Thursday, 9 January 2014

A public statement issued today by the Noble Baroness Berridge


Charity Commission forces a detrimental religion to change its ways

The Charity Commission should be commended for their hard work, as the first statutory authority to put on public record there were elements of detriment and harm which emanated from the doctrines and practices of the (Exclusive)Brethren...” (EB but also known at the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church) Any assertion that the Charity Commissionin considering this matter has an anti-Christian agenda or biasis ill founded and unfair.   The revelations of the currentbehaviour of the Exclusive Brethren outlined in this decision[inter alia: severing all ties with family members who leave the brethren, forbidding former members to attend funerals of relatives, discipline of members which involves physical separation from their family members, exercising such control over all aspects of the life of members which restricts any freedom of choice] should be condemned by all Christians.   Iwant to stress that this religion is not one I recognise as Christian.


It has been a privilege to assist many former members of the Exclusive Brethren as they have taken the difficult step of telling their story.  As the Commission’s decision will be reviewed in a year I would warmly encourage anybody who has been separated from family members who remain withinthe Exclusive Brethren, to re-establish contact and report any concerns to the Commission.  Should any currenmemberwish to leave they can be reassured that the EB have had to give explicit and binding undertakings to give reasonable assistance to anyone seeking to do so I recognise that those harmed by their experience of the EB may be disappointed by today’s decision and may have relevant standing to appeal the decision.  However, the grave concerns of the Charity Commission should not be underestimated as they have required the EB to agree to a “faith in practice” document and it is remarkable for them to require a religious group to, in effect, alter its practice and doctrine to qualify for charitable status.   I am confident that the Commission will regulate the EB to ensure that their conduct is, in fact, charitable.


Unless the decision is appealed, the issue now falls to be considered by HMRC and anyone with any relevantinformation concerning the financial affairs of EB charitable trusts, educational trusts or businesses should forward this to them.

I remain keen to support those who feel that their lives have been adversely affected by the doctrines and practices of the EB.  For this or for any clarification of this statement please do contact my office on berridgee@parliament.uk




*For further information on the doctrine and practices please see “A pocket Guide to Sects and New Religions” by Nigel Scotland, Lion publishers.



  1. I want to be delighted that, according to the Charity Commission's new arrangement with the Preston Down Trust, PBCC young women and men are now free to go away to study at university and will be treated with compassion by their PBCC family and friends while they pursue their university courses. Once they've taken their degree, it seems, they'll be welcomed back into the fellowship if they want to resume membership of this group of Exclusive Brethren.

    But I've read everything that Bruce D Hales has said about university education and it doesn't encourage me to believe that the PBCC will do what it says in this regard.

    I so hope I'll be proved wrong, and I wish all the young people well as they consider these new options.

    1. Do as I have done. I have written to the Charity Commission,PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG and informed them of my anger at the Commission;s decision, stressing that I have know the E.B.s long enough to say catagorically that the Leopard will not change it's spots ! Money is their real God, and the loss of Charitable Status was a massive blow to the finances, and they will agree to almost anything to regain that Status; and then by fair means or foul renege on that agreement over time. I have suggested to the Commissioners that they need to keep a close eye on the E.B.s for a long time. Their leader Bruce Hales, using his title of ELECT VESSEL, and claiming to be some kind of mouth piece for God will say anything to achieve his ends. According to him God has changed His mind about Computers and Mobile phones, providing the flock buy those he makes. He has the gall to say that "God keeps turning so many corners I can not keep up with Him" God of who the Bible states is the "same yesterday; today and forever". So why don't you all write to the Commissioner at the address I have given you.

  2. Well done Baroness Berridge and thank you for your help. This cult needs to be brought low. We will not forget, nor will we give up on the fight with this corrupt, evil, unchristian cult headed by Bruce. It is folly to believe (As the CC has done) that these charitable deeds are anything but a smoke screen for Bruce's manipulation of OUR FAMILIES. Well done Charity Commission for putting more power into the hands of an unscrupulous power hungry businessman. Ridiculous to make a decision without understanding what is at stake here. Disgusted. WP

  3. The full legal decision document and the new trust deeds are worth spending time reading. This is not a clear cut decision in favour of the Exclusive Brethren aka Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.

    - There is now public acceptance by the CC that there are issues of Harm & Detriment. No matter how the Brethren and even some MP’s try to spin that one it is in published print.

    - I actually believe the EB/PBCC have come within a whisker of going to Tribunal and having all their dirty washing fully aired in public, if it were not for the fact that the CC have managed to make the Brethren change the legal entities of their foundational trust deeds and radically add to them.

    - The Exclusive Brethren said they wouldn’t be changed and that they would not give up the doctrine of “separation”, well they have been made to change at least for now on legal paper, if not yet in full practice !

    - There is a New “Statement of Core Doctrine of the Brethren” (Schedule 1) which didn’t exist before !

    - There is a New “Faith in Practice” (Schedule 2) which didn’t exist before either !

    - Both of these are significant changes, especially in relation to the treatment of those who have left and those who try to leave or want to leave. As the Baroness now highlights NOW is the time for those who want to leave to do so !! and any evidence of Detriment & Harm contrary to these new agreements can be sent straight to the CC and those who have divided families should visit and make contact NOW if possible, to test the new agreements and any evidence contrary to them should be sent straight to the CC

    - The real test now is whether the Brethren will abide by and obey what they have agreed to in legal documents. I am not optimistic about this considering the Brethrens past history in abiding by legal documents, court orders, custody orders etc

    - However, there is also a time frame to this test. If it can be proven that the Brethren are not abiding by what they have signed up to, then I think it will be the nail in the coffin for them and the CC will reject them

    - Along side this the EB/PBCC clearly need to continue the expenditure on so called Charity Giving, the RRT, etc all of which did not exist prior to 2012

    - They have been made to change on paper, now lets see if these new legally binding agreements are obeyed ?

    - - Just one other point, unlike the 1981 decision in Holmes v AG, where the evidence was all one way, it was not contested or adversely commented on and aspects of detriment and harm were not presented, this time in 2012/13/14 the Exclusive Brethren have NOT had everything their own way ! That is as a result of the hard work of the many campaigners exposing the truth and submitting evidence and through the use of blogs, email, websites, social media etc

    1. Where can we read these documents you refer to?

  4. The Hales Exclusive Brethren may have won this battle with their smoke and mirrors but they haven't won the war. Thankfully the internet will allow us to continue to expose their harm, each and every time that it occurs.

  5. The full document can be read here:

  6. I don't believe the HEB have won any battle. They have, with conditions and on a year's trial, retained charitable status. The price has been that they have had to make the most unthinkable (a year ago) concessions including that separation is not physical but moral. My concern is how compliance is to be monitored given the limited resources of the CC. There will be a place for this and other sites for a long time to come.

    1. I suggest that as many as possible non E.B. Members turn up at their "Churches" around the country, and try and just walk in to any of their services, in their REGISTERED PLACES of PUBLIC WORSHIP, ( for which they get generous TAX EXEMPTIONS). Then log their experience ( Time, date and place etc.) over the next twelve months or so, and send that record to the Charities Commissioner in Liverpool ( Address obtainable on line ) We all need to collate as much evidence as possible, that hopefully will show that the E.B.s are not complying with the conditions for re-instatement of their Charitable Status layed down by the Commission . So lets all bombard their registered "PUBLIC PLACES of WORSHIP" and record their response. Cassandra

  7. The Preston Down statement of Faith in Practice amounts to a renunciation of great swathes of Brethren ministry from J.T.Jr onwards. I hope to specify what ministry I am talking about when time permits. The authors of the statement do not admit that they are renouncing anything at all, but a renunciation is what they have written.

    It remains to be seen whether the Brethren actually mean what they have written, or whether they have only written it reluctantly and insincerely to qualify for the tax concessions.

    Their ban on going to university unfortunately remains, and still weighs against their charitable status. In my opinion, that is the second gravest source of detriment, second only to the disruption of loving family relationships. However, although it will still lead to excommunication, the excommunication will allegedly not be so vindictive and cruel as it has been in the past. Allegedly. We shall see.