I want to know more about Plymouth Brethren

(75 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?


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.


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.

SuperiorCat Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:54

Really interesting. Good luck in your new job

HappyChristian Wed 12-Feb-14 23:17:10

Hello. I'm a member of the Plymouth Brethren. I can promise you we're not that bad!! We're all quite normal human beings who live our lives by the scriptures. One myth to clear up about having generic problems with children is that we are very, very careful to ensure we are not related before getting married so issues with children are not caused by inter relations. Please see below link which will hopefully answer all your questions you may have on us!

eurochick Wed 12-Feb-14 23:24:13

There were some in my school. They didn't mix with the other students and they upset quite a lot of people over one thing. The father of the girls got himself on the board of governors and then insisted that any book with supernatural references was removed from the school library, including many firm favourites. For some reason the school complied. There were three Bretheren in a school of around a thousand.... They were innocuous apart from that, but I found that rather arrogant and unpleasant. And that is the main thing I remember about them 20 years later!

Dynasty Sat 15-Feb-14 21:27:19

The women all wear denim skirts, I wonder why that is? They also seem to have a lot of money. Different groups of them would always spend an awful lot of money in the children's designer clothes shop I used to work whenever they came in. They were always polite but quite reserved, I often wondered about the faith but never plucked up the courage to ask.

There were quite a few Plymouth Brethren where we used to live. They seem to have some sort of rule about not walking past one Brethren meeting house to get to another on a Sunday and are meant not to have more than a certain number of worshipers in a meeting place. So when they reached a critical mass they had to set up a new church/meeting place and the location was really important as they couldn't have lots of people walk past one to the new one. Their places of worship didn't have windows.

The men would read from the bible on the high street on a Saturday morning. I thought that was a bit tokenistic as no one ever listened so it was a crap way of evangelising. Wouldn't God want you to do something that people actually engaged with?

technodad Sun 16-Feb-14 07:40:10

From reading people's comments, they sound very much like a cult.

Also, the whole detached house thing sounds bonkers. Do they not realise that sewers and electricity cables join at the street despite what type of house one lives in.

How can someone not believe in modern technology, there is loads of evidence for the existence of my computer.

Irrespective of whether the individuals are "lovely people" or not. Surely a religion that has a communication policy that rivals North Korea, should be investigated.

Pantah630 Sun 16-Feb-14 07:52:15

They are a cult. If they were so wonderful, I would know all of my stepsisters and stepbrother, not just the one who escaped as a teenager and the one who got out later and my paternal grandmother would have welcomed us with open arms, not cowered behind a door, scared she had been seen by another member while talking to us. sad If you want to know more, ask those members that have left, there's quite a few. Son of Rambo is well worth a watch, as said upthread.

pixiegirlishere Sun 16-Feb-14 07:58:02

There's a lot of alcoholism and depression amongst the Exclusive Brethren, particularly the women. Strict segregation in terms of expectations for the different sexes - being a male brethren is great, a female, not so much.

RalphRecklessCardew Sun 16-Feb-14 08:01:26

The only person I know who grew up a Plymouth Brethren is now a kind, smart atheist who gets on well with her parents.

lisa9 Thu 06-Mar-14 06:59:57

Hello, I'm Plymouth Brethren too. Like HappyChristian says, we really are not that bad! I just thought I'd pop in and point anyone else who comes across this thread to a booklet on the website HappyChristian mentioned,


and from there you can download the booklet, "Living Our Beliefs".

It is a great little booklet with lots of pics and info on how and why we live the life we do, hopefully you find it very interesting and helpful! All the best.

CuttedUpPear Thu 06-Mar-14 07:18:51

There was a thread on here not long ago where a poster was told by some local Brethren that she shouldn't waste her time advertising her house for sale on their community notice board as it would never sell. The reason being that no Brethren would buy a semi detached house adjoining non-Brethren, as they were evil. confused

ladychristian Wed 19-Mar-14 10:06:47


I am one of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church members. I am a married female professional, working part time, and am very happy and contented. We are not evil, we are Christians who seek to go by the Bible. There is nothing sinister about us - in fact, we basically just follow simple Christianity and our families are our main priorities in life! I think you will find that anyone who speaks negatively about us has had very little or nothing to do with us. There is a lot of misinformation out there about us.

We don't have to wear denim skirts, some of us wear them because they are practical! We use computers, obviously, but don't have television or radio in our homes or workplaces. We like to look feminine, so maybe that's why we look a little different. We are not a cult - we love the Lord Jesus Christ and believe that He died for us, like a lot of the population in the world. If you had a look at the way your great grandparents lived, you'd probably find they lived very much like we do - family oriented, clean living, hard working and loving God. There are still a lot of families who live like that all over the world, in all walks of life and in all sorts of churches.

In a country like Australia, the United States and many other Western countries, people are free to practice their religion. We are practicing Christianity and we want our families brought up to be clean living, unselfish and hard working, like the Lord Jesus Christ was. That's one reason we like to have our own schools to educate our kids - there's a lot of non-clean stuff that goes on in public schools. I went to a public school all the way through to Year 12, before I did tertiary education, and I was only 7 when I was exposed to the first bit of filth at school.

Regarding preaching on the streets, I used to go and support the preachers when I worked full time before I was married. I don't do it so much nowadays. We don't only street preach to show we love the Lord - we regularly give to charities, and have set up the RRT (Rapid Response Team) to help out the public in the places where we live. I used to help at the local public primary school even after my daughter left there to go to our private school, because I love helping kids to read. I can't sit down on the little chairs any more, so I've given it up due to arthritis!

Basically, we see the Bible as the guide for everything we do - there is nothing that comes up in life that can't be solved by finding wisdom in the Bible. Sometimes the things we do might seem odd to other people, but there's always a reason for what we do!

Hope that helps.

EasterHoliday Wed 19-Mar-14 10:11:21

LadyC, why do you have to live in detached houses? I live in a village with a large Brethren community and there's been a lot of building houses in gardens etc to preserve the growth of the community but living in seperate detatched houses... what's the reasoning for it?

mummytime Wed 19-Mar-14 10:27:11

I think the reason they can often appear rich is that they avoid debt. I know of one Baptist group that did this too, and its how a lot of Indian families managed to get wealthy too. If you buy a house for cash and avoid mortgages it costs quite a lot less in total than getting a mortgage.

The downside is probably having to live with your in laws for years.

slug Wed 19-Mar-14 11:57:12

Many moons ago in NZ I used to work for the national film library (this dates me) It was the repository of all those educational films that were used in schools. We had dealings with an Exclusive Brethern community within our catchment area who ran a community school for their children.

To be honest, we would look forward to a booking from the school as the head teacher (who went by the wonderful name 'Faithful Pilgrim') would always return the film with a long critique of the film's appropriateness or otherwise for the proper education of children. Science films always included comment on the dangerous evolution theory and the lack of the acknowledgement of god. All other films invariable had a comment on the inappropriate clothes/words/behaviour of women. Even the most innocuous appearance by a woman in the background would be commented on.

I used to feel quite sorry for the children, especially the girls, who were subjected to that sort of partiarchical nonsense, but to be fair the school did do it's best, judging from the films that were booked out, to give a comprehensive education even if the children were forced to hear about evolution

It came as no surprise to me and my colleagues when a few years after I left, the head teacher and several of the other teaching staff were exposed and jailed for what turned out to have been years of systematic sexual abuse to the children in the school.

ladychristian Fri 28-Mar-14 06:50:22

Well, Slug, let me assure you that it wasn't the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church you are referring to. We only started our schools in the 1990-early 2000's period, and the principle of shunning evil includes shunning such terrible stuff as paedophilia. We believe in protecting our families, not abusing them.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Fri 28-Mar-14 07:09:33

In your previous post, ladychristian, you refer to filth and unclean things, what did you mean?

CuttedUpPear Fri 28-Mar-14 07:48:47

ladychristian do you really believe that non PBs are evil?

ladychristian Fri 28-Mar-14 09:16:29

WhosLookingAfterCourtney, I meant filth as in pornography etc. Children should not be able to access this stuff.

CuttedUpPear - we do not believe that non PBs are evil - we believe that there are a lot of Christians in the world, and a lot that have already passed away, in fact we believe that "God will have the majority" as it says in the Bible.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Fri 28-Mar-14 19:09:35

Oh I see, yes, obviously.

NiceTabard Fri 28-Mar-14 20:10:46

I can tell you a bit about the Exclusive Brethren if you like, there are lots around here, I was at school with some and lived near a church etc.

I don't know much about the Plymouth Brethren TBH.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 30-Mar-14 14:59:30

My ExH's grandfather is Plymouth Brethren. He has always lived in a terraced house.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 30-Mar-14 15:10:03

Techno, what sort of investigation do think is needed? Who should do it and why?shock

mcmooncup Mon 31-Mar-14 00:19:29

Am I filthy for having sex outside marriage, or just evil?
I also live in a semi.

Mumof5boys81 Sun 06-Apr-14 01:58:41

I'm not brethren or ex brethren, however I grew up in one of the towns in the UK with the largest brethren population and so have done a lot of research into them, I have in the past known brethren members though they are very aloof. When it comes to the exclusive brethren the hales group are the largest and most well known group but there are also several other groups of exclusive brethren, such as the Renton group and the glanton-kelley group, these other groups of exclusives are even harder to find info on than the hales group and are often even more secretive.

Some have stricter rules than the Hales group as well regarding dress, never cutting ones' hair etc so if people are coming across exclusives with very strict practices along those lines it's possible they are not from the Hales group, as the rules in the Hales group have relaxed in recent years. Which is a shame for those who were permanently excommunicated in the past for breaking those rules sad.

Slug, the group you came across in NZ aren't brethren at all, though they dress in a similar fashion, they are a sect called the cooperites and you can find documentaries on them on YouTube.

One thing I know about the Hales group that isn't commonly known but is pretty scandalous is that they are deeply racist and I am surprised the charity comission didn't look into this when they investigated them recently. It's a myth that there are no black brethren but those that there are, are looked down upon as second class citizens and they are not allowed to marry white brethren. They believe it's only allowed to marry someone of your own race and having mixed-race kids is the biggest taboo. Mixed-race members are also not allowed to marry white brethren. They also require brethren women and girls with Afro hair to chemically straighten it, natural Afro hair is not allowed. [ angry ] . There really is no place for such views in this day and age and as a mother of mixed race children I find it so offensive xx

Mumof5boys81 Sun 06-Apr-14 02:21:35

This chart shows just how many schisms there have been over the years


Quite fascinating! Xx

Beentheredontgothere Sun 13-Apr-14 18:45:41

I've just spotted this thread. I have name changed for this post such is the fear I am left with after leaving one of the exclusive groups.
My own family have told me I am evil and that terrible things will happen to my children because we have left.
I wasn't a member of the most exclusive group but have family members in there.
When we attended an Aunts funeral (Hales exclusive), we all stood on the opposite side of the grave and no-one spoke to us. There was 2 very separate groups and we were not allowed to the church service.
I have recently written to a relative of mine since the recent charity commission report, pointing out it states she has not to have any fear in contacting family outside the group. Her response was fairly predictable in that she didn't want to have any meeting with us. Her previous messages had stated that she had to keep herself separate from us to keep herself from evil. This is despite us still being Christians.
The group I left was very hypocritical. As long as you appeared to follow the rules you could basically do what you like. The way we were treated was horrible, people turning up on our doorstep unannounced to try and talk us round. My immediate family still sees us but all my friends from the group (my only friends as I was not allowed any outside the group) bar about 2 have zero contact now and the 2 that do it is only the occasional message, they will not come and stay with us despite requests to do so.
I was blissfully unaware of this horrible darker side in a way before I left and it has hurt us terribly.
Staying with my parents is awkward, They make pointed remarks, huff at me wearing trousers, ignore any mention of church and make a big deal when they go out to their "meetings" to make a point to my children.
They all give lip service to the fact that there are Christians outside of their groups but in reality they see themselves as superior and when they talk about the church they mean only themselves not any others.
There is a lot of info about them online, if you can read between the lines and their PR posts. It's interesting that this post was re-started after some time being dormant in Feb.
I should say at this point that there is also 'open brethren' of whom many are now fairly normal evangelical churches. The groups I speak of are the ones who followed J Taylor senior and Junior.

MelonKim Mon 05-May-14 07:18:48

think they can use the computers but not the internet

I find the not eating with non brethren HUGELY insulting although the brethren i have met superficially to be very kind

MelonKim Mon 05-May-14 07:19:10

not superficially kind, i know them superficially

charleneramsey Mon 05-May-14 11:41:19

My only memory of the PB in my school is all the chlildren born in the same year had the same initial. ie born 1990 your name began with A, born 1991 your name began with B.

vdbfamily Mon 19-May-14 10:31:49

I can offer a perspective on this subject as my family once belonged to this group. They were established in Plymouth(hence the name!) by a group of men who were dispairing of how far the anglican church had moved from the simplicity of the New testament early church. They met very simply, with no established church leadership and took the Bible very literally so...ladies not wearing trousers was from an old testament verse saying a woman must not wear mens apparell (they seemed not to notice that in the O.T most men wore robes!)As already mentioned there is a new testament verse saying ladies should not pray or prophesy without their heads covered...hence the head coverings. What started in a well meaning way started to go wrong when rather than follow Jesus and his instructions in the Bible, they started to elevate men into 'god'. So...they choose an 'elect vessel' who is currently a man called Bruce Hale in Australia and any random rule that that man comes up with, everyone blindly follows.In 1970, the elect vessel was called Jim Taylor jnr and he was found in bed with another mans wife who was naked and apparantly just 'washing his feet' !!!! There was a massive split in the church and families were ripped apart with some members of a family leaving and some staying.Even wives and husbands were seperated and the people who stayed in were forbidden from having any contact with those who had chosen to leave. This seperation policy continues although due to a recent charity commision ruling that is closely monitoring how charitable they actually are as an organisation, they now are being a little more friendly. My mother wrote to and saw her sister recently for the first time since 1970, but has not been invited back for a second visit! The reason they are a sect is because the leader has so much power. He is in the top 10 richest men in Australia and has a private jet to fly around the world to control his minions. Although they have recently been allowed mobile phones and computers, they are all on a PBCC network which can not only restrict access to parts of the WWW but also means they get money for computer and phone usage.They also have PBCC credit cards for shopping and a percentage goes to the church.Hence the wealth of Bruce Hales. He controls details even down to the day someone has to be buried.A few years ago, my best friends dad died and was buried by the PBCC. Bruce Hales insisted on a certain day which the cemetery could not dig a grave in time for so her brothers had to dig the grave themselves.
I am sure the PBCC ladies who write on here are the most delightful people and have lovely families.My family is one of them and I had a wonderful childhood, however, most of them are unaware of the level of contriol that goes on and sre thoroughly brainwashed into never doubting any edict that comes from the 'elect vessel'. You have to leave the system to be able to judge it and most people never do. One of my cousins children left a few years ago and was left with no home,job or family. He googled his name and tracked down some relatives he did not know existed and eventually came and lived with my parents for a year or so.(they had not previously known of his existance) His family still will have nothing to do with him. He is about to get married and none of them will come to the wedding. It is desperately sad but until they realise that people outside the PBCC are not all evil, and stop their policy of 'seperation' they will continue to be a cult in my eyes. Sorry this is so long....hope it helps.

PBCCmember Mon 19-May-14 14:58:36

In response to vbdfamily it is obvious and also sad that you believe everything you see on the news. try this link for the true story: www.plymouthbrethrenchristianchurch.org/media/press-releases/exclusive-brethren-a-current-affair-plymouth-brethren-response/

The story about Jim Taylor is another gross falsehood.

charleneramsey, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard! I was born in 1990 and my name starts with J, my best friends born in the same year have names starting with M,B,E,L,R,C, etc. etc.

whereisthewitch Mon 19-May-14 19:59:40

I don't think any religious group is exempt from its fair share of scandal, where there is humanity there is always fallibility.

I am not Brethren but come from a deeply evangelical baptist background, we wore hats at church only but could get our ears pierced and wear trousers etc. I went to school with some strict brethrens, although not Plymouth/exclusive and they were the loveliest, caring people imaginable. They do come across as judgemental at times, I went to a youth meeting once in trousers with my headeuncovered and the preacher made me sit at the back and stared at me during the sermon, little did he know I was a christian and my dad a baptist pastor but he judged me based on my appearance alone.

Now days I don't go to church, disillusioned with all the human judgement that goes on, but I wouldn't judge them back, Plymouth brethrens or any type of strict religious branch have often grew up and been programmed to believe what they do, hence the constant protection of their children which I do understand.

It's actually only since I joined MN that I realised yhere is much religious scorn out there, against evangelical Christians, roman catholics and the 7 day creationists among others, but I live in NI where we are still deeply embedded in religion, whether people see that as a good or bad thing.

vdbfamily Tue 20-May-14 21:31:18

In response to PBCCmember I will apologise for the statement that Bruce Hales is in top 10 richest Australians...I had not checked my facts on that one. Nothing else I quoted was from the papers. My best friends aunty was the lady in bed with Jim Taylor, my parents and grandparents were closely involved in the goings on at the time,the drunkenness and even blasphemy during meetings...there are even transcripts from recordings of meetings. My family were ripped asunder by the 1970 split and my comments about phones/computers etc are based on info from at least 3 young people who have left within the last few years, one a close relative of mine who have told me of the financial control and computer monitoring etc. All 3 youngsters have families who refuse to have any further contact with them because they have chosen to leave the fellowship. There is no hate/dislike, just fear from the families that they may be reported on or found out if they remain in contact with their children. If the rules have now changed, I will contact my cousins and get my friends to contact their families and maybe report back how things went.The reason we don't do that and the reason my mum eventually gave up trying to contact her sister was because the contact got the loved ones into trouble. I would never look to the PBBC website for evidence of anything as I think the whole website is is a propaganda campaign to get the charities commission to continue the funding. The whole idea of the website makes me laugh as not so many years ago anyone found with a computer or t.v or even radio in the house was thrown out of the Brethren. I'm sorry if I come across as negative but what you don't see when you are within the safe confines of the system is the trail of destruction and broken families it leaves behind and it is truly heartbreaking. I agree with other users that absolutely no church is without scandal but I don't know of other churches who insist that if a member of the family chooses to leave the fellowship or is thrown out for misbehaviour, no-one is allowed to then socialise with them.That is my main objection and I repeat is NOT based on newspaper reports.

Feenie Tue 20-May-14 21:48:54

The reason given to me 20 odd years ago as to why a Plymouth Brethren child in my class could not eat the French breakfast we were having as part of the ridiculous topic of 'Breakfast' I was given on my final teaching practice was that 'I did not partake of the Lord's supper' confused

He was never allowed to go into assembly, watch TV or listen to the radio. He would spend assembly times playing on the BBC computer in the corner whilst I pretended not to notice.

dawnz Mon 09-Jun-14 15:02:23

I was raised in this headscarf-wearing branch of the Exclusive Brethren but by the age of 20 realised their practices were not for me (refusing to eat drink or socialise with nonBrethren seemed to me to fly in the face of Christianity, plus a lot of nasty hypocritical power-play stuff goes on in there, to say nothing of 'different' or poor people being ridiculed... oh and there's the biblically-sanctioned racism and chauvinism hmm none of which I could bear to stand by and watch). Because the church does not allow dissent or debate, I had to leave - my parents, extended family, home, friends... I lost the lot. After some months of shunning me (my sister refused to speak to me when we accidentally met in a supermarket!) in some bizarrely misguided attempt to entice me back with their loving christian kindness, I was excommunicated and informed by two 'priests' of the church's decision. The children I had some years later, have no functioning relationship with their grandparents or multitudinous other relatives in the church, because of my "sin". Occasionally I have made the effort to take my kids to visit their EB grandparents etc, but the inability to socialise (on the part of the EB) makes it so bittersweet as to be almost unbearable. Confusing for the kids when they're small, too sad

whereisthewitch, pardon me if you view what I have to say next as "judgmental religious scorn" confused but in my considered opinion the REAL behaviour of the Excl Breth (they rebranded themselves as the PBCC when under investigation by the Charity Commission recently here in the UK) is dangerously cult-like. All is sweetness and light - in a very narrow sort of way - from them, until you disagree. After that, there is nowhere to go... it's their way or the highway, or worse! (They believe themselves to be the "highest court in the land" and will lie and perjure themselves and say the most dreadful things, if they believe their "assembly position" to be under threat.)

The current hoohah in the UK about some Muslim children being culturally isolated and subject to extremists in their education makes my skin crawl, when I think of all the thousands of EB/PBCC children being indoctrinated in their private schools (which are not inspected by Ofsted, incidentally: the Breth applied for and set up a separate inspectorate). These PBCC schools began to be set up around the late 1990s I think it was - before that, EB/PBCC children had at least a little interaction with their peers in the outside world when they attended normal 'worldly' schools.

I feel very sad when I think of all the lovely and loved family and friends I still have who are stuck in that group (approx 45,000 members worldwide, mainly in Australasia, the UK, Europe, Nth America, Argentina). Most of them are perfectly happy to be in there - they have known nothing else since birth. But from the outside, if you take off the rose-tinted glasses the PBCC website and their newly created PR-machine would have you wear, the view is not nearly so christian. Yes, they have their good points (e.g. EB are sometimes quite good employers).... but in no WAY is that - and a fear of upsetting any religious applecart - a good enough reason to allow them to continue closing off their cult (and siphoning public funds as a supposedly 'Christian' church). Have we learned nothing from groups like Waco? Do we only make 'child protection' noises if a faith school is Muslim?

NO Exclusive/PBCC child under EB rules for the past fifty years has been able to become a doctor, lawyer, pilot, train driver, architect or nurse etc... in fact few EB are allowed ANY sort of job with non-Brethren companies any more. They have closed themselves off so much in the past twenty years or so - despite recently being allowed to take up charitable activities to shush the Charity Commission enquiries - it really does scare me a bit, as to where my much-loved Brethren relatives and friends might end up.

IMO Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists and this (Raven-Taylor-Hales) branch of the Exclusive Brethren are all quite nasty ingredients in the same pot. An example of EB duplicitousness has just sprung to mind: If by chance an outsider should turn up to 'sit behind' at one of their gospel meetings these days, the men (women do not speak in church apart from announcing hymns) have a special 'plan B' preaching to quickly put in place, in which they are forbidden to mention their leader Bruce Hales' name. There is a LOT of smoke and mirrors involved in being EB these days... as this thread has already begun to demonstrate!

You did ask grin

JTJr Wed 11-Jun-14 13:21:45

Please don't be fooled by some of the comments above by persons purporting to be happy Christians in the Exclusive Brethren. There is very little that is Christian left in the EBs - it is very much a money-making focussed cult that abuses women and children. Many members have been driven to suicide, and murder of dissenting members (not proven) is not unheard of. How do I know this? I am an ex-member and have had my family ripped apart by this evil cult. Be very careful. James

Wikipeebia Wed 09-Jul-14 14:47:10

Couldn't agree more with James, these people are not who they seem, I was one, born into this cult and I bear the scars of some really bad men at the helm from various regimes. Mental scars.

Roussette Wed 09-Jul-14 15:58:48

Is it really much different to freemasonry? That's based on religion, it includes its own moral code, has a hierarchy of leadership, is shrouded in secrecy (you can't just become a member) and promises eternal reward or punishment. Plus they do their damndest to exclude women and whilst PB or EB don't, women surely are second class citizens within their movement.

dawnz Wed 09-Jul-14 17:32:05

If as a Freemason you disagree with some Masonic precepts, or want to do something different instead of attending lodge meetings, your family doesn't get ripped apart! Slight difference.

Roussette Wed 09-Jul-14 18:23:36


Igggi Sat 19-Jul-14 22:19:22

If you need to avoid filth, I'd suggest getting off mumsnet for a start.
The stuff about third-level education is really saddening, so much potential gone to waste. I can also never imagine Jesus refusing to eat with other people.

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

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!!!

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.

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!!

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.

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 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.

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

The use of the computer for the internet is restricted.

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