Tuesday, August 31, 2004

ATI Mothers Stage a "Nurse-In"
Inspired by a group of Starbucks patrons, ATI mothers have organized a Nurse-In at the next annual ATI convention. Hundreds of mothers plan to participate.

A Nurse-In is peaceable civil demonstration designed to raise awareness of the plight of nursing mothers. Mothers are encouraged to join their families in the main sessions and breastfeed whenever their infant requires without the constraints of covering up. A Mrs. McKee is spokeswoman for the group. "For too long we have been cloistered away behind these blue curtains, separated from our families during important ATI events," she said. "It is time to oppose this anti-family policy and to embrace breastfeeding for what it is: a beautiful act that the whole family can enjoy and appreciate."

Mrs. McKee acknowledged that mothers would have to "break some rules" to participate in the Nurse-In, but she refused to admit that mothers would be getting out from God's Umbrella of Authority. "Great changes in society come about through peaceable civil disobedience," she said. Many participating mothers have reported a great feeling of empowerment by getting involved. "This is something practical that we can do to help future generations of women--our daughters and granddaughters--when they come to Knoxville," says one excited demonstrator.

We asked Mrs. McKee if it wasn't damaging for young men to witness the act of breastfeeding by a non-family member, pointing out that public nudity laws exist to preserve society from the Development of Reprobation. McKee refused to acknowledge our point. "Breastfeeding is the world's most natural and loving act and you're trying to compare me with some two-bit exhibitionist?"

When asked about the upcoming Nurse-In, Mr. Gothard declined to comment, but was overheard saying, "They really shouldn't be doing that."

X-er has received a kind email that pointed out: "You look like an ape!"

Which is entireably understandable, as you can see in this picture of me.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Knoxville, 2005
ATII has announced that, due to low attendance and abysmal ratings in 2004, the annual ATII conference will again be held in Knoxville starting in 2005. The decision to return the conference to Knoxville was made after thousands of families personally made appeals to Mr. Gothard. "It just wasn't the same without the University of Tennessee," said one ATI father. "You'd start to say 'are we going to Knoxville this year' and then you'd wonder where the heck it was going to be."

Knoxville 2005 will feature the exciting new slogan: Giving the World a Temporary Surge of Inspiration! The conference will feature several important sessions which are vital for a mature Christian to attend. Sessions include:
  • Help! My Children Aren't Perfect Little ATI Kids. A session for stressed mothers with less than wonderful families.
  • Let's be Honest; You're Really Not Doing Wisdom Searches. A session for fathers who struggle to be consistent leaders in their homes.
  • So You'd Like to Work for Free. A session to describe apprenticeship opportunities for young men and women who are dedicated to serving the Lord. Young people will be encouraged to fast through this session to demonstrate their fervor.
  • How To Lose Friends and Leave Your Church. An exciting new session designed specifically for new ATI families.
  • Responding to ATI Critics. A session to give you the best answers to standard criticisms of ATI.

How to Discover God's Secrets for Dieting
IBLP has announced the release of a dynamic new book by founder Bill Gothard:

How to Discover God's Secrets for Dieting

Unlocking the truths of Scripture, Gothard shows how most dieting books are based on fads and worldly strongholds. Gothard reveals (as only he can) never-before-seen truths about the godly method of dieting. The book also includes a personal message from Bill and a foreword by pastor Ken Pierpont: "I lost 100 pounds and you should too".

The book's topics include: Rejecting the Over-eating of your Forefathers, Re-discovering Self-Acceptance, How to Cry Out Against the Power of Food, How Gluttony is related to Greed and Immorality, and a lengthy discourse on fasting.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

ATI Olympics
Chicago, IL - The 13th ATI Olympics is being held in Oak Brook, IL, running concurrently with the better known yet radically less significant Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Hundreds of representatives from more than 3 countries have descended upon Oak Brook to battle it out in such competitions as Sleep Depravation, Longest Quiet Time and Least Amount of Knowledge about the Opposite Gender.

Representing the USA in a new sport called Grieved, was an elder statesman who asked that he remain anonymous in order to protect himself from developing a spirit of pride. However, we can tell you that his name rhymes with Heith Mumley. Unfortunately, after getting off to a great start with 48 Statements of Grief in one five-minute walk-through of a local church, "Heith" was surpassed by a fellow American who also has requested anonymity, but whose name rhymes with Prian Bound. "Prian" was able to find an unheard of 53 Statements of Grief in the same time period. Round two will commence at the usual 4:15 a.m. tomorrow after the requisite 2-hour quiet time.

Two staple events, Self Flagellation and Spiritual Condescension pitted two relative newcomers to the ATI Olympics against each other. Though new to the Games and still under 13 years of age, both contestants were able to withstand subfreezing temperatures while being intermittently scalded with boiling oil and beaten with Character Sketches Vols. I and II. When asked how he could endure such elements, the younger competitor, Hezekiah Ishmael Ben-Hani Johnson said, "I sang the Smile Song until my smile froze. I also thought about the Cheerful Chickadee. I feel so close to God." But edging out the younger Johnson in the Spiritual Condescension competition, was 13 and a half year old Abednego Azariah Adams. He had memorized the phrase, "Foolishness is bound the heart of a child" in every language known to mankind including ancient Cyrillic and Sanskrit. Not to be outdone, Johnson responded with an upset win in the Humility Marathon. He confessed his spirit of pride 412,391 times while running 26.2 miles barefoot on broken glass and road salt.

Instead of the worldly gold, silver and bronze medals handed out by the devil in Athens, each victor is given the coveted opportunity to donate $100 a week to the Ministry in exchange for the pleasure of working 60 hours per week mowing Headquarters' lawns with scissors. In lieu of cash donations, victors are allowed to substitute any equity they may have built in their homes or businesses.

In Other News

George Mattix easily cruised to a 5th consecutive victory in the Captain Furious finals. He was able to lose complete control of his temper while lying in a beautiful flower garden reading Shakespearean Sonnets while receiving a 2-hour full-body massage sipping virgin strawberry daiquiris in 70-degree sunny weather. He berated his masseuse so severely that she converted to Islam and left her husband and three young kids.

Bill Gothard decided not to defend his world record 8 victories in the Least Amount of Knowledge about the Opposite Gender competition. His previous victories showcased his ability to offer relationship advice that was so useless and impractical that it was summarily dismissed by 99.8% of women outside the Ministry. No decision yet on who will represent the Americans; there are simply too many suitable successors and no clearly dominant participant has emerged.

-Submitted by guest poster Topeka

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

How to Survive the Training Center Life
Some of you may have the misfortune of working for a training center. If this is your plight, we offer a few simple rules to improve your stay. Most of these methods are time-tested and have proven successful.

Make Friends Strategically. It is wise to have a friend in each important department who can grant you favors at key moments in your training center life. A friend in the transportation department will get you a non-group ride when you're tired of going to Wal-Mart in buses with the rest of the TC. A friend in the kitchen will give you access to the coffee pot and left over desserts. And a friend on security might fail to notice when you are out past curfew.

Do not talk to Cosmo girls. Unfortunately, Cosmetology girls have received the reputation of being "ungodly". Therefore, any young man seen talking to, sitting with, or even in close proximity to a Cosmo girl is immediately implicated for carousing with Defrauding Women.

We are not aware of what contributed to this character assassination but we assume that the leadership had a reason for declaring Cosmo girls evil. Perhaps the limited permissible contact is only way you can get vain young men to volunteer themselves for free haircuts from inexperienced hair cutters. It is very common to see young men with patchy haircuts literally glowing from female company while riding the elevator down from the 13th floor.

Identify opportunities for revenge. If you live at a training center it is virtually impossible to avoid being called on the carpet for some infraction. The reason is that training centers are crawling with witnesses who feel morally responsible for your sin if they do not report it to the leadership. Sometimes you can identify the informant by calling to mind the people who saw your sin. Other situations may require more cunning. Express your gratitude to the leadership for the courage your brother in Christ (rat fink) demonstrated by reporting your sin. Indicate that you are grateful for this brother's (rat fink's) concern over your spiritual wellbeing, and ask who this kind brother (rat fink) is so that you can approach him to become your accountability partner.

Of course, you have no such intention, but BOY does it sound good.

After you identify the rat fink, demonstrate creativity in discovering ways to get your revenge. The key is to take action that cannot be linked to you, such as placing sensual materials in the rat's desk or backpack.

Identify the brownnosers and NEVER reveal your shortcomings to them. We all have moments of transparency, but be careful not to have a moment with someone who will immediately march over to the TC director's room. How to identify them? They sit at the head table uninvited and frequently visit the director's room. They dress in full navy and white when Mr. Gothard in town, usually hang out in the lobby.

Don't Smoke. For some unexplained reason, residents of training centers have an overwhelming compulsion to attempt smoking at some point in their stay. Be warned: smoke alarms do work, and cigarette smoke CAN be detected from outside your room.

Breaking Rules: break rules for the joy of it, not so that you can brag to your buddies and teammates. Those who talk get caught and make life hell for the rest of us.

Get sent home. This method, by far, is the best way to survive training center life. Unfortunately, the stigma is difficult for parents to accept. Even worse, it usually eliminates future ATI opportunities.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Training Center Life - Part 2
An Investigative Report
A description for the uninitiated. X-er visits the Indianapolis Training Center and reports on his observations.

The Thirteenth Floor
On the scale of Undesirable Locations, the 13th ranks somewhere between Purgatory and Hell. It is considered the Haven of the Rebels and People Who Want to Avoid Being Seen by the Authorities. While the 360 degree view is fantastic, and the night skyline of Indianapolis is breath-taking, it is best to only enjoy this floor if you have the misfortune of being on the night security shift.

Attending Church
Students visiting local church are often placed in awkward situations while attending. What to do if the special music contains a backbeat? Does one subject himself to the damaging influence of the backbeat or does he offend the performer by walking out mid-song?

When ATI students mingle with the church members during the Walk Around and Shake Hands, they usually introduce themselves in this manner: "Hi, I'm X. I'm from the ITC," vaguely gesturing in the direction of the ITC bus. "I have no idea what you're talk about," responds the church member, "but welcome!"

Fun Activities
Fun Activities at the TC consist of walking around the parking lot or looking out the window, watching people walk around the parking lot. Other Fun Activities are either unapproved, or not deemed beneficial, or both. Asking (as we were told to do) "does this make me a better Christian" before engaging in a Fun Activity eliminates all possible pastimes. Xer attempted to argue that working in the Dish Pit failed to make him a better Christian, but this line of argument was met with poor success.

ITC Security consists of sleepy guys dressed in khaki and sports coats. While there are cameras outside of prayer rooms, there are no cameras in elevators, as rumored. Alarms are placed in the stairwells to alert security of anyone coming or going. When the alarm goes off, the security guy in charge orders the other guy to "go check it out." People who move quickly can outrun aforementioned security guy.

Security officers are not as much of a problem as those we call Lurkers. Lurkers are usually staff fathers in a position of minimal authority who generally ignore curfew rules and drift around the training center for the purpose of accosting anyone else up. These lurkers are the real threat as they do not use flashlights or whistle loudly in the dark as the nervous security officers often do. Lurkers simply materialize next to you and ask in loud, harsh tones, "What are you doing up, young man?" The answer X-er found most useful was "I'm praying in an all night prayer vigil. Would you care to join me?"

Visits by The Outsiders
The Outsiders are immediately identifiable: they wear The Clothes We Don't Speak Of. You may see someone in jeans. Women sometimes appear in pants (or, if God decides to bless male ITC residents that day, in shorts).

...be sure to visit tomorrow when Xer reports on How to Survive the Training Center Life...

Sunday, August 22, 2004

What's in an ATI word?
What's in an ATI word? is our feature which unpacks and clarifies those difficult terms we heard so often in ATI circles.

noun, rhe-ma (ray` ma)

A rhema is neither an alcoholic drink nor a nautical term. It is an insight into Scripture in which the particular Bible verse of focus is taken out of context and interpreted inproperly in order to provide a personal application that can subsequently be used to encourage and educate others.

Rhemas are reported to have a vivid kinetic energy, such as when a verse of Scripture "leaps off the page" or "sort of speaks to my heart." While rhemas have been seen to occur in the New Testament, they usually frequent the minor prophets.

Training Center Life - Part 1
An Investigative Report
A description for the uninitiated. X-er visits the Indianapolis Training Center and reports on his observations.

Morning Wake-Up Show
Training center life begins at approximately 5:30 a.m. when you angrily wake up to pile your pillow, the bed comforter, and all of your winter sweaters against the PA speaker in order to muffle the morning wake-up program. Training centers derived this form of torture from Siberian concentration camps that played music at ungodly hours to disorient the prisoners. The PA speakers are usually not volume adjustable, and FAA regulations make it a federal offense to tamper with, disable, or destroy these devices. The morning wake up show usually begins with quiet, meditative music to gently lull the residents from their slumber. The morning guy then gets on: "Good morning, Indianapolis Training Center!" and provides vital information for the day such as the barometric pressure, the weather forecast, and important events. My observation is that informing ITC residents, who rarely venture outside, of the day's weather is about as useful as telling them the price of oil in Tanzania.

The announcement guys range from slightly humorous to infuriating, depending on the amount of excessive enthusiasm they invested in their delivery. Next comes a Bible Reading by the Alexander Scourby guy, which offers a soothing opportunity to fall back asleep. But you'll quickly be jarred awake by upbeat big band music.

X-er once begged morning show guy to accidentally slip some more aggressive music into the PA CD player, or to tune the radio to the Howard Stern Show, but morning show guy wisely refused.

Morning Devotions
Morning devotions are a mandatory part of obtaining the food they call "breakfast" at the training center. One instantly recognizes themes in the morning devotions: Pastor MacWha's "the dumb get dumber," and Mr. Gergeni's insightful readings from My Utmost for His Highest are two examples.

The trick to avoiding morning devotions has been perfected by some residents. In the brief space of time between finishing your food and when the speaker steps up to the podium, you must grab your cell phone, pretend to take an urgent call and unfortunately have to step out. Of couse, this trick will only work so many times before people start to notice, so sit with different people. Since you can't sit with the opposite gender, the available pool is quite small.

Unfortunately, this technique is no longer successful. It became so popular that when the morning's speaker would stand up to deliver devotions, several dozen people would rush out "talking" on their cell phones as if a national security crisis had just occurred.

Is the food as bad as they say? While respectfully admiring the work the kitchen staff performs, we must say...yes.

Prayer Rooms
No discussion of training center life would be complete without an analysis of prayer rooms. X-er had no opportunities to experience prayer rooms first hand, although he once guarded the door to prevent an occupant from escaping.

The Opposite Gender
The opposite gender is the most dangerous thing you can encounter at a training center. They provide a literal minefield of explosive opportunities.

The danger is in the leadership "noticing" that you are singling someone out, so the key is to spread your attentions so wide that you cannot be accused of singling out any one person. The problem, of course, is that you are then viewed as a public menace.

A few basic rules to observe will help you navigate the opposite gender. When entering the dining room, never voluntarily sit at a table that is occupied completely by the opposite gender. Avoid sitting directly next to the opposite gender. Never talk to the opposite gender in the lobby. Avoid smiling too much at the opposite gender. Not only do you risk the attention of the leadership but the object of your smile may begin to fall for you and will talk to her friends, who will in turn communicate your evil desires to the proper authorities. Never get caught on the 13th floor with the opposite gender.

to be continued...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

HQ Staffer Forced to Apologize
An IBLP Headquarters staffer was forced to apologize to the entire HQ staff for regularly visiting the X-ATI Guy website. The staffer's Internet habits were discovered and he was told he could either resign his position or apologize for offending the entire staff. He addressed the staff at a Saturday evening meeting. "I must confess that I am a regular reader of X-ATI Guy. I have exhibited a spirit of rebellion by implicitly endorsing X-er's views when I frequently visited the website. I understand that this is very offensive for most of you, even though you had no idea of my transgression. Would you please forgive me?"

When asked about the incident, an IBLP spokesperson said, "It's not just that he visited the website. People actually heard him laughing and saying 'That's so true' while he was reading X-er's posts. We find this unacceptable when you consider that the staffer is a representative of the Institute. We are grieved and feel that this is evidence of deeper sins in his life, such as greed and immorality."

IBLP also indicated concern that the website was accessible through Character Link.

Song of the Day
Triumphant song, insightful lyrics, uplifting melody . . . Points of Authority.

TC Director Spies on Staff
The director of an unnamed training center has been spying on his training center residents and staff. Many training center residents participate on an unofficial ATI student website and discussion forum. Perceiving a prime opportunity to identify anti-Institute sentiment and behavior contrary to Scripture, the director opened an account with the forum.

Reports indicate that he periodically logs on to spy on those under his authority. He examines the pictures they post, reads the discussions they participate in and generally conducts an in-depth investigation of each of his staff members signed up with the group. Whenever this director discovers unorthodox behavior he calls the guilty party to his office and asks them to correct their attitudes. He has frequently requested that a particular post or comment be deleted. Serious offenders are chided in morning staff meetings. Beware, all you who work for a training center. It has only just begun....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

ATI Tabloid Headlines
Each headline is somewhat rooted in actual fact, submitted by our readers

NO, MR. GOTHARD, LET'S NOT GO TO HOOTERS. A staffer explains why this restaurant is not appropriate for "encouragement" while on a road trip. BARE KNEES SHOCK EQUIP STUDENTS. ITC has students watch videos on learning character through horse training. Video audience is actually wearing shorts. COUPLE SETS LOVE NOTE RECORD. Covertly pass 300 love notes while in training center. STRONGHOLD DIAGRAM DOESN'T WORK. Boy goes through steps, nothing happens. No freedom, no joy, no peace.

Capturing a Young Woman's Heart
God's desire for our success is so great that He has given us precise steps of action in Scripture for life's major events. If we follow these steps, it releases power and grace in our lives and helps us accomplish Mighty Deeds.

Absalom, son of King David, is said to have "stolen the hearts of Israel." Many important truths can be learned from studying his life and these principles have a very practical application as you seek to capture a young woman's heart.

7 Principles on How to Capture the Heart of A Young Woman

1. Remove Blemishes that Distract from your Appearance
2 Sam 14:25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
You may not be blessed with Absalom's killer looks, but at least you can practice good hygiene and remove all blemishes that distract from your appearance.

2. Practice the Discipline of Rising Early
2 Samuel 15:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate
God reserves special blessings for those who rise early, and every potential suitor should learn this principle. This discipline releases creative energy that can be harnessed for wooing a young woman.

3. Ask Precise Personal Questions
2 Samuel 15:2b and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou?
Carefully-formed questions are the best way to get to know a young lady and these questions can be written and rehearsed as you rise early. Your questions reveal to a young lady that you are thinking carefully about the information you want from her. She will perceive your wisdom and her spirit will be blessed by your questions.

4. Identify Opportunities to Praise Her
2 Samuel 15:3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
When men came to King David, Absalom inquired of each man's matters. After hearing from each person, Absalom praised them and called their matters "good and right." In your conversations with a young lady you should always be agreeable and look for opportunities to praise her good character. Agree with her opinions and express your admiration for her frequently.

5. Foster Discontent with Her Authorities

An additional lesson can be found in verse 3. Absalom pointed out that The Authority (King David) did not care enough to appoint anyone to hear the people's matters. Look for opportunities to foster a young woman's dissatisfaction with her authorities. Your astute observations will show her that her authorities do not have her best interest at heart.

6. Demonstrate your Willingness to Serve
2 Samuel 15:4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
Indicate to the young lady that if you were her authority you would take up her cause. Point out your strong sense of justice.

7. Effectively Utilize Physical Contact
2 Samuel 15:5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
Once you have gained a young woman's attention through your questions and have undermined her confidence in her authorities, put forth your hand, take hold of her, and kiss her.

It is important to remember that these Principles are laid out in precise steps of action and should be followed in order. Step #7 is a very powerful tool but Scripture places it at the end so that a young lady is motivated first by your appearance and conversation. Only after you have appealed to her spirit and soul should you attempt to appeal to her physical.

If you follow these principles, you will find good success just as Absalom did:
2 Samuel 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Youth Catches Accountability Partner Cheating on Him
HINSDALE, Illinois - Joe Higgins, an ATI student and IBLP headquarters staffer, was recently shocked to discover that his accountability partner, a fellow staffer named Martin, was cheating on him.

Joe had sought Martin out as a mentor while working at Headquarters after noticing Martin's spiritual maturity, and the two agreed to become accountability partners. Each Tuesday at 6 a.m. the two would meet at a local Starbucks coffee shop for prayer and Scripture reading. "Martin was the only accountability partner I ever had," says Joe. "We shared our deepest thoughts and struggles."

Imagine Joe's dismay when he discovered that Martin was having a secret rendezvous with another accountability partner on Wednesday mornings. Joe saw the two through the Starbucks window on his morning jog. "You can't imagine the feeling of betrayal I felt," said Joe. "They were even sitting in the chairs that Martin and I sit in every Tuesday!"

Refusing to believe his eyes, Joe began a covert surveillance operation. He was shocked to learn that his accountability partner was having trysts with numerous other partners throughout the week. "The extent of his infidelity was unbelievable," said Joe. These discoveries completely destroyed Joe's relationship with his mentor. "I didn't want to tell him anything once I discovered that he was holding out on me. All I could do was sit there and think 'What else are you hiding from me, you stupidhead?'"

Joe finally confronted Martin with proof of his unfaithfulness. Martin responded with indifference, readily admitting that he met with other accountability partners. Martin's nonchalant attitude deeply disturbed Joe. "I told him we couldn't meet any more," he said.

Monday, August 16, 2004

ATI Families Cry out for a Church
Families in the ATI program are clamoring for IBLP to start a new denomination that will be specifically designed for ATI members.

"We want to have a church that is reminiscent of the first century church in Acts where no one dares join us," said one man. "If they are not of us, they will depart from us."

Advocates for an IBLP denomination point out that many ATI devotees have difficulty assimilating into a local church because of sensual influences, youth groups and a general apostasy. "It is an unfortunate day when we have to shield our children from the church," said one father. Creating a denomination specifically designed for these famililes would provide a haven from the church's ungodly influence.

Additionally, advocates point out that Mr. Bill Gothard has asked God for a double portion of God's Spirit. "That's something I can respect," commented one woman.

A prototypical IBLP church has been developed. The church emphasizes the Commands of Christ, High Standards, Music that Moves the Spirit and not the Body, and the Biblical Order of Worship. Churchgoers will be encouraged by powerful preaching, confirming testimonies, and uplifting hymns. The Official Theme of the church will be "Accomplishing Mighty Deeds by Being Mighty."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Dear Mr. Gothard
Al Menconi addresses Bill Gothard's teaching on contemporary Christian music in his book, "Dear Mr. Gothard."

Director Poll Results
The results are in on training center directors past and present.

We've received many enthusiastic responses...but X-ATI Guy wonders if perhaps he didn't make himself clear. When we asked for your vote, we were curious about your favorite director. Many of the answers we received contained shocking sarcasm and votes for the LEAST favorite directors.

This leads us to two possible conclusions: either X-er readers have a very finely-tuned sense of humor and are able to perceive their own opportunities for irony. Or, there simply aren't any favorite directors.

Well, several people did receive positive nods: Rick Lambert, Mrs. LaMantia, Bennie and Shelbie McWha were among the few. Overall, however, we discovered a high training-center-consumer dissatisfaction rate. What does this tell us about training center life? Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

X-er had considered a popularity poll on training center food, but has abandoned that idea as foolish.

The Power of Circular Argument
This one always drove us crazy. "Rock music is addictive. Proof: addicts deny addiction. Those who are in bondage to rock music deny that it is addictive."

That "survey" where 97% of youth agreed that rock music is addictive? It was taken at an ATI Knoxville conference and most of the student, like myself, probably dared not check the "no" box.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Update on Calendar
Well, it seems that there really is a wholesome ATI Calendar and you can view it here.

The creator JB wrote us and explained: "I must confess...I am the culprit in the all-too-true rumors of an ATI Swimsuit Calendar. This ended up spreading beyond ATI circles and nearly got several students at Bob Jones University expelled for printing large versions for dorm walls.

"Anyway, I burst out laughing reading your post. Enjoy!"

Book Suggestions for Recovering ex-ATI Persons
Many ex-ATI students and families go through a recovery period, trying to identify truth after the significant indoctrination that takes place in ATI circles. We're not saying that this indoctrination is wrong, but many times it is conducted without allowing a person the freedom to ask questions and disagree while in the pursuit of truth.

Here are a few book suggestions that may help you in your journey.

The Ragamuffin Gospel, and Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes: Unmasking the Real You, by Brennan Manning. A former Catholic priest who renounced his vows to get married, Manning is now divorced, a former alcoholic, and a self proclaimed faker. Manning's message is all about the radical love of God for the undeserving. His depth of insight into Christ's person is refreshing.

Anything by Philip Yancey: Titles include What's So Amazing About Grace?, Reaching for an Invisible God, Disappointment with God, and Rumors of Another World. Yancey identifies and struggles with Christianity's toughest questions, and he refuses to rely on formula or simplistic answers. Often he fails to identify an answer at all, pointing out that faith can only exist in an environment of doubt.

Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You, by Susan Forward, Donna Frazier. Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation that many will recognize immediately. Susan Forward identifies several common appeals to emotion:
  • I can't believe you're being so selfish. This isn't like you. You're only thinking of yourself.
  • You never think about my feelings.
  • I really thought you were different from the other people. I guess I was wrong.
  • Everyone knows that children are supposed to respect their parents.
  • How can you be so disloyal?
  • How could you do this to me (after all I've done for you)?
  • Why are you being so stubborn/obstinate/selfish?
  • Why do you want to hurt me?
  • Why are you making such a big deal out of this?

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, by David Johnson, Jeff Vanvonderen. This book discusses the idea of spiritual abuse, which is when "spiritual authorities" use their place of authority to improperly manipulate and control those under authority. Very useful for deconstructing this "control" without being insensibly rebellious.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wholesomewear Review
Dear X-ATI Guy,

I am writing to you as a satisfied customer of Wholesomewear Swimsuits. I own the Slimming Swimmer, and I can testify that it protects me from many defrauding looks. Those who wear this modest bathing wear will never be accused of having the Spirit of Bathsheba, who, as you know, was not a consumer of Wholesomewear. Also, despite its looks, it is very comfortable! I've heard people say that Angelina Jolie wore less clothing when Lara Croft went to the arctic, but that's a cultural reference you may not understand.

Wholesome Chick

Get it now!
Summer's almost over, but you can still get your godly swimwear at wholesomewear.com! We here at X-ATI Guy have heard rumors of a Character Calendar swimsuit edition, but we are unable to confirm whether this is true...

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Miss Character USA
OAK BROOK, Illinois - IBLP has announced the start of yet another new program: Miss Character USA. This exciting new program will feature a competition between 49 young ladies. Each young lady selected will represent a randomly-assigned character quality. The young lady who wins the competition will be crowned as Miss Character USA.

Each contestant will exhibit her character quality throughout the competition. The competition will include a question-and-answer section, delivery of a four-part testimony section, a Godly Woman talent section, and a Modest Dress section. The young lady who wins and is crowned Miss Character will go on a one-year tour where she will advocate for children and for character development. She will also visit each of the annual ATI conferences and give her testimony.

IBLP is quick to stress that Miss Character USA is not a beauty pageant. "This is not a beauty pageant," said a spokesman. "It is a scholarship program."

Plans of a Miss Character International are in development.

Popularity Poll
Who was your favorite training center director, past or present? Send your vote to xatiguy@yahoo.com. (Individual answers will be kept confidential.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

IBLP Raises X-er Alert to HIGH
The IBLP X-ATI Guy Alert has been raised from Moderate to High. The IBLP Security Czar elevated the alert citing "particularly caustic humor and disturbing elements of the truth."

Local Pastor Dreads Basic Seminar
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Pastor Joe Gray dreads the week each summer when the IBLP Basic Seminar comes to his town. "I feel like I'm holding my breath the entire week," he said. "As soon as they complete that last session, my phone starts ringing off the hook."

Pastor Gray says that parishioners immediately want to discuss how to improve the church. "Congregational involvement is wonderful. As a pastor you PRAY for people to be involved. The problem is that each year they just want to implement Bill Gothard's most recent insight. One year it was something about energy-givers...then we were going to win the hearts of the rebels...and now everyone's talking about putting the sermon before the hymn singing!"

Gray also gets his share of calls on what "sensual influences" need to be removed from the church.

In recent years, Pastor Gray has observed that his counseling load doubles after the Basic. He attributes this to the Basic's emphasis on non-optional principles. "Everyone operates under this oppressive system of duty and obligation. They either feel guilty for not living up to the standards, or they're disappointed at someone else's failure," he said.

An alumnus of the Basic Seminar himself, Pastor Gray no longer attends. "What if I preached the same sermon over every single week? Would people find it THAT insightful?"

Pastor Gray loves being in the ministry. "But sometimes I feel like a janitor...just cleaning up after IBLP."

Monday, August 09, 2004

Creative Explanations for Dwindling Attendance
Back in the Glory Days, Basic Seminars were attended by crowds of 20,000+ people. In recent years, the average seminar size is about 300. Alarmed by the plummeting attendance of Basic and Advanced seminars, IBLP staff compiled a list for Mr. Gothard of probable explanations for the attendance drop.

1. People are rejecting the truth in this wicked and fallen age.
2. The Local Church is too much competition.
3. You need some new ties.
4. Not enough singing.
5. Overhead projector bad/PowerPoint good.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Student Booed at IBLP Staff Meeting
A report by an ATI staffer
The other day I was asked to share at the morning ATI staff meeting where we all gather for a staff devotional and encouragement. I decided to share some thoughts that were on my heart.

I read the passage from Acts 10 about Peter's dream--he sees a sheet lowered from heaven filled with unclean animals, and he is told to kill and eat. Peter refuses, and God says "What God has cleansed you must not call common." Common, in the original Greek, means common, unclean, or forbidden.

In my talk, I suggested that perhaps we could apply this passage to some of our own cultural IBLP taboos such as music, movies, clothing, hairstyle, and facial hair.

Jesus said what goes into a man does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his heart. Perhaps the prohibitions on watching movies and wearing jeans are not scriptural. Someone rose out of the audience and started booing. Nearly everyone joined in. They wouldn't stop until I left the stage.

Unfortunately, I think key persons were sleeping and missed everything I said.

Friday, August 06, 2004

X-ATI Guy Keeping Low Profile
Concerned about preliminary intelligence reports of a hit squad closing in on his location, X-er decides to keep a low profile for the next few days, cloaked in his leather jacket and carrying a pair of drum sticks for protection.

Initial reports suggested that ALERT would send out an elite Search and Eliminate team. However, a credible source has indicated that the real threat comes from an unexpected location. Citing "internal documents," X-er's source indicates that the hit squad may be composed of EXCEL girls. "They are much less flashy and noticeable, but actually get more done. And they're all armed with sewing machines and non-eye-trapping kerchiefs around the neck - they'll have a nice guy like you sewed back up in blue and white in no time."

X-er out.

ATI Movie Makeovers: Titanic
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.

Titanic, by X-ATI Guy
The Institute in Basic Life Principles purchases a huge cruise ship from Carnival Cruise Lines. IBLP was able to discover the unused ship and pay $1 for it. Mr. Gothard announces plans of renovating the ship and turning it into "the world's first International Training Center." Years of work and millions of dollars are expended to outfit the ship. The main hall is a spectacular room with plush red carpet, oak paneling, and period furniture. Each room on the character ship is outfitted with character posters, character soaps, and character towels.

On the commencement of the ship's ministry, the Institute holds a ceremony. Mr. Gothard christens the ship The Titanic, and declares: "God himself floats this boat!" Informally, the staff refer to the ship as the Floating Training Center (FTC).

The Titanic embarks on a year-long ministry trip to various costal IBLP locations. Dozens of people sign up to serve on staff, while others are chosen to serve as the "Character Crew," the elite and honored staff members who serve as examples for the rest of the staff to look up to.

While sailing across the Atlantic, Rose, one of the girls on the Character Crew, attracts a staff guy's attention. This young man, Jack, has been assigned to the FTC for "encouragement." He is encouraged by doing much of the mundane work required on the FTC: washing dishes, serving food, housekeeping, and swabbing the decks. Jack notices Rose and opens the door for her as she's going to lunch. As she exits after lunch, he once more opens the door.

These kind gestures endear Rose to Jack. Unwisely, they begin to spend time together and build Soul Ties. Rose lowers herself to visit the Dish Pit and the Housekeeping Room, where Jack impresses her with his vigorous work ethic. Rose manages to dress Jack up for dinner at the Head Table with the rest of the Character Crew. Other members of the Crew disdainfully toss observations of character deficiencies at Jack. He responds with a quick wit and his aplomb further encourages Rose.

Rose and Jack eventually breach a serious FTC rule and engage in Hand Holding with the Opposite Gender. At one point Jack says, "We shouldn't break this rule." "Oh, yes we should!" cried Rose. "Well, I can see your point," said Jack, and reached for her hand.

Sadly, the Titanic's navigator failed to exhibit the character quality of attentiveness, and they strike an iceberg. Most of the people die in the resulting shipwreck. Rose barely survives, but forever lives with the guilt of knowing that the ship sank because of her sin. Jack, of course, does not make it, as FTC policy dictates that young men must always get the short end.

Things are a Little Tense
An account from a Dallas staffer.
Things are a little tense here at the Dallas Training Center ever since we ran out of 100 watt light bulbs. Mr. Gothard once had an epiphany, and he announced that young ladies could greatly benefit from sitting near and sleeping under 100 bulbs during their "time of the month."* Apparently the light rays provided some hormonal balance so that moods would not be so black. He recommended that young ladies embrace this method of overcoming moodiness.

This produced quite a sensation among the Dallas Training Center staff. The young ladies were slightly humiliated and objected to the incubation suggestion. The young men were not sure how to respond. Of course, no female staff wished to single herself out in need of a light, so in a move of solidarity, all of the women purchased portable reading lamps with 100 watt bulbs, and carried these wherever they go.

Unfortunately, the idiots in Purchasing forgot to buy a new batch of bulbs. We're in the middle of a young lady's conference this week, and boy, has it been tough.

* Based on an actual statement.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Family Quits Reading ATI Newsletter
The Rutger family, an ATI family in Georgia, has quit reading the ATI Newsletter after experiencing severe discouragement. "Every month's newsletter had a new report of a superstar family doing mighty deeds. We felt like we were having a good day if we could all get dressed by noon," said Mrs. Rutger.

Mr. Rutger dreaded reading about other fathers who rose early to pray and lead their families in Wisdom Search. "It's kind of hit-and-miss for us."

The Rutger children are delighted to remove the ATI Newsletter's influence from the home. "Mom and Dad are a lot more relaxed. The pressure's off." Previously, Mr. and Mrs. Rutger often compared their children to families in the newsletter. "It's been a while since I've heard 'Why can't we be more like the McKim family?'" said a Rutger child.

Each month, when the newsletter comes in the mail, the family gathers in the backyard and burns it. Says Mrs. Rutger: "We have a new zest for life now that we don't have to be reminded of how unsuccessful we are!"

It's True! Nudists in Knoxville
It's True! is our feature where we recount weird news or occurrences from our ATI days.

I served on staff at one of the Knoxville conferences in the mid-90's. A friend and I were walking back to our dorm late one night after the session. As we walked past the grandstand on campus, we noticed seven or eight guys racing around the track. As they approached us coming around the track, we were startled to notice that they were buck naked except for running shoes. We hurried on to our dorm and called campus police.

I have no idea if they were University of Tennessee students or ATI students. We didn't hang around long enough to find out.

-Submitted by a former staffer

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

X-er Receives "Removal of Spiritual Blessing" Note
X-ATI Guy received a special note today, handwritten in small block letters on a Character Sketch note card of the Loyalty variety.

Dear "X-er,"
It has deeply grieved my spirit to read what you have published about ATI and IBLP. I marvel that so many students could allow bad experiences to make them angry, causing roots of bitterness to grow in their hearts. I sincerely hope you take the message of this card to heart. Loyalty is a very important character quality. It is using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom he has called me to serve. The only way for you to find true freedom from the bondage of bitterness is to get back under your umbrella of authority. I have been deeply troubled when young people lose the powerful spiritual blessings of loyalty when they rebel. I sincerely hope you will experience true freedom and blessed peace when you commit to those God called you to serve.
In Christ,

-Submitted by guest poster.

Peeping Tom Causes Chagrin, Delight at ITC
INDIANAPOLIS, In - A peeping Tom residing in the apartment building opposite the Indianapolis Training Center is causing a great deal of consternation among some ITC residents. Reports of the young man indicate that he wakes up early in the morning and tries to spy into ITC rooms from his balcony using a set of binoculars. He has successfully startled several ITC residents who pray by their window in the morning.

In an effort to counteract this prurient fellow, the ITC leadership moved all of the young ladies up to floors above Tom's level. "Is that why they moved me to the 12th floor?" asked a young lady when we interviewed her about this problem. "They told me they had to do remodeling on the lower floors."

This action did not delight the male residents of the ITC. "I'm not exactly thrilled to have Peeping Tom check me out. I'm right in the line of fire now," complained one. The ITC has directed all students on that side of the building to keep their curtains closed, but some have experienced difficulty in adjusting to the darkness.

To the ITC's dismay, the voyeur has inspired exhibitionist tendencies among some of the young ladies working at the center. Several have gone up to the ITC roof and have flashed their ankles at Tom. The ITC has repeatedly stressed that this does not constitute approved behavior.

The ITC leadership, on the advice of Mr. Gothard, is seeking to eliminate this peeping Tom by evicting him. They've approached the owners of the apartment building, offering to buy the property. The apartment owners have not answered at this time.

Women Disappointed with ATI Guys
Curious to discover what ATI women think about ATI guys, we sat down with Michelle, Sara, and Rachel, three young ladies in ATI. What they told us was very eye-opening. We had no idea.

Michelle threw the first punch. "ATI boys are far too timid and shy," she said. "Women are like Those We Don't Speak Of. Sure, they stand up if a girl walks into a room and they'll wait for 15 minutes while she's walking up to a door so they can hold it open, but they can't even look her in the eye or carry a decent conversation." Michelle avoids elevator rides with guys at all costs. She has no moral inhibitions about shared space, but cannot stand the awkward silences.

Rachel agreed. "Another problem is their immaturity. ATI guys are the silliest, most immature individuals I know. It's like they are incapable of making decisions on their own--they ALWAYS have to get permission."

"Would you say the term 'mama's boys' is appropriate?" I asked. Rachel nodded furiously.

"Describe the classic ATI guy for me," I prodded. Sara laughed and leaned forward. "Let's see...the classic ATI guy's top button is always buttoned. In casual situations he usually wears khaki pants, and he's never without his handy Leatherman tool strapped to his belt. He's pretty much a nerd."

"Yes, and his idea of a good time is to gather around the piano and sing hymns in four-part harmony," laughed Michelle.

"I like to tweak the ATI guys," confessed Sara. "I'll hint that I have a tattoo, and they look away and turn red. It's so much fun."

"It drives me crazy that they're so darn polite!" said Rachel. "They apologize for everything, defer to you in conversation, and generally lack any kind of backbone. Aren't guys supposed to be the leaders?"

ATI staff guys rank among the Most Hated for these women. They despise the guys that walk around wielding a walkie-talkie ("as if it's a light saber or something") and who derive satisfaction from climbing the ranks of the Institute.

These girls admitted to the occassional good-looking ATI guy. "They're so sweet and cute. You just want to pinch him, he's so delicious," gushed Sara. "But they fear being accused of flirting, so they try to project the big-brother personna."

Ask an ATI guy what his skills are, and he will mention Ultimate Frisbee, chalk art, singing, and spending time with his family. "That's fine, I suppose," said Michelle, "but I want to marry a MAN! Someone who can cut down trees and sweat. Someone who is powerful...who can make love like Tarzan! A guy who likes skydiving, fistfighting, and bull riding."

I asked the girls to complete a quote for me. "I wouldn't marry anyone who was really wicked..."

"...but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked and wouldn't!" they all cried in unison. "Anne of Avonlea!"

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Scandal Plagues IBLP
Reeling from an attack by dolls, IBLP is now embroiled in an internal scandal of major proportions.

It all started when Bill Gothard flipped on the radio while riding to a ministry location while in an Institute van. Expecting to hear music that would uplift his spirit, Mr. Gothard was shocked to discover that the radio was playing a local rock-n-roll station. A quick check of the radio preset buttons revealed that every preset was tuned into a rock station.

An order went out to the Headquarters transportation manager to check every Institute vehicle on the Headquarters location. The results of this investigation were terrible: virtually every radio preset was tuned to sensual music. Institute drivers had been surreptitiously listening to country western, rap, rock, and even contemporary Christian music.

The Institute soon discovered that this corruption was widespread. The situation was almost identical in Indianapolis, Dallas, Little Rock, Flint, and other Institute locations. IBLP leadership began seizing personal staff vehicles and was appalled to learn that staff members were in bondage to rock music.

Layoffs have started, and we don't see an end in sight.

Cabbage Patch Dolls Invade IBLP
OAK BROOK, Illinois - Angered by years of insults and stalled litigation, an army of Cabbage Patch Dolls invaded the IBLP Headquarters yesterday.

With a strong sense of purpose, the dolls located the Staff Center. The attack took place at noon, just as the IBLP staff was gathering for lunch. The dolls poured in through the doors, crashed through the windows and rolled down the stairway.

The intent of the attack was difficult to ascertain, as dolls are generally considered non-deadly and they carried no weapons. Nevertheless, despite superior strength, IBLP staff fled in terror. Several staff members immediately Cried Out, and shouts of "Get Jim Logan on the phone!" could be heard.

"It was awful," said one survivor. "All I could think of was the deadly rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Artist's rendition of the attack.

After destroying large portions of the Staff Center, the Cabbage Patch army left, leaving behind a single doll named "Llib," who was dressed in a navy suit. The dolls were seen marching down Ogden Avenue, reported one witness.

Monday, August 02, 2004

IBLP Speaks out to Former Students
OAK BROOK, Illinois - Having discovered the large percentage of former ATI students who are disgruntled about their Institute experiences, IBLP has released an exciting new publication called, Get Over It: How to Forgive Those who have Taken Advantage of You.

Excerpts from Get Over It:
Freedom comes in many forms. Here are some steps you must take to find freedom from bitterness toward those who have offended you.

1. Get under authority. Bitterness is usually a result of being out from under God's umbrella of authority. If you are bitter toward IBLP, it is probably a result of your independent spirit.

2. Clear your conscience. If there was any offense taken during your time of service with IBLP, the chances are it was your fault. Clear your conscience by going to the IBLP leadership and share with them the things that led to your bitterness. Take this opportunity to confess any secret sins you entertained while on staff. Remember, sin in the camp results in damage to the ministry.

3. Do not take offense for others. Oftentimes bitterness is a result of taking up an offense for a third party. The best way to avoid this is to not discuss your anger or mistreatment with others--including your parents. They are not part of the problem or the solution.

4. Do good to those who have offended you. A major key to gaining freedom is to bless those who have hurt you. If you are angry at the Institute, you can find blessed freedom by coming back and serving the Institute for free.

Wanted: Dead or Alive
Thanks to our alert reader who just noticed this on BillGothard.com.

Props to Zak for the idea. And a quick footnote from him:

"Hi! I am the one who created the Wanted Poster to poke a bit of fun both at ATI and the X-ATI Guy. I created it after seeing the post about this site on CrossingsCentral.com, it was merely just for fun, not meant to be used to make Mr. Gothard look bad or anything, because I agree with a lot of things he teaches, and disagree with some other things he teaches. I believe that he is someone trying to seek God with all his heart, etc. NOTE TO X-ATI GUY: If you would, please post this along with the wanted poster. Thanks very much---Zak"

No problem, Zak. We thought it was hilarious. We've posted your note, absolving you of any sin that might result from being involved with X-ATI Guy.

Quote of the Day
In our pressurized society, people who are out of shape mentally usually fall victim to ideas and systems that are destructive to the human spirit and to human relationships. They are victimized because they have not been taught how to think, nor have they set themselves to the life-long pursuit of the growth of the mind. Not having the facility of a strong mind, they grow dependent upon the thoughts and opinions of others. Rather than deal with ideas and issues, they reduce themselves to lives full of rules, regulations, and programs.
-Gordon MacDonald

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

IBLP Publishes New Book
OAK BROOK, Il - The Institute in Basic Life Principles announced the release of a new book today, titled, "The Power of Judging Others." The book shares the secrets of how to release the mighty power of a judgmental spirit within your life, and witnessing the transformation of the world around you. Chapters include these exciting topics:
  • How to influence your peers through judgment without experiencing guilt.
  • How to raise the standard in your life so people will want to be like you.
  • Quote Scripture to back up your beliefs so that people will be convicted by the Word.
  • How to pass on a vision of judgment to your children for a godly heritage.
  • Where are all my friends? Dealing with the loneliness that accompanies judgment.
Confirming Testimony
"The Power of Judging Others changed my life! My family was just your typical Christian family with nothing to identify us as being set apart as a race unto himself, but when my husband read this book to us during morning devotions, my children immediately caught the vision for judging others! We devoured the book and discovered so many powerful insights about the judgment of God. Thank you for these important truths."
-A mother from Kansas





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