Before proceeding check out part 1.
Cult Recruits on Campus Part Two: Breaking Away
By Kim Van Bruggen
The Projector: Student’s Journal
Date October 10, 1989
In the first part of this two part
series, Cult on Campus, the
University Bible Fellowship was
attempting to recruit new members
Once approached by a “missionary”
of the University Bible
Fellowship (UBF) the chances of
ending up at their “church” in
Fort Garry are very good.
That is where Theresa wound
up spending almost three years of
“There was a- groupof us that
all started around the same time,
so they trained us as a group. It
became like a military boot camp
for us,” Theresa said.
The punishment for wrongdoing
was different for males than
“If they (the men) disobeyed
them, or had an attitude problem,
or just did something that wasn’t
right—in full suit they would
make them run a one and a half
mile route around the U of W ten
For the women, the punishment
was more emotional in nature.
When Theresa was first recruited
by the UBF she moved
into the communal house and soon
after her sister Lisa followed.
“I was really close to my sister,
but they got between us by telling
her things that I said that I never
Eventually, they split the two
up by having them move into
“She had to move in with her
bible teacher and I had to move in
with the three others—and we
had to move that night.”
“We had to obey right away. I
kept feeling that if I didn’t obey
they’d ban me from the center.
They had already kicked me out
for seven months.”
The house on 3 Emory in Fort
Garry was bought outright by the
UBF in the spring of 1988. The
registered owner, David Jung, had
immigrated from Korea six
“Everybody pitches in money
at Christmas to buy a bible house
each year in different countries—
it’s called World Mission Offering.”
The ultimate goal is to set up
UBF ministries in every country
Don is a former UBF member.
“They didn’t care where—
anywhere. They’d pray to start
up a UBF in every college and
university in Canada.”
“They just wanted to raise up a
shepherd for Russia—to pioneer
Moscow University.” Don said.
“The plan is to send all the
Canadian students to Russia.
Canada is the easiest country to
get into Russia because it’s a
friendly country,” Theresa said.
Audrey was also involved with
the UBF and knew of their attempt
to pioneer Russia.
“Several members of the group decided to take Russian so they
could go to Russia—so they could
go ‘fishing’ so to speak,” Audrey
One man still heavily involved
with the UBF is enrolled in the
Russian language program at the
U of M. It is said that he is being
groomed for the job.
His mother, who wishes to
remain anonymous for fear her
son might break off all communication
with her, spoke of her fear
for her son.
“I don’t know what these people
did to him. It seems to me they’ve
got him so dependent on them
that he can’t get away,” she said.
“These people come and just
shower you with love. Within a
month they had him moved in
“I think he was a bit insecure.
He’s the type of person that wants
everybody to like him.
“I will not accept the fact that
they’re not a cult. It’s only cults
that make people move in together
and control their whole lives.
“In their church they start blessing
Samuel Lee before they do
Christ. Normally, you pray to the
“He really believes he’s doing
the right thing. He feels you can
lie as long as you’re doing it for
“They sent hime to Korea. I
called for him and the Korean
people told me he’s gone to Korea.
I panicked. I didn’t know
what to do. They went on some
type of mission of theirs. They
spoke to about 10,000 people
there. They’re making him feel very important.
“He’ll go against us before he’ll
go against them.”
The family has thought about
trying to get their son out of the
“You have to have at least
$30,000 to de-program them. You
have no guarantee that they’re
not going to go right back.
“I’d have to rent a house and
have security posted at the front
door. I could get charged for
“We’d have to equip the house
for a bunch of people to sleep
“My son is a big man and he has
Tai Kwan Do. You’d pretty well
have to tie him down. The only
de-programmer I could find is in
the States. I’d have to pay for his
flight to Winnipeg and expenses.
It could cost as much as $50,000.
“If we tried to kidnap our son
he would lay charges and sue us.
“A bunch of his friends tried to
kidnap him in 1987. They had
everything arranged. They went
there at night, but he fought them
“These are the kinds of things
that you see on T.V. You don’t
think they’ll happen to you.”
For the members who managed
to get out of UBF, the break from
the cult was difficult.
“The more I tried to get away,
the harder they tried to get me
back in,” Don said.
“She (his “shepherdess”) would
come to my apartment; she’d
phone me at work. She even
phoned me at a restaurant once.”
Don became wary of the UBF after a lengthy article about the
group appeared in the Free Press.
“The newspaper story came out
on a Saturday when we were
having a bible study. Nobody
(out of the leaders of the group)
said anything about i t even though
they knew about the story.”
Don found out about the article
that evening after bible study.
“The next day at the Sunday
service the message was made to
counteract everything in the article. I began to get suspicious
when Esther Kim, the leader of
the group, wouldn’t speak to the
“What’s she got to hide if everything’s
For Audrey, her involvement
was gradual, but no less intensive.
“I kind of became more inolved
without realizing it. At first when
I got there everyone was really
friendly and I felt good about it.
The only thing I didn’t like was
that they gave people titles.”
The bible study teachers are
known as ‘missionaries’ and
`shepherds.’ The young students
are called ‘sheep’ and are also
known as `the Young Bisons.'”
All three former members agree
that the basic strategy used to
keep them involved with the group
Audrey experienced feelings of
guilt after repeated gifts of food
and free lunches.
“I began to feel guilty because
they were constantly being nice
to me. The guilt kind of stuck at
me. When I started going to service
they’d start asking me to do things like write letters to other
“They wanted me to go to a
conference which cost about
$500. When I told them I didn’t
have the money they found a job
For Don it was much the same
“My shepherdess would always
buy me lunch and sometimes
dinner. They’d always take
people out for lunch,” Don said.
“It was like their sacrifice to
you. Instead of spending money
on themselves they’d spend it on
their “sheep.” They’d tell you
this at the service.”
There is also another very
ominous tool that makes these
young students vulnerable to the
UBF—once involved they are
asked to write what are known as
These are pages of written testimony
of the student’s life history,
including all of their shortcomings
or negative feelings
about people or things.
With Theresa, the “sogam”
proved to be her ultimate reason
for obedience–always living with
the fear that they would release
her “sogam” for everybody to
“They would continually put
you down. They would pull things
up from your past, which you had
provided for them through the
“sogam.” At the same time they
would convince you that this is
the only place to know God,”
Don was one member that refused
to write a “sogam.” Students
would be expected to read
what they wrote to the group and
often it would be very negative.
“They were reading their
“sogams” putting themselves
down and talking negatively—
they were putting a guilt complex
on themselves. Then they’d say
`thanks to UBF I’m becoming
“I went once to one more meeting
and it was really awful, so I
never went back. I just saw it in
a different way and I saw how
ridiculous it all was,” Don said.
“I wrote three to five of them
(sogams),” Audrey said.
“As a Christian myself it keeps
you in touch with the direction
your walk is taking. But what I
didn’t like was they were constantly
dwelling on the bad and
the criticisms. It’s as if that was
the only thing that mattered.
“It ends up plaguing you more
than helping you,” she said.
In reflection, Audrey gives this
final comment about her involvement
with the University Bible
“If you really don’t have a good
head on your shoulders, you can
really get lost in that group.”
Note: Some names have been
changed to protect their identity.