Identity Snatchers


Over a year ago, I wrote a provocative article here on ubfriends, entitled Shepherd Brian is Dead. It is an unfortunate reality that in order to have any kind of conversation with UBF members, I need to use such rhetoric. Dropping the C-bomb (as Joe likes to call it) is the only way I have found that leads to some honest, real answers about the UBF ministry. In my article last year, I wrote this:

“Why do I claim University Bible Fellowship is a cult? The answer is because ubf shepherds and missionaries are identity snatchers. They spiritually abused me and thousands others by stealing our identity and persuading us to adopt their identity. That identity was called “Shepherd Brian”. But that is not who I am. That was never who I was. That is not my authentic self.”

That comment about identity snatching stuck with me. It has now lead to my new book.

Giving credit

I am eternally thankful for the input from numerous current and former UBF members, especially Ben, Joe, Zoe, Charles, David, Maria and Chris (well ok not eternally… just thankful!). They were a good sounding board and helped shape this book well beyond my original ideas. Without their input, this would have been a really dark, scary book! But because of their criticism and honest feedback, the book is much brighter and hopeful.

The stories in my book are not only about deconstructing UBFism, but also about redemption. The stories are another major step in my own journey of recovering my identity.


Dr. Steve Hassan and Dr. Ronald Enroth both appreciated my book, but are busy until later this year. I hope to add their endorsements later on. Here is some of the feedback I did receive on this project so far:

“This book is part of a critical examination of University Bible Fellowship. It gives insight into the structures and methods of this controversial group that’s work is focused on students.”
—Dr. Reinhard Hempelmann, Director of the Protestant Centre of Religious and Ideological Issues, Berlin Germany

“I am really glad to know of your book project! It is greatly needed. I don’t know of any books that cover University Bible Fellowship in depth.”
–Larry Pile, Counselor at Wellspring Retreat and Counseling Center, Athens Ohio, USA

“How can we support you? I want this book to be written.”
–Former member

“Amen. This book is needed. I pray God uses it to bring liberation to those still trapped in UBF and healing to families and the body of Christ.”
–Former member

“I think the book is so important to show that processing UBF is not about criticizing them mainly but about becoming happy, healthy, and whole again.”
–Former member

“Wow, awesome so far! I am going to share this book with everyone.”
–Former member

Links to my new book

As always, my books are free on Kindle with Amazon Prime and have the Amazon lending feature enabled, as well as the Amazon MatchBook enabled. I also tend to give free paperback copies to anyone willing to help promote the book via blog reviews. Content on the free online companion will be added in the coming months.

Identity Snatchers – Paperback Edition

Identity Snatchers – Kindle Edition

Free online companion –


  1. Thanks, Brian. Your book should be a fun read for many. To be objective and real, it would not be fun for some others.

    “…ubf shepherds and missionaries are identity snatchers. They spiritually abused me and thousands others by stealing our identity and persuading us to adopt their identity.” – See more at:

    This statement would be flatly and categorically denied by the UBF shepherds and missionaries. What many/some of them think and insist is that they were loving God by obeying the Bible to make disciples through one to one Bible study and through all the manifold UBF activities and traditions and so-called “core values.”

    I can say this with absolute confidence and certainty because this is how I thought and was convinced of for over two decades.

    My utmost desire is still to love God, others and Scripture because of His mercy, grace and kindness and to make disciples primarily through friendship and relationships. I just no longer do it the way I used to.

    • Next book will be the book I planed to be my 6th book and actually started before Identity Snatchers. The new book is called “The Outlaw Convoy”.

  2. One time FREE promo for my new book, Friday and Saturday ONLY!

    Identity Snatchers FREE Kindle edition 9/11 and 9/12

  3. Congrats on finishing! That’s awesome; I know it took a lot of effort to write. Continue sharing your story.

    • Thanks. As this former leader found out, it is extremely difficult to write a book about ubf even when you can see the flaws so clearly:

      “I had been in Heidelberg UBF 18 years and two years in Giessen (to pioneer). I tried to write a book about problems of UBF, but I realized myself too indoctrined in a long term. I could not see the problems clearly. Now I have been studying theology since four years, I can more and more understand the differences between the biblical messages and UBF teaching. They distorted all important biblical keywords: grace, love, faith, mission obedience… This is a main reason why the Korean Ex-UBF members can not be integrated in the local church. They must be cured intensively and professionally. This is also a reason why they can not do anything after they quit the UBF. They do not understand the problems. They are too far indoctrinated and confused. Anyway I must study longer and deeper Bible and Theology. May God give me wisdom to complete my book.”


  4. Hey everyone, I have 2 free paperback copies left. If anyone wants one, contact me with your address and then write a blog review of the book. In addition, I am sending a free copy to Ben and Dr. Hassan.

  5. Apparently ubf is creating “membership rules” and “membership classes”.

    Here is one of the membership applications

    They should give out a copy of my book to go along with that class…

    Here is my suggested membership class agenda:

    – How to get an arranged marriage!
    – How to submit your every life decision to your personal shepherd!
    – How to speak Konglish!
    – How to obey like a dead dog!
    – How to think like a Buddhist!

  6. Joe Schafer

    Brian, you might find this interesting. Today’s DB page literaly says that a young man’s identity must be broken down before he can become a child of God and have a genuine relationship with God.

    Did anyone ever tell this person that Jesus was a law abiding religious Jew? And Paul was a law abiding religious Jew? And that both of them lived within their cultural contexts? Isn’t the gospel of the Incarnation all about God meeting us where we are, in our present human contexts?

    Dear DB author: I have some “hard words” for you that I hope you are humble enough to hear: Your ubf-shaped theology is cultish and at odds with biblical and historic Christianity.



    Matthew 19:16-30

    Key verse:
    Matthew 19:21

    September 24, 2015

    First, do you love Him (16-22). Jesus’ words sometimes seem hard: “Do you love Me more than these?” (Jn 21:15) We were created to love Him above all else. Only in this way can we be truly fulfilled. Jesus is drawing this young man to Himself by creating a conflict in his heart that will eventually turn into a “pearl of great price” – faith. his identity as a law-abiding, religious Jew, though strongly held and deeply sincere, must be broken down so this young man can become like a child and experience a genuine relationship with God.

    Second, all things are possible with God (23-30). God said to Job “look at every proud man and humble him … then I myself will admit … your own right hand can save you.” (Job 40:12,14) It is impossible for man to humble himself, or others. Only God is able to humble the proud. Though we be ever so sincere, still our proud hearts must be humbled to realize our true state as sinners before God, totally dependent on his mercy. Only then can we experience God’s wonderful, amazing grace of salvation. Great peace will come of it – the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

    Lord, grant me the grace to hear ‘hard’ words from you, that I may learn complete humility and total dependence based on a love for you far greater than my love for anything or anyone else.

    One word:
    Swallow the bitter pill – hear God’s ‘hard’ words – and be saved.

    • THANK YOU for pointing this out Joe. I am really so excited to read these new Daily Bread articles because the points I make in my book are being proven real-time, with actual public documentation. I took a screenshot of today’s db and will use it in a special way on my website.

      The fact that these false teachings are being publicly exposed is a very good trend.

      The goal of UBFism is to break down your personal identity. As such, UBFism has confused the organizational identity of the group as well:

      “After more than 50 years of existence, a valid question still haunts UBF. Is UBF a church or para-church or what? On some UBF websites and building signs, you will find UBF referring to itself as a church. Many in the group however avoid making such a clear commitment to being a church, even though they celebrate their own Sunday services and collect offerings. Sometimes UBF is called a para-church organization. UBF was comfortable with that term in the early days, but now they typically avoid that term as well. So what is UBF? Is it a church? Is it a para-church? Such lack of organizational identity causes much confusion in the local campus chapters.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg.23

    • This is disgusting! There is truth but in light of so many failures, sometimes you have to just zip it . . .


    • Yet they do not want to swallow the bitter pill that God loves mercy, not sacrifice! That the best thing is to sit and listen, not to work your tail off and bully others.

    • So then, we can all see that UBF people and I agree on one thing:

      –UBF Bible teachers want to break your identity.

      I say this is harmful, UBFers say this is God’s good will. You decide.

    • Oh and I added this gem to my collection:

      They want to break you

  7. “…his identity as a law-abiding, religious Jew, though strongly held and deeply sincere, must be broken down…” – See more at:

    Statements like this perhaps indicate that ubf theology and “Bible study” has not delved into and embraced the interaction, connection and relationship between the Law and the Gospel.

    That’s perhaps why this picture you once shared with me simply hits the nail on the head:

    That notwithstanding, I am actually somewhat impressed that the DB (titles, write up) does seem a little fresh and not look or sound like the “same ole, same ole” stuff that I’ve read for over two decades.

    • Joe Schafer

      The packaging/writing style is different, but the ideology is basically the same.

    • This is exactly what I hoped/predicted would happen, and I am very happy to see these developments. UBFism is flawed and harmful, and now everyone can begin to see it.

      “In contrast to most Christian discipleship methods, the UBF program tends to turn people into puppets. A chapter director or shepherd just needs to pull the right strings and the new recruit dances in obedient perfection. The new identity UBF leaders want to create is one of unquestioning obedience. This is done in a clever, subtle way. They make you think you made your own decision but in reality you choose what your leader wants.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg.78

  8. “UBF people and I (Brian) agree on one thing: UBF Bible teachers want to break your identity.” – See more at:

    Being broken is not necessarily bad. When I’m broken by God my heart is tender, my being is healed and my spirit is joyful.

    The PROBLEM is when some ubf leaders truly think that THEY are the special chosen ones to break people who are in ubf, even after 5, 10, 20, 40 years!

    Then they take this thought further. They interpret that anyone who resists them or objects to them in any way is basically evil, bitter, proud, rebellious, worldly, demonic, stiff-necked, not missional, etc.

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