Friday, January 28, 2005
Family Confused over College
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Harry Conners, 56, ATI father of 11, recently called IBLP headquarters with several disturbing questions about Verity College. Specifically, he wanted to know why the college was founded in apparent contradiction to IBLP's teachings on not submitting to the worldly culture of attending college. He was initially informed that Verity allowed ATI students to study many different subjects at once.
The young lady he spoke with pointed out Verity's wonderful opportunities: "It's like attending Sound Foundations, lectures on chalk drawing, studying midwifery, and taking Oak Brook's paralegal course all at one time!" She went on to tell Mr. Conners that study at Verity would place his children in prime position to be chosen for important jobs such as drawing for Mr. Gothard at Basic Seminars ("they get excellent drawing instruction") and kitchen management at a training center ("the math courses are very helpful in cooking for large crowds").
Mr. Conners was not satisfied with this explanation, however, and wrote to the ATI Board asking if they had any insights into the change of mind by Mr. Gothard and IBLP.
A board member called him and speaking on condition of anonymity told him that starting Verity was a strategy to boost dwindling ATI enrollment. "Many of our young people are very servant-minded and are busy working for us well into their 30's," he said. "Unfortunately, they are often not marrying in time to produce very many godly offspring. And this is causing a shortfall of expected enrollment at ATI."
Mr. Conners asked what this had to do with starting a college. "Well, college is a good place to meet one's prospective spouse," said the board member. "Where did you meet your wife Mr. Conners?" Mr. Conners had to admit that he met his wife Zelda at Bible school. The board member lowered his voice significantly: "I'm not supposed to say this, but Mr. Gothard has observed that the older ATI students tend to start looking outside of ATI circles for prospective marriage partners. Indeed, some of their parents worried that their children may not marry, have actually encouraged them to date. This grieves him immensely. Often these poor marriage partner choices lead to ATI children being led away from the truth and not raising their children in the program. We think Verity is a good solution to this problem."
Mr. and Mrs. Conners eventually recognized the wisdom of the Institute and are enrolling their two oldest daughters Rebekah Joy, 32, and Hannah Grace, 29, in Verity. Both girls have excelled at homemaking instruction and music but are looking forward to studying art and religion. Mr. Conners hopes they'll bring a friend home on a weekend to introduce to his son, David, 30, who cannot be spared from working in the family's landscaping business.