Beginning in 1969 seminar attendance really began to take off.
That year it doubled again to 4,000. In 1971 it tripled to 12,000.
The next year saw a more than ten-fold increase: 128,000 people attended.
In 1972 Gothard spoke to a crowd of 13,000 in Seattle, and the following
year 17,000 came out to hear him in the same city. In 1973 he also
spoke to 8,000 people in Chicago, 8,000 in Dallas, 16,000 in Los Angeles,
and 20,000 in Philadelphia. In Minneapolis-St.Paul, Gothard spoke
four times in two years (1973-74), and his audience grew from 8,000 to
27,500 by his fourth seminar.
As amazing as these numbers were, what was even more amazing was what hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. were paying up to $45 each to see and hear: a solitary man, standing at a podium with an overhead projector, speaking — for 32 hours over several nights (including all day Friday and Saturday)!
Gothard’s seminar audiences were not limited to those who shared his fundamentalist background. He attracted multitudes from across the entire spectrum of Christianity. Catholic priests, nuns and laypeople could be found in his audiences elbow-to-elbow with Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Episcopalians.
While Gothard was pretty much ignored by most major news agencies, the phenomenal growth of his Basic Seminar caused some people to ask the obvious question: “Why?” It’s a good question for us to ask, as well ...