What would the other guy say?

a1This week I heard a fantastic logic puzzler called “The Two Doors Puzzle”. After hearing the answer to the puzzle, I immediately recognized the principle behind it. The puzzle is not realistic, because real life is not so black and white. However, the answer to this puzzle explains how I saw through the facade of the ubf heritage and discovered reality.

Here is the puzzle acted out. I’ll share more about this in comments to this article, but for now I’ll just present the puzzle for your brain-tingling enjoyment. My wife forwarded me many other brain puzzles, which I may share in future articles. I just love delving in to logic and thinking.

The Two Doors Puzzle


Two stories, both can’t be true, how do you decide?

Recently I completed my review of the 12 ubf heritage points. Some may think this is the first time I’ve done this. Granted, this is the first public posting of my thoughts, but it is hardly the first time I’ve thought about the heritage. From day 1, I could see the heritage slogans in play. The dilemma I faced for 20+ years was that the heritage looked so good and sounded so good, but I ended up feeling so bad. The conferences were often so spectacular to me, but I kept hearing all those stories about ex-members.

For me, the heritage debate (is is good or is it bad?) reached a climax in 2004. I defended the 12 points heritage profusely, both in person and on my website. After a couple years, the ex-members voices subsided (due in part to a ubf lawsuit). But the thought remained in my mind: How can I know if I’m right about the heritage being “God’s best ways”?

I decided to “Ask the other guy” sometime in 2010 or so. Actually I didn’t actually “ask” anyone, because I was too proud to admit to ex-members that I had been wrong about a number of things. Instead, I read all the ex-members testimonies. It was brutal. Because I knew that all the ubf testimonies were unanimously positive about the heritage, I expected all the ex-member testimonies to be unanimously negative about the heritage. But surprisingly to me, I found this was not the case. The ex-member testimonies were indeed spattered with emotions of all kinds, but they often would present facts as facts, with emotion yes but not with the glorification or mitigation I had always heard from pro-ubf testimonies.

So while life is not nearly as black and white as the Two Doors puzzle, the idea of “What would the other guy say?” was immensely helpful for me to come out of my fantasy world and connect with reality.

Different Kinds of Lies

Ok so maybe you found the puzzle difficult. I did! But once I found the answer clearly explained, I realized it wasn’t so difficult. And the Two Doors puzzle teaches a highly relevant logic principle that I feel we must employ in the religious realm.¬†Here are some further principles that are easier to grasp. In any area of life, we are better off when we ask other people’s opinions, know how to identify different kinds of lies, and make our own decisions.

– Ignorance of facts (error) – Those things happened but I don’t know anything about them.

– Incompleteness of facts (omission) – Some of those things happened.

– Spinning of facts (restructuring) – Those things happened but here is what they really mean.

– Denial of facts (denial) – Those things didn’t happen.

– Dismissal of facts (mitigation) – I admit some things happened, but so what? They aren’t related to what’s happening now.

– Misrepresentation of facts (fabrication) – Those things happened, but here is the real story.

– Glorification of facts (exaggeration) – Those things happened, but were part of a grand scheme to attack and destroy.

The World outside of Thneedville

a2At one time the ubf heritage looked like the land in the Lorax movie [shown in the main picture above for this article], before the city of Thneedville was built. So I think, as some have said, that the ubf heritage might possibly be used for good. And I believe it is not necessarily the specific 12 points that are so destructive.

In time I realized that the heritage had been used to build a sort of Thneedville city. Attending the ubf conferences came to mind when I saw Thneedville in the Lorax movie. And I realized that there was an entire world of ex-members out there who had sacrificed in order to build the city; a world that looked like the land outside Thneedville.

After reviewing the 12 point ubf heritage, I don’t want to hear any more of the seven kinds of lies. It is no help to “go back to the bible”. What has to happen is for more and more ubf people to venture outside of Thneedville and see the reality of what was sacrificed to build that city. What ubf people need is to go visit the Once-ler (i.e. Ben and Joe). They need to listen to words like these: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” They need to see the word “Unless” written on the stone. Perhaps then the ubf heritage could be used for good rather than to build the city of Thneedville.




  1. I’m not gonna go too deep on this yet just because there are no comments yet – BUT – let’s get it started.

    When we can walk independent in our faith, that is free from exclusivity and membership, we can truly be with God. We can even know if he’s “…in.” However, lying almost always presents itself with those above who don’t want things to be distributed equally. He who has something to lose will bend the truth or blatantly lie to protect his own interests. This means even situations are even bent in order to preserve appearances. Silence is also a reality of this. Indeed, people have left or are strangely absent. “HEY! Who’s that guy and girl in the picture on the wall? Who are they? What happened to them?” I suppose nothing happened. Maybe, just remove the picture and put it in the drawer or maybe even trash it…

    Who wants to re-write the History Books? Anyone, please?
    You know November 11th is not just Pepero Day. It is a day of remembrance for the soldiers lost in all of the World War’s. Similarly, UBF needs to tabulate among all the ministries all of the past members and then choose a day to mourn and grieve for the losses. When people come forward openly it can be a day of reckoning. However, I do not see mistaken actions and realized abuse as only a means to see your development and growth that you might repent. When you repent – Call the people you wronged and plead with them in Christ.

    • Mark Mederich

      but perhaps stop the bleeding first before addressing the old wounds

  2. Mark Mederich

    Holy Spirit set us free from all lies

  3. A nice puzzle )) I heard there is a more complicated version when there are three doors and one of the guards says truth or lie as he likes.

    The difficulty with what is behind the door of ubf is that ubf speaks truth and lie as the leaders like. But the answer to this puzzle of ubf is very easy because a church should not and must not ever lie. I thought for example about the AL’s message in which he said that ubf “then sends” (after raising and training) people to other churches. What was that? It was just lie because no one has ever been sent to other churches from ubf. (I know that AL corrected the message and now it says that people “leave” ubf. Now it is true, but the opinion about ubf has already been formed. ubf has been using lie, not once, many times and so every one can make his/her decision about whether ubf is a Christian “corporation” or not and whether it is a “fellowship” or a closed system and whether he/she wants to associate with it.)

    I liked not all of the former ubf members’s testimonies, but I liked that they were sincere and truthful. I believe that even a truthful unbeliever is better and closer to the Kingdom of God than a false “Christian” who lies.

  4. Here’s a memorable quote from Andy Stanley’s sermon (praphrased) that embodied the “other guy” logic:

    “One of our most compelling Christian apologetics for the resurrection of Jesus Christ might be James, the brother of Jesus. What would your brother have to do to convince you he is the Son of God? James the brother of Jesus joins the believers after the resurrection.”

  5. Brian, can you point me to any documentation or info. about anything relating to UBF & lawsuits? In the past few years, churches have been losing left & right when trying to sue former members on internet or social media postings/reviews/experiences etc. Just curious to read about it. Thanks!

    • Hi Paul, there isn’t much on the internet. Are you still in Toledo? It might be better to meet in person to discuss the lawsuits.

      The initiation of a lawsuit against a former member in 2007 in Germany effectively ended the 2000 crisis (reform movement). But as we know, a 4th crisis flared up in 2011 and is still going on.

      The threat of a lawsuit is very real from ubf.

      And I am the primary target for sure. We’ve already said more here on ubfriends than our friend’s website did in Germany back in 2007. When will ubf sue me? That threat is still out there.

      In 2012 or so, I received a voicemail and a Christmas card from a certain ubf Korean, and both sounded like threats of a harrassment lawsuit if I ever send email to certain people ever again. So much for responding to any of my questions or concerns…

    • By the way, I forwarded that voicemail and Christmas card to the ubf ethics committee…. I’m still hearing the crickets chirping. No one responded. Probably because I used email to send it, lol.

    • Just for clarity, I want to point out that I did receive an acknowledgement of receipt of my complaint. That, I suppose, should something I thank my lucky stars for. After that is when the crickets started.

  6. Thanks for responding Brian. Would love to meet up sometime. Can we direct message each other? All of those threats are just huffy puffy nonsense.

    All of the court cases in the US of churches suing former members have almost always been dismissed with the churches having to spend their members’ offerings on the others legal bills etc.

    The reality of the situation is, the posts themselves are on a public forum and concern the basic issue of public interest. Plus most churches can’t disprove what they are saying (aka there is some merit in what was posted & the church would do more harm to themselves by possibly showing it in fact was accurate).

    I spoke with my lawyer about this topic a few days ago quite extensively when I started posting as I’m always curious about the realities of lawsuits and threats.

    I would love to have one of those people contact me / threaten me in a lawsuit lol. I recently posted on one of the ubf chicagos Facebook about where I could find the UBF’s official statement in regards to the allegations surrounding the suicide of Samuel Choi Jr. I even informed them I would take a screen shot of the post to see if they would respond professionally or just delete it. They deleted it.

    What the old schoolers don’t realize is that we have something called the internet. And the internet has information (some wrong some right) With that internet we can make actual conclusions and opinions for ourselves.

    I could see the possible scenario of the UBF intimidating someone into backing out of a lawsuit but I find it highly unlikely the UBF would ever successfully pursue or win a lawsuit. Mainly because there is some much documentation about the reforms, books & literature, as well as the obvious negligence they showed in not acting upon these concerns.

    Just like my lawyer said, when you have that many people who are also willing to testify against them with clear, specific, and detailed stories and issues; the amount of more severe consequences they could accidentally stumble into wouldn’t be worth it.

    I don’t think UBF & even ex-UBF people understand the high likely hood of legitimate lawsuits people could attempt to pursue against them.

    In my personal opinion, that Samuel Choi, Jr story alone should be something pursued and looked into. I am excited for the future as I slowly catch up on some websites and blogs. Similar to your website, I hope down the road I can help something like this but on the social media side of things.

    • forestsfailyou

      I remember when I first asked my pastor about claims on the internet. They were “Satan’s lies”. The truth is with older Koreans they have the double whammy of not knowing how the internet really works and fearing it. I emailed this concern to Mark V in January, that UBF needed to clean up its online image with dialog and needed to do more than just say “oh ignore that”. I have crickets too. If UBF is so concerned about raising disciples in the 21st century they have to realize people will find this stuff about UBF VERY easily. It’s not a question of “if” but “when”.

    • Paul,

      “Thanks for responding Brian. Would love to meet up sometime. Can we direct message each other?”

      You can connect with me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brian.karcher

      or just contact me via email: http://www.priestlynation.com/contact/

  7. In terms of the lying about people leaving, it really speaks to a fear of people leaving. But if we follow Christ, we should not have such a fear. We should find satisfaction and joy and fulfillment following him . . .

    • EXACTLY! The whole essence of Christianity is deeper than doing something, being someone or believing something– it’s about following Him. That is what produces continual joy and contentment.

  8. By the way, Brian, good connection to the Once-ler and the Unless stone.

    Have you read “The Giver” by Lois Lowry (iirc)? You would appreciate the symbolism there.

    • Thanks Matt. No I’ve not read The Giver. I’ll check it out.

      Something I’d like to share though… I had to stop portraying ubf onto every movie, every book and every organization I encounter. That nearly destroyed my career.

      At first movies and songs were very helpful to rejuvenate my emotions and later my conscience, which had been gouged out and suppressed by me. So seeing Tangled, I absolutely loved the mother/daughter scene at the end where Rapnuzel realizes it was her mother who she should have been running from.

      But now I am seeing “ubf” less and less in the things around me. All this is more evidence that I had “married” ubf both the ideology and the organization. So I find an odd attraction to break-up songs. This is one of my favorite… The Band Perry :)

    • Hey Matt,

      I just watched The Giver movie yesterday… I am Jonas :)

      I am SO glad this book is required reading in many high schools!

      If anyone wants to know what it is like to leave ubf after 20+ years, watch The Giver…

  9. forestsfailyou

    Another question that works is “If you are the liar am I standing in front of you?” The liar will see that he is the liar and see that I am standing in front and will then answer “No” to lie. Thereby assuring that Hell is behind him.