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The power of a public commitment 
20th-Oct-2005 12:53 pm
Today I suddenly recognized the importance of a UBF method that has not been emphasized very much so far. I’m talking about the practice of reading your “life testimony” at large conferences. Maybe this is even more decisive than anything else and that’s why they put such an emphasis on conferences and the “life testimony sharing evening” which is usually the highlight and the heart of every conference though they try to give the appearance that the sermons are the main elements which is not true.

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29th-Oct-2005 04:55 am (UTC) - my experiences with testimonies
It wasn't just at large conferences where testimonies were so important. When I first joined the Columbus Ohio chapter in 1982, the Saturday "sogam" meetings were a mandatory event. Everyone was expected not just to attend, but also to be prepared to read a testimony each Saturday night. If someone came to the meeting without a testimony and Peter Chang found out, he subjected that person to a long and merciless rebuke in front of the whole group.

The ostensible purpose for writing testimonies was to reveal how God had worked in your life, but they actually were a way for Peter and the other leaders to learn all the sordid details of your past life. They were dissatisfied with testimonies which said, "I learned that Jesus loves me." A good testimony said something like "I saw Jesus' love for me because he rescued me from being a drug-dealing axe murderer."

In 1984 I shared my life testimony at the Lake Geneva Easter conference. To this day, I can't believe that I was able to stand in front of three or four hundred people and give a speech. I had always been extremely self-conscious, but I was able to overcome my fears that day.

To prepare for the Lake Geneva testimony, I was told to write my autobiography. I wrote 12 or 13 pages, but it wasn't enough. Teddy urged me to write everything, so I did. My autobiography ended up being about 125 handwritten, single-spaced pages. Moses spent the 2 weeks or so before the conference helping me write the version I was going to read at the conference. They said he was helping me edit it, but he was actually making sure it toed the UBF party line. I was happy with it because Moses and Peter and Teddy were.

I can't remember what my original title was, but Samuel C. Lee changed it not long before I was to go on stage. I still have no idea what his title means - "From Odds to Providence."

Nothing else came of all the effort I poured into that 125-page autobiography or all the pain writing it dredged up again. I was paraded in front of everyone at the conference as a good sheep, as a reformed troubled adolescent. After the conference was over, my life returned to normal.

Later, I will share more about how UBF made it their business to know all of my business, but never cared about the pain and sorrow telling them about my past put me through.
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