Dealing with the aftermath of leaving

The traumatic exit process… The decision to leave UBF often takes months of agonizing prayer, thinking, and late night internet surfing. The decision alone is an exhausting, time consuming process of calculating just how to do it. Often, if any UBF people know you are considering leaving, you also have to deal with several closed door meetings, where you are grilled about leaving. The leaders will make every attempt to get you to do one of two things: 1) stay and be obedient or 2) leave and be silent.  UBF people fear publicity, and will let you leave if you enter into some sort of silence pact with them. Of course the reality is that you do not have to be silent. That too, like leaving, is your own decision.

The first few weeks… When you finally make the decision and walk away from UBF, you tend to experience an euphoria! Freedom at last! Soon after the waves of joy subside, you will likely have to deal with the aftermath. Leaving is a traumatic event, and one former member said leaving UBF is like getting divorced. It is often helpful to get help from divorce care churches or organizations. Break up songs tend to be a source of healing, because in many ways you did just break up with UBFism.

The realization of identity loss… For a few years after leaving, you will discover the parts of your identity that had been snatched away from you by the UBF system. Many former members find that their adult formative years have been stolen from them, co-opted by UBFism. Some have difficulty in their workplace. The good news is that the person who was frozen in time when you began UBF Bible study is now thawing out. This process of recovery seems to take a year or so. Some claim it takes one year to recover for every year at UBF. This is not necessarily true, however, as recovery can take only a few years even after decades at UBF. It should be accepted however that UBFism impacts students when they are growing into adults, so it is not surprising for the need to deal with various issues for the rest of your life. A normal, healthy life in society can be achieved in spite of these long term effects.

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