Strange Dates

It may be the time of year when the world falls in love but if you’re a young fundamentalist the course of love never runs smoothly. If you happen to have the fortune to be in a fundy camp where “dating” is not considered to be a dirty word, it still doesn’t mean that your romantic endeavors will be anything less than awkward and strange.

The main problem is that there just isn’t a whole lot of space to get to know someone in the confines of the fundy dating scheme. Dinner at a nice restaurant? Only if you bring two chaperons (and pay for their meals). Take in a movie? You must be joking. Bible conference? Ah! Now there’s a real fundy approved dating venue. Nothing says romance quite like listening to an evangelist yell.

In fact, other than sitting with the object of your affection’s parents in their living room watching The Sound of Music, church and Christian school activities are really about the only other approved dating venues. Parks, beaches, public streets and Walmart are locations much too fraught with temptation to allow young people to hang out there together unsupervised. Even if they’re 36.

Good luck having those heart to heart moments where you share all your hopes and dreams and say silly things as those in love are wont to do. Hopefully, your chaperons have the decency to pretend not to notice.

192 thoughts on “Strange Dates”

    1. Absolutely. You can’t really get to know a person in the fake dating scene they had at Fundy U’s. Quite frankly it is too easy to game that system. Fake your way through it. Sad, but there really may be something to a more free and open system.

      1. It just goes hand in hand with all the other fundy fakes. But, then again, they count on young people being unable to distinguish real from fake, otherwise fundyism would die out.

    2. Another reason is probably the tendency to marry while still adolescents.
      In the larger society, the younger people are when they marry, the more likely they are to divorce. I don’t know why that wouldn’t be true of fundies, too.

      1. Except FUndies don’t divorce and they stay together, truly truly miserable unable to work through the problems because the man is in charge and whatever is wrong is the wife’s fault. I have fundy friends that just break my heart because they are trapped and divorce is not an answer. It’s “just” verbal/emotional/spritual abuse so it’s not that bad…

        UG! πŸ‘Ώ

        1. That was the story of my parents. Yell at each other, throw dishes, push each other down stairs, but don’t divorce.

      2. Don’t go picking on those of us that married young. πŸ˜€ My husband and I were 19 when we got married. We spent 2 years talking to each other almost every day before that, though, so we knew each other very well by the time we got married. We’ve been married 2 1/2 years now, and we’ve never had any problems. I got “lucky” and found a guy who knows how to treat a lady right. πŸ™‚

        1. I wish both of you well, and am happy for you to be one of the exceptions. I will point out, however, that 2.5 years (so far) is not a long time to be married.
          (My grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.)

        2. My best friends married when she was 19 and he was 21. They had been acquainted 6 months. Her dad was a Baptist preacher and he was a bus kid. Sounds like a recipe for divorce. Not this time. They celebrated their 35th anniversary the day after Thanksgiving.

      3. Actually, that’s not true. It’s not “the younger you are when you get married, the higher your chance of divorce.” It’s getting married while still a teenager that seems to be the problem.

        “According to a 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control, 48 percent of people who enter marriage when under 18, and 40 percent of 18- and 19-year olds, will eventually divorce. But only 29 percent of those who get married at age 20 to 24 will eventually divorce Ò€” very similar to the 24 percent of the 25-and-older cohort.”

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204575039150739864666.html

        1. The article you cite doesn’t say what the sample size was, but 29% would not usually be considered “very similar” to 24%. A differential of 5 percentage points is statistically significant in most studies.

      4. To be a bit clearer, marriages (in USA, according to CDC) brides below the age of 20 are much more likely to be divorced than those over 20, and those under 18 most likely of all. Interestingly enough, the sample wasn’t very skewed – there were only twice as many women 18-19 than women under 18. The CDC study didn’t correlate men’s age at all. No idea why.

    3. @tony mel- i don’t think the answer to that question is simple. here are a few somewhat related observations.

      first, it isn’t always possible to get to know your future spouse well before you get married (some countries practice arranged marriages and some circumstances preclude face-to-face interaction prior to marriage). many people who are married under these less than ideal circumstances have fantastic relationships (e.g. martin luther, adoniram judson), others not so much.

      second, people change spiritually, emotionally, and biologically through the years(sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse). spouses have to decide how to respond to those changes in themselves and in their spouses.

      third, people tend to divorce for similar reasons (whether or not they knew each other well prior to marriage): infidelity, money problems, abuse, child discipline…

      these observations lead me to the conclusion that it would be difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship between nonsense fundy dating/courtship rules and fundy divorce. the rules are misguided, the divorce tragic. i’m just not sure that the one causes or significantly contributes to the other.

  1. (SHIVER) I met a potential mate the first week of Bible College and because of the atmosphere and expectations, most of the people in my shoes, indoctrinated the way we were, were more concerned about “knowing if the person they had their eyes on was ‘God’s will’, rather than if there was actual attraction and compatibility at play.

    I mean, you really couldn’t look over a girl to get a good visual because if “you looked twice, it was lust”…the solution? One LONG look…then you just turn yourself in to the firing squad located just outside the door of the Dean of Student’s office.

  2. Yeah… I was single all the way through Fundy college. I felt bad about never having dates at the time, but now I realize I really wasn’t missing anything. At all. There’s something severely wrong with the dating scene when your time is better spent reading in your dorm.

    1. Exactly. I made it through four years of Fundy U without ever once going on a date. I felt like kind of a loser back then, but I’ve come to be grateful that I a) missed out on all the awkwardness of the fundy dating scene and b) had a much easier time leaving fundyland as a single woman than I would have had as a married/engaged woman. Besides, all that time spent reading on Friday nights in my dorm was, in retrospect, what helped me see the light and get the heck out of fundyland upon graduation!

  3. You lucky blighters!

    For me there was no dating, no courtship, no sitting in the parentss house watching Sound of Music, no restaurant, no nothing. All of that was considered anathema. God told you (the man) who to marry, you told the pastor, the pastor told the girl, the girl prayed about it, she said ay or nay, the pastor told you, at the engagement service (yes!) hye passed the ring to her, and only at the wedding were you allowed to stand together, with the pastor still doing the rings!!

    It is by the very grace of God that the wife and I are still together, because we (were) VERY different.

    And yes, I still want to kick the denomination’s collective backside. πŸ‘Ώ

        1. Yes, and in many times and places in the medieval era, you got betrothed, you had sex, and the marriage was celebrated sometime before the baby was born.

      1. Hey hey hey — don’t crack on the Medieval like that! 😎 In fact, Medieval courtship and marriage customs were not so very different from today’s, modulo the political alliance of the Very Important and the fact that most people had mate selections only from locals. Economic considerations were stronger as well, as befits societies where “economic failure” easily meant “someone starves.” 😯

      1. That was widespread in the Early Middle Ages, when marriage was mostly orchestrated by families or individuals and recognized by the church, rather than being policed by the church. Depending on local law or custom, there was nothing to stop a young couple from skipping off to the woods and marrying each other with a simple exchange of vows. (The scene in Braveheart in which William and Murron get hitched in the woods is something that happened all the time, though not even a priest was necessary.) It’s complicated, but suffice it to say that this ability began to disappear c. 1000-1100, with laws becoming more strenuous and the church taking a more active role in making marriages “official.”

        How we got from there to the situation on Fundy U. campuses… I don’t even want to start figuring that out.

        1. LOL that’s ok. I thought your response was hilarious and much like something like I would do. Now I know how my friends and family must feel when they’re around me! πŸ˜†

        1. Wow. 😯 Thanks for posting the links.

          BTW, welcome. One thing about SFL: Even if you’re not IFB, if you’ve experienced any weirdness (or worse) in the name of any form of authoritarian “Christianity” and are now calling it out for what it is, you fit right in. Glad to have you here.

    1. I have known people in similar situations (the “arranged” marriages). . In these cases the marriages were orchestrated primarily by the parents and the MOG. . .Thankfully I was fortunate enough to avoid such a fate.

  4. The fundy college I attended, Midwestern Baptist College, had the approved “dating parlor” which consisted of 3 or 4 couches and a piano, just in case you wanted to break out in song and serenade your romantic interest with a hymn (but only the first, third and fourth verses). Also, if you wanted to have a snack together, ladies were forbidden from eating a banana unless it was sliced up and eaten from a bowl. Yes, I am serious.

    1. LOL!! The piano made me laugh!

      BJU’s dating parlor was seriously freaky – there were maybe 30 or so “love seats” on the smaller side (the one that’s now a game room); the larger side was always dim and hushed and seemed to hold endless couches – 60 or more. (OK, I’m not good at math, but it was a lot!) It was like a weird funeral parlor. That’s just not a good vibe for getting to know someone.

      1. I refused to go into the dim side. It freaked me out and was just so shameful. The groups I ran with would shame you endlessly for being seen in there with a girl. However, one day I went with a friend, two guys, just to see what was happening. We found a girl sitting by herself that happened to not be dating anyone. There was something special going on I don’t remember. Anyway by the end of the night we were friends with the one random single girl sitting on the “eye sex” side of the parlor. Funny story.

  5. One funny bit of weirdness when dating at BJU was watching a game down on the soccer field and then walking up to the Snack Shop for a burger. YOU COULDN’T WALK TOGETHER, even though it was daylight and under lighted, covered sidewalks most of the way AND next to a main road where people are constantly driving. What possible evil thing were they trying to prevent by saying a guy and a girl couldn’t walk next to each other up that sidewalk? It was embarrassing. If the guy walked behind you eight feet, you both felt that it looked weird – like he was eyeing you the wrong way. But if the girl walked behind, you felt like you ought to be wearing a burqua. The whole thing was icky and stupid and humiliating, especially when a carload of townies drove by. Stupid little idiocies like this begin to weigh down on the soul! Now, I was NO REBEL! I was compliant and innocent to the extreme, but even I felt oppressed and degraded. (BTW, BJU has a really nice new sports facilty now so maybe no one else has to endure the embarrassing walk up the sidewalk anymore. One can only hope.)

    1. Yes, the “you can’t walk together rules” and which areas were “chaperoned” and “unchaperoned” were always really weird and arbitrary.

      What exactly did they expect was going to happen on the walk back from the soccer game?

      1. I guess we might have held hands or brushed shoulders. Then the buildings would have all fallen down. Or an elderly board member driving by would have had a heart attack, lost control of the car, careened off the road, and hit us and killed us. So the rules were only there for our protection.

        1. I think many of those rules at BJU were in place to keep some of the old (ancient?) people who lived on the back side of campus happy. The thought I had was that it was easier to keep those rules than to upset “granny” and get an earful of “(self)righteous indignation” out of it. The idea of avoiding certain things so as to not offend a “weaker brother.”

      2. I dunno. I remember walking a girl back to her dorm (which happened to be on the guy’s side of campus, which is how I got away with it) after the last soccer game of the night from the back soccer field. The game went into OT and so most of the rest of the lights around center campus were off. I think all that was the reason she wanted someone to walk her back in the first place. Anywho, it was pretty dark most of the way up, so I can see some affection-starved couple disappearing into the shadows.

    2. I know some people who go there and they said now “mixed groups of two” can be together at night if the area is well lit (I think they are also allowed on the track outside the sport facility until the lights turn on) the only “separate now rule” that my friends mentioned were you need to separate after a game at night which is honestly probably more convenient for the guys since their dorm is right there. Who knows, maybe next year they’ll change something else?

    3. Y’know, when I was there, I was staff GA, and my husband (same age) was an undergraduate. So we couldn’t be seen anywhere together on campus unless we were at a required event, in the dating parlor, or just happened to be walking the same way to get somewhere. We could date all we wanted off campus, without a chaperone. But it took forever for us to figure this out because we were supposed to go by the men’s dating rules… and we couldn’t find any that fit his situation (being an older undergraduate in the dorms). So weird.

      1. I was in a similiar situation. I truly enjoyed getting to be OFF campus together, but we were on campus a LOT and it was weird to have so few places we could be together. To think of all those meals we ate divided by a wall – he on the undergrad side of the Dining Common, I on the faculty/staff side.

  6. What is really strange is how things can change at Fundy U anyways right after you graduate. When I was in Grad school my wife, then girlfriend, was a grad towny. So we were allowed to pretty much go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted however we wanted without so much as a peep from anyone else. Be seen together at a restaurant? no problem I’m a GA and she is a towny. Be seen in the same car together? no problem. But if either were an undergrad or particularly if the girl was watch out.

    It doesn’t really surprise me that the Christian divorce rate is so high and that Dr. Bob had so many stories from BJU grads. You really can’t get to know your date on campus. They don’t really allow it. And the few times that you really can see your date and get to know them are easily faked. I mean a person can be a real ass, but be kind for the hour or so you are allowed to see him each day. I’m not saying you should try it before you buy it, but quite frankly if all you’ve known is the person on campus you are in for some big surprises after the wedding night.

    1. I completely agree about the “hard to know someone” part … one guy I dated on campus, he was a completely different person when I saw him that summer. It sort of freaked me out because it’s so easy for people to be a different person inside the gates of FU.

    2. I was lucky – I did meet my hubby on campus, but we only lived an hour away from each other back home, so we were able to date for real during the summers and holidays, and that was really nice. I thought it was horrible for those couples who never had a real date alone before they got married (think, those couple that get married graduation day.)

  7. none of these apply if you’re both townies. staying up past midnight together, doing homework in starbucks, even going to the park – all are permitted due to the fact that your home address is other than 1700 wade hampton blvd. because, apparently, if you live on your own, you are definitely more responsible.

    senior year was great, btw 😎

    1. During my last couple years as a townie, I loved walking around the lake at Furman with my townie girlfriend at 10 or 11 at night. We definitely had some real opportunities to get to know each other.

  8. My oldest sister and her soon to be fiance separetly drove to a cemetery on the other side of P-cola from the school and went for walks together there. It was the only way they could spend quality time together. Another sister and her fiance weren’t even allowed to have their devotions together right in front of the dining commons where everyone could see. Both sisters and their future husbands were so fed up with that place by the time they were seniors but figured they only had to put up with it for one more year.

    1. Another sister and her fiance werenÒ€ℒt even allowed to have their devotions together right in front of the dining commons where everyone could see.

      This was one of the stranger rules at PCC. I never got a good answer as to why this was considered a verboten activity.

      1. I was there when they invented that rule, and spent an entire chapel service trying to explain it, and still totally failed. Totally preposterous. One of my friends said it was the first day in years he felt like reading his Bible that day. πŸ™‚

        1. I’m thinking you maybe could do it under some circumstances, but it wasn’t easy. They banned it from basically all public forums that would be chaperoned. IDK about the dating parlor, but outside on the wall, in the commons, in the Palms Grille, etc.

        2. You’d think that would be the sort of image they’d WANT their college to convey: clean-cute young people earnestly studying their KJV Bibles in the FL sunshine whilst elsewhere in the sunshine state college students were running wild on spring break. I don’t think I even want to hear the convoluted reasoning that they would have used to try to justify this rule.

        3. @pw you really really don’t. I barely recall them, and wouldn’t want to relive. I’m fairly certain the Student Voice archives are still available online, if you google the college they are the .com (Think it’s something like pensacolachristiancollege.com) and PCC is the pcci.edu. They started around the same time and I tihink it was a few issues in that rule hit the fan, and they were quite critical.

        4. I bet I know why you couldn’t do devotions with a member of the opposite sex–how did they know you weren’t reading Song of Solomon together?

      2. If you tote your Bible around it makes the collage look good, but reading it or actually studying it is another matter, especially outside of their professional guidance. Considering what I found when I read it, and how that matched up to what the college was doingÒ€¦yah, that rule makes sense.

    1. My hubby and I totally lucked out with the staff person we asked to chaperone us. Her idea of “chaperoning”, while we were at her apartment, was for her to disappear into her bedroom for a couple of hours and leave us completely, blessedly alone in the living room. And she did not care if we violated the no PDA rule shamelessly, either. Wow, I loved that lady!

  9. Dating at Bob Jones was so awkward. By dating, of course, I mean eating on campus with the opposite sex. I wouldn’t ‘date’ any man there, mostly because you had no idea who anyone was because it was impossible to be real with each other.

    It’s like the administration expected everyone to be having sex all the time, even in an elevator or staircase. Or at a public restaurant. Or on the sidewalk after 7pm. Seriously?? It really poisons the interactions between men and women; it’s almost impossible to have friends, because you have to think about sex (or the appearance of it, or the appearance of maybe wanting it) all. the. time.

    That reminds me of the time I walked into a male dormitory (not the one women were allowed to enter the lobby of). I was just looking for someone at the end of the semester, but you should have seen the looks of utter astonishment. Heads popping out of doorways with mouths hanging open. Silent staring, completely frozen; those poor boys had no idea how to respond. I think they were paralyzed by all the policies governing their interactions with women. πŸ˜• ::hyperventilating:: “She can’t be here!” πŸ˜€

    1. That over-sexualization of everything was disgusting and embarrassing to my very innocent 18-year-old fundy self. At BJU, you couldn’t talk to a guy in the library (even if he was in your class and you wanted to check what the assignment was) and you couldn’t sit at the same table with a guy. It was just weird. Icky. Made my skin crawl. If you don’t want people talking in the library, kick them out if they’re talking, but to say no people of the opposite sex can ever sit at the same table just turned 1986 into some weird Shaker version of 1886. Just thinking about it still annoys me even now.

    2. The emphasis of the rules started to warp my mind after a while. I got to where I was constantly evaluating situations and people for “appropriateness” based on the twisted logic of the rules. It was horrible. After a few months away from the school after leaving in my 2nd year, I started to feel normal again, and didn’t feel like I was having an affair if I got into a car with a boy or something.

  10. I guess it’s a good thing I never dated at Fundy U (or in high school, for that matter). πŸ˜• I suppose being single made my escape from fundyism easier, too…

  11. “Hopefully, your chaperons have the decency to pretend not to notice.”

    LOL! I was the chaperone of choice for many couples because I always fell asleep if there was any extended driving time. πŸ˜€

  12. LOL! I was just talking to my sister about this last week. Her daughter goes to CLearwater and a boy wants to “Date” her starting next semester. His mom wanted to set up a skype interview with my sister. I thought it was all so strange, being from PCC. I wasn’t even sure what dating meant at Clearwater. How do they know they want to date? What does that mean? I asked her have they gone on any dates yet? No. Then how do they even know each other? Have they had a meal together? Yes. Well that’s a date! Church? Date!
    At PCC, if you are sitting or walking next to someone of the opposite sex, it’s a date. You can’t even get to know someone unless you date them. Kind of a strange twist when we all supposedly believe in courting.
    Apparently at Clearwater dating means they are “exclusive” although they can’t date off campus until they are sophmores.
    I’ve been robbed…

    1. I didn’t go to Clearwater but yeah, “dating” to most people in America means you’re in a relationship with somebody. “We are dating” as in “we are in a relationship,” not “we are currently right this second dating because we’re sitting next to each other.” That FU concept BAFFLED me.

  13. I guess I don’t see the “fun” in this conversation…its sad…and tragic. I am a survivor of The Lighthouse in 74. There’s so much crap that went on I can’t laugh about it yet…
    Maybe its not the people on this blog..its me.
    Maybe I just have’nt come to terms with all of it yet.
    Bob Jones, Hyles Anderson, and Lee Roberson (Tennessee Temple) were spoken of often in Corpus..looking back…its painful and rediculious.

    1. John55: When you say Lighthouse, do you mean one of the Roloff homes? My church had a Roloff-style children’s home, and the threat of being sent there for the dumbest things was constantly over my head. I knew the people who worked out there before the home was started, and let’s just say these people didn’t need to be anywhere near any kid. I’m now connected with several of the survivors, and there was good reason to be afraid. These people went through Hell, and that was on a good day. The concentration camps disguised as children’s homes should never have been allowed to exist.

      A lot of what we’ve been talking about in the thread happened at Christian colleges and non-boarding high schools. While Christian colleges had some ridiculous rules and were good at yanking our chains to the point of keeping us off-balance at all times, those of us who knew about the homes know we still had it easy.

      In any case, we’re all at different stages of recovery. Some people can laugh, some still live in fear, some get angry, and some of us do all of the above. It’s OK wherever you are in the process. You’re not alone anymore. We’re here for you.

      1. Yeah, Roloff “homes”
        I guess I can see the humor in all of this when you’re on the outside looking in..The twisted view of their version of how life is supposed to be is un-beleviable.
        I spent the first part of my childhood (age 7) at a broken fundy home. Shortly after I became a “ward of the state” and spent the next 6 years at FSB Marianna which was bad..but at least you knew the rules and what could get you in “real trouble.” Relatives in Cen-Tex decided they would take me from Marianna and raise me at home but shortly there after they thought a “Good Christian Up-bringing was necessary.” Hence Roloff. I was at the home from spring 74 to fall of the same year…There, the rules and consequences of breaking the rules, changed from day to day…depending on who was watching or caught you.I just learned how to get really small really quick. Looking at girls, forget about speaking to them was strictly forbidden. Turning your back to them as they walked by was the way it was done. “Bro. Jack” and I use that term loosely would say “girls in the room” or “girls present” We would stop what we were doing and turn our backs to them…Looking back, It was crazy..just crazy. But thanks for the comment…I think I am going to try “Camp Tracy Survivors” website and see what its all about. I find it really strange that a site like this exist back in the day…this would have been really, really taboo..that is to say something contrary to their viewpoint. On that part I think its GREAT! somebody is finally questioning their views and belief’s.

        1. Camp Tracey has been investigated more times than anyone can count. Unfortunately, it hasn’t resulted in them being closed. Places like this should be exposed for what they are and for the abuse of many kinds that they inflict on children of all ages. Kids who are abandoned at these homes by their families or are orphans become the easiest targets for abuse. There were 3 orphans at CT while I was there, and they went through hell. That hell was different for the two boys than it was the girl, but it was well known that there would be no one outside of a state agency who would be in a position to hold them accountable.
          When I was at CT, we would hear about the setup and rules at the Roloff home. They told us it was a 2 year minimum, and that you weren’t allowed to speak to any family for the first year. We were told how we should be so thankful that we were only kept from our families for the first month. We were told how fortunate we were that Preacher wasn’t nearly as conservative as Mr. Roloff. We still all knew we were in hell. For me, it lasted 16 months, but like I said, I was one of the lucky ones.

    2. John55, sometimes when you’ve been through this type of situation, you have to laugh to reduce the crying you do, in hopes of dulling the pain. I spent 16 months at Camp Tracey Children’s Home in FL, which was patterned intentionally after the Roloff homes. The things that we saw and heard while we were there were unspeakable, and only other survivors would understand what the kids who go through these places go through.
      The only time we ever even saw a boy was on church days, unless you had kitchen duty that day and were in there when they came from the boy’s camp to pick up. On church days we ate in the same hall, but weren’t allowed to talk and weren’t allowed to make eye contact as we served them their meal or we would be punished. Near the end of the time I was there, they had a couple mixed socials, but it was so controlled that it reminds me a lot of what has been said in this thread.

      I don’t know if you’re part of a support group, but I’d like to invite you to visit ours. We’re not real active all the time, but when someone has something they want to talk about or ask about, we’re there for one another.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CampTraceyGroup

      1. Aaaaaah! My fundy church growing up supported Camp Tracey. I’ve even been there to play against their volleyball team. I felt SO SORRY for what those girls were subjected to, even when I was a fundy.

        CampTraceySurvivor, I am sorry for what you had to endure there and I shudder to think that my former church helped support it. Please forgive those of us who didn’t know any better.

        1. Kim, it’s amazing how most people just looked at us and thought that we somehow deserved it because we had to get back on track somehow. To be honest, I mostly stayed out of trouble while I was there and didn’t face the worst of what CT had to offer. There were girls who came into CT kicking and screaming, and continued to push back as hard as they could while they were there, and they faced the worst of it. They would be sent “to discipline” and come back with terrible marks from the paddle. Those who ran away weren’t allowed to be alone for a month, and had to follow their “buddy” around like a lost puppy. If you were a boy and you ran away, they shaved your head. We had 6 girls run away at one time while I was there, and for the next month the 6 of them did all the kitchen and dining room cleaning by themselves, sometimes working until after 11pm.

          I was a “singing girl” and visited other churches, where we sang and the man who drove us gave a short presentation about how wonderful the place was and how it was saving these kids who would have gone to hell without them. I may have even visited your church at one time.
          I wasn’t on singing girls because I believed in what the camp was doing, and I don’t think any of us were. We were there because it gave us a chance to get away for a while and get some exposure to the outside world. From what they present on those visits, it doesn’t seem like as much of a Fundy thing as it really is. It seems more like a temporary place to get priorities back in order before you go back to the real world.

          This place was a complete shock to my system. I wasn’t raised religious, and we didn’t even start going to church until I was a teenager and my dad’s 4th wife got him to start going with her before they started dating. And the thing is, it wasn’t even a fundy church, it was Foursquare (dancing in the aisles, speaking in tongues, wear anything you want to church as long as you show up). I was actually sent there more because my step-mother talked my dad into it. Sure, I had my wild times, but her 4 kids were as bad if not worse depending on which one you looked at. Any time that I spent, or asked to spend, with my dad would result in her telling me “you need to learn that your father is not your boyfriend!” Unfortunately, for me CT was the lesser of two evils. While I was there, my dad started going to seminary, and after I came home from CT, moved 300 miles away to get away from my step-mother’s control, and my son was born, he was ordained in the Foursquare church. It wasn’t until after that when we were visiting one time, and my step-mother wasn’t around, that my dad said he wished he hadn’t sent me to CT. I told him the same thing, as bad as it was, it was the lesser of two evils. By then he was miserable in the marriage, and he understood.

        1. I can’t sit by quietly knowing there are tortured souls who were victims of these places. People who haven’t seen these places from the inside just don’t know what goes on. I count my blessings every day that I was able to stay away from the worst of it by lying low most of the time that I was there. In some places, even that isn’t good enough.

  14. I didn’t date much in fundyschool either and so happy about it. This is why I married a good Lutheran boy :). Dating him caused me to lose my teaching job at my church and got me kicked out of parents house. When I moved in with him because I had nowhere to go everyone was even more angry with me. I guess they wanted me to live on the street they had already made sure I was jobless and homeless.
    The funny thing is 10 years of being happily married and two kids later there are people who will still turn the other way and pretend not to see me when I am at a store. Craziness!

      1. I told my mom it was basically an Amish shunning and she said I just feel guilty over my sin. Hahaha so someone’s bad behavior is because I feel guilty. Now I get it! Silly me.

        1. So sorry. πŸ™ WTH, people? Why? What is so much more important than *basic human decency*? I will never understand.

        2. Thanks but I am beginning to be okay with the situation. It helps that my parents are starting to see some of the things I have pointed out to them. Not that they will ever change being IFB. Them opening their eyes has allowed me to actually some of the humor in the stupidity of it all. I have been reading here for a while and I really like this place. I’m thinking I will be posting more often.

        3. Amilyn
          We are glad to have you and your voice here. Every voice that tells of the problems, pain, absurdity, stupidity and life in the cult is a voice of freedom, healing, warning and God’s ability to see us through any circumstance. Welcome to therapy!

  15. There were some couples at BJU who were downright gross. A sickening display of undressing each other with their eyes, gazing into each others eyes like sex starved hungry animals, and the foot activities going on under the tables… Does anyone else recall couples like this?

  16. I attend Arlington Baptist School in Baltimore in the early 1980s. (It was the school that inspired the movie Ò€œSaved!Ò€) The dating scene there was quiet normal. Boy and girls could sit next to each other in class, the lunchroom, chapel or on the bus. It wasnÒ€ℒt uncommon for a boy to give his girlfriend a ride home from school. There was the standard 6 inch rule, but depending on the teacher it was sometime ignored. A boy and a girl could not be alone in the same room together.
    I once sat in chapel next to a female friend of a friend. I knew she liked me and I would have dated her, but my parents were strict. I saw dating while I lived at home as pointless. The lights were turned off during this chapel service while a lame Christian movie was shown. She sat next to me and held my hand through the whole movie. It is one of the few nice memories I have of high school.
    I wonder if some of the extreme craziness in fundamentalism is based on geography. Peter and John Bissett, who founded Arlington Baptist Church and School and WRBS radio, were born in Scotland, first immigrated to New Jersey, moved to Virginia than Baltimore. There were not products of the south or Appalachia. Maryland has a high percentage of residents that were born somewhere else. My family was from New Jersey. The churches I attended native Marylanders were a minority. I also notice the church members from the south, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania were also the most extreme, legalistic, less educated (and proud of it) and anti-intellectual. Having some damn Yankees, people from the Upper Midwest, California and a Filipino immigrate did seem to provide some balance and sanity

    1. Dude… don’t associate Appalachia with the South. I grew up there and found Fundy U to be totally bizarre. And as I get older, I increasingly realize that any part of Appalachia north of Charleston, WV is the North.

  17. I remember the lovely long line after the evening meal at the BOB. *They* called it the snail trail. It was the last time you could see your beloved unless you were an upperclassmen and were going to meet later at the DIP (dating parlor). Simple, fun times.

      1. John? Is that you?
        Where does all that fornicatin’, drunkin’ orgy hedonism take place? Dang, I missed all that when I attended a North Carolina state run college. That’s quite a grocery list of indictments you got there. How does one ever get any studying done at one of these siniversities?

        Given the choice between sending my kids to a “secular” university and a “sacred” cult farm… I’ll take the risk of them actually getting a good education and real life experience at the secular school. “Open fornicating?” *shakes head* one too many Girls Gone Wild Videos methinks.

        That was another Fundie gimick that irks me. The apocalyptic view that the world is in worse shape than it has ever been. “Kids have never been as bad as they are now!” “Sin has never been as rampant as it is today!” “The moral fiber of society is at it historical all time low!” And all this is proof that things have waxed worse and worse… oh to return to the old paths and get back to the America God blessed and back to when America was a Christian nation!

        *dismounts soap-box… sticks the landing*

        1. Yeah, it wasn’t that way when my husband was at his state u. The rule was, if there was a sock on the door, don’t go in.

          But, they weren’t all open about it.

          I’ve been to his u campus many times, and its very normal. I’ve never seen anyone acting indecent or anything.

        2. Shoot, at my Fundy U there were rumors that people were shagging in chapel, because it was always open and empty.. ha ha.

          So, if we want to talk hedonistic…

        3. @Don

          Hey–that was I thought clearly “tongue in cheek” i.e. /a joke!

          Of course, after reading some of the comments…..maybe I was right after all!

          πŸ˜‰

        4. Passive aggression not appreciated, John.

          Natalie, of course! People forget how many Christians (or people in other fairly conservative religions) there are going to college. I’d almost guess that’s the case more often than not.

        1. I mean the one with the “open fornicating, anything goes, hedonistic, drunken orgy … experience,” of course.

          I still hate having missed out on that.

      2. I ended up at a state university, and, there were people, who, between satan worshiping, beating baby seals with puppies and kitty sacrifice classes, did fornicate. But, there were plenty of people who didn’t. You’re also crazy to think it doesn’t happen at Fundy U.

      3. The people in class with me at my secular university were a bit, um, salty, uh, in their language, but the aforementioned list was totally off-base. It’s nothing but a myth that control freak fundies [et tu?] use to try to keep their little ones under their thumbs.

        1. Josh, not Poe’s law. It’s the real deal. See Luke 1:60.

          @Josh- It is difficult to do good satire when you believe what you’re attempting to parody. Let me break it down. If John were actually joking in his first statement, he would have apologized for not being clear, and then noted his agreement with Don.
          Instead, he said, “you didn’t get me (your fault)! maybe my ‘joke’ was right!” Connect the dots. πŸ™„ Trust your instincts.

          Salt is referenced because he is Matthew 5:15ing us, since we clearly need it so badly, all of us being unrepentant apostates/liberals who are out of God’s will. It’s because he cares, y’know?

      4. I’m sure that you can find some of that (to a greater or lesser degree at any college, Salty. At most of those institutions, you’d have to look pretty hard to find it. Or just get unlucky; I ran into some, er, odd situations when I was at CMU. OTOH, these were all off-campus or at unofficial functions. At thee time, I was queasily fascinated by the strangeness – which should say something. I think the fornication was far from casual and the drunkenness overstated. Kids like to brag.
        I will not say that secular colleges don’t have people with problems such as fornication, drunkenness, drug abuse, etc. Of course they do – currently colleges take the viewpoint that most student behaviors that don’t directly endanger the $chool’$ main function are permissible. This gives the students the freedom to make fools of themselves, and they will. Trying to control behavior as I’ve heard about in FUs can only lead to hypocrisy, frustration, and a lesson learned that manipulation is the road to success. “Whitewashed tombs” indeed.

    1. I spent many hours walking my girl down the snail trail to her dorm after dinner. We weren’t allowed to eat together because we had assigned seats so it was the last time we could talk before lunch the next day. Of course we would send the stupid letters each night that were passed between the dorms.

      I look back and think of how pathetic that whole scenario was now. None of my 4 children will go to BJU, in fact one is at UGA and the other is at another state school. All my children will graduate with regionally accredited degrees.

      By the grace of God, they all love Jesus in such a deeper way than I could have ever imagined. After all the babble about going to “God’s special place for you” my girls really love Jesus in “Satan’s” school. Their love for Jesus is real, and it makes me cry like a baby. Mine when I attended BoJo was fake and contrived.

      1. That mirrors my experience. I went to the BOB and to a state university. I found many more real Christ-followers at the state university than I ever did @ BJU. Plus, they got to form real relationships with opposite sex and wear jeans.

      2. We were always told we wouldn’t find true Christ-followers at a state school because 1) they DID wear jeans, 2) they listened to CCM, 3) they read other versions than the KJV, and 4) they joined ecumnical parachurch organizations like Campus Crusade where they might end up praying or having a Bible study with a pentecostal. None of those things were acceptable. Yes, there were Christians at state schools, but they weren’t the “right kind.” Oh, how embarrassed I am that I bought it for so long. And how wonderful it is now to realize that God’s family is a lot more diverse than I used to think it was!

        1. I think many a fundy will be shocked when they have to share Heaven for all eternity with Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals and all other “denominations”. I think they will be amazed that the grace of God is for all people.

        2. OH, PW, I so hear you on being embarassed for having bought into that mentality for so long. I was SO arrogant that *I* went to *bob jones university* and was so HOLY because of that. I wish I could time travel back to the first school I taught at and if not live it all over and show them love and grace (I taught jr high), at least apologize for my prideful, arrogant, and ungracious behavior. I don’t beat myself up anymore, paralyzed by guilt, because I know I’m forgiven . . . but yeah. embarassed for believing and tyring to propagate the fundy/bj way as the “only” way.

          So that was way off track from strange dates, huh?

        3. I think many a fundy will be shocked when they have to share Heaven for all eternity with Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals and all other Ò€œdenominationsÒ€.

          Don’t forget us Catholics, the original Western-Rite Church!

          The only reason fundys have a Bible to quote from is because back when years AD were in the low three digits, Catholic and Orthodox bishops kept the local Shirley MacLaines from rewriting the Bible in their image.

        1. Assigned seats sound bad, but I *blush* actually enjoyed that. When you didn’t know anybody as a new freshman (and weren’t dating someone), you didn’t have to sit alone at supper. Instead, it was a formal sit-down meal where everyone was assigned a table, mixing people from all over. Since no one was sitting with their buddies, everyone was at equal standing. The goal was to learn to converse and conduct social chatter at the dinner table. Seats were assigned for about 6-8 weeks or so and then changed sort of like chapel seat assignements — only you can’t talk in chapel. Lots of people who met their spouse at BJU met at their dinner table! My freshman year was the last year they had this rule; then they went to cafeteria style suppers which was more convenient, but I missed the formal meal. It was sort of like Hogwarts! HeeHee

        2. PW, my hubby (who I could see from my seat in the Dining Common balcony) tells the story of a young man at his table who was being teased by a couple of younger ladies. They were teasing him about his last girlfriend, and he retorted that she’d gone off with someone with the personality of a cue ball. To which my husband said, “Watch it. I’m dating his sister.”

          Yes, the “cue ball” was my brother, and the girlfriend in question is my sister-in-law.

    2. We had the snail trail at PCC too. It went from the Dale Horton Auditorium under the Bell Tower and to the girls dorm. I’d never let my boyfriend walk me back to my dorm by that route. How embarrassing.

  18. I’ve been reading this blog for almost a month now, and as someone who just escaped BJU I appreciate it SO much! After 2 years of complete lunacy being pushed at me from every side, I actually started questioning myself as to whether maybe I was “degenerate” or had a “heart problem”… after all EVERY PERSON I knew (with one exception) was telling me that such lunacy is truly the only way to please God blah blah blah… It’s so nice to see that there others out there that can think for themselves enough to see the absolute ridiculousness and freakishly cultish nature of such fundamentalism. Thanks Darrell for this blog!

    1. The fundies sure make it seem like it’s either their way or no way: agree with everything they say or your life is useless for God. I’ve decided I’m no longer trying to please them or their man-made traditions. My focus is on what the Bible plainly says – things like love God and love your neighbor.

      I hope they didn’t scare you away from God entirely! He loves you!

  19. I always found that the Fundie girls in high school were the easiest to get into bed, or rather into the woods or the back of the car, as is the fashion in high school.

    They tended to be so eager to bite back at fundamentalism, even secretly, that they would do just about anything, even fuck an outspoken Neo-Pagan like me.

    1. Well, my school did have an outrageously high teen pregnancy rate… I’d say the guys also screwed around like tomcats, but I’d be insulting the kitties.

      Actually, rebellion is probably not the real reason. A lot of Fundy “rebellion” has its roots in the kids just wanting someone to give a rat’s rearend about them. They’re preached at all day, nothing they do is ever good enough, they never know when they’re going to get yelled at next and for what, so they’re ripe for the picking for anyone who gives them even a blink of approval.

      I wasn’t one to screw around or do the drugs when in school, but I definitely noticed that non-fundies treated me better than Fundies and I chose to spend more time with them.

      To the shame of the Fundies, I can safely say that gay folks, pagans, liberals, and all kinds of assorted folks cared about me enough to get me to question whether what was done to me in the name of God was right. Others who the Fundies said weren’t really Christians turned out to be truly Christian and loved me out of Fundyland for good.

      1. “but I definitely noticed that non-fundies treated me better than Fundies and I chose to spend more time with them.”

        Boy is’nt that the truth! While in Fundy U, the Boston, MA location, I enjoyed the bus/subway ride to work and work itself because I dealt with authentic people, got to lust over authentic females and was treated like a human being human. Real conversations and real eye candy….loved it. :mrgreen:

      2. LMcC – I just must quote something that a very wise woman once said.

        How can people twist a gospel that is supposed to set us free, and turn it into a religion in which everything is always your fault? Your’re not surrendered enough, you’re not trusting enough, you’re not humbled enough. It’s all about you and how you never measure up instead of being about Christ.

        pastor’s wife

  20. I got the chance to see Titus over Thanksgiving break. I went with my brother to visit him at Conservative Christian College over the weekend. I got to stay in the women’s dorm in the GA’s room. She supervised the floor. It was such a blessing to be able to stay with her because she gave me all the information on the things that I would have to avoid so Titus wouldn’t get into trouble. He has six demerits already, but that’s because he tripped and fell on the sidewalk outside chapel. He was written up for horseplay even though nobody laughed when he fell. Oh well, I guess they have to take strict measures to preserve the seriousness of the work at the College. I don’t think less of him for his demerits and he was relieved to hear it.
    We got to go see a grand performance of “Little Women” for our date outing. I didn’t get to interact much with him because the girls went to the 3 o’clock performance and the boys went to the 6 o’clock performance. Titus says it’s so there is no temptation to take liberties (like holding hands or touching knees) when the lights are low. I told him that they could just keep the lights on, but I can see how that’s not practical.
    We did get to eat dinner together. It reminded me of all the summers I spent at the Bill Rice Ranch. The food tasted just the same. I got a little homesick for mother’s green bean casserole.
    It was a quick trip up and back, but we were able to have some quick discussions about which family traditions we might bring to a marriage that would glorify God the most and about buying new clothes or cars is just a tiny bit carnal.

    1. Did hero Titus tell you what to think of the play? I trust as head of the relationship he would take care of that for you! πŸ™‚

      I’m looking forward to some of those CMG letters/questions/answers coming, and promise not to be in anyway taught or led by a woman when reading them. Will totally discount them as simply a woman’s opinion! πŸ™‚

    2. CMG – we love you here but please be careful with this Titus fellow. It’s 6 demerits for tripping today. Tomorrow it will be 10 demerits for listening to rock-n-roll and then he will be doing drugs and worshipping satan. Please be careful.

    3. @ how leaving the lights on during the play wouldn’t be practical. Sometimes it’s NOT practical to live one’s best for the Lord. At times we must sacrifice practicality on the altar of devotion. Remember, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. I applaud the school choosing to have separate audiences for men and women, but perhaps they should rethink their position on turning the lights out during plays.

    4. CMG, Perhaps you had better question Titus a bit more on his “tripping” incident. Ask very specifically if there was a girl within eyesight when this incident occurred. I’m afraid you will find that there was a female nearby and either her skirt was a whole half inch above her knee or there was a “5” inch slit in her denim jumper that allowed him to see her bare ankle. His “tripping” may have been to get a better view. I have to agree with Scorpio on this one you need to find out more about Titus and be very carefuul. 😯

  21. I never understood the unrealistic dating rules about Fundy colleges. I understand not wanting a bunch of couples making out everywhere, but the rules are kind of crazy. Really sets people up to be fakes. I mean, talking to a guy for five minutes isn’t dating.

  22. Darrell, I hope you realize the picture above is fundy porn. I mean let’s take a look:

    #1 They are sitting way too close to each other. In fact it almost looks like her knee could be touching a certain part of his body.
    #2 The dress she is wearing is so tight. I can almost make out her hips.
    #3 And to steal a phrase from Jordan above, they are having ocular intercourse! I am sure she will be with child very soon.
    #4 They are both holding their shakes in a very provacative manner wouldn’t you say?

    How about leaving the smut to the liberal secular folks, OK? πŸ˜†

  23. Because everybody knows that if a boy and girl get within 1 inch of each other that they transform into feral beasts of lust. Or at least they might if they have been trying to carry on a Γ’β‚¬ΛœdatingÒ€ℒ relationship by sitting and staring at each other for the last two years in the approved dating aria wishing they could touch. πŸ˜•

    I always thought the rules and standards were doing more harm then good. At the none-Baptist camp I work at, the counselors and staff (mostly between the ages of 16 and 18) are expected to act in a civil and moral fashion, then we pretty much turn them loose into the romantic camp setting to minister and be ministered to. There have been a couple times we have had to remind people to keep their focus where it should be; but I have yet to see any serious problems arise.
    In contrast the collage students at Fundy U Florida got so desperate that the majority of them would start making out if the spotlight wasnÒ€ℒt on them. The speakers could sense this and used it to legitimize the rules; but the reality was that the students were just falling to the expectations placed upon them. We were distrusted, insulted, and generally treated like and assumed to be kids with near-deadly hormone leaves.

  24. Ooooh, I’m SO glad I didn’t marry someone from my Fundy U. Like I said before, Hot Fuzz went to a state university, and so we got to have a normal dating relationship. And, you know, we didn’t go all crazy and burst into flames. Actually, I always felt we were NORMAL.

    I was busy during most of my college years but did “date” (if you believe having meals together and sitting in church together was dating).

  25. I was lucky, my mom was so repressed when dating that she gave me a lot more freedom, I’m now engaged to a hispanic catholic, hahaha. The rest of my fundy family doesn’t quite approve.

  26. I was introduced to the dating rules week one at BJU, where they spit up the freshman boys and the girls into separate classrooms. We girls got a demonstration of the rules with a puppet show. Yes, a puppet show.

  27. While in fundyland I dated someone for two full years without really knowing enough about them to be further interested.

    Dating a different guy after fundyland, I knew within a couple months that our relationship was going somewhere. I’d met his parents several times, spent time with his friends, knew his likes and dislikes, and had many heart-to-hearts. Never once did this ‘worldly’ guy pressure me into moving faster than I wanted. Fast forward and I’ll confirm: our marriage is amazing. It’s like I’m being treated as someone who has a brain and is capable of giving input rather than being blindly submissive.

    And you know what? If it came down to something really important to him, I’d be much more likely to let him take charge because I know that it’s more than a control thing.

    Go figure.

    1. Nice, isn’t it? Sounds like my marriage.

      Another thought, with fundy u’s being so sexually oppressed, I wonder how many marriage struggle in that area. I mean, we’re told that sex is beautiful in marriage, and yet we’re given the chinese water torcher for thinking about a man in that way.

      Again, a huge mind game.

        1. george has been having his way with you I see.
          He is experimenting with torchering the alreadytortured “fundye anglush.”

      1. @Natalie,
        I had a girl friend in Fundy U….The “Place” to be was, believe it or not, the waiting room behind the front door…plenty of privacy. The funny thing is, we got away with a lot and I felt no guilt whatsoever. I mean, I was 24 years old…it had been YEARS since…and now your told to…*ignore* it?

  28. I DID notice that she has a smile while holding her knees in a sorta “I gotta pee” lock…she must be fighting her urge just to jump the poor boy who’s hips are turned away from the camera hiding the….well, you figure it out!

  29. I have been trying to explain to my Lutheran raised husband the whole IFB scene. He thought I was joking! When he realized I was serious he said “Doing all that makes people want to break the rules even more. I’m surprised girls didn’t come up pregnant all the time.” Ah a voice of reason. He couldn’t believe a college would treat adults that way.

  30. I think the picture isn’t very accurate πŸ˜› They should be sitting awkwardly together, on a bus or couch (she CANT be lying down: provocative you know).

    Dating at my Fundy U wasn’t TOO extreme. There was a dating parlor when I first started, but they changed it to just a commons area, not exclusively dating. It had a TV and such in there.

    I didn’t go on many official college dates cuz I was a loner and didn’t talk to guys like…ever. The guys I did like were usually dating other girls: which usually meant they were nice and considerate, enough to keep a girlfriend. Unlike half the jerks that ran around.

    But I never got to know any of the guys by hanging out in the commons, or at lunch, or dates. I learned a lot more by texting several of them: usually *ahem* after hours. That was the best part, kind of a mwahaha.

  31. Was two weeks away from starting at Pensacola when I decided to join the military. Best decision I ever made. After the military I went to a smaller Bible college that was much more laid back and had a blast. Met my wife there and we dated for 6 months before getting engaged. At this particular school the administration asked for newly engaged couples to let them know if they had gotten engaged so they wouldn’t write you up for holding hands. My fiance and I were holding hands one day and walked past the dean of men and the dean of women who happened to be married. I was holding my future wife’s left hand so I held it up for them to see the ring and said “Oh by the way, we are engaged now!” They just smiled and said congrats and kept walking. :mrgreen:

  32. I wish IFB churches could do the whole chaperonage thing with a tenth of the class and style of our local Orthodox reform school. Yes, it’s an Orthodox Christian reform school. A mixed-gender Orthodox Christian reform school with both genders in the same building aaaaieeee!!! They have a prom every year in which the men (and they call them men, not boys or guys) rent tuxes while the women (and they call them women, not girls or, God help us, gals) make or borrow elegant long dresses, often sleeveless with matching–what are those things called? Oblong like scarves, but broad like shawls?–to wear until it’s hot enough for the men to take their jackets off as well. They lead off with the Virginia Reel and they waltz and polka and circle dance all night long, ending with a midnight bonfire on a nearby beach if the tide is right. One year they canceled their own prom in order to throw one for the residents of the sheltered workshop, God bless ’em.

  33. Wild.
    I was never a fundie, but Ive heard some and seen a little of the lifestyle. I was seriously unaware that such heavely chaparoned, unrealistic, dating where you could end up marrying someone you hardly knew could happen.
    I pretty much ran amock, and was left to my own devices as far as my dating and highschool/college life was concerned. I had a christian upbringing, and I guess my parents trusted me to make (somewhat) sane decisions. I didnt always, but I didnt completely mess it up either.
    I was probably very horrible according to what Ive read here tho!

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