The darkness of UBF is overwhelming. Secrets hide behind nearly every smiling face that offers you so much as a plate of bulgoki. Growing up, every Sunday I went to CBF at the “center.” Even as I child, I always felt like there was something off about UBF people. I never quite felt like I was at home, or that this was my family.
Upon leaving UBF at age 8 with my family, we went to an unnamed evangelical church in the area. It was there that I entered life and finally learned to be a normal human being. For the first time in my young life, I felt like I could fit in with the other boys, the other children, and I learned about God, who Jesus was, and accepted him into my heart as my Lord and savior.
When I went home and told my Dad about how I had accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior, I remember him telling me that they were watering down the truth of God and that what I had experienced and been taught by the nice people at this church wasn’t true. That all I needed to do was believe that Jesus died on the cross of my sins. He told me that I was already more spiritually mature than the other kids at this church because of my time in UBF.
As a little boy, I was crushed, because I felt like I had experienced something good at this new church, and yet my Dad rebuked me for it. Apparently, you can take the shepherd out of UBF, but you can’t take the UBF out of the shepherd.
When I was 12, my Father convinced our family to go back to UBF, because it had “changed.” Looking back now, if what I experience during my teen years was a redeemed version of UBF, I am frightened about what went on before it was reformed. I was prohibited to date, or to even so much as look at a girl. My entire sexual and romantic being was squashed and treated as something to be despised, something evil. Along with this went my self-esteem and sense of self. I am emotionally scarred from this sole experience and to this day am not comfortable with anything relating to romantic relationships or sexuality in general.
We were taught lies. It was demanding of us by our parents and youth leaders that we write and share testimonies every week and there would be guilt and shame delivered unto us if we did not participate. I was made to feel as if the gospel were all about doing random specific things like writing testimonies, studying the bible in a weird specific way, and doing daily bread, etc. When in reality, the gospel is not about what we have to do, but about what Jesus has done for us already on the cross of Calvary
If I had known the history of UBF, that people were subjected to emotionally, physically, and spiritually abusive practices throughout the years, I would have never agreed to go back with my family when I was 12 years old. I was lied to, I was deceived. I was told that things had changed, but the truth is “once a cult, always a cult.” A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.
Until UBF leaders fully renounce and repent of every destructive practice and illegal action that has ever been been committed by UBF members, it was always be a cult, no matter how much things have changed. End of Story.