I want to know more about Plymouth Brethren

(92 Posts)
onetiredmummy Thu 29-Aug-13 11:10:33

I'm curious about the Plymouth Brethren, there is a meeting place near my home & I often see families with the females wearing headscarves & I know nothing about this branch of belief at all.

I've tried Wikipedia but its very word dense & I can't get the entire page on my phone (computer is broken).

Is there anyone who can give me some info on the Brethren, just some main points of the religion & what its all about please, purely for my own interest?

smile

Bunbaker Thu 29-Aug-13 11:34:28

I used to go to school with some Christian Brethrens. At the time (1970s) they weren't allowed to take part in assembly or allowed to eat lunch with us. They didn't have TVs or radio and never went to the cinema. I invited one to a birthday party but she wasn't allowed to come because we had a radio in the house.

I used to work for a company in the 1990s who had a large number of Brethren customers. They didn't believe in modern technology - no fax machines or computers, they didn't wear ties and refused to accept tea/coffee if visiting the company. They wouldn't use credit cards or ATMs and held a deep mistrust of barcodes on products.

They were lovely people and always treated people respectfully. They always paid their bills on time.

I have no idea if they still hold ant modern technology beliefs these days though.

onetiredmummy Thu 29-Aug-13 11:50:36

Ah, so possibly not many on an internet forum then grin

Thanks Bunbaker smile

SunshineBossaNova Thu 29-Aug-13 11:52:52

I used to live in a town where there were Brethren.

AFAIK the music rule still applies. Women and girls don't cut their hair, wear long skirts and scarves to cover part of their hair. Men proselytise - I used to see them preaching in town at lunchtime.

Someone I know worked for them briefly. He's a designer, and was delighted to be able to use pens and paper to make his designs because there were no computers and therefore no CAD programmes.

Rooners Thu 29-Aug-13 12:09:25

I'm not sure if ours are Plymouth or another sort of Brethren but they are super people - they run a shop here which has been going for many years, since I was a girl anyway <old> and only the last month they have gone trade only - so I can't go in there for chats about chickens and wood and brackets any more.

I have to confess I have laughed in private about their plaque on the wall which entreats customers not to blaspheme on the premises, it is quite serious, and I am a gobshite, but really I have utter respect for them and I have seen them speaking their gospel in town too, and they look extremely embarrassed and I always take a leaflet and smile.

Lovely, honest, funny and kind people from all I know. I think that's how they are taught to behave and so they do. The teenage girls always look a little less chuffed though I have to say.

AnythingNotEverything Thu 29-Aug-13 12:11:57

I believe (and would happily be corrected) that they always live in detached houses, because they cannot share electricity or plumbing supplies.

I also think they only eat "with their own kind" IYSWIM.

There a quite a few living near us, apparently because the local high school offers a separate dining room for them, and there are a lot of reasonably priced detached properties.

Really interested to know more!

Rooners Thu 29-Aug-13 12:15:15

Oh that reminds me. I asked once in the shop if they celebrate (it was almost Christmas and I didn't want to say the wrong thing) and he said, with a massive smile,

'Every weekend! We all get together on a Sunday for a celebration'.

I thought that was lovely.

mignonette Thu 29-Aug-13 12:16:33

Watch 'Son Of Rambow' and that'll tell you all you need to know wink...

Another recommendation for Son of Rambow here.

There used to be Plymouth Brethren children at our very small village primary school. Tbh it was a bit of a pain trying to accommodate them eating lunch separately from everyone else as we honestly didn't have another room available.

On school trips they would eat their lunch in the HT's car, as they couldn't eat wherever the other children were. She was usually quietly seething at the food mess left over the seats etc.

Try this website

BBC Religions website

Should have said that Exclusive Brethren are more Exclusive thand Plymouth Brethren but you get the drift!

raisah Sat 31-Aug-13 04:28:21

My old chiropractor used to treat a lot of Plymouth Bretheren for inherited health problems. He said that they suffer from a lot of genetic conditions because they reproduce from a very limited gene pool.

sarahtigh Sat 31-Aug-13 22:04:18

there are just brethren which are quite similar to baptists tend to be evangelical conservative and believe bible to be literal and are young earth creationists but happily eat etc with everyone else have computers, ipads TV's etc
plymouth brethren which are stricter but still mix a bit but more conservative with dress, technology etc, do not generally marry out but would not ostracize for doing so
and exclusive brethren which really do not mix with the rest of the world at all unless strictly necessary, ostracizing family members that leave etc.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 31-Aug-13 22:16:12

I know a bit as there are a lot in my hometown.

The women all have very long hair and outdoors will always wear a very small triangular covering or a large flower on their head. The women don't wear trousers.

There is a Plymouth brethren only school in town. My mum is a teacher and got a job there. She walked out before the end of the first day. Ill have to ask her why, it was 20 years ago.

I have known some have babies with genetic health problems. Also where I worked when some were there they asked for the radio to be turned off while they were there. They shouldn't be in the room as a radio they said.

I have been inside a Plymouth brethren house, some years ago but I seem to remember they had a tv. So maybe some are more strict than others.

I believe the women stay in bed for 14 days after giving birth.

mummytime Sat 31-Aug-13 22:40:21

There are a lot of Brethern who are neither exclusive or Plymouth. They are really just very Calvinist Christian. You wouldn't know except, they may look a bit more old fashioned, tend to be very serious about their faith, and women may wear head scarves still on Sunday (some meeting halls used to have spare hats for visiting women).
However they do (unlike the exclusive) use computers (I knew one who worked in IT), women are educated (I knew a few at Uni and at least one Doctor), don't have massive families (3 kids is quite normal), do mix with others, definitely eat with others etc. etc.

mymatemax Sat 31-Aug-13 22:55:57

There is a large Plymouth bretheren community locally.
they are generally lovely, kind generous, happy people.

The children attend the local schools until about 9yr old when they move on to their own faith school.
They do not eat with the other children at school but eat in a classroom.
The parents are very supportive of the primary schools and many of them volunteer as classroom helpers
Possibly a bit of a generalisation but the children are all very well behaved & most of them very able academically.
Most of them do not have televisions at home but they are allowed to watch programmes etc & use the computers at school
They take part in assemblies if there is no religious content, at which time one of the teachers gives one of the older children the nod & all the Bretheren children leave the room.
They take part in all school trips & plays etc but only if they take part during school hours.
They don't socialise with non-bretheren outside of work/school.

They like a drink & are wonderful employers as they are very community & family centred and would never expect an employee to put work before family needs.
They have their own distinct dress code.
What goes on in their meeting rooms I have no idea but our local community is certainly much nicer for having the Plymouth Bretheren amongst us.

raisah Sun 01-Sep-13 22:29:54

Genuine question,what is the reason for separate eating? Do the Plymouth Bretheren follow a particular diet or have certain rituals around food?

mymatemax Sun 01-Sep-13 22:39:28

not that i'm aware of on a school trip for example one or two of the bretheren parents will come along & all the bretheren children will eat together with them. Sometimes its only 5 ft away in a park, no physical divide just not together IYKWIM.
I've often wondered why.

Sir Edmund Gosse wrote a book called 'Father and Son' about his upbringing in a Plymouth Brethren household. It is a great book.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_and_Son_%28book%29

Not sure how correct the book is! Wickepeida says..
"Although Edmund Gosse prefaces the book with the claim that the incidents described are sober reality,[3] a modern biography of Philip Henry Gosse by Ann Thwaite[4] presents him not as a repressive tyrant who cruelly scrutinized the state of his son's soul but as a gentle and thoughtful person of "delicacy and inner warmth," much unlike his son's portrait. Biographer and critic, D. J. Taylor described the latter as "horribly partial" and noted that "the supposedly sequestered, melancholic pattern of [Edmund] Gosse's London and Devonshire childhood is repeatedly proved to have contained great affection, friends, fun and even light reading." [5]"

Pantone363 Mon 02-Sep-13 00:44:21

We had some at our school.

I asked one of the mums once about the eating thing...she looked very apologetic and mumbled something about them not being allowed to eat with the 'evil'....But she was just like everyone else has said lovely and helped out at the school all the time. The kids were very polite and courteous.

I went into the foundation class as a helper and when they had snack the brethren children just turned around in the snack circle so they were facing out!

All the brethren kids left assembly for prayers and didn't take part in any xmas/easter stuff either.

Lighthousekeeping Mon 02-Sep-13 01:05:00

Are they like The Amish?

1944girl Mon 02-Sep-13 01:30:58

I have a friend of many years standing who is a member of the Brethren. It must be one of the less stricter sects she belongs to as she always appears to be ''normal'' when away from the church.
By that I mean she wears make up and trousers like the rest of us.Once, when I first knew her her, she told me that there are members of the Brethren who are very strict and never watch TV or radio, which her family do, women who don't wear high heels or cut their hair. She has never drank or smoked, and only goes to the cinema if the film is of a religious nature.She met her husband through the Brethren, and their children, and now grandchildren are all brought up in it.She was, and still remains, a very good friend although I only see her now once a year when we have our re-union-we were student nurses together.
I only remember one moment when she felt awkward.A group of us student nurses went to a local dance hall (this was in the 60s, when dance halls were popular), and she came with us.However, when we got to the venue, she suddenly refused to join in with the crowd and sat in the corner on her own.She later explained that she was forbidden by her church to go to such places as they were sinful and got a very big guilt feeling in case her parents found out.She is a very nice, sincere person and only came with us so not to appear unfriendly.I think she struggled alot with the Brethren rules but has managed to keep them as her religious faith is important to her.

Twiddlebum Mon 02-Sep-13 05:25:05

As bad as this sounds the only thing I know for sure about the Plymouth brethren is that they make fantastic cakes!!! (We live in Plymouth) they have cake stalls to raise funds and their cakes are exceptional!! gringrin

DancesWithWoolEnPointe Mon 02-Sep-13 08:40:58

We'll I'm starting work at one of the Exclusive Brethen schools this week - so I can give you the inside scoop after that wink - I hope my experience is better than Beaver's mums!

The are not allowed to socialise outside of their community, and eating is considered socialising, hence all the issues although as far as I'm concerned it is fantastic as I don't have to do break or lunch duty

DancesWithWoolEnPointe Mon 02-Sep-13 08:43:13

We'll I'm starting

Well, not we'll, clearly. Fear not, I'm not an English teacher.

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