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"The Discipleship Game" - commitment manipulation 
29th-Mar-2006 03:45 pm
Here is the conclusion of chapter 1 of "Twisted Scriptures" by Chrnalogar. It describes what is also called deceptive recruiting or the "staged" commitment tactic employed by cults, which I also witnessed in UBF. It also explains why people stay in cults as long as they do.

"COMMITMENT MANIPULATION" TACTIC

There is good reason why abusive discipleships do not reveal the rules up front—they would not get many recruits!

People are not exactly beating down the doors of monasteries that teach poverty, chastity and obedience. Commitments like that take time to make. But, unlike monastic orders, abusive discipleships use a "commitment manipulation" tactic: getting people involved first and then introducing them to all the rules. Once people are committed and involved in something, they are much more likely to accept such new information.

I remember a college professor telling me that if a person signs an insurance policy but later finds out it says much more in the fine print than he knew about, that person would still agree with it because he had made the commitment. This is similar to an abusive discipleship. The new disciple does not realize the involvement is the beginning of a long-term and intense commitment, nor does he know all that commitment will involve.

People get involved by participating and, over time, feel committed. Then, when they find out more of what is wanted of them, they go along with it because they have already made a substantial emotional commitment. In some cases, they have also made a financial investment. They have signed on the bottom line and the discipleship will fill in the blanks as they go along.

There is a tendency to justify, and cling to, whatever you are already involved in.
So you must take time to look at all the information in this book before you push it aside. If you are currently participating in a group, I know it will be difficult for you to look at this information objectively. If a group can get you involved first, form your friendships, and gain your trust, then begin to lay one rule after another on you, you will more than likely accept them without argument.

I have faced controlling disciplers and asked them: "Why don't you tell your people up front what your discipleship is all about?" Sometimes they answer that the Lord doesn't lead them that way or that the people are still babes as Christians and would not be able to handle it. This is discipleship code. What it really means is that few would join if they knew beforehand all that will be expected of them. These disciplers are not hiding "deeper truths"—they are hiding manipulation.


(Continues in comments.)
Comments 
30th-Mar-2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
There is a tendency to justify, and cling to, whatever you are already involved in.

Quoted below is an excerpt from a recent Chicago UBF message. It shows a clear example of how UBF systematically justify the violation of human rights using the Bible!

The author claims that ”But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.” What does he exactly mean by this? The related bible passage is Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." In this passage, Jesus invites those who are weary to come to him to find rest for their souls by taking his yoke upon them and by learning from him.

Why does the author bring up the subject of human rights here? Is the subject even relevant to the passage? Is it Jesus’ intention to relate his teaching to any human rights in this passage? Is it Jesus’ intention that taking up his yoke and learning from him will necessarily entail the violation of human rights? Or is it another perverse interpretation of Jesus' teaching by an abusive organization such as UBF? I don’t understand what exactly the author trying to convey by ”But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.” He seems to be implying that a church or a church leader CAN violate any human rights to help--or the proper word should be 'make' in UBF--someone take up Jesus' yoke and learn from him. Is that what Jesus is trying to imply in the passage of Matthew 11:28-30?


http://chicagoubf.org/view_updates.php?url=http://chicagoubf.org/bbs/view.php&id=recent_messages&no=33

"...After putting down our burden of sin, there is something we must take from Jesus. Look at verses 29-30. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus tells us that we must take Jesus’ yoke upon us. What does this mean? In ancient times, a yoke was used to join two oxen together to harness their labor power for plowing the fields (1Ki 19:19). Metaphorically, this yoke represents our relationship to Jesus. Taking Jesus’ yoke is submitting to his Lordship. It is surrendering ourselves to Jesus completely and willingly. It is to take our place as servants in his work.

This may bother our notion about human rights. We honor our American forefathers who threw off the bondage of colonialism through bloody battle. We have since developed into people of the most sophisticated human rights. There are so many rights in America, such as civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, voting rights, visitation rights, students’ rights, criminals’ rights, and animal rights. We are very sensitive about rights. In politics, we may have to talk about human rights. But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus. When Jesus says to take his yoke, it means to yield to Jesus as Lord and Savior. St. Paul is a good example. He always referred to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus or a slave of Christ Jesus. In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, “For I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” When we surrender to Jesus, our sinful passion and pride dies and Christ lives in us. This gives us rest..."

30th-Mar-2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
”But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.” What does he exactly mean by this?

Actually, he means: "We cannot talk about our human rights with UBF." Once they pushed away the notion of human rights in the minds of their members, once they successfully indoctrinated them to believe they have no human rights when it comes to how UBF treats them, they can do everything with these people.
30th-Mar-2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
Actually, he means: "We cannot talk about our human rights with UBF."

That interpretation seems to be consistent with UBF practice. If having a baby hinders new member recruiting business, then UBF says, "Abort that baby." If a husband or a wife hinders UBF ministry, then UBF says, "Divorce that husband or that wife." If a member criticizes UBF leadership, then UBF will give the member "humbleness training" like walking 25 miles on bare feet, writing 50 page testimony, comdemning the member in public during worship service etc..

If the member actually aborts the baby in obedience to UBF direction, the member is praised as a GREAT servant of God. If the member actually divorces his/her spouse, the member is praised as the one who LOVES God more than anything. If the member actually walks 25 miles on bare feet or writes 50 page testimony, all of sudden he/she is the most HUMBLE person in the whole world. Praising the obedient member is done in public during worship service by mentioning the person's name because public praise is very effective in creating unofficial culture in an organization. In this way UBF controls any notion of human rights and any implementation of human rights in its organization.

Samuel Lee used to directly control every notion of human rights and the implemetation of human rights in UBF. Actually Samuel Lee himself was the human rights existed in UBF. UBF theology on human rights is fabricated by Samuel Lee so the current UBF theology on human rights still remains contaminated by Samuel Lee's absurd theology on human rights. We can see clearly that the author's notion on human rights consciously or subconsciously controlled by Samuel Lee's notion on human rights. The author's message is not the result of sound Bible study but the result of the application of Samuel Lee's absurd theology to Jesus' teaching.

Every messenger in UBF is forced to use only Samuel Lee's theology in studying the Bible to write a message. The messengers in UBF should start to investigate Samuel Lee's theology even before they start to use it. But doing so is considered the most wicked sin in UBF. So they cannot but produce such a ridiculous message as this: ”But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.”
31st-Mar-2006 02:51 am (UTC) - Jesus' lordship as dictated by a UBF leader
The author claims that ”But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus.”

This just continues a pattern established by Sam Lee in his sermons for many years. He consistently disparaged the concept of human rights in his sermons. The motive was obviously to erode respect for human rights so that many kinds of abusive training could be justified. So, here is more evidence that UBF continues or wants to continue to employ abusive training.

A Christian ministry knows and teaches that our fundamental rights and value as human beings come from God's image in us and God's absolute moral character. UBF evidently does not have a clue about that. They never have.

The sick thing is that they try to bring Jesus down to their level. Jesus did not operate that way. As Chris, has said, because a UBF leader is the one who dictates "Jesus' lordship" to you in your life, it's easy to see through the statement, "But we cannot talk about our human rights with Jesus."
31st-Mar-2006 02:32 am (UTC) - No, Jesus was not an abusive discipler.
(Here's the rest of chapter 1 with a concluding checklist.)

You should wonder why a group would want to conceal the way it really
operates from newcomers or those on the outside. Jesus certainly did
not operate this way. Furthermore, Jesus made it clear he did not
teach something different to his inner circle than what he taught
outsiders (John 18:20).
The insiders even look at each other as more
committed than people not fully in the program of discipleship. In
this book, you will find out more about why some discipleship groups
follow a different practice toward their followers than did Jesus.


In a recent bulletin of a church that had discipleship, there was a
special notation that the discipleship class was by invitation only!
No other activity at this church had this requirement. I had to wonder
what secret Bible knowledge has to be by invitation only. My guess is
that they were teaching some ideas that were controversial to the
average person. They were going to make sure that the only people they
would teach would be those they thought could swallow this stuff
behind closed doors. Their excuse is that some people are not ready
for their lessons yet, and only the discipleship leaders can tell when
they are ready.

Checklist:

Check those that apply to your group:

  • Did not get my fully informed consent before I joined
  • Withheld certain teachings until I was more trusting
  • Wanted my commitment as soon as possible
  • Consistently makes new demands of me
  • Did not tell me that anything less than total obedience is unacceptable
  • Seems to create non-Biblical classes of sins (e.g., labeling people as "full of pride" if they do not agree with the discipler's decisions or advice
  • Leaders do not tell me "no," but instead ask me to "pray about it" and delay my decision
  • See themselves as "more committed" than those not in the discipleship
  • Want me to refrain from making decisions without the discipler's concurrence
  • I am frequently told to "pray about it more" when making decisions
  • Disciples are rebuked for actions that are not really sinful but which merely differ from the leaders' opinions
  • My leader/discipler makes no distinction between moral advice and non-moral advice


NOTE: If you have checked any boxes, it indicates a misunderstanding of Scripture and may represent the presence of abuse and excessive control.
31st-Mar-2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
UBF seems to want to present the notion of human rights as a concept invented by men (for example, the founding fathers of the U.S.). Every other Christian organization I've been a part of has specifically acknowledged human rights as something that flows out of humans' special creation by God; therefore, each one of us has individual freedom of choice, worth, and purpose. I feel that UBF would want to say that we each have individual freedom of choice, worth, and purpose, so long as those things don't conflict with the "world mission" of UBF. If Jesus operated in the way UBF does, he would have pushed the little children off his lap because they were interfering with his teaching adults who would comprehend his message. But he found even those who were of little "use" to his ministry to be important and valuable because they were created in God's image.
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