As we former members know all too well, responses from ubfers are rare gems. Here is the second public response to me recently (the first was a one-star public review of my Identity Snatchers book). For context, please read the Martlet Student Newspaper article from June 9, 2016, where I was interviewed: http://www.martlet.ca/student-club-connected-to-an-organization-accused-of-cult-like-activities/
On November 3, 2016, Mr. Joshua Park (the chapter director in Victoria ubf) sent the following Letter to the Editor: http://www.martlet.ca/letters-to-the-editor-nov-3/
In his letter, Mr. Park plays many cards. Here are my reactions…
“University Bible Fellowship accusations unfounded”
Right from the start, Mr. Park dismisses ALL accusations entirely. The word “unfounded” means “having no foundation or basis in fact.” This is the curse we ubf survivors live with–our perspectives are dismissed as having no value. Some survivors thus have difficulty finding reality. What is real if zero of my thoughts are valid?
Mr. Park addresses two issues that are problematic to the group, even though many issues have been raised. I raise 12 toxic problems in my books. Mr. Park responds to two of the issues: “1) Arranged marriage” and “2) Isolation of members from friends and family”
Response to the Arranged Marriage accusation
Mr. Park first plays both the “seniority card” and the “ostrich card”. This is a favorite card to play by ubf defenders:
“I have been in the UBF for over 20 years, but I’ve never heard any UBF member who said he/she was pressured to love another member, and I’ve never seen or known such practices in UBF.”
Wow! We should just rejoice in the streets! Mr. Park has been in ubf soooo long. He says he neeeevver saw anything. Right.
Next Mr. Park gets weird..
“If you have a good male friend and female friend, you may think that they can be a beautiful couple. So you can introduce them, saying “I know that you both look good. You can be a beautiful couple.” If they want and agree, they can accept your introduction. If they don’t want and disagree, they will say, “No. Thanks.”
What? Mr. Park now plays the “we are normal” card. Everybody has male and female friends right? It’s normal to introduce them as marriage partners right? This is NOT normal folks.
“The UBF churches are doing the same. Pastors observe their church members for quite a long period. There are some young men and women who are mature spiritually and ready to get married. Pastors can introduce young men and women.”
Mr. Park again plays the “we are normal” card. He uses words like “churches” and “pastors” to appear more Christian-like. ubf uses the terms “chapters” and “directors”, along with “shepherds” and “shepherdesses”. In recent years they like to play word games by adopting Christian terms like “elders”. It is all just a ruse however.
“If they accept each other, they can get married. If they don’t want, they say, “No. Thanks.” That’s all.”
Really? That’s all?!? What about all those young adults who got shipped off to other chapters because they said “No thanks” to their Marriage by Faith arrangement? What about all those students who undergo marriage-training?
“Do you think that this is duly called an arranged marriage? Is it a cult-like practice?”
Now Mr. Park plays a serious cult manipulation card–the “shell game” card. If you accept Mr. Parks words, naturally you would say “No this is not cult-like practice!” But if you knew the actual Marriage by Faith practices, you would be shocked. Why not call this as Marriage by Faith, Mr. Park? Why don’t you explain how Marriage by Faith is an attempt to immitate the Genesis story of Rebekah and Isaac? Why not explain how these marriages are coerced beforehand?
“Brian Karcher, who said he was married through the UBF’s arranged marriage in his interview, stayed in UBF for 20 years.”
Now Mr. Park gets to me. No, Mr. Park, I did not stay 20 years but 24 years. Get your facts straight, lol.
“When his pastor introduced a woman, why did he accept her? Why didn’t he say to his pastor, “No. Thanks. This is cult-like”?”
Well, Mr. Park, I am glad you asked! I DID say “this is cult-like”. MBF (Marriage by Faith) was always a sticking point for me at ubf, from day 1. Before marriage I shared a testimony, sometime around a Valentine’s Day, in which I accused my shepherd of arranging marriages. I shared how marriage is about love, not about working for God’s glory. My shepherd was so very angry. I learned that if I continued challenging MBF, things would not go well for me. So I stopped speaking out against it.
I felt so much angst as I watched my friends be arranged-married to people they barely knew. One friend saw his new “co-worker” wife leave the country, and then they divorced. Another friend was possibly a lesbian, but she was married anyway. They soon left ubf. These MBF practices, Mr. Park are indeed cult-like. They are harmful and must be stopped.
Why did I accept my wife? Well if you read my books, I explain. I accepted my wife because I chose my wife! Yes, I played the MBF game to win. When our marriage was arranged, it was secretly influenced by me. My shepherd chose the woman I wanted to marry! I accept my wife because she is beautiful, intelligent, and funny.
“Why did he stay in UBF for 20 years? As you know, he is a smart and intellectual IT specialist who authored four books. If he really thought that UBF is cult-like, he should have left the church earlier. In fact, I heard that he often said that he has been happily married to his wife.”
Yes, Mr. Park, I am happily married to my wife. But we were miserable in ubf. We had no marriage relationship in ubf–we were “friends with benefits”. We are only happily married now because we left the group. Now we have time to focus on building our relationship.
As for your other questions, please read my books. I explain in detail, especially in “Goodness Found: The Butterfly Narratives”. Here is a summary: I joined because the group promised goodness. I stayed because the group re-defined goodness. And I left in order to find goodness.
Response to the Isolation of members accusation
“UBF practices discipleship according to Jesus’ teachings in the Bible as many other conservative churches do.”
Mr. Park again plays the “we are normal” card. Why then did the group cut all ties with the Presbyterian church? If the group is so normal, why do they make the claim of being the “best Bible teachers”? If the group is so normal, why do they claim to be so different and “world class shepherds”?
“Some members may feel that teachings and practices for a God-centered devotion pull them off from friends and family.”
Mr. Park now admits the accusaion is true.
“But putting priority to God and His kingdom is a norm for a Christian and it requires certain adjustments in social and family life. I haven’t seen any practice in UBF ministry that pushes its members to alienate from their friends and family against their own will.”
Again, the “we are normal” card and the “ostrich” card. Just because you have not seen any practice like this, Mr. Park, does not negate the fact that such practices exist. Come on now, be honest, you have seen such things.
“If a church tries to separate you from your friends and family, what will you do? Will you just keep quiet and stay for over 20 years as Brian Karcher claimed? Everybody knows that it is just an artificial accusation.”
Ah now we get another serious cult manipulation mind trick, the “turn the tables” card. Mr. Park thinks that correlation means causation, a fatal flaw in his thinking. And then he plays the “everybody” card. We all know Brian is lying right? LOL.
Mr. Park, you will need better cards if you are going to play with me 🙂