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Plot Thickens At Bob Jones University

You may have heard that the influential Christian pastor Bill Gothard has been placed on leave [1]by the organization he heads pending an investigation into sex abuse charges against him — a scandal that, if the allegations prove true, stretches back decades, and involves cover-ups. A reader who is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and who is upset over that school’s alleged history of covering up sex abuse within its community, sent this link to a piece exploring the role BJU professors played [2] in masterminding an alleged Gothard cover-up. Excerpt:

In 1980, two BJU officials (only one is named, a Rev. Van Gelderen) were summoned by Gothard to help him downplay a scandal that was about to overwhelm his multi-million dollar ministry. You can read more about that scandal on Recovering Grace [3], but suffice to say that the two BJU men were used by Gothard in his attempt to hush up accusations of sexual harassment against Gothard’s brother. Gothard asked the two BJU officials to help convince the IBYC board not to send a letter to supporters admitting the scandal and apologizing, and they obliged. Their plot failed, however, and when the board overruled Gothard and the BJU staffers and demanded that the sexual harassment be dealt with, Van Galderen reportedly reversed his stance and regretted coming at all. This incident is a fascinating parallel to BJU’s current PR troubles, as the school clearly still clings to a strategy of withholding potentially damaging information until the story has already exploded in the media.

Most damaging in this narrative, though, is a remark Van Gelderen made to the IBYC board when trying to dissuade them from properly handling sexual abuse:

They explained that “this kind of thing had happened also at [Bob Jones] University and this is how they have always handled it there.”

This ominous declaration can only mean one thing: in the 1980s, BJU already had a firm process in place for dealing with cases of sexual harassment and scandal within its administration. Whatever else that process might entail, it’s clear from Van Gelderen’s testimony here that covering up information and keeping supporters in the dark was key.

More:

Drawing conclusions from these incidents is simple enough: some of BJU’s highest-ranking, longest-serving and most-respected leaders were complicit in the horrifying abuses perpetrated by Gothard and his minions upon their staff. BJU was the first place Gothard turned to when he needed people to help him cover up scandal. And according to his own words, a respected BJU leader said that BJU, even in 1980, was already long practiced in “handling” scandals in a manner meant to protect leadership and silence victims.

Read the whole thing.  [2]

47 Comments (Open | Close)

47 Comments To "Plot Thickens At Bob Jones University"

#1 Comment By Art Deco On March 5, 2014 @ 11:22 am

All this seems like sand thrown in the face.

This fellow Gothard runs an enterprise headquartered in Illinois, not South Carolina, an enterprise which is not a subsidiary of Bob Jones.

I could not help but notice the one discrete example they elected to offer in the news story by Sarah Pulliam Bailey detail conduct which is gross and rude, not much more. The rest is referred to with vague generics (“sexual harassment”, “molestation”). If this discrete example offered is indicative of what the dirt is, it is hard to see that these women should have much of a cause of action (but they may under our madcap laws). The board would unload him because he’s an embarrassment.

Just about all the accusations discussed were anonymous or pseudonymous and 4/5ths consist of a claim by a website operator that 34 people had complained about him (to her, no names, no descriptions, nada).

It’s just conceivable that this thing is part hoax by people who have it in for him and in part like the party game “rumors”, where ‘uncle John has a limp, pass it on” turns into “uncle John is a pimp, pass it on”.

#2 Comment By Manfred Arcane On March 5, 2014 @ 11:30 am

“If only BJU faculty and/or clergy hadn’t taken those pesky vows of chastity and allowed them to get married, oh, wait…”

#3 Comment By William Dalton On March 5, 2014 @ 11:32 am

I have no personal knowledge of the affairs at Bob Jones University and offer no opinion as to how they should be handled. On the general subject of sexual harassment, excluding cases of sexual molestation of children, however, I would say this:

Illicit sexual affairs between men and women are as old as history. Not infrequently what begins with succumbing to animal passions ends with regret, recrimination and finger-pointing. Consensual relations become accusations of rape. Church institutions have an especial responsibility to police such conduct among its staff and members. But is it wise to institute a policy of publicizing each instance, exposing to the light of public scorn and ridicule those who are implicated? Is it not better to resolve, if possible, these instances of sin, with whomever the fault lies, between the offending and offended parties to their mutual satisfaction, apply discipline as is appropriate to those in need, and not submit to public ridicule the reputations of either the institution or the persons involved? There are occasions of grievous wrongdoing where criminal prosecution may be called for, but unless that is established, with a certain degree of moral certainty, why chide any institution, particularly one associated with the Church, for submitting to public view its “dirty laundry”.

We would do well to heed the counsel of St. Paul:

“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers …?” I Corinthians 6:1-5 (ESV)

#4 Comment By Joshua Holmes On March 5, 2014 @ 11:38 am

One of life’s grand truths is that your theology has little influence on your goodness. You can believe in one God, three, ten, thousands, or none and still be a complete bastard. Being good is about being good, and not about anything else.

#5 Comment By icarusr On March 5, 2014 @ 11:43 am

Shocked, shocked. There’s gambling in this establishment? And they hide it?

#6 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 5, 2014 @ 11:45 am

Rod, the site that hosts this is the “BJUNEWS.COM” domain whose ownership is hidden by using a provision that allows secret proxy registration for domain owners. Whoever is running it is completely anonymous. There isn’t even the accountability of a WikiLeaks here in terms of journalistic integrity.

I can’t imagine that the beleaguered Bob Jones University is so powerful that accusers have to remain completely anonymous while whatever “tips” they are encouraged to send in are made public. At least readers are owed an explanation as to motives. What if this is one of those false flag operations that were disclosed by the Snowden documents where to ruin people and companies the government or some rogue contractor targets those it doesn’t like?

#7 Comment By Art Deco On March 5, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

One of life’s grand truths is that your theology has little influence on your goodness. You can believe in one God, three, ten, thousands, or none and still be a complete bastard. Being good is about being good, and not about anything else.

Oh? The man thus far is accused of doing things like making a pest of himself to his office assistant (e.g. running his hand up and down her front, &c). Unbecoming of a clergyman but pretty tame in this wretched world we live in.

#8 Comment By The Wet One On March 5, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

Meh.

Business as usual here in the real world.

Thanks for not putting up a “trigger warning” label on this article. It’s appreciated.

So it goes.

#9 Comment By ChrisofProvidence On March 5, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

Thank goodness no it does not appear to be as horrifying as some of sex abuse cases we’ve seen come out of other churches lately.

But still, guys, we’re talking about a serious creep here. Would any of you want him near your daughter? If he was your pastor and you found out he was behaving this way towards your daughter, wouldn’t you do everything you could to have him removed from his position? Whether he was a criminal or actually did something actionable is beside the point – creepy is creepy. And a creep should never be allowed to work in a position of power over young people.

#10 Comment By Edward Hamilton On March 5, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

BJU wouldn’t consent to being scrutinized by a respected Christian organization committed to openness and accountability, so now instead it’s going to get subjected to scrutiny from ideologically hostile observers from the anonymous and unaccountable community of the internet.

I certainly don’t wish ill of BJU, a place that’s probably still full of good and honorable trustees, professors and students who don’t deserve to suffer for the sins of others. (My own pastor is a BJU grad.) Those people among the current BJU campus community need to lead a revolt from the inside against their own administration — collectively, in the open and without hiding behind anonymity — and say that they won’t remain affiliated with an institution that refuses to be transparent about its own policies for dealing with abuse and manifestly un-Christian conduct. Someone needs to take action soon to prevent a siege mentality that isolates BJU from the rest of the evangelical world. If they dawdle, then quite a few faculty could end up unemployed due to collapsing enrollment and quite a few students and alums could be left holding worthless or suspect degrees.

I think G.R.A.C.E. would have been willing to perform a surgical removal of the worst portions of the cancer while leaving the rest of the institution intact, but I doubt this “Recovering Grace” organization has any qualms about knocking down every last brick at BJU, at least based on the other articles at their site.

(I take it as obvious that the author of this anonymous blog is affiliated with Recovering Grace, given how many times they’re being plugged. This is a good reason to remain skeptical concerning contextualization of any material excerpted from leaked documents, of course!)

#11 Comment By Uncle Billy On March 5, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

Don’t they believe in that “Young Earth” nonsense there? Intellectual frauds.

#12 Comment By Judy Jones On March 5, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action about being sexually abused. But let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone at the Bob Jones institution, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened. If you feel uncomfortable going to the police, tell someone whom you trust.
Your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, [4]

#13 Comment By Mike Wood On March 5, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

This does strike me as a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” campaign. No one but the alleged perpetrators or an independent arbiter can really know whether there was a pattern of bad counsel given to the abused (few, I gather, are alleging a pattern of actual sexual abuse at BJU). And until that arbiter—GRACE—releases its report, most of the Internet chatter about this story is answering a matter before hearing it (Prov. 18:13). It really is a folly and a shame, as another commenter pointed out in quoting 1 Cor 6.

Edward Hamilton, your post was written fairmindedly it seemes to me, but I read on the BJU website that they have reinstated GRACE.

#14 Comment By Deggjr On March 6, 2014 @ 6:44 am

There is also guidance in Ephesians 5:11 “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” and Matthew 5:37 “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

#15 Comment By Art Deco On March 6, 2014 @ 8:18 am

But still, guys, we’re talking about a serious creep here. Would any of you want him near your daughter? If

I live in a world where the majority of 1st born children are bastards and 20% of the pregnancies end in surgical abortions, where the notions of chastity and modesty are a quaint memory, where a vigorous minority of young men and young women exploit each other as a matter of routine, and where women in general seem to prefer sociopaths and consider themselves licensed and privileged to treat the rest of the male population as discardable mechandise.

That’s the world I live in. As for awkward late-middle-aged men who make maladroit passes at young women, that’s unappealing. I’ll get to it. There is just this other stuff higher on the list.

#16 Comment By Art Deco On March 6, 2014 @ 8:21 am

It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action about being sexually abused.

Dreher, it takes ‘a lot’ of courage to go into combat. It takes some to start your own business. Filing a police report does not unless your adversary is the Mafia.

#17 Comment By A James On March 6, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

For reference, many similar comments above have been made and discussed at these previous articles.

[5]

[6]

Also, [7]
is a thorough reference for more takes on the topic.

#18 Comment By Sally Davis On March 6, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

You can see my real name, unlike some of you.

1. AFAIK, the person writing at BJUNews is not in any way affiliated with Recovering Grace.

2. The connections between these organizations are deep and often thorny and goes back decades.

3. I attended Bob Jones Academy as a teenager. I was never sexually abused there, however, I did encounter their idea of “counseling” which leaves much to be desired. I count myself lucky to have escaped.

When I hear stories of what happened when these victims were “counseled”, they ring true to me, because the judgmental attitude was exactly what I experienced personally.

4. I have several friends who have participated in the BJU GRACE investigation. I will tell you that coming forward was very difficult for them. To say that it doesn’t take courage to do so is to simply be ignorant.

It’s not about what BJU can do to these people physically. It’s about family and friends and community. It’s about coming under the scrutiny of pious jerks in various churches who make idiotic comments like many of those made here. It’s hard.

Some of these folks have invested their entire adult lives (often their WHOLE lives) in BJU-connected, fundagelical communities. Coming forward threatens those relationships.

I hope nothing like this ever happens to you, or your daughters or sons, or your grandchildren. You might not be so glib about how “starting a business” takes courage.

#19 Comment By Art Deco On March 6, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

I did encounter their idea of “counseling” which leaves much to be desired. I count myself lucky to have escaped.

Do you fancy that what passed for ‘counseling’ at the hands of secular clinicians ca. 1975 did not leave something to be desired? And what’s with the prison metaphors?

#20 Comment By A James On March 6, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

BJU grad here…with gratitude and good memories…that doesn’t think a religious institution or leader should be above criticism or evaluation. I’ve appreciated BJU News whether I agree with them 100 percent or not. A variety of alumni keep up with that site–with attempts to keep BJU News accountable as they in turn try to keep BJU accountable. When one can’t find out something from/about BJU, many head to BJU News for their take, or for a heads up, or for “the rest of the story”, or for good clean rumor.

Okay. Most importantly is this:
“This fellow Gothard runs an enterprise headquartered in Illinois, not South Carolina, an enterprise which is not a subsidiary of Bob Jones.” The concern is the Van Gelderen detail. He was a BJU board member and was close friend of the Jones family–leaders/partners in fundamentlism efforts. His church was located not too far from Gothard–there was interaction there. Point is…the Van Gelderen name and connection is relevant when considering possible influences/ramifications. It has been pointed out at BJU News that presumably the other unnamed official was Bob Wood, then BJU VP. Given BJU’s GRACE investigation, we are just staying alert to all of this.

Then again, maybe this is most important. I am very uncomfortable with the glossing over of what one who is struggling with past abuse or even concerns of abuse should or should not be doing. A quick perusal concerning verified abuse issues in religious organizations should at least help us give more consideration to those speaking out.

“But is it wise to institute a policy of publicizing each instance, exposing to the light of public scorn…” Is it wise not to? Organizations that are not under the direct control of a church can more easily go renegade.

“and not submit to public ridicule the reputations of either the institution or the persons involved?” I’m sorry, but institutions/individuals that did not address the problems correctly when they had opportunity to do so privately defaulted themselves to public scrutiny. And given the nature of the accusation and severity of the action…again, I’m sorry, those that made that choice forfeited such privacy. For the sake of others’ protection, that’s why we have sex offenders lists, SNAP, etc.

“There are occasions of grievous wrongdoing where criminal prosecution may be called for, but unless that is established, with a certain degree of moral certainty, why chide any institution, particularly one associated with the Church, for submitting to public view its “dirty laundry”. That’s what we’re after…to keep their word, to be accountable…how many historical examples (particularly the many in the name of religion) do we need to fully remind ourselves of atrocities that took a long time to come to light. If they have nothing to hide, they need not fear the chiding. What institution is usually so humble enough to clean the dirty laundry unless it is aired?
I understand that within the context of a local church the Bible gives more specific guidelines. Practically, these cannot be the all in all guidelines for parachurch/other than church situations. We do ourselves or the Gospel no favors by not expecting our religious organizations to humbly and wisely rise to the challenge of proving their innocence.

“Unbecoming of a clergyman but pretty tame in this wretched world we live in.” I’m confused here…trying to not be shocked…clergyman or no, adult or minor, how can this wretched world or any one’s world be better when we don’t protect each other’s rights. Instead of belittling the anonymous accused as some do, we should be encouraging them to move forward with concerns/truth.

“Thank goodness no it does not appear to be as horrifying…” In these cases, there’s often a deeper, uglier story.

Encore: “Creepy is creepy. And a creep should never be allowed to work in a position of power over young people.”

Yes, they reaped a whirlwind with the unnecessary unexplained termination. Whether they were arrogant or ignorant in not foreseeing this, I would like to know.

“but I doubt this “Recovering Grace” organization has any qualms about knocking down every last brick at BJU” Recovering Grace is a Gothard survivor site, not a BJU/GRACE site.

“I take it as obvious that the author of this anonymous blog is affiliated with Recovering Grace….” Again, it’s the connection of Van Gelderen (BJU board member)/Bob Wood BJU VP at that time that makes it fall under scrutiny.

“most of the Internet chatter about this story is answering a matter before hearing it” It’s called keeping the pressure on BJU to not make another dumb fatal mistake. It’s called keeping our religious institutions accountable. 1 Thessalonians 5:2:1 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.”

Art Deco: Apparently you live in a much tougher world than many. I can admire that. I hope you will not let your gift and ability to work among such diminish the compassion for others trapped in their own form of bondage trying to seek a path for freedom. Much of the investigation with Gothard, etc. is simply trying to bring things to light so that both individuals and institutions can find freedom from past real or perceived wrongs. Perhaps you aren’t aware of the intense extra-biblical teaching that those in Vision Forum, Gothard, IFB might have to deal with. To complain or question in some of those cultures is paramount to rebellion to God. When you grow up with this in addition to sexual abuse…yes, it takes bravery. “Not unless your adversary is the Mafia.” I wouldn’t do the topic justice concerning how sexual abusers/predators/religious leaders can manipulate or take revenge (especially if they are in one’s own family or in a dictatorial type church).

The Gothard/BJU GRACE issues ultimately may not have a proven connection. However, many (if not most) constituents believe it is a pivotal choice for BJU to remain willing to see GRACE through and make any reparations needed. Articles and considerations like these are a way of keeping the pressure on BJU to do what is right.

Count me in, Hamilton, with those that “say that they won’t remain affiliated with an institution that refuses to be transparent about its own policies for dealing with abuse and manifestly un-Christian conduct.”

#21 Comment By A James On March 6, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

Art Deco: I’m LOLing here. Google a bit… BJU/Gothard/Vision Forum/Hyles Anderson/Jack Schaap. You seem a take charge kind of guy, and I don’t doubt that after 30 minutes (or 3) of research you’d be leading the way and breaking out with prison metaphors. Check out the easily accessible general opinion…let us know what you think…after you move far, far away to protect you and yours from being captured 🙂

#22 Comment By Laurie On March 6, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

This link includes an excerpt from the book “A Matter of Basic Principles” by Don Venoit. (www.pagepusher.com/view-book/AMatterOfBasicPrinciples)
The book is still available through Amazon and other publishers and is well documented with footnotes.
See page 7 of the 9 page sample under the bolded section head “Damage Control Begins.” Bob Wood, then Vice President of Bob Jones University, is named, along with Van Geldren, as intervening in the 1980’s Bill Gothard scandal. These self-described Independent Fundamentalist leaders were very much interconnected with one another, albeit not formally “networked.” In the times of Gothard’s workshops best attendance, it was not unusual for many people affiliated with Bob Jones University to be in attendance.

Interestingly enough, Bill Gothard and Bob Wood are both documented with promoting and teaching the digusting “throw-away-parts” doctrine to rape survivors: the soul is the *permanent* part of a woman/human while the body parts that were harmed in the rape are temporal, literally “throw-away,” so the rape (or molestation or incest) survivor can just forgive the abuser/rapist and give it all over to God and move on with life. Bill Gothard’s teaching of this idea is available in print from his training materials and there is a video of Bob Wood teaching the same thing. I have no idea who came up with the teaching first, but there is plenty of documentation that they knew each other.

#23 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 10:23 am

Interestingly enough, Bill Gothard and Bob Wood are both documented with promoting and teaching the digusting “throw-away-parts” doctrine to rape survivors: the soul is the *permanent* part of a woman/human while the body parts that were harmed in the rape are temporal, literally “throw-away,” so the rape (or molestation or incest) survivor can just forgive the abuser/rapist and give it all over to God and move on with life.

You’d best move on with your life after traumas; one’s domestic and work responsibilities do not disappear because one has been traumatized. How is it ‘disgusting’ to tell someone to do that? Or is it your contention that everyone should be a ward of the mental health trade?

#24 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 10:28 am

Art Deco: Apparently you live in a much tougher world than many.

No. I am just not Joey Heatherton. There are people in this world who are a wreck. That they manage from time to time to do ordinary things in spite of their wreckage is a good thing. It is not, however, courageous.

The rest of what you have to say is too incoherent for me to make sense of.

#25 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

Do you fancy that what passed for ‘counseling’ at the hands of secular clinicians ca. 1975 did not leave something to be desired? And what’s with the prison metaphors?

I have no idea what “1975” has to do with anything. I was at the Academy in the early sixties.

I used the word “escape” because that’s exactly how it felt to get out of there. I was hauled into a discipline committee situation with III (a very young man at the time, being prepped to be Pres.) and most of the deans and dorm supervisors — about 10 people.

I was asked if I knew anything about some Academy boys who’d gone downtown and been drinking. I replied that I did, but that I wasn’t going to tell them who or anything else because I’d promised not to.

I was rewarded for my honesty with 149 demerits, being locked in an office for about 30 minutes while III had a screaming hissy fit because he wanted to “ship” me outright and then spent the rest of the school year (March to May) going to “counseling” at the hands of Dr. Liverman (dean of men — I have no clue why they thought that was a good idea) and Dr. Edwards (campus “pastor”). Both men spent every weekly session trying to get me to rat out my friends.

BTW, these guys were seniors. Had they been shipped, they would have had to repeat their HS senior year and most of them were already accepted at various colleges.

I refused to tell on them to the end. All of them graduated. All the suspects were guilty, and none attended BJU. HAHAHAHA Nah, nah, nah, BJU.

I was denied enrollment the following year, much to my delight. [My mother forced me to go to school there.]

The interesting thing about all this is that they tried every way in the world to get me to tell them what they wanted to know. They lied to me about what other students had said. They encouraged me to get “revenge” since I’m the only person of 12 who got any demerits or punishment of any kind (the others just lied and said they didn’t know anything.) They quoted endless reams of scripture all designed to get me to rat.

And I knew instinctively that if I told them, I would be of no further use to them, and I’d have gotten that one remaining demerit the following day and been booted. That would have meant repeating a grade. No way was I going to do that.

I was 15 years old. Prior to this, I’d been in no trouble whatever during my stay there.

Yes, it was a kind of prison. And yes, I was lucky to have escaped.

The day I completed my last final exam, and I knew they could no longer deny me credit for the year, I walked on the grass. 🙂

#26 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

I have no idea what “1975″ has to do with anything.

I am a man of a certain age.

That’s what you’ve been stewing over for fifty-odd years? Sorry, not impressed.

#27 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

I haven’t been “stewing.”

I’m just telling you that BJU has very questionable practices when it comes to dealing with its students. And it has had them for decades. Nothing is new. Nothing has changed.

And I don’t care whether you’re “impressed” or not. After all, you’re a man who thinks that having an older male authority figure do what these women have accused Gothard of doing is simply him being a “pest.”

You would fit in well at BJU. That’s what they think too.

#28 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

And I don’t care whether you’re “impressed” or not. After all, you’re a man who thinks that having an older male authority figure do what these women have accused Gothard of doing is simply him being a “pest.”

One accusation has been delineated in detail. It included ‘playing footsie’, holding her hand, and an instance when he made a pass at her. That’s no way to treat your employees and no way for a clergyman to behave. The question at hand, though, is should she have a cause of action (and should she have one with no corroborating evidence and have one 20 years after the fact).

What you detailed was that you refused to co-operate with an investigation into infractions against a disciplinary code and you threw it in their face that you were not co-operating. And they punished you. That’s what happens in schools which have a disciplinary code. My father could have given you stories from his time as a high school student in the 1940s and I could have given you stories from my time in the 1970s.

School officials look like martinets when they are in the act of enforcing a code. The dilemma is that there is no way not to look like martinets other than to dispose of the code (or dispose of enforcing it). You should have figured that out by now, sister. You’re over 70.

#29 Comment By A James On March 7, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

Laurie,
Just this morning I had read this post of a former Gothardite.
[8]
The “Counseling Sexual Abuse” page he shows was reminiscent of some of the GRACE interviewees’ testimonies of all-too-similar counseling from Berg/Wood. To choose between “no physical abuse or being might in spirit”?! And yes, the “more important parts”. Anyway, I appreciate your further info shedding light on the connections/influence. Your comment would be great info to have over at the current BJU News Gothard discussion if you had time to post it over there.

Art,
I am barely coherent to myself…I can relate 🙂
Your words are coherent, but your attitude isn’t. It’s ordinary to have to fight against a religious/familial structure that is abusive or illegal? I guess more and more it is becoming ordinary (to our society’s shame)…in light of that is even more courageous to not give in to the status quo.

“You’d best move on with your life after traumas” It is moving forward to hold people and places ethically and legally accountable–and, by doing that, making one small corner of the world a little safer. The counseling by Gothard, etc. is responsible for guilt inducing counseling that is influential in people being in bondage by the abuse rather than freed from it.

“That’s what you’ve been stewing over for fifty-odd years? Sorry, not impressed.” Just because someone is using their testimony from the past to be an influence in the present doesn’t mean they are stewing over something.

All I can say is what Sally said earlier to you: “I hope nothing like this ever happens to you, or your daughters or sons, or your grandchildren” and that you can find someone who won’t brush you off as you stew and find it hard to move on.

Sally,
And loyal BJUers are thought to be impossible. Either Art is a loyal BJUer in disguise, or loyal BJUers have some serious competition. Thanks for your story. I had not known it before. Hopefully it doesn’t offend you that I found much of it wildly funny. I must go read it again to get rid of some tension from Art saying I’m incoherent 🙂

#30 Comment By A James On March 7, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

Ah, yes, that’s what I should have said, Sally:
“After all, you’re a man who thinks that having an older male authority figure do what these women have accused Gothard of doing is simply him being a “pest.”
You would fit in well at BJU. That’s what they think too.”

Hopefully that’s coherent enough for him.

#31 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

What you detailed was that you refused to co-operate with an investigation into infractions against a disciplinary code and you threw it in their face that you were not co-operating. And they punished you.

Actually no. They asked me if I knew who had gone downtown and I said yes. They asked me to tell them who had gone downtown and I declined.

This is what I was “punished” for.

The other people involved (about a dozen) LIED and said they didn’t have a clue. The Bob couldn’t prove they did so did nothing.

I was told that if I didn’t rat out my friends I would be considered as guilty as they were. I said nothing.

Remember, these were high school seniors. They had every right to do what they did. They broke no laws. They broke little Bobby’s rules, but kids at BJU break rules all the time. And most of them simply lie about it.

I was honest and I was duly rewarded for it.

It was a valuable lesson. Rather than teaching me to be a liar, it taught me to never, ever, ever trust any man who holds a Bible. 🙂

Because they lied to me. They told me that my friends had already told them everything, that they already knew who had done what, and they already knew what I knew. They just needed for me to level with them, so they could “clear my name.” I knew that was baloney, so I declined.

That’s when III lost his temper and began yelling at me. If you’ve never seen III throw a hissy fit, you haven’t lived. I was astonished, frankly.

I’m not 70. Yet. I’m several years away. Did you take math at BJU? LOL I’m also NOT your sister.

The point here is that “code” was (and IS) something that they impose on the students and brazenly break themselves. I was better than they were. I didn’t lie. They did, over and over and over again.

#32 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 4:15 pm

Hopefully it doesn’t offend you that I found much of it wildly funny.

The best part was when we were all held together in the waiting room and discovered that they had a tape recorder under the sofa, hidden by the skirt. They left us there, all together, for about 45 minutes hoping that we’d talk and they’d get their information that way. Didn’t work.

[I’m sure that the entire administration building is bugged now, but in those days, I guess they had to do it the old fashioned way. They get REALLY MAD, though, if you bug them without their knowledge. Just ask Christopher Peterman about that.]

It was horrible at the time, but yes, gets funnier with age. I was such a young girl, and so naive. I thought Christians were, you know, honest and sincere and all that.

I had no idea they could be such snakes.

Sadly, I didn’t leave then, though. I waited another several decades before deciding that I’d had enough and bidding Jesus adieu.

#33 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

Actually no.

Actually yes, that’s precisely what you did. You would prefer it be reframed, but the reframing is false. You are steamed that other people lied and got away with it. It’s an adolescent attitude. People who make decisions have to do so on incomplete information. You should have figured that out when you had to make decisions like that.

And whether or not they had a ‘right’ to do what they did under the law, the academy is not an organ of government and has more claims on people who voluntarily affiliate with it than does the civil government with people who live there and pay taxes (and are working adults who pay those taxes, not adolescent dependents). You could have addressed the complaint to the people who affiliated you.

#34 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

Your words are coherent, but your attitude isn’t.

No, my attitude is coherent. You write like you’re intoxicated (which is why you may not comprehend what I am telling you).

#35 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

Actually yes, that’s precisely what you did.

And again. No. Bob III was not a police officer. Those people had no right whatever to interrogate me like that. They certainly had no right to lock me in a room and prevent me from leaving. I had no, absolutely no, obligation to answer their questions. I had done nothing wrong at all.

Remember, I was not present when anyone did anything. Anything I would have told them was hearsay. Yet they were ready and willing to expel those boys based on that.

You’re talking about an “investigation” like they carried the force of law. They do not.

You are steamed that other people lied and got away with it.

Nope. They were my friends. I was fine with what happened as far as they were concerned. They all got to graduate. I got to finish the year (I was in the tenth grade) and move on to the public high school. It was all good. I never resented any of them.

This is in spite of the U’s efforts to get me to resent them so I would tell on them. I remember quoting “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord” to Dr. Liverman. He was not happy about that, and explained that I was misinterpreting the verse. HAHAHAHA 🙂

has more claims on people who voluntarily affiliate with it than does the civil government

You’re bonkers. Just bonkers. No way is this true. This is at the core of what’s going on right now at BJU. They are required by law to report incidents of abuse to appropriate law enforcement whether the abuse happened on campus or ten years prior in another state. Required. They have not done this.

I bet you wouldn’t be so flippant if it were your granddaughter (since you’re of a “certain age”) who was being mistreated.

If you can think that doing what they did to me, a fifteen year old girl, was right and appropriate, then you’re just as bad as they are.

Oh, yeah, that’s right. You think Gothard was being a “pest.” I forgot.

#36 Comment By A James On March 7, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

Art, I must be intoxicated to keep dialoguing with you 🙂 But get this, I actually agree with this that you said:

“And whether or not they had a ‘right’ to do what they did under the law, the academy is not an organ of government and has more claims on people who voluntarily affiliate with it than does the civil government with people who live there and pay taxes (and are working adults who pay those taxes, not adolescent dependents).”

However, you are misrepresenting the main point of Sally’s experience. The punishment went beyond the situation.

“Actually yes, that’s precisely what you did. You would prefer it be reframed, but the reframing is false.” This is an assumption. You can only say she is reframing her wrongdoing as right IF the handbook clearly said something about students declining to turn in other students or not working with authority. We don’t know that. She did not lie as the others. They took advantage of her rightdoing. It is this kind of unjust authority that is being called out with Gothard/BJU, etc….it is a breeding ground for abuse and coverup.

If declining to inform because of a promise merited that many demerits according the handbook, then give the demerits and be done with it. The rest was over the top.

By the way, Art, this guy having a hissy fit (III) grew up to later be known for using the term “consensual rape” regarding a man raping a minor. And trying to keep a man on the board of BJU who made the same minor stand up for church discipline without clearly calling out defenses of the abuser towards her. He was president during many if not most of the issues that GRACE is investigating.

You talk of us voluntarily submitting to them…but if they expect to keep a base of voluntary supporters…and if they don’t want people calling them out (as is our right)…they’d best choose the high ground and govern their institutions honorably.

“You could have addressed the complaint to the people who affiliated you.” You are assuming she didn’t. Just as others are assuming much fault to the accusers (Gothard, GRACE etc.)
This is not a fair and balanced reaction. Why is there assumption for wrong doing on the part of institutions? Why such quick dismissals for any allegations?

Aren’t you steamed when people get away with wrong? I don’t understand the grievance with that. But then I’m intoxicated…how could I.

Sally, if I’ve misrepresented your views…of course, no offense taken at corrections. Since “you’re” the grammarian, I dread to ask if my casual writing style is so awfully incoherent…

Looks like we’ve typed ourselves right into the weekend. Adieu, Art, thanks for the challenge and the laughs. I have never been accused of intoxication…that’s a new insult to add to my collection. People are LOLing here with me.

#37 Comment By A James On March 7, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

I wish I knew how to use the italics–maybe that’s why my writing looks drunk. Anyway, oops I meant to clarify my agreement on this particular point where you said:

“has more claims on people who voluntarily affiliate with it than does the civil government”

In the sense that the institution can make and enforce their own particular policies, that’s true, but always always within the parameters of the civil government and not going beyond their own stated institutional policies…not beyond. And the government has a right/duty to investigate concerns that the institution is acting within the limits of the law–to protect people from weirdos. Yes, there’s a fine line with religious groups and their religious freedom. But no church or business is above the law.

#38 Comment By A James On March 7, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

Oops again and I’m done: Should have read, “Why isn’t there assumption for wrong doing on the part of institutions?”

#39 Comment By Art Deco On March 7, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

Sally Davis, you were a student called up on the carpet. Most of us have similar stories of being where we did not wish to be, having to answer questions we did not want to answer. That’s just part of life when you’re a dependent of a certain age.

A James:

Sober up, will you.

#40 Comment By Sally Davis On March 7, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

Sally Davis, you were a student called up on the carpet. Most of us have similar stories of being where we did not wish to be, having to answer questions we did not want to answer.

LOL Says the guy who thinks that Gothard was being a pest.

Just remember this: Bob Jones University is not safe. Not safe for anyone, ever.

Bob Jones University is not safe. Not only are students in jeopardy because they can be assaulted without having access to law enforcement, they also can be required to undergo “counseling” done by people who do not have any credentials to do so.

And furthermore, you can go to school there, paying way more than the education is worth, and never break a single rule, get right down to the wire and be kicked out of school without a diploma. No refund. No way to transfer your credits because the school is not accredited.

If by good luck you do manage to graduate, your degree is basically worthless.

Did I mention that Bob Jones University is not safe? It’s not safe for you physically. It’s not safe emotionally. It’s not safe financially.

Nothing has changed in the entire history of the school.

#41 Comment By Jeremy On March 8, 2014 @ 3:11 am

It is becoming increasingly clear that BJU has passed its used by date. Historically, its leaders have been placed on a pedestal, but they, like us all, are flawed sinners.

If BJU really cares more about Jesus, than their own reputation, then the board will apologise, change the name of the institution, and resign in favour of some fresh and untarnished leadership.

And I am not a BJU hater, I just know that Jesus does not need them in order to do His work.

Oh, and in regard to Gothard, there is nothing salvageable there. ATI should be cast into the dustbin of history.

#42 Comment By Art Deco On March 8, 2014 @ 7:33 am

The school actually does have an accreditation. People who enroll anywhere should be aware that a portion of their credits will not be accepted elsewhere if they transfer. College degrees are commonly worthless; nothing special about Bob Jones. Credentialed ‘counselors’ are commonly fools. The crime rate in Greenville, SC. is about 60% or so above national means, which is unsurprising given its crude demographics.

You’ve gone for fifty years thinking someone had done you a special injury. They did not.

#43 Comment By A James On March 8, 2014 @ 7:54 am

I slept it off, Art. Thought there might be a slight hangover effect, but I should do better this final comment.

Looks like Sally summed it all up nicely. I just want to add as coherently as possible, that there are others that don’t have Sally’s “history” or worse (that would be considered more loyal supporters), that say they will not be sending their children there until the issues of GRACE are resolved well. Just with the limited info these days, they have they are concerned about the physical/emotional/financial well-being–which in turn affects the spiritual well-being. With the questionable way BJU has handled the GRACE investigation, the unnecessary public attention and the credibility-reducing decisions gives us all pause.

Perhaps having children or grandchildren affects to some degree the benefit of the doubt one would give to either the student or the institution–and how much leniency they would give an institution in pushing or going over reasonable limits. Still though, there are enough verified testimonials on the internet and in the history books that should make one stay alert and compassionate.

Till the next American Conservative article that mentions BJU…

#44 Comment By A James On March 8, 2014 @ 10:44 am

“The school actually does have an accreditation.”

They do not have regional accreditation. Nor have they been able to be an official applicant for regional accreditation.

[9]
[10]

The sites above give you all you might want to know about this topic.

They have TRACS which is a fairly useless little stamp of approval that has not been strong enough to meet the demands from other colleges. Due to constituent pressure/decreased enrollment–and even against III’s past hissy fits about the Satanic elements of accreditation, BJU has been seeking SACS–the powerhouse regional accreditation seal of approval that any other college of import carries.

Apart from the GRACE investigation, regional accreditation is the biggest item on their plate right now for their continued existence. They are fully aware of this and in the process of trying to achieve it. At this point, I think it was calculated, that the earliest class that could possibly have an accredited degree is 2020. This is a ticking time bomb.

This from one who is not so bothered or stranded by my unaccredited degree, but who supports majority alumni/constituents that no longer see the use in spending all that money for a BJU unaccredited education only to have to pay more money for repeating much of their education as they pursue advanced degrees or careers.

Art, it’s the running joke about the limitations of our unaccredited degrees. Can’t you tell I have one? 🙂

Ditto, Jeremy.

#45 Comment By A James On March 9, 2014 @ 9:14 am

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#46 Comment By G On April 9, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

I was looking up something and came across this article. Wow, am I shocked. I have never heard about this “scandal” but some of the names in the article I know who these men are: I met Rev. Van Gelderen in Greenville, SC since he married my sister and brother-in-law. Dr. Bob Wood was on staff when I attended BJU.

I graduated from BJU in 1987 with an unaccredited associates degree. But that didn’t stop me from getting high paying jobs in New Jersey. During my 27 years in the work force, the Lord opened the doors for me to worked for 2 Fortune 500 companies – Nabisco and Warner-Lambert (which is now Pfizer). My current job is with a small company but still important (provides computer software for the MAJOR banks in the U.S. (i.e. the Federal Reserve Bank, etc.). I’m in my 15th year here, and I’m now able to worked from home. This small company continues to provide the best insurance plan – free health/dental insurance, matching 401(k). Folks, this is what BJU’s unaccredited Associates Degree did for me. PLUS I was able to witness and let my light shine to all my unsaved co-workers for the past 27 years. Imagine that?

I did receive a “GRACE” investigation letter and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I’m sad to hear of this “harassment” problem on campus. I can’t relate to any of this since I had nothing but good years there and made great friends.

Time is short folks, Jesus is coming soon. He loves you and died for you. Make sure you call on Him, confess your sins and ask Jesus to be your personal Savior so you don’t miss out on heaven! John 3:16, John 14:1-2, John 14:6

#47 Comment By Liam S.W. On June 15, 2015 @ 7:32 pm

You apologists for Bob Jones University really take the cake: anyone who points out a heinous crime is paraded as the victim. To the sane world, you’re an overt part of what’s wrong with the South.