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Any regrets about leaving UBF? 
1st-Feb-2012 09:13 pm
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I changed apartments so many times that I used the center's address on my driver's license, instead of having an out-of-date address on my license most of the time.)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.
2nd-Feb-2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
Wow, 20 years. I guess it has been that long ago.

I can't remember the last name of the man she married. Her maiden name was distinctive enough that a Google search might turn something up if she's not married anymore. But, in the end, it's probably best to let the past alone. You did what you thought was the right thing when you invited her, and if you had talked to her when you left, it wouldn't have accomplished anything. It's only natural to have the "what ifs" of the past running through your mind. I think we all have them as we get older and have experienced more of life, but I wouldn't dwell on it. She's ultimately responsible for her life. I hope she's happy, but it's not your fault if she's not.
2nd-Feb-2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
Regrets? Yea. I echo your thoughts, chevlion. Leaving UBF was the best way for me and my family to find faith in Jesus again and have any chance of having a joyful life or experiencing the freedom of God's grace in Jesus. And leaving was a way to actually starting to participate in what God is doing.

My list of things I regret doing in UBF seems to grow day by day, and sometimes it's really a struggle to deal with the anger.

I regret mistreating James and Rebekah Kim (http://www.ubfriends.org/2011/05/my-confession/)

I regret not speaking up when I heard my friends being publicly humiliated.

I regret not seeking out Biblically sound teaching from sources outside UBF.

I regret spreading my foolish defences of UBF on the internet.

I regret adding to some of your frustration and that of other former memebers.

I regret shunning my friends when they decided to leave UBF.

I regret not getting involved when my two close friends were asked to undergo "dead dog training" (not sure whatever happened).

I regret not rebuking Korean leaders when they sinned.

I regret inventing gimmick after gimmick to make people stay in UBF.

I regret ignoring all the promptings of the Holy Spirit, resisting Him, and even grieving Him so many times.

I regret 20+ years of attempting to conform the Bible to UBF ideals.

I regret submitting to 6 months of obedience training.

Well I guess I'll stop here for now...
2nd-Feb-2012 05:54 pm (UTC) - one more
And I regret ignoring the pain of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world:


There continues to be an exodus of leaders, especially in Hong Kong, Russia and India. I regret propagating a system that chews up good Christian men and women and then spits them out, starting all over with new freshman students.

I regret not being truthful and honest.

I regret writing report after report, testimony after testimony, message after message that ignored facts and re-wrote the facts into a "glorious" history (http://www.priestlynation.com/archives/331).

Edited at 2012-02-02 05:57 pm (UTC)
2nd-Feb-2012 06:01 pm (UTC) - others
I also regret supporting all of this:

1. Class system: sheep, shepherds, native leaders, Korean leaders

2. Directorship hierarchy: the idea of a tree structure of benevolent dictators.

3. Marriage by faith: Willingness to let a leader choose your future spouse.

4. Pioneering: Sending out one or more families to campuses around the world to setup a chapter of the organization, often without any valid support.

5. Covering: Willingness to cover all sins and not expose things that bother your conscience.

6. Loyalty to leaders: Willingness to obey and follow leaders above all other authority.

7. Separation: Willingness to be separated from friends, family and the world in order to join God’s true children.

8. Appeasement: Letting someone who speaks up have a task to do to keep them busy.

9. Propaganda: Speaking only positive things about leaders and the organization.

10. Duplicity: Willingness to ignore facts and adhere to double-standards, double-meanings and secret language.

11. Vertical communication: the idea that group discussion and communication methods (such as email) are bad.

12. Conscience binding: All Scripture must be bound to a UBF ideal or activity.

13. Empire building: Every nation should become a "priestly nation", which means people should become UBF-style people.

14. Numerical-driven performance: Members are judged and rewarded (or made to feel guilty) based on numbers: number of prayer sessions, number of times going "fishing", number of sheep, number of just about everything. Activities are geared toward molding ambitious people with a soldier, fighting spirit to conquer.
9th-Feb-2012 05:37 am (UTC)
I was only a member of UBF for two years - but those two years were from age sixteen to age eighteen, so they've had some lasting effects. It took me a long while to really shake the mindset.

I occasionally regret missing some of the high school experiences other people take for granted, small things really.

The one thing that I can't seem to let go of is that my best friend during those years - a friend I considered closer to me than a sister - will never speak to me again. She is still in UBF, and I don't think she's ever considered leaving. She'd never admit it if she had - she's been in UBF since she was about twelve years old. (She was brought in by her older siblings. My UBF chapter also happened to have a lot of younger members.)

Very few of my young leader friends from my UBF days are still in the ministry, thankfully, and I've even reconnected with a few of them to "laugh over the old days," as it were.
But my once good friend is lost to me forever. It's been a long time, but to this day that still makes my heart hurt.
10th-Feb-2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
anneb, that is very unfortunate. That "shunning" is sadly so common in UBF. It is one major thing that I and some of my friends are fighting to change. It is unacceptable and one of the big reasons UBF is on cult-watching lists. Such attitudes must change.

For what it's worth, here are 3 excellent tests to find out whether a church is filled with Bible-practicing/believing Christians:

9. Does the church have written or unwritten man-made rules that unscripturally govern your life? For example, are you free to fellowship with Christians from other churches? Are you expected to marry within this particular church? How are you expected to spend Sundays?

10. Does the church often co-operate with other churches in a united witness and frequently invite outside speakers? Or does it claim to be a special church superior to other fellowships? Is there an “Us” versus “Them” mentality?

11. What is the attitude of the church toward its ex-members? Does it love them, or does it verbally execute them and discourage fellowship with them?

This is taken from here: http://www.cultwatch.com/AuthoritarianLeadership.html#_Toc33090652
10th-Feb-2012 07:55 pm (UTC) - members?
One more thing I wish I would have found out more about during my 24 years in UBF... What is a "UBF member"? Who can become a "member"? Why is the ultra-committed group exclusive?


13th-Mar-2012 05:19 pm (UTC) - oki
litter inspired but it's true :P
26th-Apr-2012 10:12 pm (UTC) - Re: oki
What do you mean? I don't understand "litter inspired".
19th-May-2012 11:46 pm (UTC) - Its not your fault.
Man is ultimately responsible for his own choices. You might have some culpability, but in the end you thought you were introducing people to God. Its the system and those in charge who take over and corrupt. It appears you were manipulated and those who manufacture the system do so premeditated, but then again their manipulation can go far deeper with much more sinister roots. One may be angry with you for introducing them to U.B.F., but ultimately they have to accept its who oversee's it all and makes it possible for it all to come together. If you can't find forgiveness for another, better get back on your knees and pray, because its going to live as a poison within you anyway so might as well let it go.
9th-Aug-2012 02:50 am (UTC)
how do you even recover and trusts other churches after this? I haven't been able to dedicate myself to another church (except the ones online). I'm just curious how you guys did it...
30th-Oct-2012 04:59 am (UTC) - Learning to trust other churches
Sorry to go so long without answering your question. It wasn't easy for me to find a new church; it took a few years before I was even ready to go to church again. One thing I've realized is that my experiences in UBF have given me a good idea of what to watch out for. I'm cautious whenever visiting a church and if anything starts to feel like it did in those days, I most likely won't be there for long.

I hope this is helpful. You raised such a good question that I might do a general posting about it.
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