Glossary of UBF Terminology
This glossary details many of the unique expressions and turns of speech used by UBF members. Though exact definitions and usage vary from chapter to chapter, the effect of this language is fairly unified. Expressions that appear, on the surface, clear and “spiritual” actually have hidden implications that detail specific aspects of UBF doctrine. Once a member adopts this language, whether consciously or unconsciously, the theology is also usually accepted.
This glossary is mostly compiled from an archived UBF Survivor page: https://web.archive.org/web/20081119140425/http://www.ubfsurvivor.info/glossary.html
Abraham of Faith
Term to describe the first Caucasian, Native-born American male to become a sufficiently indoctrinated member of a UBF branch. This person ranks highest in spiritual order among branch members who are not UBF Koreans. Usually, he acts as the right-hand man of the Korean branch director. He is usually praised and is looked upon as a role model for all initiates. The term "Abraham of Faith" derives from a twisting of the meaning of Genesis 12. Just as Abraham was called by God to leave his home and family and go to an unknown place under God's direction, so UBF initiates are expected to leave their life behind to become completely devoted to UBF. See also "Sarah of Faith" and Abraham (UBF Interpretation). See also "white sheep."
A positively loaded term in UBF. UBF leaders like to use this adjective in many ways. Exemplary expressions are "absolute obedience," "absolute attitude," "absolute faith." Oftentimes the leader will claim that one of their twisted scriptures is an "absolute command" of God. Using the term "absolute" is one way that UBF leaders instill the demand for purity (one of Lifton's eight points) in their members.
(See accept Jesus into your heart) An oft-used verb in UBF. One time I was told by my indoctrinator that I was condemned and would go to hell because I did not accept his direction for me to eat any kind of food, including caffeinated drinks and orange juice. During Sunday meetings it is often asked, "What did you accept from today's message?" The phrase "accept one word" is a special favorite. Basically, the reason the word "accept" is loaded in UBF is that they want members to accept whatever they are told to believe or do.
accept Jesus into your heart
(trans. become sufficiently indoctrinated)
(UBFspeak thanksgiving offering) Monetary offerings that UBF members are expected to make beyond routine offerings. Occasions on which an additional offering is expected may include: getting a new job, marrying and having a child. Monies collected from additional offerings are treated in the same way as money from routine offerings.
Advanced Thought Reform Meeting
(UBFspeak Leaders' Team Meeting) Basically an expanded version of the Friday meeting or Group meeting, but exclusively for the UBF Koreans and other sufficiently indoctrinated members. The meeting usually takes two to three hours. First, they run through the schedule of a typical Group meeting. Upon conclusion of the prayer, members take turns reading aloud the verses from the passage being studied. Then the leader will go around the table and ask people to answer questions from the question sheet. A dialogue ensues in which the leader queries his subordinates as to their opinions on the spiritual matters being discussed. In every case, the leader gets the last word and corrects any errant thoughts put out by his subordinates. This concludes the study portion of the meeting. (They study one week ahead of schedule, compared to the schedule of weekly thought reform sessions and Sunday meetings. This is so that the leaders will have received the proper interpretation of the passage from the leader, and can pass this on to the initiates they will tutor in the coming week.) Next, the leader will ask each member present to give a report of their activities during the previous week. This may include time spent in recruiting, the results of recruiting efforts, which initiates showed up for their thought reform sessions, what the initiates said during those meetings, and progress on UBF goals. After each report, the leader comments on the report. If the report does not satisfy the leader, the leader may denigrate or reprimand the member. If the member performed exceptionally well, the member may be praised. If one of the member's UBF goals was met, the leader will make an expression of thanksgiving or praise.
This word has many uses in UBF. It is always spoken with a long "a." It is used to conclude every UBF prayer. It also can be used in different ways by different people at almost any kind of UBF meeting. It is often spoken in an abrupt stentorian tone and accompanied by authoritative hand gestures.
In UBF, this term refers to a Caucasian, native-born American. Despite the fact that such persons are the most desirable prospects for recruitment, they are considered as second-class citizens when compared to Koreans. See "white sheep."
A loaded word in UBF that is used for personal and spiritual manipulation. A common formula of speech in UBF is that one must have "absolute attitude" toward doing one's UBF activities. This sets a standard of perfection and high demands on members. Another way UBF leaders use this word is they assess the "attitude" of a member or initiate. When reporting to a leader about their thought reform sessions, the leader often asks, "How was his/her attitude?" If the initiate accepted the UBF teacher's dogma and demands, the answer was "good." Otherwise, the answer could be, variously, "hesitant," "rebellious," "humanistic," or any number of negative "attitudes." At any time and for any reason a UBF member can accuse a member of lower spiritual order of having a negative type of "attitude." This is considered a most severe rebuke. In their speeches, UBF members often "confess" their "sinful" attitudes, such as "relativistic attitude." It thus can be said that UBF has a focus on attitudinal sins. Mostly, these are only sinful in terms of deviation from the UBF ideal. They are not sinful in any Biblically meaningful way.
A very important word in UBF. UBF is a business. If one were to forget about offerings for a moment, appointments would be the most important thing in the UBF trade. Having an appointment for a thought reform session with someone is as important as gold. It means the UBF person will have the one-sided opportunity to expose an initiate to UBFism for a particular space of time. Then, the UBF person is credited for the appointment at the end of the week when the number of successful appointments must be tallied.
The Bible ascribes ultimate authority to God and special authority to Christ and the Spirit. It also records certain times where special authority was given to Moses, David, the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus' 12 disciples, and the Apostle Paul. However, UBF leaders want to take all authority for themselves and when they twist the Bible to their means, they subtly put themselves in place of the above-mentioned authorities.
trans. UBF symposium series
Common UBF slogan and UBF goal. When UBFers pray for "Bible America," they are praying that UBFism would spread over the United States and become the major religion.
trans. UBF center
trans. UBF conference
trans. UBF center
trans. UBF study materials
trans. thought reform session
trans. UBF symposium
trans. UBF teacher
trans. sufficiently indoctrinated
(UBFspeak chapter) A local group of UBFers and the place where they meet.
broken shepherd heart
A curiously worded phrase that combines two images - "broken heart" and "shepherd heart." This phrase essentially means zeal for UBF recruiting and thought reform. Zealous UBFers are said to have a "broken heart" because they call and harass delinquent initiates in an attempt to bring them back into conformity. Those who are active in recruiting and applying thought reform to initiates are said to have a "shepherd heart." They are acting as a "shepherd" for the initiates who are spiritually blind, lost "sheep." Sometimes, UBFers pray to have a "broken shepherd heart," and sometimes they are rebuked for not having one.
Male initiate. The lowest possible title for a UBF male.
A widely used epithet the portent of which is this - a UBF member is expected to accept the teaching of and follow the direction of those who are higher in spiritual order, no matter how ridiculous, improper, bizarre, abusive, or un-Christian these teachings and directions are. UBF leaders intentionally put their underlings in outrageous situations, or make bizarre demands of them, and tell them that they must put up with it "by faith." If they go along, they are praised. The way the phrase is used, UBF members get the idea that if they deviate from their leaders' desires, they are not having faith in God. Thus, the leaders' will is seen as God's will and blindly following the leader is seen as having faith in God.
Refers to one's vocation. In UBFism, the only valid calling is to be a UBFer. Sometimes people will speak of more specific callings - such as callings to go to a specific campus or country. These callings are seen as coming from God, when really they come from the UBF leaders.
To UBFers, "campus mission" and UBFism are equivalent. UBFism is seen as the only proper campus mission. In reality, UBF has nothing to do with campus mission. Rather, they comb the university searching for students to serve them and their twisted needs.
Children's Bible Fellowship (CBF) is a critical part of the UBF shepherding system. As children are born into UBF families, they are indoctrinated from a young age. CBF is a weekly ministry patterned after the UBF college ministry. Children attend Sunday worship service, write and share testimonies, and attend conferences. Often, college students in UBF are given "CBF training". They are given roles in teaching or leading CBF groups in order to teach the college student some sort of lesson. CBF is the precursor to the High School Bible Fellowship, known as HBF.
An often used verb in UBF. It is used to puff up and inflate UBF peoples' idea of what they are doing. Instead of recruiting, they are "challenging 1:1 Bible battle," instead of trying to wake up earlier they are "challenging early morning prayer by faith."
UBF leaders describe two kinds of changes happening in people. When a person accepts UBFism, they are described as "changed" people. This is actually very accurate, as those who accept UBF are stifling their real selves in order to take on a new UBF self. The second kind of change UBF leaders describe is when a UBFer rejects UBF. In this case, the change is seen as a mental or spiritual defect that occurred, causing them to reject UBF. In reality, it means that the person in question shed their fake UBF identity and regained their authentic self. (This is a gross simplification. In many cases regaining one's authentic self after a cult experience takes months or years.)
Chang Woo Lee
(UBFspeak Missionary Doctor Samuel Lee, Ph. D., Litt. D) Primary initiator and leader of the UBF movement, along with Sara Barry. A man with a lot of charisma and no proper theological training. (It has been reported that his supposed theological degree came from a degree mill). He has been described as a pathological narcissist, notorious for developing wacky "training" (see training) and making demented quotes. His followers have accused him of ordering abortions, mishandling money and ruthless politicking. (See the RSQUBF archives for further discussion.) To date, UBF maintains that Lee has done no wrong. The organization is filled with people who are clones of his personality. Despite his death in a house fire on January 8, 2002, his example largely drives UBF even today.
A word with heavily negative connotations in UBF. UBF does not consider itself a church, but a "campus ministry." UBF considers all churches to be "lukewarm," "fake," and places where Satan is at work. A common epithet in UBF is "church Christian." When used in UBF, this loaded phrase implies that Christians who go to churches do not live Christian lives - they only go to church and pretend to act "Christian." Thus all Christians are fake except UBF Christians. One asks then, if UBF is not a church, what is it? Is it a campus ministry? UBF targets college campuses, but the majority of its members are not college students. Is it a parachurch organization? No, because parachurch organizations such as CCC and IVCF encourage their members to participate in mainstream Christian churches. UBF, on the other hand, generally does not allow its members to attend religious meetings other than its own. (UBF holds its own independent services.) So, it becomes clear that UBF is indeed a church by itself, regardless of their desire to think otherwise.
UBF believes that UBFism is the only true and full expression of Christianity. Therefore only UBFers deserve to be called Christians. All others are "fake Christians" or "nonbelievers."
Adjective used in UBF to describe people who do not accept UBFism. For example, a UBF member who is unsuccessfully pressuring an initiate under him would "pray" for the initiate to "repent of his closed mind."
UBF pressures its members to make ever-increasing commitments to the organization. Thus, it is easy to see why "commitment" is a word loaded with a very positive connotation. For example, initiates will be pressured to fill out a "registration form" for a conference, even if they don't really want to go, as a sign of their "commitment" to God. Then, they will feel guilty about not going. After the so-called "Discipleship Seminar" of summer 2003, one of the long-standing members of my branch said he realized being a UBFer must be a "whole life" commitment.
Term used to describe cohabitation among UBF members. Many branches own an apartment that they use for this purpose. The idea is to get promising initiates to live with more seasoned UBFers. Thus, the initiates are removed from a normal home or dorm environment into a UBF environment.
A period of time, usually two to four weeks, preceding an important UBF conference. During this time, special songs will be practiced. Speech writing and training will occur, along with message and drama training. Usually this period of time also emphasizes daily early morning UBF meetings to pray for the number goals of conference attendance.
(a.k.a. "house church meeting") Some branches have a yearly business meeting which only sufficiently indoctrinated UBF branch members are allowed to attend. In my branch it occurred in January. It is the time when the branch looks at the progress it has (or has not) made in the past year, makes goals for the new year and evaluates its budget. A budget for the new year is approved. Everything is planned out by the branch director and everyone at the meeting is under his/her control, so there is no dissent about financial plans. My impression is that many UBF branches either do not have this meeting, or the information presented there is very vague.
trans. UBF spouse
As might be expected of UBF, the burdensome aspects of Christ's cross are emphasized while its liberating qualities are minimized. UBFers are taught that there are two kinds of crosses that we have to carry. One is the "cross of ego." This is understood to refer to the burdens necessary to continue living on Earth, such as working, paying taxes, going to school, buying groceries, etc. The other, much more important, cross is the "cross of mission". Obviously this refers to the ever-increasing burden of UBF activities in which one must participate. Note that a side result of this teaching is that life is divided into "profane" and "sacred," an incorrect teaching. Other applications include “cross of a student” or “cross of career”, used to emphasize a member’s need for extra commitment amid extra burdens.
cursed woman's desire
A foundational teaching in UBF, necessary for preparing (indoctrinating) a female recruit for the practice of "marriage by faith." In UBF's interpretation of Genesis 3:16, the woman's "desire for her husband" is a desire to have a husband's love, and this desire is a result of the post-original-sin curse. A natural, romantic attraction toward a man is now the "cursed woman's desire" and is seen as sinful, something to be overcome. Also see "marriage problem," "human love," "true husband" and "Samaritan woman".
trans. UBF devotional
decision of faith
UBFers often speak of making a "decision of faith." This often refers to making a decision of blind faith to obey the orders of one higher up in the spiritual order. It may also refer to doing something completely unreasonable in order to accommodate UBF demands. For instance, couples with young children often make a "decision of faith" to leave their children without proper care so that they can attend a UBF meeting. Students who study out-of-state often make a “decision of faith” to leave their families and live in a common life house during vacations. During meetings, leaders often give verbal praise to those who have made "decisions of faith."
Perhaps because of their poor English, UBF Koreans appear to know only one adjective for food, namely, "delicious." Especially, every time food is going to be provided as part of a UBF activity, they actively promote how "delicious" it is. For some people, this is a selling point, but I personally did not enjoy being forced to eat Korean food.
(see also evil, sin) UBF members believe in a spiritual world that actively intervenes in daily life. Part of this belief is that many attitudes or activities that are seen as sinful by UBF are caused by actual demonic possession. Some things which have been called "demons" in UBF include, "sleeping desire," "selfishness" and "homosexual desire." Note that UBFers believe that even members who have been born again can be demon-possessed. This belief runs counter to orthodox evangelical Christianity.
Here, deny refers to denying some aspect of oneself. Luke 9:23 is often used in UBF and is often chosen as a key verse. The verse reads, "Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me." (CEV) There are two problems with UBF's self-denial teachings. First, they teach you to deny all of your human desires so that you basically become a robot. Secondly, they overemphasize self-denial while de-emphasizing grace. This leads to a sort of "pious" asceticism among UBF members.
dig out God's word
A hollow meaningless phrase that is used to puff up the process of UBF study. Writing the answers to a UBF question paper, writing a UBF speech or message, is considered "digging out God's word." The intimation is that very serious, quality Bible study is involved. Of course this untrue, as one of the core tenets of UBFism is the rejection of all recognized forms of Bible study.
Another meaningless adjective that is used to give the impression that UBF studies are deep Bible study. The phrase "digest God's word deeply" is often used, and merely means that one should expend great time and effort in one's study of UBFism.
A command given by a UBF leader to someone of lower rank in the spiritual order. This command is absolute and can be anything. Often times, these "directions" are absurd or disturbing. Examples include walking half an hour through a blizzard to arrive at the UBF building, marrying someone sight unseen, quitting a job, relocating, traveling overseas for UBF purposes, writing a 30 page UBF speech and having to turn it in at 6am the next morning, cutting off relationships with friends and family, writing the script to a UBF drama only to find out that the leader had no intention of ever using your script.
Supreme leader and authoritarian dictator over all matters concerning a UBF branch and its members. The director outranks all other branch members in spiritual order, and thus can give anyone an order to do anything.
According to UBFism, the only true way to be a disciple of Jesus is to be a sufficiently indoctrinated UBF member.
UBF places high value on attaining doctoral degrees. Those with such degrees are addressed with this title. Thus, Chang Woo Lee, who received two fake doctoral degrees, was addressed by his faithful as "Missionary Doctor Lee."
In UBF, drama refers to a specific type of play-acting that is peculiar to UBF. It is characterized by making very exaggerated movements and facial expressions. It also involves careful modulation of the voice to obtain a "UBF voice." Participation in a drama is considered a kind of training and is conducted with the director/trainer having absolute authority over the performers. One time I was given a peculiar type of drama training. I was asked to write the script for a drama. When I went to turn it in, the UBF Korean laughed and told me they never intended to use my script, it was only intended for "training."
early morning prayer
trans. early morning UBF meeting.
early morning UBF meeting
(UBFspeak early morning prayer) Early morning meetings occur daily at some time before 7am, usually at the chapter headquarters. Meetings consist of reading a Bible passage, writing and sharing a very short speech, and prayer (recitation of UBF goals). The topic for these activities is provided by the Daily Bread book, written by Sara Barry, which all UBF members must purchase. Some branches hold early morning meetings only during special seasons, such as in preparation for a conference.
(see also demon, sin) In UBF, many things are considered evil. As one would expect, the things that are emphasized as evil are not what the Bible emphasizes as evil. Rather, anything not fitting into UBFism is evil. Examples of what UBF considers evil include: all people outside of UBF, all cultures other than the UBF culture, all forms of religion other than UBFism, all forms of music other than classical and traditional Christian music, sleeping more than 5 hours a night, attending a concert or sporting event, having a hobby, all forms of dating or courting.
(see also by faith and marriage) UBF equates faith to unquestioning obedience of the leadership. The word is used in contexts such as "man of faith." It is often emphasized that Abraham had faith (see Hebrews) and those who leave their "past lives" to become UBF members are people of great "faith."
(a.k.a. “fall back into the world) When a member leaves UBF for any reason, he or she is said to have “fallen away”. The implication is that they have abandoned God’s will and perhaps even jeopardized their salvation.
Derogative term applied to those who have a normal healthy relationship with their family, or indeed any relationship at all. UBF prefers that its members have no connection to their family. Therefore, UBF labels people as "family-centered," implying that they are not "God-centered." Often verses such as Mark 3:35 are used to back up this idea. In truth, Christianity does not involve a renunciation of family, it only involves putting God first.
(trans. indoctrinate) Derived from John 21:37: "The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.'" UBF members are expected to routinely "feed" a number of newer recruits in order to indoctrinate them with UBF doctrine.
(see group leader)
(see group meeting)
(see group report)
(see fishing ministry)
Adjective used to describe certain "evil" attitudes or activities. These include "sleeping desire," appetite, sexual desire, and human ambition. Any amount of these things is considered evil. In reality, it is only when these are stretched to extremes that it becomes evil or sinful.
flock of God
Phrase used to refer to the group of non-Korean members of a branch. Most often a branch has a numeric goal, such as "120 flock of God," meaning that they want to have 120 non-Korean members. Note the inherent racism and the shepherding doctrine present here.
A derogatory word used to describe women who are attractive or who are interested in the opposite sex. For instance, a branch leader may deplore in his message that one of his initiates had gone astray because of his interest in a "foxy" woman. Basically the usage of this word means that sexual attraction should not be in play in UBF. It is expected that all sexual feelings be repressed and that one should be prepared to marry at any time someone who one finds completely unattractive.
A group meeting that occurs on Friday (most do). The reason for their taking place on Friday from 6 - 9 pm or some similar time is to make sure that the initiates get no chance to have a normal social life.
Based on the command of God to the first man and woman to "be fruitful and increase in number," (Genesis 1:28) UBF places emphasis on gaining fruit. In UBF, fruit primarily refers to the number of UBF members in a branch, or to the number of initiates one indoctrinates. For a different Biblical perspective on fruit, see Galatians 5:22.
The UBF idea of God is very strange. Their idea of God is something like a big branch director in the sky, or a supernatural Chang Woo Lee. God is seen as intervening in everyday personal events. Good or bad results on an exam come from God, not from how well one studied. God is also a menacing figure, promising some sort of punishment for violation of the UBF code. God is also seen as giving blessing (good job, place to live, marriage, children, lots of initiates to indoctrinate) to those who sacrifice a lot for the UBF cause. God is seen as having cursed all non-UBF people. That is why so many societal problems exist - because they are not UBF people.
(see also gracefully) The Christian concept of grace has no room in UBF. It may be mentioned or taught that salvation is by grace through faith. But grace itself is never emphasized. Most often, the variation, "gracefully" is used. Obedience and sacrifice to the UBF code are emphasized over and above grace. Being faithful to UBF is emphasized. I was able to leave UBF because I came to realize that God's grace extended to me regardless of how well I lived up to UBF's standards.
Adjective meaning that something was done in a way pleasing to the UBF leaders. For example, "You delivered messagee very gracefully."
An often used adjective in UBF, and a positively loaded term. It is most commonly used to describe the aspirations of a UBF member - to be a "great servant of God." People develop inflated opinions of themselves as being so "great" spiritually. For example, one UBF member from Toledo is called "Centurion" Jeff, another is called "Mighty" Greg.
(UBFspeak fellowship) A subunit of a UBF branch. Each branch of sufficient size is broken up into smaller groups. The groups each have a one-word name. Examples are "Hope," "Challenger," and "Moses." Each group has a leader, either a UBF Korean or a sufficiently indoctrinated UBF member. The group leader, as well as the composition of the group, is decided at the absolute whim of the branch director. The group meets every week for a group meeting. In addition, the group often meets for a half hour after every Sunday meeting. During this time, the group will sit in a circle and the group leader will have each member in turn say what he or she "learned" from the day's message. This is an opportunity for the group leader to correct any ideas other than those which are acceptable to UBF. Also, during this time, sugary beverages and confections will be served. The short meeting ends with people pairing up to "pray."
(UBFspeak fellowship leader; see group) The definition is self-evident.
(UBFspeak fellowship meeting) A weekly meeting of the members of a group, occurring on a weeknight, most often Friday (see Friday meeting). The meeting begins when the leader chooses a hymn for all present to sing. Next, the leader appoints one member to "pray" for the meeting. Then the members take turns reading verses from the passage that was studied earlier in the week (and that will be featured on the upcoming Sunday). Then the members will read their prepared speeches (sometimes at a podium, sometimes from a seat). After each one, the leader will comment on what was said. The comment may be to reinforce a particular idea stated, to correct an errant idea, to commend or to rebuke a member's behavior. The leader will also take this time to review the member's performance during the previous week regarding recruiting activity.
(UBFspeak fellowship report, see Sunday report) A weekly report of the activities of a group, given to the branch director every Sunday. An actual example report can be read here.
To proceed down the path of stricter conformance to UBFism.
UBF jargon for a superficial Christian who tries to make a show by saying "hallelujah" and being exuberant about spirituality. Often, this term refers specifically to charismatic and Pentecostal Christians. This is used as a pejorative term in UBF.
The use of this word is tricky in UBF. The general principle is that if one's actions are in life with UBFism, one will be immensely happy. If one compromises on points of UBFism, one is unhappy. UBF leaders often boast about how happy they are even though they endure much hardship for their cause. However this is just rhetoric to cover up the fact that they are deadly unhappy. If you do not appear happy, you will be rebuked. However, in fact in UBF it is a sin to be truly happy. If you are joyful and exuberant they will deride you as a "hallelujah Christian" or they will say you have compromised with pleasure-seeking. Thus, the trick in UBF is to not be happy but to appear as if you are happy. As a side note, some UBF initiates or young members actually experience happiness. They experience a kind of high from their UBF activities (this is not uncommon among mind-control groups). The high wears off after a year or so.
High School Bible Fellowship (HBF) is the second mandatory indoctrination group, after Children's Bible Fellowship (CBF}, that children born into the UBF group attend. The CBF and HBF ministries rarely include anyone except children of UBF parents. These children are called "second gens" or "hope carriers". These young adults are expected to be the "empowered next generation" of the UBF religion, and pressured heavily to do so.
Much of UBFism is based on the manipulation of emotions. Thus, it is logical that the term "heart" would be used in a loaded fashion. It most often spoken of in two contexts. The first is exemplified by the exhortation, "accept Jesus into your heart." When such language is used and at the same time an initiate is being pressured to accept UBFism, the initiate will interpret the emotions of his indoctrination as coming from Jesus' entrance into his heart. A second context for using the word "heart" in UBF is that of "heart" versus "head." It is claimed that non-UBF people only learn the Bible in their "head" - they don't really follow the teachings in their life. Whereas UBF people learn the Bible in their "hearts" and follow its true meanings. Of course, this is not true and only UBF people believe this.
(see "holy nation woman")
holy nation woman
A Caucasian Native-born American female. Every UBF branch has a numerical goal for how many HNWs they want to recruit. They are very valuable recruits because UBF has traditionally had difficulty obtaining members of this demographic group. See "white sheep."
A UBF member's dwelling that is used for UBF activities. Many small UBF branches meet in leaders' houses. Leaders fain analogies between this and the practice of the early Christian church meeting in members houses. Note that "house church" can sometimes have a more specific meaning, namely it can describe the union of those who are married in UBF.
(see also manger ministry) A positively loaded word in UBF. UBFers boast frequently of how "humble" they are - half of them can barely speak English, and the group is small compared to its peers (eg. the ICC).
A negatively charged word in UBF. According to UBF black-and-white thinking, if something is human, it is not of God. Therefore, UBFers speak much of their forsaking "human efforts" and "human ideas." Instead, they blindly follow their leaders, who are supposedly God's representatives. Other things that are seen prefixed with "human" in UBF to attach a negative connotation: "human thinking", "human desires", "human love".
(see "problem") A negative and even offensive word in UBF. This word is used either in a UBF goal, eg. "I want to conquer my humanism and follow God's perfect plan for my life," or as an accusation: "You must repent of your humanistic ideas." In both cases, "humanistic" refers to any idea that is not in line with UBFism. Note, however, the clever use of connotation here. Fundamentalist Christianity sees secular humanism as its enemy. Although "humanism" has a completely different meaning in UBF, the negative connotation carries over.
image of God
UBFers are encouraged verbally and in lessons to cultivate the image of God in their hearts. What really happens is they cultivate the image of their leader in their hearts. (Think a moment on the logical implications of these two statements.)
(see problem) A negatively connoted word with meaning similar to "humanism," and also "selfishness." By actively squelching any individualism in their group, UBF maintains a state of totalism.
(UBFspeak feed, teach) This definition is self-explanatory.
(UBFspeak: "sheep"; also: "brother" or "sister") One who is involved in UBF, but has not yet become sufficiently indoctrinated.
(see God, Chang Woo Lee) Think of the UBF image of Jesus as a mix of one part Christian Jesus with three parts Chang Woo Lee.
(trans. special verse)
kingdom of priests and a holy nation
Perennial UBF slogan. UBF sees itself as a special people, called by God himself to carry out the work of UBFism. They attempt to justify their inflated self-opinion with allusions to scripture - Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9 in particular. However, note that the NT verse alluded to is seen by most Protestants as establishing the priesthood of all believers. UBF does not believe in the priesthood of all believers because it conflicts with their idea of "spiritual order."
(abbrev. Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation)
A positively loaded word in UBF. Korean people, culture, and food are preferred over American customs and food (except for Big Macs).
A sin, problem or demon in UBF. Most often in UBF, laziness refers to lack of zeal for completing UBF activities, such as recruiting, indoctrinating and participating in conferences. Sometimes a perceived fault in one's academic or personal life is described in this way. Rarely does what UBF calls "laziness" qualify as anything actually sinful in a Christian sense.
leaders' team meeting
(trans. advanced thought reform meeting)
A negatively charged word in UBF. Liberal theology, politics, and philosophy are seen as coming from the devil. While UBF would describe itself as a conservative organization, UBF lies far to the right of any reputable conservative Christian organization.
life key verse
A special verse chosen to represent one's whole life. Usually, a UBFer chooses this verse at the time they become sufficiently indoctrinated.
UBF's version of one's personal conversion story. What normal Christian churches and ministries would call a testimony, UBF calls a "life testimony" because UBF calls their weekly, compulsory "sogams "testimonies". A recent recruit/convert may be "encouraged" (pushed) to write a detailed life testimony for a conference. In an oft-repeated pattern, the recruit's shepherd will heavily edit the detailed life testimony, creating a testimony that bears little resemblance to the original. If the recruit was previously churched or was originally converted in a church, the recruit's shepherd would typically order that information to be redacted or de-emphasized in the life testimony, and instead the recruit would be told to write much about finding true purpose in UBF. In another oft-repeated pattern, the highly personal details in the original life testimony are not kept confidential and are used against the recruit later for manipulation/control or to enforce shunning if the recruit later exits UBF. See "message training".
Love in UBF is best described as a desire for someone else to either become a UBFer, or if that other person is a UBFer, to go deeper into UBFism. In UBF, harsh rebuking, training, and giving of unreasonable orders ("directions") are all seen as paragons of "love."
(acronym life testimony)
UBFers use this term to refer to themselves, and in particular, to smaller UBF branches or groups. UBFers try to gloss over the fact that their program is not very successful by claiming that they are "humble," like Jesus who was born in a manger, and thus more "spiritual" than other similar groups.
man of God
In the Hebrew scriptures, the phrase "man of God" is applied to prominent religious figures such as the prophets. (For more discussion, see this Wikipedia article.) In UBF, the term may be applied to any member. This is to say, common UBFers think of themselves as modern-day religious leaders on the order of the OT prophets, proving that UBFers aren't as humble as they claim to be!
(trans. UBF marriage)
marriage by faith
(trans. UBF marriage)
UBF usage: "He (or she or so-and-so) has a marriage problem." "Marriage problem" is used to refer to either 1) an attraction to a member of the opposite gender or 2) a single UBF recruit's eligibility for marriage (the eligibility having been determined by a UBF leader). In the case of females, the UBF concept of the "cursed woman's desire" is also sometimes referred to as a "marriage problem." In the case of older singles, regretful loneliness is also referred to as a "marriage problem." The solution to the "marriage problem"--as pushed by the UBF system--is the core UBF practice of "marriage by faith."
meet Jesus personally
(trans. become sufficiently indoctrinated)
Every spring, UBFers memorize 1 Corinthians 15 and a recitation contest is held. Participants are ranked as to how many verses they memorized, how many mistakes they made, and for the amount of "heart" they put into their recitation. UBF Koreans do not know the difference between memorization and recitation. Thus, before reciting the passage, each UBFer says "I, Shepherd [insert name], a servant of God, will now memorize 1 Corinthians 15 by faith!"
Sermon. An example UBF message with commentary can be read here.
Message training extends speech training to take it one step further and have the subject create and deliver a sermon, or message, on a particular Bible passage. Usually, it begins with writing a detailed life testimony of twenty or more pages covering childhood to the present. After sharing this testimony with the trainer, the trainee writes a first draft of a five to ten page message, with a short personal application section. Usually, the message will undergo heavy revision at the direction of the trainer, so much so that the message becomes more the trainer's message than the trainee's. Oftentimes, Chang Woo Lee's message on a particular passage will be used as a model. After a few more sessions of revision with the trainer, the trainee may be taught how to deliver a message in the UBF style with appropriate pauses, intonation and hand gestures (see UBF voice). An example UBF message with commentary can be read here.
One who delivers a message.
UBF refers to itself as a "ministry," and often members will call their own chapter "the ministry." However, the word ministry implies that some type of service is being done. Since it is clearly not Bible study or charity work, one wonders what service UBF actually provides for people. Perhaps an ego-massaging service?
(trans UBF Korean) Missionary is the title given to first-generation Korean UBF members who began their UBF study in Korea itself. In general, missionaries rank higher than shepherds, who rank higher than sheep.
Missionary Doctor Samuel Lee, PhD, Litt. D.
(Trans Chang Woo Lee)
(see calling) In UBF, one's only mission in life and mission from God is to live out and promote UBFism. No other callings are valid. UBF's idea of mission differs from the Christian outlook on missions. Whereas the goal of Christian missions work is to introduce people to Christ and encourage them to find a church home, UBF's goal is to have people stop attending church and attend only UBF. So indeed UBF mission and Christian missions are at cross purposes.
(trans UBF trip)
(see mother of prayer, Reverend Mother Sarah Barry) UBF devalues of one's real family while highly esteeming one's "spiritual family," using Mark 3:35 as a scriptural basis. Thus, one's shepherdess (if one's shepherd is female) or one's shepherd's wife becomes one's spiritual mother.
(see Sara Barry)
mother of prayer
new year key verse
(trans. new year special verse) A special verse chosen at the beginning of a year to represent what a UBFer wants to do that year "spiritually."
new year key verse testimony
(trans. new year special verse speech) A speech given at the beginning of the year by each UBFer. During this speech, the UBFer gives a review of the previous year, introduces his or her new year special verse, and presents five each of "prayer topics," "repentance topics," and "thanksgiving topics." One of the prayer topics must be a numerical goal for the number of initiates the UBFer wishes to indoctrinate in the coming year. Note that choosing a low number for a goal will most often elicit a rebuke.
Caucasian Native-born American. See "white sheep."
(See routine offering, additional offering) Money plays an important part in UBF. Members who do not give enough money may be denounced publicly or privately for being "unthankful." Note that most offerings in UBF are not anonymous. They are given in envelopes bearing the name of the donor. Sometimes that person lists his or her "prayer topics" on the envelope as well.
(Also, "lukewarm Christian", "Sunday Christian") Disparaging term applied by UBF to a previously- or currently-churched Christian. An "old Christian" believes that salvation is by grace only or focuses too much on salvation. An "old Christian" has no "sense of mission" or "mission calling." Thereby, they are a lesser Christian in UBF's view.
one to one Bible battle
one to one Bible study
(trans thought reform session)
Title sometimes given to chapter directors. Note that no one called "pastor" in UBF has a theological degree.
It should be noted that UBF members almost always pray in pairs or groups and this is done aloud. Prayer usually follows a generic formula. Parts of the formula will be "thanksgiving topics," for instance, one may express thanks for "Christ who died on the cross" or "Jesus who called me to be a servant of God." Another part of the formula is the regurgitation of a lesson learned. Some prayers will include specific "repentance topics," where the UBFer expresses desire to change a belief, attitude or action. Lastly, but probably most important, are the general "prayer topics," which are recited so often that they are memorized, and they often include numbers. Every UBF prayer ends in the following words, "I pray in Jesus' name, amen."
(trans UBF goal)
(UBFspeak fishing ministry)
Reverend Mother Sarah Barry
(trans Sara Barry)
(see Reform UBF)
(UBFspeak World Mission Offering) All sufficiently indoctrinated UBF members are expected to give ten percent of their income as a routine offering. In many UBF branches, there is a chart on the wall that shows for all members, who has paid their tithe. Additional offerings beyond the ten percent are classed as "thanksgiving offerings," which I have translated as simply additional offerings.
(see Reform UBF)
(UBF usage: "Keep the Sabbath holy.") When a UBF shepherd tells a UBF sheep or recruit that they must "keep the Sabbath holy" or "God commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy," it means almost exclusively, "You must attend the UBF worship service." In this way, not attending a UBF service or other meeting is an inexcusable sin in the UBF system. In the UBF system in which numeric goals are so ubiquitous and important, this stunted interpretation of the Sabbath is only natural. (Also see "Sunday meeting")
(UBF usage: "From a human love-seeking samaritan woman to a shepherdess/mother of prayer/servant of God") A label usually used to describe a young woman who has had a history of dating a man or men. When said woman has been involved in UBF to the point where she has studied the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), she may be pushed to write a "testimony" or "life testimony," in which she is pushed to identify as a current or former "samaritan woman." By identifying as a samaritan woman she is signaling an acceptance of UBF's teaching that she has (or had) a strong "cursed woman's desire" for marriage. In the UBF system, to overcome the samaritan woman condition for a woman is to accept Jesus as her "true husband" and then ultimately submit to a UBF-leadership-determined "marriage by faith." Because of related UBF teaching regarding women, it is implied that all women are "samaritan women" to some degree. Also see "marriage problem," and "human love."
(UBFspeak "Reverend Mother Sarah Barry") Originally a Presbyterian missionary to Korea, Barry came under the influence and spell of Chang Woo Lee in the early 1960s when they cofounded UBF. For most of her life she functioned as the "softer side" of Lee. However, she has always defended even the most atrocious of Lee's actions. After Lee died, she took over leadership of UBF for a few years before retiring in favor of John Jun. One can gain insight into her personality by reading her yearly "mission reports."
Sarah of Faith
(see "Abraham of Faith") Honorary title given to the first Caucasian native-born American female to become a sufficiently indoctrinated member of a UBF chapter.
(acronym for "Summer Bible Conference")
Second Generation Missionary
Child of UBF Korean.
The majority of UBF leaders are self-supporting. This means that they are not on UBF's payroll and that they have regular full-time jobs. This being the case, one wonders what happens to the money that UBF gains. Some of it is expended in buildings and upkeep, but the rest of it - who knows?
servant of God
Sometimes used to refer to the general director of UBF or very high leader, such as the Director of all European operations. Some of the more authoritarian chapter leaders will also sometimes refer to themselves as "the servant of God." Chang-Woo (Samuel) Lee often referred to himself as "the servant of God" or "God's servant." Others referred to Lee as the "visible servant of God." This denotes special status in UBF, akin to a modern prophet, through whom God speaks his will. To disobey "the servant of God" would be tantamount to disobeying God himself. To criticize "the servant of God" would be tantamount to criticizing God's chosen servant.
(trans. "initiate") A UBF recruit who has met with a UBF Shepherd for a UBF "one-to-one Bible Study." A fresh recruit will not be called a "sheep" to their face. The recruit will typically find out that they are considered a UBF member's "sheep" when they attend a group meeting. Historically, sheep have been categorized into several different kinds by UBF leaders, often to judge the quality of recruits. See "junk sheep", "other sheep", "Sunday sheep", "uncle sheep", and "white sheep". The UBF shepherd-sheep relationship is often an implied life-long relationship and hierarchy; a UBF leader-in-good-standing will always have a measure of authority over a sheep, even after the sheep has become an established member or leader in their own right. Also see Sheep Training and "feed".
A sufficiently indoctrinated UBF member. Usually, a UBFer is called a "Shepherd" once he or she begins to participate in recruiting and indoctrinating initiates.
(See also "demon," "evil")
(trans. "speech,") What is now called a "testimony" in UBF is called a "sogam" in Korean UBF.
source of blessing
UBF usage: "(UBF leader) God has used me as a source of blessing." The "source of blessing" teaching is a core UBF teaching. Like other core UBF teachings, it is based on Genesis, specifically Genesis 12:2-3. Genesis 12:2-3 can be read as either a) God being the source of blessing, as exemplified in Abraham's life or b) as Abraham being the source of God's blessing; UBF chooses b). "Blessing" is often synonymous with ministerial success in UBF. A UBF member's worth and meaning as a Christian is based on the degree to which they have been a "source of blessing." In the UBF system, you are most likely to be called a "source of blessing" if you: 1) are numerically successful (have "lots of sheep"), 2) recruited people who remain as UBF members or become leaders ("raised many disciples"), 3) arranged marriages as a UBF leader ("raised house churches"). Leaders are elevated to special status in UBF as a natural result of this human-elevating teaching. Also see "blessing" and "Abraham of Faith."
(UBFspeak "key verse"; see also "life key verse," "new year key verse") A special verse is a Bible verse given special significance. In UBF, each message or speech has a special verse. This is the verse that UBF wants to emphasize and invest with its own particular meaning.
(UBFspeak "testimony," "life testimony," "sogam") An example UBF testimony can be read here.
(UBFspeak "testimony training")
study [the] Bible
Engage in UBF thought reform. Many native English speakers drop the article when using this phrase, so as to be like their Korean models.
This is an important word in UBF because UBF leaders want those below them in spiritual order to submit to their authority.
(UBFspeak "born again"; see "meet Jesus personally," "accept Jesus into your heart," "Shepherd") One who has bought into and practices the main concepts of UBFism, foremost of which is complete submission in all spiritual and earthly matters to one's UBF teacher.
Summer Bible Conference
(trans "Summer UBF Conference")
(UBFspeak "Sunday Worship Service") An example outline of the worship order is available here.
A weekly report of the activites of a branch, written by the branch director and submitted to headquarters every Sunday. The Sunday report is similar to a group report, but on a branch-wide level. The report will include attendance numbers and goals, including personal information on initiates and their problems.
One of several categories of "sheep", a Sunday sheep is one who does not engage in UBF one-to-one Bible studies but does attend UBF worship services. Because Sunday sheep have limited or no exposure to the one-to-one indoctrination program, they are not expected to "grow" much. Indeed, Sunday sheep are usually not college students but older men and women who are just looking for a Sunday service to attend or enjoy eating food afterward. Sunday sheep have value for padding numeric goals. See "junk sheep."
Sunday Worship Service
(trans. "Sunday meeting")
UBF insider lingo for an student with a suitably pliant personality. One who is not teachable is labeled rebellious.
(trans. speech training)
(trans. additional offering)
A negatively charged word in UBF. UBF promotes the idea that "UBF teaches the Bible, other places just teach theological theories." Of course, UBF has beliefs about God, so UBF has its own theology. UBF just prefers not to admit to the fact because if they were to systematically lay down their beliefs, they would be manifested as contradictory and obviously false. UBF theology resembles Christian Fundamentalism in theory, but differs substantially in practice.
thought reform session
(UBFspeak Bible study)
In churches and organizations, "training" is used primarily to refer to educating and informing, e.g., training missionaries, training lay and clergical church leadership. This is also the case in UBF. But as it is a spiritually abusive and controlling group, UBF has historically extended the term "training" to also mean the following things: 1) enforce the authority of the trainer over the trainee (absolute obedience) 2) enforce conformity (break down identity) and 3) punish. As a result, former members have testified that UBF training is often invasive, degrading, humiliating and abusive. Examples of abusive training have included: forced long distance marching for failure to meet numeric goals, forced dieting ahead of an arranged marriage, "message training", "drama training" and sleep deprivation. See also UBF Shepherd Training Model.
UBF usage: "She stopped seeking human love and accepted Jesus as her true husband." An important companion teaching to the foundational UBF teaching of the "cursed woman's desire." This teaching, based on the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), is applied to women only. The essence of the teaching is that the woman at the well has had multiple marriage partners because of her cursed woman's desire. The implication is that all women are like this woman to varying degrees. UBF's twist on the woman's conversion is that she has found "Jesus, her true husband." The need to find one's true husband in Jesus is applied to all women in the UBF world view, before and even after a woman is married. When a young woman is reported to have "accepted Jesus as her true husband," she is deemed ready for a UBF "marriage by faith." Also see "marriage problem," "human love," and "Samaritan woman."
(UBFspeak Bible center, Bible house)
(UBFspeak Bible conference) Conferences occur on a seasonal basis in UBF. At minimum a UBFer will be required to attend at least one conference every summer, although conferences occasionally take place at some other time of the year. Conferences last three to four days and can be exclusive to one chapter, region, or nation. International conferences are also held. Conferences include messages given by leading UBFers, group study, testimony writing and sharing, drama, music and sometimes dance - all performed and directed by UBF members. At international conferences, only the most highly regarded UBFers will be asked to deliver a message or testimony to the entire audience. However, smaller conferences often involve participation of junior shepherds in such activities as message and testimony training. Often shepherds who are rising in the ranks will be required to go on a "mission journey" to attend a conference in another nation. Conference schedules are full, and there is little free time. For those who participate in running the conference, sleep is an unlikely occurrence. Because lodging and meals are required, a fee is charged. Special efforts will be made to get every UBF member down to the lowliest initiates to register for the conference months in advance by paying "even one dollar" as an expression of commitment to attend the conference.
(UBFspeak daily bread)
(UBFspeak prayer topic) A goal for which one prays. Often this involves a number, as in the number of initiates one hopes to indoctrinate or the number of attendants one hopes to have at a meeting. Also, UBFers often pray to overcome their problems. For examples of real UBF goals, see the example group report and look for the phrase "prayer topic."
(UBFspeak "marriage by faith") Nearly all the marriages in UBF are arranged by the leaders. In the ideal setting, the man is directed by his UBF teacher to call a UBF female of the leader's choosing and propose marriage on the spot. Usually the two persons in question barely know each other (Thus, in UBF terms, they are considered to be marrying "by faith"). The story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24) is a primary UBF proof-text for this practice of leader-arranged marriage. Sometimes after the engagement there is a courting period where the two will get to know each other. UBF controls all aspects of the wedding planning and the ceremony is primarily a UBF event as opposed to being an event for the families of the bride and groom. UBF weddings are heavily attended by UBF members from other branches in the region. The marriage ceremony usually occurs with the local branch director officiating and delivering the message. (Most often, these leaders are not actually qualified to solemnize marriages.) Other UBF members will likely perform with musical instruments, voice, and/or dance.
My term for the jargon of UBF.
(UBFspeak coworker) Married UBFers speak of their spouse not as "spouse," "husband," or "wife," but as "coworker." This reflects the UBF mindset of marriage - that one's spouse is to be a coworker in UBF first, and a husband or wife second.
UBF study materials
(UBFspeak Bible materials)
(UBFspeak Bible Symposium)
UBF symposium series
(UBFspeak Bible Academy)
(UBFspeak Bible teacher)
(UBFspeak mission journey)
UBF people, even the Americans, talk in a halting, exaggerated manner, often mispronouncing words and omitting articles. For example, the perennial phrase of "fishing ministry:" "Would you like to study Bible?"
vessel of coworkship
An essentially meaningless phrase used to puff up UBFers' opinion of their ability to work together and to create a language of intimacy where none exists.
Just like marriages, wedding ceremonies at UBF tend to be odd and arranged. Weddings at one time were to be planned and arranged according to Samuel Chang Woo Lee or a chapter director's decisions with little or no input from the bride and groom. Family members rarely help plan or even attend the ceremony, though in recent years family members have usually been involved to some extent. Historically, weddings took place around Lee's birthday in October, but could be scheduled for any date that the chapter director deemed appropriate, for example, December 25th.
Often several weddings took place in one day with an interval of about an hour between each wedding. It seems that in the early 1980’s, Lee was not even licensed to perform weddings, but did it anyway without informing the bride and groom. So some wedding ceremonies performed at UBF were not legally binding. As a result, the bride and groom were not really married, but usually did not know it. The ceremony was a mock wedding, a sham, and a show. People who go through with a UBF wedding ceremony should be cautioned to confirm the legality of the proceedings in their state or country.
A Caucasian recruit, the most desirable prospects for UBF college recruitment in majority-white nations, including America. The late founder, Chang Woo Lee, gave clear directives to UBF leaders, even in public meetings, to focus on the recruitment of "white sheep," often denigrating the value of sheep that were something other than white. Because the push to recruit "white sheep" would seem racist to any sane observer, more convoluted "politically correct" language was adopted to refer to white sheep. See also "sheep", "other sheep", "Abraham of Faith", "American", "holy nation woman", "North American".
work of God
world mission offering
(trans. routine offering)