David John Ray

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Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:14 am

David John Ray

Post by Humbled » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:30 pm

I stumbled across on TV a sad human interest story about a man David John Ray who was the son in a family of Exclusive brethren and who died intestate. The programme is called Heir Hunters and can be found on BBC2 iPlayer. Series 12.15. It was introduced as follows:

Michael Buerk and the team look into a religious sect and uncover a heroic act of bravery.

The programme features two people who died intestate. It begins with the David Ray of Hastings story which is the bit looking at a religious sect then abruptly switches to another person who is in no way connected but involved in the act of bravery and then returns to the the David Ray story. Rebecca Stott is interviewed. Those of us who were brought up in the the Exclusive Brethren would probably reach other conclusions than the Heir Hunters . I will add no more about David Ray so as not to spoil this interesting but sad story to any members interested.

I found it interesting as it gave me a reminder and a glimpse of the Brethren when I was a boy in the early 50’s. I know that some folks hold the view that the Brethren were a very Godly community which was abruptly and irrevocably changed when Big Jim appeared on the scene and moved away from the so called truth. Others take a view which I favour that in fact his leadership introduced policies which were a natural progression from the trajectory installed by previous leaders. Whatever the truth is in these opposing views this glimpse reminds me of some hard line legal people who formed part but not all of the congregation many of whom I think became the driving forces of the policies adopted after 1959.

Perhaps some of you will remember this family in Hastings

Jill Mytton
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:02 pm

Re: David John Ray

Post by Jill Mytton » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:54 pm

Hello David
I just wanted to support your view "Others take a view which I favour that in fact his leadership introduced policies which were a natural progression from the trajectory installed by previous leaders"

I have frequently made this point along with the point that in some localities such as the one where i grew up some of the restrictive policies were already in force along with the frightening preaching of hell fire and eternal damnation.

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

Re: David John Ray

Post by Ian McKay » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:50 am

Some of the nastiness of Exclusive Brethrenism existed even in Darby’s time. There were examples of extreme sectarianism, malicious gossip, cruel control methods, blind ignorant dogmatism and jockeying for power among rival would-be leaders. Various authors at the time commented on it.

For example. Spurgeon wrote, “I know indeed of no sect or denomination so utterly devoid of kindness of heart. It is the most selfish religious system with which I am acquainted. It is entirely wrapped up in itself.”

Others described how the sect’s attitudes led to completely unjustified estrangement between married couples.

Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907) paints a most oppressive picture of life in an Exclusive Brethren family early in the 20th Century.

Similar unsavoury Brethren behaviours at the time of the Second World War are described in Christine Wood’s book, Exclusive By-Path.

However, these various forms of nastiness were not universal, and were not as extreme as they are today. Not all of the Raven-Taylor branch were tainted by cruelty and extreme sectarianism. Indeed, Raven was one of the main contenders against sectarianism.

The sect has become progressively worse in many ways, but not at a uniform rate. There was a distinct step-change during the 1960s when far more new rules were introduced than in any other decade. Some of the rules were cruel, some irrational, some whimsical, most were unscriptural, and some were seriously harmful.

Nowadays, some of the more ridiculous rules are no longer enforced, but the worst of them are, particularly the separation practices and the restrictions on education.

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