The (other) real purpose of testimony writing/sharing
Before I reveal what is the real purpose of testimony writing (besides setting up for UBF marriages) I will briefly synthesize what is testimony writing/sharing.
In UBF testimony writing is when you write about the Sunday message and how that passage correlates with your personal life so that you may grow spiritually. You share this testimony on testimony night which is always Friday evenings. Why Fridays I'm not sure it maybe that UBF believes that Friday nights are the time that college students party. This is one of 2 types of testimony and the more common one
The other type of testimony is Life testimony. Those are shared at symposiums whether they be at special Sunday services or UBF bible conferences. More on those later.
The reality is that testimony writing has pretty much nothing to do with your spiritual growth.
The actually purpose of testimony writing/sharing is to create UBF propaganda.
Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=propaganda&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS805US805&oq=prop&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l5.2963j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
In the case of UBF it is to spread the message that UBF is the only solution to all your problems, that UBF is always in the right and never wrong, UBF's perspective is the only perspective you should have, and that only UBF is good for you no matter what.
How they do this is by subtly deceiving current members into believing that UBF is everything and without it they are nothing.
So in every testimony they are quite similar as far as context. In one of marriage by faith articles I talked about how they use testimony for matchmaking current members:
"The real purpose of testimony writing/sharing is to subtly trick you into revealing personal info about you. In that way the seniors and the chapter director would know if you meet the criteria to be with your future bride/groom. The criteria is something like this:
- Do they drive?
-What job do they have?
-How old are they?
-How loyal they are
-What kind of personality do they have?
-Are they obedient or rebellious?
-What is your racial background?
-Are they think about marriage/dating?
So when your "shepherd" asks you to go deeper in your testimony what it translates into "Share more info about what is going on in your own personal life". That's why the "shepherd" gets pissed off when you don't talk about yourself or reveal new info about yourself. They want your testimony to be like 30% about what you "grasped" about the message and 70% about your personal life and details." Source: https://www.ubinformed.com/ubinformed/how-does-your-shepherd-missionary-really-know-who-god-wants-you-to-marry
Every current member is expected to write testimonies similar to each so that UBF can psychologically control members with social psychology.
You see when every current members shares the same kind of testimony over and over again they create the mere exposed effect.
Mere exposure effect: "a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle." Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=mere+exposure+effect&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS805US805&oq=mere+&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l5.3277j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
In other words when current members see and hear the same kind of testimony multiple times they become comfortable to the point that they want only that kind of testimonies. And if they hear or see a testimony that is not a copy of the other ones by other current members then they will be anxious or at the very least dazed.
It is because of these that another effect is created: the illusory truth effect.
"The illusory truth effect (also known as the validity effect, truth effect or the reiteration effect) is the tendency to believe information to be correct after repeated exposure." Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=illusory+truth+effect&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS805US805&oq=illusory+truth+effect&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.7098j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
So when current members and newcomers hear and how "great" UBF is and how it's changed their lives and how without UBF there is no salvation over and over again they often don't question these things. And anyone who questions or critiques what is being said even if it is constructive or biblical gets silence treatment, dead-dog training, or rebuked.
Here is a scholarly research paper on the illusory truth effect: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/xge-0000098.pdf
Here is a scholarly research paper on confidence in relation to the mere exposure effect: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/dfe1/e71649951fc8aeda52eac460976bfe02f305.pdf
Life testimonies also if not even more so proves that UBF "missionaries" desire the mere exposure effect and the illusory truth effect to take a hold of unsuspecting new "Sheep" and current members but especially the former.
Life testimonies follow this ABC format:
A. My life was horrible and sinful even if you have a Christian background (and God didn't even intervene or reveal himself despite evidence on the contrary)
B. I have met God (translates to having met UBF and their "shepherd" aka bible teacher for God was "absent" until now).
C. My life is wonderful now and I have a purpose (in UBF) and everything is all good and has been since I met "God" as long as I stay in UBF.
Of course they don't flat out say such messages but they are implied.
Most current members don't realize that by following their "shepherd" they are actually helping the UBF "missionaries" to create UBF propaganda that utilizes social psychology specifically the mere exposure effect and illusory truth effect to psychologically control and indoctrinate members
The UBF "missionaries" know how effective these tactics are hence why they have current members become legalistic about all UBF activities and take any measure to stop anyone who they believe would ruin the mere exposure effect and illusory truth effect