Voluntarism and Victimization

The enigmatic FlowerRootPearl chimed in with a RsqUBF discussion board post with Subject: “Voluntarism v. Victimization.” This was my response:

Date Posted: 13:35:31 12/16/03 Tue

Author: Joe

Subject: Re: Voluntarism and Victimization

In reply to: FlowerRootPearl ‘s message, “Voluntarism v. Victimization” on 09:42:14 12/16/03 Tue

>It is the job of parents to shape the beliefs of their

>children. In American culture, as children become

>adults they then make their own decisions. Whether

>in UBF or not, unhealthy oppression of children by

>parents is not uncommon. UBF is not unique in this

>regarding second-generation Korean children, when it


This is an interesting topic that you begin with, and it makes me curious why you make it your leading point.

I just want to point out that the unhealthy oppression of children in UBF isn’t like the phenomenon of over-ambitious parents who might oppress their children to perform well in school or music or sports. The problem in UBF is that “spiritual order” creeps into the relationship of parents to children, and the net effect is that the “Servant of God” is the real head of the household, not the man of the house. This was a reality in my household and is a reality in Bonn UBF and perhaps other UBFs that I don’t know about. And this contributed greatly to the tragic death of my young brother-in-law.

As a former UBF “2nd generation missionary” I oppose UBF not so much because I resented the “strictness” of my upbringing, but much more because of what I talked about, the dangerous abdication of parental responsibility to a “Servant of God.” That sort of abdication of responsibility is not at all common in normal, healthy churches, Korean or non-Korean. But it is common in cultic groups.

>As for adults, UBF is a voluntary organization in the

>last analysis. Adults who give their lives in the

>membership of UBF must realize that it is a choice

>made by them to have done so. Unfortunately, when

>that decision was made, “UBF gave and UBF taketh away”

>in many devastating examples. But the original

>decision to belong was nonetheless voluntary. The

>benefit which comes is the freedom to leave, both

>physically and psychologically.

I’m not sure you can take this as an absolute. Can a college freshman, barely 18 years old (sometimes younger) and far from home and having difficulty adjusting, be considered adult enough to have made a “voluntary” decision to not just join UBF, but to get sucked deeper and deeper into UBF through the process of staged commitment? In some parts, the “decision” to join and stay may be voluntary, but you can’t discount the deception and thought reform (mind control, etc) techniques that are used to bring in and keep people.

>The real path to freedom is in Christ and realizing

>this freedom of choice.

The path to freedom also includes realizing that there is life beyond UBF, that leaving UBF will not result in eternal damnation or various punishments, that leaving UBF is not the same as leaving God or “God’s mission,” that there are healthier alternatives to UBF.

But the decision to leave UBF is usually a torturous one, which is the way it is with most people trying to leave a cultic group. I’ve had people tell me that they couldn’t leave in spite of harrowing experiences of abuse over many years because they “invested their whole lives in UBF.” But what do they really stand to lose if they leave? Friends? The same “friends” who will shun them and trash them if they leave UBF? Money? As if they’re ever going to see again the large amounts of money they forked over to UBF on command? I guess what they’re really afraid of losing if they left is some kind of status, power and identity that UBF gives them, as pathetic as that may seem. I guess they’re an example of people who don’t have the freedom and identity in Christ needed to leave UBF.

>UBF is not a monolithic

>structure which is absolutley good or absolutely evil.

> There are individuals in UBF who must repent or

>apologize or make restitution. They require our

>prayers. But God is using UBF for the good, too.

Sure, God produces good, genuine Christian men and women of conscience in UBF and those with the potential to be. Otherwise, nobody would be able to make the difficult decision to try to reform it or to leave.

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