Friday, 14 March 2014

A pertinent section of the recent Charity Commission decision re. Preston Down Trust

94. The PBCC’s statement of “Faith in Practice” which outlines the fundamental principles of the practice of their faith. This includes the following:

  1. The principle of separation is set out which confirms that it “involves drawing away from the world in a moral sense, rather than in a physical sense” and permits inter-personal communication and social interaction with non-Brethren (including former Brethren) and service to them because we seek to do good to all in the world, as opportunities arise.”

  2. Living a Christian life is upheld “We seek and are encouraged to live exemplary lives in all our relationships with others in the wider community (including former Brethren), in accordance with the teachings of Holy Scripture.” “Holy Scripture commands us to be good neighbours to others, and deal with all other people (including former Brethren) openly, honestly and fairly and consistent with these principles, we should give our time and money to assist those in need in the wider community, in so far as reasonable given our abilities and available resources.”

  3. The concept of showing compassion to others is set out: “As Christians, we are to follow the example of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and show compassion to others... We are expected to care for those who are receptive to such care in our own community, but then also in the wider community (including former Brethren), to the best of our abilities and within our resources.”

  4. Compassion is to be shown in relation to Disciplinary Practices – “When church admonition is necessary, due provision will be made for the welfare of the church member who is under review. This should cover emotional, health, family and financial considerations... The Holy Scriptures require the practice of admonition and discipline to reflect justice and fairness.”

    V. The nature of the Disciplinary Practices is set out as follows - If repeated pastoral care is unsuccessful then the next stages of admonition could include (1) inviting the person being cared for to attend a meeting of the Assembly to listen to an appeal and if suitable to present their differences; (2) a "shrinking" from the person concerned (which involves minimising social contact with the person for a limited period to provide them with the space and time to make a private and personal choice about their continuing in the fellowship), which is relatively rare as pastoral care is intended and does in most cases resolve the matter (Gal 6:1); and (3) the final stage of Assembly admonition would be excommunication this being necessary when a person leaves and separates themselves from the Assembly entirely on their own personal decision and accord, in which case their position as a member of the Assembly becomes untenable, and in other very rare cases where excommunication is necessary as an extreme or last resort measure for serious misdeeds wholly at odds with basic scriptural teaching. Even in cases of excommunication, there is follow up pastoral and shepherd care in view of the possibility of re- including the person concerned in fellowship and the restoration of him or her to full privileges as a member of the Assembly, if he or she wishes”

    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.”

      1. The education and support of children is reinforced as follows “Every care should be taken to provide for and support the welfare and education of children and young persons within the community.”

      2. Support for those who leave the PBCC is expressly provided for “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.”

      3. The importance of maintaining relationships when a person leaves is recognised – “Reasonable steps should also be taken in these cases (consistent with and subject to any legal requirements applying to the persons involved and the human rights of the persons involved) to allow the continuation of family relationships where a family member has left the community, including providing access to family members, in particular children.”

      4. The ability of former Brethren to attend funerals is confirmed – “Where a person within the community dies, the principle of separation allows members of the extended family of the deceased, including former Brethren, to attend their funeral service.” 


  1. "openly, honestly, fairly" .... "show compassion"

    Just a quick comment. I've noticed that members of the PBCC don't smile when they meet non-Brethren people. In my experience, they tend to look to the ground or round about them, they shift uncomfortably from one foot to another or they repeat, "It's separation, it's separation". Eye contact and smiles are usually missing.

    This is hardly exemplary behaviour. It has been most noticeable in the area where I live, where people are customarily friendly and warm-hearted. One of my neighbours used to call the Brethren who lived here 'the frozen chosen'.

    It would be excellent if this were to change and Brethren began to deal with all other people openly, honestly and fairly. A smile can be compassionate ....

    1. .....and does not cost a penny!

    2. Joan, I think the reluctance of EB members to chat to non-members is partly because they are slightly ashamed of having to behave the way they do, and afraid that they might be asked for an explanation. I don’t think any of them from BDH downwards could give a convincing explanation, so they don’t want to be asked for one. When Jim Taylor was asked why he wouldn’t eat with others, he would usually just say, “It’s my religion,” and leave it at that. He didn’t have a proper explanation that could stand up to scrutiny.

      You can see the same in the discussions on this and other Web sites. The Hales Brethren who contribute don’t appear to have any plausible explanations for their practices or their Hales-specific teachings, so they can only make unsupported assertions, like “The Brethren are the people in whom God is well pleased,” or “Rev and his like-minded friends are resisting the Holy Spirit.” It is no more enlightening than chanting, “Four legs good; two legs bad,” or vice-versa.

      Your neighbour’s comment about the frozen chosen reminds me of a Scottish chap who said something similar: “Many are cauld but few are frozen.”

    3. Joan
      I meet on average 5 non-brethren people every day and engage in a one to one conversation for a minimum of 15 minutes, if I behaved in the robotic manner that you describe then I wouldn't get very far!!! Without wishing to be rude, your post is a complete joke.
      In the course of this conversation we will typically cover subjects such as the weather, politics, economy, sport and current affairs. occasionally we will discuss beliefs. contrary to what you might think I am not a one dimensional social outcast.
      I have actually had many recommendations from non-Brethren as being friendly, reliable and proactive.
      Joan - I trust this helps.

    4. Robert if someone like yourself is in conversation with some non brethren ,who knows little or nothing of Exclusive Brethren bad behavior. Then yes , you will be less likely to act in the way Joan describes

      Contrast this, with the awkward way that a number of top level exclusive brethren members, tried to explain the underhand tactics they used in government elections .Then its a whole different story

    5. I am interested in Robert's allusion to the discussion of sport. When I was in the EB a) we were not allowed to attend sporting events and b) we were not meant to read about them in the newspaper either. I can recall brothers having to publically confess to both.

    6. Robert, I think Joan and others are referring to (unlikely) social or "neighbourly" contacts. I believe you are referring to business contacts; the need for a successful client relationship is paramount over other considerations. I used to visit an EB workshop, about twice a year, on average, and on each occasion we would sit in the office and have quite a crack. Also, on these occasions, there was sometimes an allusion, in conversation, that indicated the folk running the business were rather more worldly than they were supposed to be (a little bit of hypocrisy in the mixture!) I am also interested in your knowledge of sport; as Anon 06.41 mentions, I thought that was mostly a taboo area and has been stressed, as such, by your current leader.


    7. Robert - I read your piece with interest. Thank you.

      I’d like to assure you that I wrote the truth at the start of this thread. For a quarter of a century we had Symington/Hales Exclusive Brethren neighbours who insisted on separation. They acted as if they felt they would experience a sense of defilement if they engaged with us. (They lived so close to us that in autumn, winter and early spring for nearly twenty-five years their car headlights shone through our glass front door early on every weekday evening, as they left for the Brethren meeting - it was a prompt for me to begin cooking the supper!)

      During that time, on April 24 2006, when talking about “evil in these big cities” Bruce D Hales said:

      “See you come in touch with worldly people, if you get a little too close to them, you’ll have some sense of defilement. See, our beloved brother used to counsel us, and it’s good counsel for young people. Don’t talk to them about anything else except what the subject you want to talk to them about.”

      Six years later, at a marriage meeting in Sydney on 30 October 2012 Bruce D Hales said this about neighbours:

      "It says he prepared an ark for the saving of his house, and thereby, it says, he condemned, condemned the world. That's what our households should be, beloved, they should be established on the principle of opposition to the world. Often said, that doesn't mean we fight our neighbours, we stay friendly with them. If you ever have to have a fight, well, just have a very friendly fight, very friendly fight, very soon settled. So you keep out of fights. But it says he moved with fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world. (Vol. 128 page 257)

    8. BDH Vol 78 ;228 'keep out of stadiums, public swimming pools, crowds, defilement.

      BDH Vol 17;7 ' hotel, cinema, restaurant, football stadium, swimming pool, skating rink, direct involvement with the world'

      Does the OneNewsGlobal have a sports section?


    9. Robert
      Why do you answer some questions and not others?
      This is Cult behaviour, just like the EB are a Cult

      Are you dishonest? just as the EB are dishonest and deceitful

      Vic R Paul

    10. Vic R Paul,
      Sorry - what questions am I supposed to have answered?

    11. Perhaps there ought to be an amnesty on unanswered questions, apart from those relating to Leonardo, because he is, clearly, the most sinful in this regard!


    12. Robert 18 March 2014 23:45

      Sorry - what questions am I supposed to have answered?

      Do you really not know?
      Have you tried looking?

      Try looking at your comment 10 March 2014 17:05

      Vic R Paul

  2. It is very difficult for brethren to maintain separation and yet be open and welcoming. It is much easier to be defensive and stilted in your interaction with "worldlies" so that no friendship or relationship develops, than have to draw back again once a normal relationship has started. It becomes an automatic defence mechanism. It is one of the things I have found most difficult to unlearn since I ceased being a peeb. It has taken me years; even when I thought I was "normal", in retrospect I probably wasn't. I also, even while a peeb, never admitted to separation to my peers; at school it was "my father won't let me" at work I just ate at a separate table, for example, without giving any reason and kept away from social events if I thought there was a risk of discovery. How much more difficult it must be if you are committed to the principle of 2 Timothy 2 as interpreted by the brethren.


  3. I find it difficult to reconcile the suggestion in paragraph (i):

    'The principle of separation is set out which confirms that it “involves drawing away from the world in a moral sense, rather than in a physical sense”'

    with continuation of not eating with others.

    Surely, 'eating' is physical so if 'separation' is now to be in a "moral sense" (and therefore not physical?) why has the Charity Commission accepted the "only eating in social fellowship with those we share the Lord's Supper" in the schedule "Faith in Practice"?

    Is this not a contradiction?


    1. 'Eating' may be viewed as being a physical representation of separation, but it is also symbolic, therefore it can be in a moral sense as well. It just depends on how you are interpreting it.

  4. Priscilla Alderton17 March 2014 at 22:24

    This would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. It is all about appearances. I will try ringing my much loved estranged sister, estranged because I left that cult nearly 43 years ago, and see just how charitable they are now told to appear. My heart breaks for those poor people stuck in it, fearful, made to believe in a false sense of security. Even Brucie Hales' use of English is peculiar, not exactly inspiring confidence in any intention to foster education among his members. Does this new edict mean there will be a retrospective apology, and accompanying renumeration of expenses: education, therapy, compensation for years lost in heartbreak and trying to learn social skills, in the wake of their destructive behaviour towards anyone who dared to disagree with them? Yes, this would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. It is a handy facade in the face of fear of having to hand back dishonestly withheld taxes...dishonest, because there is no charity. Feeling, empathy and compassion are diametrically opposed to the ground of their existence. They are the chosen ones, you fit in or are systematically destroyed if there is the tiniest chink of vulnerability in your armour. And, if those strange signs they have put up outside their halls in England in order to avoid paying reasonable revenue for the business that that cult is a front for are genuine, why are those signs not outside their halls in Australia?

    1. Are you the Priscilla referred to in Chapter 5 of Michael Bachelard’s book? If so, I can well understand your heartbreak. The way your family was treated is not merely horrifying. Under Australian law today I think it would also be criminal. Probably also under UK law.

    2. Priscilla Alderton18 March 2014 at 20:41

      Yes I am.

    3. Hi Priscilla. I agree 100 percent with what you write above. The HEB (PBCC) are completely void of empathy, compassion and normal humane understanding for anybody that strays even slightly from the strict mould of this Narcissist controlled dictatorship. This includes persons that stray through no fault of their own. It hurts to think of those including our families still trapped in there, never witnessing God's bigger picture for mankind.
      Cradle to grave imprisonment and controlled lives, how sad!
      The emotional and spiritual abuse that has been inflicted on so many ex peebs including yourself and your parents is just deplorable, cruel and
      to say the least 'UNCHRISTIAN'. Your brother married my first cousin so I do remember your family well. I do know your cousin who has a FB page.