Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Hales exclusive brethren 'high achievers'

For many years the Hales exclusive brethren have poured scorn on education.


  1. The implication of this post is that their children can do post graduate studies - they can't because they can't even go to university so all this talent goes .... where? And why is a church bragging about its achievements like this - on a school website maybe but on a church website? Show me another church website that does this. The mortar board at the bottom of the page is deceptive. In the UK we dont use mortar boards until students gets their degrees.


  2. 10 A* grades. Wow. I hope she does not waste her talent. She could be a real asset to humanity. It will be tragedy if these young people, especially girls, are restricted to housewife tasks when they get married.
    I think the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church is the opposite of a charity. They appear to try and get as much taxpayer money as they can for their own use.

  3. The post is at the very least misleading. The normal UK English use of the words 'graduate' and 'post-graduate' - along with the juxtaposition of the picture of a mortar board - implies attending a university of choice to do a subject of choice. Post-graduate in the UK means after graduation (undergraduate degree) not leaving school. It does not mean doing some diplomas in business studies or even accountancy. Even proper accountancy is barred as it requires membership of and supervision by a professional body. You can be assured that the authorities are aware of this duplicity.

  4. This article is terribly deceitful. I left only 5 years ago from this group, and at that time one was not able to complete ANY study past 6th Form (Year 12). Part of this was because they did not want us to gain University Entrance, as they believe university studies are wicked and they don't want any students going to them or learning from them.
    This was extremely hard for me (as with hundreds of other of these PB children/young people) as I have talents and giftings that do not fit the box of the only work you can do. They do not care if you could be a doctor, engineer, teacher, lawyer, missionary, fireman... they do not have any problem with restricting human and God-given potential - this is all sacrificed so that they can keep themselves with their extreme separation from the world.

    This causes much depression, oppression and repression... my poor mother was a talented lady with much to give life - but was reduced to keeping house, ironing shirts for their nightly meetings, cooking... it was horrible to see her - a beautiful bird, trapped and wasting away inside a cage - a cage that is painted golden, but is soo small that it traps and binds people's wings down.

    Oh Lord, haste the day when my brothers can be the pilots they dreamed of... when my Dad can be a great engineer, using his mighty mind to innovate and change the world... when my sister can be an educator... my other brother, the next MasterChef or great pianist.... not brilliant people, trapped in small minded, myopic tiny worlds, sacrificing everything they have been given by God at the altar of that wicked leader of theirs, Bruce D Hales....

    God did not give birds wings that they should walk.

  5. Most of the above PBCC article made me pretty cross, for reasons outlined by other posters already. But there was one bit (I am a child of the 1970s/80s, thus "middle aged") that really made me angry.

    Quote: "We’d like to give the above [HEB students] a hearty round of applause – you’re an inspiration to those still at school to follow your example, and to many of us in middle age who wish we’d tried harder!"

    J H Symington (EB leader 1970-87) did his level best to RUIN the high-school education of all EB kids worldwide in the 1980s. He crusaded against trying hard at school, ridiculed families who were intellectual, pressurised parents to dampen academic enthusiasm in their children... and just to finish all that lovely enlightenment up nicely, JHS also embarked on a worldwide program of disciplining minor-age teens (boys especially) for the most inane reasons. In some ghastly cases this resulted in the school- or college-aged child being kicked out of the family home to live in a shed, caravan, or even a hostel, in two separate London UK cases I know of.

    "Wish we'd tried harder"?? It was all some of us could do just to keep our families intact! (to say nothing of our sanity, as academically able teens shut in a closed world where the phrase 'critical thinking' was never heard.) This posting makes me want to swear my head off about their peeby nonsense. WHY can't current members see through the hypocrisy their leaders are feeding them? I so wish my middle-aged HEB peers' parental instincts and personal ethics would rise up, giving them the strength and courage needed to leave the HEB and give their sons and daughters true choice in education/careers. Much love to all, especially HEB girls of whom I was once one...

    1. Symington did have it in for people with a university education - his own sister was a schoolteacher and he used to give her a rough time. She was married to Burt Wyman who himself was a very intelligent man. Burt Wyman was Dick Wyman's father. (Dick Wyman started the first anti-Peeb blog)
      He also treated his brother' families badly - one of his brother's grandchildren got into a bit of difficulty and he promptly had her shipped off to an institution for wayward girls. Then when his own granddaughter went astray he pleaded with her to come back. The only people he treated with tender loving care was his own immediate family especially his son Roy who could do no wrong.

  6. Outside of The UK, we hear of children 'graduating' from high school. So is it because this *UK blog* is in fact written in Australia that we get culturally wrong statements like this from The Plymouth Brethren (Exclusive Brethren) Christian Church? Or is it because they are dishonest right down to their boots?

    What does Collins World English Dictionary say?

    postgraduate (pəʊstˈɡrædjʊɪt)

    — n
    1. a student who has obtained a degree from a university, etc, and is pursuing studies for a more advanced qualification

    So, perhaps it's a bit of both?

  7. Yesterday I wrote the following on the PBCC blog about 'high achievers':

    "Congratulations to all hard-working pupils and their dedicated teachers.

It’s very encouraging to learn that some students will undertake postgraduate studies – by that I assume you mean a Master’s degree or a doctorate?

    I wish these young people well as they continue their studies at school and then away at university."

    Today it seems that they've removed my contribution. Is it because the PBCC has a negative view of university and post-graduate studies and doesn't want their students to be undergraduates or continue to a Master's degree or a doctorate?

    No mainstream church in the UK would ever suggest to its members that a university education was inappropriate, nor would they use the term 'post-graduate' to mean 'post GCSE' or 'post A Level'. It's astonishing that an organisation which runs schools in the United Kingdom should make such a basic error of terminology.

    Bruce D Hales's attitude that higher education is 'narrowing' reveals clearly that the Brethren are not mainstream. Cults dictate to their members where education should take place, not churches.

    1. Dear Joan,

      I enjoyed reading your post, thank you. You heartily congratulate the achievements of both students and teachers.

      I am sorry that your post on the PBCC blog was removed. However, I think I may be able to shed some light on the reason.

      I don't believe that the PBCC website or blog was created to show a balance of views and a variety of comments, but rather has been created to meet the current needs of the EB. Therefore it is likely that their moderation has not been put in place to remove what is offensive or abusive, but to remove what is not beneficial for the EB. I am sorry that this does not place them in a very favourable light. The EB are currently unwilling to accept a decision made by the Charity Commissioners to refuse charitable status to one of their trusts. Since this decision there have been a huge number of changes in EB practices and behaviours; the creation of the PBCC website, its contents, and its moderation are good examples.

      A previous EB Man of God (the Man of God in the EB is a single person who is God's servant, who is gifted only to the EB, and who they say speaks only what he hears directly from God) has told the EB that university education is not what God wants for His people. So the ruling is set in stone unless the current Man of God can convince his followers that God has changed his mind, or that the new rule is not a change to a previous rule, as seen by their current acceptance of computers which were previously banned.

      Please don’t feel hurt by the removal of your comment from their site, many other comments and questions have been removed. A genuine church would not only embrace and support education, but would also embrace and support comments and critique. Sadly, the EB are a long was from being a church, but I sincerely hope that they learn enough about charity that they can become a legitimately recognised trust. I am not holding my breath.


    2. Eddie - thank you for your explanation.

      I'm not hurt by the Exclusive Brethren disdainful reaction to my entry on their blog, but I am disappointed that they wanted to remove a positive comment which was trying to highlight and build on common ground - in this case, a recognition of the value of hard work, achievement and fulfilment in school and tertiary education.

      In England at the moment the Exclusive Brethren are being asked to produce evidence that their purpose is to operate for the public benefit. A lot of money depends on the success of their Preston Down appeal to the Charity Commission. I suppose I hoped that their acceptance of my contribution to their blog would indicate that their purpose is to be beneficial, but by removing my posting without explanation they seem to have shown once again that their purpose is separation.

      Most Exclusive Brethren members seem to find it repugnant to consider building on common ground with non-members, and that makes me very sad.

  8. Ever since June 2012, when the Charity Commission refused to grant charitable status to one of the Exclusive Brethren trusts, the sect has created the appearance of reversing many of its practices and attitudes, particularly those that are seen by most people as harmful or antisocial.

    After many years of restricting, discouraging, disparaging and sometimes mocking education, they now start to praise academic achievement, even using phrases like postgraduate study. After many years of trying to prevent non-members from entering their meeting rooms they now allow some selected members of the public to attend. After years of rudeness to other Christians who want to engage in discussions with them, they now usually reply politely to emails and letters. After many years of refusing to donate to non-Brethren charities, they now start a programme of conspicuous, well-advertised giving.

    This obviously raises the question of whether these changes are sincere and permanent, or only a temporary pretence that will be maintained until they win their financially lucrative charitable status. Can such a sudden change be more than superficial? Can people’s longstanding values and attitudes really change so radically in so short a time? Can the temporal proximity of the charity dispute be a mere coincidence?

    First, the bad news. All these positive-looking changes contain little indicators that suggest they don’t run very deep. For example, the phrase “postgraduate study” looks as if it might be intended to deceive. I doubt that they mean it in its usual sense of preparing for a masters degree or a doctorate. Then the admission of selected members of the public to some of their meetings is, we are reliably told, accompanied by an understanding that if any outsider attends, the proceedings will be changed so that some of the cultish practices are kept secret, such as the practice of praying for and praising Mr Bruce. Anyone who attends to find out what goes on will not in fact find out what goes on. They will be given a false impression. Then the charitable giving, which most Christians and churches do quietly, is conspicuously advertised. That makes me suspect it is more for show than for charity.

    A friend of mine with business skills has estimated that the amount of money the Brethren channel through their charitable trusts is so vast that charitable status and the tax advantages that go with it are worth something of the order of £100,000,000 per annum to them in the UK alone. In other words, they cost that much to the UK taxpayer. I have no idea if this is a realistic estimate, but even if he is wildly out by a factor of 100, there is still a strong financial incentive for the Brethren to look like a charity. Could that be the real motive for all these sudden changes?

    Now for the good news. The way people act affects the way they feel. Any actor can tell you this. If you act angrily on the stage, it makes you feel angry. If you act charitably it makes you feel charitable. So a show of charity that starts off by being thoroughly hypocritical can gradually become sincere. It could even become a habit. And the hypocrisy, if that is what it is, may only exist among the leaders. The low-ranking members who are told to behave charitably may actually like behaving charitably. A lot of them at heart are really decent people who have just been abominably misled. The very acts of apparent benevolence will change their attitudes. When young EB members are recruited to help non-EB members, it will create in their minds a perception that non-EB members actually matter. That is a good thing.

    Maybe if they continue to celebrate academic success, or even pretend to celebrate it, it will create in all their minds the perception that letting people attain their full intellectual potential is a moral imperative, and deliberately hindering them is inexcusable.

    That change of perception would be a good thing too, and one that I would heartily welcome.

  9. You must send their claims on their website to the Charity Commission.

  10. The HEB might allow an occasional post secondary education class (by correspondence) but they certainly do not allow their children/young people to attend college or university and they are certainly not allowed to a university degree. The whole article is just one more attempt to deceive people into thinking the HEB are something that they are not. Those who left that system are well aware of what the truth is and that article is far from truthful.

  11. The world is their Oyster! The career opportunities must be endless!

  12. What a crock of sh*t! Luckily, because a pure man 'one of there great men' EB leaders was found under a sheet with the naked wife of another man my parents left and I was able to go on and achieve 2 As and a B at 'A' Level and go on to university for four years. Thank you, you drunken alcoholic b*st*rd for giving me the opportunity to live a normal and fruitful life, and pursue a career that has spanned 35 years so far.

    Reposted here as my comment on their website doesn't seem to have appeared yet, despite my positive and supportive stance on their claims.

    1. If you want your comment to show, try the unofficial mirror site from Wikipeebia at http://plymouthbrethrenchristian.blogspot.co.uk/ where real comments from real people are being freely aired.

  13. I would very much like to congratulate Victoria Atmore on her excellent exam results, it is highly unusual for a student in the UK to study for 7 'A' levels at sixth form and is reminiscent of Alistair Herron's achievement this summer... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2395440/A-Level-results-Student-7-A-s-heads-Stanford-REJECTED-Oxford-University.html

    Having had children that have also excelled in this respect I trust that Victoria has been granted the opportunity to pursue a degree. If she were to be kept from further education it would be a heinous crime, I wish her all the best in her future. ( Best wishes from a former Exclusive Brethren member).

  14. These students have restricted choices in their education. Accountancy courses done remotely are deemed suitable. Try wanting to enter the medical profession, nursing for example would be unsuitable because the hours are not compatible with the brethren lifestyle.

  15. So is it possible for people to leave the brethren and keep their high paid jobs with brethren companies?

    1. Yes, Hank. It happens all the time. Did you see the pigs flying over there too?

    2. I know of one UK person who has managed it for some years now, by dint of a certain amount of clever tight-rope walking, tongue-biting, diplomacy, and extreme caution...

  16. Pressure to confront godly criticism of their position and doctrine has impelled the Hales Brethren leadership to open out a bit, much need . They do not obey the Lord who appeals to show love to all who believe. Their display of a Manchester meeting does nothing to tell us what is 'ministered, as all Christians have a right to hear what the 'LORD IS SAYING'. The Hales secret society fails to make public what is said in their meetings, hence failing to adhere to Christ's commandment to show His glory as every opportunity. Does this sect, when distributing food and beverages with allcomers stand or sit and eat and drink with sinners as Jesus did, to win them for God's kingdom/
    No...they in devilish deceit stand apart from those for whom the Gospel is preached.
    The Hales Brethren live in self delusion and fail to see themselves, possibly, as sinners saved by grace, led to lead other sinners to the Lord and Saviour, sent from Heaven.
    The Taylor-Hales Brethren conversion again and again. Spirit of God move among them and lead them into the knowledge of God and the Truth as it is in Jesus.