Friday, February 13, 2004

Origins of UBF's obsession with numeric goals

Samuel Lee's admiration for certain communist leaders is well known. He particularly admired Ho Chi Minh. It should be no surprise that Lee was influenced by the communist penchant for setting numeric goals in their 5 year and 10 year plans. It's also no surprise that Lee adopted certain communist methods for enforcing his numeric goals which led to unbelievable levels of oppression, oppression reminicient of that in certain communist states (but of course, to a much lesser degree). This is an excerpt from a summary of Stalin's 5 year plans:

The first Five Year Plan introduced in 1928, concentrated on the development of iron and steel, machine-tools, electric power and transport. Joseph Stalin set the workers high targets. He demanded a 111% increase in coal production, 200% increase in iron production and 335% increase in electric power. He justified these demands by claiming that if rapid industrialization did not take place, the Soviet Union would not be able to defend itself against an invasion from capitalist countries in the west.

Every factory had large display boards erected that showed the output of workers. Those that failed to reach the required targets were publically criticized and humiliated. Some workers could not cope with this pressure and absenteeism increased. This led to even more repressive measures being introduced. Records were kept of workers' lateness, absenteeism and bad workmanship. If the worker's record was poor, he was accused of trying to sabotage the Five Year Plan and if found guilty could be shot or sent to work as forced labour on the Baltic Sea Canal or the Siberian Railway.

A survivor of these 5 year plans who saw Lee's methods in action would immediately recognize the influence of Stalin's methods. Ho Chi Minh also had his 5 year plans.

Here's a very recent post by a UIC UBF recruit about the continuing numbers obsession in Chicago UBF:

Date Posted: 17:00:07 02/11/04 Wed
Subject: Re: obsession with numbers
In reply to: Joe 's message, "Re: obsession with numbers" on 10:36:31 02/07/04 Sat


numbers are still a very big part of ubf. in the 2003 Christmas worship service prayer meetings, ron ward continually streesed regestrations to be at least one, but preferably five per person. i participated in the dances for the service, and i as well as all of those who were going to perform in any way were told that if we did not have at least one person regestered by a deadline then we would not be able to perform and possibly not attend the service at all. I know that fellowship leaders are praised for having many members and are called "A" list fellowships and the fellowships that have few members are scowlded and called "C" list fellowships or lower. This idea of always thinking about the numbers more than spiritual well being is being perpetuated to the younger members of UBF. one case was of a secondgen discussing with another secondgen the fact that one of his "sheep" wanted to go to their own churche's Christmas service instead of ubf's in an angry tone. He said that this particular person should be fully in ubf or not at all, that he should choose where his responsibility and loyalties are, as if recruiting to ubf was the point of Bible study. Numbers are very much a part of ubf and one's place and prestige within it. I think it probably will not change. in ubf, numbers, for some reason, seems to represent one's level of commitment to Christ and spititual maturity. I think we all know how ridiculous this is.

Hm, it all sounds so familiar. And it sounds familiar to people who left UBF 20 years ago and 30 years ago, too. In UBF they're living the fetid "spiritual" legacy of Samuel Lee to this day. Well actually, no. They're living the fetid legacy of Stalin and Minh to this day.