The Dorking Issue

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Balaam's Ass
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The Dorking Issue

Post by Balaam's Ass » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:42 am

I was reading on Facebook about 'worldly music' and the HEB and someone posted this. Someone else than asked "What was the Dorking issue?" Anybody know?

BDH put a stop to all Beatles music. My old friend was with him for a weekend and played Beatles songs the whole time. At the end of the weekend, BDH said that we shouldn't be playing them. The Beatles were wicked and had contributed to attacks on Christianity. He also said that there was a connection with the Beatles at the issue in Dorking. My friend told me this and he'd heard it first hand.

Ian McKay
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Ian McKay » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:05 am

At the three-day meetings in Dorking in August 1964, Jim Taylor was accosted by protesters and fled the country, not staying to finish the meetings. There were several news reports about it. He had agreed to meet Gresham Cooke MP, but didn’t turn up. There was also a dispute about something JSH said at the meetings. It was challenged, and he apologised for it, and then said it had been right after all. It was deleted from the transcript and then reinstated. Since then BDH has insisted many times that what JSH said was right, and has strenuously denied that he went back on what he said.

Rebecca Stott describes the Dorking debacle in In The Days of Rain, pages 194-195
My father and grandfather would have had a good deal to discuss because in 1964 the Brethren had come under attack. Gresham Cooke, MP for Twickenham, appalled by the stories his ex-Brethren constituents were telling him about broken families, suicides and excommunications, had drafted a Bill to Parliament called the Family Preservation Bill. He’d wanted to try to make it illegal for family members to be separated in this way. He’d asked to meet with JT Junior. He told newspaper reporters that he wanted to ban the leader of this destructive cult from entering the country.

When JT Junior arrived at Meeting Rooms on his usual summer tour of the UK, he was jeered by large crowds of protesters and cross-questioned by journalists camped outside. At Dorking he was jostled and forced to stop preaching because he couldn’t make himself heard above the chants of the protesters. He cancelled his appointment with Gresham Cooke and flew back to New York furious and shocked by what he described as press harassment. When The Sunday Times ran an article called ‘Big Jim and his Profits’, he threatened the paper with a libel suit. In September there were rumours that he’d been admitted into hospital.

With JT Junior in and out of hospital and being hounded by the press, Bruce Hales and his brother John took the reins; a new business-obsessed era began.

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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by DavidT » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:55 am

I had no idea about any of that, thank you. That protesters drowned out JT Jrs words means access to the building can't have been as tightly controlled in those days.
I wonder if that incident led to/was used as a pretext for the fortress-like appearance of current EB meetings? We can only be grateful that e.g. the Salvation Army didn't react in a similar way when they faced far worse and less justified attacks in their early days.

Ian McKay
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Ian McKay » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:47 am

After Jim Taylor fled the scene, the last day of the Dorking meetings was presided over by Jim Symington. W. B. Hales and John S. Hales were prominent during the last reading meeting. While most people taking part addressed questions to Symington, WBH and JSH mostly addressed statements, not questions. They were playing the part of teachers, not disciples. Some people accused them of hijacking the meeting. That meeting was later repudiated, and a version of the book printed without it.

JSH made a few statements that some probably objected to, putting forward the idea that a servant can attain perfection or a sinless state. This idea has cropped up several times in the Brethren’s printed ministry since then but I suppose it sounded like heresy back in 1964.

I have the original version of the Dorking 3-day meetings 7-9 August 1964, the meeting that was “repudiated.” It is in Ministry of JTJr Vol. 34, and the Sunday reading meeting taken by JHS is on pages 363-384. It begins with a lot of vague waffle about the importance of obedience and faithfulness. JHS was a master of vagueness, forever using vague phrases like “the whole thing,” or “what this line of things involves that we have had before us.”

WBH had quite a lot to say. For example, “The belly of the believer is the link between heaven and earth.” (page 366). Bellies are, in fact, quite prominent in Brethren ministry.

WBH indulges in a lot of adulation of JT, but noticeably not JTJr. For example, “We must keep Jesus in His own distinction, but where have we really seen Jesus as He would have been in flesh and blood save in a man like JT? To what extent have the servants modelled themselves on the manner of the man in his life?” (page 366) and “if the servants who had assiduously followed up the teaching of JT and attended all the conferences had only troubled to go and observe the man in his manner of life, there may have been an avoidance of the terrible conflict and humiliation we have had.” and “And the levites need to take this to heart. This has been the weakness, the deficiency in Levitical effectiveness. Servants have sought to take on the ministry without becoming men like the man through whom the ministry came.” (page 370) That remark might have been taken as a criticism of JTJr. So might his remark on page 378: “Where are the servants that are reproducing the manner of life of the servant who has gone before?”

JSH was also chipping in, saying for instance that Paul was perfect in every detail (page 371). He quoted JT but not JTJr.

JTJr’s absence is referred to several times. F. L. Fowler says something vague: “Would the fact of our brother being taken from this gathering be a question, not only of what we have heard, but what we have seen?” JHS says, “It seems to me that the sympathetic sensibilities of everyone would flow together in the protection of the Lord’s honoured servant who has been amongst us.” V. C. Lock says, “Now the physical matter has happened amongst us where one whom we love is absent. Would that not raise the question whether we can find everything in the way of supply in the body of Christ here?” E. Holmes says, “I was wondering whether what our beloved brother has done is not for his protection, but for the protection of the saints, feeling that his presence here might bring damage to the saints.”

WBH uses his last two remarks to say how wonderful “these men” were. He says, “That was my impression this morning, that the Father said, ‘I do not want anything better than these men.’” And the meeting finishes with him saying, “He cannot improve on these men: He has Himself made them fit for eternity.”

Well, there you are! “These men” were so good that God could not improve on them!

Phil T
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Phil T » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:13 am

I find all that peeb speak almost meaningless. Those old time worn phrases, if you really think about what is said is babble, and nothing else.

That last posting by Ian, I defy anyone to make any real sense of it and translate it into understandable English.

I have been out for so long it is now completely foreign to me.

About eight years ago I dropped into a Renton afternoon preaching just to see what it was like. It was a time warp back to 1960, with the same hackneyed phrases. I was given some "ministry" pamphlets, and on attempting to read them fell asleep hardly understanding one paragraph. Drivel.

And this is what "feeds the souls" of the poor EB. I can only feel for them - gross darkness.

Peter Flinn
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Peter Flinn » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:22 am

I am very grateful to Ian for clarifying something which has puzzled me for some years. As a bored teenager in Care Meetings, I used to keep a diary in which I wrote dates and locations for planned Fellowship and 3-Day Meetings around Australia and, in the case of 3-Day Meetings, the world.

Looking at my 1966 diary, I also wrote a cryptic note in the back of it, as follows: “p 363-384 Vol 34 JTJr repudiated – delete. AJG, AJEW, RS.”

Note the word I used was the same one used by Ian – “repudiated”. Strong stuff! But this was a word I remember being used constantly. And the page and volume numbers were exactly the same. I can only assume that this instruction came from the Stow Hill Trustees at the time – Alfred Gardiner, John Welch and Robert Stott.

My problem was I had completely forgotten the content of these offending pages; I had disposed of my “Green Books” after leaving the EB in 1970, although I kept some of the black, red and blue books.

This action clearly followed an established Brethren pattern. Several hymns in the 1951 edition of the hymn book were expunged in the 1962 edition, including two that I particularly recall, 110 and 252, composed by Mrs G R Cowell. I cannot believe that these well-written and quite passionate hymns could have caused any offence whatsoever. Rather, I assume, it was a matter of “guilt by association”.

The crash of the System (Mark I) in that memorable month of October 1965 of course resulted in a sudden absence in my diary of the initials JSH, WBH and AFG in terms of who was taking various meetings. This continued well into 1966, when the Three Musketeers were without, in the outer darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But then, something happened. In April 1966, JTJr visited Australia. He took meetings in Sydney on Easter Monday (11th April), Adelaide on Saturday 16th and Melbourne from Tuesday 19th to Thursday 21st (evenings). I believe this was the time when JTJr decided that “the three” had served their time in the sin bin and should be restored. I can only imagine the discussions and deliberations at a high level that went on late at night. In my opinion this was a very clever tactic. Not only had the Man of God stepped in to stop all the dreadful commercialism, he could now afford, in his newly affirmed omnipotent position, to show grace and forgiveness to these brilliant young men who had temporarily lost their way. Chastened and repentant, they could now be received back into the fold. More importantly, they would certainly no longer be a threat to the MOG’s world-wide authority.

And so, it came to pass. On Saturday 25th June 1966, AFG took Fellowship Meetings in Melbourne and WBH did the same in Cowra, NSW. On 22nd-24th July, JSH took 3-Day Meetings in Brisbane. WBH did the same in Orange, NSW on 12th-14th August, and AFG became an international star again when he took 3-Day Meetings in Manchester UK on 7th-9th October. Everything was getting back to normal.

Just a query about Dorking. My wife and I stopped there briefly during our recent overseas trip, and I took a photo of a building called the “Dorking Halls”. This is used for all kinds of events today, but was intended as a centre of musical excellence when it was built in 1931. As a lover of classical music, I particularly noted the Halls were associated closely with the famous English composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams, a statue of whom appears outside the building (see photos attached). In 1946 the Halls were purchased by the Urban District Council.

Can anyone tell me if the notorious JTJr meetings in 1964 were held in this building?
RV-W Dorking.JPG
Dorking Halls.JPG

Ian McKay
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Ian McKay » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:42 am

Yes, Peter, that is indeed the hall where the 3-day meetings were held. A couple of press cuttings make this clear:
In the car park behind a public hall owned by Dorking Urban District Council, Surrey, a woman who said that she was a “deserted wife” searched yesterday for her husband’s car. Inside the hall 1,000 members of the Exclusive Brethren religious sect were in conference.
Mr. “Big Jim” Taylor, leader of the Exclusive Brethren, evaded crowds outside the Dorking Hall, Dorking, Surrey, yesterday, when he arrived for the sect's final meeting by crossing waste ground to a back entrance.

Ian McKay
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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Ian McKay » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:19 am

One of JSH’s statements at Dorking that people objected to was this:
J.S.H. The moral is equal to the physical; that is what it is to be in the assembly.

After WBH and JSH were withdrawn from, Jim Taylor was consulted about repudiating the meeting at which they had been prominent. According to BDH,
I think pressure came on beloved Mr. Jim, and he spoke of the error of saying that the physical was equal to the moral.
See Ministry of BDH Vol. 69 page 230 (Melbourne, 24 November 2007)

In the context of the Dorking meeting it was far from clear what JSH meant by that contested statement, but the Brethren followed their usual custom of trying to blacken the character of anyone who had been withdrawn from, so they interpreted the statement as meaning something erroneous, though what exactly it was supposed to mean is anyone’s guess.

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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by Moonraker » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:13 am

When Robert Stott took fellowship meetings in Birmingham, late 1970 or early 1971, he confessed to being aware of JT Jr's drink problem because he had twice witnessed him insensibly drunk. Later, privately, he told some of us that one of those occasions was at Dorking.

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Re: The Dorking Issue

Post by fisherman » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:18 pm

Possibly the worst kept 'secret' in the EB was JTJrs well attested to alcoholism,not only at Dorking but pretty much where ever he went until it got to the point it couldn't be covered up( Aberdeen)BDH makes a complete fool of himself trying to deny it and force the 'purity' issue.What does surprise me is there has to be older brethren alive today who witnessed his drunkeness and are still keeping quiet,purpetrating the myth that 'he was a pure man',but unwilling to rock the boat with their only wish to 'die in fellowship'.

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