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

LarrytheCucumber Mon 17-Nov-14 17:18:20

I used to know someone who was brought up in a Brethren family (don't know which kind but they were very strong in Suffolk) and she and her husband had an arranged marriage when they were 18. They liked the young people to marry early to avoid sex before marriage. She said if you didn't produce a child within a year of marriage the elders came round asking questions, because contraception was frowned on.
When they left their family severed all contact.
I lost touch with her but she would be about 50 now. The arranged marriage and the level of interference in family life seemed quite shocking to me.

vdbfamily Mon 17-Nov-14 14:51:34

There is an ex brethren website offering support callled Wikipeebia.com
There is also a national organisation for cult leavers called cultinformation.org.uk

Viviennemary Mon 17-Nov-14 12:57:29

There is a group which help members and ex members of cults. I saw a programme on TV about them. Not sure if they're still going.

Stylish38 Mon 17-Nov-14 09:07:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vdbfamily Mon 17-Nov-14 08:49:22

Jadken, can you provide a link to the petition please or tell us how to find it.

jadken Mon 17-Nov-14 02:10:41

Dawnz, your post is helpful, and having been there for 47 years of my life I can confirm most of the things you say. At present I have a petition running and would like to see more support for it. It is a petition to our Federal Government to expand the charter of the Royal Commission to include all forms of child abuse. When we quit, four of our girls stayed, however through devious means and having the police turn up on our doorstep because they had a Kidnapping report (yes the pb's had reported me kidnapping my own Daughter) we recovered two. I have correspondence from one of my daughters claiming they were being held against their will and locked in a bedroom! One of these girls returned to us and has confirmed the Abuse! However the Royal Commission has advised me that although they would gladly adjudicate on these other forms of abust, they do not have the charter to do so.
So I an petitioning the Government to expand their charter. I need many more signatures. I do not believe it matters from where in the World you come from, just that you abhore Abuse in any form.
Please spred the word and have everone that hates abusers sign the petition!

Viviennemary Mon 17-Nov-14 01:54:54

I've only ever known one and that was many many years ago. She was a colleague. Hair drawn back tightly no make up ever, plain drab clothes but I wouldn't have thought anything wrong with that and didn't even know she was one till someone told me. I didn't think anything of it really. But she wasn't a very nice person. Not nasty but just not very likeable. Somehow I thought she should have been nicer since she was so religous.

jadken Mon 17-Nov-14 01:54:51

Stylish38, your situation is heart breaking ! I was a PB for 47 years.
If you would like to have a chat, please just say so. We will find a safe way of becoming aquainted. Where are you from. Avoid being too specific.

jadken Mon 17-Nov-14 01:49:43

Well happy christian. you are only fooling yourself. who made you post such dribble. You are all far from normal and only a small persentage of the Cult are even Christians.

exexxy Mon 17-Nov-14 01:24:55

I feel for you in this situation, however the reality is that unless he thought long and hard about where he was, wanted out and left the cult totally of his own accord ( that is he wasn't forced to leave) he would still be feeling guilty and not sure of where he should be. He would have been taught from as soon as he can remember that the EB is the only right place to be, that he was chosen, that to leave it more than likely means eternal damnation.
Its not that he doesn't love you! the fear and brainwashed upbringing has been bought to the fore by their scheming approach.
I would suggest trying to get him to talk through it with you and a counsellor, but it is impossible for anyone to understand his position unless they have been there.
The strength of the brainwashing is such that I know people who were kicked out 25 years ago would go back tomorrow if they were allowed, hence the reason splinter groups have formed.
Maybe you could see if he can arrange to meet his daughter at Maccas or somewhere, perhaps that will go someway to easing the situation
However , be prepared, if he himself has no judgement of the cult he left, Bruce Hales representing himself as Christs representative on earth, the money making machine thinly veiled as religion, the political backstabbing as part of everyday life, the sickening spectacle of the chosen ones like the Hales and Gadstens nothing will stop him returning.

Stylish38 Sun 16-Nov-14 23:07:41

I know it's terrible isn't it.
I knew all about the exclusive brethren and that he couldn't see the children, he told me early on in our relationship, and I thought that when they were old enough they might get in touch, but I didn't know this would happen.
No I don't think he has been in touch with any groups, it isn't the kind of thing he would do and he's not on FB.
I know he has struggled being ex communicated by his family, I am confused why he would want to return and especially return to his ex wife. He said he didn't realise the pull would be so strong to return until he spoke to his daughter, I think they all knew exactly what they were doing to hook him back in to return.
I have read a lot of literature on the EB and it says that the families and religion will keep trying to get someone who has left to return.
I am devastated as I didn't see this happening and we have been so happy together.
I hope and prey he will realise what he is giving up and realises he doesn't want to loose me.

vdbfamily Sun 16-Nov-14 21:27:17

Oh my goodness,what a terrible situation for both of you. has your partner had any contact over the last 10 years with other people going through similar situations. There is a group on Facebook called Ex-Exclusive brethren where people who have left this group support each other.There are dads who have not seen their kids for years.It may help him to contact them for support. It is such a shame after all this time that this is happening. The kids are nearly old enough to decide that they will see him anyway but then they risk being ex-communicated and will lose contact with their mum,friends,cousins,grand-parents everyone except dad. That is the wicked thing about the PBCC, the divided families. Even the people who have fought legally for access often find that the kids have been brainwashed into thinking their dad is so wicked that they want no contact. How awful the kids are being used in this way. I really do not know what to say to you.It would be great for the kids to see their dad but unacceptable that they refuse to allow that to happen without him rejoining. Maybe the members of PBCC who have commented on here could explain to us all how this is acceptable. I hope and pray he is able to find a solution and stay true to himself.

Stylish38 Sun 16-Nov-14 11:32:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vdbfamily Fri 07-Nov-14 16:42:45

Juliette 445 I hardly know how to respond to what you wrote. The brethren are often lovely hardworking trustworthy families..yes...but the whole thing about a cult is that when you are in it,you are unaware it is controlling you and with the PBCC more or less every member has been born into it and genuinely know no different. The only people who can genuinely tell you what they are really like as an 'organisation' are people who have left, and there have been a few on this thread. It is all well and good to say that people should just get on with their lives but they lose EVERYTHING. Family,job,financial support,home,all their friends. Can you even imagine that. Some people are asked to leave because maybe they challenged a view of Bruce Hales.These people are allowed no contact with their wives or children By the time they have fought legal cases,their children have been told they are evil and they must not speak to them, so even if they gain 'access' via court system,it is very strained.
They are having a big PR drive at the moment in the UK as they were threatened with losing their charitable status.That is why they have a big shiny website(many people were 'withdrawn from' for even having a computer in the house in the past) and why they have set up emergency teams for when there is a local crisis of some kind. If you go back just a few years none of these things happened.
The reason alcoholism is a big problem is because drinking spirits is actively encouraged,even in kids as young as 12/13 (especially boys) and it is often whisky. This has become more of an issue as when my parents left in 1970 they did not drink at all and many of their generation are quite anti drink.
I believe that now they have agreed to certain things to ensure they remain a charity, that we will see more legal challenges over the next few years as ex members gather evidence of how badly they are being treated.

dawnz Fri 07-Nov-14 10:47:58

The OP has got more than they bargained for when asking for succinct information on here lol, but 'worldlies' who do come into contact with Hales EB/PBCC members are usually quite curious, so I hope I'm not straying into AIBY territory by saying lots a bit more. It's probably now obvious why the Wikipedia article the OP consulted seemed rather "word dense" - it's kinda complicated once you start looking at this group, which appears initially to be so similar to other Brethren groups or even mainstream religion... but when one begins to get an understanding of how strict and devastating the Raven-Taylor-Hales EB separation practices are, it becomes clearer why those differences are kind of worth enumerating. Perhaps because we're human, the thought of a so-called Christian refusing to have a cuppa let alone a meal let alone open their home to someone in need (or even just to someone wanting to be a friend), is quite shocking to most people.

I wanted to respond to juliette445's comment (prev page) about EB/PBCC people not being indoctrinated, being free to choose what they want to believe in at whatever age, and that they should know how the "rules of separation" would bite when they leave...

Having been raised in that group from birth (as most EB now are - very few families have joined the group voluntarily in the past 55yrs, hmm I wonder why) let me tell you that IMO there is absolutely NO opportunity given to get to know the realities of life or other religions, outside the EB. One is not allowed to attend Christian churches, investigate other religions, or freely socialise with those outside the EB. For the past 15-20years pretty much all EB children of high-school age have had to go to EB schools at which there are as far as I know no nonEB children, and in more recent years the EB schools have been expanded to included primary-age children.

The difference in levels of freedom - social, psychological, spiritual, familial - can be so all-encompassing, it is hard to explain either to those still in the EB who have never experienced the outside world... or to those outside the EB who have never lived within the confines of a cult-like group. Even just quietly thinking inside one's own head about leaving the EB to explore another religion (or to have no religion), involves an immediate and paralysing surge of fear and sadness and horror... because one straight away has to factor in the loss of one's family, one's entire community as known to date, plus the loss of home, job, etc. It's somewhat like considering a move to another country one knows nothing about (while simultaneously dealing with the fact you've been taught you'll spend eternity in hell for emigrating)!

Any EB person operating whatever critical thinking capabilities they may have somehow inherited or scrounged along the way - the EB environment is not conducive to logical analysis! - has to do so VERY carefully and quietly. Two things I learned extremely early as an EB child: a)The church comes first, always... even before family; b)Deceit - how to keep up the correct facade no matter what, which involves a finely-tuned ability to decipher what thoughts are ok to voice and which are imperative to keep to oneself.

My heart bleeds for people stuck in the EB, especially the children. The thing is, most of them don't even know they're stuck, because they've never got to experience or even properly consider the relative freedoms of the outside world. Respect for statutory human rights to freedom of non-interference in family, freedom to change religion (or have none) without penalty, and freedom of education... just does not exist yet in the EB/PBCC. My hope is that they will soon wake up to the fact they're behaving way out of step with society (to say nothing of acting illegally, where human rights are concerned), and change their ways. But because their 'separateness' is the one thing that defines them from almost all other religions (or even from the many branches of the wider Plymouth Breth and non-Hales EB as a whole), they seem to be determined to hang onto it like grim death.

It can take years after making the break from the EB/PBCC, for the actual realities of loss of family and one's birth community etc, to start to bite. Often this really begins to impinge only when one has children and they grow old enough to start asking about absent grandparents and missing aunts, uncles & cousins (who may even live in the same town). Likewise the psychological, emotional & spiritual constraints one grows up with in the EB, are only understood and felt gradually over the years after leaving.

There is no way one can fully know how the damage and losses will impact, at the time of leaving the EB years earlier. "Take it or leave it" where EB excommunication processes are concerned juliette445, sounds to me a bit like the thoughts of someone lacking in compassion... or perhaps it was just a lack of understanding or empathy? In which case I hope this epistle has opened your eyes a little bit more! But I've barely scratched the surface of what life inside this High Demand Group (the PC term for 'cult' these days, as I understand it) is like. The very recent suicide of a young man who was under discipline by the EB in Australia, is an example of how the strong psychological pressure can affect some people. There have been many other suicides and attempted suicides related to EBism worldwide. Personally, I am affected by what I assume to be a form of PTSD after leaving the group 25+years ago, which causes me to cry any time I hear Christian music or scripture quotes... I can usually just manage to steel myself hearing Christmas carols in shops, but sometimes it's a close run thing.
wink hmm sad

dawnz Fri 07-Nov-14 09:45:58

It varies a lot I think Speedmum35, from family to family. Most of those who do manage to have regular contact don't put their names to it publicly, as this is likely to be detrimental to the contact continuing.

Recently when Bruce Hales (Australian leader of the PBCC/EB) was asked by an EB member about caring for family outside the sect, he apparently said Brethren should care for those within the EB instead. Or words to that effect.

Speedmum35 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:48:07

Well my boyfriend from this religion. Many years ago he left PBCC and its not truth that they cant have contact with the family who still there. I met his mum and dad and we are talking on the phone with them very often.
Also they visiting us when they want. We just never had dinner together as they cant share food with us.

123Polly123 Thu 23-Oct-14 23:39:24

The use of the computer for the internet is restricted.

SuperFlyHigh Mon 20-Oct-14 10:47:13

No idea dawnz.

IIRC when they left our school it wasn't as such that our school was bad (although it was rowdy) but it wasn't like they had to stop mixing with non Plymouth Brethren or whatever like someone else said here from age 9 or whatever (as an example).

I do think the parents were starting to get nervous as one of them was very sensible (a lovely girl) the other was great but a little more susceptible to rebellion I think. The sensible one always nicely had to sometimes calm down the rebel. They were both lovely girls though really nice. I remember at our school disco the rebel had homemade clothes which got the mickey taken out of her a bit whereas the sensible one her mother had bought her a sort of trendy dress so she looked more in place if you see what I mean.

dawnz Sun 19-Oct-14 23:10:55

There are a few other branches of Exclusive Brethren that aren't the Taylor-Hales group we're talking about on here, SuperFlyHigh - the girls could perhaps have been from one of those groups? Or possibly even Open Brethren? - they and the Exclusives split in 1828 and never the twain shall meet!

Brethren - particularly the Exclusive side - seem to absolutely revel in their ability to divide and sub-divide... although the Taylor-Hales group (now calling themselves Plymouth Brethren Christian Church here in the UK, since a recent Charity Commission investigation) have been concentrating more on splitting up individual members from their families over the past 55years, rather than the doctrinal divisions of yore it seems.

SuperFlyHigh Sun 19-Oct-14 12:51:28

Just out of interest as I've totally forgotten but years ago I went to secondary school for about 2 years with 2 girls (unrelated) who were approx 11/12. After 2 years they changed school.

They were allowed to school discos, I think even back to my house, modest dress and long hair. But I can't remember much else. Does anyone know what religion they were? it's not Amish I don't think.

juliette445 Wed 15-Oct-14 18:57:43

Life is what you make it wherever you live. If you feel like staying like a soured lemon feeling sorry for yourself because you can't submit to simple things that are going to help you, then that's why this person that left the brethren took so long to find his feet.

I hardly know the brethren, but from what I've had to do with them, they are very very normal people who lead normal lives, have fun, live good social lives, are excellent in business, are honest, upright and kind people. All this rubbish about being 'brainwashed'....sorry IG I'm the only one with this view, but people choose what they want to believe in. Its their choice, and you can make this choice whatever age you are, and you can change your mind too. Come on....that's obvious surely?!

They've been really good people to have around as part of my local community. It would be a whole different place without them, and I appreciate them being here. Their children are very respectful, and teenagers are just typical teenagers. Can be rebellious,but nothing like non brethren teenagers, no graffitying on walls or getting in too much trouble with the police. I totally respect these people.

As for alcoholism, it is a disease, so of course its going to be found in the Plymouth brethren. Its like cancer. They are both diseases or illnesses. If someone posted a post out here about there being cancer in the brethren you'd be like yeah well obviously! Its everywhere!

As to marriage, I know a few from where I live that are in their 30's/ 40s who want to get married now. You see? That's not particularly young is it. Plus I think its better to get married younger! More chance of having healthy children, that's an obvious reason.

All this stuff about ripping families apart ...wow. Its their choice, and the person that leaves would know the regulations of separation so its a bit like take it or leave it!

Hope this helps!!

vdbfamily Thu 04-Sep-14 15:04:41

the sad thing is that when one of them summons up the courage to leave the group,they are so vulnerable.Their family are not allowed to remain in contact with them and they have never really had to make any major decisions for themselves. Everything is regulated.After secondary school , further ed has to be by correspondence.If you wish to do anything contrary to the general rules you need specific permission from their leader Bruce Hales in Australia. Your job is provided for you.You are assisted to buy a mortgage free house and encouraged to marry very young and obviously you have to marry another member of the group. The young people I know who have 'escaped' have taken years to find their feet and make sensible decisions about life. One of my relatives who left a few years ago has finally got a settled job and is actually getting married to a lovely girl tomorrow so if any Peebs are reading this....there is life 'outside' and lots of people willing to help and support you if you leave. The relative I just mentioned lived with my parents for a year when he left. They had not known of his existence until he tracked them down.

Dolphinsailor Wed 03-Sep-14 15:44:50

In answer to why they live in detached houses. They are not allowed to share drains with non-brethren. Apparently this is in the Bible somewhere!!!

Dolphinsailor Wed 03-Sep-14 13:01:00

I worked with them until recently, I am not allowed to say much due to an agreement I had to sign, suffice to say they are not as they appear, their working practices are unacceptable and I pity their children who have to travel miles to the exclusive schools and will not be able to go on to the breadth of careers we would hope for our own children, especially the girls. sad

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