Wednesday, October 26, 2005

True Confessions, Part II
More confessions. Perhaps a disclaimer is in order: "We at X-ATI Guy in no way recommend the breaking of any rules at an IBLP institution." Yeah....


All these stories happen at HQ. I've been at OTC and Indy as well, but I never did anything radically wicked there.

I gues my juciest one was when me and a friend split 3/4 of a bottle of Vodka - on campus. Then we called another friend and went bowling. All of this happened AFTER curfew, of course - we didn't get home until like 3:00. After that me and my unnamed friend went out into the woods and tried to burn the forest down, but were unfortunately unsuccessful.

I took a girl (a goth chick, no less) to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (at the Canterra IMAX) instead of going to staff meeting on saturday night.

I went with a friend to see same chick at her apartment in downtown Chicago. We left HQ at midnight or so, and got back around 5:00. We spent the evening alone in her pad listening to anime music (all unapproved, of course).

I had a bottle of 96 proof spiced rum (which I liked, and drank all of, and even got a hangover from the evening I had seven shots) and a bottle of 94 proof plum brandy (which sucked, and I didn't like and didn't drink more than a few shots from) hidden in my closet at 12 pine. I kept a bottle of Jack Daniels in my closet at Colonial (I still have some of that left, in fact).

I had a poster for Kirin Ichiban beer on my bathroom door at Colonial. I've never had the beer, I just thought it was cool to have a beerposter in my room. :P

I downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of music, movies and anime - some of which I distributed to others. I gave copies (legal and otherwise)of CDs to girls, some of whom were staff. I invited friends over (ignoring curfew) to watch movies in my room - regardless of the annoying house leaders who would peek in to find out what was going on.

As I approached the 9-month mark, I began to blatantly ignore curfew,and after the one-year mark, I would deliberately stay out for several hours PAST curfew, just on the principle of the thing.

My house leader once got on to me for staying out so late and not telling me where I was, and I lectured him for about 20 minutes about how unscriptural what he was asking me to do was. I told him that he needed to have more faith in God. That God tells us not to worry, and that (since he had told his mom that he was worried about me) we were to not talk to others about the issues we had with other people until we had brought them before the other person. A friend came to me afterwards and complimented me on a job well done. Apparently I had - again, using scripture - made him out to be an extremely bad person with no understanding of God or Christianity. I was pleased, to say the least. I feel compelled to finish the story with my regret, which is that to date, I have never managed to get along with him, and I can no longer with a clear concience state that I have no enemies.

I went out to dinner and a movie several times with some girls who were at HQ, and have done so several times (with different girls) since leaving. I don't know that I'd call them dates though, more like mutually agreeable rule breaking rather than anything having to do with romance. *grin*

I saw my first concert while living at HQ, a heavy metal band called Nightwish.

Speaking of heavy metal, before I got my new stereo system in my car I was driving down from Heritage towards the Staff Center right aroundcurfew on a weeknight, listening to a black metal band called Dimmu Borgir (if anyone cares, I think the song was "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" from their latest album, Death Cult Armageddon). I was there because I was supposed to meet a girl for a few minutes, and Isaw a group of girls ahead that looked like it included her. I turned the music down a bit, rolled my window down, and pulled up besidethem. And none of the girls was the one I was expecting. I hastily spun the volume knob all the way down and had a casual chat aboutnothing with one of them, and then drove on. I don't think they ever knew. :P

I once, in an interim phase at 12 Pine during the Christmas holiday, used a friend's 100-watt-per-channel stereo system with my Sony 120watt floor speakers to rattle the ENTIRE house with Blind Guardian ("Under the Ice" and "Battlefield" were the songs played)... And thenone of the other members of the house came out of his room and mentioned how loud they were getting over at the tennis court. I think he knew - no one is THAT dumb, but I never got in trouble for it.

If anyone knows any secrets about me (from the leadership's perspective or otherwise), I'd like to know them, if they don't mindsharing. I seem to have lead a charmed life during my stay, never getting in trouble for things that lots of other people did, eventhough I KNOW the leadership knew a lot of what I did. Mr. Wait, in fact, NEVER lectured me on my SUPREMELY MESSY room, eventhough he came down like the wrath of God on my former houseleader and housemate - and my room was messier than theirs EVER was.

- s e m i r r a h g e -


Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this? by one guy?
dude, your my hero!

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude.. rock on.. that's more than I did. can i meet you???

7:40 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

When you live at HQ, and find yourself at a girl's apartment for an all night session of anime music, what the hell do you tell her about your day job?

Just curious.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I enjoy X-ATI guy and his satire and sense of humor, it seems like the last few posts are just glorying in the fact that someone got away with breaking the rules. I thought the point of this blog was to provide venting and healing for those hurt through the system. Rules do not make Christianity, but celebrating how many you can break without getting caught seems a little immature.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, come on...

Bring on the healing!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with anonymous 11:52 on this one. Especially since the person in this post has bragged on his blog about viewing pornography on HQ computers, something about that removes any humor for me.

Bring back the satire.

2:05 PM  
Blogger joy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you try to take anything seriously, you kinda missed the point of the whole blog anyway. btw..."venting and healing for those hurt" isn't to be found in the 'mission statement''s more like a discussion of the "subculture of insider-knowledge, language, humor, and experiences."
so, just lighten up...nobody's making you read it!

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like little Semiboy falls into the following catagory X-er posted a while back. Bro you aren't cool, are not the man, are not my hero, rock off, and I don't want to meet you.

The Marlon Brando

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

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the earlier confessions showed the nit-picky nature of the Institute and how "young people" come to think that perfectly normal activity (talking to the opposite sex, determining your own bedtime) is somehow terrible for "godly youngsters"

This second poster just seems out of control. He's not just talking about a little wine (not condemned in Scripture)...he's talking about getting drunk. Going beyond some worship music with an "IBLP determined evil beat"...he has to glory in music with some pretty sick themes.

I found the first confessional humorous and inline with the satire type genre on this site. This second dude just seems out of control. Well, at least maybe the parents reading will get a reality check.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A relationship with God is not based on how well you kept the rules at HQ. From what I read in the Bible, it is based on His grace and our willingness to be conformed to His image.

I'm not sure how this former HQ's staffer thinks he is Christlike by bragging about how he was able to break as many rules as possible.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh, aren't you so tough and bad. You got away with stuff while other people got to suffer.

You aren't as awesome as you think you are.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha......ya'll are just jealous of him.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jealous? No. A better word would be disgusted.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing to me, though, is that he seemed to have "led a charmed life", as he put it. I remember someone kind of like that at Indy, who could basically get away w/ anything, and bragged that "If I want anything here, I can get it" because of his charm. I find it fascinating, personally - Particularly that the leadership (even the Gergenis) would "look the other way" when it came to certain people.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, ATI leadership has a tendency to look the other way when it comes to sending people home. Some people have parents that make sizable donations, as was the case of a certain person in U12 of ALERT.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...


This is impressive. Truly impressive. I never thought that a little rule-breaking would cause such a ruckus.

First of all, I didn't do any of these things to 'break rules' - with perhaps the exception of the curfew-smashing. I did them because I felt that the behavior was permissible by my relationship with God.
I didn't do it to become anyone's hero (though I have enough of an ego to allow such followers ;P), and I will meet anyone who wishes to meet with me, for whatever reason - including if you want to discuss with me why my behavior is un-Christian.
And Christopher, I tell her I work at a cult. :D

I didn't drink because it was against the rules, I drank because I never understood where IBLP got off telling me such behavior was 'not allowed'.
I didn't listen to heavy metal because it was unnaproved, I listened (and still listen) because I like it. I will freely admit that I do enjoy the fact that it gets people to raise their eyebrows or cast disapproving glares - but that's merely a bonus, if you will. A bonus because this is an outward sign that I am a nonconformist, I'm different, and I don't really care what they think of my behavior. This is not of course an attempt to excuse any type of offensive behavior, but merely a way to tread on the toes of those small-minded people who think such things matter in the grand scheme of things. I like to think of it as a way to get people to open their eyes.

Neither did I go out with girls because it was verboten. Ok, I guess I did say that... I guess what I meant was that we wanted to hang out and have a good time - and the general attitude was 'hang the rules, I'm going to have some fun'.

Let me re-iterate that my attitudes behind these actions stemmed only from my relationship with God. I saw nowhere in the word that any of these actions were wrong in a black-and-white absolutist sense. I think that certain of my actions are wrong for some people, but not for me, and since I was around people who thought likewise, I didn't have to worry about being a 'stumbling block' for a 'weaker brother'.

About the "Marlon Brando" comment... You certainly weren't at HQ with me. :) I was outcast and, for the most part, shunned. I never thought I was so awesome for my rampant rule-breaking. I watched R-rated movies because I watched them before I came to HQ and saw no reason why they should extend an arbitrary and totalitarian hand into my private life.
The leadership left me alone for the most part, I think, simply because I had little if any influence on the rest of the student body. I was too radical and independent. Most everyone there knew who I was, but left me alone because they knew - unnoficially, of course - that I didn't follow the rules. I didn't speak IBLP-approved doctrine, I didn't wear IBLP-approved clothes (I just wore my normal black/dark colors most of the time), and I didn't act like most of the people there.
I've always been different and I saw no reason at all to change my behavior simply because some man decides he has an exclusive handle on 'appropriate'.
I was never what one would call 'charming' with the ladies. Most of the girls at HQ thought I was weird, threatening, and/or scary.
And never, ever, ever did I engage in anything similar to brownnosing. Ever. I never did anything with the goal of altering (be it good or bad) my position with the leadership.

This post isn't me 'bragging' at all - I'm merely answering a call. X-er asked and I delivered what I always give, the plain and unadorned truth. You'll notice that I don't speak approvingly of all my actions. I just put them down as I was asked.

As for the person who wondered "Well, at least maybe the parents reading will get a reality check." Was that about my parents? My parents know pretty much everything I do. They certainly know more about my personal life than I write here or on any of my blogs.
Furthermore, in the eyes of the law and those of my parents I am my own person and responsible for my own actions. I live my own life and even if I was to request my parents to make a decision for my life they would (and have) refuse.

And in closing of this very long post - I never recall bragging on my blog about pornography. I mentioned I had done so, but I never ever speak proudly of my sins. Are these actions written here sinful? Not that I can see. I am not making a statement to the effect of "anyone may follow in my steps and remain righteous", but rather stating that to MY conscience these actions had no impact.

I could write on (as those who read my blog know), but I think I've made my point.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Josh Smith said...

Well man... I remember Mr. Waite chewing me out about the room being messy downstairs. He never could understand why it would be such a mess when someone had just moved out and I was still pulling 14- 18 hour days in the Print Shop. The time we had our two sterero's hooked uptogether was awesome. We had the most killer sound ever coming out of any house!

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Sim, you're not convincing. You've got a good opinion of your Badness. I can hear Michael Jackson singing in the background. But I agree with somebody above:

There are some glaring exceptions, like getting drunk, attempted arson, and underage (I assume) possession and drinking of alcohol -- those are serious matters. But all the rest, while huge deals in the Institute, really aren't Bad, except that you broke known rules. It's a good illustration of how many fences surround you before you get to real sin.

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also was at HQ's in '95. So he wants to drink, see girls and rock out ! Everyone was. Indy and Oak Brook was crazy. I really doubt that a few good times here on earth is going to affect anyone's after life. If some of you knew what went on there, (especially the parents!) everyone would just pack up and leave. It's a cult. Straight up CULT.Since when did drum beats bring down the judgement.What's the worst thing that can happen ? I'm surprised that when my Brother and I were at HQ's no one passed out new Nike's and kool aid !

12:21 PM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...

A good opinion of my 'Badness'? Well, that may be. I find it very interesting how many of X-er's readers yet conform to the standard of reading into things and assuming things are worse than they look.

I have a fairly high opinion of myself, this is true and often admitted. Something else that is true is that I take responsibility for my actions - regardless of what they are, good or bad - because they reflect on my character and the character of my God.
This does not mean I am perfect, but I never pretended to be. I am loud and obvious. People may avoid me but they don't fail to notice me. *shrug* This is fine, and any reactions I get from people are also fine. It shows - at the least - that they are paying attention to what is going on around them.

However. You read my 'tried to burn down the forest' comment literally. Come on! That was - to me, at least - obvious sarcasm. X-er already specified 'nothing illegal or immoral', so apparently he 'got' the joke as I meant it, otherwise he would have deemed the story in violation of the rules and left it out.
When that story took place I was 22 years old. Well above the legal age, which, FYI, is 21. My friend was 21. So you see, we were both legal. Even the friend we called was over 21 - he was older, in fact, than me.
As for the reprimand about drunkenness, very well. I agree, drunkenness is not something to be proud of. It is wrong, and I was wrong for going beyond my limits. However I think that worse than being drunk is the uncontrolled behavior that comes from it. In scripture we are admonished to not drink to excess, but I think the focus is not on the fact that you are drunk, but instead on the fact that it can cause you to lose control.
But that is merely the pedantism of my detail-oriented mind and unimportant to the overall point.

Rather than taking the safe and comfortable stance that sin is hard to get to because of the 'fences' of rules placed upon us by our elders, why not take the scary path and consider that your life depends on the opinion of God?
The lack of those rules is truly frightening at first, because then you are forced to accept responsibility for your actions as you can't hid behind the decisions of others any longer.
The freedom offered us in Christ is, in a fashion, more burdensome than the legalism of man. At least, so it seems at first. Once we get used to all the space, agoraphobia fades and leaves behind a frontiersman's love of the open spaces of the new and unexplored.

*shrug* Whatever. I continue to stand boldy beside my actions. I wonder why you insist on seeing these as signs of rampant unholiness when I was simply relating the facts in good fun.
Like others have mentioned before - no one made you read this, and you should have known that there would be some stories that'd prick your sensitive skin.
I don't read the blogs of athiests who attack my faith because I so strongly disagree with what they say. There's no point in me reading what they write, because I know I'll just get annoyed.
I'm not trying to tell you to go away, I merely find it curious why you and those like you continue to read something you so obviously have issue with?

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are some glaring exceptions, like getting drunk, attempted arson, and underage (I assume) possession and drinking of alcohol -- those are serious matters. But all the rest, while huge deals in the Institute, really aren't Bad, except that you broke known rules. It's a good illustration of how many fences surround you before you get to real sin."

Isn't that just another fence? One set up by society instead of the Institute or Scripture? I don't see how that is any more serious than any of the other things he's admited to (besides the fact that it wasn't something he actually did anyway as he was over 21)

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sem -- The drinking was legal and you didn't try to burn down the forest. Thanks for the clarification, and it just reinforces the point of my comment.

To 7:37 Anon: Underage drinking is illegal. Did you miss that memo, or do you confuse federal law with Institute rules?

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy says he did what he did because he "felt that the behavior was permissible by my relationship with God."

I work in a place that requires me to wear suits and hose every day. I beleive that NOT wearing suits and hose is "permissible by my relationship with God." But I do NOT think that flaunting my employer's authority is permissible to God.

Therefore, I do my best to honor God and my authority.

This dude seems highly immature and out-of-touch.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

To Anon 9:29, in agreement with Anon 7:37 and 9:36, and expanding on their posts:

Underage drinking is illegal, yes, but I would argue no more severe, and in fact less severe and serious, than the Institute rules he broke and bent.

Laws can be, and often are, unjust and wrong. Most laws are wholly unnecessary. Unlike with private institutions and corporations (such as the Institute) whose rules and bylaws are agreed upon and accepted by those who do business with them or work for them. Even if their business partner or employee doesn't agree with all of the rules, by doing business with and for them they are agreeing to abide by them while associated with that organization. With laws people are born into the world with no choice in the matter and only their basic natural God-given, unalienable rights (which aren't granted by the Constitution, just protected by it). Laws such as the underage drinking laws circumvent and destroy these natural rights by telling them what they can and can not do with their own person.

Furthermore, as each government around the country and the world is set up differently these rights are taken away in different ways. These rights are taken in democracies by the masses looking for ways to benefit themselves without thinking or not caring of the costs to others (either in money, time, property, or emotions), and in dictatorships by the tyrant lord(s). Consistency in laws from place to place give an idea of what laws are good laws, but doesn't always ring true. While most countries have underage drinking laws, not all do, and most countries differ on the age thereof. Even in the US states differ from state to state on the legal age, though most are at 21 (mainly due to the federal government blackmailing the states that wanted to lower the drinking age to 18 and 16 with the removal of their highway funds - most states changed their minds while a couple changed their laws anyways, and a couple others sued the federal government over the issue).

While I hold God and scripture to be the ultimate authority you can't hold an unbelieving and depraved society to those laws as they see them as overbearing and unjust - though most will agree that if people followed the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself then things would be better in society.

Borrowing from Richard Maybury, the litmus test for whether a law is necessary is whether it upholds or fits within the two basic fundamental natural laws: "Do all that you have agreed to do" and "Do not encroach on others or their property." The underage drinking law does neither -- it is purely legislation of passing one person's moral standards on the rest of society through law. Why shouldn't a parent be allowed to let their 16 year old (or 14 or 12 year old for that matter) drink some wine with dinner in moderation?

The problem I have with Semirrahge's post isn't that he did what he did, but that he essentially lied (a commandment broken) and broke the first of the two basic natural laws by intentionally (even unintentionally) breaking or bending the rules set forth by the Institute. Whether he agree with the rules or not, he agreed to abide by them while he was there as a condition of his employment. Now, not having ever been in ATI or associated with the Institute (though I have several friends and relatives that did and do) I don't know if it was an actual written contract that he signed for employment or if there are any guidelines he had to sign off on, or if it was purely a verbal or implied contract. In any case, however, he broke that contract and agreement by not following the rules. Do I feel that several, if not all, of the rules are ridiculous? Yes. But that is for the Institute to decide, and ridiculous or not he agreed to abide by them and didn't.

Hope that I wrote that in a clear manner as I was also trying to be concise.


11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what weirds me out ? People that still hang on to "guidelines" for other people.I really doubt projecting legalism and taking back lost blogging ground on these people that share their innocent anecdotes with us is gonna make any difference.If one wanted another to call them out on their spiritual life & have accountability we would all still be at HQ's or at some training center. Seems most everyone that comes on this site has lived in some capacity at a Billy G center. I was at Indy (1st summer opened) and HQ the following year. After I was sent home, my Mom and Step dad were gonna send me to a private hard core Baptist boarding school for girls. I never made it there. Instead I ran away to Colorado. Graduated high school, then went in the Army for 3 years (active duty). Became a certified welder, and married a Marine that is an ex-ati/Bob Jones-er.See life can turn out well, even when you come out from under the "umbrella"!!!At this point in my journey I do not ascribe to any faith, that is my choice and I'm okay with it. Cult"ish" upbringing can give one a false sense of what is truth & what is not.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, X-ATI guy, I think you should do a post sharing your opinion on the whole "rules are made to be broken if they make no sense" idea that semirrahge and co. seem to espouse.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are right on the money with what you said.

Yes, we all broke a rule now and again at Indy, HQ's, ect. But Semirrahge led a consistent life of deceit and disobedience. And he thinks that type of lifestyle is fine.

Let's all share our stories of broken rules. But let's also bear in mind that a lifestyle of waywardness is not what a relationship with Christ is all about.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Seabhag said...

Brandon about the only concise statement there (to my ADD addled brain at least) was the last paragraph, which, since I couldn't follow the previous paragraphs, I'm sure wasn't quite the impressive paragraph you wanted it to be.

Brandon, (and other Anons) When you go to work for a company they don't tell you how to live your entire life outside of work do they? You didn't sign a contract saying that you would only wear a suit, even to bed, or that you would only listen to their pre-approved stations? Sounds pretty stupid to go work for someone like that right? But, when you go into the office you can expect that they'll ask you to meet a dress code, or not listen to certain types of music.
Now take that a step farther. If you rented a house from them, would you consider it "right" for them to tell you how you could dress in the house your were renting? I'm of the opinion that if you rent from your employer that you take on a certain anonyminity (sorry for the poor spelling of that word) from the person/corperation you are renting from. In this case I would postulate that outside of basic requirements (ie. If you make a hole in the wall you fix it, or other standard rental policies), and city codes (can't have your music at such a level that you annoy your neighbours etc), that the person/corp. doing the renting cannot make extra demands of the rentee.

Also, all the required staff meetings were specifically told to be "off-the-clock" that is we were "required" to go to them (as a work related function) and NOT get paid for them. I'm pretty sure that mandatory over-time (or extra mandatory hours if 40hr/week hadn't been achieved) ALSO legally requires pay.

Since by default IBLP doesn't pay staff for mandatory hours like that I'm pretty sure that that could be considered a breach of trust or some such fancy term that basically says that they aren't fulfilling their basic obligations to their employees and are demanding more then the law allows. This in my mind would also void any and all potential requirements that they might presume to make upon their employees.

(NOTE: I don't know much about the law it just seems to me to be such).

Then again, maybe I'm high on ether fumes from work.


2:19 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...


Sorry I wasn't as clear and concise as I intended to be.

Many companies do require that you behave or live a certain way in your private life off the clock, especially if you are employed in a position in which you are likely to be recognized away from work, or those activities can reflect on the company. While these requirements are nowhere near those of the Institute's, they do exist. A couple of the most common examples would be for people in many government positions that are not allowed to be politically active as any activity supporting a candidate or proposition may be construed by others as that company or organization supporting them and not just the individual employee, and those organizations have to maintain a level of neutrality and fairness; or of environmental agencies that require employees to not own certain vehicles that are seen as being the opposite to their company cause. A more popular example would be celebrities or athletes that sign endorsement contracts -- they are then required to use this product they have agreed to endorse even in their daily private life.

And as silly as it may sound, some Home Owners Associations have gone so far as to mandate what home owners and their guests can wear on their own property and at certain times throughout the day, and they aren't even the property owner themselves -- like the landlord would be in your example. The landlord would have every right to tell his renters that while they are renting his property they are to live a certain way - now, he may find it harder to find people to rent from him, but that would be his prerogative and a risk he is willing to take to find renters that would value his property and image as he does (now due to some of those unnecessary laws we already talked about landlords cannot do this as it is considered discrimination and prejudice).

And while the Institute's rules are many, and many are silly, they are consistent with the image the Institute is trying to convey. Again, not being entirely familiar with how terms of employment at the Institute are agreed upon, these rules and requirements would (or should) be known upfront, and if agreed To by the employee by accepting employment then they need to be followed for the duration of employment. However, if the rules and requirements are not made known until after employment has been accepted then the employee would have some recourse, or if new rules were added later the employee would have the option to leave freely or to continue employment under the new rules.

The whole "off the clock" mandatory meetings sounds a little shady and I would consider looking into it if I were employed there. The only way that would be legal would be if that was built into the employee agreement that compensation was considered to include even overtime and off-the-clock meetings, or some forms of compensation were dependent upon attendance of these meetings (housing, food, etc.). (Though, again, using the litmus test on laws, these laws regulating compensation and hours are wholly unnecessary.)

The course of action to take if/when you don't agree with your employer's (landlord, HOA, etc.) rules or requirements, is to not accept the position to begin with it, or two leave (quit) if the rules are changed later. It is a voluntary system (and ideally would be even more so without unnecessary law and regulation) and in that regards if Semirrahge had a problem with the rules he should have terminated his employment there or never taken the position to begin with. TO borrow an oft used phrase from economics, he was willing and able to work there despite the rules and instead of breaking his word by breaking the rules, he should have had his agreement nullified or terminated.

To summarize, he was there by his choice and if he didn't like the rules he should have left. There is a level of personal responsibility here. Not that I always do the right thing as I'm certain that had I been in that situation a couple of years ago, I would have very likely behaved in a similar vein -- breaking Institute rules because I felt they were overbearing and/or ridiculous as my way of showing disagreement rather than the proper of way of telling them I disagreed and that unless things changed I could no longer in good conscience be employed there.


5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon! Love what you're saying, but PLEASE! Next time use shorter sentences and punctuation. It makes your point so much easier to understand.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...

Ah. At last someone decides to bring up something worthwhile. Rather than argue the debatable merits of one action over another, I commend you, Brandon, for pointing to a root issue.
Sorry to branch into something so IBLP-related, but frankly that's one of-repeated teaching of theirs that I've held firmly onto - and one that over the years they seem to have gradually forgotten.

Rather than debate the morality of individual actions, the true soul-searcher soon finds that to be an excercise in futility and learns to look at the deeper motives that drive such actions.

It is for the reasons you mention that I eventually did leave IBLP. I spent many long hours in meditation and prayer in an effort to discern what the moral choice was - should I change my life, or should I leave.
I tend to agree more with Seabhag here, however - for precisely that moral reason. No one, not the government, church, or employer has any right or ability to govern behavior beyond their God-given scope.
If I had entered into a legal agreement surrendering specific freedoms to the control of IBLP - I.E. that I would listen only to IBLP-approved music, wear IBLP-approved clothes (and types of clothes), ang go to IBLP-approved locations - then things would have been different.
You said that I lied, and that accusation is entirely fair, though I think (for the most part) untrue. There was a time where I told one of the leadership that I wouldn't perform a specific behavior, and it is to my shame that I broke that promise.
That promise (and specific limits of that promise) aside, I felt no compunction to voluntarily surrendering my God-given spiritual freedoms on the whims of another man.
I know the arguments of laws and restrictions of behavior so that unity and order might be maintained. However I find that as Christians we are called to live without the rigid strictures of law (laws which must be specific and unambiguous), and instead called to live equally under God's law of love (which is broad and unrestricted).
The argument presented to me from the IBLP leadership in counter to this is that large groups of people must have specific laws to restrain behavior within that group to a general standard of conformity.
My response to this is that as IBLP is a Christian organisation, its members are ALREADY called to a standard of behavior, clearly outlined in God's Word - so therefore it is redundant and unnecessary (and even perhaps sinful) for man to invent his own standards.

It is certainly beyond the authority of any organisation to assume or to attempt to assume control over personal behavior FOR THE REASON that it is more spiritual.
The leadership admitted to me on several occasions that there were no reasons for most of the rules other than "Mr. Gothard says so."
If IBLP hadn't attached a moral high ground to following the rules, I might have taken a different view of what they asked me. Then again, I might not.

However, the reasoning I used went something like this: I was in no legally (or even morally) binding agreement that I would follow the many (and constantly varied) unwritten rules and regulations of private behavior. They did had some written ones, but they didn't like 'written' rules because of the stigma attached to having a book of rules. Not to mention the speed at which the rules were changed made it difficult to keep a hardcopy up to date.
And so, since the regulations being placed upon me had no spiritual basis (that would hold water), I decided that said regulations had no more influence on me than the rules had spiritual continuity.
I didn't flaunt the rules among the staff - I had no desire to subvert what little sense of unity the place had. I just quietly went about my life as if it was my own.

And that is my crime.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think if they added more rules that weren't in the contract and also changed them arbitrarily, your decision to not follow the rules is a lot more justifiable. I still agree with Brandon though that at the point where you no longer wanted to follow their bad rules, you should have quit right then.

Also, in this sentence: "I didn't flaunt the rules among the staff..." I believe the word you are looking for is "flout." Flaunt. Flout. Look 'em up.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...


I first want to point out that I am in no way trying to condemn you, or accuse you, or cast any stones. Like I said at the end of my last post, I likely would’ve done the same thing at some points in my life, and to some extent have.

My post was really aimed more at the anonymous posters previous to my posting than to you directly, though since the comments were centered around your post(s) and your behavior, I couldn’t help but to make comments directly affirming or denying your behavior. If what I’ve said is of any help to you or even opens your mind further in regards to other ways you could’ve responded, that’s more than I could have expected or hoped for.

In your response, you hit on the rules being constantly changed and added to and that many of them weren’t in the open until later on. I have worked for an employer before that worked similarly, and I couldn’t stand the lack of written policy. Especially since they used the lack of written policy to their advantage.

The claim of lying is tied into the rules being known ahead of time and your choosing to work there being an implied agreement to abide by them - if the rules weren’t known ahead of time (with some limitations as it is possible in some circumstances that a blanket “will follow the rules laid forth...” clause may be in the agreement) this would not apply because you would not have agreed to them, even by implication.

In my last post (3rd paragraph) I mentioned that you would have some leeway (or recourse, as I originally put it) in such a circumstance as you list above, and agree with Anon 5:23PM that your behavior is/was more justifiable. However, I maintain that as a private organization they have the right to require whatever they will of those who work for, or associate with, them. By doing so they limit the number of people who are willing to associate with them with the intention of maintaining a certain image. And while being a Christian organization they shouldn’t need to add rules and requirements to Scripture as those who choose to associate with them should already adhere to certain standards, mankind is sinful whether they are Christian or not and it is only by God’s grace that we Christians can live to a higher standard. Those extra rules are intended, as has already been alluded to, to hold people to a tighter standard so that should (when) they fail, they still reflect the overall standard desired.

There is a level of personal choice and responsibility on the part of those that choose to associate with such an organization. By associating, they are saying that they agree to the rules thereof and are willing to abide by them (for constantly changing, hidden, or added rules see above) and if they aren’t willing to abide by them it is time to terminate the association for the benefit of the organization and the person.


8:17 PM  
Blogger Elembis said...


I've appreciated the tone and thoughtfulness of your comments so far, but I am curious to see the reasoning behind your idea that choosing to be subject to a set of rules is the same thing as agreeing to obey them. It seems clear to me that the former needn't mean any more than "I know about these rules and I know I'll be punished if I'm caught breaking them"; it does not necessarily include any promise to follow the rules. Acknowledgement and agreement are not the same thing.

One example of the difference would be the attendance policy of my math professor this semester. It's stated in the syllabus, which I read the first day of class, and it contains little more than the sentence "Attend class daily." Ever since the first day of the semester I've understood that, by staying in the class, I'm subject to the rules the syllabus contains, even though I wish the rules on attendance were absent.

If I skip class on purpose one day (let's say I'd rather frolick outside than solve integrals), would you say I broke a promise because acknowledging the rules meant agreeing to obey them? If so, I doubt even my professor would agree with you, and if not, I'm confused as to why you think Semirrahge made a promise to follow Institute rules. Either way, I'd like to hear your justification for the idea that subjecting one's self to a rule is necessarily the same thing as making a commitment to follow that rule.



9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have opened up a very interesting discussion with your post. As uncomfortable as I am with your attitude towards your past behaviour, I am glad you posted your stories. This has challenged a lot of people to think and re-evaluate their positions.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Brandon said...


The difference in agreeing to obey a set of rules and being subject to a set of rules depends on the setting in which the rules are applied. In my previous posts, I stated throughout that because the Institute is a private organization choosing to associate with them implies (or directly promises depending on how terms of association are come to) obedience to the rules. If the rules are not to be followed wither party in the association has the right and should terminate the association.

Using a class setting is difficult because it is really the professor who is bound to the rules of the school, and to an extent you would be bound to the rules of the school as well. But in many ways, the school is employed by, or associating with, you and not the other way around. However, I think we can still draw a comparison regarding the class setting in your example as you are subject to the rules, but not required to obey them – that fact is implied in the structure of your compensation.

I would go so far as to say the syllabus is not a list of rules or requirements, but expectations and resources. Should you meet the expectations you will be compensated with high grades and likely recommendations from your professor. Should you fail to meet the expectations you will be compensated with lower grades and are less likely to receive referrals or recommendation depending on exactly how well or poorly you met the expectations. You will still be compensated whether you meet all of the expectations or none of them. In other words, your punishment for not meeting the expectations is a lesser compensation.

We can also take an example that I alluded to in my first posting, that of the laws of the land. We are subject to them, but never agreed to obey them. This is recognized in that there are process set up for appeal that can have the law (rule) changed if it is then deemed unnecessary. A law professor of mine often used speed limit laws as an example of this principle and often used the phrase, “if we are willing to break that rule (law), then we must also be willing to pay the consequences thereof should we be caught breaking it.”

I don’t know that I answered your questions to satisfaction or if I was clear in describing the differences, but I hope that I at was at least able to clear up some of the difference between the two settings.

[P.S. From my previous post it is apparent this site doesn't like it when I post form my Mac, sorry for the jargled text that replaced apostrophes and quotation marks.]

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

In the first paragraph, "wither" should be "either" and in the fourth paragraph "process" should be "processes". Apperently its not just my Mac that doesn't like quotation marks and apostrophes... hopefully this post will come out ok.


8:50 AM  
Blogger Elembis said...


Thanks for responding. It seems you're drawing two, or maybe even three possible distinctions for whether accepting rules includes a moral obligation to follow them.

The first distinction you've suggested is whether the other party in the agreement is a public organization or a private one. (I am, of course, using "public" and "private" in the sense of having official ties to the government.) You said "because the Institute is a private organization choosing to associate with them implies ... obedience to the rules." Quite frankly, I don't understand why it matters at all that the Institute is a private organization. Are you saying that if Semirrahge had instead accepted employment with a public institution (the hypothetical and government-funded Institute of Essential Life Principles), it would no longer be wrong for him to break the rules? Or are you saying that we have moral obligations to follow rules entered into with organizations but not rules entered into with governments?

The second distinction is whether an agreement is entered into voluntarily. You implied this view as well when you said, of the Institute, "choosing to associate with them implies ... obedience to the rules." I chose to enroll in my math class, but you agreed that in doing so I was "subject to the rules, but not required to obey them." So it seems we agree that the voluntary acceptance of a rule does not necessarily have moral implications.

The third possible distinction concerns whether someone is the employer or the employee. I think you hinted at this idea when you said "in many ways, the school is employed by, or associating with, you and not the other way around." By this do you mean that an employer may break the rules, but an employee may not, simply because money flows from the former to the latter? I doubt that was your meaning, but I'm trying to nail down your guidelines for determining whether accepting a rule implies a promise to follow it, and this issue seems like it could be one of them.

I look forward to another thoughtful response.


11:35 AM  
Anonymous Brandon said...


I actually thought about posting again to further clarify what I meant. I think you can, and should, draw distinction between private and public organizations as you define them (that was also how I define them), but on this particular issue that distinction would not matter as your obligation would be the same regardless. I distinguish them more out of habit than anything else and wasn’t trying to imply anything by that here.

In regards to your math class, the distinction I was trying to draw is that they aren’t really rules to begin with, but expectations, and tried to tie that back in with the consequences of a lowered compensation (grade), but confused the topic rather then enlightened it.

Neither was I trying distinguish that an employer may break the rules, though in some regards that may be entirely legitimate depending on how the rules were designed and set up to begin with, but was rather trying to show why it is hard to pull any distinctions from your example of the math class to begin with. (The reason I define them as expectations and not rules is because you still receive the agreed upon compensation whether or not you fulfill them – it is more in line with a commission based sales job in which your agreement includes a sliding pay scale. The company will have rules, but they also have a list of expectations. You don’t have to abide by them, but if you do you will generally be more compensated at a higher level than if you didn’t abide by them. It isn’t a distinction as it is still governed by an overall agreement. At your school there are rules that likely apply similarly, such as intellectual honesty, dress codes, etc…

The distinction I was trying to make is more in line with the nature of the agreement. When you work for an organization (or in your example with your math class) you agree to terms of your employment that include compensation as well your responsibilities. The rules would (or should) be known up front and by accepting employment you agree (implicitly or explicitly) that you will fulfill those responsibilities and abide by their rules. Should you no longer feel that you can in good conscience do either of those two things it is your choice to either continue working there against your conscience, end your employment there, or continue your employment while breaking the rules. Nobody likes the first option and if you take the last option you break your word (i.e., lie). The only option that ends with your innocence intact is the second option.

In that same instance, your employer is faced with the options of either changing their rules to accommodate you, fire you, or turn their back to your breaking the rules. The first option is preferred by both parties if it is a rule the organization feels is changeable, and not all are. The third option hurts their image just as much as not having the rule to begin with, and puts them on the same ground or worse off than just changing the rule would (except that they can claim they didn’t know about your breaking the rules and then terminate the association should your breaking them come to light). Again, the second option is the one most likely to leave innocence (employer’s this time) intact.

With laws, such as the example I used of speeding, there is no agreement to abide by them. There is no compensation for abiding by them. However, there are consequences for breaking them. Those are rules in which the “subject to them, but not required to obey” would apply.

In other words, the distinction between them is on the agreement (if there is one).

There is always some form of agreement when a person takes a position of employment. Due to the nature of agreements and contracts, there can always be exceptions to the rule as some agreements may allow for more leeway on the part of either the employee or the employer in regards to adherence of rules. Most agreements will, however, require complete adherence (I signed one of those that allowed the employer to change the rules and the agreement at will once – not a wise idea. That job lasted 3 months when they changed things with no warning). Most agreements allude to an employee guidelines booklet or list that you have to agree to abide by, while others don’t have a guidelines booklet they will have specific well known rules or general business ethics that you are expected to abide by and agree to by implication.

Sorry I wasn’t as clear in my distinctions as I intended to be last time, I was trying to keep it short as I can be a little long winded sometimes (ask my wife).


(Again, I hope this posts without the jarbled text.)

1:13 PM  
Blogger Semirrahge said...

The problem is not in the definition of rules vs laws vs compensated behavior, but in a flawed understanding of authority.

IBLP harps about the 'chain of command' ad nauseum (as we are all well aware), yet just because someone yells the loudest does not mean they are right. (Contrast this for a moment with "A lie told loud enough, often enough, for long enough, will eventually become the truth.")

I hope most of us are well-versed with the concept of authority. All authority comes from God, as He is the ultimate authority. (Sorry, Elembis, bear with me here, ok? :)
As God is our authority, we are responsible to follow His laws of behavior. However, and this is where people get confused; God's laws dictate morality, while man's laws merely dictate behavior. They may have a moral bent to them, or a moral purpose in their design, but following a law invented by man for a moral purpose does NOT make one moral. Following a man-made law that lines up with God's law does not make one moral, either.

Morality (right and wrong) is determined only by God. I think we can agree to this point. However, under the New Testament covenant of grace, that morality is discovered by INTENT.
If a person follows the laws of God with the intent to look good before man, that person is IMMORAL.
If that same person, however, follows the laws of God with the intent, not to be righteous, but out of love for God - then his faith in that work is counted for righteousness.

Obviously there may exist behaviors that do not please God, regardless of intent. However, I do not find in myself sufficient wisdom to state what those behaviors are, nor is it within the scope of this post to cover such a discusion. (The very concept of 'pleasing' God is in itself slightly vague, especially when you start to understand that even the wicked perform the will of God.)

My point is, rather, this:
A policeman is, while off-duty, still under a requirement to uphold the laws of his jurisdiction. This is because his position and job requires him to maintain a specific place in an authority structure.
Everyone is subject to such authority structures whether they like, agree, or behave like they are or not.
The argument presented by you, Brandon, and IBLP is that while I was an employee of IBLP AND around IBLP staff I was to follow IBLP rules, because of the 'higher' standard the organisation had for behavior and dress, etc.

However, unlike the peace officer or member of the military, the broader standard IBLP was pushing us towards was a MORAL high ground. IBLP cannot define morality via behavior.
They MAY define correct behavior and dress, etc. during work hours (whether compensated or volunteer) as an employer, but MAY NOT dictate that the same behavior be followed during personal time.

When you are employed by someone, you are exchanging your time for their money. It is a simple exchange. That exchange carries with it certain requirements and expectations, both explicit and implied.
The same thing goes for Elembis' examples. He is making a similar, voluntary exchange of money for time.

That exchange places moral requirements upon the two parties. Elembis is required to go to class and his teachers are required to teach him.
The employee is required to do what his employer instructs and his employer is required to pay him.

If the employer does not pay his employee, the employee is no longer under moral obligation to obey the wishes of his employer.
I was not under the pay of IBLP while I was not at work, so I was not morally required to follow their rules.

So, to make sure my point was made:
IBLP wished us to follow their rules because they wished us to be a moral example to those around us. However, simply because IBLP states something is moral does not make it so.
I did have a moral obligation to follow the rules while at work - because of the employer/employee contract - but the RULES themselves had no moral weight. Following them - obeying the authorities - DID have moral weight, because we are instructed to do so by God.
I followed the rules while at work, not because the rules were right, but because God told me to obey.

Does that make sense?

And to the anon. commending me for the discussion: I thank you - and everyone who has taken the effort to look at this sanely and debate the issue seriously, rather than simply flame.
As I mentioned before, I do not care whether people agree with me or not. I attempt to live my life in such a way that people are unnerved to the point where they have to question the way they view the world.
I feel this is my way of witnessing, to the church especially, because people are so used to sitting stagnant, living the way they were told to live rather than searching the truth out for themselves. If I can kickstart that search in one person, and that one person comes to a true understanding of God because of my life, then I can die complete.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

I can't disagree with a thing you said in your first five paragraphs -- up to where you address my arguement -- where I have to say my arguement has nothing to do with levels of standards, or who you are around, but rather the nature of agreements. As for myself, I don't give a hoot what you do or how you live your life - that's between you and God, I've got myself and my family to worry about and I don't need to burden myself with anyone else's walk (unless we have a mutual understanding/agreement to hold each other accountable).

Nor do I think IBLP can make someone moral or push them to morality through their rules as I believe man is sinful by nature and that only by God's grace can one live in any semblance of morality.

You have presented an agreement of employment in its simplest form, unfortunately in real life they are usually more complicated that. I gave several examples in a previous posting of jobs that have requirements that invade, and direct, ones private life away from the job and while off-the-clock. As I stated above, it has to do with the nature of the agreement.

Now, I don't know the specifics of the employment agreement at IBLP, but from what I've heard it sounds like it includes these types of intrusions. Even as ridicoulous as many of them may be, they probably have business implications beyond the morality that they present at the forefront of their reasoning. As an example, I get the impression that it is against their policy to drink alcohol, which I assume applies to their entire campus. They probably receive a discount on their insurance because of this rule. By breaking it you are not only breaking that part of the employee agreement, you could potentially be costing the organization alot of money should that fact come to the light of their insurance company. While they have no moral authority to direct you in whether you can or can't drink, or how that effects your personal walk, they do have the right to direct what happens on their property -- even if it is on your own time -- because they own the property, and because of the agreement of employment which, I gather, includes all of the above.

It doesn't matter how ridiculous their rules may be, the intention behind them, your freedoms in your walk with God, or anything else at all. All that matters is that they have these rules that are known to stretch into your private life (though, as an aside, I wonder how much of your time there is really your private life as I get the impression that living quarters are also included in the compensation, as is food, so it seems like your entire life there is a form of employment, but I digress into a whole new topic that I, unfortunately don't know enough about) and by working for them you agree to abide by the rules while employed by the organization. You agree to give up those freedoms in your walk for this period of time - you still have that freedom, just not during your employment -- because of the nature of the agreement.


10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats awsome. Do I know you? I hung out with a guy while a i worked at HQ and we would drive around in his car listedning to metal and commiting unathorized acts. it was a blast. I'm a United States Marine now and with all the regulation forced on me i am now a firm beliver that alot not all but alot of rules were made to be broken.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Joga4chrizt said...

dude! thats wicked

hey, what's your name? couze i think i know yo bro...bonce me off

12:18 PM  
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