Archive for July, 2004

More bad memories of UBF international conferences past

July 27, 2004

As previously mentioned, I had to be in a fellowship leadership position in Chicago during the preparation for several of these past UBF international conferences at Michigan State University. Of course, this was not by choice. (I can say this with the utmost confidence: Hardly anything in my UBF life was by choice.) It was during these conference times that Sam Lee became most like the Pharaoh of Exodus 5 in his demand for numbers performance. The leaders would be made to meet every night around 7:30pm with Sam Lee and be made to “promise” to bring a certain number of conference “registrations” by 10-11pm the same night. The fear of the consequences for breaking one’s “promise” (usually getting “dumped” in Skokie for a walk back, i.e. “Skokie training”) was so great that there was no choice but to “register” anyone “by faith,” i.e. pay part of the registration fee out of one’s own pocket.

Funnier things happened. On some days, a certain fellowship leader would have a “good day” because his fellowship brought in, say, five conference registrations that day. Then, said fellowship leader would put two of the five conference registrations in his pocket, saving it up for the next day so he would have a better chance of keeping his forced “promise” the next day, a way of “lowering Sam Lee’s expectations.” Every fellowship leader did this at some point, and they did similar things week to week to cope with the pressure for Sunday meeting attendance numbers. (See also Henry Kriete’s account of the effects of another group’s obsession with numbers.) When it comes down to it, UBF is all about fear and shame because fear and shame become one’s primary motivation for doing anything (or for not doing something).

Another bad memory: Yvonne T. just losing it in an almost nervous breakdown after a international conference, right in front of “foreign guests” whom she was supposed to be busily chaperoning.

More MSU-induced hysteria

July 26, 2004

Something posted by me today:

Date Posted: 11:31:12 07/26/04 Mon
Author: Joe
Subject: How to handle “difficult sheep”

A senior someone in the Chicago-COD chapter of UBF has decided to make their recent difficulties with a “sheep” public on Brian K.’s site guestbook:

Dear Shepherd Brain (sic) This is a missionary whose name is Gideon Bahn serving COD ministry which is a branch of Chicago ministry. I need some help from you. There is one student who was contacted by people who plant doubt about UBF ministry. She was ok, so she registered for the MSU BIble Conference. But how her father was contacted by them and want to investigate about our ministry, especially why we were kicked out of Nation Evangelical Association [He means the NAE]. If you have any, please, send me. I will get in touch and ask more questions and help. God bless you and your ministry. May God bless MSU International Conference with abundant word of God.

A debtor of your help and prayer,
Missionary Gideon Bahn

Several things here reveal how UBF has not changed at all since I left: the problem is never in UBF but in those that reveal the dark sides of UBF, a “sheep” is “okay” since they registered for a conference (that must mean they’re not “okay” if they didn’t), a “sheep” attending the conference is so desperately important that it merits this “cry for help.”

I hope the student in question and her father see this because it reveals the skewed priorities and value system of UBF and the organization’s complete lack of conscience about its deep problems.

and a followup:

Date Posted: 11:55:03 07/26/04 Mon
Author: Joe
Subject: Re: How to handle “difficult sheep”
In reply to: Joe ‘s message, “How to handle “difficult sheep”” on 11:31:12 07/26/04 Mon

>But how her
>father was contacted by them and want to investigate
>about our ministry, especially why we were kicked out
>of Nation Evangelical Association [He means the NAE].

>Several things here reveal how UBF has not changed at
>all since I left:

Another thing that has obviously not changed for the 30 years that UBF has been in Chicago is the phenomenon of worried parents finding out that their kids have been lured into this group with a well-established reputation as a cult. Hopefully this doesn’t lead to another problem caused too often by UBF: a destroyed family relationship.

Amazingly, on the UBF defense site in question (, the plain lie continues to be advanced that UBF marriages are somehow “not arranged by man,” complete with much scripture quoting and twisting.

Bad memories of UBF conference preparation past

July 20, 2004

This is related to the last post about UBF international conferences.

During the preparation for the last UBF international conference in 2000, one of those Chicago UBF “supplementary worship services” was held on a weekday. The purpose of these “supplementary worship services” was to “supplement” the Chicago UBF Sunday meeting attendance numbers if the numbers on Sunday didn’t meet Samuel Lee’s standards. (See “Abuses related to recruiting numbers and quotas” in my personal story) These “supplementary” meetings happened quite frequently. If a Wednesday “supplementary” meeting didn’t “supplement” the Sunday numbers enough, then a Thursday or Friday “supplementary” meeting would be called in addition. At these “supplementary” meetings, it was customary for Samuel Lee’s “message” (sermon) performer to “rebuke” the attendants at the end of the meeting by reading Exodus 20:8-11 and lecturing them about “keeping the Sabbath holy”, where “keeping the Sabbath holy” means attending a UBF Sunday meeting on Sunday. The funny thing about this is that the poor people who were practically dragged to these all-important supplementary numbers-generating meetings were usually people who weren’t all that “committed” to UBF; they had done maybe a handful of Bible studies with a UBF member. Sometimes they were dragged in from the street with the promise of food after the meeting.

At the aforementioned “supplementary worship service” before the UBF international conference, Kevin A. (mentioned in a past post about UBF institutional racism) happened to be the message performer. After the mandatory lecturing of the attendants about keeping UBF’s Sabbath holy, Kevin A. launched into a “rebuke” against those attendants who had still dared not to “register” for the all-important international conference. It went something like this: “Who here has not registered for the summer conference yet? Raise your hands. For those who have not registered yet, what’s the matter with you!!!??? (*)” [This was followed by some diatribe about how all-important this conference was for the nation and for the whole world.] The absurdity and abusiveness of UBF for me was at its height during these conference preparation times.

I had the “pleasure” of being in a fellowship leadership position during a few of these international conference preparations. More on this later.

(*) I clearly remember that Kevin A.’s “what’s the matter with you!!!???” was done in the usual strange Konglish accent that non-Korean members would sometimes use. The accent was firmly placed on the “you.” Kevin A.’s “what’s the matter with you!!!???” sort of sounded like Fred Flinstone’s “Yabba-Dabba-Dooooo!” or Scooby-Doo’s “Rooby-Rooby-Rooooo!”

"UBF international conferences: prime time for abuse"

July 16, 2004

Something that was posted recently:

Date Posted: 21:45:25 07/15/04 Thu
Author: Noony Moose
Subject: UBF international conferences: prime time for abuse

These UBF international conferences are prime times when it comes to spiritual abuse in UBF. This is the time when UBF leaders and members won’t take no for an answer. The “registration battle” is in full tilt. People have to pay out of their own pockets to register their “sheep” who may not even plan to attend or who have little interest in attending despite UBF members’ assurances that the conference is like a “preview of the kingdom of God”. The registration charts showing who is “working hard” and who is “lazy” cover large sections of UBF center walls.

People are being forced to take time off from their jobs to attend this conference, even if their bosses have already said no, even if they could jeopardize their jobs, to attend this conference to “encourage” someone; for people overseas, this time off could be a week or two weeks. People overseas who have been turned down for visas repeatedly are being ordered to apply again and again at their own monetary expense to attend this conference to “encourage” someone. Basically, sacrifice everything to go to this conference by any means. For what? To “encourage” whom? Isn’t it to “encourage” the UBF bosses who seem to have a pathological need to congratulate themselves through artifically generated numbers? This is a definition of spiritual abuse from the book, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”, and it applies to these UBF bosses:

“There are spiritual systems in which. . .the members are there to meet the needs of the leaders. . . These leaders attempt to find fulfillment through the religious performance of the very people whom they are there to serve and build. This is an inversion of the body of Christ. It is spiritual abuse.”

These are times when the spiritual abuse in UBF really stands out. I hope the people who are forced, coerced, guilted and deceived into attending this conference can see that.

Date Posted: 21:54:11 07/15/04 Thu
Author: Nonny Moose
Subject: Re: UBF international conferences: prime time for abuse
In reply to: Noony Moose ‘s message, “UBF international conferences: prime time for abuse” on 21:45:25 07/15/04 Thu

Of course, there is always a numbers goal driving all this pressure and abuse. What would UBF be without numbers goals? For the “overseas guests” the goal is to bring 1,000 people total to this conference at MSU. To pad the numbers and fill the seats, as they did in 2000 at ISU, Korean UBF will be sending 300 (!) people.

"Tradegies in UBF: Abandon Your Child"

July 9, 2004

Something that was posted by someone recently:

Date Posted: 10:57:53 07/09/04 Fri
Author: Sorry for those Children
Subject: Tradegies in UBF: Abandon Your Child

Here’s a tradegy that went on in UBF that I think needs to be discussed more:

Samuel Lee/UBF leaders made members give up their children. Before Barbara D. could “marry by faith” in UBF she was told that she had to give up her child that she had had through an immoral relationship [This was back around 2000, if I recall correctly]. If I remember correctly, her child was about 7 when she was told to give him/her up in order to marry Jerry Robinson. And from what I remember, she did give up her child for adoption. I was told she had to do this to start a new life and that a future husband wouldn’t want someone already with a child. This is so sad, tragic and evil. If Barbara became a Christian her sins are forgiven, including getting pregnant outside of marriage. Samuel Lee and other UBF leaders should have encouraged her to continue to take responsibility for the wrong choice she made earlier by taking care of her child. Instead, the-ever-so warped Samuel Lee pushed her to give up her child as the only way for her to get married in UBF.

There are other cases: Jacob Kim told me he was married before to someone else in UBF. Together they had a son. His wife had mental issues and they divorced (I don’t remember if Samuel Lee told them to divorce or if she was critical of UBF– does anyone know?). Samuel Lee also told Jacob Kim to give up his son for adoption and then to re-marry in UBF which he did. A few years ago I asked him if he sees his son and has a relationship with him and he said no. I just don’t understand these things. I think this is so wrong. You don’t abandon your child. You love them, take responsibility for them and care for them.

Remember Samuel Lee also tried to make Rebekah Yoon give up her child to the Joungs. In fact, they did have him for about 9-10 months, if I remember correctly. Who else did Samuel Lee do this to? Kathy Calabrese also wrote in her testimony that when she was pregnant with her 5th child Samuel Lee told her to give up her baby for adoption after birth. Thank God Kathy refused and stood her ground even though Samuel Lee later slandered her. He lied and said Kathy was so burdened financially by their 5th child and that somehow she ruined the Northeastern ministry. Did Samuel Lee do this horrible, evil thing to anyone else???

Those who "ran away without saying goodbye"

July 3, 2004

There are many hundreds and probably thousands of UBF “runaways” (as UBF refers to them) (*). They are those who have always been spoken of in sogams, often derisively, as “those who ran away without saying goodbye.” Sometimes they leave in the middle of the night after packing their bags in their “common life” apartment. Sometimes they leave a few days after sharing a “gracious” sogam at the Friday “leaders meeting.” They leave because they feel the controlling vise of UBF beginning to close in on them, beginning to squeeze them. The “love (bombing)” they felt initially has been replaced by relentless control, and the meetings they first attended with joy, they now attend with dread. They leave without saying goodbye and just try to forget their experience. These hundreds and thousands are the ones that will probably never be heard from on the Internet. Can these be said to have left UBF “on good terms” as UBF might claim?

Where do you find hundreds and thousands of such former members who feel troubled enough, scared enough about the group they were recruited into that they leave the group in such a way and don’t look back? Don’t you find them in cults?

To get an idea of why some people might leave UBF without saying goodbye, read the following from

1. Report by a former Korean woman missionary of the UBF

(in extracts, translated by Cheong, Yoo Seong)

To those still wanting to lure me into the UBF and to those wanting to help me to resist: had to spend the last days full of fear and scared, after R. and L. (the names are known to the editor), both belonging to the UBF, suddenly visited me (on Dec. 28th) and repeatedly harassed and threatened on the phone (between Dec. 29th 1984 and Jan. 1. 1985). I have therefore decided to write down my request so that you can help me if anything happens to me by the UBF. I ask you for help, e.g. to inform my family and the police, if that will happen! I hereby express definitely that it is my absolutely determined decision to neither come back to UBF – for instance no participation any more at the Bible course or conversation – nor allow any search for contact with me, particularly if I am alone. My only desire is to get away from the UBF definitely and thus to be able to be free completely.

I have nothing else left than fear of the UBF which has held me and wants to hold me against my will; once I have been locked in in my room because I wanted to dissociate myself from the UBF. After that I even was displaced and held from my Dortmund dormitory to Cologne till I could escape in the night. That is another reason why I still fear, that the UBF people could come again and kidnap me …

It has not been beyond UBF leaders, in my experience, to do the following types of things to people who might be contemplating leaving UBF:

  • Order members to deflate the car tires of those who might try to leave (happened to Jonathan R.)
  • Board up the apartment doors of those who might try to leave (see my personal story)
  • Confiscate passports so that people can’t leave the country (also see my personal story)
  • Order a group of members to “visit” a person who might try to leave in order to berate and harrass them
  • Order a group of members to phone a person who might try to leave in order to berate and harrass them

(*) This is partly backed up by a recent discovery about the actual number of members in UBF in North America. After 30 years of operation in North America, UBF has a total membership (counting everyone who walks in the door on Sunday as a member) in the 3 figures (some number less than 1000). And that’s among the approximately 70 chapters listed as UBF chapters in North America in the Korean UBF “Daily Bread” booklet. That’s a number that actually matters.