From an ex member of the Hales Exclusive Brethren / PBCC
I am a South African and live in Pretoria at present. I grew up in the Exclusive Brethren (I don’t buy their new window-dressing name of “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church” at all), and in 1973 got married at the age of 24. Our son was born in 1977.
Both my wife and I were basically rebels in the EB. However, I was never sold on their “separation” doctrine but did enjoy the social side. In 1978, however, we decided to leave the cult, my main reason being that I did not want my son to grow up under the EB influences and restrictions.
Over the next two years the EB regularly visited my wife at home while I was at work, to try to influence her to leave me. These criminals knew where her weak spot was and repeatedly got across to her that something terrible was going to happen to our son if she remained with me.
Despite confirming all the time that she loved me, she eventually cracked in early 1981 and left me, taking our son with her.
In our initial contact after this, she said that she would always honour the fact that I was the father of our son and would never withhold him from me. She reminded me that the cult’sprevious world leader, Jim Taylor Jnr, had taught that, in a situation like this, parents had equal rights over children. However, only three days later, under the instructions of the EB, she refused me all contact with him. During these three days they had come up with more and more unreasonable conditions almost from hour to hour for me to have contact with my son. My wife had always been a soft and kind person, but now she was a hard as nails. However, this attitude backfired on her since it gave me grounds for an urgent application to court, which I filed immediately. This caught the EB completely unawares and when my wife came to court accompanied by several of them, they were all suddenly kindness and friendliness personified. They offered to allow me access to my son provided I did not push for custody! My legal people told them that the court would grant me access at the very least anyway, so I had nothing to lose by going for custody.
In the court proceedings we had the amazing situation that, while my advocate was still talking only about access, the judge out of the blue awarded me interim custody, giving as reason the “progressive hardening” my wife had shown after only a few days under the control of the EB. This happened at a time when it was almost unheard of in South Africa for a father to get custody of a child.
Now that I had the initiative, the EB were perfectly accommodating, and everything I did and said was acceptable to them, the complete opposite to what it had been when they had had the initiative.
The proper court case over our son followed some months later. The EB had special prayer meetings for several mornings before the court case. By that time I was in a very strong position since I had already proved that I could care for our son properly. Nevertheless I had more than 40 witnesses lined up, but this proved unnecessary since after my own evidence and cross-examination, the EB – not having been able to prove that I was a bad father and knowing they were onto a hiding to nothing – threw in the towel and conceded custody to me. This was in spite of the fact that I could only afford junior council while they had one of the best senior advocates in the country.
I was now in a position to dictate to a large extent the terms of the court order to formalise the custody/access situation. My advocate suggested I do my utmost to deny my wife all access to my son while she was with the EB. He felt that the court was now so aware of the evils of this cult that it would grant me this. However, I did not have the heart to do this and agreed to allow her to have him for alternative week-ends and alternative holidays. This kind gesture turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life.
The judge awarded costs against my wife but, despite having financed her all the way, the EB refused to pay, arguing that the litigation had been between her and me. I then filed for her sequestration, relying on the EB’s rigidly adhered to rule that a sequestrated person was in an unrighteous position and had to be excommunicated. I figured they would either pay on her behalf or excommunicate her. If the latter, she would have little choice but return to me. However, they broke their own rule and did neither! I then sued the 3 “priests” that used to visit her, for alienation of affection. I sued for the exact amount of my costs in the court actions that the EB had refused to pay. I was looking forward to confronting them back in court again but the cowards paid me out in full rather than stand the scrutiny of another court action!
I raised my son with the help of my mother, who moved in with us, for the next 11 years. During this time I had no direct problems with the EB and my wife was friendliness and cooperation personified (although she did say at the beginning that the EB would eventually “get our son”). She even, with the agreement of the EB, transported him to and from the Sunday School I had got him involved with, on the week-ends that she had him! This everyone who knew the EB found amazing since the EB regard going to another church as almost the ultimate of evils.
I loved him very much and during the years I had him, he was paramount in my life. Only the best was good enough for him and my whole life revolved around him, to the extent that I did not even remarry at that stage as it would have upset him too much.
From about his 10th year onwards, my son started showing negative symptoms. When anything even remotely negative was said of the EB, he quietly withdrew. He was somewhat aloof in his contact with people (non-EB) and did not mix as easily as one would expect of a child of his age. Whilst somewhat worried about this, I thought this might just be his personality, so, not wanting to put pressure on him from my side, I decided to ignore it, hoping he would grow out of it.
In retrospect, it is clear what was happening: During the times he spent with his mother, he was indoctrinated (brainwashed) by the EB to feel guilty about being with me. (I found out only years later that, whilst part of the court order regarding my wife’s access to our son was that he was not allowed to go to meetings, or meet with big groups of the EB, they circumvented this illegally by getting him to sit in the foyers of their meeting rooms during meetings and making him a hero afterwards! Had I known this at the time, I would have had her access removed altogether.) This is borne out by what happened next: At the end of 1992, when he was almost 16, he spent the school holidays with his mother and then refused to return to me, saying he wanted to stay with her. He sent me a letter in which he thanked me for bringing him up but then went on to say that I had “the wrong idea about the Brethren”. Neither in the letter nor at any other time had he expressed any complaint against me. Yet he seemed obsessed with staying with his mother and the EB, to the exclusion of me. Obviously only indoctrination can create an understanding in a child that he could not have both his parents but had to choose between them. The subtle, mind-bending control andcruelty of this wicked cult was indeed staggering!
The next few weeks were hell. I used all the legal means at my disposal to bring him back to me. Since in terms of the court order he was supposed to be with me, I had the law behind me. I even used the police in the process and even the EB’s own legal team told him that he had to stay with me. In this way I forced him back for a few weeks, during which time I requested him to read the file I had built up 11 years before in preparation for the court case for custody of him. I explained to him that this file contained my evidence, which had been tested in a court of law and on the strength of which I had won the battle for him. However, he had been so indoctrinated by this stage to listen only to the EB that he refused to read the file. So, much as expected, when next he went to his mother he again refused to return. At this point, realising that there was no way that I could force him back to me permanently, his mother underwent a complete transformation again to the hard and unfeeling person she had been when she previously had had the initiative.
I now decided not to involve the police again but to try, as a last resort, a measure of physical force to bring him back. I took my brother along and went to his mother’s house where we were confronted by a number of EB, a seemingly stage-managed situation. When he refused to come with us, my brother and I each grabbed him by an arm in an attempt to force him, but when he resisted I realised there was no further point and called it off. A few days later I was contacted by the police who advised me that my son had laid a charge of assault against me! Obviously this was the work of this wicked cult which had no scruples about getting a child to unjustly and dishonestly try to pin a criminal record on his father! Obviously once I had put my case in a statement, there was no prosecution against me.
To clear the air I visited my son a few days later. On my arrival he spontaneously hugged me. So much for the person who had “assaulted” him a few days earlier!
I phoned him on his birthday some weeks later. He sounded uncomfortable. I remarked on this and reminded him that I had been in this cult for more than 29 years and therefore knew what was happening: They were looking over his shoulder, so to speak, and making him feel guilty for being friendly with me. He did not deny this. I then told him that I did not want to put pressure on him and therefore would not contact him again but that any contact would have to come from his side. That was early 1993. The first I heard from him again was a letter in June 2000 to advise me that they had immigrated to Australia a year before!
My response to this letter was a rather angry one, taking issue with him over his effort in 1993, albeit EB-inspired, to make a criminal of me. There was no response from him but as the years went by my anger subsided. I realised more and more that my lack of contact with my son was probably more damaging to me than to him. So in 2010, after not having spoken directly to him for 17 years, I phoned and both his mother and he were extremely friendly, and thereafter we had regular contact by phone and email. In these communications I avoided any criticism of the EB. However, after advising him by email during 2011 that I was getting married again, the deathly silence set in again. I realise now that, when I contacted them again after all the years, they figured I was softening and was perhaps considering joining the EB again,of which, of course, there is not a hope in hades!
I have been following the Charities Commission saga with a mixture of amazement and amusement. The current frantic window dressing of the EB in their bid to avoid tax money is the height of hypocrisy. This cult has become a business masquerading as a church. They are very, very far from beinga place of public worship and should be paying the taxes that businesses pay. In normal times, any charitable giving to organisations outside of the cult would be strictly taboo in EBcircles.
The Charities Commission should know that any evidence given by the EB cannot be trusted since they do not take the oath and will then lie quite unashamedly, even in court, since it is part of their teaching that “it is okay to lie to the devil”. Anyone opposing them is, of course, the devil.
I have been hesitant to tell my story for the benefit of the Charities Commission since they might feel it goes back too far (although it is current in the sense that my son has nothing to do with me). Marion Evans’ current story, however, makes it clear that nothing has changed for the better in the evil EB cult.
I give permission for my story to be used on any forum. I do not mind the EB seeing it either. I could even have it sworn toif need be. I have beaten them hands down in 4 bouts of litigation by simply telling the truth. As the Bible says: “Thetruth shall set you free”.