Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lenten Project: Day Twenty

At Bob Jones University, everything, and I mean everything has a spiritual component.

Taking out the trash shows you are honouring God with your time and want to be clean, as He is clean.  Obeying without question shows you have a teachable spirit (always an attractive quality in an IFB female).  Never being late to class demonstrates that you are respecting the teacher's time.  Wearing the long skirts/pantyhose/closed toed shoes displays your desire to be set apart and holy, as He is holy.  See also: modesty.

When you fail at those things, or anything else listed in a massive student rulebook, demerits were given.  A student could only accrue 150 demerits before being expelled. And, since the awarding of demerits would exponentially grow upon repeat infractions, it could be too easy to get in the danger zone.  I got 50 demerits just for wearing jeans to a private home.  If my dorm sup had not been "merciful," I would have also received another 50 for watching The Lord of the Rings.  That would have put me in the danger zone.

The school has special punishments for students to get into that danger zone.  A student can lose the privilege of going off campus at all (being campused), and can also lose the privilege of being able to speak to anyone of the opposite gender (being socialled).  I knew many students to whom this happened, and it was not lovely.

I still have my very first demerit slip.  I'd forgotten to take the trash out that morning.  It'd only had two pieces of crumpled paper in it.

I got better, because I was trying harder, over the years.  I was only ever late for a class once in my entire life, and the teacher was late, too, so I ended up not being punished. Ha!  I was never, ever late for chapel.  I never talked to my neighbour during chapel or class, or fidgeted, or fell asleep.  I was too terrified of being called out from the pulpit, to come stand on the stage in front of 6,000 people.  Yes, that really happened, many times while I was a student.  Bob Jones III was ruthless.

I never skipped class, because back in my day, that was never allowed.  Apparently, the rules have changed some, and students can have a few days to skip if they are feeling tired and need to take a personal "day of rest."  But when I was there, we certainly didn't have that luxury.  If one was a sick, one had to either be in the hospital (right on campus) or in class.  No sleeping in.  No recovering in one's room.  There was no "calling out sick" at the various campus jobs, either.  You either reported for work, or went to the hospital, where you were required to stay for 24 hours upon admittance.

I got really good at staying demerit-free.  So good that I even got a letter from old Triple Sticks himself, congratulating me on my fine testimony.

Looking back now, I rather wish I hadn't been such a goody two shoes, and had let the demerits pile up.  Then I would have been expelled for not taking out the trash, and I would have been set forward by a few years on my journey into freedom from the cult of abusive, toxic spiritualism.