This is one of a series of articles regarding the UBF chapter, (Shepherd’s Church) El Camino UBF in Gardena, California.
[This article is meant to explain how UBF chapters programming/brainwashing/indoctrination new recruits]
Once you have made the commitment to join the Shepherd’s Church and to become an official member, one of the first things that you will be challenged to do is to study Genesis Intensive with your Shepherd. This is more than just the simple one hour a week Bible study that you may have been used to at this point. Genesis Intensive is very much like the “spiritual” version of military basic training. It is designed to challenge you beyond your limits and to mold you into the image and character of the UBF Shepherd. It usually takes a few months to complete Genesis Intensive. During this time you will study all 50 chapters in the book of Genesis. You will meet for Bible studies several times as week, for many hours at a time. You will read the chapter with your Shepherd, and then you will take long, extensive notes, dictated to you by your Shepherd, word by word.
By the time you finish Genesis, you will most likely have over 100 pages of notes! As you study Genesis, your Shepherd will hyper-focus on certain core passages, including the call of Abraham, the event of Abraham letting go of his son Ishmael, the event of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac, and the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. The importance of these passages is that it will force you to focus on areas in your life that conflict with the goals of Shepherd’s Church. Throughout your studies in Genesis, your Shepherd will help you find things in your life that you need to do away with. This can be a variety of things, such as your family, friends, jobs, and personal hobbies. If you are going to be a UBF Bible teacher, then your Shepherd must ensure that your life is completely void of anything that will hinder your work once your start fishing (recruiting) on campus. Your Shepherd will refer to these things as “sacrificing your Isaac” for God’s glory. If you do not think that you have an ‘Isaac’ or an ‘Ishmael’ in your life, then don’t worry–for your Shepherd will find one for you. As most students go through their Genesis studies, it can go either of two ways. Some students feel challenged and personally attacked during these studies and may grow hostile towards continuing studying.
Students with this problem are said [in UBF terminology] to be “hard of heart” or “resisting God’s will for their life”. Students who remain in this condition generally do not end up finishing their studies. Sometimes their Shepherd will give them a strong ‘rebuke’ (verbal attack) in order to set them straight. On the other side, there are students who accept the Genesis Bible studies graciously. They are so touched and amazed by God’s words that they are willing to give up everything for God’s glory. Their personality begins to change and they begin to associate more and more with the group. Some of these students were so lost in a destructive lifestyle in the world, and once the opportunity presents itself for them to walk away from this and become a UBF Shepherd, many will leap at the opportunity. Others simply have nothing meaningful going on in their life and being apart of Shepherd’s Church gives this to them–along with a new social group and someone to map out their life for them.
Another important matter that will come up during your time studying Genesis is the concept of ‘marriage by faith’. This is basically a misinterpretation of the story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah in order to promote the idea of arranged marriage. And, yes, Shepherd’s Church does practice arranged marriage. The purpose of this story is to break down your personal ideas on marriage so that you will be one day willing to marry whomever the church decides that you need to marry. In addition to the Genesis Bible studies, you will also be required to attend Sunday worship service (usually lasting around 3 hours) as well as having to attend Friday night testimony sharing (usually lasting around 4-5 hours). During testimony sharing, you will read publicly before the group the summary of the Bible passage along with how it applies to your own life. Testimonies are written and presented in a specific format. The purpose of testimony writing will be explained at length in a separate article.
Once you have completed Genesis Intensive, along with sharing your weekly testimonies and attending worship services on Sunday afternoons, you will then be asked to make a decision further to the group. This will generally be becoming a Shepherd yourself. Most people who complete Genesis Intensive will be eager to become Shepherds, as they want to do what all of their church peers are doing. The Bible studies throughout Genesis will also lead you towards the decision toward becoming a Shepherd. Once you have made this decision, you will have now joined the ranks of your fellow “soldiers” at Shepherd’s Church.
[If you will like to know more about the other kinds of training you will eventually by forced to do check out the “Shattering UBF’s mask article”. Another article that is worth looking at is the one regarding the Great Commission.]