What Happened in Toledo UBF – Part 1

newcenter1In a recent comment Vitaly asked numerous valid questions about what was going on in Toledo UBF. It will indeed take many years for the ministry there to recover from the events of 2011. But why? Do people understand the magnitude of what happened? I feel compelled to share what happened in Toledo UBF from our viewoint– the viewpoint of those of us who left. In my discussions with people outside of Toledo UBF the past two years, I get the impression that most people don’t understand the scale or significance of what happened. Here is what I observed. Please correct, modify or react in whatever way you see fit.

A Glorious Building

I begin my observation in 2009 when a massive building project kicked off in Toledo UBF. This is after the heart-wrenching departures of senior leaders in 2001 and 2006. Three years later, nothing significant had been done to address the leaving of JH/KH, AN/SN and TP/MP. They just disappeared, even though they were a huge part of Toledo UBF history as well as American UBF history.

So a building project was kicked off. It was claimed often that this project had united all Toledo UBF coworkers and the wonderful aroma of Christ was gloriously present among us. I was in Detroit in 2009, but I was contacted and contributed to this approximately $1.5 million project. [Note: Since posting this article it was brought to my attention privately that the actual cost ended up being closer to the $700K to $800K range. Many of the original projected costs were trimmed down in various ways.]

But first the old building had to be torn down.










When I saw this picture for the first time, it was shocking. I admit it– I cried. My wife and I were married in that building. My sweat, blood and tears helped build that building. It was the vision of the late James Kim. It was built by student labor. Every Saturday (and many other days during the week) for over 3 years, we students labored to build that building. I’m not so sentimental about buildings. And I’m aware that there were structural issues with the building. But why was there no recognition of James Kim’s vision and labor? Or was there some recognition I’m not aware of?

A United Toledo UBF?

I attended the new center dedication ceremony in 2010. I saw the great building. But I wondered if it was true that Toledo UBF was so united, glorious and wonderful? It certainly appeared so outwardly. John Jun gave a lecture from Haggai and declared to us: “Fill this house!”














Magnitude of the departure

In approximately a 9 month period spanning 2011 and 2012, the following families left Toledo UBF.

TF/EF (5 people) 30
NM/SM (4 people) 30
BK/MK (6 people) 47 (had been sent to Detroit in 2003)
JR/PR (6 people) 25
CE/FE (5 people) 30
KB (1 person) 10
JW/RW (6 people) 55
MG/CG (5 people) 55

7 families, 38 people, 282 years of committment from American leaders (ok there is one Korean missionary in the mix). In addition 2 other Korean families left about the same time to pioneer other places. These families were leading everything from childrens’ ministry to Sunday service to offering administration. These were Sunday messengers, Treasurers and Fellowship Leaders. They had done everything they could to “make it work”. Several of them had been there when Toledo UBF was first pioneered. I will be sharing some of their own words in a follow-up article. I feel compelled to let everyone know why we left and to tell our side of this story as factually as possible.


  1. Brian, I don’t think many people outside of the core community and network of Toledo know the realities. Personally, I wonder how many will comment because as Mark has already stated it is a sensitive and evolving experience.

    I will say that my wife and I met during the dedication ceremony and got engaged to marry by faith. What confuses me now, (as I hear about what occurred in Toledo), was the absence of PH during our wedding a few months later. We were told there were health issues. Anyway, it is private, confidential stuff so I will not say any further.

  2. Joe Schafer

    Over the last 30 years, I have witnessed numerous North American individuals and families leave various chapters, including my own. Sometimes they left singly, sometimes in small groups. In some chapters, the attrition has been a steady outward flow. What makes this example unusually sad is the large number who left in a short time span, and the length of their involvement (in some cases, upwards of 2 or 3 decades).

    Brian, if you are going to share people’s words on why they left, please do so anonymously and with their consent. I probably didn’t need to say that to you. But for the sake of readers, I think it’s important to let them know that you are not doing anything underhanded; you are merely allowing some previously stifled voices to be heard.

    Also, I’m wondering about the wisdom and rationale for doing this online right now. I wouldn’t want anything that takes place here to damage the current efforts at community building in Toledo. I don’t know whether this will help or hurt.

    • Joe, yes I initiated several conversations by phone and Facebook already. I requested a short, 1 paragraph explanation of why they left. I appears some are willing to share. I don’t plan on sharing any names specifically. Everyone involved knows who was involved.

      My contention has been, and continues to be, that the way forward for Toledo UBF has to invovle facing the facts. Yes there are efforts underway in Toledo UBF. What kind of Christian ministry will those efforts produce if the ministry becomes a closed coccoon once again?

      I spoke to one person in Toledo UBF on the phone yesterday. He mentioned how relationships need to grow organically. I agree. Organic growth that occurs will be messy and uncomfortable, but in the end will be much more healthy than contrived, controlled or hidden re-organization efforts.

    • Joe Schafer

      Brian, thanks for the clarification. I agree that the way forward is for people to face the evidence. There will be many different interpretations of the evidence. But the necessary first step is that everyone simply look at the evidence. Eyewitness accounts of those who left have, until now, been largely ignored. That evidence needs to be fully incorporated into people’s consciousness, not overlooked or dismissed.

    • Mark Mederich

      Joe, i think i know what you mean, but i must needs say this in general:
      i think the point of sharing is more than allowing stifled voices to be heard
      (granted vendettas benefit noone & not all ‘broken bridges’ are within repair) but also playing our part in improving the world body of Christ by being mature enough to examine our mistakes & seeking Holy Spirit help are the only way to break free of ‘religious humanism’ (to actually honor God most & ‘be all we can be’ in the Lord with his help)

      always in history (believers & world in general) silence is golden for unimprovers content with living in mud; granted i sometimes pointedly vent on this blog because i believe we must pony up & get on with it or it’s useless talk without useful walk.. but the bold will/must find a way to constructively talk & walk to better ways/times in the Lord, or it’s all waste of time/smoke & mirrors/good ole boy mentality

  3. Even though I already know most of this, it is still staggering and painful to read it again.

    Without a doubt it is the result of sin that separates us, even Christians and churches. Man’s only hope is that on that final day, God will make all things new and set all things right, only by his mercy and grace.

    In the meantime, we may somehow hear the new command to love one another (Jn 13:34-35), not because we are able to but only because God first loved us (1 Jn 4:19)—at great cost to himself.

    • “sin that separates us”… yes indeed Ben. And I am not excluding myself in this. The sin goes both ways. I’m just as much a part of the problem by not speaking up sooner, by standing by while my friends left, and by not working to build real relationships with the people I sat in meetings with for thousands of hours every year.

    • “Man’s only hope is that on that final day, God will make all things new and set all things right, only by his mercy and grace.”

      Ben, I don’t really agree with this statement. Yes that is a great hope, but I contend that the hope of the gospel is for Today as well and even primarily. I’m sure you arleady agree and know this, but just expressing it. The hope of Jesus’ gospel is both for Today and Tomorrow. It is possible, I believe, to find relational unity in spite of differences, but yes, only by the grace and mercy of God found in Jesus.

    • Thanks for clarifying, Brian. Absolutely, the gospel is not just for tomorrow, but for today!

    • Mark Mederich

      Ben, i think i know what you meant but Brian, i agree the hope is for today as well; in fact i’m reaching a point where i believe the hope is today, or we’re wasting our time playing games: heaven doesn’t need our hope, God already made it plenty good (we presume:) but we need God’s hope & real change today to live better now

      & yeah, we worry so much about what we say more than what we do; & we don’t worry enough about what we didn’t say or do as individuals/systems that could have benefitted all

  4. Brian, I agree with Joe here. I question the wisdom of posting an article like this here.

    Just curious on the editorial process of this site… Most journals, magazines, or newpapers have an editorial process in which editors determine the content relevance, appropriateness, and quality of articles that they publish. The editorial team typically determines whether articles that are published fit the purpose of the journal and address the needs of the intended audience.

    Personal online blogs are spaces in which someone can post whatever they please without undergoing any kind of editorial review.

    What is UBFriends? I’m confused.

    It seems to me that UBFriends is something in-between a journal and personal blog. We submit articles so it has a feel of a “journal” because presumably someone is deciding whether something gets published. But other times, it can feel like an extension of someone’s personal blog.

    Is there an editorial team to UBFriends? Do you gather (perhaps via email) to discuss potential articles and derive a consensus on what gets published, and what doesn’t, and when something actually gets published? Is there a way I can nominate someone to join this editorial team? If someone like Terry or Chris or Wesley wanted to join, could he or she do so?

    For example, I really like to re-post “A Discussion Stuck in Limbo” just to rack up the comments and views for my own ego, but I think Gerardo R wishes it never got posted in the first place. Tough beans for him, I guess.

    • JohnY:

      “What is UBFriends? I’m confused.”

      I don’t know. And I’m confused as well.

      “It seems to me that UBFriends is something in-between a journal and personal blog.”

      Yes that seems accurate.

      “We submit articles so it has a feel of a “journal” because presumably someone is deciding whether something gets published.”

      Not really. Just about all articles ever submitted have been published verbatim.

      “But other times, it can feel like an extension of someone’s personal blog.”

      Yes it does seem that way sometimes.

      “Is there an editorial team to UBFriends?”

      No. Not anymore since they all dropped out about 2 years ago.

      “Do you gather (perhaps via email) to discuss potential articles and derive a consensus on what gets published, and what doesn’t, and when something actually gets published?”

      No we don’t. Ben, Joe and I are just independently publishing when we feel like it. I am handling the technical system side of things.

      I am willing to step aside and let someone else take over publishing. I’m willing to be part of a new team or step away completely.

    • Mark Mederich

      John, i think i know what you mean, but i sense censorship; Brian, i agree with sensitivity in what you share/how, but i agree it must be shared, for noone else has shared much about anything in my 26 yrs…which means religious humanism: man has honored himself more than God out of fear of offending self/other, at expense of mediocrity/even travesty;

      isn’t this like testimony/message about what works/doesn’t & how to try improve? granted it’s painful to examine our mistakes, but how else do we improve? the Catholic hierarchy failed to examine it’s pedophile problem,but when it got bad enough the world examined it for them (i grew up Catholic so i take license to comment:) the car mechanic says ‘you can pay me now or you can pay me later’

      Brian, i question the wisdom of you NOT posting here, for then the message is: this is just another chat room to feel better while honoring ‘the powers that be’ no matter what, while dishonoring the fallen AGAIN (individuals/families: brainwash/egomania-hero worship/dependency/controlled-stunted/conflicted/suicide/debt-devastation/etc)

      after all isn’t the whole point, that if leaders/systems had cared/done much about major concerns this site would never have needed to exist; now the fearful are afraid to let it happen;

      i say fine: go the way of the world, shut the site down, let corruption reach full measure until the world catches up & forces change with more shame/expense; i say noone listened before so now God is offering an avenue here, take it or leave it, but will he offer another avenue? if so, the avenues usually get more fearful/less pleasant…let’s be as wise as we thought we were:)

      i recommend we risk upsetting the demons in all of us by talking it out here/now & who knows the Holy Spirit might just help us after all

  5. So here is a question for everyone:

    If it is not wise to share the story of our 7 families now, when would it be wise to do so?

    I’ve waited 2 years, almost 3 years now. In fact, who knew what was really going on 4 years ago in Toledo UBF?

    The UBF director mentality is to “keep to your own business”. UBF is divided into hundreds of factions with various “territories”. No one is supposed to cross those boundaries.

    If I don’t share our story now, when? Should I wait 5 years? 10 years? How about let’s wait 50 years when most of us will be dead and no one would care?

    I think most could not handle my article 2 years ago. Now there are many who can handle it. The Spirit is working rather amazingly in certain UBF people. Like it or not, UBF is moving into a “transparent age” where information cannot be controlled and people are free to share their own narrative, even when that narrative contradicts the dictated UBF narrative.

    • Since you may go ahead with this anyway I will maybe suggest something. There is no middle ground. You either review these events or keep your mouth shut.

      I would recommend that you prepare your series and allow present Toledo members to comment before anything is published online. Keep the editing/revising process between each other.
      However, regarding the ministry as a whole I cannot say beyond this. Information cannot be controlled but once again articles must be accepted by the terms that Joe made from the outset of this blog. I agree with you in principle.

    • There have been articles posted here by Joe describing the impending crisis and the on-going crisis. Both these two articles and other articles here have described the departures of many natives and what may have led to the departures. I think 7 families leaving in a span of 9 months is a case in point and worth knowing about. I’d like to know what led to their leaving and whether or not their reasons for leaving support what has been asserted in the above two articles by Joe.

    • Mark Mederich

      yes Brian if not now, when? if not here, where? who has guts to speak/be a voice for the wounded to seek better ways, at risk of marring the masters? let ’em speak

      who has tenacity to continue the wounding side effect status quo? let ’em be silent

      perhaps the helpful approach is to focus less on specifically who did good or bad to avoid personal battles, focus more on what worked/failed (to be repeated/to be avoided) in systems/processes/leading/following/etc to constructively seek healing, growth, change..

      for example: i could say priest ‘john smith’ is quite a pedophile vs let’s examine systemic issues apparently related to priest pedophila, & make urgent/necessary changes…

    • Joe Schafer

      For what it’s worth, this is my present opinion on Brian’s proposed series of articles.

      Brian’s voice, and the voices of many others who have left, must be heard by the ubf community, not just by one leader or a handful of leaders behind closed doors. It’s a travesty that they have not been heard already. If you think that it may be harmful, damaging, or wrong for that to take place here on this website, then don’t tell Brian to stop. Do your darndest to create a better alternative, an actual time and place for this conversation to happen, and do it fast. Take decisive action immediately, and don’t fall back into daydreaming about some vague idea about something better that might possibly happen at some indefinite time in the years ahead. Reach out to Brian and others personally, and do it today, because that’s what Jesus says we should do (Mt 5:23-26).

      I will be the first to admit that UBFriends is not the optimal forum for this kind of thing. But it is better than all the other forums right now, because all those other forums do not exist.

    • Just to recap for everyone’s benefit:

      1. I am against sharing these things publicly.

      2. In 2011, the stories of these 7 families was told privately, individually to the former director. To my knowledge, all of us received private, individual letters thanking us for our service and wishing us well in our new churhes (or things to that effect).

      3. All of these 7 families had made a concerted effort to find a reason to stay in UBF and improve things that each of us noticed (some of these things were different).

      4. Rarely did we talk together as a group.

      5. The former director retired gloriously without mentioning any of us in his retirement speech. Even MG/CG were written out. Only 3 people who had stayed in Toledo UBF were mentioned. You can read this publicly online.

      6. I have requested an open Q&A type meeting with Toledo UBF where I and others could explain ourselves and answer questions. This request has been thusfar denied.

      7. I did actually meet with AN and the Toledo LC and a couple of us who left in Feb. 2012. That was supposed to be an open door because we all agreed we “had much more to discuss”. But no meeting has transpired since.

      8. My email communication has been effectiely cut off. Last week I did attempt a group conversation with the messenges in Toledo UBF. One person replied. The others remained silent. One person asked to be removed from the email. That avenue is not useful at this piont.

      9. At one point in all this several Chicago UBF messengers came and “investigated” things. They concluded we all need to do more 1:1 bible studies and stop getting entangled in “inter-personal conflicts”. I find this less than helpful but it is useful that HQ is staying out of this for now.

      10. So I continue to share here, expressing things the way I see them. I hope that others will chime in and correct or enhance what I say. The bible says “tell it privately”, I did. The bible says “tell it to the church”, I have. Now I share publicly.

    • Speaking of that “glorious retirement message”… don’t read it unless you are prepared to smash something afterward. Only those still in UBF ministry were mentioned. Everyone else was written out, even those who were part of the foundation of the ministry.

      Here are some quotes filled with more lies than I care to point out:

      “In 1977—35 years ago, Rebekah Kim (now in Akron) and I came to USA on the same date. She came to Toledo and I went to Atlanta, GA. The late James Kim and his wife Rebecca sacrificially and boldly served this ministry from 1977-1990. Isaac and Rebekah Kim, Robert and Sarah Nolan, Paul and Grace Choi and the leaders laid the foundation of Toledo, UBF. I received the baton from them. I assumed director/pastor position in 1990. Since then, God sent many people.”

      “Over the years God has displayed a model of his church through Toledo UBF. It is to be a house of prayer of all nations. This involves hard work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in Jesus Christ. We praise God for the eyes to see our past, present, and future in the mind, spirit, and perspective of Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for participating in the precious work of God together.”

    • You know the trouble with any retirement addresses? Most people want be remembered well. They want to leave romantic imagery for those left behind to indulge in. Maybe even a movie can be made out of their life and example. What leading stars will play the parts? Whether the person is dead or retired the memory must live on untarnished and unblemished. It is man’s failure and pride. So much more the fool who believes what is said without first reading in between the lines.

      Some may even think of it as being un-Christian to address the failings of someone else. Woe to the plank in your eye! But ever hear of the enabler? If you know something is not right but don’t speak. If you think you will be judged more harshly because you question someone or something. If something is wrong it is unchanging – yesterday, today and tomorrow. I don’t think that Jesus would agree with standing around and just sitting on the fence because to take a stand is almost like taking a risk. If someone swallowed their own vomit so to prevent sickness after hearing that retirement message then I guess they are just as guilty for being enablers to the abusive system.

      Being sure that you are acting right before God is only so sufficient. It is the trend in UBF to omit any ungracious failing unless you are a lowly sheep who needs humbleness training. Reality check – humbleness training does not stop until we are long since expired. Wait! Maybe it does. After all, oh come ye who are bronze, silver or gold missionaries and shepherds. Blessed is the one who is ancient in Christ…..nope – UBF!

      Bottom line for my sarcasm……A testimony, a message, a retirement speech, whatever….if personal we must reflect on our failings and shortcomings. How else could we come to Christ? If we are too proud to confess our wrongs for the sake of our personal legacy and name sake than we do not deserve Jesus’ grace. Our attitude is example enough that we could care less what Jesus’ thinks. So long as we can glisten like the glamour of a celebrity.

      Such a message is clearly a case as the kings new clothes. OMG – I don’t believe it! He is naked! Naked indeed. I can respect honesty, but for denial and dellusion maybe consult a doctor about that. How many demons possess you?

    • Joe Schafer

      Isn’t it just a wee bit audacious for someone to claim that he can “see our past, present, and future in the mind, spirit, and perspective of Jesus Christ”?

      Every chance I get, when I hear someone claiming to see something from God’s point of view, I urge them to please not talk that way.

    • Brian,

      “I’ve waited 2 years, almost 3 years now. In fact, who knew what was really going on 4 years ago in Toledo UBF? – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#sthash.01HCJJ72.dpufIf I don’t share our story now, when?

      Should I wait 5 years? 10 years? – ”

      Brian, Well said. Another year would be too long. I want you to know that I am listening. I am tired of the Silence. Silence, is a very destructive way of communication. It doesnt acknowledge the problem, it ignores it and it says, ” are you done complaining, lets move forward”. Yet, nothing gets resolved.

      Why have more bible study when we are stuck in lesson 1, loving our neighbor and loving God. Can someone help me understand why loving “new students” is encouraged but loving our friends (who have served in our ministry side by side, meeting after meeting, for more than 20+ years)is discouraged.

      This reminds me of the Good Samaritan parable, we are like the busy priests walking by too busy minded to care for the needs of those who were wounded. The only difference is our church has inflicted the wounds and we are unwilling to be the Good Samaritan. What good is more knowledge of the bible if our practices do not reflect God’s heart?

      Honestly, i do not know what a true constructive approach would be to dealing with the issues in UBF especially in Toledo. But I know I am tired of silence, and waiting for the right moment. I believe the time has come, and so I pray that the Holy Spirit may guide and lead this. I also know that it may get messy but if there is healing at the end and reconciliation then it may be well worth it. Thats what i desire. Its only then that we can experience unity , peace, love and frienship as a Body in Christ .

  6. Thanks for your words of caution gc. As with all of my articles, I only share publicly after numerous private conversations, which direct me what/how to share.

    btw, the $1.5 million figure was the original projected cost given to me by one of the main planning committee leaders in Toledo UBF when the project started. I believe they found ways to significantly reduce the amount of money needed. I don’t have the final cost figures, but I’m guessing it ended up close to $1 million.

  7. And to be fair, here is IK’s report on this new center:

    Center Expansion Report

    [He mentions only a cost of $700K. So perhaps his figure is where the cost ended up?]

    But putting money aside, are his ministry observations and conclusions accurate? Why did he see such things? If world class leaders were raised up, why did the world class leaders run for the hills about 1 year later?

    “But one good thing is that at the Toledo UBF God’s work is going on briskly. Disciples are being raised. Leaders are taking responsibilities for God’s work. So they work hard to build God’s kingdom beginning at the Toledo University, reaching out to the east coast, Canada and beyond.”

    “When these things happen people are worried. And then it is difficult to see God’s vision. But the good thing is that in Toledo Dr. Paul Hong and his coworkers had God’s vision. Where can we find God’s vision? On the Lord’s mountain! Here the mountain of the Lord refers to the cross of Jesus. Toledo is a small town, as small as the city of Downey. So it is not easy for people to see God’s vision. But coworkers at the Toledo UBF love Jesus. They work on God’s vision to raise “World Class leaders” at the Toledo Center and send them out to the four corners of the world.”

    • Mark Mederich

      rally/pep talk the troops is easier than changing battle approach

    • Mark Mederich

      pride, religious pride that is the real thing at risk here, isn’t it!!!

      recovery, human recovery that is the real possible benefit here, isn’t it!!!

      those ‘more sufficiently blessed’/less affected probably prefer silence, no risk of current benefit loss

      those ‘least sufficiently blessed’/more affected probably prefer appropriate talk/walk


  8. So what I want? What do I seek?

    As I’ve said all along I don’t seek change or reform, I seek redemption. Redemption is not something we can bring about, but I believe we are responsible for reconciliation, the ministry given explicitely to Christians. I believe we can work toward reconciliation and through that find God’s redemption.

    So here’s my “what do I want” list:

    1. I want to see redemption. (Change and reform follow redemption. Such things do not bring about redepmtion. It is grace-driven sanctification that sets the Christian gospel apart from all other gospels.)

    2. I want to work toward reconciliation. (Restoration of position and certain relationships aren’t always possible. I believe reconciliation is possible.)

    3. I want to experience resolution. (A wise friend taught me this recently in Chicago. Closure has almost no chance of happening in this life. But there is always the possibility of resolution.)

    And there is at least one thing I want to avoid:

    1. I want to and avoid revolution. (Revolution and retaliation may be unavoidable. I dearly hope and pray that such things are avoidable. But when is revolution unavoidable? Only in the case of prideful men who refuse to give up power and authority.)

  9. Martha,

    I hear you.

    “Another year would be too long.”

    I agree. Although I am prepared to do this for the next 20 years (Lord willing), I really don’t want to do so.

    “Yet, nothing gets resolved.”

    Resolution is a valid goal. We all need resolution yet it hasn’t come yet. Just as many activists have said throughout history: Everything changes yet nothing has changed!

    “Why have more bible study when we are stuck in lesson 1, loving our neighbor and loving God.”

    Excellent point. I wish UBF messengers would put the bible down. Why does a Sunday message have to present analysis of a bible passage? Why can’t a message sometimes be presented based on a Christian principle or doctrine or historical moment?

    “I pray that the Holy Spirit may guide and lead this. I also know that it may get messy but if there is healing at the end and reconciliation then it may be well worth it. Thats what i desire. Its only then that we can experience unity , peace, love and frienship as a Body in Christ”

    Amen, Amin, yes, and hallelujah!

  10. Thanks, MarthaO: “I am tired of the Silence. Silence, is a very destructive way of communication. It doesnt acknowledge the problem, it ignores it and it says, ”are you done complaining, lets move forward.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10688

    Ignoring the problem is like saying today, “Forget about 9/11. It’s already 12 years ago. Let’s just move forward.” How can anyone truly ever forget 9/11????

    How can anyone in UBF forget some friends and Christian brothers and sisters we have known for 10 to 20 to 30 years in UBF, and then act as though they no longer exist just because they have left UBF. Seriously??

  11. hmm…good discussion here. Got my first “dislike” ever. Boo hoo. :(

    Brian, I presume you have permission to be sharing these stories to the public, right?

    I guess my point is that I would hope that the Toledo leadership would in their own time find a safe environment to allow these stories to be shared (perhaps led by the pastors/ministry leaders of the new churches that these families are now part of) And then invite anyone from Toledo UBF to come and listen (and really just listen). And perhaps with the permission of all parties involved, we could videotape it and watch it over UBFriends.

    That would seem far more productive than what Brian was about to do. But I guess if it’s a choice between unbearable silence and UBFriends, I suppose I would choose the latter. But what do I know? I know nothing of the specifics of what happened in the past to say which is better for Toledo. I guess I would prefer Toledo folks to take the lead on working with Brian on the best to go about sharing stories in ways that hopefully would lead to healing, mutual understanding and reconciliation. But again, I’m speaking mostly as an outsider to this particular issue so I would rather have Toledo folks speak to this issue directly.

    As for the risk of censorship for a formalized editorial team, I guess that’s always a danger. I prefer to think of it as mutual accountability rather than censorship. The diverse editorial team would covenant together to ensure there is broad representation of all views and that no one side is censoring the other. And preferably, folks on the editorial team would be friends, even if they come from different experiences and represent key stakeholders for this online community (UBF leadership, those no longer in UBF, those in the middle, etc)

    I mean, we do have a “like” and “dislike” voting system. We could put up a proposed editorial team to an online vote.

    • Good thoughts JohnY,

      “I presume you have permission to be sharing these stories to the public, right?”

      Yes. I will not share commentary or analysis but just their verbatim quotes (with names obfuscated and perhaps the swear words censored).

      “I guess my point is that I would hope that the Toledo leadership would in their own time find a safe environment to allow these stories to be shared (perhaps led by the pastors/ministry leaders of the new churches that these families are now part of) And then invite anyone from Toledo UBF to come and listen (and really just listen). And perhaps with the permission of all parties involved, we could videotape it and watch it over UBFriends.”

      Yes and yes and Amen! I’ve longed for just that for about 3 years.

      In regard to publishing articles here, stay tuned. There will be changes coming, and I think you’ll find this blog more of a SHOT soon :) Just bear with me for one more article please.

    • “We could put up a proposed editorial team to an online vote.”

      If we do that, I nomiate you (JohnY) and DavidW (who has commented here in the past). And I vote that I step away from publishing (which I will be doing soon, but I’ll still be commenting).

    • Brian, why would you leave UBFriends? Come on, admit it. You can’t leave. My point is to enter into a covenant with some diverse group of friends to do this as as a ministry.

      I appreciate the nomination. Tempting and flattering. But I would prefer to enter into a covenant relationship with you as part of a team to do what I would suggest above.

      I guess I put myself into a trap now. I either take responsibility and be the first to do what I’m suggesting and join a dream team with Brian K, or shut my mouth and let things be if I’m not willing to be part of a solution, eh? Dang.

      I’ll seriously consider it if Mark M nominates me with a “hallelujah”, Chris co-nominates me with an “Amen” and I get about 1000 likes to this post.

    • Joe Schafer

      JohnY and friends,

      Here is a paragraph that I just emailed to Brian, and I now share it with you.

      I would love to turn the reins of UBFriends over to the likes of DavidW, DarrenG, gc, TerryL, or anyone else who might like to take over editorship. I might occasionally submit articles about topics that I care about. But I’d be more than happy to let other people run it. Heck, they can change anything they want. They can have any editorial policy they want. If they want to censor anything that anyone in ubf might find uncomfortable, let them go ahead. My only stipulation would be that they not go back and remove articles and comments from the past, because they shouldn’t try to rewrite history. But before I walk off UBFriends into the glorious sunset, maybe I should give a retirement address that reviews the history of UBFriends from God’s point of view…

    • Terry Lopez


      That’s not very kind of you. I just start showing up and joining the convo and then you are getting ready to get up and ‘go into the sunset’… :-D If it’s because I don’t wash enough, I promise I’ll take a shower at least once a week, whether I need it or not… ;-D

    • Joe, my prediction is that whoever takes on the responsibility after you will be true to your original intention for this site. Thank you for the courage and foresight in bringing this site into existence, despite my initial qualms when you first brought up the idea to me. I see that God has been using this site as an instrument of healing and reconciliation. I made some friends through this site that was not possible previously when this site was not around. Please know how much I’ve spiritually grown from reading your insightful articles–as challenging and discomforting as they were at times for me. But I needed the kick in the rear end and be taken out of my shell to be alerted to the reality of what is going on in our community. I can say that I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with the content of any of your articles. Thank you for your love for the people on this online community.

    • JohnY:

      “Brian, why would you leave UBFriends?”

      I didn’t say I was leaving. I’ll be commenting as surely as the sun rises :) My point is that I will stop hijacking the publishing process. I am going to facilitate a review team of some sort. And this website won’t be going away any time soon, Lord willing.

    • Joe,

      Just make sure you continue to attend our regular 20,000 times prayer meetings so that we can be sure God will bless us with 20,000 comments by this time next year. Our daily meetings was so helpful to reach 10,000 comments in just 3 years. Let’s pray for double ministry. Then we can see the work of God from God’s point of view and make this website kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

  12. Brian, as one of those with whom you are speaking about why we left, I appreciate your efforts with this series of articles. I understand the concern shown for those still in Toledo UBF and possible disruptions to their community-building; however, I ask that we not forget the other people involved in this story, those of us who left. We left wounded. God has done great things in us, but it has been, and in some ways continues to be, a long road.

    And as for doing this publicly, Toledo leaders, both old and new, had the chance to address this appropriately and apart from a public forum. Upon leaving, some of us sent letters explaining why we were leaving. Some of us, myself included, went back for a committee meeting, explaining in person some of the reasons for our departure. Further, each of us tried to affect change within UBF before leaving. Then after we left, in a message delivered by a new pastor, it was said of us that we left because the busyness of our lives had become too much. This was a lie, pure and simple. Every person’s decision to leave came after sincere and lengthy struggles and much time spent in prayer over very serious issues.

    And now to say we should still remain silent because it might disrupt others is to demean our experiences and continue to ignore reality. Continued silence also puts those in Toledo UBF who would listen at a disadvantage, for how can a problem be truly addressed if it’s never fully known?

    Please know, I don’t write this or share my experience with any sense of anger or hostility. I do not mean to hurt anyone, but I also refuse to remain silent.

    • Thanks for sharing that, kb. it changes my perspective on the situation and provides me more understanding. I support your conviction to not remain silent.

    • Thanks kb! As I mentioned before, email me something you’d like to include in my “part 2” article. Or just share it here :)

    • Hi kb you said,

      “And as for doing this publicly, Toledo leaders, both old and new, had the chance to address this appropriately and apart from a public forum. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10722

      I agree. Both old and “new” Toledo leaders have had a chance to address the situation. Like Brian said its been too long.

      One thing i know for sure, its that Toledo UBF will never be the same since your departure and that of so many families. You and all who left will always be part of Toledo UBF, whether people want to acknowledge this or not. My heart broke as i saw many of you leave in so much pain and confusion. The sad thing is, many did not want to leave but had to, because of how you were treated, and your pain became greater by staying.

      I cannot speak for other leaders in Toledo, but I can speak for myself personally. We know that when we say “new leaders” in Toledo, its not really “new leaders”. Its shepherds and missionaries who have been in the ministry for a long time that have stepped up, including my husband. They too have been “trained” in the same UBF paradigm that many of us have. It takes time to see and unfold the many years of “twisted theology” and of what was right and what was wrong with our practices. I can say that there is change happening in people’s hearts. I and Mark have changed alot since you left. But we are still in transition, and its a long painful road like you mentioned. Unfortunately, and in my opinion, not everyone in Toledo can see it yet. But I believe God is working in us and they will in time.

      So I want to say I am sorry that i could not understand the issues when you and other families left. I am sorry that you felt wounded and that i never took the time to truly understand. I am really sorry that our leaders have not made the time to listen to you. If you still have your letter can you send it to me. I believe that i am at a place to understand better of what you what took place a few years ago.

    • “This was a lie, pure and simple”.

      Exactly, and I think that this one thing characterizes ubf … as a cult. No matter how “well-intentioned” the lie might be.

      I saw a questionnaire in a newspaper with the title “How you can know that you are invited into a cult”. The author suggested some questions to ask to the person inviting (evangelizing) you. Among the questions: Who is the founder and the leader of your church? What do you think about such Christian leaders as …. are they saved?

      And there is a question, “Is it possible that you or your leaders say a LIE in some situations?” If the answer is “yes”, “yes, but” then this is a cult, “pure and simple”.

      And I personally can’t understand those who try to improve or change their cult for better.

      When native leaders leave, massively, then ubf directors take measures and appoint some leaders from among those who stayed. (It is the case as I can see in Toledo ubf as well as in Moscow ubf and in Russian ubf as a whole). But is it good for those who stayed to “step up” as “new leaders”? For what? For whose sake? For the sake of campus student mission? For the sake of unity among those who stayed?

      I shared that GD and the director suggested me to become a new ubf chapter director in another city. I had an oppotunity to step up. But I refused to be a leader in a cult whose conscience can’t be but bound. And why did they suggested me to be a ubf chapter director? To tell those who stayed that I became a pioneer and is busy to “save” campus students in another city. So everything is nice, keep doing your mission.

      After I left, the director and some Moscow ubf leaders at once suggested another native shepherd to become the chapter leader. Later two native shepherds were appointed as “the leaders of the two tribes of Yekaterinburg ubf”. lol. They were suggested to go to the conferences (the ISBC included) to report about “the glorious work of God” in Yekaterinburg. But they refused to become the tribes leaders.

      Then MY came to Yekaterinburg and suggested a new style directorship by the same Korean director. He said that the director wouldn’t abuse anymore, and that the natives should and even must love him and support him and become “missionaries for him” to help him understand Russians better. All the natives refused. Then MY suggested a “glorious retirement” for the director and no native could understand why a Christian would wish a “glorious retirement” for himself instead of repenting. So all the natives left and joined healthy churches.

      My point is that those who stay and step up make their decisions and stay and become leaders of an abusive cult and support the LIE because of which their brothers and sisters left the cult. Then those who stayed shouldn’t be offended when they are called cult-members for it is true. And those who left ubf didn’t want to leave those who stayed. But it seems that when they see that those who stayed did it intentionally even after many people left, then they left not just ubf but those who stayed as well. And so I understand those who don’t want to talk about ubf anymore. They don’t want because it is useless as they see that those natives who stayed made their mind and want to be a part of ubf.

      Brian, thank you very much for the series of articles. Many things become clear (to me).

    • Terry Lopez


      You wrote, “Those who stay shouldn’t be offended when they are called cult members, because that’s what they are” (or something close to that). I have a question for you. Are you calling my wife, Mari, a cult-member? She remains and is very active and supportive of the ministry. Also, are you calling my 19 year old son, Peter, a cult member? I asked him what he would say to you, when I told him you were calling his family cult members? He told me he wouldn’t bother wasting his time with you. He’s the one who told me in my father’s day card that he loves being part of the Lopez family (the family that remains in UBF and therefore is also a cult family). Are you calling my 17 yr. old twins, Andrew and Mark, cult members? They were the ones who my oldest son mentioned in the same Father’s Day card, that he was talking to them and they all said they were so blessed to be part of the Lopez family (the same cult family). Are you calling my family cult members? That reminds me: what about my dog Kuma? Is he also a cult member? I mean he is part of my family…

      By the way, is Ben’s sons also cult members? They still remain in the ministry. What about Joe? He just told me he would try to come and see me if he comes to visit UCLA in the near future. That certainly is fratenizing with the enemy, governments consider that a traitorous act; so does that mean if Joe comes and visits me, that he too is guilty of the crime of supporting a cult? And how about Dr. John Armstrong? He is aiding the enemy? That also is a treasonous act, so of course he must be a cult-member as well; I mean it’s “pure and simple”. Right Vitaly?

    • Terry,

      Let Vitaly give his answer.

      I would ask two rhetorical questions.
      First, does typical cult members always ugly, uneducated, single, stupid, etc? Unfortunately no. There are a lot of cults that are full of nice, smart, educated people with big families. Some of them do love their spouses and some of their children are proud of their parents. To have a nice family is not a protection of being a cult member.

      Second question is a little bit difficult: is ubf a cult or not. One can argue a lot on what is the definition and characteristics of a cult, all chapters in ubf are of the same level etc. To make story short I would assume one thinks ubf is not cult. If so he can be thankful when one day his first son will be send to Toledo UBF, second – to Ekaterinburg or Kiev UBF, and third – to Bonn UBF. He must not complain when Koreans will decide whom and when all their sons will marry, where to work, where to live. Let them go through all the stuff described in this topic (not to mention all the site). And 10-20 years later when his sons will be expelled from the ministry and will need a lot of counselling he must not lose his pride in the ministry. That is the faith in ubf is not a cult.

      Fortunately your and your family did not come even through 1/10th of what Vitally, Brian, Chris, me, etc come through in ubf. But it is not making ubf a better place. What amazes me is that your conscience did not bother you. I may be wrong but it looks like someone calling Kuma a cult member is much important to you than being in one organization with Toledo, Ekaterinburg and Bonn leaders. Not mentioning Chicago’ ones who cover all these and many others.

      I don’t agree that cult members are enemies. Most of them are victims. Only a few can be friends. I wish I could have a cap of coffee with Ben (with all his three cats) or Joe. I have found the following quote very helpful: “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow”.

    • Terry, to answer for myself: I consider UBF a cult, and I will continue to consider UBF a cult until the day when UBF has officially admitted and dealt with the abuse and false teachings by its founder and leader and his followers. There are certainly chapters which are less cult-like and very few “reformed” chapters, like those of Ben or Joe. These chapters themselves I don’t consider as cults. But because these chapters still are associated with UBF, their members are strictly speaking cult members. But that does not hinder me from talking with them and loving them. I myself, my wife and my kid have been a cult members when we were in UBF, I loved them while they were in UBF, and I still love them after they left, so what?

      Your whole reasoning and argumentation “since I and my beautiful wife and kids are in UBF, and we are such nice and normal people, UBF cannot be a cult” does not make any sense to me. UBF is a cult because of the teachings and practices of its founder, and its behavior when people tried to address these issues, it has nothing to do with you. You say that you don’t identify yourself with these teachings and practices, but you and your chapter director didn’t care in the time of the reform movement, when people tried to change these things and transform UBF from a cult to a healthy ministry. Since UBF refused to reform itself and expulsed the reasonable people who didn’t want UBF to be a cult, and until now never officially admitted the problems and repented, UBF now has to live with the reality that they are considered a cult. And you and your family have to live with the reality that you are considered a cult member, no matter how nice you are as a a person.

    • Terry, yes I know “cult” is an ugly word. Even many cult experts avoid this word and use other “politically correct” expressions. I could do this as well. But I’m not doing it and you should appretiate it. Didn’t you say you like calling a spade a spade and not beating around the bush? If something quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck. If a group behaves like a cult and teaches like a cult, it is a cult for me. The behavior of UBF in 2001 was clearly the behavior of a cult. Samuel Lee said nobody was allowed to rebuke him except God. All people who addressed serious, legitimate issues, like forcing abortions, misappropriating money, faking photographies, were expelled. This is the behavior of a cult. Don’t blame people who call UBF a cult when UBF clearly behaves like a cult. Blame yourself for allowing this to happen, for being so callous and indifferent when this happened, you and your chapter director. You may say this happened in 1976 and 2001, and that was long ago. But UBF has done nothing to apologize or rectify these issues, like officially rehabilitating the reformers who have been expelled, and apologizing to them. Instead, UBF continues to behave like a cult, as the example from the last decades show, which have been posted by people like Brian. So for me, UBF is still a cult in 2013.

    • Joe Schafer

      One thing that I have observed is this. The experience of coming into UBF can be very different for someone like me, who joined as a young university student in my late teens, and someone like Terry, who came in when he was older and had already served in the military. I will guess that Terry was more mature, in the sense that he had a stronger identity, a firmer sense of who he was as an individual. When someone like Terry comes in, the missionaries might sense that he is not as trainable/teachable as someone like me. They have less hope for him to become a leader in the ideal UBF image of a shepherd. They give him more freedom to be who he already is, because if they don’t, he will leave. Perhaps that greater freedom that Terry experienced also allowed greater bonds of love to form, because love can only flourish where freedom exists.

    • I totally confirm what Joe wrote above. The UBF directors have a very keen sense of how far they can go with the abuse for everyone individually, they don’t treat everybody the same (sometimes they err, and that’s when people leave). Like Terry, I too had been a bit older and by the way also served in the army (we have compulsory military service in Germany) before joining UBF. So I was treated a bit more “carefully” than others. Still, I was in a life crisis and vulnerable, and they exploited it. And there was also one member in my chapter who was kind of outlaw and did his own thing like Terry. He was considered as unspiritual, but still tolerated as a member, because he was always loyal, defended UBF, didn’t care about reform and helped in many practical matters. I guess every chapter has such an outlaw, just like every chapter has an “Abraham of faith” who is absolutely obedient. The other members are somewhere in between.

    • Terry, the one thing that continues to amaze and actually upset me is this: You are outraged, when the organization you and your family belongs to is considered a cult, and you express your anger about that with many words. But you are not outraged when you read the reports of 1976 about the really outrageous behavior of the founder of your organization (or you don’t even bother to read), a behavior that earned the organization the label “cult” in the first place.

      Actually, not even that behavior was the problem. In many organizations, top leaders sin in awful ways. Ted Haggard of the NAE/NLC comes to mind. The real litmus test is how organizations behave when such sin and misbehavior is exposed. Look at the difference in how the sins of Ted Haggard have been dealt with and how the sins of Samuel Lee have been dealt with in their respective organizations. From this difference, you can see which organization was a cult and which not.

      By the way, don’t say Ted Haggard’s sin was more serious. It wasn’t. He commited only a private sin, while Samuel Lee commited sins that hurt many other people, their souls and their faith. It destroyed families and even killed at list one unborn child.

    • Terry, I said that I consider UBF a cult based on 1) the sinful behavior and teachings of its founder and 2) based on the way the organization dealt with these obvious sins when they were exposed. But I totally forgot to mention 3) my 10 year 1st-hand experience in my chapter in Germany, which wasn’t a fringe chapter but one of the largest (my chapter director Kaleb Hong became European director after I left). There is not way this experience could be explained other than having been member of a cult. So it is based on personal experience as well. And 4) the 1st-hand reports by members of another large chapter in Germany (whose director Peter Chang became European director after Kaleb Hong) for which the label “cult” is even a trivializing expression. And 5) the testimonies of members of many, many UBF chapters all around the world, including my wife and people like Vitaly or AndreyP, but there are so many more. You can also add 6) that UBF has been considered a cult by Catholic and Protestant cult commissioner in Germany since decades already (while they do not consider most other free German churches as being cults). So you see, I have very good reasons for considering UBF a cult, and your lamentation will not nullify any of these reasons.

    • Vitaly,

      Here is the definition of cult:

      ‘an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult. 3. the object of such devotion. 4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.’

      In a sense all christian groups or religious groups may be considered a cult, since we all worship Christ Jesus (three in one), and follow his practices. When I visited El Salvador on a mission trip(before i joined UBF) and other latin coutries, I was quite surprised/ shocked that they used the word “culto” or cult when they spoke about christian worship services.

      But I understand that many people in UBF seem to have great devotion and admiration of SL to the point of worship and following his practices so absolute and as first priority, instead of following Jesus’s practices. But I cannot say this has always been the case in UBF, and I cannot say this holds true for all the people in UBF or all chapters in UBF, can you? So how can we make such generalizations.
      In our chapter, I know that leaders worship and gather to worship Christ. That we are reflecting on old and new practices and seeking Gods leading to bring in new changes. And many things have and are changing.

      As for what kb said about the “lie”. Im not sure if she read this from a message that was posted, or if she “heard it” from someone who attended the worship service. But if I can find the message or the recording of this, then I can ask the messenger why this was said if this is not true. Perhaps this is one of the changes happening in our chapter, there is more freedom in keeping our leaders accountable.

    • Joe Schafer

      The website Apologetics Index says this:

      “Theologically, we consider the University Bible Fellowship to be at best an aberrant movement. In Christian theology, aberrant means, ‘Off-center or in error in some important way, such that the doctrine or practice should be rejected and those who accept it held to be sinning, even though they may very well be Christian.'”

      I’m not saying that these guys are the best or final authority. They can see that there is nothing in the UBF Statement of Faith that is controversial. But they have seen lots of evidence of aberrant practices, practices that reveal the actual, working theology of the organization (which comes across in its discipleship methods) is often at odds with the Christian gospel.

      In years past, I would have argued that this characterization of UBF was unfair, exaggerated, painting with too broad a brush, etc. At one point I contacted the website to get them to change their assessment of UBF, but they refused.

      Now, based on personal observation and credible firsthand testimony of numerous people (many of whom I know personally), I would say that there are good reasons why the people who run the website would classify ubf as they do.

      And at this point, rather than argue that the classification is unfair, I think it would be more fruitful for ubf leaders to take decisive steps to clean up the organization and thereby give the Apologetics Index some solid reasons to change their stance.

    • Terry Lopez

      Hey Andrew,

      Was I trying to stop Vitaly from answering? The only ones who seem to be intejecting and keeping HIM from answering would be you, and Chris. Actually, it would be more ‘factual’ (since everyone around here is so much into fact’s…) that you are speaking on his behalf. What’s the matter, you want me to give him the chance to speak and yet you speak on his behalf, does the cat have his tongue, that you found it necessary to speak on his behalf?

    • Terry Lopez


      No Joe, it’s ‘pure and simple’, Vitaly said so and therefore it must be true… I can’t possibly be a Christian because I’m still part of the organization… I’m a cult member…

    • Terry Lopez

      Btw Joe,

      I’m sure you realize I am being sarcastic. No ill was meant although I directed my sarcasm towards your post. Actually, good post. Tbh, I have found very, very few posts you’ve given that I disagree with.

      Btw, I really hope you get the chance to come to UCLA in the near future. I really want you to meet my family. :-)

    • Terry Lopez


      You really didn’t read my post, I CLEARLY addressed the single point, “If you are still in UBF and do so actively knowing full well all the abuses that have taken place, then YOU are a cult member”… I put it in quotations!!!! PLEASE READ!!!! You asked it of me in an earlier post, I assumed that meant you were practicing it, my baaaad for not realizing it was only to point out my problem and to completely disregard for yourself…

      I NEVER said anything remotely like, “Me and my family are such a nice family, so UBF couldn’t possibly be a cult.” I NEVER addressed such an issue at all!!!

      I just extrapolated by reason that if EVERYONE who remains is a cult member, then that must mean that my family who are all members and active ones, are also being called cult members. I asked both my oldest son and wife their opinions and both of them told me to stop wasting my time, which means that they think Vitaly is wrong, i.e. that means they don’t think there is any reason to leave the ministry, so therefore they must be truly be cult members if I am to take Vitaly AT HIS OWN WORD!!!

    • Terry Lopez

      How is it that Martha got my point so easily. Is it sooooooo hard to figure out that BLANKET statements are seldom true. No matter how much you want to think it is “pure and simple”.

      Vitaly’s statement was ignorant and should have been called out by ALL, instead of Andrew and Chris rushing to his defense…

      I find it interesting that the very thing that many here accuse UBF of doing, of rallying around the troops is EXACTLY the same thing that I just observed here in this instance… Hmmm… Very interesting…

    • Terry Lopez


      Where do you guys come up with these labels for people??? First, Vitaly calls me and my family “Cult members” and now you go and call me an “Outlaw”. MAN, OH MAN, could you just once in your life look at a person as a person and not a caricature!!!!

    • Terry Lopez


      As I shared with you before I NEVER read the testimonies from those who left in 1976, I NEVER WILL either… I don’t know them, never will and they don’t concern me in the least…

      In my life I have observed a very interesting thing: People have an interesting tendency to only get involved with matters only when it affects them. Candice Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) after her 13 yr. old daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1980. Now drunk driving has been an issue and has killed plenty of people long before 1980, but Mrs. Lightner didn’t get involved with the issue that was plaguing her community and also her nation, UNTIL her daughter was a victim. Pesonally, I don’t blame her for not getting involved earlier. I don’t think it is her responsibility to address every issue that needs attention or should be corrected or should be brought to light, so things could change. I don’t blame her at all.

      Now I find it interesting that Vitaly, Brian, Andrew, Chris, etc, for years and years while in this ministry didn’t address the issues that needed to be addressed in UBF, UNTIL it affected them personally!!! But now that they tasted and experienced real abuse, now all of a sudden they think everyone should be addressing the issues. They didn’t do it, but they expect others to. They use a different criteria and demand others to respond to it, even though they themselves didn’t, not until it affected them. The testimonies of 1876 and whatever else is out there I imagine has been there for a while, even while they were oblivious to it. They didn’t get involved until they were AFFECTED. But they expect others to get involved even when others weren’t affected. Btw, did I mention that they didn’t get involved until they themselves were AFFECTED, I don’t know if I mentioned that, but I should…

      They think that now that they ‘see the light’, which by the way came only after they were AFFECTED PERSONALLY, they can demand others to respond just like they are now doing, even though those others may not have been affected personally…

      I don’t know how many times I’m going to tell you this, but I will one more time, perhaps this time it will get through to your thick headedness. I have NEVER experienced what you did. The chapter I’m a part of I have never witnessed such insane, abusive and un-Christlike behavior, and if you choose to call it cult-like, so be it; but I NEVER experienced it and please forgive me if I only behave like YOU GUYS and don’t get involved until it AFFECTS me personally!!!

    • Terry, I believe you got me right. And I am happy you got it.

      If ubf lies and abuses (even orders to make abortions and a ubf leader says he doesn’t know whether it is right or wrong to order to missionary candidates to make an abortion) then it is a cult. (Or do you need more to see ubf is a cult?) If someone is a member of a cult then he/she is a cult member. This is a “pure and simple” logic.

      I suppose that cult members can be ignorant or stubborn. If they are ignorant then they are victims themselves and we should pray they see the light of truth. If they are stubborn (they know all the problems, they saw/read about the abuses and still choose to be with the abusers then they are unrepentant cult members). You mentioned Joe and Ben in your questions. I see that they clearly refused to be part of ubf cultish practicies. That’s why they are outcasts in ubf, the cult wants them to shut up or push them out.

      I see that your family respects you. That’s nice. You seem to be a good protection for your family. I see that “you care” about what others say about your family. Still what do you and your family think about ordering abortions to missionary candidates? Is it OK for you, a Christian family? Or is it just not impressive? Please ask them. And what about ubf lies, how do you like it, are they impressive? Do Christians usually say “pure and simple lie”? What do you think about those who left ubf (and Toledo ubf in particular)?

      What will you say when your son reads about SL’s abuses and asks you, Father, why have such people like you and me stayed in this ugly organization for so long? Didn’t you know the truth?

    • Terry Lopez

      I’m going to share about me when I was a very young and immature Christian.

      On multiple occasions, I used to demand students to do this or that. There was one student I used to tell him that he should stop playing video games all the time and should use his time more productively. I told him that I also had a problem with video games when I was going to college. I used to play a game called NBA JAM. Now, I must ‘boast’ here, I was good, really good at this game (that’s what happens when you spend all your time playing instead of going to class…). I was so good at this game that when UCLA held a tournament, me and my partner took second place. Well, an interesting thing took place, while I was becoming a up and coming video game ‘hero’ (sarcasm), strangely I was becoming a down and about to be kicked out student… Strangely, my NBA JAM skillz were rising, but my grades were plummeting… Go figure… Well, I shared this info with my student and told him, “This could be you! Don’t allow video games to ruin your life!” He never did listen to me. He still plays video games. Actually, he’s coming to my house tonight and we are going to play a board game with him and my boys. :-) Well, I complained to my wife, “Why doesn’t he listen to me? Why doesn’t he see what I see and know that it’s going to harm him?” And my wife said something very interesting to me, “Honey, why do you blame him for something you yourself did? You didn’t take it seriously until it affected you personally, what makes you think he will be any different?” That was one of the most profound things I had ever heard. Who am I to judge others, when I myself did the very exact same things? Why do I expect people to change, when I myself didn’t change until God was gracious and helped me to address the issue when it began to affect me? I realized I was a great hypocrite and so now I play games with him and we have a better relationship then ever, and guess what he came to his own conclusion to moderate his game playing to a day a week.

      What great hypocrites you guys are!!! You DEMAND people to respond in a certain manner, even though when you were in that same place you didn’t respond. But still you expect others to… You don’t remember yourselves, you only look at others lack of responding the way you want and pronounce judgment, “You should be ashamed of yourself for not getting involved!” and other such tripe… But you forgot your past fully, you forgot that you were once in the very same place. Yeah, that’s no longer you, you ‘see the light’ and judge others who aren’t where you are…

    • Terry, I called you outlaw in the sense that you don’t follow the UBF laws, don’t attend all the meetings etc. It was said jokingly and was not meant as an offense.

    • Joe Schafer

      At one time, I would have said that my own chapter (the one I started and led for two decades) had *never* abused anyone, had *never* treated anyone badly, had *never* exhibited the problematic shepherding practices that had gone on elsewhere, etc.

      Then I stumbled across some online forums of ex-ubf members and found that some former members of my chapter had shared testimonies of how they had been treated badly. Granted, the stories they shared were mild compared to the horrific tales about other chapters. But they had bad experiences under me, bad enough to cause them to want to leave. And the stories they told about why they left were very different from the reasons I had concocted in my own mind about why they left.

      And now, a former member of my chapter is actually writing a book that will detail the bad things that happened to her while she was with us. She is a friend of ours. But she is writing a book that will be critical of my leadership and my shepherding practices. When she finishes writing the book, it will be painful for me to read. But I plan to endorse the book, and I may ask her to give me the privilege of writing a Foreword.

      My point is this. It’s one thing to say, “I didn’t experience anything that was truly bad in my own chapter. And I haven’t yet heard anyone else say that they experienced anything that was truly bad.” That statement can be absolutely truthful.

      But it’s another thing to say, “Nothing like that has ever taken place in my chapter.” That is a statement that you cannot truthfully make, because you do not know or understand the full range of everyone’s experiences.

      Never say “never.”

    • Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

      Terry, you are right, almost :) Nobody demands anything from those who don’t “see the light”. This site (and some others) provides the possibility to “see the light”. And after someone sees (especially when someone claims he sees) the light it is right for him to make a (Christian) decision.

      I didn’t see the light for a long time. It is true. And I am grateful to Chris and Brian and Joe to help me see it and make my mind. And when I expressed my opinion it was my opinion, not a demand. And I hope that this site will continue to provide (a search for) the light for those in the closed system of ubf.

    • „As I shared with you before I NEVER read the testimonies from those who left in 1976, I NEVER WILL either… I don’t know them, never will and they don’t concern me in the least…“

      So now you reveal your real face. To me as a German this sounds like a German who says he doesn’t care about Auschwitz since it happened so long ago, and he or his family was not involved.

      You are falsely accusing me for only caring about things if I am affected, which is not true. For instance, I care very much about the horrible history of Germany, I read many books about it. Even though my family was not involved in Nazi crimes. But still I want to understand history. And I see history repeating itself all around the world, because people refuse to learn from the past.

      You also wrote that I only cared about 1976 when I was personally affected which is not true. As I explained, I still stayed in UBF, even though I and others had been abused. I only left in 2001 because things like the 1976 public letter became only known to me through the reform movement in 2001. The letter had not been published or translated before; I did not know of it’s existence when I was still in UBF. I also did not know about the forced abortions and many other things that had been concealed from me. When I first heared about these things, I started to care very much, I immediately talked with my chapter director about these things, I cared so much that as an end result I could not other but leave UBF, because my chapter director did not want to address these issues and called everything only lies and slander. But it is not lies and slander. The abortions happened. And if you don’t care about such things which happened in your own organization, then in my view (I repeat in my view) you’re indeed not a Christian, but a cult member. Christians do care. Christians are never indifferent.

      Terry, YOU are the person who only cares when he is personally affected. Don’t project your own way of thinking upon other people.

      The fact that you don’t care about the horrible past of your organization, and engage in our discussion without even knowing what we’re talking about tells me that I really don’t want to discuss with you any longer. You’re only talking about your dog and your family, you are only seeing things from your small personal perspective, only caring when you are personally affected, you’re doing the very thing you are accusing me of. You care so much whether you are called a cult member, but „aren’t concerend in the least“ about the forced abortions and all the other horrible sins commited by the general director of your organization.

      Therefore, this is my last response to you. If you don’t care to read up about these things which affect your own organization and which are the reason why that organization is considered a cult, then I won’t care to discuss with you any longer, either. It’s just wasted time. My wife told me so, don’t waste your time with these people, it only increases your blood pressure. I should have listened to her. There are many people in UBF who are serious, who care and who I like to have a friends. But I don’t miss fellowship with people like you who don’t care at all and are even bragging with how much unconcerned they are. Until you don’t change your attitude, what you do and what you think „doesn’t concern me in the least“ any more either. We’re done.

    • Here is a link to the historic public letter of 1976, the first of many testimonies about abuse in UBF, mostly caused or copied from the example of Samuel Lee, for all those who do care and are not indifferent and not too lazy to read these few pages. It just takes a click and a few minutes of your time and attention.


    • Terry,

      I must apologize for bad wording in the first line of my response to you. It was direct translation from Russian. What I really meant: “let us see what Vitally will answer”. I am sorry, it was unintentionally.

      It is interseting you decided i wrote the comment on behalf of the Vitaly. I wrote what wrote only because I decided it needs to be written. Please don’t forget this if you ever will comment my posts.

      And the last thing. No one in his topic demanded anything from you. I hope it is your coniciousness that demanded you to determine your attitude to ubf. That is why i too like you despite the dramatics you went in for. You have made and announced your decision. I agree with Chris. I wander what do you read in the Bible.

  13. I support Joe’s proposal for DavidW, DarrenG, gc, TerryL and others to take over the reins and editorship of UBFriends…if they are willing. Unlike Joe, who might retire and walk off into the glorious sunset, I will likely continue to post, comment and offend :-).

  14. Terry Lopez


    Don’t you dare nominate me! :-) lol… I’m waaaay to lazy… :-) As has been shared already, and guilty as charged, I enjoy the benefits of others labor… :-). Honestly, this week, I’m at work taking care of the refreigerated and freezer trailers for a food show (I do tradeshows) I store the accessible storage (ie. foodstuffs) that our clients will hand out to the attendee’s. So I have had a great deal of ‘downtime’ throughout these last couple of days. Hence, I could spend more time on the site, then I would normally do. Tbh, I don’t plan on coming and posting that often most of the time. Basically, just to irritate Chris… :-) j/k…

    Very honestly, to me the ‘tone’ of UBF friends appears to me to be in a better place than when I first joined the convo. And I honestly don’t think it had anything to do with me… But I do feel like there is more real dialogue and honest disagreement on matters and issues going on in the ministry being shared on this site. And I think that’s a great thing. :-)

    I will also share my own opinion about what Brian and others would like, about sharing about what happened in Toledo. I love Nike shoes motto…

    • Joe Schafer

      Terry, your observation about the tone on UBFriends is interesting. The mood here is never constant. It waxes and wanes along with the lunar cycles (some of us may be luna-tics), with the happenings in our lives and happenings in the organization. And there is a definitely a learning curve, a process of getting to know the personalities of the people you are interacting with, reading one anothers’ moods, and so on. I’m really glad that you weren’t scared off by the initial negative reactions to some of your comments, but you persevered. It takes time for us to learn how to disagree with one another without being disagreeable. Honestly, it’s the disagreements that I’ve had with people that have taught me the most about what Christian love and unity are truly about. The “Purpose” of this website in the upper right corner of the webpage is surprising to people who stumble upon the website and see heated discussions going on. The first reaction can be, “These people must really hate UBF,” and the second is, “These people must hate each other.” But that isn’t true at all. The heat shows that we care. The heat is a sign of love. This process of dialogue over difficult issues can look awfully messy at times, but if people persevere and stay for a while, they see that this virtual community (although dysfunctional) is actually a loving community.

    • Terry,

      The comments here are neither “better” nor “worse” after your joining. Those are subjective terms. What happened was that you became more comfortable sharing here, without the initial anger/frustration. That’s normal.

      What you experienced is a community of people welcoming you for who you are, with no expectations. We all just reacted as we saw fit. Doesn’t that feel good? Makes you feel human :)

    • Terry Lopez


      I am a ‘blue collar’ teamster. I work with some of the most ‘colorful’ and interesting people you’d ever meet. Real ‘salty’ people, and I’m not talking about the ‘spiritually salty’ kind… Trust me, the ‘give and take’ of the dialogue here, never really bothered me very much except a couple of statements. I brought up many things, and feigned being bothered, more to make a point, than the real treatment I received. The guys I work with are much tougher and brutally honest and they have no problem telling me or others, just what they think.

      I really hope someday in the future you and your wife get the chance to come out to SoCal and visit our family. Then we can all take my miniture horse out for a walk and no eating him… :-D

    • Joe Schafer

      Believe it or not, I’ve got some blue collar credentials as well. Worked as a linotype operator in my dad’s print shop for years. (Linotype machines are only found in museums.) I could share some pretty funny stories about my uncles and the other guys at the shop. I just might be coming to ucla sometime in the months ahead. If so, I’ll let you know.

    • For 1 year I was the IT admin for a steel fab shop in Detroit. I drank coffee with a layer of steel dust on top. I once sat on railroad tracks talking with a homeless man in 30 degree weather. I once helped catch a drug dealer using the warehouse to store drugs. I was robbed 4 times by knife point, gun point and machete-point. I once saw my dad rip the head off a live bird with his bare hands. I used to watch chickens running around on the farm after their heads were cut off.

      But I digress… random memories.

  15. Terry Lopez


    Btw, I really miss TP (if it’s who I think it is)… :-(

    My oldest three sons got to meet his dad JP and his wife at the ISBC and they absolutely love him. Him and I are like two peas in a pod. His sarcasm and humor and mine fit like a pair of gloves. So my son’s really, really liked meeting him. My oldest told me he was ‘cool’… :-)

    • Terry, yes TP is who you think. Let’s not forget that it is actually TP and MP. TP was my best friend. We were married on the same day (well not to each other :) But then they just disappeared one day. I think there was some commotion in Toledo UBF, but I was already “sent out” to Detroit.

      Think about that, will you? TP is still to this day the one person who comes to mind when I think of a man who fervently cared SO MUCH about the bible, about Christian doctrine and about showing love to others. Never will there be another in UBF who cared so deeply about bible study and message writing. Can I get an Amen Toledo UBF people??

      I emailed TP in 2011 or so. He responded but made it clear that HE WILL NEVER TALK ABOUT UBF AGAIN. He has written ubf out of his life and wants to be left alone.

      Same goes for my friend SteveR (whom I connected with on Facebook). OMG if SteveR and TP and AB would post here!! Anyone think Vitaly or me or Chris is over the top? You haven’t seen jack until SR, TP and AB start sharing!

      Anyway yes I miss all 103 people who were driven out of Toledo UBF over 21 years. I miss all 20 families so dearly. But I won’t be sentimental too much. Just please remember that Toledo UBF has a long, sordid dark side since 1990 that won’t go away. Anyone remember ScottP, MarkZ, RickW, MelanieZ, DanielA, PatriciaP, RobertP, EdS, DaveT, MaureenT, MikeM…?

    • Joe Schafer

      In a sensible world, TP would now be the pastor of a thriving Toledo chapter.

    • In a sensible world, MG would have been pastor of a thriving Toledo UBF church, succeeded by SR who was succeeded by TP, who would now be training someone like oh maybe BK to take over soon :)

    • Terry Lopez


      I remember MikeM… Actually, the first time I ever visited any other chapters, I went to Chicago first and had Bible study with Msn. Sarah Barry. I got to stay with her and her mother for about a week or so. Then I went to Toledo and that’s when I met several TP for the first time. There were several other brothers I got to meet, but unfortunately I can’t remember their names. I got to spend time at their common life. We were all single at the time and they were younger than me. You may not know this, but I didn’t come to UBF until AFTER I was out of the Army. I was an Airborne soldier. I remember Msn. Paul asked TP to study the Bible with me. I thought that was kind of amusing at the time, considering I had been in UBF longer and I was older. I thought does it really matter? Not really, anyway I’m sure I can learn something from him. Tbh, I have no idea what we studied… :-D

    • It sounds so strange to me now Terry, looking back at how we all tracked our years “in UBF”. What does that matter? lol. What matters is whether or not Christ is “in me” :)

  16. @Joe: “This process of dialogue over difficult issues can look awfully messy at times, but if people persevere and stay for a while, they see that this virtual community (although dysfunctional) is actually a loving community.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10712

    It is “strange” that I do love those who comment here (even those whom I have never met), because I sense their heart and their authenticity. However horrible some people might think of them, they are such lovely people to me, and I am without a doubt a far worse sinner (no objections here I’m sure)!

    • Yes Ben,

      I have mentioned it to some leaders in Toledo that I love the community in ubfriends. Its taught me to be honest and to share my true feelings even when they come out raw and ugly. Its been a place where people acccept you for who you are and where you are at in sorting things out. Its a place where everyone is willing to listen and chime in, when many people around you cannot listen or have a difficult time listening to what you are saying. So thank you ubfriends:) and thank you Sharon, Brian, Joe and Ben for always listening and supporting through this chaos.

  17. @AndreyP: ” I wish I could have a cup of coffee with Ben (with all his three cats) or Joe.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10732 I love anyone and everyone who loves and welcomes my three cats, whom I call my “three family idols.”

    • Joe Schafer

      Even though I’m allergic to cats, I like Ben’s cats. Two Sundays ago, I was sitting outside on Ben’s deck early in the morning, working on my Sunday message. One of the cats jumped onto my computer keyboard and demanded my attention. I wish I wasn’t allergic to them.

      Andrey, I recall having breakfast with you many years ago in Kwangju. It was fun. At that time, you were further along in your spiritual journey than I was. It would be great to see you again and catch up.

    • Coffee with Ben is awesome! Beer with Ben is even better. I’ve done both but I would have to say be wary of having coffee with Ben and adding cats to the mix… I know you love your cat coffee Ben, but it’s not my cup of tea :)

      btw, I expect to publish my “part 2” article tormorrow.

    • Brian, thanks for warning. This is what this site is needed for – to exchange information that can help to escape various dangerous things. ) Anyway I envy Ben, since I always love cats but my wife does not have enough shepherd hearts for them.

      Joe, in fact I was so naive when we were in Kwangju. We met one more time later – before going to the stage of one conference in US. You were given a message and I was making a report on moscow ubf. We exchanged couple of phrases and I remember I said to myself – wow, Joe indeed is a simple and humble person. For me it was unusual. I thought a person like Joe must always say something graundbreaking, like SL did (or pretend to do), even we where washing our hands in the restroom. )

      I wish I met all of you in person. I promise this evening I will rise my glass of wine ( I am allergic to beer) to your health and well being.

  18. In regard to this, kb is correct:

    “Then after we left, in a message delivered by a new pastor, it was said of us that we left because the busyness of our lives had become too much. This was a lie,” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10742

    I believe she is referring to this message at the 2011 workshop in Chicago by GL (I won’t ever use the term “pastor” by the way for anyone in ubf).

    Start listening at 15:01…

    God’s household

    This lecture is hell to listen to. This could easily be used in a seminary class as a classic example of how not to speak.

    GL says “the stress and burdens of life became heaiver and even unbearable for some” when referring to 4 families leaving. He then says “I did not do much”.


    I believe have a document transcript of this message as well. A similar thing was also repoted by Toledo UBF to Chicago in a report. And I think a similar thing was also said in a Toledo UBF message, not sure. I can’t find any of this online anymore. I’ll check my document archive.

    • Mark Mederich

      seems like whole problem is maintaining sense of honor among peers:
      the honorable can’t bear dishonor of admitting any part of blame (immaturity);
      the problem is only others due to fragile sense of self

  19. Regarding “lying” (which is ALWAYS reprehensible, inexcusable and unjustifiable—EVEN when I do it!), the sad fact is that some older UBF leaders and chapter directors are completely unable to take personal responsibility publicly for people leaving their chapter. Therefore, they HAVE TO blame the one leaving—usually with endless and creative ad hominems. It becomes worse when others in the chapter do the same.

    Partly, this is cultural because of the overweening pride and sense of honor of such older chapter directors/leaders. But I would not just blame it on culture; I would call this being a coward, and not being a leader—for a good leader ALWAYS takes personal responsibility.

    That’s why I asked the pointed question: Are UBF Chapter Directors/Missionaries Accountable?

    • But I would not just blame it on culture; I would call this being a coward, and not being a leader—for a good leader ALWAYS takes personal responsibility. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10754

      Fully agree. The ubf directors are cowards. But they say they are Christians. I would say that Christ-ians and Christ Himself think that lying is wrong. (John 8:44). But lying is ok for Confucianists if that helps you keep your face and honour before people.

    • Mark Mederich

      maybe cult is culture gone awry, caused essentially by immaturity leading to egoism & bullying..

  20. Terry, it’s great that you’re not affected in any way by the many abuses that have occured in ubf. That changes nothing. The 12 point ubf heritage system is a system that produces a cult by design. If you’re not a cult leader the only reason is because you reject some or all of the 12 point ubf system. That would make you a cult enabler who has built a protective bubble around you and your family.

    • Mark Mederich

      it’s easy for us all to be enablers of all kinds of bad things, that’s why we need Holy Spirit help

  21. Terry, for your sake walk away for a while. I understand exactly what you have been saying and what you are repeating now. Chris, Vitaly and so on also understand that you experienced a different side of UBF. Personally I am happy for you – and I mean that with real and genuine sincerity. However, many people have not experienced it so well.

    I would argue that many people did think against things and wanted to take a stand. But, for a young person it is not always easy. Also, you need support. Frankly, most support I see when dealing with abusive social environments is for friends and family of the victim to recommend and urge that person to get as far away as possible. No one suggests to become an activist. It takes a thick skin and a lot of patience to challenge these things. For some becoming an activist after experiencing first hand abuse is like adding salt into the wounds. They would rather move on in their life. Your example about MADD is good, but keep in mind that the mother experienced mourning for the loss of her son. There was nothing she could do. He was in an accident and died. She herself had to deal with the situation and did only what she could do….establish MADD and educate young people in addition to parents.

    Any organization which recruits people is experiential. Therefore, action is not just about when someone is affected by it. So much depends on when or if such a person deems certain things to be objectionable and wrong. Only when they discern the situation will they weigh the need to step forward or back. Calling UBF a cult in some chapters is valid. In fact I will not engage in that discussion, but I will tell you something. If I found out tomorrow that a legal investigation was going to occur among all of the UBF chapters I would submit my personal information to be examined in court. This includes about four telephone calls from Border Services and Immigration Canada when my future wife was trying to enter Canada. You see, she was told to lie at the border and they stopped her. My parents spoke to the officers who called us and I also spoke to them. Everything is on recording with the Canadian government whereupon I gave the name of the church director (and pastor) who gave the advise to lie. I am not judging anything – but in a theoretical situation let the legal bodies judge.

    Since it is not okay for Chris, Vitaly and anyone else to step up and challenge UBF then just wait until the situation gets out of control. You want to finger wave and make former members look like they haven’t seen all of the sides to the story, but I will tell you that they have. The trouble is they are still willing to give of their precious time to engage on this blog. I can also see your point that you did not experience the abuse. Cool! But, what seems to be happening here won’t be changing any time soon. You can think that you have scored a goal on them. But in reality you haven’t. Just ask someone who studies this sort of ongoing reality in a religious organization. An outsider has not invested anything personal but can clearly see two people with valid points bickering back and forth. You will not win them over and they will not win you over. O.K.

    To end this I do appreciate your participation and voice. We need it here. But, please do not keep coming back and insisting people did not get what you said. They understood you loud and clear. You must keep in mind that their replies and answers to your comments are a result of years of dealing with this stuff. There is not much new for them in terms of counter arguments for the allegations that have been made.

    • Terry Lopez


      I NEVER said that they shouldn’t bring up the abuse that has happened. I am very, very happy that they do. I am happy that Brian is going to bring up the whole story of Toledo. That was my final remark, when I wrote “I love Nike’s shoe motto” Do you know what their motto is “JUST DO IT!” I also don’t buy into JohnY’s whole deal of an editing board, blah, blah, blah… I trust Brian will do to the best of his ability be as honest and fair as he can be (of coooooourse… Just like I would expect every man to be… Anyway’s no one can ever do more than their best…)

      I am NEVER AFRAID of the truth, bring it ALL up. I am GLAD if he does so. But at the same time, step up and call it both ways. Vitaly’s blanket statement was UNCALLED for. And it was ABSOLUTELY WRONG and not one of you call him out on it! SHAME ON YOU GUYS!!! I’m not for or against you. The same goes for UBF. I will call you out on your B.S.

    • Thanks Terry :-)

    • “I am NEVER AFRAID of the truth, bring it ALL up.”

      And at the same time you’re saying you will never read it anyway. That’s so hypocritical. I’m so fed up with your attitude.

  22. Terry Lopez


    You’re right I am going to take a walk, but permently. I gave a very honest effort to dialogue, but my family was called cult-members or cult-enablers (six of one, half dozen of another). I find it very interesting in all my time in UBF my family has NEVER been insulted (you know the group I’m talking about, the cult group.) But strangely I spend less then one month here and my family gets called a cult. How ironic; this upstanding Christian, loving community of UBF friends is where I experienced such treatment. What a joke…

    Well, I’m going to leave you to your little world where everything is “simple and pure”. And I’m going to take my son’s advice and stop wasting my time with all of you. Sometimes, the father can learn from his son… Hmmm… Go figure…

    P.S. Joe the invite is still open to you. I know policy is not to share emails, but I want you to contact me (no one else here need bother to email me. I wont open it.) It’s: lopezmt5@msn.com. Feel free to copy it Joe and then delete as you deem necessary. I really do hope you come and visit me, I really mean that.

    • Terry, this is where you are wrong. Your family has not been called a cult. I am not responsible for the commentary of others. In fact early on I too got into a frenzy when I had no intention of being caught in some nasty exchanges at a personal level. Since that time I view but my contributions have seen a great reduction.

      My world is not simple and pure I just no longer take things too personally. You see there are more important religious controversies in my life than UBF. Like for instance being associated with a family member who saved lives but cost the descendants an identity crisis during WWII. This is way beyond what I want to share, but anyway….I am no stranger to religious bickering.

      If you feel so defeated what can I say. It was not my intention to send you off, since in general I enjoy your contributions. It was my intention to encourage you to get some air however.

    • Terry Lopez


      My comments were not directed towards you personally. I know you intent was to encourage me. I’m not leaving because of anything you have done. The guilty party is Vitaly ‘pure and simple’. And yes he did call my active, participatory family members cult members or perhaps, they are only cult-enablers, if I use the semantic juggling of Brian…

      I don’t feel ‘defeated’. I will tell you what I am, I’m pissed!!! How dare anyone insult my family. I tell you the truth Vitaly, it takes a big man to insult another man’s family, whether you use your ‘pure and simple’ logic or not.

    • Okay, now I got it. This is the trouble with blogging and I still can’t always read in between the lines. I know what was written, yes, and he boldly replied back to you – so I understand now.

    • Terry,

      When you started commenting here, it seemed to me that you were looking for something. I’m not sure what that is.

      But you sound so similar to me back in 2004. I barged into the Voy forum (ubfriends 1.0) and “tested” the “quality of spirit” of the former members, searching for some reason to dismiss them as “just bitter, wounded and selfish people”.

      Someone from LA UBF created a website called “UBF Critics Exposed”. That ended up being a bitter failure ironically but at the time I liked that approach. It made me feel good to identify problems in my critics, which then allowed me to find a justification for leaving them. Yet I knew their words rang true and I could hear truth in the midst of all their emotions.

      I hope this isn’t what you’re doing. And I hope that person in LA understands that creating such a website or attitude only adds layers of salt on open wounds.

      Feel free to walk away. We’ll be around if things change. I don’t think you family is a cult. But the 12 piont ubf system is, and if you stand by idly you are a cult system enabler by default.

    • And yes, we know who that shepherd is in LA UBF who created that website.

    • Terry, I understand you more than you can imagine, and I like you, really. What I wrote was surely not to insult your family. And as you say “it is interesting” for me that it was you who took it personally and called it an “insult”. And I am really glad that my “simple and pure” words touched a man like you. You showed that you care :)

      I am not denying my opinion about who is a cult member. But I expressed it not to insult anyone but possibly to help to see themselves from the outside. If you take such words personally then Internet is full of your “guilty” enemies who say that ubf is a cult. I said that I understand you, and it is because I was called a cult member as well when I was in ubf. Did I like it? Surely not. But was I? Surely yes. And when I talked to “a big man” (he was a green beret) from my chapter and to his wife and asked, “Do you like being called cult members?” their reaction was similar to yours. But later they left ubf and one of the things that caused them to leave was they are very sincere Christians who don’t want to be associated with a cult. It took a year for them to make a decision. And before leaving they wrote a letter to the GD and asked many questions (btw there was much of hypocrisy in the GD reply letter).

      I don’t know you personally and I have a habit not to look down at anybody especially if I don’t know him/her. I would appology if I really meant to insult you or your family. But I didn’t. I believe you are a good Christian family and there many such in ubf. And my question to you and to others in ubf is, “Why you, being a Christian, after you see so much abuse and sin in ubf still want to stay there and suffer from being called cult members?”.

      And please ask your family about lie and forced abortions, what do they think? Is it ok for you to be a part of the organization which have it in its history and reality and haven’t repented of and is not going to?

    • Joe Schafer

      Vitaly, you asked, “Is it ok for you to be a part of the organization which have it in its history and reality and haven’t repented of and is not going to?”

      Speaking for myself: I struggle with that question a lot. If my position within the organization allows me to do some good, to move it in a positive direction, and if I don’t have to do anything that violates my conscience, then the answer may be yes. If I sense that the organization truly will not ever change, then it’s a waste of my time and effort and the answer is no.

      However, the organization is made up of lots of different people; some may change, others may not. From that standpoint, the answer is not so clear.

    • “it was you who took it personally and called it an “insult”. And I am really glad that my “simple and pure” words touched a man like you. You showed that you care :)”

      Yes, he cares, but only when he feels personally insulted. When others were abused by his orgnaization, he doesn’t even bother to read their testimonies.

      “And my question to you and to others in ubf is, “Why you, being a Christian, after you see so much abuse and sin in ubf still want to stay there and suffer from being called cult members?””

      Vitaly, The point is that in fact he DIDN’T see so much abuse. But he also didn’t WANT to see the abuse, by categorically refusing to read the testimonies about abuse. This is the same behaviour as the one of the famous three apes, and it is reproachable. It is also behavior that enables cults to prosper. Yet he is offended when being called a cult enabler.

  23. Terry, I had already written an article about whether or not UBF leaders are cult leaders, and this has generated 202 comments—if you care to read the article and the comments (Sorry, that like JohnY I like highlighting the popularity of some of my posts!).

  24. @Terry, “I don’t feel ‘defeated’. I will tell you what I am, I’m pissed!!!” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10766

    Though I do not know you well, other than knowing who you are and who you married, it is comments like this that endears me to people. Thanks for being real and authentic, and for being HOT (honest, open, and transparent).

    Since you are a “late comer” on UBFriends, let it be known that I am the originator of HOT, and that I like it so much because it is my name spelled backwards!

    • I know you can take a lot, but you don’t want to hear me talking HOT about how I feel about Terry’s comment on how little he is concerned about the past abuse.

    • Mark Mederich

      concern comes from trouble; those who skate around it to protect themselves don’t develop character like those who trudge thru mire to reach the other side

  25. I just remembered a blast from the past… before the internet there was the BBS network. Anyone remember the bulletin boards and Gopher days of technology? :))

    Anyway, me and two other “shepherds” were on a BBS. I don’t recall what we were discussing or who with, but all of a sudden the message popped up “I’m going to tell Samuel Lee what you guys are doing! You’re wasting time on this BBS!” Then this person said, “Just joking, love you guys” (I’m recalling these words the best I can…)

    This person seemed to be from LA, but not sure. I don’t have any point..just sharing random memories. I guess I’ve always seen LA UBF as separated from UBF in general and rather erratic in their communication, as if the whole group of West Coast chaptes was in a bubble or something.

  26. @Vitaly: “Is it ok for you to be a part of the organization (UBF) which has in its history and reality (abortions, abuses) and haven’t repented of and is not going to?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/09/10/what-happened-in-toledo-ubf-part-1/#comment-10777

    All Christians and all churches sin, including the “best” churches. I am not justifying sin in Christians or churches, including UBF. But where is the “exact line of sin” that one wants to draw (since we all sin in one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or subconsciously, to a greater or “lesser” degree, and all of us without exception have bias, blind spots, prejudices and Pharisee-like attitudes—both known and unknown)?

    Yes, as most of you know, I painfully acknowledge that I was part of the culture of UBF that allowed and enabled “UBF leaders” to basically call all the shots and be unaccountable. I hope that most, if not all of you know, that I will no longer do so and violate my own conscience.

    That is why there is a great reluctance among some UBF leaders who have known me for over 30 years, but who are still very very suspicious and distrusting of me. That is to be expected, for it comes with the territory and the stance that I am now taking, and that I will never back away from.

    My own life, my ministry and all of UBF is in God’s hands (to state the obvious). I can only do my small part by choosing to stay in UBF by faith, and to see if God chooses to make any difference through my “decision of faith” to stay “to the point of death” (Rev 2:10b), God willing.

    • I agree with you Ben. I recognize that I have enabled leaders in the past intentionally or unintentionally. I also recognize that some of the people that left were also enablers for many years and caused some wounds themselves.

      But we all come to a point of making a decision before God. God alone gives us convictions and freedom. I can clearly say that i am no longer an enabler in this ministry. I stay because I have a clear conviction to stay and to take a stance for change, but when the time comes i will walk away into the sunset:). I am no longer afraid to speak my mind and to be free. I have made it clear to some leaders that I will no longer violate my conscience but be free to do what is right even if i have to step down from all my leadership positions or leave the ministry. And I am at peace with all that.

  27. So moving right along… Here are some of the first things I did after leaving ubf:

    – My family met AN/SN and their daughter’s family for dinner. I highly suggest talking all these things over with THE “Abraham of faith” of America UBF.

    – I contacted all the former members from Toledo UBF that I could.

    – I reached out to Chris (my former “enemy”) and apologized. We both saw how we had mellowed out with age…

    – We started seeing various therapists (I’ve not made a good effort at this, I admit).

    – I reached out to my former 3 “sheep”, three young men who left ubf as well. One is a pastor. All three told me they are doing well and have vibrant faith in Jesus. I asked them to forgive me if I ever mistreated them. They all 3 said rather sternly that I never mistreated them and they are happy that we left.

    – Oh and I started blogging… in case you didn’t realize that and you thought “God had silenced all the ubf critics in 2011” :)

  28. Mark Mederich

    The ministry without truth should not exist. As long as the ministry exists without truth, God’s glory is not revealed and our sheep are manipulated. We all agree that you are idolized in UBF and your glory is revealed without revealing God’s glory. UBF ministry becomes a man-made ministry, in which Satan works.

    • Mark Mederich

      instead of learning what to do, we learned what not to do………………

  29. This Google alert came to me this morning. Apparently the Washington chapter is continuing the “great unifying work” of building new buildings and expanding their real estate…

    “Church expansion. University Bible Fellowship Church, Adelphi. A preliminary plan of subdivision was submitted to expand the church by 10,287 square feet. The church is at 3600 Metzerott Rd., Adelphi.”

    Prince George’s County development projects, May 2014

  30. Meanwhile, back in lala-land…

    Everything is back to normal in Toledo ubf. “Everyone enjoyed the conference” The ministry is so gracious and Christ-like as if nothing ever happened and none of us former leaders exist.

    Such a clear, gracious and powerful conference