There is a persistent rumor on message boards across the internet that there is a Universal Life Church fraud designed to prey upon people who want to get ordained online. Most of the ULC's detractors claim that the Universal Life Church fraud lures unsuspecting people in with false promises about online ordinations that give people the same legal rights as ministers, make them pay for ordination credentials despite saying that their ordination is free, and then fail to help their "ministers" actually do anything with their ordination.
Anyone who has become ordained through the ULC Ministries can tell you that the Universal Life Church is not a scam and our ordinations are anything but worthless. If you want to get ordained online but are unsure about the ULC, please take the time to read over the information listed below; we are confident that you will see the error in our detractors' thinking if you do.
Why People Believe There is a Universal Life Church Fraud
The following claims are generally the ones made by people who believe in the so-called Universal Life Church fraud. These claims are invariably mistaken; their assertions are backed solely by wanton speculation and are frequently tainted by personal biases. The information presented in this section represents the ULC's summary of the claims made against us; the reason why the claims are wrong are given in the following section.
The Universal Life Church is a scam, a scheme designed to steal money from innocent people
The Universal Life Church scams people out of money because they claim to offer free ordinations but then force people to pay money for ministerial documentation after they have registered on the ULC's website. They charge very high prices for the ordination credentials and other documents they sell; it should not cost $15 to make and ship a piece of paper that says you are ordained. These high prices and the fact that the ULC makes you buy things from them at all suggests that there really is a Universal Life Church scam. If nothing else, what do they do with all that money?
The Universal Life Church is not a real church
The Universal Life Church is an online church, which means that it is not a real church. In order to be a real church, a church must have a congregation, a pastor, a place of worship, etc. The ULC does not have these so it must be a fake church. Why would an online church pose as a real church, you ask? Because the Universal Life Church is a fraud.
Online ordinations are not real ordinations
An important part of the Universal Life Church scam is that they promise their ordinations allow anyone from anywhere in the world - even non-Christians like Muslims, Pagans, and Wiccans - to get ordained online. The online ordination process only takes a matter of minutes and is done entirely online. The fact that they offer online ordinations is clear evidence of the Universal Life Church fraud; real ordinations are given to people only after they have trained for years in a seminary, bible school, or theological college. Any ordination received in a different manner is clearly a fraudulent one.
What's more, these online ordinations cheapen the ordinations earned by Lutheran pastors, Catholic priests, and all those who actually study in order to get ordained. Universal Life Church ministers are really just a mockery to these ministries.
The Universal Life Church Scam is a Myth
Don't listen to what angry, confused, and misinformed people on the internet might tell you; there is no Universal Life Church fraud. Read our answers to the above incorrect claims to find out why.
ULC ministers do not need to buy ministerial documentation
There is no official Universal Life Church requirement to buy a minister's license from the Universal Life Church once you get ordained. Anyone who goes through the process will know this; you do not need to buy something from the ULC Ministries in order to get an online ordination from us.
Furthermore, county clerks only require ministerial documentation like ordination credentials, letters of good standing, affidavits of authority, and so forth in some states whenever our ministers look to perform weddings there. Others, like our home state of Washington, allow any legally ordained minister to file for a marriage license merely by verbally verifying that they are in fact ordained.
The ULC is a non-profit corporation and spends its money like one
The Universal Life Church Ministries is legally a non-profit corporation (see the next section for more information on this). This means that the prices we charge for the ministerial documentation we sell matches the amount of money we need to charge in order to stay in operation. It is true that it does not cost us $15 to print and ship the high-quality ordination credentials we sell; it is also true that it costs us that much to make and ship all the ministerial products we offer, compensate the Universal Life Church staff, pay our rent and utility bills, cover our hosting expenses, and so on. Conventional churches have the benefit of being able to pass around collection plates every Sunday; we do not have that luxury so we unfortunately are unable to give ordination credentials and other documents away for free.
It is true that there is sometimes money left over after we have paid our expenses. When this is the case, all leftover funds are donated to charities. You can see a list of the charitable organizations we have donated to by clicking here.
The Universal Life Church has the same government filing as conventional churches
The Universal Life Church Ministries is filed as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington and has foreign corporation filings in eight other states. This means that the ULC Ministries is identical to many (if not most) of the churches in your community; we are beholden to the same laws, rules, and regulations governing churches as they are and we, like your local churches, invariably follow them.
This identical government filing means that our status as a church is identical. If your local Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist churches are real churches then the ULC Ministries is one as well.
Universal Life Church ordinations are the same as conventional ones
Quite frankly, we don't care what our detractors think about the validity of our online ordinations because the only opinions that really matter, those of state governments, are almost all in favor of them. Universal Life Church ministers have the same legal privileges as Baptist, Pentecostal, and Anglican clergy in 48 U.S. states. They are able to legally perform a wedding, officiate a baptism, preside over a funeral, work as a chaplain, and start their own ministries and bible groups just as any conventional minister can. So, to put it succinctly, it does not matter if or why people don't like the ULC ordination because these peoples' opinions ultimately do not affect its legality!
Also, the ULC Ministries gladly incorporates people from all the world's religions! We have no shame for the fact that we ordain non-Christians into our ministry.
So much for the Universal Life Church fraud! Let us know if you are still apprehensive about the ULC and its online ordinations and we will gladly answer any lingering questions.
Category: Universal Life Church