been deluded into believing that he can,like Gothard, take scripture out of context. My question is, if "Gothardites" want to have their own belief system, then why don't they build their own "churches" instead of splitting congregations? The spirit has been totally squelched at this church and I and a few others have had enough! Their children used to question the Sunday School teachers and Mission Kids instructors about the "lesson" that was to be taught and, on occasion, would tell the teacher that they weren't "allowed" to be taught that and would proceed to leave class and find ATI mom. As a result, the "Gothardites" no longer attend Sunday School nor the mission kids programs, however, when they "perform" as part of a service, they come out of the wood work. They consistently enter worship services immediately prior to "preaching" and parade to the front of the church and occupy the front three pews. Their kids are held in "bear hugs" and forced to "listen" to the preaching. As a result the entire congregation gets to listen to the babies SCREAM throughout the service or, even better,we get to watch MOM nurse the baby during church. We have a nursery available with speakers that allow MOM to hear the sermon without distracting the congregation. I'm like the country singer who said in one of his songs, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything". Gothard does NOT teach grace as the Bible does but HIS version, grace plus (whatever bill says). I have tried to have this dealt with in our congregation but to no avail. The father of the two ATI moms is the current "power" among the deacons. Two of the other deacons are close "kin" to the "Gothards" and another two of the deacons think that "power" deacon is "all that" and won't rock the boat. It's sad to note that most of the congregation doesn't even know what these two families are involved in and aren't keen enough in their study of scripture to know when it's being taken out of context. As a result I and a few others have chosen not to attend this church any longer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have read A Matter of Basic Pricipals but our pastor is not a very good reader (literally)and I don't feel he could comprehend the contents. He comes from a Catholic background which also teaches "grace plus" salvation and thinks one of the Gothard dads hung the moon! How can I help our congregation really "see the light"?

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill was worshipped in my family more than God himself....I'm so thankful to be an EX-ati girl and free from all that bondage! I will admit that there were some good lessons learned, but a lot of unnecessary pain involved in the process.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that while I was not raised openly ATI my 'Come outer' upbringing caused for me many of the same life issues. Strict dress codes, chaperons, the "good" wife...I left that life when I married a junior leader and he ended up being a pedophile. My beliefs are in conflict with my life but I know I am better off with my one child and accepting the shun placed on me than to have 20 kids and live in a cocoon. Thank you for this site. Some ignorant fool told me to make sure I never checked it out so it was the first thing I did this morning!

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't say how happy I am to have found your site. Like someone else said, it feels like I've had a free therapy session! It is almost impossible to describe all of this to someone who hasn't lived it. I am loving your posts and laughing at jokes that only ex-ATI people can understand. My sweet, wonderful, public-school, "liberal" christian raised husband is very sympathetic but I doubt he has any idea how bad it all was. Some things just can't be explained!

8:58 PM  
Anonymous ryanroom@ymail.com said...

*Please read this if you are thinking about rasing your kids the "ATI way" **

Let me say first off, this site is amazing. I was messed up by the lies that Mr. G spreads about parenting. My ignorant parents sucked up his lies like a sponge.
Burned my Amy Grant tapes, took books away and didn't allow me to date or hang out with "un-ati types" in jr./high-school.

It is sad that because of his teaching there are SO MANY that have been mislead. So Many families that wanted good things but allowed the devil to get a foothold in their lives thru the lies of Mr. G. He really messes up families and the lives of young people (I wonder how messed up his kids would be if he had any?)

I was raised in the 80's, home schooled when nobody knew what home school was. I knew lots that did ATI training, the kids grew up to do drugs, get pregnant, become atheists, end up in jail, commit suicide and worst of all . . . "choose to become" homosexual.

I wonder how many of them could have had normal lives? How many (like myself) see the lack of love in the lies? If the program is so good then why does it hurt so many?
Did Jesus die on the cross to give us more rules or to get rid of them?

No matter what people might be telling you about how good it is ask yourself this question "Do I want to raise a child that can think for his/her self? or do I want to raise a lemming that was taught just to accept whatever "teacher" come along and "proves" what in that moment seems right?

There is a correlation between his teaching and the "demise" of my home schooled peers. We all (like our parents) just trusted and did not question. When we were all over 18 we were put in a situation to drink/drug/sex/suicide or whatever. Because we all had not exercised the "good christian judgment" muscle that most other kids have built up we crumbled.

This might have been because we were locked away like veal, learning "basic" life principals. LOL

Good luck, God Bless

8:57 PM  
Anonymous energygiver said...

Brilliant.....your site made me and my husband stay up late laughing so hard....I loved the section of censored words. I have to applaud you---you have a great sense of humor...you must not have spent too much time there.
I lived there for many years and was in the spotlight as much as one could be. The good outweighed the bad by far for me. I have so many stories!! I found the comment about seeking answers to questions that were not necessary brought back many memories. I was very naive at the time. I was there but I knew I was there for a reason and for a season of my life. After I left---I wish I would have hooked up with a wise mentor to help me navigate into the real world but I didn't. I went through a 2 year period of trying to survive on my own (bought my first pair of jeans) and took guitar lessons playing Beetles songs I had never heard of.....my instructor thought I was kidding when I told him I couldn't list one song by the Beatles. More unbelievable stories to tell!
P.S. I weigh at least 15 pounds less than I do now....I sure wasn't counting the carbs as I devoured the hot home-made rolls out of the oven. Talk to ya later...

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Cadence said...

I swallowed all the ati nonsense until I was eighteen. I had to draw the line when they started telling me who I was going to fall in love with and where i was going to attend college. Im twenty one now and living on my own...and like most of you enjoying the guilty pleasures of shorts, sleeping in, and skirts that don't drag the ground like a damn snow plow. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that being out from under the umbrella ROCKS!!! thanks for this website btw, the dry humor has me in stitches :D.

I know, I know: on the road to hell. Chow!

3:22 PM  

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