Thursday, 7 November 2013

The 'seven day matter'

I wonder if any folk remember during the early 80's whole tranches of folks being withdrawn from, some for minor indiscretions during J.H.Symington's regime.

These 'seven day matters' as they were known related to 1 Corinthians 5 I recall.


  1. Oh yes, remember it well. There were loads of folk all chucked out for a minimum of 7 days so as to 'clear the assembly' of matters. It was new teaching from JHS based around 1 Corinthians 5. If you had ever committed any of the listed crimes in verse 11, you had to get disciplined, do the walk of shame, and grovel your way back in. It was horrendous, people were slung out left right and centre. Also, some quite old folk were punished for stuff they had done decades before. In our town it all seemed to be about raising historical sexual activities. Sometimes people had their 'sins' revealed in front of their children and grandchildren for the very first time ever - highly embarrassing and humiliating. If these things happened in a public place or were executed by a charitable organisation it would probably be illegal - but they weren't. They took place in an Exclusive Brethren compound.

  2. I have been trying to remember the details. I think that the "7 day matter” may have been connected to, but a slightly different thing from, the "1 Corinthians 5 issue". Both were teachings of Symington, which he introduced at a very similar time (1980-1981), so were possibly somewhat entangled with each other.

    The 7DM was based on the Levitical teachings on leprosy and was the minimum time required for the assembly to cleared of the sin. I also remember it being said at the time that Assembly Discipline “needed to be felt”.

    The 1C5 issue was to “Remove the wicked person from amongst yourselves.” If a member was to have committed any of the listed sins, they would need to be Withdrawn From (not just Shut Up), whether or not the wrong-doer had previously confessed, or previously been forgiven. It was made public even if it was sexual in nature, if years had passed, or if children (often relatives or grandchildren) were present. The statutory minimum period of Assembly Discipline was 7 days in accordance with the 7DM teachings. Under this new teaching we were told that those who had previously been forgiven, but had never been under discipline, had to endure it so as to “clear The Assembly".

    Also, at around the same time, there was a confession bonanza. I think that this was also slightly separate (probably a bit earlier) from the 7DM and 1C5 issue. People were confessing to all sorts of wrong-doings. There was a period when after each Tuesday night (ministry meeting) there would be several brethren (often in tears) confessing to something - it seemed to have a momentum of its own. “I voted at school for a Head Pupil”, “I gave to a worldlie charity”, “I watched a cycle race on TV in a shop window”, “I once described a leading brother as looking like Donald Duck” (and that one was not made up), etc. Then the event of the Royal Wedding had its effect on the brethren. Many had watched part of the ceremony on TV in shop windows and were Shut Up for 7 days. Some localities were nearly completely depleted as the majority of brethren had either watched some TV or attended some worldlie celebrations.

  3. Can anyone define the difference between a 'matter' and an 'issue' ? Did 'matter'=shutting up and 'issue'=withdrawn from? It's so long ago I can't remember! Who gives a toss anyway?!