Some excerpts on what appears to be an excellent article on the PBCC:
Inside the secretive and strict Plymouth Brethren sect in Manitoba
The Plymouth Brethren discourage interaction between their followers and outsiders, and the church encompasses all aspects of social and professional life for its members. Critics say it has gone from being a Christian sect to full-blown cult.
STONEWALL — Quietly, and out of earshot of Winnipeg, Stonewall had its own mini “British Invasion” a decade ago.
Newcomers from England started to descend on this town just north of Winnipeg that has historically been a limestone quarry and agricultural service centre. They bought homes, started businesses, built a church — all the usual stuff.
There are a remarkable number of Brethren-owned family businesses in Manitoba for a religious sect of just 450 members.
The Free Press counted at least 25 small businesses, and there are undoubtedly more. It’s not clear why members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church are so successful in business. That companies can receive interest-free loans through Brethren might be part of the answer.
Business is a big part of being a Brethren today. Virtually all Brethren work for companies owned by Brethren families. However, PBCC doctrine stipulates that companies stay small.
Winnipeg companies owned by Brethren members include Acure Medical Equipment, Officescape, and Central Dental Supply Ltd., all owned by John Haldane; Applifast Inc.; Insign Architectural Signage; Chemwest Supply; Van Extras; FRS Group Inc.; Superb Sprinkler Service; Acure Safety; Insta-Foil Specialties; Acculift Airmax Inc; Excel Interiors; Meditek; Western Enivronmental Canada, and NP2 (an advertising agency).
In Stonewall, Brethren own at least half the industrial park off Highway 67. Like elsewhere, they do not belong to the local chamber of commerce because that is forbidden. Stonewall companies include Accent Group; Mitybilt Products Inc; Paragon Securities; Arrow Specialties; Lakeland Group and Universal Business Team.
Woodlands-area companies include Northstar Enterprises and Arrow Farmquip, and North American Rail Products Inc. is next door in Argyle.
It was Taylor Jr. who introduced the hard-line doctrine of separateness, starting with banning members from eating and socializing with non-members.
The rules included everything from banning men from wearing shorts (thy naked, spindly legs are an abomination, presumably) to who should take out the garbage (that falleth to the husband, naturally).
Exclusive Brethren Don’ts
Click to Expand
- Don’t cut your hair (female)
- Don’t have facial hair or long hair (male)
- Don’t wear shorts (female & male)
- Don’t wear trousers (female)
- Don’t wear make-up (female)
- Don’t wear any other colour of shirt than white on Sunday (male)
- Don’t smoke, chew tobacco or chew gum
- Don’t use or own radios or television
- Don’t go to the movies, theatres, shows or concerts
- Don’t eat in a restaurant or go to bars or pubs
- Don’t own a computer, digital camera, mobile phone, cd player or MP3 player that is not purchased from the EB
- Don’t read books written by immoral authors, or novels unless they are approved by the EB
- Don’t own remote-controlled toys or any electronic gaming system
- Don’t listen to pre-recorded music by non-EB
- Don’t live on a farm
- Don’t have in-ground swimming pools at the home
- Don’t rent or own condos, apartments or a house that is joined at any wall
- Don’t share sewers or driveways with neighbours
- Don’t have pets
- Don’t go to the beach unless it is not crowded
- Don’t have a heart transplant
- Don’t watch firework displays
- Don’t be employed by non-EB
- Don’t work in non-EB homes
- Don’t rent space or anything to non-EB
- Don’t own shares of non-EB company
- Don’t go to non-EB schools if there is an EB school in your city
- Don’t belong to a professional association (nurses, lawyers, etc), union, or any other outside organization
- Don’t sell products that you cannot use (cigarettes, contraception)
- Don’t stay in a hotel or motel
- Don’t vote or run for public office
- Don’t go to university
- Don’t have a cup of tea or eat with your non EB neighbours, parents, siblings or children
- Don’t have friends outside of the EB
- Don’t kiss or date before marriage
- Don’t plan to marry unless you have permission
- Don’t be gay or lesbian
- Don’t marry outside of the EB, or outside of your race
- Don’t divorce unless for fornication
- Don’t use contraception (no matter how many children you have)
- Don’t have an abortion
- Don’t be involved in competitive organized sports
- Don’t visit graves of the deceased often
- Don’t miss daily church meetings
- Don’t question EB rules