How False Accusations “Worked Together for Good”

After 50 years of giv­ing sem­i­nars on Basic Youth Conflicts in ma­jor cities across America, and in oth­er na­tions, with over two and a half mil­lion at­tend­ing, a web site was es­tab­lished with the stat­ed pur­pose of de­stroy­ing me and the min­istry. One of the founders of the web­site wrote, “As long as Bill Gothard is at the helm, noth­ing will change.”

The founders of this web­site re­cruit­ed young women who had been part of the min­istry twen­ty years ear­li­er and con­vinced them that I had “sex­u­al­ly ha­rassed” them. These same women had writ­ten mar­velous let­ters of grate­ful­ness to me dur­ing those 20 years, thank­ing me for “be­ing their best friend,” “bring­ing about the turn­ing point” in their lives, and “giv­ing them help and en­cour­age­ment” that they will al­ways re­mem­ber. There was nev­er a hint of ha­rass­ment be­cause there was none.

So now, sev­en years lat­er, why am I re­joic­ing for their false ac­cu­sa­tions? The an­swer is that God has used their false ac­cu­sa­tions to get me back to the one mes­sage that He raised me up to teach and demon­strat­ed with my life.
When I was a teenag­er, I quot­ed Bible vers­es to God while go­ing to sleep at night. God promis­es that who­ev­er does this will be suc­cess­ful in what­ev­er he does. The tens of thou­sands of young peo­ple and adults who packed out are­nas and colos­se­ums week af­ter week were com­ing to hear how God re­ward­ed me for that night­ly dis­ci­pline.
As the years went on, I be­came so busy with min­istry that I stopped med­i­tat­ing every night on God’s Word. God knew that if I did not get back to it, I would nev­er ful­fill His call­ing for my life.

During the past sev­en years, by God’s grace, I have not missed a sin­gle night of quot­ing one or two new vers­es of Scripture to God while go­ing to sleep.

The re­sults have been as­tound­ing! God has re­vealed far deep­er truths on how the Christian life re­al­ly works! I wish that I had known these truths 50 years ago. These pow­er­ful new in­sights have all come at night. I will wake up in the mid­dle of the night and type them out.

The re­sult so far is the writ­ing and pub­lish­ing of 48 new books and over 170 one-​page mes­sages! The books and mes­sages have been life chang­ing. In ad­di­tion to this, God has en­abled me to es­tab­lish Embassy University, a free on­line uni­ver­si­ty that has the au­thor­i­ty to grant de­grees and to guar­an­tee true suc­cess. But the biggest re­ward is the dis­cov­ery of my life call­ing which will have a ma­jor in­flu­ence on bring­ing America back to its Biblical found­ing.

How Do Best Friends Become Bitter Enemies?

Before best friends be­come bit­ter en­e­mies, you imag­ine that it could nev­er hap­pen. There is a mu­tu­al trust be­tween you and them and reg­u­lar con­fir­ma­tions of grate­ful­ness for the friend­ships. You make in­vest­ments of time and mon­ey in them which you freely give, be­cause you are strength­en­ing re­la­tion­ships that you ex­pect will grow in the years to come.

Then, sud­den­ly, and with­out warn­ing, these friends turn against you. Communication is cut off. You try to find out what hap­pened. Any in­for­ma­tion that you man­age to get is giv­en in a cold, ad­ver­sar­i­al man­ner. All past as­sur­ances of grate­ful­ness and loy­al­ty evap­o­rate. There is the heart­felt sting of sens­ing that trea­sured friend­ships have been shat­tered and will prob­a­bly nev­er be put back to­geth­er again.

No doubt, this is what David ex­pe­ri­enced when he wrote, “Yes, my own fa­mil­iar friend, in whom I trust­ed, who did eat of my bread, has lift­ed up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). He gives a fuller de­scrip­tion of this heart-​wrenching ex­pe­ri­ence: “For it was not an en­e­my that re­proached me; then I could have en­dured it; nei­ther was it he who hat­ed me that mag­ni­fied him­self against me; then I would have hid­den my­self from him. But it was you, one who was my equal, my guide, and my ac­quain­tance. We took sweet coun­sel to­geth­er and walked to the house of God in each other’s com­pa­ny” (Psalm 55:12-14).

This was my painful ex­pe­ri­ence sev­en years ago, when sev­er­al of those in whom I had in­vest­ed part of my life sud­den­ly turned against me. But God had a pur­pose in al­low­ing it to hap­pen, for which I am very grate­ful. I al­so know that what hap­pened to me has hap­pened to thou­sands of oth­ers. For this rea­son, I want to ex­plain the caus­es of bro­ken friend­ships. Before ex­plain­ing the caus­es, I would like to il­lus­trate the strength of our friend­ships with ex­cerpts from over 100 of their let­ters to me of their grate­ful­ness for my in­vest­ments in their lives and fam­i­lies.

Example num­ber one:

In 1990, the Prime Minister of New Zealand in­vit­ed me to bring the Basic Seminar min­istry to his na­tion. The re­sponse was be­yond any­thing they had ever ex­pe­ri­enced with over sev­en thou­sand youth and adults at­tend­ing the first three Basic sem­i­nars, and over one thou­sand re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion about our home school pro­gram. We need­ed a fam­i­ly to co­or­di­nate the min­istry, and Rachel and her fam­i­ly vol­un­teered to do this. I knew that they need­ed train­ing, so I in­vit­ed Rachel and her sis­ter to the Oak Brook Headquarters for a year of train­ing. Fifteen years af­ter re­turn­ing to New Zealand, Rachel write the fol­low­ing let­ter:

“Dear Mr. Gothard,
Nothing will ever change my grate­ful­ness to you for all the time and care you have in­vest­ed in my life. I can nev­er ever for­get it…the hours you spent with me straight­ened out much of my think­ing and in­stilled the truths of God’s un­change­able word…You have al­ways been a bless­ing to me, and you al­ways will be, and I will al­ways re­mem­ber your kind­ness to me, your gen­eros­i­ty, your sup­port and prayers and the valu­able time you gave me. God bless you, Mr. Gothard. Love from Rachel.”

Just a few years lat­er, Rachel joined the group that pur­posed to de­stroy me and the Seminar min­istry!

Example num­ber two:

During a home school con­fer­ence in Knoxville Tennessee, I met an­oth­er young la­dy named Rachel. I rec­og­nized her po­ten­tial for min­istry in oth­er na­tions and in­vit­ed her to re­ceive train­ing at the head­quar­ters. Three years af­ter re­turn­ing home, she wrote the fol­low­ing let­ter:

“Dear Mr. Gothard,
I want to thank you so much for your in­vest­ment in my life…I look at you as a fa­ther; and I know that with­out the Lord’s faith­ful­ness and your di­rect in­flu­ence in my life, I would not be walk­ing in truth to­day. So, I thank you from the bot­tom of my heart. May the Lord give you many more years to serve Him. I look for­ward to be­ing with you at Oak Brook again in the fu­ture! Your Obedient Daughter, Rachel”

Ten years af­ter re­turn­ing home, Rachel got mar­ried and wrote the fol­low­ing let­ter:
“Dear Mr. Gothard,
Thank you so much for the beau­ti­ful wall clock you gave us as a wed­ding gift. We are re­al­ly touched with your generosity…I ap­pre­ci­ate you so much, Mr. Gothard! You have al­ways let me share my heart with you…I’ll nev­er for­get (al­most 10 years ago), kneel­ing with you by the couch in your of­fice and reded­i­cat­ing my life to God. It was a turn­ing point for me, and I thank God for us­ing you. May God bless you with good health and con­tin­ue us­ing you for His glo­ry! Love, Ben and Rachel.”

A few years lat­er, Rachel joined the group to de­stroy me and the min­istry!

Example num­ber three:
While Lauren was at the Oak Brook Headquarters, I was able to help her re­store a bro­ken re­la­tion­ship with her fa­ther. She lat­er wrote:
“Thank you, Mr. Gothard, for all of your kind words of en­cour­age­ment to me and for all the time you took to in­vest in my life and the lives of oth­ers. I have a huge debt that I owe to you for your in­vest­ment in my life. I look for­ward to serv­ing you any way I can in the years to come. Love, Lauren.”

In an­oth­er let­ter Lauren wrote:
“Hello Mr. Gothard,
Thank you for teach­ing me how to ex­pe­ri­ence God’s bless­ing in my life. I will be for­ev­er grate­ful to you and for the many sac­ri­fices you have made to teach me Biblical prin­ci­ples. Lauren.”

Lauren al­so turned against me and the min­istry a few years lat­er!

What Causes Best Friends to Become Bitter Enemies?

\I have writ­ten a book from my ex­pe­ri­ence en­ti­tled, Seven Hidden Causes That Turn Best Friends in­to Bitter Enemies. From these sev­en caus­es, I want to fo­cus on two. These two caus­es are tremen­dous­ly dev­as­tat­ing! And un­for­tu­nate­ly, there is noth­ing we can do to stop them. They de­ter­mine “death and life”. They un­leash “a world of in­iq­ui­ty.” They “de­file the whole body.” They “turn the course of na­ture and are set on fire of hell.”

The first cause is “the whis­per­ings of a tale­bear­er.” How true Scripture is! “A whis­per­er sep­a­rates chief friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Notice the word “chief.” A whis­per­er does not just sep­a­rate friends, but chief (best) friends!

The one who lis­tens to a whis­per­er is im­me­di­ate­ly de­filed in his heart brain, and his or her gut brain that pro­duces agape love and great faith is se­vere­ly dam­aged. “The words of a tale­bear­er are as wounds, and they go down to the in­ner­most parts [cham­bers] of the bel­ly [the gut brain]” (Proverbs 18:8).

My “chief” friends lis­tened to false re­ports about me and that end­ed our friend­ship.

The sec­ond cause is tak­ing up of­fens­es for some­one else. This al­so caus­es de­file­ment and roots of bit­ter­ness. If a per­son is of­fend­ed, God gives him the abil­i­ty (the pow­er of God’s grace) to for­give the of­fend­er.

God al­so gives grace to the of­fend­er to hum­ble him­self and ask for­give­ness. However, the one who takes up an of­fense for some­body else is not giv­en any ex­tra grace. Therefore, long af­ter the of­fend­er and the of­fend­ed have been rec­on­ciled, the one who took up their of­fense is still bit­ter! God warns, “Look dili­gent­ly lest any of you fail in the grace of God; lest any root of bit­ter­ness spring­ing up [from your gut brain] trou­bles you, and there­by many be de­filed [by you]” (Hebrews 12:15).

My “chief” friends took up of­fens­es for oth­ers and that caused them to be­come bit­ter against me.

How Basic Seminars Gave Freedom to Cult Members

At the con­clu­sion of a Basic Youth Conflict Seminar in Long Beach, California, a mar­ried cou­ple came up to the front of the are­na to talk with me. They iden­ti­fied them­selves as “mis­sion­ar­ies;” how­ev­er, they were re­al­ly ex-​members of the Children of God cult, and the wife was ac­tu­al­ly the daugh­ter of the cult founder!

They both ex­pressed deep grate­ful­ness for what they had learned dur­ing the week of the sem­i­nar. They stat­ed that the prin­ci­ples that were taught gave them free­dom from all the in­doc­tri­na­tion which they had re­ceived dur­ing pre­vi­ous years!

Every year there­after, this cou­ple re-​attended the Basic sem­i­nar and brought oth­er for­mer mem­bers of the cult. Eventually there were about 35 in the group. We would have a meet­ing in the ho­tel af­ter a ses­sion and dis­cuss the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of God’s Word.

After sev­er­al years that cou­ple wrote their sto­ry in a book en­ti­tled, “The Children of God: The Inside Story” by Bill and Deborah Davis. You can or­der their book on Amazon.

Bill and Deborah Davis would be quick to as­sure any­one that the Basic Seminar and the Seminar min­istry are far from be­ing a cult. In fact, they would state that they are just the op­po­site of a cult!


  • A cult draws fol­low­ers away from their fam­i­lies. The Basic Seminar brings alien­at­ed fam­i­ly mem­bers back to­geth­er again.
  • A cult teach­es their mem­bers to view gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials as “en­e­mies.” The Basic Seminar ex­plains that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are “min­is­ters of God” and must be re­spect­ed, prayed for and obeyed.
  • A cult ap­peals to the sen­su­al de­sires of prospec­tive mem­bers. The Basic Seminar warns of the de­struc­tion of sen­su­al ac­tions and teach­es how to get free­dom from sen­su­al ad­dic­tions.
  • A cult leader us­es mem­bers to in­crease his per­son­al wealth. The Seminar min­istry nev­er asks for mon­ey and looks for ways to give to those in need.
  • A cult leader teach­es things that are con­trary to God’s Word. The Basic Seminar bases every teach­ing on the to­tal mes­sage of the Bible.
  • A cult leader de­mands to­tal loy­al­ty to him­self and to his cult. The sem­i­nar min­istry teach­es to­tal loy­al­ty to God and the Bible.

For any­one to say that the Basic Youth Conflict Seminar and min­istry are a cult is the fur­thest state­ment from the truth. This false ac­cu­sa­tion is, in fact, of­ten used by those who have re­ject­ed the Biblical dis­ci­plines that are taught in the Word of God and are fol­low­ing a leader who agrees with their sen­su­al way of life. As the Scripture warns: those who judge are guilty of the very thing that they are judg­ing (Romans 2:1-4).