Hello, I recently left UBF after being part of the organization for a few years. I had my doubts about the organization from the beginning, but I was afraid that if I left, I would be leaving God and would no longer be a Christian. Finally, after some time of living in the common life, my eyes were opened to the critical faults of the organization, and I couldn’t be part of the church anymore.
I was part of a UBF chapter in California. One part of my specific church that I couldn’t accept is that many of the shepherds would only fish “mainstream” (white) students, and when any person of color (esp. African Americans) attended the church, they were largely ignored, while the white students received extremely special treatment.
I only taught a few Bible studies and didn’t fish nearly as often as others, yet I was asked to give a message almost every conference, participate in dramas, and I moved into common life when I was still younger in spirit (UBF’s standard) than many other members. I always thought that this was just God’s extra special grace upon me, but over time I realized that my light skin color, light hair, and light eyes had a lot to do with the attention I was getting.
I am wondering if you have heard of similar stories like this one in other UBF chapters?
I understand that this is certainly something that can be found in many non-UBF churches, but considering the multiplicity of problems with UBF, this kind of racial issue is something that shouldn’t be ignored.
Also, I am wondering if you have studied or heard stories of mental illness or psychological problems in students of UBF and UBF shepherds?
While I lived in common life, I was always under a lot of pressure to conform to UBF standards, and I never felt good enough, so I honestly remember many nights of hopping into my car after testimony sharing and wanting (sometimes trying) to crash my car into a wall. Sometimes I couldn’t smile for days at a time, even though I never had a history of such depressing feelings and thoughts. All of this started in UBF, particularly when common life training started.
I felt as if I was going crazy, and my mild anger problem kept growing and growing, when it should have been healing as I came to God more for help. I was told that these psychological problems were Satan’s attack or the result of my own doubt, but now that I have left the organization,
I am wondering if the lack of true gospel and the militaristic culture and legalism of UBF can have some correlation with psychological problems developing in people?
I am back to normal now that I do not attend the UBF church, and it is as if a heavy chain is off of my shoulders. Praise God for that, but I am hoping that others will soon come into the light and find healing through prayer and/or simply through psychological counseling, as some may really need that, even when UBF considers getting such help to be humanistic.
I guess I am contacting you because I would like to know if others have experienced similar things in UBF?
Lastly, before deciding to leave the church, I had become extremely concerned about the marriage by faith (arranged marriage) part of UBF, as I could foresee the person the pastor would want to put me with, and I knew I couldn’t trust that God was the one choosing that marriage partner for me. I wondered if arranged marriage was normal in Christian churches, so I posted this question on Reddit.
Here is a link to the post:
I received a lot of really concerned and helpful answers, and it helped to strengthen my resolve that the UBF way of marriage is not Biblically sound. I am sending you the link for your reference, since you often discuss questions about UBF issues and help troubled members, and the Reddit discussion may be useful to some who were having the same questions and doubts as I was. I appreciate any answers/info you may have!
Thank you, Search16.