Posts Tagged ‘twisted-scriptures’

How not to defend UBF

October 20, 2004

I would say that most attempts to defend UBF reveal several unflattering things about UBF: willingness to twist scripture and take scripture out of context, unwillingness to answer uncomfortable questions, lack of care for and even hatred toward people who were abused. But some UBF defenders really take it over the top when they try to portray themselves as somehow part of a Christian mainstream (what chutzpah!) and condemn UBF detractors as “heretics” because they disagree with UBF’s condoning child neglect, or condemn UBF detractors as “anarchists” because they disagree with UBF’s emphasis on absolutely obeying one’s leaders.

An interesting thing about the hardcore UBF defenders I’ve encountered is that they will never say that “UBF has changed”. Since, as they believe, UBF has no real serious problems at all, there is no need for UBF to fundamentally change.

"Waco sect survives, waits"

June 18, 2004

I saw this article about the Koresh cult a couple of days ago and was not surprised.

Some highlights from the article:

Koresh, whose real name was Vernon Howell, arrived in Waco in 1981 as a 22-year-old high school dropout, drawn to a small community of Seventh-day Adventist believers who called themselves Branch Davidians. It wasn’t long before the smooth-talking Bible expert seduced the group’s 60-year-old leader and displaced her as the group’s reigning prophet.

Eventually he asserted the God-given right to take the underage teenage daughters of his followers as wives, while commanding everyone else in the commune to remain celibate. He justified his licentiousness by explaining that God had directed him to embody the most devilish human behavior as a test of his followers’ faith.

“According to man’s law today, what David did was statutory rape,” said Tom Cook, a Waco hairstylist who joined the Davidians after Koresh died and who maintains the group’s Web site. “But as God states in the Bible, a woman is of marrying age at her first blood issue. It’s all in your frame of mind. People can say it’s illegal, but it’s God’s word.

But far more of the Branch Davidians were like Doyle, who had joined the group in 1957 and became convinced that Koresh was the messiah.

“The people who were here were not hicks, they were not stupid,” said Doyle, 63. “Some of them had letters after their names, graduate degrees.

Despite the terrible price he and his family paid, Doyle says he refuses to entertain any doubts about Koresh or the certainty of his resurrection.

“If it was all a deception, and yet we were convinced it was right, then how can we ever know the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong?” Doyle asked. “If I was misled by God, then how would I ever believe anything ever again?”


May 28, 2004

In the Spring of 2001, during the heat of the third reform attempt in UBF, at a time when I began to see that he was even worse than what I had come to consider him, Samuel Lee said this through his messenger, Ron Ward, during a Romans 12 “message” one Sunday when I was in the pews:

Fifth, we must love others in Jesus. (9-13) Look at verse 9. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Many people think that because we are Christians we must condone others’ sins and evilness. But they are greatly mistaken. Our love in Jesus must be sincere. Paul says, “Hate what is evil.” We must hate the enemies of God. Those who do not hate the enemies of God reveal that they do not love God. If we love God we must hate God’s enemies. If we love God we must love those who love God as our own brothers. The single most important factor in the body of Christ is love. But love must be sincere. When we want to love others with sincere love we must learn how to love others in Jesus.

Just the words, “We must hate the enemies of God,” do not convey what Samuel Lee was saying. He had Ron Ward scream those words at the top of his lungs that Sunday. As usual, Ward was miked. The effect was blood-curdling. That word, “HATE”, was the peak of the crescendo of that whole “message.” I could remember nothing else of what was spoken.

Of course, Samuel Lee was referring to the would-be reformers of UBF as those we should “HATE!!!”, those whom he referred to at other times as “barking dogs” or “crazy dogs” or “rebels.” So in UBF, you must “love others in Jesus,” but you must “HATE THE ENEMIES OF GOD!!!”, where the “enemies of God” are always those who would speak up about UBF, even those who gave their all to UBF and wanted to reform it. Love is “HATE!!!” It amuses me when certain UBF people talk about UBF’s critics as “hateful” people.

An example of this “hate the enemies of God!!!” mentality is the paranoid assumption on the part of current UBF leaders (both senior and junior leaders) that behind any criticism of UBF–even calls to set up a real system of accountability and discipline to address the sins of leaders–is the desire to “destroy UBF” on the part of those who are “out to get UBF,” i.e., the “enemies of God.”

Here’s an earlier comment by someone else on this savagely misinterpreted passage:

Who wrote that message? I don’t know how the writer goes from Paul’s words “Hate what is evil” to a distortion like “Hate the enemies of God “. It says “hate what is evil” not “hate those who are evil”. He is trying to redefine the word love. Instead of love you have “love in Jesus” which he redefines to mean a love reserved only for good Christians. I don”t know how anyone could so completely misinterpret Paul’s meaning. In the same chapter (verse 14) he says, “Bless those who persecute you”. It would make more sense to shout, “Bless the enemies of God!” In verse 20 it says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to dr ink”. Maybe they should shout, “Feed the enemies of God!” or “Give the e nemies of God something to drink!” Sin is a disease. We shouldn’t hate people suffering from this fatal disease. We should have compassion on t hem as Christ had compassion on the leper. We should, “Love the Enemies of God !” as Christ loved us. –UBFSoul

A summary of some of UBF’s biblical/doctrinal errors

March 30, 2004

The following was actually sent in a letter prior to my personal story:

A summary of some of UBF’s biblical/doctrinal errors

One of the biblical passages often used to justify UBF’s much-criticized practice of leader-ordered and leader-arranged marriages is the Genesis 24 account of Rebekah and her marriage to Isaac. Rebekah is seen as exemplary because she made a choice to marry a man “sight unseen.” An unmarried female member of UBF is seen as “obedient like Rebekah” if she can declare that she will marry anyone, any time, anywhere in obedience to the “servants of God” (her leaders). Indeed, UBF members have been notified by leaders that they will get married, whom they would marry, when they would marry and where they would marry just one week or less prior to the marriage date set by the leaders. [Unlike the Genesis account of Isaac and Rebekah in which their parents played a large part in the choice of marriage partner, in UBF the role of the “marriage candidate” recruit’s parents in the marriage decision is usurped by the recruit’s “shepherd” and ultimately by the top leaders of UBF.]

The neglect of children and family, a practice that UBF has been accused of in the USA and Germany, is often justified by comparing one’s family and children with Isaac, whom Abraham chose to sacrifice in Genesis 22. A UBF member’s commitment to the group is seen as exemplary when they can “give up their Isaac,” that is, when they are willing to neglect family life and even the care of their children to participate with full zeal in the UBF ministry.

Samuel Lee, the late director of UBF, was often given status akin to Moses, a “visible” representative of God, who knew God’s will at a much greater level than anyone else in the group. It followed then that UBF members who tried to challenge the abusive and cultic elements of UBF under Lee’s leadership were compared to Korah and his followers (Numbers 16) or Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12) and were said to be “rebelling” against “God’s chosen servant.”

Romans 1:5 is often quoted by UBF leaders to equate grace and apostleship, such that a person’s acceptance of God’s saving grace is constantly called into question if they are not participating in the group’s main mission of recruitment. Apostleship, as UBF defines it, is the only fruit of grace that UBF recognizes, contrary to what Paul writes in Romans 12:6-8. As Samuel Lee often stated, “Those who have no mission (UBF apostleship) have nothing to do with God!”

Jesus’ pre-ascension command to Peter to “feed his sheep” (John 21:15-18) is interpreted into the demand on all UBF members to perform constant UBF-style evangelism, which is called, not surprisingly, “feeding sheep.” UBF-style evangelism is an activity in which UBF shepherds “feed” the sheep (recruits). The result is that a person who is successfully recruited tends to become assimilated into UBF’s pyramidal authoritarian structure, a structure in which a sheep remains a sheep to his shepherd and his shepherd’s shepherds, regardless of how long he remains and serves in the organization.

"America a KOP and a HN!"

February 18, 2004

Something I posted elsewhere today:

Date Posted: 12:28:54 02/18/04 Wed

Author: Joe

Subject: Re: Wacky twisting of 1 Pe 2:9

In reply to: Anonymous ‘s message, “Wacky numbers prayer topic” on 03:31:49 02/18/04 Wed

>(By the way, are you all familiar with UBF’s wacky

>twisting of Ex 19:6 and 1 Pe 2:9? That was a popular

>theme in UBF in the last couple years. But I’m

>guessing it’s probably nothing new and everyone is

>familiar with it.)

I’ve wanted to write something about this for a while, and I’ll write in more detail later elsewhere. This “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” “prayer topic” is something that Samuel Lee started, and it dominated UBF worldwide in the 1990s, and the signs are that it still does. What UBF members fail to see is that the whole prayer topic is a twisted misapplication of Ex 19:6 and 1 Pe 2:9. Whereas 1 Pe 2:9 actually applies to the Body of Christ, the Church, Lee applied it to “America,” what he called the “new Rome.” He got everybody to start reading books about the Christian roots of “America.” Week after week from the pulpit, he made it sound like UBF was about the only group that really cared about America, that had a “great vision” for America.

Basically, Lee tried to adapt the Korean nationalism that drove Korean UBF for many years (“Bible Korea, world mission!”), and transfer it to America, trying to exploit American nationalism (“America a KOP and a HN!”), even if he had to twist and misapply Scripture to do it. By all measures, it’s been a dismal failure.

Bible Study, Prayer … and Abomination

January 30, 2004

It’s the quality more than the quantity of Bible study that matters. Also, it’s more what you pray for rather than how much you pray or even how earnestly you pray that matters. There are enough cult leaders and their earnest devotees who have years of Bible study notes piled from floor to ceiling in their offices and living rooms. They pray, or at least claim to pray for an hour or more every day. Yet, what is the product of all this Bible study and prayer? They commit and/or condone abominable acts and teachings that disgrace the name of Christ. They scour the Scriptures, looking for anything to justify the sins of leaders whose sins cry to heaven. In this, they drag God down into the mire of their peculiar moral relativism. Bible Study, prayer … and abomination.

I know of a long time UBF man who has his UBF Bible study material filling two 8 foot tall bookcases in his living room. Of course, this material just rehashes the same UBF “canon” (Lee’s interpretations of Ge, Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Ro) year after year and decade after decade. He also seems to get up early everyday and pray for a good while. But this same man has been fiercely loyal to Samuel Lee and the Lee family to this day, even after living in fear of Lee for years, even after witnessing Lee’s abuses against so many others and even against his own children. He has a daughter who has a chronic health condition and whose son has autism. I guess he prays earnestly nearly every day for her and her son. But what comes of this prayer? One day he tells his daughter that he has had an epiphany: If she has another child (though she’s already had two C-section births) then her chronic health condition will go away and so will her son’s autism. Is this what decades of faithful UBF Bible study and prayer is supposed to produce?

How can people who have seemingly studied the Bible faithfully for decades hold to such a shallow and superstitious view of God, that God punishes people for leaving UBF or for giving “not respectable” offering amounts or for being “rebellious” toward “God’s servants” or various other things that are considered “sins” in UBF? How can they believe after all that Bible study that God can somehow be “appeased” through big offerings or other such acts of “penance?”