Excerpts from a late 2005 email from a UBF recruit that shows how UBF plays the typical discipleship game to gain greater and greater control in non-moral areas of a recruit's life, and it all starts with the pressure to join "common life":
I recently joined one of the common life housing by the () center. I really wasn't sure how I would like this arrangement. The reason that I was uncertain was just because I wasn't sure whether I wanted to move into the church housing, figuring that there would be strict rules about curfew and things like that. And also being used to having my own space and living on my own and wasn't sure how I would like sharing my space with so many other people.
However, I decided to go on and move into the common life housing. At first it was great. I was in such a great environment feeling as though I was growing closer to God and growing spiritually.
I began to have doubts a few months after moving into the common life housing. There were multiple reasons for this: 1) my bible teacher invited me to our weekly fellowship/testimony sharing meeting, which I had not been attending before. When I told my shepherd that I was not interested in going to the meeting, I was rebuked and accused of not wanting to "grow in my relationship with God." I was so frustrated and hurt. My shepherd was completely overlooking the fact that I had taken a great step by deciding to move into the common life housing ...
2) I was rebuked for not writing a weekly testimony. It is understandable that my shepherd wants to encourage me to daily spend time with God and meditating on his Word. However, I felt that my shepherd thinks that she needs proof of this every week by me turning in a testimony weekly. It doesn't seem to matter that I read the bible every single day and that I am struggling to come to God daily in prayer. Now I write a testimony and share at every bible study, but I only do it because I feel that I am being forced to, not because I really want to.
3) One of my roommates talks about "keeping spiritual order." Another of our roommates was having trouble with their shepherds/ fellowship leaders. The leaders seemed to be abusing their authority in my roommate's life and we all agreed on this. But then, the other roommate said that our struggling roommate should respect their authority because the leaders were placed in authority by God. Then my roommate brought up Hagar and Sarai, justifying "spiritual authority" with this story. Saying that God told Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her even though she had been abused. My roommate said that this is an example of keeping spiritual authority, and by Hagar's obedience she was blessed. [What an incredible twist of scripture.] ...
4) Some of the testimonies that people share are very revealing. They speak about disobedient sheep who refuse to come to God because they do not write testimonies. They talk about their own struggles with disobedience by not following orders given by their shepherds and how they should repent.
... One day I feel like UBF is a great place, and then the next day I feel like something just is not right.