Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ruth C. (former Chicago UBF)

Subject: Why Did Ruth C. Leave (Chicago) UBF?

Dear Cali Raisin,

Your question betrays just how tightly information is controlled in UBF. Maybe there is something to this whole thing about indoctrination. Normally, I would not dignify such a remark, but because I know you and many others have been lied to, I will reply to your question. I have never "lived in sin" with any guy, nor did I leave UBF so I could have boyfriends. The powers that be in UBF have a knack for cooking up many nasty rumors to cast people who leave UBF in the most negative light possible, as people "running away" from God. It's like communist China! I've also heard rumors about Daniel Choi that made it sound like he had abandoned his faith altogether. It's amazing, isn't it, how a spirit of lies and cover-ups has infiltrated a place that is supposed to encourage truth-seeking?

So why did I leave UBF? Although my parents and Samuel Lee see it completely differently, I believe I was manipulated emotionally and spiritually so that I became like a puppet - I became a shell of a person. I disagreed with the way Samuel Lee controlled and dictated everything in my life, from what I ate and wore, how I spent my time, who I should marry (like Isaac Choi, I was "engaged" at age 12), to what I should study in college and what career I should have. Knowing also about his grip of control on others and the pain that had been inflicted on them, including my violin teacher, caused me to question: Is this really what Christianity was meant to be? By my sophomore year of college, I had seriously contemplated suicide several times. But somehow, God protected me, and I stubbornly held onto the belief that God did not mean for me to have a life full of such pain. So yes, I left UBF for the selfish reason of wanting to stay alive and to get to a place where I didn't hate life so much. But mainly, I left UBF because it was not a good fit for my spirit. While I admire my parents and some of the people who have committed their lives to helping people through a 1:1 approach, I could never truly accept or embrace that calling. Even while growing up in UBF and being a faithful and obedient, even exemplary, member, I remember feeling uttlerly and completely out of place. Often, I felt like I was going insane. By the end of high school, I knew that this was the not the place God meant for me to be.

I didn't want to go into the details of why I left UBF in my first post, because I have let go of the past and have come to a point in my life where I don't need or want to dwell on the harm that was committed against me in childhood. God has brought me to a place today where I can look back, and see everything that happened to me as a way for me to serve and bring glory to God. I also don't necessarily believe that UBF is a cult. In many ways, UBF is just like many other fundamentalist evangelical churches, but there are certain aspects of it that do not fit into the American cultural landscape (e.g. it's authoritarian leadership).

Again, I want to emphasize the spiritual freedom that God has given us. God wants people to embrace him willingly and wholeheartedly, to use their free will to choose life and choose God. This is why he did not make Adam and Eve automatons. But in UBF, I fear that many of the 2nd gens have obeyed and served without the wholehearted willingness God would want them to have. Perhaps it is out of fear, a need for parents' approval and support, or a real belief that absolute obedience to the will of a man is obedience to God. Where is God's grace in all of this? You have a choice - you are not trapped. If you choose to stay in UBF, choose it freely. Do not choose it out of fear or because you think you have no choice.

I hope this clarifies my earlier post.

1 John 4:18, 19 "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us."

Your sister in Christ,
Ruth C.