The 19 children and counting the family kept their secret religious affiliations since their reality show premiered in September 2008. However, Jinger Vuolo (née Duggar) detailed in her memory to come how she separated from her family’s beliefs and revealed that reality TV stars follow the non-denominational religious organization, Institute in Basic Life Principles. The counting on alum went so far as to compare his brother Josh Dugar to the founder of the IBLP Bill Gotthard – but who is Bill? Keep reading for everything we know about the religious leader.
What is the IBLP?
The Life Fundamentals Institute is a non-denominational Christian organization established by Gotthard in 1961, originally launched as Campus Teams. In 1974 the name was changed to Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts or IBYC, before landing on IBLP.
According to the institution’s website, the IBLP “was established for the purpose of introducing people to the Lord Jesus Christ,” adding that they are “dedicated” to providing others with a “clear institution and formation on how to find success by following the found principles of God”. in Scripture.”
They do this through seminars, printed texts, educational programs and training centers.
“Over 2.5 million people have attended our seminars and discovered a practical application for restoring relationships with God and others [sic]“, claims the website.
Who is Bill Gothard?
Gothard grew up in Illinois and graduated from Wheaton College in 1957 with an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and later a graduate degree in Christian Education. Decades later, Gothard completed his doctorate in biblical studies at Louisiana Baptist University in 2004.
As a teenager, Gothard was “very worried” about his peers who “seemed to lack direction in life and made rash decisions”. According to the biography on his IBLP website, he decided to dedicate his life “to help teens and their parents make wise choices”, beginning with “Inner City Chicago gangs, religious youth groups, high school clubs, youth camps, and families in crisis”.
Gotthard’s teaching includes “male superiority and female obedience”, guidelines on how men and women should dresshome-schooling programs and Bible memorization, according to a July 2016 article in The Chicago Magazine.
In 2014, more than 30 women accused the religious leader of sexual harassment. After placing the founder on administrative leave and conducting an investigation, IBLP issued a statement claiming that “no criminal activity” was found, but that “the Gotthard acted inappropriately”.
“The Council realizes the seriousness of its lack of discretion and its failure to follow Christ’s example of being blameless and above reproach,” the statement continued. Although he denied any wrongdoing, Gothard eventually resigned from his position with the IBLP.
Bill Gothard faces new charges in 2016
About two years after dozens of women came forward with allegations against Gotthard, 10 other women filed a lawsuit targeting the religious figure, claiming that he and IBLP church leaders not only sexually harassed and abused them, but had covered up their alleged wrongdoing.
Speaking to Gothard on the phone following the trial, The Washington Post reported that the former IBLP minister said, “Oh no. Never never,” when asked specifically if he had raped any of the plaintiffs. “Never in my life have I sexually touched a girl. I’m even shocked to hear that,” he said.
Further addressing the sexual harassment allegations against him, the former IBLP leader said such allegations were “really…untrue”, and denied any further comment.
The case against Gotthard was later dismissed due to statute of limitations issues.