I think that I might be one of the original American members of UBF, because when I joined back in 1977, there were only a handful of Americans. I think we had 20 or 30 at the first Summer Conference in St. Catherines, Ontario at Brock University (Summer of '77 ?). I ended up going to at least 7 of those. And that was a LONG drive from Atlanta, GA. every Summer. I met Sarry Barry and Samuel Lee several times. I was 'famous', because I was the first sheep in Georgia. I was called the 'Abraham of Atlanta'. My 'bio' has more information. I remember a Toledo mini-conference in '79?, and I spent a week in Chigago in the early '80's for a Romans study.
I guess I was just too rebelious and too much of a free thinker to stay indefinitely. Also, my 'calling' from God, from the very first till now, has been 'cult apologetics', so I learned that many of the things that was happening to me in UBF just couldn't be right. (even though it took 12 yrs. for me to leave). I never considered UBF a cult, just a 'spiritually abusive' group. Also, their theology was very shallow, and I wanted to get into the deeper things of God.
It wasn't until I was asked to leave, however, that I left. That was because I married a woman that my shepard was against. He told me that she would lead me astray, but because I married her anyway, he asked me to leave. I did not have enough 'faith' to go to Korea and marry, as they were strongly suggesting. Even Samuel Lee told me that I should go there and marry a woman of faith with the same life goals as me (UBF). But as I said, I was a rebellous youth, and I just couldn't put my life into someone else's hand like that. That was over 18 yrs. ago, and my wife and I are still happily married and she is a very spiritual woman!
I was the only American in that small group in Atlanta that stayed consistently through the 12 years that I was there. Others would come but then they would go. No American stayed with us over 1 or 2 yrs., but I really thought that God wanted me there, though I really disliked it there, and hated the Sunday services. I was constantly bombarded with letters and presents from members in Korea, especially around Christmas. I also went to a Pentecostal church, and became involved in some countercult ministries in Atlanta. This led to more and more dissatisfaction with UBF.
UBF was instrumental in causing the divorce of my first wife from me. She couldn't handle all of the Bible studies, and my devotion to the group. She put up with it for 6 months and left me. It was my 2nd wife that I married 5 yrs. later that I wrote about above, that I am still happily married to.
Though UBF did have some detrimental effects on me (some that still linger), it was instrumental in helping me to find God and get saved. Only a 'shepard' like I had could have stuck with me in all of my rebellousness until I gave in to God and learned who Jesus Christ was. It was the last thing that I would have pursued on my own.
And the group's insistence on Bible study and digestion ot the passages has led to a pretty good basis for all that I remember now, and I do believe that they gave me a GOOD foundation of the Bible.
Even though I had been out of UBF for around 15 yrs., back in 2003 I found out where my old UBF 'shepherd' was living. He had got out of UBF also, and is now attending a Korean church in Savannah, GA. He got very disillusioned after trying in vain to keep UBF going in Atlanta, and I was the only one who would stay. I think that sometime after I left, he probably just quit and moved. He was friendly on the phone and invited me out to visit anytime. One day, I'll have to go visit him.
I am VERY curious if there are any members or ex members of UBF from that time period, that might remember me. Please respond. My personal email is: email@example.com
'Abraham of faith' from Atlanta