Posts Tagged ‘numeric goals’

"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.

Origins of UBF’s obsession with numeric goals

February 14, 2004

Samuel Lee’s admiration for certain communist leaders is well known. He particularly admired Ho Chi Minh. It should be no surprise that Lee was influenced by the communist penchant for setting numeric goals in their 5 year and 10 year plans. It’s also no surprise that Lee adopted certain communist methods for enforcing his numeric goals which led to unbelievable levels of oppression, oppression reminiscent of that in certain communist states (but of course, to a much lesser degree). This is an excerpt from a summary of Stalin’s 5 year plans:

The first Five Year Plan introduced in 1928, concentrated on the development of iron and steel, machine-tools, electric power and transport. Joseph Stalin set the workers high targets. He demanded a 111% increase in coal production, 200% increase in iron production and 335% increase in electric power. He justified these demands by claiming that if rapid industrialization did not take place, the Soviet Union would not be able to defend itself against an invasion from capitalist countries in the west.

Every factory had large display boards erected that showed the output of workers. Those that failed to reach the required targets were publically criticized and humiliated. Some workers could not cope with this pressure and absenteeism increased. This led to even more repressive measures being introduced. Records were kept of workers’ lateness, absenteeism and bad workmanship. If the worker’s record was poor, he was accused of trying to sabotage the Five Year Plan and if found guilty could be shot or sent to work as forced labour on the Baltic Sea Canal or the Siberian Railway.

A survivor of these 5 year plans who saw Lee’s methods in action would immediately recognize the influence of Stalin’s methods. Ho Chi Minh also had his 5 year plans.

Here’s a very recent post by a UIC UBF recruit about the continuing numbers obsession in Chicago UBF:

Date Posted: 17:00:07 02/11/04 Wed
Subject: Re: obsession with numbers
In reply to: Joe ‘s message, “Re: obsession with numbers” on 10:36:31 02/07/04 Sat


numbers are still a very big part of ubf. in the 2003 Christmas worship service prayer meetings, ron ward continually streesed regestrations to be at least one, but preferably five per person. i participated in the dances for the service, and i as well as all of those who were going to perform in any way were told that if we did not have at least one person regestered by a deadline then we would not be able to perform and possibly not attend the service at all. I know that fellowship leaders are praised for having many members and are called “A” list fellowships and the fellowships that have few members are scowlded and called “C” list fellowships or lower. This idea of always thinking about the numbers more than spiritual well being is being perpetuated to the younger members of UBF. one case was of a secondgen discussing with another secondgen the fact that one of his “sheep” wanted to go to their own churche’s Christmas service instead of ubf’s in an angry tone. He said that this particular person should be fully in ubf or not at all, that he should choose where his responsibility and loyalties are, as if recruiting to ubf was the point of Bible study. Numbers are very much a part of ubf and one’s place and prestige within it. I think it probably will not change. in ubf, numbers, for some reason, seems to represent one’s level of commitment to Christ and spititual maturity. I think we all know how ridiculous this is.

Hm, it all sounds so familiar. And it sounds familiar to people who left UBF 20 years ago and 30 years ago, too. In UBF they’re living the fetid “spiritual” legacy of Samuel Lee to this day. Well actually, no. They’re living the fetid legacy of Stalin and Minh to this day.

Numbers don’t matter?

February 7, 2004

I’ve written before about Samuel Lee’s obsession with performance-oriented numbers and the effect that this obsession had on members and especially fellowship leaders. From communicating with recently exited members from Chicago and other UBF chapters, it would seem that UBF is determined to preserve Lee’s “spiritual legacy” of numbers obsession.

The only “biblical” justification that I ever heard Lee give for his obsession with numbers was “Well, you know, there is a book in the Bible called Numbers.” There is no biblical justification for UBF’s obsession with numbers. There is no justification at all.

A common UBF defense of the numbers obsession when a young recruit gets bothered by it is “Numbers don’t matter, blah, blah.” Numbers don’t matter? Then why obsess with numbers, keep track of numbers, think of ministerial progress only in terms of numbers, have “prayer topics” that consist only of numbers, threaten punishments if a numbers goal is not reached and judge members’ spiritual health by their performance numbers. In other words, if “numbers don’t matter,” then why act as if numbers are everything?!

The proudest parents in UBF are those whose children “feed [insert number here] sheep.”

The thing is, I think most UBF members hate this ministry of numbers and know that it is wrong, counter-productive and self-defeating, but for various dysfunctional reasons they and especially their leaders work to preserve this “spiritual legacy” of Lee. Henry Kriete, who seems to have touched off much soul searching and reform within the International Church of Christ wrote in his now famous February 2003 letter:

In my experience many of you, if not most, will agree with what I am saying. Perhaps every last one of you. But why have we not stopped this madness? Why does it go on and on when most of us hate it so? And in our hearts feel guilt, if not shame? Because ‘that’s just the way it is’? No – but because it’s another systemic evil, another pillar in our belief system that must be smashed.

Kriete also wrote extensively about the ICC’s own brand of obsession with numbers.