The traumatic exit process
Regardless of any good found in the UBF lifestyle or the possible merits of the UBFism ideology, the harmful nature of these things is most starkly revealed when a member wants to leave the group. Leaving the group is the one thing many UBF leaders fear most. Loyalty is valued supremely among members. Below is a list of typical scenarios. Each person certainly may experience various levels of trauma when leaving. The hope is that people could one day leave with no pain, sorrow, or abuse.
If you are a “sheep” not living in Common Life… This is the best situation to be in, if you have decided to leave UBF. Sheep run away all the time, and you should not have much to deal with. However, there are cases such as one college student only spent 2 years at a UBF chapter and faced serious psychological issues afterward. UBF shepherds will possibly hound you to stay at first. Suggestion: Make a clean break and don’t look back.
If you are a “shepherd candidate” living in Common Life… Once you move into the Brother’s House or the Sister’s House, leaving becomes complicated. By now you have a lot of duties and are a fixture in the UBF daily and weekly meetings. Your absence will be immediately known. One young man in this situation felt it was best to slip out a window at midnight with his belongings, rather than face the shame and guilt trips. Suggestion: Make a clean break and don’t look back, but leave behind an open letter explaining your reasons for leaving.
If you are a “shepherd” not arranged married yet… A shepherd or shepherdess will have a difficult time leaving. You will face the most difficulty of any situation, perhaps, because you are the “hope bearer” of your UBF chapter. The percentage of sheep who become shepherds is extremely low, and you are a prized possession of the UBF missionaries. You may also be working for a UBF member by this time, or taking college classes taught by a UBF person who is also a professor. So you may face the tangled web of your work, your school and your life all bound with UBFism. Suggestion: Make a clean break and don’t look back, but before you leave, be very vocal about your concerns. Be careful about being public with your concerns. Going public on blogs can be helpful but can also be used against you by UBF people.
If you are a “house church”… Once you are arranged married, as required by all UBF chapters, you will have many personal issues to deal with, but might find leaving easier. UBF missionaries feel they won the battle with your family and often neglect to control families as much. Of course, the opposite can also be true. Sometimes families at UBF have he most difficulty and are manipulated to a high degree to keep everyone loyal to UBFism. This situation can be very complicated because now children are involved. Suggestion: Make a clean break and don’t look back, but submit your resignation to the headquarters in Chicago UBF. You may not want to be public, but make it known widely in UBF circles why your family is leaving.