Institute in Basic Life Principles

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Institute in Basic Life Principles
Founded 1961
Founder Bill Gothard
Type 501(c)3 non-profit religious
Area served
US, 12 countries[citation needed]
200[citation needed]
1,000[citation needed]
Slogan Giving the World a "New" Approach to Life!

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]

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."[3] Bill Gothard, who was accused of knowing about the affairs but did not take action, resigned.[3] He then returned as organization head three weeks later.[3]

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.[4]

In 2006, it was reported to earn $63 million annually.[5]

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 allegations of sexual misconduct became more public.[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."[3]

On October 25, 2015 a civil lawsuit alleging a sex-abuse cover-up involving several minors was filed DuPage County in Illinois against IBLP and its board of directors. The lawsuit 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.” [8]

The case was brought by the Gibbs Law Firm, and includes an allegation that the organization is “liquidating assets” totaling more than $100 million “in an attempt to flee the jurisdiction (State of Illinois) where this wrongful conduct occurred.”

The case is a civil, not criminal, action, with damages in excess of $50,000 per plaintiff is sought. The female plaintiffs are described as “a participant in IBLP seminars, a volunteer for IBLP,” a participant in the organization’s programs or an employee of IBLP. The lawsuit alleges that, “Each of the individual plaintiffs were the victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching, many times while they were minors, at the hand of the IBLP, by and through its agents and employees, and suffered as a result thereof.”

The IBLP was sued as an organization along with individual directors John Stancil, Anthony Burrus, Gil Bates, Timothy Levendusky, Stephen Paine and David York.

The action or inaction of the defendants is described as follows: “On information and belief, at the relevant times to their claims, Defendant IBLP’s agents, employees and/or directors were aware or should have been aware of serious allegations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching occurring to certain IBLP’s interns, and/or employees, including but not limited to the plaintiffs, initiated by IBLP’s agents/employees, but neither the defendant IBLP nor its agents, employees or directors reported these serious, potentially criminal allegations to law enforcement authorities or the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, in accord with their duties and their statutory responsibilities.”

Programs offered by the IBLP[edit]


  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • Financial Freedom Seminar—A 16-hour video seminar taught by Jim Sammons explaining financial principles from the Bible.[12]


  1. ^ "IRS, Search for Charities, Online Version of Publication 78". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "IBLP History". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  4. ^ "IBLP: What We Do". Retrieved February 13, 2013. ]
  5. ^ Silja J.A. Talvi "Cult of Character" In These Times January 9, 2006
  6. ^ Pulliam, Bailey (2014-03-07). "Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations". Washington Post (Washington, DC: Washington Post). Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  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. ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ "IBLP Basic Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ "IBLP Advanced Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "IBLP Anger Resolution Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ "IBLP Financial Freedom Seminar". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]