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.
From a news story on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky scandal
Throughout the interview, Sandusky repeatedly said that his actions and relationships with children were motivated by a pure love of children- in a protective and fatherly way as opposed to that of a paedophile.
'It was, you know, almost an extended family,' he said.
I should hold off on pronouncing the man guilty. After all, in America, we presume innocent until proven guilty. But the "motivated by love" and "extended family" rationalizations are ominously familiar. I've read and heard these rationalizations before in the discussion of spiritual abuse in UBF and other groups.
If/when Sandusky is pronounced guilty, I'll have to say more about how evidence is considered in cases of abuse, whether it's sexual or spiritual abuse.
Yes, they're still at it. They're still celebrating "Founder's Day". These days, it's with powerpoint slide shows with old photos of Lee and family with shimmering background music. Here's another reminder, in the form of the following links, that UBF's founder was an unregenerate and abusive autocrat from pretty much the beginnings of UBF, as many have testified:
It's said that some folks in UBF are waking up these days to the dark aspects and "ugly sides" of UBF, past and present. But from what I see, even those folks can't bring themselves to trace that darkness and ugliness back to its primary source.
Steve Job's helpful advice to UBF members:
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
I originally posted my text below as a reply to wcanfi's January 6, 2010 posting "My choice of 3 top UBF reforms absolutely necessary-yours?" but decided that it should be its own posting because I don't recall reading that much in RSQUBF about how people were affected by being forced to write sogams and life testimonies. Although I have no disagreements with any of the issues expressed in RSQUBF, I feel that the aftereffects of this kind of forced writing haven't been expressed that much. I hope that my experiences are helpful:
"I understand your desire for current UBF members to have a place where they can freely voice their concerns about people who leave UBF and about "cases of non-Christian, non-Biblical behavior among UBF members". However, I feel you have neglected another offense for which UBF leadership should be held accountable, one I'm not sure has been discussed in much detail.
I'm speaking of the practice of making select members divulge every single detail of their past lives, no matter how sordid or humiliating, ostensibly so God's grace and mercy can be revealed through the person's life testimony.
I experienced this indignity firsthand in 1984 when I was chosen to present my life testimony at the Lake Geneva conference. I was instructed to write everything I could remember from my life before UBF; my first draft was 50 pages long and I was told that I didn't write nearly enough. My 'shepherd' instructed me to write more and to leave nothing out. The final version ended up being over 120 handwritten, single-spaced pages long and I relived all the bullying, abuse, and trauma I had done my best to put behind me and move on from.
The testimony I read at Lake Geneva was less than 15 pages long and did a good job of revealing how my life had changed since I began studying the Bible. Although my audience didn't have to hear all the grim details of my life, I had still had to experience it all over again. Unfortunately, the abuse didn't end here.
All during the remaining years I was in UBF, I had the impression that the leaders of my chapter always viewed me through the lens of my life testimony and the negative details of my past life. No matter how I grew or what I accomplished, it seemed that the leaders felt I would always be the smoking, cussing, drinking, rebellious 18-year-old who had been fished off a local college campus in the summer of 1982. Even when I responded to the challenge to find and keep a full-time job for one year by keeping the same job for 3 years, this accomplishment was unacknowledged; never mind the fact that I attended college full-time at the same time and graduated with a 3.2 GPA. The fact that I graduated from college when I had never thought it possible was barely recognized.
The underlying reason for life testimonies is not to reveal God's grace in someone's life. Rather, they are used to expose everything in an individual's life so UBF leadership can hold their past transgressions over their heads and convince them that they will never be able to outlive their past. Please include this atrocity in your list of offenses for which UBF leaders must be held accountable."
While UBF hasn't exactly helped the face of college evangelism, College Christian parachurch ministries at large are facing more and more aggressive behavior from the unbelieving (and often liberal) College world at large. Even though Christians and Christian ministries are being discriminated against, it works in our favor as the courts have consistently ruled for the religious freedom of Christians and Christian groups. Although UBF is aberrant at the least, all Christian college groups--evangelical or otherwise--need our prayer and support in this critical decision. Follow the links below for more on the story...Christian Group vs. Hastings College of LawACLJ Supports
1. Leadership accountability
* Among other things, there is no open community forum anywhere within UBF for discussing the many cases of
those who left UBF either bitterly, out of fear, or out of Christian conscience
* Cases of non-Christian, non-Biblical behavior among UBF members have no open community forum anywhere
within UBF to discuss
* Top leadership "Board of Elders," un-elected, has unquestioned authority to do almost anything without feedback
from the general UBF community
2. Dependency on Samuel Lee
* for Bible interpretation--impossible for one man to have all the answers
* for American culture interpretation--Samuel Lee had a limited, even distorted view of American culture. Some
- individualism (Lee's tended not to include the positive aspects of self-reliance)
- freedom (Lee's tended not to include the different forms: freedom of thought, of conscience, of will, of print, of
worship for example)
- music (Lee tended not to understand American music culture at all)
* for Western family values (Lee tended not to understand this at all from Western point of view)
* in short, Lee had very little understanding of American culture from the Western point of view, neglecting the deep
Western European heritage and stereotyping it according to Korean and Asian viewpoints, and yet he acted with
absolute authority to interpret American culture. This is a serious flaw in alleged missionary work in non-native
cultures, which Lee claimed he was doing in America. Many current UBF members continue aping his narrow and
distorted interpretations of Western/American culture to this day, and show reluctance if not resistance to
understanding American culture as it is now and originated historically. "The Light and the Glory" founding fathers
is not enough.3. Financial disclosure:
no regular, open community forum to discuss and vote upon
Your top 3? Thanks...wcanfi
From a Times Online article
on the increasingly embattled Church of Scientology:
The letters, which the senator has passed onto police, contained allegations of a range of crimes, including forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, embezzlement of church funds, physical violence, intimidation and blackmail.
Among the letters he tabled was one from a former follower from Western Australia, who was born into Scientology. The man wrote in a letter that as a member of the organisation in both Australia and the US he had participated in the “forced confinement and torture” of others. His letter also states: “Several abortions were ordered as well”.
Physical confinement, torture
, coerced abortions
. We've heard of these practices before.
UBF's main purpose, which most ex-UBFers will recognize, and even UBFers themselves will agree with, is "disciple-making." The term "discipleship-training" is also used interchangeably. The program of "disciple-making" involves imitating what Jesus did in calling the twelve (later) apostles; namely, common life, Bible study, "history education," and preaching the gospel (world mission). There are two problems with having this as a stated purpose, aside from the fact that all authentic, born-again Christians wherever they are are struggling to be disciples of Jesus and to attract others to do the same, not just UBF.
First, the contradiction within UBF itself. All of the twelve disciples ran away from Jesus at the end (only one disciple unrepentantly betrayed Jesus). Jesus did not fault the eleven for this, however, but lovingly and mercifully sought them out after his resurrection. UBF, on the other hand, roundly criticizes anyone who leaves UBF for any reason, and makes it almost impossible for anyone to return, or at least to want to return. This is not only an incomplete imitation of Jesus, but runs counter to His own humbleness, mercy, and grace. UBF's conceited mind towards those who leave, usually expressed internally, is a problem they have yet to solve. Until it does so, there is much to be desired in its own description of itself as doing what Jesus did in raising disciples.
Secondly, and more importantly, "disciple-making" is impossible, humanly, if taken literally, as it often is in UBF. When did the disciples really become disciples? That is, in the sense of fully understanding Jesus and accepting His purpose for them, not to mention being enabled to do so? It was when the Holy Spirit was given to them at Pentecost, long after Jesus had gone back to heaven. UBF can have as nice and rigorous a program as they wish in trying to imitate how Jesus raised disciples, but this crucial element in "disciple making" will never be acquired by UBF, nor any other human. UBFers will answer that God is using them to make disciples. But sadly, too often its efforts to "make disciples" look more like pushing people to be Christian. Authentic calling and election are from the inside, a change in heart, through the action of the Holy Spirit and cannot be "made" by adherence to human training of any kind. There is something that is wrong with an organization that turns a deaf ear to so many people over the years who have experienced UBFers' "discipleship training" as pushy far beyond merely involving a set of high standards which are worthy and require effort to reach.
So, "disciple making" and "discipleship training" as expressly-stated main purposes are very naive at best, and grandiose or very dangerous at worst. If reformed Calvinist theology were truly followed in UBF, which it is not, although it is often purported to, then UBF leaders would have to step aside, and pull Samuel Lee aside especially, and let God be seen and glorified more clearly. This would, it is true, threaten UBF's very foundations as it stands, but in the long run would be the best for it, and help it to truly live for the glory of God, instead of one man.
That's all. Hope it wasn't too rambling. Thanks for reading!