A well written piece sent to me by an ex-HEB friend:
If you want religious intolerance - then look no further than the Plymouth Brethren 'Christian Church.' This cult won't cut your throat like more extreme examples - but you'll probably end up wishing that they had.
I am astonished that organisations like the Plymouth Brethren 'Christian' Church are allowed to exist in this day and age. At the end of the day they are like some sort of awful reminder of the fascist regimes that the world has been trying to stamp out for more than 100 years or more. Like so many evil places on earth (which are becoming lesser in number by the year, due to mounting and persistent public outrage) they seek to control the minds of others - and all in the name of their brand of so called Christianity. In reality there is very little that is Christian about them.
The Exclusive Brethren, as they were known, before they got clever with PR gymnastics to confuse an inquiring world, were probably quite OK up until that fateful day in 1959 when the most life changing of their leaders decided that they were 'no longer of this world.' It was then that they slammed shut the doors on their meeting halls to 'normal' (evil) people and withdrew from what they term - the evil that is the world. But worse was to come if that was not awful enough for some.
Thousands of people had their lives wrecked at this point as they were forced to turn their backs on their families who were not Exclusive Brethren - being directed to have nothing whatsoever to do with them again - or lose their own families in the church if they didn't. For many - it was one order too far - and those that still dallied with the idea of seeing their relatives covertly, were spied upon and then thrown out. Into the outer darkness.
This is a world where the words of their leaders -or Great Men' as they like to call them - are meticulously recorded and brought out as ministry. It is mandatory to buy each and every one. Their bookshelves groan with the weight of millions of utterances and meetings by these Chosen Men dating back to the early 1800's. It seems that books and religion go hand in hand - not content with the Bible as a guiding force, it rarely gets a look in with the Brethren today, as they are required to be up to date with the latest from the ministry that is doled out to them for a price. Not dissimilar to the Scientologists who have a pre-occupation with selling books to their converts as well. Not just a few, but thousands of dollars worth of them.
Rumours abound at the moment, that a portion of these books are being recalled - to be destroyed and perhaps replaced with heavily edited replacement versions. Jim Taylor Junior who took over as man of God from his father in the 1950's, was a charismatic New Yorker who went somewhat off the rails later in his life before his 70th birthday. He had long had a liking for Whisky which flew in the face of one of the tenets of the Brethren if taken to excess. His ministry became weirdly more free range- even his language -where he calledthe Brethren bums, bastards and sons of bitches in the church. The Brethren laughed somewhat nervously - perhaps at the apparent relaxation of strict behaviours more than the wild insults themselves.
Like all Men of God - he died. But not before a scandal in Aberdeen Scotland, where he was taking meetings yet again.He was caught in bed with his host's wife and his excuse was that he was ambushing some whom he believed had doubted him. The effect was calamitous. Those close to the 'event' who saw it for what it was, walked away from the Brethren or were thrown out as traitors. Those that doubted Taylor's actions were cast as evil and shown the door - with or without their families. Those that lived far from Aberdeen in other parts of the world were dealt a greatly watered down version of the facts and told to ignore the evil of the men present in Aberdeen who would doubt the great man.
Within months a new Man of God had jostled his way forward of the others to take over. His opponents were immediately either thrown out or relegated to much lesser standing within the organisation. This time it was different, for this was a supposedly humble farmer from the wilds of the prairies of North Dakota. A man who disliked people with further education. He jumped down from his John Deere, hitched up his coveralls and told them to 'piss on their degrees.'
Having lived in a humble farmhouse all of his life - he too decided to radically change the lives of the Brethren. He disliked rich people or those that lived a grander personal lifestyle than his. He made a global directive that all of the Brethren were to sell their homes and go to the 'plain country' or poorer suburbs of their respective cities. In some parts of the world this was a seemingly strange and unpalatable instruction. As an Australian I watched on with fascination at this almighty comedown for many. In places like Melbourne and Sydney - and everywhere else in the world -they left and sold up like lemmings and followed the master's instructions, settling in some fairly ghastly places. But he was cunning this Dakotan farmer - he knew they would now be cashed up and a fair chunk of it would end up in his pocket. All men of God get monthly 'gifts' which they can then apply to their own lifestyle. Jim Symington applied his to his farm which doubled in size in a matter of a few years.
Perhaps the cruellest thing that Symington did was to stop all further education. High school was as far as any member of the Brethren could go. A surprising directive given that there had been many academically distinguished people among them up until that point. Sadly this rule stood firm for forty years and only now are their young allowed to do college education by correspondence or alternate means. They are still strictly forbidden to attend an actual university campus as they are told they are cesspits of social reform. And when they have an education - they MUST work for Brethren businesses. Where once they were able to provide teachers and lawyers and doctors for their congregations- now they were utterly reliant on such skills from 'worldly people. This of course is highly unpalatable to members of the Brethren - but necessary. So they will have something 'to do with the world' when they need it or it suits them. His other consistent hate was anything to do with technology (unless it was a new harvester) and everything from mobile phones to automatic garage door openers were tools of the devil and banned.
Symington of course, having grown his landholding and fortunes dramatically, finally died. And the jostling for leadership commenced yet again with a victor and the hapless vanquished - who were thrown out. The ritual is not unlike the dominant male of any species - there is the fight for top dog and the others are sent scurrying with a bite out of their arses to inhabit another part of the world - away from their natural herd.
This time it was an Australian with a shady past who got the gig. His shadiness came from his expulsion from the sect three times before - once under Taylor and twice under Symington. His first journey to the dark side was for trying to introduce -with his brother Bruce- a commercial system into the Brethren, where they could not only learn of the fiscal status of all their fellow Brethren, but get in on the direction of the 'action' as well. They would make members stand up in the church and demanded to know what they earned and what they spent their money on in the mid 1960's. Of course Taylor found out and invoked the story of the money changers being thrown out of the temple. He got points for that as Bruce Hales was his son in law.
Several months of apologies and cringing letters to the 'saints' he had wronged allowed the new Man of God -John Hales to return to the fold. But he was not a man to spend his life in the third row with the power challenged lightweights of the Brethren. He wanted his old job back as the Australian leader and when Symington took his last gasp in North Dakota - Hales was in like Flynn and somehow got his tail into Symington's warm seat. His tenure as Man of God was perhaps not as remarkable as his predecessors, but he was determined that the House of Hales would hold the position for at least a generation after him and made sure his son was slotted into the top position as he too took his last gasp. Hales Senior will be remembered for his utter tenacity at remaining a member of the Brethren and for fighting his way back to the top job.
This latest leader of the Brethren is a completely different kettle of fish. Everything he has done has flown in the face of his old mentor Symington. And his own father too -to some degree. This Hales- Bruce (Junior) is a capitalist of the first order. A builder of empires. Mainly his own. He flies the world in private jets, drives a top of the range Audi and lives in a multi -million dollar mansion with big fences and gates to keep the world out. Just like their churches which are surrounded by eight foot high metal fences and padlocked gates. And security guards when someone important arrives. Like him.
Hales Junior has singlehandedly introduced a global business system which he controls with a tight fist - milking every cent from not only his congregation - but governments and tax payers as well around the world. He finished the job of getting all their kids out of public schools - and into a controlled Brethren learning environment where many things like alternative religious studies, sex and evolution are never even hinted at.
He also - realised that computers and mobile phones might have been tools of the devil at one point - even calling the internet a 'pipeline of filth' - but he all but forced the Brethren as a 'church' and his fellow business men to get into it full bore. Now their businesses have some of the best websites you will ever see. Television which was long reviled by the Brethren -and is not allowed to this day - are quite fine however to advertise their Brethren products on.
He also did something that no man before him would dared to have done as they believed in the power of God when things were hitting the fan. He got a worldly firm of spin doctors involved in working on the image of the Brethren and they came up with all manner of weird and wonderful things to confuse the 'world' on who they were really dealing with - cult wise. The number of families that were wrecked over any of these issues beforehand did not matter a toss to Hales. He was on a roll. He even sold the brethren his heavily doctored mobile phones and computers at hugely inflated prices. He developed up a website for the Church ,with them happily running on beaches and playing sports. Twenty years ago you were thrown out for much less. The new double standard was frightening.
Several who had been badly treated by this mob winced a bit at that. Not only the hypocrisy of it but the sheer gall. It akin to telling a Roman Catholic that Mary is optional and birth control has always been perfectly fine.
But then they got really clever - spending tens of millions on lobbying to Governments and commissioners who were looking at their charitable status a little more closely. They had after all - received exemptions on their meeting halls as places of public worship when in fact - no member of the public had been allowed in one -uninvited - for five decades. Even now - if a non-Brethren person wanted to go to their church, you have to go before a panel of their priests and they ascertain if you are a suitable person and then - they will only let you attend a preaching session. No communion or any other of their meetings. Which is why practically no one takes up the challenge.
They also receive tens of millions of taxpayer funds annually for their schools where no other child apart from Brethren children are allowed to attend. And - they were banned from giving to any charity since 1959. Hales realised that they needed to stop being just a weird cult shrinking from the evil world and pretend to be leaders of industry and good fortune for the countries in which they lived. So they campaigned for political parties in the hope that this would bring them rewards as well. They raved on about how much tax they pay. Despite - it must be said that they are banned from voting themselves due to their belief that our political leaders arechosen by God and not men. It that were true- think of the billions that could be applied to other things worldwide!
For the moment - their lobbying has paid dividends, as blinded commissioners and government officials have failed to bear witness to the stories of sadness and loss globally at the hands of these people. They of course see this as a victory over the world. But the thousands of people who no longer have a family or a heritage or friends or a decent life - whom they dealt with wrongly or cruelly know better and shake their heads in dismay.
It seems money will buy you everything. Especially as the Brethren are great at taking other people's inheritances for their own use as a directive from the great man himself.
So - as I say - it amazes me that this bunch of so called Christians are allowed to be as unchristian as is humanly possible. They throw men out for the silliest of reasons - men who want to stay there because that is where their families are - and make damn sure they never see them again. Children are poisoned against fathers and threatened with the same dire consequences that are part of the ISIS mantra funnily enough.
And you get this weird bunch of controlled people who are told how to dress, how to wear their hair, how to work, how to learn and how to earn a living. And when to go to church which is daily. They are not even allowed to develop special friendships with their fellow Brethren as this is a dangerous thing that is 'of the devil'. Want to stand around and have a chat with your fellow 'inmates' after church? No chance. Get home and get reading more ministry. Fill your head with their propaganda. Especially with what the current man of god is saying. (They even have a book of rules - all quotes from the great man - which outlines every possible action right down to sideburns and the colour of your shirt.)
Sadly, being human, even though they are 'not part of the world' they have their share of evil bastards. They have their paedophiles and their thieves and their fornicators. But they deal with them lightly. Someone who has lead a blameless life but mentioned at a time when it was not allowed, that they would like a computer for their business for example- is dealt with far more determinedly than a paedophile. For that a man would be thrown out, lose his wife and kids, they would take his business and every penny they could get out of him. Being prolific breeders (what else is there to do) the child support is considerable. So they'll take his money - but they will tell his kids he is evil and to spurn him like you would a rabid dog. Many have gone as far as to take their own lives. They arrive in a world which is utterly foreign to them with no job and no friends. The young fare a little better, although there are some who preferred to end it all at their own hands.
So when we look at ISIS and Scientology and other weird and wonderful so called cults and 'churches', with acquired disdain for their brainwashing and cruel judgements dealt out to those under them in their regimes of control and hatred, they are not a world apart from seemingly innocuous outfits like the Plymouth Brethren 'Christian' church. Because they destroy people too while trying to appear 'normal' when they are anything but that.
The question is - when will those in the world that can and should - look a bit closer at these people? When will someone -perhaps one who is considering their pleas for tax exemptions and schools funding - sit up and take some action, bringing into scrutiny their lack of decency, morality and human decency? Today the world screams against those who are racially or religiously intolerant. Well if ever there was a blatantly religious intolerant group in this world, it is the Plymouth Brethren 'Christian' Church. They cut their own off if they don't toe their whimsical changing lines of control and treat them as dead. Worse- they tell everyone else in their congregation to do the same or they will be thrown out too.