Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Exclusion of family members striking


Exclusion of family members striking

By: Bill Redekop
Posted: 12/27/2014 3:00 AM | Comments: 4
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A seven-foot-high steel fence surrounds the Plymouth Brethren Meeting Hall in Stonewall.

A seven-foot-high steel fence surrounds the Plymouth Brethren Meeting Hall in Stonewall. Photo Store
No question the biggest story for me in 2014 was the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
It was a story I expected to knock off in short order. This group of Plymouth Brethren was made up of immigrants from England who had settled in Stonewall and nearby Woodlands. As a province with a serious out-migration problem, we're always interested in new groups that choose Manitoba.
There had been talk of unusual practices by the religious sect -- not wanting to socialize with others, refusing to eat in the same building as non-Brethren -- but I was confident there were reasonable explanations if I could only talk to them. After all, tolerance toward other religions marked the dawn of human rights. In Manitoba, we respect the rights of other closed sects, such as Hutterites and Orthodox Mennonites near Plumas.
But I couldn't get the Brethren to talk. A couple of people agreed to meet with me, but first one, then the other, cancelled. One man twice postponed a meeting, in negotiations that took place over three weeks, before finally backing out.
It's hard to explain what happens to a reporter when someone refuses to talk to you. It's like a chemistry set explodes and you walk out with soot all over your face. Your cheeks fill up, steam shoots out your ears, and you start making train-whistle sounds.
That's not enough reason to do a story, of course, and I questioned my motives throughout. What right had I to intrude on a sect that clearly wanted no part of the rest of the world? Yet there was enough innuendo to warrant setting the record straight.
It should be noted there are other divisions of Plymouth Brethren that don't practise exclusion to the same degree as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, or PBCC, but the PBCC appears to be the dominant group locally. Their history in Manitoba dates from long before the recent wave of immigrants. They maintain a strict interpretation of the biblical text: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers."
I phoned so many people. I talked to several people with the local chamber and got nowhere. The Brethren don't believe in joining a chamber, even though Brethren members owned 20 or so businesses locally. I talked to several religion professors across Canada. They'd heard of the PBCC, but knew little about them. Locally, everyone said they were nice people, but that was it.
Then someone said he knew of a former Brethren who might tell me more.
I would end up talking to at least a dozen ex-Brethren. They had either left, or been "withdrawn from" by the PBCC. That means they lost their jobs with firms owned by Brethren members and were cut off from all contact with friends and family. If you were a son or daughter, you lost contact with your parents and siblings. Your parents would start to say they had only five children, not six, or whatever number, excluding the non-Brethren child.
If you were a parent, your children would no longer acknowledge you. Your grandchildren would be told you're a bad person. I know of one elderly man who lives alone and is never visited by his Brethren children.
I heard stories of parents who would walk past their grown-up children on the street and not acknowledge them. That's not a unique experience for ex-Brethren. Try imagining that when you've gathered with family over Christmas. Try to imagine glassing yourself off from your child, or your parent, or your sibling. What would it take to make you do that?
It always reminded me of that British TV show, The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan. You could live in a suffocating world where everything was planned for you and taken care of for you and explained for you. But if you questioned it, if you challenged it, you would lose everything, every relationship you ever had. You would become the most alone person on Earth. I looked upon these ex-Brethren as McGoohans, as No. 6s, as heroes.
But they did it at tremendous cost. I will tell one story I didn't put in the paper. I was interviewing a former member of the Brethren. It was going fine. The man seemed in control. He had been cut off from all contact with his family, but that was long ago.
I had been looking down at my notebook, taking notes. When I next looked up, he had shattered. Tears were flying off his face like rain off windshield wipers. The table in front of him was sprayed with tears, like shards of glass. Most people, when they break down, will look away, but he was staring at me. We were just staring at each other. I think he was as baffled as I was.
"It's OK, it's OK," I repeated, not knowing what else to say. I don't recall what happened next, but one of us suggested we needed some water or something stronger to drink. Then we carried on as if nothing had happened.


  1. I have never seen a seven foot high fence look so small!! - if they cant even get that right then what hope the rest of the article!!! LOL. It must be 3 foot max!

    1. The article is entirely consistent with voluminous evidence from dozens of credible witnesses, and there is nothing in the photo to suggest that the author overestimated the height of the fence or anything else. If you want to discredit the journalist you will need something a lot more solid than that.

    2. Nice try by our PBCC Exclusive Brethren pr spin person (or deluded member) but not good enough. The photo just looks like it was taken by a wide angle fish eye lens. If you knew anything about photography you would recognise that.

      The PBCC Exclusive Brethren main meeting rooms are of a universal worldwide design and the gates & fences are indeed 6 foot or 7 foot high. Just take a look at the images in these links




    3. Dear All
      if that fence is 7 foot high then the hinges must be about 6 inches long!! - why don't you try google streetview if you don't believe me. See for yourself and then come back and tell me I am wrong!! You can google the address.

    4. Who mentioned anything about hinges ?

      The fences and gates around all main PBCC EB meeting rooms are made of metal. If attaching metal gates to a metal fence post you don’t need big hinges, you just need strong gudgeon pin hinges welded to the fence and gate structure. If they were six inches long and then welded to the structure and then painted black or green the same as the fence or gate then that would not show up on google street view. Most gates on PBCC EB main meeting rooms are of the automatic electric slide variety operated by a key pad, in which case they don’t need hinges anyway. If you looked at the links provided you would see that 6 or 7 foot high fences is the norm for PBCC EB meeting rooms.

      All of this is of course a deliberate willfull attempt at diversion away from the main topic of the article which is –

      - separation of & division of family members
      - not eating or drinking with any non members including family non members
      - the damage, harm & detriment that family separation causes
      - separation from all non members as they are somehow ‘worldly’ & ‘iniquitous’
      - rules & edicts invented by men additional to & not authorised by the Bible

      All of these things are mentioned in the article and the main article originally printed in May 2014. All of these things are imposed upon and enforced by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church Exclusive Brethren and are NOT part of the Christian faith as shown by Gods Word the Bible


    5. The other problem areas of concern with PBCC EB, as listed in the original article, which make PBCC EB completely different to mainstream Christians / Christian Churches and instead identifies the group with harmful aberrant sects & cults, are the huge list of rules that members ‘Must’ abide by or risk being ‘withdrawn from’. That means to be cut out of the group and separated from family & friends.

      The following was printed in the original article by Winnipeg Free Press -

      Exclusive Brethren Don’ts


      • Don’t cut your hair (female)
      • Don’t have facial hair or long hair (male)
      • Don’t wear shorts (female & male)
      • Don’t wear trousers (female)
      • Don’t wear make-up (female)
      • Don’t wear any other colour of shirt than white on Sunday (male)
      • Don’t smoke, chew tobacco or chew gum

      At home

      • Don’t use or own radios or television
      • Don’t go to the movies, theatres, shows or concerts
      • Don’t eat in a restaurant or go to bars or pubs
      • Don’t own a computer, digital camera, mobile phone, cd player or MP3 player that is not purchased from the EB
      • Don’t read books written by immoral authors, or novels unless they are approved by the EB
      • Don’t own remote-controlled toys or any electronic gaming system
      • Don’t listen to pre-recorded music by non-EB
      • Don’t live on a farm
      • Don’t have in-ground swimming pools at the home
      • Don’t rent or own condos, apartments or a house that is joined at any wall
      • Don’t share sewers or driveways with neighbours
      • Don’t have pets
      • Don’t go to the beach unless it is not crowded
      • Don’t have a heart transplant
      • Don’t watch firework displays

      In business

      • Don’t be employed by non-EB
      • Don’t work in non-EB homes
      • Don’t rent space or anything to non-EB
      • Don’t own shares of non-EB company
      • Don’t go to non-EB schools if there is an EB school in your city
      • Don't belong to a professional association (nurses, lawyers, etc), union, or any other outside organization
      • Don’t sell products that you cannot use (cigarettes, contraception)
      • Don’t stay in a hotel or motel
      • Don’t vote or run for public office
      • Don’t go to university

      With people

      • Don’t have a cup of tea or eat with your non EB neighbours, parents, siblings or children
      • Don’t have friends outside of the EB
      • Don’t kiss or date before marriage
      • Don’t plan to marry unless you have permission
      • Don’t be gay or lesbian
      • Don’t marry outside of the EB, or outside of your race
      • Don’t divorce unless for fornication
      • Don’t use contraception (no matter how many children you have)
      • Don’t have an abortion
      • Don’t be involved in competitive organized sports
      • Don’t visit graves of the deceased often
      • Don’t miss daily church meetings
      • Don’t question EB rules


    6. As unusual as it is, a PBCC EB correspondent getting something right, this may be one of those rare events: While Google Streetview is from May 2009 and things may have changed since then, I have to agree they do not look like 7 foot high fences. This however does not change the factual content of this article exposure of this very peculiar cult.

      The map co-ordinates are: 50.1279059,-97.3224544

    7. When you look at the west side, the fence is higher than the doorway to a shed so I suggest it is 7 feet high. The great width of the site gives the impression it is lower, also the large aircraft hanger it encloses dwarfs it. Looks a welcoming place!!

    8. If readers go to Google streetview as ‘Go Bill’ recommends and copy & paste in the map co ordinates that ‘Go Bill’ has provided, Google streetview will show image of a partially finished PBCC EB warehouse type building. There are no PBCC EB signs anywhere but the design of the building and the fence and gate system conforms to universal global PBCC EB designs.

      On initial view the fence and gate do much less than 7 feet, but bear in mind Google street view cars take images using cameras mounted on top of the car roof so perspectives can sometimes look different, as the camera is looking slightly downwards. Bear in mind also that the roadway is raised with a drainage ditch, so that can also change perspective when looking at an image.

      What we need to clarify this is a reference point of a known existing height to make comparisons with.

      A quick bit of research gives exactly that,

      If readers use the directional arrows to click round to the left of the picture up to what appears to be a main road, then use the directional arrows to click along the main road going down alongside the PBCC EB perimeter fence. Readers will see a standard size shipping container positioned inside & next to the PBCC EB perimeter fence.

      This rust coloured shipping container positioned helpfully against the black colour PBCC EB perimeter fence is a good reference point to make size comparisons to.

      It’s a standard 40 foot shipping container the type used worldwide for rail, boat & road transport. They are 40ft in length, 8 ft wide & 8ft 6ins in height, although some are 30ft in length, their height & width does not change.

      In the image on Google Streetview, the shipping container height is above the height of the fence by no more than approx 2 ft. The fence itself must therefore be more than 6ft in height

      There are also a couple of trucks & 4x4 vehicles in the background which also give a good reference point to compare heights

      So, unless a PBCC EB spin doctor is going to say they have shipping containers of less than 6ft in height made just for PBCC EB, or that the shipping container does not exist as a height reference, (I have screen shots), or that the trucks & 4x4’s in the google street view image don’t exist either !, then the height of the fence & gates around the PBCC EB compound ( sorry supposed church) are more than 6ft.


    9. Ahem, I provided the co-ordinates, not Go Bill. But you could be right. Comparing with the truck viewed from the T junction the fence could indeed be 7' tall.

  2. Nope, Bill....the PBCC would not have a fence you could step over. What would be the point in that? Call it an optical illusion, if you like, or check out other images of fortifications. Any way, it looks like a case of straw grasping to dismiss a whole article for the height of a fence, don't you think?

  3. I have had the doubtful privilege of passing a number of EB fortresses (sorry places of public worship) and have not observed any fence less than 6 feet high.
    Very welcoming??? Go Bill - You are deluded or downright disingenuous.

    1. I apologise for stating that this particular fence was more than 6 feet high.Perhaps the Exclusive Brethren would now apologise for causing division in our family for the past 40 years because of the manner in which they enforce their separation doctrine. We are still waiting for their response to the commitment they gave to the Charity Commission. Disregarding that commitment is a much more serious matter than misjudging the height of a fence.

    2. Metaphorically, the fence could be a hundred feet high. It separates them and us and creates prisoners.

  4. "Go Bill" and his/her response to this article is so TYPICAL of the EB it actually makes me feel physically sick. Redekop's article is detailing the most ghastly control measures by a personality cult masquerading as a christian church - breaking up families, losses so unmeasureably deep they cause people to shatter - and the only response by a Breth is to quibble about the FENCE HEIGHT in the photo? Jesus wept! These people have become almost entirely without heart, it seems to me.

    1. Yes, and if we now say "The fence is three feet high" Go Bill will probably tell us it is six. Weave, dive, lie, deceive, U-turn, throw in red herrings, anything to support 'the position' and directions issued by the magical furniture salesman from Down Under.

    2. Nottachurch,

      Thank you for your post, you articulate exactly whats been on my mind ever since I read the post from ‘Go Bill’ (30th Dec 23:34) Hence why I posted what I did.

      Exclusive Brethren will wriggle, twist, deceive, use half truths, misinformation and throw up multiple smokescreens to try to hide from the truth, or try to evade responsibility, or try to discredit factual truthful accounts of harm & detriment.

      This is done to attempt to minimise the impact & validity of truthful factual scrutiny by trying to insinuate & place ‘doubt’ by whatever means possible.

      Those tactics are not the characteristics or methods of a genuine Christian Church which follows the Bible, but of a deeply damaging sectarian cult


  5. If the PBCC is going to talk the talk of being a mainstream church, they must walk the walk of mainstream churches and remove barriers which say, "Stay away. We don't want anything to do with you."

  6. This is not a topic to be debated lightly. There is a simple solution. We will send the picture to BDH and he will decide how high the fence is.

    The beauty of this is there will be no debate over how high the fence is once BDH has given his ruling.

    1. Ha ha,
      I dont need a deluded furniture salesman to make any decision for me

      God gave me a brain & a conscience & designed me to be able to make my own decisions using information & evidence, intelligence & knowledge.

      BDH is no use to me, nor will I or God obey anything he says

    2. Anonymous2 January 2015 at 03:06, I appreciate your humour. In one very short posting you have highlighted both the unimportance of the quibbles and the ridiculous method that the Brethren use to settle any questions of what is right or true.

      The Brethren used to ridicule the alleged infallibility of the Pope, but the Roman Catholic claims made for papal infallibility are hedged round with caveats, conditions and safeguards. In the Brethren’s case there are no such safeguards. History has established for them the precedent that whatever the Man of God does or says has to be accepted, on pain of excommunication, no matter how outrageous his words or deeds may be. That leaves wide open the risk that the whole of their church will be very seriously misled, which is exactly what has happened.