“Surviving Bob Jones University: A Christian Cult” is a limited podcast by Andrew Pledger. The show is a thought-provoking podcast that explores the fundamentalist Christian college Bob Jones University, which is located in Greenville, SC. The series covers the history of BJU, the psychology of fundamentalism, the criteria for cults, and survivors experiences. The series features diverse interviews with survivors, including queer individuals, BIPOC, women, and men, sharing their unique perspectives on the institution.
Validating & Empowering
As a woman who grew up IFB, complete with A.C.E. and then Abeka curriculum in small homeschooling group schools through my childhood, I was not prepared to rebel against my parent’s college decision for me at the age of 18. Instead, I did so dramatically once I graduated BJU after encountering some medical emergencies. 20 years after being shunned (although this was a gift), I’m still deconstructing. Generally, I feel isolated and alone in this process, since surprisingly few of my childhood acquaintances have publicly denounced the subculture in which we were raised. I’m so glad I found Andrew’s work.
Andrew’s bravery and depth of research, with bold willingness to confront painful triggers of his own, is such a powerful expression of care and compassion. For myself, and I’m sure many others, BJU was the culmination of a lifetime of agency and autonomy being forcefully stripped away, while having little social support. I appreciate immensely Andrew’s ability to recognize that he was not alone or at fault in what happened to him, and to immediately begin to create recognition and community for those of us who were ostracized or made the choice to leave the extremism behind for one reason or another. I have only been able to listen to a couple of the episodes so far and it is providing me the ability to piece together aspects of my past in such a way that I can more directly heal that trauma years later. Thank you, Andrew, for your work!
Victormaul via Apple Podcasts 08/17/2023
Although I never went to BJU or any Christian college it is something that is very familiar as family members have gone to BJU, Maranatha Baptist and Patrick Henry College.
I love that you are deep diving into the cult that this college is and shedding much needed light on thus un plain sight cult that has caused so much damage.
RoxanneFS via Apple Podcasts - 08/30/2023
Controlling Self Righteousness Institution
I attended BJU and received both an undergraduate and graduate degree. Then I worked on staff there for 12 years. Our first three children were born at Barge Memorial Hospital. We left in 2001. By far this is the most controlling and self-righteous organization that passes themselves off as an institution for higher learning. This podcast details the control that the university exercised over their students and employees.
Dan2021+5 via Apple Podcasts - 08/17/2023
Truth triumphs over BJU lies
I’ve just finished Andrew Pledger’s first episode about the history and politics of this bizarre but relatively insignificant fringe institution. The quality of the production is professional and the hosts and guests are entertaining and knowledgeable. They and Andrew shed light on the delusions that fundamentalism and BJU require. Can’t wait to listen to the rest of the series!
Rich in GA via Apple Podcasts - 08/22/2023
Gripping storytelling from survivors
The stories here are so chilling in an odd way. This abuse mentioned is so subversive and psychological that I couldn’t stop listening. Such a wonderful breakdown of a modern cult! I hope this school goes out of business for good!
greatgamehombre via Apple Podcasts - 08/19/2023
Fascinating and Validating
Hats off to Andrew Pledger for putting together such a great series! I’m thoroughly enjoying my listen through of the Patreon Early Access release. Pledger’s in-depth research and firsthand accounts paired with thoughtful interviews from other survivors - as well as professionals from outside BJU - form a chorus of voices bringing to light the reality of BJU. As someone who attended a similar institution in the IFB movement, it is extremely validating and gives me such great hope for those not only who have already left but also for those within who are struggling and questioning. I have no doubt this series is going to stir the fundie pot and be a positive force for change and enlightenment.
Chiqong92 via Apple Podcasts - 08/17/2023
I (M 56) graduated from BJU nearly 35 years ago and still have nightmares about being forced to go back there. The experience of being a student there has messed me up for life. It’s great that the truth about the place is being told.
WestieDude via Apple Podcasts - 08/23/2023
Surviving Bob Jones
This podcast is very well done. I came very close to attending BJU and I am so glad that I didn’t. Bob Jones University is run like a paranoid boot camp that provides an “education” that may not be recognized by other educational institutions. Also, the fact that students are required to be in a dormitory where they are spied on by other students and even their own roommates is an indication of the level of paranoia and attempted mind control BJU is known for.
Bubba Dawg via Apple Podcasts - 08/25/2023
More than BJU
What’s interesting about this podcast is not just that it’s well researched and well-executed. It’s informed by a creator who grew up in a different ecosystem (Hyles-Anderson), where BJU is a bit too liberal. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who spent a few years at BJU, but wasn’t a lifer. Yet the conclusions are very much the same.
Jake1078 via Apple Podcasts - 08/26/2023
Tells an Important Story
I’m a 1992 graduate of BJU, and this podcast accurately tells what the BJU world is like. My heart breaks for those who have been most hurt, and this podcast honors them their stories. It is well worth a listen.
Simply.sophie via Apple Podcasts - 08/30/2023
I just binged the first 3 episodes in a row!
Wow! This podcast is so good. It's like a documentary but more personal. The wealth of information provided, regardless of whether you went to BJU or not, is absolutely mind-blowing. It's eye-opening to learn about this cult and how it gives context to numerous political issues in our society today. By shedding light on the dangers of fundamentalism, this podcast offers a deeper understanding of the world around us. An absolutely captivating and enlightening listen.
Ashley Easter via Apple Podcasts - 08/23/2023
High Control Systems are not good for you.
Andrew Pledger has taken on a major project and described in detail the effects and harm done by a high control system like Bob Jones university. Andrew explores the history of the school and traces the present day culture back to its historical roots, opposed to modernism, integration and women’s equality. Andrew exposition is thorough, the best parts however are his interviews with fellow students. Together the stories paint the bleak picture of abuse and outright cruelty when finding oneself in the outgroup of a high control religious system.
Nygbrd via Apple Podcasts - 09/01/2023
Trans and queer survivor of fundie Christian school
I graduated from a school in OKC called Christian Heritage Academy who was founded by a BJU mega fan and IBLP disciple (I was in class w/ 3 of his grandkids, he had over 50?). It was a thoroughly traumatizing experience that had me so disoriented when I left and, thankfully, went to public college… which opened up a lot of doors to unlearning and understanding about myself and feelings of “not fitting in” or being “different.” This is a life saving podcast. So informative, tysm..
karaklev via Apple Podcasts - 08/30/2023