This collection is my research and analysis that is helping me to both understand and recover from my many years at University Bible Fellowship.
Hassan – Karcher 2015 – Interview University Bible Fellowship (UBF) from Brian John Karcher on Vimeo.
“Brian left the University Bible Fellowship after 24 years of deep and passionate membership to wake up and discover that in fact it is a mind control cult. His book is a must read for anyone who is currently involved with UBF and also for former members, friends and any others who are interested in the cult phenomenon. There is a healing path out of a group that one was involved with for decades, but it takes research, good counseling, honesty and time. A good support system too! As a former member of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, I welcome more accounts like Brian’s to shed a light on the many cult groups who misuse the Bible and human authority to control people and make them into slaves.”
— Steven Hassan, author of Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guidebook to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults
I wrote my new book to my 1987 self—as a reference book to the college freshman who just agreed to study the Bible with a UBF shepherd. There are twelve aspects of the group that still need to be addressed 28 years later. These are the twelve topics I expounded on in this book. These are the reasons why I claim this group is a Korean Bible cult teaching a harmful ideology called UBFism on over 300 college campuses around the world:
- Arranged marriages exclusively with group members
- Replacement of identity with the Shepherd X identity
- Lifelong moral supervision by a personal shepherd
- Degradation of family as unspiritual
- Koreanization of host cultures
- Failure to adequately address various cases of abuse
- Hagiographical re-writing of their own history
- Traumatic process of leaving the group
- Psychological issues found in former members
- Theological departures from the tenets of Christianity
- Reduction of the Bible canon to 12 books
- Toxic leadership styles that foster hypocrisy
Why did I join? Why did I stay? Why did I leave? I joined because of the promise of goodness. The group offered many low-commitment activities with high-reward promises. They offered a noble dream of being a missionary, which I was keen to since I had wanted to be a Catholic priest since I was 16 years old. They poured on much praise and flattery. Mixed in with all this was a genuine spiritual awakening.
I stayed for 24 years, from 1987 until 2011, because I kept hoping for something to change and because my life became entangled with the group. I felt that staying was the good and God-pleasing thing to do, no matter how miserable my life became at times. What is more, I thought I had joined a Christian missionary-sending church. I left because I finally had to admit the reality—I was in a cult. I started reading Bonhoeffer and Charles H. Spurgeon and discovered the gospel of Christianity. The goodness of transformation by the Holy Spirit inspired me when I read many Christian books and began talking with Christian pastors. The goodness of virtual communities, such as ubfriends.org, brought much peace and light and healing to my soul. Most importantly, I realized that my wife and mother and all my family were, and continue to be, my bedrock of goodness.
—Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg 148-149