A Letter to Cincinnati UBF

[Admin Note: This article has been edited to remove some personal details, 5/25/2013]

Dear Cincinnati UBF and all in UBF:

It has been over a year and slowly God has revealed to me the truth about UBF and it’s practices. UBF is abusive to families and to children and to many students in the name of raising disciples and living under the dome of truth. I could write a fifth book about all the abuses that I have personally suffered under you as God’s servant and the bad theology and the anti-family mentality in the framework of UBF. It is hard to see this truth while living under the leadership of UBF but I saw it in Cincinnati and was afraid to speak out because of the control and because I was taught to never forget God’s grace which was more of a control mechanism than a love for God.

God is faithful. He is slowing healing our family and He has delivered all of us in healthy churches where children are not neglected in the excuse of doing ministry and spouses openly show affection to each other and the Bible is not used as a tool just to make people to be committed to UBF and its practices. God delivered me like He did Job after taking everything away from me so that I could finally see the truth. I have my ex-wife to thank for this and my daughters. I have a deep concern for the marriages and families in UBF. There is much pain and abuse in the name of doing God’s work. The abuse is real and I learned it from you as my shepherd. The UBF heritage is not God and there are so many healthy and vibrant churches all around who live in love not judgment and condemnation. God is love. The general atmosphere of UBF is like modern day proud religious leaders who need to repent.

I am currently writing a fifth book to set the record straight and to reveal God’s love and faithfulness. UBF only thinks of UBF not the millions of Christians around the world who are doing great work of God and not lording it over the flock. Once you told me that if I ever left, you would refund every penny I gave for offering in Cincinnati UBF. I feel the money was given to a very unhealthy ministry but I gave it first to God so please keep it. Yes, I met Christ in UBF and I learned the Bible much but the years of abuse and bad teachings under the UBF heritage eroded our family and your example on how to raise families is unacceptable. UBF is broken and many ways unhealthy for students, families, and even in the world. Those who speak out are branded as “evil” or “Satan” workers but in fact they are saving their families from more abuse and they are trying to show prayerful criticism which is healthy for a church if it wants to stop its abuses.

Recently, I learned that Dr. Samuel Lee even encouraged abortions which is wrong and contradicts the gospel of love and family. This mentality has carried over to you. Once you tried to stop me from having 5 children, now I see why because UBF does not believe in big families or even honor families. It is condoned to neglect your children to raise disciples even to this day. Meetings are so rigid and abusive. I remember the day you put pepper and onions in my brother John’s eyes when he did not cry during a testimony and I should have left then but I got so stuck in your way of serving God. This was wrong. My shepherd promised me a new truck on graduation and he never delivered. So many broken promises and I was so in love with God and the Bible that I overlooked these things but when my family was taken from me God opened my eyes. Since we left UBF, our family has been weighed down with much counseling and joining a healthy church has helped us to discover that there is no love in UBF but just unwritten rules left by a dead man, judgment on other Christians, and everyone there seems to be trying to work there way to heaven by numbers and raising disciples that they are truly out of the healthy balanced life of a true Christian. This is not the gospel of love. We have spent over $30,000 in counseling fees getting some assistance from the government. We feel this should be made good to us by UBF.

As far as your life, I do not believe you are healthy spiritually and that you are wrapped up in the UBF system that your prejudices are deep against other Christians and the body of Christ. The day you asked me to leave you said, “They teach bullshit.” As a man of God, I see that UBF needs healing and reform and needs to learn to love: beginning with the family unit and the children. Examine this area because there is a reason why God took us away. Please honor God’s family and don’t make parents guilty because they can’t make it to the meetings or can’t give large offerings. Stop making leaders to abandoned their children to attend all your meetings and to seriously restore the family units in Cincinnati and throughout UBF worldwide. God has made my life a voice of change and growth in UBF rather you like it or not. Stop trying to hide the abuses. You could not handle the truth of what happened to us so you sent me away and told me to keep my mouth shut. Big mistake because the gospel is larger than UBF and the church is wider and higher than the UBF heritage. God has set us on a path of peace and healing and He will finish what He has started and UBF must change. He has blessed me with an amazing new wife in His grace and He never stops working no matter where you end up. God is love.

I pray that you may reexamine your life and practices in light of the gospel and get rid of the abuse that is so much in UBF ministries world wide. I write you today as a voice of deep concern and pray that immediate action will be done for the sake of families. I write this with prayers and tears but deep concern for the families in the UBF system. It is time for UBF to repent and stop burdening those with your rules that you yourselves can’t bear. I pray that this Christmas the families may be honored.

In Christ,





  1. Thanks for sharing, Andrew. May the God of peace grant you and your family healing and shalom. I hope that UBF and/or Cincinnati UBF may respond to you. A dialogue and conversation needs to happen. It is long overdue. Yes, it will be messy. But it ABSOLUTELY needs to happen by God’s help.

  2. Mark Mederich

    yeah, any institution gotta face the music as much/more than individuals when too much has been awry anytime/anywhere: retribution is not the answer but neither is apathy; Holy Spirit help/healing is necessary..

  3. bigbear,

    I am really glad that you shared this letter publicly, making yourself vulnerable and exposing your heart. I am certain that almost every chapter of ubf needs to have a “letter to ______ ubf” sent to them (just fill in the blank with any chapter name in ubfland).

    Some things you wrote deserve to be highlighted…

    “We have spent over $30,000 in counseling fees getting some assistance from the government and 3 of our children are still in counseling. We feel this should be made good to us by UBF.”

    Given ubf’s $13 million dollars of assets, taking action on this would be rather easy. ubf in Chicago should read this, contact you, and send you a check for $30K right now.

    “I see that UBF needs healing and reform and needs to learn to love: beginning with the family unit and the children. Examine this area because there is a reason why God took us away. Please honor God’s family and don’t make parents guilty because they can’t make it to the meetings or can’t give large offerings. Stop making leaders to abandoned their children to attend all your meetings and to seriously restore the family units in Cincinnati and throughout UBF worldwide.”

    Yes! Let it be known to all ubflanders: Like bigbear, I too am a family-centered man whose family comse first now. And alos like bigbear, I am now my own man.

    “I pray that you may reexamine your life and practices in light of the gospel and get rid of the abuse that is so much in UBF ministries world wide. I write you today as a voice of deep concern and pray that immediate action will be done for the sake of families. I write this with prayers and tears but deep concern for the families in the UBF system. It is time for UBF to repent and stop burdening those with your rules that you yourselves can’t bear. I pray that this Christmas the families may be honored.”

    Yes! ubfers need to reexamine many things. I am glad that at least one ubf chapter, Toledo, has admitted the cultic, unhealthy practices and publicly apologized.

    If any ubfer wants to know how to improve or change their ministry, bigbear nailed it: Stop. Stop burdrening people with your rules. Stop supervising the morality and obedience and loyatly of people who really want to know the bible and follow Jesus. And for the love of God and St.Pete, stop being “shepherds” for “sheep”. You’ve severely misunderstood what Jesus our One Lord meant by “feed my sheep”.

    • yellowblossom

      As I am in the process of leaving UBF, this website is truly helpful . This is the reason I want to leave…what gives us right to shepherd over someone’s life? We can pray for others, and take care if their needs practically and love them. Not lord over their choices. Two different things …
      I hope UBF leaders repent and understand what shepherding means

  4. Joe Schafer

    I think this letter deserves discussion but, to be honest, there isn’t much that I can say.

    The situations described by bigbear are abominable.

    If any of this is true, it absolutely requires a response by ministry leaders. It seems that elders and ubf headquarters have already decided to ignore it, saying “it’s not our business” and washing their hands of the matter like Pontius Pilate.

    Even if the things described by bigbear were utterly false, the responsibilities of leadership would require a response.

    Are the current leaders of Cincinnati going to do anything about this? Or are they going to pretend that this person, who sat beside them in their fellowship for decades, simply doesn’t exist?

    At the moment, this page has more than 200 views. I’m sure it has been seen by many current ubf members and leaders. Are you going to say or do anything at all? Are you going to pretend that you never saw this at all? Are you followers of Jesus, or disciples of Pilate?

  5. Bigbear, testimonies like yours may not look “edifying”, but in my view they are very helpful and valuable. Thank you so much for coming out and writing. UBF should take this very seriously. You and Brian have been kind of apologists for UBF via your books and Brian’s website, and UBF wanted you to play that role. Both of you have also been in UBF for a very long time. So your assessment of UBF is extremely important.

    It’s also important to mention concrete details like this one: “I remember the day you put pepper and onions in my brother John’s eyes when he did not cry during a testimony.” Interestingly, we find the same complaints against Samuel Lee in the letter written 1976 by the 7 senior shepherds of Korea UBF. Obviously, your chapter director learned that silly and abusive methods and the underlying mindset directly from Samuel Lee. This confirms my view that all the bad things that happened in Toledo, Cincinnati, Yekaterinburg, Heidelberg and many others chapter can be rooted directly to the bad influence of Samuel Lee. It’s really worthwhile to study the history of UBF, the earlier open letters and testimonies to see the recurrent themes. Unfortunately, many of the testimonies are currently not available on the Internet any more, but people will republish them sooner or later if UBF is not going to address these things.

    • Chris,

      You captured this perfectly. bigbear mentions putting pepper and onions on his brother’s eye to induce fake tears. That is precisely what Slee did. He put pepper into a Korean’s eyes to induce fake tears.

      That, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with the ubf heritage system. That system produces a mindset disconnected from reality. It is fake.

      That is why I was given “spiritual direction” to have BS with a stuffed animal and count it as part of my statistics. And that fake mindset is why I obeyed.

      We simply must begin to make more of these connections between letters and point out the patterns and larger context to anyone who remains blind to such things. That is something one person can do.

      I would ask any ubf person to do just that. Do some research. Read 50 or so former members’ letters (openly available on the internet). And then write any article to publish that points out 7 or 8 or a dozen similarities between the letters.

  6. I agree that it is difficult to generate discussion here, but again the weight of the letter lies in the author. (Not to discredit others!!) My point being that bigbear was a recognized longstanding loyal member – until his world fell apart. All of the issues that he overlooked were as much a failure of his as they were of UBF. Bigbear has already stated his blind spots and has taken years to restore himself and his family and there is more time needed. He has also come here to speak up for the past but also the future of UBF and it’s people. UBF people need to recognize the actual love in the way bigbear is doing so. Bigbear could sound of hate and bitterness etc….but actually almost every post from the beginning on ubfriends has been done so with a concern for others and their lives and this includes a concern for UBF. I still remember when one of the “top” Canadian leaders had received one of bigbear’s books many years ago. He held it with pride and honour. Now, where is the sense of honour? – I know where it is. It’s in sticking to the heritage and taking the attitude that we must ignore our critics. But frankly how many UBF critics were actually members for a day or many long hard years? I doubt that many “critics” are scholars of religion. Most of the critics are former members who have cause and reason to talk about the inside walls of UBF.

    Bigbear’s letter should get a reply. But what’s it going to take? So far we have a couple letters posted online here in addition to all of the general topics. Do we need more personal formalised letters to be published to bring the leadership around? As Ben said the actions of UBF will very well lead to extinction.

  7. Joe Schafer

    gc asked, “What’s it going to take?”

    * If every ubf member who reads this were to contact the General Director or the elders and the Ethics Committee and ask, “What are you going to do about this?”, I believe it would make a difference.

    * If every ubf who sees this who has any personal connection to past and present Cincinnati leaders were to personally contact them and ask, “What are you going to do about this?” then I believe it would make a difference.

    It wouldn’t take much to make a difference.

    The main reason why ubf hasn’t cleaned up its act in 50 years is that the vast majority of ubf members have chosen and continue to choose to do absolutely nothing, because of apathy and cowardice and denial.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  8. Joe Schafer

    I suppose that some longtime ubf members don’t want to touch this at all because they regard the former Cincinnati director as a friend and they want to be loyal to him.

    If that’s the case, then please ask yourself what true friendship and loyalty would require.

    * If the allegations are false, then by remaining silent you are standing by and allowing him to be falsely accused and slandered. Is that what a loyal friend would do?

    * If the allegations are true, then by remaining silent you are ignoring a God-given opportunity to show love and compassion by helping him to face the difficult and painful realities that he obviously needs to deal with. Is that what a loyal friend would do?

    • I don’t know what true friendship and loyalty would require in this case, but perhaps it could take the form of something like the following:

      1) Making a decision to listen to all the allegations, no matter how painful or unbelievable
      2) Spending about one year to pray about how to address this situation.
      3) Then finally at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and at the risk of losing the friendship, gently confronting the friend with these allegations in detail and listening carefully to the other side of the story
      4) And then perhaps after hearing the other side, asking the other side (no, begging the other side) to either apologize for what is true about the allegations and/or clarify or counter in public what might be a clear distortion or unintentional slander
      5) And then perhaps the next thing that could be done would be pray even harder for the community (both UBF and UBFriends) to work towards developing a peace-making mechanism (Christian truth & reconciliation movement) in which the two sides can come together and find resolution and peace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
      6) And finally it would probably be to pray hard for both sides, seeking genuine good will for both sides until God’s grace abounds in such a way that it brings about restoration — not only in this relationship but a new hope for all God’s people agonizing for a breakthrough in all broken relationships throughout our beloved and beleaguered community.

      This is probably one inadequate but sincere way that a loyal friend could do in such a situation.

    • Joe Schafer

      John, I appreciate your desire to address this in a cautious and careful manner. I really do. But “one year”?

      Sometimes we can grant ourselves that kind of luxury. But waiting one year before even saying anything about this sounds very excessive to me.

      Yes, God wants us to pray. Continually and always.

      But gathering of evidence and testimony needn’t be delayed for the sake of prayer. God’s revelation to us won’t come just through prayer. It also comes through the world in which we live. It comes through the evidence and the testimony of witnesses. Communication with all parties needs to start right away. The prayer then helps us to carefully process those things.

    • JohnY, you speak a lot about the Holy Spirit and seeking answers in prayer, and at the same time you come up with a 5-step plan? Isn’t following the Holy Spirit and directions from prayer the exact opposite of following plans? What if the Spirit wants you to not “wait one year” but act right now? In the Bible I can never see that anybody waited for years or even only days when confronting some evil that was going on. People reacted right on, they followed what their heart was telling them. The spirit of the Bible is “TODAY” (2Cor 6:2), it’s a spirit of urgency and living in the here and now, it’s a spirit of honesty and openness. I don’t want to have friends who are hiding their feelings and ideas about me for years before telling me. I want them to speak directly and frankly to me. If they are wrong about me, I have the chance to correct misunderstandings, if they are right, I can correct myself and have not lost a year of doing wrong things. Paul rebuke Peter (a friend!) immediately and publicly when he started to behave hypocritically in Gal 2. I really wished I had called out my chapter director that way right when he was doing abusive things, in front of all. Yes, usually we need to speak to people privately first (particularly about privat sins or sins that only affect us and them). But certain things are best to be challenged already when they happen. Sometimes it’s even our duty to intervene immediately and not let evil things happen. There is also the pattern in Mt 18,15ff which you don’t mention but propose your own steps as what? A counter-model to the Bible? Or do you think there should be years of waiting between the steps in Mt 18,15ff? What about the situation described in 1Cor5? Obviously, Paul was upset that people simply waited and prayed and tolerated sin in the church, instead of acting right now. Another thing we need to keep in mind is that in our case we do not deal with some kind of bilateral disagreements between friends, where usually both sides made mistakes. But our case is a very unilateral thing. Those who claim to be “friends” where not actually friends, but “masters”. It was a unilateral, authoritarian and abusive relationship and they followed teachings and practices which were very obviously evil and unbiblical. We have examined these things in detail and in general for years and decades now. Concerning individual allegations, yes, they need to be checked in detail, but concerning the overall problem of following an unbiblical and spiritually abusive system that will always hurt and abuse people, that’s something that is not disputable or something that can be “settled” and then they can go on an continue to follow that same system. Don’t you see that it’s not only about settling an issue between “friends” but also about correcting a ministry so that justice is restored, glory is given to God, in the future such things cannot be happen any more? The issue of UBF is so much different from a disagreement between friends not only because (in my view), real friendship does not even exist in hierarchical and authoritarian environments, but because UBF is not just a football club but claims to be a “church”. Because the church is the light and salt to the world, it is of utmost important that it operates properly, that it reflects the spirit of God, which is a spirit of today vs later, of repentance vs saving face, of honesty vs diplomacy, of truthfulness vs cover up, of integrity vs compromise, of directness ws sweet talk, of brotherhood vs hierarchy. It’s not just a problem of settling a matter between us, but of either correcting or shutting down an abusive system.

    • Joe Schafer

      John, I’m not trying to pile on. But I wanted to add that, in my previous response to you, I was thinking about what Jesus taught in Mt 5:21-26. When people are at odds with one another, acting immediately and intemperately can sometimes throw fuel on the fire and cause more trouble. I get that. But the main point of Jesus’ teaching on conflict resolution is to start quickly, without delay.

      Too many people approach the end of their lives with huge piles of wrecked relationships from unresolved conflict. One of the most common regrets of dying people is not that they acted too impulsively, but that they failed to reconcile with others when they had the chance. They imagined that they had plenty of time. But before they realized it, their time ran out.

      That not only happens to individuals, but also to organizations and communities. Leaders imagine that they have all the time in the world to sort things out. They just can’t see what is so obvious to others — that all around them, the community is dying and the organization is disintegrating.

      So many of the problems we see in ubf today can be attributed to the failure of members to speak up and speak out when we should have done so. We have dithered and delayed and denied the obvious. We have put off facing hard truths and taking painful steps toward correcting very serious problems. We did so under the guise of being patient, humble, wise, deferential, obedient, self-sacrificing, prayerful, staying positive, keeping choong-shim, waiting on God, taking the high road, honoring our parents and elders, etc. That’s what we told ourselves. But in reality it was cowardice. We had no stomach for dealing with the deeply rooted sin in our midst. We kept our mouths shut because we were afraid of losing anything.

      And on the rare occasions when some people of conscience did speak out, we did nothing to support them. We allowed them to be slimed and marginalized. We threw them under the bus. And all the while, we pretended that we, the silent ones, were the truly wise and righteous.

      [When I said “we” I was referring primarily to my generation. I don’t want your generation to repeat our mistakes.]

  9. I wonder why UBF has chosen to do nothing? This is truly quite illogical. Here are my speculations and ruminations:

    * God will take care of this problem.

    * They have no idea where to even begin.

    * To respond requires transparent honesty and genuine humility.

    * It takes time… and then it takes more time.

    * Some older leaders have been leaders who have never needed to be accountable or to answer to anyone, so much so that it is now impossible for them to answer to anyone (but God!).

    * They fear lawsuits and losing money. (This is truly a horrible reason, because a Christian should do what is right regardless of the cost.)

    * They fear that if they address one allegation, then they will have to address too many allegations.

    * They truly believe that they should just continually go fishing, feed sheep, and raise disciples, which is more important than anything else.

    * They think that any criticism against UBF is just “Satan’s attack.”

    I am sure that there are countless other reasons why UBF continues to not respond. But perhaps a response is forthcoming, even if it may be “decades too late.”

    • Ben, I would say this is the number one reason I came across when discussing things with ubf members:

      “* They have no idea where to even begin.”

      They feel overwhelmed. They cannot live in the normal life tension. Conflict will not go away. So a ubf-minded/trained person will retreat more into their fantasy world.

      It was said last week in our pastor’s sermon that 69% of conflict in a marriage will NOT disappear. I don’t know where that stat came from but I agree from personal experience that conflict does not go away. His main point was that we humans must learn to live with tension and conflict–learn to love in the midst of conflict.

      Trying to remove the conflict actually has the opposite effect– attempts to remove conflict result in more conflict.

    • yellowblossom

      This is what makes me so angry. I personally known the problem, I speak openly about it even with my shepherd…and all I get from her is something like this…look at your life testimony 5 yrs ago and look at it now. You used to be more thankful”

  10. Thanks everyone, these are precisely the kinds of discussions I was looking for. I think our mindset is important when we read these stories.

    Before we react, I would ask “Who and what are we looking at?”

    When I look at bigbear and his letter, and see one man, think about his pain and look at his events, I don’t see what to talk about or how to make sense of his letter. My mind, in this case, can’t begin to think about what to do or how to react. So with this mindset we just share some sympathy or condolences and hope such things don’t happen to me. We hope the classic defense of ubf is true: this is just an isolated event.

    However, let’s consider some other mindsets.

    When I realize that there are hundreds of letters like bigbear’s and make connections between the letters, I begin to see a pattern. I would ask all of us to look at the forest of “bigbears”, and not see bigbear as an isolated situation.

    Furthermore, I would ask us to not see just “bigbear” but to see his family members. He has two families in fact.

    This cuts to the heart of the multiple form letters I got from Toledo ubf (yes there was more than one letter the past 3 years). I am not an isolated, bitter person who was just an outlier statistic among ubf people. In fact, I will contend that bigbear and I and our families are the normal outcome of living the ubf heritage system.

    In my observation and review of the past 50+ years ubf has been in existence, the ubf heritage system always produces such failed results no matter what cultural context the Koreans ubf missionaries go to. The system is flawed. The system must be addressed before any personal or individual apology/form letter has any meaning. The only reason some people in ubf are not so damaged is because they or their chapter did not fully implement the ubf heritage system.

    I did. And bigbear did. And Chris did. And Joe did. And gc did. And Ben did. That is why we all can relate to each other quite well regardless of being in or out. We all made every effort to implement the ubf heritage system. So it is not about who is right or wrong, but what is right or wrong. We should be discussing the system itself and how to rid the world of such a horribly flawed and harmful belief system. [Some will argue every belief system is flawed. True enough but not every belief system is both flawed and harmful.]

    So I guess I’m pleading with our readers and commenters here to NOT see bigbear or any of us who left as “isolated incidents” and not to just look at us. Look at the system. Look at the big picture. We are all connected. Our narratives are intertwined. There are strikingly clear trends and patterns among the 160+ testimonies of former ubf members on the internet. Let’s see the broader context. Only then can we begin to react appropriately.

    And when you look at the big picture we may be tempted to think what can one man do? Well just think about that for awhile… what can one man do? What can one woman do? Then do it.

  11. i had to write letter to denounce the abuse and for the sake of God people who I love and are still there. THE gospel work must be done in love especially for families and children and students. All Christians are apart of the body of Christ. I DO NOT EXCUSE MY sins but pray for the gospel work. God will finish His work but we must denounce abuse and live with a clear conscience. I PRAY FOR FAMILIES AND GOING THROUGH an amazing growth time. I will not be surprised if no one in ubf responses but I am at peace with God.

  12. Good words bigbear. My quote of the day email for today is:

    “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
    Max De Pree

  13. Okay, first of all John Y I do not want to appear to be undermining your sincerity. However, I want to add to the existing replies which I agree with. You mention true friendship and loyalty. The trouble with thinking in terms of friendship and loyalty has been made quite plain many times over many long years for some of the people on this blog.

    In UBF we are not friends. We are co-workers. Sure, common life is supposed to bring together people of the same status and standing in UBF (some being more equal than others). But, basically if you are not following the heritage mandate for campus mission people who are loyal to the system cut loose anyone who is not loyal to the system. No one has really ever wanted to know their brothers and sisters in Christ. What they are interested in however is how everyone has either succeeded or failed in areas concerning mission and the heritage. You feel like friends until one day someone leaves and then that person who leaves is silently cast out from the dwelling and no one murmurs the name or even a sound. We have all seen it happen. It is unimportant if it was a member of about six months or someone who had been a fixture like bigbear. Departure is treated with silence. I will never call it grief or mourning. It is plain and simple a stubborn pretense that UBF is right and whoever leaves is wrong.

    I cannot count the number of people who have felt used by the system. I cannot count the number of people who felt broken and confused when the people they made priority for were not actually friends. To stop such BS as an accusation of humanism I will emphasize the problem very clearly. All social relationships (including family) are prohibited in UBF. Everything is dumped for the sake of meetings, mandatory stats for campus and regular conferences scheduled throughout the year. I might add that the argument of “Jesus’ disciples did not get along” does not go very far. Jesus treated all of them with care and love and instructed them to do the same for each other. But in UBF friendship is cheap. The politics breed lies and gossip.

    Point number one is long overdue. Number two is ridiculous! UBF does not need a year – Just proceed case by case accordingly throughout each city and chapter. Points two/three: Do not depend on the “Powers that Be” to make the decisions for you. Directors should take their own initiative to draw attention to HQ and to also make contact with the people who have been hurt or left UBF. I pray that HQ can stand to define the matter, but repentance must begin sincerely from the guilty parties in each chapter.

    Point four is suggesting that there is validity to the way that UBF operates and understands mission according to Jesus and how we know Christianity. I agree that sometimes maybe injured parties appear irrational and possibly exaggerate the events. However, there is never smoke without fire. As I said above friendship is not what UBF is concerned about. UBF turns faith into works and we are all co-workers in that job. Leaving UBF for another church is seen as leaving Jesus. Being kicked out (fired) slaps a label on the offending person for life. I do not agree that there may be distortion/slander. UBF simply invites people to “Bible Study” and quickly tangles them up in events monopolizing their time. The social structure of the ministry strongly influences the decisions that a person makes in their life.

    Points five/six, peace will be found once UBF officially has corporate repentance. Praying for each other is normal in a Christian community. In case it hasn’t been clear, former members are inviting a relationship through the various efforts (including blogging). However, UBF is playing the typical SL game – Ignore everyone and they will eventually go away. Well, are they going away?

  14. Hey fellas, yeah, read through the replies. I guess I have nothing to say other than I basically agree with you all. Again, the point of such a “hypothetical” proposal I laid out above was to brainstorm ideas in which TRUE friends can find ways to confront and speak the truth to one another in love when it comes to difficult relational issues, personal sins, and corporate strongholds. GC’s point about friendship is well-taken and yes, I think UBF folks in generally do need to learn how to be true friends to one another, not just “coworkers”.

    And to Joe, it was not to suggest a strict “one-year” timeline. My point in saying that was simply folks need some time to get all the facts and spend some time truly listening to those who have been hurt. My example happened to mention one year, but perhaps it can take one hour, or one day. Since I’m not a good listener, it will often take a year for me to truly listen. But surely urgent issues should be addressed urgently and non-urgent issues addressed non-urgently, and wisdom is needed to know the difference (to borrow words of the serenity prayer). If the Holy Spirit asks one to talk to a brother now, then one should follow that leading. If the Holy Spirit asks one to wait a year, then one should likewise follow that leading? I guess it is not often clear what the leading of the Holy Spirit is at times. But if my wife says I should do something, and do something NOW, well, I have to say that in my experience a wife’s gentle prodding to do something is clearly the voice of the Holy Spirit. Husbands out there, give me a holla! :)

    • Joe Schafer

      John, thanks for being a good sport. Thanks for being willing to chime in and then listen and take lots of sucker punches from the rest of us.

      When my wife prods me to do something, then I think it’s a pretty good indication that the Holy Spirit wants me to act.

      And when a former member like bigbear prompts me to do something, I think it’s a pretty good indication as well.

    • JohnY, one thing I like about you is that you stay friendly and positive and come back even when people disagree with your opinions. This is the right spirit.

      You wrote that your idea was to think about how TRUE friends can confront each other. But that’s exactly what I do not understand: The relationship between TRUE friends is really so close that they can criticize eath other much more easily and directly and frankly. I’m thinking of my brother and his wife. I had wondered why they are such a good team, even though they seem to constantly criticize each other. But now I understand that they are such a good team because they criticize and correct each other immediately, when things are fresh and the bad behavior is obvious, instead of piling up grievances and anger.

      With other words, if you need proceed in such a diplomatic and careful way as you outlined above, this is indication that your a NOT true friends.

    • Chris, yes I think I would agree with that. I guess the context that I was primarily thinking about was learning to be true friends with individuals in which the previous relationship contained a power dynamic/hierarchy. Sort of like learning to be friends with my father figures whom I’m used to relating to more as a father figures rather than as a friend. I guess I’m really not true friends with lots of people when I think about it. But I want to be. Well, I guess I hope to change that now.

      So Chris, will you be my UBFriend?

    • JohnY, that makes more sense. Though I wonder whether it’s not better to stop playing by the rules these people dictate, and force them to play by normal rules, and operate on a normal level, even if this means to go without their friendship if they will not accept. That would mean that they never really were your friends anyway.

      When I left UBF, I found that most if not all of the people there were never my real friends. It was even more visible in the case of one shepherdess who was forced to leave UBF because she wanted to marry someone by her own decision. While in UBF, she was everybody’s darling because she had the most sheep, but when she left, suddenly nobody cared about her any more and spoke bad things about her. She invited everyone to her wedding, but nobody came except me and my wife. Do we really want to have such “friendships” which work only while we are “co-workers” and conform to the party line? Maybe its better to search for real friendships with real friends instead. Maybe it’s good to “test” friendships by confronting our friends and speaking with them about controversial things. Then we soon find out how they really think and whether we really want to be friends with them.

      But I think it’s easy to be friends with people like you talk openly and thoughtfully and who seem to care. I believe we all who share this same mindset, even if we differ in our opinions, are already UBFriends, aren’t we?

    • Joe Schafer

      Chris, I fully agree with what you just wrote.

      And I want you to know that JohnY doesn’t do what you just described. He knows the meaning of friendship and practices it well. He treats his friends exactly the same whether they are in ubf, estranged from ubf, or completely out of ubf.

    • Thanks Joe. Yeah, Chris, I hear that you’re not really friends with someone unless you can talk freely over German beer. So let’s try that someday. I wonder if they serve non-alcoholic German beer. At least German root beer would work for me.

    • JohnY, your comments on beer jeopardize our newly made friendship. Please don’t call something that tastes like cough syrup a beer. I’m not a legalist, but I take the German beer purity law very seriously. This is not a joke, and even if it was one, remember that “a German joke is no laughing matter” (Mark Twain).

    • Today in church when our pastor addressed us as “dear brothers and sisters” this reminded me that our relationship as members of the church should be even deeper than true friends. Isn’t the mataphor of a brother that is consistently used in the new testament really wonderful? Why didn’t we use it in UBF? Oh, well, we used it for people whose status and faith was doubtful, who were not yet shepherds or shepherd candidates. But we stopped using it for the commited members, and used the titles “shepherd” or “missionary” instead. This is not a minor issue. How we address each other changes the atmosphere and relationship. I believe if UBFers stopped using these silly titles and just address each as brothers and sisters, this would already change a lot. The Bible says “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” When even Jesus calls us brothers and sisters and also friends, how can we set up hierarchies and address each other with title? How could we live in an atmosphere that is so different from the spirit of the Bible? The “smell of the Bible”, as Samuel Lee called it as if he knew what he was talking about, is so much different. The problem is we all lived so long in our strange UBF smell that we didn’t notice it any more or even confused it with the smell of the Bible. The smell of the Bible is the smell of friendship, brotherhood and freedom. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

    • Another thing our pastor remined us today: We should live every day as if it was our last. This is also a reason why we should settle matters with our friends right away.

    • Chris, I completely agree with you. I will add that some senior shepherds used the titles as a weapon of distinction back in my home chapter. For the young transitional students: You were an example of the heritage if you were obedient to it and therefore called shepherd. However, if you slipped or appeared to be the dreaded “R” word – Rebellious, then once again you were brother or sister.

      I might add that one most disturbing observation we can find among ourselves is quite simple. We (non-Koreans) never thought of acting in that way until we absorbed the style and character of our UBF chapters. After absorbing the environment like a sponge we carried out the same behaviours and actions as though they are normal.

      Also, to Ben’s comment somewhere – The trouble with exubfers is the yeast they carry with them. Their influence is sooooo baaaaaad!!! Right? Isn’t it? At least it is for the stubborn loyalists. I remember when I was days away from marriage and the gossip that my wife heard about me was interesting indeed. She was told that I talk maliciously about UBF etc….Well, I can’t deny it completely because yes I like to hang out with ex-members and I also spoke honestly to my peers at that time.

    • Joe Schafer

      I find it ironic that

      * in the New Testament, the terms “brother” and “sister” denote fellow Christians, those who by virtue of their faith in Jesus are recognized as full members of the family of God

      * in UBF, the terms “brother” and “sister” denote those who are not yet “in” the organization because they have not yet demonstrated loyalty and obedience to the leaders above them

  15. I have expressed often that “friendship” has unfortunately not been a “core value” in UBF. As expressed by many, we are first “co-workers,” even before we are husband and wife.

    The predominant image of a UBF Christian is a soldier of Christ (2 Tim 2:2) who fights the good fight (2 Tim 4:7), rather than good friends who are like family and loving siblings with each other (Ps 133:1).

    Thus, it has always been hard to confront others, especially older leaders, many of whom treat their “sheep” like eternal subordinates. It is quite funny when a leader who is over 60 refers to his elder who is also over 60 as “my sheep for over 30 years!”

    With such a background, it is understandable that it might take one year (if one is lucky) to approach someone about some problem.

    Thank God that God is never in a hurry. To Him, one thousand years is like a day. His will will be done, regardless of how inefficient and untimely we might be.

    And yet, NOW, TODAY is the day of salvation, and the very time and the exact time to act.

    • Today is tomorrow’s yesterday. Today is also yesterday’s tomorrow. The gospel invitation is to enter into rest today.

      Hope has nothing to do with tomorrow. Tomorrow gives us insight into today, but if our hope is in tomorrow, we accomplish nothing today. Look at the ravens.

      Hope has nothing to do with yesterday. Yesterday gives us context for today, but if our hope is in yesterday, we become arrogant hagiographers. Press on.

      Hope is about today. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. Today, right now. As the book of Hebrews invites us, enter into God’s rest today :)

  16. A problem of “friendship” in UBF, is that some UBF lovers will “love you less” if and when you associate with and also love exUBFers, whom they may regard as repulsive repugnant renegades and rebels.

  17. Correct observation Joe,

    “* in the New Testament, the terms “brother” and “sister” denote fellow Christians, those who by virtue of their faith in Jesus are recognized as full members of the family of God

    * in UBF, the terms “brother” and “sister” denote those who are not yet “in” the organization because they have not yet demonstrated loyalty and obedience to the leaders above them” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/11/17/a-letter-to-cincinnati-ubf/#comment-11585

    This is based on their flawed understanding and teaching about the gospel, namely that people must earn their keep. I was taught by ubf that salvation is freely given but then you must become a shepherd to keep your salvation. I was always bound to this fear in ubf, fear of not really being a “shepherd” and not knowing if I would actually make it into heaven.

    The teaching was also taught to me this way: Be a shepherd in ubf so that you will know you are saved. If you are just a “brother” or “sister” in ubf, you are persuaded to doubt your salvation. I was even persuaded to renounce the fact that I already WAS a Christian BEFORE attending the ubf fustercluck. So I did everything the ubf heritage required to be SURE I was a shepherd so that I would be SURE I was saved and SURE of my reward. Still I was bound to doubt and fear, because I was told on a weekly basis how much I fell short of God’s glory and how bad I was. Oddly, after going to “pioneer” things flipped around and I was highly praised, flattered and told how I was the “hope of ubf”.

    So if you ask a ubf person if they believe in “saved by grace alone by faith alone” they will usually agree. But in the next breath, they will express their belief that if you don’t become a shepherd, you will lose your position in heaven and that you must be a shepherd to be sure of your reward in heaven.

    I remember bible study after bible study where people argued over whether or not every Christian must become a ubf shepherd, and the conclusion was always “yes”, but almost never explicitely spoken as “yes”. We always ended with a bible verse that ended the arguments and prooftexted the idea that the ubf definitions of “be a shepherd” and “feed my sheep” were the only definitions.

  18. Joe, Brian, I am humbled my my limited alliteration! So those who love exUBFers are regarded as rotten, rude, reptilian, recreant, rusty, rank, recalcitrant, repellent, rascally, repulsive, repugnant ruffians, reprobates, rapscallions, renegades, and rebels!

    Who says we can’t learn anything good from UBFriends? I hope that many will improve their humor, vocabulary and creativity.

  19. It is unfortunate that “brother” and “sister” are ranked and valued “lower” than “shepherd” and “shepherdess,” because the former connote intimacy, friendship and love, while the latter connote duty, obligation and service.

    I think UBF is (gradually, slowly, “it will take time”) realizing that living the Christian life out of the latter sentiments will drain you sooner or later. Whenever I catch wind of UBFers speaking honestly and openly, one common theme is that people are burnt out, tired and discouraged.

    That I believe is what living out of duty, obligation, loyalty and service does to anyone. But one who serves out of love, intimacy and friendship will never be tired or burnt out.

  20. Kevin Jesmer

    Do we love people, as brothers and sisters in Christ, or do we love the Christian mission we are involved in more than people? What a hard question to ask! It is easy to love people that are involved in our unique mission. We give them our hearts. We support them. We visit them. We are interested in what they are doing. We are excited about the work of God in their life. We pray for them. But what happens when they leave the unique mission that brought us together in the first place? What if these precious brothers and sisters in Christ become involved in an equally important mission in the Kingdom of God and were led there by God himself? For many, that is where the friendship ends. There may be warm feelings but there is no relationship. In fact the person who left the unique mission could be treated like a virus that needs to be quarantined. Do we love our mission more than people? Ask yourself these questions…would you worship on a Sunday with that person even if that person was no longer involved in the ministry? Would you visit them out of simple friendship? Would you ask what they are doing in their Christian mission? Would you advertise in your own church the work of God going in that person’s life? Would you ever invite them to speak in your church? Would you always be in “damage control” mode when they visit? Would be always be afraid about new ideas being planted in your own local congregation? Would you be afraid of loosing your members if they learned about some other legitimate work of God going on? Would you treat your brother and sister in Christ as a virus that needed to quarantined.

    • Great questions, my Brother (Kevin)! I think every present members of UBF should answer these questions before God and before his/her own conscience.

      Many of us ex-UBFers have similar painful stories like that of big bear compelling us to leave. All what we wanted is change and the essence of that change is let us be brothers and sisters in Christ making Jesus the center of our relationship and let us stop the authoritarian practices of shepherding paradigm that makes an organization the center and the basis of all relationships.

      Many of us long to be with our brothers and sisters again from whom we have been away for sometime now. We want to see the Kingdom of God prosper together. But sorry to say that this is not at all possible in the present condition of the organization. It is because, I will never ever allow some leader to make decisions for my life. I want to dream for Jesus’ kingdom but for an organization, NO. I want to follow God’s leading and do a ministry that I believe God wants me in ways that He wants me to do, rather than be dictated by a faulty heritage system that saves people to enslave them. Still I thank God for an awakening that is happening in leaders like you. God bless you, brother!

    • A thousand “likes” to these last few comments by bigbear, AbNial, Kevin, Ben, Joe and Chris. I think never before has anyone articulated so precicely and clearly the issues we all faced.

      Take these last few comments here, along with bigbear’s letter, and there’s your mandate, ubf leaders. Maybe we should combine these comments in an article.

      So don’t contact me anymore ubf heritage people. Don’t ask me “what can we do to get better?” and stop whining that “we don’t know what happened”. Now the world knows exactly what’s going on. We cannot possibly express the reasons for ubf’s recent decline any more clearly.

  21. Great questions, Kevin! I think those who have experienced UBF know the (unfortunate) answers.

    Though it may not play out in this generation, I believe that things are gradually changing. For myself at least, I know that I no longer have the sentiments I had just 6 or 7 years ago.

    Things will change because this generation (which values friendship, honesty and intimacy) is quite unlike the generation of UBF leaders we encountered (which values absolute obedience and unquestioning loyalty and commitment).

  22. The problem lies that UBF is about works. It has such a high standard of what a CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE And teaches this to new converts that anyone who is not in that human standard is rejected. AFTER THE Tradegdy of my family and divorce, THE DIRECTOR OF Cinti UBf did not know what to do. the problem is we live in love and grace not standards and works. This explains why I got no response and there are no true friendships in ubf or love for people who are broken. WE ARE ALL BROKEN. my new book will focus on grace this is what ubf lacks. Grace frees.

    • “It has such a high standard of what a CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE”

      Big bear, yes, they have a high standard in terms of obedience and giving your everything to the organization. But not a high standard in terms of ethical behavior. The problem is NOT that UBFers are “too sincere in their Christian faith”, as I sometimes heared it phrased. The problem is that they don’t even know what real Christian faith and Christian ethics is, otherwise all the things listed here and elsewhere would not have happened, or would have been disapproved and dealt with appropriately over all these years.

      Btw, I also don’t think that UBFers work “harder” than other Christians or other people in general as I also heared it phrased. They don’t know what “hard work” really is. I never met a UBFer with calloused hands, I can only imagine I would have gotten some on my sit bones from sitting on folding chairs if I had stayed some years longer.

  23. @bigbear: “It has such a high standard of what a CHRISTIAN SHOULD…” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/11/17/a-letter-to-cincinnati-ubf/#sthash.6AtuHRGt.dpuf

    I used to think that I had a “high standard” of Christian life as an “absolute” UBF man, while Christians in most churches are nominal and relativistic. I thought I was maintaining a super high standard by whipping everyone into doing something non-negotiable: fishing, writing testimony, sharing, feeding sheep, never missing any UBF meeting or functions, marrying by faith, etc. My mantra of life was “Every Christian must study the Bible and feed sheep.”

    Now I realize that this “high standard” is a horribly terribly low standard. It is basically a legalism and work righteousness that replaces Christ’s standard, before which we all fall short.

    Most Christians who think they are teaching or living some high Christian standard are really legalistic, moralistic, rigid and inflexible people like the Pharisees.

  24. Hi, big bear

    I read your book, “The year the world ended” per your recommendation. I can see that your struggle is real and sincere and I’m sorry for the pain you experienced during that time. I’m also amazed at how God used you and your family to reach out to so many people around you and I can see that you love Jesus and you want your life to reveal his love and grace. And I thank God that he is currently leading your life in new and wonderful ways.

    I want to, however, address the issue of your daughter’s rape that I’ve seen in multiple comments. When I first read it, I accepted it as a hard fact. However, after reading your book, it seemed that it was not a hard fact with several missing pieces. I don’t want to dismiss your daughter’s pain, or say she’s wrong, but I feel that it is a serious accusation that cannot be stated as a hard fact in this forum especially when it was not clear to me that this definitely happened in UBF or by a UBF member. I think this kind of accusation should be reserved for a legal setting. Please correct me if I’m wrong or missing something.

    • Joe Schafer

      “I think this kind of accusation should be reserved for a legal setting.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/11/17/a-letter-to-cincinnati-ubf/#comment-13943

      Yes, that’s precisely the point. It was not up to big bear or anyone in the ministry to investigate or sort out evidence, As soon as there was a reasonable cause to suspect that a minor had been harmed, it should have been reported to police, not covered up. A church leader’s failure to do so is a serious offense, and in fact is illegal in most states. If a pastor dissuades anyone from reporting, that is a serious offense too. The current flap regarding C.J. Mahoney and Joshua Harris is precisely about that: dissuading church members from reporting suspected abuse of minors.

    • Joe Schafer

      If big bear’s story was the only instance of this happening in ubf, it would he bad enough. But this has happened multiple times, and the details of these stories are horrifying.

      As these incidents came to our attention 2-3 years ago, Ben and I pressed the General Director and Ethics Committee to do something about this. At the very least, they should have implemented training for all chapter directors and staff about domestic violence and mandatory reporting of suspected abuse of minors. Other advisors told ubf leaders the same thing: You have a serious problem here; this is a ticking time bomb; you need to train your staff, and you need to do it NOW. That should have been on the agenda at the North American staff conference years ago. But, of course, there was no time for such things, because we had to study the Bible and write our testimonies.

  25. big bear

    Friend….it happened to our daughter by someone in UBF at the time…nobody knows who not even my daughter but she drew a sketch of the person…I sent to chapter director…do not blame UBF…but the response was unacceptable by a leader…he could have helped in the healing process….but sending his concerns and some kind of compassion..but daughter is still in counseling and the trauma is real….I thought it is best to expose this for the sake of families….will not pursue legal way for the sake of daughter but believe there should be some compensation for what has happened and some recognition by the leader
    ..did not share to hurt anyone but to share our story….in UBF it is a common practice to share dark secrets in testimonies…my book is a UBF testimony style…it is what I learned…the truth will be proclaimed from the mountain top…UBF hides the facts..people knew they eould run for the hills…please pray for our family….glad you read our story..I hope all new recruits read before they decide to spend their life in UBF..they should know the truth…I write in love always….

    • bekamartin

      bigbear, there is no proof that our daughter was molested by a UBF person. YOU said you were SURE it was NOT a UBF person. And your book is mostly lies. That is all I have to say about that.

    • Joe Schafer

      Beka, thanks for chiming in. Having this kind of discussion on a public website is awkward. In the interest of fairness, we approved and posted your comment, because it wouldn’t be right to post bigbear’s material without allowing rebuttal. If you would like to carefully respond to the content of this article or anything else on UBFriends, please do so. Notice that this article has been edited to remove some personal details. We want to treat everyone fairly. Please feel free to contact admin@ubfriends.org if you have any concerns.

  26. big bear

    Friend…my story is a love story but sometimes UBF tells people half truths of how a person is not around anymore but the truth brings healing and accepts the reconciliation…this is all we pray for….I gave 29 years…I believe we all need to be heard…UBF will get healthy when it accepts they are abusive…I understand your loyalty to UBF…I was there…I sent my book to Sarah Barry and Ron Ward….maybe it will bring change and understanding….I would stop circulation of book and everything if I could see healthy change and some kind of apology from UBF…Compensation would be good for family but not necessary…if you want sketch of person be glad to send to you

  27. Hey everyone, a word of caution here… The U.S. now has mandatory reporting laws for such events. In other words, if you know about these events and did not report it to the police, you are risking going to jail yourself. Ministers and priests are required now by U.S. law to report these events to the police.

    The ideology issue here is that ubf does not teach nor understand the difference between “cover up” and “cover over”. There are some highly interesting Korean language issues in this matter too.

    For example, “cover up” or “conceal” is 은폐. The bible clearly teaches 은폐 is a bad thing as in Psalm 32:4-6 and 1 Peter 2:15-17.

    The phrase “cover over” is more like “forgiveness with confession” or 용서. This bible clearly teaches 용서 is a good thing, as in James 5:19-20.

    Here lies an intriguing translation problem. The Korean word 자인하다 means to acknowledge or to confess. Christianity ties confession and forgiveness together in a starkly different manner than Confucianism.

    The problem is that 자인하다 also carries the meaning of “commit suicide”. So for a Korean to confess sin is equal to committing suicide. Somehow this language needs to be refined in light of the bible and Christianity. Coming before God “just as I am” is not a bad thing, it is the Christ thing to do.

    I remember numerous Koreans at ubf telling me they hated the hymn “Just as I am“. It is true God does not leave us as we are but the great surrender to grace is indeed to come to Jesus as we are, whatever condition.

    I wonder if any Korean reader hear can shed some light on this understanding? Am I wrong about something here?

    • Good points. I will try to find out about that.

  28. I’m not saying this out of loyalty, but objectively, the two phrases, “it happened to our daughter by someone in UBF” and “nobody knows who not even my daughter” are not strong enough to state as a fact and I think it is not helpful when trying to open lines of communication. Expressing your reaction and feelings to the situation is completely acceptable and full details are fine such as in your book where more details can be discussed.

    With that said, I agree with Joe and big bear that it was wrong for leadership not to address this at all, even expressing a few words of concern or worry. And BK is right in that we should not see these incidents as isolated events but as certain overall trends that need to be addressed.

    I’ve definitely seen certain trends repeating themselves throughout this site. It was actually after realizing this fact that I began to think that change had to happen in the top as well. It’s easier to dismiss when you think certain events are isolated. But as BK mentions, there are too many “isolated” events that we cannot ignore them anymore. I think that a good way of organizing the articles here would be to identify specific trends followed by supporting details and a recommended plan of action. I will try to devote several hours a week to this. I already have some categories in mind, but your opinions as to which major categories should be addressed would be appreciated since you know these articles better than me.

    At the same time, I feel that the barrier that needs to be broken is insurmountable, reaching up to the heavens. Just like UBF cannot be continued by human might and force, so change cannot happen with human might and force. Our real enemy is Satan and the real battle is a spiritual one within and among ourselves. We need God’s help. We should make sure we are going in step with God and not going ahead of him because of impatience. whenever you feel so frustrated and angry you want to yell and curse, I urge you to direct that energy to crying out to God for his help and mercy to break down these barriers and open the floodgates of healing and forgiveness in Jesus. When you feel you must do something, I ask you to bow down before God acknowledging we cannot do anything but God can do everything. So when change does come, it will be clear that it was God alone who did everything. At the same time I wonder if this organization is worth all this struggle and if I can even ask people to pour themselves out before God regarding this matter. Some people are just waiting for this organization to run its course, some cannot afford to think about it because they are having a hard time surviving, and some are fixed in their thoughts. But I know I may regret if I do not try even one time. If anyone has a similar heart, I ask for your prayer.

    • bekamartin

      I sat in an abusive marriage for 19 years, praying for God to change it. When I discovered that my daughter was hurting herself, I asked why, and then I had to stand up and fight. I fought for my children and I fought for my marriage to be healed through Christian counseling. My UBF chapter only told me to pray and repent whenever I told them of our problems, so I did. But then I had to stand up and fight, by faith in an Almighty God who could and would help me and my husband and my children, if we stood up and fought. The end result was that my husband decided to divorce me, but I had to stand up and fight. God helps us, but we cannot just sit in our sins and in other peoples’ sins. Now I am free to follow God directly instead of answering to my leaders. Maybe I am wrong, but may God continually lead me in his own way.

  29. Friend,

    You just described the “han syndrome” perfectly.

    “At the same time, I feel that the barrier that needs to be broken is insurmountable, reaching up to the heavens. Just like UBF cannot be continued by human might and force, so change cannot happen with human might and force.”

    “Our real enemy is Satan and the real battle is a spiritual one within and among ourselves. We need God’s help. We should make sure we are going in step with God and not going ahead of him because of impatience. whenever you feel so frustrated and angry you want to yell and curse, I urge you to direct that energy to crying out to God for his help and mercy to break down these barriers and open the floodgates of healing and forgiveness in Jesus.”

    I did exactly as you say for 24 years. It nearly killed me. The ideology you present in these comments has a Confucianized slant to them and do not sound entirely Christian. I do not see Jesus taking your advice. If he did, he would never have made it to the cross.

    The way of the cross is the answer, which leads to reconciliation. The way you present is the way of self-focus, as if there is no action we could ever do break through the barriers.

    I do not know who you are but your comments reveal the Christianized Confucianism that is unique to a ubf Korean:

    “When you feel you must do something, I ask you to bow down before God acknowledging we cannot do anything but God can do everything. So when change does come, it will be clear that it was God alone who did everything.”

    • So Friend, I clicked “dislike” on your comment above because I am hyper-sensitive to the Christianzied Confucianism ideology found in ubf teachings. I will never listen to such advice ever again.

    • Largely agree with BK here. Change can happen by humans, and it should, including actions beyond just prayer. Our Lord is the one who cleared the temple area, overturning the money changing tables and driving out the animals with a whip of chords. I feel gutted when told to just pray about conflicts or troubling matters, especially when told this by leaders. What is the purpose of the authority a leader carries, if not to handle conflicts and troubles among us? Or is it just to pacify me? Of course, I also agree with friend that we have to pray and acknowledge God who is sovereign and stronger. But I believe we also have a responsibility to take care of our internal matters. We teach that humans can do great things as shepherds and Bible teachers and missionaries. We also can and should take action for our conflicts, troubles and wrong-doings.

    • “When you feel you must do something, I ask you to bow down before God acknowledging we cannot do anything but God can do everything. So when change does come, it will be clear that it was God alone who did everything.”

      The Confucian element here is that this principle is only applied in one direction. The whole idea of UBF campus mission is that God can’t do anything without us, that we need to invite people, shower them with love, indoctrinate them, make Bible study with them, manipulate them, pressure them, arrange marriages for them, shield them from information, give them all kinds of weird trainings, etc. and only then a disciple of Jesus can be made. It’s all about us, if we don’t do all these things, no disciples can be made. And we do all these things, and we made disciples, we can be proud, and praise ourselves and our organization and our founder, and allow no criticism. If God does everything, and glory should be given only to Him, why is UBF emphasized so much, why all these anniversaries, UBF history, UBF museum, foudner’s days etc.?

      So in reality, there it’s an extreme double standard. When making disciples top-down you can push and demand obedience and train and rebuke, but when asking for change bottom-up you may not do anything but only silently wait until change happens all by itself. Like Brian, I don’t accept this double standard any more. If you really believe in this “let’s do nothing and let God do everything” paradigm, then stop all campus mission activity and let God do it.

      In reality, it should be the other way around. You should not pressure and push young believers too much. Let them develop their own faith. Allow them the freedom to do things voluntarily and out of love, and find out their individual spiritual gifts and God’s plans for them, not forcing them into your own program and agenda and rules and activities. Let them make mistakes, because you learn from mistakes. However, when it comes to senior leaders, don’t tolerate everything. They should know better. They should be willing to accept rebuke. They should be able to discern what’s sinful and what not. Everyone who claims to have authority as a leader, needs to be measured with a strong measure stick. The should be rebuked clearly, as Paul did with Peter in Galatians 2. Paul did not rebuke the young believers as harshly. Also, he didn’t just wait until God changes the heart of Peter. Peter should have known better, and that’s why Paul was angry.

      Friend, maybe you’re shocked to meet such strong response, but you need to understand that we developed a kind of allergic reaction to that kind of argumentation.

    • Hi, Chris

      I am not shocked. However, I do feel that this conversation since I posted is going in parallel. I’m wondering how much people are really listening and understanding what I wrote.

      I never said:
      change from down up must be silent and passive.
      it should only be down up
      that I promote top-down externally motivated discipleship
      that we should glorify UBF history
      that we shouldn’t allow young people to develop their own faith and talents

      I did say:
      that UBF cannot continue with human force.
      that change cannot come about by mere force
      that we need God’s help
      to pray together
      to do what we believe is right before God
      for God’s glory be revealed through us

    • I am a person, an individual, not “UBF”. I don’t like having words put in my mouth, and a mouthful at that, just as much as I’m sure you don’t. Do you think it’s right to lump your complaints about UBF and direct them at me in one comment?

    • Sorry, friend, it was not directed directly towards you, it was just a knee-jerk reaction to a certain kind of arguing that we have just heard far too often. In the sentence Brian quoted, these kind of arguments seemed to shine through, even if you wanted to say something different.

      It’s particularly this line “we cannot do anything but God can do everything” that triggers a strong response from people like me, because I heard it all the time during the reform movement in 2001. The UBF members always told me we needed to wait, and not interfere, and not push, God would solve the problems “in His time” anyway etc. The point I wanted to add to Brian’s response is the duplicity in UBF regarding this principle – when it comes to reformation of UBF, “we cannot do anything” and must not push and demand, and repeatedly bring up the problems, while on the other hand the whole ministry is based upon the idea that “we must do everything”, and push and train people and repeat the same teachings every week. That’s the big contradictoriness of UBFism in itself, and it really needs to be understood and exposed.

      I have three problems with the “we cannot do anything” phrase: 1) It leeds to fatalism and passivism, no matter how much you add “but I believe God can do anything”, 2) the mentioned double standard when in other situations you teach “we must do everything” and 3) the over-spiritualization of actually simple problems. For instance, the non-existent or non-transparent bookkeeping of offering moneys in the time of Samuel Lee was just wrong. Saying “we can’t do anything” and need to wait for God to fix this situation, or just “trust our leaders”, as some did in the time of Samuel Lee, is obviously not appropriate. If bad things happen, we need to react, no matter if this is a church or worldly organization. Also, if we want to reach a goal, we must do everything we can to reach that goal. If we want to get a dissertation, we must work for it, not just pray. If we want reform of our church, we must work for it, not just pray. If we see injustice done to somebody, we must do something about it, not just pray. In this case it’s even our obligation.

      The phrase “I can’t do anything” is just misleading. Why not just: “I can do a lot, but I can not do or control everything“. That would push people into the right direction. Or as Augustine phrased it: “Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you.” If you really take this seriously, then you’re on the right track. It’s ok for me if people say they need to pray for reform of UBF, because God must do everything, but only if at the same time they work for reform of UBF as if everything depends on them. Otherwise, stop praying, it’s not serious.

    • Chris,
      Thanks for clearing that up for me. It helps me to understand where you’re coming from.

    • Friend, what you say, things like “change cannot come about by mere force” sound good and right, and I understand what you mean.

      However, the point is that we must be much more concrete in our statements to give them real meaning. E.g. what exactly do you mean with “change”?

      We are hoping for many kinds of change. We hope that UBF leaders change their hearts and admit and repent for the past abuse. We also hope that UBF changes its traditions, teachings and practices, so that future members will not experience the same abuse and waste years of their lives. These are two different kinds of change. One can happen without the other.

      Ideally, we see both changes happen. But if we can’t see the first change, then at least we want to see the second change. And that’s a kind of change that certainly can be forced and pushed by the members. If people simply stop following the old traditions and stop accepting patterns and do things differently, who can hinder them? If the old leaders kick somebody out for doing this, then tell them you will also leave. Let these stubborn leaders kick everybody out of UBF, until they are all alone, maybe then they will finally change their hearts and come back. I believe being rebellious and forcing certain changes is the only way to change UBF, and maybe even the UBF leaders.

      Take an example from outside UBF, David Yonggi Cho. As and elder of his church said: “Over the past 14 years, I have met with Rev Cho many times to try to persuade him to repent and return to being a great pastor, but the corruption has continued. That’s why I had no choice but to disclose it to the outside world.” Change sometimes needs to be forced. Now that Cho has been sentenced to 3 years prison, that may help him to repent. Without force (in this case by the tax authorities) nothing would had happened, Cho would have continued many more years in the same way, and his heart would have become even more corrupt. Without this force, the whole church would have stayed in a state of corruption, and the precious offerings of church members wasted.

      There is change we can force and that we even must force, and there is change we cannot force. We need to discern. That’s why I really don’t like universal phrases as “change cannot be forced” or “we cannot do anything”. They can induce us to stay passive where we should become active.

      Disclaimer: Again, Friend, this comment is not directed to you personally, but more about a certain mindset that I know prevails in UBF. By coming here, by reading the comments, by joining the discussion, you already showed that you think differently and don’t want to stay passive. I’m really not commenting to criticize you, but to help you and other readers sharpen your thoughts about these matters.

    • I see your point and I agree with you. Unfortunately, I don’t see how the two changes you mentioned can be separated. The change I feel we need is not a change in behavior, but a change of heart, a change in mindset and attitude. Who can change a man’s heart? Change also requires courage for one side to admit wrong, and for the other side to speak up. Where does courage come from?

      I am not dismissing the need for action. I hope everyone does their best and what they feel is necessary. But I want to make sure we are not neglecting the most important factor in this equation. Prayer is not passive. It is the most powerful weapon God has granted us as believers. Prevailing prayer is “prayer that obtains the answer sought.” It is “God’s ordained means for extending His kingdom, for defeating Satan… and bringing into effect his good will on earth.” It is “God’s priority strategy for our age and dispensation.” (Mighty Prevailing Prayer, Wesley Duewel)

      Revival often started from a group of people praying together. And we need revival. So we need action, but the action cannot be achieved apart from God and prevailing prayer. No amount of eloquently stated arguments can open a person’s eyes or make him change his mind, believer or unbeliever. But when God’s Spirit moves, nothing can stand in his way. When God moves, even the slightest word or action can bring a person from death to life.

      I wanted to make sure the equation was balanced. If people are already engaging in this, then I spoke too quickly.

    • But I do admit the phrase “Let’s pray about it” has been used to avoid or dismiss further discussion, which is wrong.

    • “I don’t see how the two changes you mentioned can be separated.”

      You mean change of leadership and change of organization? Simply put, the organization does not change because people fear the leaders too much and do everything as they dictate. If you, in your UBF chapter simply stop following the old ways, if you start discussions, first in your fellowship, then in your whole chapter, you can change at least your local chapter. Some smaller chapters already changed that way. If everybody immediately objects and protests when chapter leaders start behaving abusively or authoritarian, things will change. For that to happen, you need to educate people about spiritual abuse. Organize a workshop about spiritual abuse. Start reading the book by Jeff VanVonderen together. Start reading the articles written by reformers in the past. Start reading the troubled history of other similar ministries, like the ICoC. Start discussing all of these things in your chapter. You can do this now, you don’t need to wait for any leader to repent. Also, remember that the UBF leadership structure is a hierarchical pyramid. You can only change that pyramid bottom-up. First change the lower-ranking leadership, i.e. the chapter directors. Or better, destroy the hierarchical nature of that pyramid bottom-up. I.e. demand that instead of having a single chapter director, you have a group elders of which the majority must be native members. This is the Biblical model. Readthe book Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch together in your fellowship. Discuss the booklet To what shall we be loyal?. Don’t accept structures as they are when they are unbiblical and potentially breeding spiritual abuse. Fix the by-laws of your local chapter. If you start with the smaller structure, and then erode the whole pyramid bottom-up until it comes crumbling down. It will be up to the leaders whether they change their heart if they see all of this happening.

    • “‘Let’s pray about it’ has been used to avoid or dismiss further discussion.”

      Also, prayer is not a replacement for becoming informed and educated. If you refuse to read the testimonies written by ex member and reformers, if you do not study the problem of spritiual abuse in UBF and other groups and churches, then you will not even understand what you need to pray for.

      Btw, I remember how the missionaries taught us to pray every morning for over an hour in a dark room, and the first prayer topic was always “for the leadership of Samuel Lee and Sarah Barry”. I hope you understand I’ve grown very sceptical about these kind of prayers. It was more like self-indoctrination to blind submission and acceptance of the UBF leadership pyramid as somethign God-given.

      Another excuse to dismiss discussion is “we don’t have time, we need to prepare the upcoming conference.” My chapter director used it, and even Samuel Lee gave this excuse when reformers approached him in January, telling them “I have not time, I need to prepare for the International Summer Conference” in August. Don’t allow them to play these games. Demand discussion and change right now.

    • “If you refuse to read the testimonies…”

      Just to clarify this again: I don’t mean you, Friend, because you’re open and obviously reading here. But I have met people in UBF who really categorically refused to even read these things.

      E.g. recently one UBF member wrote he had not read the 1976 letter by the senior UBF shepherds in Korea, and will never read it. Other members told me that reform ideas were like a “virus” and spread like “cancer”, you must stay away from them to not get “infected”. Others were put off by harsh or inappropriate wordings in some of the testimonies or discussions, and then used that as an excuse to stop reading anything critical at all. Yet others told me that he nearly started to “believe in evolution” when he read books about biology, so he stopped reading scientific books, and then told me he applied the same principle to UBF critical websites. “When I read these things, and it sounds plausible, I start to believe it. So I choose not to read anything in the first place, and that’s how I kept my faith.” What kind of faith in God is this that only works when you’re uneducated and uninformed? With the same reasoning a Muslim could refuse to read the Bible because it could stop him believing in the Quran. I don’t believe God wants us to use our brains.

      If you believe all the testimonies by UBF dropouts have been written in a conspiracy to destroy UBF and test your loyalty to UBF, then you probably also believe that scientists invented evolution theory in a conspiracy to destroy Christianity, and God buried all the Dinosaur bones only to test your faith.

      Hey, we are UBF. The U stands for “University”. Of all Christians, UBFers should be the first to use their brains. Don’t tolerate when when your UBF leaders want to keep you uninformed about certain events in the history of UBF. I feel so stupid because I have been 10 years in UBF, and didn’t even know about the existence of the 1976 reform movement and all the troubled history of Samuel Lee.

    • Of course I meant: I do believe God wants us to use our brains. Our ability to think logically and rationally comes from God.

    • forestsfailyou

      Friend I will mention (regarding bK’s comment to you) that the first time I submitted an article I was accused of cult thinking. I think that for certain people here you are guilty until proven innocent. There is a lot of “are you in or out” thinking here (and I am afraid in most other things). I hope that the dialog could be framed in a less accusatory manner.

      I can recall I attended a math conference a few years back. At one point the presenter assumed the Laplace transform was 1-1, which is false. I didn’t want to appear argumentative with someone with a phd, so I kept silent. Later I asked my professor how I should have dealt with this. He said his favorite way is to say “I am probably just mistaken but…”. People are usually eager to show you why you are wrong, and less eager to defend themselves especially when they have something on the line. This is as always a suggestion, not a command.

  30. Can you explain “han” syndrome? Also I don’t understand how my words are “self-focused”. Yes, we must separate Christianity from Confucianism but are you sure you understood what I was saying, and are you sure you did exactly as I said for 24 years? Maybe my untimely use of the words “heavens” and “bow” may have triggered some knee jerk reactions.

    However, I am not promoting doing nothing. I am saying though, that the way to real change in a person is not through force but through God. I am emphasizing that this fight is not as easy as a person changing his mind, but that Satan is ultimately wanting to destroy any person or group that wants to serve God and please him and we are no match for him. Ultimately if God is not pleased, of course, this group cannot continue. But I am asking God that if he is pleased with any aspect of this group, that he help us.

    My writing is not promoting an ideology but Biblical truths. I am not saying that I am representing all Biblical truth or that your interpretations are wrong. I am speaking from my own reading and experience.

    In a nutshell:

    First, God is sovereign. Once we accept this fact, we must surrender ourselves completely to him. We believe God called us and he will complete the work that was started in us. I surrender control of my life and of other people. I trust my future in his hands. Andrew Murray gives a stirring call to wait on God in his book “Waiting on God.” One point I remember is our job as the creation is to open our hands and wait on God, the Creator.

    Second, God is almighty. God has given us prayer as a very powerful tool to fight the powers of darkness and bring his kingdom of light and love to earth. A very interesting article by John Mulinde reveals that many times the prayers of God’s saints are not fully equipped to engage in the spiritual battle. He also asserts that Satan steals God’s blessings from people who give up praying in the middle and gives them to his followers. But that’s getting off track. Not just him but there are many books on the power of prayer and also people’s inability to tap into that resource. I myself am weak in this area. I believe it is because fundamentally I do not believe in my heart of hearts that God has power to help me in a certain area and I must do something myself. I also feel that UBF has lost power in this area, at least in the US.

    Third, God is good. Merlin Carothers in his book “Power in Praise” encourages believers to thank God in all situations citing Romans 8:28. He saw God move mightily when people stopped praying for someone to change or for a difficulty to pass, and instead thanked God for exactly that person or that situation and what God was teaching him through that situation. But this is not easy by any means.

    Fourth, the cross. God’s grace to me is free, but it was not free for God. It was purchased for me at the cost of his own life. The more I deeply realize the grace of God and the cost he paid for me, the more I realize that my self-worth lies only in his grace and nothing I can do or even hope to do. As I get older and realize that all my efforts are like a pile of stinking garbage, the more I am confounded by God’s love for such a person like me. In response, I want to give my life to him, but what can I give? I conclude that my life is only worth giving to God, however small it may be, simply because of the redeeming work he has done and is doing in me through the cross. So in essence, I am giving back merely what God has given to me.

    So although I personally feel daunted by this call for change, I do not think it’s impossible for God when we ask him to help us.

  31. Hi friend,

    To answer your first question about what is “han”, here are some references. I am speaking of “minjung theology” which sounds awfully like ubf teachings. Have you read the 50th Anniversary lectures in the ubf blue book? I have. And they all speak of some “spirit” as a kind of communal energy.

    “The minjung theologian Suh Nam-dong describes han as a “feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, a feeling of acute pain in one’s guts and bowels, making the whole body writhe and squirm, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong—all these combined.”
    (source 1)

    “…han is “defeat, grudges, unresolved resentments, tenacity of life, frustrated hope, the collapsed feeling of pain, letting go, resentful bitterness, the wounded heart, and inner wounds,” han is nevertheless “minjung’s energy, the force of liberation and justice, the ‘transforming of spiritual, sociopolitical, and cultural consciousness and movement (202).” The purpose of this energy, therefore, is to fill the oppressors life with minjung’s han until the cry for justice is heard and satisfied.”

    (source 2)

  32. Friend,

    I hear “han” and “minjung theology” in your comments.

    For example, you wrote this that says we can’t change:

    “I feel that the barrier that needs to be broken is insurmountable, reaching up to the heavens.”

    and then you wrote this that says we can change:

    “However, I am not promoting doing nothing.”

    and then you wrote this that says we cannot change:

    “Satan is ultimately wanting to destroy any person or group that wants to serve God and please him and we are no match for him.”

    Your comments here express an oscillation between hope and hopelessness. Your words remind me of exactly how I felt in 2003. I felt like I wanted to do something to change ubf, and then felt hopeless because the problems seem insurmountable.

    • So my first attempt to remove “han” from myself back in 2003 was to do the American thing. As an American, I first reacted as a patriot. I became “Mr. UBF” and patriotically tried to defend UBF on the internet as a Christian church. That defense failed miserably.

    • I also said, “So although I personally feel daunted by this call for change, I do not think it’s impossible for God when we ask him to help us.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/11/17/a-letter-to-cincinnati-ubf/#comment-13965

      (I really like this automatic quote feature)

      I do not see a contradiction. I’m stating a fact that it is very difficult especially when I set out to do this by my own strength or willpower. But I’m putting my hope in God through whom all things are possible. And practically, I’m doing what I can, namely trying to organize these articles in an easy to understand format that I can present to others. It’s not much and may not amount to much, but I’m doing it for God. I’ve pretty much spent my whole day on this website, my only day when kids are gone and I can attack my long “to do” list. I feel sad because I could not be as productive as I hoped, but again, I offer it to God and believe he accepts it.

    • What you are doing is good work, friend, and for that I am grateful.

  33. I won’t keep critiquing your words, Friend, but I do have one last thing to say:

    “I’m doing it for God”

    This is great. Love for God is not something I fault people for. What I ask is we also do something out of love for other people. It is ok to love people, and to do something for them. Loving our neighbor is not neglect of God and often may be the very thing we need to do in order to love God properly.

    • No worries. That wording may not have been the best. I guess what I mean is if I’m doing this for an organization or even some people, it could look like or feel like a waste of time. But if I offer it to God as my prayer for change and reconciliation, I trust God will use it as he deems suitable and it is not wasted. Honestly, I cannot say I’m so noble that I’m doing this out of love for other people. But I will say it is my prayer for change, reconciliation and a brighter tomorrow.

    • And I completely agree with you that if we profess to love God we must love our neighbor. But it seems a little unrelated to my point.

  34. Friend,

    “I am a person, an individual, not “UBF”. I don’t like having words put in my mouth, and a mouthful at that, just as much as I’m sure you don’t. Do you think it’s right to lump your complaints about UBF and direct them at me in one comment? – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/11/17/a-letter-to-cincinnati-ubf/#comment-13975

    We are simply trying to process your words. If you are going to have a conversation then we need to try to understand each other.

    Here is a difficult lesson I’ve had to learn: What I say is not what people hear.

    And when I process what people hear me say, I can then adjust what I say and know about my blind spots. That is a big part of what happens on this forum: we all discover our blind spots.

    Regardless of your exact words, Chris and I are hearing something, something that may be a blind spot to you. This is what we strive for here. We aren’t calling for action so much as we are calling people to mutually talk to each other and learn to build healthier relationships than what most of us experienced at ubf.

  35. Granted, processing is one of the most difficult parts in a conversation. I thought I had tried to explain myself and my line of thought. However, I felt that chris’ comment had disregarded my other comments, saw one line and went to town with it. I am not disagreeing with his points. I could have seen them more objectively if he had not made pointed remarks at me saying ‘if you believe…

    On rereading his article, i see what you’re saying. Overall I know my comments may not go over smoothly with everyone and I expect and welcome the challenge as I am also challenged by others here. As the saying goes “iron sharpens iron” God bless

    • “However, I felt that chris’ comment had disregarded my other comments, saw one line and went to town with it.”

      Sorry, Friend, I’m committing this same mistake all the time ;-)

    • forestsfailyou

      Every now and then when I am reading a theology book I get bored because the author keeps expanding on seemingly trivial points to his main point. And every now and then I read something like this were someone vastly misunderstand or takes something not of the authors intent and becomes critical (maybe not in a mean way!) and then I read something like this tread and understand why.

  36. Friend, thanks so much for taking the time to read through countless articles written and attempting to organize them! I certainly look forward to your efforts with much anticipation and excitement.

    Thanks also for willingly engaging back and forth with BK and Chris, which is far more than most ever experienced from some senior UBF leaders, either in public or even in private, without them wanting to end it or dismiss it ASAP, in order to “put a lid on the (shameful) past as though people will simply forget about it,” and press on with “far more urgent business as usual.”

  37. Joe Schafer

    Powerful words from Boz Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham) about the failure of pastors and church leaders to report suspected child abuse in their midst.

    “I grieve that when the parents of one of the boys told a pastor about the abuse, he chose not to report the crime to the police and strongly discouraged the family from doing so…

    – See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/05/23/searching-jesus-todays-church/?utm_content=buffera3b48&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.dmqDwLol.dpuf

    What will it take before UBF leaders finally wise up?

  38. This is the response to Boz’s article from a member of SGM where the leaders were covering up the abuse that I think will resonate with many victims of any kind of abuse, including spiritual abuse:

    “I was part of an SGM church when the law suit broke. For many, many reasons, including the law suit, we finally left. I’ve spent many months struggling with leaving. I buried the confusion I felt over the abuse cases though.

    There were people in my church who were angry that it was filed. They defended the leaders and in many ways called the victims liars.

    I am not an outspoken person in general so I just really kept my outrage to myself. My husband was a bit more vocal about why we were leaving (which was far beyond the law suit. The abuse was catalyst that started our departure.) I was having to field defense on many fronts despite leaving fairly quietly. I think the leadership was glad to see my husband go. He rocked the boat of their controlled environment too much.

    All of that overshadowed my outrage at the time. I didn’t realize the hurt and anger I felt over it though. Fast forward to the verdict this week and I just feel angry. All the ugly words spoken by church members came flooding back. All the insistence from the leadership that nothing took place. I am much more angry than I expected to be.

    Your words hit the nail on the head. You said what my mind and heart could not. I should have said more. I should have said that it doesn’t make sense that leadership didn’t know. A good leader would have known. A good leader would have acted. I should have said it doesn’t make sense that so many victims would come forward and falsely accuse….all with the same story!!!!

    How can so many people from different congregations gather together to fabricate such intricate lies? That’s ridiculous.

    I think of my own children and how outraged and hurt I would be if these horrible thing had happened to one of them and the church did nothing…and then called them liars.

    I am sorry I didn’t speak out. I am sorry that was cowardly. I should have said more. There are still so many raw emotions mixed in this for me. But really it’s not about me. God’s precious little ones were hurt. The church turned their back on them. And they are still turning their back on them. That makes me angry.

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for the reminder that He is on the move. And thank you for helping me muster the courage to give myself permission to be outraged without stuffing it to hide. God bless.” (BOLD mine) – See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/05/23/searching-jesus-todays-church/?utm_content=buffera3b48&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.dmqDwLol.hWh9WUCa.dpuf

  39. big bear

    Beka..I was told by daughter that it was someone that went to fellowship…yes no proof because did not catch person but sent sketch to director she drew and no reply…it happened so long ago….still director should have shown concern….as far as book…it is the truth that
    I experienced in UBF…you were not there the first 10 years in UBF and dont know the events thatvI mention in book..it is my perspective

  40. big bear

    Beka…amin..please share your side of our story..it will be helpful for you, me and UBF…tell it all…write your own book…agree UBF ignores problems…major theme of my book:)

  41. Just tagging Andrew’s letter… anyone out there have recent contact with Cincinnati ubf? A news reporter wants to know.

    • Joe Schafer

      It was negative publicity in news outlets that finally made the leadership of Mars Hill take notice. But their response may be too little, too late. The church is already taking a big hit in attendance and revenue, and some of its sites are closing.


      In all the past news reports on ubf, the leaders who were interviewed acted as though there was nothing wrong. If they do the same thing again, it will look very ridiculous.

  42. Mark Mederich

    “You used to be more thankful”: NEVER AGAIN, UNTHANKFULDOOYAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)>