Monday, August 14, 2006

Vogons

Don't be fooled by the cranky exterior of the Exclusive Brethren. They're the religious equivalent of Vogons.

I know because I was brought up in them till the age of 9. For those who don't know me, no, this does not make me sad and repressed. (Aleister Crowley was brought up in the Exclusive Brethren also - it's why he was so vehemently anti-Christian and outrageously hedonistic).

The Exclusive Brethren prevent their members from watching TV, listening to the radio, using mobile phones and computers, using contraception, eating with non-believers (this includes other Christians), going to pubs, having pets, and talking to members of their family who have been thrown out for committing any of these offences. They make their women wear headscarves and don't allow them to cut their hair (you can spot them very easily, they're the exhausted-looking ones with the bovine expressions and umpteen kids in tow). And the Gods help you if you were discovered to be gay. Two women who lived together (dunno if they were lesbians or not) were excluded on suspicion of being lesbians. Pets were banned sometime in the mid-sixties; this resulted in a number of people gassing their budgies (this was still the time when gas ovens used coal gas).

As a result of the behaviour of this delightful organisation, I didn't see either of my sets of grandparents for the last 20 years of their lives (they were forbidden to talk to us); and my aunt's husband intercepted all my mum's letters to her mum (when her mum was dying) and didn't give them to her. I only found out that my other grandmother had died because someone who worked in the Register (of births, marriages, and deaths) told me.

They stick rigidly to everything it says in the Bible (you can find sources in the Bible for all the practices listed above). So if you ever hear me being anti-Christian in my remarks, the above will explain why. (I do realise that not all Christians are like this, but they're all referring to the same holy book. I have the deepest respect for many individual Christians, but I have a strong philosophical objection to the basic premises of their religion.)

There's a support site for people who have suffered from the Exclusive Brethren.

6 comments:

Joe said...

I simply don't trust any organised religion - spiritual beliefs should always be something deeply personal. And one thing no religion likes, even the huge ones such as the Catholic Church, is that tecnically all organised religions are cults. Which makes it more ironic when local churches decry some strange and bizarre cult moving into the local area which they say targets those who are depressed, weak minded, young, lacking in direction or attention...

Nothing at all like baptising children soon after birth, making them go to Bible Class as young children or making them take Communion at 7 years of age...

I sometimes think there should be an age limit for religious activities, such as impressionable children should be protected from all religions until the age of 16 when they can have a look and make up their own mind instead of being brainwashed. If the government and child protection agencies think we need to protect youngsters from certain advertising which may influence them then why not religion?

I am curious though, this Brethern follows the literal Bible teachings - how do they manage the bits which contradict the other bits? Or as they all schizophrenic as a result? Funny how these sects usually follow rules which the Christ I was taught about as a kid at Bible class would have found repugnant since he specifically reached out to the outcasts and told followers to love their brothers.

Starfisher said...

Well you know my views on this Yvonne. The Old Testament is pretty much a desert survival guide (just a few thousand years out of date) with a bit of family history thrown in. The New Testament is a bunch of guys arguing about what Jesus said or didn't say, with the final 'triumph' to Paul, who I hated from about age 6 (wow, did that make me a baby feminist?). I mean, if people want to call themselves Christians, shouldn't they be following the teachings of Jesus Christ - not some stuffy misogynist?

I consider Jesus to be the ultimate commie and proto-hippy, he was magically gifted and pretty fab (and JEWISH - hello!) but the rest of it unfortunately does not appeal to me (except the bits that are suggestive of ancient goddess rites, like references to the Whore of Babylon). If anything, I lean towards the Gnostic stuff, but wait...they didn't include that did they.

Starfisher said...

p.s. talking about advertising standards - see my post and click on the picture I found to illustrate it...

Joe said...

Arnold Rimmer put it best in Red Dwarf when he said Jesus was a hippy - he had long, hair, wore sandals and didn't have a job, so hippy. of course if it were just the first two conditions he could have been a sociology lecturer at my old college.

Yvonne said...

And Gerald Gardner always said Jesus was a witch :)

Joe said...

Jesus as a witch? Funny, I love pointing out to religious people who have a problem with Harry Potter books et al because they lead children into sorcery and magic, which the Bible commands them to consider evil. Despite the Bible being full of supernatural and magical acts, not least by JC himself. Mind you these are the same simpletons who confuse any form of magic or spiritualism not devoutly Christian as Satanic, even if it is a pagan religion which predates Christ and Satan both. Sighs. Abandons reasoned argument at this point and instead rams broomstick handle coated in belladonna and holly up their bottoms.