Archive for November, 2005

"When North Koreans speak of reunification…"

November 23, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3)

The following paragraphs about how North Korea views “reconciliation” (or more popularly, reunification) are found in this LA Times article about an oddly-timed baby birth by a suspected South Korean Pro-North Korea activist (say that fast 5 times):

When North Koreans speak of reunification, their meaning is radically different from what Americans might think in recalling the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the absorption of the communist East by West Germany. Instead, the North Koreans describe a loose confederation under which their nation would keep its own system of government while receiving massive economic aid from the South.

“We don’t want what happened in Germany,” tour guide Pak Gyong Nam said as he showed visitors a 185-foot-high stone arch portraying two women in traditional Korean dress (one representing each Korea) touching hands across a broad thoroughfare known as Reunification Street. “We would be one country, but two governments.

“If Korea is reunified, South Korea will bring in technology and investment. We have great confidence in the future. If we are reunited, no problem.”

The benefits of “reconciliation” without the need to fundamentally change–that sounds familiar to me somehow.

Meanwhile, here’s another article about life in the Gulags of N. Korea.

Fighting the "spiritual battle" against … parents

November 13, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

John Jun off to a flying start as the newly-selected Director of UBF:

From: chungjoe
Date: November 8th, 2005 – 01:17 am

[John Jun wrote in a November “message”:]

When our young Bible students decide to live as Jesus’ disciples, the first obstacle they often face is persecution from their parents and friends. They are persecuted because they can’t spend as much time with family and friends. Some parents threaten them, saying that they wouldn’t give any spending money if they don’t listen to them. This makes our young shepherds worried. Because of the spiritual battle they had to fight against their parents, they become burdened and fearful.

cult religions such as Moonies, Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons or NEW AGE movement, and religious pluralism are the powerful Goliaths we need to fight against in our spiritual battle.”

“Fighting a ‘spiritual’ battle” against concerned parents of recruits is exactly what a cult does. But Jun goes on to denounce the Moonies, JWs and Mormons as cults. A classic example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Jun’s also had a major part in over 1000 UBF arranged marriages [according to another UBF “message”]. But he sees the Moonies as a cult. Or maybe he sees them as competition.

From: chungjoe
Date: November 13th, 2005 – 04:04 pm

Jun writes: “When our young Bible students decide to live as Jesus’ disciples, the first obstacle they often face is persecution from their parents and friends.”

So contrary to what UBF seems to sometimes claim–that UBF’s cultic reputation is the result of the actions of just a handful of disgruntled former members–Jun admits that the *real* problem for UBF is what it has always been for 30 years in America, the problem of concerned parents [another one here] and friends who see negative personality changes in a recruit as they are pulled further and further into UBF.

(Some thinking minds in UBF may cry, “Aren’t you in conflict with your UBF parents, too? Aren’t you fighting a ‘spiritual battle’ with your parents also?” Hm. I’m not sure that you could call mutually ignoring each other a “conflict” or a “spiritual battle.” I prefer to just call my situation what it is: Yet another case of family relations being damaged by UBF. I also prefer to see myself in the position of the concerned relative outside of UBF. I’m expressing my concern publically on a regular basis, and my concerns are being ignored by my relations in UBF who are trapped in the UBF mentality.)

Leaving a cult is like … defecting.

November 3, 2005

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

I was reading an article about Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras, a Cuban defector, and was thinking of the similarities between leaving a cult and leaving a totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba. How do people defect from totalitarian dictatorships? Up to the time that they defect, they try to give the impression of being loyal “comrades” and then make a desperate dash across a border or get on a ramshackle boat or seek asylum in an embassy. People leave cults in similar ways. Many have left UBF in such a way; packing their belongings in secret or just leaving their belongings, they have left “without saying goodbye.” What does this say about cults? About UBF?

And just as it is with defectors from totalitarian regimes, the life after is not guaranteed to be easy. Many foreign defectors have suffered a great deal, finding it very hard to adjust to life outside, in a new land, in a new culture, separated from family, with few resources and few who can understand their plight. I’m sure many of them even have a twinge of regret, but the same many would not give up their newfound freedom and new hope for a better future.

To my fellow defectors, God bless you. You made a difficult choice, and it was the right one. May you never forget the sweet taste of freedom you first had, that you thanked God for.