Posts Tagged ‘Clueless’

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?

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Where to draw the line

November 23, 2010

 

Dear X-ATI Girl,

I feel a little bit ridiculous even writing to you about this.  Here’s what’s going on.  In the past several years of my life, I’ve been transitioning to the “real world” or what people always told me was the “real world.”  I know that you know what I mean.  For your readers, I will elaborate.  I now wear pants, I live outside the home, I have a job, cut my hair, etc.  I need to discuss with you one of my issues with adjusting to this hedonistic lifestyle.

For most of our lives we listened to a short, unmarried, constantly-smiling man (whose remaining hairs were of a shade not found in nature – even before the fall) who still lived with his parents (well past age 60) and yet gave advice on subjects like marriage, children, vasectomies,  yeast infections, and how you could lose your virginity to a tampon (?!?) even though he {clearly} had no experience in any of these areas.  He dispensed pearls of wisdom on subjects that he was completely unqualified to speak on.  Gosh, I’m surprised that he didn’t start dispensing pills.  Oh wait…and then he started a medical school…  For purposes of this letter, I should not even broach that particular subject.

One of my chief complaints about Mr. Gothard was his writing 3,000 pages of his thoughts on three relatively short chapters of the new testament.  When I was a child, I secretly asked myself, “Why does this man take 3,000 pages to say what Jesus said in 111 short verses of scripture?”  Of course I never spoke this out loud because to even dare think it was clearly, clearly sheer blasphemy.  Now that I’m older and looking back…why the dickens did he write 54 “Wisdom Booklets” on what it took Christ only several minutes to say?

I digress.  Here is my present quandary: my very cool Bible study group has decided to study a book written by an author who met her husband at youth camp, was married young, has three children, and suddenly has figured out a way to help women achieve their full potential in Christ, if only they can truly understand and apply these 4 verses that she has helpfully expanded into a 241 page book.  I understand that I can learn something from everyone, but do I really need to spend 12 weeks searching for a needle of wisdom in this daunting haystack?

Here is my problem: if I have a dilemma with work, I do not ask advice from someone who has never held a job.  If I have a problem with my car, I don’t drive it to the hair salon.  Nor would I ask my mechanic to fill a cavity.  I also admit – freely now – that when I am ill, I do not consult an herbalist anymore (thank you, God).  I think we can all agree that these are fairly practical things.  So why if in my daily life I seek advice from professionals who are truly qualified to give me an educated opinion, why would I entrust my spiritual life to someone who has never dealt with the issues that I face on a daily basis.  I wouldn’t ask a woman who had less than 1/4th of the amount of children of my own mother, “how do you manage it all?” I would ask my mother.  And when it comes to singleville, why would I ask someone who has never come home to an empty apartment and had to cook dinner for one.

I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I am very wary of people dispensing advice that they are unqualified to give, and expanding scripture to meet their publisher’s quotas.  Where do I draw the line?  When they start a medical school?

 

Lovingly,

Bewildered in Birmingham

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?

Who Knew It Could Be So Easy?

March 12, 2010

Dear X-ATI Girl,

I never knew that diseases could be healed through a step-by-step guide that leads us to recognizing the lies in our lives.  If only doctors knew just how easy it is to truly cure a person!  Please consider buying this book in bulk; see the quantity pricing below.

When decisions are made, whether good or bad, there are always consequences. When a person makes an unwise choice, it can often be traced back to a fear, such as the fear of rejection, or a fear of failure. These fears are rooted in lies. Because of these lies, we experience painful memories caused by individuals or circumstances. Unresolved painful memories lead to stress and disease.

This study guide will help you identify and denounce the lies you may believe: “I’m ugly,” “I’m a failure,” etc. Follow the step-by-step instructions to overcome your fears and transform painful memories. Discover the liberty to forgive your offender and anticipate the freedom that comes from a transformed spirit, soul, and body!

Quantity Pricing:
1–4 copies: $9.00 each
5–9 copies: $7.00 each
10 or more copies: $6.00 each

By Bill Gothard, PH.D.
Paperback; 33 pages

Blessings!

Stepping in Stanton

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.

The Spirit of Bitterness and Rebellion

January 9, 2010

Dear X-ATI Girl,

I have just given birth to our eleventh child, our seventh son Jedidiah.  Since Jedidiah’s birth, I have had very little strength to do anything other than being able to spend time on my knees in prayer.  I rise at 7:00am and immediately go to my prayer closet and spend three hours praying for the lives of my children, my husband’s business, and that I will be able to be a submissive wife with a gentle spirit.  My prayer time grows with each day and I am prayerfully considering beginning the use of a headcoverings for my daughters and I so that we can publicly testify of our submission to my husband and their father.

My children arise at 5:30am to milk the goats before the girls prepare breakfast and feed their siblings.  My dear daughters are preparing for being wives and mothers by caring for their siblings and truly find so much joy in taking on this responsibility.  They diligently make all of our household clothes and linens.  When my dear sons shear the sheep, the girls spin the wool to create beautiful blankets which are on every bed of our home.  Because my dear husband and I believe that refined sugar is an addiction that Satan would wish to allow into our lives, my daughters also have the responsibility of grinding the wheat we get from a co-op each month, and making our bread daily. 

My oldest daughter, Sara (28), is beginning the midwifery program offered by IBLP [Institute in Basic Life Principles], while she faithfully asks God to provide a fellow who would be her husband.  My dear husband only allows our daughters to court and carefully discerns which men are sent from God and which would be a wolf in disguise to steal our daughters’ virtue.  None of my dear daughters are currently courting gentlemen, and none of them ever have.  I am blessed to have a daughter like Sara who understands her role in life as being a keeper at home.

In the past year, my children have developed a spirit of bitterness and rebellion. I do not understand how this can be the case.  There is no rock music in our home.  We do not have a television.  They do occasionally listen to the radio, but only when it is closely supervised by either me or my husband.  We have Character Link internet so I am able to view everything that my children see online.  My dear husband and I diligently search their rooms to ensure that there are no evil influences that enter into our home.  Even with all of this, my children are choosing anger, and the light in their once bright eyes has begun to dim.

Please, X-ATI Girl, help me.  I am told that you have had experience in all of these areas and can give me advice on how to regain control of my home and my children’s spirits.  Since Jedidiah has been born, I have required much more encouragement from other mothers and the teachings of the older women in our home church.  Because of this, our long distance was at a rate which we could no longer afford and our phones have been cut off.  Although we will be unable to speak to each other, I would ask that you write me a letter. 

Many blessings to you,

Gentleness in Greenville