It’s time to say those words that I’ve put off saying. Words that I wanted to say 8 years ago but was not courageous enough. I was too much of a wimp. I’ve tried to avoid saying these words lately because for two decades I have witnessed what has happened when others have said these words.
I now say these words not just because of what was done to me, but because of what was done to us. It is because of the way my brothers and sisters in Christ were treated in India and Toledo this year and in Mexico and Russia and other US cities in recent years. I say these words because of all those times I sang that hymn “O Happy Day” and thought that if I was any happier I’d be dead.
It is because good men of faith like Joe S. and Ben T. have been speaking up for years about various changes, only to have their words fall on deaf ears. It is because men of faith not part of UBF have spoken up only to receive silence when their words became too real. It is because as of 2011, UBF remains listed on the lists of several cult-watching groups, groups where Christians pray that the authoritarian and cult-like practices of UBF don’t take a wrong turn and become even more distant from Christian churches.
I say these words because of what was done to people like Nick T. and Joe C. and to defend the honor of James and Rebekah B. Kim. I say these words remembering the hundreds of R-group people who wanted reform only to be labelled as rebels. I say these words remembering dozens of people who spoke up with a differing opinion only to be cast aside as if they were lepers. I say these words for all those who signed the petition in 2003 to revoke UBF’s status in the NAE. I say these words in hope that change will come and none of the totalitarian practices I witnessed firsthand will ever be practiced again on American soil and not in any other country.
I say these words with every bit of passion and fervor that the American founding fathers spoke as they declared our independence and drafted the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing our freedom: I am not in UBF.