Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Is Verity a College?
[Note: this post is non-satirical.] We recently commented on the seeming inconsistency of IBLP starting a college. But is Verity a college? Apparently not. Seems the Verity Education and Accelerated Learning Center is experiencing some difficulties with its license to operate a "proprietary school" in the state of Michigan.

A letter sent to students (posted by a recipient on a discussion forum):

Dear Parents and Friends of Verity,

"For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." I Peter 2:20.

Someone asked Abe Lincoln if he thought God was on the side of the north in the Civil War. Mr. Lincoln answered that we should be concerned that the north was on God's side in the matter. We are facing a new challenge from the Office of Postsecondary Services regarding our proprietary school license and are seeking to get on God's side in the matter.

After a good deal of work on our part to comply with guidelines for proprietary schools, we received our license from the state of Michigan in December of '04. This past Friday we were notified that we our license is suspended pending review. This was a surprise, to say the least!

The problem the officials presented was that we look too much like a college and may be misrepresenting ourselves to the public. Our website and IBLP's has too much information relating to the acquiring of a degree, as though we confer credits for courses or grant degrees. As you know, we are not a college, do not give credits for work completed, and do not grant degrees. We are simply a group study center helping young people prepare for their futures in an atmosphere of Biblical discipleship. The problems they noted can be easily corrected to explain ourselves even more clearly to the public, and we are presently doing that.

The real problem, however, seems to be that we may not fit into a proprietary school (trade, vocation, or occupation) category. Helping students prepare for CLEP tests is, from their perspective, teaching. Teaching relative to accredited credits requires many classes. For that we would need to become a college; something we do not want to launch.

We are inviting you to share in our plan of action:

1. Pray and cry out to God. Let's examine our own hearts first, then, ask for mercy, and finally, seek favor with those in authority.

2. Adjust our website and promotional materials to more accurately reflect our nature as a group study center and aid to students working on their own education.

3. Resubmit our course catalog to satisfy the proprietary schools unit guidelines.

4. Keep you informed.

Our license has been suspended and remains so for two weeks while we make our corrections. At present we are not able to hold classes and teach. However, students are able to continue self-study and/or student-initiated study groups. Chapel, music lessons, internships, and the Bible course may continue. Standards of conduct, etc. are expected to continue.

I have one word for the students...Steady. God is working, and the outcome will be a big step forward for Christ's Kingdom in our lives. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and dependence upon God.

Woody & Gail Shoemaker
Interestingly, a Google search of the term Verity College turns up quite a few hits for this "group study center."

(Hat tip: a reader)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did Woody and Gail Shoemaker give you permission to reprint their letter - which apparently did not go to you personally - on your website? Gee. You'd think a lawyer would know better than that.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #1. Honestly, IBLP shouldn't fall under any legal protection whatsoever. And especially not from Christians. Only thing lacking to make IBLP and its "children" into a cult is the martyrdom of Bill Gothard. ala Mormons. (that, and multiple wives but somehow I can't picture even Bill promoting that :-P )


5:38 AM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...

"legal"? Come on. We are all (aren't we?) X-IBLPers here, we are all interested and in many cases have a vested interest in the affairs of IBLP. Many of us have friends and family who remain entangled with the organisation. The letter is essentially open, with the salutation going to "friends and family of Verity".

An besides, why should you care? Are you one of those poor souls who remain trapped in the darkness? ;P

I personally find this letter tremendously intriguing. AFAIK, Verity has always been touted as a "college". Perhaps Mr. Gothard has never actually said "this is an accredited school", but the fact that he hints at it and never openly states whether it is or is not a college means that he considers it to be so, and is therefore guilty of lying. Not that that's anything new.

I love the "as you know" bits in here. Backpedaling at its finest.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, this reminds me of the time IBLP remodeled the staff meeting room without a permit and got in trouble.

Or the time they started dredging the lake at HQ without a permit and got shut down by the local residents.

Or the time they got in trouble with the fire marshal for building a wood frame roof on South Campus without a permit.

Hmmm, just what DID we learn from IBLP about authority?

Perhaps this being out from under their umbrella of authority is what allowed Satan to have authority in the life of IBLP to deposit a pool table at Indy!

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an add to Semirrahge's post, I would say that we should just think about what Mr. Gothard has probably said about Verity.

Since when did Mr. Gothard ever let the lack of truthfulness of a statement stop him from using it to promote his cause.

One of my best friends was kicked out of HQ for laughing openly at Mr. Gothard when he was telling us all in staff meeting about how we shouldn't go to movie theaters because there were confirmed reports of needles tainted with AIDS being left in the seats for foolish movie goers to be stabbed by as they sat down.

Proverbs tells us that when the king is deceived, his servants are liars. However, we did tell the king the truth. Mr. Gothard is the king who has asked his prophets to lie to him and speak kind words.

Mr. Gothard has no problem with using fear and doubt to keep people under his thumb.

This is what convinced me that IBLP was a cult. While I as working at HQ I saw a movie during a trip home called "Sings and Wonders." I highly recommend this movie with James Earl Jones in it.

It tells the story of the daughter of a pastor who gets drawn into a cult. They do a good job of giving a brief view into just what a cult is like and about. When she is rescued from the cult she does not want to leave. They have told her that if she ever leaves "People will cry, people will die, things will fall out of the sky." She quotes this often, and when she sees the front page report of a plain crash after she leaves, she is sure it is her fault.

The movie also delves into the difficulties of a pastor finding himself and his faith to be less and less relevant in the lives of his children and congregation in an increasingly secular England.

However what hit me was how much the cult's use of fear was identical to Mr. Gothard's teaching that if you get out from under your umbrella of authority, Satan will have free reign in your life. All of us ATIA students and IBLP goers were taught that if we didn't obey our parents or whoever they sent us to (IBLP leadership), that we could have every horrible thing happen to us!

At one lunch Mr. Gothard brought us the report of an ATIA father who had been killed recently. At first I thought this was a prayer request for the tragic event of a very involved father of many children suddenly being removed from his family. However, Mr. Gothard went on to tell us how he had been killed while working on a riding lawn mower with his son on Sunday afternoon. He told us that because he was working on Sunday he was out from under God's protection. He also told us that his father would never do any sort of work on a Sunday like that.

That was the last straw for me. It is so clear an obvious how Mr. Gothard uses the fear of Satan's attack to enforce his will on people, and teaches others to do the same.

Jesus never used fear to draw people to himself. It doesn't work. Virtually the entire Old Testament is about how Israel failed to see God's love an instead only feared him and that lead them into every wickedness.

God says, "Fear not" constantly in the Bible! We should do NOTHING out of motivation of fear of loss, only out of desire.

God LOVES us!!!

Ok, I could go on all day. I'll quit now.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thougth that Verity issued degrees through Telos.

Telos has the domain name.

And I quote:

"To obtain an Internet name in the .edu domain, your institution must be a postsecondary institution that is institutionally accredited by an agency on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies."

You can read more here:

So TELOS is acredited (or at least they were when I was there in 1999 and helped get them the EDU domain).

I wish I kept all of that trash Verity kept sending me. I'm sure it both called Verity a college and said that it could issue degrees (although I thought it was "through TELOS.")

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the post on fear and God punishing the father for working on Sunday....woe unto you--all you who have worked at Knoxville, or a seminar, or a training center--on the Lord's Day. Do you not know that he will visit his wrath upon you?

Oh, wait. You were under IBLP's umbrella. You're probably alright.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...

Oh, someone please help me for I have done work for IBLP on a sunday. I tell you, it's not worth it at all. :)

To the person who concurred with me, I agree. There are many instances of Mr. Gothard stretching/shading the truth or lying outright in the quest of making a "moral" point. I remember a story he used of a girl who was killed in a car wreck and the reason he eventually gave was because she listened to christian rock music. How anyone can link those two I really don't know. Even in my starry-eyed IBLP love days I would have found it hard to follow that.

And as for the TELOS questions... I live in the area still, I bet I could dig up some good infos from the warehouse or fourth floor. The question is whether I want to bother with it or not. :)

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. Since we're on the subject of college --- since when did Mr. Gothard have a Ph.D? I refer you all who are still within "the system" to look at a recent ATI mailing in which there was a booklet entitled, "Breaking Through for Daily Success: A Guaranteed Plan." Look inside the cover. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it.

Doesn't a person have to go to COLLEGE to get a Ph.D.? And doesn't Mr. G. denounce those institutions as being inheritently evil, or at least not good influences on sons and daugthers? Have I missed some "new approach" memo? And from what institution is this Ph.D.?


1:23 PM  
Blogger X-er said...

I assume you mean this publication: Breaking Through for Daily Success: A Guaranteed Plan

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the one. So, where did the Ph.D come from? I think it's important to know 1) where it came from so as to provide credentials to the booklet and 2) why is it ok for him to have one, but not members of ATI?

Still confused.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous drschplatt said...

the Ph. D was honorary from LBU. It means squat...

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that Mr. Gothard attended Wheaton (college). No?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did. I think he only got a Bachelor's degree though.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gothard also has an earned masters from Wheaton. If a PhD is honorary, then, in order not to mislead anyone, the letters after the name should be: PhD(Hon.)

If a recipient of an honorary degree allows the letters to follow their name without notating that the degree is honorary, then that person has problem with pride.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Gothard's Ph.D. is earned. Few I know have ever done so much or endured the wrath of so many fools in a good work as he.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Job said...

If there is a Ph.D. for Suffering, please sign me up!


4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hey guys, don't worry about the PhD bestowed on Bill Gothard. We all know what BS stands for, well, MS is more of the same and PhD is just piled higher and deeper. Very appropriate for this man."

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hey guys, don't worry about the PhD bestowed on Bill Gothard. We all know what BS stands for, well, MS is more of the same and PhD is just piled higher and deeper. Very appropriate for this man."

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning TELOS, it never has been accredited by ANY accrediting agency. I find it fascinating that a former student thought that it was.

Concerning Verity, they do not grant any degrees. They help students with planning and resources for getting their degree through various accredited schools that allow for credit banking.

Concerning Mr. G's PhD. It is not honorary...nor is it earned in the same sense that the typical PhD is. It is received from LBU (which is not regionally accredited btw) whose requirements are, how shall we say...very unstringent.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging from what I read in the letter, I do appreciate their desire to be honest. I attended Bob Jones University for a while, and they present themselves as being fully "accredited" like other schools. However, their TRACS national accreditation is useless in many cases). Needless to say, I lost a lot of money over that and none of my credits transferred. I think the Verity students are now able to get regionally accredited degrees. But from what I've seen, their educational method is far from impressive. The purpose for obtaining a college degree is not just studying to pass tests and get credits, but to learn from experts in various fields.

12:05 PM  

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