The Work of Satan in Mexico

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 10.13.33 AMIn light of the public prayer topic for our ubfriends in Mexico, I would like to share some news so that you can pray more clearly about the situation. The recent public prayer topic was announced this way on “Pray for M. Timothy, Mexico and his sock factory closed since last 3 weeks. Now he earnestly requests our sincere prayers that by next Tuesday (Feb. 24), he may submit all the necessary documents the labor department required after doing what they requested in the factory, and the factory may be allowed to reopen!”

The Work of Satan?

In a recent message also posted publicly, a ubf missionary mentions the situation in Mexico as the work of Satan. Here are the more detailed prayer topics:

First, God blessed M. Timothy and Hannah so far looking at their beautiful lives of sacrifice for the work in Mexico.

Second, what is happening now came from Satan for his hatred towards all believers and to attack the Conference in Mexico in April 2-5.

Third, I was very surprised to see M. Timothy’s faith which is as strong as Job’s, and M. Hannah is so different from Job’s wife. She was calm and always praying despite the difficult situation. I saw that they believe in God as their living redeemer.

Fourth, I could trust that the living Lord, our redeemer will end these problems very soon and that he will make them even more prosper in his belongings and also in their children– this doesn’t mean they will have two more children, they are no longer in an age to have more children, but God can give them more children in some other way: by giving children to M. John and M. Goh Eun, and in the case of Hannah Jr, by giving her a good husband for her house church and many spiritual children).

The Rest of the Story

The message above says this: “Now all of the coworkers in Mexico and other countries know how difficult times M. Timothy is going through.” I can’t help but wonder this: Do they? Do they really know the seriousness of what is happening? Is this really Satan’s work? Or might this be a work of God calling our ubfriends out of silence and to do the right things? If no crimes were committed, why not just come clean and share what is going on? If we are going to pray, shouldn’t we know a bit more about the situation?

The internet has numerous copies of this story, and there is an ongoing investigation into what the ubf missionaries were doing in their sock/garment business. Here is a small sampling of the stories being reported in the news media.

Mexico rescues 129 workers ‘abused’ by S.Korean firm

“Authorities raided the company in the town of Zapopan on Wednesday after receiving an anonymous tip, INM coordinator Ardelio Vargas Fosado told reporters, describing the South Koreans as a “gang of suspected human traffickers.”

Officials rescued 121 women and eight men, including six minors who were 16 and 17 years old.

The workers told prosecutors that they were “victims of physical and sexual abuse, as well as threats, psychological harm and grueling work days,” Vargas Fosado said.

The four South Koreans could not prove whether they legally lived in Mexico. The South Korean consulate was notified to provide assistance to the suspects, officials said.

Workers at Yes International, a company run by South Koreans, watch as Mexican police conduct a raid … Jalisco’s chief prosecutor, Luis Carlos Najera, said authorities are investigating whether child abuse and sexual crimes were committed.

The employees toiled in “unsanitary” conditions, with pollutants in their place of work, and the material they handled posed a fire hazard while the company had no fire safety equipment, said Victor Manuel Torres Moreno, a labor ministry official.”

Korean company denies accusations

“Last week, Attorney General Luis Carlos Najera, revealed that some people who were “rescued” were under psychological treatment, since they had developed the “Stockholm Syndrome”; ie they had achieved affinity occupationally who presumably abused them.”

(translation to English link to this story)

Workers want factory reopened in Zapopan

“The company issued a statement this week to deny the charges against it. President Nak Bong Rhee Choi said the accusations were unfounded, although he admitted there had been a labor investigation but the firm was collaborating with authorities. It had committed no crimes, he said.”


  1. Mark Mederich


  2. forestsfailyou

  3. Joe Schafer

    Brian, thank you.

    It is important for readers to note that Brian is not claiming to know what actually happened in Guadalajara. He is just providing summaries and links to articles that have appeared in the news.

    In contrast, the information provided on, including the Sunday message delivered in Guadalajara, categorically states that M. Timothy is a completely righteous and innocent man (just like Job) and that everything that happened was the work of Satan to discourage ubf members as they prepare for an Easter conference. Those statements are highly subjective editorializing, and their appearance on doesn’t make them true.

  4. The problem I have with saying that it is the work of Satan to discourage UBF is that this can be applied to anything and anyone that some UBFers do not like:

    * Your spouse is Satan because they discourage you from serving world campus mission. Thank God that I’ve rarely heard that one’s children are playing Satan when they leave UBF.

    * UBFriends clearly is Satan hindering the work of God in UBF.

    * The U.S. is Satan because it makes UBF people easygoing.

    * You are Satan when you spend more time with your family, work, career than with serving world campus mission, or when you leave UBF.

    But interestingly not telling the truth (which is basically lying) in order to protect UBF/UBF interests is never ever the work of Satan, even though Satan is the father of lies (Jn 8:44).

    • forestsfailyou

      Cs lewis said we should regard demons like spies in wartime. Ever vigilant but never accusing.

    • Also, interestingly I don’t think I have been called Satan (but only childish, immature, ungrateful and untrained!). I don’t think Joe has ever been called Satan either. But maybe by association we are nonetheless both Satan because of our involvement with UBFriends.

    • And (drum roll please)…there’s Superbowl Satan. The Seahawks blame Satan for causing the goal line interception that caused them to lose the Superbowl.

  5. If we are going to pray, shouldn’t we know a bit more about the situation? – See more at:

    Common sense. This kind of spin and prayer was typical of my experience in UBF as well. Last year we were asked at a Sunday worship service to pray for a conference held by India UBF, that many students would attend. I knew about the request in advance and objected, asking this very question, “If we are going to pray, shouldn’t we know a bit more about the situation?” I then added, “Maybe what they need is to stop having a conference. Why would I pray that many students would attend in view of what I’d heard about what is going there?” Apparently, no one else in LA has a clue as to what’s going on in India or even heard a hint of controversy.

    The response I received? “We just pray and trust God to take care of India. We cannot be involved in their matters.” My reply, “Then we shouldn’t pray for many students to go there either,” didn’t go over well.

    So often we prayed for conferences, for UBF missionaries in trouble, for the GD (although no one knows what he does), for a list of campuses and a list of names without any knowledge of what was really going on. It felt meaningless and was a waste of time.

    • It is especially hard to have a two-way conversation with someone who is UBF-centric, UBF-biased and anti-UBF-prejudiced. They invariably equate the glory of God with the flourishing of UBF. This just comes across as being more concerned about the good name of UBF than the glory of God.

      As I am studying Isaiah these days, I remember how Isa 2:2-4 is interpreted in messages and Bible studies as people/college students from all over the world excitedly coming to study the Bible in UBF. This is literally replacing “the mountain of the Lord” with “the exaltation of UBF.”

      If this is how these are other passages are taught and preached, should we be surprised that UBF people are UBF-centric, all the while thinking they are glorifying God?

  6. once a shepherd

    Let me begin by saying thank you Joe for providing a disclaimer regarding Brian’s article. It helps put things in perspective. I want to state that looking at the links, my initial hunch is that Msn Timothy Rhee was maligned. Mexican authorities are known for jumping at any opportunity to assert their authority, especially when it deals with outsiders, so to appear as a service to the nation while continuing in their corrupt ways. Brian’s last link even shows Mexican employees seeking the factory to reopen and they themselves deny many of the allegations. They do concur that it does have roots in a culture clash. This might have caused some worker to inflate or even invent some of these allegations. So, to see this article here in UBFriends is dismaying, especially when so much headway has been made with your NOW NOW open letter calling for a response and Chicago headquarters willing now to provide one.

    I think no prayer or thought was given In this critical moment of dialogue by Brian or Dr. Ben. They just came across material in the internet lambasting our brothers and immediately categorized it as another example of false steps made by UBF leaders. I agree with you, Joe, that UBF messages equating Msn. Timothy as Job were a bit much. The conversation should have centered around how this part of our UBF culture needs to be addressed. Ultimately, the issue that is at the center of UBF is cultural, the treatment of young disciples (again cultural), and the lack of accountability for leaders. The conversation should center there. I too am distraught that UBF has been slow in addressing these issues, which hinder true brotherhood. But to just label, even in question, also creates a roadblock for Brethren that are trying to come into the light, which we all know is not easy without the guide of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to pray, continue in dialogue, and practice what we wish our UBF brethren to do; not continue to drum up accusations. I understand that many here in UBFriends are hurt, but healing will not come by continuing to accuse or evoke a response. We need to pray and talk directly with UBF brethren.

    I do thank admin for getting a dialogue started regarding our UBF culture. At the same time, I pray you do recognize the blessing God has provided with this open forum. I urge you to not simply voice your frustrations in this open air of wifi, but to be good stewards and diplomatically discuss the issues.

    • Duly noted, once a shepherd: “I think no prayer or thought was given in this critical moment of dialogue by Brian or Dr. Ben. They just came across material in the internet lambasting our brothers and immediately categorized it as another example of false steps made by UBF leaders.” – See more at: (For the record, I also do think that Timothy Rhee is quite likely innocent of the trumped up charges.)

      If I have hindered dialogue or efforts at reconciliation I am indeed sorry. Without being defensive, I also did not think that I was lambasting anyone or accusing UBF leaders of “false steps,” whatever that means. I thought that I was sharing my experiences and encounters with UBF people over 35 years. But thanks for your caution, nonetheless.

    • Welcome, once.

      I have a few reactions to some of your comments:

      “I want to state that looking at the links, my initial hunch is that Msn Timothy Rhee was maligned. Mexican authorities are known for jumping at any opportunity to assert their authority, especially when it deals with outsiders, so to appear as a service to the nation while continuing in their corrupt ways.”

      >> Did you see the article that mentioned an anonymous tip? That means there was a brave soul who acted as a whistleblower. I suspect there is not widespread abuse, but the likelihood of one or more instances of abuse (sexual and physical) is sky high. Do you realize how much courage it takes to be a whistleblower? No one seeks that out for the fun of it. And speaking of cultures, I did some more reading after these articles and Koreans have a reputation for what amounts to slave labor in other countries.

      “So, to see this article here in UBFriends is dismaying, especially when so much headway has been made..”

      >> Headway toward what? What do you think is happening with Joe’s letters and the ethics committee? Is God silencing all the ubf critics again so that they can go back to guarding the ubf heritage?

      “I think no prayer or thought was given In this critical moment of dialogue by Brian or Dr. Ben. They just came across material in the internet lambasting our brothers and immediately categorized it as another example of false steps made by UBF leaders.”

      >> Correct. I will never participate in collusion activities. Nor will I ever participate in sneaky, hidden reform attempts. I am not acting per some scripted agenda. I am just following my conscience and the prompts from the Holy Spirit. Isn’t this divine timing for this event? Rhee was not able to attend the GD vote, and because of this factory investigation, the GD voting was canceled in Mexico and moved to an online voting method. If this event had not happened, the new GD would have been chosen already and the 2011 reform movement would be over. But due to this event, we get to see something different this time, perhaps.

      >> We did not “come across this” on the internet. We saw the prayer topics on the website. Then I searched out the links intentionally to find out more to the story. This is a classic case of the ubf spin of self-glory that we’ve all experienced here. And this time, thanks to the internet, we get the real time events

      “Ultimately, the issue that is at the center of UBF is cultural, the treatment of young disciples (again cultural), and the lack of accountability for leaders.”

      >> I would agree on the lack of accountability for leaders part. I don’t think culture (Korean vs American) has much to do with the problems. Flawed KOPAHN theology and cult methods are at the heart of the issues I’ve seen. My priestlynation blog outlines the 5 core problems that I see, and they are not Korean culture for the most part.

    • My issues are basically 1) this article is useful, because UBF has a long history of quasi legal stuff. I’ve witnessed missionaries lying outright to get people to go to conferences or intentionally stepping around well known laws to make their lives easier. Unfortunately, this makes me not trust such people’s view “that this is the work of God”, much less that the trouble many face in serving is “the work of Satan.” 2) we’ll never really know what specifically caused the problem, but there are obvious things (no fire supression in a sock factory?) and then there is the spin, without any real information. Same with India. Same with Toledo. The actual problem (which could be as small as a mistake to as big as a coverup) is not dealt with, and the narrative of UBF continues to be written in spite of truth.

      Reminds me of Corban–covering up wrong doing by calling the whole thing the glory of God. Instead, why not pray for people to see the light of the gospel in spite of the difficulty? Pray for the workers who are out of work? For the government process?

    • “the issue that is at the center of UBF is cultural, the treatment of young disciples (again cultural), and the lack of accountability for leaders”

      Why didn’t you call the latter also “cultural”? If you have read UBFriends, you know that it has become a tradition for me to object the claim that cultural issues are at the core of UBF’s issues. And there it’s easy to proof it: If it was a cultural issue, then why have the reform movements 1976, 1989 and 2001 all be started by senior Koreans who were also deeply rooted in Korean culture? Second, if you study groups following the same shepherding/discipling paradigm as UBF does, such as the ICoC, that has been founded, lead and driven by people from the US, you will recognized the same problems. I have read a lot of material and testimonies of former ICoCers and I was amazed how in essence everything was so similar to what I experienced in UBF. So it is clear that the core issues are not Korean culture. While it certainly gives everything a distinct flavor, and makes things rather worse than better, it is not at the heart of the problems. You must look deeper.

      Regarding the article: UBF has a long tradition of lying about what really happened in their newsletter article. They also have a long track record of calling every accusation or criticism slandering campaings and “the work of Satan.” Therefore, personally, when I read official statements from UBF, I automatically distrust them and believe the opposite. It was good from UBF to publish some background information, because UBF is unwilling to do this.

      This report raises a lot of questions. First of all, why do missionaries who claim to be a “manger minstry” and only follow the footsteps of Paul who was a tentmaker, have such a big factory? There is a difference between making tents with your own hands for a living and having 150 poor people work for you. If you do that, you need to take care of your employees and their wellbeing, and that needs much time and attention. You can’t run a UBF chapter in parallel, one or the other will always suffer. Also, with which motivation was he running the company? UBF speaks only about the monetary aspect – quote: “God blessed me and Msn. Timothy Rhee so abundantly that we could purchase large centers. God blessed Msn. Timothy to become a rich man. He has a large sock factory with 140 employees and a huge store. He is also building a retreat center big enough to hold the regional conferences in the future.” No word about the needs of the employees and whether they benefit from the development – it only counts that Timothy became a rich man. No word about the burden and responsibility of running the company. In my experience, UBF never cared about the needs anyone who was not a student who could be raised as a UBF shepherd. In end effect it boils down to the old word that you can’t serve both God and Mammon.

  7. I see what you’re saying, but I think it would be helpful to hear an example of a better way to state the information.

    If Timothy Rhee was your friend, and he told you he was innocent, wouldn’t you believe him and ask for prayer requests?

    The name of Satan tends to be overused in UBF and should not be categorically used to condemn a person or situation. But at the same time, he is a living entity that we seriously need to be aware of and on our guard against. How would you suggest Korean missionaries bring up this issue in a way that can be understood by the general American christian that won’t be taken as offensive? I’m asking in all sincerity.

    Also, I’d like to know people’s opinion on this article by Rev. John Mulinde who witnessed the conversion of Satan worshipper to evangelist.

    • “How would you suggest Korean missionaries bring up this issue in a way that can be understood by the general American christian that won’t be taken as offensive?”

      That is actually part of my point, friend. Why spend time figuring out how to spin this to be not so offensive?

      My point is simply this: share the facts. Just be honest: There is an investigation into alleged abuses at a business run by a ubf Korean missionary. He is working to comply with the regulations of the government, such as installing fire safety equipment.

      What infuriates me is the “just cover this up and Satan hates us and God will give us even more blessging” attitude that was so nauseating for many of us for so long. Time to call bullcrap on this.

      How did ubf handle the suicide in Chicago in 2005?
      How did ubf handle the breakin in Toledo in 1990?
      How did ubf handle the abuse in NewYork we recently discussed?
      How did ubf handle the zoning violations in Glen Ellyn in Chicago?
      How did ubf hanlde the police investigation into Bonn ubf in 2007?

      My point? Stop hiding. Stop the lying. Stop spinning. Stop the self-glorification. Stop calling the world as “Satan”. And in one big massive word, just stop everything.

    • “If Timothy Rhee was your friend, and he told you he was innocent, wouldn’t you believe him and ask for prayer requests?” – See more at:

      No. That is not remotely like what I would do.

    • Hi friend. you asked:

      “Also, I’d like to know people’s opinion on this article by Rev. John Mulinde who witnessed the conversion of Satan worshipper to evangelist. – See more at:

      That link is too fanatical for me. I see a lot of fantasy/envisioning but I don’t buy into that line of thinking anymore.

      I sense a strong imperialism/elitism in that writing: “Join your hands if you can, with two or three people, and tell each other that there’s no need for any more defeat! We can overcome! There is enough power to overcome! Jesus has already finished the work.” Pray for each other that the Lord will help us to overcome. We should not lose. There is enough grace, enough power, for victory.”

      I’m no longer here to “form a priestly nation” or to “gain the victory over Satan’s forces”.

      I am just here to listen, to speak up and to love.

  8. “it would be helpful to hear an example of a better way to state the information. – See more at:

    A better way to state the information? This is ugly not because of me, but because it is ugly. There is no better way to state the information.

    In case anyone didn’t notice, I did not add commentary to the article here. I just quoted the news media and asked some questions.

    If you want my commentary I could share it…

  9. “How would you suggest Korean missionaries bring up this issue in a way that can be understood by the general American christian that won’t be taken as offensive? I’m asking in all sincerity.” – See more at:

    Thanks, friend, for this great question. I think it would be to just simply share the facts and the story of what happened. Don’t try to force some Bible verse or Bible story into what happened. This just comes across as playing judge (Mt 7:1), as though you are in the place of God and that you can see the situation most clearly, precisely and correctly, while all other views and opinions are inferior, unreliable, wrong or even Satanic.

    Using the Bible in such an instance comes across as justifying oneself. It is basically saying that UBF and UBF people are right, and that anyone or anything that hinders UBF or UBF people are bad and wrong. This simply creates an unhealthy “we/them” dichotomy.

    A very sad dichotomy that currently exists is the UBF/UBFriends dichotomy. If we can’t unite, reconcile, speak honestly to each other without ad hominems, half-truths, or spin, or wholeheartedly welcome one other, then what do we expect the watching world to think?

  10. FYI:

    This was sent out in an email to various UBF leaders/members.

    “Thank you so much for your prayer support for the long suffering M. Timothy and Hannah Since last February 5th. God answered our earnest intercessory prayers around the world that the authorities gave a permission to reopen the factory now. M. Timothy is safe. There are still unsolved, delicate issues to be cleared so please keep praying for them and for GDL UBF to prepare the upcoming Mexico regional conference (4.2-5) wholeheartedly and M. Timothy may eat food properly and restore his weight completely.”

    • Thank you for sharing that Ray. I remember getting such emails in the past. They made me feel like an “insider” because I knew more details. But really, neither this email nor the public announcement tell us any details about the reality or severity of the situation.

      It seems there is a real lack of desire to talk about and process reality. The goal of such communication seems to be get past reality and get on with praising God. I see this tendency in other Evangelical circles too, and it really bothers me that the “Christian witness” is so often bound in fantasy.

      Why should the “unsolved, delicate” issues be “cleared” by “prayers”? Shouldn’t sexual abuse be investigated? Shouldn’t unsafe work conditions be remedied?

    • Thanks, Brian. I don’t know the details so can’t make any judgement but it does sound like the accusations should be investigated if they haven’t been. Actually, I see similar things fairly regularly in Japan too. Managers, business owners, leaders, etc. who basically become *untouchable* because of their position, etc. In most cases people know about it but *can’t* say anything. I’ve personally seen 2-3 companies fail and/or go bankrupt because of this. I’ve also seen cases where it was a spiritual battle and through prayer and divine intervention we were able to gently bring up issues and get quiet resolutions over time.

  11. Thanks for clarifying. As MattC points out, we can broaden our perspective to include the gospel light to prevail in this trial, the displaced workers, and government process. And as Ben says, we need to stick with the facts and not make everything a dramatic story. We can relay the facts with compassion, but not everyone needs to be made a hero. I admit that I easily reverted to the fantasy that I was the most important person of my life, or the hero of my life, to deal with frustration and disappointment. God would make me great in time. But actually, God has no obligation to do so. I am a broken jar of clay. There is no clause guaranteeing my own greatness, but I am cherished forever by God because of the light he has shone into my heart. People say UBF is nothing, but it’s become too important in it’s own eyes. The faster we realize we are not important at all and UBF is not important, the sooner we can truly listen to one another and have compassion on each other and find real peace in Jesus. God does not command us to raise an army of soldiers who must obey or step out of the way. He commands us to love one another even at great cost to ourselves and allow his Spirit to work in our hearts.

    • Amen. It is when our focus truly, genuinely is love (for God, others, enemies–be it UBF or UBFriends), that God will raise his people to be salt and light of the world (Mt 5:13-16). But when love is absent, low or indiscernible, then all the effort and labor in the world will be in vain, like spinning one’s wheels, or even counterproductive (Mt 23:15).

  12. Gajanan Nial
    Gajanan Nial

    The faster we realize we are not important at all and UBF is not important, the sooner we can truly listen to one another and have compassion on each other and find real peace in Jesus. God does not command us to raise an army of soldiers who must obey or step out of the way. He commands us to love one another even at great cost to ourselves and allow his Spirit to work in our hearts. – See more at:
    Amen to that, friend! I feel liberated and alive (not really showing off) because I realized it. Some of my comments here may show me like a bitter, angry person struggling with the traumas of UBF. But frankly the moment Jesus began to become bigger than ubf or any ministry assignment, I began to enjoy a new level of peace and freedom. I am quite sure that Brian, Ben, Joe and others eagerly want our brethren in ubf to enjoy this higher truth and deeper peace.
    I know it sounds like “death” for long time ubf leaders to think of ubf as nothing and to let it go. But “resurrection” comes only after the death, and that is why I want many of these brethren not to die for ubf, but to die to ubf and live for Christ. To reiterate Ben’s point, the greatest commandment is not mission but love (for God and for others). And we can love others only to the degree that we love ourselves, and therefore one needs to learn to love himself/herself truly first. Sadly these are in direct conflict with the KOPHAN theology. But I fully agree with you; the sooner it goes, better will be our relationship with God and with one another.

    • “Sadly these are in direct conflict with the KOPHAN theology. – See more at:

      This is precisely right. What we see in the Mexico factory is the direct result of KOPAHN thinking. Such flawed covering theology creates an environment for abuse to foster. So while the chapter director may not have caused the abuse directly, they are accountable for creating a cover-up environment.

      This is exactly like the human rights violations the 1976 reformers claimed: “The 1976 claim was that UBF training involved beatings, sitting naked in ice water, starvation and pulling toenails. They further claimed that shepherds were instructed to hit each other and that several shepherds were hospitalized. The claim is that these things were done rather randomly, even for seemingly reasonable failures, such as missing a leader’s meeting because of a severe snowstorm.” 1976 ubf reform letter – review

  13. This has hit BBC now:

    BBC Latin America News

    “The authorities said they received an anonymous tipoff which led them to the factory.

    The officials said the workers – six of whom were under age – accused the owners of physical and sexual abuse.”

    We’ve been saying for decades that such things need to be addressed and processed, but instead it has all been swept under the rug of “prayers” to “clear the name of ubf”. When a culture of abuse is not dealt with clearly, then this is what happens. The gospel makes no promise of escaping all consequences of sin in this life.

    So in light of the BBC report, the ubf email to “clear this” by “prayers” just sounds so superficial and lacking. I am sure ubf would like to “clear” these things before 4/2 when their conference starts…

  14. More details about the investigation. It seems the factory was re-opened, but the investigation continues. (oh wait, I mean Satan is still attacking God’s servants….)

    Korean companies under investigation for labor slavery

    “After 129 exploited workers were rescued from a textile factory in Zapopan, Jalisco ran by Koreans, authorities revealed to EL UNIVERSAL that other companies ran by Koreans in Mexico City, Michoacán and Oaxaca are being investigated. ”

    “The workers rescued from Yes Internacional SA de CV, located on 7490 Mariano Otero Avenue in Zapopan, are the tip of the iceberg of an exploitation that has resulted in crimes such as human trafficking, rape, sexual and child abuse, unlawful deprivation of liberty, intentional homicide and organized crime.

    According to the victims the children were paid between 150 and 170 pesos a week (between US$10 and 11), and they worked in unhealthy and overcrowded conditions. The rescued victims also said that they were not allowed to leave the premises and that they were forced to sleep on the floor next to the machines and the boilers, so diseases were prevalent.

    So far 27 women have declared that they were raped or sexually abused, while five more said that after they became pregnant as a result of the attacks they were forced to abort in order to avoid leaving evidence of the crime.

    Four Korean citizens who entered the country illegally were arrested at the company’s premises. So far they have refused to testify, but the victims have identified them as responsible for some of the sexual and labor abuses suffered by them.”

  15. In other news, Jesus People USA (JPUSA) is finally getting their due. It just takes one brave soul to stand up and speak out with courage and love and a desire to end the abuse.

    JPUSA lawsuit

    “But as a community, JPUSA has been dogged by controversy since the 1994 publication of Recovering from Churches That Abuse. In that book, Ron Enroth, author and Westmont College sociologist, chronicled how former JPUSA members reported being spiritually abused. In 2001, the Chicago Tribune reported that JPUSA leaders held an “iron grip” on commune members. In both instances, JPUSA members denied the community or the governing council had engaged in spiritual abuse or was overly authoritarian.”

  16. once a shepherd

    Brian, what is your goal here with your use of UBFriends? Initially, it seemed like UBFriends was a media where dialogue could be created with UBF headquarters. I was really encouraged by Joe’s email, stating that UBF headquarters would issue a response to his questions. It seems that this is a great moment for UBFriends with the beginning of an ongoing dialogue with hq. Sure, there will be a lot to work through and one statement will not solve anything that happened in the past. But it seems that it is just that….no matter what UBF does, you are intent on questioning and critiquing everything that UBF does. This does not foster an environment of reconciliation. I mean, who would want to engage in a conversation with someone who just casts a negative light on everything one does? Do you really want to bring our UBF brethren on here to bash them and release all your wrath upon them? Again, what is your aim with your use of UBFriends? Does Joe and Dr. Ben have this same aim?

    I can understand that you have had a very negative experience with your UBF chapter director. I too was not happy with mine and everyone on here has had conflict with their Bible teacher, fellowship leader, or chapter director. And yes, there needs to be reform and it has been long overdue. But are you approaching our brothers in Christ as a friend? In all honesty, it is not a fair question on my part because it does not take into account all that you have tried to do in the past. But I do raise the question to address your present demeanor/disposition in regards to UBF. Do you still see yourself as a friend of UBF? If not, why then are we writing on this website called UBFriends?

    Everyone knows that change needs to happen. Even Chicago headquarters has recognized it and has made small steps (if you ever talk to individuals personally). Though, you have to admit, change is not easy for anybody. At this time, we need to pray and continue in dialogue in the hope that a miraculous work of God may happen and if doesn’t continue to dialogue with love and understanding.

    As for the incident in Mexico, I’m sure there were some oversights (particularly with no fire preventive measures, but not all countries have the same stipulations we do–I just saw a Mexican movie in which 2 individuals state “let’s escape through the fire escape and one asked ‘what is that’ since there are none in Mexico). I agree those pieces have to be rectified. At the same time, I’m really hoping the heavier charges of sexual abuse or human trafficking are not true (to which I lean to them not being true). So, to imply that Msn. Timothy Rhee is malicious or all UBF members are is totally unfair and should not be posted in any kind of manner here; otherwise, your not really being a friend. Your last post now brings up Jesus People USA. Are you saying that UBF also had something to do with that? How are we suppose to edify one another when so much bashing is happening. Yes, we need answers, but we also need understanding. Things are not always black and white; and just as they might have been spun to protect or glorify UBF in the past, things can be spun to demonize UBF in the present. I sincerely ask that you pray about this matter and support the dialogue Joe has begun to have with Chicago UBF. May God bless all of us as we seek Him, or better yet, as He continues to search us out and reveal his amazing glory to us.

  17. once a shepherd

    One final thought, I apologize if I spoke in such a harsh manner not being more sensitive of your feelings. For it is easy to do so when I don’t have to deal with you personally. But my overall feeling is that things have to slow down. We have to give time for UBF HQ to process, pray, make their statement. We on the other hand have to think of how we can rebuild those bridges with our brethren and edify one another. One thing I’ve realized is that the church is ugly, but it is still the Bride of the Lamb; and we should love her and care for her. To do so, I believe, comes from the Holy Spirit.

  18. Hi Once,

    You will have to do a lot worse to hurt my feelings :) I’m glad you spoke up, and I welcome your questions.

    You asked, “what is your goal here with your use of UBFriends?” My goals are threefold:

    a) My goal is to be the technical provider for this website. I take weekly backups, make adjustments to various plugins, and pay for the webhosting. Anyone using “whois” can find out this admin information.

    b) My second goal is to help ensure this is a place for anyone to say whatever they want and to process their journey in an honest, open and transparent manner. Sometimes a public website is not such a safe place to do that, but for numerous people, it works well.

    c) My third goal is to remain in the ubf conversation as a contact point for people who have been destroyed or hurt by the ubf missionaries. About once a month such a person at ubf contacts me for help or questions. I personally would rather stop thinking about such things, but people have serious issues to address and they have no outlet at ubf for honest discussion.

    “I mean, who would want to engage in a conversation with someone who just casts a negative light on everything one does?” Actually, a surprising number of people want to engage in such conversations. After resigning from ubf, I have talked more, written more, prayed and more and met more people than the prior 24 years combined! The work of reconciliation among former members has been nothing short of extraordinary and highly edifying for me! Of course those whose purpose is to guard the ubf heritage would never want to discuss such things with me, and fort that I thank God.

    “Do you really want to bring our UBF brethren on here to bash them and release all your wrath upon them?” Well if you feel wrath, then I apologize for making you feel that way. I rarely blog here with wrath or bashing or bitterness. I do need to vent sometimes, and I do that on my own priestly>nation blog. If something is negative, is it automatically bad or evil or wrathful?

    “Again, what is your aim with your use of UBFriends?” Again, my aim is unity and light. Can there be any unity if we cannot speak freely? Can there be any unity when the ubf missionaries insist on their cult control techniques? I aim to bring ubf into the light of public scrutiny. They used to be able to fool me but now that the internet allows instant, global communication, they cannot hide or control information. Here is a bit of irony: After leaving ubf, I learned SO MUCH about ubf! I know more about the GD election process as a former member than I ever did as a chapter director.

    “Does Joe and Dr. Ben have this same aim?” I don’t know. You should ask them. This is just a website. We are not any kind of ministry or organization. We don’t collude together and plan out articles. We don’t even have a publishing review board. Right now 4 people just post whatever they want, whatever they need to process their journey right now. We also post anything sent into us, with rare exception.

    “Do you still see yourself as a friend of UBF? If not, why then are we writing on this website called UBFriends?” No I don’t see my self as a friend of ubf. The site title irks me each time I’m here. I am the #1 vocal critic of ubf, and so in a sense I am more of an enemy. But Jesus said to love my enemies, so I am trying to learn how to do that. Me and ubf are like oil and water, they just don’t mix.

    “Everyone knows that change needs to happen.” Really? Then why has nothing changed? Everything changes but nothing changes. Change is not what ubf needs. My life is a stop sign for ubf: stop. What ubf needs is to stop. Stop hiding, stop spinning, stop lying, stop inventing–just stop. Stop the conferences and listen to people. Put down the bible and go back to listening to people, your own children even.

    “Your last post now brings up Jesus People USA. Are you saying that UBF also had something to do with that?” Yes I posted about JPUSA. No, I am not saying ubf had anything to do with that. But I am saying that JPUSA is one of the cults listed in Ron Enroth’s Churches that Abuse book, and so was ubf. No one is putting up with cult control these days. JPUSA is now paying the price for attempting to control people’s lives. It is only a matter of time before ubf also implodes, or maybe explodes, not sure which.

  19. once a shepherd

    Brian, thank you for your honest answer to my question. It helps me better understand your purpose. I am glad to hear that you are a contact point for those that have been hurt by UBF. I personally think this is an important part of ministry to help people differentiate between faith and UBF. My own Bible teacher, from 15 years ago, would always make it a point to know the difference between God and UBF, saying that even if UBF would disappear, I should know and believe that God is real and present. I honestly feel blessed to have had a Bible teacher that was God-centered and not UBF-centered. She just saw UBF as a medium, which God was using at the time. Not everyone has been as fortunate to have this differentiation made for them. So, it is important to help others in their post-UBF processing of faith. At the same time, I am glad that some of these discrepancies are being brought out into the open. Obviously, it is a delicate balance for you to be a part of; since it can easily swing from edifying to complaining and back again after being rectified. May God bless you as you meet and aid those that have left UBF.

    As for this UBFriends website, I am glad you clearly stated your sentiments in regards the UBFriends title. In addition, you provided a better understanding of how this web vehicle is being used. I do have to say that it is a bit different than what I expected. I initially thought it was a place where a dialogue was to be created for reform or push for reform in UBF. But in your own words, it has changed a bit; “Right now 4 people just post whatever they want, whatever they need to process their journey right now.” I am thankful that you are transparent in this regard. Yet, I do feel that this aspect of the website needs to be addressed if we truly want to make this a forum which UBF members take into account. Thankfully, they are still coming here and listening (I believe the article “My last few days in Chicago” shows some of the thought process change in Chicago…I want to say in part to issues raised here on UBFriends). This is why I took offense to your posting of this article. I agree there needs to be a better stating of the situation, other than let’s just pray. It would have helped if Msn. Timothy Rhee gave a better understanding of the situation, even owning up to some of the oversights. Yet, my issue was that on a website, which I believed was a forum for reform, and at a time when dialogue had begun with UBF hq, it was not right to vilify Msn. Timothy Rhee, when there was no certainty that he had actually committed the crimes (particularly the sex and human trafficking pieces).

    To end, thank you for your honest and transparent answer in regards to your stance and use of UBFriends. I just want to let you know that there are still people here hoping for reform and praying for issues raised to be answered and rectified. We are aware that it won’t be easy, but do want to work for that end; and so, don’t want to give any reason for UBF hq to simply disregard this site. Thanks again.

    For the record, I agree that situations like this cannot be glossed over with a broad “we are holy and under fire” statements like the one that was made. I don’t think that way when I get a speeding ticket. Instead, I am called to reflect, repent, and pray.

    • Joe Schafer

      once, you might find this article helpful. It’s about the criticism that erupts when someone uses social media to call out abusive practices in a church. It is important to recognize the huge imbalance of power.

      One peculiar thing I have encountered again and again: People who maintain high expectations and high standards on Brian and UBFriends, but low standards and expectations for the UBF organization. I’m not sure why.

  20. @Joe, I love how Hayward continues to visualize the ubf ministry. Today we have “ubf dead dog training” in a convenient diagram, in case any leader forgot how to do it.

    @once, you mentioned reform “I just want to let you know that there are still people here hoping for reform and praying for issues raised to be answered and rectified. We are aware that it won’t be easy, but do want to work for that end; and so, don’t want to give any reason for UBF hq to simply disregard this site.”

    I do have a soft spot in my cold dark evil satanic heart for reformers. But reform has never been my purpose. Too many tried reform at ubf for too many decades. It did not work.

    In regard to this website, ubf leaders disregarded it the moment we took off our ubf hats, which is to say, right from the start. Joe knows this but one high ranking ubfer told me this before Joe launched the website: “If Joe knows so much about ministry, he should just leave and go do it himself!”

    When I was in the exit process, trying to find any reason to stay at ubf, many encouraged me to turn Detroit ubf into a secret reform chapter, and “go rogue”. I refused. Secret reform is just another form of abusing power. I won’t ever do that. I won’t ever be anonymous. I will however be “me”, and I am having the time of my life!

    I know I will be the first person sued if or when a hardliner takes over ubf, but as Ben likes to say, bring on the fun!

    • “If Joe knows so much about ministry, he should just leave and go do it himself!” – See more at:

      I’ll say it again that I too heard this said in regards to Joe, Ben, Brian, and others, including to me! People are strangely expected to make a new ministry and out “perform” UBF in order for UBF to consider what they have to say. That is simply ridiculous to me. Like Brian, I also refused to do things my way and “show” my ways are better. Such a proposition breaks units with the body of Christ and makes ministry into a competition or way to show myself. It lacks communication, openness, humility and love–and I didn’t want to go that route. If that’s the way to get people in UBF to listen, I’ll just move along then. I’m not interested in that kind of communication.

      Once a shepherd used the word “dialogue” many times. However, I don’t understand what Once met by this because it’s referenced that dialogue is beginning, then it’s at a crucial moment and then it’s implied that it’s already begun. But I don’t see it. We haven’t heard from the leadership in regards to the issues presented for years, not just in the recent days since Joe and Sharon were on a conference call with Chicago. Whatever dialogue may be going on right now, it needs to move away from private, personal meetings. To see change, I shouldn’t have to meet in private with a Chicago leader. All should be able to see it and experience it.

    • yellowblossom

      Hey Brian, really enjoy the conversations here. It os so refreshing to see everyone having dialogue. I feel like a breathe of fresh air hit me after sitting in a closed off windowless room for 10 yrs. I wonder if perhaps rusher than pushing reform, to gently suggest UBF members to become a bit more open minded by seeking God in multiple ways such as …logging to other churches once in a while to explore how God s work is going on. Why is everyone stuck in this campus mission mentality without any desire to explore and get new ideas ?

      Personally I started attending other services in a healthy church, supporting missions, and helping out in other ways. I want to see God s work ! Not put God into a tiny box called UBF center life. God is much greater than that !!!

    • Good thoughts, yellowblossom:

      “I wonder if perhaps rusher than pushing reform, to gently suggest UBF members to become a bit more open minded by seeking God in multiple ways such as …logging to other churches once in a while to explore how God s work is going on. Why is everyone stuck in this campus mission mentality without any desire to explore and get new ideas ?”

      Just for the record, I am not in favor of reform or gently suggesting anything when it comes to ubf (as if I needed to point that out). ubf Koreans are the squirreliest and most cunning people I have ever encountered. You never know their “true face” because they always wear their “keep face” mask. Most of them are steeped in multiple layers of deception. Many of the older ones had narcissistic break events in the 60’s and 70’s.

      After 50+ years of abuse and 4 crisis movements, now is the time for clear and piercing words.

    • Why is every at ubf so OCD about campus ministry?

      Most of them took the ubf oath to live and die for campus ministry. Do you know what the ubf oath is? Most Koreans at ubf have vowed loyalty to the ubf heritage (and even to SL) unto death.

  21. Yes, Joe, I fully resonate with this: “People who maintain (and impose their) high expectations and high standards on Brian and UBFriends, but (for whatever the reasons might be seem to have very very) low standards and expectations for the UBF organization.” Some people seem rather intolerant of and incensed by Brian, but extremely patient and tolerant of UBF (like God is!), as though Brian is some under-priviledged creature while UBF is untouchable royalty.

    Should UBFers treat Brian and anyone supportive of UBFriends like this excellent timely cartoon from today?

    Should said same people then treat the 50 plus year UBF leadership with kid gloves and deferential behavior, like a lowly peasant and proletariat patiently awaiting some generous and kind favor from the bourgeois?

    • It’s as though there is no fear of God in calling out Brian, but a great fear of God in calling out UBF. Is this what others perceive as well? Or is it just me?

    • Right, Ben, it’s a strange way of looking at the situation. It further implies God’s hand of work in UBF (despite the “bad”) and none present in Brian’s. But, really, this article didn’t speak badly of UBF. I don’t understand how having more information about a situation and prayer topic presented officially by UBF HQ makes Brian out to be a bad guy here or that this website is turning away from open dialogue with UBF or potentially harming the body of Christ.

      Another common response seems to reduce whatever criticisms that are mentioned here into just personal bad experiences. The bad experiences are surely personal, but their practices are widespread and even taught. Part of bringing up the issues here is to bring this into the light so that it can be exposed and dealt with for what it is. The spin on potential legal troubles in requesting prayers is one example. Please, let’s not reduce patterns of abuse seen over the last 50 years in every place there is a UBF chapter to mere, personal bad experiences that people need to get over.

  22. “It further implies God’s hand of work in UBF (despite the “bad”) and none present in Brian’s.” – See more at:

    To some/many UBFers they simply are unable to see or acknowledge that leaving UBF could be God’s hand of work in them, and that their lives thrive (as Brian’s has been) AFTER they left UBF. Likely they take it way too personally and seem unable (or unwilling) to see the big picture outside of UBF.

    I believe missionaries still see God’s hand at work when their own adult children leave UBF. Hopefully, they may do the same when their Bible students leave UBF.

  23. big bear

    Yes Ben…God is bigger than UBF…I clearly see it was God work when UBF shunned us and asked me to go to a Baptist church…it was a liberation from a religious system that does not how to love people, families, and the body of Christ…hopefully this will change

  24. After I wrote this above, “I am the #1 vocal critic of ubf”, the thought occurred to me that I should explain this more clearly. When I say #1 I don’t mean I am the best, I mean I am the loudest critic. The best critic, in my opinion, is clearly Chris. My hat tips to Chris and his eloquence in spite of writing in a second language. Kudos for all your words for nearly 2 decades Chris! Your ability to outlast is amazing.

  25. once a shepherd

    A couple last thoughts. 1st, thanks for your kind words, Brian….I particularly laughed at how dearly you spoke about my reform ways. Second, I concur. Understanding where you are coming from and how much baggage UBF has left unattended, what can I say? Ultimately, UBF has to respond and explain all of these issues, including being listed on so many watch groups’ list for being an abusive church. So, I get it. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying life and that you are ready for anything. I too am more free and me, once I left UBF center. It is exciting to be part of the world, but not of it (only by God’s grace). I know God still guides me and I am still looking to find what it means to truly practice what I have learned and continue to learn in the Bible. Finally, it is true. UBF should hold themselves to a higher standard and not just hold it up for others to fulfill, only to then use labels and characterizations to discredit others who also walk in the light of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Thanks for dialoging with me and May God bless.

  26. Joe Schafer

    “If Joe knows so much about ministry, he should just leave and go do it himself!” – See more at:

    Those words belie the fact that this is exactly what we did.

    For almost twenty years at Penn State, our families tried our best to build a church, campus fellowship and disciplemaking ministry from the ground up. We did it while working full time in demanding careers, and while trying to take care of our children (some of whom have intellectual disabilities). We did it for the first decade without any help from Korean missionaries whatsoever. (When missionaries eventually did join us, they didn’t know what to make of us.) And we did all this in the name of UBF, even though the support and training provided by UBF headquarters and by the midAtlantic region was woefully inadequate and often counterproductive.

    The person who said that had no clue what he was talking about.

  27. once a shepherd

    I grew up in UBF aware of your labor of love, Shepherd Joe. To me you were a real and continue to be a real shepherd.

    I hear your statement. It speaks volumes of the lack of prayer and training provided by UBF. The worst for me, as I grew in UBF, was hearing of discord being resolved by sending one party out as a missionary or as a pioneer. My own fellowship leader tried to cover up my leaving with a ‘sending out’ dinner before I left; when it was evident that I was displeased with the lack of love, transparency, and even the basic element of friendship that we had at the time. Issues, which if we would have just stopped everything, we could have worked through. But instead, the push for campus mission continued, just furthering the strain of enduring evenings of dry regurgitation of testimonies that had no element of repentance and praise. This too me was truly the saddest because I always believed that if my elders would practiced what they preached, our ministry could’ve been truly exemplerary. It always felt that they wanted to push the younger generation to carry the burden that they ‘had carried’ for so many years, but were unwilling to do so anymore. For a while, this was one of my biggest complaints, but I soon realized what is it to me, ‘I must follow Jesus.’ At the same time, how I pray that older generation, elders of UBF, would have reached out, and even now, reach out and shepherd their people.

    • +1 No better articulation (both true and gracious) than this!

    • I really hear what you’re saying in this response too.

      In my opinion, it seems that there is a mentality that says, Ok, I went through it, and then I became a shepherd/married/housechurch/missionary/pioneer/etc. Everything worked out fine for me. Now that’s what X shepherd needs to do.

      And if you don’t put up with it, instead of learning to accept it as God’s training, they just assume people are getting off the train too early and lack faith.

      There is also a severe lack of training. I recently shared my honest feelings about the lack of English training for Missionaries, the lack of Intercultural Communication training (there are seriously really good things that are not hard to teach, Bible study doesn’t replace learning these!) and a close third is conflict resolution.

      Studying the Book of Acts and writing reflections on the whole book doesn’t constitute mission training. Sarah Barry was an awesome Missionary but she was also very well training in Biblical studies and Missions before she left.

      The Nevious (sp?) Mission model which UBF adopted actually states at the beginning, something like, “WE had to learn how to do it this way because there were quite frankly too many painful experiences with the old model.” That attitude of humility and adaptability is lost on far to many individuals.

  28. Mark Mederich


    Greetings to everyone!
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon has experienced major changes in the past 90 days. The Fraternity has been plagued with an increase in hazing over the past decade that has led to pledges “dying” to be SAEs. The media has labeled us as the “nation’s deadliest fraternity.” Our insurance premiums have skyrocketed and, as a result, we are paying Lloyd’s of London the highest insurance rates in the Greek-letter world. Universities have been denying us the opportunity to colonize on their campus, and we have had to close 12 chapters over the past 18 months for hazing or hazing-related situations.
    SAE was founded on a basic premise: to improve the intellectual faculties of its members and to surround each member with friends whose care and duty it shall be to make him happy. For decades, members have learned and recited “The True Gentleman,” a magnificent piece of work written by John Walter Wayland. Nowhere in our Ritual or our creed have we been able to find a single phrase that implies that members joining our beloved Fraternity should be subjected to bullying, hazing, degradation or humiliation.
    We were founded by eight young men who believed deeply in the honor of mankind, on supporting one another and giving back to others. Their first new member, or 9th member, of our organization was Newton Nash Clements. They met him, invited him to join SAE and initiated him at their next meeting the following week. Some of our greatest SAEs went through a similar process, including William C. Levere. Pledges and pledge programs were not a part of the Fraternity until sometime after World War I and were not a part of our laws until the 1940s.
    Our Fraternity could not withstand another major hazing incident, let alone another death. We needed to act swiftly in order to protect the future of SAE and assure today’s collegiate members have an opportunity to see their sons and grandsons join our Fraternity. The Supreme Council decided to change the laws and eliminate pledgeship from Sigma Alpha Epsilon. On March 9, 2014, all pledge programs ceased, and all the pledges were immediately initiated into SAE. We launched what is now known as the True Gentleman Experience.
    We have never had an issue recruiting our members. Unfortunately, due to hazing, we have not been able to retain many of these potentially great members. We have lost far too many members who simply would not tolerate hazing. The True Gentleman Experience involves recruitment year-round. It involves getting to know potential members, inviting them to the chapter and events and participating in formal IFC recruitment.
    Once a bid is extended, new members will participate in a chapter retreat, be introduced to “The True Gentleman,” participate in the Carson Starkey Member Certification Program, complete our Scope of Association Agreement and, within 96 hours, be initiated into SAE. Then they will participate in educational programing that will take place over the course of their undergraduate membership.
    We have had more positive media coverage in the past 90 days than we have had in the 158 years of our existence. Many alumni, undergraduate brothers, parents and administrators have applauded this bold move. Our critics have been concerned that brotherhood should be earned. I challenge us all to consider their argument. If Sigma Alpha Epsilon is all about a six-, eight- or ten-week pledge program, then we have lost our way as an organization. Brotherhood is built not only over a four-year undergraduate experience but over a lifetime. Hearing the Ritual is very different than living it and making it a part of our existence and life.
    Having served our Fraternity at all levels since my graduation in 1985 and having been a member of the Supreme Council for the past eight years, I can tell you wholeheartedly how proud I am of our organization, of our leadership once again in the Greek-letter world and of the great work our chapters have done since March 9. While change is never easy, it is inevitable in order to survive. In an era where hazing, bullying, forced alcohol consumption and abuse is no longer tolerated by anyone, SAE must change so that we can survive another 158 years. Brothers, our brightest days are still ahead.
    Phi Alpha,

    Bradley M. Cohen
    Eminent Supreme Archon
    (Arizona ’85)

  29. May honesty be the underlying factor in all reports and accounts (

    “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” Mahatma Gandhi.

    “Anything is better than lies and deceit.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

    “It is not easy to keep silent when silence is a lie.” Victor Hugo.

    “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Prov 24:26).

    “An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies” (Prov 12:17).

    “An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies” (Prov 14:5).

    “Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?” (Prov 22:20-21)

    “Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt” (Lev 19:36).

    “They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty” (2 Ki 12:15).

    “How painful are honest words!” (Job 6:25)

    “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter” (Isa 59:14).

  30. Mark Mederich


  31. Everything worked out fine for me. Now that’s what X shepherd needs to do. – See more at:

    This is very likely a strong motivating factor behind many people’s strategies and perspectives in UBF. It is in fact a very relative perspective on life and people which is not supported in the Bible. For example, a parent can say this to his/her child about the way he was raised and how his child should grow up, or a boss to his employee. But when committed people in UBF start thinking and behaving this way, it can be misunderstood to be more correct than average.

    Then what happens when things do not go as expected? There’s burnout. There’s disillusionment. When people do not follow the same program or sacrifice in the same way, there follows suspicion, jealousy, rivalry on on end and apathy, disillusionment, burnout on the other end.

    It’s not a perfect analogy, but I want to reiterate what I briefly touched upon in my last article. There is no formula in following Jesus. That is why it is so difficult. What worked for me as a college student will not work for me now as a wife and mother. I thank God for his work in my life, but even the lessons and grace I received yesterday will not last the entire week. What worked for me as a college student will not work for another random college student. It is only as we follow God’s love and guidance day by day that we can have real discernment on what to say, what to do, that is pleasing to God and not just follow a program.

    Faith is a precious gift given by God. At the same time, it is so difficult because each moment we are stepping into the future, into uncertainty, and into change and our faith wavers from day to day. faith is trusting in God for what we do not see and cannot predict. But I believe God is more pleased with our awkward, slow stumbling in real faith than pre-decided definition of faith. In both cases, the outcome is determined by God. God can still use awkwardness and slowness. He can also use fiery zeal and devotion. But one is not better than the other. It is in God’s hands. Each day we need to receive new grace from God’s love and new insight on what God wants from me and how we are vulnerable and weak without him. Yet in spite of our weakness, God loves us and wants us to grow. When we stop listening and learning from others, we stop growing.

    As many of you already know,
    “if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” 1 Co 13

  32. I might that it is only as we are broken day by day that we can be formed in teh way God intends

  33. Any update on this factory investigation? The ubf factory was in partnership with Yes International.

    I can find more images but not much more information:

    factory 1

    factory 2

    factory 3

    factory 4

    This is the newest article I can find:

    Investigation into alleged labor and sexual exploitation in Korean factory

    • mrkimmathclass
    • Thanks for the article link mrkim. That article did not show up in my searching, it appears partly because this is a summary and a person has to subscribe to that newspaper and login to see the entire article.

      mrkim, I did not demonize the missionaries. I shared more facts because the ubf reports demonized the Mexican police. It was the ubf report that called the investigation as “Satan’s work”. That is what I am most furious about–the glory-story spinning at ubf.

      I got my title for this article from the ubf report. As others have said, the most damaging thing to the ubf glory is not what ex-members say, but what ubf says. Their own material and their own words expose their true nature.

      I subscribed to that newspaper just now, mrkim and read the entire article. This article isn’t much different from the article I posted in my article: Workers want factory reopened, which came out almost the same day as your article.

      We know the missionaries claim full innocence. We know they view this as Satan’s work. We know that the factory reopened. But why did the whistleblower go through all this trouble? The law does not address spiritual or verbal abuse very well if at all. Does Mexican law respect whistleblowers in sexual abuse cases? I don’t know.

      That article mentions two other details:

      1. The article claims the reason for the shutting down the plant was because the factory owners REFUSED ENTRY to the police. So instead of coming clean and facing the police, they claimed innocence and refused to let the police in. This is the exact foolishness that ubf leaders did when the NAE investigated them in the early 2000’s. ubf claimed full innocence and DID NOT RESPOND to the NAE. This pattern is what I am calling. If nothing is wrong, then why hide in silence? If things are so hunky-dory, then why the need to spin the Mexico story as Satan’s attack?

      2. The article claims that the owners are not Korean. This sounds highly suspect.

      The bottom line is that because the ubf mindset is to view all these things as “Satan” (as evidenced by the ubf reports on, we will never know the actual details.

  34. mrkimmathclass

    Ben, Joe, Brian and others,

    Even before finding the truth, you guys mocked and demonized these innocent missionaries and other ubfers who prayed for them.

    I believe that you guys owe some apologies to them.
    Will you apologize to them?

    • Mr. Kim,

      I understand that English is not your primary language. But I hope that you might consider your choice of words, such as “you guys mocked and demonized these innocent missionaries.”

      Your statement sounds as though anyone who brings up some issues and questions about ubf missionaries are demons and devils, while missionaries are pure and innocent compared to “you guys,” who are not.

      I seriously wonder if you know how rude, impolite, insulting and disrespectful you are. Or maybe your intention is to be rude, impolite, insulting and disrespectful.

      This is especially surprising to me since in your Korean culture I understand that you should always be gentle, respectful and deferential to people older than you. I’m sure you realize that Joe, Brian and I are all older than you, and yet you speak to us as “you guys” and as “mocking demons.”

      Would you ever speak to and refer to your UBF chapter director and to the UBF General Director as “you guys”?

    • Joe Schafer

      My dearest MrKim,

      I checked the dictionary definitions of “mock” and “demonize.” Then I reviewed the comments that I wrote on this page to see how I have mocked or demonized someone. And I couldn’t find it.

      But thank you for commenting, and have a fabtastic day!

    • > Would you ever speak to and refer to your UBF chapter director and to the UBF General Director as “you guys”?

      Good point, Ben. From the begining, this beeing addressed as “you guys” bothered me. I told to myself, well, this is just informal colloquial English, it’s normal to talk like that, I should not be upset about this. I could not pinpoint why it bothered me. But you explained it very well today: It is insulting when it is used by a Korean missionary. Koreans have a distinct and sensitive sense for how to address each other properly and politely. The Korean language has seven levels of politeness. It matters whether you speak to your younger or older brother, to your spouse, to your boss etc. Joe and other American senior shepherds should be considered with highest respect given their age, learnedness and sacrifice for UBF. When a Korean missionary addresses them as “you guys” then this is not an expression of his sloppiness or how much he has been americanized, but a conscious expression of his utmost disrespect and it is very insulting. As you say, inside UBF they would never talk like that.

  35. “you guys” is indeed strange. It is not new to me. It is the latest Korean loaded language for “R-Group people”. It is meant as slap in the face. It emphasizes the fact that we are not “shepherds” anymore. It is meant to send a message that we are just evil nobody’s who don’t deserve the blessings of ubf. It is part of the public shaming process.

    I got the “you guys” title as soon as I sent my first honest conference report in 2011. The “shepherd” was dropped immediately from my name in emails. Then I was often referred to in the third person, as if I was dead. Then I was lumped into the “you guys” bucket–anyone who dared speak honestly and without the glory-stories.

  36. Joe Schafer

    Here is one of MrKim’s comments from April 25:

    Think about what you guys are doing. I don’t want to specifically mention the person. You guys criticize entire ubf as if all ubf are the same. And I have never seen gou guys criticize your own churches. Is your church that perfect?

    Answer me how many ubf chapters are in the whole world? If you guys find out one problem from each chapter then how many problems you will find? And then you guys criticize entire ubf as if each individual church has all those problems? Don’t you think that is flaw?

    What MrKim has been saying is
    * “you guys” (Ben, Brian, myself, and all critics of ubf) are the same, with identical viewpoints and motivations, whereas
    * ubf chapters and members are all different, so making any kind of general statements about ubf is unfair.

    Social psychologists call this the “outgroup homogeneity effect.” When people identify themselves with a tribe, they classify others as being in or out. Then they become unable to see similarities among the people who are in, and unable to see differences among people who are out. “We are all unique, but they are all the same.”

    • Joe Schafer

      “In spite of our obvious lack of interaction with many other cultural groups, we tend to think of ourselves as experts on them. We already know what they are like, we tell ourselves. They are all the same. If I know one, I know them all. As a result, we stick to the people in our homogenous cultural groups whom we perceive to be far more nuanced and evolved than everyone else.”

      (from the article by Christena Cleveland)

    • Great point Joe. It is odd that so many ubf people try to turn the tables on my, claiming that I don’t know about ubf or that I have not met many ubf people (as HappyPinnky did recently). That is a huge mistake.

      I may be just “you guys” now, but I was once “Shepherd Brian” and had insider knowledge to many many parts of ubf.

      The reality was that I did not know many ex-ubf people. Now that I have talked with many ex-ubf people, ate dinner with them, and re-connected with many ex-ubf who had been friends during our ubf time together, I find they are real people and not Satanic or rebellious.

      They were just honest. They were trying to follow the Spirit’s leading.

    • Joe Schafer

      Ben, Brian and I have about 85 years of combined experience as ubf insiders.

      If anyone wants to claim that I don’t know what I’m talking about, please note that

      * I led a ubf chapter for more than two decades.

      * I have spent significant amounts of time in dozens of ubf chapters on five continents.

      * I have attended, spoken at, and planned more ubf conferences and events than I can count.

      * I personally know all of the members of the North American elders and senior staff and everyone listed as a leader on

      * There are many bad things I have seen and experienced in ubf that I have not yet disclosed on this website. If I wanted to dish out more dirt on ubf leaders, I certainly could.

    • Not to nit-pick about ticky tacky details, but I think it is closer to 92-96 years (35+33+24 [+4 years after Brian resigned as a chapter director]).

    • Joe Schafer

      ok, I gave a lowball estimate so that I wouldn’t be accused of exaggerating

    • Yeah, a close friend characterized me as “scientific and analytical,” which can be both a plus as well as highly annoying!

  37. Ben, I just now saw your link to this great cartoon:

    How to silence a dog

    This 6 stage process is what the ubf 6 stage training model is in reality.

  38. mrkimmathclass

    Ben, Joe and Brian,

    I know that my English is not good.
    But, I understand what foreigners speak awkward Korean and believe that you know what I am talking about.

    You should apoligize to the missionaries in Guadalajara.

    Because of your lies, manipulation and etc, other people who were really hurt and abused cannot be heard and treated properly.

    • Joe Schafer

      Please show me exactly where I demonized or mocked or lied about anyone and I will gladly apologize.

    • Yes, Mr. Kim, As Joe said please find something/anything that I wrote or commented where, according to your accusation, I can be said to be “mocking,” “demonic,” “lies,” “manipulation” and “etc.” If and when you do specifically show me this, I will more than gladly apologize.

  39. Well, at least we know that ubfriends can be just as enticing as any bad addiction. I don’t see the exaggeration, demonization or any such matter happening here. Okay, it is not sympathetic to UBF. There is no element of hope that the poor and misunderstood Korean families will be free from the allegations and investigation.

    Seriously, what has already been stated by others…if they are so innocent then why not come clean with open doors. Why the lies? All they had to do was let the authorities do their job. It might not have even developed as it had.

    I mean, we have all been in UBF long enough to know that the leadership (Korean) advocates lying to the authorities when it suits them. I know all about that. When my soon to be wife came to Canada she was directed by the chapter director to lie about her purpose and intentions to get married. (I don’t care about previous incidents, which by the way also caused difficulties for entry.) If it was legal, I would request the Canadian Border Services retrieve the several phone calls from August 2010. I had to confess to the officer who had told us to lie in the first place. The border officer had the authority to send my wife back to Korea with a stamp in her passport preventing her from any future entry for whatever period.

    Who should apologize for what? Speculation? Knowing looks and glances? An exchange of words between two or more people experienced in the ways of UBF? I mean come on…the romantic image of sincere and sacrificial Christian missionaries doesn’t carry any weight with any one of us who has experienced the BS first hand.

    Oh, and on another note, I would not analyze Mr. Kim’s expression too much. Polite, not polite etc…He is Korean, we are not. I can say with clear confidence that as a Korean he has no intention of changing his tone with non-Koreans. Assumptions about social behaviour have no context with non-Koreans. I can also say that at this point he most likely views himself as the only Christian on this blog and the rest of us are not.

    • I think Mr. Kim does not understand (and likely does not wish to understand) this new phrase I learned from Joe today: “outgroup homogeneity effect.”

      I’ve experienced this. Some people I’ve known in ubf for decades simply think that I have no honor and no face simply because I choose to be friends with those on ubfriends, and do regard them as my own personal friends and fellow brothers in Christ.

  40. Mrkim,

    I have not followed up on this thread and its development – I don’t know what is the case. But when I read your comment, it struck me as if you were more trying to incense UBFriends readers.

    The organization you belong is accused of covering up much spiritual abuse and hurt and even abortions. The organization, as far as I can tell, does not acknowledge these things. But it seemed to me you think that whatever error this article has made is far more important and demands immediate apologies from everyone.

    It is extremely hard for me to believe you are serious in caring about people who are hurt in your comments for apologies. If you are really interested in protecting people from abuse, perhaps we can address the countless stories on this site. What are you trying to accomplish by asking people to apologize for some error in an article?