Posts Tagged ‘Modesty’

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?

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


“They honked, Mom, they honked!”

April 26, 2010

The photo comes courtesy of one of our favorite readers, XATI girl Chantelle. 

Chantelle is pictured here with two of her cousins during their voyage to the great University of Tennessee Knoxville. 

Please note the taped “ATIA” which identifies these kids as the oldschool Advanced-Training-Institute-of-America-ers [we were ourselves].

Thank you, Chantelle!  The memories this brings back…  Does anyone else have any pictures to share?

Tug-Of-War

January 20, 2010

Dear X-ATI Girl –

I know in comparison to many others out there, my problem is small.

Over the past few years, my parents have mellowed. I have been allowed to work outside the home, wear pants, live in an apartment, and most recently my parents graciously gave me permission to acquire a boyfriend.

Here is my problem: My mother and I are in a constant tug-of-war over my clothing. Literally. TUG-OF-WAR.

Imagine this: my boyfriend and I are at my parents for dinner. I am wearing a perfectly modest tank-sweater-jeans combination. Even as my mother is greeting him, she is forcibly pulling on the bottom and top of my shirt. Yank down that tank, yank up that sweater neckline. Even as I mutter “MOM STOP!!!!”, she stage whispers at me “not to let my bottom hang out” or “you had better not ever lean over”. It’s beyond embarrassing. I can’t be comfortable, and my boyfriend just looks on in horror and confusion as my mother attempts to power-staple my shirt to my chest with her eyes.

And it doesn’t stop there. She does it at the grocery store, at church, and in front of my boss. I swear if I ever get married we’ll have to edit the wedding tapes to splice out the part where my mother climbs on-stage and tries to forcibly pull-up my wedding dress.

I dress modestly! I don’t wear pants that look painted on, shop at Wet Seal or attempt to let people know what color my bra is. It really doesn’t even matter what I have on. She will find a place to tug on it.

I really think that my only option is to start wearing spandex bodysuits that are so tight she can’t get a grip on them anywhere.

Please, just tell me I’m not the only one having to live with this.

Yours Truly,

Frustrated in Fairfax

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.

Umbrella of Authority

January 8, 2010

Dear X-ATI Girl,

At the beginning of the summer, I did something that I am still ashamed of.  I rebelled against my parents and wore a bathing suit that my grandparents had given to me.  My parents did not know of the suit, and I wore it only while at my grandparent’s home.  I had worn the suit only three times when my parents discovered it during a routine sweep of my dresser drawers. 

My mother was mortified and immediately called our family coordinator to see when she could speak to Mr. Gothard about my willingness to dress in such an immodest, defiling fashion which would so clearly cause men to stumble.  We had just finished Wisdom Booklet #57 and had studied extensively the section on modesty.  I did take the modesty exam, and I passed with flying colors.  My decision to wear the bathing suit clearly had a deeper root cause.  I was seen by my parents as being rebellious against their authority.  The family coordinator called Headquarters on my parents’ behalf and returned to my mother with the serious request that I be sent to Eagle Springs Training Center immediately for an in depth study on the Umbrella of Authority.

This is what I learned while at Eagle Springs:

When the sky grows dark and the thunder roars,

When the strong winds blow and the cloud bursts pour,

I know I’m safe as I can be when I’m under the umbrella that God places over me.

{escalating effects: duh duh duh duh duh}

For instruction so I know when I am wrong,

For correction so I know that I belong,

For provision for the things I need,

And protection that is guaranteed.

{Here’s my problem: I cannot really remember the second line to the second verse.  What comes after correction?  And what was the correction for?  I don’t understand.}

At Eagle Springs I studied the Umbrella of Authority every day.  Daily forecasts: cloudy with a chance of lust, showers of rebellion, golf ball sized temptation, as well as storms of disobedience all raining down from above.  I learned how my father is the Umbrella of Protection in my family, my mother is submissive to his authority, and all 7 of us children are directly underneath them, always honoring our parents.   Every day I constructed a flannel graph.  I laboriously cut out all of the shapes: the umbrella, my parents, siblings, and hundreds of dangerous raindrops which were labeled with each of my sins.  Through this process I truly learned how helpless I am without the Umbrella and how if I ever venture out from underneath Father’s authority, spiritual and physical death will inevitably be the result. 

So, X-ATI Girl, this is what I need your help with:

1. I am too scared to leave the house now.  I truly have nightmares about severe weather conditions and how they relate to sins in my life.

2. If my father were to ever leave, are we all just left out in the rain and storms of life?  What will we do without a man’s authority?

3. Does this mean that I will have to live in my parent’s home forever?  My mother says yes because when a lady is removed from a man’s authority, she will surely lose all virtue and honor. 

Blessings,

Drenched in Dakota

Modesty Survey

January 8, 2010

Modesty is above all.

This is important. Please, please read!

http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse