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The naiveness of College freshmen 
14th-Sep-2005 04:32 pm
Here is an excerpt of an email I received today:

I am a freshman student at ... State Univerity.
Recently, I have been doing a bible study with a man who introduced himself to me during my orientation.
The man (Doug) began to go though the Bible with me doing prepared "Bible studies". (...)
After I few weeks, I noticed that some of the lessons he taught me did not agree with what I belived with, so I asked my dad to do some research. He found this site and after I have read it, I relize that this man is part of (...) a known cult.
Doug still would like to meet with me on a weekly basis, but I do not know how to explain to him why I would not want to meet with him anymore.
It would be helpful if you can let me know a good way to "get out" without hurting the guys feelings.

Don't we all feel like we've been there?
At least I would compliment that young person for heeding the warning signals and getting some unbiased background information from a source they could trust (the dad).
However, I feel this is really the typical pattern for luring people into cults:

First, create some friendliness.
Second, make the person feel that you care for them.
Then, you can use guilt as a weapon against them when they want to leave, even if they have GOOD reasons.

This young student knows clearly that things with the group aren't just fishy, but that they got themselves involved in a "known cult", according to their own terminology. However, they can not simply "go away" because they feel that they would "hurt the recruiter's feelings".
So many young college students fall victim to cults all because they believe that the care and concern the recruiters display is genuine. They feel that they would be too harsh to just "go away" and maybe even take the blame upon themselves for "hurting the other's feelings".

We need to send out a clear voice: it's the cultists that continually hurt, belittle and reject other's feelings to further the agenda of their group, it is best to just go away for your own good and for the cultist to maybe one day ask themselves why seeking young people can not see Christ through their preaching. The person leaving such an environment shares no guilt.

The blame is entirely on the cultist, because they had been using deceptive and manipulative tactics from the beginning. No person needs to feel guilty for refusing to be deceived and manipulated!

And it doesn't matter whether that group is UBF or any other cult in the world.
Young students shouldn't naively believe that cult recruiters react the same way like they would, cult recruiters are programmed for a single purpose: get you lured into the cult without knowing it!

In Christ,
Mike K.
14th-Sep-2005 05:23 pm (UTC) - Ron Enroth wrote about cults, incl the ubf

On the wellspring.org website, there is a great article that examines 'what is a cult'? Dr. Enroth used several different standards, as there are different types of cult groups. Not all are non-Christian.

Here is the context of cult wehre he specificlaly mentions the ubf. It covers alot of ground. I think the next two sentences are the most descriptive of the problems caused by ubf.

While heresy can and often does cause psychological damage, orthodoxy, in and of itself, is absolutely no guarantee that psychological and moral injury will not occur (5). Therefore, a strictly theological definition of the word cult is not enough. There also needs to be a psychological definition. Ronald Enroth points out that Christians have neglected the psychological aberrations of cults, and he quotes a concerned Christian layman, who said, "I think there is merit for placing more stress on the other danger zones created by cults, such as psychological and moral injury, disruption of family ties, impairment of scholastic and professional careers" (6).

Therefore, many definitions of cults include not only theological, but also psychological elements. Here are a few examples:

A group that uses methods that deprive individuals of their ability to make a free choice. They usedeceitful recruitment techniques, they deceptively and destructively use the devotees' energies, and they capture the devotees' minds (7).

Destructive cults are those which tend to use extreme and unethical techniques of manipulation to recruit and assimilate members and to control members' thoughts, feelings, and behavior as a means of furthering the leader's goals. Although most cults that have aroused concern are religious, they can also be political, commercial, or pseudo-therapeutic (8).

A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends, family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community (9).

With these three definitions in mind, another aspect of the cult problem becomes apparent cults can include groups and organizations that typically are not viewed as cults. These could be fringe churches, psychotherapy groups, New Age organizations, and various extremist political movements.

(Then one of the subsections is abberant Christian groups.)

Aberrant Christian Groups
These groups claim to be Christian and Bible-based. Some would argue that they are fundamental and evangelical, but these groups deviate by way of practice and belief from the standards of evangelical Protestant Christianity. Some deviate from historical Christian doctrines that evangelicals and other Christians would consider founda tional, but most of their deviations would not be considered actual heresy. This category includes the Family (formerly the Children of God), the Holy Alamo Christian Church, the Church of Bible Understanding, the Love Family (or Church of Armageddon), Faith Assembly, the Church of the Living Word ("The Walk"), The Way International, the Christ Family, University Bible Fellowship, the Fundamentalist Army, the International Churches of Christ, Maranatha Christian Ministries [now disbanded except for a campus ministry called Campus Ministries International], and Great Commission International [now Great Commission Association of Churches; the group has made significant reforms in recent years and is not as abusive as formerly]. Even the excesses of the Shepherding Movement, founded by Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, Ern Baxter, and Charles Simpson may be classed here as an aberrant Christian group.

so, according to Dr. Enroth, a group that seems to be enthusiastic Christians can be a very harmful cult group.
14th-Sep-2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
It would be helpful if you can let me know a good way to "get out" without hurting the guys feelings.

I am not sure if there is a good way to "get out" because it is well-known fact that any ubf recruiters never give up on naive sheep. They keep on tryng to contact the sheep again and again until finally the sheep gives up avoiding the contanct. Every ubf recruiter is proud of this kind of persistence. They are trained to believe that this kind of persistence is the same as God's persistent love for a lost sinner. If they believe their persistence is at this kind of religious level, no matter what you do to let them leave you alone, they wouldn't give up unless they realize that there is a big difference between their persistence and God's persistence. The nature of their persistence is religious. If someone is religious about something, you cannot stop them. They just try again and again to recruit the sheep regardless of whatever the sheep's will is because they think that they are fully justified doing so as long as they believe that they are purely doing the work of God. This is the nature of their persistence. So if you know this, maybe you will know what you should do. We all have experienced this kind of persistence from them. They think that other churches are lukewarm because they don't have this kind of persistence. You can say that UBF is built on this kind of persistence. So is persistence a bad thing? Maybe we should ask: is persistence always good? Maybe not for the poor student...

14th-Sep-2005 11:58 pm (UTC)
"let me know a good way to "get out" without hurting the guys feelings."

I think that is the reason why many sheep stay longer as they really want - they don't want to hurt the feelings of their shepherds. It was the same with me, and I heard the same from many others. The shepherds give the impression that if you leave them, you are betraying them, your are unthankful, and make them very, very sorrowful. Many UBF sheep simply "don't want to hurt these guys' feelings" and therefore they stay. They regard the feelings of these guys so high - but these guys in turn usually don't give a damn about the feelings of the sheep.
15th-Sep-2005 05:27 am (UTC) - Ends and means
What you state pretty much burns down to "The end justifies the means", i.e. if the recruiter manages to get someone involved in the cult (into God's Work") then his means are (in his) eyes justified.
That also answers the question of whether persistence is "always good" - in Christ, the means ("the way") are as important as the ends ("the goal"). Jesus said "I am the Way and the Truth and the Light", and that the Father is the unique goal.
In cult recruitment, both the goal (group involvement) and the way (deception, lies, pressure tactics, manipulation) are wrong, that leaves them at "100% wrong".
15th-Sep-2005 01:10 pm (UTC) - Re: Ends and means
In Mt 10:14, Jesus said, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." But in ubf, you are trained that you will make sure you get at least an email address from the unwelcoming sheep when you leave him so that you can continue to contact him just in case if you don't get any sheep for the Christmas service registration. In this way, you are not properly trained to serve sheep but to treat God's sheep like an unwilling customer whom you must solicit forcefully by any means for the registration business. Their justification for this kind of forceful solicitation against the will of sheep is based on Lk 14:23, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full." Here the Bible teaches us God's broken heart for the lost sinners. But ubf seems to interpret this passage in such a way that God has more interest in the business of filling his house. In other words, they are more interested in 'make them come in' when God is more intereted in 'make them come in'. There is a big difference between sheep-oriendted ministry and business-oriented (power-oriented) ministry.

ubf persistence is business-oriented but God's persistence is
love-oriented. But ubf doesn't care about what kind of persistence they use as long as they can get the registration business done.
15th-Sep-2005 03:59 pm (UTC) - Not properly...
In this way, you are not properly trained to serve sheep but to treat God's sheep like an unwilling customer whom you must solicit forcefully by any means for the registration business

Not properly trained? Well, that hits the nail on the head.
UBF "trains" people in submission and dependence. UBF doesn't train people in godliness and Christian virtuosity. Of course, UBF "missionaries" and "shepherds" are "not properly trained to serve sheep", if they were, they'd get out of UBF as fast as they could because the entire UBF pyramid marketing scheme isn't about godly care but about using cultic recruiting tactics to do things "the way of the world".
If you had checked Farenheit 911's "recruiting tactics" that the U.S. recruiters are using, you might have realized that UBF tactics are more like the military than like the Bible, and that's most definitely not a coincidence, since Sam Lee, UBF founder, took glee in equating UBF activity to military activity from time to time.
UBF shepherds and leading ones are "shepherds without competence" and their euphemism "shepherd's heart" pretty much could be translated as "stalking", because what else is it to harass and follow a person just to "convince" them to do as you want them to?
UBF doesn't even know what the Bible words really mean, much less do they know how to truly live like a Christian because terms like "freedom in Christ" and "loving God" are anathema in UBF, how can you expect them to be "properly trained to serve sheep"?

And yes, "business oriented" fits UBF quite well. "God's work" in UBF eyes is "make people dependent slaves and exploit them so that they will spend all of their time, money and energy to make a profit for you just because they're afraid of not pleasing God", which is so absolutely contrary to the Lord's "Come to me all who are toiled and are burdened and you will find rest for your souls" and "It is finished!".

In Christ,
Mike K.
15th-Sep-2005 06:21 pm (UTC) - Re: Not properly...
I agree with you. I never agreed with UBF's practices, opposed them, and never practiced them. In fact, I personally was attacked by UBF leaders constantly with the usual "you are rebellious, unspiritual, proud, etc. and falsely accused of things, etc. Having been saved prior to UBF, I was happy for my "sheep" (who are really Jesus's sheep) who came to know the grace of God through Jesus through our bible studies. When they left UBF to serve in other churches, I supported them. Some still keep in touch.
16th-Sep-2005 01:53 am (UTC) - Re: Not properly...
One thing you frequently hear in ubf is "spiritual order". But you never hear from them what exactly it means biblically. They seem to mean the religious hierarchy established in their organization that you must obey with no question asked. It seems that they put more emphasis on "order" or "religious order" than on "spiritual" or "spiritual order." I am preparing an essay on it. Has anyone done some study on it?
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