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I have been told I am alive because of Bill Gothard.
My parents became involved in the seminars in the early 1970s, and at that time they were done with having kids.
Bill arranged my flight back to O’Hare so we could ride back to Headquarters in the car together.
That’s when he first put his hand between my legs and felt me all the way up. My brother started hearing things and asked me about it. Bill had sworn me to silence with both guilt and fear.
He insisted that I go on the first IBLP trip to Australia that October and paid for me to go.
We were all so busy on the trip, I didn’t see much of him. He would drive me home so I wouldn’t walk alone to my house in the dark.
My father was so deep into Gothard’s teachings, and he preached them so much, that his church board had issues with it. He blamed this on the board not being willing to grow. My parents portrayed me to Bill as a sexual, rebellious teen who needed help—but I had only kissed a boy. Bill told them he would give me intensive counseling. I was a temptation to men; Bill Gothard told me that I had tempted my own father.
I have my own theory of why he was forced out, though. He had been forced out of churches in California and New Jersey for taking indecent liberties with young girls. My father’s sexual abuse of me didn’t start until we moved to a pastorate in New Jersey, when I was seven years old and got my own room. Bill would call me into his office for “counseling and teaching.” I was open about my relationship with my boyfriend. I loved to be barefooted, and he would always comment on the shades of polish on my toes. He wanted all the details of my past sexual experiences. I craved Bill’s attention but felt guilty about the increasing touches he gave me.
While there will always be an element of “He-said/She-said” in stories of this nature, we have spent over eight months investigating this story.She was so upset that she reported it to one of the staff leaders.Next thing I knew, I was called into a disciplinary meeting with a couple of senior staff members and Bill, and they confronted me about my claims.When we got back from Australia he added counseling after-hours, at night. He gave me cash and told me to buy bras that pushed me up more; he wanted me to always wear them when I was around him. He would hold my hand and rub my leg and tell me not to tell anyone about what we did in his car. I was known as Bill’s “pet.” I loved the attention, but I felt dirty.We would meet after dinner in his office around 7 or 8 p.m. But a part of me thought this was how I was to treat “godly” men. I was turned on by Bill, but I also felt terribly guilty.My parents told Gothard that, because of him, they were convicted to have more children.I was born in 1975, and from the get go I was told that I was special—the seventh child, God’s perfect number—and that I owed my life to Bill Gothard.It all came to a head one night when I told one of my housemates about the long hugs Bill gave me.She got very upset and told me that I was lying, that Bill would never touch a woman.He wanted me around him as much as possible, wanted me to be with him as much as he could get me.I started meeting with him in his office in the morning, every morning.