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.