Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Colorado killer was in ATI
This deserves to be noted. Sadly, it's not the first time an ATI student has been involved in violent crime. But is Gothard to blame?

Bill Gothard's comments here.



Blogger Daniel said...

I agree that it's weak to blame IBLP or ATI for this. Sure, IBLP has both a lot of good and a lot of bad, but there's nothing in the program that would push someone to do something like this.

This is an example of parents who failed. IBLP and ATI didn't do this to anyone, failing parents did this.

How many thousands of us have made it through ATI or IBLP and have come out fine, are leading normal lives, are even successful and happy? There's a whole lot of us, and it happened because most of us have either strong families or people in our lives who ended up taking the place of a strong family and that allowed us to learn to right from wrong and to deal with our problems.

This just has "messed up family" written all over it. IBLP, and ATI can't make up for messed up parents.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, ATI is not to blame for this tragic event. Just like you can't say public school is fully to blame for Columbine or the University of Virginia Tech is at fault for the shootings there. It comes down to how that kid was raised and if his parent taught him any freakin morals. Religion rarily protects from corruption. Just look at the Catholic priest molestation debacle.

4:39 AM  
Anonymous Dies Irae said...

I think there is still something to be said about a one-size-fits-all approach to education, whether it be public school or homeschooling. If you are so tied to one way of doing it that you are unable to respond to the needs of the individual child/student, then you have more than just parental failure, you have failure of an educational model. I've seen too many people get bitter over their time in ATI because they felt their parents didn't have a personal enough relationship to them, and the proof was how the parents would just fall back on whatever the next-of-seven-steps recommended in the book was. The kid would feel they were considered an inconvenience, to be solved not loved. So from the standpoint of educational model, I don't think the comparisons between Columbine's public education and the unfortunately too common implementation of ATI that appears to have occured here are misplaced.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Yes, "failing parents did this," parents who were following Gothard's teaching, a teaching that does not take into consideration the reality of mental illness and rigid, overbearing parents.

When I was a teen, struggling in my Gothard-inspired job of raising my siblings and managing the house, I mailed him a letter, asking what I should do with this overwhelming situation. He responded with a namby-pamby answer of reading the Psalms and developing a curriculum for others in my situation.

Well, it's 12 years later; I have developed that curriculum: GET OUT!!!

I know he didn't have a clue who I was or what the situation was exactly, but the truth is that his materials never questioned my parents' authority to use me as the family maid, and then rail at me for my rebellion of leaving home at 21.

If you design an all-consuming environment, you've got to take the blame along with the fame for what happens there.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Considering what you've stated -

"a teaching that does not take into consideration the reality of mental illness and rigid, overbearing parents."

I'm in no way a proponent of using IBLP/ATI as the only education/teaching method for your family. But the fact of the matter is that people who choose to use it as the only way are the ones failing. It isn't the program. Yes, the program has faults. Find me a program that doesn't. But it has a lot of good things as well. When used as a[i]tool[/i] that goes along with other Bible instruction material it can be a powerful aid.

In my eyes, it doesn't matter what kind of schooling the kid had. There are thousands of us who grew up in ATI or worse situations and didn't go postal.

The blame is fully with the individual and those who raised the individual.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and in the end he will not depart from it."

You cannot blame ATI for this at all. It just isn't their fault.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Actually, in our situation we didn't use ATI for homeschooling, but we faithfully attended the Basic, Advanced, and ministers Seminars and their accompanying materials.

Yes, of course. I'm sure there are lots of idyllic ATI families out there. I'm not denying their existence. (Mormons have them too.) Neither am I saying Gothard is totally to blame.

I DO see though, that his teaching presumes that _all_ parents are rational actors and have their children's best interests at heart or can be brought around to that if the kids just submit enough. That is a pipe-dream, and the anecdotal evidence dangled like a carrot does not diminish the reality for the majority in those situations. Also, Gothard's teaching DOES encompass practically every area of life and/or puts the parents in such a position in relation to their children.

So, if proponents of this authoritarian teaching are not willing to examine their share of influence in this tragic situation, they should be just as willing to give credit for their presumed success to influences other than their own.

Sometimes it is hard for fundamentalists to understand issues that are not completely black and white. So, when they hear that an individual is responsible, they only think in terms of "completely" or "not at all." They find it difficult to see that MANY things in life influence a given individual's actions, and that to say one factor contributed to it is not to say that factor was the entire cause. I guess it makes life simpler for them, but it doesn't solve problems.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Perhaps I misunderstood what it was you were saying in your first post. If what you mean is that IBLP/ATI was simply one influence of many that led this man to violence than I would agree.

I thought you were applying the entire blame for what happened on IBLP/ATI. I can see now (or I think so) that you didn't mean it that way. So I think we're somewhat in agreement :)

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what? Im angry about this.

Yup. I do think Gothard is directly responsible.

I place the blame for this young mans melt down directly on his door step and I do so unapologetically.

At some point, Gothard is going to have to step up and own the damage he is cause the individual, the family unit and christianity at large.

I absolutely do not buy that ATIA/IBLP bears no responsibility in this.

It is my angry and jaded opinion that Gothard should be at the forefront of this tragedy offering his deepest apologies for how far astray from truth his teachings have become.

You are faulting the young man and his family when you should be looking up the authority ladder, after all-isnt that what Gotharad would have us do?

I can not believe that those who have lived it can say with a straight face that Gothard and ATIA bear no responsibility in this.

Total and utter BS.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Because the man who did the killing is one in thousands of people who have gone through the program and come out perfectly fine.

Yes, I too don't agree with a lot of what Bill teaches, but I survived 13 years in the program with 6 of those working directly at training centers, HQ, and international programs yet I didn't go postal and start shooting stuff up.

The fault for sin is with the man and those who raised him. Nothing Bill teaches would make anyone do anything like this. If what he teaches made the man angry, he needs to deal with his anger and bitterness just like the rest of us have.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfectly fine? Seriously?

Here's the deal, Daniel, you place the blame on the shoulders of the shooter and those who raised him.

Like it or not, Gothard helped raise this man by extension of his programs.
Just like he has helped to raise thousands of other children who are now adults.

Just because those thousands arent out there shooting people doesnt make them less damaged and Gothard is directly responsible for that damage.

Im sorry you spent thirteen years subjected to a steady stream of lies and control.
I really am.
I wish your parents had the sense to see Gothard is a diaster waiting to happen-over and over.
Just like I wish mine did.

Yup. I still place the blame in the lap of Gothard and anyone who subjects children to the abuse he calls parenting.

If there is an upside to be found here, it is that people will finally be able to put a face with a name when it comes to Bill Gothard.
He will be known as the founder of the organization that drives children to distress.

What a legacy. What an amazing legacy. *shakes head*

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Anonymous, I totally agree. There are many troubled kids produced by this organization, kids who are not necessarily any more emotionally healthy than Matthew Murray was, but express their frustrations in different ways.

Gothard admitted to me in a letter (okay, the signature may have been a rubber-stamp) that there are trapped kids, struggling in dysfunctional ATI/IBLP-inspired families, but he had nothing substantive to offer to them. That was the day I saw just how naked the Emperor was.

Has anything changed in the last 12 years?

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Gothard said Murray and his family used the Institute materials for several years as part of a homeschool program but stopped in 2003." - I guess they ran out of money.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ATI kids need to stop acting crazy & ending up in the hasn't been 2 years...wasn't there some kid that kidnapped his young girlfriend & went crazy on some spree?!! It's too bad that these organizations shun the not very cool or spiritual kids. I'm glad I'm not a church in Colorado: Church can be a very dangerous place. I was safer in the Army.;)Noyes

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that IBLP is not perfect... the truth is that Bill Gothard is just a man and the instutes were created to help people to grow in their faith. Show me one perfect man... or one perfect program. God has used Bill Gothard to help many grow in their faith... He is simply spreading the seed of God's Word... only God can know what ground that seed will fall on... It is NOT... the responsiblity of any man... to do... what only God can do! Why do we repramand a man that God is using??? Can he possibly be there for all the people that are affected by his minisrty for good or bad... Even Jesus had many who hated him... he only poured his life into twelve people... and even one of those turned on him. Many of the people that he talked to... it is never said what became of them... We will all make mistakes... and those who make the greatest impact for good... may also be the most hated...

7:33 PM  
Anonymous The D-Man said...

Agree with the consensus above. We were six years in ATI/IBLP, and the seven basic principles gradually got sifted down to just one that was enforced in our house: the principle of authority.

Let's face it; a dad with control issues likes being in ATI/IBLP because it validates his desire to control and micro-manage his wife and kids.

This case looks like a screwy home situation to begin with, but I'm calling it that ATI/IBLP did not make things any better.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Kristin Schilling said...

Well, I know I'm a little late to get on this boat, but for anyone else who might run across this blog like I just did, I figured I would comment. :-) ATI/IBLP is in no way responsible for what this guy did. The parents would've raised him the same way whether they were using the curriculum or not. The fact remains that people will continue with destructive behavior until they find a way to change it. This guys parents were obviously parenting poorly before, during, and after using ATI/IBLP teaching. If they would've actually followed what they teach the guy would've been able to deal with whatever problems he was having emotionally/physically. It's sad that the parents failed to implement the teaching and that he ended up turning to violence. The curriculum is strong and teaches the core principles of Christianity (love, grace, peace, etc.).

3:11 PM  

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