Posts Tagged ‘personal-story’

Good intentions, zeal and … abomination

February 4, 2005

Something I wish I’d written:

Author: Ward
Subject: Re: I met Christ
In reply to: UBF “second gen” ‘s message, “I met Christ” on 17:13:12 02/01/05 Tue

Regarding this part:

“Well, a lot has changed in UBF over the past couple of years. I do have to admit that there were a lot of strange, shameless things going on when DSL was leading UBF.”

The fact that “DSL” was leading is exactly the point–to lead is to have followers, and most people followed “DSL” lock-stock-and-barrel, unthinkingly. Yes, it was strange and shameless on a grand scale. If you were one of the few who didn’t buy into many of these strange and shameless things, there was pretty much no one to discuss this freely with.

Regarding this other part:

“THere are people who really want to serve God and who really love JEsus [in UBF].”

Love for God cannot be separated from love for neighbor; this is obvious from the Bible. I agree there were many who wanted and want to serve God and love Jesus, but many of these very same people committed intentional and extremely unloving acts towards their fellow men and women inside UBF and outside of it, too. I was also taken in by this kind of zeal, and for a long time. This zeal alone is not Christian, and there were, and I have a hunch still are, many in UBF who only have this kind of one-sided and un-Biblical zeal, which is wrong. That’s all some of us are trying to say to you. May God bless you to do both, as I’m sure you want to do–love God AND love others, as Jesus completely commanded.

Something that I did write in late 2001:

Posted by * on October 01, 2001 at 22:27:29:

In Reply to: UBF isn’t a hell built by Samuel Lee… posted by rJ on September 22, 2001 at 10:28:24:

No, of course UBF isn’t a hell built by Samuel Lee. But I wonder if a bunch of Satanists would have treated a fellow Satanist as badly as Chicago UBF members treated Gary Cowen [see my personal story]. I was there. I saw with my own eyes what he was put through. Samuel Lee said he was a liar and “faking it,” so it must have been true. “O, look. Gary’s pretending he can’t pick up that pen he just dropped because his fake brain cancer is affecting his motor skills. O, look. Gary’s pretending he can’t climb those steps because his fake brain cancer is making him too weak. No, don’t help him. Samuel Lee said so. Samuel Lee said bring him to the Center and put his feet in ice water, so it’s got to be done. Well, at least we gave him a nice funeral.” But so did the Israelites after they killed the prophets, didn’t they? No, UBF isn’t a hell built by Samuel Lee. But I wonder if atheists, pagans, mobsters, or even Satanists would have treated one of their fellows like that.

Update: The treatment of Gary Cowen was apparently even worse than I remember:

Date Posted: 13:52:17 03/06/05 Sun
Author: Nick T.
Subject: bedridden for several years
In reply to: Chris ‘s message, “Re: Mental Illness” on 17:12:48 03/05/05 Sat

A man in Chicago, Gary ‘Jeremiah’ Cowen, became very sick for several years. When he first got ill, he was reviled and maltreated by EE Chang Woo [Sam Lee], who accused him of faking his illness. It was a very vocal and even violent treatment that EE put forth for him. Thru ubfKoreans, they did things like stomp on his hands when he fell down, or take him outside the Chicago Revenue Center and turn on the hose and soak him to humiliate him. Lots of cursing at him during meetings.

"the very foundation of their faith"

November 24, 2004

The following post contains an analysis of UBF’s dogmatic adherence to one man that was sent to me in July:

Date Posted: 09:40:13 10/11/04 Mon
Author: ***
Subject: Dogmatic adherence to one man

In reply to:  ***’s message, “Re: UBF Doctrine” on 11:57:44 10/08/04 Fri

>2. Dogmatic adherence to one man’s theology and
>personal opinions: little or no individual Biblical
>insights are encouraged—even in private fellowship—nor
>deviation from the manuscript’s language and main
>points; following one’s own conscience before God
>is often disparaged by core members,

I am so sorry to hear that still many within the circle of the UBF try to mytholigize Samuel Lee. Any good Christian could make a big mistake and even fall into a grave sin. Even the great king and prophet, David also fell into the sin of committing adultery and murder. And yet his sins were forgiven. (Ps. 51) Why? It’s because they were still in the position of fallible sinners rather than in the position of unfallible divinity when their sins were revealed by God himself through men. So Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgive; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:28,29) I repected M. Samuel Lee for his gospel business capability. I stll consider to this day that he is a rare kind and genius in organizing people and achieving the unattainable goal in the gospel business by whatever means. But truth and competancy and capability are two different things. What I was really troubled about him was his violating the fundamental principles of God’s truth; he demonstrated and showed me, time and time again, with many evidences that he clearly crossed the line; we who are called by Jesus are the servants of Jesus; we must remain in the position of the servants of Jesus, the forgiven sinners (1 Tim. 1:13,14), not in the seat of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit, and of the Lord God. When we sit in the seat of Jesus or in the place of the Holy Spirit, that’s blasphemy. It was not just a few years that he had practiced that way. His sitting in the seat of Jesus and giving the direction as if he were God himself with such divinity became the very principle of the UBF and the basis and foundation of faith of many in the UBF past 40 years. God is the only sovereign Lord of life. If anyone orders the abortion to a pregnant woman in the name of God’s will, that’s clearly the evidence that he is sitting in the seat of God. M. Samuel Lee was a mere fallible sinner. He too fell into the sin of coveting young women. He made many mistakes as I did in making decisions. He too loved money and power, authority and his own glory so much. His ego was greater than anyone’s. Yes, that’s understandable as a fallible sinner. But what I could not tolerate was that he never repented when the Lord Jesus gave him numerous opportunities to repent. He never repented publically when the Lord Jesus himself exposed the dark side of sins. His ego was just too great that he himself could not become a sinner before many people. He could not repent because he was sitting in the seat of God, and the Holy Spirit, the very foundation of faith of many people in the UBF. How can the righteous one repent?

When I looked upon back my past, … I sometimes wondered why I challenged M. Samuel Lee … and thus lost so much and suffered so much. Later I came to realize that it was not me because I really hated confrontation with M. Samuel Lee. I never intended to break the UBF or challenge M. Samuel Lee. But the Holy Spirit put the flame of fire in my heart when I saw all those blasphemies: For example, … when I heard from the mouth of one missionary who condemned me and challenged me by chanting that M. Samuel Lee’s love equals the love of God and receiving his training is receiving the training from God himself, I was furious instead of becoming intimidated. “His direction is the will of God no matter what (whether it is killing an unborn child or ostrasize good men of God or sacrifice or kill the spiritual life of the children of God for the sake of his gospel business or his name, it doesn’t matter; they are all justified and defended because ‘His direction and his wisdom and his directions’ are always in line with the will of God.”–That was the myth of the UBF; that the Holy Spirit and Jesus and the Lord God himself hate the most as blasphemy.

I am so sorry that some people have absolutely no discerning mind that they keep on going back to the endless and vain myth. Yes, that was the doctrine of Samuel Lee upon which he had built UBF, and the principle of UBF. It was not Jesus, the Christ and Lord upon which the UBF had been built. In the end Jesus’ name was used because M. Samuel Lee’s name was above the name of Jesus within the realm of the UBF. It was not me or Korean shepherds who tried to crush this myth. It was the Holy Spirit Himself, Jesus Himself that crushed this myth. How foolish are the people who try to pick up the broken pieces and try to put them into a whole thing; and try to push the myth of Samuel Lee all over again!

I understand many people in the UBF who feel so insecure when their foundation is shaken; so they have to defend M. Samuel Lee not because they really want to defend him but because they based their whole life of faith on him rather than Jesus, the Christ and the Lord. They don’t admit it but Samuel Lee is a little bit larger than Jesus in their life of faith.

So, what is an asian blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)?

May 8, 2004

Some sample before and after photos of the grotesquery known as asian cosmetic eyelid surgery can be found here. The procedure has to be performed under general anesthesia (they put you to sleep since they have to slice into your eyelids, obviously). I can remember vomiting during the drive back due to the effects of the anesthesia (I wasn’t driving). I had to go back to the “doctor’s” office a week later to have the stitches removed. [after a week of jury duty] And then I had to endure the wacked compliments of UBF members telling me how much “better” I looked. I had looked just fine the way I was, thank you; It’s called self confidence, good self esteem. One of the first things UBF teaches you is Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” But they could force me and many others into such a petty and unnecessary thing as eyelid surgery because, apparently, what God saw as very good wasn’t good enough for Samuel Lee.

I remember that Samuel Lee’s youngest daughter was among the first to get eyelid surgery done. I remember the excuse given for her undergoing this petty and unnecessary procedure: Her eyelashes were bothering her eyes.

Update: More excerpts from “Utter Biblestudying Futility”:

– Koreans are apt to notice my double eyelids. These are apparently a desirable physical trait to them. Probably millions of Korean women have undergone cosmetic surgery to get them. How weird and stupid. What they don’t know is how I, a Korean male, got this “desirable physical trait.” It was Samuel Lee’s idea one day to give me double eyelids. And my parents didn’t leave me alone until I “obeyed his direction,” even if it meant that they would be paying for this expensive, unnecessary and stupid surgery (with virtually no income as a grad student, I certainly wasn’t going to pay for it). I gave in to them (and in effect, to Samuel Lee) out of a misplaced desire to be a good son. On the day of the surgery in Northwest Indiana, my mother and David Choi drove me to the doctor’s office. I don’t know if my mother was capable of driving on the expressway at that time or not, but I suspect that David Choi’s presence served a double purpose: 1) To drive us out there to the doctor’s office and 2) to make sure I obeyed “God’s servant’s direction” in case I got cold feet at the last second. I was (and continue to be) ticked off about this absurdity, this “mark of the beast” etched on my eyelids, this sign that Samuel Lee’s control of UBF members’ lives extended even to their bodies. (Ask me about the circumcisions and abortions he ordered.) When I expressed my displeasure to my mother, she would say that I looked “better.” She would even go so far as to say that my “new and improved” look would improve my job prospects, as if any American employer would even notice or pay attention to double eyelids. I can say without a doubt that obtaining a Ph.D. and two jobs after that were not helped in any way by these stupid double eyelids. My parents can’t understand what an affront this surgery was to my life, these parents who were taught from the beginnings of their involvement in UBF that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

John Jun’s response to my personal story

April 26, 2004

The following is an email exchange I had in January with a struggling member of Korean UBF who confronted John Jun with my personal story along with other documents. It illustrates the attitude and mentality of the current UBF leadership in regard to people’s grievances against UBF.

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 14:53:49 -0500

From: Joe Chung

To: []

Subject: Re: Re: Your mail

Reply-To: Joe Chung

Hello, []. I think it is wonderful and courageous of you to have this talk with Mr. Jun. His responses are not a surprise to me since he is not unlike my own father in his absolute loyalty to his leaders. I have addressed his specific responses below. Please scroll down.

>>>Dear, Joe.
>>>Last thursday(8th,january, korean time), I met John Jun.
>>>The reason why I decided to meet him was the last sunday(4th, jan)
>>>message about John 4:27-38. [ those contents in brief; …. food for soul….
>>>there are persons spreading seeds and persons collecting the fruits….]
>>>In that message, he illustrated Sarah Barry, SL and Daniel Hong along
>>>with many famous, modern ancestors of faith as good examples of the above
>>>mentioned persons.
>>>So our talk was started from the point why I became upset upon hearing
>>>the message. Just like that talk time of Nov(?),203, John Jun was prone to
>>>mentioning many good points(sacrifice, devotion, humility etc) of SB
>>>in a unidirectional way and initiatively, not permitting my arguments in

>>>Upon that attitude, I only said that there are also suspicious points
>>>about SB though I’m not absolutely sure. And I initiated to go further upon the
>>>things related to SL. For, at this time, I prepared the printed materials
>>>such as ‘horror storries’, letters to Kalep Hong etc’, ‘your testimony’, UBF soul’s
>>>post mentioning the similarity between descipleship philosophy and UBF, and
>>>J Dietzel’ s testimony. Those materials were chosen rather randomly but
>>>also appeared objective and persuasive to me.

>>>Asking why ‘SL’ appear in that message, I continued my arguments
>>>reading the underlined parts by me. Limited by shortage by time and also by my
>>>poor experience in such kind of meeting, we couldn’t discuss many things.
>>>In my feeling the most obvious pattern of response by JJ, was his
>>>’not-carefully-hearing or thinking mind. And he repeatedly said that we
>>>people should know both sides of any problem and we should talk about upon
>>>concrete evidence. And then he seemed to say the prepared
>>>interpretations of each event.
>>>According to JJ’s saying, the boy with psoriasis in your life
>>>testimony was some improved with saline injection and then ran away with a korean
>>>woman missionary after 5-6 months, but in your testimony that fact is not
>>>mentioned. Is that so? I’m not sure.

I have communicated with John P. in the last month. According to him, Samuel Lee’s “treatments” were no more effective than the steroids and various other drugs he took for his condition. More recent drug advances have helped to keep his condition under control.

The problem was that S. Lee and other top leaders claimed that S. Lee’s “treatments” had FULLY HEALED Mr. P. This was even claimed in a Korean newspaper article after Channel 2 TV in Chicago did their investigative report of Chicago UBF. So S. Lee and others plainly lied about Mr. P. to members and even to the public.

Another plain lie is this claim that he [Mr. P.] “ran away” with a Korean woman missionary. This is to imply that he was somehow romantically involved with someone at Chicago UBF, and that he left to continue in his “lustful desires and relationship,” a common tactic used to slander those who leave. Mr. P. left by himself. I was in Mr. P.’s fellowship, so I know.

I have also learned from emailing Mr. P. that the “treatments” did not stop with salt water injections (10-30 per day). S. Lee also did things such as blood suctioning and placing herbs into open lesions with exposed muscle underneath and lighting the herbs on fire.

>>>Then about the person with brain tumor: at that time, the measures
>>>given for the persons were the best. And the true diagnosis lately discovered
>>>was a sorry to everybody.
>>>His such explanation is good enough? I don’t know. But at this time of
>>>writing, at least I can say the atmosphere of chicago ubf under the autocratic
>>>way of direction is abnormal or wrong.
>>>But JJ doesn’t mention such a point. And I also couldn’t point out or
>>>argue against that kind of behavior of JJ due to my poor understanding of
>>>the discussion flow.

Sure, everyone was sorry to hear that Gary Cowen was sick due to a malignant brain tumor. And people praised his faith, graciousness, etc. after multiple brain surgeries. There was a nice funeral held for him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t erase the fact that they earlier accepted S. Lee’s pronouncements that Mr. Cowen was just pretending to be sick and even demon possessed.

>>>And then about R. Yoon: JJ says R yoon was a person SL favored a lot
>>>than others.But sadly and agianst the hopes of concerned people, the first
>>>husband was too lustful in a physical sense; the second husband had no
>>>interest in mission an he pressured R yoon to leave with him to NY or
>>>like that, but R yoon rejected the proposal of the second husband.
>>>Is that so? I’m not sure.
>>>And at present time of my writing, I recall that JJ didn’t answer any
>>>about the issue of abortion.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jun is right about Rebekah Yoon being “favored” by S Lee. In fact, he was obsessed with her. No matter what the faults of her two husbands, these husbands were hand-picked by S. Lee for her. S. Lee tried to dominate her life in every way, even taking away her son when he felt like it.

The abortion issue cannot even be argued. There is no question that S. Lee ordered her to get that abortion. No wonder that Mr. Jun didn’t even want to address it.

>>>And then about S. choi Jr; JJ denied about any pressurizing of S. Choi
>>>Jr’s parents. And so the part of your testimony is lying, revealing the
>>>falsehood of testimony in general.

As I have written in my personal story, it was Yoonsook Choi [my mother-in-law] who told my wife and at least one other Korean missionary that Mr. Jun pressured her and her husband to sign that prepared statement after the suicide. So, either my mother-in-law is lying, or Mr. Jun is the one who is lying.

>>>And about your eyelid surgery: if so, it was your responsibility
>>>finally.(**Joe, JJ didn’t say these words in a hurting manner. So I hope you are not
>>>hurt by this)

I’m surprised that Mr. Jun would even comment on my eyelid surgery. Even my parents would be afraid to say that this eyelid surgery was my “responsibility.” My parents know that it was S. Lee’s idea and that it was they who pushed and pressured me to get this surgery so as not to anger S. Lee.

Furthermore, I was in the middle of serving on a court jury for two weeks when I had to get this surgery done. I had to explain to the judge and fellow jurors why I was wearing sunglasses in court to try to hide my stitches and scars. I should add that detail to my personal story.

>>>After then, we couldn’t have enough time to read further. So I
>>>hurriedly said some more.
>>>About Bonn center: JJ sent some senior shephards to Bonn center but
>>>couldn’t find any evidence, so the testimony is basically lying.

I recently communicated with a Cologne UBF person, and even people in Cologne and probably Abraham K. Lee himself seem to still believe that Peter Chang and the Bonn Center is terrible.

Is it true what I hear, that some Korean chapters are sending their kids to Bonn for some kinds of “training?”

>>>And I summarily insisted that formal repent and frank discussion and
>>>clear accounting should be done. But there was no special response within
>>>the given time.
>>>And he said that probably you were actually a fruitless person (**Joe,
>>>JJ’s saying was never the kind of hurting you. And he said this only in a
>>>vague way.), and so you maybe have been trained more from SL or others, so
>>>its maybe the cause of your present behavior(this last sentence is my

Hmm. I never heard during my time in Chicago UBF that I was a “fruitless” person. Instead, I heard a lot of praise, that I was some kind of “exemplary second generation missionary.”

If I failed to “feed many sheep” in Chicago UBF, it was because I didn’t want to bring them there, where they could be abused by S. Lee or hear his often patently offensive Sunday “messages” and “announcements.”

[Rest of email not included]

Followup to my personal story

March 1, 2004

From a followup to the letter that I sent earlier:

I am writing to make two additions to the November 22, 2003 personal statement that I addressed to you concerning the unscriptural teachings and aberrant practices of the University Bible Fellowship (UBF) that I experienced as a member of the Chicago UBF headquarters from 1976 – 2001. These two additions deal with institutional racism in Chicago UBF and the abuse of scripture to extract a so-called “first fruit” offering from most regular UBF members.

* Institutional racism

From the early 1980s, when I was old enough to be expected to engage in Chicago UBF recruitment efforts, I can remember hearing that “white Americans” were the most desirable kind of recruit. The rationale for this, as expressed by Samuel Lee and by the Korean immigrant UBF missionaries under his authority, was that recruitment efforts should focus on the “natives” of the foreign land, and they considered white Americans to be these natives in the United States. Members would share in their regular weekly written testimonies who they recruited (“fished”) that week and would emphasize with some pride that a particular recruit was a “white American.” Members would also share in their weekly testimonies about certain “sheep” (recruits) being “good leadership material,” that is, that these “sheep” might become future leaders of the group. The “good leadership material” always referred to white American recruits. I cannot recall one African American, Hispanic or Asian recruit being referred to as “good leadership material.”

In the late 1980s and into the mid-1990s, the emphasis on trying to recruit white Americans became more “politically correct.” “White Americans” were now to be called “North Americans.” Then in the late 1990s to the present, they were to be called “Holy Nation Men” and “Holy Nation Women (or HNWs)” And there was a particular and constant emphasis in 1999-2001 on recruiting “HNWs.” But it was still clear that these politically correct terms still referred to white Americans.

Between 1993-2000, when I served both as a fellowship (small group) leader and assistant fellowship leader, I attended the weekly meetings of fellowship leaders led by Samuel Lee. At these meetings, as I have earlier written, Mr. Lee exerted constant pressure on the fellowship leaders to keep up with his demand for greater numbers at the Chicago UBF Sunday worship services. However, in spite of his unrelenting demand for greater numbers, Mr. Lee never seemed to lose his focus on the importance of recruiting white Americans. During the fellowship leader meetings, Mr. Lee would frequently declare that only white Americans would be counted as a valid attendant of the Chicago UBF worship services. In other words, the number of people who were not white Americans attending the worship service would not count and would not be credited to the fellowship leaders. Sometimes, Mr. Lee would go further and declare that recruits of a certain racial background (other than white) would count against the worship service attendance total for a fellowship. One particular fellowship had a number of Chinese recruits attending the worship service on a regular basis in the mid-1990s. Mr. Lee declared that Chinese recruits attending the worship service would count as a “minus one,” that is, one would be deducted from the worship service attendance total for every Chinese recruit that attended. On other occasions, Mr. Lee would declare that each non-white attendant to the worship service would count as a “minus two” deduction from the worship service attendance total. In this way, he sought to penalize fellowship leaders who recruited anyone other than “white Americans.”

As an illustration of this type of institutional racism, in 1996 Kevin Albright, a current fellowship leader in Chicago UBF, shared the following at the annual UBF national staff conference:

“Second, focus on North American (NA) freshman sheep to raise disciples. There was a time when I had all black [African American] sheep or Chinese sheep or street sheep. Once Dr. Lee [Samuel Lee] gave me a direction to give away my black sheep. Reluctantly I did so. Then God gave me 3 NA [white American] boys to study with. Several months ago, Dr. Lee told me to give away my non-student sheep, which meant basically all of them. … Dr. Lee sensed my stagnant shepherd life. When I obeyed his direction from my heart, God granted me 5 new sheep in 2 weeks. These sheep are unfaithful. But God granted me 6 new sheep in the last two weeks, all NA [white American] freshmen, through diligent calling follow-up.”

(The full text of Mr. Albright’s report can be read here)

All of the former fellowship leaders and members mentioned in my November 22 statement should be able to testify to this form of institutional racism in Chicago UBF. Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined for encouraging this form of institutional racism.

* Abuses related to collections and offerings

In addition to the abuses related to collections and offerings that I mentioned in my November 22 statement, there is also the abuse of the Old Testament Law by UBF to justify the collection of a mandatory, so-called “first fruit” offering from most regular members who are employed. Most regular members are told that they must offer the first paycheck from any new job to UBF as a “first fruit” offering, and if they are hesitant to do so, then compulsion and shame are applied until they comply. I had to give this “first fruit” offering three times during my stay in Chicago UBF. All of the former fellowship leaders and members mentioned in my previous testimony should be able to testify to this form of spiritual abuse for monetary gain.

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.”

More on Samuel Choi, Jr.

December 2, 2003

An archived discussion thread from May 2003 about my late brother-in-law, Samuel Choi Jr., has been posted on RsqUBF. This was my contribution to that discussion.

Finally, My Personal Story

December 2, 2003

[NOTE: See a followup to this letter written in February, 2004.]

This is a letter that I wrote in November, 2003. It represents my first attempt to describe my experiences in UBF in one document. I have obscured peoples’ names where I thought it was appropriate.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to testify to the unscriptural teachings and aberrant practices of the University Bible Fellowship (UBF) that I know of and experienced as a member of the Chicago UBF chapter, which has been the world headquarters of UBF since 1976. I was born to UBF parents in 1968 in Korea. My father is Joseph K. C., the current President of UBF, in Chicago. I was in Chicago UBF from 1976 to August 2001. I was by no means considered a fringe member of the group but served the group in various capacities that could be considered important. I officially left the group in January 2002.

In the following paragraphs I will refer frequently to Samuel Lee. Mr. Lee is considered the co-founder of UBF along with its current leader, Sarah Barry. Mr. Lee was the General Director of UBF from the time of its inception to January 2002 when he died. He was also the leader of Chicago UBF from 1977-2002.

  • Abuses related to excessive control and medical quackery

In 1991-1992, Samuel Lee took notice of a teenage UBF recruit named John P. who had an acute skin condition (psoriasis). Thinking to cure Mr. P., Mr. Lee, who had no medical training to speak of, began to subject him to stranger and stranger “treatments.” The treatments began with ordering Mr. P. to lie outside in the UBF church parking lot in a tub of salt water. Bathing in salt water and exposure to the sun is a commonly used home remedy for psoriasis and other skin conditions. But when the salt baths did not seem to cause a significant change in Mr. P.’s condition, Mr. Lee’s “treatments” then progressed to injecting salt water into individual skin lesions on Mr. P. with a syringe [10 – 30 times per day], causing excruciating pain. [Additional “treatments” included suctioning blood out of individual skin lesions and pressing herbs into open lesions with exposed muscle underneath and lighting the herbs on fire.] Not one of the medical doctors in Chicago UBF, including my father, did anything to stop Mr. Lee. I witnessed these things, and Mr. P. who was my friend at the time revealed all this to me. Finally, Mr. P. left UBF. On February 27, 1994, the CBS television news affiliate in Chicago broadcast an investigative report about Chicago UBF and Mr. Lee during its prime-time news broadcast. Mr. P. was one of those shown interviewed by CBS and recounted the medical quackery practiced on him by Mr. Lee. To the time shortly before his death, I heard Mr. Lee and some leaders under him claiming that Mr. Lee had “completely cured” Mr. P. of his skin condition. [In an interview with a Chicago Korean newspaper, Mark Yoon claimed that Lee’s treatments had completely healed Mr. P. Mr. P. still takes medications to control his condition.] Mr. P.’s sister who was also a UBF member at the time can be contacted at [email address withheld]. She will be able to put you in contact with Mr. P.

Around 1993, I was running an errand on the third floor of the Chicago UBF church building, outside of Samuel Lee’s office. A group of Mr. Lee’s staff was there along with a member named Jeremiah (Gary) Cowen. I saw Mr. Cowen sitting on the floor outside Mr. Lee’s office in such apparent pain that he was clutching his head, rocking back and forth rapidly, crying and moaning. One member of Mr. Lee’s staff was trying to console him. He was complaining of unbearable headaches. The rest of Mr. Lee’s staff, about 3-4 people, were just walking past Mr. Cowen, seemingly unconcerned. A few months later, I saw Mr. Cowen during a Friday night meeting at the UBF church building. He staggered as he walked as if he had little control over his motor skills. He dropped a pen on the floor. He was visibly struggling to just crouch on the floor and to reach out his hand to retrieve his pen. He was struggling in this way for several minutes, just to pick up a pen. It was painful to watch. I saw people walking past, keeping their distance from him, not bothering to help him. I learned from others that Mr. Lee had declared that Mr. Cowen was faking an illness and pretending to be sick to avoid “working hard.” This explained why no one was helping him. Mr. Cowen was eventually hospitalized, and it was then learned that Mr. Cowen had terminal brain cancer. This explained why I had seen him in such pain and why his motor skills had deteriorated to such a degree. But before the brain cancer was actually diagnosed, Mr. Lee had also declared that Mr. Cowen was acting sick and could not control his body because he was “demon-possessed.” It is known that one day, when Mr. Cowen was at home suffering, Mr. Lee ordered several men in the UBF building to go to Mr. Cowen’s house, physically carry him back to the building and force him to put his feet in a bucket of ice to “drive out the demons.” Vinay D. ([email address withheld]), a former member, was one of those men who carried Mr. Cowen to the UBF building and may be willing to testify. Jacob and Mary K. ([email address withheld]), both former members, who also saw what was done to Mr. Cowen may also be willing to testify. Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined for the damage he had done to Mr. Cowen.

In 1993, Samuel Lee decided that my eyes were too narrow. He ordered my parents to take me to a Korean plastic surgeon in Indiana to have a procedure called blepharoplasty performed on me. In spite of my objections, my parents exerted pressure on me until I was forced to do Mr. Lee’s bidding and have this unnecessary surgical procedure performed on my eyes. As you can tell, my parents did not consider even their children’s bodies to be off limits to Mr. Lee’s authority. As I have mentioned, my father is the current President of UBF and has been called a “saint” of UBF. My parents’ behavior of submitting to the UBF leader’s authority, even in matters affecting their own children’s welfare, would be considered exemplary in UBF, not aberrant. I was not the only child in UBF who was coerced into undergoing medically unnecessary surgical procedures at the whim of Mr. Lee. Grace Y. and Sarah W., the daughters of a current Chicago UBF elder named Daniel Y., might be willing to testify that they were also ordered by Mr. Lee to undergo the blepharoplasty procedure. Joseph A., a current Chicago UBF member and son of a Chicago UBF leader, might be willing to testify that he was ordered by Mr. Lee to undergo adult circumcision. Charles K., a current Chicago UBF member and husband of Mr. Lee’s youngest daughter, might be willing to testify that he also was ordered by Mr. Lee to undergo adult circumcision. My mother, Esther C., a current member of Chicago UBF, told me at that time that Mr. A.’s and Mr. K.’s undergoing circumcision under orders from Mr. Lee was for their “training.” At least one of these ordered circumcisions was performed by a Chicago UBF physician at home. No one in Chicago UBF that I spoke to thought it strange that Mr. Lee could and would order members to undergo medically unnecessary surgical procedures.

  • The case of Rebekah Yoon and an ordered abortion

It is known that around 1987, Samuel Lee ordered a female Chicago UBF member named Rebekah Yoon to abort the child from her second failed UBF marriage and enforced his order by sending a male member of his staff to carry it out. Rebekah Yoon was a Juilliard-trained violinist and gave violin lessons to both my siblings. She led the small musical ensemble in Chicago UBF of which I was a part. I know that both her failed marriages in UBF were of the UBF “marriage by faith” variety, that is, Samuel Lee chose her spouses for her and made her marrying them a matter of obedience to himself. Their marriage was rocky. It is known that the marriage ended in divorce after her first husband was confined and viciously assaulted by UBF members in the Chicago UBF church building and hospitalized for two weeks as a result; this account has been confirmed by her first husband. UBF leaders later claimed that the assault was retribution for his beating Mrs. Yoon; her first husband has denied that he abused her. She had a son, Joseph Park, through her first marriage. Samuel Lee ordered her to give up her infant son for adoption to a childless Chicago UBF couple, James and Elizabeth J.; Mr. J. is currently a Chicago UBF elder. Samuel Lee then forced Ms. Yoon into a second marriage. The second marriage was reportedly pushed with the promise that Ms. Yoon’s son would be returned to her if she consented to the marriage. In late 2000, Ms. Yoon’s son made known the details of his forced adoption, the second marriage and the ordered abortion in a written testimony posted on the RSQUBF web site. Daniel S. ([email address withheld], [phone number withheld]) and James R. ([email address withheld]), both former members, will know how to get in contact with Ms. Yoon and her son. In 2001, my parents, who were among the very first recruited into UBF and who were particularly loyal to Samuel Lee, admitted to my sister that Samuel Lee had ordered Ms. Yoon to have an abortion because, according to them, Samuel Lee did not want Ms. Yoon “to be like a prostitute.” My sister ([email address withheld]) is a current member of the Toronto UBF. Her phone number is listed in recent UBF publications as [phone number withheld].

After suffering such abuses in UBF, Ms. Yoon eventually decided to leave UBF. It is known that when Samuel Lee suspected that she wanted to leave the group, he sent men to board up the door to her residence so that she could not retrieve her belongings. Joshua L. ([email address withheld]) was present when the men sent by Samuel Lee boarded up the door to Ms. Yoon’s dwelling. The above-mentioned Daniel S. may also know of others who saw what Samuel Lee’s men did to Ms. Yoon’s door. Anton S. ([email address withheld], [phone number withheld]), a former member of Chicago UBF, may also be willing to testify about another case in which Samuel Lee had the apartment door of a UBF couple nailed shut when he suspected that they were about to leave the group.

Samuel Lee was not disciplined for any of these abusive acts. Those who spoke up against his actions were expelled from the group or themselves “disciplined.”

  • The suicide of Samuel Choi, Jr.

Samuel Choi, Jr. was my brother-in-law. He committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 20 while being “trained” by Samuel Lee in Chicago UBF. Samuel was sent to the USA by his UBF parents in the summer of 1998 after completing his freshman year of college in Korea. There were suggestions that Samuel should go to a small satellite chapter of UBF in Chicago, but shortly after he arrived in Chicago and shared a “mission report” at a Chicago UBF meeting, Samuel Lee ordered that he join one of the bigger fellowships in Chicago UBF and that he live in a “common-life” arrangement in the neighborhood of the UBF building, i.e. share an apartment with other male UBF members. Within a few months it became obvious that Samuel was not ready for life or study abroad. He was failing badly in school due to the language barrier. The abusive and high-pressure environment of Chicago UBF also wore on him. He dropped out of one and then another university. He was ready to go back home to Korea. His UBF fellowship leader, Joshua Hong recommended that he go back home to Korea. Samuel’s sister, whom I am married to, approached my father and suggested that Samuel should return home to Korea. My father’s reaction, as it was with every major and minor decision, was that we should “get Dr. Samuel Lee’s permission” to do that. Samuel’s fellowship leader took Samuel with him to see Mr. Lee to get his permission to send Samuel back to Korea. Mr. Lee denied Samuel his permission to return to Korea. Mr. Lee also ordered Samuel to surrender his passport to him and submit to his “training.” This “training” consisted of doing menial chores around the Chicago UBF building, such as raking leaves.

It has been suggested that Samuel was a “weak” person. But Samuel had been able to pass the very stringent Korean national university entrance examination and had been admitted to two prestigious universities in Korea, one of them being Seoul National University. (High school graduates in Korea must cram for months and months, staying up very late every night to memorize everything they need to in order to have a chance at passing the university entrance examination. Even then, only about 25% of all applicants are admitted. To say that a university admission is precious in Korea is a major understatement.) He had exercised the option to take a leave of absence from his university after completing his freshman year in order to come to the USA. I have learned that during Samuel’s time of difficulty in the USA, Mr. Lee learned of Samuel’s having taken a leave of absence from the Korean university. In addition to denying Samuel his permission to go back home to Korea, Mr. Lee called Samuel’s mother in Korea and ordered her to cancel Samuel’s enrollment in the Korean university, dropping Samuel out of the university that he worked so hard to enter. Samuel’s mother felt terrible about doing this, but she obeyed Mr. Lee anyway. His hopes for successful study in the USA dashed, Samuel had to watch as Mr. Lee, through his own mother, destroyed what he had accomplished in Korea as well.

It has been suggested that Samuel was suicidal before he came to the USA and that he had even attempted suicide in Korea. He had not tried to commit suicide in Korea. He had told his mother that he had once contemplated suicide as a teenager. However, a history of depression did run in his mother’s side of the family. Samuel’s grandmother had a history of depression. Samuel’s uncle, now a member of UBF in the USA, had actually attempted suicide in Korea. For this reason, his mother was worried about her son as she sent him to the USA, into the environment of Chicago UBF. Mr. Lee was no doubt aware of Samuel’s family history of depression since he had been the personal “shepherd” to Samuel’s mother for a while in Korea, and Mr. Lee took a special interest in her family.

Shortly after Mr. Lee ordered Samuel to surrender his passport to him and to submit to his “training,” on a Monday morning in October 1999, Samuel attempted suicide. He was talked off the ledge by police officers, and they accompanied him to the Chicago Read mental health facility. The wife of Samuel’s fellowship leader, Karris Hong picked him up from Chicago Read; her husband was in Korea at the time. She and some of her fellowship members tried to keep Samuel under a makeshift suicide watch, but she did not notify our family though we lived in the same neighborhood, and she did not notify his parents in Korea. On the Friday of that same week, Samuel disappeared. He was not at the regular Friday night meeting for all members. His fellowship members, his supposed suicide watch, should have been concerned; they said nothing about it to me or my wife who were at that Friday meeting. Samuel slept at a friend’s house that Friday night. The next morning, Saturday, he jumped from a 12-story downtown parking structure. It was not until the police showed up at the Chicago UBF building on that Saturday afternoon that I learned that he had unsuccessfully attempted suicide earlier that week.

I have wondered why the wife of Samuel’s fellowship leader would have neglected to inform us, Samuel’s immediate family who lived in the same neighborhood less than three blocks away, that he had unsuccessfully attempted suicide that Monday. And why did she try to solve the problem in her own way by setting up a totally ineffectual suicide watch? The answer is clear to me now. It was because she knew what Mr. Lee’s “clear direction” in the matter was. As another former member wrote in testifying about Samuel’s suicide, “[In UBF] Once M. Samuel Lee gives the direction, there is no other way except obeying him, even though his direction is unreasonable.” I strongly believe that Karris Hong’s fear was that if she told us or Samuel’s parents of his suicide attempt, we or they would have moved to help him return to Korea, regardless of Mr. Lee’s “clear direction.” It is likely that Karris Hong did not agree with Mr. Lee’s “direction,” but she feared Mr. Lee and the possible repercussions if she did anything to undermine his “direction.” She chose to stay out of trouble instead of doing what was wise and right. It is a scenario that has been repeated so many times in Chicago UBF.

Just one day, less than 24 hours after the suicide, on a Sunday, Mr. Lee ordered that Samuel’s shared apartment room be completely cleared out and all his belongings taken somewhere. Paul Chung and several other current members of Chicago UBF carried out his order that afternoon. [This was done without consulting us at all, his nearest of kin in Chicago.] My wife and I were just too numb at that point to object to this at all. Mr. Lee’s motivation for ordering this seems obvious to me: Look for and get rid of any evidence, perhaps a suicide note, that might implicate Mr. Lee’s abuse as a possible motivation for the suicide.

On that same Sunday, Samuel’s suicide was not even mentioned. It was amazing to see how quickly things were back to “business as usual” in Chicago UBF after Samuel’s suicide. When Mr. Lee first spoke publicly about the suicide during a regular Friday meeting about two weeks after the suicide, he could only talk impassively about suicide being an unpardonable sin; he never accepted responsibility. My father suggested cremation of the body to Samuel’s parents and they assented. They were ordered not to come to the brief, small funeral attended only by Mr. Lee and the Chicago UBF elders. Samuel’s name was not mentioned in Chicago UBF again.

Though he denied any responsibility for Samuel’s death, Mr. Lee’s actions showed that he thought otherwise. There was the aforementioned ransacking of Samuel’s apartment room the day after his death. But Mr. Lee also had John Jun, the leader of Korea UBF, write a statement and press Samuel’s parents in Korea to sign it. The statement basically read that Samuel’s parents bore full responsibility for Samuel’s suicide. As she told my wife and another former UBF member, Samuel’s mother refused at first to sign such a statement, but Mr. Jun pressed the issue until both Samuel’s parents signed the statement. What would be the purpose of extracting such a statement from them? Obviously, Mr. Lee’s motivation was to protect himself in case of a lawsuit. Throughout this whole ordeal, Mr. Lee’s whole motivation was not to console, comfort or “shepherd” the hurting. It is obvious to me that his whole motivation was to protect himself.

(Addendum: In Korea, as the leaders of their UBF chapter in Seoul, Samuel’s parents told the members of their chapter that Samuel had died as a “martyr” in Chicago. It is unknown what details they provided in their explanation that he had died as a martyr. They even held a ceremony of some sort in their chapter to celebrate Samuel’s death as a martyr. They built this mythological ending to their son’s life, perhaps to comfort themselves and their chapter members, and probably also to protect Samuel Lee’s reputation at any cost. When Samuel Lee learned of the mythology they had built up around their son’s death, he took the opportunity to call Samuel’s mother to his office when she was next in Chicago and tell her that Samuel had committed suicide, that he was not a martyr and that he went to hell as a result of the suicide. This apparently led to a big argument between the two in Lee’s office and allegedly lowered Mr. Lee’s lofty standing in the eyes of Samuel’s mother.)

No one reprimanded or disciplined Mr. Lee for his part in what happened to my brother-in-law or for his actions in the aftermath of the suicide.

  • Abuses related to recruiting numbers and quotas

Between 1993-2000, I served both as a fellowship (small group) leader and assistant fellowship leader. Samuel Lee, as he often openly stated, wanted to have the most numerous chapter in UBF since Chicago is the world headquarters. Therefore, he exerted constant pressure on the fellowship leaders to keep up with his demand for greater numbers at the Chicago UBF Sunday worship services. During the weeks prior to UBF international conferences held in the USA, this pressure would be even greater because Mr. Lee demanded that the largest contingent at these conferences be from the Chicago headquarters. To keep up the pressure on the fellowship leaders and their assistant leaders, Mr. Lee would force them to promise to bring a certain number of people from their fellowships to every Sunday worship service or to register a certain number of people per day from their fellowships for conferences. If these leaders were found not to have kept their “promises,” they would be given what became known notoriously as “Skokie training” as punishment. This punishment consisted of these “promise breaking” fellowship leaders being driven to Skokie, a suburb of Chicago, and being dropped off to walk back to the UBF building. At a brisk pace, the walk would take close to 2 hours. I was punished in this way twice. In winter months, Mr. Lee would sometimes order fellowship leaders to undergo this punishment in their bare feet, so they would make the walk back home in freezing temperatures in their bare feet. A current Chicago UBF fellowship leader by the name of Abraham Lincoln (formerly Longhri) might be willing to testify that he had to walk back home barefoot. If he is not willing to testify, these former Chicago UBF fellowship leaders or assistant leaders might be willing: Dacian M. ([email address withheld]), Jacob K. ([email address withheld]), Joshua L. ([email address withheld]). Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined by anyone in UBF for his behavior.

Fellowship leaders and their assistants were not the only ones that Samuel Lee would pressure for increased numbers. It happened very frequently that Mr. Lee would pass out “pledge” sheets to the whole congregation at the regular Friday night meeting. On the sheets was stated something to the effect: “I promise before God to bring the following two people to the Sunday worship service.” Each member would then have to list two people that they “promised” to bring to the Sunday worship service and then sign their name on the sheet and turn the sheet in before they left the Friday meeting. The following week, Mr. Lee would assail from the pulpit those who had failed to keep their “promise,” sometimes naming them publicly. On at least two occasions that I can recall, the names of all the members who had failed to keep their “promise” the previous week were displayed prominently on the large blackboard in the meeting hall the next week by order of Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined by anyone in UBF for this abusive behavior.

Around 1992, during the early part of preparations for the annual Chicago UBF Christmas worship service, I was told that the fellowship that I belonged to was holding an emergency meeting “just for me.” After I was pulled into the meeting, I was told that Samuel Lee had ordered that meeting and had ordered that I and another member of the fellowship be physically struck because we had not “registered” anyone as yet to come to that Christmas service. “Registering” someone meant having them sign an invitation form and pay a fee to attend the Christmas service. The person who had been ordered to hit me could only do so half-heartedly, so an older member of the fellowship proceeded to hit me harder. The other person who was supposed to be struck at that meeting was a former member named Rebecca C., the daughter of current Chicago UBF elder, Isaac C.

  • The shunning and slandering of former members

Common to most cultic groups is the shunning, slamming and slandering of former members. The shunning and slamming of former members was a constant during my years in Chicago UBF. But some of the most vicious slamming of former UBF members was against a group of Koreans who were forced to leave the group in the late 1980s. Because they attended a Korean charismatic revival meeting in the Chicago area on their own time, this group of members was derisively labeled “Hallelujah Christians” by Samuel Lee, and his slamming them during meeting announcements and even in his sermons became almost a weekly occurrence in my recollection.

To encourage the shunning of these and other former members through fear, Mr. Lee would incorporate various horror stories into his sermons that I was on hand to hear. These horror stories as I heard them consisted of stories about former members failing in business, failing in marriage and falling into bad health or getting into fatal accidents because they had dishonored Mr. Lee and left the group. Examples of these horror stories that were incorporated into Mr. Lee’s sermons can be found on-line at:

Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined for this type of abusive behavior.

  • Arbitrary abuses of authority

In April 2000, I attended a UBF Easter conference where Samuel Lee was present. A college student named Daniel C., the son of current Chicago UBF elder, Isaac C., delivered a message during an evening meeting. For no apparent reason, Mr. Lee stated that he did not like the message that Daniel delivered or the way that Daniel delivered the message, and Mr. Lee ordered that Daniel be made to run laps around the conference grounds in the dark of night. This all happened even while Daniel’s mother was present at the same conference. The text of the Easter message that Daniel delivered can be read at [url withheld].

In 1995, during the high-pressure preparation for another UBF international summer conference, I attended a nightly meeting of fellowship leaders and assistant leaders led by Samuel Lee. At that time, I had no known issues with Mr. Lee because I hardly spoke to him and he hardly spoke to me, and I had a misguided respect for and fear of him. Before the meeting started, when most of us were sitting quietly with our heads down, Mr. Lee suddenly looked directly at me and angrily called out curses against my mother, saying among other things that she would suffer debilitating health problems. He concluded by saying, “You will see! It will happen!” Neither I nor any other leader in the room said anything. I was amazed at this unprovoked outburst against my mother since my father had been and still is among Mr. Lee’s most ardent defenders, and my mother had often neglected her own children to serve Mr. Lee for many hours a day and into the night as a secretary, seamstress, barber, hair stylist, manicurist, maid, cook, etc. without pay from the earliest days of Chicago UBF.

  • Physical abuse

Each Christmas in Chicago UBF, Samuel Lee would order that one of his Christmas “dramas” be performed for the Christmas worship service. For the most part, young male recruits who had just committed themselves to UBF would be chosen to be in these dramas. The drama practices would begin between one and two months ahead of the Christmas worship service. The “director” of these dramas was Mark Yoon, a leader of a satellite UBF chapter in Chicago. The co-director was Mark Vucekovich, now a leader of the DePaul University UBF chapter in Chicago. At these practices it was common for Mr. Yoon to hit the cast members with sticks, boards, and baseball bats. The cast members were sometimes ordered to hit each other. This was all done under orders from Samuel Lee. Two former members of Chicago UBF who were in the cast of these Christmas dramas, Nick T. ([email address withheld]) and James S. ([email address withheld]), can testify to this type of physical violence. I was on hand as a helper for many of these Christmas drama practices from 1996-1998, and I saw Mr. Yoon hitting cast members and also saw Mr. Vucekovich wielding a stick to “discipline” cast members. The hitting by Mr. Yoon that I saw was not done in jest or in a somehow “loving” way. He was causing real physical pain, causing real fear and anger on the part of cast members. No one in UBF reprimanded or disciplined Mr. Lee, Mr. Yoon or Mr. Vucekovich for their actions.

  • Abuses related to collections and offerings

Chicago UBF under the leadership of Samuel Lee was never shy about using compulsion and shame to collect tithes and offerings. Twice during my stay in Chicago UBF, a person in charge of managing special offerings, offerings collected at UBF conferences, contacted me. Once, when I was an undergraduate student with virtually no income, I was told that I had not offered what was considered a “respectable” amount of money. The other time, I was told that I had not offered as much money as my UBF “fiancé.” On both occasions, I was ordered to make up the difference with an additional offering.

In 1998-1999, a special collection was ordered by Samuel Lee presumably to support a UBF family that had just lost a teenage son to cancer. After the collection, Mr. Lee accused one of the current elders of Chicago UBF, James H. K., of having offered a less than “respectable” amount for this collection. In at least one small and two large meetings that I attended, Mr. Lee publicly attacked Mr. K. and his wife from the pulpit, accusing them of selfishness and stinginess. Mr. Lee went so far as to attack them in the UBF Newsletter, whose content was solely under Mr. Lee’s control and which was distributed to UBF chapters all around the world. In a public letter sent to UBF chapters worldwide in April 2000, Mr. Lee condemned Mr. K. as “one who knows only money and scraped up all the money with an iron hook.” Mr. Lee was never reprimanded or disciplined by anyone in UBF for such actions.

As far back as I can remember, Chicago UBF has maintained a publicly viewable offering chart on a wall of the Chicago UBF church building. On this chart are written the names of all Chicago UBF members who offer a monthly tithe, the so-called “World Mission Offering,” which is compulsory for all “committed” members of the group. This chart tracks each person’s tithing month-by-month. Therefore, if someone fails to tithe for a given month, no matter what the reason, a blank space is there on the chart for all to see. If someone offers less than their normal amount for a month, no matter what the reason, a partially blank space is there on the chart for all to see. [Not only is it reflected on the chart, but the person who offers less than their usual amount will be pressured and guilted and sometimes publically berated for it.]

Though UBF members are held very accountable for each regular offering, as well as for frequent “special” offerings, as far back as I can remember, Chicago UBF has never given a public accounting to its members of how much in offerings was collected and how the offering monies were spent. Detailed collection and spending reports were not published in bulletins, newsletters, public letters or any other publicly available documents in the years that I spent there.

Thank you for this opportunity to testify to just some of what I know and have experienced. I want to reiterate that during my time in Chicago UBF I was not considered a fringe member of UBF nor was I considered someone who was “rebellious,” disruptive or someone who had no respect for authority. Also, though I have written much here, I do not believe that my personal experience of abusive authoritarianism in Chicago UBF is particularly unique. I have also attached to this letter a summary in letter form of the institutional neglect of children that I experienced both as a member of UBF and as a child growing up in UBF. Thank you for your willingness to consider all that I and other former members of UBF have had to say.


Joseph C.