I was a 1953 graduate of BJU and taught there for a year before getting my MA from Temple University and PhD from New York University.
I was shocked when Bob Jones, Sr. bragged in chapel that the university had destroyed the records of several graduates so they could not prove they had attended BJU; and shocked again when I realized that my class had been coached for the Graduate Record Exams by using actual questions from the exams. I was young, but it surely smelled like cheating to me!
I had realized I was lesbian very early on, and had tried suicide at a “Christian” high school before attending BJU; but my orientation never came up during college because I lived celibate.
I taught at fundamentalist colleges for fourteen years, married Frederick Mollenkott and had a son (in the vain hope of being “cured”) but signed up to teach at William Paterson College (now University) when I realized it was time to come out and a divorce was in the offing.
Coming out was relatively easy for me because my choice was clear: either say one thing and do another, like the many hypocrites I had met, or else live an authentic and honest life. Anyone interested can learn a lot more about all that by checking out my website, www.virginiamollenkott.com.
Some years ago, a person who had read my books wrote to BJU to ask whether I had actually graduated from there. The answer, on the college letterhead, signed by Bobby III, said that yes, I am a BJU graduate, but in their opinion I am “a demon” and they are praying that God will “destroy” me. So it should come as no surprise that I strongly resonate with Jeffrey Hoffman’s emphasis that we need to work at getting the Religious Right to tone down its rhetoric concerning LGBT people.
I am now a happy 80 year old grandmother of three, with a loving partner, and would be glad to answer any questions or discuss concerns with anyone who contacts me through my website.
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
thank you for sharing!
If you are a demon, then we would be better off with a world full of demons and no fundamentalists.
Bravo to you!
What an inspiration to us all! I am grateful to be in your company, Virginia and aspire to lead the life of courage that you do. You are our angel!
My history differs from that of many gays who grew up in fundamentalist churches. Long before knowing about my orientation, I was troubled by the message of my church that anyone who did not believe in Jesus as their savior was condemned to an eternity in hell. I used to to think, “Does that mean that all the people of different faiths were condemned to an eternity in hell? What about the people if died before Christ? When I found out that I was gay I became an agnostic. Since then I attend a church which affirms gay people and does not believe in hell. That someone would say that homosexuals should be stoned is incredible. Do they believe that about adulterers as well? There wouldn’t be many people left if these people had their way.
Many years ago I had the priviledge of meeting you when you spoke at Pacific University in Stockton CA and at a MCC Conference. Over the years I have refered many to your writings. It is so good to know you are still fighting the good fight.
June 26, 2015 — To Dr. Virginia Mollenkott
I published this statement on Facebook today.
Today I want to acknowledge VIRGINIA RAMEY MOLLENKOTT as one of the key people who helped me to understand biblically and theologically the subject of “family values” in the Bible. Her classic books, “Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?” and “Sensuous Christianity” helped me to unpack difficult biblical texts. A more recent book, “Omnigender” is also a worthy read. Ms. Mollenkott (seen now on the extreme right in this picture in a wheel chair) is a graduate of Bob Jones University who went on in her life to get a Ph.D. from Temple University and to become a premiere scholar on John Milton. Dr. Mollenkott was a distinquished professor of English at the William Paterson University in New Jersey. I am grateful to God for the life work and scholarship of Dr. Mollenkott. One further note, Dr. Mollenkott was the sylistic editor of the well-known New International Version of the Bible. Bravo, Dr. Mollenkott! I rejoice that you have lived long enough to see this day, Marriage Equality for All!