Universal Life Church

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The Universal Life Church (or ULC) is a religious organization that offers anyone semi-immediate ordination as a ULC minister free of charge. The organization states that anyone can become a minister immediately, without having to go through the pre-ordination process required by other religious faiths. The ordination application, however, must be checked by a human in order to be official; therefore, true ordination usually takes a few days. The ULC’s ordinations are issued in the belief that all people are already ordained by God and that the ULC is merely recognizing this fact.

The ULC has no traditional doctrine, believing as an organization merely in doing "that which is right." Each individual has the privilege and responsibility to determine what is right for him or her as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. The Church does not stand between the member and his or her belief system.

The ULC's stated beliefs are as follows:

  • Objective: Eternal Progression.
  • Goal: A Fuller Life for Everyone.
  • Slogan: To Live and Help Live.
  • Maxim: "We Are One."[2]



The ULC was founded in 1959 under the name "Life Church" by the Reverend Kirby J. Hensley. He operated the church out of his garage.[3] Disappointed with the Pentecostal church, Hensley decided to venture on his own to find his religion. After five years of studying various religions, according to his own statements, Hensley concluded that the proper religion may differ for each man, and everyone is entitled to choose his or her own religion. No one should be criticized or condemned for wanting to practice the belief of his or her choice.

In 1958, Hensley and his new wife, Lida, moved to Modesto, California. There, he founded the first Universal Life Church in 1959 as Life Church, later incorporating in California on the May 2, 1962 as Universal Life Church with Co-Founder and (then) Vice President Lewis Ashmore.[3] Hensley served as the minister of the congregation and President of the Board of Directors until his death in 1999, at which time there were many independent branches of the ULC worldwide. They took out their first advertisement in FATE magazine to reach the metaphysical community.[3] The Modesto congregation grew rapidly. The Church spread throughout the West Coast, and today claims to have congregations located all over the United States and parts of Canada and many other parts of the world. The organization also states it has a membership of 22 million ULC ministers worldwide.

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