When I was a teenager I went to Bill Gothard's Basic Youth Conflicts seminars two or three years in a row. I agree, he is very legalistic. That was about 15 years ago, and I don't remember everything. But a few things that he said made an impression. Apparently, from a very young age he had an aversion toward sexuality. I don't believe he ever married. Yet he was very big on teaching that married couples must only have sex to have a child. Sex for enjoyment was too lustful, and lust leads to more lust. The suggestion was that lusty feelings, even in marriage, were bad and led to moral deterioration. Another thing that stands out (also sex related) was a story about a young girl he apparently counseled who had been raped. He stated that the one positive outcome of the rape was that the girl told him that she no longer fanaticized about sex. The last things that stands out is that throughout the seminars he frequently made statements or alluded to things that he promised to explain –but he never did. He’ll tell a story about a man who was suffering from mental problems, and Bill somehow “knew” it was related to a dental problem. The tooth was fixed and the mental condition miraculously healed. But he never gave an explanation. He told several similar stories –all of them leaving the audience with a vague impression that God endowed Bill with some kind of special, mystical and unexplainable insights.
I attended when I was 18 and found it very disturbing, I was too young and immature to separate the wheat from the chaff and there was a heck of a lot of chaff. Gothard told how he lived at home with his widowed mother and taught that all unmarried adults should do the same. I know this is common in many parts of the world, but his sounded like an unhealthy relationship. I never heard some of the marital advice you mentioned; funny for a single, middle-aged celebate he knew so much about sex LOL. I did read that in the advanced seminars he taught about a period of abstinance which appears similar to that practiced by orthodox Jews, called Family Purity. He seems to have to same reasoning about its benefits.
I feel it is very irresponsbile for churches or other groups to promote or allow this to be promoted without thoroughly checking it out. I saw someone put up a flyer for a seminar in a bookstore and after the guy left I explained some of the distructive aspects of his teachings and the harm it has caused and the lmanager took it down.