Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Experience with Bill Gothard's Cult


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Dear Friend,

I feel lighter after mentioning the cult I was brought up with in yesterday's post. I've known for a while I would start discussing it in the blogosphere eventually -- but as the saying goes, "The dread is worse than the doing." 

Half way through writing that post I thought, "It's time. Spit it out now!" 

It matters to me how I phrase things. I've tried to say, "I was raised in a cult," and that's not right. I was raised in a home -- a loving home. My spirit and creativity was mostly encouraged. I was rarely depressed as a young person. I was protected. My parents were not abusive. For the most part they used Bill Gothard's material as a tool. Whenever we had disagreements, we would come together and try to find the "root cause" of our conflicts as Gothard had showed us to do. None of this was harmful.

I was influenced by a cult leader for many of my formative years -- I'll put it that way.

You might think of the Duggar family when you read about ATI homeschooling, but that wasn't us. I was the oldest of four. We dressed in our long skirts for the big Knoxville conference in the early 90s, but at home I was allowed to wear pants. Rock music and most movies were not allowed, but I had plenty of aunts and uncles who occasionally let me break a few rules when I visited their homes. I wasn't completely culturally illiterate! 

Classical music was allowed, though my parents and siblings didn't have a taste for it. Oddly, I turned to our local classical radio station as a way to assert my independence. Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin were my teenage heartthrobs! Even now I have to be in the mood for music with a back beat. It's not my native sound.

Though my parents attended Gothard's seminars 13 times, I was only homeschooled for the last three years of high school. Before that I attended public grade school and a private middle school. Once we started homeschooling, most of my education became self-directed. I went to one Basic Seminar. I never attended an Advanced Seminar.

The real danger for me was how I was indoctrinated by Gothard's ideology when I was old enough to leave my family and go away for short jaunts to serve in his ministry. I was coaxed into making commitments I didn't fully understand. I took his teachings to heart and became quite prideful about what I considered to be my superior spiritual understanding. 

So that's where I'll try to pick up next time -- my first trip abroad with 100 other students and Bill Gothard.


Hope you are well!
Blessings,

Adriana

16 comments:

  1. A wise person has told me many times, "Eat the fish, spit out the bones." I'll pray for you as you are sorting this through.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer! It helps me relax and contemplate things.

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  3. Very interesting, Adriana -- I look forward to hearing more of your story. And I like Christine's advice above, too.

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    1. I wish Christine would get back into blogging so you could get to know her better, Jeannie! She's a true-blue friend.

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    2. Wow, Adriana, Thank you! Jeannie, the advice is straight from Adriana. She's told me that before and it has helped me.

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  4. Oh, wow. Praying that the doing continues to be easier than the dreading, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your (unfolding) story.

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  5. When you've mentioned your visits to Russia as a younger woman, I found myself wondering if you were a part of ATIA during those years. May sharing your story of how the Gothard movement has influenced you bring you greater clarity - and encourage others as well. Blessings, Adriana!

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    1. You guessed correctly, Michelle. Your encouragement means so much! Thank you!

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  6. "coaxed into making commitments I didn't fully understand" - yes, that was a terrible burden to put on anyone. XO I'm so glad you are safe and free and loved now. XO

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  7. I'm clicking over to read the next installment right now, Adriana!

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Blessings,

Adriana