Exclusive Brethren Widower Shunned by Family


I was born into the Exclusive Brethren in 1947, one of five children. In 1959 there was a leadership challenge, which caused a major split. My family decided to stay with the American ‘man of God’ this meant shunning all our friends and relatives who were not members. We were forbidden to eat or talk with these former members; they had turned their back on “the light” and so were unclean.

At school, I was told to be separate from ‘worldly’ people so no RI lessons, no assemblies, no eating with unbelievers who were considered ‘unclean.’

I left school aged 15 to join a family business. We withdrew from the group on a Wednesday night and on the Thursday we went into work to collect tools and belongings and left. The next day we started working for ourselves. shunning cousins and their friends.

In 1964 I married a ‘sister’ and tried to conform. In 1973/4 another split but, we decided to leave, with our three children. I could not accept the things I was being made to believe.

We were subsequently shunned by my family to the extent that when my Father was rushed into hospital I was not informed, the same with my Mother. They both passed away without me having the chance to say goodbye. The reason given was I had turned my back on the ‘light’ and gone into the ‘world’ 

In 2016 my wife passed away. My youngest sister (who had left and started their own meeting) was the only one who came to her funeral.

So yes I know about shunning and being shunned, and the sadness and hurt caused.

I am now endeavouring to write my life story of having been brought up in this toxic group, with the hope if I can get it published, it might bring comfort to another victim.