A 2nd Gen Story

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 8.32.30 AMEveryone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. –John 3:20,21

The darkness of UBF is overwhelming. Secrets hide behind nearly every smiling face that offers you so much as a plate of bulgoki. Growing up, every Sunday I went to CBF at the “center.” Even as I child, I always felt like there was something off about UBF people. I never quite felt like I was at home, or that this was my family.

Upon leaving UBF at age 8 with my family, we went to an unnamed evangelical church in the area. It was there that I entered life and finally learned to be a normal human being. For the first time in my young life, I felt like I could fit in with the other boys, the other children, and I learned about God, who Jesus was, and accepted him into my heart as my Lord and savior.

When I went home and told my Dad about how I had accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior, I remember him telling me that they were watering down the truth of God and that what I had experienced and been taught by the nice people at this church wasn’t true. That all I needed to do was believe that Jesus died on the cross of my sins. He told me that I was already more spiritually mature than the other kids at this church because of my time in UBF.

As a little boy, I was crushed, because I felt like I had experienced something good at this new church, and yet my Dad rebuked me for it. Apparently, you can take the shepherd out of UBF, but you can’t take the UBF out of the shepherd.

When I was 12, my Father convinced our family to go back to UBF, because it had “changed.” Looking back now, if what I experience during my teen years was a redeemed version of UBF, I am frightened about what went on before it was reformed. I was prohibited to date, or to even so much as look at a girl. My entire sexual and romantic being was squashed and treated as something to be despised, something evil. Along with this went my self-esteem and sense of self. I am emotionally scarred from this sole experience and to this day am not comfortable with anything relating to romantic relationships or sexuality in general.

We were taught lies. It was demanding of us by our parents and youth leaders that we write and share testimonies every week and there would be guilt and shame delivered unto us if we did not participate. I was made to feel as if the gospel were all about doing random specific things like writing testimonies, studying the bible in a weird specific way, and doing daily bread, etc. When in reality, the gospel is not about what we have to do, but about what Jesus has done for us already on the cross of Calvary

If I had known the history of UBF, that people were subjected to emotionally, physically, and spiritually abusive practices throughout the years, I would have never agreed to go back with my family when I was 12 years old. I was lied to, I was deceived. I was told that things had changed, but the truth is “once a cult, always a cult.” A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.

Until UBF leaders fully renounce and repent of every destructive practice and illegal action that has ever been been committed by UBF members, it was always be a cult, no matter how much things have changed. End of Story.

What I have shared is just the tip of the iceberg as far as things that I have experienced and seen within UBF. I plan on going into more detail in subsequent postings.

Unfortunately I must remain anonymous in order to protect myself, but if you are a second gen who has had a similar traumatic experience, feel free to email me.

Secondgensurvivors @ gmail.com

17 comments

  1. big bear

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is important to bring out the truth so that the light may bring healing on a dark ministry which we were apart of in UBF. I spent 28 years in UBF and was a chapter director and my family fell apart. I got divorced and remarried. My wife is from Romania where she was under communism for 28 years and she pointed out the many things that are common in UBF with the mind control and the hiding of secrets to new recruits. She helped me in my healing process, UBFriends, and many on this website and just going to a healthy church. I am deeply sorry for promoting UBF and I am always open to help others go through the healing process. My children told me some of the same things. I was shocked that they saw UBF like that and that there was no love. They were right. People need to know the truth before they get involved. Simply, “There is the UBF Christian way, and the wrong way.” Please continue to tell your story and others who have left UBF. It is only way for healing though the scares will always be with us but God can use them to help others who are trapped in such a ministry. The reason for not dating was so that you marry by faith and be hook in UBF the rest of your life and your children. It is not the way God operates, He came to free us not enslave us to a religious system. UBF system needs to stop and like you said, they need to come clean.

  2. It’s great that 2ndgensurvivor shared what he did. Hopefully, more and more 2nd gens would “stand up and be counted,” because you do count (and it’s NOT because of numbers!).

    It’s quite understandable and yet quite unfortunate that he has to remain anonymous. Has ubf created such a fear, shame, retributive, punitive culture that people are made to be afraid to speak up and share what they honestly think and feel?? Have we created such an unsafe culture of fear that we cannot truly be ourselves??

    • yellowblossom

      I understand y he would like to be an anonymous. Yes, UBF does create a culture of fear, and despite all the love and prayer from our shepherds…it is the truth. This is what needs to change. We need openness…and again until leaders repent this will never happen. Which is why I want to leave after10 yrs in it

  3. forestsfailyou
    forestsfailyou

    I cannot begin to relate to having a family in UBF. Stuck between becoming an alien to people you love and being bound to something you cannot accept. You are strong and courageous. Thank you.

    • Forests, I pray and hope that more and more ubf people will express (even anonymously) how the “ubf paradigm and model” feels to them: oppressive? coercive? intimidating? overbearing? manipulative? controlling? Isn’t this so even if it is carried out with the utmost of gentleness and kindness by the most well intentioned and loving of missionaries?

      An open and honest dialogue with many witnesses “absolutely” needs to happen to genuinely listen to 2ndgensurvivor and fellowshipbible, the previous sharer (http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/03/18/my-feelings-about-ubf/).

    • forestsfailyou
      forestsfailyou

      It’s very hard to address the second gen condition because you get into how to raise children. For example, we know good and well that it’s improper to tell an adult they cannot date- but what about teenagers? We know it’s wrong to command an adult they must attend a conference, but what about a teenager? Can they be trusted at home? All these things make it hard to address second gens position. Some might say “Don’t force beliefs down children’s throats.” But on the other hand the nature of a belief is that it is to be taught. If my child said he thought murder was ok, then I would have some serious things to say. Then you get into an even harder issue of what happens when the child goes to college. Now the child is an adult, with actual responsibilities, who is usually dependent still on the family. Here the 2end gen will still be treated like a child (since they are dependent and nothing seems to have changed) but now the child has become an adult. It is hard to explain this to a parent without it seeming like you are telling them how to raise their children. It’s a hard issue all around.

    • forestsfailyou
      forestsfailyou

      It’s very hard to address the second gen condition because you get into how to raise children. For example, we know good and well that it’s improper to tell an adult they cannot date- but what about teenagers? We know it’s wrong to command an adult they must attend a conference, but what about a teenager? Can they be trusted at home? All these things make it hard to address second gens position. Some might say “Don’t force beliefs down children’s throats.” But on the other hand the nature of a belief is that it is to be taught. If my child said he thought murder was ok, then I would have some serious things to say. Then you get into an even harder issue of what happens when the child goes to college. Now the child is an adult, with actual responsibilites, who is usually dependent still on the family. Here the 2end gen will still be treated like a child (since they are dependent and nothing seems to have changed) but now the child has become an adult. It is hard to explain this to a parent without it seeming like you are telling them how to raise their children. It’s a hard issue all around.

  4. Mark Mederich

    IT CAUSES UNDUE MENTAL DISTRESS ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF PRESUMED PHYSICAL/SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCE: BUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAN ERASE SUCH DECIMATION & BRING PERSONAL FREEDOM/JOY IN GOD ALONE NO MATTER WHERE WE AT/WHO PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE…HALLELUJAH!!!!

  5. Hi Mark, If you don’t mind me saying, typing everything in CAPS makes it visually hard to read. I was told, and I tend to agree that typing in CAPS, when read, feels like being screamed at or yelled at in conversation.

    “It’s very hard to address the second gen condition because you get into how to raise children.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/03/21/a-2nd-gen-story/#comment-17254

    Yes, Forests, this is a hard issue. Robert Lewis, in his excellent DVD series, “The Quest for Authentic Manhood,” mentions 4 ways to relate to your children as they grow up.

    1) Coach. When your kids are little, you teach them everything.
    2) Counselor. In high school, you listen and counsel accordingly.
    3) Consultant. In college, you advice when you are consulted.
    4) Colleague. After they graduate your kids are your “equals.”

    We can also apply this when “shepherding sheep.” Adults should be respected as adults and not be treated like needy dependent children.

  6. Joe Schafer

    Dear anonymous:

    Thank you for writing about your experiences. Telling your story is extremely important. I’ve come to realize that, at its core, UBF is an enterprise of storytelling. The grand narrative that many UBF leaders want to broadcast to the world is not the key story of Christianity (God’s work in Israel culminating in Jesus, now being lived worldwide in the Body of Christ) but heroic tales of UBF missionaries’ devotion and sacrifice. The only way to bring sanity, repentance and healing is for people like us (those who realize we have been negatively impacted by UBF) to tell our own stories freely and honestly. At present, UBFriends is the main platform where this is happening. I hope that you continue to write, as much as you are able.

    In your last paragraph, you wrote: “Unfortunately I must remain anonymous in order to protect myself…”

    I won’t second guess your decision to remain anonymous. If anonymity helps you to tell your story, then I’m all for it.

    But I hope that you can elaborate on that statement. From what are you protecting yourself? If you revealed your identity, what would be the consequences?

    Let me be frank. As an American who came into UBF of my own accord, I don’t really know what it was like to be brought up in the organization from childhood. I won’t pretend to know the pressures and negative experiences that you faced and continue to face. But when I began to speak out against the abusive practices of UBF, one of the most hurtful things that happened to me was not that many UBF leaders immediately turned against me (I fully expected that), but quite a few 2nd gens also threw me under the bus. I discovered that my relationships with them were not well formed friendships, but were conditioned on my willingness to remain silent about the truly nasty things that I saw and experienced in UBF. When I started to call out the organization on these things, it was as if I suddenly became radioactive, and lots of 2nd gens treated me like a pariah. I don’t want to hold a grudge against anyone, but — I’m just being honest here — that is a hurt that I will carry for a long time.

  7. Joe, Though I might somewhat “understand” why they did so, yet I am very sorry to hear this about 2nd gens treating you like a pariah.

    This may not be related but this is what a 2nd gen wrote to me about his fellow 2nd gens:

    “I do not claim to know them well or to be close to them but I’ve been exposed to them and their lifestyle. And of course each second gen is different, but for practical purposes I will generalize here.

    Generally speaking, whether a second gen has officially left to another church or they are still hanging around, they have a pretty cynical view of UBF traditions (and for good reasons). They think that UBF is very legalistic, that the worship service is boring, that the messages are dull, the music is dull, etc. So what do they do? They don’t live by those legalistic rules. Those that leave end up joining a much more modern and entertaining church where they can “get a lot more of the worship service”. But after getting rid of rule by rule and expectation by expectation, what do their lives look like?? Not any different from the world. Basically yuppies that though they go to church, their lives are devoid of any meaning. I know I’m being overly harsh here….”

    I’m sorry if this might come across as being rather harsh, critical and offensive to some 2nd gens, since I’m sure that not all 2nd gens will fit this terribly negative caricature. In fact, I personally know quite a few who are not like this.

    Anonymously or otherwise, will more 2nd gens speak up?? We promise to be gentle and to not eat you alive! :)))

  8. chriswgrantjr

    I can totally relate to your story. I was always filled with guilt and condemnation at UBF but I had never realized that it had cult like behaviors. I was just completely oblivious to it and I had always felt alot of pressures and burdens on me! I just thought what I was doing was for God but I didn’t realize that I had allowed the system to replace God in my life! But once I finally left, it felt like a ton of bricks lifted off of me! For the first time in my life I actually felt truly free in Christ!!! It was and is so amazing!!!!

    • “But once I finally left, it felt like a ton of bricks lifted off of me! For the first time in my life I actually felt truly free in Christ!!! It was and is so amazing!!!!”

      Amen. As a lazy, unspiritual, demon-possessed American native, I know EXACTLY how you feel!

    • As a fairly disciplined (though still a long way to go), reasonably spiritual (only by God’s grace), and hopefully not (TOO) demon-possessed Chinaman American, I also pretty much know how you feel. :)))

    • Gajanan Nial
      Gajanan Nial

      chriswgrantjr, the journey to freedom that you described is similar for most of us who left ubf organization. I tend to call it “Saved by Jesus through ubf bible study, subsequently enslaved by the ubf system, finally delivered by the Holy Spirit.” God bless your freedom!

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      Add me to list of those set free!

      Gal 5:1

  9. Charles Wilson
    Charles Wilson

    Thanks for sharing, anonymous. Your story highlights one of the major problems I saw regarding the education of children in UBF, which was classifying and giving this very particular identity to the children of Korean missionaries, called “2nd gens.” I came to be involved in UBF first through being associated with children of Korean missionaries while in high school. I saw first who they were in and out of school, and then secondly at church. It was also not they who invited me to the church, but their parents. There wasn’t room for them to have their own identity separate from the UBF mission. (And by the way, why, after 50 years, are the children still being called 2nd gens? It is a never ending 2nd generation.) So, I saw the “double life” as some would call it as plain as day, but it wasn’t a bad thing in most cases. It was the real person we could see. But the missionary parents always saw and expected someone else. I had arguments because parents said such things as their children were not like other children, they were already good and coworkers–which was very different from the people I knew outside of the church grounds. So many missionary children were praised as excellent Bible teachers. They were given privileges and passes that wouldn’t be given to others. And yet others said that 2nd gens have no faith. What a strange place to put children in even into adulthood. They were called 2nd gens and went through all the same bible study styles as the college students for so long. It seemed to be an identity forced on them without regard to the other aspects of what people identify themselves. Now that I think about it, it is in many ways similar to the identity snatching of college students in raising shepherds.

    In one case, at a national staff conference, I heard some “senior missionaries” call their children going to another church while in college as the work of Satan, just because they were not going to be UBF people anymore. They were lumped together with that other work of Satan–long time American families leaving the ministries. It was strange and I was taken aback. Some missionaries have parents that were Christians before them. Yet the missionaries don’t go to the same church as their parents and it is not the work of Satan. But if UBF 2nd gens do, then it was the work of Satan.