Archive for August, 2005

As we left the morgue…

August 27, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

As mentioned here, I was one of only two UBF people who saw my-brother-in-law’s body after his suicide. The other was the current President of UBF, and also a UBF physician. As we left the morgue the Sunday morning after Samuel’s Saturday suicide, the President of UBF said to me in his sometimes cynical way, “He [referring to Samuel] cannot go to heaven, huh?” What a fitting moment, for the President of UBF.

"The 2-dimensional world of UBF physicians"

August 16, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

A former member’s comment on the 2-dimensional world of UBF physicians:

The stories of suffering like this in a fellowship full of doctors and nurses are quite incredible. I myself remember a Korean woman missionary in Chicago who clearly had mental health problems, and was eventually driven to suicide, in my estimation in large part because of Samuel Lee. After her death, it was like she had not existed among Chicago fellowship members. Another non-person.

The inability for trained physicians and nurses to recognize clear indications of disease in fellowship members, or the suppression of their commitment to the Hippocratic Oath, shows how much the group ideology controls the thinking of otherwise well-educated people. In UBF, hundreds of years of human understanding of the mechanistic understandings of disease are discounted, and the three-dimensional world of body, mind and spirit is flattened into a two-dimensional realm where the flesh is a battleground for spirits. In such a world, the nuanced interaction between the body, mind and spirit are ignored, and human behavior and the human condition is constantly related to the spiritual state. This world view wages war with the training of health care professionals, and, at least inside the fellowship, wins out. Like many people in cultic environments, health care providers build a wall around their learning and do not let it influence their judgment in the environment of the group. In the group, medical symptoms collapse into judgmental descriptions of spiritual health: Lethargy from hypothyroidism becomes spiritual laziness. Depression is unbelief. Brain cancer is demon possession. When people are sick in the group, there is always some spiritual cause. In some cases it is a result of their own rebelliousness, in some cases God’s judgment, in some cases demonic activity. There is no neutral corner, no purely physical action. There is always a perpetrator to find and blame. Such a view, while coated by a patina of pseudo-intellectualism, is in reality a crude kind of dualism that would be right at home in the dark ages. One almost wonders why UBF leaders did not contemplate cutting holes in people’s skulls to let the evil spirits out. Oh, wait, they tried to beat them out with baseball bats instead, didn’t they?

In such an environment, mental disease is not merely debilitating to the patient but dangerous. While in present society there is still much stigma attached to mental illness, in UBF it is for the most part simply spiritualized, and therefore excluded from any effective medical response by group members. And no wonder, when members get constant negative messages about psychology and psychiatry, such as this one from Samuel Lee in reference to Mark 5:2-4 [which Lee probably plagiarized from another source, based on the vocabulary]:

“These days the problems of mental illness seem to be ubiquitous. Mental sickness problems are generally classified in two groups: physiological and psychiatrical. Modern medicine uses the approach of psychotherapy and logotherapy to treat both mentally and spiritually sick people. Doctors try to treat both mentally and spiritually sick people with heavy doses of drugs or with electric shock. And they want to help them psychologically. So they look for ways to help them get out of the depression of the self-condemnation that comes from guilty feelings. But we know that men’s hearts and souls cannot be treated with chemicals or logical methods. This is a sorrowful phenomenon.”

This statement is so ignorant and frightening that one can hardly believe it, or more readily believe that a room full of college-educated people, and a significant number of doctors and nurses, would not simply laugh at it rather than repeat it in their own sogams, as many a doctor and nurse did then. How many young, vulnerable people on antidepressants think twice before taking their doses?

So it is no surprise to me that people with mental illness spin out of control in UBF. It is only surprising that there are not more of these stories. But there probably are. We just do not know them yet.

Sam Lee comment on another 2ndgen suicide

August 1, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3)

This is Sam Lee on the 1990s suicide death of another UBF 2ndgen, the daughter of a Korean UBF elder,

… One girl was the concertmaster in an orchestra. She was rebuked by the conductor and criticized by orchestra members. Then, that afternoon, she jumped from the third floor of the music stadium and immediately died of brain damage. She knew that she had to work harder so that she could be ready as the concertmaster of the orchestra. But she neglected to do so with many excuses. When we carefully observe, laziness was her root problem. These days laziness is one of the crucial problems of this country. …

This passage is part of Lee’s Matthew 20a “message” and still viewable at UBF web sites, part of the demented “spiritual legacy” that UBF is seemingly determined to preserve.