Friday, 25 October 2013

The revered J.H.Symington's ministry mentioning his fellow Christians.

J.H.S vol.37 21.5.76

Copyright duly acknowledged to Bible & Gospel trust. 

And a link to the 'Andover murders' mentioned;

Directing the jury to return a verdict of murder on the wife and three children, and suicide on Mr. Panes, the coroner, Mr. Ronald Bowker said: “We have purposely not embarked on the prophecies and beliefs of the Exclusive Brethren and their discipline.”


  1. 'He stood alone at Aberdeen. Even his wife didn't understand him.'

    Truthfully should read ' He lay in his host's bed with the naked wife of another guest while his poor long suffering wife remained at home in New York, too embarrassed to accompany him due to the alcoholic stupor he was to be found in shortly before his death'.

  2. There are several bits of the Andover tragedy that are only vaguely referred to in ministry, but not clearly documented anywhere that I know of.

    For example, it seems someone was ordered by a judge to receive psychiatric treatment, against the wishes of the Brethren. We can infer this from what JHS said in Vol. 98 page 351 (Neche, 7 May 1978).

    He said, “Has anybody got authority to order people to spend five hours with a psychiatrist? I don't know,—it doesn't seem right to me. It seems to me that there must be a way to face that. It's clear to me that that judge is going against us. Should we just let him go until he gives his jurisdiction in words and pronounces a mad people? What they do in court in the presence of witnesses, well, I think you'd have to be careful,—I think you'd have to respect the judge, but when he orders your evenings for five hours to be spent with a psychiatrist, it just makes me burn. I don't think it's righteous. I don't know how it would be fully witnessed to; I don't know whether there’d be a tape recording of what was said. How would it stand—his word against our word? Who would the judge believe—he ordered it. The thing is rotten.”

    Does anyone know what that was about? Who was ordered to see a psychiatrist? JHS seems to think the judge might conclude that the Brethren collectively were mad.

    Then it seems the Anglican community got involved in some way that annoyed JHS. He accuses them of getting mad and bitterly opposing the Brethren practice of shutting people up, which seemed to have led to the tragic murders and suicide. The pages Laurie has posted say,

    “J.H.S. That’s what I think. Something’s working that makes the Anglicans mad. Well, let the Anglicans get mad.”


    “Well, to me the Anglican system links with the dissenters who didn’t go the whole way. They weren’t prepared for J.N.D. and what has followed. And now they’re bitter opposers of what’s required to bring reality through, that is, priestly service.

    Look what happened in Andover. Our brother could tell you. The way they bitterly despised and opposed the very idea of priestly function in shutting people up to try and draw out reality; that’s what I mean. If we’re just professors of some kind of a state church, there’s nothing in it.

    The bitterest opposition can be expected, and it has come already. These poor Commissioners, you know, they’re in a spot. They’re trying to say two things at once; they’re double. They’re not only two-faced, they’re double-hearted.”

    Was this a reference to the Charity Commissioners? Did they consider the shutting up practice and the Andover tragedy in their deliberations about charitable status? I know there was a legal dispute about charitable status around the time of the Andover murders, and the judge mentioned very disturbing reports about Brethren practices, but said he could not use them to withhold charitable status because the evidence had not been presented to the court.

    I would be grateful if others can fill in the missing parts of the history.

    1. I can't fill in the missing parts of history, but I am sure that history will not repeat itself as far as presenting evidence to Charity Commissioners is concerned.


    2. Ian, this is approximately what happened. The following was said in Parliament in 1978 (as reported in Hansard 1st August 78) by Malcolm Rifkind:

      “In 1974 the Commissioners appointed Mr Hugh Elvett Francis QC to conduct an inquiry under the Charities Act into the doctrines and practices of the Exclusive Brethren. Mr Francis submitted a report in 1976 recommending that, pending a decision by the courts, the Commissioners should not register any meeting house of the sect which had adopted the doctrine of “separation from evil” as practised by the followers of James Taylor Junior. “

      Mr Hugh Francis came to the following conclusion, “The doctrine is harmful and calculated to disrupt family ties and perfectly normal and proper business relationships. It has caused widespread distress and anguish among many deeply religious and decent people and is against the true interests of the community.” The Exclusive Brethren’s response was to appeal claiming that the Charity Commissioners had acted outside their powers in promoting the inquiry and in refusing registration. It was ruled that the inquiry had not infringed the rules of natural justice. It had been purely fact finding, (as reported in The Daily Telegraph).

      Malcolm Rifkind continued “The Charity Commissioners, however, after considering representations made on behalf of the pro-Taylorite group, decided that in the present uncertain state of the law, to which I referred earlier, and in view of the legal proceedings then pending, it would not be right for them to adopt Mr Francis’s recommendation. I emphasise to hon. Members who signed the early-day motion that the Charity Commissioners had not acted to remove charitable status from any of the trusts mentioned but have said that the questions are so special that the courts, not the Commissioners, must decide. In the meantime, the Commissioners are preserving the status quo. The proceedings which were pending in 1976 subsequently lapsed, but have now been renewed. The issues are thus sub judice and I ought not to comment on them any further.”

      This whole thing was not settled until 1981 and can be examined in “The Report of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales for the year 1981.” The Kingston Meeting Rooms Trust (Feltham) Holmes & others v Attorney General (The Exclusive Brethren). Rule and Others v Charity Commissioners for England & Wales and Another (The Exclusive Brethren).


  3. East Anglians?......rofl. Just how thick are the EB? Fawning idiot on about East Anglians when JHS was talking about Anglicans! Here's me thinking both drive Fords of a certain vintage, like the police cars in Heartbeat.