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A strange thank-you to UBF :D 
24th-Oct-2006 08:38 am
As a member of UBF for 10 years, I had a wide array of experiences, the best of which were the two different "conference journeys" to Russia, first in 1997 and then in 2000. The journey team went to a lot of places, mostly within St. Petersburg. We visited lots of Russian Orthodox cathedrals, like St. Isaac's and Smolny Cathedral. Of course, there were lots of Chicago UBF folks parroting the usual UBF jargon like "shepherd heart" and "life-giving spirit", ad nauseum, regarding the suffering Russian people and the role of the Church in the old times.

Between last year and this, I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, et al.) with the OCA (Orthodox Church in America). I guess in part I have UBF to thank for that! Had I not seen the mysticism and splendor of the most ancient and original Christianity through those two trips to Russia, I might have never been so impressed with it and thus converted!

Thanks, UBF, for helping me to find a better church!

David Barro

p.s. You know, I'm kinda tired of the whole secrecy of being a "defector" from UBF. From now on I'm going to use my full name and I really don't care who knows it.
Comments 
28th-Oct-2006 03:11 am (UTC) - Re: trip to Russia
(cont'd from last)
There was also the Germany trip in 2000, two weeks before the Russia trip. I absolutely HATED it there. My sleeping was completely out of whack and again with the wretched Chicago Vocal Team. This trip was the one where I learned about what "Skokie training" was. It was David Green telling me about it because his "shepherd", Kevin Albright, was given Skokie training because of him. I was intrigued and sickened by it, really, similar to how someone marvels at a car crash. On the last day of this trip, I was seriously contemplating faking a broken leg so I would get out of the next trip a little over a week later. I somehow endured without the broken-leg scheme. I'm glad I did, because the trip to Russia was definitely worth it, especially the two days in St. Petersburg.

I'm not sure if I've shared this bit yet, so for now, I'll just say that I had harbored a little secret about my experience in Russia. Two whole years after I left UBF for good, and on a very severe (and perhaps dangerous) impulse, I rented a car and went to the MSU conference in 2004 for ONE day. It was very interesting to see how people would react to my being there. Everyone pretty much regarded me as someone who had already left UBF. Just as well, I would say. But I went there specifically to get some information on the Russian ministries. I came back empty-handed and it was a complete waste of time. When all was said and done, I was afraid that Dr. Joe would have looked at my presence there as some sort of sign that I wanted to come back. Well, SURE. Doing something like that WOULD give someone that impression. I think I did it also because my relationship with the Schafers/Lemmons and UBF was at the very least a co-dependent one, just like how a battered housewife has a hard time leaving the abusive husband.

I hope my story was at least entertaining :)

David Barro
28th-Oct-2006 03:39 pm (UTC) - Re: trip to Russia
But I went there specifically to get some information on the Russian ministries.

David, the Russian-area UBFs were largely a mystery to me up until this year. But the stories of abuse and the exits of long-time Russian UBF members have started to leak out.

I went to a UBF "Russian journey" also in 1993 to attend a conference. The Soviet Union was dissolved, but there was a UBF "iron curtain" that I couldn't see past at that time. And behind that curtain young Russians were being abused in ways that would have been all too familiar to me. Sam Lee was giving the post-totalitarian Russian recruits a taste of UBF totalitarian "training," assisted by the UBF Korean "missionaries."
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