“The Cult Next Door” A Documentary

Does your voice sound strange to you when you hear it on a recording? Tell me I’m not the only one! I always think, “Oh gosh, do I really sound like that?” No one else seems to notice because, yes, I really sound like that and everyone is used to it. It’s even worse to watch myself on tape. Yikes!

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I’ve done two on-camera interviews over the years, and both times were…unique. The first interview was for the Bible school we went to after we got married. We were supposed to answer the questions with scripted answers put into our own words. I couldn’t get my lines right and it felt silly, so in the finished project, my husband does most of the talking and I just look like I’m about to burst into giggles at any moment.

Our second interview was a couple of years ago in Israel. We were supposed to talk about the tour we were on but had no script. We were on top of a building having lunch. I’m squinting in the sun trying to come up with something to say. Awkward!

I’m not overly comfortable on camera. So what am I doing in this picture, obviously being interviewed? 


Photo courtesy of Youngman Films

In November, I was contacted by a gentleman, Jake Youngman, who was working on an investigative documentary focused on my old cult leader, Bill Gothard, and his organization, The Institute in Basic Life Principles.

I am more passionate about exposing the truth than I am uncomfortable being on camera. And so, Jake and I talked on the phone and then met twice to do interviews. Even though it was sometimes awkward, in the end, I’m very happy to have been a part of this project!

The documentary, “The Cult Next Door” was released online last night and I am excited to be able to share it with you.

Bill Gothard has had more influence on Evangelical Christianity in the past fifty years than we may ever know. Hundreds of thousands of Christian men and women attended his seminars and were influenced by his faulty belief system and blatant lies. Many of them never went farther into his cult, never joined his homeschool program, or believed he was a “messenger from God”. Many attendees probably never recognized how Gothard’s teachings skewed their view of God or His “principles”, and yet they carried those subtle lies into their churches, seminaries, ministries, and homes. They in turn influenced many others.

My goal in life is not to expose Bill Gothard, but to point people to the real Jesus.  It’s overwhelming to try to identify and correct all the many lies spread throughout Christianity. But, I know that if people begin to search for and find the real Jesus, He will show them the truth about who He is and who we are because of Him. I know that the real Jesus is fully capable of revealing truth and exposing lies. So, I will continue to talk about Him and point people to Him with every bit of my energy for the rest of my life. That is my passion.

The Cult Next Door (Official Short Film) from Youngman Films on Vimeo.

10 thoughts on ““The Cult Next Door” A Documentary

  1. Thank you Christy, you are indeed a blessing Keep on keeping on ” in due season we Shall reap if we faint not”. God bless Gramps

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. “My goal in life is not to expose Bill Gothard, but to point people to the real Jesus.” This shows just how much you have been healed of all the damage you took. It also speaks of your growing maturity.

    I’m going to watch the video now 🙂

  3. No problem, you deserve it. And great documentary; you spoke with passion and sincerity, as did the other interviewees. Well done, everyone!

  4. Thank you for sharing this and for being in the documentary. While my family did not use ATI materials, I was homeschooled by parents who were heavily influenced by these teachings.

    • Thanks for commenting. 🙂 It is absolutely horrifying to me to see the far reach of Gothard’s teachings! I hope that you can trash the god Gothard and other types of legalism portray and find the real Jesus who is nothing like that.

  5. Hey Christy,
    I just stumbled onto the documentary about Bill Gothard the other day and it has me re-processing and questioning things that I thought I had already dealt with. I didn’t know who Bill Gothard was until a couple of days ago but man, did the video ramp up some stuff in me. I was raised in very much the same belief system. I have been out of it for a long time now and, like you, have been discovering the real Jesus. But, I was wondering if the film embedded here is the whole thing or just a “short” and there’s a longer one somewhere? Or if you know of more good resources about this topic that I could look at? I just found your page like 10 minutes ago but already am encouraged and feel like we’d get each other. I’ll be following. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Hello! That documentary was actually done by a high school senior! 😲 And that’s it…just the 30 or so minute video. Recoveringgrace.org has a lot more information about Bill Gothard and the truth about him and his organization. Don Venoit has a book called “A Matter of Basic Principles” that cuts open the IBLP organization (Bill Gothard again).

      But, there are a lot of people out there who have been raised with religious legalism that has nothing to do with Gothard. He is just one voice of many. 😢 So I’m not sure if you are looking into more info about Gothard or just legalism or what. Love to hear more and see if I can be of any more help.

      Welcome to my blog! 😊

      • Thanks, Christy! Yes, I realized later that I was not very clear about what I was looking for more info on. I was searching for more information about the lasting effects on those who were raised under that type of legalism – Bill Gothard or not. I was fascinated, appalled, and validated while listening to your comments and the others who came out of his ministry because it resonated so deeply with what I’ve experienced though not from his organization directly. It felt good to know there are others who get it and that I’m not crazy and there’s some explanation for the things that I struggle with over and over and can’t seem to renew my mind enough for God’s Word to trump what I was taught about God’s Word. I’ll check out Recovering Grace. Thanks! 🙂

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