The primary flaw in UBFism is the shepherding system. Many at UBF claim they are doing “world class training”. In reality, they are age-regressing young people into loyalists who give up their identity in order to become a Shepherd or a Shepherdess, or in some cases to become a Mother of Prayer or an Ancestor of Faith. Sometimes the new UBF-given identity is an Abraham of Faith or a Sarah of Faith. Other people at UBF call the new identity a Bible Teacher for all nations.
Stage 1 – Staring at the mirror. The process of changing a new recruit into a shepherd begins by teaching the recruit to be a sheep. During one on one Bible reading sessions, the new recruit is taught to reduce all their decisions down to a kind of dualism–be loyal or else you are sinning against God. One primary method of doing this is to continually train the new recruit to look in the mirror–that is to constantly have the student look at their own flaws, their own life and make them feel as if they are the problem. This is a philosophical process centered on what is known in theology as incurvatus in se and often happens without the new recruit knowing it is happening, because the process feels so natural. Ironically, the Bible describes this condition as harmful. The UBF shepherd training could be said to be nothing more than an amplification of humanity’s broken condition.
Stage 2 – Ignoring the cracks. The more inward-focused the new “sheep” becomes, the more his or her world begins cracking around them. The new recruit is guided by carefully chosen Bible studies to begin cutting off their old life and the people in it. The “sheep” is being lead to a moment when they consider all things and people prior to UBF as being sinful and against God’s will. Cracks in family relationships begin as the strain of UBFism begins putting pressure on the “sheep” to leave behind girlfriends, boyfriends, family and other friends who are not part of UBF. These cracks are ignored by the “sheep” because UBF appears to have a grand solution to all the problems discovered when looking in the mirror. In this sense, UBFism is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The cracks in the student’s life are promised to be healed by UBFism, but in reality those cracks were caused by UBFism.
Stage 3 – Wearing the mask. A momentous occasion in a UBF sheep’s life is called sharing a Life Testimony. This is the moment when UBFism seals the deal and convinces the sheep to put on the shepherd mask. By now the new recruit is convinced that the only solution, and God’s best solution, for all their problems and cracks in their life is to become a Shepherd (or for women, a Shepherdess). By now, the student has been age-regressed in their thinking, taught to think simply like a child. Control over life decisions has been given up to UBF leaders, even though the new shepherd is convinced he or she is making their own decisions.
Stage 4 – Facing the futility. After wearing the Shepherd mask for a few years, the student comes to the realization that UBFism is filled with many false promises. The goodness they promised does not pan out. Futility sets in. Often the guilt and shame of not meeting the weekly quotas for “fishing sheep” (which is UBFism for making new recruits on campus) sends the student into deep despair. The personality of the student has become entirely strange by now, as the new Shepherd identity has been stamped onto their lifestyle.
These four stages are explained further in the book Identity Snatchers.