Many people have wanted to know exactly what goes on in the UBF common life homes. This article will review a series of basic questions that have been provided by a former UBF member who spent time in the common life. The purpose of this article is to expose the truth of what goes on in these common life homes and to unravel the secrecy going on behind the scenes…
What is UBF common life training?
This is the whole discipline process of living in the common life as a part of a person’s overall UBF training. In simple terms, it is a communal living arrangement that generally prepares the students for “marriage by faith”. Students living in the common life are the candidates being groomed to be married within the next few years. Additionally, it involves, 1) pressuring sheep to sacrifice “luxury, free time, and privacy” through their time in the common life, 2) learning how to live with other brothers or sisters and treat them properly according to the ‘spiritual order’, 3) doing a series of mandated chores (cooking food, taking out the trash, etc.), 4) intensified religious activities that often involve more Bible studies and rigors.
How does a person get ‘chosen’ to live in the common life homes? What is the process or event that will trigger a person to become chosen?
First of all, it is important to note that not everyone is invited to live in the common life homes. Usually the most “highly desirable” candidates are selected to live in the common life, such as long-term committed UBF members or mainstream (Caucasian) students. Sometimes a student is chosen to replace their shepherd to live in the common life after they have undergone the “marriage by faith” process. Sometimes if a student’s shepherd owns the common life building, then they will be a natural candidate to move in. In other cases, the invitation to live in the common life is used for students who have been brought to a level in their devotion to the UBF group, but need to be challenged to sacrifice even more of their personal autonomy to their shepherd.
Thus, a sheep that is too new or not favored as a “highly desirable” candidate would not be invited (pressured) to live in the common life. At many UBF chapters, there are always a number of shepherds who have become homeless due to their commitment to the group. Many of them have “sacrificed” their families for “God’s mission” and are forced to live in their cars or out on the streets. Generally UBF feels that they have no obligation to help their homeless members, even after making such huge sacrifices for the group… [This is a contradiction to Luke 3:11]
What kinds of activities happen in the common life?
For the most part, the activities that generally occur in the common life are, 1) morning and evening (group) prayer, 2) at least one shared meal per week, 3) assigned particular days to cook food for the other shepherds, among other duties. The strictness into how much these activities are enforced will ultimately vary by chapter. However, it should be noted that the sister’s common life is much stricter than in the brother’s common life.
In addition to these basic common life activities, most students spend the vast majority of their time working, going to school, attending Bible study, fishing, teaching sheep, writing testimonies, among other things.
How much is the monthly rent to live in the common life?
Again, this will vary by chapter. However, one former member from a US chapter paid around $300 per month for rent, and this amount also went into a pool that was used to buy groceries. As the area is reportedly a highly expensive region to live in, the fact that this rent was so low is due to four grown men living together in a single, small apartment.
What is the atmosphere like living in the common life?
As stated earlier, the brother’s common life usually tends to be much less controlling than in the sister’s common life–where much backstabbing and spying on one another seems to be the norm. However, it must be stated that when in UBF, nothing is ever private, and there are always people keeping an eye out for “sin problems” or “struggling brothers/sister”… [Thus there is not only no trust at all but trust can never be developed]