Author(s): Peter Wycherley. Harrison
This book gives a revealing picture of the repressive culture in the Exclusive Brethren Church. Most New Zealanders have heard of Exclusive Brethren following controversy over its secret support for the National Party in the 2005 election. Others know members as decent neighbours or business associates who keep to themselves. But this book reveals what it is like for those living within the cult, an unhappy story of injustice, intolerance, abuse and the forced separation of families. Exclusive Brethren from the top down recoil from any disturbing accountability. Former members are dismissed by them as unworthy, disaffected persons. It is up to the wider public to understand and to respond. MY FATHER is the second New Zealand book by a former member of the Exclusive Brethren. During 2001-03, Peter Harrison assisted Ngaire Thomas in producing her very successful book "Behind Closed Doors" -a very graphic account of her life within the cult. Peter has done a lot of writing about the cult and related topics, with the hope that others in there, or in similar bondages, might eventually find freedom.
The author, Peter Harrison, was born into the Exclusive Brethren community in 1937 and is personally aware of the church's culture. He had secondary school education at Palmerston North Boy's High and then graduated in architecture at Auckland University. His beliefs were severely challenged in the university environment. He quelled his doubts with the hope that enlightenment would prevail and the Brethren culture would eventually change. But this wasn't to be. He married within the church and raised a family of four boys only to be eventually cast out and consequently separated from his family, because he did not acquiesce to unreasonable charges against him from senior church members. After a long lonely period of readjustment he began to rebuild his life. In 2003 he married artist Joanna Paul only to lose her three months later when she died in a drowning accident in Rotorua. He is now happily married to porcelain artist, Val Kenward and has restored contact with two sons and their families.