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“I grew up in a cult run by a sexual predator.”

I dare you to read up on Botkin Syndrome and not want to drive out to Iowa--or wherever these incestuous fundamentalists live--and just spit in their eyes.

On Growing Up in Bill Gothard’s Homeschool Cult | Redemption Pictures


There’s barely a memory from the first twenty years of my life that isn’t run through by the thread of the Cult.

We joined the Advanced Training Institute when I was in first grade. Bill Gothard’s materials were the foundation of my homeschooling curriculum for the next twelve years. The Institute’s books began to fill our shelves; their routine became part of our daily life.

As a child and then a teen, ATI/IBLP formed most of my peer group. In the summer we went to the camps and the conferences. I attended the seminars as a child, then as a teacher. After I graduated from high school, I spent the next two years living and volunteering at the one of the Training Centers.

My wife was exposed to the cult when she was growing up too, though not as deeply as I was. When we began our awkward courtship, we followed many of the rules and procedures prescribed by the cult. And in the years since then, I’ve found myself in the long, slow process of rooting out the remaining traces of the cult from my heart, reconstructing a faith brick by brick.

When I tell my story, people say “You should hate God by now. It’s a miracle you’re a Christian at all.

They’re right. It’s a miracle.

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