Plymouth Brethren Christian Church
(Exclusive Brethren)

A large, international Christian sect, which is almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world in all areas of life


Members of the church (via CoventryLive)

The Exclusive Brethren are a major Christian sect founded by the famous theologian John Nelson Darby that emphasizes a radical separation from the outside world. Originating in the early 19th century, the church began with a desire for a purer form of worship and stricter adherence to the Bible. However, over the years, this quest for religious purity transformed into a lifestyle markedly different from the mainstream, leading to widespread criticism and concern.

The Exclusive Brethren believe that a strict separation from the world keeps them pure and untainted by what they see as a morally corrupt society. Members follow hundreds of strict rules to keep them separated from the outside world, including a ban on talking to non-members and on using television, radio, newspapers, and any other media not sanctioned by the church. As a result of this extreme distrust of the outside world, many members have been afraid to leave.

The church also embraces the practice of shunning in which members who don't obey church leaders are isolated from the community and unable to speak to any members. There are reports of children being taken away from their families and forced into homelessness if deemed not obedient enough. Some members have reported that they were never even told why they were shunned.

Not surprisingly, these practices have resulted in a veil of secrecy, under which abuse goes unreported. Numerous people have come forward to blow the whistle on abusers, providing a glimpse into the dark secrets of this cult. Even worse, the church has been caught actively covering up cases of sexual abuse through lawsuits, intimidation tactics, and bribes. As a result, one can only wonder how many additional instances of abuse remain hidden.

The Exclusive Brethren attempted to re-brand their image and adjust some of their more controversial rules and practices; however, they continue to face the same criticisms as members continue to get prosecuted for their involvement in abuse. Nevertheless, despite these controversies, the group remains active and continues to have a strong following. The Exclusive Brethren maintain that their way of life is a fulfilling and devout path, emphasizing their strong community bonds, moral lifestyle, and dedication to the Bible.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Evangelicalism

Founder: John Nelson Darby

Current Leader: Bruce Hales

Founded: 1848 in Dublin, Ireland

Size: 46,000

Offshoot of: Plymouth Brethren

Other names: Plymouth Brethren (Exclusive Brethren) Christian Church Limited

Locations: United Kingdom; Australia; United States; Canada



Separation from World

"It was a known thing ever since you were a child that if you ever left you'd go to hell - you'd burn in hell for ever; and that you'd never be able to speak to any of your family or anyone that you'd ever known through childhood in the Brethren ever again. That you'd just be you didn't exist" -ex-Brethren woman (source)

Unique Sexual Practices

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