UBFism – Teaching on 1 Cor 15

“What I received I passed on to you” (1 Corinthians 15)

One of the rare excursions outside of the Old Testament is that of the first letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 15 to be exact. This was the de-facto standard for the EBC (Easter Bible Conference) in many UBF chapters. Each year we attempted to memorize chapter 15 and had multiple lectures on the chapter.

The teaching ingrained in a new student at UBF through 1 Corinthians 15 is the principle of self-pruning or self-flagellation.  The emphasis is on death. Many good-sounding Christian words are also added. The lectures talk about the resurrection, hope, and glory of Jesus. But the tone is always that of a somber death ritual. For example here is a recent lecture quote:

“Let me digress to make my point that we have victory over sin in Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection—are a foreshadow of what is going to happen to us when we mature as Christians. It is a pattern or a picture of how God is going to work with us. Something in us is going to have to die when we become Christians. Something in us can no longer go on living, like lust, anger, idol worship, self-glory seeking, pride, etc… It must end; it must die. As we read the Scriptures we see how many passages set this out for us. We are to ‘put off the old man’ (Col 3:9) because it is ‘dead with Christ,’ (Col 2:20). We learn that it is this the selfish self, this god which is me, this insistence on being able to run my own life and make my own decisions—that is what has to go.”


Talking about cutting off our ability to make our own decisions is certainly a digression from the gospel. What kind of church teaches you cannot make your own decisions as part of their Easter message? The answer is of course that a church does not teach like this. A cult does however.

The goal of the lectures from 1 Corinthians 15 is almost always to point out the “passing on” of the “spiritual heritage”. The code word for this is “gospel”. So it is very difficult to discern what the UBF Bible teacher is actually teaching. Notice how this UBF lecturer teaches that we should have a “passing on ministry”:

“Paul also says, “what I received I passed on to you as of first importance”. Here we also learn that our preaching the gospel is the “passing on ministry”. For instance,  Paul received the gospel from Christ and he passed it on to the Christians in Corinth. Many of us also received the gospel from our Bible teachers and now we are trying to pass it on to other people. Also, what we pass on to others as a kingdom worker is very important. I mean the contents of our preaching. I think some of us still vividly remember how excited they were when they were watching the men’s 400 meter relay race at the London 2012 Olympics. To many people’s delight, the Jamaican relay team won the gold medal. Each member of the team was very careful in passing the baton to the next runner. If they had passed along anything else, whether a random stick, a wallet, a phone, the team would have been disqualified. Only passing along the gospel can save and transform lives! When we preach, it is important that we are preaching the gospel, about Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are not preaching about ourselves, our church, etc., but about Jesus.”


The lecturer uses many correct Christian terms. The teaching seems to be innocent. But notice the example given: a relay race. While the words surrounding this example are actually correct, this example is out of place and reveals the real heart of what the lecturer wants to communicate. An Olympic racing team does not necessarily have to have a strong friendship. They merely hand off the baton from one member to another member and arrange themselves in the best possible order of skill to win the race.

This relay race analogy is how the missionaries envision their ministry. They want a lot of people running around feverishly handing off the “spiritual heritage” to the next person. It matters little if anyone has a real friendship. The gospel doctrines of the kingdom, of personal trust relationships and many other Christian teachings about the gospel ministry do not apply and are not significant in the mind of the UBF missionary. What matters is the “passing on” aspect.

They tend to preach about themselves and have the UBF heritage slogans in mind, so they often have to state “we are not preaching about ourselves”. In this way the students become confused about who they are serving and lose the ability to distinguish between God and UBF. The line is blurred between Jesus and the student’s UBF shepherd.



UBFism – Teaching on John 4

“Will you give me a drink?” (John 4)

One of the most deceptive teachings a student encounters at UBF is from John chapter 4. This is a perennial favorite passage for the Summer Bible Conferences. The story in John 4 is about a woman going to Jacob’s well to draw water in the middle of the day. Jesus’ disciples go into the town, leaving Jesus alone with this woman. Jesus introduces himself as the Messiah to her and she runs off to tell her village the good news that the Messiah had arrived.

In this story, Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water. The UBF Bible teachers think this means Jesus approves using deceptive means for evangelism. For example, when UBF began, they invited students in Korea to English classes. But the classes were really UBF Bible studies. This is the common evangelization approach taken at UBF. They invite students for “just one hour” of Bible study but hide the fact that they are really inviting the student to a new UBF lifestyle filled with UBFism. The justification for such behavior seems to me to stem from John 4. Using just an ordinary and small question about a drink of water, Jesus moved the conversation toward revealing himself as the Messiah. So the UBF shepherds tend to use one small request of a favor to initiate their recruiting.

In the following conference lecture, the lecturer sees himself as the respectable shepherd going to campus to find “lower-class” students. His UBF indoctrination has told him that he is the elite, “high quality” shepherd. But he feels incapable. He wrestles with the seeing the confident students, which contrasts his own lack of assurance and uneasiness at sharing UBFism. His mind tells him that he is the best shepherd and the students are lost sheep. But his feelings tell him this is not the case. The students are not so lost as he expects. And his identity as an elite, holy soldier is questionable. Such feelings should be a warning that his actions are contradictory to his identity. But he ignores the warning. He uses Jesus’ question, in John 4, to the woman at Jacob’s well to justify his thoughts and motivate him past the contradiction his feelings are warning him about:

“How can a respectable person approach an immoral woman? Sometimes when I go to the campus to invite students to Bible study, I am paralyzed when I see how young and self-assured they appear to be. So Instead of asking them to study the Bible, I just go to the cafeteria, eat something and go come back home. The only way one can make the first step and approach these people, is when he actively humbles and denies himself. Although Jesus is the son of God he humbled himself down to the lowest level. Jesus was full of grace: “Will you give me a drink?”


In addition to fearful sacrifice to appease God’s anger and repeated trips to campus to earn God’s favor, the UBF Bible teacher is also steeped in a world of excessive self-denial. The idea of denying your feelings for the sake of evangelizing “lost” sheep is cemented by other passages taken out of context, such as Luke 9:23 where Jesus says to deny yourself and take up your cross.


2001 UBF Reform Summary

Report on the Reform Movement in UBF 1989-1993, by Jacob K (former Chicago UBF)

“Malice toward none. Reform for all people.”

“Those who sow in tears will reap with joy.” (Psalm 126:5)

It is a painful thing to remember and write about a painful event of the past. This is especially true of an event that took place in connection with Samuel Lee and Chicago UBF because the pain is like that of a person with a fractured hip. If one just lies still and forgets about it, it is ok, but the moment he moves a bit, the pain returns. For this reason, many people have been reluctant to speak about their painful experiences in Chicago UBF. I myself have been reluctant to talk about the First American Reform Movement (F.A.R.M.) of 1989-1993, even though I saw and heard many things as a mediator between the reform camp and the anti-reform camp, because it was too painful to think about. Yet I know in my heart that I cannot avoid writing about it, for history must be retold and reflected upon so that it may bear fruit.

I. The root cause of the UBF reform movements

What is the root cause of UBF’s current worldwide reform movement? Was it inherent in UBF from the beginning or did it emerge somewhere along the way? Some theorize that it was inherent with Samuel Lee’s own character. Many Korean senior staff shepherds, however, remember that Samuel Lee suddenly became harsh toward staff members after attending a Billy Graham-led international Christian leaders’ conference in the early 1970s. Before that, he was not harsh, they witness. Some people note that suspicions about Samuel Lee’s financial irregularities rose to an alarming level in the early 1970s when large sums from the offerings of the women missionaries in West Germany began coming into the UBF treasury.

My personal experience is that something changed in Samuel Lee and in UBF in the early to mid 1970s. I began to study the Bible in UBF in 1972, and was very happy in UBF until February 1976, several months before the 1976 Korean reform movement began. To me, Samuel Lee appeared to be the greatest spiritual leader since the Apostle Paul and the true leader for Korea. I was excited to be a member of UBF’s Small Prayer Committee. When my brother cautioned me about UBF, I retorted without hesitation, “UBF will be more important than President Park Chung Hee’s Democratic Republican Party in the future!” But from March 1976, UBF life became difficult and often left a bad taste.

For this reason I feel sorry whenever I think about Samuel Lee and UBF ministry. They seemed to be genuine for a long time. But they changed somewhere along the way. They were so promising, but because they refused to hear God’s warnings and people’s aspirations for reform, they are heading toward destruction, like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg. Were the problems inherent in UBF from the beginning, or did they occur somewhere along the way? The debate is still going on.

One thing seems to be clear, however: All three UBF reform movements so far – the 1976 Korean reform movement, the F.A.R.M. of 1989-1993 and the current worldwide reform movement – have occurred chiefly as reactions to Samuel Lee’s problematic practices and implied theology. Under John Jun’s leadership since 1977, there were no serious divisions or reform movements in Korea. Ironically, many people attribute the event that sparked the current worldwide reform movement, which began last year, to Samuel Lee’s letter, “Yearning for the unification of my grandfather’s country,” written in Korean and posted on the Internet. In this letter Samuel Lee severely criticized many Korean staff shepherds without basis and then posted the letter for Korean coworkers, missionaries and thousands of young Bible students to read. Before writing this letter, Samuel Lee had been orchestrating his decade-long plan to handpick his relatively young and inexperienced son as his successor in various ways – both subtle and overt. Many UBF staff shepherds, directors, and coworkers greatly feared such a move because it would perpetuate many corrupt practices and turn UBF into a mere possession of the Lee family (or “LeeBF,” as it is called by some).

As a result, sizable numbers of Korean staff shepherds, backed by their chapter coworkers, began to call for reform. Their reform movement spread like wildfire, aided by various websites on the Internet. This reform movement hit the USA, too, in November 2000. Seven USA reform chapters (the “Reform 7”) have spearheaded this movement. Around the same time, a network of American coworkers, most of whom had left UBF, established a website named RSQUBF (“Rescue UBF”) to support wounded brothers and sisters both inside and outside of UBF. The original reformers of the F.A.R.M. were officially invited by the “Reform 7” to join the current worldwide reform movement in January 2001. Also in January, representatives of the Reform 7, the “reform rangers” of F.A.R.M., and representatives of both the Korean and German reform movements met together in a small prayer house near a Wisconsin farm. Out of their meeting the World UBF Reform Council (WURC) was born.

Before this birth of an international reform movement umbrella organization, however, USA reformers had been blamed by anti-reformers and forgotten by many conscientious people, too. The reform movement seemed to be buried in history in a prolonged drought as a rotten corn seed. But by God’s grace, the F.A.R.M. is now sprouting with wonderful crops of new generation of reformers – reform missionaries as well as many promising American reform leaders. When and where did the first American reform movement begin? How did it begin? First of all, what was the aspiration of reformers?

II. The Tragic Christmas Massacre (Mass Expulsion) of Chicago Missionaries in 1989

A. Where else could weary missionaries turn to?

One day during June 1989, while UBF World Mission Report was in progress in Seoul, Korea, Missionary David Baik, briefly and a bit sarcastically, mentioned during a fellowship leaders’ prayer meeting or after, that some Chicago missionaries attended a Korean American revival meeting. Some of those revival meeting attendants, including Missionary Esther Shin, (who was the first revival meeting attendant) had been suffering from many types of sicknesses partly caused by spiritual depression after long and difficult missionary life in Chicago UBF. Nearly all of them had been suffering from spiritual thirst and had been yearning for spiritual refreshment. It was not uncommon in those days, (it is said that the situation is the same if not worse), that many missionaries were spiritually thirsty and hungry, listening to nearly the same recycled messages over a dozen times and sitting in long hours of “Sogam” (UBF style testimony) meetings. Often their only comfort was to listen to American brothers’ and sisters’ testimonies which they often spontaneously wrote after receiving the words of God through 1:1 Bible studies. American sisters’/brothers’ response to God’s words was like rare rain in a long drought to them. However, many missionaries themselves were spiritually suffocating so much so that they could not hold any longer.

Here it should be understood that many missionaries had heavy hearts due to many unethical, unbiblical and even some criminal practices in UBF. Many missionaries came to USA only because of God’s calling and grace, leaving their personal dreams and their families’ aspiration. I remember what my grandmother said to me when I told her that I would go to USA as a missionary: “I have gone through some rather severe famines. But in my dream last night I saw the worst famine…” Many missionaries had tears in their hearts and yet came to USA only for sharing the gospel with American students so that they might have life, truly abundant and eternal life in Jesus Christ’s kingdom of God. But their heartfelt hopes for American brothers/sisters had been eroding steadily because of many terrible wrongs in UBF top leadership. Their hearts ached and their strength was failing after many years’ missionary life.

It should also be pointed out that many missionaries and American brothers/sisters had different perception toward Missionary Samuel Lee’s messages. To American brothers/sisters, especially to those who had not spent many years in UBF, M. Samuel Lee’s messages had many fresh elements because they had not listened to his same messages many times or his style of messages was fresh to them, compared to many other traditional preachers’ messages. But to Korean missionaries, his messages were nearly same year after year and his jokes were often artificial with bad taste. When his message was good, it lacked freshness and spontaneity. When it was not good, it lacked both inspiration and even freshness. This tendency became worse because his message, therefore UBF messages, were fundamentally written messages for reading rather than spoken messages. A written message can have the merit of thoughtfulness and carefully chosen vocabulary. But it can lack spontaneous character and be poor in communication. A spoken message can have the merit of spontaneous character and good communicability. But it can lack content if it is not prepared well. So in a seminary, students are told to write a message thoughtfully in the first stage, and then make an one page outline and then deliver the message, just using the outline. So the message can retain both contents and spontaneous character and freshness. But because of UBF’s heavy written message dependence, when a message was not good, listeners could have difficult time. In order to compensate this difficulty, many missionaries had to listen to taped messages of Korean pastors and American preachers or read many inspirational books. They did this secretly because M. Samuel Lee often hated his chapter people to listen to other preachers’ messages. But he was in Korea now, attending a world mission report. So about 20 to 30 missionaries went to a revival meeting publicly in order to be refreshed. Where else could they turn to? Before blaming them, Chicago UBF top leadership should have felt responsible and sorry.

After all, the bucks stop there. However, that was not meant to be in Chicago UBF.

After attending the revival meeting, most of these missionaries prayed more fervently and participated in world mission work as usual though some became overly excited and thought that they knew better than Samuel Lee. But most of them had attended revival meetings and had gone to Rev. David Yonggi Cho’s Full Gospel Church in Seoul many times. They had had experiences of the work of the Holy Spirit since long before. They respected their leaders. Their chapter directors in Korea did neither feel threatened nor stopped them from going to such meetings. In reality, such meetings were helpful to UBF ministry, too.

However, Samuel Lee was very intolerant toward missionaries who went to such meetings. He told Dr. Daniel Shin, one of the revival meeting attendants, to move out of UBF with 30 missionaries. Sometimes, he tried to persuade him to follow his way by appointing him to be a Sunday evening messenger. I encouraged M. Samuel Lee when he tried to embrace and respect such missionaries. To me, the right way seemed to be the way of Apostle Paul. What was Paul’s attitude toward Corinthian Christians when they became difficult to control because of their new experiences of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit?

However, Missionary Samuel Lee’s excessive accusation of missionaries who attended the revival meeting alarmed me. He constantly criticized them, blamed them and made fun of them publicly. He called the woman minister “a witch,” “a magic artist,” etc. I felt that Missionary Samuel Lee was in danger of calling the work of the Holy Spirit the work of the devil. Another thing that struck me was that many missionaries had been ignorant about the work of the Holy Spirit. Some who did not attend the revival meeting were not sure whether they had been born again or not by the work of the Holy Spirit. Some who attended the revival meeting were said to have said that they experienced the work of the Holy Spirit for the first time.

What was clear to was me that Missionary Samuel Lee and UBF leadership had been either reluctant or ignorant about deeper truths about the work of the Holy Spirit even though they taught elementary things about the Holy Spirit. For example, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit as the deposit and guarantee of our salvation, not grieving the Holy Spirit etc. were hardly mentioned or taught if ever in my 16 years of UBF life up to that point. I myself learned about these spiritual truths by reading non-UBF spiritual books. I also learned deeper teachings of Romans by reading Moody Institute’s famous pastor Ironside who has become my mentor. It was all too natural that the missionaries who only knew UBF teachings were excited about experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit. They were refreshed like those who breathed after long period of suffocation. They were excited. They talked about their new experiences and wondered why UBF did not teach those spiritual realities. Some of them, who thought that they experienced the work of the Holy Spirit for the first time, possibly uttered critical remarks about UBF. Missionary Samuel Lee denounced them publicly. I wish he had treated them as Paul treated Corinthians, teaching them about the Holy Spirit deeply instead of denouncing them as magic artists, etc.

However, Samuel Lee’s irritation over some revival meeting attendants was not the major reason for his expelling many missionaries in such short time though it was one of reasons. He can be very patient, flexible and tolerant if he thinks it is necessary. The real reason was somewhere else. It was the issue of forced/coerced abortion of one woman missionary.

B. The Issue of Abortion

Was that woman missionary indeed coerced or forced to have an abortion in Chicago UBF? To many people, the answer is unswervingly yes! There are at least 2 or 3 witnesses. They publicly testified through the ReformUBF website and RSQUBF web site in late 2000.

(1) Pastor Jimmy Rhee’s testimony:

The first witness is Pastor Jimmy Rhee who was a UBF missionary and a member of the Board of Directors in 1989 in Chicago UBF. Listen to his testimony:

“… I want to answer to the question: Is there anybody who can and will testify to this? Yes! Ask missionary Mark Yoon how he took a helpless woman to an abortion clinic to obey Samuel Lee! If he does not admit, then read the following to the end.

When James contacted me and asked about the abortion, I refused either to confirm or deny. Instead I told him to ask others in UBF, especially UBF USA board of directors. The reason I wanted to be quiet was because Samuel Lee privately confirmed to me and showed (pretended?) his repentance when he was confronted, and though I wanted to keep it confidential because he put himself under my pastoral care at his confession, I failed to do so during a wrangle at a board of directors’ meeting, and I felt sorry for my failure.

Now here is the whole story I can share, more than just abortion issue! It was the Monday leaders’ meeting night after 1989 Easter Geneva conference. While Samuel Lee was making some lengthy closing statements, he suddenly shouted, ‘I can do everything for the glory of God,’ and I could hear many just responding, ‘Amen!’ At that moment I felt something very terrible happening. As you know, ‘I can do everything for the glory of God’ sounds pretty good, but how unbiblical and dangerous it is! How many horrible things have been with the same motto throughout the church history! How can the Lord who is holy and righteous be glorified by any unsanctified and only with unsanctified zeal!

That night I couldn’t sleep. I asked the Lord what might have been wrong. Then I realized there was only one person related to it. (I don’t want to use the name even though it has been publicized; I ask everyone to protect individuals involved; even the media knows when to hide people’s names); let’s be more sensitive, and not mean as such.) I visited her and had her confirm it. I saw her just crying with tears, so distressed and helpless. She had to let her own son taken away apart from her own desire, now abandoned by her husband just before the Easter Conference. Yet she had to serve the conference. When she came home, she was almost out of her mind. There Mark Yoon appeared to carry Samuel Lee’s command. …”

(2) Joseph Park’s testimony:

The second testimony is from Joseph Park the very son of the victimized woman missionary. He stated that his mother approved what he testified as truthful. Excerpts from his testimony in RSQUBF late 2000:

“… I am the son of a mother who was forced to marry my father, whose name will not be mentioned for his own sake. My father was abusive to my mother before and during her pregnancy and was forced by Samuel Lee and members of the Church to leave the church by force. They were physically involved in the matter because he was abusive to my mother. The church also forced them to have a divorce, which is more than reasonable and should’ve happened. He ran away from the church and my mother and is currently living out of state. …

My mom was allowed to raise me for the first eight months of my life before Dr. Sam Lee forcefully took me and gave me to Mr. and Mrs. James Joung. They took care of me for 9 months before they gracefully returned me to my mother. During my absence, my mother was forced into a second marriage with the promise of me being returned to my mother upon marriage. My mother would not subject herself to a second marriage but decided that having her only son back was worth a second marriage. I was not returned upon the marriage because she was just recently married. She was married for 3 months and pregnant for 2 months before her new husband could not take the UBF church. He ran away in the middle of the night and disappeared without a trace. My mother was then forced to have an abortion by Dr. Samuel Lee. Her only consolation for losing her second child was the return of her first son.

Dr. Samuel Lee’s motive here was to make sure my mom didn’t leave the church at the time, or so she believes. He had no intention before to return me and even lied to her at another point in time before my second Christmas. …”

Dear readers, do you think that there was indeed a forced abortion? As for me, I have no doubt about it. I am familiar with how UBF corrupt system works. Several years later, sometime in 1994 or so, Samuel Lee said to me all of sudden that he now didn’t have to worry about going to jail because 5 years had passed since the abortion issue came out. He was glad that he was now free from a legal problem surrounding the above mentioned abortion due to the statute of limitations. I was deeply disappointed about the man Samuel Lee. If he is really innocent, shouldn’t he be rather heart-broken about his accusers? In my heart, I was convinced that he was guilty, but I could not prove it because above two or three witnesses had not come out publicly. The truth was buried deep in UBF’s controlled culture.

C. UBF Culture
(1) Russian Doll culture of controlled information – the culture of cut-off information and thriving misinformation

While there was a wrangle in the Board of Directors’ meeting between Samuel Lee and Jimmy Rhee (dear readers, I will drop all titles such as missionaries, MDs, pastors, shepherds, shepherdesses etc. in the following) all I could hear was a faint rumor that a chair was thrown by Samuel Lee at someone in a Board of Directors’ meeting. People could not know what was really going on. And Samuel Lee had UBF media under his control. UBF news letters or all types of announcements were controlled by him while victims could not have an opportunity to speak out the truth or tell their grievances. Real information was confined to a small number of eye-witnesses. Others were totally cut off. And the information could not come out because eyewitnesses were often intimidated in various ways – directly or indirectly.

It is like a Russian doll. There is the second smaller doll inside a doll. If you open the second smaller doll, there appears a still smaller third doll inside it. The list goes on. And what is contained in a small doll is not known to the larger doll that contains it.

UBF culture is like this. And among these tiers, there is powerful distrust and competition and watching over. Even inside the same tier doll, powerful mistrust and competition for human recognition gets rid of any room for a genuine friendship. This is a tragedy. It is a religious ghetto. UBF informers are among various groups of people. They report to Samuel Lee or their superiors, who in turn report to Samuel Lee or other superiors.

These informers are rewarded by Samuel Lee in various ways: They are praised in Sunday messages or in announcements. They are given chances to share testimonies or “sogams” and get human recognition or applause from people. They are given chances to dance on a stage or perform musical instruments or deliver messages in a public meeting. Or their children get chances to marry humanly excellent people. The renowned behaviorist B.F. Skinner once said that he could even make doves play table tennis by rewarding them with food when they obey him.

When cumulated year after year, UBF reward and punishment system can alter many people’s behaviors as well as their characters. So often nice people turn into strange people. Friends turn into informers. Many say that there is no friendship or a genuine relationship in UBF. Institutional relationships often replace genuine human relationships. Even marriages are often institutional marriages dependent upon one man Samuel Lee though they are promoted as so-called “marriage by faith.” They are often, not always, marriages by faith in Samuel Lee and the UBF system rather than marriages by faith in God. So as long as a couple are politically correct with UBF leadership, they are helped or more often helped in wrong ways to the point of becoming a dysfunctional family. As soon as they are politically incorrect, they may be wrecked. To many, UBF culture is frightening. As long as one pleases one’s leaders, one seems to be in the center of the world, but the moment one is politically incorrect, nearly no one visits him/her. Since a UBF member has not had any other support system other than UBF, the moment one is excommunicated from UBF, one often feels that one is abandoned alone in a cold universe. The truth is that there are many support systems for one outside of UBF and that God will send many true friends among good people of God to him/her. But people often live by perception rather than by fact. And inside UBF, one’s perception has been greatly altered in UBF’s powerful electric-magnetic fields. I mean in a spiritual sense.

(2) The culture of doing things in a dubious manner as a large snake climbs over a wall

Going back to our story, after a wrangle between Samuel Lee and Jimmy Rhee in the Board of Directors’ meeting, there soon followed Samuel Lee’s cynically humorous and critical comments on Jimmy Rhee on various occasions such as in announcement time after student meetings or Sunday worship services. People laughed because of his cynically humorous remarks without knowing what was really going on. What often took place in communist countries was occurring in Chicago UBF. An uninformed or misinformed crowd laughed according to the well planned propaganda performances of controlling leaders.

When people laughed and bought his distorted explanations of the state of things, Samuel Lee burst into uttering angry and accusing remarks on Jimmy Rhee and other missionaries who had attended a revival meeting. If my memory is correct, Samuel Lee accused them of being magic artists. He accused a revival meeting minister of being a witch. Sometimes he appealed to people’s sympathy, making them believe that as a leader he did not have any other choice but to order a terrible thing mentioned above (Let the reader understand). He sometimes sounded as if he had really repented. His remarks sometimes gave the impression that he really repented before God but could not confess publicly. When people were buying his propaganda and sympathy-yielding remarks, he cleverly took out a dove from a hat and denied publicly that he had ordered an abortion. He sometimes was close to admitting it only in order to achieve his political goal, i.e., maintaining his authority and power among UBF people. In my memory, he sometimes quoted King David’s psalm publicly, “Against you, you alone, I have sinned.” In this way, he gave the impression that he admitted his wrongs before God but could not admit them publicly.

His clever plan worked for a long moment. It was masterful like a large snake climbing a wall. When a large snake climbs a wall, it is not easy to notice what that creature is really doing. Is it just resting on a wall? Or is it climbing the wall in order to invade a house? Is it really dangerous? Or is it just playing around? Is it a part of a wall? Or is it a dangerous carnivore? While a hen is hesitating and forgetting, the large snake moves on and devours her. In a Korean proverb, when a person behaves sneakily in this manner, they say, “He does things in an unclear way as a large snake climbs a wall.” In my view, Samuel Lee disarmed people by clever humors and moved on silently, fooled them and achieved his political goals. He was a demon in this art. It seemed to work for a long time. Some, who were aware of his mastery of the art, chuckled and were impressed by him again. Some idea of his invincibility settled in their hearts with reinforcement.

D. The Tragedy of a Missed Repentance

Did Samuel Lee really repent or merely pretend to repent? This is not an easy question to answer. I myself was often confused. I even felt guilty for a moment, thinking that I might be too harsh toward Samuel Lee if I conclude that he did not repent but only pretend in order to bring about desired political effects. This is not an easy question. It seems that even Jimmy Rhee was not certain about this when he testified against Samuel Lee late in 2000 in the ReformUBF web site.

Here a question naturally arises in our minds. What is repentance? What is the boundary between repentance and pretense? Shouldn’t we give the benefits of doubt when we do not know for sure whether some one is really repenting or not? When these things come into our minds, we become even more confused. But things become clear when we ask the following: When a person confesses a sin in front of another Christian and then later denies it publicly and condemns that Christian, can this be called repentance? The answer seems to be clearly, “No” because the moment a person denies his confessed sin publicly, he nullifies his former confession. By publicly denying his sin in the matter of forced/coerced abortion, Samuel seems to have nullified his privately confessed sin. Furthermore, he even blamed and accused Jimmy Rhee in the eyes of many people. Did those who repented publicly before John the Baptist confess their sins only to deny them? Did King David deny his sin with Bathsheba publicly after he admitted it to the Prophet Nathan? Did he accuse and condemn Nathan? The answers are all “No.” A denied confession does not seem to be a confession. It is a political ploy, clever politically but foolish spiritually. Foolish spiritually because one nullifies his earlier confession by denying it. He lives before human beings rather than before God. He does not trust God who stands by a sinner.

There is another point that makes it difficult to conclude that he repented rather than pretended. According to Jimmy Rhee’s testimony, Samuel Lee seems to have claimed that his sin was an isolated and incidental one. But if we look at the full story by Joseph Park, the abuses against his mother lasted for a long time, were various in kinds and rather systematic. [In addition, allegedly there were even several more cases in which he had forced an abortion. By the way, recently a similar incident in Korea UBF has been reported.] So the tragedy of the abortion was a part of these long and systematic abuses planned to make her stay in Chicago UBF. Jimmy Rhee does not seem to have to regret about his responses to Samuel Lee.

It is a tragedy of tremendous magnitude that an opportunity for a genuine repentance was missed when the wrong was so obvious. This missed opportunity is not incidental but due to the fundamental, structural weakness of UBF, namely lack of accountability and rehabilitation process in UBF.

E. The Absence of Accountability and Credible Rehabilitation Process in UBF

In a normal church or ministry, when a leader significantly errs against a member of the church or ministry, a fair investigation and hearing process click in. This process is carried out by an independent board such as the Board of Ministry which often consists of elected, credible, independent leaders of church or ministry, respected and independent outside servants of God, a seminary president, etc. The independence of this board is guarded with special care so that the Board’s decision may not be influenced by the investigated leader. When the investigated leader is a member of the Board, he/she is exempted from a decision-making process of the board. The investigated leader is given fair chances to explain his position in front of the board.

When he/she is found to be guilty or responsible, he/she is given leave of absence from the ministry for rehabilitation like for 2 or 3 years for not so serious case. He/she is given a sufficient period of spiritual rehabilitation such as spending time with the Lord and reading the Bible and praying in good and quiet environment such as ministry’s retreat center. When his/her wrong is found to be indeed serious, he/she can be dismissed from leadership position. This is accountability system. Many people will agree with that, no matter how much benefit of the doubt one wants to give to Samuel Lee about the abortion case, Samuel Lee needed to have leave of absence from the ministry for a considerable amount of time and go through rehabilitation process.

Unfortunately UBF does not have anything remotely resembling the independent Board of Ministry. So there is no accountability. One man Samuel Lee exercises the power of the board of ministry often without any fair investigation process. The problem becomes really acute when he himself needs to be subjected to an investigation. He exempts himself from any investigation or accountability. Thus, he can be free wheeling and bear no responsibility whatsoever. If some people bring about a legitimate case against him, he can simply label them as rebels or disobedient people and discredit them cleverly and manipulates UBF’s public opinion.

It seems that this sort of things happened in the abortion case. Only Jimmy Rhee courageously spoke out against Samuel Lee with a clear religious conscience. So Samuel Lee decided to kick him out. Since Jimmy Rhee was one of many missionaries who attended a revival meeting, and also since they were not succumbing to him, it was decided that all of them, including Jimmy Rhee, be kicked out of UBF. But since kicking out a member forcibly is illegal, a clever psychological method was used. It was dropping their names from a Christmas service registration chart. One day before the Christmas worship service in 1989, these missionaries saw their names were gone from the registration chart of Christmas 1989. It was an ultimate insult to them who had left everything in Korea and had come to the USA as lay missionaries and had served God for many years undergoing many kinds of suffering and trouble. So they did not participate in Chicago UBF ministry any longer. Like autumn leaves hit by frost in one morning, they were mistreated terribly and were gone. About 20 or so missionaries were massively expelled from the ministry in this way without having any fair chance of stating their cases. They were ridiculed and labeled as divisionists and magic artists. Should God’s servants, who were anointed by God as lay missionaries, be ill treated this way by one man? How on earth can such a ministry be blessed by God? To me, it seems that, from this incident, UBF reached a plateau and stopped growing. This tragic Christmas massacre of missionaries showed to the whole world that UBF missionaries were treated like flies without respect. [And “ordinary” native coworkers are treated often worse, like dirt.] It became clear that UBF USA needed a reform, a fundamental reform. Together with several other compelling issues, the issue of abortion and the issue of the Christmas massacre intensified the reform discussions of several UBF chapter directors and leaders, including Peter Chang, James J. Kim, Augustine Park, Paul Hong, John Shin, Jacob Lee and other leaders.

Their reform discussions, though, were unknown to most of people, even to most people of their own chapters. On the surface, Samuel Lee seemed to be in firm control. There was no protest among Chicago people over the abortion issue or the Christmas massacre. It is hard to expect any protest in a tightly controlled culture. I felt so sorry for the Christmas massacre that I went to Samuel Lee and suggested that the expelled missionaries be visited. He told me to visit them. I visited several of them, including Jacob Park in his apartment, his wife Faith Park in a hospital, Daniel Shin and Jimmy Rhee.

Faith Park had been hospitalized due to a massive car accident. When I visited her, I saw the sympathy card signed by Grace A. Lee, the wife of Samuel Lee. Through this, I learned that Grace A. Lee had visited her. I was a bit surprised and was glad. But that gladness turned into painful disappointment several years later when I learned that Samuel Lee used the descriptive information of Faith Park’s physical condition in the time of hospitalization and sarcastically mentioned her tragic car accident [in a Sunday message]. The last missionary I visited was Jimmy Rhee. It remains as an unforgettable moment to me to this day. Receiving me, Jimmy Rhee sighed and lamented, “Last several days I have been praying and hoping that Samuel Lee visits me. But instead he sent you to me. That means that he does not want to see me.” He grieved over Samuel Lee. He was not bitter toward him. Instead, he prayed for him.

III. The Surprise Torch of Reform Raised in Toledo

One winter morning in January 1990 I was looking around in the parking lot of the Chicago UBF Center. I had been a UBF staff member for many years. As soon as Samuel Lee saw me, he said to me all of sudden, “James Kim stabbed me from behind my back.” I was so surprised and could not believe what I heard from him, So I asked him in order to clarify what I just heard, “Being stabbed from behind of your back? By James Kim?” “That’s right. He stabbed me from behind my back by sending secret letters to some people and accused me falsely.” I cannot remember everything he said to me but what I remember is that he was visibly upset and that Sam Zun reported to him about James Kim’s letter. It seemed that he had already received a copy of the letter from Sam Zun. I could not believe that James Kim would do any thing like stabbing a person in the back. I had known him for many years since my Seoul High School days. As a Korean born in 1952, he was unusually funny and had charming ways of relating with people. In Korean expression, he was a tasty man like soy bean paste soup. As a Tae-Kwon-Do master of high degree black belt, he was powerful, upright and straightforward. While I was serving world mission as a coworker for three years and three months in Toledo UBF from 1978 till 1981, I saw his ways very closely. He often slept as little as two hours a day and served God. He fought against five guys at night and protected a woman from them, while sustaining a deep cut in his face from a guy with a knife. He was very bright. Many people often failed to note about him but he was a great final round sputter and a man of great self-control. A quick learner and a man of powerful endurance. Such a man does not depend on a sly method because he does not have to. Stabbing a person in the back? As far as I knew the man James Kim, he was not such type of a person at all. Before I saw what was in the alleged letter, I could not believe that he had stabbed Samuel Lee from behind his back. So I said to Samuel Lee, “What is written in the letter? James Kim is not that type of a person at all. There must be some misunderstanding. Do you want me to go down to Toledo and find what is really going on?” Samuel Lee replied, “No.” My defense of James Kim would ordinarily enrage him. But he was not angry with me this time because he could know that I had not received James Kim’s letter.

A. The Wizard of Oz

Some time later, Samuel Lee suddenly reversed his earlier position and told me to go down to Toledo, saying, “James Kim is very angry now. You are a peace maker. So stay with James Kim as long as necessary and do the task of an official peacemaker between me and him.” Later I came to understand why Samuel Lee suddenly reversed his mind and sent me to Toledo. According to what I heard, after he received a report from Sam Zun about James Kim’s letter, Samuel Lee soothingly spoke to James Kim and persuaded him to come to Chicago. Accepting Samuel Lee’s words at face value, James Kim came to Chicago and stayed in a room without a phone in a guest house. He could not call his wife Rebekah B. Kim in Toledo from his room. He did not know what was going on in Toledo. Unsuspecting Samuel Lee’s intention, he was spending time in Chicago. When he finally called his wife through public phone, she told him an unthinkable news – that Paul Hong claimed that he would direct Toledo ministry from then on under the approval of Samuel Lee. In great fury, James Kim sought to meet Samuel Lee but could not see him. He stormed out of Chicago and returned to Toledo. Now Toledo ministry was in danger of being taken away by James Kim. That prospect of schism would increase if Paul Hong, who had certain measure of respect among some people in Toledo, supported James Kim. It was at this point that Samuel Lee appointed me as an official peace maker.

However, Samuel Lee’s intention was not in making peace with James Kim but in disarming him and nullifying him. I did not know this in 1990. This point would be understood only slowly by me many years later. In 1990 January, I just did not want to lose such a great man of God as James Kim. I thought losing him would be a great loss for UBF ministry which I greatly wanted to see prosper. Perhaps I also hated losing such a good friend and a fellow missionary.

Before sending me to Toledo, Samuel Lee indicated me that I might become a new director of Toledo UBF and asked me, “Some one from Chicago like you should become Toledo’s director. What do you think?” I declined. I felt it was neither fair nor wise. I myself suffered from Samuel Lee’s back stabbing in MSU [Michigan State University] UBF. He secretly told a man missionary to oust me from directorship. I was incredulous when I was informed of Samuel Lee’s plot to oust me politically. I became greatly disillusioned about the position of a UBF director. Until that time, the position and honor of a UBF director had been viewed by me as something priceless. That was how I had been taught in UBF. But when I heard of Samuel Lee’s conspiracy, I realized that the position of a UBF directorship was something that had been blown by the wind. From that time on, my loyalty to Samuel Lee was turned to the loyalty to UBF. I could not trust the man deep down in my heart. My lofty view of Samuel Lee began to fade fast. And arriving in Chicago from Michigan in 1989, I discovered with more convincing evidence that the awe and respected ascribed to Samuel Lee was a fake one and far worse than that of the Wizard of Oz.

Samuel Lee told Paul Hong to direct Toledo’s ministry but he could not trust him. So if Paul Hong did not follow his order, he wanted to replace him with some one else from Chicago. It is known that Samuel Lee often makes use of people’s selfish ambition and stimulate it in order to control people. The Apostle Paul clearly tells people not to pursue selfish ambition But Samuel Lee often uses this unbiblical method and many chase after their selfish ambition and fight each other. Samuel Lee especially makes use of people’s desire to become his successor. Many naive people are aroused by him to chase after the rainbow of being his successor, work hard, fight hard and are ruined.

B. Holy Toledo and A Wounded Lion

When I arrived in Toledo in January in 1990, Paul Hong received me to his home with his trademark smile and with searching eyes. As I entered his small, cozy two story house, the words on its door post surprised me – Home, Sweet Home. What nice words they are! But to me, then, they looked surreal because those words were unspoken taboos in Chicago UBF as family-centered words of worldly people. Home, Sweet Home! What a pleasant surprise! However, those words, I came to understood later, not only meant Hong Family’s inclination for a sweet home life but also indicated that Sarah Hong had deciding influence in Hong Family. Unlike many Chicago UBF people’s homes, Hong Family was more like a sweet home. New biblical books in the book shelf caught my eyes. Paul Hong said to me, “I did not ask Toledo coworkers to pay me salary since I have a professor job in the University of Toledo. I only asked them to pay me small amount of money for my book purchase.” (I think the sum of money he mentioned was about one hundred dollars a month.)

Paul Hong and I talked about many things and laughed together. I had had a certain liking toward him because he was my senior in high school by one year and also because he was also one of few persons in UBF, who was willing to know and talk about the needs for change in UBF. After all, James Kim had helped him a lot. While he was stuck in Atlanta without much hope in his ministry, James Kim brought him to Bowling Green and helped him to start a new ministry. After Toledo and Bowling Green were combined by the direction from Samuel Lee, James Kim had treated him nicely. I thought that he would conduct himself objectively and fairly.

But he would not talk freely about really important things in resolving the conflict between Samuel Lee and James Kim. Only after I said to him that I had declined Samuel Lee’s suggestion about Toledo’s directorship, he began to speak out his heart. He jokingly said to me that he had been wondering whether I was Samuel Lee’s spy. He and I cracked some jokes and he explained what’s happening in Toledo. He was careful not to overly criticize James Kim but lamented, saying, “James Kim is like General Jahng Bee. Without considering the consequences of his actions and without making plans carefully, he acted.” (General Jahng Bee is a hero in China’s Three Kingdom Period of approximately the third century AD.) At the time of my conversation with him, I did not understand the meaning of his words fully. I thought that he was just pointing to James Kim’s certain weakness as he saw it. But later I learned that he had originally been a participating member of reform-minded leaders’ circle and that James Kim had designated him as his successor in Toledo after James Kim’s moving to Houston, Texas. Lamenting over James Kim, he often called Chicago and received instructions from Samuel Lee about how to deal with James Kim and also Toledo congregation, who was in the state of a shock. Now because he had been given Toledo directorship by Samuel Lee albeit tacitly and James Kim appeared to be overpowered by Samuel Lee, Paul Hong lamented over James Kim and then began to undo his involvement in reform movement. To this day, he (together with his younger brother Daniel Hong) harshly criticizes reformers in exaggerated fashion in order to deny his involvement in the reform movement of 1990 though he knows the dire needs of reform in UBF. From him, I heard that James Kim and Rebekah B. Kim had been quarantined to their home and had been told by Samuel Lee not to come to worship service but to humble themselves by staying at home.

Paul Hong showed me Toledo center. I was impressed with its spacious and well-built multi-rooms. It even had a lot of room to expand in the second story. New buildings of University of Toledo were being built nearby. Someone told me that James Kim worked hard with coworkers, including many American shepherds/shepherdesses like Steve R. and Jack W., the American husband of Rebekah W., a Korean woman missionary. When I was in Toledo in 1978-1981, Toledo coworkers had to move often from an apartment to houses for worship service. But now Toledo ministry was growing leaps and bounds. I heard that about 70 or so people were attending Sunday worship service. In my mind’s eyes was passing the memory of James Kim’s visiting Tony C. with Mark G. and others to Pamberville, Ohio around 11 PM. God had done indeed great works in Toledo.

Toledo occupies a special place in USA UBF history: Toledo was the first chapter which made a breakthrough in pioneering USA. While other chapters were searching for a way to teach the Bible to American brothers/sisters, James Kim and Toledo coworkers raised up growing American shepherds/shepherdesses. God greatly encouraged Korean missionaries in USA through Toledo ministry, planting in their hearts the faith “We can indeed raise up American leaders through 1:1 Bible study.” People in Ohio jokingly say about the city of Toledo, “Holy Toledo!” But in the true sense of the word, Toledo is a holy place in UBF USA history.

Now a certain man named Isaac Kim (now in Akron, Ohio, I believe) was vocal in criticizing James Kim. On the other hand, most of coworkers were just stunned by the sudden turn of events in Toledo and expressed their sorrow and sympathy toward James Kim albeit carefully. “We had such a great Christmas worship service with a really beautiful Christmas play written by James Kim himself and with over 200 attendants. Then suddenly James Kim began to visit Texas and talk about pioneering Houston. Then all of sudden these things happened. We do not know what’s going on.” Isaac Kim charged publicly that James Kim had been puffed up after seeing great works of God in Toledo.

As a peace maker, I officially visited James Kim, his wife Rebekah B. Kim and their children. I was struck by his plight: He was groaning in pain. His face was flushed like a man with fever. His voice was full of pain and of slow, low tone. I had never seen him in such a painful and depressed state except when he cried over his first son’s illness and death. He looked like a wounded lion, licking its wounds with its tongue in early morning sunlight in African grass land nearby a dried-up tree. Steve Ricker came to him and taunted him with many critical words. But James Kim calmly corrected him without losing temper. It was amazing to me that he was enduring Steve Ricker so gracefully. In the midst of havoc, his wife Rebekah B. Kim remained calm and strong. James Kim struggled to receive me as warmly as possible. After bringing me down to his study in basement with a big book shelf which had Chinese classic book named Goh Moon Jin Bo, he handed me a copy of his letter which he had first sent to Peter Chang, Sam Zun, Jacob Lee of Washington UBF, etc and then to Samuel Lee later. He said to me that Hannah C. typed for him and Randy W. proofread his letter.

C. James Kim’s Open Letter to Samuel Lee

Dear readers, if you can get it through ReformUBF web site or RSQUBF web site [you can find a copy here, as well], please read through James Kim’s open letter to Samuel Lee written end of 1989. It is a significant and quite unusual letter in many ways:

(1) The tone of the letter

It was a voluminous letter of some 19 pages. Reading it, I was stunned by its tone as well as its content. I felt that its tone was daring, straight and fearless. I had never seen anyone speak to Samuel Lee as daringly and fearlessly as he did in the letter. I did not know what to make of it. So I called my wife Mary and asked her, “I think the content of the letter is, if not all, mostly true. But as a man born in Korea, I feel that he might have spoken too strongly to Samuel Lee without considering his position as a much younger man or a man under Samuel Lee. As an American, what do you think?” Then my wife surprised me by saying, “The issue is whether the content of the letter is true or not. Why should tone matter at all?” To this day, some Korean missionaries may think that the tone of James Kim’s letter is inappropriate regardless of its content. This is also one of the contentions of Samuel Lee and his underlings. However, it should be noted that the letter is written in English. In American culture, the tone of his letter seems to be appropriate. Even to people in Korea, it can be translated in quite an appropriate tone. So it seems to me that there is no tone problem in James Kim’s letter. The real issue is whether its content is true or not. What then is the content of the letter? And is it true?

To be continued, hopefully soon..


1994 James Kim Letter

This letter, which was originally written in Korean by M. James K. (Houston, formerly Toledo) to the UBF directors in Korea and Chicago in 1994, was translated by M. Jacob C. and then revised by M. Paul S. This is one of the important documents to review about the history of the second reform movement in the UBF-USA.

February 28, 1994

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:15-16)

Dear precious servant of the Lord:

First of all, I pay my respects from my deep heart to the shepherds and the missionaries who are devoting their lives to the gospel work because of their love toward the Lord all over the world. Even though I spent almost 20 years as a gospel co-worker in UBF, many don’t know me personally. And many don’t know the reason why I am writing this letter. So, I simply introduce to you the circumstances for sending this letter.

I. The Background of the Highlights

In 1972, I started to study the Bible when I was a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of SNU [Seoul National University]. Here, I received Jesus as my Savior and accepted God’s calling. In Korea, I was an intern shepherd of Kwan Ak center after my graduation. In May 1977, I came to USA as a missionary and served in gospel work in Toledo, Ohio, until I came down to Houston to pioneer in 1990. In the early ’70s, my heart was attracted to the pure love of the Word of the truth. That’s why I fully devoted my golden days of life, my 20s and 30s to the Lord through the UBF ministry. But I directly observed and experienced the untruth, the darkness, and the factors of serious spiritual corruption that existed among us, while I was very closely obeying and co-working with M. Samuel Lee of Chicago in USA for the last 13 years. Eventually, I sent a letter to M. Samuel Lee, expressing my earnest outspoken advice.

At the end of 1989, I could not help feeling the sense of crisis when I was praying for and thinking about Toledo UBF, world UBF, and especially UBF-USA. Outwardly, it was a time of boasting of small successes through pioneering the campuses of the USA and West Germany, and sending out missionaries to many countries, including Russia. It seemed to grow outwardly, since 200 Americans attended Sunday Worship Service in Chicago UBF, 120 Americans in Columbus UBF, and 65 Americans in our Toledo UBF. But so many inner problems were already apparent in UBF-USA.

M. Jimmy Rhee, who was one of the board members, and about 20 Chicago missionaries dropped out or were excommunicated. (This is so-called case of Hallelujah Christians.) And M. Augustine Park submitted his resignation as a director of Milwaukee UBF. There were various signs that God’s work was suffering from pernicious evils inwardly, such as the co-working problems with M. Samuel Lee, the misuse of offering, and the contradiction of training. Even some influential American scholars named UBF-USA as heretical in their books.

I sent a letter to M. Samuel Lee in January ’90 and M. Peter Chang [from Columbus] also sent his letter in July ’90. In those letters, we proposed the problems among us to be changed inevitably and asked for his prayer support. Our motive for writing those letters was never personal selfishness or emotion. It was based on the pivotal point between the existence and the destruction: whether now UBF can be based on the Gospel and grow, or be destroyed as a sect. However, these letters made M. Peter Chang and myself to be excluded, condemned and falsely accused so many times for the last four years.

Eventually, at the end of 1993, our names were not printed in the Daily Bread of Korea and USA. In fact, we reached the point of being expelled from UBF. I could not understand these things at all, since I wanted to build a better UBF through proposing the problems that should be absolutely changed in UBF. At first, I wanted to retreat without a word and to live a life serving Jesus quietly, since I did not like causing trouble and meeting with darkness. I dared to take up my pen like this, thinking how many co-workers would be sacrificed in the future and that it was not right to cover the truth and to leave the history distorted, if I went away silently like ex-UBFers in the same boat in the past. Here, I outlined the problems which M. Peter Chang and I proposed. I cordially ask your objective judgment, advice and prayer.

II. The first problem: Only God and Jesus is our Lord
(No honorable man or the servant of the Lord can sit down on His throne.)

In my opinion, there is a problem that shepherds and sheep eventually (at least once someday) face and breed discord in our UBF. That is the problem of M. Samuel Lee of Chicago. He is not only playing the role of mediator between God and us in many aspects, but also sitting down on the throne of God or in many cases on top of that. Of course, the shepherd is the guide of the blind and the teacher who leads and teaches the sheep with the Word of God. He is the spokesman of Jesus. Because of this duty, he needs spiritual authority. But there should be a limit even in this authority. No servant of God can exercise the absolute spiritual authority of Jesus.

The authority of the shepherd is given by Jesus himself, when he serves sheep with sacrifice, devotion, tears and humility. It is corrupted spiritual authority to demand the authority forcefully and enforce his authority by any means. Up to the present, we were taught that the order of the organization could be kept and the efficient work could be carried only when the authority of M. Samuel of Chicago (from now on I will call him Dr. Lee) was established as the highest spiritual leader and then that of the directors. And we believed that firmly. And we put the challenge against the absolute authority of Dr. Lee under the taboo, using the examples of David and Saul [1Sam 24:7]. But the problem is that he will be absolutely corrupted when the man with the nature of corruption exercises the absolute authority. History proves it. And we should learn this inevitable historical fact. Therefore, the principle of “check and balance” comes from the truth of the Bible (Acts 6:1-7; 11:18; 15:1-35).

They have practiced this principle in the progressive orthodox churches, governments and social organizations for 2000 years from the earliest churches to the modern. Now seems to be the time for the examining whether or not the absolute authority of Dr. Lee or the shepherds was higher than that of Jesus and whether or not the most fundamental truth of the Bible were violated because of this.

A. Only the Bible is the absolute truth: No interpretation of the Bible by a certain man or church can be the foundation of the absolute truth.

Dr. Lee is saying that only the Bible is the foundation of the absolute truth in UBF and only we, especially our leaders, are embodying this truth. But, in reality, only Dr. Lee’s interpretation of the Bible, that is, only Dr. Lee’s lecture manuscript, is the basis of our testimony writing. Without applying this principle, there will be subtle pressure and punishment. In USA staff meetings, the best testimonies are (still) those copied from Dr. Lee’s manuscript with some personal applications. Only these kinds of testimonies are highly praised. We are judged as unbiblical men being filled with human and self-centered thoughts, when we write our own testimonies, not copying Dr. Lee’s manuscript after digging out truth from the Word of God and receiving personal grace.

It is useless, even though we ourselves are personally so moved and influenced by the Holy Spirit, and we receive the conviction of our faith. If Dr. Lee pointed out that the testimony was wrong, the testimony writer would regard this as received grace from sinful thoughts. And whether it was right or wrong, we should write the testimonies according to his direction. If it’s not, we will be subtly condemned and judged as disobedient, unbiblical and unspiritual men. Even now, the Chicago missionaries should write their testimonies, copying Dr. Lee’s manuscript exactly and finishing them by praising Dr. Lee. The missionaries who are not following this rule will be gradually branded and reduced to second- or third-rate missionaries.

I made effort to receive the message training of Dr. Lee faithfully, trying to be second to none for about 10 years. At first, it was not bad for growing leaders and shepherds to copy the manuscript, just because of humbleness. But Dr. Lee did not like for us to dig out the well of the Word in our own way. He hated that we learned from other places except from his own manuscript. He regarded those who learned from his manuscript and wrote accordingly for 10 or 20 years as mature servants. If this is the case, we are learning not the truth but the self-righteousness and egotism of one individual. At first, I also went to Chicago and received the training just because of my thankful, respectful and joyful heart. But the point of the training was turning round and round. And it eventually followed that I was paid a high compliment when I copied Dr. Lee’s manuscript very well, and condemned and judged that I did something wrong when I dug out the well of the Word in my own way.

Later, I felt like being paralyzed and suffocated without finding a way out from this situation and a breakthrough. And in every conference, they delivered the same manuscripts of Dr. Lee without even changing the illustrations for about 10 years, changing only the speakers. This kind of conference made the leaders or missionaries have a hard time and carry the burden instead of receiving the Word of God in their heart. And even in world conferences (West Germany, Russia), eventually they deliver the same messages after changing Dr. Lee’s manuscripts a little bit. (Last year, Shepherd Mark Yang received training and rebuke, since he did not copy and delivered the exact message of Dr. Lee at the Russia conference.)

Missionary Peter Chang and I visited Korea UBF in 1992. And the big growth of each center touched us. I could see the vivid work of the Holy Spirit according to the free and independent study and teaching of the Bible under the environment of respecting personality and independence under the leadership of Shepherd John Jun, after Dr. Lee left Korea in 1977. On the contrary, in UBF-USA, the growth is stuck tight and many coworkers dropped out. Dr. Lee is blocking the work of the Holy Spirit, sitting down on the throne of Jesus behind the scenes. And the sad thing is that Korea UBF also is under the authority of Dr. Lee. The realm of world UBF and Korea UBF should unavoidably desert his principle and follow the untruth.

This voice was heard 18 years ago in the ’76 event of the senior shepherds. (At this time he distorted history calling this a work of Satan.) After this event, Dr. Lee pretended to reform for a while but later returned to the old style. He seemed to sense the problems for a moment due to the letters of M. Peter Chang and myself but then went back to his old self. This made me think that basically we need theological establishment about the true view of the Messiah, leadership and the Bible.

There are basically little differences between our present reality and that of the Catholic churches in the Middle Ages. That’s because of the thought that only the interpretation of the church was absolute, and the individual should interpret the Bible based on the interpretation of the church leaders. There are so many unessential spiritual problems. We need to pray a lot in order to solve this basic problem.

B. The Wrong Way of Thinking:
(The Direction and Love of Dr. Lee = The Direction and Love of God)

A few months ago (after the 1993 Christmas worship service), Shepherd Teddy Hembekides, of Oakton College of Chicago, went through same severe trouble with his heart. The reason was that he disobeyed the direction Dr. Lee gave him through M. Jackie to participate in the Christmas party one Monday evening in the Chicago center. In my eyes, Shepherd Teddy could not obey that direction because of his own philosophy of faith. He did not go there because he had the clear value and faith that he needed to take care of his sheep at that time and that was more important than the Christmas party. But the problem is that we should obey the absolute direction of Dr. Lee, giving up everything else, no matter how right we might be. If it’s not, we will become disobedient sinners and rebels, that is, the enemies of all people. This is our reality. You might know very well that Shepherd Teddy suffered insults later and went through the trouble of heart. (Senior shepherds went through similar experiences more than enough.)

This was the same motive with which I came into conflict with Dr. Lee in the early ’90s. After I sent a long outspoken letter to Dr. Lee in January 1990, my heart was filled with the regrettable and sorry feeling because of the sense of Korean morality. (Of course, there is nothing wrong about my suggested issue.) So, I called Dr. Lee, apologized and asked for his forgiveness after sending that letter. Dr. Lee responded that he forgave everything and there was no problem at all. And he suggested that I might have the time to talk with him and discuss necessary matters.

Then he invited me to Chicago. I joyfully accepted his invitation, deeply touched by his broad-mindedness and Christ-like personality. And he encouraged and treated me with very wonderful words while I stayed in Chicago. That moved me deeply and I even shed tears. But one thing was strange to me. It was that he let me stay in a room without a telephone for seven days in Chicago. Later, I called Toledo and found out that every word and action of Dr. Lee was false. In fact, they already expelled me from the directorship in Toledo, while he confined me in Chicago.

In Toledo, he announced through missionaries that my family and I would leave for Minneapolis in Minnesota to pioneer, since I committed terrible sins before God. (Yet, in front of me, he was totally double-tongued, and promised me that he would do his best to help me to go with American shepherd families.) I was shocked not because of the news that I was under punishment or would go into exile, but because how the servant of God could appeal to Machiavellian diplomacy like this. But I prayed again and concluded that the position, accumulated reputation and honor of Dr. Lee were significant. And the sheep of Toledo were more important. I decided that it’s o.k. to be misunderstood in order to protect the sheep. And I left a memo in Chicago and returned to Toledo. I planned that our family would leave for Minnesota quietly after talking with my co-worker. It was my candid feelings that I did not want to let our sheep and co-workers be drawn into the vortex because of my conflicts with Dr. Lee. However, the problem occurred after that.

After I came back to Toledo, through sending three Toledo missionaries to my home, Dr. Lee threatened me with this message: “It is to accept God’s love for M. James K. to return to Chicago and receive the training. And to refuse this direction is to refuse God’s love. In that case, you will be a Gentile of UBF, that is, you will be expelled from UBF.” I explained all the circumstances to these missionaries. But it was useless because they set their heart with the fixed ideas after they received the direction of Dr. Lee. But as for me, I was shocked once again that the equation, namely Dr. Lee’s love = God’s love and Dr. Lee’s direction = God’s direction was so deeply planted in the heart of these missionaries.

In my opinion, it was obvious that since I knew much about his darkness and wrote this in my letter Dr. Lee wanted me to return to Chicago so that he could confine me in Chicago and try to wheedle in order to forbid me to mention any of this. But I was greatly disillusioned about naming this as God’s love and God’s training. Simultaneously, the flames of wrath started to shoot up against his falsehood and hypocrisy. And I was captivated that Dr. Lee was sitting down on the throne of Jesus in our heart and that the bigger problem was that following him became an unwritten law among us not limited to some special cases. Therefore, I reached the conclusion that it was absolutely necessary to have the true faith and an individual and personal relationship with God. But the struggle of M. Peter Chang and I eventually became diluted with the word called the work of Satan. It became like throwing eggs toward a rock because of Dr. Lee’s manipulation of all the public opinions and all the power of UBF.

Even though I gave the example of Teddy, the deeper faith problem lies in that this became an unwritten law among us, not just applying to some particular people. And so many shepherds and co-workers who are closely working with Dr. Lee overstrain their nerves because of this and are hurt and have suffered in their heart in addition to carrying the big burden of Gospel work. God’s direction should be sought for through prayer in the Holy Spirit. And we should not be confused between man’s false love and God’s love.

C. God’s work should be done not by the wisdom, means, methods or manipulation of the human being but by the touch and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Whenever we study the Gospel, we are deeply moved by Jesus, since he believed in the work of the Holy Spirit absolutely and he himself obeyed to the work of the Holy Spirit thoroughly. The method of Jesus’ ministry is well expressed in John 6:44a: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” But in UBF-USA, “We should be indiscreet employing means in order to achieve the good purpose of the Gospel” became the motto according to Dr. Lee’s teaching. Dr. Lee’s teaching, like fraudulent tricks, forced controls, artificial tactics, manipulation and etc. has been incorporated into God’s work. Other things include misguided training, forced marriage, inflating Bible study numbers and Sunday worship service attendants. And that gives rise to so many pernicious evils and troubles. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that if the purpose was good, the means also should follow high moral principles. Here are some examples:

(1) Telling lies and fabrications:

In UBF, Dr. Lee’s telling lies is regarded as wisdom. In my ’90s event, through the UBF official document, Dr Lee promised to send five American families to me until the ’90 summer conference. Since I could not believe his words at all, all the board members signed the document with the witness of M. Peter Chang. But he again broke his promise. In reality, he discouraged those who were willing to come to me. There are countless examples of lies like this. The relationship of trust and love among us was replaced with the unnatural relationship of doubt.

(2) Forced control:

In order to control the shepherd family, Dr. Lee controls the sister (wife) first and then controls the husband through the wife. This became a kind of ministry method. Dr. Lee loves very much the sisters who obey him and highly praises them. But those sisters, who are living their own life by their own faith and have thoughts in conflict with Dr. Lee are neglected and despised under the name of training. And he gives the training until their spirits are crushed. M. Esther Jung, of Winnipeg in Canada, was treated as a hero and was highly praised when she listened to him well. But she suffered a lot of trials and insults after she opposed the artificial method of ministry that Dr. Lee pushed on missionaries by force.

Eventually, he even persuaded M. David Jung, her husband, to divorce her. Later, they moved to Vancouver in Canada as if they went into exile. There this family was totally ruined. M. David Jung was as good as the living dead. M. Esther Jung had a nervous breakdown. Now I can see God is restoring this family little by little and healing lots of scars received from the contradiction of Dr. Lee and UBF organization. M. Gus Park, of Austin, is still having severe troubles. M. Deli Chung, of Pittsburgh, (the wife of M. Peter Chung) has a strong personality. She was not obedient to Dr. Lee. That’s why he wanted to crush the spirit of this chaste sister missionary, so that he would say she fell in love with a Korean missionary or a handsome American shepherd in vain. (This family suffered hardships because of this and M. Deli Chung has not recovered totally from that scar.)

(3) The basic problem of Christian ethics:

Dr. Lee ordered an abortion without hesitating when a sister disobeyed him. Ex-missionary of Chicago Rebecca Yoon suffered from guilt for a long time because of this. M. Jimmy Rhee was eventually expelled from Chicago UBF since he wanted to correct this problem and challenged Dr. Lee. (But it was distorted that M. Jimmy Rhee went to a tongue-speaking church since his faith had something wrong with it and he had problems with English and his son.) UBF-USA would end if the U.S. press learned about these immoral practices.

(4) Pernicious evils of artificial training:

The training of shepherds should be based on the work of the Holy Spirit in order to help them. But this training makes the relationship worse instead of better due to the scars and unbelief. In Hebrews chapter 12, the necessity of training is written. And I believe that all the disciples of Jesus should receive God’s training. But the real trainer is God and the trainee willingly obeys God by the touch and influence of the Holy Spirit. But we will produce pernicious evils and scars through training if we use means like fear against punishment, psychological pressure, and taking advantage of the competitive spirit. And the human artificial training makes the trainee lose his self-regulation and the ability of personal thoughts.

Eventually, through this kind of training, we cannot raise up men of God but paralytics who just try to read the shepherd’s mind and are waiting for the shepherd’s direction. This kind of artificial training, as it were, may gain one (ultimately, this makes the condition of being loyal to the man and organization) while losing 10. M. Gus Park received this kind of training. This made him tired, so that he submitted his resignation as a shepherd. (But these kinds of co-workers are condemned as corrupted angels who forsook their mission and went back to the world because of their laziness and unsolved problems in their faith.)

(5) The bait for heightening loyalty:

One of Dr. Lee’s favorite methods of heightening the loyalty of co-workers is the promise of becoming his successor. It is the observation of Shepherd Peter Suh that those who were seduced by this bait were all hurt and dropped out. Dr. Sam Zun became a fallen star and tasted bitterness after being loyal for a while because of this. There are still some shepherds who are attracted to this. Another false method is that he gives away public money [money from the collected tithes from all UBF chapters] as if he gives his own personal money, in order to heighten the loyalty toward the human Samuel Lee.

He can take advantage of these methods at times, but in the long run this plants unbelief and disillusionment in the heart of close co-workers. Since there are so many examples like this, I cannot mention everything. Too much artificial work in UBF blocks the work of the Holy Spirit and make so many shepherds and missionaries utterly worn out.

D. The work of self-administration and self-regulation of each chapter should be absolutely guaranteed.

Dr. Lee is always boasting that no branch of any church can serve the ministry more freely than UBF. But in reality UBF (esp. UBF-USA) structurally employs the policies of thorough superintendence and information, so that the directors are suffering so much because of their inner trouble without working according to their conscience of faith and the direction of the Holy Spirit. One of the reasons M. John Shin, of New York, submitted his resignation last year is that Dr. Lee tortured him psychologically through continuous loyalty checks as well as giving him the directions through M. Wesley Yoon. (Dr. Lee said to the other co-workers that M. John Shin went to the world in order to find his job because of his love toward the world and the material.)

When I was serving the ministry in Toledo, I also suffered a lot and my heart was so much troubled, being stressed about Dr. Lee’s policies of information and control through M. Hee Soon and Isaac Kim. Even in Korea UBF, Dr. Lee gives the direction to Shepherd Mark Yang in order to check Shepherd John Jun. And when he wants to check Shepherd Mark Yang, he gives the direction to Shepherd Samuel H. Lee. Through this kind of political means, Dr. Lee tries to control Korea UBF completely. And in any UBF of the world, if it’s necessary, Dr. Lee has the direct relationship with the leaders ignoring the directors of the chapters. The worse thing is that Dr. Lee splits the directors and their leaders through talking about weaknesses of the directors to their leaders. (All the American shepherds who were brought into Chicago UBF from other chapters went through this process.)

Dr. Lee cut the relationship between Shepherd Mark Moran of Berkeley and M. Mark Hong, of Madison, in this method. Now, Paul Laska is suffering a lot these days, since he was not entangled in this plot.

Of course, I believe that we should maintain acts of unity, like the staff meeting prayer support, spiritual order, etc. We need the close relationships as the limbs and the body of Christ. But beyond this, the leader changes well-made programs in the middle of the meeting and meddles in everything like interfering with a well-installed microphone. He tries to be a so-called superhero or superman ignoring the body of Christ. Sitting down in Chicago, Dr. Lee is always boasting that he knows the circumstances of each chapter better than anyone else, even better than the chapter co-workers, and he gives the directions freely. But in many cases, it is revealed that it is nothing but a wild fancy.

And it brings the result that only the shepherds are suffering, caring about unnecessary things. With this kind of control and artificial work, the work of the Holy Spirit cannot grow at all. The ministry method of Dr. Lee will surely fail and his ministry will gradually collapse internally especially in a country like the United States founded on the spirit of freedom, equality and philanthropy.

III. Second Problem: The Offering Problem

The offering problem is one of the biggest things that caused me to doubt about Dr. Lee as a servant of God for the last 20 years. In the early 1970s, the first group of missionaries in West Germany sent 100 % of their offering. Dr. Lee put this large amount of money in his personal account. At about the time of the ’76 reform movement in Korea, Dr. Lee opened his personal account in Benoit, Mississippi, the hometown of Shepherdess Sarah Barry. He hoarded the money there secretly excusing the future pioneering of USA. And he used this money from this account as his personal expenses, a house and car after coming to the USA. (But to the coworkers, he told a lie that the parents of Shepherdess Sarah Barry bought the car as a gift.) This offering problem was one of the issues during the ’76 reform movement.

And in the 1980s, USA, West Germany, Canada, and Korea UBF offered Christmas offerings and special offerings for buying pioneering centers. (Examples: the purchase of the centers of Minnesota, Milwaukee, Madison, Oakton and so on.) The enormous offerings came into the central UBF. It might be several million dollars since it was accumulated for 10 years. But in reality nothing was spent from that money except buying the Northwestern center, intern shepherds’ houses around Chicago UBF and Oakton house [Oakton and Northwestern are located in Chicago, too]. I pointed out this problem in my early ’90s letter and mentioned about the unreasonableness that M. Grace A. Lee [the wife of Samuel Lee] was the treasurer of the Central UBF for such a long time, which outwardly M. Maria Ahn was set as a new treasurer.

At that time, when the account of the central UBF was passed on to M. Maria Ahn, there was almost no balance carried over, even though the balance should be nearly about $1,000,000. (This account book of central UBF is veiled in mystery like North Korea. There is no audit. And nobody knows the true facts.) And even after this, Dr. Lee spent money freely. (For example, he received $10,000 to $20,000 from M. Jackie Lee under the name of M. Sarah Barry and then spent that money without giving it to her, and so on.)

The worse problem is that to the co-workers he made false propaganda that he was clean-handed and lived a poor life. According to the account book, Dr. Lee received $1,500 [monthly] from Chicago UBF, and he reported that to the IRS [the tax office]. But the bigger problem is that in reality he uses the offering money, offered by the sweat of the brow of brothers and sisters all over the world, personally without fear and trembling. Suppose, for example, Dr. Lee gave $20,000 to his second daughter Little Sarah for her wedding gift. Even in a rich family in the USA, it is not an easy thing to do this. How can a poor servant of God, who receives $1,500 monthly without doing any other business, give away such a amount? This arouses my big suspicion. (According to the rumor, and as Dr. Lee himself admitted in his announcement, he hoarded this offering money secretly and invested it somewhere else.)

In fact, outwardly Dr. Lee did the work of the Lord very hard. Therefore I think it is better for Dr. Lee that, if he needed more money, we could arrange a high salary scale and he could use the money freely within that limit and not touch the offering. But in present circumstances, there are three deep spiritual problems.

First, the falsehood and hypocrisy are the main problem. In reality, Dr. Lee has an enormous amount of money under his control. But he says he is living the poorest life. And he reported that to the IRS. If the IRS knew this and conducted surveillance, Chicago UBF and UBF-USA would be ostracized from American society. He bought an honorary doctoral degree with almost 200,000,000 won ($260,000 at that time) in Korea. But the problem is that Dr. Lee told a lie that he received that honorary doctoral degree because others recognized his service and encouraged him to receive it.

Second, the family of Dr. Lee, enjoys power, honor and wealth, while so many shepherds and missionaries live sacrificial lives shedding bitter tears and dedicate everything without being compensated that much. (In fact, God’s work is the fruit of their blood and sweat.) The only full-time shepherds who were receiving a small salary ($800 to $1,200) in USA UBF were manipulated inhumanly to the level of feeling the insults. (M. John Shin, of New York, whose children were about to enter college, received $1,500 a month. Out of that $1,500, he spent $1,000 for his apartment rent. He also received pressure about receiving the money to the degree of feeling insulted.)

Third, Dr. Lee does not have any accountability at all. The offering is public money, so it should be open to the public and audited annually and there should be no absurdities and irregularities since UBF is a nonprofit organization. But if somebody requests to open the account book to the public, eventually he will be excommunicated like M. Peter Chang, of Columbus, and me. If someone asks to Dr. Lee the reason why M. Peter Chang and James K. were excommunicated from UBF, he will tell a lie again that he did not excommunicate them but omitted their names since they did not attend staff conferences or the summer conference.

In fact, the issue is not whether or not our names were omitted from the back pages of the Daily Bread or whether or not we attended the staff conference. According to the advice of Korean shepherds, I attended the ’91 summer conference and (uninvited in the end) staff conferences until ’91. But I had to pocket not a few insults, was alienated from other co-workers and was under the superintendence as a dangerous figure. There is no other reason to be treated like this except that I presented these issues, knew too much of Dr. Lee’s darkness and became the thorn of his eyes due to his fear of my telling these issues to the other co-workers.

M. Peter Chang of Columbus was branded as a rebellious man indulged in Judaism when he tried to study the Word independently and live according to his conscience of faith having a sense of the problems in UBF. And when then something happened to me in the early ’90s, he suffered many bitter insults because of his standing on the side of truth, instead of speaking ill of me and showing his loyalty to Dr. Lee. Consequently, because of this he was branded as a “SNU Rebel” and excommunicated. (But even now Dr. Lee is still spreading the false rumor that M. Peter Chang became rebellious due to the seduction of one sister. Now this kind of fabrication of the truth and history should not be done any more.)


It is my candid feeling that I have no desire at all to work in Houston under the name of UBF because it is going far away from God’s truth like this. M. Peter Chang, of Columbus, the brothers and sisters there, M. Gus Park, of Austin, and M. John Shin, of Dallas, might have similar feelings. And I can guess that there are so many shepherds and missionaries who share our view. Our common agony is basically caused not by other co-workers but by the problems of Dr. Lee’s spiritual leadership and unbiblical way of thinking and practice.

In UBF, there are many Christians who are trying to resemble the beautiful life of Jesus and serving the flock of sheep sacrificially. And we are keeping past co-workers in mind. Therefore, I ask for prayers from many co-workers. And I want to wait for your response advice and encouragement.

After that, I want to decide the last direction. History will judge whether UBF should have undergone the inner reformation in order to be used in God’s great redemptive work with a far-sighted plan or we should have been excommunicated for making trouble and setting up obstacles to God’s work because of our wrong views. Therefore since you are the living witnesses and judges of the history as well as our co-workers sharing the blood of Christ, we are sending this letter to you.

Your servant in the Lord,
Missionary James K. from Houston, Texas
and the coworkers sharing the sense of problems



UBFism – Confirmed Abuses

Through many in-person and social media interactions, I have confirmed the following kinds of abuse have occurred at University Bible Fellowship chapters. All names, dates and private details are withheld due to legal concerns.

Sexual abuse. I have confirmed many cases of sexual molestation in various places and various times. The total count of incidents may be as high as 20. For the cases where I have documented proof of the incidents, I have already filed reports with the proper police authorities in the U.S.

Abortions. I have confirmed as many as 5 cases of abortions by UBF members, either because they were directed to do so by their shepherd or because they felt the pressure to conform to the mission-centered mindset instilled by UBFism. In each case, the people wanting the abortions expressed a range of emotions, such as shame for having children too early in their marriage or a desire to sacrifice everything for the sake of UBF mission.

Suicides. I have confirmed several cases of suicides of UBF members, either before or after leaving the group. The suicides happened because of a combination of factors, but the undue religious influence of UBFism and the demand to conform to the ideal shepherd identity are at the core of the feelings expressed by those who committed suicide.

Financial abuse. I have confirmed numerous cases of the abuse of finances of UBF members. In addition to extreme pressure to tithe weekly/monthly/regularly, there are UBF members who have taken out high dollar loans to make special offerings. Families at UBF have paid thousands of dollars to register students for Bible conferences who never showed up. At times, members have been coerced into quick, ill-advised financial decisions regarding big ticket items such as houses and cars, all for the sake of UBF mission.

The following specifics are just the tip of the iceberg of confirmed cases over the past several decades that have not been addressed:

– An older Korean missionary has routinely slept with his daughter.
– An American shepherd regularly molested children at CBF.
– A student regularly molested children and then was appointed to lead children’s singing.
– An American shepherd was made to live in a one room apartment with only a small window in order to kill off his worldly desires.
– An American shepherd was sick and kept at home with an IV instead of going to the emergency room.
– A Korean missionary died at a UBF center and they prayed instead of calling 911.
– Some 2nd gens are locked in their rooms after they partied too much and got drunk.


UBFism – Discussion Websites

The ideology, theology and methodology of UBF is called UBFism. The many problems and flaws are being discussed on the following forums, some of which may be closed to external comments:

  1. The Voy Forum was started by former UBF leaders:
  2. The ubfriends forum was started by some UBF leaders (who are now exubf):
  3. The priestly>nation forum was started by Brian John Karcher:
  4. The Livejournal forum was started by some former UBF leaders:
  5. The exubf blogspot was created by a former UBF leader:
  6. The JC blogspot was created by a former UBF leader:
  7. The Russian exubf blogspot was created by some former UBF leaders:
  8. The Taiwan exubf blogspot was created by some former UBF leaders:

1989 James Kim Letter

The late James J. Kim was the first director of the Toledo, OH chapter of UBF.

Dear Missionary Samuel C. Lee!

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
(Eph. 4:15,16)

I praise God for having grown and be used by UBF ministry thus far as a great vessel of God. I personally thank God for using you as the founder, who laid the foundation work of the Korean UBF and American UBF. I believe that God used your absolute loyalty to Gods word, your indomitable spirit and strong leadership. Up to now, God has greatly used the strengths of our UBF ministry: relentless one-to-one Bible study, the ministry of God’s word and faithful prayer for world mission.

However, we cannot just dwell in self-contented thoughts such as, “How much I or we have accomplished!” or “How great we are!”, only expecting praise from each other. As I pray, ponder and review our 12 years of ministry in the USA, I sense that our UBF ministry is at the crossroads. It’s time for us to ask ourselves some questions, looking ahead at what Gods ministry will be like for at least the next one or two decades: Will our UBF ministry remain as merely another exclusive Christian organization in America, branded as an ultra-fringe, fundamentalist movement or an isolated, authoritarian, minority group? In that case, we will never be able to reach out to the very hearts of the majority of individualistic, proud and freedom-loving American young people. We will only bulldoze a small number of young people into our ways of thinking and practices and no more. Or can we really understand American young people and their society, and evangelize them, so that UBF USA may serve this generation and become a history-maker? Can we really grow to be a nationwide and worldwide revival movement that can change the course of history?

As for now, we suffer so much due to invisible, internal discord and disunity. We are in great danger of exhausting ourselves in subtle isolation. I am not talking about an external show of unity, such as many people from all over the world coming together with you at one place, at your command. Such external unity can collapse at any moment without internal binding and a supportive bond of love as indicated in Ephesians 4:15,16. If we really desire internal and external growth and to see a great revival movement throughout, then we must examine ourselves objectively, with a spirit of self-criticism. Before we try to change American students and the world, we ought to change ourselves. This letter is written to present my personal review of UBF USA and my proposal to you of what our future direction should be. It is intended for solving problems, rather than to offer criticism for the sake of criticism, or to make a personal attack on you or any other of Gods servants, or to side with some particular individual.

The area I mainly examined and found to be flawed is the organization of our American UBF. The present organization is bound to generate internal conflicts, discontentment and discord. For the initial period, when our ministry was small, it was ok. But as the ministry grows, there is an inevitable need to organize it into an effective body of Christ. When we see the first church in the Book of Acts, we learn how the apostles and the elders and the first believers organized the church as their ministry grew.


As I had a sense of problem in this area, I came to review our by-laws carefully. I don’t know who wrote them. But I found that they are very scriptural. I found them to be very parallel to the principles and the practices of the apostolic ministry in the first church.

A. Membership Meeting

The membership meeting is to be a body of all the members of American UBF. Or it could be representative members. It is to be the governing body that has the ultimate authority in UBF. Article III, Section 8 outlines the various powers and rights of the members.

Abstract III 8:

(a) Elect the directors, the president and the secretary and treasurer.

(b) Remove from any office, any director or officer …

(c) Hear, consider, and approve or disapprove reports of the Board of Directors …

(d) … modify, suspend, or veto any decision of the Board of Directors by a majority vote of all the members present.

(e) Hear and act as final arbiter …

The body of members is also to be the policy-making body for the guidance and direction of UBF for the year.

B. It’s parallel in the Book of Acts

In the Book of Acts, we find a similar meeting. Once, a question arose in the church in Antioch concerning whether circumcision was to be a qualification for being accepted as a member of the Christian body (Ac. 15:1,2). Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem, and a special council meeting was called in Jerusalem. There the apostles, the elders and the brothers all met together. They received a full report from Paul and Barnabas. They seriously considered this issue and discussed it, in order to come to a conclusion (Ac. 15:6-12). After that procedure, James, the director of the Jerusalem church, made a final judgment on the issue on the basis of scripture, and drafted a resolution in the name of the council (Ac. 15:23-29). The problem of the strong opposition from the world, and the question over whether to admit Gentiles as members of the church were dealt with in a very similar way (Ac. 4:23-31; 11:1-3,17,18).

Although Peter was the top spiritual leader, and the twelve apostles were the founders of the Jerusalem church, and Paul and Barnabas were the founders of the Antioch church, all of them respected the governing body of the council meeting. Perhaps the elders, the brothers or even James, the director of the council meeting, may have at one time been sheep of Peter or the Apostles. But when they grew to be mature coworkers in Gods work, the apostles delegated and shared the responsibilities and powers with them. This created such an atmosphere of mutual respect that they shared their opinions freely and respected and considered them carefully. They all participated in the very important affairs of the church. Through the procedure of this meeting, they became more closely bound together in one mind and heart. This helped to establish an effective and powerful body of Christ. They never relied on the one and only spiritual mans discernment. Nor did Peter or James or any other apostle attempt to assert supreme authority over others like that of Jesus. In this way they allowed Christ Jesus to be the head of the church, and they all worked together with good teamwork.

We also see a good example in the officers. Initially, the twelve apostles took care of all the administrative affairs, including collecting the offering money when people sold their houses, buying food and distributing it to the members of the Christian community, etc. In addition to their ministry of preparing messages, preaching and raising up leaders, they had to handle the money. When the ministry grew big, they could no longer handle all of these areas. So the twelve presented this problem to the whole body of believers, and proposed a solution as well (Ac. 6:2-4). Their conclusion pleased the whole group (the membership meeting). The membership meeting recommended and chose the seven deacons, and the twelve apostles merely laid their hands on them and authorized them (Ac. 6:5-7). After that the twelve apostles completely entrusted the financial affairs to the seven deacons. And they received a fixed salary from them.


I find in our practice of the by-laws that we have too many loopholes and too many errors that violate biblical principles.

A. The Membership Meeting

All the members were handpicked by you. Many of us don’t even know who they are. I know there are none from Toledo Chapter or from Washington Chapter. I heard that Sarah Chang and Theresa Kim were forced to resign for no other reason than that they are the wives of staff members. I find no biblical background for this. You appoint and dismiss the members of the membership meeting as you see fit. The members attend the membership meeting annually on the first Saturday of February without knowing why they are there. They are there only so UBF can comply with the formal requirements of tax-exempt status. (Actually the purpose of the by-laws is to govern internal affairs, rather than just to maintain tax-exempt status. So we can modify the by-laws according to the pattern that will best serve our ministry.) In content, you are the membership meeting, because you decide everything for the members and you wield all the powers enumerated in Article III, Section 8.

B. The Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the executive meeting body that decides many practical, internal affairs according to the by-laws. Right now the local chapters are under the umbrella of the central UBF, incorporated in Mississippi. Therefore, the Board of Directors must also represent the local chapters and the whole American UBF. But all of the seven board members are from Chicago. I can understand your reason for this — that it is for convenience. But this convenience serves you and Chicago ministry, not the overall welfare of the whole American UBF. The way things were handled by the board really damaged a sense of fairness. I don’t find much of a consistent policy in our internal affairs. Most of our UBF policies are very much improvised, and sometimes very impulsive and hasty. And yet many times they are justified as the ever-changing wind of the Holy Spirit — and are expected to be believed. Here are several examples.

1. John Shin’s Salary Problem

For so many years John Shin worked as the full-time shepherd of the New York Chapter, after Paul Kim resigned. I understand his probationary status. But he has three children. The oldest one is in high school. And the rent on their two-bedroom apartment is $950/month. For a long time his salary was $800/month. And sometimes you changed it to $100 per sheep, according to the number of his one-to-one studies. If he had an average of 5 one-to-one studies per week, his salary was $500/month, and if 3, then $300/month. Even cruel and shrewd businessmen, in trying to pressure their employees to achieve success in their business goals, don’t tamper with their employees salaries in such a drastic way. I really resent this kind of human method of pressuring people to work hard. It might push people to work hard temporarily. But in the long run, it only builds up bitterness within them and tears them down. It’s an insult to their integrity.

(a) The Case of Dili Chung

Once you were angry with Dili Chung because Pittsburgh Chapter sent a stingy offering to the central UBF. If disciplinary action is warranted, the board must send a letter of warning that if such actions continue, it will affect the persons salary. But the way you handled that problem seemed to be a result of sheer impatience and anger. M. Grace Lee called me to have me stop payment on the check we send them every month. I couldn’t accept this. Matters like staff salaries must be carefully reviewed and determined by the Board members. If they have committed grave sin before God, the Board members can give them a warning by letter. If they keep on doing wrong, we can take disciplinary action against them. But controlling the staff with their salaries, or using it as a means of pressuring people only undermines the trust relationship.

That’s the reason why Jacob Lee didn’t want to quit his job, even though he really wants to devote himself to the work of God as a full time shepherd. He had seen too many of such examples in the past. So he does not believe your integrity no matter what you say. Salaries must be consistent so that Gods servants may pay attention to the work of God wholeheartedly.

(b) The Case of Gus Park

Gus Parks initial motivation for resigning was a grievance he had toward you. He began to doubt your integrity when he saw how you handled the offering money. In 1982 you raised an offering for Milwaukee from Korea of almost $100,000. And you raised $80,000 from American UBF on top of that. But only $30,000 was practically used for purchasing a center in Milwaukee. He began to question what M. Samuel Lee was trying to do with the funds. Not only that, he kept his eyes on your collection of the Christmas offering each year. Each year you collected an offering with the prayer topic of raising money to fund some specific center and relief fund: MSU (1980), Indiana (81), Minnesota (84), Oakton (85), Wright College (86), Bangladesh (88) … etc. But none of those offerings were used for the stated purpose. Not only that, he hardened his heart when he felt that he was being manipulated and controlled by you through message training. He also felt same way when you got information from Naomi Dang, and gave him directions through his coworkers. He felt that he could not serve Gods work in Milwaukee effectively in this kind of situation. So he decided to resign his position as director of Milwaukee chapter. But he couldn’t dare to tell you all this. So he made up the excuse that he wanted to quit because of his desire to study in school.

I don’t agree with Gus Park’s way of thinking 100%. And I agree that he has some spiritual problems. But the problem is that we have nobody in UBF to act as mediator or arbiter when a dispute arises between you — the general secretary, the founder, the chief shepherd, supreme and maximum leader of UBF — and any other member of UBF. Problems can arise at any time because we, imperfect men, are working together. If you assume that there should be no problem because you are so discerning and wise, and thus always right in your judgment in all matters — and thus you expect that everybody should be happy with you, and you expect that everyone in UBF should be on your side no matter what — then such ways of thinking are so unreasonable and unrealistic. They are merely illusion. We are full of contradictions, shortcomings and partialities. Peter and Paul were great, but they, too, had weaknesses, and fought on several occasions.

I know you are greater, wiser and more powerful than anybody in UBF. But that does not mean that you are always fair. Rather, you have proven to be very partial and unfair on many occasions. (People in Chicago really wonder why your daughter Little Sarah Lee remained engaged for so long and why you waited to build a glass arch for her, while other sister coworkers or some American shepherd who worked hard for the Lord often have to get married only four hours after hurriedly making the decision to marry. They don’t understand why you spent so much money on Sarah B. Choi’s wedding, while spending nothing on others. I understand your reasons for doing these things, and nobody blames you for them. But the fact of the matter is that you too are not free from favoritism and partiality and contradictions.) It is natural for us to love our children and favor those we like over others. So it specifies in Article III, Section 8(e) that the membership meeting must play the role of final arbiter. If not, then the staff meeting or some other governing body must fulfill that role in order to handle the problems in Gods way.

I know you tried very hard to solve the problem with Gus Park. It seemed to go nowhere. Two years ago you called me just I was about to leave for the Spring Conference. You also called Peter Chang. In content we became arbiters. But we found many problems, and we found that many factors were involved. We did our best to change the mind of Gus Park, and protect your integrity. But later, when Gus Park ran away, Peter Chang was blamed as the one who planted doubt and the human thinking. Peter Chang was hurt by this. I don’t assert that his way of helping him was perfect. But you bear 90% of the responsibility for Gus Park resigning. Yet Peter Chang was blamed! This didn’t make sense at all to him.

Later, I conversed with Gus Park and found out all these things. He said that he had had second thoughts, and that he would have reconsidered his resignation if you had really appealed to his integrity as a shepherd and exhorted him not to desert the flock of sheep. Instead, he said that you tried to appease him with money — offering to give him $30,000 by selling the Milwaukee center. When he refused, you doubted him and suspected that he had received more money from the deprogrammers. That was the last straw. From then on he completely distrusted you and left for Austin. Of course, we can simply say that this was all Satans attack, and that Gus Park or Peter Chang had human thinking. But that doesn’t solve the problem nor help our ministry to grow. My point is not just to dig up the past. But what I feel sad about is that no lessons were learned through these incidents, and we continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. And nobody is willing to offend you by telling you the facts as they are.

(c) The Excommunication of two board members — Jimmy Rhee and John Lee

I want to make it very clear that I don’t agree with tongue-speaking Christians or the Charismatic concept of Christianity. But I feel sad that we handled this problem very poorly and thus didn’t give glory to God at all. I know that at this point we have to protect you and say that those people had many faults. But their cause was never given a proper hearing, nor was it handled with prayer and understanding.

Initially, Jimmy Rhee’s grievance stemmed from the matter of Rebecca Yoon’s abortion. He couldn’t agree with you. You have instructed so many women to have abortions: Anna Park, Hannah S. Lee, Rebecca Yoon… on and on. I myself would have fiercely objected to this. Your motto, “The ends justify the means,” violates the very principles of the Bible. Jesus worked very hard for God and achieved great work for God. He thus gave glory to God. But he never violated the high moral standard that he taught in the Sermon on the Mount. In UBF, all ethics can be considered garbage and freely violated if you so choose, and provide a reasonable justification.

Jimmy Rhee was very angry and disappointed with you over the matter of Rebecca Yoons abortion. So he moved to the Wheaton area. Later, he moved back to Chicago, not because he had accepted your view, but because of pressure. But his grievances toward you persisted within him. Other grievances he had toward you were the way you wielded power without limit, and your messages being the same over the years. Of course, I don’t agree with all his views. But again, the problem was this: When these conflicts arose, no body existed among us to act as mediator or arbiter. So the final result was to come.

In Jimmy Rhee and John Lees case, it’s not just their dismissal from the Board of Directors, but their excommunication from UBF membership under pressure. If speaking in tongues is sufficient grounds for the excommunication of men who had been loyal members for 24 years, we’d better examine this issue and make some clear guidelines. If we don’t, this will be nothing more than yet another very costly mistake.

(d) Toledo’s new center purchase and remodeling problem

Last year, I went through too much hardship to purchase and remodel our Toledo center. When you bought the Chicago center and remodeled it, you could simply wield your power and drew $400,000 in funds from the central UBF, since you have the authority to freely use those funds. But to purchase a $30,000 center, and to raise the $70,000 it took to remodel it, we had to scrape every penny from our coworkers. We are still in a considerable amount of debt. Although I wanted to handle Toledo chapter independently, we felt a certain amount of bitterness and unreasonableness over the way it was handled.

Every month we send tithes to the central. For many years, we sent the Christmas offering to the central. We offered very sacrificially when you called for a special offering for the Milwaukee and Madison centers. So it was natural for us to expect some support from the central, or at least some understanding. That was part of my motivation in responding to your call to hold your staff meeting in Toledo last April. I hoped that you, the chapter directors and board of directors would understand our hardships and offer some support. I mentioned our troubles when you were in Toledo, but your mind was occupied with something else. We received not even one penny of support. Every time we send tithes and other offerings to the central, I cannot help feeling exploited and sacrificed for the Chicago ministry.

2. The Board of Directors doesn’t understand the other chapters, nor does it have any power to do anything for them, even if it wants to.

They too are all handpicked by you. You present the issue and conclusion, and all they do in the board meeting is just raise their hands and agree with you. The Board of Directors meeting is only a formality through which you wield your power. It has no real power, and does not play the role that it is supposed to.

C. The Handling of the Offering Money

Your handling of the offering money is one area where your integrity and leadership are questioned and challenged the most. First of all, M. Grace A. Lees being the treasurer of the central UBF violates the spirit of the conflict-of-interest laws. In any organization — not only in civil government but also in religious organizations — the chief executive cannot be treasurer.

Not only is the UBF general fund in your full control, but a lot of funds are diverted to your personal checking account in Benoit, Mississippi. This could be very dangerous, especially if any of our former UBF members have great bitterness against you and report it to the IRS. I don’t question your integrity and motivation. But I have great trouble with you putting funds in your own checking account and using them freely.

Whatever money you deposit in Benoit, Mississippi and write a check on is regarded as your income, and is supposed to be reported to IRS as income, and taxes must be paid on it. It doesn’t matter whether you used it for me or for other members of UBF. IRS will regard that as your income, and you have to pay taxes. If you pay taxes only on $1,500 per month, you will be regarded as a tax fraud. Mun Sun Myung’s case was very similar. I am very much afraid of the possible danger in this. I believe that God will protect us. But if, in fact, a scandal should arise out of this, UBF USA would have a very difficult time surviving. Since the amount of money we handle is around a million dollars, we are still regarded as a small organization in the USA. But if our holding fund grows to the ten-million-dollar level, then we will definitely be under the scrutiny of the IRS. Not only that, but it gives a chance for people to doubt your integrity. Some people even go to the extreme of suspecting that you are holding those funds for your retirement.

Since the offering money is from the USA as well as West Germany, Canada, and Korea, it is to be used fairly and squarely for the whole UBF. But practically, virtually 90% of it is used only for Chicago ministry, for purchasing houses around the center building, for tearing down and remodeling, as well as so much eating. Of course, you might have reasons in mind why you need to build the headquarters first. But no staff shepherds agree with your point of view. Not even Chicago members do. (Many of them really want to go out for pioneering. But they see that you make many excuses in order not to send them out.)

In the situation we faced in Korea, such a strategy worked, and it had to be that way. Seoul had one fifth or even one quarter of the population of South Korea. So we first had to centralize Seoul and build the chapters in Seoul. But the situation in America is very different. The population, the academic centers, the student population are all scattered throughout this great land.

Each state is almost equally developed, and there are equally strong centers of American culture and life in each state and region. Therefore, we ought to build several strong centers in the Midwest, East, West, South and here and there, from the first. Then we should start our pioneering with the universities closest to those regional headquarters. Looking 10, 20, 30, 40, even 100 years ahead, we ought to build strong centers now. We have to build and support those chapters with good leadership material, united prayer, as well as material support, if necessary. Right now we only see that you are making every effort to centralize UBF USA to Chicago, by bringing the most excellent people there and investing most of the money there. Initially, all our staff supported your directions. Whatever you judged or decided — whatever direction you gave — we followed and supported you with no questions asked. But more and more we see loopholes and problems. We see that your direction is getting more and more irrelevant to the American situation.

For instance, Peter Chang sent many excellent people to Chicago, as well as the offerings. But he had great trouble in his mind for two reasons. First of all, he doesn’t agree with your centralization direction at all. He was never persuaded by you in this matter, either. Everything in UBF is supposed to, or expected to. Secondly, he still has trouble in his heart over the way you dealt with him. While he was struggling inside about this matter, you rebuked him for falling into Judaism. He was incensed to hear that Hell was growing in Teddy’s mind when he was in Columbus, but that now the kingdom of God is growing in his heart, since he has received training in Chicago, etc. In this way problems have been building up in each of us, and we tear each other down. Internal unity is severely undermined.

I am not saying this simply because I am working in Toledo. The fact is that many Chicago elders feel the same way. There are too many missionaries who feel they are not needed. Many of them are, in fact, eager to pioneer. But if you hold onto them for one reason or another, problems will build up inside. The “Hallelujah Christian” problem is clear evidence of this. Your justification for this was that we are in a transitional period from a Korean-centered ministry to an American ministry. But this can only be interpreted as a message that the Korean missionaries are not needed, and such an implication makes many of them feel even more useless. All the missionaries came to the United States with a great vision and hope. When they came, they sacrificed everything for Gods great mission. But after staying in Chicago, their visions evaporate and many struggle just to cope with their feelings of uselessness. I believe that we have to send out half of the Chicago missionaries to pioneering chapters, to support them.

You gave them a direction to pioneer 12 chapters in Chicago within 3 years. But the majority of students in the community colleges are basically factory boys. Many of them have trouble just reading and writing. I taught 3 years in a community college, and I understand very well. I believe that putting an excellent leadership material like Mark Yoon in Wright College seems to be a waste.


According to the by-laws, the staff has no part in policy-making. They are completely out of the picture. They are just to follow the resolutions of the board of directors or of the membership. They are not part of the membership meeting either. But in reality, staff and local chapter shepherds are a very important part of the ministry of UBF USA. Peter Chang, Jacob Lee and I myself have been with you from 1977 — the time of pioneering American UBF — until now. It doesn’t make sense that we are not in the picture at all. But staff members have no rights or power — no role at all, at least according to the by-laws. In fact, many of them are under great stress because they feel they are treated like grade school kids.

A staff meeting can be a very good instrument, and can function as membership meeting. But we find no meaning in the staff meetings such as they are now. When a staff meeting is called, arbitrarily and all of a sudden, it forces many of the staff to become extremely busy, because they have to arrange their work schedules and airplane schedules on such short notice. Many of them have no idea why they are meeting. You just give the word, and they write testimonies all night and share on the basis your lecture. By the time they go back, they are totally exhausted. But then they still have to prepare the Sunday message. Instead of receiving encouragement, the staff meeting becomes just another burden. I don’t know why we are so hung up on writing “sogams”. The last staff meeting was the only meeting that has ever been a little bit relaxed, without much tension.

Many of the staff really want to share the problems and hardships they are facing in pioneering. They want to be understood, and understand other staff and learn from them. They want strong mutual support. For instance, problems like the deprogrammer problem or other important issues could be presented, reported on and prayed about on the basis of the Scriptures. But each staff meeting leaves them very much disappointed. You have no mind to listen to them. You just dictate everything, and there is no mutual communication. Everything is one-sided. (Many staffs feel that they are treated like grade school kids by you and they have great inner indignation to about this.)

For instance, we had the staff meeting last year in April in Toledo. You were concerned about the unity of American UBF and about your leadership. I was concerned about our financial problems in remodeling the Toledo Center. Each held his own issue in mind to discuss with you and the other staff, hoping to receive support. Sam Zun was really concerned about the troubles he was going through due to Sarah and the deprogrammers. That’s why he asked you to have a staff meeting in the first place. His idea was that he had obeyed your direction and sent Sarah to Chicago and had her married. Then the problem arose as a result, so he naturally expected support from you.

Although this might be a light problem to you, to him it was a big issue. He was really thrown off when you tried to brush him aside, saying that he had no soldier spirit, or that you were babysitting him. But he didn’t see it that way. He saw that your heart was more occupied with Chris Kelly and with how to protect him. It was a time when he needed understanding and support. But you one-sidedly gave him a direction to read a book about Ho Chi Min. Reading that book might have worked for you fifteen or twenty years ago, but it was totally irrelevant to him. So he became very rebellious at that point of time. He was really hurt that there was no support at the time when he practically needed support. That was why he was very rebellious and totally ignored your direction to read the book about Ho Chi Min. During and after the staff meeting, you were only angry with him over the fact that he didn’t obey your direction. I did not see any effort on your part to understand him or bear him.

Yet you were very much satisfied with the staff meeting, because you felt that there was unity and because the staff was very happy when you showed great mercy by not having them write long sogams. You simplified everything. But in reality, Sam Zun completely turned away from you through this. He totally closed his mind to you. He was really disappointed with you. Now I see that he tried to be independent, relying on nobody but God. That’s good in one sense — his depending on God alone. But its bad in another sense: The unity among us in Christ Jesus is degenerating more and more. Outwardly he may pretend to listen to you, but on the inside he is not listening. You really lost his respect through this event. If this keeps up, each chapter will have to survive on its own. Then isolation, misunderstanding, and mistrust will escalate, even though we don’t want it to. For instance, you think and say that the Columbus chapter is mysterious, and you don’t know what’s going on there. The people in Columbus will soon be feeling the same way about Chicago.


A. Reorganization of the Body of Christ in UBF

1. Developing localism

Power and responsibility always go hand in hand. As the ministry grows, there is no way for you to continue take all the responsibilities upon yourself. Eventually you yourself will become exhausted, reach your limitation and stumble. You ought to trust God, and trust Gods people, too.

So this is my proposal: in each state we can organize a board of directors and hold membership meetings. Although this may be difficult in small, pioneering chapters, the established chapters in Washington, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin are quite ready for this step. From there we can elect members to send to UBF USA. In these regional meetings, we can organize a governing body that can support and supervise each local chapter. Christ is the head of the church, and you are still the head of UBF. Although the responsibility and power will be distributed, you still will be respected and honored (actually much more), and you can be the final word, like James, the director of the Jerusalem church.

2. Electing new members and the Board members with fairness

Another way is to establish an annual membership meeting or staff meeting that can represent the whole UBF USA — international UBF — not just Chicago or any one chapter. We must make an atmosphere in which members problems can be discussed and understood, and biblical solutions offered. We ought to nominate and elect the board of directors from this meeting. And we ought to give real power and responsibility to the board of directors, so that they may not be just puppets governed by someone else’s will, but really trusted and respected positions. In the process, we can unite our hearts, and each one can feel a strong sense of participation, rather than feeling that they are always being railroaded in endorsing a direction they have no conviction about. In the annual meeting we ought to adopt resolutions that will be consistent with the new fiscal year. We ought to review the previous year, examining our results and learning from them, and find a new direction so that we can go further.

3. The problems of the treasurer and of deposits to the central chapter fund

The problem of the central UBF treasurer must be seriously considered and reviewed. We ought to elect a person who is not your coworker-wife and yet can represent the whole UBF.

All the offering money must be deposited in the name of UBF, as it is specified in the by-laws. And there should be no hidden darkness in handling the offering money. Like Billy Graham, you should receive a fixed salary of $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 annually, or whatever the Board decides, without any money secretly held out. You should free from the controversial position of being able to freely use money without any constraints, as you now do. In this way we really protect your integrity. Then no one from outside or inside the circle will be able to challenge you in this matter.

B. Staff Training and Shepherd Training

I find that we face some serious problems in the spirit and the way training is handled. These are the two major points that we must really pray about.

1. The goal of training must be the development of personal and independent faith

I believe that spoon-feeding training or imitation training is necessary during the initial period of message training or other training of staff and shepherds. They need some kind of a model to start with, and on which to form and shape their own style of faith. From it they can further develop their faith and bring growth grow their ministry. But if we give them spoon-feeding training too long, it chokes the trainees personal faith and severely damages their capability of developing their own mature faith (Heb. 5:12-14).

Jesus trained his disciples intensively for three and a half years. After that he really entrusted them to the hand of God and to the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7). As the training period drew to a close, Jesus again and again taught them about the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not they were ready, or understood it. Even though his disciples were reluctant to become independent, Jesus left them in the position of having to depend on the Holy Spirit (Ac. 1:8,11,14). We see that the aim of Jesus training was to lead his disciples to grow in independent faith and to become mature apostles. St. Paul always committed growing leaders to God and to the word of his grace (Ac. 20:32). Otherwise, they would have remained big spiritual babies.

I want to speak about the problem of our UBF training only through my own experience of training, rather than citing other peoples cases. As you know, I received message training from 1978 to 1987. Although I might not have satisfied your standard, for my part I tried to do my best. I really appreciated your shepherd heart and your eagerness to help me and stimulate me to grow as His servant. I also want you to know that I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to learn from you some very valuable lessons and principles. However, I also found many significant loopholes in your training.

In the initial training, I wholeheartedly accepted your motto, “Without Isaac Newton, there would be no Einstein.” I needed to humble myself and learn from you. I agree that I needed to go through a period of imitation. But the problem was that you wanted me to remain at the stage of imitation too long. Before 1980, I had written lectures on Genesis and on other books of the Bible. I know they were poor in quality. But they were mine, and I could build up my study of the Bible upon them, learning from my mistakes. But I had to totally discredit all of them and copy your lectures.

During a span of nine years, I went through more than three rounds of copying your Johns gospel lectures, which took me more than 4 years. During that time I saw that your training had only one method: digesting your messages and memorizing them. Even when the time came for me to develop my own style and depend on the Holy Spirit, you wouldn’t let me go. You constantly proffered such propaganda as Toledo grows when James Kim comes to Chicago, but the number of Sunday worship attendants drops when he stops coming to Chicago. Later, your style of working made me wonder if the ultimate purpose of your training is to make all the UBF staff members into your copy-cats — to put all the UBF staff under your subjection, in order to control them and receive glory through them.

When people don’t copy your messages, you rebuke them, saying that they have no learning mind. But people don’t understand why learning from your messages is recognized as the act of a learning mind, while learning from other great servants of God is not considered or acknowledged as evidence of a learning mind. For instance, when I read Martin Luther’s or Calvin’s or even Charles Spurgeon’s messages, they had completely different styles compared with yours.

I could gain freedom from you only because I fought for it in one way or another, not because you initiated it. Otherwise, I might still be going back and forth to Chicago to this very day, and my messages and Bible study would have sunk deeper and deeper into a state of regression and stagnation in spite the intensity of my struggle.

Later, I reviewed the situation and came to the conclusion that your message training has become very stagnant because you have lost the aim of training: to help growing servants of God to depend on the Holy Spirit and to help them develop their own, independent faith. You are so obsessed with giving training itself that you totally ignore or forget the significance of ones personal faith. You give the impression that everybody should become like little Samuel Lees, rather than becoming like little Jesuses, finding themselves in him (Phil. 3:9).

For instance, I can see that Peter Chang developed his own style of message writing from very early on. (I think it’s great that he could train himself before God and achieved the stage of independent faith. In that sense he is extraordinary like you, while I or others are ordinary in that we needed much help in the early stages.) But your constant, belittling remarks about the way he was doing Gods work or about writing messages in his own way made me wonder if you really want Gods people to be independent. I also saw that this kind of attitude from you really turned him off. I know I refused your training at a certain point of time, not because I don’t like you or don’t value Christian training as a whole, but because it simply doesn’t help me at this point, but rather moves me backward. I know that these days you try hard to help interns to grow independently. But I still see so much of your old style.

Like the Korean pattern of staff meetings and training, we ought to have a more mature way of supporting the staff. We ought to make an environment of respecting the work of the Holy Spirit in each chapter, rather than just emphasizing the superiority of your message, or of Chicago ministry. Without it we only foster an atmosphere of silent discord, mutual disrespect and broken spiritual order. With the present atmosphere, your leadership cannot stand, and you will become more and more irrelevant to the staff. We ought to positively encourage the staff to study the Bible independently, and read books and learn and grow in broad aspects. We must positively acknowledge their work and faith, and help them to develop their faith while struggling with the front-line work.

2. True obedience is obedience of the heart, rather than keeping the letter of the law

As we all know well, another goal of training is to bring people to obedience to the will of God (Mt. 28:20; Ro. 1:5). But our UBF training has a fundamental problem in its methodology. Many people sense that you employ all kinds of human methods in order to make people obey. These are just a few examples of your human methods: psychological methods of manipulation to insure loyalty; creating an atmosphere of gossip and slander in order to control would-be disobedient people; making use of a sense of human competition and jealousy; wielding unlimited power in order to pressure people humanly and materially… etc. Your motto, “The ends justify the means” or “Anything is acceptable as long as it for the glory of God” goes far beyond the bounds of Christian ethics.

Jesus never broke his own high ethical standards, even when he was training his disciples or working to achieve his high goal of redemption. For instance, when Jesus asked his disciples to bring the donkey for his triumphal entry, he was not ordering them to steal. He gave them clear instructions about what they were to say to persuade the owner of the donkey to let him go, and what truth they were to teach him in the process: “If anyone asks you, Why are you doing this? tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” (Mk. 11:3).

Our noble task of world mission shouldn’t be tarnished by lowly human and worldly means. I understand that using these kinds of means may offer a quick solution to the dilemma of how to get people to obey. But there is a problem with this: They may obey, but not out of their true hearts, but rather out of fear or in order to please you. The result is mere external obedience.

Of course, I understand that there may occasionally be times when there is no other choice. But these should never be our major means of training people. Jesus always relied on the method of moving and winning the hearts of his people through the influence of the Holy Spirit, he always respected the individuals own decision of faith and free will. He taught his disciples with the word of God until their hearts were opened to obey God (Jn. 16:31). Jesus never violated his noble moral principle, the Golden Rule, even when he gave fierce training to his disciples: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

You use Jesus’ method only until people come under your control. After that you use all kinds of human methods. You take everything for granted once they are in your hands. I don’t know how many missionary coworkers and shepherds obey you because of fear and terror of your sudden anger or punishment. I don’t know how many coworkers obey you only because their spirits have been totally crushed, oppressed and intimidated by your strong will. Many of them seem to obey you just to please you, and you enjoy that too.

Many times you don’t give them enough time to digest the meaning of obedience or allow them to go through the procedure of learning through trial and error. You want people to be changed overnight or become like you within a short time — a matter of a day or several days. (Especially, I strongly object to your pressuring people to get married so hurriedly, without giving them enough time to learn about the noble meaning of marriage and obedience. Everything is success-oriented and “gospel-business-accomplishment” oriented.)

Such obedience leaves many scars in their hearts. In the long run it eventually tears them apart, and ruins the faith of those who submit. (You attributed Rebecca Yoon’s running away to Jimmy Rhee bringing her to a tongue-speaking church. But in truth, 80% of responsibility for that happening lies in your forceful method of obedience training. Whenever such an event has occurred, we have always protected your leadership and blamed others. But that doesn’t mean that you should take everything granted and do the same thing all over again, thinking whatever you do is right and is Gods will.)

These are the side effects that result from your forceful obedience training: The trainees can be tamed to obey your direction outwardly, like military soldiers. But you pay the heavy price of crushing their spirit, self-will and personality; and they really develop none; they gradually lose their ability to think and judge creatively and become yes men. In that way there is a danger that they eventually become religious zombies. Sometimes I wonder if many shepherds truly write sogams from their hearts or write it merely to please you. Recently Jacob Lee was really surprised to see how Bob Moss was so much intimidated after he went to Chicago. The only people who can survive under such training are strong people like Teddy Hembekides. (Of course, your family members are an exception, beyond any law.) The other high price is losing long-time coworkers overnight. When they rebel against you, realizing your flaws, they become very bitter and uncontrollably rebellious. There is a danger that they may eventually become your life-long enemies.

We really pray that we may positively adopt Jesus’ method. Jesus never regarded his disciples as objects to be manipulated for his own success, but rather as human beings to be inspired and developed by the power of Gods word. Of course, we believe the power of Gods word. But we believe in Gods word plus our own techniques. But Jesus purely and only believed in the power of Gods word and of the Holy Spirit. He prayed for them to the end. Of course, this is a very slow process. There are some dangers in it, too. For instance, Jesus himself faced the betrayal and denial of his most trusted disciples at the most crucial moment of his life. But he still did not give up his method of praying for his disciples with great patience and teaching the word of truth. In time the disciples were deeply touched, and convinced by the truth, and gave their loyalty to the Lord unto death. This is a very slow process. But in the long run this is really a winning strategy.

I pray that our UBF ministry may restore the integrity of it’s training in obedience. In that way we will truly be able to reach out and captivate the proud hearts of the majority of sinful, young, American people. If we really want this to happen, it’s the time for us to examine ourselves and our methodology before God. It’s time for us to first change ourselves before God, before we try to change America and the world.

We ought to avoid centralization. But we ought to centralize each regional center. I myself am praying that I can go out to Texas and pioneer from August of this year, 1990, in order to start the work of ministry from the fall term.

Paul Hong proved to be a leader this past year in the areas of teamwork, submission to the truth of Gods word and a life of shepherding and bearing fruit. From Toledo we can pioneer Wayne State Univ. (28,000) and Oakland Univ. (13,000) in Detroit, Eastern Michigan Univ. (17,000) in Ypsilanti and Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor (32,000). I want to take with me 10 strong American shepherds and build a strong center in Houston.

Originally, I wanted to pioneer Boston, but it has too many obstacles: High housing prices and a cost of $12,000/yr for tuition and fees. But Univ. of Houston has 35,000 students, and is the 9th largest university in the nation. Just two blocks from the Univ. of Houston there is Southern Texas Univ. (10,000). The total student population in Houston is 100,000. Other major institutions in Texas are Univ. of Texas at Austin (50,000) and Texas A&M (45,000). Dallas and Arlington together have a population of 2.4 million, and 30 universities. In the long run, I am praying to build centers down south. Housing prices in Houston (pop. 3 million) are the lowest among major cities. Tuition and fees are $1,000/yr. I believe that I can build a strong world mission center down there within 2 or 3 years.

The Univ. of Minnesota at Minneapolis has 45,000 students. We need to research other cities and campuses, instead of working at places near Chicago. We ought to find good candidates to be pioneers. We ought to build and support strong centers over long distances. We have to believe that God himself is training people for this work.

I believe that half of the Chicago missionaries must eventually be sent out to pioneering chapters. Especially, capable missionaries like Mark Yoon ought to be sent out to good pioneering fields like the University of Minnesota or the University of Arizona, together with several other missionary families. After receiving the proper training, they ought to be sent out, whether they are ready or not. I believe that God himself will grow them and protect them. We must also overcome the concept of distance in this big country.


I pray that we may look ahead and lay a strong foundation for the work of the gospel. Without it our efforts will be very ineffective. Without internal unity, external unity can collapse at any moment.

I pray that my letter and prayer and proposal may not be brushed aside as human thinking. I also deeply apologize if I have offended you personally in the process of reviewing our ministry in this way. As I said before, that is not my intention. I only want to bring these issues to your attention for constructive reasons. I also don’t expect our UBF or you or any of Gods servants to be reformed overnight. But I do hope and pray that our UBF ministry may find a clear direction with a spirit of self-criticism, and move toward maturity with long-range vision.

For this reason, I ask you to call for a staff meeting to consider these issues and find a new direction for the next decade, the 1990s, and for our immediate future in 1990. If we take the problems we have very lightly or simply brush them aside as human thinking, internal problems will build up. When these problems finally blow up, nobody can predict what will happen to the future of UBF. The results can only be destructive. We all want to see the work of God and the glory of God.

Your servant in the Lord,
Missionary James Kim from Toledo, Ohio


1976 Open Letter to Samuel Lee

Seven Korean UBF staff shepherds wrote this document on April 17, 1976 before Easter to Samuel Lee. We believe this document is important for reviewing the UBF reform movement history. This was translated from Korean in 2001.

Matthew 7:16,17: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” May the grace of Jesus be upon you in this Easter season.

First of all, we are very sad to send this letter to you without first having the chance to discuss it with you. As you know, we have sacrificed our youth, dreams and family to serve the ministry of God. We have never disobeyed you. We obeyed you because we believed that you are God’s servant. We hope that you might understand how we have suffered until we gave up Sunday worship services and the wedding of our sheep. We believe that God has begun his ministry in Korea and led UBF for 15 years through the Holy Spirit. We already thought how much our action would influence junior shepherds and sheep.

Shepherd Lee! On April 2, 1976, you ordered senior shepherds to gather at Chong-No chapter for message training because they were late for a meeting at 8:30 am. Through shepherd Mark Yang, you ordered Joseph Lee to go to Kwang-Joo chapter and Nathaniel Ahn to go to Dae-Jeon chapter. Mark Yang gave a meaningful smile and said to us, “Wait for a while and there will be another order.” A few moments later, An-Soon Lee came and said, “Just write the message well.” She explained why we got message training. It was because shepherd Chang-Woo Lee had difficulty writing the Genesis message, so he called every chapter in the morning. We heard from your wife that she paid careful attention to you because you would hit the rear end of shepherds after you quarreled with her. However, we did not take it seriously.

We believed that you were our spiritual father who gave us training out of love. You ordered Joseph Lee to move to Myung-Ryun chapter and Jonah Kim to move to Su-Daemoon chapter because they did not attend English Bible study on April 7, 1976. As we absolutely obeyed you as God’s servant for eight to 10 years, shepherds Joseph Lee and Jonah Kim decided to obey your direction. We persuaded shepherd Nathaniel Ahn and Matthew Sohn to obey your direction. We prayed together and discussed current problems and future directions in UBF.

We found several problems in UBF. First, we do not know why UBF exists now. Even local churches are making efforts for campus mission and world mission now. Second, why have so many well-trained shepherds become useless? The situation was not too bad three years ago. Now they do not trust each other and compete too much to survive. Third, it is not right to overlook illegal acts inside UBF in the name of the ministry of God. We are tired of being trained by you and it difficult to see why we should continue to serve the ministry of UBF. Therefore, we decided to leave Seoul and spend time in prayer and God’s words in order to refresh ourselves.

Shepherd Lee! Why did we become miserable like this? Why did UBF become miserable like this? We have received new life and calling from God to serve the ministry of God through UBF. Why are these tragic things happening10 years after we sacrificed our lives and gave up everything? We just kept crying without doing anything. We have lived for the truth, mission and our sheep to learn about Jesus, but we ended up being miserable. We could not stop crying. We prayed that God may use you and junior shepherds even if we might leave UBF. However, there was one unsolved question in our mind. Would every problem be solved if we resign? We have received calling from God to live for his glory. What is the right way to serve God even if we die right now?

We have prayed to find what we need to do for the future ministry of God. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit led us to this conclusion: to repent the sins of UBF and receive the grace of God. We should repent all our sins. We prayed together to find all spiritual sins and illegal activities under your leadership. Shepherd Lee! We were in high emotion. However, we’ve overcome our emotion now and made a decision for the truth. Please consider our opinions deeply.

1. Offering

As you know very well, our offering is from poor college students and laymen shepherds who are not economically settled yet. They sacrificed their whole income like the widow of Luke 21. Offering money should be used for world mission and charity. However, you spent the offering – 150,000won ($15,000) – by yourself. You should be concentrating on prayer and the ministry of the word instead. You said that we were too immature to take care of the offering money. However, you misappropriated the offering in the following ways:

i) Misappropriation of offering money

Shepherd Lee! In 1974, 20,000,000 won ($20,000) was collected for Bangladesh hunger. You misappropriated 20,000,000 won ($20,000) to buy the building for the Kwan-Ak chapter in 1975. You said that offering money would be returned later to be used for its original purpose. We agreed with you at that time. You, however, decided to permanently misappropriate those offering for spiritually poor students of the Seoul National University at the staff meeting of January 3, 1976. In order to collect this offering, our brothers and sisters sold their wedding rings, necklaces, textbooks, even their blood and offered their savings and college tuition. Those offerings should be used for Bangladesh hunger. What is worse, the Eerie chapter gave a lot of offering for charity since 1970. However, only 1,000,000 won ($1,000) was sent to Bangladesh in the spring of 1971. We cannot tell students to give offering for the 1976 Christmas because our conscience of faith would not allow us. Recently, the Dae-Han magazine was indicted for misappropriation of donation money. The illegal misappropriation should not be allowed for non-profit organizations.

ii) Concealment of an accounting book in UBF headquarters

You never disclosed the accounting of UBF headquarters. Matthew Sohn and Samuel Lee always reported the accounting by depending on information that your wife provided. As a result, they could only forge accounting. A large amount of money has been used for obscure reasons. The accounting has never been audited. We can not understand how one person can use such a large amount of money without an audit. Furthermore, a huge amount of money comes from abroad by layman missionaries. These offerings are very precious. Nobody, however, knows how these offerings have been used so far.

iii) Obscure expenses and expenditures

You bought a lot of real estate without discussion. When you attended the 1974 Swiss Rojan International Conference, you spent a lot of money bribing Korean religious leaders who were criticizing UBF. Your official monthly salary is 10,000 won ($100). You, however, squandered much more money than your salary. For example, you gave 1,000 won ($1.00) to sheep who came to greet you on new year’s day. Is 1,000 won meaningful to our sheep? You, as the president of leaders, must give your attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Act 6:3-6). You, however, control all expenses and expenditures by yourself. You treat the offering money of UBF as your own. As a result, UBF becomes corrupted. You show us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

2. Abuse of human right

Shepherd Lee! You taught us that one person’s life is more important than the whole world. Therefore, human beings should not be used as means in whatever situation. You, however, do evil in the name of good purpose and abuse human rights. These will become serious issues in our society if these are disclosed to the public.

(i) Case for violence and lynch

You beat people for training. Do you remember a big traffic jam in January of 1973 due to a severe snowstorm? Shepherds Nam-Kyun Lee, Isaac Koh, Jonah Kim, and Matthew Sohn were late for the leader meeting on that day. You ordered them to hit each other 10 times. Some of them fainted and some were hospitalized because of their wounded ears. According to the testimony of Moses Kim, you locked Dong-Jin Park in your house and made him sit naked in ice water for five hours. You ordered missionary candidate Ki-Hwang Yoo to be your personal driver. When he didn’t obey you, you expelled him to Jejoo Island. You also ordered shepherd Nam-Kyun Lee to give Ki-Hwang Yoo only one meal per day at Jejoo Island and beat him 100 times everyday. He finally got pneumonia due to ill nutrition and horror. You made shepherd Man-Suk Chang take his two toenails out. You beat National Medical Center doctor, Hyung-Sik Sunwoo, at Chongno chapter before his brothers and sisters. You ordered shepherd Man-Suk Chang to beat Ki-Cho Kim at the CNF Mission Report in September of 1975. He got bruises in his face and ears. After this, he left UBF. There are a lot of cases. Shepherd Lee! We can not find anything like this in Jesus. If a victim sues you, UBF will be considered a cult and will be sentenced as guilty.

(ii) Forced arranged marriage

Shepherd Lee! Marriage is the blessing of God and should not be used for any other purposes. Marriage should be decided by the two people seriously. In the 1975 fall leader conference, you forced single male shepherds to make an oath, “I am the husband of a female German missionary.” Even some shepherds, who were already engaged, were forced to do it. You might think that you did it for the love of spinster missionaries. You, however, did it strategically to encourage the loyalty of spinster missionaries to you. Shepherd Jung-Jin Kim did not answer your question immediately when you asked if he would marry the missionary you had in mind. As a result, you changed his name to Three Years Kim and ordered him not to marry within three years. Eung-Pyo Hong at Sudaemoon chapter was already engaged. You, however, ignored his engagement and forced him to marry another woman. You, however, excommunicated him saying he was like Ananias and Sapphira when he did not accept your order. The worst case was missionary candidate Soong-Heum Kim. You ordered him to marry Jung-Hwa Sho. She, however, turned down your direction. Thus, you ordered him to marry Jun-ho Lee. This time he turned down your direction because he wondered why God’s direction was so whimsical. Because of his decision, you did not accept him as a missionary even though he sacrificed a lot in Chicago. HwangWoo Yeo, the Seoul districts judge, left UBF when you forced him to obey the arranged marriage. You spiritually abused Sang-Bong Kim at Kwan-Ak chapter when he objected to marry So-Won Kim. Whoever did not obey your marriage direction in UBF was accused of being a rebellious sinner. They had no choice but to leave UBF in the end. Most of the marriages in UBF were political. Marriage has been used to make members loyal to UBF. The arranged wedding is criticized by many people in our society and is disclosed to newspapers. The arranged wedding is not only non-Biblical, but also a sin that deprives humans of the freedom of marriage.

3. Cheat, theft and illegal activity

Shepherd Lee! Christianity never ignored ethics and morals in society (Matthew 5:20). You, however, said that the contradiction of ethical morals should be overcome. This non-biblical philosophy has justified many illegal activities.

(i) Theft

You ordered people to steal passports of missionary candidates for several years under the name of missionary training. The victims were missionaries Young-Ok Lee, Phil-Soon Huh, and Duk-Ki Kim. You also confiscated the working permit of missionary candidate Joon-Ki Chung because he was likely to desert missionary training. As Christians, we can not understand those things.

(ii) Forged documents and bribe

In December 1975, you wanted to change your ownership of the building of the Kwan-Ak chapter (25,000,000 won – $25,000) to the organization because of its high property tax. You changed the name of UBF to City Evangelism and appointed Joseph Lee, Nathaniel Ahn, Moses Kim and Mary Joo as committee members to obtain the alternation permission of ownership from local court. You also bribed tax collectors and notary officials to register non-registered real estate owned by the laymen mission organization. You evaded taxes. It is very sad that you, the chief leader of UBF, broke the law while keeping it secret from our sheep. Do we need to own those properties by breaking the law?

(iii) Destruction of family

You easily destroyed other shepherds’ families while overprotecting your family. Family is a fundamental unit. Furthermore, a Christian family is the body of Christ. A Christian family is holy and personal and should not be destroyed by anyone. Only Jesus is the head of Christian family and leads it (Ephesians 5:30-33). You, however, intervened in the families of our sheep too much and easily destroyed families. You ordered Shepherd Paul Lee’s wife to divorce her husband in the name of shepherd training. You ordered Samuel H. Lee to go to Kwang-Joo chapter after sending his children to an orphanage and his wife to the USA. These are not just verbal threat. You forced Kyung-Hee Suh (the wife of president of laymen shepherds Jin-Tae Suh) to go to USA because, you said, she was not qualified to be the wife of a president, and separated her from her family for one year. You forced Isaac Koh to sleep in the UBF center for self-control training of marriage life. You also ordered other shepherds be away from their wives and to divorce them. We did not take the arranged marriages seriously. But the suffering you cause in real marriages is unbearable.

4. Non-biblical education methods

Shepherd Lee! The education method of UBF is based on Jesus’ disciple training. The basic of Jesus’ education method is personal conversion. Our current education methods, however, depart far from the Bible.

(i) Forced repentance

Shepherd Lee! You forced missionary candidate Suk-Jo Chang to put red pepper into his eyes and made him strike his head on the wall for his repentance. He repented his sin superficially, but kept his bitterness in his heart. He never wrote a letter after he went to the USA. You also beaten or threatened people to repent. There is no example that true repentance is achieved by inhumane forced repentance. Missionaries who experienced inhumane training have bitter and askew hearts. We can not bear it any longer. Isn’t repentance originated by the Holy Spirit?

(ii) Forced testimony sharing

Shepherd Lee! Testimony sharing can be used as a good educational method through which we can accept God’s word deep in our heart and solve our problems. You, however, forced people to confess their sin through testimony by ignoring their own initiatives. You gave suffering to our sheep when they confessed their sin. You used their weak points to make them obey your direction. You forced E-Sook Ahn to write love confession several times before her marriage. This is severe spiritual abuse.

(iii) Infusion of personal philosophy through your message

Shepherd Lee! The essence of Christianity is Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection. For several years, you overstressed Genesis Bible study to force people to depend on your messages alone. Even though there was daily bread, you overstressed the part of the Bible to lose the universality of the Bible. This gave rise to the misunderstanding that our way of the Bible study is the same as that of a cult. We failed to teach our sheep the gospel of Jesus. Our Bible study methods are not those of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, but an infusion of your personal philosophy that blocks a free and creative way of thinking. It hinders the growth of faith for our sheep at each chapter.

(iv) Inhumane training of shepherds

Shepherd Lee! We admit that we shepherds need a lot of training in order for UBF to grow. It is true that you have much interest in shepherd training. You are absorbed in training shepherds after the CNF conference. You are proud that you are the best trainer in the world. We have been proud that we have wonderful trainer like you. What are the fruits of your training for the last 10 years? You were proud that you chose us from the best intellectuals. We tried our best to accept your training. But according to you, we turned out to be useless. Is there any problem in your training? Shepherd training absolutely needs individuality and self-control. Your training, however, is not spiritual training but spiritual abuse including harsh language, beatings and torture. You did not show personal interest and seriously discuss individual spiritual growth. You did not develop individual and personal talents. You made all members identical. You punished shepherds rather than helping them solve their problems if their errors were found. For example, you defiled them by beating (i.e., Man-Suk Chang) and hurt them spiritually by alienation. You threatened to impose fines and salary reduction. We are in despair due to horror, guilt, shame and self-accusation rather than growing spiritually by solving our problems. You don’t have any standard for training. According to your wife, An-Soon, you hit the rear end of shepherds after you quarreled with your wife. Therefore, she tried her best not to quarrel with you. When we heard about this, we were shocked because we respected you as our spiritual father.

Shepherd Lee! Who grows spiritually by inhumane and identical training? The more we get your training, the more we become useless. Shepherd Jin-Hwa Lee does not say anything whenever he attends the leader meeting. Shepherd Nam-Kyun loses his hope. Shepherd Jonah Kim loses his whole desire. You, however, said that we were proud, lazy, and low-level because we graduated from thirdlevel universities. You seem never to improve your personality. Your standard of training is to make a person like you and the goal of training is to absolutely obey you. We always worry about how we can escape your training and when your training is finished, rather than about growing our faith by training. Your training prevents us from growing. You make us spiritually useless and use us as a means for your business. Shepherd Lee! We are tired of your training. We bear fruits of fear, horror, lies, mistrust, and evil spirits rather than those of righteousness and peace. Shepherd Lee! We feel choked.

5. Shepherd Chang-Woo Lee centered-ministry

Jesus should be the center of the gospel ministry. The current UBF ministry is your ministry not Jesus’. The evidence is the following:

(i) Paralyzed function of committees

You appoint committee members by yourself. The main functions of committees are to budget, account, audit and inspect. You, however, won’t reject to disclose the accounting balance and thus, the committee is nothing but a name. You always decide what you want without free discussion or vote. You easily changed decisions made by committee members. In fact, committees become puppets. For example, after you diverted 1974 offering money for Bangladesh hunger (20,000,000 won) to buy the building for the Kwan-Ak chapter, you forcefully obtained the purchase permission in the name of spiritual salvation during the regular committee meeting of January 3, 1976. This caused committee member Ik-Keun Hwang to resign. When this become a problem, you enforced the committee meeting on April 10, 1976, while five committee members did not attend. You concealed your sin of misappropriation by diverting world mission offering to refill offering money for Bangladesh hunger. You secretly appointed Seong-Jang Lee as the president of a committee to register the Kwan-Ak chapter building even though there was a legal committee president. These facts show that the committee becomes puppet controlled by you. As a result, you control the accounting and personnel administration of UBF by yourself. This causes you to make several sins.

(ii) Dictatorship of leader meeting

We were proud like the Apostolic church members when we accepted the calling to be a shepherd. We were eager to attend leader meetings. When we attended the leader meeting, we refreshed ourselves by the Holy Spirit. We came from a long distance to listen to your message every Monday despite financial difficulties. What is the situation now? You, the president of leaders, dictate in various meetings of 30 leaders. Through meetings, you input your thoughts to leaders without discussion. You appointed, dismissed and changed the staff shepherds and lay shepherds by yourself. You gave bonuses and reduced salaries whenever you wanted. You manipulated your authority to subordinate shepherds who sacrificed their family, dreams, and life. You made Kil-Soo Kim, Anna Song, and Mark Yang your private tutors for your children. We, therefore, lost the meaning of God’s absolute calling. Because of violence, shepherds live in fear. Every Monday, shepherds worry if they will be beaten in the name of training. They tremble with fear from beginning Monday morning and often attend the leader meeting without having lunch.

You ordered us to report the number of Sunday worship attendants and the amount of offering rather than the work of the Holy Spirit. Do you know that some shepherds made a false report? This is due to your dictatorship and fear rather than some shepherd’s cowardliness. Joseph Lee sacrificed his life for 10 years. You said, “He can not live if he leaves UBF.” You publicly told another shepherd that he hurt the ministry of God. He was an ineffective shepherd.

Shepherd Lee! Who can work under a leader like you? You judged a coworker’s prayer topics and acted without truth in the name of training. You hurt shepherds fatally in their heart. When you discovered the weakness of one shepherd, you ordered one shepherd to train the other shepherd. You planted mistrust, doubt and bitterness among shepherds. Only order and reluctant submission remains in our leader meetings, which is far from the atmosphere of the Apostolic church. When the Holy Spirit works, all the believers become one in heart and mind (Act 4:32). When Satan works, only division and fear are expected.

Shepherd Lee! We lack a sense of spirit, philosophy and history. We sometimes did not love truth. However, if anybody read the facts mentioned above, he surely would say that UBF is gone too far from the spirit of truth. We have no doubt that God has used and blessed UBF through you. However, when we recall the last several years, UBF becomes nothing but a den of robbers since you did not spend the offering for charity.

We believed that you changed after you burnt yourself. Therefore, we absolutely trusted in you and followed your directions. We believed that you loved God and truth. We thought that we served God by obeying your directions in whatever situation. Last week, we deeply meditated with the Bible to ask if our act was like Korah who led a rebellion against Moses, the servant of God. We asked ourselves if criticizing you was to betray you, our spiritual father. We also thought that we should serve God’s ministry as one body, keeping in mind the miserable history of division in our country. If all the facts in UBF are disclosed to the public, UBF will be an issue of horror in society. We already considered that our act might devastate the UBF ministry and hurt our sheep. This is not all! When we repented the sins of UBF before God, we experienced the suffering of death because we ourselves were already deeply ill. You, however, said several time that UBF should perish for the glory of God if UBF is gone from the truth. You were right! In Jeremiah chapter 7, God said that He would make his temple like Shiloh. His people, the Israelites, did all kinds of evil and followed other gods while saying, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” God said that He would scatter the Israelites and make them captives of Babylon. God is righteous. If there was no truth and righteousness in his ministry and people, God turned his promise over to Gentiles, destroyed his temple, and scattered his people. The ministry without truth should not exist. As long as the ministry exists without truth, God’s glory is not revealed and our sheep are manipulated. We all agree that you are idolized in UBF and your glory is revealed without revealing God’s glory. UBF ministry becomes a man-made ministry, in which Satan works.

Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan is a liar and killer. Your saying seemed to be right when you said. That you, however, lied too much as a Christian leader after all. UBF is not a ministry of light and truth, but a ministry of cheating that has a lot of dark secrets (1 John 1). UBF is far from righteousness (Matthew 23). We have worked very closely with you for 10 years. We conclude that we’d rather die than work with you like Rehoboam (1 King 12). UBF used to be a life-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now you use people and desert them.

What you do is far from what Jesus did. It is a life-killing ministry, not a life-giving ministry. You heard from Shepherd John Jun that we gathered near City Tae-Jeon on April 14, 1976. You sent Isaac Koh’s family to the shepherd Nathaniel Ahn’s house and expelled his 10-month pregnant wife (Ee-Sook Ahn), three year old son (Daniel), 14-month old daughter (Ee-Sook) to Kyomoon, Kyungki-do without shepherd Nathaniel Ahn. Seeing what you did to shepherd Nathaniel Ahn, we can not respect, love and obey you. You announced that shepherd Nathaniel Ahn was qualified to be your successor. He might be deluded by Satan for a while. Nonetheless, was it permissible for you to take advantage of a weak pregnant woman and children in order to accomplish your goal? You sent shepherds Moses Kim, Isaac Koh, and Kil-Soo Kim to occupy Hanyang chapter by force while shepherd Nathaniel Ahn was out of town. You hurt the brothers and sisters in Hanyang chapter who recently accepted Jesus. Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) Jesus said,

“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

The work of the Holy Spirit is to be one heart and will. Could your untruthful acts be justified even if your acts were for the training of shepherd Nathaniel Ahn and for the ministry of God? How many times did you teach us that Satan used weak persons based on Genesis 3 and John 8? Your responsibility is to be a peacemaker. You, however, made shepherds Moses Kim, Isaac Koh, Kil-Soo Kim enemies of each other for your strategy. During the last 10 years, you led several shepherds to believe that they would be your successor in order to make them subject to you. You broke the friendship among leaders. Shepherds Jonah Kim, Joseph Lee, Nathaniel Ahn, Matthew Sohn all have the training to be your successor. They all agree that your acts are non-biblical. Can it be said that we are proud and low-level though we are already over 35 years old and have served the UBF ministry for 10 years? You might say that shepherd Nathaniel Ahn and all other shepherds are rebellious against you and are led by Satan. Nonetheless, it is not right for you to think that you have the right to do such murderous acts. You always have served the UBF ministry based on your spiritual philosophy that God’s ministry can kill and manipulate people like Moses and Samuel did. You said before that it is all right for Jonah Kim to commit suicide in order for Joseph Lee to be your successor. You recently excommunicated Joseph Lee. You tried to eliminate Nathaniel Ahn this time. How can we believe that you are not going to eliminate shepherds Man-Suk Chang and Paul Lee?

Based on your deeds, we don’t think that you learned from Jesus, Moses, and David. Moses killed many people who served idols. He, however, forgave Aaron, his closest coworker (Exodus 32). Did Moses pray for his people by laying his life as a security? Even when Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses, Moses did not give them training or revenge. Instead, God judged them (Numbers 12). Is there anything wrong for us to say that you, the servant of God, judge people because, you think you are equal to God? King David fled when his son, Absalom, rose in revolt (2 Samuel 15). He let God judge. How sorrowful David was when God judged Absalom! Didn’t the father in Luke 15 want his prodigal son to repent and come back home? Jesus once rebuked Peter as Satan because of his human thoughts. Did Jesus visit again his disciples who betrayed him and serve them by love (John 21)? Apostle Paul served people with humility and tears (Act 20). Why couldn’t you talk with us and help us even though we are wrong? We have never been against you for 10 years. How could we trust you as spiritual father and serve the ministry of God with you if you do not listen to us just one time?

We have wrongfully thought you are the spiritual father of UBF. You take advantage of your authority as the spiritual father, teacher and leader of UBF. However, God, our lord, is the only father, teacher and master. We are all brothers (Matthew 23:8-11). We understand that you should be respected as a spiritual father to establish spiritual order. Saint Paul also called Timothy son. The equality in UBF is, however, broken. Under the broken equality, calling you a spiritual father leaves UBF members in the relation of master and servant. You are nothing but a cult leader because you tried to become God. As a result, Satan works in UBF in several areas. We cannot but conclude that your words and deeds are tied up to the evil spirit of lying, killing, and fear (Roman 8:15).

Shepherd Lee! You might think that we lead a rebellion against you for political reasons or we are Satan led by one shepherd. We, including you, should repent together before God. You know well that UBF becomes a problem as a cult in our society. You made an excuse saying that UBF is strict. You also criticize the religious leaders. Why, then, do you flatter them by spending money inviting them? We cannot but think that you flatter them because you fear the disclosure of UBF’s wrongdoing. We will not keep silent about all the evil in the name of God’s glory. We will not allow the evil ministry that idolizes you and manipulates our sheep. We pray that you repent and resign from UBF. This is the only way to restore the ministry of UBF for the glory of God. We are going to wholeheartedly pray for you. Please pray for us that we might continue to serve the ministry of God. We sincerely pray that the

Lord of Lords, the righteous God, may win the victory.

April 15, 1976

Samuel H. Lee
Barnabas Chang
Peter Suh
Nathaniel Ahn
Matthew Sohn
Joseph Lee
Jonah Kim

This is an addendum to the 1976 first UBF reform movement letter:

Ministry directions of UBF

UBF should be the ministry that God may use after solving the problems mentioned above. We suggest the following ministry directions based on the Bible. We want to change the regulations of UBF based on the following directions.

Main direction: The Holy Spirit instead of one person should lead ministry. The agenda should be discussed and determined together.

1. System (1) Identical man-made system should be changed to creative and independent system that respects the ministry of local chapters (Ephesians 2:21,22). (2) Each chapter is led under each chapter director’s responsibility. UBF discussion committee should be organized. (3) Abroad chapters are independently administrated. Offering money for missionaries’ education and training should be sent to the main accounting department (Romans 15:25,26). Missionary sends offering to his home chapter by his own will.

2. Enforcement of committee The function of committees should be reinforced to establish budget, audit, inspect accounting, and administer personnel (Act 20:28).

3. Separation of administration: Administration personnel will control budget, accounting and auditing. (Currently, the president of leaders has controlled accounting even though he should concentrate on the prayer and the ministry of the word.) (Act 6:3-6)

4. Education of shepherds and missionaries: Impersonal physical training should be stopped and education should concentrate on spiritual inspiration. (1 Timothy 4:7,8)

5. Administration of personnel: Personnel administration committee should maintain the administration of personnel. (Currently, the president of leaders decides and maintains the administration of personnel.) (Act 1:15-26)

6. Protection of private life: The family of shepherds and laymen should not be inhibited by anybody for any reason.


UBFism – Lee Horror Stories

One of the tactics used at UBF is the invention of horror stories about people who leave UBF. Samuel Lee, the late co-founder of UBF, was good at spinning up such tragedies. Some who were around Lee realized most of these stories are just made up and whatever facts they are based on have been embellished significantly. The stories instilled fear and intimidation however to those who were not around Lee. Here is the first typical horror story illustration, in which UBF is paraphrased as “God’s mission”.

From “God is Pleased to Give Us the Kingdom of God” (10/29/1995):

“A young man studied architecture. He made some money. Then he became proud. He abandoned God’s mission and bought a good house in the suburbs. As soon as he moved into an overly luxurious house for him, he was attacked by liver cancer and died after six months. His wife is in huge debt. She suffers from deep despair and nihilism.”

In the following passage, Samuel Lee calls himself “commander,” “leader” and “the servant of God”. He equates his own word with God’s word and obedience towards him with obedience towards God, in very explicit terms:

From “The Triumphal Entry” (4/18/1999):

“To obey God or not to obey God’s word determines our fate. There were three medical doctors. They came as UBF missionaries to Chicago. But when their commander arrived, they all ran away so as not to suffer in doing the work of God. The leader was unhappy about them and did not bless them. Then soon one of the doctors, who was an anaesthesiologist, overdosed a patient for an operation and the patient died. So he lost his medical doctor’s license. Now he is running a grocery store very poorly. Another one, influenced by American relativism, cursed the servant of God. Then he left UBF. After several years, he was in a severe car accident. His body was totally crushed and his hands and feet were paralyzed. The third one got a proper job. But he has rheumatism in his right leg and in his left hand. He suffers day and night. All these events happened when they took God’s word lightly. This is to say that when we obey God’s word, God blesses us; when we disobey, God does not bless us.”

In 1989, 30 members were expelled from Chicago UBF by Samuel Lee, because they had attended a charismatic oriented Christian meeting outside of UBF, while Samuel Lee was absent from Chicago. Apparently they felt burned out and empty in UBF and were looking for new spiritual experiences. On his return they were immediately branded as “hallelujah” Christians, who were being led by feelings and emotions. The following passage from another sermon of Samuel Lee (in which he is referring to himself as a “servant of God” again) alludes to this event:

From “A Fieldwork Training” (7/2/2000):

“It is very dangerous to hear the word with one’s feelings. Once a servant of God visited a mission field. The church members were going to see a witch woman’s clever demonstration. The witch woman told them that Jesus was coming after three months. She put some water on each one’s forehead and predicted that all kinds of the best blessings would come upon them. Next, she demanded, ‘If you are going to receive all the blessings I spoke of, pledge an offering and bring it to me.’ People like flattery. Sometimes they know that it is wrong, but they like flattery and the promise of success. This is sinful human nature. About thirty of the church members went there and received water baptism on their foreheads and the prediction of blessing and success. They gave all their money to the woman. After one month the woman disappeared. The church that invited her also disappeared. It had been on Western Avenue. Those who were ordained by the witch woman suddenly became self-righteous. They began to dance in the darkness on the stage of our church. They looked like witch doctors. They were speaking what they did not know; some were foaming at the mouth; some acted like mental patients. So the servant of God drove them out, all thirty of them. Later, three young men from among them suddenly died of unknown diseases. One woman, who was asked to remain in the church as a prayer servant, ran away. One day, on her way home from work, she had a big car accident. Only her head has been alive for the last ten years.”

In the following passage we come across seven of tragic people who had “run away” from UBF. The situation of the medical doctors mentioned in the sermon only a month before has become even worse: The first one not only sunk into poverty, he even has to work more than 17 hours daily. The second one not only got completely crippled in a car accident, but has got two “retarded” sons added to that. The third one has no more rheumatism, but suffers from insomnia and stomach ulcer now, and actually is only vegetating, in a permanent battle with his wife. In the context of the sermon, these people are compared with the “evil tenants.” The tragic case of an architect quoted above is also mentioned, this time however, he doesn’t die of liver cancer after six months, but of kidney cancer after two months. Another two disobedient missionaries (strangely all of them being medical doctors) lost their jobs in the hospital and are looking for a new job without success. The story of the missionary who left UBF together with the “hallelujah” Christians and suffered a car accident thereafter so that “only her head is living,” is included, but the dates are not matching up again:

From “The Parable of the Tenants” (5/16/1999):

“Many Korean missionaries came to America. They worked hard for God’s vineyard. Soon they were blessed. They became rich and honorable. Then several of them ran away from God’s vineyard to use their wealth all by themselves. When they ran away from God’s mission, God did not bless them. He loved them and wanted them to repent. One of the medical doctor missionaries was an anaesthesiologist. He gave too much anaesthesia to a patient. As a result, the patient died. So he lost his physician’s license. Now he is running a small grocery store. He has to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and gather merchandise to sell during the daytime. His work finishes at 10:00 p.m. Another was a very proud medical doctor. When he was blessed by God, he ran away. Then God gave him two retarded sons. Later he had a severe car accident and is now totally crippled. He lives on government aid. A third one was blessed by God while carrying out God’s mission. But he ran away. Now he has insomnia and a stomach ulcer. He is existing. But his daily work is not medical work but a boxing match with his wife. Another of them finished his architecture study with much subsidy from God’s institution. As soon as he graduated he ran away. Then he got kidney cancer and died after two months. Two medical missionaries are as proud as Herod the Great. They were dismissed from their hospitals and are intensively looking for jobs. But they have had no success. One lady was greatly blessed by God when she was doing God’s work. But when she ran away with hallelujah Christians she had a car accident, and only her head has been alive for the last seven years.”

The same horror stories were retold by Samuel Lee year after year, with strongly varying embroidery and details, as already seen above. Interestingly, in the following variant, all women in Lee’s story suddenly became men, including the poor woman of who “only the head had been alive:”

From “Preach the Gospel in this World” (4/22/2001)

“There are two kinds of people. One kind is the people whose hearts are like flintstone. The other kind is very gentle and weak-minded. Brutal and strong people mask themselves as witch doctors and deceive weak people to empty their pockets. In 1998, I came from Korea after the World Mission Report. In the Chicago UBF, thirty of the members had contacted witch doctors. Witch doctors sprinkled water on their foreheads and told their fortunes. Even though it was lying, they felt good. When they thought about the witch doctor’s lying again and again, they began to feel that the lies were true. Then the thirty of them became useless to God’s world mission ministry. Soon after, they formed their own group and went out to make a hallelujah fellowship. Among them, one man who finished his Pharm.D. died suddenly at his desk, sitting in the chair. Another one died of a heart attack. One was sincerely asked to remain as a prayer servant. But he ignored the request and ran away. On the way he had an accident. Only his head is alive. After that they became very quiet and didn’t bother campus evangelism and world mission work in UBF.”

To make this point clear again, all these passages were taken from official Sunday service messages of Samuel Lee in Chicago UBF, which are more or less copied by all other UBF chapter leaders. If you want, you can certainly find some more examples in these and other Sunday messages. However, even more of these horror stories were told by Samuel Lee in the so-called announcements after the sermon. These announcements usually follow the Sunday lecture in UBF. They were frequently as long as the lecture itself, and are used to praise and rebuke individual members. Samuel Lee also used them to boast about himself and to give Bible interpretations and examples which would be too absurd for being included in the documented lecture. Unlike the sermon, such remarks in the announcements are not recorded in writing, but they leave a lasting impression in many members. Later in the week, these horror stories are also used to intimidate the sheep in the one-to-one Bible studies.


UBFism – The 12 Point Heritage

Here are the 12 spiritual legacy heritage slogans as many of us former leaders understand them. (Submitted by Brian John Karcher)

“Go back to the bible” – The first and most obvious thing ubf taught me was to read the bible. I wasn’t taught to study the bible as in seminary school. It was more of  a command to stop worrying about my problems and go seek answers in the bible. Don’t become defeated or fatalistic about your life. Don’t struggle with people or problems, wrestle with God through the bible with a holy struggle. Don’t spend too much time dealing with inter-personal conflict, but go and read your bible. Don’t engage in godless chatter. Be quiet and read the bible. Don’t spend too much effort interacting with culture or worrying about former members or thinking of ways to change the Sunday worship service or spending time with your family. I was taught that I could actually do these worldly things from time to time, but I had to make sure I always got back to reading the bible to get my mind and heart “cleaned up”. Go to your bible study appointments. Read the bible day and night. Read your bible as you work and eat. Memorize bible verses. Recite your memorization in front of various groups.

“Do world mission” – The second point in the ubf heritage is World Mission. I learned that World Mission is something you do. The idea is that people in the world are in terrible shape. The world is defined as everyone outside ubf. All those worldly people are from many different countries, and the worst of them are on 561 American campuses. [Note: The 561 number came from a old Navigator survey that found 561 major campuses in America at the time.] So to do world mission meant you go out into the world (i.e. the closest campus) and fish. To fish means to invite students to one-to-one bible study. This seemed to fit nicely with point 1 of the ubf heritage, go back to the bible.

“Campus Evangelism” – The third point in the ubf heritage is about college campus ministry. I normally combined World Mission and Campus Evangelism in to one slogan World Campus Mission. But really there are two slogans here. Campus evangelism refers to some specific lifestyle choices that are eventually required of bible students in ubf (called “sheep”). I was taught that ubf is a college ministry, and it is. But they also extend the ubf context to all ages of life. The have BBF (for babies), MBF (for middle school/elementary), HBF (for high school), UBF (for university). Then after that you go through MbF (marriage by faith) and start the whole cycle over again. The ubf people who become 60 or 70 years old are pressured to become silver missionaries usually accompanied by a joke about retire meaning “put new tires on”. So ubf presents as a campus ministry, but tries to enforce all ages to conform to the campus ministry paradigm. You can’t have it both ways. Either ubf must choose to actually be a campus ministry only or create unique programs suited for various ages.

“Manger spirit” – The manger is perhaps the most recognizable Christian symbol, next to the cross. ubf taught me manger spirit and gave a whole new meaning to this symbol. Sometimes this was expressed as manger ministry. And the teaching is about the manger, literally. This teaching was not about Jesus directly, but about imitating what Jesus did. Jesus was born in a manger and became the Savoir of the world. Likewise, I was taught that I too could become a savoir and be a blessing only when I imitate the manger.

“A spirit of giving” – This means to support youself. Be independent. Don’t look to other people for help. Don’t have a beggar mentality. Give, even when you are poor. Be a tent-maker like Apostle Paul. This heritage point is derived mostly from verses in the bible such as “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16) and “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

“Spiritual order” – This heritage point is one of the most vague, and perhaps the most misunderstood and misused. If you want to find out what ubf is all about, start asking what “spiritual order” is. You’ll likely get multiple answers. This is one of the most used, least documented slogans of the ubf heritage. The basic meaning however is that you obey your personal shepherd, and your shepherd obeys his/her shepherd. This creates a multi-level-marketing style hierarchical pyramid authority structure.

“Lay Missionaries” – This is also known as tentmaker missionaries or self-supporting missionaries. The idea is that a missionary does not need to be officially ordained and should not be supported financially from a main sending organization. The idea stems mainly from Apostle Paul’s tent-making business, as in Acts 18:3.

“House Churches” – A house church is a family who has gone through the arranged marriage process (marriage by faith), left their home ubf chapter, and gone out to another campus through the process called pioneering. A house church often refers to a ubf member’s dwelling that is used for UBF activities. Many small ubf chapters meet in leaders’ houses. Leaders often make analogies between this and the practice of the early Christian church meeting in members houses. Note that “house church” can sometimes have a more specific meaning, namely it can describe the union of those who are married in ubf and have not actually pioneered yet.

“One to One/1:1 Bible study” – This is the core element of the UBF indoctrination and manipulation system. Bible study is always done in a hierarchical setting with one person acting as the Bible teacher (shepherd) and the other one as the Bible student (sheep). All initiates have to go through this one-to-one Bible study every week, often for many years, and often continuing with a senior missionary as teacher even after they have become shepherds themselves. In addition, there are also group Bible study where usually the chapter director acts as the Bible teacher. UBF Bible studies are always based on a questionnaire. UBF uses human effort (i.e prayers and repetition) instead of historical, intellectual or spiritual study of the Bible. In this way, Bible study often becomes an idol. After many years, a UBFer cannot stop Bible study even if a friend or loved one is in need.

“Disciple-making ministry” – Raising up disciples is what UBF considers to be their main task. This means parenting young converts like little children and giving them obedience training until they comply with how UBF expects them to behave. ubf shepherds and missionaries are taught to be the new parents of college students, often replacing the role of their natural parents.

“Daily Bread” – Daily Bread is the title of a UBF devotional that members are required to buy every quarter and that is used in UBF early morning prayer meetings. To write or eat daily bread means writing a UBF type sogam based on a passage of the Daily Bread booklet. UBF likes to claim they have invented Daily Bread devotionals, but in fact the material was copied from the Scripture Union booklets, and even translated directly from the Scripture Union Daily Bread. Later, UBF replaced the Bible comments and prayers with their own Bible interpretations. UBF’s version of the booklets are sold to UBF members at a much higher price than the original booklets. Recently, UBF created UBF Press, a publication department, to publish and sell Daily Bread booklets and other material.

“Testimony/Sogam/Reflecting writing/sharing” –  A sogam is a Korean term meaning one’s impressions, opinions, thoughts, feelings and sentiments about something. This term is used in UBF for the written statements based on Bible passages that UBF members are required to write and share every week (see testimony writing and sharing). The idea behind this practice is that members don’t just read a Bible passage, but interpret it in the sense of UBF and give a personal response in front of the group about how they intend to apply it to themselves. Usually this happens by repenting for not having done enough UBF activities or for not being obedient enough, and the promise to do better in the next week, often setting concrete targets. That way, members are able to indoctrinate each other, and leaders are able to closely monitor and control the spiritual growth of their members.