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Bill Gothard
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Bill Gothard (2002, age 67)
Born (1934-11-02) November 2, 1934 (age 89)
Occupation Instructor, author
Known for Founding the Institute in Basic Life Principles

William W. Gothard Jr. (born November 2, 1934) is an American Christian minister, speaker, and writer, and the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), an independent fundamentalist Christian organization. His conservative teachings encourage Bible memorization, large families, homeschooling, aversion to debt, familial patriarchy, the submission of wives to husbands, and modest attire.

At the height of Gothard's popularity during the 1970s, his Basic Youth Conflicts seminar was regularly filling auditoriums throughout the United States and beyond with attendance figures as large as ten thousand and more for a one-week seminar. In this way, he reached many in the evangelical community from the Baby Boomer generation during their teen years and young adulthood. Other seminars during this time included an Advanced Youth Conflicts seminar, as well as seminars for pastors, physicians, and legislators.

..... In 2016, Gothard and IBLP were sued by a group of alleged victims. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2018, as the statute of limitations had been exceeded.


Bill Gothard received his B.A. in biblical studies from Wheaton College, 1957 and then his M.A. in Christian education in 1961. He completed his Ph.D. in biblical studies at Louisiana Baptist University in 2004.

In 1961, Gothard started Campus Teams, an organization which changed its name to the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC) in 1974. The organization's name changed again in 1989 to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), of which Gothard was the president and a board member until his resignation in 2014.

In 1984, Gothard founded the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), a homeschooling program with a curriculum based on the Sermon on the Mount.

Gothard had many political connections with Republican political leaders, including Mike Huckabee, Sonny Perdue, and Sarah Palin. His ministry was also popular with the reality TV Duggar family and others. He has never married.


Gothard's primary teaching, his "Basic Seminar", focuses on what he refers to as seven "Basic Life Principles". He claims that these principles are universal, and that people will suffer consequences for violating them. Gothard's principles are called Design, Authority, Responsibility, Suffering, Ownership, Freedom, and Success.

The "umbrella of authority" is the idea that in order to be protected from the devil, one must have absolute obedience to those above them in the chain of authority.

Gothard teaches that dating is morally dangerous and that courtship is the better alternative. Gothard encourages parents to be involved in their children's courtship, and that a father should be involved in his daughter's relationships, and should at the very least have the right to say "no" when a man asks to marry his daughter. Gothard also advocates conservative dress. Gothard's teachings discourage dating and syncopated music, including Christian rock. He has warned that Cabbage Patch dolls are idolatrous.

Gothard has been the subject of much debate in Christian circles, and occasionally in mass media. Various books and articles have challenged Gothard's teachings on legalism, law, and grace, and questioned his handling of the IBLP ministry.


  • Advanced Seminar Textbook. Institute in Basic Life Principles, 1986, ISBN: 0-916888-11-8
  • Basic Preparation for Engagement. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, 1971, ASIN B00
  • Basic Seminar Textbook. Institute in Basic Life Principles, 1979, ISBN: 0-916888-05-3
  • Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts: Research in Principles of Life. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, 1981, ISBN: 0-916888-05-3
  • Men's Manual, Vol. 1. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, 1979, ISBN: 0-916888-04-5
  • Men's Manual, Vol. 2. Institute in Basic Life Principles, 1983, ISBN: 0-916888-09-6
  • Nuestro Dios Celoso/Our Jealous God: El Amor que no me deja ir/The love that doesn't let me go. Editorial Unilit 2004, ISBN: 0-7899-1215-5
  • Our Jealous God. Life Change Books, 2003. ISBN: 1-59052-225-7
  • Rebuilder's Guide. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, 1982. ISBN: 0-916888-06-1
  • Research in Principles of Life: Advanced Seminar Textbook. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts 1986. ISBN: 0-916888-11-8
  • Rewards of Being Reviled. Life Change Books, 2004. ISBN: 0-916888-30-4
  • Self-Acceptance. Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, 1984. ASIN B0007270AO
  • The Amazing Way. Institute in Basic Life Principles, 2010. ISBN: 978-0916888497
  • The Power of Crying Out. Life Change Books, 2002, ISBN: 1-59052-037-8
  • The Power of Spoken Blessings. Life Change Books, 2004. ISBN: 1-59052-375-X
  • The Sevenfold Power of First Century Churches and Homes. Life Change Books, 2000. ISBN: 0-916888-18-5
  • Why Did God Let It Happen? Institute in Basic Life Principles, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-916888-54-1
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