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Inspired_2write's avatar

Is "Universal Life Church" legitimate or a scam?

Asked by Inspired_2write (13156points) 1 month ago

My nephew just informed me that he is an Ordained Minister from the United Life Church or Universal Life Church. I went online and it smacks of scammers for sure. One can buy a certificate and become an ordained Minister online.
Here is the link:

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11 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

They are no more and no less legitimate than any other religion.

and check out the Clerical Dickey in their store

Inspired_2write's avatar

The red flag is that one can become Ordained by purchasing a certificate online?

Plus in the link it states that in the U.S. that a Tennessee Lawyer was hired in a Divorce case

and after discovering that they were “married” by this institution by a so called Ordained

Minister, that the lawyer immediately called a halt to the Court proceedings as the couple

divorcing after years of marriage were in fact NOT legally married.

zenvelo's avatar

@Inspired_2write It isn’t a “scam” because people aren’t ripping people off by buying an ordination. They are as legit as any other religion.

Universal Life Minister conducted marriages are legal consistent with the laws of most states, which means they are recognized in other states, however four states do not recognize marriages by Universal Life Ministers

People have been buying ordinations from Universal Life dating back to the early Sixties.

Zaku's avatar

I haven’t studied the site in great detail, but they look to me like a fairly typical Unitarian church, no?

Have you not heard of Unitarian Universalism? It’s a real church that includes most/all other faiths.

Buying ministry licenses and legally marrying people is a legal thing, done quite commonly, and is available to people with no particular religious affiliation.

zenvelo's avatar

@Zaku They are not at all the same or related to Unitarian Universalism. Unitarian churches are much more of a traditional church.

Zaku's avatar

@zenvelo Really? I’m looking at

Hmm. Ok, looking at the site linked, I’m seeing a very large proportion of links to the part about buying a license, and doing marriages, and not much about anything else. They’re flying the banner of… which mentions Unitarian Universalism, but the rest of that site too is largely about becoming a legal minister to marry people.

Checking Wikipedia I see which I seems to paint a pretty good picture. That is, Universal Life Church has been used a lot as a way to get ministry licenses, mainly to marry people, and that has some people bothered. And there doesn’t seem to be much doctrine or teaching in ULC, other than that people shouldn’t need to have any of that. So it’s minimalist and based on freedom of individual spirituality and freedom against attempts to invalidate others.

So, not a scam, except from the perspective of people who want to invalidate others’ spirituality or their right to marry people.

Forever_Free's avatar

Red Flags all over that site.

Zaku's avatar

The web site is rather poor.

flutherother's avatar

The Universal Life Church allows people to go online and enter anyone’s (or anything’s) name into the ordination form found on online ministries’ sites, even if the “person” is a dog, vacuum cleaner, or deceased historical figure. You can make your own mind up about how valid that makes it.

canidmajor's avatar

Wow, are they still around? I knew a bunch of people in the ‘70s who got “ordained” by them so they could officiate at people’s weddings, it was legally recognized, and more personal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Their main goal is to collect money, just like every church since the Counsel of Nicea.

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