Saturday, 27 September 2014

New book about the Hales Exclusive Brethren available now on kindle

MY FATHER, RICHMOND E. HARRISON: and how his life was gradually wrecked by the Exclusive Brethren

and how his life was gradually wrecked by the Exclusive Brethren
Author; Peter W Harrison. ... ISBN; 978-0-473-271956-1..cost $US5.00
Released in paperback form earlier this year, this book is now available as an e-book, on ‘Kindle’, as a 2nd edition, with about 50% more material added.
The book highlights the concern that no claim on the part of the Exclusive Brethren should be taken at face value so long as they strenuously avoid confronting their history of injustice and uncharitable behaviour. The saga of this man’s life is both unique and typical. Woven into the story is a foreboding of inevitability which becomes more obvious on reflection. The issues addressed have extended relevance. 


  1. Here is a short review of Peter Harrison’s book by Nicky Hager, author and investigative journalist. It was Nicky Hager who published The Hollow Men in 2006, in which he exposed the Exclusive Brethren's pamphlet campaigns in May 2005 and Don Brash’s denial of any knowledge of them.

    I can’t remember where I found this review, but I’m sure Nicky Hager won’t mind my posting it here.

    “In this short and clearly-written book, Peter Harrison tells the story of his father's life in the Exclusive Brethren church. It is a shocking story. His father Richmond was a big hearted, energetic man. Although he ran a large horticulture business, he found time to write a series of books about ornamental plants and had many interests, ranging from trout fishing to collecting Maori artefacts. He was an active and generous member of the Exclusive Brethren.

    The book tells the sad story of how in the 1950s the church morphed into an intolerant, authoritarian structure, rife with injustice, which stripped him of his distinctive qualities and gradually ruined his life and his values. The book is much more than a family memoir. Told in a calm and factual way, it shows how the Exclusive Brethren church has been hijacked, and damages the lives of many of its own members. Families have been torn apart, lives stunted and otherwise decent people have ended up hurting the very people they had a responsibility to protect. It is fundamentally a story about submission to abusive power, and so addresses issues of wider significance.

    The abuse and harm continue. The Exclusive Brethren currently crave public acceptance yet are paranoid about critical comment. Strict secrecy and crippling discipline prevail. This makes it very important that former-Exclusive Brethren such as Peter Harrison are willing to tell their stories. The more the system is written and talked about, the sooner it will have to change.”

  2. I don't own a Kindle, so I shan't be able to read this, but I have read other pieces by Peter W Harrison and I've found him to be a thoughtful and concerned man who writes well.

    It would be excellent if leaders of this group of Exclusive Brethren could read what Peter W Harrison has written, though I imagine not many brethren own Kindles. I agree with the reviewer quoted by Ian that it's important to speak openly about how these Brethren have behaved since the early 1960s. (The Brethren themselves must want a better reputation.)

    What would be really encouraging would be if these Brethren were willing and able to engage 'openly, honestly and fairly' with former and non-members. In my experience, they are often only too willing to pull down the shutters on correspondence and conversation with people who disagree with, and/or who have been harmed by, their separatist directives. This makes it difficult to make progress towards truth and reconciliation.

  3. You can read Kindle books on smartphones/tablets/pc etc by downloading the app.

  4. The sad thing is that the division, family breakup and sectarian behaviour mentioned in the review of this book is not new, it wasn’t even new in Symington’s time, or James Taylor Juniors time, or Taylor Senior’s time, it dates long before that

    Quotes from a booklet titled “take heed what you hear” from 1873

    “If they should seek "to creep into your houses do not admit them, for depend upon it they will sow the seeds of dissention and strife in your families. You will live to repent that you ever had anything to do with them.”

    “The Plymouth principle divides not only in public gatherings, but even in family relationships, sister refusing communion with sister, and child with child”

    “Reader before going to hear, or to cast in your lot with these Plymouth Brethren, reflect that you are giving countenance to one of the most church destroying and family-disturbing sects of modern times.”

    These quotes give some insight that the Exclusive Brethren (now PBCC) have been rooted in family break up and the sin of sectarianism, historically.

    1. Here is a similar quotation from a book by Elizabeth Whately published in 1877.

      She writes, "Nor is this all. . . .
      – the evil has gone further, and entered the Christian families and homes of our country. We see on every side wives refusing to pray with their husbands, brothers estranged from brothers, daughters leaving pious and loving parents to lead a life apart, close and happy ties of friendship and affection severed."

  5. The UK price for the Kindle Edition is £3.15, and it can be bought from the UK Amazon site at
    The price quoted by Amazon is £3.15. See

    1. And as I noted above, you do not need to have a Kindle to read Kindle books:

      You can read Kindle books on smartphones/tablets/PC's