Thursday, 18 August 2016

Rule No. 1. 'Make them buy your books.'

If they were giving out awards for flapping your gums, then Bruce D . Hales is the 'Champ-een' of the world. 


The bible as we and the world knows it, is only 1510 pages long including all the notes and stuff. Written we are told over huge passages of time with contributors galore, it just manages to break the 1500 page benchmark, not including its Moroccan hide exterior. 


The INDEX to Bruce D Hales utterances however, in a bit over a decade- and after a shaky start- is sitting at 1454 pages and counting. Because he's still talking. So the basis of religion with all of its stories and ideals, its psalms and epistles, its parables and persuasions, written over many hundreds of years, will fall dramatically behind in the word count sometime this month. 


The Stow Hill boys fingers must be a flurry on those keyboards and their PC's must glow red hot with the daily input of Hales' doctrinal wisdom and double takes. And chastisements. These scribes play the game of Plymouth Brethren Roulette - edit and be damned or don't edit and be doubly damned, as one found out recently when he let some unguarded words of Hales run through to the wicketkeeper and the printing press. 


Remember - I said INDEX. Not the actual ministry itself, which, by conjecture, must run at several hundred thousand pages. So what we are talking about here is a lot of talking. As opposed to - doing. The Brethren are very good at talking. Doing anything that benefits their fellow man is well down the priority list though. Well if you can see past the rotund tummies of highly nourished fire-fighters, filled with the fruits of the toil of corpulent sisters, that is. Extended to them in latex-gloved hands that will never be contaminated by the evil of this world. 'Eat my sandwich - but be damned if you think I will eat mine with you!' is the Hales mantra on the subject. (BDH Volume 233 - Page....well I forget - but it's in there somewhere.) 


To do an expose of the saucier bits of this index would be a job for someone like John Nelson Darby. A huge undertaking! It would take years - our Man of God as it were, being so dynamically prolific in the verbiage department. But over the next few weeks I am going to give it a try. 


The Brethren are very proud of their ministry stashesThey are cache's that - despite their sheer worthlessness in the scheme of things, represent their biggest capital investment since they bought the house and the new Hyundai people mover


I remember ours when I was a kid. One entire wall in the drawing room given over to its guardianship. Each oak shelf groaning under the volume-enousweight of words. Stressing and deforming God's most venerable tree stock to almost breaking point. Sadly, in this day and age, the Brethren bookshelves now visibly scream under the collective weight of Los manifiestos de Hales. You could buy a decent house with their collective expense. Much like the Scientology fiscal cornerstone - book selling being the way of making the 'church' rich before you hit them up for good old plain cashI think Ron Hubbard got the idea from the Peebs actually.


Hales being the marketing genius that he is, decreed that they also need the 'Pocket Hales' volumes. For ready reference. "What would Mister Hales say?" Peebs go about their daily routines they would have us believe, with Hales subliminally by their sides, pulling the choker collar on their compass and pointing their heads in the right direction with one of his awkward and at times, increasingly cryptic demands. From his little white paperbacks. Simon and Schuster have nothing on this guy. In time he will put J.K Rowling in the shade. In both sheer volume and income. 


Which begs the question. Who really reads all this drivel? I mean - most of it is just a rehash of the un-rehashable.  I know of some Peebs, who haven't looked at their ministry hoard in decades. It is conserved in a healthy coating of accumulated dust that will never be wiped off in their lifetime. It's just not a place that they go to anymore. After working for an ungrateful Peeb all day - they must go every night to entertain more ministry generating talk before getting home utterly knackered at 9.00 pm. 


The last place you are going to go, is for another session in front of a protesting bookcase for another dose as it were. There comes a point where your average Peeb is 'full'. Their eyeballs are now waterlogged puddles of doctrinal over-indulgence. Their brains fail to separate the who from the what. And 'who' said 'what'? Which is why they ask lots of questions all the time. "Would this link with that?" It's akin to swallowing the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica and then some. Just Google it I say. 


To divest yourself of old ministry is an act of treason. Despite the fact that the original authors of these volumes would never get their foot in the door of a Peeb church today. Get rid of it and Hales will ensure you go out with it. The utterances of men are now more important than the good book itself. The bible is a relatively minor work in the Brethren world today.


They say that cows and cars are the main contributors to greenhouse gases today. I say bullshit! They forget the thousands of PBCC adherents -who have failed to adhere, and Scientology believers who have failed to believe and who made the major step of retreating to their back yards with their wheelbarrows and matches at the ready, as their first step in getting back to reality


I can say it was a weight off my shoulders as I watched the box after box of now worthless utterances from grey men, go up in smoke in a pyre that could be seen from the heavens. Guy Fawkes himself would have approved. 


But I kept my bible. Heavens knows, it's all in there in a much purer, more concise form anyway. Neatly packaged in one 6 x 4 inch 1510 page volume. A bargain when you see what Hales is charging these days. 



  1. Books of Brethren ministry are not altogether worthless. They are the main source of evidence that enables us to work out why the leaders produce the stuff, and why some of the faithful read it. They illustrate how EBism works, why it exists and how it harms people; and it provides pointers to what can be done about it.

    Not that very many read it. Fortunately some of the ministry never even gets as far as the bookshelves. Some Brethren just stack the ministry books in piles in their unopened delivery envelopes. Others display it proudly in the bookshelves, but never open a single volume. You can see from the public postings made by Brethren on Internet forums that many of them are ignorant of their own ministry. All they seem to know is a few favourite slogans, mantras and verses of scripture, which they recite unthinkingly. I know more about their ministry than most of them do.

    There was a time when some of the ministry contained valuable insights. There are good bits in the ministry of JND, JBS, FER and CAC, intermingled with varying amounts of material that is dull, misinformed, pretentious or sectarian. There may be good bits in the very voluminous ministry of JT too, but if there are, they are in a very dilute form. But by the time you get to JTJr, JHS, JSH and BDH the ministry contains so much poison that you are liable to be harmed by it if you take it seriously.

    What do I mean by poison? Lots of things.

    The most poisonous are the parts that turn you against good people and against good ideas: the parts that are anti-Christendom, anti-other churches, anti-natural relatives, anti-democracy, anti-equality, anti-human rights, anti-university, anti-scholarship, anti-science, anti-literature, anti-journalism, anti-broadcasting, anti-computing, anti-same-sex-marriage, anti-Russian, anti-Arab, anti-Chinese, anti-technology, anti-reason, anti-intellect, anti-critical thinking, anti-free speech, anti-free thought.

    As A. N. Groves wrote to J. N. Darby on 10 March 1836 in a chillingly prophetic letter, “you will be known more by what you witness against than what you witness for, and practi¬cally this will prove that you witness against all but yourselves”. Just so. That is exactly what has happened.

    Apart from turning people against one another, spreading distrust, fear and division, the next most poisonous components of Brethren ministry are the parts calculated to create a totalitarian regime, in which the followers are totally subservient to the leader, expected to give unquestioning agreement, obedience and submission. This is very dangerous. The extent to which it has worked is horrifying. But again, this was predictable. James Kelly predicted it in a letter to J. N. Darby, in which he wrote,

    “ … but while you have authority among you in a covert way, it is capriciously exercised according to no open acknowledged standard; and thus, while our dear people whom you have got among you are taught to flatter themselves that they are free from the yoke of man, you and the other managers of your party are virtually their lords; and if your own minds receive an evil impulse, God knows what mischief you may inflict upon them; or if you are preserved (and I pray the Lord you may, and, further, be reclaimed from your present schismatic course), other leaders may arise among you, men of parts and ambition, who may become the worst of spiritual despots.”

    Just so.

    1. Ian your post summarises today's issues historically. Nothing has really changed since Darby who was the real originator of today's PBCC cult. It was always a man controlled and man centered cult. Not a religion not a church just a cult.

  2. Ah Ian - you old scholar you - my point is still valid! Hales is filling their bookcases so fast, that all the stuff previous becomes redundant - if only for the physical lack of hours in a day to consume it. I'll bet Raven and Stoney haven't had a look in - in 40 years. Or even JT Snr. The current leadership tends to point them all to his father- after himself of course. Symington gets a whiff of interest - but that's pretty well it. So if that's the way it is - the rest should just be burnt or turned into compost. For the sake of the structural integrity of their walls alone. I wonder how many Brethren have recently read the letters you refer to above Ian. This is the problem with ministry overload.

    1. Yes, your point is very valid. The poor peebs are obliged to buy piles of verbiage that is barely worth the paper it is printed on, and they are urged to read it for three hours a day. Most of the oppressive, controlling cults have ways of keeping their followers busy and occupied with no time to do or think about anything outside of their cloistered little cultish existence. Giving them lots of reading material is one way. Making them attend lots of meetings is another way.

      The ministry emanating from mainstream church leaders is utterly different. There is something interesting on every page, and most of it is thought-provoking, not thought-suppressing. They don’t know all the answers and they don’t pretend to, but they draw the readers’ attention to lots of important questions. Whereas in Brethren meetings the followers usually ask pseudo-questions and the leader pretends to know the answers, usually dogmatic ones that are accepted unconditionally as oracular light from the temple. There is a rude word for such pontification, but I will not use it here.

      Even Jesus didn’t always know the answers to people’s questions, and he didn’t pretend to.

  3. Perhaps PBCC/Exclusive Brethren readers of this thread don't know that mainstream churches in the UK don't produce ministry books like this.

    In the church where we worship sermons are printed out and made available to members and visitors alike by being placed on a table by the church door. There is no charge for this. Material from Bible studies in the church is also free of charge.

    Church leaders, whether lay or clerical, often write books that are published by reputable firms and reviewed in journals and newspapers. Sometimes I give information about books I've valued to people I know in the PBCC. If anyone is interested, I recommend Rowan William's 2015 short volume entitled 'Meeting God in Paul'. It's published by SPCK. Rowan Williams is a man of prayer and scholarship who now works in Cambridge. Previously, he was Archbishop of Canterbury.

  4. 'The bible is a relatively minor work in the Brethren world today'

    For some time now I've known that Luke 15, The Prodigal Son is a rejected Scripture by the Exclusives in practice

    More recently I've had experience that The Good Samaritan is also rejected by EB

    Another reject is the woman taken in adultery

    When such well known Scriptures are ignored in practice and thus rejected, can any current member of the Exclusives be saved?


  5. Luke
    Are you saying they do not read these scriptures publicly in their gatherings or rather are they ignoring their application?