Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sarah Jane R. (former Chicago UBF)

Sarah Jane R.'s Testimony

(See also http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/05/jimmy-r-former-chicago-ubf.html.)

(from a personal blog)

Thursday, January 8

ok...i think i've regained enough composure to elaborate on my previous post...i've mentioned before that i was raised in a cult, no? yes, it's true...my family was in a cult called University Bible Fellowship (UBF) until i was the age of 17...it sucked...we got out...my family found normal healthy (relatively) churches...but the scars from spending my most formative years in a regime marked by totalitarianism, legalism and just plain lunacy are still fresh, almost 15 years after i was freed...

...if my family hadn't gotten out when they did, it's possible that the leader of UBF would not have lived to see 1994 instead of continuing his reign of terror until 2002...i know how much i wanted to kick that SOB's ass when i was a mere teenager, and i know it would've only gotten worse by my college years...this is not something i'm proud of either...i mean, the guy was like totally ancient and already near death healthwise when he died in that house fire two years ago...but i have to freely admit that i really, really REALLY wanted to kick his ass from here to pyonyang, NK where his other totalitarian buddies live...

...right now, UBF continues to operate on college campuses across the united states and around the world, including here in chicago at schools like northwestern, UIC, loyola, depaul, northeastern, etc...sad but true...somebody call out the national guard...

...zion grieves...where now is her crown of beauty for the ashes that lie here, in these ancient ruins, where now is the oil of gladness poured out instead of mourning? the devastation of generations past and present plead for restoration...




TOP TEN SIGNS YOU'RE BEING RAISED IN A CULT
by sarah-ji

10. 75% of the buildings within a 4 block radius of the group headquarters is owned or occupied by members of your group

9. you and the other kids in the group have to line up in the "LEADER's" office with your report cards several times a year

8. you (and everyone else in the group jr high and older) are ordered to write and share a speech entitled 'I AM A NOBODY'

7. the "LEADER" personally cuts (butchers) your hair and thinks he's doing you a favor

6. the "LEADER" is a short stocky korean man who likes to run around in military fatigue

5. the "LEADER" plots your future engagement from the time you are 11

4. it is common, and expected, to have at least 3 couples get married at the same wedding, and most likely, the couples find out they are getting married and to whom anywhere from the night before to maybe a few weeks prior to the wedding

3. occasionally, not too long after a wedding, one of the newly married brides is kidnapped for deprogramming by her concerned parents

2. the "LEADER" administers his own quack medical treatment for members' various health problems, including salt water injections to skin lesions for psoriasis, a big mac diet for the underweight, and an IV for just about any reason

1. your group is listed on numerous cult awareness websites

today is the two-year anniversary of the death of the "LEADER"...i will stop here because i am THIS CLOSE to typing a tirade of curses and laments for childhoods lost and lives ruined...this is the hell i witnessed until i was seventeen...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Joe C. (former Chicago UBF)

(Posted at http://drchungj.blogspot.com.)

(See also http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/04/andrew-p-former-chicago-ubf.html.)

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 the 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. Her first spouse was physically abusive to her. I saw her at her residence after one of these episodes of physical abuse. It is known that the marriage ended in divorce after her first husband was beaten by UBF members in the Chicago UBF church building and hospitalized. 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 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: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzep458t/ubfinfo/horrorstories.en.htm.

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.

Sincerely,

Joseph C.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jim B. (former Columbus UBF)

Jim B.

(Jim B. was formerly of the original Columbus, Ohio UBF. See also http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/04/peter-chang.html.)

Near the beginning of Charles Frazier's classic "Cold Mountain" the book's protagonist is recounting in detail the horrors of a civil war battle and is counseled by another: "You need to put that away from you". I have taken that counsel as mine since I walked away from the Columbus Ohio UBF chapter 14 years ago. I have never looked back, never gone back, never sought out anyone I knew during my almost seven years there, and never talked much about it to anyone. I have only once or twice picked up a Bible since, immersing myself in traveling and getting a doctorate and a job far from the scene of the crime. UBF days are literally like another lifetime to me, so foreign I sometimes wonder if they actually occurred. This is my summary of experiences there, the first time I have tried to put anything in writing since the day I left. I tried to be brief but there is much to say. I hope it helps you somehow.

First, I have read the other testimonials and they have all brought back a flood of memories of people and events-mostly bad ones. I read the eight points of Anton S's article and his description of UBF practices is exactly as I remember. Everything he and others here describe as occurring in Chicago I witnessed repeatedly in Columbus. Amy Y's testimony was disturbing but based on what I experienced I have no doubt that it is all completely true, down to the last detail.

I will get right to the heart of the matter: UBF is a highly dysfunctional and psychologically damaging organization, regardless of various definitions of "cult", "fringe" etc. It is led by people who are emotionally and psychologically blind to their own deep insecurities, and who have lost any sense of healthy relationships between people or what spirituality entails. They are masters of psychological string-pulling, posture arrogantly and blindly about who God is, and by implication cannot have the interests of their members at heart. They are imposters and fakes, wolves in sheep's clothing. I cannot make these points strongly enough. I urge anyone still in the group who reads this to keep a wary, questioning mind to the group's practices, to talk openly with people outside the group, and to accept the possibility that there may be a radically different agenda than that which is professed. That attitude alone enabled me to eventually walk away from the group of my own will.

UBF functions exactly in this fashion: it showers attention on new bible students ("sheep") who develop a personal, and ultimately inhibitory, relationship with a "shepherd" who teaches the student in a "one to one" bible study environment. As this bond is formed, the new student is strongly urged to begin attending group functions like worship service, group studies, prayer meetings etc, of which there are many every week, with explicit and implicit messages that not to do so would be signs of rebellion against God. From the very beginning, participation in various events is confused with obedience to God, such that any thought or action not in accordance with the wishes of the leadership is construed to be against God's will. This is a not-so-gradual progression that is designed to choke off the influence of people outside of the organization so that the student will believe that only UBF leaders are "God's servants" and do whatever they say. To an astonishing degree, it works. A hallmark of UBF is the lack of questioning and open discussion around almost any issue, replaced by authoritarian rules stemming from a leader's interpretation of the bible.

The degree of arrogance of the leaders, especially the Koreans, is as astounding as is their ignorance of it. Although at first they display great affection for new students (which is the bait that many American college students can't resist), eventually one realizes there is a deeply condescending attitude of superiority behind the façade. They are openly contemptuous of American culture at all points and their ignorance of the cultural context many of us grew up in is extreme. They are authoritarian in outlook and have no real sense of what democracy is all about, which leads to all kinds of problems in their dealings with American students, which they solve by coercion and various psychological tactics to get them to obey. Their attitude also had definite racist overtones. The leader of the Columbus chapter (a Korean with the adopted name of Peter) once told me that native Americans were savages whose demise was punishment by God and that blacks were inherently too emotional to learn the Bible. I remember just one black American student in six years there, even though Ohio State had a large black student body.

When this falsely assumed authority was challenged it was met with intimidation, explosive rage and/or other certain signs that something is deeply wrong. Once, I badly needed a car and a member that I was rooming with agreed to sell me his at a good price. When I told the leader of this he informed me that he had just told my roommate not to sell it to me because it could lead to conflict if something malfunctioned. He hardly looked up from what he was doing to tell me this. I was so frustrated with this cavalier intrusion into my personal life that I just waived my hand in the air and started to walk off. He exploded in rage, screaming at the top of his lungs "What have I ever done to you? Huh? Tell me! Tell me what I have done to you!", even though his wife, child and some others were nearby. I didn't know what to do, to yell back, to try to calm him down, argue my case, or what. Finally he calmed down and said that he hadn't really lost his temper but was just teaching me a lesson. Teaching me what? Now he was also lying to me. I stood dumbfounded. Though I tried to forget it, I was never able to trust him after that, and along with other incidents, it was the beginning of a slow but certain pulling away for me. Near the end of my tenure he came into my room where I was resting and started to "rebuke" me for my "attitude". When I began to answer back he again yelled loudly "I have nothing to do with you anymore" etc, slammed the door and left. He had long before used the same threat to get me to attend a worship service against my wishes. He must have thought it would work again, but after watching the group become increasingly dogmatic and repressive over the years, I made no effort this time to change my attitude or actions to please him. I took him at his word, realizing I had nothing to do with him anymore.

I was one of the early American members of the chapter in 1980 and witnessed large changes over the next six years. In early 1980 the group was four Koreans and about eight americans, comparatively uncontrolling and there was much give and take during bible studies about the possible interpretations of the text, and much laughing and friendship around group meals. No red flags were apparent to me. Six years later the group was ten times as large and group bible studies consisted of Peter reading and answering questions of his own making, actively discouraging input or debate from anyone, especially the American students. Public humiliation of those thought to be out of line was rampant, including loud prayers for so and so to repent accompanied by descriptions of the person's sinful attitudes or actions in front of the group (I just slammed the table with my fist as I mentally re-live this). A person's standing in the group depended heavily on how many "sheep" they were teaching, whether they were a small group bible study leader, how often they wrote their short daily bible study (displayed on wall charts for all to see the faithful and unfaithful) and how much they generally toed the line laid down by Peter. If you fell short in any or all of these areas you were met with a cold disrespect from all that can only be called hostile, and loud prayers for your repentance. Weddings were pre-arranged, held out as a carrot, and done on short notice. I was told one Monday to write a life testimony by Wednesday so that the leader in Chicago could evaluate whether I was suitable to marry a Chicago woman that I had never even seen on Saturday! When I balked I was told to "be a man", "have faith" etc, with the implication that if I refused to write the testimony I was faithless and disobedient to God and God's servants. Desperate for female companionship in the socially and sexually repressive atmosphere of UBF, I caved into this line of thought, wrote the thing, and then was told the Chicago leader had chosen someone else to marry her. This kind of short-notice, extreme disruption of one's life was commonplace, and came at the whim of the leaders, especially Samuel Lee in Chicago, though always couched in language of God's tests of faith or some similar perversion.

I could go on with many more incidents but won't. When I began studying the Bible in 1980 I did so from an almost desperate desire to know "the truth" and the Bible laid a claim to that. I now realize that when the group's leadership began to manipulate and coerce me for their own ends, it was my original desire and a sensitivity to my internal compass that enabled me to see what was going on, though it took some time before I could be sure enough to leave and not look back. My last year there, becoming increasingly disillusioned and rebellious, I attended meetings mainly just to watch how other people behaved and to see if the negative signs I was witnessing were going to change. During this time I was a shunned black sheep upon whom various psychological tactics were tried to bring me in line, which only deepened my disillusionment and rebellion. It was entirely enlightening to witness this behavior. That was UBF. Anyone who keeps his sense of truth, self respect and fairness will experience the same thing, but the pain pales in comparison to the freedom that follows.

Jim B.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mary K. (former Chicago UBF)

(See also http://exubf.blogspot.com/2009/03/teresa-vinay-d-former-chicago-ubf.html.)

[was located on a discussion board of http://ubfnet.com]

Posted by Mary K. on April 10, 2001 at 22:38:50:

In Reply to: Re: Stealing the offerings. posted by Chicago M on April 09, 2001 at 14:13:22:

I think when Vinay [Duggal] says that UBF people stole his money, he is talking about all the stolen and misused offerings, which have still not been accounted for. No additional details are necessary, as we have read so much already about these abuses on this website and on RSQUBF. Vinay, I agree with you 100%. When we lived in Michigan, we sometimes gave our babies water instead of milk, because we had no money. We sold our wedding rings to give an offering for the "World Mission Journey" one year. It took us years to get out of debt after leaving UBF, and I know of others in the same situation. Well, we were happy to sacrifice for the Lord, but it is a sin for one man to treat good Christian people so cynically. If you do file a class action lawsuit, you can count me in. Furthermore, I think it's time we went to the Illinois Attorney General about this issue.

Peter C. (former Pittsburgh UBF)

Peter C.'s Testimony

(See also http://rsqubf.info/documents/reform/1989.html - "The Case of Dili Chung")

[Peter C. was the leader of a Pittsburgh UBF chapter. This chapter joined the Reform movement in 2000.]

"Do you truly love me more than these?"

Ever since I joined American UBF reform movement, the most frequent criticism hurled against me is that I am a separatist who no longer cares about the wellbeing of UBF. So, I had a quiet time to reflect on whether I truly love UBF and I know in my heart that I dearly love UBF. But I must confess that I love Jesus even more. Therefore, it is because of my love for Jesus that I pray and support the reform movement among USA UBF chapters.

When I was a freshman in college in 1972, my country, Korea, was in great turmoil. President Park declared martial law in an attempt to extend his power to a much longer term than it was supposed to be. Anti-government demonstrations broke out nationwide everyday. Many people were arrested and tortured, and a few lost even their lives. ?he college campuses were shut down by force. My heart was darkened, finding no hope or direction of life. But there was one thing that burdened my heart much more than all these political chaos. It was the fear of death. When I was 9 years old, my second oldest sister died at the age of 22 after several years of suffering from injuries she received when a military truck struck her. She was my favorite one in the family. Although I was a rambunctious, wild boy, she lovingly cared for me and molded me into an honor student. Since her death, I began wondering about where people would go when they die. No one gave me a definite answer. I regularly attended Sunday schools in my home church, but I could not find an answer to this question. I grew fearful of death. Everything-hard study, success, wealth, and honor-seemed meaningless before the power of death. When I was in 8th grade my third oldest sister got married. But I did not attend the wedding, because it seemed pointless to even get married. They say that one's eyes are the windows of one's soul. Since my soul was dark and empty, I suffered from an eye disease, next 10 years. I was being crushed under the power of death. Around this time, one of my cousins introduced me to the UBF chapter in the city of Cheong-Ju. The Cheong-Ju center at that time had only several members. I began 1:1 Genesis Bible study with Abraham Kim. I liked Shepherd Bona Hong's messages. The following year, 1973, we studied John's gospel. John 1:4 especially touched my heart, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." For the first time, I realized that Jesus is the Author of my life; I came from him and I will return to him one day. This was the answer that I had been looking for! I felt that a ray of heavenly light poured into my heart rapturously. Through the study of John's gospel in that beautiful spring, I personally accepted that Jesus died for my sins and rescued me from the pit of misery and death. The Holy Spirit finally opened my soul, enabling me to believe that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. Since then, one of my favorite hymns is this: Since Christ my soul from sin set free, This world has been a heaven to me; And mid earth's sorrows and its woe 'Tis heaven my Jesus to know. Oh, hallelujah, yes, 'tis heaven, 'Tis heaven to know my sins forgiven! On land or sea, what matters where? Where Jesus is, 'tis heaven there. This was how my life in UBF began 28 years ago.

Soon I became a fellowship leader. I loved the UBF catch phrase, "Bible Korea, World Mission" and I accepted it as my own life direction and goal. I loved this mission and worked hard to achieve it. I willingly and joyfully offered my entire monthly allowance to God. I often served God's sheep late into the night, but I did not feel tired. I was madly in love with Jesus. A new name was given to me: Ban Suk, a rock, although I did not deserve such a wonderful name. I had quite a few things to overcome to live up to that name. The following year, Shepherd Bona Hong gave me a temporary name, "Pruning Chung" based on John 15:2. I had to cut off idols from my heart, girls and worldly dreams. Growing up in a poor family, I wanted to be a successful banker, make a lot of money and build a nice house on a hill with red roof. I wanted to live with an obedient wife, who would share all kinds of human dreams with me. Letting go of these things was difficult, but for the sake of "Bible Korea, World Mission", I could do so. One of the hardest things to give up was my home church. I was in charge of many things there, including youth group, Sunday school, choir, and middle and high school kids. But I could not serve two ministries at the same time. When I decided to leave my church for UBF, many deacons and deaconesses, shocked in disbelief, prayed earnestly in their daily morning prayer session that God might deliver me from confusion and even evil spirit. Quite a few middle and high school students did not want me to leave. They visited me to persuade me to do otherwise, making my decision to leave the church even more difficult to carry out. The most difficult thing, however, was to give up my human dream and plan for my parents. My one hope for them was to take care of them financially in their old age, since they had suffered all kinds of hardships to take care of me. Ever since I accepted God's call for world mission, however, I knew it was impossible to take them with me to the ends of the earth. One night, as I came home late, I found my parents asleep. When I saw the wrinkles on their faces, I could not control myself because my heart was full of pain and sadness. I went back to the center and prayed all night until the Lord gave me peace and faith. So, I entrusted them to Lord's hands.

In 1981 I came to Chicago as the first missionary family from Cheong-Ju chapter. I served Chicago UBF as a handy man for over a year, from early in the morning until late at night without any pay. I worked under the pretext of "young missionary in training," while my wife was taking care of our needs as a nurse's aid. But I was just grateful that I became a missionary. I had, however, a heavy burden in my heart. I left my son in Korea under the care of my aging parents. One day, my mother wrote me a letter, saying that, because of the knee arthritis, she could not take care of my son any longer. She asked to take my son back to USA as soon as possible. Tears welled up in my heart, for I missed the little boy. Then I opened that letter before God, prayed, and made a decision that I would not bring my son to America unless I raise an American shepherd first. God heard my brokenhearted prayer, and raised three shepherds within two years. Dr. Samuel Lee, however, told me one day to hand all of them over to other missionaries, leave UIC, and pilot new ministries at other campuses. So, my family moved around IIT, DePaul, Oakton and Triton campuses for the next three years. Strangely, I was told not to make contact with any of my former Bible students, all of whom had developed a strong bond of love with my family. Being taken to other missionaries without any adequate explanations, most of them had difficulties to adjust themselves to their new Bible teachers. Consequently, some of them left Chicago UBF. One day at a Friday Leaders' meeting, Dr. Samuel Lee out of the blue announced that my wife liked one of my sheep, whom we considered like a son in the place of our own son in Korea. My wife's emotional distress was beyond description. Later I found out that Dr. Samuel Lee told some of his close associates that he had deliberately said that in order to help my wife's spiritual problem. In other words, it was a groundless accusation but he concocted it anyway in the pretense of helping my wife's spiritual problem, whatever that was. My wife wanted to leave UBF, but I objected to it. I still loved UBF. My agonizing struggle between Dr. Samuel Lee and my wife grew unbearable. So, I began to pray to go out and establish a new chapter.

By God's grace and mercy, my family, together with my long awaited son, came to Pittsburgh in 1987. I inherited Pittsburgh UBF ministry from Missionary Moses Chang, whose was moving to Washington DC for his new job. Next 5 years, we worked very hard but we were given no coworkers. But God granted us 3 growing shepherds by 1992. Then one of them became difficult after reading a book entitled, Churches that Abuse. He read the story about UBF in that book and left from us along with another shepherd. We also had to send Shepherd Richard Anderson back to Baltimore UBF. All of sudden, our hands were empty after 5 years of hard work. Due to this incident, my wife got sick that year both physically and spiritually and would be bedridden for many years since then. During the first two years in Pittsburgh, the Washington UBF, the New York UBF and the Toledo UBF financially supported me each for several months in turn, directed by Dr. Samuel Lee. Many times, however, without any notice the money stopped coming, and then it would resume after a while, again without any notice. Sometimes only a half of the regular money came. To this day, I am still wondering what was all that about. I decided not to rely on such a humiliating treatment any more. I decided that I would rather beg for God's mercy than to beg for man's sympathy. I quit receiving the support. I got a job, delivering pizza, to support my family and God's ministry and I found in my heart pride and joy. Even though we were extremely poor, we sent monthly tithe to Chicago UBF. One day, we got a phone call from Chicago that we didn't need to send the tithe to Chicago any longer until we were able to send more than $100 a month. Momentarily, I was relieved that I did not need to send even that little amount of money to Chicago but use it for our chapter. I thought that they were symphathetic with our poor situation. But Chicago UBF had a different motive. Since then, I have not been regularly invited to Staff conferences. Sometimes I was not invited at all. At other times, I was invited right before the meeting and so I often had to pay high airfare. The treasury of the Central UBF once told me that it was because I was not faithful in sending tithes to Chicago. I realized that the UBF headquarters did not regard our offerings important, because they were only meager amounts. I cannot but wonder about the function of the UBF headquarters. Do they exist to support the branches or be supported by the branches? I did not, however, join the reform movement, merely because of these kinds of unpleasant experiences. There is no perfect church on earth. UBF is not an exception. The perfect one will be established only when Jesus Christ comes again. But while waiting for His second coming, we have to do our part: to make our church beautiful and godly, a pure bride for the Bridegroom. My personal experiences in the USA UBF did not crush me nor made me a crooked person. They instead helped me to open my eyes and see the problems that we must work out for the glory of God.

Our problems are not just with missionaries. They extend also to American students. The so-called "deprogrammers" attacked USA UBF for a while ago. In the course of doing the work of God, persecution from the powers of darkness is inevitable. Yet, in many instances, we have unnecessarily caused misunderstanding and persecution. What I mean is this: that we ought to face American culture with Jesus' attitude. We must not be afraid of it, simply rejecting it as "corrupt" or "wicked," as USA UBF generally has done. We must carefully study and understand it, while we firmly maintain holiness and purity in the gospel. The early Christians in Rome embraced many kinds of persecutions with humility and purity of Christ. Their purity and humility were the most potent weapons for them. Do our lives demonstrate such purity and holiness like them? Or are we like a bunch of Pharisees who are so proud of our own righteousness and easily criticize the Americans, while in our own organization, all kinds of un-gospel like behavior are displayed? Our claim to be a "special" people of God is a hollow one. I do not entirely agree with "Rescue UBF." Yet, these are the people who left Chicago UBF with various reasons and wounds. If the USA UBF refuses to change, a second, third, or possibly even more websites will pop up. I believe it is the right time for us to wake up, have courage, and repent and return to the right path of the truth. I strongly support the USA UBF reform work, for I love the UBF. I have given to it my precious youth. I have sacrificed many things for UBF mission. If I were just a guest in the UBF, I would not have done so. Instead, I might have just quit UBF. UBF is, however, not one person's business. It is ours. Why should I leave? The true owner of UBF is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ must rule over the UBF with truth and sovereignty. Many coworkers also love the UBF as I do. they have devoted all their life and everything to it. So, they do not want UBF to corrupt in this way. But I think this kind of pain is absolutely necessary for the renewal of UBF. It is like the birthpain to bring a new life into the world. We must undergo this pain, if we want to find a new hope in God's grace. "Do you truly love me more than these?" (John 21:15) This was Jesus' question to Simon Peter. Undoubtedly, Peter loved Jesus. Yet, his love was mixed with his human desires and ambitions. He wanted to achieve his human dream through Jesus. But Jesus wanted him to have a pure love for him. Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Peter realized that his love was mixed with his hidden desires, greediness and impurity in his heart. But he courageously decided to love Jesus more than anything else. Then Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep." Feeding sheep (or serving the ministry of God) must come from pure motives; otherwise, we will easily use sheep (or God's ministry) to fulfil our own ambition. If you ask me whether I love UBF, my answer is yes. I love UBF. But I love Jesus more than UBF. That is why I want UBF to reform and be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all.

In Christ,
Missionary Peter C.
Pittsburgh UBF

Friday, July 20, 2007

Donna A. (former Cincinnati UBF)

Testimony of Donna A.

(See also https://web.archive.org/web/20040111181306/http://ubf-info.de/int/rep/donnaa2003.en.htm, http://web.archive.org/web/20070504041038/http://rsqubf.fortunecity.net/discuss/archive/vegetable_woman.html, and http://web.archive.org/web/20070618204802/http://rsqubf.fortunecity.net/discuss/archive/donna_adams.html.)

[This testimony was written in September 2003 by Donna A., former member of Cincinnati UBF from 1987 to 1989. It was written mainly as an answer to a discussion in May 2002 on the discussion forum of RSQUBF.]

I am not a frequent visitor of this forum, but it was brought to my attention that I was referred to in a few different messages in this forum, so I decided to go ahead and explain some of the events that immediately led up to my decision to leave UBF almost 15 years ago. With this in mind I guess this message is actually a response to a couple of archived messages posted on the RSQUBF discussion forum.

In 1991, Samuel Lee supposedly referred to me in a UBF newsletter [1991 UBF News] as the “brainwashed vegetable woman.” I was UBF “married” to Chris K. back in January 1989 and decided to leave UBF shortly thereafter when I realized how horribly corrupt UBF was and how scriptures were being twisted. Since Samuel Lee chose to discuss my situation in a public forum, and since Chris Kelly chooses to continue to refer to me in his testimony on the UBF website and supposedly in his “sogams” in UBF meetings (and many people know who he UBF married back in 1989 and therefore I am not exactly anonymous), I will use this public forum to address these issues and to discuss what really happened in my exiting UBF.

Samuel Lee apparently referred to me as the “brainwashed vegetable woman” after my parents decided to take drastic and desperate action to show me the “other side of the story”, the side of the story that nobody in UBF would admit to or otherwise was unaware of (which was the situation in my case). My family eventually decided to take me involuntarily (at least initially) to a family member’s house (not a deprogramming center – which is what UBFers insist exist but does not) to discuss issues that they felt were of a serious nature. My family was concerned because they saw that psychological abuse was insidious in this group. They believed that I was being coerced and unduly influenced into doing things that I would not normally do. I won’t go into the details of such for brevity’s sake. They took these drastic and desperate measures only after numerous attempts at calmly talking to me about what their concerns were. Because of the UBF mindset that I was in at the time, I would not even listen to, much less consider such concerns. The reason for this had to do with the mind control techniques that were and still seem to be utilized to keep people in UBF. Through UBF teachings, one comes to believe that people outside of UBF are less than spiritual and anyone who questions what is going on in UBF are enemies of God. What is sad about that situation is the fact that my family had to take such drastic measures in the first place. My parents were also Christians.

I won’t go into a lot of details of the numerous events that led up to me “marrying” Chris K., but I will give a few. In our situation (and I suspect in most “marriage my faith” arrangements) there was a lot of deceptive, behind-the-scenes discussions going on amongst the leaders that I wasn’t aware of and I suspect that Chris wasn’t aware of. I’m sure that there was a lot more discussions amongst leaders that I was never made aware of. Hind sight is 20-20 as they say. I can see now what I couldn’t see then how the whole situation was orchestrated for me marrying someone from Chicago. At that time there was a big push by Samuel Lee for “shepherdesses” from other chapters in other cities to marry “shepherds” from Chicago (which was also the cause of much division amongst the chapters who did not want to send all of their women to Chicago. I might add that I was totally unaware of Samuel Lee’s push for this, and I was totally unaware of the divisions that were taking place at that time). Now I can see how they prepped me and primed me to go to Chicago all along, without me realizing what was happening. At the time I saw it as an honor to be re-named “Sarah” by Cincinnati’s leader (and Samuel Lee?). But now I see how them changing my name to “Sarah” was so that I would imitate (according to UBF’s twisted application of scripture in Genesis) Abraham and Sarah leaving their people and their father’s household and going to the land that was shown them. It was a deceptive means of getting me to be more agreeable to the idea of leaving Cincinnati to marry someone that I did not know and go to Chicago.

I was quite nervous about marrying someone that I had only met on 3 separate occasions. Obviously when my parents discovered this they were more than nervous. This was one more change in me that they had become increasingly concerned about. My parents desperately wanted to talk to me about the dire concerns that they had about the changes that they saw in me (not the kind of changes that one sees when one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, but personality changes that had gradually taken place over a period of time, and they saw the dangers of me turning over my decision making or entrusting others with very important life decisions such as marriage to those who did not necessarily have my best interests at heart). My parents were serious about talking to me about their concerns to the point of hiring an expert in cults to talk to me about what cults are and how they operated. As they wouldn’t force me to stay and listen to this person my family let me go the same day that they had this person talk to me. It was at this point that the UBF leaders (the leader in Cincinnati and Samuel Lee) decided that I needed to be married immediately as they saw that me being married would be a deterrent in my parents trying to talk to me. Since the leaders didn’t want them talking to me again for fear of what might happen (I might then decide to leave as a result of what I heard), the immediate push for my marriage began. I was told by the leader in Cincinnati that “You can’t live like this (with my parents trying to take me away to tell me what their concerns were and about what they discovered about UBF), you would have to commit suicide to rid yourself of continually looking over your shoulder to get away from your parents and the ‘deprogrammers’!” The leader in Cincinnati also said “You know, I didn’t want to marry (my wife), but I just trusted God with my marriage.” What is interesting about this statement is that less than 24 hours later he restated this by saying, “You know, I didn’t want to marry (my wife), but I just trusted Samuel Lee with my marriage.” I didn’t see the precarious switching of words at the time, substituting Samuel Lee’s name for God. I just decided that I was going to trust “God’s servants” with my marriage. (But later I saw how an arranged marriage was a way for Samuel Lee to gain more control over me.) But it was this statement, and under enormous pressure and deception that sent me down a most regrettable path. I went to Chicago in a hurry, met with Sara Barry for several hours in which I was told about what happens to people once they become deprogrammed (I was told that they become “vegetables” and the deprogrammers would inject one with drugs etc). I was told of a story of a Moonie who was deprogrammed and he then turned into a “vegetable” and then committed suicide after he decided to leave the Moonies. (I heard the other side of this particular story after I left, and in reality this story did not happen the way that it was related to me by the leaders in UBF). So naturally I was scared to death of “deprogrammers.” None of what was told to me by the UBF leaders about “deprogramming” was true (I’ll mention that later). Under the pressure, I underwent a UBF arranged marriage within two days after arriving in Chicago. After I left UBF, I discovered that our situation that involved a “shotgun” style wedding was really not the first time that this had happened in UBF when parents became concerned about the inevitability of an arranged marriage. It’s a shame that something as sacred as marriage would be treated with no regard to the individuals and the families concerned. There is no room for a man and a woman to discern and decide for themselves according to what they believe is God’s will for them in terms of who they should marry and when it should take place. Instead, one is to just trust the self-proclaimed “servants of God” with one’s marriage. This kind of insidious deception and manipulation that takes place in UBF marriages is not unusual according to the countless stories of others who have told me of similar situations that they have went through. One is to trust “God’s servants” in UBF with their marriage, but yet nowhere in scripture does it even remotely appear that God is associated with deception and manipulation. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

There were a lot of illegal practices that were done regarding our “marriage.” At the time in the state of Illinois, one had to have HIV testing with results before the ceremony. The couple then was to take the (hopefully) negative blood tests to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license. Our blood tests were done by a UBF doctor 2 days after the ceremony and the UBF doctor gave us a piece of paper to take to the courthouse to apply for the marriage license that said our results were negative before the test results even came back from the lab! Everything about the ceremony was put together by the leaders. Do I have to mention that my family was not present for the wedding nor was Chris’s?

We went to Boston for a “honeymoon” in the middle of a freezing winter because a UBF chapter was there. After the honeymoon we went to Cincinnati to empty out my apartment. I went to my job site to smooth things over (after having been AWOL due to the shotgun wedding – I normally am not one to be AWOL from my job). My family decided to take me away forcibly as I was leaving my job site. Chris was with me at the time. This is the ordeal that Samuel Lee grossly misrepresents in his report that is sited in an earlier message posted on this bulletin board. It is written that in Samuel Lee’s report in the UBF newsletter 1991, on page 12 he writes:


“... One time, in broad daylight, deprogrammers kidnapped Chris Kelly’s wife while the newlyweds were enjoying their honeymoon. They pinned Chris Kelly to the wall and took his wife away. After a month, they tried to seduce Chris Kelly to come to his wife and sleep and talk, maybe to argue about religion. Their strategy was that if Chris came, they wanted to imprison him in a deprogramming center and brainwash him and make him a vegetable man. Chris knew that. So he didn’t go. He didn’t argue with the brainwashed vegetable woman. ...”

These are very interesting statements coming from a man that I never seen or heard from again after the UBF wedding. Let me clear up this story that was turned upside down by Samuel Lee. First of all it was not “deprogrammers”, it was my family who took me away due to the concerns that were mentioned earlier. Next, Chris was never pinned to a wall. My cousin who was smaller than Chris K. simply blocked Chris’s path so that he would not be able to get to me and my brother who was taking me away. Chris was never ever pinned or touched. “Deprogrammers” did not try to seduce Chris K. to come to sleep with me and talk or to argue about religion. Two former members who were not “deprogrammers,” came with me to the apartment in Chicago to help me gather my things and to help me take back my car that Chris had been driving for a month (these former members did not try to seduce Chris to come to sleep with me and talk or to argue about religion either). I and these two other former members did not have any plan to imprison Chris or take him to a “deprogramming center” (which doesn’t exist). When Chris and another UBF member who was there saw that I had arrived at the apartment with two former members, the other member went and got Sara Barry to come to the apartment immediately. Chris would certainly not have a discussion alone with me, I suppose due to his fears that perhaps he would become a “brainwashed vegetable” as was promised to me by Sara Barry if I ever came in contact with a “deprogrammer” prior to our wedding. It was then that I and the other two former members had a short discussion about our concerns with UBF with Sara Barry (the other two didn’t stick around). When reading the above passage that Samuel Lee supposedly wrote back in 1991, it becomes apparent that Samuel Lee was using the same scare tactic on Chris and the other readers of his statement that was used on me immediately before our UBF wedding.

Again, it was a sad state of affairs that my family had to take such drastic measures. Even though I do not condone or recommend taking people away involuntarily, for me, in my particular situation, I’m glad that my family took the measures that they did. They really took tremendous risks and made some really tough decisions out of their love, care, and concern for my welfare. It was the lesser of two “evils” so to speak. Maybe some people wonder, “well she was taken away against her will, isn’t that like brainwashing?” (Samuel Lee obviously tried to use that argument). Yes, it’s true that I was taken away against my will for a few days. But during that time I was encouraged to think on my own. If one wonders what was discussed during that intervention, there was nothing mysterious about it. Much of what was discussed is material that is similar to what is being discussed on this website. Biblical errors were discussed.

If the readers of this are familiar with the elements of a mind control environment, these are things that were not present during the intervention that would have been present if it would have been a mind control environment: I was not coerced or even strongly encouraged to engage in the kind of confessions like sogams where one is to bare one’s soul only to have that information used against one such as when they decide to leave (confessions which are totally different in nature to the kind of confessions that are seen in many mainstream churches). I was not taught or led to believe that the intervention specialists were God’s mouthpieces or were God’s servants and I should entrust them with my life and make decisions for me. I was not taught or led to believe that they were “elite” or on the cutting edge of Christianity and therefore I should follow with them so as to not be a “class B” Christian. I was not led into a “black and white” mindset that makes the sweeping statements that other Christians or other outsiders were humanistic, hedonistic, luke-warm, satanic etc etc. so as to not want to hear what outsiders had to say. I was encouraged to think and was not criticized for using my God-given “human thinking.” I was encouraged to “test the spirits.” In fact I was encouraged to question the intervention specialists. They asked me not to take their word but to research what they were saying by going out and finding my own materials on the subject matter. What they were telling me was not expected to be revered as though it were a “sacred science” above all other viewpoints or questioning or reasoning. As a result of what the intervention specialists had to say, I didn’t find myself wanting to cut off all of my outside relationships. I was certainly not injected with anything or drugged. I was not tied down. I was not deprived of protein or of healthy food as I was told would happen by the UBF leaders if I ever met up with “deprogrammers.” Their goal was not even for me to leave UBF if I wanted to stay. Their goal was simply to provide all of the information, to give me both sides of the story which most people do not have due to the deceptive nature of the organization as a whole. From there, it was my decision as to whether or not I wanted to remain in UBF or to leave. After hearing all of the information, and after researching it on my own, I made a decision that I didn’t want to be a part of that organization anymore. I did not find that the intervention specialists were using mind control tactics that were described by Robert Jay Lifton in his book “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism,” or any of the other experts on cults and mind control such as Edward Schein or Margaret Singer other than perhaps me being physically isolated during the intervention. Robert Lifton and other mind control experts state that all elements/criteria of mind control have to be present in order for mind control to be present in a group. One element is not sufficient to bring about such control. I found all eight of the mind control elements that Robert Jay Lifton discusses were present in UBF however. All of this happened nearly 15 years ago. There are no intervention specialists around now, and I still believe what I discovered about UBF 15 years ago; that they were, and seemingly still are, an organization that uses deceptive practices to recruit individuals and use mind control techniques to keep people in the group.

When I left the intervention that only lasted a few days (not a month as the UBF leaders say, and some of those days were voluntary), I received voluntary counseling to deal with the aftermath of cult abuse. I was encouraged to make my own tough decisions. I wanted to talk with Chris K. about what I discovered about UBF, and I had numerous discussions with him on the phone. Chris would not agree to even meet with me alone in person ( in a neutral environment) after he learned that I wasn’t coming back to UBF. He would get angry when I would try to discuss what I learned. I told him over and over again that I was still a Christian and that Christ was my Lord and Savior even though I decided to leave UBF. Chris to this day apparently does not believe that I still have faith in God. At the time of the posting of this message, Chris K. states on the UBF website in his testimony that the “deprogrammers destroyed her young faith.” He states this despite me telling him that was not the case. The only other alternative is that he could be saying that my faith in Samuel Lee was broken, which I doubt if he is saying that (that however, was the case).

It is written that Chris referred to me later in a sogam “She wasn’t that pretty anyway.” If this is the case, I never dreamed when I was in UBF that I would be talked about like this by Samuel Lee or Chris. I was warned by people who had left UBF that my character might be slandered or assassinated. When I was warned of the possibility of this happening I was still skeptical thinking “No, they won’t do this to me, after all I studied the Bible with these people.” Obviously I was wrong. No one ever leaves UBF for a good reason in the eyes of the members or leaders. So the only way they know how to explain why anyone would leave is to insult and slander those that leave. Perhaps Chris K. expressed his true feelings when he allegedly said “She wasn’t that pretty anyway” in a sogam just a couple of years ago. If that was the case, then my question is why did he go along with the marriage? After all, who marries someone they aren’t attracted to? My guess is that in reality, deep down he probably felt the same way that I did. My guess is that he was coerced the way that I was. When one is involved in a UBF arranged marriage, one does not really marry a person. One marries an organization. UBF. Many people never really know what their UBF husband or wife actually felt or thought about marrying them, or even the timing. Only the leaders really know. There oftentimes is very little communication between those getting married, as was the case with us. The leaders maintain control that way and that comes in really handy when the leadership attempts to keep one person in UBF when the other person has left UBF. Unfortunately, I was totally unaware of this when I was first approached with what they referred to as “marriage by faith.” I was deceived. Isn’t it the very nature of deception to not know that you are being deceived at the very moment it is happening? When a problem comes about when one person no longer wants to be a part of UBF and the other one still does, one can see how the marriage could eventually topple on the shaky foundation that it was built on. Since control on the part of the UBF leadership exists in who and when a person marries, one can expect that UBF leadership control would be present in the UBF marriage relationships.

Chris K. eventually filed for divorce after I made a motion for annulment. I counter-filed for annulment. For him to agree to an annulment would be for him to admit all of the illegal activities that took place. The judge in Cooke County who presided declared the marriage legally annulled due to the illegal nature of the wedding (someone in UBF also forged my signature on the marriage license that we had not turned in to the courthouse prior to us going on the honeymoon due to the rush and pressure we were under to get married, it was only sometime later that I became aware that someone from UBF turned in a marriage license to the courthouse, I guess they wanted the marriage to look as legitimate as possible, despite the fact that it wasn’t). Also, under Illinois law, grounds for annulment exist if the marriage was done under duress or coercion, which was the case in my situation. Marriage annulment basically means that the marriage was never considered legitimate in the first place.

The events described above took place nearly 15 years ago at this point. I am not bitter at those who remain in UBF. I see most of the people as victims of Samuel Lee including Chris K. and the majority of the leaders themselves even though they cannot see it due to the deception and manipulation. Even though Samuel Lee is since deceased, it seems as though the current leaders are carrying out the same methods of control that they were taught. I find it heartbreaking that so many people apparently have gone through what Chris K. and I went through in UBF. I consider myself lucky that my family saw to it that I was given an opportunity to hear the other side of the story before any more abuse was hurled my way. I am thankful that I received a second chance before spending any more time in UBF. I hope that someday that Chris K. sees that it was never me or my family who was the cause of hurt or harm. Rather, it was Samuel Lee who used Chris and I as pawns to boost his own feelings of power and control. My hope and prayer is that there can one day be healing and reconciliation between all of those involved in the countless stories of hurt and heartache that has taken place as a result of the unchecked authority of the leadership of UBF.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Werner K. (former Bonn UBF)

Testimony by Werner K.

(See also http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/05/testimony-by-joachim-d.html, http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/05/andreas-p.html, http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/05/paulus-e.html, and http://exubf.blogspot.com/2007/04/susanna-p.html for more accounts about life in the Bonn UBF chapter.)

[After ten years of membership in Bonn UBF and almost another ten years of mental struggling with the experiences there, Werner K., the formerly so called “ancestor of faith” of Bonn UBF, decides to write about his experiences in the cult and the difficult time after leaving the group. His report affirms the previous charges against the leader, Mr. Dae-Won (“Peter”) Chang, and warns urgently of the system and personal cult built up by him, including the difficulties connected with the traumatic departure, but it also encourages persons affected to dare leaving the group and shows that and how such a departure is possible, even if you almost have to stand on your own.]

My Experience with Bonn UBF – Spiritual Rape and Slavery

With this open letter I am addressing everyone being in contact with Bonn UBF. I recommend you: “Leave Bonn UBF – immediately and without prior notice, you are in danger. Your life is at stake. You are playing with a fire which will burn you up.”

To all prisoners in Bonn UBF I say: “Nobody will set you free. You have made the wrong decision. Get up and go away. The suffering will continue for some years. But it is worthwhile. Otherwise the suffering will never end and you and others will be miserable until the end of your life in this world and maybe longer. It feels good to make your own decisions again. The right to decide is a gift given to mankind only. It is where you are forced to develop a personality. If you decide to give this birth right of yours to another person, your personality and your soul is ill and will be much more ill in future. If you don’t decide to make your own decisions, nobody will help you.”

I know what I am writing here. I was caught in Bonn UBF for ten years. I was the first German active Bonn UBF recruit. That lasted from 1984-1994. If UBF is a cult, then Bonn UBF is cult in extreme. If staying in UBF is costly, then staying in Bonn UBF is even more costly. There you get the “hardest” UBF training. There you find the “best” faith. If every believer would be a prince in eternity, then Bonn UBF members would be kings and gods. Bonn UBF leads to bondage, it consists of spiritual rape and slavery. Bonn UBF is a work of man and has nothing to do with faith. It leads to serious emotional problems, complete loss of reality and can afterwards lead to even suicide and psychoses.

First I was invited to a Bible study. My teacher was Mr. In-Hong [“Stephanus”] Park, the right hand of Mr. Dr. pharm. Dae-Won [“Peter”] Chang. It took an hour to answer the questionnaire, about an hour one-on-one conversation and another hour of reworking everything. One month later the Sunday service came added to that. Then group Bible study was added. Then leading a group with preparation of a sermon was added. Then the Bible work every early morning was added. Then participation in more groups with others was added. Then participation in the coworkers’ Bible studies with preparation, conversation and rework was added. Then apartment-sharing (living together with other UBFers only) was added. Together with this, common meals and common leisure time programs were added. Then daily invitation (the “fishing” of students on the campus) was added. Then added to that were group loud prayers at noon and in the evening. During my years of university study, the whole day from 4 or 5am in the morning until 10pm in the evening, all seven days of the week, was planned out by others completely for UBF, without a single free day in the whole year. I am stressing this because it is a common way of brainwashing to feed the recipient day and night without pause with manipulating information. Sooner or later the recipient will break down and will act obediently like a robot. When I once spoke about a sin problem, it was told to me openly that the best would be to do some work like cleaning or doing something else in obedience to Dae-Won Chang. Jesus or having faith had no role in solving this problem according to Bonn UBF.

This is how a typical preparation of a sermon went: I was given a passage of the Bible and a sermon already written out in full. I wrote my interpretation and the personal application to me. I showed it to a UBF Korean, my interpretation was always changed and corrected. Then I wrote the sermon once more. After repeating several attempts of writing and correcting, my interpretation was literally a copy of the sermon given to me in the beginning. The many pages of my personal meditations would be squeezed into one sentence. For instance, if the sermon on February 1 was on John Chapter 3, then my main sin problem in my life was the one of Nicodemus, and my life testimony for example: “I was a theorist and now I am believing from my heart.” The next week was about haughtiness, and my main sin problem in my life was haughtiness. My life testimony that week was: “I was the most haughty person, but now ...” If it was about the walk through the red sea, my main sin problem in my life that week was that I didn’t have any faith, and my life testimony was: “I used to be unbelieving to walk through the Red Sea, but now ...” Now I can see that the “message training” was nothing more than indoctrination, with the contents disguised as a “sermon.”

According to Bonn UBF interpretation the whole Bible is only about one thing: Jesus gave his life for you; now give everything to Bonn UBF– your money and your time and your very being. If you don’t, you are ungrateful and lost. If you don’t know what amount of offerings shall be given, then you must look on the chart that lists amounts of offerings and give at least as much as the others are reporting. How far can this go? I was pushed to give at the first day of the month out of so-called “faith” my monthly salary on Sunday – DM 1,000. At the next Sunday service my bag was empty and I could not offer anything. This was denoted as unbelief. I was told to borrow money. The tithe in Bonn UBF was ten tenths in the first week and then every week another tenth. If you have something – give everything to Bonn UBF and God will give you back. If God gives to you, then give this also completely to Bonn UBF and He will give you back. I have once calculated and came up with offering money in the magnitude of DM 100,000 which I gave within ten years. The largest single amount was DM 10,000.

A Bible study went like this: I told my opinion. I was listened to. I was agreed with at first. Then a different opinion was told to me, the one of the leader. I wrote something about the passage. If it contained the opinion conveyed to me, my writing was approved and I got the right to share it in front of the group.

There is a psychological method that is similar. The first thing is to listen. The second is to simply repeat what you heard. The effect is a feeling of being understood. This method is very simple, so I suggest that you try it out with somebody. You will see, you need no Bible and no Bonn UBF shepherd love and no care in your heart. But people will like to share with you even their most secret thoughts very soon.

There is also a psychological method that is based on giving praises. Tell other people what they should do to receive your praises. All people like to be praised. They will go farther and farther beyond their own limits, if you only act smartly using this method.

At first the experience of community in Bonn UBF is sweet. The method used is called “love bombing.” It is used in a lot of cults and sects. Let’s consider about a typical freshman in a foreign city with only a few friends. Consider a group of 10 Bonn UBF officers. Give clear order to this group: Be totally nice to the new recruit. Tell him he is always right, whatever he does is very interesting. Invite him for a meal, do sports with him. Do his hobbies with him, spend much time with him. Don’t instruct him. Let him do what he wants but be there and report to me. Let me see your daily written reports for one year. Then I will tell you, what you shall say to him and when. Bind him to you, no matter what it takes. How would the student feel after one year of being treated like that? Grateful, loved, obliged, and totally bound to these UBF people. He won’t ever think about criticizing Bonn UBF, he won’t leave, and he will be ready to do anything for Bonn UBF. During the love-bombing a young person loses his reasonable thinking and normal expectations, and can enter into a false reality about UBF. They are so nice!

How does it go on after this? Are you grateful enough for Jesus who gave everything? What is everything for you? What is your heart set on? Shouldn’t you abandon everything to give it to Jesus and UBF? Well, I decided to go along with their program, I decided to always use one hour more per week for Bonn UBF. But in a short time I gave up my hobbies, my friends, my family. At every Christmas and Easter, at every birthday, the UBF “coincidentally” raised the question whether I should love God more than people, and just as “coincidentally” every UBFer around me decided to spend the weekend only with the Bible. For ten years I spent not a single day with my parents unless they came to attend a Sunday service.

I stress this because there is no spiritual community in this world including monasteries that claim it to be a necessary condition to have no contact with your family and your friends for the rest of your life. It is absurd that it is claimed to be a kind of Christian respect to your father and to your mother not to visit them at their birthdays or any other time – not even going to their funeral. I know that Bonn UBF argues here. But there is no place for arguing here. The Bible says that it is not right to act like that. Common sense tells you that it is not right to do so. Nobody ever claimed that this would be right. Only Bonn UBF does.

Finally I decided to put my own marriage “in the hands of God,” but in UBF this means to trust Mr. Chang to decide who is the right woman, and when is the right time to marry. I also decided to give my life to work as a Bonn UBF man abroad. My future life was totally submitted to Bonn UBF.

Training is a concept that is necessary in sports. Bonn UBF transferred this idea to their religious life. Bonn UBF training in faith then meant things like this: Getting up at 5am in the morning, lining up outside in the middle of winter, running up on the “cross mountain,” a hill located in Bonn, running down the hill again, sitting down for Bible study until 6.30am, testimony sharing in groups – seven days a week – everybody takes part, except Mr. Chang. Knee surgery on both my left and right knee still bear witness of this “training.” Or running to the university as a group wearing suits and ties, carrying our Bibles, yelling loudly: “Bible – Germany – world mission!” At least one time it happened that I was mistaken for a member of a paramilitary group operating in Bonn. Or there was what they called “dead dog training”: Like eight people would stand around the person to be trained, who is kneeling. First the eight scream at him, accusing him of his sins. Then they beat him and kick him. Then they take him and carry him away and throw him somewhere. Everything has to be accepted by the victim. The only reaction permitted is crying. Or another training: Punishment without cause. You would get the command for instance to run or to stretch up the hands into the air. Or perhaps you are told to stretch out your hands forward and you receive blows on them with a stick. Or perhaps you don’t get the blows yourself, but another person is beaten in your place. And it is told to you that he is beaten because of your sins. The only reason given for the punishment is this comment: You know why! You are then asked “Why?” You say something, you must say something. You are given the same punishment again. This can go on for up to half an hour, holding your hands up or some other torture, but you don’t know why. The result is the destruction of the inner being of the victim. You can also call it torture. It is all about abuse of spiritual power.

I would like to note here that Mr. Chang by no means had invented all these methods himself. Mr. Dae-Won Chang regards himself as a copy of Mr. Chang-Woo Lee, the founder of the UBF. All his sermons are word-for-word translations from Mr. Lee. The respective orders in Chicago were always given as current direction in Bonn, too. Every kind of “training” which had been used by Mr. Lee had also been used by Mr. Chang. Even the methods clearly identifiable as torture, which were already reported by Korean UBF members in 1976, were used in the group of internals in Bonn UBF. When many years after my departure I read about these complaints for the first time, concrete examples returned to my mind of how all these methods had also been used in Bonn UBF. In effect, Chang and Lee were like two copies of the same person. There were virtually no differences. Every prayer had to begin like: “May God bless missionary Dr. Samuel Lee, bless Pastor Abraham Lee, bless God’s servant (‘enslaver’ would be more fitting) missionary Dr. Peter Chang (he wanted the doctoral degree to be mentioned in the prayer and the title ‘God’s servant’ to be put in front of himself), ...” It was even claimed that this form of praying could be derived from the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. But in reality it only shows the blatant hierarchical structure with several levels of spiritual leaders, though actually according to the words of Jesus all should be brethren and thus stand on the same level. It also shows that UBF is dangerous in principle since it embodies a system in which problematic practices and teachings are copied very effectively from top to bottom. Mr. Chang in Bonn is only a particularly consistent copy, merely refined in details, of the prototype personated by Mr. Lee in Korea and Chicago, who is emulated everywhere in the world by UBF. Bonn UBF is, in this sense, by no means atypical for UBF in general. Quite the contrary, Bonn UBF is just a particularly distinctive and in an evil way “sophisticated” instance of what UBF fundamentally constitutes. If you want to know what UBF is like in full consequence, then you may have a look at Bonn UBF. I in this respect I do not only strongly warn of Bonn UBF, but of UBF in general, even if the abuse may be more subtle or less extreme in some UBF chapters.

I mentioned that Mr. Chang never participates in any special training. Mr. Chang is to be treated at every possible occasion as somebody who is not an equal among equals. But exactly that would be the right identification of a Christian leader.

Bonn UBF recruiting system: All members are expected to actively recruit new members. A student dormitory is visited every day. Every attempt to recruit someone had to be accounted for, and the room they are living in are written down on the checklist. All have to be contacted, no matter how. Every contact with new recruits is reported to Mr. Dr. Chang on written reports. Every UBF co-worker writes down a complete report on all his day’s activities, with all contacts and all conversations with students every day, in order to monitor the new recruit process. The rules of decency and manners are suspended. Visiting students too early or too late is ignored. The reports and monitoring are so vital to UBF control that they are shared every day in the group meeting. There is tremendous pressure to report daily successes at these meetings. Coworkers have to produce many appointments with new recruits, if not, then they have to visit a dormitory again on the very same day. In my time, Bonn UBF was banned from entering all of the dormitories, however the UBF people defied the ban.

Bonn UBF has a sequestered living arrangement, where UBF members must live. This life requires giving up all privacy, sleeping on the floor until 5am, rolling up your sleep mat and being together with Bonn UBF members perpetually. I had no private room, not even my own bed, no privacy, no private relations to the outside or with each other, unless for purposes of Bonn UBF.

Bonn UBF calls themselves such a “great” ministry that in all time of history there wasn’t any comparable church community before Bonn UBF from which you could learn anything. There wasn’t and there is still no other preacher or teacher that could be of any use to listen. Who shall believe this actually? How should something like that be possible? I stress again that the Bible and even simple intellect say that this is not right. It is a contradiction in itself to believe that on the one hand history runs like this, that spiritual truth was given to the disciples by Jesus, but since then there was not even one person identified in history as a true follower, and on the other hand to believe that spiritual truth was given to the now dead Mr. Lee from Korea, by him to Mr. Chang, by Mr. Chang to Mr. XY and by Mr. XY to me. What is claimed here to be conclusive, is even not conclusive in itself.

Living in Bonn UBF means: Pick a Bible passage every day. Put your name in the place of the central figure. Ask yourself how you can write a comparable story and do this. The pressure to “become” the Bible character is indescribable. You also will follow your typically German inclination towards focusing on yourself and find more sins in yourself than you ever imagined. Perhaps you must kneel before Mr. Chang. But you will not come closer to Jesus and bow before him. You could even try to gain acceptance that you want to enter a monastery and want to call that your way of life. You will never get an OK by Bonn UBF to such a plan. They would tell you that even going into a monastery would be betraying God’s love and mission etc. Contrary to all other assertions it is not all about Jesus. It isn’t all about God. It is all about you: Your life, your time and your money, your future, your hopes and the destruction of these. When they are taken from you, they are garnered to UBF for their ulterior motives. Your future and your standing before God mean nothing to the UBF leaders.

It is a challenge to get out of Bonn UBF. For about three years after leaving I awoke in the night, bathed in sweat with nightmares, in which I held the always same conversations with Mr. Chang for hours again and again. Over years every first thought when getting up was like that: “I have betrayed God’s work. I am like Lot or Cain or Judas. I am damned eternally. I can change nothing to this. Good morning.” or “I have betrayed God’s work. I am like Lot or Cain or Judas. I am damned eternally. I can change nothing to this. What shall I buy for breakfast today?” or “I have betrayed God’s work. I am like Lot or Cain or Judas. I am damned eternally. I can change nothing to this. What shall I learn for my examination today?” I learned to say to myself: “I have betrayed God’s work. I am like Lot or Cain or Judas. I am damned eternally. I can change nothing to this. Stop. I don’t condemn myself. What I feel doesn’t matter. What I think doesn’t matter. Today, I am not able to clarify this. I will think about it when I will be normal again. Now I go shopping.” Meanwhile, it has become considerably better.

To leave Bonn UBF also means to be a “clean slate” initially. What do I believe? I don’t know. What is ethical? I don’t know. What about eternity now? I don’t know. How do I develop a relationship? I don’t know. How do I get and do I keep a job? I don’t know. How do I handle money? I don’t know. Whom can I trust and whom not? I don’t know. It requires patience and time to cope with this. 43.800 hours of experiencing a horror trip, wavering between suicide or eradicating Bonn UBF like a dangerous virus to be exterminated from earth. Shedding tears about so many years that are really completely wasted for nothing. Condemning my own folly to make myself a slave. Despairing of being alone now. Despairing that nobody can understand my story. Despairing of still feeling the need to find a help in somebody else, but experiencing my own inability to give a little trust in somebody else again. Despairing of realizing my inability to ever have faith again and having no vague idea how this could change some time. Despairing of the deep feeling that I will never be able again to give something to somebody without the thought of being exploited again. Despairing of realizing how enormously distorted my thoughts have become in this time, whenever I listen to a conversation – realizing that I have no idea what is talked about, what would be my point of standing, and how I will ever get an own point of standing. It took a couple of years. I can hardly express how it happened. But what I can say is that I have endured, I am still alive and have peace of mind. It is possible. It also can happen to you to endure and be happy again.

I am Werner K., the Bonn UBF so-called “ancestor of faith” of 1984-1994, also called “Abraham.” I knew who I was, why I was there, what was right, what is in eternity, who is God, I had the answers to all questions. So I thought. The ten years from my 19th to my 29th year of life have been the steep price for making quite bizarre experiences in my life. It has taken close to ten years once more to straighten out my life again. Twenty years are many for a 39 year old. If I would do something to return the pain of twenty years, I would not only write an article. What happens when a man pays back for twenty years of suffering is a theme of many movies. My paying back would have had elements of many of these movies. I have forgiven Mr. Chang and Mr. Park. Without forgiveness, the rage inside me would have led to a running amok with subsequent suicide. I know that other UBF recruits actually committed suicides in similar cases. How large the number really is, is not known, since many UBF dropouts disappear impoverished, lonesome and emotionally confused. Life is most basic. Having peace in my acting is important. Not looking back is helpful. There is a floating of thoughts into more and more deeper despair. This floating can be stopped. It is possible that you speak to yourself, that today you are that ill that you cannot correctly deal with this and to decide to think about it again not before the next day or the next year. You are spiritual ill. You have to accept this. But you can be healed.

If it had lasted for five years less to get my life straight again, there would have been criminal charges against these UBF leaders, in which these gentlemen would have been confronted with a prison sentence of many years. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations oppose making a report now.

Contrary to the claim of Mr. In-Hong Park who is spreading lies here – I know that he is conscious about telling lies in front of God, because Mr. Chang who is esteemed as God’s servant by him has told him to do so (what an insanity – you can very much conclude the opposite from the Bible) – I have I left Bonn UBF because I became conscious about the fact that, whatever Bonn UBF was, in any case it was not the work of God. I say without a doubt that God is my witness that I never wanted to convince my bride to leave Bonn UBF together with me. During one year of engagement I never even had a talk with her. Mr. Park claims I convinced her of leaving. But how should I convince her, without talking to her? When I stand to being that much enslaved by Bonn UBF, why should I not speak the truth about such an unbelievable detail. The Mr. Dr. of pharmacy Chang, who lets himself be addressed only as “servant of God,” had autocratically determined before that God would send me out to Africa instead of Russia. He had furthermore determined that God’s plan for my marriage had suddenly changed. He was forcing me to hand my life completely over to him instead of God. Obviously there was a UBF rejection of life out of grace, and instead make my life a never-ending obligation to make other people completely submit to Mr. Chang, by hook or by crook.

Dae-Won Chang has a Ph.D in Pharmacy. He likes it when students believe that he has a Ph.D. in theology. He is the leader of a membership corporation. This legal from is often misused to avoid paying taxes. Every single rule of the law about a membership corporation is broken because nobody else than Mr. Chang alone directs everything without informing the rest of the members. It is common practice since centuries that in every free church there are detailed reports for the community members how the money offerings have been used. In Bonn UBF there is nothing like thas. Let us make a very conservative calculation: 52 Sunday offerings not less than 10 EUR multiplied with the number members, let’s say 30, to have an average for the first ten years. The sum is 15.600 EUR. Add special offerings of co-workers, let’s say 15 people giving at least 50 EUR, and one offering per month and at least four special offerings at conferences and four other special offerings for birthday, New-Year, Christmas and Easter which sums up to 15.000 EUR. 30.000 EUR per year is the minimum, more probably the annual income is twice or three times higher. Seems that to be a “servant” in Bonn brings free living (members pay the rent), free traveling (members pay all tickets and costs), free supplies (members pay all food and stuff), and 30.000-90.000 EUR per year without paying taxes. I call this individual Dae-Won Chang because this is his birth name. He calls himself “Peter.” But Peter was a servant of God. I call my ex-main-manipulator In-Hong Park, because this is his birth name. He calls himself “Stephanus.” But Stephanus was a servant of God. God’s judgment of those who are deceitfully calling themselves shepherds and misleading God’s flock is just.

I was a student in Bonn in 1984. In-Hong Park invited me for Bible study. I was not a believer. After four weeks there was the summer conference 1984. I was chosen to be a group Bible teacher and to share a so-called life testimony. Taken by surprise, however, helpful and a little bit proud, I accepted. After the meeting I was raised into the rank of a “shepherd.” I was the first one who was won over for co-working in Bonn. In return, I was required to lead the Sunday service and thus also not allowed to miss. When I was absent once it was explained to me that I had loaded an unpardonable sin on myself. It was impressed upon me to do this never again. Otherwise I would lose my position as “the first shepherd.” Soon afterwards I was required to lead a weekly Bible fellowship. It was impressed upon me that Jesus gave his life for me and I had to give my life for Jesus now. The first step had been one hour of Bible study, the next, one hour of Sunday service, added to that one hour of writing testimony, one hour of preparing Bible study, one hour leading a Bible fellowship, one hour writing a sermon for the Bible fellowship. The next step in giving my lifetime to Jesus was mandatory morning meetings. Later, the daily hour of inviting people at noon and in the evening and the participation in other events were added, altogether seven days a week a program from about 4am in the morning until about 11pm. When initially I gave only pennies as offering money, I was asked where my heart was. When some time later I gave my tenth regularly every month and additional money on Sundays and at other events, I was asked again where my heart was. It was conveyed to me that, if I hold back only DM 10, I trusted on this, and not on God. So I gave 100% of my monthly goods (about DM 1000) at the first day of the month and was coerced to take bank loans to be able to make an offering at the following Sunday service. When I had finished my university study, I was advised to pressure my parents for an early inheritance. Chang also publicly coerced me by saying that other Germans had given huge sums of money at their graduations, he pressured me to give at least DM 10-20,000. I did this. The sum was used to buy the first single family house in Bonn under the name of Mr. Chang. After only six months of Bible study I was already engaged in the daily fulfillment of various obligations, so that the next step was moving into a UBF common life apartment. This resulted in breaking off every contact to my family and friends. UBF members believe that there are those who are “inside” – meant saved and called for UBF world mission – and those who are “outside” – thus lost and gone astray and forever condemned. There was never any privacy. Over years I had to get up at about four or five o’clock every morning to clear my bed away since co-workers came to keep morning service. I didn’t have my own room, my own time, or my own thoughts. The brainwashing followed a scheme: At first I was given the text of a UBF Sunday message for example. I was told to write my testimony based on this message. Also my life was always adapted to the current message. If the topic was immorality, then my testimony was: “I was the most immoral, but now I am saved and give everything for ‘God’s work.’” If the topic was haughtiness, then I was the most arrogant, but saved now etc. My life became an empty shell which was always adapted to the word of the preacher. The sometimes twenty pages of personal discussion was finally shortened to one sentence: From black to white, and every deviation from the original text was corrected by and by. After sometimes ten attempts to write a sermon of my own, as a result the original Sunday message came out, word-for-word. But now with the feeling, that it was my own message.

During every single year of my ten years in Bonn UBF I at least one time felt intensively moved to get out. Every single time it seemed appropriate to me to talk to my “Bible teachers” about this. Every time I was reminded of everything God or his people had done and which personal vows I had handed in. Every time I finally stayed.

Eight years after my decision for a “marriage of faith” in compliance with the message, my companion was introduced to me. Engagement was celebrated with 200 people and endless sharing of life testimonies. The central main concern was that my fiancée and I had to repent for believing that marriage had something to do with spending some time together and being close to each other, and that we had to decide in front of everyone to subordinate our marriage completely to the “work of God,” and e.g. agree to become Missionaries on different continents for an undefined time after marriage, or also to be any time, to any extend at Mr. Chang’s command at his back and call. Mr. Chang had founded the family of Mary S. in this way. She was told to marry one man initially. She accepted this as God’s will. Then she was told not to marry him. She accepted this as God’s will. Then she was told to marry a different one. She accepted this as God’s will. Then, on the day after the wedding, she was separated from her husband for over five years. She accepted this as God’s will. This is a cruel game, and many despair of it. This very same non existing married life was already destined for me. It isn’t biblical at all. God knows that husband and wife need each other, that they belong together. God created the marriage. Mr. Chang disestablished the meaning of marriage by declaring that the most spiritual family is the one which is the most non-existent one, preferably in two different continents. People who practically behave as if they were God are usually committed to an psychiatric institution and are not respected as a preacher.

My decision for world mission to Russia was changed after ten years. I had spent ten years of praying – and we prayed much every day – for the mission to Russia. Then a memorable event took place. A meeting was summoned without prior notice; as usually everybody was anxious, having the uneasy sense that something would probably happen to one of the attendees. The foreboding proved correct. In a loud “prayer” Dae-Won Chang at first made very clear that none of the attendees made anything right, nobody understood anything, etc. Then he autocratically gave new “directions,” i.e. commands. I was the one for whom he had reserved a very special new direction. In his “prayer” he couched it in the following terms: “I am thankful that shepherd Werner decided to obey God absolutely and to go to Africa carrying out world mission among the people sick of AIDS and he would die there.” When he thanked that I had already decided for Africa mission, I remember that even the other coworkers were flabbergasted and bemused and looked at me, since they had heard something different during all the years up to that very moment. There had been no discussion whatsoever about this, and I had never thought about something like that. To this “prayer” I could not say Amen. The way Mr. Chang gave this direction and by the expression on his face he showed that it was now all about how I submitted myself to him. He did not only expect something like an answer. What he expected was instantaneous, unconditional submission to this change of plan without further queries and without any possibility of speaking about it, being ready to sally forth on the same evening. I refused. Even after ten years of round-the-clock indoctrination and manipulation, it was clear that something was terribly wrong here.

During this one year of “engagement” the male “missionaries” around me supervised me and the women “missionaries” took care of my fiancée, and they managed to prevent any spending of time together. As hardly believable as it is, but in my one year time of engagement I did not spend one single minute alone with my fiancée. The UBF excuse was that both of us had to deepen our relation to God instead of to each other. Both of us had practically to learn to obey Mr. Chang whether we wanted it, understood it or not. Then finally my fiancée was instructed to inform me that the engagement was canceled since I did not repent for “immoral desires.” Without warning, the plan for my life once announced as the “plan of God” was changed.

The God of the Bible is unchanging. His plan is not changeable. When he puts hope and mission in a man’s life, every single page of the Bible tells us that he never fails or changes his mind. That is why people can have faith and rest in him.

The plan of Bonn UBF for one person is always changeable. When there is a direction to do this or that, then this can change every hour in any possible or impossible way. That is why people in Bonn UBF are full of fear and restless. It can happen after a meeting that the plan to be a preacher at the next conference is changed and the one thing to do is to bring some four other people to the conference or stay at home. It can happen that you are directed at 7 o’clock in the morning to be ready to go for a conference in America two hours later. It can happen that you quit your job with 50.000 EUR annual income at 7.30am by phone, pack your Bible and toothbrush at 7.35am and are on the plane at 9am – just to get the new direction in the afternoon to stay for six months in Chicago to be trained. It can happen that you go to sleep at 1am deep at night and are woken up at 3am already, because Mr. Chang found the daily report unacceptable and his direction is to write down God’s work in your life on twenty pages starting now, having to finish before 6 o’clock in the morning. The sold result of the “faith-building-machinery” Bonn UBF is fear. The deeper the fear of existence the farther you co-work with them.

I left Bonn UBF some months after these two events. The history of Bonn UBF, once built upon my life-story (as the “Abraham of faith”), was rewritten overnight, my face painted over on pictures from the past, they spread stories that I was addicted to drugs again and was “going on my way.” One of this is falsifying history, the other a lie. Falsifying history is a method used by the Nazi regime and other dictators.

I declared my leaving in written form and demanded DM 10,000 back from Bonn UBF. I have in fact got this sum (approximately a tenth of the money paid to Bonn UBF) in installments. It appears to me like a hush-money in retrospect. Anyway it made me wonder for years how I should assess this all. In this time most of the criminal offenses which I could have charged have passed the statute of limitations. The payments were paid secretly. Even Andreas P. didn’t know about this and was surprised about it when I later told him.

To confront myself with my situation meant to acknowledge that I had lived on the dark side of the moon from 1984-1994 as my brother described it very aptly. I have had no chance to follow the news in the world around me. Television and newspapers were declared as unbiblical. It took over five years to compensate this gap in my life, to compensate this feeling of being lost in time and space and to tie up again to reality, to understand, what others are talking of and to react in a normal way, not like a man who had been taken through a time-warp. The most difficult thing was to build up a value system of my own and to find my own viewpoint. My family granted the needed support especially in the beginning. It was them that I could give a little trust at first and began to start my life again.

I have repeatedly tried coming clear with the bad experiences from this time. It took until today for my inner wounds to be healed to the point that I am able to write about it without rage and anger. The damages lasted for ten years to this day in order to write with a sufficing distance about ten years of spiritual rape. UBF was slavery veiled into a spiritual gown, and it still takes place, not in Afghanistan or in Iraq but in Bonn, Germany, directly among us. Spiritual rape means that people transform other people to become their tools by exploiting their desire for salvation and love. The damage resulting from this is lifelong suffering of the persons affected, far-reaching inability to develop their own simple confidence or faith, and brings about complete disorientation lasting for years.

A law-suit on account of bodily harm would be totally inadequate for this spiritual crime. If the full amount of the deeds of Mr. Chang should ever become object of a lawsuit or criminal proceeding, then the main charges presumably will be maltreatment, and keeping dependent people in bondage, i.e. modern slavery, as well as tax evasion amounting to millions. But in such a law-suit, which would be about prison sentence for more than ten years, the system of legal safeguards may turn out to be unequipped for such cases of systematic bondage over many years. To bring this case to judgment would need some witnesses who leave Bonn UBF and bear witness not much later. But the witnesses are victims spiritually raped for years, manipulated in extent, kept in existentially fear. As in my case it most probably will take years and years until each victims has developed the needed confidence and strength. For me to have peace it is enough to know that in the book which Bonn UBF knows and preaches it is written that false preachers are destined for the deepest of hells. This hell exists already now in the life of these people. How restless must a person be who feels obliged to demand God-like absolute obedience towards himself in deeds and thoughts, without the power of God and without the grace of God, in order to realize that the reality differs from this megalomaniac desire to the greatest extent possible and he can change nothing to this?

I cannot estimate whether it can be prevented that people like Mr. Chang and Mr. Park manipulate others to voluntary bondage. But even if it is difficult and takes a long time, it is possible to get out of Bonn UBF. And it is worthwhile to take your own life into your own hands again, to make your own decision and to lead a spiritual life.

Werner K.