Archive for the ‘Conglomerate’ Category

Eye traps anyone?

May 6, 2011

Eye traps.

If you were not in ATI, this short phrase will mean very little.

If you were in ATI, you probably remember the shopping mall exercise?  You know, where we took the eye trap quiz, and then went to the mall (the entire quiverfull) to distinguish which eye traps lurked in the clothing of the women walking past us, and what those eye traps might communicate about their moral innards?  Yes, we thought you might remember that one.

Let’s take a little journey and see how much you remember.  Ready to talk about what these pictures might reveal about the wearer?  We’ve had a few eye trap experts give their opinions which we will include for you.

“While these 50’s housewives are at least in skirts, their hearts are obviously not at home.  The tight and revealing belts they are wearing reveals their desire to be desired.  The v-neck design is clearly indicative of their deceiving men as the strange woman did in Proverbs.  She probably caught and kissed him shortly after this sketch was drawn; definitely that blonde on the left did.”

“Ah, nice try X-ATI girl{s}.  You tried to trick us into saying that this girl is humble and modest, but we are onto you.  She is clearly not modest.  Her tights reveal her desire to take advantage of the innocent eyes of men.  Some may think that since her legs aren’t actually showing this is okay; we know the truth.  Put on your running shoes, men, and get away!”

“We all know that even dolls can be deceitful.  This doll’s low waisted bow (and the bow itself) are danger areas.”

“Finally, a modest ensemble.  We hope that all will follow in the way of this swimmer; she is the essence of discretion.”

“We all know that v’s in clothing always point to areas of the body that should not be drawing attention.  Tisk tisk.  Fail.”

“The loud patterns on these aprons are not what any proper homemaker should ever have.  They should desire to draw attention to their countenance, not their covering.”

“Two words: bold and sleeveless.  Children, shield your eyes!”

“Does this dress have sheer material??  It does!  For shame.  How could such a beautiful example of female dress be dishonored in such a way?  Harlot.”

“The crisscross pattern on this dress should be covered immediately.  Her morals are probably crossed in a similar fashion.” 

“Rarely do young fellows deceive with their dress, but here is an example.  This young man is clearly attracting the wrong crowd with this v-neck garment.  The embellishment on his sleeves draws the eye down from the face as well.  He needs to ask for forgiveness from those he has ensnared.”

How did YOU do on the quiz?

The Homeschool Family

August 10, 2010

Please join us in applauding Tim Hawkins for this {what should be} award winning video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM6uqj0_jQc

Cheerfulness,

X-ATI Girl{s}

What was it really?

July 27, 2010

Dear X-ATI Girl,

Please advise.  Recently someone asked me the question: what is ATI?

It’s hard for me to ponder the question ‘what is ATI’ because I guess I really don’t know myself.  (Why, it’s the Advanced Training Institute.  Training in what?  Well I’m not sure actually…)

Whether it’s because I grew up so closely associated with this organization and way of life, or because the majority of my friends grew up in it as well thus rarely requiring me to explain it to another, but I always find it difficult to successfully place words in any order that could describe such a ‘way of life.’

After fumbling for words and getting them all mixed up for a few minutes, this individual asked the shocking question: is ATI a cult?



I gasped.  I stopped.  All the wind was knocked out of me.  What?  Was ATI a cult?  Was he serious?  Why yes, unfortunately he was.

I didn’t know how to respond.  I still don’t know how to respond.  Here is a loose narrative of my mixed up and jumbled response:

Well, ATI was started by Bill Gothard, a guy who worked with intercity youth and then his car broke down on the interstate one day and he ran leaping for joy because he was so happy.

Can I pause here and ask a question?  My family always had vehicles that broke down.  As in they broke down all the time – all the time with all of us 12 siblings and my expectant mother.  No one was leaping for joy in those moments, hours, eternities of being stuck on the side of the road.  I digress.

Mr. Gothard lived with his parents until his father died and then he just lived with his mother.  He began courting a nice widow when he was in his 50’s, but his mother told him that she didn’t feel it was God’s will for him to court this nice lady so he never saw her again.

Mr. Gothard still lives in his parent’s house – as far as I know – and has a cabin in the woods on some land that ATI owns.

Mr. Gothard started the Institute in Basic Life Principles in the 1970s.  It was a basic seminar, an advanced seminar, a men’s seminar, a bunch of seminars.  In the 1980s he started ATI – which was at that time ATIA.  This was his Homeschooling limb that wrote Wisdom Booklets, Character Sketches, journals of all types, etc.  (The Wisdom Booklet is my most prevailing and perhaps painful memory.  Oh, and the monthly newsletter they sent out – those were prevailing and painful as well.)

He built a Headquarters (proper noun) for the organization and most of my siblings went there for trainings and to work for free.  Kids went there when they did rebellious things like told their parents they didn’t want to read the Wisdom Booklets or that they couldn’t memorize the Sermon on the Mount.

He started an auctioneering school, a chalk talk school, a law school, and even the Medical Training Institute of America (MTIA).  The irony is that none of us went to school…

Later I got to thinking about some of the things that I learned while in the program:

  • How to conquer the addiction of rock music

  • How to sew and wear skirts that glorified the Lord
  • How to honor my parent’s authority

  • How formal schooling would kill me
  • How sugar was the drug that Satan could use to control us
  • How some people believe in head coverings and some don’t, but lets not fight about it

  • How if you have an impure thought at lunch, you should confess it just before a Knoxville session
  • How you should wear light makeup and your hair in flowing curls
  • How sheep go to heaven and goats go to hell (wait…wait, now I’m getting confused.  I think that was a song, not Gothard.)
  • That beards are bad, bad, bad

  • You should always use CharacterLink to protect yourself from the evil influences of the internet (did this make anyone else suspicious?)

  • The only approved college was Verity College
  • That I was to be a keeper at home

  • How ATI was “Giving the world a new approach to life!”
  • Try to stay away from the flaming darts of Lucifer, ie. get back under that umbrella
  • How to tear down the strong holds in your life ie. my desire to wear pants (gasp)
  • Letters we were supposed to write that started out like this: “Dear Dad, I love you.  I want to give you my heart.”
  • Something about rhemas
  • Al Smith approved music

Do you have similar experiences?

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  I’m going to go ahead and make this bold statement:

ATI was and is a cult.

Here’s just a part of my reasoning:

Dictionary: Cult n.

  1. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
  2. The followers of such a religion or sect.
  3. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
  4. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
  5. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
    1. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
    2. The object of such devotion.
    3. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

Wasn’t that umbrella a little extreme and false?

Come on, those blue and white outfits were unconventional.

So was learning medicine from a Wisdom Booklet written by a man who lived with his parents.

Nonscientific guide to medicine – check.

Obsessive, faddish devotion to a person, principle, and thing

Being told to write a letter to your dad giving him your heart.

I’m stopping here with my argument because this letter is long.  Please advise.  What in the world am I going to do with the bomb-shell realization that…that…I was raised in a cult?

I thank you in advance for your time,

Cliqued out in Clairmont


The Cabbage Patch Doll Through The Eyes of an ATI Child

April 26, 2010

Can anyone else relate?

God

February 6, 2010

Carmen, Laura, and Christmas

January 13, 2010

Mother had two good friends: Carmen, her goat whose derriere closely resembled the posterior of the Ford Taurus popular in the mid-nineties, and ate only sweet feed. Laura on the other hand [name has been changed to protect the innocent] was a fellow mother ATIer whose posterior closely resembled the rear of the dodge ram expansion van popular for large families in similar years, and who only ate whole foods bought from Mother’s food co-op (anything but sweets I can assure you).

Both of these friends were the object of many jokes and stories amongst all of us kids.  Sometimes we joked about them separately but every once in a while a Laura/Carmen story would roll around that we could incorporate into the other.  (Like the idea of them both being comparable to cars)  We kids had an intense dislike for Carmen who Mother said was the most beautiful goat we had every owned, but had quite a love-hate relationship with Laura. 

Laura wore pants the first time we met her and had prayer with Mother that God would change her heart and give her the desire to wear the ever-pleasing full skirts that we already wore.  The change took place almost overnight and Laura called claiming she had been awakened in the middle of the night with the desire to dispose of all articles of clothing that contained legs.  Mother rejoiced in her noble decision and we kids made up more Laura jokes to tell at the dinner table for Dad’s benefit. 

Christmas was our favorite Laura time.  Each December she would send out a lengthy, all-informative newsletter containing pictures and details of each family member’s most private happenings, and every large item purchase her family had made during the year.  (Large item purchases consisted of those which cost over $500.) 

Laura’s Christmas letters contained bright and lively worded script to accompany the beautifully landscaped farm her family had bought: the boys were diligently working in the chicken coops with their father; each of their 9 outbuildings was being put to such good use as a school house, guest house, prayer house, etc, after the children had remodeled the insides of the structures themselves.  Laura bragged about her new computers, new flooring, new clothes (or jumper patterns), her ability to take a nap every day, how her children were child Einstein’s, her new van, and her flawless homeschool strategies.  Instead of washing clothes for a family of 9 daily, Laura required all of her children to wear their clothes two days in a row.  Instead of hiring a housekeeper, Laura taught her children good skills by making them sweep the floors around a dozen times a day.  We thought Laura was evil and her kids did too.  And those Christmas letters were so long.

Our favorite was the year that Laura’s family had the flu, bought a new farm, and a new computer all within a period of 12 months.  The letter opened with how many gigabytes the computer housed, how many bodies of water (“clean, clear, beautiful water”) the farm owned, and ended with what kind of loose bowels each member of the family had suffered from in the past month.  We kids, who never shied away from crude discussion, were proud and pleased with Laura’s ability to translate a real-life experience – such as the runs – into the context of a Christmas newsletter.  We considered this to be a skill that most ATI mothers were sadly unable to do.  The computer and farm each had pictures to prove their existence, but I guess Laura thought that words were ample enough to prove the sickness.

The Christmas that Laura’s first and only daughter was born, she wrote of the reason behind her naming the poor little girl Alleluia and why she would call the child Luia for short.  Such explanation was not really needed since anyone who knew Laura could think of numerous reasons to name a child in such a manner…

When her first born began dating his first girlfriend, Laura blissfully declared  in print – much to his horror – that they would undoubtedly be engaged before the next Christmas letter.  Since Peter had only been dating her a month and the girlfriend was terrified of Laura, we all doubted a Laura-positive outcome.  We were never sure if he married the same girl Laura wrote of or if he hurriedly found another before his mother could stamp the next news fest; regardless, Peter did indeed get engaged before the annual cards could be sent.

I guess Laura never caught on to our dislike of her ways even though we always tried to go out of our way to show our displeasure.  One month we hid in the trees leading to our driveway with high powered water guns and blasted Laura’s newly bought, newly waxed conversion van as it entered the property.  Laura was furious as her short frame wiggled down from the driver’s seat.  We all put on our most righteous attitudes while we welcomed her to Grace Brooks Farm and thanked her for her order.   

The next Christmas when she called, we all answered the phone “Happy Hanukkah, this is child’s name.”  Somehow it made us feel better.

Forbidden Treasures

January 11, 2010

I remember clearly the day it was discovered. That sinful thing I kept hidden in my room.

My mother practically wept when she confronted me over it. It was shameful, SHAMEFUL. Where had she gone wrong? How could she have raised a daughter who would have purchased such a carnal and lewd object? Why was God punishing her?

I sat, my fifteen-year-old eyes downcast, while she berated me for twenty minutes, gnashing her teeth over this scandalous and disgraceful object she had uncovered.

And then, she threw it into the trash.

I’m not surprised that she didn’t burn it – after all, to burn it she would have had to carry it from my bedroom, and heaven forbid any of my siblings should see it and know of my disgrace.

Once she left me to reflect upon my sins (without dinner), I sat and sadly stared into my small garbage can, at a pair of flowered cotton underwear with delicate pink ribbon around the top.

Because clearly, the only reason I would ever want to own something so abominably pretty, is because I intended for people to see them.

Yielding Personal Rights

January 11, 2010

I received a short email from a girl inquiring about The Pineapple Story.  Until I can post the entire letter, let’s all be reminded:

“As you read this first-hand account, you will discover that it is a classic example of the kinds of struggles which each of us faces until we learn and apply the principle of yielding personal rights.”

[emphasis by X-ATI Girl]

Please feel free to join me in passing on wisdom that you have received from this book.

* This book is eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on amazon.com just in case you’ve lost or misplaced your copy.

Dear XATIGirlToo {aka DragonKat}

January 9, 2010

Your comments are light, refreshing, and right on course.  Would you consider being a guest blogger for the X-ATI Girl?

xoxo,

X-ATI Girl{s}