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How do you refer to UBF in conversation? 
8th-May-2006 07:00 am
I was wondering. . . how do you all refer to UBF when talking to those who have never had the pleasure of being a member? I guess I feel a little unconfortable calling it a cult outright or admitting that I was a member of a cult-like group. I was hoping someone had a concise way of describing UBF to someone without going into the specifics of "marriage by faith" and so forth. For example: Before I joined this church I was a member of an authoritarian cell church. I can go into the details with them later but I would like a way to briefly describe UBF to others. Thanks in advance for your responses.
8th-May-2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
I think "authoritarian" and "high-pressure" are the keywords that characterize UBF best for outsiders. "Cell church" is already misleading because it usually refers to movements with loosely and network-like connected house fellowships, which are relatively independent, not to strictly hierarchical organizations with headquarters. Those "cell churches" can sometimes also become authoritarian and have hidden leadership hierarchies (like the "Local Church") but the actual paradigm of a cell church is very different from UBF.

Another keyword is "mind-control" but this is already more difficult to understand. However, the reason why people join authoritarian groups and do not simply leave *is* mind-control. (See also this recent article in the American Chronicle).

You are right, while calling UBF a cult is appropriate, it is sometimes misleading for outsiders because they believe a cult must really have some strange teachings like about UFOs or something. Also, it is very embarassing to admit you have been in a cult. I will tell it only to people when I know them better and have a chance to explain it in detail. For people who have never been in a cult, it is very difficult to understand why people join such groups, so they can be easily labeled as idiots.
8th-May-2006 03:04 pm (UTC) - leaders, appearances

I think you are right, keep it a little understated for most people, and then get into details with people who have some understanding.

It also depends on with whom you are talking. With younger people such as students, I recommend using younger people language. A good descriptive someone told me is the word 'wrong', such as in 'the food tasted wrong', or 'that church is just plain wrong.' And a more negative descriptive could be 'nasty'.

Also, please keep in mind that the main problem at ubf is the ledership. They are corrupt, they are outside God's will and purpose, they are the deceivers. So it is understandable to explain that you learned some disturbing things about the leaders, and that they are never held accountable for their bad actions. Then you did not want to participate there any more.

And also you can explain that at first it appeared to be a sound church. But after a while you realized that what they were saying is the right way, is actually the basis for lots of unsound teachings and behaviors and practices. So you had to get out before they got you too far into the program.

And as mentioned, the descriptives of high demand, hyper authoritarian, hyper conformist, isolated, fringe, etc. can sufficiently communicate your experience without making you seem at all weird. Sometimes I just flat out tell people I was in a cult group, sometimes I don't. I explain that these kinds of groups are everywhere now, but I learned my lesson and try to warn others. People appreciate when someone tries to save them from being deceived or ripped off. God bless and TTYL.

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