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November 04, 2009

From Log Cabin in Vermont, Couple Fights Reclusive Religious Sect

What would you do if your upbringing inside a fundamentalist Christian community left you scarred and confused — and estranged from family members still inside the sect?

F-bretheren For Tim Twinam, a software developer living in Williston, Vermont, the answer was: Launch a website dedicated to re-connecting lost members driven apart from family and friends by the religion's "doctrine of separation."

Twinam was raised inside The Exclusive Brethren in 1960s England. He couldn't eat or socialize with anyone outside the sect, and TV, radio and university education were strictly forbidden. Internet is also banned.

Today he is the webmaster of, an online community made up of former members of The Exclusive Brethren, which is the subject of this week's Seven Days cover story.

Twinam, and his wife Sallie (pictured), have devoted the last four years to exposing the secrets of the reclusive Brethren and creating a network of "helpers" to assist those who want to leave the religion but don't know how.

Now the Brethren are suing the Twinams in Vermont federal court for copyright infringement, claiming downloaded Brethren-owned sermons and letters that are property of the Brethren.

Lawyers for the sect say they're just protecting their legal property. The Twinams say it's a lawsuit meant to silence their criticism by bleeding them dry financially.

Two attempts to settle the suit have failed and a third attempt is slated for later this month. Meantime, the Twinams told their story in the hope it would raise awareness about a relatively unknown religion with 43,000 worldwide followers, one they say wields outsize influence in the worlds of business and politics.

We've linked to the story here to allow readers to comment.

Photo by Andy Duback.

I just wanted to add my support to all the information that Tim has given you. What you have been informed of is just the tip of the iceberg. The so called leading priests leading this cult have now got to a state of chronic neurosis over this whole affair. They have been living under the influence of a string of megalomaniac leaders who are losing control. They will fight tooth and nail to try and keep there actions secret from the world. This includes not caring for families and isolating family members to the extent where they deny fathers access to their children. Older brothers and sisters are denied social interaction. If you are a family member who has been excluded, you are regarded as being dead. Many ex members, male and female alike often suffer severe physiological damage which takes years to recover and often they never seem to be able to do so.
I hope there will be more ex peebs who will have the courage to share their stories on this blog. I also pray that the judge residing over this case will become aware of the devastation that the exclusive brethren have caused.

Why would an organization like this try and shut down the website if they are proud of what they are doing and have nothing to hide? And if it really is about copyright, wouldn’t they want their ministry to reach a wider audience, for the betterment of society? Something very dodgy here, and good on the ‘little people’ for standing up to the bullies.

To answer Peter Wilson's comment, I have read the items in question, and from the content may I assure you that no self respecting religious group would want to see that material in wide circulation.
Tim Twinam is merely a conduit for information gathered up from people all over the world who have been severely hurt by the members of the Exclusive Brethren, and the hurt continues from many years ago, caused by the breaking up of families, an act of treachery, aided and abetted by the Exclusive Brethren leadership. The organization is corrupt in the extreme, and many published articles, books and radio and TV interviews given by the Exclusive Brethren only serve to show that they are elusive, sneaky and not what they preach. It's more a business than a place of worship.
Trying to shut up communicators like Twinam is not going to work. There are others ready and willing to step up to the plate and continue the quest for truth, and the healing of many broken hearts. Exclusive Brethren may say that the contributors to are malcontents, disgruntled people who should not be heard. I am an ex EB, and can say that I have love and care for those trapped inside Exclusive Brethren, they are people that I was once privledged to call my brothers and sisters in Christ. That has not changed, but they need to know that there is support for them, genuine care and concern. Shutting information sites down wont change that, and I sincerely trust that the Judge in the court case takes into consideration the magnitude of the decision before him, and allows the maintenance of free speech in the United States of America.

And where would a UK Charitable Trust whose objects on the charities database in the UK can be viewed by going to and who on the same page state that their charity benefits the ‘General public/Mankind’ find what must be by now, hundreds of thousands of dollars over 3 years pursuing this case?

Maybe the Exclusive Brethren’s only living MINISTER OF THE LORD IN THE RECOVERY, BRUCE DAVID HALES of Australia (and whose name appears on the above Charity website), should be ‘encouraged’ to disclose how much input HE has in this case. As most know members can hardly sneeze without his permission.

Of course The Exclusive Brethren want to close Peebs.Net down. They did it to Dick’s site and to Daniel’s site. They have sent threatening legal letters to some of the members of Peebs.Net, telling them to stop posting to the site and to delete all their previous posts, or ELSE.

I am not an exEB but I am the wife of an exMember. I have seen UP CLOSE the destruction to families that the Exclusive Brethren Hierarchy have caused over the past 30 plus years.

There MUST be continued support for those who wish to leave and somehow the EB walls that divide families MUST be broken down so that family members can reunite.

As an exEB,I can attest to the previous comments as being accurate. The main line ecumenical groups must realize that the Exclusive Brethren have wandered far from their roots as an Anglican-Episcopalian sect, and over the past 60 years have evolved into a cult of personality adept at exerting mind control, emotional persecution, sexism, intimidation and censorship while at the same time its leaders have enjoyed limitless personal power and financial gain. They have said, "Do not oppose us." The Exclusive Brethren "system" is much more compared to a political dictatorship than a church. The Twinams have picked up the torch from brave souls before who have worked to educate, enlighten and enable people who want to learn more about this group, people who need to heal from the wounds of having been in this group, and people who need the support to leave this group. May the presiding judge find the insight and wisdom to rule justly in this landmark case.

The Exclusive Brethren appear to forget this is a democracy with the constitutionally entrenched rights of free speech and association-albeit in cyberspace,as they try to curtail both by fear and intimidation,anybody who dares to exercise those freedoms.

In fact,although they would stoutly deny it ,any casual observer would see little or no difference between the doctrines and coersive intimidation tactics of the Exclusive Brethren and those of David Koresh[Waco] or Jim Jones[Jonestown mass suicide]as they in a strange paradox use their virtually bottomless coffers to use the democratically developed legal system to enforce what some have described as their version of fundamentalist Muslim sharia law on those who would dare to speak out in protest

My husband was in the Exclusive Brethren and I have seen first hand how he has been treated by it's members.

When he said he wanted to leave because he didn't agree with new teaching, he was subjected to nightly brainwashing sessions as he tried to sleep, until neighbours called the police, who came to the house and issued warnings that it had to stop and that they would be watching the house.

The Exclusive Brethren and all their many Trusts are registered as charities, yet it appears that no outsider is able to get into the meetings - I know because I have tried. They claim that they are the only ones that God speaks to today, and yet they refuse to share what God has revealed to them. Even suing someone they say has copied these "messages from God" to share with others.

How and why can they receive Charity Status and all the accommaning tax relief, when they disallow all outsiders, and even refuse to eat with them?

My husband's family say that my husband is dead. None of them attended our wedding, and have never informed us of family events including births, marrages and deaths.

Education is restricted, within their own schools, for which they receive Government help, but ask them to name even one of their number, educated within their system who has a degree? They say they allow it, but where is the evidence? is a lifeline to families like us who have beeen cut off from their real families. Tim and Sal are HEROES for all their hard work and what they have endured to keep active. Surely the Exclusive Brethren's action here is infringing our Human Rights to communicate with likeminded people, who have now become friends, replacing our EB families. They say they don't want to shut down the site, but they have already shut down the two previous sites, and it appears that any deal with Tim and Sal will involve them closing the site. The Exclusive Brethren have
cut us off from our families and now they are seeking to cut us off from our friends.

Please help our site survive, we need it and all Tim and Sal have done is give selflessly to support ex-EBs and those who want to leave the Exclusive Brethren.

I have been contributing to one of the most viewed threads on as "Spoof Reading" - over 180,000 views so far where I take a satirical poke at the leaders of the Exclusive Brethren; it provides some light relief to both myself and contributors and viewers alike as to the very real suffering this evil cult has and continues to do in damaging lives.
The attempt by Bruce Hales and his cohorts to shut this site down will only cause further pain to ex members who believe me have suffered more than enough at the hands of these dead set evil EB.
Enough is enough and this cult are headed down the track already gone by Jim Jones, David Koresh to name just two lots who in their words.."are the only right position!!"
This site must remain open at all costs.
I use the pseudonm for fear for my family member still locked in this awful cult who would be picked on because of me.

I would like to say that Tim & Sallie Twinam have been instrumental in helping save people's lives. I personally know of one man who was about to take his life, is an exbrethren, didnt know anything about the website, decided to google the words 'exclusive brethren', up came the website, and he visited that site, and says that it suddenly gave him hope, that there were many other people across the world who shared the same pain as he did. Suffice to say he is a lot better and enjoying life. He says that the website was a lifesaver for him. I also use a pseudonym due to the fact I write on the website with strong comments relating to the cruel, ruthless and destructive actions of the exclusive brethren.

As the only person in my family to have been thrown out of the Peebs I found reading the threads on Peebs net a great comfort in my loneliness. I missed my family hugely and although I made new friends, no-one that hasn't been there can possibly understand such a background. After over 20 years more family members have escaped but I still use my pseudonym so those still trapped are not persecuted. Keep going Tim and Sallie, your work is literally life saving!

After my husband left the Exclusive Brethren, he fought and gained access through the courts, to his 6 children. He settled for visitation rights every Saturday at their house, but this caused more grief for both him and the children.

Always there were barriers placed in the way of these meetings with his children. There were always “OVERSEERS” EB elders… standing like guards at the home of the ex-wife and children. They were very much like Bruce Hales. They didn’t speak, they just stared and stood like little tin soldiers with arms folded - as each of my husband’s children entered the room as a solo act. Stood looking their Dad in the eye and stated – “We don’t want to see you… until you GET RIGHT with the Lord… You have the devil in you…” (exit stage right)

This child was then replaced by the next youngest, entrance - statement - exit the same as the one before. Etc etc etc - until the littlest one of all who was only 5 yrs of age… quoted the exact same words as her older brothers and sisters and also ran from the room.

My husband - the birth father of these children was left standing in an empty room with several EB ELDERS - standing like dummies - arms folded - staring at him, until he decided to turn and walk away. My husband tried to converse with them, but he may as well have been talking to the wall.

How many times is a birth father expected to accept this kind of mental abuse? No matter the number. There comes a time when the father decides his actions are not helpful to his children, to himself, or his future….

THEN IT STOPS! The umbilical cord is cut. The pain is obvious.

Where does this father go for support? He has until now, confided in one or two only, outside the Exclusive Brethren. His past in the Exclusive Brethren is all too difficult to explain and attempting to do so opens the wounds that are trying so hard to heal.

This is the danger time for an exExclusive Brethren member and in the past some have committed suicide. Others close the door on their past, refuse to discuss it, attempt to rebuild their lives and create a new family for themselves. Often this approach doesn’t work either, because the damage done to the individual has never been addressed. At this time their new non-EB husband or wife and maybe children of the new relationship are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Often they are unable to understand the problems that arise, and the exEB partner is unable and sometimes incapable of explaining.

This is where the importance of Peebs.Net comes to the fore.

As a wife of an exEB, my contact with others in my position on Peebs.Net has helped me understand many things about my husband.

Sharing information on Peebs.Net has assisted me greatly in understanding what the young Exclusive Brethren go through when they are ousted by the Brethren, so that I now feel more confident in offering my assistance to any Exclusive Brethren person who is either being ousted or has chosen of their own free will to leave.

Peebs.Net members do NOT stand outside the Gospel Halls, tempting the members to leave, BUT we would like it to be known that there IS support for those locked inside, when and if they need it. Hopefully this will assist in saving a life here and there.

Why do we do it? Because we have lived the need.

I am using my Peebs.Net name, as the EB hierarchy in Australia (led by Bruce Hales) has already unmasked me and sent me a threatening legal letter. He will also know the above story as it has previously been posted on Peebs.Net

Thank you for posting this article. The general public has a right to know what is happening to their tax dollars, and if our taxes go to a religious group who are happy to take the money but not willing to treat the rest of the world in a Christian manner (love thy neighbour as thy self), then they need to be publicly scrutinised.

I applaud the Twinam's for their fight for what is right, and 'just' for the ex members of the Exclusive Brethren. Peebs.Net is a community, and clearly, the only support structure in existence for those who have been excommunicated or who have left the EB. It is also one of the only websites dedicated to collecting the entire history of this religious group (warts and all).
As an ordinary member of the public, and having never been a member of the EB, what the EB do in the name of "Christianity" NEVER ceases to amaze me. Peebs.Net must stay in place as an emergency refuge for those who can no longer follow the personality cult of Bruce Hales and his minions.

The USA have led the world in championing the cause of free speech...the malicious attempts to squash by money, bullying and contempt of all democratically elected governments around the world by the E.B. to shut up and shut down is a huge violation of free speech. These proven liars who have damaged countless lives through malicious motivation are doing all they can to hurt as many ex EB for two scare "wobblers", (still locked inside the EB) into staying through fear, and out of vindictiveness to bankrupt anyone who criticises Bruce D Hales Inc.. They have not been hurt one whim by and the benefit to the wider community and especially ex members trying to find a way through life outside the fettered rules of being inside the EB are enormous.
Picking like vultures on the flimiest of flimsy at Tim & Sallie Twinam is despicable and only shows up further the wretchedness and rottenness of who these people really are.

This is written under a pseudonym due to fear of being pursued and sent broke by the litigious Exclusive Brethren hierarchy.

Tim and Sal Twinam are before the court for only one reason......The Top Dog in the Exclusive Brethren has authorised the expenditure of huge amounts of "church" money to silence legitimate criticism of his inhumane pseudo-religious money machine. No-one, repeat NO-ONE, inside the Exclusive Brethren, including the Bible and Gospel Trust(BGT) would dare to initiate, let alone continue, legal action of this nature without the specific command of the so-called Man of God (MOG). To do so would mean they would risk expulsion, which in turn would mean they would be completely severed from, and rejected by, their spouse, siblings, parents, children and friends - for life. Additionally they would lose their home and occupation. Yet some individuals choose to leave the Exclusive Brethren and pay that cruel price rather than suffer the mental torture of trying to reconcile the constant clash of doing business in the name of "religion" under the minute control of an enforcer.

By airing this story, Seven Days has done a favour to taxpayers in many countries. The Exclusive Brethren is a profit-making business in disguise and must be investigated to ensure that many millions of dollars in taxpayer funds are not immorally directed to the bottom line of an extensive international web of trust companies directly or indirectly controlled by the MOG, a Sydney accountant.

The Twinam/BGT court case is driven by the need of the Exclusive Brethren hierarchy to protect their profit-making concerns - to enable it to continue to fly under the radar. It has nothing to do with legitimate copyright, nor religion. It is about free speach.

When we were contemplating leaving the Exclusive Brethren we knew that we would be ostracised, which means: no contact of any description, dis-inheritance, no news of the deaths of family members. In our minds we faced this; but the reality of experiencing this separation has been harder than we thought.

The Hales brethren never relent in the determined separation they enforce. My friends and my sister have not contacted us for 35 years. It is like a bereavement but the people are still alive.

The site Peebs net with its over 60000 contributions has helped many, helping exBrethren deal with their loss by separation.

When my 'still in' EB mother died (as an ex-eb I had not seen her or spoken with her for almost 25 years) I was notified 10 minutes after she had passed away, not having been told she was even ill.

When a couple of years later my elderly father was ill I was thankfully notified and was able to visit. Initially the visit was to be supervised but I refused to do this. This was during a brief mellowing of separation following adverse publicity. When he died I was notified but then a few days later told that the funeral had already taken place at 6.30 in the morning.

To have been able to share this with people who both understood and even believed my story (my non ex EB friends sometimes think I am making it all up) was a lifeline offered only by the website so couragously managed by Tim and Sally.

I know how the Exclusive Brethren operate as I used to be a member.

They want the site closed down so that the public and the authorities are not made aware of what they do. Their normal approach when dealing with such things is to prolong litigation until the poorest party (never them) collapses. In this case they will hope that falls over from lack of funds. Then if this fails they will offer cash for the site (even though they say they don't want to close it down) at the very last minute. The Exclusive Brethren have often settled on the steps of the court when they have failed to bleed their opponent dry and are about to lose a case designed to break their opponents.

I hope that this judge has done his homework and can see through these people, they have a lot to answer for. is a useful website for many reasons. It is a source of information for those who want to learn more about the people they are employed by or who they deal with in business.

It is a vital website for those exBrethren who have been out in the 'wilderness' thinking they were the only ones. It is heartening to see people make connections, have a common bond with others, and understand the ordeal others went through. It is also a place that new leavers and intending leavers can seek nonjudgemental support and friendship.

I have been delighted to see people grow and develop as they work their way through the pain and hurt of having been separated from family. has given them this emotional life line.

Why do the Exclusive Brethren think they have a right to quieten anyone if the accounts are not favourable. Criticism is part of life. Ask a politician about it; ask the Catholic church. If the criticism is not correct, prove it.

Do they shut down every psychologist who treats an exmember and hears criticism in their regular consultations?

Will all other social networking and support websites be threatened with legal action if they show any opposition or disagreement towards someone or something? Will alcohol companies try to shut down websites which support those who have had bad experiences with alcohol?

What do Exclusive Brethren fear? If they have the courage of their convictions then they have nothing to fear. website must not be allowed to be beaten by the stick of a minority group who continue to believe that they are the 'only true church' This website is too valuable for the information and friendships it provides.

The EB exist on cover ups and lies. Covering up evil in the form of one of their so-called great leaders Jim Taylor of New York caught in bed with a naked married EB woman and passed off as being an "ambush" to sort out opposers from the true line!!!. The man was an alcoholic as was his follow on Universal Leader the North Dakota Tax Evading Pig Farmer Jim Symington.
The present day leader is a slithery rat from Sydney Australia who is worth billions of dollars extorted from poor brain washed ordinary EB...make no mistakes about it this guy is totally behind the push to discredit two ordinary citizens of the USA Tim and Sal Twinam and shut up free speech.
Get behind this America..This is the land of the free!

In the Might v. Site article, the Exclusive Brethren led by Bruce D Hales are described as a “vindictive sect” and their leaders as “vindictive individuals”. The use of that particular adjective to describe a purportedly Christian group and its leaders has shocked me, even though three years ago I was warned by a member of this fellowship that “Brethren have taken persons to court for making serious inaccurate allegations against them or our leaders”.

In truth, I don’t know whether this Exclusive Brethren group is revengeful or not, but there is plenty of documented evidence that they are merciless as they evict people permanently from their birth families in pursuit of their own ecclesiastical ends. The great sadness behind all this is that only about fifty years ago it would have been possible to write positively about members of this group - they would have been described then as generally reserved, but kind and educated Christian people; but in the 1960s the then leader, James Taylor Jnr from New York, drew up the drawbridge and instructed his followers to treat other people - including close family members and other Christian believers - as “unclean associations” or “spiritual fornicators”. Since then the cruelty of this group has been so intense that some ejected members have been driven to suicide, and in one case murder. A terrible cost is still exacted from both members and former members, so it’s vital that Sallie and Tim Twinam should be allowed to continue their work of providing an online refuge for those whom Bruce D Hales and his Exclusive Brethren have rejected.

The world needs to know exactly what goes on behind the “Bible and Gospel Trust” facade.

True Story.
An Old man in his late 80’s relaxes in his bed in a local Rest Home.
He is visited by two men in suits. He has no idea who these men are, apart from one being older, and the other being younger.

They announce to him that his Wife has passed away. The old man is bewildered and very upset that his wife had passed away.

The two men in suits leave.

The Rest Home management phones the person on their books as the Next of Kin. This is the eldest son of the Old Man who is also an exEB

This Old Man and his Wife (who was now deceased) were separated by the Exclusive Brethren approx 15 yrs previously because the EB made a rule that alcohol should be taken daily and the Old Man refused to have the “Devil’s Water” in his home. So one day when he was out, his youngest son came to the home and removed his Mother and approximately half of the furniture while his Old Father was absent.

The two men, who visited the Old man, were his son and grandson. And he recognised neither of them because he hadn’t seen them for approx 15 yrs.

Funeral Time.
The Old man and his exEB son were refused admittance to the Exclusive Brethren Church Service, so they waited at the cemetery to farewell the Mother and exWife.

Even then it was a struggle as the Exclusive Brethren members closed ranks around the grave. The Son with his Father in a wheelchair shuffled him as close to the grave as possible but was forced back by the Exclusive Brethren members around them.

Finally it was decided to let the Brethren “DO THEIR THING” and the father and son said a private farewell to a dearly loved Mother and Wife… who through no fault of their own, or hers, were forced into separation by the Exclusive Brethren Cult.

The only way these memories can be lived with is by them being shared and in gaining the knowledge that you are not the only one who has been through such a trauma.

Peebs.Net provides this. There is no other place. It would be criminal if this service was closed.

When I left the Exclusive Brethren I went from being a daughter to a nobody. In the eyes of the Exclusive Brethren I had never been born. So why are the Exclusive Brethren concerned about a life-line for 'dead' people?

Tim and Sallie have brought me back to life. Their dedication to this site for me has provided me with comfort in times of sorrow, joy in times of happiness and the opportunity to reconnect with friends from my past. I don't have my birth family but I do have my family and that means the world to me. I would be so broken without this site.

Even though I am an outsider (I have never been an EB) I have learnt so much from all of the wonderful people at Please don't allow the EB shut down this site.
Cheers to you both Tim and Sallie.

I'm glad we can provide a forum for all of these comments, but I want to remind everyone posting here to keep this conversation civil. We will take down any comments containing implied or explicit threats, as per our commenting policy.

-- Cathy Resmer
Online Editor

The Exclusive Brethren publicly claim they are ''not trying to shut down Peebs .net'' yet at the SAME time propose the ''Wyman solution''-which resulted in doing exactly that-shutting down a prior public forum where people could meet, exchange information and support each other-precisely what facilitates.

While at first glance this lawsuit may seem to be a minor tempest in a teapot confined to a relatively few members and ex members,the taxpayers should know that multi millions of their tax dollars in government funds support the Exclusive Brethren,and be asking questions why the Exclusive brethren are throwing huge sums in an effort to shut down this public form-what is there that they are so keen to hide?Is it their finances?is it sexual abuse that has gone on for decades and is now just coming to light? is it their version of sharia law they impose on their members?Up to now the Exclusive Brethen have managed to maintain rigid control over their members by ''shutting up'' anyone daring to speak out,isolating them from any contact....and while peebs net cannot stop them ,at least it brings it into the light of day

Beyond the human interest factor of the personal accounts,tragic and heartrending though they be-public money is involved here-and the public has a right to know...and the ONLY window into this cult is wonder they want to shut it down,questions are beginning to be being asked of this group that claims to be ''the highest court in the land''-questions the Exclusive brethren don't want to answer....

There can be no doubt that this litigation is about suppressing the truth and continuing the deception. is dangerous for the Exclusive Brethren because the movement now survives on the basis of continuing lies and blows their cover. It records in one place vital historical information not disclosed to those "inside" and which is a great help to those who are thrown out or leave. Such people have been subjected to lies and mind control and need some way of researching the truth.

Through this site many have been able to connect with others who can understand their pain. The horror stories of abuse and cruelty go on and on (I could tell you many) and irreparable damage has been done.

All of this in the name of the Lord who has been so evilly misrepresented!

These brethren split up my happy family and I haven't seen my wife or 3 of my children for twenty six years. I also had experiences similar to what Ladykiwi posted above. A court ordered that my seven year old boy visit me, but, rather than comply, a "priest" delivered nasty, hateful, notes, which my son had been encouraged to write on toilet paper. That hurt!!! This group does not respect court judgements nor deal honestly. The website has put me in touch with persons the other side of the world and I have found that dishonesty is the norm in every country.

My concern that this group of people lie so often they forget what they have stated in the past, and then tell more lies to try to cover up. How can any Judge trust what thay will say in court? The legael system in every country mut be made aware of this so called group of so called Christians.

LADYKIWI. What a sad, sad, story. You and your husband have my deepest sympathy. The children deserve protection from this kind of abuse by unqualified and self-appointed 'priests'. Sadly, this is not a one-off event, an over-zealous leader going too far... THIS IS THE NORM with the Exclusive Brethren. I know, I had the same., thanks for the wonderful service that you provide to us who have managed to get free of the Exclusive Brethren. It's a place to communicate with others who understand where we are coming form and who are supportive. It's a source of information that is very useful to the friends, carers and professionals who try and pick up the pieces after the abuse, and attempt to bring the victims back to some form of normality. Without the provision of, it would be a lot more difficult. Thank you so much.

Glad this group is finally getting some press in the US. Many of the group are good people, but they have been hoodwinked into thinking they are the only people who are right. Sounds a lot like the FLDS in Utah and BC.

I lost my entire family when I left nearly 40 years ago - my father said it would be like I had died! has provided a way to find old friends and hear of other family members who have left. I have also met exEB in other countries as a result of this site and hope the EBs don't succeed in shutting it down - because in spite of what they say, I believe that is their goal.

You cannot rip a family apart without severe emotional consequences. Shortly after I was separated from my parents, my brothers, my home and all my friends, and left to find my own way without a friend in the world, my father swallowed a large overdose of sleeping tablets and nearly killed himself.

My own emotional trauma likewise left life-long scars. And the Exclusive Brethren have inflicted similar traumas on thousands of other families. Tim and Sallie Twinam’s Web site helps to heal these scars.

The Exclusive Brethren leaders don’t like it when their cover is blown like this, but the publicity serves a valuable purpose. It is the only way to restrain the EB leadership from more extreme abuses of their power, and thereby protect their deluded, misguided followers, especially the children, most of whom have no realistic hope of escape from an oppressive, controlling, abusive system.

Besides, the public have a legitimate interest in topics like the following.
covert attempts by the EB to swing election results
exemption from property taxes on buildings that are alleged to be places of public worship
sequestering of children from contact with non-Brethren, and psychological effects on the children
attempts by EB leaders to suppress allegations of child abuse within their ranks
public funding of Brethren schools
strict limits imposed by the EB leaders on the education of Brethren children
severely traumatic severing of family relationships
several attempts by the Brethren, sometimes successful, to silence their critics by vexatious litigation, thereby suppressing constitutionally-protected speech.

Ian, that is a good posting. The fact that your father took a large dose of tablets and nearly killed himself is trajic. Thank you having the courage to share your story - my heart goes out to you and to those who support you. I have also seen the very same thing, my father also tried to commit suicide and came close to death while the family was forced to split due to the Exclusive Brethren's punishment. I didn't tell anyone for years - the thought was just too bad. Thanks to the freedom of communication (and the wonderful facility of I can now start to come to terms with it and talk to others who understand.

As you also point out, we will have life-long scars, but we need to support projects like to keep the spotlight on the EB and prevent the next generation being abused in the same way that we were. Within the EB there are no checks and balances. I feel for the children, they have little choice. They have limited education, limited socialisation, limited career choices, and no freedom. The only real gain is the finance and power of the few at the top. Those who can see it for what it is should support kind-hearted initiatives like and protect these vulnerable people from he abuse that they are suffering. If you are a praying person, please include the Exclusive Brethren children - they deserve better.

I don't know if there is a limit on the number of words in a post, but because the following is so long I have only posted part of it. I will place a link at the end so that people may read it in its entirety if they wish.

Here is a remarkable document written by a New Zealander while she was still an Exclusive Brethren cult-member in 2008. As can be seen, Lindy Simmons put a great deal of time and thought into organizing her thoughts.
In mid-2008, Lindy decided she needed some answers and mailed the following document to Bruce D. Hales, the current leader of the cult, in Ermington, NSW, Australia.
Bruce Hales did not, or could not reply.
Lindy Simmons left the Exclusive Brethren at the end of 2008 and is now coming to terms with freedom from one of the most restrictive modern-day religious groups.
Lindy’s List
Lindy Simmons – Summary Letter
21 August 2008
The aim of this letter is to summarise my questions and issues about the E.B. It is an appeal for increased understanding and answers in regard to these things.
Obviously, I will have to go over them in greater detail before my current thinking could be changed, if I was to be thoroughly settled and convinced about them.
Where I am currently at is that I have such questions and issues about foundational EB beliefs, principles and practises that I feel I can no longer belong to the EB church.
However if they can be answered, their reason for existence explained, or if I become convinced some other way that before God I must remain an EB, then I may do so, as I believe the Word of God is law and obedience to Him is highest priority.
Brief summary of my questions/issues about the Exclusive Brethren:
I don’t understand or agree with the EB application of ‘separation from evil’. I don’t understand why we must be so extreme in our separation, especially
Why do we separate so totally from other believers?
Why do we separate ourselves so totally that we restrict our capacity to evangelise/do outreach to unbelievers? Or even just to get more involved with ‘doing good’?
Why do we separate from ‘out’ family members to the point it is like a death and its a complete cold severance? (Especially how can this be Scripturally justified when they are not wicked and haven’t given up the faith?)
Why can’t we belong to associations/memberships etc?
I don’t understand the EB application and interpretation of 2 Timothy 2.
I don’t understand the EB teaching that they are the ‘one divinely accredited position’ or the ‘best position’.
I don’t know what the ‘light of the assembly is’ and cannot see that we have a more special position or more special light than some other assemblies I have come across.
I don’t understand the teaching that the EB will have some special part in the ‘end times’ – or that they are the only ones who are Christ’s Bride, or that they can claim to be holding some special ground.
I don’t understand the ‘we are exclusive’ or ‘special’ mindset.
I don’t understand the teaching that the EB assembly as a whole will one day be perfect and sinless while still on earth.
I don’t understand the concept of one elect vessel, one man who leads the entire assembly.
I don’t understand how his one ministry is all that we should follow.
I don’t understand why he can be called ‘Paul of our day’, I struggle to believe every word that comes out of his mouth is from heaven, I struggle to believe he is infallible and that he is God’s only representative here on earth.
He does a lot of good, yet I still see far too many people totally out of his reach and falling through the gaps. It is impossible for one man however great to adequately serve a flock as big as the EB. There is something wrong with this system.
I don’t understand the teaching about how any human can reach a sinless state, such as is claimed about the ‘great men.’
How can it be right that the ‘great men’ and their ministries are quoted and spoken of far more in the EB meetings than Jesus or the Bible is?
I don’t understand why the EB do not support or do any missionary work.
I don’t understand why the only form of evangelising/outreach is the street preaching.
I don’t understand why we don’t advocate Jesus, and the EB position, far more to ‘all men’ or do more to ‘put our light on a hill’.
I don’t understand why the EB cannot have jobs other than working for EB businesses. Especially why not service-type jobs (eg. fire-fighter, nurse) and jobs that are essentially doing humankind (and therefore God) good.
I don’t understand how the teaching in regard to the Lord’s Supper can be right – that the Lord only attends the EB communion. I’m struggling to understand the teaching about our social boundaries being set by those with who we have the EB Lords Supper.
Other things that I cant understand – again, that I cannot see the moral or logical reason for:
I don’t understand why there is this extremely strong and yet unable-to-be-pinned-down concept among the EB that it is forbidden and immoral to marry anyone who is your 5 th cousin or 4 th cousin.
I don’t understand why there is also this extremely strong concept that marriage between persons who have different skin-colouring is forbidden and immoral.
Why we cannot donate blood or organs
Why we do not vote
Why we cannot adopt or foster children
Why if I have a non-Statcom phone, camera or computer I am immoral.
Why we cannot have pets

Lindy's full list can be found

To be in the EB you must conform in every way....dress, hair style, car you drive etc etc. Epilepsy does not conform. An elderly EB man in my area was banished to a 'colony' for years. Then my wife became epileptic after suffering eclampsia. Suddenly WE didn't conform, meetings were missed due to fits, her own parents steadfastly denied the condition and so we left. Since we left the EB 20 years ago they have never asked about her condition or been in touch, even though her younger sister died recently .

At least gives us the opportunity to converse with old friends, many hurt in other ways, without judgement, bias or conformity. Please don't allow this facility to be taken away. God bless you Tim and Sallie.

What harm has the site done to anyone? Absolutely nothing apart from discrediting the current goings on in the Exclusive Brethren cult and exposing them for what they are.
What harm have the Exclusive Brethren leaders done, AND are still currently doing? Check it out for yourself. Thankfully the site is still up and running, but for how much longer?
If Bruce D Hales and his henchmen have their way they will spend whatever it takes to close it down as well as bankrupt anyone that stands in their way.
Make no mistake that this is one of the most evil cults in the world today who will do in an instant anything their lord and master Bruce Hales tells them to do.Get behind Tim & Sallie and protect free speech.
The Land of The Free but for how long?

I left the brethren because I could not stand the meetings every day and the boring worshipping of the leader. But I miss my Mum and Dad, my brothers and sisters and all my friends I grew up with. They are still in the brethren and will never speak to me - its like I am dead. It is very cruel and am so happy that Tim and Sal have made available for me to catch up with others who left. Without it I do not know what I would have done and do. Please keep the site open.

Seven Days - hope the Exclusive Brethren aren't contemplating action to quieten you down for having reported this case!

I was raised in the Open Brethren, but they were nothing like this Exclusive Brethy's people.

We had the gospel preached to us and hung over hell if we didn't believe!! But these Exclusives - they are something else. They have so much money especially the leader who is a recluse - I would love if the Media could get an interview with him as he hides out behind tents and things.

The peebs net site tells a lot of interesting information on them. Pretty bad bunch these Exclusives if you ask me

Peace to y'all


For over 40 years the Symington/Hales led exclusive brethren have been splitting up families. By "Splitting up" I mean husband has been separated from wife, children have been separated from parents, either one parent or both. My nephews and nieces (four in number) were allowed to remain with relatives within the group after their parents had been excommunicated. The parents allowed this to happen believing it would lead to an early reconciliation of the family. Unfortunately once the brethren had the children, although nothing was legalised, the parents were denied their parental rights. The youngest was seven years old when this happened in the late 1980s. Those children were brain-washed into thinking that the circle of the EB brethren is the only right place for them to be. Their parents, who are now grandparents to children they never see, have been left in despair.

The Peebs Net site has been in existence since May 2004. That is five and a half years ago, approx 2000 days, or approx 48,000 hours of existence. There have been over 61,000 postings to the site, which means that on average well over one posting per hour has been made throughout the existence of the site. This shows the importance of the site.

The exclusive brethren would be worse today than they were 40yrs ago and prior. They are savvy now and have lots of cash. There was abuse even 40 yrs ago. Worked for a "preacher" who tried it on me. Years later it was revealed he had abused his child for many years. If member complied to rules there were rewards! Had to be a member of the club in other words. Any disobedience to these rules was dealt with, ie. being shut up. Kicked out of home and house. Families wrecked never to recover. Adultry was rife. Went to college at night in a City and when classes finished had to walk past some hotels. A leading brother and two other leading brothers came out with "fancy women"!!! Valium and other drugs were given freely to sisters who could not cope and they had then in their handbags. This was a talking point often as to which drug had the best effect. A local doctor prescribed them. He now is under suspicion of carrying out evil doings. Leading brothers, ie Taylor, Hayles and others around were viewed as being next to God. Godly men? No, they were not!! Peebs.Net is being attacked because it tells the truth and members feel free to talk over what has happened to them. Seeing their are member forums, how to the EBs get into them and read same. This is only the tip of the iceberg though.

In 2004 I privately published a book called 'Behind Closed Doors', a book I had started writing several years earlier but had refrained from publishing during my late husband's lifetime for fear of reprisals from the Exclusive Brethren. Within a few months of it being published it was discovered by Random House and a 2nd edition was published commercially in 2005. The Exclusive Brethren threatened to sue me for my autobiography but they did not proceed, no doubt because they knew I'd spoken only the truth and any lawsuit would make them look bad.

Unfortunately my brother, who is still in fewllowship with the Exclusives, allegedly suffered a heart attack due to the pressure put on him by the Exclusives. I believe it was he who was given the job of bringing me to my knees. He contacted my oldest son and laid it on his conscience to disown his mother and encourage his brothers and sisters to do the same - we left the fellowship when my five children were very young so the Exclusive Brethren have no membership claims on them. Not content with that, he then started putting pressure on my two sisters to disown me and they are not in the fellowship either! My brother is not acting as an individual; his behaviour is governed by instructions from the leaders.

When we first left the Exclusive Brethren in 1974 with our young family I would have done anything to have the support and friendship that the site has provided. For many years I felt loaded down with guilt for being the family member responsible for us being on the outside. I was so wicked, I had taken the 'Pill' for five years without my husband knowing and for that we had been withdrawn from and estranged from our families. Now I know that I'm not a wicked person but richly blessed to be on the outside.

'Behind Closed Doors', originally launched by, gives the reader an overview of the Exclusive lifestyle and is written with love and compassion for the people I once walked with while uncovering many horrendous Brethren practices. A book that tells such a familiar story for all of us who have left but keeps the reader glued to its pages to the end, unbelieving that such cruel behaviour can be got away with in our modern times.

This is not meant to be an advertisement, just a heartfelt understanding of what it will mean if the Exclusive Brethren succeed in shutting down our lifeline,

Truth is truth.
It can be denied, argued with, fought against, analysed and ignored.
But still truth remains.

The Exclusive Brethren leadership have hired public relations experts, at great cost, to attempt to tell the world their version of "truth" - always reactively.
In doing so they have highlighted their deceptive behaviours. The Exclusive Brethren leadership previously directly attempted to "spin" their stories to the media, only to find that their nonsense was quickly seen for what it is by independent people not under their influence.

The Peebs.Net website portrays the truth as experienced by the individual authors - except for a thread that is specifically an important stress-relieving spoof of Exclusive Brethren behaviours. Many a true word spoken in jest!

A common theme and apparent philosophy of the Peebs.Net website is, "The Truth Will Set You Free".

The leadership of the Exclusive Brethren fear just that, and are quite prepared to outlay huge amounts of tax payer subsidised funds to prevent publication of truth. Such apparently surplus funds would be better spent on charitable works, than trying to defend their rotten deception.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for the public to be made aware of the struggles all former members of the Exclusive Brethren go through once they are evicted, or leave voluntarily.

It is so vital that remains open as I was once a member of the Exclusive Brethren. I have found a great support system within the members of Without it, I doubt that I would have grown to be a more confident person, with a happier outlook on life.

The tragic stories of fathers/mothers being separated from their children NEED to stop once and for all. The EB children need to be allowed to have a University education to be worthwhile citizens instead of having their talents suppressed.

The Twinams need to win this fight!!

I was kicked out of the EB's in 1980 and not contacted for 25 odd years by my family or any one else from in there. Peebs . net has become a lifeline for me since I came across it 3 years ago.
I was there, now i'm here.

I was born into the Exclusive Brethren (EB) in the 1960s in Australia.

In about 1980 my family was ripped apart by a series of events – my father was wrongly accused of breaking a rule that forbade contact with a person who had earlier been ex-communicated from the EB. It took years before my father was allowed to return.
During these years my father lived in a rented accommodation and was not permitted contact with my mother, myself and my brothers and sisters.
This enforced separation is the key tenet that make the Brethren ‘Exclusive’ - they force families to turn their back on other members for fear of being ex-communicated themselves.

Over these years I also became increasingly dis-enchanted with the EB. I was caught up in the enforced separation – I lived at home with my parents, but other members of my family were billeted out so they could not contact me and thereby keep attending the local EB assembly.
Eventually I was moved into rented accommodation so the rest of my family could be re-united.

I lived alone for many years – I put myself through university education and got a job. I still had no contact with my family for many years even though they lived close by. I felt completely alone and may as well have lived in a cave like a hermit. I was offered no support by my family and I was completely shunned by former friends in the local assembly.

Other members of my family were also ex-communicated – for various reasons – they were also shunned my members of our family still “in” with the EB. And like me, they were left totally to their own devices – to make their own way in the world with no support. Their crime? – they couldn’t make sense or didn’t agree with the exclusiveness of the Brethren – they dared to question the “Elect Vessel” and his interpretation of the Holy Scriptures – they dared to want to pursue a career that required university training – they dared to lived their lives like “normal” members of the society –

Then one day, I found a website founded by Dick Wyman – and I realised that I wasn’t alone – that other people were experiencing the same issues. Sadly, the EB had this website shut down. Not long after I found, and joined in the on-line community that has been able to thrive thanks to the efforts of Tim & Sally Twinam.

The website offers a place where I and former members of this cult can find solace – we can share our experiences with others – and we can highlight our story in the hopes that “the walls will come tumbling down” someday soon. We all want to be re-united with family members still stuck “in” the EB – without the threats of them being ex-communicated also – without the emotional blackmail that is used to maintain their principle of separation. has also enabled me to be able to contact many friends and family members who over the years had also been ex-communicated. We are able to support each other physically and emotionally whenever required. A number of reunions have been held around the world that have also enabled people to re-connect with long-lost friends and relatives. also has a system where people who are thinking about leaving can make confidential contact with others for support – I wish this had been in place in the 1980s!
Tragically, for a number of people it has come too late – the website includes a “memorial” where details of a number of suicides that have occurred because of how they have been treated. The website gives people one of the most important things in life – HOPE – for a better life and a safe future.

The website enables us to also enjoy the lighter side of life – to share our experiences and new-found joys and freedoms that were previously off-limits. We can also celebrate our freedom to worship if we want to, and just as importantly to not be persecuted if we choose not to.

We can celebrate our achievements too – many former members have been able to achieve goals and ambitions that were once out of reach.

The website is a focal point for my life – to lose it would create a void that would not be filled by anything else. It represents so many things – it reinforces my soul and gives me purpose. It enables me to be heard and to know I am not alone in the fight against the EB cult. This website gives me hope that one day the remaining members of my family will also come to the realisation that they have been brainwashed and are living a life imprisoned and controlled by people who have forgotten what true Christianity is about.

The EB are trying to shut this site down – it is clear they do not like attention being brought upon their activities – they prefer to “fly under the radar” wherever possible. They say they just want to be left alone to live their lives in their way, but they still persecute former members and break up families and destroy lives – all to maintain extreme control of the remaining members and to hide the truth from them.

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel – and I believe the Twinams and the website are its fuel.

The EB are trying to shut this site down – it is clear they do not like attention being brought upon their activities – they prefer to “fly under the radar” wherever possible. They say they just want to be left alone to live their lives in their way, but they still persecute former members and break up families and destroy lives – all to maintain extreme control of the remaining members and to hide the truth from them.

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel – and I believe the Twinams and the website are its fuel.

One would logically think a ''church''that openly preaches an ''utter hatred for the world'' and demands its members live in ''separation''would also extend this doctrine to not receiving financial support from the taxpayers ''world'' it so openly despises-not so!

These are smart business people who have managed to avail themselves of every government grant and tax exemption possible,and there have been allegations of cycling business funds through their school system in order to obtain dollar for dollar government grants.

And while they claim financial support for political parties favourable to them are ''only from a few concerned businessmen-nothing to do with the church'',there is at least one instance of a ''shell company'' with no assets, inventory or sales that mysteriously emerged during an election campaign and was quietly shut down afterwards.

Ex members tell of carrying large sums of cash across borders-but with the Exclusive Brethrens penchant for secrecy and not disclosing their finances-who really knows what goes on?

The ONLY way information is being made public on this secretive group that some say is really a business organization masquerading under a church for tax purposes is by way of a public THAT why the real reason Exclusive Brethren are pursuing this legal action?Is THAT why there are harsh reprisals for anyone going ''outside''?One thing IS certain-anyone who thinks this case is merely about copywrite infringement is being very, very naive

Um . . . splain me why these people joined this kooky conservative christian sect in the first place???

nobody joins this ''kooky conservative christian sect in the first place''-they are born into it-and with birth control banned, it is not uncommon for a breeding age woman to produce 10 or 12 children.In fact, if a woman goes too long without becoming pregnant-she can expect a visit from the ''priest'' asking why.If she becomes depressed with the work overload ,pills are prescribed.In the past,it was alleged that husbands were advised to ''keep up the pressure on their wives until they almost cracked-then back off a bit''

Many of the people who contribute to are the people who escaped ,or refused to put up with this treatment.Its the only connection they have with other ex members,and the only people who understand

You're born into it. No birth control and families are larger.

Very few, if any, have joined in recent years.

You could try going to one of their so called public meetings, but my guess is that they won't let you in.

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