What next? Four books

goodnessfoundcoverFront-e1398512105828[Admin note: This article was modified on 10/26/2014 to remove one of the four books that became unpublished recently.]

Today our new Friend submitted a thoughtful, heartfelt and well-articulated article entitled “What next?” I want to share my response as an article instead of a comment because I have far too many emotions and thoughts racing through my veins. I am both excited and encouraged to read Friend’s thoughts. But I don’t want to go backward in my journey. I have asked myself that question thousands of times the past three years since resigning from UBF on July 4th, 2011. What do I do now? UBF shepherds promised to make my name great like Abraham, to train me to be a world-class leader, to learn how to be a Christian missionary and how to deeply study the bible. Those promises turned out to be a mirage for me. I have no idea and no authority to determine what is next for UBF ministry or people. What I can do is concern about what is next for me and my family. Here are my thoughts.

Cultural and Emotional Healing

I am far from a world-class leader. After leaving UBF I found that I could barely speak my own language fluently. I had lost the ability to speak and think at “American-speed”. In order to survive my UBF tenure of 24 years, my emotions had been bound up and stored away in a dark corner of my heart. My conscience had been cut out in order to sustain the massive amount of cognitive dissonance it required to enable and propagate the KOPHN fantasy. So I will continue my quest to restore my American identity, connect with my Roman Catholic roots, rejuvenate my emotions and restore my conscience.

Writing Books!

One of the reasons I stayed in  UBF that I discovered through writing my second book is that I have a massive desire for self-glory and fame. UBF fed this desire well. So well in fact that after leaving UBF I became the infamous detractor, and most vocal critic. That is the lot of all of us who seek fame– infamy awaits. I decided however to turn this into something good. I discovered the joy of writing books. Today Amazon published my second. Here are the links to my books:

  •  Goodness Found: The Butterfly Narratives (paperback | Kindle)
    Publication date: May 12, 2014


  • Rest Unleashed: The Raven Narratives (paperback | Kindle)
    Publication date: March 26, 2014



More Books about UBF

What is next for UBF ministry is uncertain. UBF is at a crossroads. What is certain is that more and more publicity is headed UBF’s way. There have been many internet testimonies and some TV interviews at places like Chicago UBF and Toledo UBF. Now there will be more and more books published about people’s experiences at UBF.

  • I Choose: Subtlety in Cults, Isabelle Renaud (Kindle)
    Publication Date: November 30, 2013


“I wrote this book to explain how easily someone can get trapped in a controlling group or relationship. This book is not about religion, it is about the organizational structure and emotional manipulation. It is about finding yourself after losing yourself.

Isabelle was in university when she entered a Christian group called University Bible Fellowship. During the following years, she acquired her experience on cults while spending three years in UBF and working for various community organizations.”



  1. Thanks for sharing, Brian. I hope that more and more UBFers may listen, hear and understand what you had gone through for 24 years: “After leaving UBF I found that I could barely speak my own language fluently. I had lost the ability to speak and think at “American-speed”. In order to survive my UBF tenure of 24 years, my emotions had been bound up and stored away in a dark corner of my heart. My conscience had been cut out in order to sustain the massive amount of cognitive dissonance it required to enable and propagate the KOPHN fantasy. So I will continue my quest to restore my American identity, connect with my Roman Catholic roots, rejuvenate my emotions and restore my conscience.”

    If UBFers can’t, won’t or refuse to hear this, or if they insist on their own paradigms, perspectives and prejudices, then Lord have mercy on us.

    • Thanks Ben. I cared for the people in ubf for over two decades. I thought for them, explained for them, defended for them, served for them, talked for them, drove for them, paid for them, on and on.

      So now I don’t give a dirty flying rat’s patookie whether they listen or not. I write for myself. I write for my family. And I write for the families and sheep stuck in the ubf entanglements.

      This second book should be subtitled “The definitive guide to surviving in ubf ministry”. But that would have given them too much credit.

    • For their own sakes and their children’s sakes, they should listen. When I started listening, God enriched my own heart and life.

    • AndreyP

      “So now I don’t give a dirty flying rat’s patookie whether they listen or not. I write for myself. I write for my family. And I write for the families and sheep stuck in the ubf entanglements.”

      Brian, my heart resonates with every word in these lines (even I went to urban dictionary for patookie).

      Joe and Ben, after reading your comments on Friend’s post a question came to my mind: what are the reasons they are so focused on changing ubf leaders? At least you get upset when they do not change. It is interesting to note that Brian has different priorities: me, my family and other enslaved sheep and families. What if you continue “serving” ubf leaders by neglecting your full ability to help some others to get free of ubf and at the cost of helping yourselves and your own families?

    • Joe Schafer

      AndreyP, it’s good to hear from you.

      I wrote lengthy comments to Friend because I wanted her to know how hard my wife and I worked over the past five years, to do exactly what she suggested — to help UBF leaders learn how to open up lines of healthier communication and start to listen to members who were being hurt and oppressed in various ways.

      After giving it our best try, we concluded that they really did not want our help and were never going to listen anyway. So for the sake of our health and our family and others close to us, we are now doing what you have suggested. We are letting UBF leaders do as they wish. And we will no longer sacrifice ourselves or our families to fulfill their dreams.

      I wanted Friend, and anyone else who is still in UBF and who may be thinking about helping the leaders to rescue the organization, to be fully aware of what was tried and how it failed. I won’t tell them what to do. But I want them to be as aware as possible.

  2. “As a young adult in college, I was full of dreams. I grew up with Star Wars and often dreamed of escaping to other worlds. My favorite books were science-fiction fantasy. I ate up books like Orson Scott Cards’ “Ender’s Game”, George Orwell’s “1984” and “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” by Alan Dean Foster. I loved escaping from my small country town in Ohio to the far away, fantastical worlds full of adventure and magic. It is no surprise that I loved the noble dream I found in the UBF bible studies and meetings. It seemed to me that we were creating a new society, sort of a kingdom of God here on earth. I wanted to be part of that adventure.

    During those first years at UBF, I studied all 50 chapters of Genesis four times. Chapter by chapter, verse by verse and word by word, we interrogated this first book of the bible. We called this bible “study” but in reality, we were combing the text to find justifications for our noble dream. We used the same questions (from a mandatory UBF study sheet) over and over and rarely used Christian commentaries or other books. We wanted a “pure” interpretation, untainted by people’s opinions. Ironically, we were listening only to people’s opinions, specifically one man’s and one woman’s interpretation, since we only used the UBF founders’ question sheets.”

    excerpt from narrative 1 – Why did I join? source

    • forestsfailyou

      Have you speaker for the dead BK, its the book squeal? It’s by far my favorite book in recent memory. I liked it even more because of the Portuguese. Here is a story worth noting from the book:

      ““A Great Rabbi stands, teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife’s adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death.

      There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine – a Speaker for the Dead – has told me of two other Rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I’m going to tell you.

      The Rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. ‘Is there any man here,’ he says to them, ‘who has not desired another man’s wife, another woman’s husband?’
      They murmur and say, ‘We all know the desire, but Rabbi none of us has acted on it.’

      The Rabbi says, ‘Then kneel down and give thanks that God has made you strong.’ He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, ‘Tell the Lord Magistrate who saved his mistress, then he’ll know I am his loyal servant.’

      So the woman lives because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder.

      Another Rabbi. Another city. He goes to her and stops the mob as in the other story and says, ‘Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.’

      The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. ‘Someday,’ they think, ‘I may be like this woman. And I’ll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her as I wish to be treated.’

      As they opened their hands and let their stones fall to the ground, the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman’s head and throws it straight down with all his might it crushes her skull and dashes her brain among the cobblestones. ‘Nor am I without sins,’ he says to the people, ‘but if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead – and our city with it.’

      So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance.

      The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis and when they veer too far they die. Only one Rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation.

      So of course, we killed him.

      -San Angelo”

      Orson Scott Card Speaker for the Dead
      Letters to an Incipient Heretic”

    • No I’have read that book forests. For 24 years I had my head up my you-know-what and viewed such books as satanic and a great hindrance to my KOPHN fantasy.

      I would love to read it now. Seems like he address it to me, as I can related to being an “Incipient Heretic” :)

  3. “Joe and Ben, after reading your comments on Friend’s post a question came to my mind: what are the reasons they are so focused on changing ubf leaders?” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2014/05/12/what-next-four-books/#comment-13694

    Welcome again, AndreyP! I think most UBFers basically know that only God can change anyone, including ubf leaders. As a GHE (glass half empty) person, I realistically do not see any major or significant change happening anytime soon. My main struggle is not to become bitter, resentful, vindictive, retaliatory, vengeful, overly angry, etc, (which is hard, and which sometimes keeps me up at night especially when my mind is tired), but to continue to enjoy love, joy and peace in the Spirit (Gal 5:22) in the current situation and climate.

    As I have expressed before, my hope and prayer is that enough young people in UBF will begin to speak up on the basis of truth and not be intimidated by what is not the truth.

    That is why the post by Friends and Forests were both so encouraging to me. I believe that there will be more and more UBFers like Friends and like Forests, who will not cave in to unhealthy authoritarian practices that are abusive, intimidating, coercive and oppressive, but become humbly assertive and bold by God’s grace and develop critical thinking, which has been suppressed for 5 decades and counting.

  4. AndreyP

    Ben, thanks for your promt reply. Since it is not the answer for my question, I just ask you to remeber Brian’s priorities. It seems important to me.

    • Sorry, I may be wrong, but I did not get the sense that they were “so focused on changing ubf leaders,” but that they were attempting to figure out how to work toward reconciliation and change.

    • Joe Schafer

      In a top-down organization like this one, “reconciliation and change” won’t happen unless the leaders change or are replaced.

  5. AndreyP

    Joe, I did not meant you or Ben are completely ignore your families. But it seems to me you still give ubf leaders too much attention. All of us learned at our shepherd’s knees to sacrifice ourselves, our families for the sake of mission. For years we were taught to please ubf leaders. I do respect you tried to talk to them, but again 5 years seems too much for me. I might be wrong but after 8 years outside ubf this stroke my eye when I read your comments. At the same time Brian very precisely formulated the priorities I was thinking about: help yourself, your family and possible others without any care of what ubf leaders think. I consider this mindset as a healthy one. In my opinion it can be the right answer for “What’s next?”.

  6. Joe Schafer

    Andrey, you may be right. Five years may have been too long to try to work with UBF leaders for change. Others have told us that we didn’t try long enough, and they want us to continue. At every stage in that process, we made our own decisions and did what we believed God wanted us to do. Our consciences are clear.

  7. big bear

    In UBF you are taught to ignore problems and trust God to deal with them…just preach the gospel…this was so part of my make up as a leader…my chapter director kind of engrained this in us…he had a MD wife who supported him so he could getaway with it and had our offerings…..

    The problem was when you get married and pioneer new chapter..the support was not there….ignore problems and not listening to loving and sound doctrine will be UBF downfall…we cant ignore obvious abuses and sins….it is hard for top down leaders to listen because it is about religious pride and it means change…they will hold out until the bottom falls out..I had to change when I found myself living on the water’s edge of the Ohio river…it is difficult and painful to become bankrupt but liberating and free..love blooms..if enough people stsnd up in UBF against the abuse and system it will change…I applaud Joe, Ben, Brian and others on this website and for standing up….I had no where to turn when my UBF world fell apart…but this website was very helpful in my healing process andbwriting a book..still not fully recovered but with God’s love I am eing to commit to God work in a healthy church and plan to get a Master degree at a Bible college and serve in a new way in the body of Christ…want to thank you all for speaking up..
    Joe told me about this site while still in UBF…but laughed and stayed away…was to proud to listen…but now I am all ears:)))

    • bigbear, you and I are an example of reconciliation. It is possible, even with the hard-core ubf folks like we used to be. Chris and I are another example of reconciliation. Chris and I used to be virtual enemies, now we are virtual friends. This does not mean we agree 100% with each other. I just means we have found reconciliation.

    • And a better example of reconciliation would be Ben and myself. How can the “most bitter ex-uber” (me) and the “most ardent ubf defender” (Ben) find reconciliation? It is possible. And it can happen to even the most stubborn Korean ubfer. Why do we act sometimes as if God is dead? The God I know is alive.

      Changing hearts and minds is God’s job. Reconciling with each other is our job. If the ministry of reconciliation (given to us by Christ Himself) was not possible, I would not still be in this fustercluck of a conversation regarding ubf.

      So yes I’m tired of talking about ubf. But I will never tire of talking about the ministry of reconciliation.

    • And I think, perhaps, I just found the inspiration for my 3rd book :)

    • forestsfailyou

      I read the ‘I choose: subtly in cults’ last night. Actually me and my roommate together. Her experience was much different because she was a woman. Have you contacted her BK?

    • Forests, no I’ve not contacted Isabella. I did leave a review on Amazon of her very good book. It was tough for me to read all of her ubf “sogams” interspersed in the book, I skipped most of those. Her book is a must read though to understand the ubf experience.

      Her experience is not so different from mine. I saw almost all the same things. Two big differences: 1) she only stayed 3 years in a Canadian chapter 2) Sister’s ministry is different from brother’s ministry at ubf. I won’t speak for the women in ubf, but I really really really wish the women is ubf would speak their mind publicly!

    • Joe Schafer

      The testimonies in Isabella’s book are standard, generic UBF-style women’s sogams that could be used with almost any Bible passage. They can be a helpful resource for women who no longer want to write their own. Combine them with Steve Ricker’s answers to Bible study questions, and you will have more time to spend with your families.

    • Yes Joe! Forget about “anti-ubf”. Just turn on “auto-ubf”. I coasted the last 10 years in ubf on auto-pilot. I was surprised to find my wife’s shepherds (founding members of Toledo ubf who left in 2012) also checked out 10 years before leaving.

  8. Many of these books can be read for free if you have amazon prime.

  9. Sharing this quote just because I’ve sold or given away over 200 books!

    “I had the chance to visit more than 30 UBF chapters around the world, including England, Russia, Germany and South Korea. Each time, there was an ever-present, unmistakable layer of guilt and shame. I felt this dark cloud during much of my 24 years at UBF. We all knew it, but few spoke about it. We never tried to identify why we all felt so bad. Instead we kept to ourselves and thought to ourselves, “I must be the only one who feels like this. Everyone looks so happy.” But the reality was that we all wore “happy masks”, keeping face and pretending to give glory to God so no one would notice the pain we kept inside.”

    Goodness Found: The Butterfly Narratives

  10. The journey continues. My fourth book is soon to be published: website for information and discussion about my books