Yesterday, the news came out that the lawsuit against Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) has been dropped.
Today, Bill Gothard gave a statement on Facebook, where he stated:
A Huge Victory: Conspiracy Exposed, Lawsuit Dropped!
On April 13, 2011, a former ATI student posted his testimony on his website entitled, “My Childhood in the ATI/IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) World.” He described his disillusionment which I know results when we fail to meditate on Scripture…
…he co-founded a website with the express purpose of “rescuing people” from my teaching. This meant the destruction of the Basic Seminar, Advanced Seminar, ATI, etc. In their effort to destroy me and the ministry, they recruited former staff ladies to make false and defamatory statements. A lawsuit was then initiated.
In the process of discovery, the judge ordered them to turn over 30,000 pages of private documents. These documents exposed a major conspiracy to destroy me and the seminar message and ministry. The judge then ordered them to turn over many additional documents, likely tens of thousands of additional pages of secret chat forums which they thought were protected by lawyer/client privilege and which would have provided further self-incrimination. What they did not realize was that only discussions between the lawyer and client are protected, not discussions with each other. So, instead of complying with the order, due today, February 26, 2018, their lawyers chose to voluntarily drop the entire lawsuit!
Recovering Grace has not yet issued a statement. However, the plaintiffs of the lawsuit did issue a statement. They state:
Due to the unique complexities of this case, including the statutes of limitation, we have made the difficult decision to voluntarily dismiss our lawsuit against Bill Gothard and The Institute in Basic Life Principles. We want to make it abundantly clear that by dismissing our lawsuit at this time, we are not recanting our experiences or dismissing the incalculable damage that we believe Gothard has done by his actions and certain teachings. Nor are we disregarding that his organization chose to protect themselves instead of those under their care.
In addition, Emily Jaeger, who participated in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe III”, issued her own statement, identifying herself and sharing a bit of her story.
The Gothard defense website, Discovering Grace, published a lengthy explanation of the details. They claim to be privy to 30,000 pages of Facebook chats among the plaintiffs, subpoenaed by the defense. They make many claims and implications that the plaintiffs lied, made up charges, and conspired to turn weak claims into strong ones. However, given the nature of such discussions, it’s hard to know what exactly transpired. It would be easy to claim that discussions about details were somehow conspiratorial.
But every lawsuit involves a “conspiracy” on both sides. The plaintiffs “conspire” with their attorneys about how to win the suit. The defendants “conspire” with their attorneys to get the lawsuit dismissed. That is simply the nature of any legal case.
It’s important to note that the lawsuit was not dismissed. Gothard and IBLP did not win the lawsuit or prove even one statement false. Bill Gothard claims victory, but he has not actually proven anything. He only dodged a bullet.
I have zero skin in the Recovering Grace game. My contributions there are limited to comments on some of their posts. I am not part of any conspiracy or plan to destroy Gothard. But I want to state unequivocally that I absolutely believe that at least the bulk of the accusations are true. I was an ATI student. I lived and breathed Gothard’s teachings for 20 years, and I was a willing participant in the organization. At the time, I thought it was great.
But I am going to share the actual story of what my life really was like. In my next post, I want to share something that I wrote some time ago and never published. Now is the time to share it.