Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Nice little Hales exclusive brethren chaps promoting their family destroying toxic cult in the shadow of Windsor castle



Hello my name is Matthew

On Home & School

I’m aged twenty-two and have lived in Western Sydney all my life. It’s quite a cosmopolitan area with numerous different nationalities. A large Indian community have moved into the area in the last decade which has changed the nature of the suburb quite substantially. The shopping strip, for instance, has a large number of Indian and Sri Lankan stores now, which makes it much more interesting than it used to be.

I went to school at Wentworthville primary school for seven years, a relatively small local public school with a mix of nationalities and quite a few ESL students in the school, so it was an interesting experience to come in contact with numerous different cultures and nationalities.

After finishing primary school I went to MET school, which is our local community Brethren school at Meadowbank for six years. I certainly enjoyed that, learnt a lot, and came out with some good HSC results which is a credit to the quality teachers and small class sizes we enjoyed at MET.

I took on thirteen units in the HSC which is probably a little excessive in hindsight but I enjoyed the challenge. I had started doing accounting certificate III during year 11 and 12 and thought I should see that through to completion, so I finished the advanced diploma of accounting through OTEN which is the distance education version of TAFE. I chose that because it fitted in with my lifestyle as I wanted to work full-time whilst studying.

Having done that, I was able to gain my tax agent registration at the age of nineteen. Following that I’ve been doing further studies with University of New England and with the Tax Institute of Australia. I selected the University of New England again as it suited my preferred lifestyle of working and studying at the same time, made possible with their online education delivery program.

On Family

Both my parents grew up in Sydney in the Brethren Church. All of my grandparents were born into families in our Church, as well as several of my great-grandparents from various parts of the world, New Zealand, Australia and UK predominantly. My surname is actually Swedish. My grandfather’s grandfather was born in Gothenburg Sweden where we have members to this day.

I have one twin brother, but no other siblings. We’ve tended to do everything together as we’ve always been very close to each other, being twins, and had similar interests so it is no surprise that he also works in the accounting field.

My parents gave us a very good upbringing; I’d have to put that to their commendation. They were very generous; my brother and I were probably spoilt.

There were lots of other children in the area, both within our church and in the broader community at school that I used to know well and talk to. A lot of them have gone different ways since, those that I went to primary school with, but I do occasionally bump into them still, and reflect on happy times in our childhood.

On Work

I work as an accountant at a larger accountancy firm.. I initially did work experience at a local accountancy practice while I was doing my accounting module in the HSC in year 11 and 12, which is how I got a job there after I finished school. I worked there for just over two years, and then the firm sold out to UBT in January 2011, and I’ve worked here ever since.

I got my own tax agent registration when I was nineteen years old, so I could set up on my own practice if I wanted to, but I see that as a long-term goal as I feel I’d like to gain a few more skills working in this business first.

I really enjoy being able to relate to lots of businesses, small and medium. We don’t really get into the large-scale corporations but I enjoy working with smaller businesses where you can actually talk to the owners and help them grow their own business.

There’s nothing more satisfying than us being able to help a client do better, either by tax-saving through a structure or a superannuation fund, or merely just giving advice, helping with forecasts to actually get them out of trouble or make their business do better. That’s a good outcome for both of us obviously, and helps build good relationships.

On Travel

I’ve travelled widely around Australia and visited many of our churches and attended their services in different parts of Australia. I’ve been privileged to do a bit of travelling overseas and have visited five countries outside Australia and thoroughly enjoyed meeting people and seeing the sights.

I enjoy relating to different ways of life apart from our city lifestyle here; seeing how others that might have a farming background or a rural background of some sort get by.

My most recent trip was to South America at the start of this year. I went to Argentina with my brother. We also briefly called into Chile, which was interesting. Flying into Santiago in Chile, through the mountains, is very scenic. The city has relatively tall buildings, but they fade into insignificance compared to the enormous Andes mountain range rising up behind them. The tallest mountain in the range, Mount Aconcagua, is, I think, over 6,000 metres high. So when you’re flying in, the plane does a very fast descent to reach the airport from high altitude.

It actually started as a work trip as there was a short-term accounting project that we had to work on. The Spanish was a bit of a challenge… now we sort of know Spanish financial terminology but we can’t actually make any dinner table conversation! We can talk to you about the debitos and creditos, but not much more than that.

Just experiencing the whole way of life and community and seeing what hardships some persons endure was so interesting, we just don’t normally get to see that. The state of the infrastructure is certainly quite eye-opening as well, not that we want to criticise the government as such, but there obviously is a need for improvement in certain areas.

On the Future

I’d like to purchase my own house at some point in the future, so I’ve been trying to save as much as I can. I haven’t wanted to break that pattern of full-time work, so my studies of late have been by correspondence.

The Sydney property market seems to be going through the roof at the moment, but interest rates thankfully haven’t crept up so high. I’d like to save a little bit more so I can get something in a better area to start with, rather than having to move multiple times up the ladder. I am quite content at home with my parents while they’re prepared to put up with me. But I reckon in the next twelve to twenty-four months I’ll be looking to make a move.

I do plan to marry at some point but it’s a question of meeting the right person at the right time…! There may be a perception that things like that are arranged in our Church, it’s certainly not the case; it’s a matter of arranging it yourself!

On the Brethren Church

Church members do have a quite a bit to do with each other, particularly at church meetings and so on, so there’s plenty of scope to meet different people, and get to know them.

Initially I was a member of the Brethren Church because I was born into it but I certainly wouldn’t be anywhere else. I value the strong Christian culture that’s come down to us from the early beginnings in the 1820s, particularly the holding of the Lord’s Supper (Communion)each week. You might say, well, someone told you to say that. But, no, they haven’t, I say that genuinely based on my experience. We have very strong family values, there’s very little in the way of family breakup. Divorces are very seldom heard of. Children typically grow up within families, and stay there until they commence their own household. There are obviously exceptions, but that is typically the model that we like to follow, and in my opinion there’s no better way to bring up a family.

Amongst our community there’s always someone to go to if you need help about anything, whether it be spiritual, physical, moral or financial, and really any aspect of life. There’s a sense of trust we have of one another and we would freely have other community members into our house, someone you’d never met before from the other side of the world you could give them a bed for the night. That works in both directions. I’ve done it myself; stayed in Brethren households in different countries around the world; some that I’ve never met or heard of before but I have always had a very good time.

As mentioned we hold the Lord’s Supper every week, which I find very enjoyable and strengthening and I certainly don’t like to miss it. All members are encouraged to attend this service from the youngest through to the oldest, and these occasions are generally very well attended.

We attend church every day. I find it quite invigorating after a hard day’s work to go and have a brief pithy Bible reading at one of our church halls in the evening. Typically these only go for half an hour or forty-five minutes, so you’ve still got plenty of time to do other things.

I am very thankful for what our community has done for me. I think that sense of support that we’ve got amongst ourselves, is something to be extremely grateful for, and I intend to carry that on for generations to come.


  1. A couple of comments: ..."and then the firm sold out to UBT in January 2011..." Sold out - the lot of every member of the EB/PBCC.

    "...either by tax-saving through a structure or a superannuation fund," Superannuation fund? That wouldn't be one of those pension schemes that I used to be a member of and had to leave and then had top leave my job over, would it?

  2. It's no different from the words you would hear spouted from the mouths of the any indoctrinated group member - you name it - same garbage - different name - Latter Day Saints, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Scientology, etc.

    P.S. the link is not working now so I wonder if the Hales Exclusive Brethren (re-branded as Plymouth Brethren Christian Church) have pulled it from their website.

  3. The poor boy has the seemingly only further education job they'll permit, namely an accountant. For him to travel so much must mean it pays well. That's a strong incentive for a youngster to stay put, especially in an avaricious environment where the love of money prevails. You'll note of course that his visits are where other churches meet, it's as free and easy as they would try to make us think. I hope he'll realise he's been duped.

  4. Matthew’s article is very well written and he seems in the main a sincere enough chap. His article gives us a useful insight into the life, aspirations and thoughts of a young, bright, committed EB member. I wish him well.

    Two bits of the article I found unconvincing, namely the reasons he gave for choosing distance learning rather than attending classes in the usual way for both his advanced diploma of accounting through OTEN and his further studies with University of New England. Apparently both choices were influenced by his desire to work while studying. Maybe in a very limited sense that was true, but his explanation looks as if he was trying conceal from readers the fact that young EB members have no choice at all in that matter: it is either distance learning or no higher education at all. His wish to work while studying could hardly have made any difference.

    If a prisoner told us he had decided to study in jail rather than go to university because it suited his lifestyle and saved the need for travelling, then I would be equally unconvinced, though I would still wish him every success.

    I also wonder how much freedom Matthew had in his choice of subjects to study. Others have said they had practically none. How many EB members in the last 50 years have studied at tertiary level any of the physical or biological sciences or medicine or any of the arts or humanities; or even theology, the Bible, its peoples, its history or its languages. I know not a single example out of tens of thousands of members. For a nominally Christian community, this is seriously anomalous.

    1. Ian wrote...

      "If a prisoner told us he had decided to study in jail rather than go to university because it suited his lifestyle and saved the need for travelling, then I would be equally unconvinced, though I would still wish him every success."

      That is probably the most: enlightening, challenging, thought-provoking, informative, revealing, educational, wise, provocative, useful, helpful, stimulating, instructive, interesting, inspired, motivating, and poignant sentences I have read in recent years.

      It says it all - it says it well. It says it very well indeed!

      Ian, I salute you and thank you.


  5. If only the account were true and all peeblets were actually able to live a life like that! We'd stress a lot less for them, wouldn't we!

  6. Hello, my name is Mark

    On Home & School

    I’m Matthew’s brother. He’s the geeky one and learned stuff at school. The peeb school I went to was crap and I learned nothing. I’m having to pay someone to write this for me.

    On Family

    Like I said, Matthew’s the favourite. He followed Mr Bruce’s example and became an accountant. I wanted to become a doctor but Dad wouldn’t let me as he said it involve touching horrible worldly people.

    My Dad hated me, because Mr Bruce preferred my brother. He would come home from the meeting each night pissed out of his brain and beat the crap out of me.
    I miss my Auntie Dorothy terribly. We have seen or spoken to her in ten years. She got thrown out because she once used her worldly neighbour’s mobile phone in an emergency.

    Uncle Arnold I miss terribly too. Sadly he touched a computer keyboard so he had to go. He took it badly and committed suicide.

    On Work

    With no qualifications whatsoever, and unable to string two words together, I’m the new product director for a peeb business. I get no perks whatever, unlike Matthew.

    Do you know Dad paid for him to go to South America to attend the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and pretended it was a business trip!! How many 19 year old tax agents from Sydney do you know have business in South America?

    On Travel

    Matthew gets to travel because he preaches on Sundays and prays for the right things at the prayer meeting. He got to go to Wollongong once and there’s talk he may even get to go to the next three day meetings in Brisbane. The most travel I ever get to do is riding my bike to the local meeting room.

    On the Future

    I’d like get my own mind at some point in the future and think for myself, but there’s not much chance of that happening, not around here anyway.

    I do plan to marry at some point but it’s a question of the local heavies nominating some on-the-shelf horse-haired peeb girl that nobody wants. Anyway, it’ll be fun having 18 children.

    On the Brethren Church

    Believe me, it’s crap. There’s a perception that we are a close-knit community with strong family values but that’s nonsense. Unless you get to be a heavy you just get trampled on and treated like sh*t.

    As mentioned we hold the Lord’s Supper every week, which happens at sparrow’s fart when we’re still hung over from the night before. How Matthew can say he finds it very enjoyable and strengthening I have no bleeding idea.

    We attend church every day. It’s ridiculous. The same old people just keep spouting on and we murder a few tunes with our dirges. Just give me a break, people!

    1. I nearly took Mark seriously for a minute. That shows how much of his account matches other people’s experiences. However, a real EB would never dare to write as Mark does. I think his post is a spoof, but it’s a pretty realistic spoof.

    2. Hooray, finally we have proof (or should that be 'sproof') that the bike-stands that are such a feature of HEB planning applications for new halls, are being used! At least by one person, i.e. the beleaguered Mark above. Wycombe Wanderer will be ever so chuffed.

    3. That reminds me of something I heard recently about one of the brethren businesses in a small town in Ontario, Canada. According to what I heard, businesses have been ordered to provide wheels for HEB employees (this is normally in the form of a vehicle). One cheap HEB employer in this small town is providing bicycles for his employees and they can be seen madly pedaling down the main street of the town trying to get to work for 6 AM in accordance with the directions set out by the beloved cult leader. Maybe these same bikes are used to pedal to meeting at night too.

  7. With regard to your comment under 'On the Future' Matthew, where you say there may be a perception [by outsiders, I assume you mean?] that some marriages are arranged in the EB/PBCC church, but you opine "It’s certainly not the case; it’s a matter of arranging it yourself!" I wish you all the best in your marital endeavours, I really do. As long as you don't happen to 'arrange' some poor EB girl who is considered wrong for you, then you'll be right. But believe me, the effluent will hit the rotary oscillator faster than you can say "beedie", should you fall for someone considered inappropriate, and try to further the relationship after the kybosh has been put on it by either your local leaders or BDH himself. Entire families have been kicked out of the EB/PBCC over such matters.

    If your probably chauvinistic brain (it doesn't have much option being chauvinistic, given the males by whom you're surrounded) can spare a thought for the female side, here's another frightening scenario also to consider on the supposedly non-existent EB Marriage Arrangement front: What if YOU decide you want to marry Alice, your mother likes Alice, your local leadership agrees Alice would be perfect, HER local leadership agrees she'd be perfect for you, Bruce Hales gives the ok (as I understand he has to do before ANY marriage proceeds in the EB)... what on earth sort of a chance do you think poor Alice has, if she doesn't happen to fancy the cut of your gib. Eh?

    As with most things in the Brethren, you have to dig below the surface to get at the real truth: there *can be* HUGE amounts of interference & coercion in certain EB/PBCC marriage arrangements. An EB friend bears witness to that - she was married off at age 16 still not fully mature, under the then leader J H Symington's say-so, to a bloke who was quite unsuitable. Much grief resulted for years, behind the scenes... still does, I gather, and they're grandparents now. But as you so rightly point out Matthew, "divorces are very seldom heard of" in the EB. Why would that be?! ...well adding up the debitos & creditos of the situation, could it possibly be because nobody is ALLOWED to divorce except on the order of the leader, & he doesn't like to have his cult's marriage statistics ruined by a good old dose of spousal honesty? Doh.

    But I do wish you well with your nice pithy life and your eventual nice spiffy wife. Just don't let yourself think too often (or ever) of how you actually wanted to be a doctor or a chemist or a nuclear physicist. I do thank you genuinely for writing your story so far - it was enlightening and interesting.

  8. I wonder, Matthew, how you understand and justify your group of Exclusive Brethren's policy of separation from non-Brethren people.

    You write about talking to non-Brethren acquaintances but, presumably, you would never share a cup of tea with them nor invite them to lunch with you in your home or a local restaurant.

    How, I wonder, would you feel if your twin brother were excommunicated from the fellowship? Surely, like all decent people, you would continue to love your twin and act in an inclusive way towards him? I can't believe you'd be content to disregard him, refuse to eat and drink with him and condemn him to what Bruce D Hales has called 'oblivion'?

    Matthew, you are trapped in a system which impedes you in your fundamental Christian duty to love God, to love your neighbour as yourself and to love your enemy. You have submitted willingly to 'great men' whose way of life and ministry requires you to flaunt separatism and ignore the quintessential command of Jesus that you should love God, neighbour and opposer.

    Jesus was absolutely clear that the teaching and writings of the great men of his tradition were subsumed in the essential command to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself: "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew's Gospel 22:40).

    You must choose whether to obey Jesus or James Taylor Jnr and Bruce D Hales. I wish you well as you consider these important matters.

  9. Er, Matthew - that visit to Chile - you didn't actually leave the airport, did you? I'm prepared to bet $5million you didn't, do I win?

    In the real world we call it a 'flight transfer'. Hope that helps.