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Holly Lord 
22nd-Jan-2007 11:27 am
Last week I accidentally ran across several discussions about myself on the web, regarding University Bible Fellowship (UBF). That is how I eventually came to this forum. People in UBF would have known me as Holly Lord.

Here are the posts I saw from 2002:

and from 2004:

and from October of 2006:

I have to admit, I was surprised to see that I was not only remembered but also being discussed more than ten years after I had left the organization. I had been involved with UBF for about five and a half years, from 1988 until 1993.

I began to think about my experience in UBF. I read a number of posts by former members, such as those posted at http://www.ubf-net.de/int/rep/index.en.htm and posts on the boards listed above. Many things came back to me which I had forgotten, and I learned things about UBF's abuses that I did not know before. I have posted a testimony about my experience in UBF at http://www.geocities.com/holly.lord/ubf.html.

10th-Feb-2007 04:58 am (UTC) - Question about your fears during your UBF exit
Holly, I was wondering if you could comment on the following from your testimony:

"I had made arrangements to stay with a friend for a while, to be sure I was not at home if any UBF members came to try to talk me into coming back, that is to say, to guilt me into coming back. I had a strong conviction that I should not allow myself to be alone with them. I had some fear that they might kidnap me and try to force me to come back."

Most of us know about the kind of guilt and pressure that UBF people knowingly or unknowingly exert, but do you remember what factored into your fear that they might try to kidnap you?
11th-Feb-2007 12:21 am (UTC) - Re: Question about your fears during your UBF exit
Back then, I took the whole "deprogrammer" thing pretty seriously, that someone could take you against your will and try to convince you to leave UBF. One of the big examples for me was what had "happened" to Chris Kelly's wife, that is, that she had been dragged away and "deprogrammed." Please note, I never knew Donna, and I had heard about her and other "sad" cases in SL's sermons--yes, the "vegetable woman" story was part of SL's sermons on several occasions. There was ALWAYS a negative connotation to leaving UBF, and it was always the case that a person either turned from God and "ran away" or was taken by force by deprogrammers.

To my way of thinking at the time, it made sense that UBF would try to force me to return, sort of a deprogramming in reverse. Maybe "convince" is a better word. I may actually edit the testimony to say convince, since I think that would have been more along the lines of what would have happened.

They had a strong pull on me at that time. There were layers of obligation I'm sure would have been included in the arguments--that they needed me; that I was following God by being part of UBF; that God had put me at Penn state in UBF so that was where he wanted me; that I would not find the same depth of Bible study or the same sense of mission outside of UBF; that I needed to be thankful to Joe and Sharon for taking me in and and helping me to lose weight; that I should be thankful for everything they had done for me in Chicago; that I was called to lead by being a "shepherdess;" that I was called to be a future missionary to Russia (since I spoke a little Russian). Besides, didn't I care about other students? Didn't I care about the future of America? Didn't I care about other countries, such as Russia, where people may never have heard the gospel at all? It's likely they would have said that I was leaving only because of my "marriage problem," that is, for the purpose of catching Steve or Matthew as a husband. They probably would have called me selfish and thankless, and would have encouraged me to repent and "follow God."

I was afraid that the arguments would have persuaded me, but I knew that I needed to go. It was only my knowledge that God himself was leading me out that made me persist in leaving.

Deep in my gut, I felt that something bad would happen to me if I met with them. Obviously, I never met with them and nothing happened, so I'll never know what might have happened if I had met with them.

Would anyone have harmed me physically? I don't know. I think it is possible, but in retrospect I have a tendency to doubt it, because that wasn't the tack they had ever taken with me, nor do I see that as being a persuasive way to convince someone to stay who wants to leave. I did find the phone calls distressing, and I particularly felt threatened by John Bird's offer to drive from Chicago to Pennsylvania. It seemed logical to me that they would come after me.

I thought it was plausible when I first left that they might try to kidnap me, which is why I left my apartment for a while. They knew where I lived, of course, and I was afraid they would come after me while I was alone there, to convince me to stay, or to convince me to go somewhere with them to talk. I knew that from the UBF point of view it was not ok--it was NEVER ok--to leave UBF, for any reason. The idea that God would lead a faithful person out of the organization just isn't part of the UBF way of thinking. Later on, when nothing happened besides phone calls, it was clear that no one was going to kidnap me. Maybe it was silly to think that it could happen, but it seemed like a plausible possibility at the beginning, and I was honestly afraid.

I do know this: if I had allowed myself for whatever reason to be convinced to stay in UBF, I would have turned from God's will for my life, at least for a time, and I would have missed out on the growth and freedom and blessings that I experienced. So yes, in that sense, my gut was correct that something bad would have happened to me. I think one of the things (and by no means the only thing) that makes many ex-UBF people angry/bitter is the feeling that they wasted years of their lives.
12th-Feb-2007 10:45 am (UTC) - Re: Question about your fears during your UBF exit
I am pretty sure that they would not have "kidnapped" you since as you said that would not have worked. How they behave towards dropouts depends on the situation. If you make critical remarks to other recruits, they will try to frighten you away and tell the other people bad things about you. If you are quiet, they may try to win you back by a combination of love-bombing, guilt-tripping and obstinate persuasion.

However, there were also cases when UBF more or less kidnapped dropouts. They would do this to people who have no one to talk to and complain, or do not speak the language of the country etc. There is a testimony of a Korean UBF missionary in Germany who was kidnapped and held in a room against her will. Also, my wife was "kidnapped" shortly before our marriage in order to prevent the marriage, because I was "disobedient." At that time, she had no person to complain to in Germany except me (but they did not tell me where they had brought her) and she did not speak German.

With other words: UBF knows very well how far they can go in each situation, and when they have the power over somebody, they will exploit it. They have no scruples or respect of human rights and dignity.
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