Recommended resources for former members and other interested persons

Resources for Former Members

Below are some recommended resources that may help former members in their journey, or be of use to others who are interested.  

These resources are intended to be a supplementary guide. We strongly encourage any leavers/survivors to also seek professional support.  If you are facing a personal crisis or require emergency help, please contact emergency services, crisis helplines or your primary healthcare provider.  

Our list below is intended to be brief. There are many additional resources.  If you know of a relevant resource not included below, please notify us. We are glad to hear of other quality resources. 

Thinking of leaving? 

This clear and comprehensive guide was produced in 2021 by former members of the EB/PBCC to support those who are thinking of leaving.  It  is a valuable resource to share with those in the process of leaving or considering it. 

You can download the booklet by clicking on the green button, or read it directly in your web browser using the embedded PDF reader on this page.

Our Resources

Click on the categories below to view the relevant resources.

General resources and information specific to the EB/PBCC

  • Ex-Exclusive Brethren” – A public Facebook page for former members of the PBCC. Membership is not required to read posts. However, only members can add comments.
  • Ex-EB page –  A ‘closed/private’ Facebook forum for former members of the PBCC. Membership is required to view and comment. New members must be vetted by current members.
  • Ex-Exclusive Brethren (PBCC) Believer’s Group – Closed Group –  A Facebook group for former members of the PBCC who identify with the Christian faith. This group is ‘closed/private’. Only members are able to see posts and to comment.

Note: there are dozens of memoirs and biographies of former members of the PBCC.  For a more extensive list, please contact us. 

  • In the Days of Rain: Rebecca Stott (2017) – An intergenerational memoir by a former member of the EB/PBCC.   The author weaves her own story in with that of her father’s. Winner of the 2017 Costa Biography Award, this book is a poignant, beautifully written reflection on the ways in which the EB/PBCC’s extreme practices and beliefs impacted a family over decades. 
  • Behind Closed Doors: Ngaire Thomas (2007) – An engaging, informative and emotional autobiographical account of one family’s experience of life in the EB/PBCC in New Zealand, and their eventual excommunication. Ngaire describes the trauma of adjusting to life on the outside and its devastating effects on her children.
  • What’s Your Story? – A downloadable guide to help former members of the EB/PBCC record their life experiences for posterity. Click here to download this guide.
  • Let’s Talk About Sects – An award-winning podcast focusing on a different cult each episode. Host Sarah Steel takes a storytelling, deep-dive approach, looking at a cult’s history, leaders, recruitment of members, their experiences, psychological aspects, and notable incidents during its existence. A two-part podcast on the PBCC was released in 2021.
  • Cult Vault – a highly popular weekly podcast show that covers everything from high demand religious groups to captive organizations, to one-on-one cults and family coercive environments.
  • Let’s Talk about Sects – An award-winning podcast focusing on a different cult each episode. Host, Sarah Steel, takes a storytelling, deep-dive approach, looking at a cult’s history, leaders, recruitment of members, their experiences, psychological aspects, and notable incidents during its existence. Interviews with former members of cults are woven throughout.
  • Recovering from Religion – This podcast’s description says, “we talk to those who’ve been harmed by extreme religion and religious practices. You meet guests with personal experiences and insights in various religions and religious groups, including Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Scientology, religious activism, and more. Some of these folks ended up abandoning their faith, others re-defined it, and some are still in process. Our goal is not to talk anyone into or out of faith, but to provide a safe space to examine what we believe. And perhaps, why we believe it.” Recovering from Religion also has many support groups, a video channel, and a website packed with resources.
  • Get a Life – The show hosts are all former members of the Exclusive Brethren (PBCC), with their podcast description inviting listeners to join in on “conversations with former members of the PBCC. Ex-members open a window into Canada’s most powerful and influential cult and its links to the Conservatives, crime, corruption and pedophilia… Join members on their journey toward understanding, healing and personal development.”
  • Mormon Stories – Mormon Stories podcast is the longest running and most popular Mormon-themed podcast. It seeks to understand, explore, challenge, and improve the Mormon experience through stories. In particular its goals are to provide support to Mormons transitioning away from either orthodox Mormonism or Mormonism altogether, to build greater awareness regarding accurate LDS/Mormon church history, doctrine, and theology, and to provide the LDS/Mormon church with opportunities for growth.
  • Veracity: Breaking Brethren (2022) – A documentary produced by CityNews, Toronto, as part of an investigative series into the EB/PBCC. Five former members are interviewed about their experiences, including sharing the traumatic impact that excommunication and extreme separation has had on their lives
  • Doctrine that Divides (1976) This is an early BBC Omnibus documentary about the Exclusive Brethren. It was broadcast in 1976; six years after the Aberdeen Incident and two years after the shocking Exclusive Brethren Roger Panes murders.  It features interesting interviews with key persons such as Roger Stott (well-known former member) and H.E. Francis, QC.  Viewers will find the similarities between then and now interesting despite the span of decades.
  • Leaving the Exclusive Brethren – 60 Minutes  (aired 7 December 2009) – This short documentary tells the story of Craig Hoyle who was excommunicated from the Exclusive Brethren in New Zealand after coming out as gay as a teenager. Craig describes what it was like adjusting to a new life. He has an emotional meeting with his grandfather, who had been excommunicated many years earlier.   Months later, another exposé that added to this story was aired.
  • Exposing the Exclusive Brethren – Today Tonight (aired 8 March 2010). –  This TV exposé reveals how the Exclusive Brethren tried to change Craig Hoyle’s sexuality. The reporter confronts the Brethren doctor who treated him with hormonal suppressants. Brethren members chase the film crew through the streets of Sydney in shocking scenes that were caught on camera.
  • SCJ Skeptic – video from a former head instructor (key leader) within the Shincheonji Church. To quote the given bio, “on this channel I will examine the claims of Shincheonji, explain how they function as an organization and share useful information regarding science, philosophy and critical thinking.”
  • Escaping the Jehovah Witnesses – a 2021 video documentary by Four Corners investigations, broadcast by ABC News (Australia). This documentary investigates the JW’s and includes interviews with former members, stating, “few know the extreme nature of the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious group which boasts eight million followers in multiple nations…. With strict rules governing every aspect of their lives, these former Witnesses say the organisation is controlling and dangerous.”
  • Prophet’s Prey (2015) – This shocking documentary sheds light on the sexual, financial and spiritual abuses heaped upon members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by their leader, Warren Jeffs. Available for rent or purchase online.
  • One of Us (2017) – Documentary feature film. In the wake of trauma and abuse, three Hasidic Jews face ostracism, anxiety and danger as they attempt to leave their insular, ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, New York. Available for rent or purchase online.
  • Gloriavale (2022) – The closed doors of the Gloriavale Christian Community (New Zealand) are assailed in this observational documentary, which follows a team of survivors and supporters on their crusade to bring Gloriavale’s true nature to light. A mix of exposé and legal drama, the film makes an impassioned case against an organisation steeped in allegations of coercion, oppression and abuse.
  • The Journal of CESNUR: (Vol. 5, Issue 2. Mar-Apr 2021) – This is the journal for CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions), which is an academic organisation based in Italy. This particular issue had a focus on the PBCC and includes seven academic articles by contributors from around the world. PDF available for download here.
  • A narrative exploration of the lived experience of being born, raised in, and leaving a cultic group: the case of the Exclusive Brethren:  Jill Aebi-Mytton (2018) DPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. Download available here.
  • Learning from History: An Exclusive Brethren Story: Peter Lineham (2017) – A New Zealand historian and former Open Brethren, Lineham published this article in In History Making a Difference: New Approaches from Aotearoa (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). This article discusses how Brethren have used the teaching of their particular views of history to solidify and justify their beliefs, practices and concepts such as the ‘Unbroken Line’ of divinely-appointed leaders.
  • The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and Separation from the (Evil) World: Philip Church (2021) – In this article, New Testament and Biblical Greek scholar, Dr. Philip Church, examines 2 Tim 2:19–21, the key text of the PBCC’s ecclesiology, theology and practice. He critically assesses John Nelson Darby’s reading of the text, drawing on more recent biblical scholarship than Darby had available, to demonstrate that Darby mis-translated the text as meaning separation from ‘evil’ people rather than avoidance of evil behaviour. PDF download available here.
  • Separation from Evil – God’s Principle of Unity:  John Nelson Darby (1830s or early 1840s – exact date written is contested). Darby was a controversial and prominent figure among early Brethren and is regarded by the EB/PBCC as their ‘founding father’.  This document is regarded by the EB/PBCC as foundational to their theology and ecclesiology. It is the source of the ‘separation from evil’ doctrine that has long been their charter and which underpins their separatist practices. 
  • A History of the Plymouth Brethren: William Blair Neatby (2000) – A historically thorough book on the first seventy years of the Brethren movement covering the Bethesda division and other developments.  Darby’s character, theology and influence are analysed, as well as  other markers of the early movement. 
  • Brethren Archivists and Historians Network (BAHN) –  As the name suggests, this is the website for a network of wider Brethren archivists and historians.  Note, these are not PBCC members.  It contains many resources  about the history of the wider (non-PBCC) movement as well as some related to the PBCC.
  • A Brief History of 1953-1970: W. S. Chellberg (2004) – This short book outlines key events among the Exclusive Brethren (PBCC) from the period of 1953-1970, especially the infamous ‘Aberdeen’ scandal and division.  The author was a member of the Brethren during this time and  is a devoted Christian. The book contains many scripture references,  theological statements and reflections.  Various personal comments give colour and emotion to this otherwise historical account. Copies of this book are freely available – contact us for a copy
  • Do As I Say: How cults control, why we join them, and what they teach us about bullying, abuse and coercion: Sarah Steel (2022) – Sarah Steel, the creator of the popular ‘Let’s Talk About Sects’ podcast, has released a book that shows how we are all susceptible to the power of cult dynamics. Sharing deeply personal stories, gathered over years of interviews with survivors, she sheds light on the high cost of unchecked coercive behaviours to individuals and communities at large.
  • Behind the Exclusive Brethren: Michael Bachelard (2010) – This is one of the most comprehensive books published on the PBCC available.  Bachelard is an Australian investigative reporter, and the book is the result of several years of research into the PBCC. Covering history, political involvement, controversies and personal stories of extreme separation, it is a damning expose on the underbelly of the PBCC’s practices.
  • The End Times (2015) – This article is an appendix to Joy Nason’s book, ‘Joy and Sorrow’.  It describes the turbulent years among the Hales Brethren (PBCC) from 2012 to 2015, when the Brethren were at risk of losing the charitable status of their trusts and the associated tax advantages. (PDF)
  • Preston Down Trust Application for Registration of The Preston Down Trust: Decision of the CommissionCharity Commission for England and Wales. (2014). This is an interesting and important legal report on the 2012-2014 extended controversy between the PBCC and the Charity Commission for England and Wales. In 2012, the Brethren’s application for charitable status for their Preston Down Trust (PDT) was rejected by the Charity Commission, ostensibly for failing to meet legal requirements of public beneficence.  Later documentation shows that it was not only the Brethren’s public benefit under scrutiny, but also allegations of “detriment, harm, public disadvantage or disbenefit”.  After months of legal proceedings, the Commission revoked its earlier decision, granting the PDT charitable status, on the basis that the Trust adopt an amendment to its original Trust deed. This amendment, titled the ‘Deed of Variation’, outlined various core doctrines and practices for the PBCC, that the Charity Commission deemed necessary for the PDT to be considered charitable. A full Report of the Commission’s Decision is available here. The British website of the PBCC displays part of the ‘Deed of Variation’ and can be seen here – ( 
  • International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a global network of people and a vast website hub of resources concerning psychological manipulation and abuse in cultic and other high-control environments. ICSA brings together former group members, families, helping professionals, and researchers. Their mission is to provide information, education and help to those adversely affected by or interested in cultic and other high-control groups and relationships.
  • Cult Escape is a highly personal website run by former PBCC member John Spinks, with the aim of raising awareness and supporting leavers of high-demand religious groups.
  • Gloriavale Leavers’ Support Trust is a highly competent group operating to help Gloriavale leavers become independent and integrate into local communities by offering a wide range of supporting services. Gloriavale is a conservative Christian commune on the West Coast of New Zealand with some similarities to the EB/PBCC, including the practice of social and familial excommunication. The GLST website hosts many relevant resources and stories.
  • Cult Information and Family Support Australia – CIFS is an Australian support and information network, initially formed by parents and family members of loved ones caught up in abusive groups. The network has grown to include families, friends, former members and concerned individuals working together to provide support and develop awareness for those affected by high demand groups or cultic relationships.

  • Family Survival Trust – UK – The Family Survival Trust’s mission is to prevent, and to provide information on coercive control, cultic behaviour and psychological manipulation. We support those affected by groups that use these techniques. We educate regarding the risks these groups pose to individuals and society and seek appropriate controls on these groups’ activities. Their July 2022 Report on Coercive Control as practiced by groups is of interest to former members of high-demand religious sects.

  • Examining Shincheonji – this website hosts information about the controversial Shincheonji (SCJ) Church, which also is known as “The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony” or “New Heaven and New Earth”. SCJ uses aggressive recruiting tactics, such as personally messaging prospective recruits on social media, inviting people to Bible studies without disclosing their SCJ connections, and love-bombing. The website hosts discussion on doctrine, testimonials and further helpful resources.

  • Mormon Spectrum (Post/Ex Mormon/LDS) is a global website dedicated to providing support, information and resourcing from those who leave Mormon religious groups (now rebranded as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”.
  • The Ex-Mormon Foundation is a non-profit, non-sectarian organisation dedicated to supporting those in transition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their website states “as truth-seekers, we provide support, community and balanced information to supplement the often incomplete data provided by the LDS church.”
  • Ex-JW Support – their website states “we aim to assist youths being raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have come to realize Watchtower is not “the truth”, cope until they are able to leave home.We provide a safe space to remind you that you are not alone, offering support and advice via our website and links to useful resources and forums.”
  • Dare to Doubt – is a support organisation for ex-JW’s. Their website says, ” If you’re from a Jehovah’s Witness background and you’re looking to leave, or you’ve already left, there are folks who want to help. Whether you need practical support or you just want to take courage from the stories of other ex-JWs, we hope you find comfort here.”
  • The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen (1991, 2005) – Written from a Christian perspective, this book shows how people get hooked into abusive religious systems, the impact of controlling leadership on a congregation, and how the abused believer can find rest and recovery.
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma: Bessel van der Kolk (2015) – The effects of trauma can be devastating for sufferers, their families and future generations. In this book  one of the world’s experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for treatment, moving away from standard talking and drug therapies and towards an alternative approach that heals mind, brain and body.
  • It’s OK that You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand: Megan Devine (2017) – While not specifically dealing with the ‘living death’ of excommunication, books on grief and loss around bereavement can offer insights that are helpful for former members. This book challenges the myths of grief, discusses some of the challenges of carrying a grief that others do not understand and offers suggestions for comfort. 
  • Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults: Steve Hassan (2018 – Audio Book) – A comprehensive book that shares information on cult-like groups, the psychology and neuroscience involved, personal stories, and tools for recovery for leavers/survivors.
  • Educated: Tara Westover (2018)  – This memoir, while not specifically about the PBCC, is a beautifully written, raw account of the immense struggle to forge a path in opposition to your family culture and environment.  Any ex-PBCC person will identify with themes of her story, especially the great cost that can come when an individual reaches for a life outside the bounds of the family’s entrenched narratives, religion and environment.
  • Cult to Christ: Elizabeth Joy Coleman (2015) – A memoir by a former member of another very high-demand, closed group, the ‘Two-by-Twos’. While not specifically about the PBCC, readers will identify with much of Coleman’s journey and it will be of particular interest to those who identify with the Christian faith.  This confronting and deeply personal account gives insights into the mindset of sect members, and reveals the fear, trauma, and ultimate freedom of investigating your own beliefs, even when doing so destroys the foundations of everything you had known.
  • Prophet’s Prey (2015) – Filmmaker Amy Berg sheds light on the sexual, financial and spiritual abuses heaped upon members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by their leader, Warren Jeffs.
  • Bible Gateway is a comprehensive online platform offering multiple translations of the Bible, including the original biblical languages. There are commentaries and information from biblical and theological scholars as well as study material and other resources that may be helpful if you are interested in understanding the scriptures and exploring your current beliefs and perspectives about what the Bible says.
  • Bible Project is a collection of resources presented from a non-denominational Christian perspective. The Bible Project produces podcasts, videos and a phone app, all designed to help people experience the Bible in a way that is approachable and engaging.
  • Journey Free is an organisation founded and directed by Dr Marlene Winell, a psychologist who has been working in religious recovery for over 30 years and who originated the term Religious Trauma Syndrome. This website provides information about what Religious Trauma Syndrome is, and has links to a number of resources that may be useful if you have experienced religious trauma.
  • Learn Religions aims to provide credible and balanced coverage of the world’s most prominent faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Taoism. There are an estimated 4000 religions in the world today, with 85 percent of the population identifying with one of these religions. This website site may help leavers of high-demand religious groups better understand beliefs and practices which they have not previously been exposed to.


We have a growing database of recommended mental health professionals from a range of countries who specialise in areas that can be experienced by former members of high-demand religious groups.

Examples of their areas of speciality are; grief and loss, trauma, faith crisis, life transitions, family/marriage/relationship difficulties, coercive control and abuse, including sexual, spiritual, physical and psychological abuse.

We encourage former members of high-demand religious groups to find a trusted therapist to support them in their journey of disaffiliation and of building a new support network. There are also volunteer-led support or therapy groups with various foci that leavers may find helpful.

Be cautious of any person or organisation, including registered health professionals, if you suspect that they are affiliated with or have a mutually beneficial relationship with your former high-demand religious group or any of the group’s leadership.

Our database is subject to change, so please contact us for our most recent version.

Get In Touch

We’re here to help! Please send us a message using this form, or go to our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Please be reassured that all communication with the Olive Leaf Network will be held in strict confidence. Your personal information will only be shared with others beyond our network with your permission, unless you or others are in danger, in which case we will inform relevant authorities.