“If abused was not at fault”

A year ago Recovering Grace took an extensive look at the kind of “teaching” the Duggar children had about sexual abuse of children within a family. It’s enough to make your hair stand on end so hard it dances. “There is no victim,” the title states dryly.

Today, Recovering Grace looks at past Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) materials that address the topics of sexual abuse, child molestation within a nuclear family, and domestic violence. This is not presented as an exhaustive survey, but is the full range of printed Institute material on these topics thatRecovering Grace is aware of and has in our current library. We desire to present an accurate representation of Institute materials on these topics, so please share with us any materials we may have missed.

This is a year ago, so it wasn’t about Josh Duggar in particular. I recommend reading and studying the whole thing; it’s horrific.


The husband in that scenario is doing his wife a favor by being hostile to her. The more horrible you are to people, the more of a favor you’re doing them.

The Our Most Important Messages booklet was written for Basic Seminar alumni, and takes us into the Institute’s teachings on authority structures and the “umbrella of authority,” topics on which many words have been spilled over the past fifty years. The former ATI students who have shared their stories with Recovering Grace after facing sexual harassment, abuse, or assault in a family or Institute setting, or at the hands of outside authority figures, have almost universally cited the role of the Institute’s authority teachings in initial personal confusion about the abusive experience, and in later attempts to deal with the experience’s aftermath. While we cannot do this topic justice in a short space, a chart in the Basic Seminar Followup Course booklet How To Get Under God’s Protection: The Principle of Authority illustrates the complex position of the hypothetical mother in the Q&A above. The generic chart does not address sexual abuse specifically, but is the foundation upon which the authority language of Our Most Important Messages is based. Should the hypothetical mother in Our Most Important Messages “flee if forced to do evil,” the evil in this case being the possible repeat of sexual abuse of her children? Should she separate from her husband despite possible financial hardships, and thus “suffer for refusing to do evil”? No, she is admonished to “appeal to the authorities,” and instructed how to work her way up through levels of authority, neither leaving with her children nor going first to law enforcement.

Then there’s the Umbrella of Protection.

If identifying the correct authority interaction scenario is challenging for adults, it is even murkier for sexually abused minors. The same HowTo Get Under God’s Protection booklet gives a succinct introduction to the “umbrella of protection,” arguably the Institute’s most widely disseminated and enduring meme. Central to the concept is the fact that under the umbrella, “nothing can happen to us that God did not design for his glory and our ultimate good,” while out from under the umbrella, “we expose ourselves to the realm and power of Satan’s control.”

    Basic Seminar Followup Course     How To Get Under God's Protection: The Principle of Authority, page 4

But what if “His” glory and my ultimate good are in conflict? I know, we’re supposed to think that’s impossible, but…I’m not convinced it is.

What about moral failures in a family? It turns out those are about little girls running around naked after their baths, and girl babies having their diapers changed. They’re all immodest little whores, is what they are.



That’s all clear enough, I think. This guy had to change his infant sisters’ diapers, so of course he ended up sexually abusing them. The harlots tempted him.

Here’s a sciencey part, that diagrams the parts of the person:


I get it. Body is least important, and hurting the unimportant body—>good things for The Spirit – so, again, the abuser is doing the abused a big favor. Thank you, abuser.

Why did God let it happen? Because she wore immodest dress, thus defrauding her abuser or abusers. It’s her fault. She ruined his life, or their lives. Women are baaaaaaaaaaaaad.

There’s a lot more.


  1. iknklast says

    It’s hard to believe this is taught in the 21st century! Even in my house, it was understood that it wasn’t OK to beat the wife (the kids? Yes. The wife? No)

  2. iknklast says

    I mean that in my childhood house. In my adult house, beating people is simply not OK.

  3. luzclara says

    So here’s the part I don’t get. Did doG have it all planned out that the girls would be sexually abused by the brother, so they were doing doG’s will by running around naked after their baths? And using their diapers for the diapers’ purpose? So brother could commit horrors and thereby teach them all a lesson? Or had he and the little girls stepped out from under the umbrella of protection? And do I have to hang my immodest clothes outside the U of P and step out there to put them on? Or keep them in my protected house and step outside the umbrella once I have them on? The logic is just beyond me. AND IT MAKES ME SICK!!!

  4. PatrickG says

    Well, at least they’re pro-vaccination. Apparently, one can get a “moral vaccination”, which I interpret to mean they’re protected from morals.

  5. says

    Fegh, Bill Gothard. Creeped me out when I first encountered his teachings — yes, I recall the Umbrella — as an *evangelical* teenager. Didn’t surprise me a bit when his brother (also prominent in the ministry) got hit with a sex abuse scandal a few years later, then Bill Himself just recently. Turn yourself into that kind of unaccountable moral authority, and Bad Things will happen.

  6. Robert, not Bob says

    That diagram is one of the most twisted things I’ve encountered in years. One section heading says it all: “If abused was not at fault”. If? If?! The obscene implication that abused small children could POSSIBLY be at fault…

    It goes on to imply that people should feel blessed that they had been abused, since it (supposedly) made them “mighty in spirit”, or in other words pig-headedly immune to evidence. And of course you must dedicate your body to the Invisible Dictator. It’s his anyway, right? Makes me wonder whether this kind of sewer ran under the church I grew up in as well.

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