So often books about denuncuiation of a cult are angry and acusatory. Rebecca Stott has managed to provide an understanding of how the situation of the period, have brought a religious puritan group of people have built a shield to protect themse selves an in comprehensible world of sickness, famine, greed, and nature and how the authoritasrian and male domination was its undoing. How One family managed to extricate themselves with pain and difficulty. I found it a beautifully written study of the hold of the cult on Father and daughter and their returning to their chosen way of life
'In the Days of Rain' is a deeply moving and beautifully crafted memoir. Rebecca's skill as a writer is clearly evident as we are transported into an alien society few would realise is still a powerful force today. As the story unfolds, with its often shocking revelations, Rebecca keeps us enthralled throughout. The reader is left, not only with a profound empathy for the victims, but a greater understanding of the workings of mind-controlling groups such as the Exclusive Brethren, so masterfully portrayed by the author. A must read for anyone with a social conscience and a belief that when good people have the courage to speak out, evil will not triumph.
* This review is of a pre-publication copy kindly provided by NetGalley. *
Author Rebecca Stott was raised in the separatist cult of the Exclusive Brethren from birth until a major schism saw her family finally withdraw. Stott was part of a third-generation Brethren family, and knew of no other way of life. She was forbidden all contact with outsiders and with worldly temptations such as reading novels, secular music, films; even eating in the company of outsiders was banned.
The Brethren evolved from being an isolationist Christian sect to something much darker and weirder, where members were hounded to suicide, families sundered and people withdrawn from for little or no reason. Withdrawal usually meant the loss of contact with all family members, and often one's livelihood.
Stott's father and grandfather were leading figures in the Brethren and played their part in these acts of intimidation and repression. After leaving the cult, her father had a crisis of faith which eventually did great damage to the family.
Stott's account of her ancestors initial involvement in the Brethren, and its gradual decline into a brutal cult is gripping and somewhat hair-raising. It is difficult to believe, as she intimates, that no doctor, teacher or other professional ever thought to intervene and ask what was going on with these people, rather than just look the other way. The story of what happens after the family is finally extricated is both thoughtful and sad. Her own struggle to make sense of her life is ever-present, and one gets the sense that she will never entirely shake off the damage wrought by her formative years.
This book is a beautifully written account of a dark and secretive organisation, and the impact it had at a very personal level. It is moving, wise and compelling in equal measure.