Plymouth Brethren: Man who grew up in church ‘cult’ stated he tried suicide after leaving | EUROtoday

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A person born right into a church he described as a “cult” – the place he claims he was sexually abused by a member and was not allowed to hearken to CDs, go to eating places or date ladies earlier than proposing – tried suicide thrice upon leaving due to the trauma.

John “Gilli” Gilliland, 35, a business director who now lives in Northallerton in North Yorkshire, was born into the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC), a subset of the Christian evangelical motion, in a distinct a part of the nation.

The PBCC is usually known as a “cult” by ex-members – though the group denies being a cult, and as an alternative refers to itself as a “mainstream Christian Church”.

Because of his traumatic experiences whereas within the PBCC, he now goes by “Gilli” as an alternative of John, as he associates his delivery title along with his “past life”.

The dad of three, whereas in a Brethren-specific college, claims the employees glued pages of books collectively which they thought went in opposition to the church’s teachings, which the church has denied, and when cell phones had been launched, he believes the church “monitored” all correspondence.

Gilli left the church in 2012, aged 24, to be with a non-church member and now has no contact along with his household however has adjusted to life within the “outside world”, now figuring out as having no religion.

He stated: “It’s not something I’m exactly proud of, but at the same time I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had three suicide attempts just because you hit rock bottom… and (from) the trauma.

Gilli believes the church ‘monitored’ all mobile phone correspondence
Gilli believes the church ‘monitored’ all mobile phone correspondence (PA)

“A lot of that is related to thinking you’re not good enough because you’re going against the (church’s) rules and the impact of losing everything you’ve ever known – your life is so, so structured, and so strict, when you leave, and that structure just goes.”

From across the age of 14 to twenty, he alleged he was sexually abused by a member of the church, and that the alleged abuser is protected by the church – a declare the church has denied.

“Obviously, it’s a horrific thing to go through but I think the thing that’s probably the hardest part is the fact that the abuser is still protected, and still is protected and probably will be for the rest of our lives,” he stated.

“I didn’t know what sexual abuse was for a long time, even after I left.

“I didn’t want to let myself believe that I had been (abused) because of the stigma that was attached to it.

“There was some part of me that was guilty for having had it done to me… my reason for not telling the police is that it’s not something that anybody else has ever witnessed apart from the abuser and myself.”

Gilli left the church in 2012, age 24, to be with a non-church member
Gilli left the church in 2012, age 24, to be with a non-church member (PA)

When working for a enterprise owned by members of the church, Gilli started growing romantic emotions for a colleague, who was not a member, and the pair started relationship in secret – after three months, he determined to depart the church to be along with his girlfriend.

“I basically had a choice to make – I could either end the relationship or I would have to leave and I chose to follow my heart,” he defined.

“I wasn’t going to end a relationship just because of rules and I wasn’t going to be told I shouldn’t fall in love.”

Gilli formally left the church in December 2012, and to start with he was “scared (he) would be struck down” by doing issues that had been prohibited by the church, however ultimately adjusted to a life the place he may watch tv and attend concert events.

He now helps host a podcast, Get A Life, talking to different ex-members of the church, which he stated has helped him course of the trauma.

A spokesperson from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church stated they “fully respect” his resolution to depart the church however stated “his description of life as a member of our church does not in any way reflect our beliefs, practices or the common experiences of our members”.

They added: “In line with our Christian beliefs, we treat the safety and wellbeing of our members with the utmost importance and have robust safeguarding policies and practices in place to keep our community safe. We see any form of abuse as utterly abhorrent and strongly encourage anyone, including Mr Gilliland, to report any criminal activity to the police.

“Our commitment to protecting the wellbeing of our members also extends to helping those who are facing issues with their mental health to access professional help and guidance. Indicative of this commitment, the charitable arm of our church also runs initiatives and campaigns dedicated to combating harmful social stigmas around mental ill health.

“At the end of the day, our members are Christian and will seek to act with kindness and compassion. We wish Mr Gilliland well and our offer of care and support for Mr Gilliland remains enduring.”

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