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I want to know more about Plymouth Brethren

(103 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?


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:

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 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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