Institute in Basic Life Principles

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Institute in Basic Life Principles
Institute in Basic Life Principles logo.png
FounderBill Gothard
Type501(c)3 non-profit religious
Area served
US, 12 countries[citation needed]
200[citation needed]
1,000[citation needed]

The Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) is a non-denominational, Christian organization in Oak Brook, Illinois, that serves as an umbrella organization for several ministries. IBLP was established by Bill Gothard for the purpose of resolving youth and family conflicts. IBLP's stated purpose is to provide instruction on how to find success in life by following biblical principles. It is a non-profit tax-exempt religious or charitable organization as defined by the IRS.[1]


Gothard founded Campus Teams in 1961, which derived from his master’s thesis at Wheaton Graduate School on a potential youth program which may have benefits in decreasing the number of wayward youth.[citation needed] The organization changed its name to Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC) in 1974, and adopted its current name in 1989 (to reflect its expansion beyond traditional teenage issues). IBLP started promoting Basic Youth Conflicts seminars in areas around the United States and other nations, which according to its own history, during the 1970s had attendances of up to 20,000 persons.[2]

IBLP's programs have keys services, which include seminars for ministry, community outreach, troubled youth mentoring, and an international ministry. They all deal with education and contributing to the community. According to the IBLP, many of the ministry's workers have received (and continue to receive) Presidential medals for their work in helping the community in various ways.[3]

In 2006, IBLP was reported to earn $63 million annually.[4]

By 2009 to 2012 the Institute in Basic Life Principles began a steady decline, losing money, assets, and greatly decreasing the number of annual seminars it conducted, while the public became increasingly aware of controversy (more specifically, allegations of sexual misconduct) associated with IBLP.[5]


In the 1980s, the organization faced "a major sex scandal" when Gothard’s brother, Steve Gothard, resigned as administrative director after having affairs with several secretaries of the institute."[6] Bill Gothard, who was accused of knowing about the affairs but did not take action, resigned.[6] He then returned as organization head three weeks later.[6]

In 2014, Bill Gothard resigned as President of IBLP after reports that he had sexually harassed multiple women and failed to report allegations of child abuse in the organization. Gothard allegedly selected young women for administrative positions within the organization, then manipulated and harassed them while in his employment,[7] several of whose stories were featured on the website of Recovering Grace, a website and Christian ministry that functions as a support group for former students and members of IBLP. An investigation into the allegations by the IBLP concluded he "acted inappropriately," but "not criminally."[6]

On October 20, 2015, a civil lawsuit alleging a sex-abuse cover-up involving several minors was filed in DuPage County, Illinois against IBLP and its board of directors. Gretchen Wilkinson et al. vs. Institute in Basic Life Principles and William W. Gothard Jr. was brought on behalf of five female plaintiffs in order to "seek redress and damages for personal injuries based on the negligent and willful and wanton acts and omissions of the defendants with regard to sexual abuse and sexual harassment and similar allegations of malfeasance suffered by the plaintiffs."[citation needed] "Besides monetary damages, they have asked a DuPage County judge to bar IBLP leaders from alleged plans to liquidate resources estimated at more than $100 million while they close the institute's headquarters near Oak Brook and relocate to Texas, the lawsuit states."[8] Five additional accusers joined the suit in January 2016, and even more in February 2016, bringing the grand total of complainants to 16 women and two men before the case went to trial in April 2016. [9] Numerous motions have been filed, with the next court date set for July 20, 2017.[10]



  • Basic Seminar—The introduction to the basic teachings of Gothard and IBLP. The seminar is 32 hours in length, typically held over a period of six days. It focuses on seven "Basic Life Principles": Design, Authority, Responsibility, Suffering, Ownership, Freedom, and Success. These are designed to help the individual "view all of life from God's perspective." Basic Seminar "alumni" can re-attend the Basic Seminar free of charge.[11]
  • Advanced Seminar—Continues on the principles taught in the Basic Seminar. One must have attended the Basic Seminar in order to attend the Advanced Seminar. The Advanced Seminar primarily focuses on the areas of Marriage, Family, and Finances.[12]
  • Anger Resolution Seminar—A specialized seminar dealing with anger issues. Much of the material presented in this seminar is adapted from the Basic, but presented in a way geared to resolving anger issues. No prior Seminar attendance is required.[13]
  • Financial Freedom Seminar—A 16-hour video seminar taught by Jim Sammons explaining financial principles from the Bible.[14]


  1. ^ "IRS, Search for Charities, Online Version of Publication 78". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  2. ^ "IBLP History". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "IBLP: What We Do". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Silja J.A. Talvi "Cult of Character" In These Times January 9, 2006
  5. ^ Pulliam, Bailey (2014-03-07). "Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations". Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  6. ^ a b c d "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. ^ Menzie, Nicola. "Bill Gothard Quits Institute He Founded After Allegations of Rampant Sexual Harassment; Cites Bible Passage on 'Reconciliation'". Christian Post. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  8. ^ Gutowski, Christy. "More former followers of DuPage ministry allege abuse, harassment". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  9. ^ Gutowski, Christy. "More former followers of DuPage ministry allege abuse, harassment". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ Case Number 15L000980|
  11. ^ "IBLP Basic Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "IBLP Advanced Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  13. ^ "IBLP Anger Resolution Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  14. ^ "IBLP Financial Freedom Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013.

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