Moody Bible Institute

Former Student Claims Moody Bible Institute Put Her on ‘Warning Status' for Being Lesbian

The school, whose Student Life Guide says same-sex relationships are "sinful in any circumstance, says it is "operating by our doctrinal statement as well as a set of community standards

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A graduate of Chicago's Moody Bible Institute opened up to NBC 5 Monday about her experience as a Lesbian student at the non-denominational Christian college, claiming widespread discrimination to the LGBTQ student community.

On Friday, Moody Bible graduated Megan Steffen posted a "how it started vs. how it ended" tweet, which is part of a recent trend that's become increasingly visible on social media.

The first photo label says "how it started" and includes a meme with the caption "God watching me enroll at Moody Bible Institute known damn well I'm Lesbian."

The second photo, labeled "how it ended," is of a letter Steffen received from Timothy Arens, the vice president and dean of student life at Moody Bible Institute, in Oct. 2019.

In the letter, Arens said that Steffen was being placed on "warning status" due to "social media posts, which are inconsistent with MBI standards."

"Even though the letter doesn’t say 'hey, we’re punishing you, and we’re mad at you because you’re a lesbian,' it’s very clear that that’s exactly why I’m being repeatedly reached out to," Steffens said in an interview with NBC 5.

Arens went on to explain in the letter that Steffens' behavior was "dangerously close to the probationary level," and the placement on warning status was the college's "way of indicating to you our disapproval of your actions and giving you fair warning that further unwise behavior on your part will result in you being subject to more stringent disciplinary measures."

Steffens told NBC 5 that homophobia is rampant at the Near North Side college, and it needs to be addressed.

"I think to a certain degree when you discriminate against people for something they can’t control, you deserve to be held accountable for that," she said.

Former student Maddie Devaughn, who is also lesbian, described Moody Bible as the "loneliest place I think I've ever been."

Devaughn said she felt discrimination from all angles, leading to a suicide attempt before dropping out last year.

"It makes you feel unsafe and fearful, and that feeling of community that all of your peers have, you don’t have that," she said.

Moody Bible Institute told NBC 5 it can't comment on specific student experiences, but released the following statement:

“For 135 years, Moody Bible Institute has offered education and training to thousands of students who seek to be equipped in God’s Word so they are able to compassionately and effectively serve the world around them. Our care for the student body, which is guided by God’s Word and a love for them as a unique person made in God’s image, extends not only to their educational pursuits, but also their Christian maturity. We, therefore, continue to operate by our doctrinal statement as well as a set of community standards, by which everyone personally affirms.”

A Moody Bible Institute spokesman also referred to its binding Student Life Guide, which on page eight says same-sex relationships are sinful under any circumstance.

Both Steffen and DeVaughn, meanwhile, continue to hope for change at the college.

"I know that it’s time for them to be held accountable for their actions and for their deep seeded pain they’ve caused so many people," Steffen said.

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