My Letter

letterAs I conitnue my journey of recovery from over two decades as a UBF leader, I sometimes go back and read what I said or wrote in the past. I came across a letter I sent in 2011 just after officially resigning in protest. I had already had numerous conversations before this, which were rather mild comparatively speaking, but I was still looking for a way to be “in UBF”.  I received silence in response to this email. So I post it here publicly in hopes that some may respond. Go ahead and react any way you feel prompted to react, no matter how messy it might seem to you. Any kind of response is better than maddening silence.


Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (NIV84)

For 24 years I have quietly stored up many things in my heart. I have pondered these things over and over nearly every day since 1987.

Here is an explanation of my current situation. I have not yet left UBF ministry as a whole. I am seeking any possibility of a role for me in UBF.  But I have decided not to remain connected to Toledo UBF, apart from the personal frienships I have made. I will not listen to any Toledo UBF message nor will I accept any direction of any kind from Toledo UBF.

These are the three reasons why my family will no longer be connected to Toledo UBF and why we expect to leave UBF completely by the end of this year (unless there is some miracle of God’s intervention…)

– There is no further training for me in UBF. I have exhausted the training methods and programs available to an American Christian. God has called me to be a pastor and shepherd and missionary, not a director.

– There is no role for my family in UBF.  My children, wife and I need Christian fellowship and ministry together, not alone. We have no way to effectively help C and V and their daughter as a lone house church in UBF-style ministry.

– There is no evidence of repentance among senior Korean leaders in Toledo and little evidence of actual repentance in the 50th anniversary celebrations/missino statement.  I have heard a lot of appologies and condolensces, but no significant change.  There have been some slight behavior changes the past 24 years, but no repentance at the top leadership level.

Here is a timeline of my desire to leave and decisions to stay up to this point:

In 1987 I began Bible study at the invitation of both ES and Dr.PH, who met me in my dorm room. Soon I wanted to leave. I decided to stay because of the welcoming heart of ED and several women missionaries, and my friendship with TP.

In 1988 I wanted to leave because of my father’s slow march to death from ALS. I decided to stay in UBF because I found salvation in Christ through this ministry during the Lake Geneva Easter Bible conference.

In 1992 I wanted to leave because I wanted to start dating again. I decided to stay because I found God’s vision to be a missionary to Russia.

In 1994 I wanted to leave because I saw no chance to actually be trained as a missionary.  I decided to stay because of the Godly relationships I made, most importantly, the new relationship with my wife M (We were married the same day as T and M, who had become good friends).

In 2003 I wanted to leave because of the way my relationship with Dr.P was broken through the Detroit pioneering process.  I decided to stay because JP helped me see the stone of bitterness in my heart. God removed that stone. Then I decided to stay in order to obey God, to “keep face” with missionaries and in order to not ruin other people’s faith.

In 2006 I wanted to leave because I heard the struggles of my best friend, TP. I saw the patterns of good Christian families leaving being repeated again and again since 1990.  I decided to stay out of obedience to God and out of a desire to keep my calling, not realizing that God’s calling can be kept in any number of contexts, not just in UBF.

In 2009 I wanted to leave because I read James and Rebekah Kim’s open letters on the internet regarding the 1990 event. I read those letters completely for the first time. I fell into deep despair over this and my personal financial struggles, which were near bankruptcy.  I decided to stay because I saw the movie “The Passion of Christ”.  Through this and the message I delivered on the cross of Jesus at a conference, my faith was restored and I felt God’s healing of my emotions. I decided to stay in UBF only to find a reason to stay.

In 2011 (April) I heard about T and E’s struggles and observed the significant decline in quality of Toledo UBF messages since 2006. I saw a huge and growing gap between the perception of our ministry and the reality of our ministry. I resigned as Detroit UBF director because this role is not pleasing to God and is not healthy for me or my family or our house church. I decided to stay in order to “stand in the gap” based on Ezekiel 22:29-31.

In 2011 (July) I had many discussions with my mother-in-law, my grandmother, a pastor from a small town church in Ohio, many Toledo UBF coworkers, senior Christian leaders like John Armstrong, senior people in UBF like Sarah Barry, Ben Toh, Joshua Yoon, Ron Ward and Joe Schafer.  I decided to stay in UBF to see a new fabric woven into the old fabric of UBF.

My current personal mission statement is this: “Weave a new fabric of grace, truth, faith, hope and love for Jesus, dialogue by dialogue.”

It has been suggested to me that I meet various people in Toledo to discuss my issues. I am not interested in some closed-door meeting that magically reconciles all things.  I am interested in answers. I am open to dialogue. Here is a list of questions I have for Toledo UBF coworkers. They are not rhetorical. Not everyone has the answer to all the qustions.  But together, there are enough people who can answer these questions. Until we in UBF repent by opening up dialogues, facing tough questions and honestly analyzing our spiritual problems, we will not find God’s healing. Nor will we move on to the greater things of God.

Event 1: The 1990 moving of the Kim’s.
Were our actions illegal according to Ohio Law?
Did these actions violate the US Constitution, Article 4?
Did these actions violate God’s commands to love our neighbor?

Event 2: The Detroit chapter pioneering.
Why was I not allowed to form a pioneering committee to assist?
Why were we demanded to travel to Toledo every Sunday for 6 months?
Why did we not discuss being missionaries to Russia?
Why were we just left in Detroit alone for 8 years?

Event 3: Succession of leadership in Toledo UBF.
Why were AN, TP, MG, PP, SR not groomed to become pastor?
Why is there confusion about being a director vs. being a pastor?
Is there any plan for someone besides Dr.P to be pastor?
How does this situation compare to what happened in Bowling Green?

Event 4: Dead dog training.
What is dead dog training?
Does this training still exist or anything like it?
Why is obedience to authority so highly valued?

Event 5: The gospel.
What is the gospel?
What does UBF have to learn from other churches?

Event 6: Christian ministry.
What is the role of a pastor?
How does a pastor work with other elders?
How does a pastor help church members fine their role and gifts from the Holy Spirit?
What doctrines and teachings should a pastor be reading and knowing?

Event 7: Systematic problems with UBF.
T and N already expounded on this. I agree with all of what they said regarding ministry problems and ways to change.
Why is it so difficult to listen to honest, truthful Christians who have ideas for improving the ministry?
Why are those who speak the most honestly and truthfully driven away from the ministry?

In Christ our Lord who is the supreme authority,
Brian Karcher




  1. Thanks Brian for sharing this. Your questions are good and relevant and certainly deserve a response, especially coming from one who has devoted 24 years of the prime of your life to UBF.

    I am personally very very sorry for the “maddening silence” you have received. You (and others who have left UBF after decades) certainly deserve far far better than maddening silence! For what it’s worth, I personally do want to work to somehow address this very seriously and pray that God may have mercy on us and help us to rectify this in the coming months and years in order to promote healing and reconciliation.

    Sadly, there are countless obvious (but totally unjustifiable, inexcusable and even “unbiblical”) reasons for the silence of some top UBF leaders which I will not go into, especially from your home chapter.

  2. Joe Schafer

    Ben, about two years ago, you wrote a letter to the elders about serious ethical problems that were alleged to have happened in the late 1990’s. Your letter was a catalyst for the formation of the ethics committee. You were given assurance that the issues would be investigated, and I believe that the GD and elders said they were going to respond. What happened with that case? Have you received any formal response?

    • Yes, I have. It was an investigation that lasted perhaps almost a year. Basically, the allegations were denied, and could not be verified as being true. Those who wish to know the results of the investigation should perhaps contact the Ethics committee directly.

    • I received an informal response from the Ethics committee related to the situation my family experienced. It was more than I expected, and so I was encouraged. The response itself, however, really left a lot to be desired in terms of concrete actions and acknowledgment of systemic issues.

  3. As I look back through emails, I find that I did get a few responses. One person said we can’t answer “What is the gospel?” because it would take years and a master’s thesis. This letter did spark an in person meeting many months later where I went to Toledo in Feb 2012. But in terms of answering my questions or even discussing them, it’s been crickets chirping.

  4. I understand all this is a lot to process for people in ubf. So I’m willing to just discuss Event #1. Here are some reality checks regarding that event. I was jolted awake when I realized the following. I had committed a criminal act in the name of being a blessing and living for God’s glory. If I could do that, what else would I be capable of if I continued to follow the UBF heritage?

    To realize I am a criminal who should have went to jail for 6+ months was sobering to say the least.

    The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Do you ubfers feel secure in your own home? Or do you have that nagging fear that your shepherd or chapter director could barge in any moment? I didn’t feel secure. I’m sure James and Rebekah didn’t feel secure either.

    The Ohio Breaking and Entering law. “(A) No person by force, stealth, or deception, shall trespass in an unoccupied structure, with purpose to commit therein any theft offense, as defined in section 2913.01 of the Revised Code, or any felony. (B) No person shall trespass on the land or premises of another, with purpose to commit a felony. (C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree.”

    In 1990, the penalty was largely up to the judges:
    “Today, Ohio’s felony sentencing laws are largely the result of
    Senate Bill 2, which went into effect on July 1, 1996. Before this time, Ohio had an indeterminate sentencing scheme, giving judges discretion to select a minimum term from a range of punishments for each felony level.” (source)

    The penalty for “breaking and entering” in Ohio starting in 1996 was a 5th degree felony (the lowest kind). So in 1990 judges would decide the penalty but likely would have been 6 months in jail.

    (Ohio Revised Code, § 2929.14, 1996)

    -Felony in the first degree – prison term is three to ten years in prison

    -Felony in the second degree – prison term is two to eight years in prison

    -Felony in the third degree – prison term is one to five years in prison

    -Felony in the fourth degree – prison term is six to eighteen months in prison

    -Felony in the fifth degree – prison term is six to twelve months in prison

    And above all this, what about God’s Law? If love is the fulfillment of the Law, can I really claim that I was acting in love toward the Kim’s?

  5. To all who want to know the truth…like Brian I wrote several letters to our chapter director in Cincinnati with no response..I will not post them because I know that God knows the truth of what happened…yes, in the beginning of my 29 years of UBF life it was beautiful and I was innocent and not knowing what God’s love was from a broken home and living on drugs and living a wild life…in UBF I was blessed and got much education and learn the Bible well and this I am grateful for and the books I wrote were the truth I knew but when my life took a turn for the worse…and I discovered that much of what I learned from my director was abusive in the fact that he taught me to ignore my family for mission and did not address the issue of the rape in UBF of my daughter and telling me to keep my mouth shut and kicking me out of UBF was not God’s love…after a year of painful struggle with God I had to come to terms with my own sin and by doing so I discovered the sin of UBF…it is ignoring families and ignoring the larger body of Christ…these are the actual words of my former director, “…all other churches teach you bullshit..” I began to reflect on my life and began to see the abuses of UBF after much prayer and looking back and could see that I somehow ignored the danger signs because I was so happy that I overcame my life in God’s grace…the end never justifies the means…it is time for UBF to examine their a former shepherd and bible teacher and director and friend in Christ..I pray that there will be changes so that UBF can be healthy and families can be healthy in it’s system…I have no desire to harm anyone but to share the truth….any healthy ministry will have healthy conversation with those who left..I did not resign like Brian..I was asked to leave and go to a local church and keep my mouth shut…I did need the structure in UBF and it was helpful but the real problem is that there is no love of God for people, families, other christians, and even us who either decide to leave or who are asked to leave…I at first look at other churches with contempt and despised them for some time but after awhile I began to see how much UBF people miss and how narrow their vision is only thinking of their agenda at the cost and the abuse of God’s people….I pray that Brian, myself and all those who left or who were asked to leave can be heard and that some accountability will be given to us…I am yet to receive any letter from anyone……it has been over a year..I do not fear anyone in UBF and any of its leaders…I only have deep compassion on many in the system who are lost in the heritage and the awful deception…Dr. Samuel Lee did many awful things in the name of serving God…despite it I believe God used him..but it does not make right ordering an abortion and the other things…if these are not condemned than we might have a Jim Jones story in the future…evil acts must be identified and stopped…this is why reform of some kind is always necessary and it is biblical….it is repentance…

    My address: 412 Lehmer street
    Covington, ky 41011

  6. Cont. My children are still in counseling…I have a daughter who tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions and another who felt like it too…they simply told me that UBF has no love and does not care for families…I did not believe it but in time I saw it..mission should never destroy families but make families alive and happy…there is so much pressure to perform and keep to the heritage and if you don’t you are rebuked and you are treated like crap….UBF fails to see that there are many gifts in the body of Christ….not everyone is called to preach or to teach…some are called to cook and to serve in so many ways…the pressure is so intense in UBF that you lose your conscience and your love for people and even your own family…I can relate to Brian and many who have left and many who are still there…they let me know the horror they are in..many are afraid to leave because they feel that God curse them…I think if you stay you will be cursed…make a decision of faith to leave and speak out….this site would not be needed if the abuse was not real…

  7. @Brian, @Bear, from reading your stories and the stories of countless others from countless countries who encountered UBF, is it fair for me to say the following?

    * As long as you are feel indebted to UBF/God and express primarily only good things that you received through/from UBF, you are welcomed, loved, embraced, coddled, touted as exemplary, etc.

    * But the moment you raise any concerns, questions, or red flags whatsoever—controlling and manipulative practices past and present, which are abusive; critiquing and questioning UBF messages and practices; asking questions about UBF leaders and chapter directors; etc—that is virtually and practically the end of your “highly valued status” in UBF.

    Is this fair to say? Or exaggerated?

    • Joe Schafer

      ’tis precisely what I experienced

    • …perhaps me too, though not entirely across the board.

    • Yes Ben, you got it exactly. I could actually count that “moment” in hours. For 24 years I was “absolutely loyal”. But whithin 2 hours of emailing my first honest conference report I got what I call the “phone call from hell”. It is rather astounding how quickly Korean ubf directors can turn on you.

      I would add a #3 however. After #1 and #2, you do have a “grace period” which lasts from 6 to 12 months. During that time you have the opportunity to re-think your position, re-submit to your shepherd and become more “prayerful”. (which means “shut up”)

      After that 1 year, you are then labelled as “R-Group”.

    • Note: I also later received what I call a second “phone call from hell” and even a “Christmas card from hell”. Those are harsh words but that is how I felt. I trust my feelings now.

    • Maybe I should post the .mp3 recording of the phone call? I have it saved, along with over 300 MB of documents.

      Also Desiree from Toledo was an eyewitness to most of the events of “my confession” regarding the 1990 break into James/Rebekah’s house. I spoke with her awhile ago and she is able and willing to testify about what happened. The event is real. Desiree shared many more details about this event on my priestylnation blog if anyone wants to read more.

  8. Ben Toh…you hit it on the nose…you are loved in UBF if you keep mouth shut to abuses and dont seek real change….I experienced much abuse in Ubf but it is covered under dog training….my former director thinks he is god…..the pride is got to many heads in ubf……I pray for the day that the church may be one and Ubf may submit to the true shepherd Jesus