It's been said before: Korea has a cult problem. It's not that other countries/cultures don't give birth to cults. But Korea seems to do cults like nobody else
. Korean cults combine religious talk with deception
, intimidation, utter disregard for ethics, a keen interest in busine$$ and political power. See "South Korea: A cult history"
. The Cult of the Kims in North Korea hasn't hung on for this long just because they have the guns. Part of what keeps them in power is the culture--not communist culture, but Korean culture
A culture that leads to a proliferation of "powerful" cults is also part of why you had a cult puppet elected President and then impeached in South Korea recently. It turned out a cult leader's daughter was vetting the President's speeches and even policy documents, and the extent of this influence was under-reported in the West and also boldly lied about by the presidential thrall. It's so reminiscent of "message training". From "The Irrational Downfall of Park Geun-hye
...Although Park's relationship with the Choi family briefly became an issue during her two presidential runs, she dismissed them as baseless rumors, claiming that neither Choi Tae-min nor Choi Soon-sil was involved in her works as a politician.
As it turned out, Choi Soon-sil owned Park Geun-hye just as much as her father did. Peddling the presidential influence, Choi extorted tens of millions of dollars from Korea's largest corporations. When they found a small and profitable company, Choi's cronies would straight-up steal it, threatening the owner of the company with the company's destruction and personal harm. More importantly, Choi effectively controlled the presidential power. Every day, Choi would receive a huge stack of policy briefs from the presidential residence to discuss with her inner circle--an illustrious group that included Choi's gigolo (no, really) and a K-pop music video director (I'm serious.) Choi would receive ultra-confidential information detailing secret meetings between South and North Korean military authorities. Choi would receive in advance the budget proposal of more than $150 million for the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and distributed them to her friends' projects. Choi went around saying North Korea would collapse by 2017 according to the spirits that spoke to her, and the Park Geun-hye administration may have set its North Korea policy based on this claim.
Another cult leader is recently dead. George Will
had this to say:
"With the end of Fidel Castro's nasty life Friday, we can hope, if not reasonably expect, to have seen the last of charismatic totalitarians worshiped by political pilgrims from open societies. ... During the 1930s, there were many apologists for Joseph Stalin's brutalities, which he committed in the name of building a workers' paradise fit for an improved humanity. The apologists complacently said, 'You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.' To which George Orwell acidly replied: 'Where's the omelet?'"
The "eggs and omelets" argument made by apologists for marxist totalitarianism is, of course, the same "ends justify the means" mentality of cults and their apologists. "We're sorry some people got 'hurt', but God used us to 'pioneer all nations'". LOL.
Yet, in spite of the numerous well-documented crimes
of these absolute dictators, both political and religious, there are always the useful idiots
who just can't call an absolute dictator ... an absolute dictator.
BTW, here's my petition to UBF, and the only petition suitable for an organization that consistently exiles its most conscientious members (like Castro's Cuba): GFY.
The author at https://libertyforcaptives.com/2012/11/01/against-all-reason-why-i-failed-to-leave-my-cult
details why he failed for so long to leave his cult. Anyone looking from the outside in would have seen an obvious cult. But this well-educated, intelligent person could not acknowledge the obvious cult signs. It's a familiar story. The passages that struck me most are the following:People who remain in cults, as I did, experience doubts just like non cult-members do. The difference is that cult members put up walls against the unbearable logic of these doubts. Against all reason they persist in their commitment. They have so totally invested in the system—which they believe meets their three cosmic needs of assurance of salvation (security), love, and significance—that they will ignore such doubts or explain them away in order to remain consistent with their previous commitment.
As Cialdini alludes, it is not always the act of hard-thinking that discourages cult members from thinking critically about their group, but rather the consequences of such thinking. To admit that one’s group is a cult carries serious consequences: it means that you have been deceived, that you have judged others wrongly, that you have treated disagreeing family members disgracefully, and that you have misunderstood the character of God.
A former UBF member also explained this as the "sunk costs" problem.
(Posting this poem for a friend)
(alternate titles: “Weapons of Righteousness”, “Yet Another Conference”)
So refreshing, I’ll follow you
I’m refreshed when I drink more
All other streams are left behind
Where have you led me?
So refreshed, so thirsty.
Cult defenders will try to convince you that forgiveness is a simple concept, and they will probably try to couch their definition of forgiveness in Christianese. Their motives for pushing a naive, simplistic view of forgiveness are any of the following: excuse abusive behavior, erase history, do damage control, exert more control.
In reality, human forgiveness is a very complex concept. Here is a video that expresses the complexity of forgiveness.
Folie à deux - French for "a madness shared by two", shared psychosis, or "the theatric of two"This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.
Folie imposée is where a dominant person (known as the 'primary', 'inducer' or 'principal') initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the 'secondary', 'acceptor' or 'associate') with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to his or her own devices
UBF chapters created the perfect environment for this to happen. On top of this, my shepard used to have paranoid dilutions about the chapter director and the other members, of which he tried to convince me. Our 1:1's turned more into conditioning sessions to turn me into a more adherent disciple of his, not of Jesus.
"There's something missing from our lives; something that has been stolen..."
That's from a trailer from an upcoming film adaptation of "The Giver":
What's missing from your lives, members of cults and totalist groups? Here's a clue from the same trailer:
"When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong." (To me, that's UBF in a nutshell.)
You should see this film.
Some years ago, there was this "student leader" who had been at Wheaton College and other places, who made the news because of the abuse he dished out to young Christian recruits in the name of "mission training". His name was Feroze Golwalla. Here are some article links that still exist and some excerpts from those articles that describe some of the abuses he dished out:"Andreson says that Golwalla hit her, ordered her to screw a twisted clothes hanger into her face, and convinced her to lick a filthy bathroom floor. Wolfe describes Golwalla as beating and sexually assaulting his male followers. Both Andreson and Wolfe say Golwalla ordered them to assault other group members in the name of spiritual purification."
"He had some very good reasons for what he did — not good reasons, but convincing reasons," says Andrew, another former member of Tariq’s group. "He’d say, ‘Well, if we were going to Canada or Mexico or something, maybe we’d get by with a little bit of prayer, a little bit of discipline or training, but this is Pakistan. We’ve got to have Olympic training.’ That was how we justified what was happening."
"Benjamin Wolfe was beaten so badly that blood poured from his ears when his eardrums were ruptured from Golwalla's open-handed smacks, his brother said."
"You beat people for training. Do you remember a big traffic jam in January of 1973 due to a severe snowstorm? Shepherds Nam-Kyun Lee, Isaac Koh, Jonah Kim, and Matthew Sohn were late for the leader meeting on that day. You ordered them to hit each other 10 times. Some of them fainted and some were hospitalized because of their wounded ears. According to the testimony of Moses Kim, you locked Dong-Jin Park in your house and made him sit naked in ice water for five hours. You ordered missionary candidate Ki-Hwang Yoo to be your personal driver. When he didn’t obey you, you expelled him to Jejoo Island. You also ordered shepherd Nam-Kyun Lee to give Ki-Hwang Yoo only one meal per day at Jejoo Island and beat him 100 times everyday. He finally got pneumonia due to ill nutrition and horror. You made shepherd Man-Suk Chang take his two toenails out. You beat National Medical Center doctor, Hyung-Sik Sunwoo, at Chongno chapter before his brothers and sisters. You ordered shepherd Man-Suk Chang to beat Ki-Cho Kim at the CNF Mission Report in September of 1975. He got bruises in his face and ears. After this, he left..."
Oops! That last excerpt was from a letter to another "mission-minded" abuser, written to him by young, intellectual Korean recruits.
How would the victims of Feroze Golwalla feel if you went up to them and told them that Golwalla wasn't overbearing, not overbearing at all? And that he was just "complex". And that he "had his reasons".
If you happened upon a supposed Christian ministry, ministry leader or web site that tells you that a monster like Feroze Golwalla wasn't overbearing, that he was a "complex" individual with strong beliefs that motivated him to do "sometimes" abusive things, what would you do? I know what I would do.
Dennis Rodman (of all people) is now a North Korea apologist. His path to North Korea apologist is similar to the path taken by many cult apologists (also applies to UBF apologists):
1) He wants to keep an "open mind" toward a known cult leader/cult system.
2) He believes there are always "two sides to every story" (See point 1). The cult leader/system that wants to attract apologists also always insists that there are "two sides to every story".
3) He meets the cult leaders and finds that they are friendly and "cool". They seem nothing like the villains they are portrayed to be. They give him a strictly-controlled "guided tour" filled with flowers, clean houses, strange but good food, and the always-smiling faces.
4) He strikes up a friendship with the cult leaders. When confronted with negative facts about the cult, he brings up this friendship over and over. He's not hanging out with the cult leaders to either endorse or judge them. They are just his "friends". He says this over and over.
5) Former cult members/victims try to contact him to tell him that he is being used and that he has been manipulated by the cult leaders. He states emphatically that he is a friend of the cult leaders (See point 4), implicitly rejecting the harrowing testimonies of any who are not the friends of his new "friends". The more he is pressed to research the dark side of the cult that he has glossed over, the more he "doubles down".
6) His indoctrination now complete, he now advances to active apologism. "The cult isn't so bad. You guys are too negative. Look at all the positive stuff they're doing."
The following are some excerpts from "The Power of the Powerless
" by Vaclav Havel
. Emphases are mine. The purpose here is to highlight the shared experiences of people who have lived in totalitarian and "post-totalitarian" systems, including cults and cult-like groups.
"In 1974, when I was employed in a brewery, my immediate superior was a certain S, a person well versed in the art of making beer. He was proud of his profession and he wanted our brewery to brew good beer. He spent almost all his time at work, continually thinking up improvements, and he frequently made the rest of us feel uncomfortable because he assumed that we loved brewing as much as he did. In the midst of the slovenly indifference to work that socialism encourages, a more constructive worker would be difficult to imagine.
"The brewery itself was managed by people who understood their work less and were less fond of it, but who were politically more influential. They were bringing the brewery to ruin and not only did they fail to react to any of S's suggestions, but they actually became increasingly hostile toward him and tried in every way to thwart his efforts to do a good job. Eventually the situation became so bad that S felt compelled to write a lengthy letter to the manager's superior, in which he attempted to analyze the brewery's difficulties. He explained why it was the worst in the district and pointed to those responsible.
"His voice might have been heard. The manager, who was politically powerful but otherwise ignorant of beer, a man who loathed workers and was given to intrigue, might have been replaced and conditions in the brewery might have been improved on the basis of S's suggestions. Had this happened, it would have been a perfect example of small-scale work in action. Unfortunately, the precise opposite occurred: the manager of the brewery, who was a member of the Communist Party's district committee, had friends in higher places and he saw to it that the situation was resolved in his favor. S's analysis was described as a "defamatory document" and S himself was labeled a "political saboteur." He was thrown out of the brewery and shifted to another one where he was given a job requiring no skill. Here the notion of small-scale work had come up against the wall of the post-totalitarian system. By speaking the truth, S had stepped out of line, broken the rules, cast himself out, and he ended up as a sub-citizen, stigmatized as an enemy. He could now say anything he wanted, but he could never, as a matter of principle, expect to be heard. He had become the "dissident" of the Eastern Bohemian Brewery.
"I think this is a model case which, from another point of view, illustrates what I have already said in the preceding section: you do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy
of society. This is why our situation is not comparable to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when the Czech nation, in the worst period of Bachs absolutism, had only one real "dissident," Karel Havlíček , who was imprisoned in Brixen. Today, if we are not to be snobbish about it, we must admit that "dissidents" can be found on every street corner."
Apparently, Sun Myung Moon died in August of last year. Finally. At the age of 92. In the US, Moon and "the Moonies" of the Unification Church (UC) were mostly seen as a running joke. But, actually, it isn't that funny. For most of his unfortunately long life, Moon led a church that probably abused millions of followers. Some of these UC abuses had unsurprising counterparts in UBF.
I want to highlight past posts on the UC and similarities to UBF.
I also want to not so much ask, but lament, "Why do they get away with it?" Why was Moon allowed to die filthy rich, in relative comfort, leaving these ill-gained filthy riches to his children?
I'll be adding more to this post.
(This is related to a previous post
Jerry Sandusky was found guilty
yesterday on 45 counts. And no one was surprised. Yet, if I may play devil's advocate for a moment, where was the video- or audio-taped evidence of him sexually abusing those 10 boys over a 15 year span? All the prosecution had was the word of witnesses, those who had been directly abused by Sandusky and those who claimed to have witnessed abuse by Sandusky. The defense brought witnesses who vouched for Sandusky's character and testified how he was a "hero" in the community, how he had helped hundreds (if not thousands) of vulnerable and underprivileged boys. Those who loved and admired Sandusky over the years would probably greatly outnumber those who accused him of these heinous crimes. Yet, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 51 counts. Why? Because the testimony of multiple abusees and witnesses is the clear evidence of his crimes. This standard of evidence isn't just a biblical thing (Deut. 19:15-19). Any rational system of justice has to operate on this standard: The charges are believable and serious (sexual abuse), there are multiple witnesses (8 of the 10 abusees testified against Sandusky), the witnesses are credible, there is no evidence of a conspiracy against the accused. The system depends on the jury being rational enough to know that these many victims/witnesses would not just make up these stories when it is painful for them to come forward with their accounts of abuse.
In past arguments with UBF defenders about the many abuses of Samuel Lee, I've run into this exasperating argument that there is no video or audio of Lee's abusing people, and also arguments like "I wasn't there, so I don't know" or "Well, he helped thousands, didn't he?" And this is in spite of witnesses to his abuses that go back as far as 1976
. In an abusive system, a rational system of justice doesn't exist. In an abusive system, a rational standard of evidence based on the testimony of two or more witnesses is tossed aside, and abusive leaders are allowed to lead and abuse for years with no consequences.
The writer/producer of the previously mentioned film
, "Paradise Recovered", has written a piece called "We Are Spiritual Abuse Survivors"
to "honor those who have been hurt by high-demand churches and cults". Excerpts below:
We are spiritual abuse survivors.
... we believed a dangerous lie that closely resembled the truth. And we have paid dearly for that belief with the sacrifice of our very souls.
We thought we were specially called by God. We learned later that we were just a means to an end, with the end being the elevation of our leader.
We were taught or reconditioned to fear everything that contradicted our leaders’ edicts. We believed dissent to be wicked, evil, and Satanic.
And then we learned something about our leaders that made us question all that we built our lives upon.
Here is another example for UBF bible twisting, taken from medizinmission.wordpress.com:
"Sehen wir uns Vers 9 an: „Als aber einige verstockt waren und nicht glaubten und vor der Menge übel redeten von der Lehre, trennte er sich von ihnen und sonderte auch die Jünger ab und redete täglich in der Schule des Tyrannus.“ ...
In Vers 9 bedeutete „reden“ nicht ein einseitiges Lehren, sondern vielmehr eine geistliche Auseinandersetzung mit den Gläubigen. Paulus half ihnen, über das Wort Gottes sehr intensiv nachzudenken und es persönlich anzunehmen, anstatt nur einfach etwas zu konsumieren. Normalerweise ermutigten wir die Studenten, einmal in der Woche ZBS zu führen, aber Paulus hatte täglich Gemeinschaft mit den Jünger und sprach mit ihnen über das Wort Gottes. Vielleicht gab es ein zweistündiges BS, dann eine Essensgemeinschaft, anschließend Stellungnahmeschreiben und –vortragen. Dies geschah zwei Jahre lang, jeden Tag, also 720 Tage ohne Unterbrechung, was 2880 Stunden bedeutet, wenn man täglich 4 Stunden BS gehabt hätte. 2880 Stunden würden 28 Jahre BS bedeuten, wenn man nur 2 Stunden pro Woche das BS gehabt hätte. Paulus führte ein intensives BS mit einer Handvoll Jüngern in 2 Jahren, was in der Regel 28 Jahre BS machen könnte.
Was war die Folge diese intensiven BS auf der täglichen Basis? ..."
"Let's look at verse 9: "But some of them became stubborn and refused to believe. In front of everyone, they said bad things about the Way. So Paul left these Jews and took the Lord’s followers with him. He went to a place where a man named Tyrannus had a school. There Paul talked with people every day." ...
In verse 9 the word "talked" does not mean one-sided teach, but rather a spiritual dispute with the believers. Paul helped them to think deeply about the Word of God and accept it personally, instead of simply consuming something. Usually we encourage the students to have 1:1 BS once a week, but Paul had daily fellowship with the disciples and talked with them about the word of God. Maybe they had two hours of BS, then eating fellowship, then testimony writing and -sharing. This happened for two years, every day, i.e. 720 days without interruption, which means 2880 hours, if you make BS 4 hours a day. 2800 hours would mean 28 years of BS if you only have 2 hours BS per week. Paul had an intensive BS with a handfull of disciples in 2 years, what usually would be done by 28 years BS.
What was the consequence of this intensive daily Bible study? ..."
This is from Bonn UBF, but I have seen this text interpreted similarly in Heidelberg UBF - it's part of the UBF Bible interpretation canon. The quote shows in a typical way how UBF reads Bible passages, and then twists them to mean something different and support UBF practices, and then draws conclusions from that twisted interpretation.
The first sentence is still ok. Paul surely did not just talk one-sidedly, but he discussed and disputed things with people. Other Bible translations use the word "reasoned" or "disputed" instead of "talked". But no Bible translation talks about "Bible study" or "testimony sharing" in the UBF way. These are the two things that UBF considers to be their "core values" (see Brian's last posting). So they try to make people believe these things are directly supported by the Bible, even though there is no evidence in the Bible at all. Also, the writer is trying to give the impression that UBF bible study is not one-sided, but it definitely is. You are not expected to "reason" or "dispute" in UBF, you are expected to "accept one word" which means accept UBF's interpretation of the text. And of course the fact that Paul talked every day does not mean that he talked to the same people every day. In fact, verse 10 suggests that he talked to different people from the area who visited the city and then spread his words. UBFers claim that the disciples were responsible for spreading the word, but obviously they couldn't have made intense BS for two years in the city and intense mission in the area at the same time. They claim that if UBFers follow that pattern of intense BS, there would be a spiritual revival. However, the passage also talks about other things that caused the revival, like "extraordinary miracles". They totally overlook these things.
What is "active integration"? Thank God my family doesn't have to find out. The thoughts on these 2nd gen websites (created by 1st gen Koreans) documents the unspoken and undocumented concerns and fears I had for years.
Basic strategy of Active Integration:
- 2nd gens and shepherds need help equally.
- Priority: Have clear priority whether children or mission come first.
- It is the Holy Spirit who does the work. But the 2nd gens need help in following the guidance of the Holy Spirit: God’s word, spiritual value system, spiritual training
Here is the redefining vocabulary tactic in plain site. Faith, identity and vision are all re-defined and bound to UBFism:
- Faith (insight and values): faith in God is the foundation of life. (“Go back to the Bible!”)
- Identity: identity as a people belonging to God and global leaders. (1 Peter 2:9)
- Vision: God’s vision toward me and my people. Understanding the importance of inheriting and passing down the spiritual legacy.
The website even asks "who are the next generation". A deceptive answer is given... everyone in leadership knows that ONLY the Korean children of Korean UBF missionaries are the true "2nd gens". Any other race is involved only as a form of appeasement.
Who are the “NEXT GENERATION” we are referring to?
Most studies define next generation leaders as individuals under the age of 40. According to the book „The Young Evangelicas“ by Robert E. Webber, the young generation refer to those born after 1975. This young generation, namely the next generation from a new leader group for the 21 century.
And finally...empowering through Viagra...(I know this is just spam...but the forum is obviously not active. Why leave it out there?)
Edit: There is now a RSQUBF Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/rsqubf
. Like RSQUBF everybody!
Hello fellow RSQUBF members! I was wondering if it would make sense to have a RSQUBF page on Facebook. I have since passed the torch to those that are more capable of leading than I, but I thought I should ask the question.
I pray that God will continue to richly bless you and lead you in His love and grace.
In May, it will be 20 years since I left UBF. Has it really been that long?
When I first left, I didn't know where I would live because I had shared apartments with UBF guys for most of the previous 10 years. (In the mid-80s, I changed apartments so many times that I used the center's address on my driver's license, instead of having an out-of-date address on my license most of the time.) I didn't know whether I would be able to find a church I could trust and where I could be comfortable. By the grace of God, both of these situations have been resolved. I won't say more about them here because I have discussed them in previous postings.
I think my subject line for this posting -- "Any regrets about leaving UBF?" -- has two sides. The first can be expressed like this: "Am I sorry that I left UBF?" The answer is a resounding "NO!!!" Leaving UBF was one of the best decisions I have ever made; the only taste of regret associated with it is that I wish it hadn't taken me 10+ years to reach the point where my eyes were opened and I had had enough.
The other side is something like this: "Is there anything I regret doing while I was in UBF?" This is the more difficult question. During my early days in the Columbus chapter, when the UBF misdeeds and atittudes which would later make my life such a turmoil were just mild misgivings, I encouraged my little sister to come to Bible study. She eventually moved into the women's apartment. She was confused when I left UBF but stayed a few years more until her own eyes were opened and she left on her own. Another person I witnessed to on campus also joined UBF and then stayed for a while after I left; he experienced the same confusion that my sister did. But at least they both woke up and left on their own terms when they realized what a trap UBF was. My only regret here is that I didn't feel I could talk to them while I was leaving and encourage them to leave sooner. But we have all since discussed this and we are happy that we got out when we did. So that regret is now all but nonexistent.
However, during the early 80s, I witnessed to a classmate who was interested in Bible study and began attending Sunday services. She eventually moved into one of the women's apartments and became as heavily involved in the chapter as my sister and I were. Then, about 3 or 4 years later, she was chosen to marry someone from the Chicago chapter by faith and was extremely excited and honored by the prospect. The last time we talked before she moved away to get married, she told me that she would never forget me or the influence that I had on her life.
I wish there had been a way I could have reached out to her when I was leaving and told her the truth about what UBF really is. I often wonder if she is still there and if she is still happy there. If she isn't happy, does she blame me since I'm the one that got her into UBF in the first place?
I think my only real regret about leaving UBF is that one of the people I got into the group might still be there, be unhappy, and consider me the source of her misery.
"We lived in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility, or forgiveness lost their depth and dimensions. ... Only a few of us were able to cry out loud that the powers that be should not be all-powerful." -- Vaclav Havel, December 1989.