The PBCC. The Masters of Cruel.
Another day in infamy. Another day that keeps reoccurring in my mind courtesy of the Peebs.
Ask any ex-Peeb who has been treated as so many were,badly, what they think about when they lie there at night and the bad memories that sit in the sub-conscious just waiting to re-emerge are there with all of us, despite the passage of years.
And today is one of those days. It is an un-Godly hour, still black as pitch outside. But I can stay in my bed no longer. Because today I have had a flashback, so vivid in my mind today, that it could have occurred yesterday.
'It ' happened when I was ten. And I wept bitter tears and desperately tried to talk reason to my parents at the time. But they too were in tears and not buying my reasoning. "Ours is not to reason - but to obey" I think they said. Well something like that.
Apparently, a man in New York had also woken up one day and said "That's it! Today I will make another decree. For I am the Man of God!"
Not content with having destroyed thousands of families with his separation edict five years earlier, Jim Taylor was on the warpath again. With more of his cruel and rubbishy reasoning. "Today is the day- I will command them all, to kill all of their animals" he had said.
When I was seven, I also remember vividly, a moment that similarly lives with me forever. It was the day I was sat in a bath, covered in mud, as is the case with small active boys intent on adventure, with my mother washing me. Not a remarkable thing in our household. We were active kids. And Mum had been washing mud off us for over a decade. But this day was different. Today as she removed the silt from my lithe little body, she sobbed. I don't mean wept. I mean sobbed. I had never seen my mother sob. She was a strong woman. But this day, she sobbed like an inconsolable schoolgirl and the distress of that moment is another that is etched into my mind with a realism that endures the decades. And I thought it was because I had come home again, covered in mud and this was enough to finally tip her over her tipping point.
It was forty odd years later that I realised the real reason for her uncontainable anguish. I did the math and the year was 1959. The year people like my mother were ordered by the same man in New York to dispose of their families if they were not members of the Exclusive Brethren sect. And the day my dear little mother had to say goodbye forever to her parents, brothers and sisters was the saddest day of her life. A day that would have lived with her forever, like the one I am having now. Dealt her, like so many others, by the Master of Cruel. Big Jim Taylor. The so-called Man of God.
My day of grief however was for one of the main things I loved, up until that point in my young life. Spike. My loyal and trusting dog. Who went everywhere with me. Bought for us by our mother.
I remember that day too. I also remember the man who handed down the edict in 1964 from the big man in New York. One Bruce Hales Senior. Along with his brother John, another Master of Cruel.
I remember the time. I remember the meeting. And I remember running to the church toilets to sob at the news I had just heard. "All animals", (and here Hales screwed his face up like he was talking about something utterly disgusting and repugnant) "Pets - are to be disposed of immediately. We reserve our love for God. Not animals."
Apparently God was miffed. According to Taylor, there has been some love leakage, due for him, but being given to things like 'Spike'. And as a result 'Spike,' along with thousands of other animals had to be euthanized, even though he was a happy, healthy little dog. Spike's sin was that he had found the wrong family. Sure they loved him, but his owners were beholden to a greater, and crueller power.
And I haven't mentioned the cats and the budgies either. Because they went the same way too. In cardboard boxes to be disposed of by a lethal injection. An injection of hate, lest they were loved.
I remember tugging at my father's sleeve as he packed our pets into boxes to be killed. He was putting holes in the boxes. So they could breathe their last. "Please Dad - I'll keep him in my room. No one will know!" "God sees everything" he saidas he tied up 'Spike's' box with string.
I was starting to hate this Mister Taylor. He made my mother cry and now he was making me cry. Bitter tears. This Brethren existence was a lesson in continued and compounding grief.
Which got my young mind to thinking. Why did God bother to instruct Noah to save all of the animals, if God in fact hated animals and wanted them all killed? Even today, that question,formulated in the mind of a child, is still devoid of an acceptable answer. "Why" I reasoned, in my case for the animals, and specifically for 'Spike' at the time, " did Jesus share his manger with animals, if he in fact hated them,because they took available love from HIM?"
Of course, as is so often the case with the judiciary, the sentence had been handed down. And it was many a long day before my grief abated enough for me to move on to the next Brethren decree and debacle. In fact, the very fact that I am talking about it now despite the passage of 52 years, is proof that it has affected me for life. Which is why I am up at some ridiculous hour writing this. Attempting to purge myself of the grief that this mad unreasoned sect causes on so many levels and over so many 'issues'. Even little dogs.
The scene at the Veterinary surgery was a sad one. We weren't the only Brethren there. They were coming and going and a bewildered Vet wondered what the hell was going on. None of these animals was sick, but suddenly these strange people wanted them all put down. Some were bundled into cages while more of the deadly cocktail was ordered to do the job. I remember him making a phone call within earshot of the busy waiting room asking for backup from another practitioner. But he was swamped too. With Brethren pets. All taking love away from God.
One wonders today how utterly ridiculous these people really were. I mean, by conjecture, if pets took love away from God, why didn't a wife. Or kids? All objects of love I would have thought. Why didn't they put them down too? But Taylor, and God as well apparently, had decided that pets were the object of a love that was now illegal in the world of the Brethren. Our love was only for God and Mister Taylor.
At the time I was learning to hate the man. And God wasn't my favourite either if I'm honest. He was causing me untold grief. And the strange thing is, that I grieve that day as powerfully as I did in 1964.
They are cruel bastards, the Brethren. Their cruelties continue to the current day. We are 'dead to them' too. Sadly for them, they can't just euthanize us as well. But they can decree that we don't exist. Which is what they do.