I am going to link to this guy’s blog post because it summarizes in a nutshell what it was like growing up under the influence of ATI (Advanced Training Institute/Bill Gothard program).
I love how this guy describes his home as a loving home! Mine was too, and I love my parents!! They did a lot of good, but we were raised within the ATI culture. This guy’s article explains a lot of the issues I have with the philosophies of the ATI movement/teachings.
This guy is right on when he explains about the constant pressure to be perfect. I remember that so well and my twisted view of God, as a result.
I didn’t want to get close to a God who seemed to be always waiting for my next moment of sin/failure and who seemed like He only punished with no full restoration or hope of redemption in sight. It was taught that consequences were God’s judgment on us; there was no concept of redemption for even our consequences.
It was definitely a place of much fear! Parents wanted to raise their kids to turn out godly. So in fear, they pulled them from the world, even from among other Christians, sometimes family members, and society. They thought that by secluding them, they could produce a more godly generation.
As I wrote in a previous blog post, the issue with this is, they forget that there is evil within not just without. The heart is what matters!
They also lived from fear. What they didn’t realize is that reacting to our fears will not lead us into freedom but just into another form of bondage.
We never want to raise our children from a position of fear but from God’s leading. The safest place to be is always within the center of God’s will.
An interview with a former ATI student that really explains what it was like growing up Gothard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WQy4LGUQRg.