The Cult

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Peter W Harrison
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:46 am
Location: NEW ZEALAND

The Cult

Post by Peter W Harrison » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:41 pm

THE CULT

Having spent a life in close involvement with the Exclusive Brethren fellowship, 45 years within and 37 years in rejection, I feel qualified to voice some conclusions. Being endowed with a reasoning mind, as a young man I found a way of holding my doubts in abeyance while justifying the theology and practice of the fellowship. I saw no reason to fear that my searching would be classified as dangerous ‘human reasoning’. When in later years as a family man I became a target I was shocked to find that no form of reasoning appeal was effective and their morality was hollow. I suffered the consequences of being honest.

Today, after more than thirty years of effort as a “wicked opposer”, I regretfully conclude that there is nothing in the PBCC system to appeal to. Evidence shows their consciences to be entirely controlled by Hales. This is the price they pay for the ‘benefits’ which, Hales claims holds members in the fellowship. In scriptural terms they gain (the whole world) and suffer the loss of their soul. This loss of soul is evidenced in;-
• Compassion being severely inhibited
• Conscientious promptings being stifled
• Curtailing of honour due to natural relations
• Fear to speak out against unfair practice, bullying, judgment, etc.
• Availability to carry out dishonourable wishes of the hierarchy
• Readiness to pass on slander against defenceless victims.

The above incomplete list is sufficient to illustrate brethren deferring their God-given promptings in favour of pleasing a hierarchy headed by Hales. The cohesion of the fellowship depends on this sellout. As is typical of cults the leader has profound control which is difficult for an outsider to comprehend. The leader safely says whatever he reckons he can get away with. He appears to be convinced that the divinely ordained pathway to salvation at this stage of the testimony involves being a willing subject in the system headed by himself.

More than four decades of sincere appeals from victims have produced no discernible change. It could reasonable be concluded that members have no free choice or free speech and are therefore captive.

I have recently changed my thinking of such cults, now regarding them as a phenomenon which we have to learn to live with. Such entities have their own peculiar nature and eventual outcome. Governments can by legislation and regulation provide restraint. Individual escapees may with considerable effort be deprogrammed but it seems unlikely that pressure or help from outside will effect change to the cult as an entity, rather, it tends to strengthen their resolve, their arrogance and their sense of superiority. The lack of result from the admirable efforts of ex-members tells us us something that we have been reluctant to believe - “You will not change us”. Their unreasonable rejection is very painful.

At this late stage in life I resolve to ‘accept’ the implacable reality of the PBCC culture. Acceptance does not mean condoning, it means I am no longer dominated by that urge to judge, to confront, or to expect justice. The urge to respond is powerful, but I will have to find another way, which may include exposure of evil and prompting government to address abuse in its various forms. I may even find an opportunity to genuinely commend, which could usefully satisfy their craving for approval.

Having said the above, I add that I have found sites like Wikipeebia and its forerunners, to be reaffirming and helpful. Honesty and discretion prevail. It is good to stand alone but it also good to know that one is not alone.

The Erect Vessel
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:19 am
Location: Not la la land

Re: The Cult

Post by The Erect Vessel » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:06 am

Great post and so true.
An ex peeb once said to me that it takes as long out of the cult, to get the cult out of you and I share some belief in that philosophy.

Recently, I decided to tell someone that I had escaped a cult, and he was fascinated as well as highly impressed, and it was something that 'I sort of knew', but as I thought over it, how many actually break free of this disgusting cult?

Very, very few. Some get stuck in a half way house and others end up being suckered back Very few actually 'make it' and I regard myself in that category albeit with the 'war wounds' to show for it, and much work that I have done on myself to deprogram.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to deal completely with the PTSD they bestowed on me.

The degradation of the cult has continued from day 1 with each leader getting progressively worse in my opinion. The current sham of being a so called church is quite amazing in its sheer audacity to cloak what is simply a money-making machine for a big fat porker at the head of it all.

Mind boggling and amazing.

fisherman
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: The Cult

Post by fisherman » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:26 am

I suggest that researching other similar cults( as documented on A&E,ie Leah Remini’s expose’ on Scientology,or the FLDS ) gives valuable insights that we as exEB can relate to.Removing the emotional factor of our own experience makes it much clearer to see that the EB were just another cult like all the rest of them and should be treated as such

I strongly believe that denying these cults what they claim as ‘flying under the radar’ may not release any of them but at least it alerts the authorities and courts what really going on they aren’t the ‘fundamental evangelical church’ they would like to be seen as ,but a well funded aberrant cult that appears to have used their money and their muscle to get what they want.

No special interest group should have an advantage in the courts just because they have the money to hire the best legal teams that ordinary folks can’t .Case in point:the Dargaville drunk driving homcide judgement.Other cases of child custody include those that appear to favour the EB.

As one positive note,there are a few people that still escape the EB,so its not a dead issue ,some folks are still convicted that being a Christian is incompatible with being in the EB and leave ,finding Christian fellowship in real churches

The Questioner
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:23 am

Re: The Cult

Post by The Questioner » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:16 am

I suspect that, when the current leader passes on, the Lord will 'turn another corner'. There will be some redirectioning, as has always happened in the past. Many will claim, "We are different now" (another echo of the past) and many out here will be fooled into thinking they have lightened up, but they will still be imprisoned.

Many of us here will be most unlikely to be around to witness that time, given we are of similar vintage to Mr Hales, so we'll never know. We are also of the age who remember Taylor Jnr and Symington, so have seen it all.
Last edited by The Questioner on Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ian McKay
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:04 am

Re: The Cult

Post by Ian McKay » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:26 am

The cultish scene, including the HEB and hundreds of similarly oppressive organisations, makes a pretty dismal picture and it can easily engender feelings of despair. But I think Elect Vessel and Peter Harrison may be too pessimistic.

It is not really true that very few manage to escape. As well as those who escape in ones and twos, you should also count those who escape in large groups. In the UK for instance there are more ex-EB than current EB. In France and Switzerland there used to be hundreds of Brethren meetings, but now there are only a small struggling remnant in France and a single assembly in Switzerland. Most of those who escape do so inconspicuously, so it is easy to underestimate their numbers.

It is easy to get the impression too, that our representations and exposure have made no difference, but we cannot be sure of this because what matters is the difference between what the EB leaders do now, and what they would have been doing if we had done nothing about it. The latter is unquantifiable. Maybe left to themselves they would have gone on to more and more extreme abuses. Some cults do. And without our work in keeping the authorities informed, would the Preston Down agreement have ever been put on paper?

Another positive sign is that a lot of crazy Brethren rules are no longer being enforced. For instance, out of 25 places where Brethren have been forbidden to go, most are now commonly frequented by Brethren. Many of them own TV sets covertly and radio receivers overtly. Brethren businessmen are eating and drinking with clients and customers. Maybe our exposure of the absurdities, whether scholarly or satirical, has made the leadership aware of how silly they look when they try to enforce their madness.

Another reason for hope is that oppressive cults depend on controlling what information their members have access to, and that has become much more difficult now that we have fast, efficient, cheap communications. If another Aberdeen scandal happened today, for instance, the leaders would not be able to hush it up.

Admittedly, the Preston Down agreement seems to exist only on paper, not anywhere else, but at least paper is a start. It is an official admission that historical Brethren practices are not acceptable to 21st Century society.

Don’t forget the saying sometimes attributed to Edmund Burke, “In order for evil to prosper it only requires that good people do nothing.”

fisherman
Posts: 2806
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: The Cult

Post by fisherman » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:04 pm

Again,I suggest it’s useful to look at what happened to other ‘closed’ groups,or repressive regimes ,in time most of them imploded or fragmented(brethren are a great example of that)Here In the Pacific North West,there were a group of radical Doukobours ( the ‘Sons of Freedom’) who lived in ‘separation’,preached pacivism and blew up things to show they were ‘faithful’.Today they are are basically a cultural group and don’t hold nude protest marches anymore or burned down their relatives farm buildings who ‘compromised the truth’ .Sima Holt documented it in her book’Terror In the name of God’,read it and you will recognize the same psychology...

If history is any guide ,the EB will likely go the same way ,and are likely already well down that path but when and under what circumstances they dwindle into obscurity nobody knows.The pursuit of riches is a very poor gathering point as it is based on greed and an ostentatious lifestyle,quite the opposite to what Jesus taught and showed by example,which has endured down through the centuries. I suggest in time people won’t even know or remember the name ‘Hales’...Bruce? Bruce who? Never heard of the guy...just like all the rest of the ‘Divinely Accredited’ cult leaders that everybody bowed down and scraped to ...

The Erect Vessel
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:19 am
Location: Not la la land

Re: The Cult

Post by The Erect Vessel » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:01 am

I wouldn't say I am pessimistic. Just realistic.

When an apple is rotten to the core, it will never become a good apple again.

Peebdom in a nut shell?

A bit like empires. They come, build up and then go into decline. Roman, Greek, British, American - the 20th Century and now struggling like mad when they are totally broke, and ever more coming under the power of the Chinese Empire - the current Empire on the ascent.

I suppose brethren's empire was in its glory days in JT Snrs time, the rot set in badly with JTJr and has slidden into today's sorry mess. When Brucie pops his clogs, Gareth to take over? Hmm.. Interesting final collapse I reckon.

fisherman
Posts: 2806
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: The Cult

Post by fisherman » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:01 am

If I had to venture a guess, I think they will take the money and run leaving the brethren to flounder.The love of money is a very poor gathering point

Peter W Harrison
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:46 am
Location: NEW ZEALAND

Re: The Cult

Post by Peter W Harrison » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:22 pm

Thank you Ian, I share, with caution, your outlook for the big picture.

The current vitiating reality for so many is the ongoing pain of having acquaintances in the cult who refuse sincere conversation because hearing the truth could cause them fatal doubt; whose fear of being disillusioned is obvious. It is frustrating and wearying to have close relatives and former friends who have no liberty to repent or to face reconciliation or show affection, due to their overriding commitment to their de facto god.

It is from that background that I make the philosophical choice to accept the ugly reality, rather than allow it to further corrode my remaining life. This in turn evokes an honest review of the belief systems handed down to us, including one’s understanding of the Bible and apprehension of God. But that’s another topic.

Phil T
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:58 pm

Re: The Cult

Post by Phil T » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:17 pm

The following was written in 1950 by late OB brother F.B. Hole who researched EB ministry from 1900 to 1950. He was quite prophetic as we now know.
All the extracts we cite are taken from publications of the last 40 years, though a few have only appeared very recently. The roots of this false teaching, however, can be traced a good way further back than 40 years, to a time when many brethren adopted the idea that God always has one particular man for the moment, to whose utterances peculiar value must be attributed. This idea soon reacted badly upon the individual who was considered to be the teacher for the moment, and in course of time he was incited to put forth novel things in an unbalanced way. These unbalanced teachings were hailed as new light by his followers. And so the process developed and enlarged until the teacher for the moment became invested with almost papal authority by his admirers.

The evil fruits of this movement are becoming increasingly plain. Teachings false to the vital fundamentals of our holy faith are being promulgated, and the end is not yet. Let us be warned. Scripture exhorts us to “shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Tim. 2:16).
My bold. From 1950 and before, nothing has changed. Though to be fair there were many godly brethren who faithfully preached the gospel of the grace of God. (My wife and I left as young married couple in 1962 after numerous visits by kind and sincere men who were genuinely concerned. One of these later left after 1970.)

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