UBFism – Glossary

Former UBF leaders have compiled a glossary of terms, idioms, acronyms and phrases that make up the UBF language. Insiders at UBF will recognize most of these terms immediately.


abbreviation for one-to-one Bible study


A frequently used number in UBF. Most often is used in a UBF goal, such as a goal to indoctrinate 12 initiates. In many chapters, the director requests that each member must have a UBF goal of indoctrinating 12 initiates, regardless of how many initiates the member currently handled. Note here a similarity to the G12 vision, a church growth model which incorporates the belief that each Christian should “disciple” twelve new Christians because that is what Jesus did.


UBFers have lifted this number from Acts 1:15. It is most often used as a goal for the total number of members of a UBF chapter. It is also used as a numerical goal for how many initiates the person wants to indoctrinate during his or her lifetime.

2nd gen

abbreviation for a second-generation missionary. Refers to any children born to Korean missionaries in UBF whether they are or want to be UBF missionaries. The term is almost never applied to German, Russian, Indian, American, or other national members’ children.

Abraham of Faith (Sarah of Faith)

Term to describe the first non-Korean male (or female) to become a sufficiently indoctrinated member of a UBF chapter. This person ranks highest in spiritual order among chapter members who are not UBF Koreans. Usually, he acts as the right-hand man of the Korean chapter director. He is usually praised and is looked upon as a role model for all initiates. The term “Abraham of Faith” derives from a twisting of the meaning of Genesis 12. Just as Abraham was called by God to leave his home and family and go to an unknown place under God’s direction, so UBF initiates are expected to leave their life behind to become completely devoted to UBF. Note: The “Abraham of Faith” in the USA left UBF, citing matters of conscience in 2001.

ancestor of faith

An “ancestor” is a similar concept to an “Abraham” of faith. While the Abraham is the first non-Korean recruit in a country, the ancestors of faith are those who came shortly after.

Back to the Bible

One of several UBF slogans. Usually to go “back to the Bible” is a rally cry after people leave a chapter, intended to focus the remaining group members on the Bible, not necessarily to really understand the Bible, but to focus their attention away from the people who left the chapter. This slogan is repeated enough so that UBF members keep their minds in the Bible and forget about their family or friends.

Bible academy

A short series of nightly or daily meetings where UBF members share their testimonies. This is a mini version of the UBF conferences.

Bible America

Common UBF slogan and UBF goal. When UBFers pray for “Bible America,” they are praying that UBFism would spread over the United States and become the major religion.

Bible Korea

Common UBF slogan and UBF goal. When UBFers pray for “Bible Korea,” they are praying that UBFism would spread starting from Korea over all the world and become the major religion of the world.

Bible materials

“Bible materials” or “Bible study materials” refers to a binder of notes or more recently a set of UBF questionnaires that have been answered. May include messages and testimonies. This does not include commentaries, lexicons or other typical Bible study helps.

Bible study

This is the core element of the UBF indoctrination and manipulation system. Bible study is almost 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.

Bible teacher

the role of the UBF missionary or shepherd in a UBF Bible study

broken shepherd heart

A curiously worded phrase that combines two images – “broken heart” and “shepherd heart.” This phrase essentially means zeal for UBF recruiting and thought reform. Zealous UBFers are said to have a “broken heart” because they call and harass delinquent initiates in an attempt to bring them back into conformity. Those who are active in recruiting and applying thought reform to initiates are said to have a “shepherd heart.” They are acting as a “shepherd” for the initiates who are spiritually blind, lost “sheep”. Often, UBFers pray to have a “broken shepherd heart,” and often they are rebuked for not having one.


Male initiate. The lowest possible title for a UBF male, someone who just started Bible study and is still skeptical about God and the Bible, or about UBF. Also used synonymously with “sheep”. Active members do not call each other “brothers,” but “shepherd” or “missionary”. This is a strange reversal of how this word is used in ordinary churches.

by faith

A widely used epithet the portent of which is this – a UBF member is expected to accept the teaching of and follow the direction of those who are higher in spiritual order, no matter how ridiculous, improper, bizarre, abusive, or un-Christian these teachings and directions are. Many UBF leaders intentionally put their underlings in outrageous situations, or make bizarre demands of them, and tell them that they must put up with it “by faith.” If they go along, they are praised. The way the phrase is used, UBF members get the idea that if they deviate from their leaders’ desires, they are not having faith in God. Thus, the leaders’ will is seen as God’s will and blindly following the leader is seen as having faith in God.

chapter director

Every UBF chapter is operated by a single leader, the “chapter director,” who is usually Korean. Recently some “natives” (non-Koreans) have been appointed as chapter directors.


CME is the abbreviation for “Continuing Missionary Education”. This is a program with the goal to continuously remind the missionaries in UBF of the so-called spiritual heritage of the UBF.


Campus Mission International. This is a campus ministry formed out of the reform movement in the year 2000, lead by Korean UBF missionaries who rejected Samuel Lee’s authority and abusive tactics and off-center Bible teaching.

common life

Term used to describe cohabitation among UBF members. Many UBF chapters own one or more apartments or houses that they use for this purpose. The idea is to get promising initiates to live with more seasoned UBFers. Thus, the initiates are removed from a normal home or dorm environment into a UBF environment.


Committed UBF member. Also used as UBFism for “spouse”. For instance, when introducing his spouse, a UBFer would say “this is my co-worker missionary Sarah.” This reflects the UBF mindset of marriage – that one’s spouse is to be a coworker in UBF first, and a husband or wife second. Using this language, the relevance of marriage is reduced to an instrument for UBF mission.


This is a very negatively charged word in UBF. Every kind of criticism is categorically undesirable in UBF and seen as unspiritual.

dead dog training

Training reserved for specific people, usually the most independent or bold recruits, or anyone seen as a threat to the UBF power and authority. A UBF director has the authority to train a UBFer to obey just as a “dead dog,” who lies still when beaten.

decision of faith

UBFers often speak of making a “decision of faith.” This often refers to making a decision of blind faith to obey the orders of one higher up in the spiritual order. It may also refer to doing something completely unreasonable in order to accommodate UBF demands. For instance, couples with young children often make a “decision of faith” to leave their children without proper care so that they can attend a UBF meeting. During meetings, leaders often give verbal praise to those who have made “decisions of faith.”


Derogative term applied to those who have a normal healthy relationship with their family, or indeed any relationship at all. UBF prefers that its unmarried members have no connection to their family members outside of UBF and that married members spend as little time as possible with their spouses and kids and in their homes, but devote their time for activities in the UBF center or recruiting new members. Therefore, UBF often blames people as being “family-centered,” implying that they are not “God-centered.” Often verses such as Mark 3:35 are used to back up this idea, while verses such as Titus 2:4-5 who promote a family-centered life, are ignored. The opposite of “family-centered” is “mission-centered”.

feeding sheep

UBFism for making Bible study with initiates that does not correspond to Jesus’ teaching to “feed my sheep.” Feeding means coercing someone to conform to UBF ideology.

general director

The top leader of the UBF worldwide has the title “UBF General Director”. After the death of its founder, Samuel Lee, at first Sarah Barry and then John Jun and Abraham Kim have held that position. The hierarchy of directors in UBF also conmprises continental directors, national directors and chapter directors.


abbreviation for “Holy Nation Woman”. Samuel Lee also liked to use the phrase “High Nosed Women” to distinguish between those who were obedient to UBF ideology and those who were proudly disobedient. A Caucasian native-born American female. UBF chapters have a numerical goal for how many HNWs they want to recruit. These are very valuable recruits because UBF has traditionally had difficulty obtaining members of this demographic group.

Kingdom of Priests

Often used in the combination “a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation”. A perennial UBF slogan. UBF sees itself as a special people, called by God himself to carry out the work of UBFism. They attempt to justify their inflated self-opinion with allusions to scripture – Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9 in particular. However, note that the New Testament verse alluded to is seen by most Protestants as establishing the priesthood of all believers. UBF rejects the priesthood of all believers because it conflicts with their idea of “spiritual order.”


“Korean language style English” – the broken English that some Korean missionaries in UBF speak. Though most Koreans in UBF are able to learn English amazingly fast in the beginning, their interest in learning the language more deeply quickly stagnates, and since they usually only consort with their Korean peers, many of them speak English just as badly as in the beginning, even after decades. Often they even carry over their bad and reduced language to the native members.


abbreviation for Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation

marriage by faith

A marriage arranged by a UBF leader is called a “marriage by faith” in UBF. It is normally required to “marry by faith” in order to become a UBF leader. This expression implies that all other types of marriage are not by faith. Marriage itself is of little value in UBF, it is regarded only as a means to an end. The expression “marriage by faith” is a typical example of how UBF uses loaded language to manipulate the thoughts and ideas of their members.

marriage problem

This expression is usually applied to an unmarried person, as in “She has a marriage problem.” Translation: She wants to get married but has no prospects that are currently viable.


Establishing a new UBF chapter is called “pioneering” in UBF. This word gives the impression that there has never been a Christian church in that city.

Reform UBF (R-Group people)

The UBF chapters which voted for a reform in a worldwide movement in UBF starting in the year 2000 were also known as the “Reform UBF.” The mainstream UBF preferred to call them the “R-group,” where “R” was associated with “rebellious,” and expelled their chapter leaders from UBF after two years. The Reform UBF chapters continued to operate under the new name CMI, separate from UBF.

run away

UBF leaders refer to those who left UBF for whatever reason as people who “ran away,” characterizing them as recreant renegades who left their calling and duty to cowork in UBF.


Any Bible student in UBF is called a sheep. This term is loosely and incorrectly derived from Bible passages. In the Bible, a “sheep” refers to all people, and Jesus is our Shepherd. But in UBF, people who “grow” are considered to become shepherds or shepherdessess (female shepherd) who has sheep under them. Sheep are supposed to be obedient to their human shepherd if their conscience has a conflict.

sheep are sheep

UBF expression meaning that people who are supposed to be sheep do not behave in the way UBF likes, until pressured.


A sufficiently indoctrinated UBF member is considered to be a “shepherd.” Also used as a title. Usually, a UBFer is called a “Shepherd” once he or she begins to participate in recruiting and indoctrinating initiates. “Shepherd” in UBF always means “personal shepherd,” and every member is eventually expected to live as a UBF shepherd. This is different from the use of the word “shepherd” in the Bible which either refers to Jesus himself or to the group of elders in a church.


Female shepherd. Also called “mother of prayer”.


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 intent 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. A new term for sogam is “reflection writing”.


abbreviation for Sunday worship service where a leader “delivers a message”

uncle sheep

An initiate who is beyond college age. Such a person is not usually a family member of somebody in UBF, but might be. Such persons are seen as being useful only in that they can act as “uncles” for the college age young adults who are really UBF’s targets.

world campus mission

Because UBF only targets young college students, they sometimes call their ministry “world campus mission.”

world mission

UBF calls recruiting UBF members all around the world “world mission.”

world mission command

Deemed by UBF to be the highest and greatest command, and the one command Jesus wants all people to follow.

world mission offering

The money given as a tithe to UBF. All chapters send world mission offerings to a headquarter chapter.

world mission report

An annual meeting in Korea. Non-Korean UBF students who have been faithful to UBF ideology are given trips to the world mission reports as “rewards.” However the students often have to pay their way (or most of it) and they have to share their life testimonies. The student is led to believe such a trip is a reward and to be thankful for such a privilege. This is also sometimes called a “short term journey” or “mission journey” where native (non-Korean) students are paraded around Korea like prized animals captured in the jungle.