An anonymous commenter left this comment on my last post and I think it deserves a fair answer.
AnonymousMar 9, 2012 04:49 PM
I might get pilloried for saying this but in the interest of fairness, I am unaware of any credible allegations ever being made that Bill Gothard has siphoned money from his organization for his personal benefit.
You won't get pilloried. You may be debated.
What do you consider "credible" allegations? I don't think there's a debate that he's benefitted greatly off of his ministry.
His organization is audited annually by an independent accounting firm charged with opining whether or not any financial malfeasance has taken place.
How do you know this? I ask in the spirit of fairness, as well. I would love to see this accounting you speak of. Also, while it would interest me to read an audit of the ministry's finances, it really wouldn't change my base problem with the organization and the man himself. See below.
Gothard has no personal trappings of wealth which argues against the idea that he is fleecing his flock for his own benefit.
This is where I have to take issue with your argument. He doesn't have to "siphon" or pilfer money away. It doesn't have to be illegal to be ethically questionable. He benefits from his conferences and books and organization. Whether he's living in a shack or a four bedroom, ranch style- he benefits from the hardship of others and that's wrong, in my opinion. I admit- people within ATI and the QF movement give money to him of their own will, no one is holding a gun to their head. However, I've seen how these large families scrimp and save to stay debt-free and make ends meet, and how their children go without, just so that they can go to Big Sandy or a conference. I've watched my own siblings shiver because we "purposed" to use less heating oil. And, yes, Gothard used to encourage families to "do whatever it took" to "participate fully" in his ministry. Was it his fault? Perhaps, not. I mean, you would be justified in arguing that my parents got carried away, too. But, it's also maddening to think that a single, childless man would be in a position to sway families like he does.
I'm unaware of any former IBLP insiders who have ever alleged financial impropriety on the part of Gothard.
Again, it doesn't have to be "impropriety". What about just "common decency"? The man encourages people to trust in the Lord...but buy his books while you're at it. Trust in the Lord...but educate your kids using this proprietary system of teaching that he profits from. Trust in the Lord...but support all of these friends of his that he gets kickbacks from. Again, it doesn't have to be illegal to fail the sniff test.
I'd be interested in seeing any contradictory evidence. Could it be that no credible news organization has "blown the cover off Gothard's scam" because, after investigating, they have concluded that there is no scam?
Who said it was a scam?
Look, I know Gothard has a legitimate business set-up. But, so does Amway. There are many companies that play by all the tax rules and run like a real businesss. But, they're just that- a business- and no one pretends otherwise. The company that makes Tylenol doesn't guarantee that taking their medication will lead you to a heavenly kingdom or protect your family or lead to spiritual satisfaction. Tylenol says, "Hey! If you have a headache, we can alleviate some of your pain." They also put a warning on the back of the bottle telling you not to abuse the medication and to get real help if it's not working. Gothard doesn't do that. He says, "If you live by these character traits and buy my books and educate your kids with my system and conferences, you'll be more right with God." Um. Who is he to sell that?
I understand that some people disagree with his teachings. However, it seems hugely unfair to the man to make unfounded allegations concerning his financial propriety simply because of those teachings. Gothard may have a number of faults, but I don't think greed is one of them.
Have you ever had the man in your house? I have. I think it's hugely unfair to the kids who grew up in that system who had experiences like mine to suggest that, just because he doesn't drive a Porsche, that he's a swell guy. To each his own, I suppose. And, he's certainly not wanting for anything.
I am truly sympathetic to Ruth's plight and the pain caused by the actions of her father. However, I would challenge anyone to cite any of Gothard's published teachings which could be reasonably construed as endorsing Ruth's father's behavior with regard to Ruth and Rachel. It just doesn't seem fair to attribute the actions of an unloving, maniachial, control freak to Gothard merely because he purports to be a Gothard adherent.
Did you read the article? His teachings ARE questionable. His statements are hurtful and can be damaging. Not only did his teachings endorse my father's way,...the man himself endorsed my father's way privately and held it up as a standard for others to follow. As I said from the beginning, my dad was there from day one...back in the "Youth Conflict" days. The scary part is: my dad isn't the exception, he's part of the norm in this environment.