eaToday is Independence Day here in the USA. It seems to be the most somber 4th of July I can remember. Quite a few people are exhausted from the culture war that was just concluded by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision. For me, the 4th of July holds special significance, and will always invoke great celebration for me! July 4th marks my personal day of independence from UBF. Here are some thoughts to mark the day I felt like a mighty eagle soaring above the mountains.

On July 2nd, 2011 after several months of email wars with Korean missionaries and other UBF leaders, I finally had enough. I was sick of the dead dog isolation training that was supposed to be only six months but ended up being 8 years. After 8 years of “pioneering”, we were still a single family “house church”. There was no sign of any effort by any leader anywhere in ubfland to actually plant a Christian church. We were just supposed to come up with our own ambition and our own resources to build a ubf chapter.

When I attended the bizarre Toledo UBF Easter conference in April 2011 and heard the worst sermon ever on John 17, I realized I just had to get out of the ubf cult.

So when our family went to my hometown on Independence Day weekend in 2011, I decided to close our ubf “chapter” and resign from ubf. I come from a small country town in Ohio called Defiance. I sent my one sentence resignation email from my Mom’s house in Defiance with as much defiance as possible to over 200 ubfers. It felt SO very good! (Later my resignation earned me an honorable mention in the next ubf newsletter.)

The email wars escalated dramatically after closing our chapter permanently. I quickly revamped and repurposed my entire priestlynation blog.

So now instead of celebrating the glory of ubf, I stand my ground celebrate my independence from ubf. I don’t think people realized who they were messing with when they messed with a guy from Defiance. Four years later I am still on my fascinating and amazing journey of recovery. I love learning how to be a family-centered man, how to make my own decisions and how to let my emotions grow back in a healthy way.

Whether you stay or leave ubf is not the main issue. Whether you are free to speak, free to love and free to be your unique self is the main issue. What is your freedom story? Are you free to live your own life?


  1. Great job Brian I love this story!

    I don’t know too much about other chapters… but as I continue to read and listen to testimonial stories from former members on UBF abuse and cover ups — It makes me feel like UBF centers world wide are not too different.

    I do remember when I went to visit another chapter in the East coast and how things got weird — the family that was hosting me was giving me a tour… the first and last stop was the pastors house… we stayed outside for hours as they spoke about all of his accomplishments — it was really bizarre. I felt like I was listening to the folklore stories of Kim Jung-Il. While we were standing there a Korean woman and two children walked towards us (they look tired, sad, miserable) one of the people hosting me said — “don’t look at them, don’t talk to them they are banished from UBF” — no idea what was going on there but those people looked hurt and abused.

    After awhile I said goodbye to my host’ because I had to study for my medical board exam – so they put me into one of the small bible study rooms at their center and closed the door. After some time I had to go to the bathroom so I tried to open the door but found that there was an old Korean missionary lady with her ears on my door listening to what I was doing!!!! as soon as she saw me looking at her she got up and ran away – never saw her again until SWS. She must’ve been there for hours listening to me.

    I felt like I had entered the “twilight zone” what the heck was going on?

    Nowadays I attend an awesomely spiritually and emotionally healthy church called NewLife and that is exactly what they gave us (through the Holy Spirit) NEW LIFE Pete and Geri Scazzero started the church and it has been such a blessing – they have been so patient with us helping us to erase the years of brainwashing and false teachings we have received from that cult.

    We are on our way to recovery by just living and enjoying the Word of God!

    • Thanks Carlos. Really great to hear about New Life church. I highly recommend talking to Christian pastors about the UBF lifestyle and beliefs.

      In contrast to the horror stories Ubf missionaries like to tell you, there is no judgment of God or great tragedy in store for people who decide to leave. It is rather often a great blessing to leave.

      And in spite of what we were conditioned to believe about how bad and nominal American churches are, there are quite a few good churches. There is no perfect church, but there are thousands of non-abusive churches in America and around the world.

    • And yes the odd stories of bizarre behavior abound at ubf.

      When I lived in the Toledo ubf center I often came back late after pizza delivering. Many times all the lights were off at 2:00 am. Many women ubfers were there attempting to pray in tongues in the dark. It sounded more like a gaggle of turkeys.

      Another time my friend came back to the common life house from a meeting very distraught. He had been asked to pull down his pants in front of a Korean missionary and a senior shepherd.

      Another of my friends packed his bags and climbed out a second story window in order to leave ubf. I never saw him again.

      Another friend was arranged-married to a lesbian. She disappeared 3 weeks after their “glorious house church ceremony”. They were divorced soon after she disappeared.

      Many bizarre events at this Korean Bible cult indeed.

    • By the way if anyone reading this has a bizarre story and would like to have it included in my 7th book, please send it to me in email. I am collecting as many odd stories as I can.

  2. I heard this song today “No longer slaves” by Bethel at church today and it reminded me of my bondage at NYUBF and my deliverance from slavery.

    I am no longer a slave to: fear (of not being Korean, not being good enough etc.)
    I am no longer a slave to: human works, narcissistic leaders, or cult teachings/rituals
    I am no longer a slave to: Korean nationalism/pride
    I AM NO LONGER A SLAVE TO UBF and their dead teachings

    You unravel me, with a melody
    You surround me with a song
    Of deliverance, from my enemies
    Till all my fears are gone
    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God
    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God

    From my mothers womb
    You have chosen me
    Love has called my name
    I’ve been born again, into your family
    Your blood flows through my veins

    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God
    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God
    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God
    I’m no longer a slave to fear
    I am a child of God

    I am surrounded
    By the arms of the father
    I am surrounded
    By songs of deliverance

    We’ve been liberated
    From our bondage
    We’re the sons and the daughters
    Let us sing our freedom

    You split the sea
    So I could walk right through it
    All my fears were drowned in perfect love
    You rescued me
    So I could stand and sing
    I am child of God…

    • Really really good. Thanks for sharing this. That song is beautiful. i hope all ubf chapters everywhere will play it this Sunday.

    • I had a similar experience when I found a Christian church.

      This song floored me and brought me to tears when I heard the church sing this: the Great I AM

  3. MJ Peace

    I didn’t know there was a city called Defiance! How fitting for you BK;) Reading this made me think of an essay by Micah Bournes where he chastises those who quote MLK for his non-violence, but inconsistently are violent in their foreign policy (or violent celebration of their sport teams’ victories) Bournes talks about the necessity of “defiance” and how sometimes violent protests are what it takes to bring about peace. MLK’s method was only one of the many methods of conflict/resolution. Read the excerpts with a grain of salt and if you want, I can email the whole essay to whoever would like to read it.

    “I believe Dr. King’s nonviolent resistance to injustice and oppression is a beautiful philosophy, and coming from a Christian ethic, possibly the most moral or spiritually pure, however it is by no means the only effective way to combat injustice. Spiritually speaking, I agree with the statement that hate cannot drive out hate and darkness cannot drive out darkness, but within the realm of the physical socio-political facts of history, it is completely incorrect to say that violent rebellion can never bring an end to certain expressions of violent oppression. It can, it has, many times. The very existence of America is case in point.”

    There comes a point when it is necessary to DEFY. Bournes finishes his essay with this:

    “I do not hope for a black revolution, but I hope recent unrest will be a catalyst for reform. I do not pray with you for peace, if by peace you simply mean an America that stays clam, and silently tisks as authorities commit and ignore all sorts of injustice. Even apart from police brutality, there are many other reasons why Black Americans might want to start a riot. Dr. King may or may not agree with me, but I believe it is a very good thing that protests and riots concerning issues within the black community, and America in general, are starting to become more regular. These riots are not causing problems, they are exposing them. America can no longer pretend that things are just, and equal and peaceful. And if it tries to, the most oppressed among you just might set your streets on fire, again. Give us liberty, we’re tired of death.”

    The problems need to be exposed.

    • Thanks MJ. I think there is much to learn from MLK and from Bournes. That is the first I heard of Bournes. I agree 100% with what he says.

      Speaking of Defiance, it started as Fort Defiance. It is the main city for many villages in the area. I grew up in one of those small villages just outside the “big city”.

      Here is a fitting quote from Wikipedia about Fort Defiance. I love what Charles Scott says :)

      “Fort Defiance was ordered built by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne in August 1794 at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers. It was the last of a line of defenses constructed by American forces in the campaign leading to the Northwest Indian War’s Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794.

      Work began on August 9, 1794 and was completed by August 17. The name was derived from a declaration by Charles Scott, who was leading a band of Kentucky militiamen in support of Wayne, that: “I defy the English, Indians, and all the devils of hell to take it.” The post was considered one of the strongest fortifications built in that period.”

      Source: Fort Defiance

  4. Very good quote:

    ““I do not hope for a black revolution, but I hope recent unrest will be a catalyst for reform. I do not pray with you for peace, if by peace you simply mean an America that stays clam, and silently tisks as authorities commit and ignore all sorts of injustice”

    This reflects a key reason why I will life the rest of my life as an ally–an ally to blacks, LGBTQIA, ex-ubfers, anyone who is excluded or shunned or put down. #AllyForLife

  5. MJ Peace

    Love that hashtag! Too bad you’re not in Chicago.
    We’re having a lecture at West Loop tonight entitled, “God, humanity and homosexuality.”
    I would have liked to have your opinion on the topic.

    • I have a four part presentation already prepared entitled “Have the Conversation about LGBT”. I am available to share the presentation/Q&A if someone is willing to host it.

  6. MJ Peace

    That’s awesome.
    I will talk to people at West Loop and see if we can get this discussion going. Maybe sometime in August.
    I know that our young people especially want to talk about this topic.
    Maybe you can also bring some copies of your new books and pass them out to;)

    • I’m available and always love visiting Westloop Church! My presentation/Q&A is based on what I’ve learned at Matthew Vine’s cohort class. The point is to respectfully initiate helpful dialogue. I focus on what I perceive to be the three major concerns non-affirming Christians have in regard to gender and sexual minorities. These three concerns are good to have and are necessary for affirming Christians to address.

  7. In case anyone is wondering, here is the outline for the presentation:

    a) Introduction

    b) Presentation 1: The non-affirming conscience rightly concerns about the holiness of God. Are we disobeying God? What is God up to?

    c) Presentation 2: The non-affirming conscience rightly concerns about our children. Are we setting a bad example? How do we break through the hostility?

    d) Presentation 3: The non-affirming conscience rightly concerns about immorality. Are we on a slippery slope? What restraint do we have?

  8. forestsfailyou

    At the last conference a missionary asked me if there was any rule to the pronunciation of city names and streets. She observed French named streets in St. Louis were sometimes pronounced French and other times not. She then asked how streets were named. I admitted that I didn’t know, but it seemed random. She said “There is a street named Defiance. Why would they name a street a bad thing.” I responded that defiance to a tyrant is no crime. That’s how our country was founded.

    • The Thirteen Colonies were the “R-group” of the British empire in the 18th century.

    • forestsfailyou

      I actually read that there was significant disagreement in the church at the time if rebellion was a Christian activity.

    • The irony is that UBF originated in Gwangju, the Korean region that is known for being notoriously rebellious (see for instance the Gwangju Uprising). And let’s not forget UBF itself was defiant of the Presbyterian church, and the Presbyterian church was defiant of the Roman Catholic church. UBF is built on a long tradition of acts of defiance, but they deny it and declare “absolute obedience” the only acceptable Christian behavior.