Begin Free Online Ordination

The very idea of an online church rankles some people. These ill-informed individuals rush to judgment, yet rarely take the time to research the Universal Life Church before calling it a scam. Common arguments made by our detractors can be found below. We'll address them point by point, prove these accusations to be false, and show why the “Universal Life Church Scam” is no more than a myth. Here are some of the reasons people believe in the supposed Universal Life Church "scam."

1) “The ULC is not a real church”

How can someone who gets a Universal Life Church ordination online possibly be allowed to have the same legal privileges as a person who got their ordination at a seminary or theological college?

Our Online Ministry Is Entirely Legitimate

In fact, the ULC is just as legitimate as the Lutheran Church, the Catholic Church, or any other religious organization. While we may not hold physical services, the Universal Life Church has firm beliefs, a guiding creed, and a large community of members who carry out our mission every day.

For those who sincerely believe the Universal Life Church is fake, we point to our non-profit corporation filings in the State of Washington and numerous other states. These filings can be found via the Secretary of State’s website. Our incorporation as a religious organization means the ULC has the exact same legal standing as other major churches. So although our detractors like to call us "fake," that is patently untrue.

An official ULC ordination credential

2) “The ULC overcharges for ministerial documentation”

How can a minister license cost $10 when it is just a piece of paper? More importantly, what does this "church" do with the funds it raises from the exorbitant amounts it charges for these forms of documentation? This "church" must really be a money-making scheme designed to line the pockets of false religious leaders.

We Are a Non-Profit Organization

As previously mentioned, the Universal Life Church is a non-profit organization, thus making it illegal for us to "line our pockets," "make ourselves rich," or do any of the other things that people who proliferate the Universal Life Church scam myth think we do.

Almost all of the money we make goes toward keeping the ULC in operation. Any funds we have left over are donated to charities such the National Autism Association and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

While it is true that the ULC makes more money that it spends for every minister license it sells, the amount we charge must cover all of the expenses we incur. The price of each ordination credential certificate covers our overhead costs (rent, heating bills, employee wages, etc.) in addition to the costs associated with making and packaging the credential itself. Suffice it to say, the prices found in the "Ministry Supplies" section of our site represent what we must charge if we wish to continue to exist. They are no more proof of greed or corruption than NPR’s annual funding drive is evidence of a grand conspiracy to fleece the American public.

3) “The ULC will ordain anyone”

How can a church ordain anyone and everyone? No real church would allow this as people could easily exploit their system and become ordained ministers without any intention of taking the position seriously.

The ULC chooses not to put up barriers to ordination We Remove Barriers to Ordination

Fundamentally, the ULC believes that anyone should be able to become ordained. We also recognize the numerous barriers posed by the traditional ordination process -- which can take thousands of dollars and years of time to complete. That’s why we offer free online ordination.

It’s true that the ULC ordination process does not involve any education prior to the granting of our ordination, but Universal Life Church ministers are still expected to do their research and learn about how to be a chaplain, how to perform a wedding, or how to officiate at a funeral (among other types of ceremonies) as needed after they have received their ordinations. To that end, we offer training guides right here on our site.

Therefore, although the individuals who get online ordinations from the ULC may not have received formal training, many are highly skilled in their ministerial duties. For example, our staff have attended countless weddings performed by ULC ministers over the years. These “untrained” wedding officiants have frequently (if not always) brought the couple and audience to tears with the beauty of their words and their self-taught ministerial skill.

We believe that it doesn't matter how someone receives their ordination, as long as they are well-prepared when they perform their ministerial duties afterwards.

4) “Ordinations can be faked”

The Universal Life Church ordination consists of a two minute online session that results in the person who wants to become ordained online becoming a "certified minister." The laziness or lack of concern exhibited by those involved in the Universal Life Church scam has resulted in that "church" ordaining household pets, household appliances and even characters from cartoons. What does this say about the quality of their ordination? Nothing good, that's for sure.

Fraudulent Applications Will Be Revoked

One downside of our easy ordination process is that it is vulnerable to pranks. On occasion, our system has been tricked by false names entered into the database. Our team does a wonderful job of screening and discarding any fake ordinations they come across, but this strategy isn’t foolproof. Regardless, know that ordinations accidentally issued to pets or inanimate objects hold no validity. It's a shame that people engage in such immature behavior, because it only detracts from the myriad benefits that ULC ordinations provide.

5) “The ULC offers false promises”

What we have here is a "church" that draws innocent people in with false promises of helping them get an ordination in minutes that will allow them to perform legally-recognized ceremonies but then requires them to buy over-priced pieces of paper that are ultimately worthless. Do you really think a county clerk would allow someone who got their "ordination" from a website to file for a marriage license? Are couples that recently had their weddings performed by one of these fake ministers entered into a real, legal marriage? Of course not! Their wedding will forever be remembered as a sham.

Universal Life Church ordinations are accepted across the United States Universal Life Church Ordinations Are Recognized Throughout the U.S.

Claims that our ordinations are worthless inherently implies that nothing can be done with it. This is patently false as any Universal Life Church minister, from anywhere in the world, can legally officiate a wedding and perform other religious ceremonies across the United States. Many thousands of weddings, including dozens personally witnessed by the ULC staff, have been officiated by our ministers. The loving, legally-recognized marriages that have resulted from these ceremonies are proof positive that our ordinations are anything but worthless.

Admittedly, ULC ministers have from time to time been denied authority to officiate weddings in certain areas. However, these rejections are generally a result of county clerks not understanding the marriage laws in their area. For a full explanation of where ULC ordinations are accepted, visit our Marriage Laws page.

6) “God hates the ULC”

It is an atrocity what this "online church" is doing, and people everywhere should be aware of the Universal Life Church scam. Honest people that intend to enter or start their own ministry to serve others should seek an ordination program through a legitimate theological college or seminary. In short, the Universal Life Church scam should be avoided at all costs; it is a disgrace to real churches, ministers and most importantly to God.

The Truth About the Universal Life Church Scam Myth

Far be it for us to speculate about what God (or any other high power, for that matter) thinks of us, but we do know this: if empowering people to spread happiness and do meaningful work is a sin, then we’ll gladly accept the label of sinner. We’re proud of what we do, and despite the unfounded criticism, we plan to continue doing it.

So, to wrap things up, if you are a skeptic about the nature of the ULC or Universal Life Church ordinations, please take all of the things you hear about us with a grain of salt because (as we have shown) many of these claims are inaccurate or based on wild speculation. Once you understand who we are and how we operate, you will realize that there is no such thing as a ULC scam.

Category: Universal Life Church

Universal Life Church

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