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Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

I Samuel 7:12

Our Ebenezers documenting our last years of ministry at Bob Jones University:

32 thoughts on “Ebenezers

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  4. Camille, I sat through your workshop last weekend at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church and thoroughly enjoyed your talk. Thank you for coming to our church and being a part of what I consider a great learning weekend.

    In keeping with that theme, are you familiar with Andrew Gavin Marshall and his ongoing research in black history in the US, among other topics.

    His site is at: http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/

    On the right side half way down is a pretty interesting podcast titled: “Black History in the United States: Slavery, Segregation, and Social Control”. it might have some background material fyi.

    I am bookmarking your blog and will be checking it periodically. all the best, TR

  5. Finally got the chance to read these posts. Wow. I am not shocked or surprised, and I had hunches as to what was going on. I heard rumors among fellow students that year about why you & Grant left. But at that time, I too was enveloped in that…”one block” world. So amazed at your graciousness through all of this and the peace that God has given you. Reading this has given me much to think about and I am grateful and challenged! Thank you for sharing. It must have been painful to relive and I’m sure you have met a lot of unloving responses. I somehow graduated despite several…scuffles…and met my husband there – for that I am thankful. The rest I will leave unsaid until the day(if it comes) that I believe I must share it.

  6. Hi Camille,
    I graduated from BJU in ’79 and then did a master’s there. I gave the whole thing a fair shake giving consideration that they might possibly be right even though doing so would have meant turning against my own father who was pastoring an evangelical church at the time. It didn’t take too long for me to see the internal inconsistencies of the system so I never drank the Kool Aid.

    Thank you for your writing. I have read through most of your “E” tome and found it very interesting and sad, but not at all surprising. I haven’t really paid much attention to the school in decades. I was blacklisted not long after leaving. They even stopped sending me fund raising mailings. I spent about 10 years with Campus Crusade for Christ, so that pretty much sealed my doom. I had been in the cinema program during the height of Mrs. Stenholm’s era. (My name is in the credits of “Sheffey”) I would never have been able to go the distance in any other major. I was able to escape to Unusual Films. I observed much and from my first year witnessed many things that raised red flags about rottenness in the State of Denmark, though I never dreamed it would go as far as sexual abuse. I did find it curious that there were several obviously (even to a naive 18 year old kid) flaming gay faculty members. How could the admin not know? Were they putting up with this or just stupid? It had to be one or the other. But I had a wonderful time in the cinema program – which I am eternally grateful for, put up with the rest, kept my mouth shut, got my diplomas and a good start into my career in film/video production which goes on to this day. I say I kept my mouth shut – except for one time I did discuss the existence of the defacto Bob Jones denomination of churches that during those years sent loads of students to the school and parroted the Jones dogma to their people. Somebody overheard that and turned me in, which lead to an uncomfortable meeting with dean Liverman and then a session with Tony Miller, then campus counselor. I came away from that meeting with the same impression I got from his hall meeting talks, which was that the guy was a very repressed pervert. Anyway, he was also, fortunately, rather dull of mind and I was able to run rings around his head and get out of there and avoid getting kicked out without much difficulty while never lying and while keeping my integrity intact. But it was pretty scary. Well enough of the fond memories.

    The reason I am posting, besides just weighing in with more support to you from an alum, is to provide a tad of insight about the situation you described in your letter to Steven about the shift toward a cold, corporate, bottom line attitude toward the faculty and staff. I was surprised last night, while poking around the BJU website, to find that Larry Jackson is now the chairman of the board. I watched a video of him speaking about the search process for a new president. As it happens I worked for the man as a film producer in his Detroit company for a couple of years in the early 80’s. That dude is a piece of work. He is a spin doctor and wiley as a fox. I would not trust one thing coming out of his mouth to be the whole, straightforward truth. It will have truth in it and he will have convinced himself it’s pure gospel, but he is a master of hidden agenda. He also has (or had in those days – it’s possible he has changed) little regard for employees. We were treated like machines to be discarded and replaced by fresh BJ grads when worn out. I once worked two months straight, 7 days a week, without a day off and every one of those weeks was at least 100 hours. It was a salaried job – no overtime. Larry looks out for number one. He feigns humility but loves power. And he grew wealthy off of his dreadful sweatshop. So, your story of the recent BJU HR dynamic makes a lot of sense. It would seem that he has spread his business expertise to BJU now.

    Well I thought you might find that interesting. I could go on about lot of stuff but I just wanted to enter the fray here. When I was a student, I estimated that probably 75% of the student body was there for a good education and did not buy into the party line. The remaining 25% were the loyal lemmings (sorry, that wasn’t kind – okay, butt kissers – whoops! I’m having a hard time being accurate and kind at the same time. Truly sorry. Now I remember: we called them “BoJo’s”) At any rate, there must be tens of thousands of us out here minding our own business and paying little or no attention to the Fortress of Fundamentalism for decades on end who would have gladly joined the red protest if we had known about it. Certainly more than the handful you had. I’m thinking it might be time with the advent of the internet and all for us to make our voices heard. I would love to see the school change, but I have little hope for that happening. But at the very least, students considering going there should be able to Google up some fair information about what they are getting into. And I’d love to save some kids the burden of the spiritual and intellectual abuse I have carried around all my life. Not to mention sex abuse victims. And faculty members. (I did a six year stint teaching at Columbia International University, so I know a bit about that dynamic too.) Well, that’s it from me for now. I would like to see others like me come forward and make their voices heard. And hey, stories about King Bob Jr. screaming at the peasants – er, staff people – are always entertaining. But this may be the wrong blog for that. It’s late and I’m getting silly. God bless you and good night.

    Dan Philgreen
    Fort Myers, Florida

    1. Hey, Dan! Nice to “meet” you. I think all the stories are useful of all kinds. One semester while a graduate assistant in the Speech Dept, I was in charge of organizing the “Vesper Files.” And of course, I was fascinated by all the screeds I read from Dr. Bob Jr. He was a living terror for the speech faculty, I now know. I would see that same rage from Dr. Bob III when it came to Ensemble checks (the utter fear we Fine Arts faculty all felt with those). Dr. Bob III showed it in faculty meetings too. They were tyrants.

      As for Larry Jackson’s influence on Stephen, Jackson wasn’t the Chairman of the Board until Sept, 2013. Prior to that, John Yessa was often see as Stephen’s mentor while Stuart Epperson would fund some of Stephen’s medical expenses. The cold detachment toward their employees can be seen in all the BJU, Inc. presidents. I’ve got the letters from Bob Jones Sr. with how miserly and tyrannical he was. BJU Inc was a mill town life.

      But I completely believe you about Jackson’s ruthlessness. He was raised on campus. He saw it from the best.

      Nice to talk with you. God bless.


  7. Thank you so much for writing about your experience at BJU. I am a former student (and reformed legalist, PTL!) and although I only spent 1 year there, I developed life long friendships during my time there and have always held BJU close to my heart. I have been so confused during this time because I didn’t know who or what to believe. I, like most students, was taught to believe that BJU and the administrators can do no wrong and to question them would be like questioning the gospel itself. However, the more research I do on this situation, the more disgusted I become that there are people out there actually defending the actions of the administration. I know for a fact that there are wonderful Christian people at BJU as students, faculty and staff, but to defend the administration is appalling.

    Thank you again for being willing to share your story. Seeing good Christian people stand up for what is right is so encouraging to me. Jesus is using this nasty situation to teach me about what freedom in Christ really means and that legalism has no place when you are a follower of Christ. I’m finally starting to understand how awesome God’s grace truly is!


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