Friday, June 15, 2007

Chris W. (former Kansas City UBF)


From: "Chris W."
Date: Thu Mar 6, 2003 1:55 pm
Subject: Concerning One To One Bible Study/UBF

This is a warning and a debate. I welcome UBF members to this group, but I would also like for them to question the extreme rigidity of their doctrine. You don't have to read this. It's not a devotional. However, I would warn you not to join UBF/One to One Bible Study until the issues below have been addressed. You may be joining a cult.


I once belonged to a campus organization known as the University Bible Fellowship, also known as One to One Bible Study. On the surface, the UBF appears to be a normal Christian group. They believe in God, in Jesus and the bible. However, they have very rigid belief systems, ones that seem to be at odds with other denominations. I would almost consider these people to be a cult. I do not see it likely for them to have dialogues with the other denominations, let alone share worship with them, although their influence over Korea and other Asian countries would be a great asset to the body of Christ. They have many members. I can only hope that one of them reads this and sets some doctrinal changes into motion. But before they can join other churches in worship, they must be open minded and be able to discuss some very important issues with us, and not claim to be infallible/having the only source of true wisdom in doctrine.

The issues are as follows:

1. They have the belief that certain individuals are predestined to be thrown into hell, i.e. born as Satan in human flesh.
2. They believe that faith or baptism alone is not enough to attain salvation. You must work hard for God, which will bring your soul halfway to heaven, and by your faith, God will bring you the rest of the way into heaven.
3. They believe that the only manifestation of the Holy Spirit is bringing new converts into bible study, starting bible study groups and bringing them to Sunday worship service. Other manifestations of the spirit are minimized. They believe you will be condemned if you do not `bear fruit'/start bible studies with others.
4. The organization is set up in a hierarchical pyramid. The group leaders at the top are considered the most wise and knowledgable about the gospel, therefore, even though you may be giving bible studies to other people, you answer to the bible teacher above you.
5. You must graduate from a seminary before you are considered knowledgable about the gospel. Otherwise you are ignorant and must be instructed.
6. You do not leave the compound during weekend retreats. You do not go out and share the gospel with people outside the camp. Instead you must stay in the building and write bible testimonies.
7. They believe that if the Holy Spirit is working through you, you will write bible testimonies.
8. Bible studies are regulated in a specific order, starting with Genesis, then moving to Luke and then other gospels. This way, other members can ask you what chapter you are studying and they can get a false sense of superiority, or knowing more than you about the gospel. Those who are further down the reading list are considered wiser and more knowledgable about the gospel.
9. They read too far into the bible, gleaning many obscure metaphors from literal events that transpired in the various chapters.
10. If you go to church in the morning, you are still strongly advised to go to their Sunday worship services, too, even though they both are church services, albeit one is in a house instead of a church building.
11. There must be an implied rule that the bible study leader is seldom incorrect, because whenever I interpreted the scriptures one way, the bible study leader would always correct me, even when I was sure that what I was saying was scriptural.
12. Your religious background before UBF does not matter. You begin bible study the same way, like you don't know anything.

Two other issues need not be discussed, but I thought them as being questionable.

Group leaders must wear suits and ties on weekend retreats, even though they are unnecessary in such familiar situations.

I also suggested `One Tin Soldier' as a hymn, but it was shot down as being an unchristian song, even though I have seen it in a Lutheran song book before.

Julie B.

(This was a comment posted in response to the Johns Hopkins Newsletter article.)

Thank you for this well researched article. My sister was a part of this religious cult for a little over five years. She is now getting out and I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. I had questions about their ethics from the very beginning, but there was no convincing my sister that this group wasn't good. It all came to a head when the "leaders" told my sister not to enroll in classes in the fall because they were going to marry her off to a 40-year-old pediatrician from New York. They were doing that to keep her in the "ministry." Thankfully, my sister came to her senses and said to herself, "enough is enough." May God have mercy on these people who have skewed His word to fit their fancy. I wish I could remember where this is in the Bible, but here it is anyway, Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY! There is no liberty in UBF.

Julie B.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Alexandre R.


From: Alexandre R. (
Subject: the UBF

Date: 1999/11/15

Hello everyone, it's nice to have a forum like this; it is very encouraging to feel you're not alone in struggling against cult dependence. I walked away about two years ago and would like to talk to people who also walked away from the University Bible Fellowship. It took me a long time to myself, after I walked away, to start realizing that I spent four years of my life in a cult. If anyone comes from the group, please answer me. Thanks again for the discussion group, Alexander

(from the discussion forum)

Posted by Alexandre R. ( on February 21, 2002 at 01:29:17:

Although we humans are privileged by having received the ability to think and act rationally, rationality has always to be considered in a certain context. I believe in the case of established UBF leadership a lot can be explained by the 'sunk costs' those people incurred (or were made to incur) years and years before. 'Sunk costs' is actually an economics concept that is simply the amount of money you invested into a project some time ago that cannot be recuperated under any circumstances. The key consequence of incurring sunk costs is that after you did it, the probability that you will go on with you project in case it goes bad will be much higher compared to the case of no sunk costs.

Now, UBF makes one to incur loads and loads of sunk costs that make exiting it or admitting making a mistake extremely costly and undesirable. Just think about marriage by force or one's education and career choices. These are all dictated by UBF directorship and are almost impossible to reverse. Imagine you're forty years old, you've three kids, you've been married for about twenty years, you've a stable job somewhere in Mexico where you're a missionary as well. All this because you've invested a lot into your UBF life, and most of this investment is sunk.

Joining the reformers would mean losing all of the benefits you acquired due to this sunk investment, and the prospects of regaining your current life standard are dim and remote. In this situation, is it not rational to choose retaining your status quo?

See, that's the clue to the conundrum that was haunting me for years: why would they let me deliver messages at the conferences while telling me I was spiritually immature? why would they want me to preach to the dormitory students while castigating me for being un-godly, selfish, money-oriented (you continue the list)? why would they want me to marry when I was clearly not good enough for God's Kingdom (in their view)? The answer is--they wanted to change the context in which my rationality would dictate my behaviour, and the context is sunk costs.

When I quit, I wasn't married to a UBF wife and of course had no children, I didn't owe my job to my UBF shepherds (like some of our Russian members did), I haven't had spent twenty best years of my life toiling for the organization. It was thus relatively easy for me to quit. The UBF leadership is in a mirrored situation--quitting for them is just impossible and would almost amount to self-suicide. This is why I really admire those people who were able to take their rationality out of the sunk costs context and put it into the context of God.

God bless.

A second UIC student

(The following post and testimony from the old RSQUBF message board illustrates how the false teaching of the "cursed woman's desire" is used to manipulate people's hearts and lives in UBF.)

Author: kate

Subject: none

Marriage was discussed at almost every "one-to-one Bible study" it seemed. Somehow, two of my three teachers found a way of bringing up either the marriage problem or asking "who did I want to marry?" I'd say no one, and they'd reply that they would "get it out of me." Finally, I did decide to choose some one to please my teacher. I didn't choose one I liked (I didn't actually KNOW any shepherds; you aren't really given opportunities for conversation with the opposite sex there), so instead I chose one who I thought was the most "spiritually mature" from hearing many of his testimonies. My shepherdess was pleased, but now I wore the label of "cursed woman" and shouldn't think of the shepherd again.

Shortly after, she said the name of a different shepherd who was new (I thought) to UBF, and I was to "think about this shepherd."

As I neared 21 years old, the pressure was on. I was often called to SL's office just to hear about what a great degree and job and how good looking this perso n was and did I think I was too good for him? Soon, SL said, I would only be a tall, ugly woman. I hung my head. I felt ashamed and of course, not good enough to marry any shepherd. I wanted the issue to go away. I became very uncomfortable around this person. The worst was when my parents came to check out the UBF church and SL rushed to introduce them to the shepherd. Meanwhile, I stood to the side, feeling out of place. When my parents asked me if SL wanted to set us up on a date, I explained, "no, he wants us to marry." When they asked if I liked the person, I simply said, "you have just spent more time face to face with him than I ever have." It was strange and unromantic and confusing.

After leaving UBF, I found out that the shepherd had been told that he and I were engaged. If that is true, then people were playing games with us, because I was never told I was engaged. (how strange it is to find out you were engaged and didn't even know it!!) How sad to play with peoples' hearts in such a way. That was my experience with UBF marriage. I hope it helps you in some way, UBF soul.