Posts Tagged ‘north-korea’

Common elements in personality cults

September 21, 2004

I recommend reading this recent article (unfortunately no longer available) about the N. Korean personality cult.

I’m not going to say that Sam Lee and Sarah Barry were deified in UBF [of course, the N. Koreans would also deny that they deify the Kims], but the personality cult was definitely in evidence. How many homes in UBF do not have at least one picture of Sam Lee and Sarah Barry framed prominently somewhere, especially that blown-up black and white photo of Barry as a “southern belle” or “Mississippi princess” from the 50s? At least in the home I grew up in, their pictures were framed and placed very prominently. It’s as if they were part of my extended family.

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Something about the N. Korea train disaster

April 30, 2004

(From Religion News Blog.)

Many North Koreans died a “heroic death” after last week’s train explosion by running into burning buildings to rescue portraits of leader Kim Jong-il and his father, according to the North’s official media. Portraits of Kim and his late father, national founder Kim Il-sung, are mandatory fixtures in every home, office and factory in the hardline communist state of 23 million. All adults are required to wear lapel pins bearing images of one or both Kims. […] The prison diaries of North Korean defectors refer to people imprisoned for accidentally defacing portraits of the Kims.

Selective recognition of leadership cults

February 10, 2004

For two consecutive years, 1999-2000, Samuel Lee ordered all Chicago-area UBF chapters to gather at the World Buffet restaurant in Niles, Illinois to throw a big birthday bash for Sarah Barry. Thousands of dollars were spent for Barry at these events, and she was lavished with gifts, but more disturbing to me was all the unbridled praise, not praise for God, but praise for Lee and Barry. On the World Buffet karaoke stage were featured song and dance numbers and skits(!) dedicated to Barry. In 1999, I had to be part of one these dance numbers. A Wright College “performance” included incredibly syrupy praise for Barry as an “angel from above.”

Cut to 2002. Barry makes a 5-figure contribution to a North Korean relief organization in the name of the now deceased Samuel Lee. The contribution opens the way for Barry to take a guided tour of North Korea. She goes there and comes back with a report that says something to the effect that she witnessed a leadership cult in North Korea.

Cut to later in 2002. Barry declares in a letter that the leadership cult in Bonn is an “exemplary” UBF chapter that many other chapters should emulate.

Incidentally, Lee ordered a similar birthday bash for my father at the World Buffet in 1998.

What would Jesus have thought of these World Buffet bashes where leaders were lavished with gifts and praised to the heavens?

In UBF terms, such idolatrous veneration and “hero” worship is called “thankfulness”, thankfulness which is supposed to silence any and all criticisms, valid or not, in the name of “spiritual order.”

Possible UBF Responses to My Personal Story

January 3, 2004

Some of the seriously screwed up, cynical, inadequate, inane and all too typical responses that arise in the UBF mind to personal stories such as mine:

  1. “It is good that you at least refer to Dr. Lee as ‘Mr. Lee’ instead of just ‘Lee’ or ‘Ee’ like some people do, but please show more respect for ‘God’s servant’ and refer to him as ‘Dr. Lee.’ “
  2. “Why do you write about what happened to other people in Chicago UBF? Why should you care?”
  3. “You are just beating a dead horse, not that I’m comparing Dr. Lee to a dead horse.”
  4. “Dr. Lee just made some mistakes, that’s all.”
  5. “Dr. Lee just had a ‘charismatic leadership style,’ that’s all.”
  6. “Did you know that Dr. Lee wore the same suit for 15 years?”
  7. “You are just complaining. You must have a ‘complaining spirit.’ “
  8. “You are just being unthankful.”
  9. “Why don’t you mention any good things you experienced?”
  10. “Why do you hate Dr. Lee?”
  11. “UBF is growing and becoming very ‘fruitful.’ “
  12. “Why did you include my name? How dare you include my name? You need my permission to include my name!”
  13. “You sound like you are too ‘hurt.’ “
  14. “Why do you kick against the goads?” (In other words, “You really want to come back to UBF, don’t you?”)
  15. “Why do you want to destroy UBF?”
  16. “We forgive you.”
  17. “Before you criticize UBF, you better pioneer all nations like Dr. Lee.”

Compared to such responses, I’d much rather hear, “You’re lying.”