My “Worst” Humiliation

HumiliationHumiliation is very difficult to talk about. Perhaps, some ex-UBFers who share “abuses” that they experienced in UBF, arose from feeling humiliated by their leader, which I am sure the leader will swear that it was never their intention to humiliate anyone. They were just “doing their job” and “obeying the Bible,” even if it came across as “putting you in your place,” or making you feel unimportant. Likewise, even if they will not acknowledge that this is the reason, I think that many present UBF people will never read UBFriends or anything perceived to be “anti-UBF,” because they feel humiliated. They believe that they and/or their church is being unfairly and unnecessarily dragged through the sewer by “bitter people who will not devote themselves to the more important task of feeding sheep.” Of course, these are all subjective, subtle, silent sentiments which can be refuted.

It is hard for anyone to talk about being humiliated. I could talk about feeling humiliated by being pulled over by a traffic cop for speeding, or standing before the judge at traffic court. I could not bear the humiliation of being rejected, so I could never ever ask girls out for a date. (That is why “marriage by faith” was the only way I could have ever gotten married, since my marriage was virtually 100% initiated by Samuel Lee, for which I am thankful to this day.) On occasion, I felt humiliated by Bible students who shunned my genuine attempts to love and embrace them. I have heard of Christian husbands who feel humiliated and angry if they see their wives acting too friendly with other men. (That’s not me.)

Being a choleric confrontational “in your face” type of person, an annoying tendency of mine is to speak in generalizations and extremes, such as my worst sin, which I was told was no big deal. “Small” humiliations might be spoken of, but what about the “worst” ones?

As a Christian, I think that it is always hard to speak about the “worst” humiliations for several reasons:

  1. It is painful and gut wrenching.
  2. It makes you feel small and weak, since you could not take it like a man.
  3. It implicates, blames, accuses, judges someone else who humiliated you, and puts them in a horribly bad light as the bad guy.
  4. It somehow denies the sovereignty of God who allowed you to feel humiliated or be taken advantage of by someone else.

How can I speak about being humiliated without violating my conscience as a loving Christian who wants to honor and glorify God, and who does not want to draw attention to myself as a pitiful victim? It is hard. I am a sinner who sins. Will I be sinning by addressing what I feel to be my worst humiliation? Perhaps so. May God have mercy. I especially do not want to do #3.

My worst “humiliation” was being dismissed from a position of leadership in UBF and informed, not by the decision maker(s), but by a young man half my age. This was done unililaterally without my knowledge and without any prior discussion with me. I regard this as my worst humiliation, because my opinion and “feelings” were not considered. Without being personally told, I was judged and evaluated as not doing what some leaders wanted. The decision to replace me never involved any input from me. What I felt (which I am sure was not anyone’s intention) was, “You’re no good. You did a poor job. You’re a bad leader. Your opinion or input is not important. There is a better man for the job.” Incidentally, this is all true! Yet it was painful and hard for me to face. From the perspective of God’s perfect and loving sovereignty, it was the best thing for me. Also, I likely got a taste of my own medicine that I had previously dished out to others!!

The result of this “worst” humiliation was that it drew me closer to Christ. Gen 50:20 and Rom 8:28 became “more real” to me. It opened my eyes to see things more objectively. It compelled me to have genuine love and compassion and understanding for those who experienced similar humiliations. It made me enjoy underdog status–not that I ever had any other status. It promoted critical thinking in me, hopefully without making me more cynical, jaded or untrusting. It made me bold and fearless. It again affirmed to me that my life, my future and my destiny is entirely in God’s hands alone. I am not sure about this, but I also hope that it made me a little more humble. But that’s all that it is–a hope.

Do you have a “worst” humiliation to share?


  1. Joe Schafer

    Ben, I have a great deal of humilation to share. My experiences over the last few years are full of humiliation, followed by liberation. Telling the story would take several articles. I’m willing to do so, when I have the time.

    Ben, forgive me for putting up another article today. I don’t want to draw attention away from this one. But I think I ought to do it because it’s so closely related.

  2. Sorry to jump in once again, but one thing absolutely needs to be discussed and clarified in this context. You’re right that humiliation can have a sobering effect and can help us grow. Often it is even necessary for us. But from this observation it is only one small step to come the conclusion that shepherds who feel responsible for the growth of their sheep (as the mindset in UBF goes) must humiliate their sheep from time to time. Unfortunately, many UBF leaders do believe and practice this. Samuel Lee was the greatest in this discipline, and a role model in UBF, many leaders followed his example, and many members at least silently accept this idea. So this point must be addressed.

    Let me give one small, but concrete example so we know what we’re talking about. I remember a European UBF Summer Conference in the Netherlands in the 1990s. Usually we had guests from America in these conferences and the American shepherds would perform a capella pieces which we enjoyed and admired a lot. When one of these pieces was performed, one of the a capella singers was standing behind the others in a strange way. So we somehow expected that he would suddenly step forward and surprise us with a great solo or something. But nothing happened, the piece ended and the person was still standing there behind the others with a sad face. I found this very strange and bewildering. Later I found out that Samuel Lee ordered that person to stand behind the others, in order to humiliate him. It was said that the person did something bad and this “humiliation training” was a kind of punishment measure.

    Let’s assume that this person really did something awful. How do you think that should have been handled? Do you think humiliating others in such ways is ok?

    The problem here is that this not only happened once and was considered a mistake. It happened all the time, and we have reports of Samuel Lee humiliating others in much more degrading and cruel ways, starting from 1976. I can also give many examples of chapter leaders who copied such training methods. E.g. in a neighbor chapter a member got he name “Shepherd Nobody” with the sole purpose of humiliating him.

    What I want to see is a clear statement of UBF leaders that these practices are not ok and that Samuel Lee gave a bad example that others should not follow. Or, if they don’t want to do that, they should officially proclaim that these practices are considered ok and good in UBF, and that they are only an expression of the love of Samuel Lee, the great servant of God, and that others should follow his example. Take a clear stance! That’s my problem with Abraham Kim’s New Year’s message. He tries to do both, stick to the heritage of Samuel Lee and praise him as a great servant, and at the same time deny his principles and practices by claiming that we must be respectful with each other. That’s what I call deceptive and what makes that message so disgusting for my taste. (Oops, I did it again. Will shut my big mouth now.)

    • Joe Schafer

      Chris, no need to apologize. Your comments, though painful for some to read, provide an important perspective.

      You’ve called the New Year’s message deceptive. You’re saying that the general director is trying to have it both ways, simultaneously praising Samuel Lee and denouncing his practices. I can see this in the message too. My question to you now is this. (I don’t know the answer to this question; I’m asking you because I truly want to know what you think.) Is this necessarily deception? Or could it be a display of what psychologists call cognitive dissonance?

    • Cognitive dissonance has something to do with people trying to keep integrity, but in a wrong way. I wished these leaders would show real integrity. Since you ask me directly, I consider it a deception in any case, no matter whether he believes in this all or not or whether he is in a state of cognitive dissonance. I’m very sure that he is well informed about the problems. He is a clever man, clever enough to get a Ph.D. and become a General Director.

    • Joe Schafer

      Chris, thank you for your honest answer. I realize now that intentional deception and cognitive dissonance are not mutually exclusive, and trying to distinguish between them is not always helpful.

      During my 30+ years in the ministry, I have experienced a great deal of cognitive dissonance. At times I engaged in passive deception (keeping quiet to deceive others) and on a few occasions active deception (saying things that, at some level, I didn’t believe or knew were untrue). People have many interesting and clever ways of handling cognitive dissonance — rationalizing, compartmentalizing, justifying, etc. I also have a PhD., and I believe that the cleverness that comes with formal education can actually increase your capacity to live with cognitive dissonance.

    • My simplistic mind can only grasp cognitive dissonance from a cartoon picture:

    • Joe Schafer

      Hi Ben,

      Although I love the irreverent humor in that cartoon, it doesn’t capture the idea of cognitive dissonance.

      A more accurate (and less vulgar) presentation involving cute bunnies was posted by Peter Enns today:

    • Joe, yes, that’s my point. I agree that cognitive dissonance theory explains a lot of UBF members’ behavior, including mine when I was in UBF. It helps a lot to understand such behavior, but does not justify it.

    • Thanks Joe, the bunny cartoon is very apropos. Reminds of the Jehovahs Witnesses who are masters in living with cognitive dissonance. They did not even stop believing the watchtower and trust their president when all of the predictions made by the watchtower and described as “established truth” and “beyond a doubt” failed. Again, we could argue that the watchtower authors and the JW president all really believed in these predictions, but still it was a huge deception.

    • Let’s not forget some history here… The current General Director was at one point dismissed by Samuel Lee himself, telling him that he was “too soft” to lead UBF. So the current Director has something to prove to the hardcore people. And he knows much of what has happened the past 50 years in UBF– he is not a naive Director.

      So for him to speak like he did in the 2013 new year message is indeed more of a deception than merely cognitive dissonance. Too much has happened for us to let people off the hook so easily.

      Perhaps he is only deceiving himself because of his own past humiliation, but too many facts are now known for me to believe he is honestly working toward reconciliation between UBF and ex-UBF.

    • Brian, btw, that’s an interesting question: What qualified Abraham Kim in the view of other UBF leaders to make him the General Director? As the reformers wrote in 2002: “Abraham Kim (Milwaukee UBF) was initially invited to the U.S. as a possible successor to Samuel Lee. So, Dr. Kim gave up a prestigious position in the Korean Military Academy and came to the USA. He was, however, suddenly sent to Milwaukee UBF when he stated to Dr. Lee that Chicago UBF should be changed for the glory of God. We do not have a clue as to why this happened.” We also have no clue why he was originally considered in 2001 as a possible General Director nor why he was reconsidered in 2011. The only official UBF information about that is “God chose Dr. Abraham T. Kim”. Is his qualification that he graduaded from the Korea Military Academy and that Samuel Lee liked the military (he even liked to wear a military uniform at times)? By the way, the Korean military is also famous for beatings and other abusive trainings of soldiers and human rights violations, at least in the past. Was Abraham Kim really willing to change UBF in 2001, and why did he change his stance now? Reminds me a bit of the current pope who once was a reformer, and now hinders any progress in the Catholic Church.

  3. Thanks, Chris, for sharing. My short response, based on my own perception, is that my leader(s) were not trying to humiliate me. That’s was just how I felt as a result of what they did.

    They, I believe, truly believed that what they did (replacing me as the leader/overseer) was for the ultimate good of the future of UBF. From what I heard through the grapevine, they did not like the fact that I was not “structuring” the ministry (according to UBF tradition), and not “training” the next generation of UBF leaders. But since no one directly told me this, it can be denied.

    • Ben, I did not want to imply that your example above was one of those where leaders tried to humiliate you, at least not deliberately. But there were countless examples where this happened. Even Abraham Lee from Germany, when he came to Chicago in 2001, got humiliation training from Samuel Lee. Maybe you saw this? He had to sweep the floor in the center in front of the others, which is very humiliating for a Korean national leader. Humiliation is an essential part of UBF’s training methods, just like in military training (remember how Abraham Kim compared UBF to the marines). So, if you talk about humiliation, that issue needs to be addressed, and we need to take a clear position on the practice of humiliating others in the name of “spiritual training”.

      By the way, do you remember how Samuel Lee ridiculed the idea of “human rights”? His humiliation training had to violate human dignity, but the invulnerability of human dignity is a part of the human rights, so he had to rationalize that the concept of human rights was an ungodly, humanistic one. I remember that even my chapter leader used to make derogative remarks about the concept of human rights, based on what he learned from Samuel Lee.

  4. As I stated in my article I do not want to do #3. (If I did please tell me.) I told some leaders that I acknowledge that the leader has the right to make the decision to replace me. (From the perspective of God’s perfect sovereignty it was really the best thing for me in countless ways. As Joe said, I experienced liberation and freedom in Christ.) I just personally did not appreciate the fact that I was kept in the dark during the process, and was not in any way involved in the process, despite having served in that position for 5 years.

    Also, my personality type is least appealing to a regimented-type ministry. I am autonomous-minded and I “hate” to jump through hoops, which some UBF leaders implicitly expect you to do so, “if you want to climb the corporate UBF ladder.” In their mindset, such an attitude promotes disrespect, anarchy, chaos, and a disregard of the older leaders, tradition and conformity. It is totally unsettling for some older UBF leaders.

    Mainly, the leader(s) who dismissed me believed it was their absolute God given, God ordained right to do so. In their mind, they did not sin against me. They were just doing what their conscience and experience dictated. So, even if I did not like what they did and felt totally humiliated, I really have no ill will toward them to this day.

  5. Based on Peter Enns’ carton, is cognitive dissonance a dogged refusal to acknowledge what is becoming more and more so plainly obvious?

    • Ben, cognitive dissonance is, in the first place a state of mind where a person experiences conflicting “cognitions”. For instance, a person rationally knows that smoking is bad, but emotionally loves smoking so much he cannot quit. The theory says the person will experience this dissonance as so uncomfortable that he will either quit smoking, or more probably, will “rationalize” why in his case, smoking is ok. For instance, someone told me “now I’m young, I have so much stress I need smoking, and my body is healthy enough, so it doesn’t harm me”. Likewise, my grandma said “I’m already over 80, so why should I quit smoking now”? Not very rational in reality, but they make it appear to themselves as if they have reasons.

      In the case of UBF, people know that Samuel Lee gave people humiliating and abusive trainings, they know that this is bad, but they rationalize it away by saying that UBF is like the military, and that Samuel Lee did everything out of love. They just don’t want to give up their view about Samuel Lee and UBF, so they do everything to avoid conflicts with other views, information and reality checks. That’s also a reason why so few UBF people are reading and posting here. It would create cognitive dissonance in them which they try to avoid by just not coming here.

  6. Hi Chris,

    This is my opinion. I think that Lee’s theology (and thus UBF’s theology) is skewed toward (over)emphasizing correct biblical human response to the gospel: repent, humble yourself, decide, choose, discipline yourself, work hard, deny yourself, make disciples, love God, love others, be united, reject hedonism, overcome laziness, lust, pride, etc, etc, etc.

    Thus, human rights in Lee’s mind is horrible and anti God, because it is simply man’s stubborn insistence to cling to our sinful human nature, and rejecting Christ as Lord.

    There is an element of truth to this. The problem, as you and others have alluded to, is that a man/leader/shepherd/missionary is the God ordained person to bring this about–to train you to overcome your clinging to your sinful human rights.

    Inadvertently, this elevates the work of the man, the Christian leader and diminishes the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

  7. “Do you have a “worst” humiliation to share?”

    Yes. My worst humiliation was sitting at a council meeting with all the top leaders of UBF in the summer of 2003 and having my “shepherd” tell them that my family had disobeyed him and had already gone out to Detroit without his permission. And furthermore, the only way we would be sent to Detroit is if we accepted obedience training for 6 months.

    I was so shocked because he had been fully informed of all our decisions and we had been preparing for months. On one hand, I was so furious I nearly stood up and threw the tables. On the other hand, I was so full of self-pity and self-doubt that I accepted this as my way to appease God and UBF. I can’t fully explain it, but that event then sparked my online rampage of defending UBF in following years.

  8. Thanks for sharing, Brian. Relatively speaking, your worst humiliation sounds worse than mine.

    Perhaps, we all, as collective sinners and fellow sojourners, live with varying degrees of cognitive dissonance. I want to but fail daily and repeatedly to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. I want to be kind and gracious toward my wife, but often hurt her because of thoughtlessness, insensitivity and selfishness. The list can just go on forever.

    Perhaps, we all need to give “the other side” some benefit of the doubt, and extend graciousness without compromising the truth. Other than Christ, no human can do so perfectly. So we need each other to help each other out.

    • Good points Ben. Where is the “other side”? I agree we all need to give some benefit of the doubt and extend graciousness without compromising the truth. Besides you and Joe (who have endured much shame and suffering for doing so), what other UBF director has “given some benefit of the doubt and extend graciousness without compromising the truth”?

      For 50 years it has been the “sheep” who must do such things, while the “shepherd” just praises God and has all his/her sins forgotten about. The ratio is certainly close to 1000:1, where for every 1 director/shepherd who “gives the benefit” there have been 1000 “sheep” who also did so.

  9. I liked this video after I left ubf. There seems to be very many similarities especially in the leaving proccess.

    [Note from Admin: Vitaly, thanks for sharing your experiences and the video. Because this clip is long and worth watching, I’m going to pull it from the comments sections and place it in a separate article so that it will get more attention.]

    • Thanks Vitaly. That video shows the issue of cognitive dissonance very well, the actors showed so well how much discomfort it makes in the minds of people, and it also shows how people deal differently with it. Ralph and Leo (on the left) resorted to denial, avoiding contact with critical information and people who had those and even lying in order to not have to deal with the issues. Joe, on the other hand was open and took the other way to dissolve – make reality checks, get informed and purge his beliefs from things that did not pass the test. He made mistakes, but showed integrity, the other two not. Of course, in reality it’s not that clear, black and white, but in principle, yes, you have these two ways of dealing with cognitive dissonance: the dishonest way and the honest way.

      Btw, Ralph played the power posture of cult (sub)leaders very well, emanating an intimidating authority very similar to Korean chapter directors in UBF. Another detail is the clothing. As you see in the movie, in the beginning and the end, Joe dressed casually according to his own style, but while in the JW org, he dressed like the others, with suit and tie. He was forced to feign a different personality which he did not really have. It seems even clothing can tell a lot about whether a person is integer or not.

      His final reproach to the JWs was “you deliberately misrepresented Jesus to me”. Here we could ask the same question, was it really deliberately? Didn’t Ralph and Leo really believe what they taught about Jesus? The basic problem of Ralph and Joe was their dishonest way of dealing with the obvious problems of their beliefs, and their refusal to listen to the “apostates”. As long as you fool yourself that way, this is sad, but it stays your own problem. But when you actively convince and manipulate others, and are not even honest to yourself, this is a problem.

    • Good idea to make an article out of it. I’ll try to not comment there to make room for other people to write their experiences and opinions. It would be also too difficult for me to answer your question “at which times did you experience cognitive dissonance” without mentioning UBF ;-) Anyway, I think it would be very helpful for UBF members to read about cults like the JW’s, their methods, reports from dropouts (“apostates”) etc. to make the reality check whether UBF is a cult or cult-like or not. How else can you assess this question if you don’t really know what cults are and how cults operate? We tend to think cult members are stupid or superficial or crazy people because they usually believe stupid things, but it is not so. Often the opposite is the case. Therefore it is good to read the “life testimonies” of cult dropouts to understand that getting sucked into that cult might have happened to us as well under the “right” circumstances.

  10. After leaving ubf we found out that we were ubfers ourselves, almost as bad as our director. But what Jesus helped us to do first is to repent and contact and reconcile all our former sheep and those shepherds and missionaries who had left before us. Without doing this ourselves we couldn’t and wouldn’t criticize anyone. By the way my most dissappointment with ubf was and is also “you deliberately misrepresented Jesus to me”. I learnt after leaving that Jesus is different from how ubf shaped him. And he is very far from being “military” or “marine” ))

  11. Recently at a Bible study we laughed a lot as we remembered how our director used to shout at us saying in a very military sergeant style, “Where is grace in your sogam?! Your sogam is not gracious enough!”. It was almost at every sogam sharing meeting. What a dissonance it was! We didn’t know what to do, how to respond. we were told that we were not right and had no enough grace but in what a manner it was told, an anti-gracious manner! I heard that recently our former director shared a couple of sogams after 20 years and the sogams were very far from what he demanded from us. He shouted at us but unfortunately he couldn’t and can’t hear himself ))

    • LOL Vitaly. By the way, I just want to point out that your comment pushed us to 5,000 comments here on this website! We have now had over 5,000 comments (none of which was spam) discussing these issues for the past almost 3 years. That is approximately 4 comments every day of each year.

  12. Wow. I love those stats! (How do I find them?)

    Now we need to have an “absolute attitude” and a “sacrificial spirit” and “repent of our laziness” by having a clear goal and vision to “double the number” in one year by praying three times a day like Daniel!

  13. I am starting this topic up again because I think it is important to isolate examples of humiliation even if they appear under different topic discussions. To be humiliated can occur both with and without intention. Not everyone knows about your feelings or how you even handle such matters. However, the topic of humiliation deals directly with the insensitivity that UBF social culture can be known for. I will state three examples from three different perspectives about humiliation.

    1) Conference summary published online by senior chapter shepherds

    First of all, never should a students or even shepherds full name be published online in todays world (only with consent). It can affect family relationships, friends and even an opportunity to get a job. Most people have learned to be careful because the internet can be a not so friendly place. After sharing my life testimony one time at a conference I was confronted with my family. They argued that they found my name and read what had been written. I know who the shepherd was and I was ashamed about it – because he should have known better when he reinterpreted my life testimony based on his own words and ideas. After reading the summary myself I had to admit to my family that it made them sound evil and terrible and that without them my life would have been better. I never said anything like that. I just confessed in my testimony that there were frequent problems between me and my family but that never meant that I did not love them. How grossly exaggerated online conference summaries can be when they attempt to capture what happened but miss the point because the auther is so blinded by their own ignorance. Who has to pay for the misinterpretation – the one who had been written about of course!

    2) Being removed from a conference on the attendance list etc…

    One year there was a retreat for young/senior leaders. I had been proposed as a group Bible study leader. Well, as a result of who I am and what I have done over the years the same shepherd who exaggerated the online summary argued against my role at this conference. Actually, he did not know one Friday meeting I had not yet left the church when we finished. I took some time to study in a Bible study room and heard the entire scene among the other senior leaders much to his unawareness. Later, I found out that the chapter director had no idea because I told him the reality after he prayed for my leadership in the conference. (Gotta love communication!) Anyhow, when the conference finally came I traveled and arrived at the site only to discover there was no trace of my name anywhere. I had not only been removed from the proposed role of group Bible study leader but I did not even have a name tag, or group to study with. I was truly humiliated because everyone knew me but no one could understand what had happened and none of my home chapter shepherds were willing to address the matter honestly. Thank goodness we had shared rooming because if we had single rooms where was I supposed to sleep?

    3) Highlighting the verses as a messenger

    Anyone who has done message preparation with certain leaders will know about this. Some may agree with me or disagree. This is not so much humiliating to me, however, it is uncomfortable when you are told what you need to do when delivering the message. On occassion, depending on the passage of course, members of the congregation are pre-selected to read a verse. Why? Because the director or leader believes that those people need to repent for their sin based on this or that verse. In theory I can agree, but we know the environment and what is going on. This is a subtle public method to shame people among their peers. When I was told to call on person A, person B and person C to read certain verses I was sorry in my heart. It was not for my humiliation but because I had been told to single these people out strategically. It is wrong. Reading verses is not the trouble, but singling out people so that they were “convicted” by the word of God is a shameful way to express sin to your brother. Like I said in my other comment for messages. Messages should be universal and more inpired so that you should not need to call people out.

    • I have seen all 3 of these employed, gc. Here are some more:

      4) The daily bread list of directors: One day you find that your name as Director was suddenly removed from the daily bread book without you knowing it and replaced with someone else.

      5) The weekly Sunday report meeting for fellowship leaders: If you happened to miss a meeting as a fellowship leader, you may be asked to confess your “sin” in front of the other leaders and describe how you acted like Satan who disobeyed God.

      6) The group conference photos: If you are not in them, you are considered as disloyal and disobedient by the leaders.

      7) Payer topics: If you raise concerns of conscience or other issues you may find yourself on the prayer topic list of “those needing help”. My and my friend Tuf earned a spot on this weekly prayer topic list that goes to all leaders. It was said that we “needed prayers”. Disloyalty is seen as a sign of being unhealthy.

      8) Your children: For parents you may be shamed by having your children compared to other “higher-performing” children in regard to school or instrument practice (and God forbid your children don’t want to play in the orchestra in ubf!). And according to the 2010 director’s slides I linked to in another comment, “healthy” marriages are only those who “produce children”. So in a strange sexual twist, if you are a newly married couple and DON’T have children for several years, you will be shamed for not producing the “1.7 average children needed to maintain the ubf workforce” (that is from another ubf teaching presentation by the way).

  14. Mark Mederich

    blessed are those who have been humiliated for they shall be comforted by God;
    cursed are those who humiliate others for they shall be humiliated by God

    • As much as UBF has emphasized “double the number,” God has been pleased to “decrease the number.”

  15. Thanks, gc, for sharing. Even though what you describe has sadly become the common experience of many, it is nonetheless still PAINFUL to read. I just ask myself, “How can UBF still justify such control and humiliation of juniors? How can missionaries and directors not see that they are PLAYING GOD when they do such shenanigans? Do they really think they are such SPECIAL SUPER SPIRITUAL SUPERIOR HUMAN BEINGS!!!!”

    • Ben, gc – the sad problem is that we do not even have a public and official statement of UBF leaders whether shaming and humiliation of people is evil and unchristian, or whether it is a necessary tool of disciple training.

      This is what I mean with UBF refusing to commit to the principles, rules and practices they are employing. They always want to stay ambiguous and never commit and admit anything. They want to be able to claim to the public that shaming and humiliation is bad and does not happen in UBF, and at the same time internally use and recommend it as a tool to mold disciples. What needs to happen is to push UBF to make a clear and unambiguous, official, written statement concerning such practices, and add this to their by-laws. It does not help to have some leaders apologize to somebody in a private talk behind closed doors. It is about general principles. UBF leaders must make a commitment to either fully support the principles of human rights and human dignity, or disdain and violate them under the name of disciple training, as Samuel Lee did and taught his followers. Only if leaders make such a commitment, followers can make an educated decision to obey and respect them as leaders or not.

    • Mark Mederich

      people preach “great faith” but it is hard to practice; what is it? Jesus usually transitions great to humble & faith in self to faith in God. From my own mistakes as a believer, father, employee: I think insecurity/immaturity can drive us to do strange things like public shaming or message as “humiliator” (not quite “terminator”:)

      but certainly the better/more excellent way is open honest communication, even if negative or mistaken at times: for then people can keep the good, change the bad, forgive one another/work together for God.

  16. Hi Chris, I agree with you completely about attitudes to humiliating and shaming etc… I went back to this article actually because I am praying/hoping that some more examples may result. Some of our discussions may be monopolized by those of us who have either been there forever or had senior responsiblities and therefore have seen and experienced more. Quite honestly, I doubt that you will ever get a reasonable reaction from leaders because they always seem quite happy to take up the power and exert some authorty themselves – at least in my experience where I was from. One of those shepherds I referred to used to constantly refer to Jn 6:68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It’s true, Jesus does have the words of life but UBF does not…

  17. Thanks, gc: “I went back to this article actually because I am praying/hoping that some more examples may result.” Yes!

    “Quite honestly, I doubt that you will ever get a reasonable reaction from leaders because they always seem quite happy to take up the power and exert some authority themselves.” :-(

  18. Thanks, Mark: “but certainly the better/more excellent way is open honest communication, even if negative or mistaken at times: for then people can keep the good, change the bad, forgive one another/work together for God.”

    Honesty,” I think, just gives some UBF leaders the shivers!

    Also, in order to protect her own “holy image,” UBF categorically rejects anything they regard as “negative,” “discouraging” or “bashing” even if it is true. They “hate” UBFriends and will not consider what it said here simply because it is “negative.”

    Boy, Jesus surely made mistakes like UBFriends for saying so many “negative things” against the religious leaders.

    • Mark Mederich

      Yeah, Jesus was sometimes so negative because prevailing tenants of God’s vineyard weren’t following God’s right ways; that’s the “rub” or conflict isn’t it: we have to choose between doing what’s beneficial vs. what’s right..

  19. @Chris. “(UBF leaders) always want to stay ambiguous and never commit and admit anything.” This is the formula of bad leadership that invariably causes a loss of credibility and integrity.

    Writing clear ethical guidelines in the by-laws is good. The problem is the UBF by-laws are so boring that I could not bear to read it even to this day. Thanks, Chris, for deciphering it for me!

    Yes, SL “taught” authoritarian abusive practices that are continuing to this very day in many parts of the UBF world. But in my opinion, repeatedly blaming him subtly shifts the responsibility from present UBF leaders. Sure, SL’s influence is pervasive. But the current leaders who currently practice such abuses must be continually called out to be accountable.

    Presently, each person is responsible/accountable before God for his/her own sins. We cannot blame Adam for it, though Adam himself is responsible and accountable to God. Thus, perhaps channel the focus and blame not on SL (though he is responsible), but on the current leadership that in my opinion still refuses to come clean.