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The Brethren is one of several informal names for a nameless religious movement created by Jimmy T. "Jim" Roberts. Other names include the Brothers and Sisters and the garbage eaters, after their reputation for eating food from garbage bins. The movements' members shun material things and family, living essentially as vagrants and doing odd jobs to pay their expenses. The movement's way of life has led to accusations that it is a cult.

The Roberts group should not be confused with various other groups that have the word "brethren" in their names, nor with the freegan lifestyle.

Contents

Origins

Roberts, a former Pentecostalist, created the movement around 1971, drawing together followers of the Jesus Movement across the United States. At first they adopted a communal lifestyle. After several police raids and arrests in the 1970s, Roberts ordered members to keep their locations secret and not to communicate with their families. The members still fear being arrested or kidnapped at the request of distraught families, with instances reported as recently as 1998.

Beliefs

The movement directs new members to sell their possessions as counseled by Jesus in the Gospels. The finances generated (if any) were distributed to those in the group who had need. For instance, money was used for material to sew clothing, traveling expenses, and sometimes spices for cooking. In some cases it was given to older members but in other cases it was kept by the individual to do what they would with it. The Brethren also maintain that there is no actual sacrament of the Eucharist, but that the bread and wine should be understood as only a metaphor for fellowship. They believe in wearing long beards, and in their women wearing long dresses and long hair (for modesty). They essentially disallow marriages among single group members, maintaining that "the hour is too late."

References

Further reading

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Books

  • Martin Dugger, Rachel (1979). Escape. Accent Books.  

News reports

External links


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