Wednesday, 22 January 2014

From Garth Christie this evening

Hello Laurie,


Thanks for your email. I note your comments and would respond as follows:


We feel we have and are being treated in precisely the way spoken of in this clause i.e. vindictively, maliciously and unfairly, in order that the affected ex-members may obtain closure on the barbaric acts meted out to us in the name of Christianity.


I am not sure who ‘we’ are as the email is just from you. Can you please clarify on whose behalf you are writing, who (i.e. the individuals in question) you consider to be treating you/others vindictively, maliciously or unfairly and why? As I have said before, it is impossible for any complaint to be considered or responded to in a responsible manner without specifics.


…and would ask that a meeting is set up with the PBCC leaders to discuss putting these matters right


Please can you specify what the matters are? Otherwise, I am unable to judge the merits of a meeting, or consider with who that meeting might need to be. As stated previously, you left the church many years ago with your wife and family. Later, some of your family asked to return to the church, a move that I believe was precipitated in part by your conduct.  I am not sure what specific matters you would like putting right as between you and the PBCC, as opposed to any member of your family, or individuals in the wider Brethren community, but if you could document them it might be possible to respond.


Roger and I and a good many others have, as you know had our families destroyed by your Church.


For your own sake, and for the sake of your relations, I am not going to rehearse in an email that you will probably publish the exact circumstances in which I understand some members of your family decided to leave you, and return to a life in the Church. However, the Church has no control over the choices each of us make as Christians – particularly when those choices are made by people when living outside our community.


No reply as is so typical will indicate an admission of guilt and leave us with no recourse other than a serial action.


I have replied to many of your emails and as a result have been abused on your blogs. You have accused me of many things including defrauding the government out of millions of pounds of tax and kidnapping, without making (as far as I am aware) any report to the appropriate authorities, which is what I would expect of any responsible citizen. I see this as malicious and unfair behavior and as there is not a grain of evidence to support you claims I suggest you demonstrate your integrity by either substantiating your claims or withdrawing them. In response, I have tried to address your concerns, however incoherent I have sometimes found them to be. If you and others wish to bring a “serial action”, of course that is your choice,  but please do not consider this response, or any lack of one in the future, an admission of anything.



Best Regards,


Garth Christie


  1. The last sentence.

    please do not consider this response, or any lack of one in the future, an admission of anything.

    Basically it says fxxk off and I will not be answering any further emails.

    I don't think he has fully got into the spirit of the 55 page document yet

  2. One of the flaws with Garth's argument is that many perpetrators of harm and detriment within the PBCC are no longer with us, does that make what they did forgotten and irrelevant? I think not.

    The Charity Commission couldn't have been clearer, it's the doctrines of the PBCC that have caused harm and detriment, I don't recall any individual members being mentioned.

    When I was 'in', they would only face matters if there was witness. Very difficult when you are a young child being abused.

    I had 400 witnesses to two priests lying in the meeting about my own father. They still didn't address the matter.

    Slippery as eels, the gist of the Charity Commission's offer to give them charitable status appears to have passed them by.

    There is a degree of threat in that email too, which in the circumstances I find very distasteful, when one of their own members continues to languish in prison after pleading not guilty to causing the death of an innocent man by his witnessed stupidity.

  3. I'm getting a bit sick by being imperiously referred to by these blinking Brethren -along with the rest of you - as an 'affected ex-member'. They mean it I am sure, quite disparagingly. You can feel the venom in it when they say it.
    What I would like the Exclusive Plymouth Brethren people to do, is start referring to us as 'IMPACTED ex-members.'
    This conveys a degree of harm and if you take one of the definitions it means "unable to be moved, usually being jammed in a narrow space." Like wisdom teeth - there is a lot of truth in that. Very attractive don't you think? We have all suffered the impact of falling foul of these creepily pious and holier than thou people.
    Which begs the question -what do we call them. Deluded members? Conceited members? Misleading members? (Not to be confused with Leading members.) Deceived members? Misled members? Fallacious members? Misguided members? That's it! Perfect!

  4. Laurie is writing on behalf of hundreds of ex members, most of us too scared to put a name to our comments for fear of losing the limited contact that we have with family still inside. I think this in itself shows the effect that the PBCC have on our everyday lives

    1. I think you mean thousands, rather than hundreds?

  5. Why doesn't Garth and his fellow EB's go back to the lists they compiled during The Review and seek to put right the wrongs? They told hundreds of people that they had been wrongfully withdrawn from, wrongfully put out of home, wrongly put out of work, wrongly told to leave their spouse, and more. They could start with these people and put right the wrongs. Then post on widely viewed blogs and websites asking if they have missed any. But they haven't. Interestingly they have paid settlements to some, offered compensation to others, but not addressed the issue of detriment and harm caused by them. As far as I have seen, the settlements and offers have all been in situations where the EB have just had, or were about to receive, negative media publicity.This makes me believe that the EB may not have any interest in taking responsibility for their abusive actions, but have a strong intetest in hiding them.

    If they were a church I would be worried.


  6. And.......

    I hear that a former member was offered some small change in return for encouraging a TV station to withdraw their planned article about the EB. When asked if it were a bribe the said person was told that it was not, but rather that they jad been mistreated. But the publicity went ahead so the proof will now be in the pudding. I suspect that they will follow through with their settlement if they are a church (or any other normal group), but go for the max prof and min loss option if they are a business empire, cult, or some other weird sect.

  7. This is an incompetent and unprofessional reply by Garth Christie. His antagonism is obvious.

    He should talk to John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, for guidance about how to respond in these circumstances. It will involve setting up a formal audit of detriment and harm so that the voice of all victims of abuse can be heard and acknowledged, and counselling and compensation can be arranged where appropriate.


  8. I'd say the worm has turned...
    Garth might actually have a valid point about being slightly more specific old chap?
    Sweeping statements, profit not the speaker etc etc.
    Now take him up on his offer, instead of bitching and moaning like old hags

    Arthur Ryetus

    1. Tut! Tut! Such language! Remember - you are being watched! Anyway, its sounds like you are the one with the aches and pains.

      Harry I. Ball

    2. Arthur, please don’t stereotype old hags. It is disrespectful to women, particularly old women, a lot of whom are admirably patient and are rarely heard bitching and moaning.

  9. The reply from Garth Christie is classic Exclusive Brethrenism.

    - Answering questions with a question, to try to side step the issues
    - Feigning ignorance (obtuse) about the matters spoken of
    - Inserting implied threats, spurious personal attacks & belittling language
    - Denial of facts even though supported by evidence already in public domain
    - Dripping with arrogance

    Garth also uses the DARVO tactic (albeit rather clumsily), an acronym - Deny the abuse, then Attack the victim for attempting to make them accountable for their offence, thereby Reversing Victim and Offender. A strategy that those being held accountable, or under scrutiny for wrong doing, or those who are abusers of some sort, or those who are faced with evidential fact but are still in denial, often use.

    Sorry to be blunt but Mr Christie doesn’t have good history when it comes to being totally honest re identity & activities of the PBCC/Exclusive Brethren. In UK Public Administration Committee hearings in 2012, the whole of the evidence given by Garth and the PBCC was full of misleading comments, obfuscation, half truths and outright falsehoods. Garth was publicly held to account for one example of this.

    Garth Christie knows full well what the issues are. Let me remind him using extracts from the Charity Commission report Jan 2014

    90. …..They further demonstrated a willingness to make amends for these and to do what they could as a Christian organisation to ensure, as far as it was consistent with its religious beliefs, it would act with Christian compassion in the future, particularly in its dealings with disciplines of the Disciplinary Practices and in its relations with former members of the Brethren.

    91. ….In particular the nature and impact of the Disciplinary Practices and the impact of the doctrines and practices on those who leave and on children within the PBCC may have consequences for society.

    92. The Commission considered that there is evidence to support the view that there are elements of detriment and harm which are in real danger of outweighing public benefit……….. The most serious detriment and harm related, in the Commission’s view, to the allegations of the treatment of ex-Brethren and to the Disciplinary Practices. The Commission asked that the PBCC address these issues, which they were willing to do.

    vi. Compassion is to be shown more generally in the treatment of individuals – “No action should be taken in any way to treat vindictively, maliciously or unfairly persons whether within or outside the community, including those who were within the community and who are leaving or have left the community.”

    Garth, from your reply to Laurie, it appears you either haven’t read the CC report, or don’t intend to obey it !. Here are some pointers to get you and the PBCC thinking on compassionate lines about what you need to do to put right the Detriment & Harm caused (as per CC report) -

    - Facilitate and encourage contact between ex member families and those inside (detailed in CC Report)

    - Facilitate attendance at funeral services (as per CC Report)

    - Make amends for decades of family separation which you and the PBCC now admit should be “moral not physical” (as per CC report)

    - Make amends for those ex members kicked out on the street with no job, no house, no kids or wife (as per the CC Report – “Where persons seek to leave the community, reasonable assistance should be afforded to them in terms of support and/or financial assistance relating to employment or other matters, where they have been dependent on the community for that support.”)

    Garth, maybe you, the PBCC and ex members should set up a “Truth & Reconciliation Committee” to smooth the way for changes / amends to be made. As you & the PBCC have made such loud claims to be a “Christian Church” you sure aren’t acting like one in this regard. !

  10. Brother Rev - The title itself makes every sentence / phrase of yours, completely worthless and futile. Your struggle is not so much in a sense against the PBCC, but rather you are well and truly against God and his will. It is quite clearly a desperate attempt to justify failure and sin in your own life. There is simply no other explanation for your vindictive spirit. Get to the Lord and repent.


    1. I thought several of Brother Rev’s recommendations were useful and positive. They deserve to be considered as possible routes by which the Hales fellowship could work towards restoring their credibility and respectability.

      An honest and open audit of harm done, following the example of audits carried out by other churches would help to clear the air far more than any PR exercise. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission with aims and procedures similar to those used in South Africa would be another serious contender.

      One course of action that would not work at all well would be to issue promises of change and then carry on as before with only minor, superficial changes. Another response that would exacerbate this would be to keep suggesting that not much harm has been done and not much change is necessary. That could put an end to hopes of continued charitable status.

      I think the Brethren’s insularity has left them unfamiliar with the values and moral principles that prevail in modern societies, and how strong is the disapproval of the kinds of behaviour that the Charity Commission listed in its Preston Down report.

    2. Anonymous John.....You seem to have extraordinary insights into God's will, and other people's lives regarding failure and sin, so on. I actually think Brother Rev has taken time to write a logical and intelligent contribution; whereas yours seems rather angry, even a little abusive and, to be blunt, lacks of empathy and compassion. It was these failings that the CC encountered when dealing with the Exclusive Brethren (PBCC).


    3. John (someone - Handel, maybe?)...
      Considering that the main of Brother Rev's post was not his own sentences or phrases, but was mostly taken directly from the Charity Commission full 55 page decision report, I rather suggest that him asking the Exclusive Brethren (or PBCC as they now wish to be called,) to uphold and act on their supposed willingness to change that they demonstrated to the Commission, is nothing more than him simply expecting decent, honest, Christian behaviour from this group, who after all, loudly claim they are Christian - whose underlying characters should be, caring and compassion. Or, are you saying by your comments of "worthless and futile", that this is what any attempt made by anyone to exact action on these so far empty promises from the Brethren will be... worthless and futile?

      It sure appears that any attempts to get the Brethren to address past mistakes is indeed worthless and futile, considering they have given no indication or intention of even starting to address any of their "past mistakes" with anyone that has been the victim of detriment and harm. If they had, it would have begun long before the Commission report was made public and a final decision was made. Where are the public apologies to all those they have abused in some way? They do not need ANY particulars or names or events to make a public apology - the R C and C of E Churches did not need this and they have long apologized to any and all victims of abuses, and are moving forward from this with addressing the matter by a full dialogue and audit for all involved, and compensation.

  11. We should feel sorry for Garth Christie. He was a victim of the doctrine which separates children from their parents. I remember a TV program broadcast in 1976 in which a James Christie had a major part, and he spoke of how he had been withdrawn from. Because of his being under discipline a child of his (or children) had stayed in the brethren and did not see his parents. James Christie was obviously sad about the situation, being deprived of his young son. I am speaking from memory but I still have the recording of the programme which was broadcast on two separate occasions nearly 40 years ago. For a young person to be deprived of his parents in these circumstances at such a young age must have had an effect on him.

    From someone against the splitting up of families C

    1. Was James Christie Garth's father?
      Is the clip on you tube?

    2. The clip is not on youtube. I recorded the TV programme on a reel to reel tape recorder with a microphone from the TV, and recorded it again when it was repeated about a year later. I have the tapes but can't play them. The programme was made a year or so after the Andover Roger Payne murders, and had the "Panorama" signature tune as the opening music. I know several exEBs including my wife who knew James Christie and I am 95% certain that Garth's father was James.

      From someone against the splitting up of families C

    3. Laurie - If I can help, do you have Garth's email address?
      I would like to write to him to see whether more can be done. I was also someone left to fend for myself and perhaps can help to bring about a further change of heart in regard to the sufferings of many individuals and families over the years.