Revised April 24, 2018
HISTORY OF 2x2 TRADITIONS
The Unwritten Rules
Traditions of Men and Commandments of God
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty"
(2 Corinthians 3:17)
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This Chapter reviews the historical background of many 2x2 traditions, customs and rules that have taken place from the beginning of the 2x2 Sect until the present. First, it should be clearly understood that the traditions, practices and rules of the 2x2 Sect are not the same in every respect the world over. The beliefs, methods and standards of the 2x2 Sect were delivered verbally the first time by the Founder, William Irvine, at a 1903 Convention in Rathmolyon, Co. Meath, Ireland, to a group of Workers (See Chapter 16, July 1903). Since then, a few traditions have been followed constantly, while many others have been changed, relaxed, disregarded or disappeared.
Other than a hymnal, they do not publish any books or literature, nor do they have a creed, mission or belief statement, list or book of rules or internet presence. Their beliefs and traditions are handed down verbally from one generation to the next, from Worker to convert, and by parents, elders and peers.
TRADITIONS AND COMMANDMENTS: The 2x2 Sect believes the New Testament contains God's will, way and "the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). They respect and obey two authorities: the New Testament and the Workers. Interpretations of the Bible by the Workers is considered superior to members' interpretations. Some consider the words of Workers to be of higher importance than the Bible which is God's Word.
There are many areas where things are not black and white in the Bible, and many situations where the Bible is silent and does not endorse or forbid; gray areas. All Christian churches follow both "commandments of God" and "traditions of men." Some churches impose rules regarding gray areas–while others allow individuals freedom to choose for themselves ("Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," 2 Corinthians 3:17). Extra-Biblical rules are "traditions of men."
"Traditions" refer to nonessential practices not explicitly commanded in the Bible; that are neither forbidden nor commanded by God. "Commandments of God" are non-negotiable instructions and laws mandated by God; essential moral issues for salvation explicitly taught in the Bible. God's commands are timeless, fixed and constant, and are not subject to change or modification. Traditions are man-made and usually pertain to a particular group, culture, place and time. For the 2x2s, they are in a continual flux, changing from generation to generation, place to place, and Overseer to Overseer.
Some 2x2 traditions are derived from Workers' private interpretation of a Scripture passage, while others are Workers' preferences, opinions or judgment calls. Traditions have no eternal consequences, but rather are choices, such as what one consumes or abstains from within their culture.
The underlying basis for many 2x2 traditions is their goal to be different from the world and from other churches. For most 2x2s, the term "the world" includes all other religions, Christian denominations, sects, churches, ministers and religious celebrations. It also takes in everything not sanctioned by the Workers, such as all groups of people, entertainments, secular music, sports, dancing, swearing, drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, premarital sex, television, movies, certain hobbies and professions, cultural customs and fashion.
Jewish traditions were taught and handed down orally down by rabbis (teachers) and also preserved in a body of writings called the "Talmud," (rabbinical commandments, traditions, customs, precedents) . Many Jews placed the traditions of their elders on equal footing with "commandments of God" in Scripture. In some cases, the "traditions of men" had even usurped Scripture; e.g. cleansing rituals, "corban" (Mark 7:9-13).
Jesus was a Karaite Jew. In other words, one who followed the Torah (Old Testament), but not the Talmud (traditions of the elders). He clearly distinguished between religious teachings that were "traditions of men" and those that were "commandments of God" (Mark 7:6-13). Jesus harshly rebuked the Pharisees for putting more importance on their "traditions of men" that on obeying than " commandments of God." Similarly, some 2x2s have not recognized the distinction between tradition and doctrine, and some have given equal or even greater importance to following (non-essential) traditions of men than the (essential) commandments of God.
Jesus provided a definition of a concept called "Legalism:" "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?...Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition...But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:3-9, Mark 7:6-13). Legalism is trusting in obedience to rules and man-made traditions for salvation rather than trusting in the blood of Christ. Legalism replaces the Holy Spirit as the believer's inner guide with man-made traditions and rules.
CONTROL AND DISCIPLINE: There is no discipline where there are no laws or rules. Some claim the 2x2 Sect has no rules, and it is true they have no written list of rules. However, the consequences of disobedience show plainly that various rules and boundaries do exist. Warnings and withdrawal of privileges clearly indicate 2x2 boundaries have been exceeded and rules have been broken.
Some of the disciplinary methods Workers use when traditions or rules are broken are humiliating public or private rebukes, withdrawal of Meeting participation privileges including communion, refusal or return of money offered to Workers, denial of baptism, withdrawal of Eldership or removal of a Fellowship Meeting, and the most severe of all, excommunication.
There is no appeal system for disagreements within the 2x2 Sect. Church discipline or resolution is rarely handled according to the Matthew 18:15-20 method. The Worker Overseers have absolute authority over the Friends and Workers under their responsibility. It is expected for Workers' interpretations and decrees to be observed without question, even when they are unable to provide scripture to support them. Some consider disobeying a Worker to be the same as disobeying God. When a 2x2 does not agree with a tradition or interpretation, the Workers believe the right thing for them to do is to respect and obey those in authority, unconditionally.
BAPTISM: The 2x2 Sect believes baptism by full immersion is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16), and that God only accepts baptisms performed by 2x2 Workers. New converts may participate in Fellowship Meetings, but usually do not take communion until after their 2x2 baptism.
In their early days, 2x2 converts were baptized very soon after they professed, as was the practice of the New Testament church (Acts 8:36-38, 16:23). This has changed. Today, there is usually a waiting period to ensure the new convert understands and adheres to the external 2x2 traditions. Baptism and communion may be withheld until they conform.
At times, baptism has been conditional upon a female growing out her bangs/fringes, not wearing slacks/trousers, makeup or apparel that attracts attention, etc. For a male, it has been conditional on the length of his hair or for wearing facial hair or jeans; others for owning a TV. Workers view failure to submit to these traditional restrictions as evidence of lack of submissions and the "mark of a rebel."
VICTORIAN HISTORY: Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 until 1901 of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is called the Victorian Era, and her subjects were called "Victorians." At the turn of the 20th century when the 2x2 Sect began, Victorians were divided into three classes: upper, middle and working. The upper and middle classes were considered the respectable Victorians. Dress styles differed in each social class. The upper class wore fancier and more extravagant clothing, the middle wore simpler clothing, and the lower class wore clothes of low quality. Most Workers and Friends were from the working and middle class.
VICTORIAN DRESS STYLE: The reigning King or Queen set the styles in the UK. The Victorian Era focused on modesty and natural beauty. Taking cues from their Queen, the respectable Victorian woman's dress was puritanical and subdued. They wore their long hair in upswept coiffures. Skirts fell naturally from their waist close to the body and swirled around their feet. Hats were small, necklines were high, sleeves were long with very little visible skin. Stockings were so black and thick that no flesh was visible, at least until 1910. It was considered vulgar for a w oman to wear trousers or slacks, except for ankle length split skirts when riding horses.
Victorian men dressed according to their status and duties within society. Most respectable men wore short hair and facial hair; close fitting shirts, with small close-lying collars and cuffs, topped with a necktie, waistcoat or vest; trousers in muted colors to the ankle, usually held up by suspenders. Leather boots and a cap and hat completed their outfit.
EARLY 2X2 OUTER APPEARANCES. The early 2x2s mirrored the Victorian women of the turn of the century in their fashions, which ranged from plain to severe. They did not wear makeup or jewelry, not even a wedding ring. The Sister Workers usually wore long sleeve dark suits, blouses in sober shades, high necklines, black cotton stockings under their floor length skirts, court shoes and sailor hats, much like the Faith Mission Sisters (Impartial Reporter, January 29, 1903). They continued wearing Victorian Era styles, which provided a clue as to when the Sect began.
The public had good reason for nicknaming the early Brother Workers "Tramp Preachers." The Workers only had one set of clothing while they were tramping for the Lord around the country. Their brown undershirts caused their white shirts to appear unclean. Newspapers reported that most 2x2 men wore very plain tweeds, rubber collars, flat caps, boots, facial hair and discarded ties and cuffs.
As the pioneering Workers ventured to other countries, they implemented their unwritten traditions and dress codes on their converts.
2X2 DRESS CODE EVOLUTION: Fashion is a style temporarily adopted by much of society for a certain time and situation. Generally, Workers have initially resisted most changes to fashion and have encouraged a "middle of the road" approach. Some 2x2 women's clothing styles have lagged behind several years, causing them to appear conspicuously old-fashioned. 2x2 women have been encouraged to emulate the Sister Workers in their vintage manner of dress. In many areas, changes in 2x2 women's dress have occurred very slowly.
2x2 women and children are expected to be walking advertisements to the world for the 2x2 Sect. Many man-made 2x2 traditions provide the opportunity for 2x2 women to "deny themselves," "die daily," "take up their cross," or in other words, to sorrow, suffer, submit, sacrifice and suppress. According to some Workers, these opportunities are cause for rejoicing, since "suffering must precede the glory."
Some 2x2s interpret the word "peculiar" in 1 Peter 2:9 means unusual, strange, odd, weird and out of the ordinary. Their practice of disdaining "worldly" fads, fashions, entertainment and activities, has sometimes led to 2x2s being labeled misfits, oddballs, nonconformists and eccentrics.
When 1 Peter 2:9 was written, the word Greek translated as " peculiar " ("peripoiesis," Strong's No. 4047) did not hold the meaning of " strange, odd or unusual," as it does today. Most Bible versions translate this Greek word as "a people for God's own possession;" or God's special possession, (NIV). See also a similar verse in Deuteronomy 7:6. Neither verse indicates God's people are to be "peculiar " in a strange or odd external manner.
There are no similar traditions or opportunities that enable men to be peculiar witnesses outwardly to the world. Over the years, 2x2 men's dress codes have remained very little different from men of the world. While most early Workers wore facial hair, later facial and long hair on 2x2 men were viewed as signs of rebellion. Brother Worker Morris Grovum said, "The mark of a rebel for a man was when he lets his hair grow long" (Penang Convention, 2009).
HATS: At the turn of the 20th century, it was disgraceful for a lady or gentleman to go in public without a head covering. In the 1950s-60s, men and women stopped wearing hats in public. Sister Workers continued wearing hats when speaking at Special Meetings and Conventions in the U.S. at least until about the 1950s.
WORLDLY NECKLINES: During the Victoria Era, it was not acceptable for a woman's cleavage to be revealed in public. Necklines were very high and blouses were buttoned up to their chins. It was nearly 100 years after the Victorian Era ended in 1901, before baring décolletage in everyday attire become socially acceptable again. After 2000, many women wore visible cleavage in varying degrees.
2X2 NECKLINES: Since the Millennium, the greatest issue regarding 2x2 modesty has been exposed cleavage. It is difficult to find ready-made women's clothing with modest necklines. In earlier years, some Sister Workers carried safety pins with them and arbitrarily pinned up some hapless 2x2 female's neckline. In some areas, brooches (aka pins) were used to raise a neckline. Some 2x2 women began wearing brooches as accessories, and brooches became the only semi-acceptable jewelry for 2x2 females, other than wristwatches and wedding bands. Until the Millennium, sleeveless tops were considered immodest and were not worn by 2x2 women. Some young 2x2s are now wearing off shoulder and sleeveless tops.
WORLDLY HEMLINES AND HOSIERY: Designers began raising hemlines to above the ankle during WWI (1914-18) and from 1900 to 1930, hemlines rose steadily to their shortest length ever, just below knees . From the 1930s, hemlines wavered between the ankle and knee until the early 1960s when the mini-skirt raised hemlines to mid-thigh. In the early 1970s, hemlines hit the floor again and from that time forward, most any hem length has been acceptable.
2X2 HEMLINES AND HOSIERY: At the turn of the century when the 2x2 Sect began, the hemlines of 2x2 women were the same as worldly women. In 1928, when hemlines had risen to below the knees, the 2x2 Sister Workers' hemlines had only risen to about 5-6 inches above their ankles and their black stockings were showing (view photo). By 1942, photographs show West Coast Sister Workers' hemlines had risen to about 4-5 inches below their knees (view photo).
During the 1960s, the mini-skirt era, the acceptable hemline for 2x2 females was for the knees to be covered. Many 2x2s preferred maxi skirts, under which it was not necessary to wear pantyhose. Some 2x2 Millennials wear tunics with leggings. Many 2x2 women do not wear hose.
BLACK STOCKINGS: In 1900, the color of normal daytime legwear for respectable women was black, often made of lisle thread, and 2x2 women's hosiery was no different. During WWI (1914-1918), when hemlines rose above the ankle where some leg was visible, worldly women began wearing gunmetal gray and flesh color stockings. However, the Workers in some areas instructed 2x2 women to continue wearing black stockings as usual, not to adopt worldly fashions, and not do as the world does.
The tradition of 2x2 women wearing black stockings continued long after flesh color hosiery became the norm all over the English speaking world to the point that 2x2 women wearing them were an oddity. The 2x2 Sect was even nicknamed the "Black Stocking Religion" and the "Black Sock Church." Eventually, manufacturers stopped making them and the supply ran out. (For more details, see Chapter 30, Black Stockings.)
1900 FOOTWEAR: In the first decade of the 20th century, men wore boots. Then low-cut shoes, were introduced, such as the oxford which laced across the top and had a one-inch heel. Since then, men's shoe styles have remained relatively unchanged. Not so for women! At the beginning of the 20th century, women wore pointed toe, high-top boots that laced, buttoned or buckled up in dark colors. Women's footwear was functional rather than fashionable. After hemlines rose, women began wearing shoes called "pumps." Shoe heels have frequently changed in shape and height; spikes, stilettos, wedges, platform, etc. Currently, there is a shoe style for every occasion, mood and preference.
2X2 FOOTWEAR: For many years, Sister Workers wore black court shoes with thick clunky heels resembling men's lace up oxfords. They needed sturdy shoes for walking and cycling. However, they continued wearing this peculiar, old fashioned shoe style, long after the Friends were chauffeuring Workers in automobiles. View court shoe photo.
In some areas, it has been taboo for 2x2 women to wear red, white or beige shoes. Shoes that did not fully enclose the heel and toes (sandals or "peep toe" shoes) were stepping toward sin. Medium to low heel shoes were preferred. Most 2x2 women wore hose in public.
VICTORIAN HAIR DRESSING: Victorian women considered their hair their crowning glory. Ladies grew their hair long, sometimes reaching the floor and beyond. It was unthinkable for an upper or middle class lady to voluntarily cut her hair short, although some cut fringes or bangs and trimmed split ends. For the poor working class women who toiled long hours, long hair was often impractical. Some women short of money cut and sold their hair to hairdressers or wigmakers.
Hair worn down and loose in public was viewed as vulgar and as a sign of a "loose" woman. Reportedly, some religious doctrine also factored into Victorian women's coffures and required that long hair be covered or pinned up on the head, particularly for married women, and long hair worn down loose was considered sinful.
Like their Queen, Victorian women kept their hair healthy, glossy and smooth, with every hair in place. Respectable ladies often wore their long hair parted in the center like their Queen in a variety of simple, dignified upswept styles; plaited, wound into heavy coils, curled into long ringlets clipped to the back of their head, sometimes accessorized with jewels or feathers. Little and adolescents girls usually wore their hair down loose, in ringlets, braided or tied up with a ribbon. Young ladies were expected to begin wearing long frocks and their hair in an updo around the age of 15 or 16.
Victorian men kept their hair short, neat and styled with oil, often parted in the middle. Most wore a mustache, beard or sideburns. Having a clean shaven face returned to popularity in the early 1900s after Gillette patented the first disposable razor blade.
After WWI began, many women entered the workforce to perform what had previously been men's work in factories, farms, offices, as postal carriers, etc. For some of these tasks, the women needed more functional work clothing. Fabric rationing also influenced women's fashions, which became shorter, looser and included some fitted slacks and uniforms. The shirtwaist was adopted for informal daywear.
2X2 HAIR DRESSING: Ever since the 2x2 Sect began, 2x2 women have worn their hair long. It is expected and required. The Workers teach that long hair on women is mandated in 1 Corinthians 11. When questioned about the necessity of long hair, Workers explanations are inconsistent. Some reasons have been that long hair shows a woman is willing to submit and fit into God's order of creation; is God's way to differentiate between men and women; shows respect to one's husband; is a sign of submission; is a glory to the woman; is " because of the angels;" and that cutting hair is not pleasing to God and hinders women's prayers. They also point to Mary who wiped Jesus's feet with her long hair.
In some areas, Workers taught that 2x2 women's long hair should never even be trimmed, while 2x2s in other areas never heard of this practice. Some 2x2 women has grown so long they have been able to walk on it. One Brother Worker asked, "What is the difference between trim and cut? Scissors are used for both, and then hair is no longer the length that God wants it to be." Brother Worker Joe Crane said, "Shame on a woman who would put a scissor to her hair."
Many have failed to consider that in the passage about long hair in 1 Corinthians 11 Paul was writing to specific people (the Corinthians) about a controversial topic in a specific time period (first century), addressing particular issues (showing respect and not shaming) in a particular setting (worship). Many of these concerns have not been issues in the culture of the 20th and 21st century.
Also, many have failed to take into account the original Greek words for "cover" and "covering " used in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. There are three different Greek words used in this passage, yet all three are translated in the KJV with the same English word "covering." Each of the Greek words has an entirely different meaning each time it is used in this passage. This has generated much confusion and led to faulty "private interpretations," and resulted in needless, heavy burdens being placed upon 2x2 women for over 100 years.
WEARING HAIR UPSWEPT: For over a century, 2x2 women and young girls have been expected to follow the Victorian custom of wearing their hair pinned up. Workers are still expecting 2x2 women to continue arranging their long tresses neatly up on their heads. Some Workers claim hair is to worn pinned up on the head because hair is supposed to be a covering for the woman's head–not her back. Others say long hair worn down incites lust.
Scripture says a woman's hair "is a glory to her" (1 Cor. 11:15). Restricting women's hairstyle to a bundle of hair wadded up on their heads actually prevents it from being glorious. Women's hair length and style remain highly controversial in the 2x2 Sect, frequently generating questions such as: How long is long? Is it a sin to trim hair or to cut bangs/fringes? What if a woman's heavy long hair causes severe headaches?
Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 applied to the particular time when a woman was praying in a worship service and he said the churches of God had no such custom. There is no Scripture commanding women to wear their hair long and pinned up. It is a "tradition of men" held over from the Victorian Era.
Around the Millennium, the fashionable women's hair style was long, straight and loose, sometimes finger-combed into messy buns, and 2x2 womens' hairstyles followed. Many 2x2 women began wearing their hair down in public as well as to Meetings. Possibly, the 2x2 tradition of women wearing their hair long and upswept will soon become a thing of the past similar to black stockings.
BOBBED HAIR REVOLUTION: During WWI, long hair for women fell out of favor, partly because it was dangerous and cumbersome for some women in their employment. Reportedly, ballroom dancer Irene Castle was responsible for starting the Bobbed Hair Revolution in May 1914, which ushered in short hair for women for the next 50 years. Irene cut her long hair into a short bob in preparation for surgery. She resumed her professional career with her short haircut, dubbed the "Castle Bob," and became the fashion story of the year. An epidemic swept the country as women began to crop their locks and appear in short, bobbed and waved coiffures. By the mid 1920s, bobbed hair was the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world.
2X2S AND BOBBED HAIR: During and after WWI, when women of the world started cutting their hair short, some 2x2 women followed suit. However, Workers stopped that by not allowing those women to participate in Meetings until their hair grew back. Workers decided that God preferred a "woman professing godliness" to wear her hair long and styled in an updo, just as they had been doing for centuries.
MAKEUP REVOLUTION: Since Queen Victoria disapproved of women wearing cosmetics and encouraged a natural, healthy look, during her reign respectable UK women used makeup sparingly, if at all. Any visible tampering with one's natural skin color was disdained, the most disgraceful being lip and cheek coloring. The use of cosmetics was controversial in many Christian denominations and some banned them as immoral "tools of the devil."
The Makeup Revolution began during the 1910s when doctors teamed with cosmetic companies to manufacture safer cosmetics. Beauty became a booming business. Cosmetic counters arrived in many stores after the invention of the swivel lipstick container and pressed powder and rouge compacts and mascara. Not long after, liquid nail polish, foundation bases and eyelash curlers were introduced. By the 1920s, many respectable women were using facial makeup and few ventured into the public without a little light makeup.
2X2 MAKEUP OR COSMETICS: The early Workers were accustomed to females with natural faces, thanks to Queen Victoria. They believed a godly woman should be satisfied with her God-given natural appearance and not do as the world does. They provided as scriptural support that "Beauty is vain" (Proverbs 31:30) and "Let us not be desirous of vain glory" (Gal. 5:26). Some pointed to wicked Old Testament Queen Jezebel who painted her face. Workers cautioned against using cosmetics "so others will admire them and feed their vanity," and appearing "alluring," lest they tempt men.
It is clear that God does not care about outer appearance and focuses on the heart: " the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). There is no Biblical directive regarding natural, outer appearance, other than modesty.
For nearly a century, makeup has been used by respectable women and has long passed the fad stage, yet the Workers are still upholding the "natural" tradition as though it were a commandment of God, when it was actually Queen Victoria's standard and preference back when the 2x2 Sect was started.
NAIL CARE: Grooming one's hands is an important detail for professional women and especially for those meeting the public. In 1937, stores began marketing Revlon's newly developed product of nail enamel, and today, nail polish is available in every color of the rainbow. A round the late 1980s to early 1990s, acrylic nails became popular and remain so. However, clear is the only polish approved for 2x2 women. However, some 2x2 women wear natural appearing acrylic nails and paint their toenails.
THE COLOR RED: For a time, some Workers were against 2x2s wearing red, but the reason remained a mystery. God made all the colors. Was their objection due to the connection between red shoes and dancing found in t he fairy tale "The Red Shoes?" Or because red shoes were a status symbol that conveyed authority, wealth and power as they were colored with a very expensive dye. Perhaps it was because most Popes have worn red shoes? Or perhaps because red is flashy and is the color that attracts the most attention and excitement? Red is the color most commonly associated with passion, sexuality, prostitutes, red-light districts and scarlet women. While the original reason remains shrouded in mystery, the red taboo has faded away.
AMERICAN WOMEN WEARING SLACKS: (aka pants, trousers, jeans, capris, shorts). For centuries, garments covering the lower half of the body had one hole for women's legs, and two holes for men's legs. Women wearing slacks in public was most unusual up until the World Wars when some occupations required women to wear slacks.
In 1944, sales of women's slacks increased five times over the previous year. In the 1960s, slacks for women became a fashion item. In the 1970s, women's pant suits (slacks and coordinating jacket) paved the way to slacks being proper decorum for respectable women to wear in public for work, dress or play. The first American First Lady to wear slacks in her public appearances was Pat Nixon in 1972. By the Millennium, women were wearing slacks and jeans far more than skirts and dresses.
The acceptance of slacks in public was greatly assisted in 1972 with the passage of the U.S. Education Amendment Title IX which made it no longer compulsory for American girls to wear skirts and dresses to school. It was not until 2017, that some Australian states finally lifted their ban and allowed girls to wear slacks to school. New Zealand may soon follow suit.
2X2 WOMEN'S SLACK TRADITIONS: When worldly women began publicly wearing slacks, the Workers argued that slacks were solely men's apparel, citing Deuteronomy 22:5, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man." This law concerned cross dressing; not clothing specifically manufactured to fit a female body. While claiming to follow the New Testament teachings, the Workers have taken this one verse from a list of commands in the Old Testament as though it was God's command in the new covenant, while ignoring other laws in the same passage. Today, it is quite easy to distinguish between m en and women who are wearing slacks.
Some Workers have said that if an activity requires slacks to preserve modesty, then 2x2 women should "deny themselves that pleasure." However, many women working on farms and riding horses and bicycles have long disregarded this tradition in favor of the modesty slacks provide. Countless teenage girls have been humiliated when they were forced to take Physical Education at school wearing a dress or shorts under a skirt. For well over 75 years in the Western world, slacks have been acceptable, respectable attire for women.
Around the Millennium, many 2x2 females began ignoring the Workers' prohibition against slacks. Currently, there are many photographs on Facebook of the younger generation pushing the boundaries by wearing jeans, makeup, some jewelry and their hair down. Few have been brave enough to do so when Workers are present or at Meetings. It appears these antiquated 2x2 traditions will soon be a thing of the past.
DENIM: The history of denim fabric and blue jeans is colorful, going from functional workwear to casual fashion and even glamour. The first jeans were invented for cowboys and miners in 1873 from denim fabric. They became fashionable in the 1950s when famous youth icons wore them, such as Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. In the late 1960s and 1970s, denim became common casual wear for both sexes. American women began wearing denim jeans in the late 1970s. The designer jean craze was launched in 1979, with Vanderbilt selling six million pairs.
2x2s AND DENIM: For a time, s ome Workers referred to denim as "devil's material." When denim skirts became fashionable in the 1970-80s, some Workers discouraged 2x2 women from wearing them because they were "too much like men's wear." Eventually, they became acceptable and so many 2x2 women wore blue denim skirts that it appeared to be their uniform. In some Australian states, 2x2 men have not been allowed to wear jeans to Meetings or Conventions; however, some areas have lifted this ban.
ADORNMENT – JEWELRY: Another 2x2 taboo is jewelry, with a few exceptions. This prohibition began in the very early days of the 2x2 Sect, with the Workers citing as support: 1 Peter 3:3-4. "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
In this passage, Peter used an idiom to minimize one thing and emphasize another. He placed the emphasis on inward adorning, but did not forbid outward adornment. Summarized, his message was that the inner man is far more important than the outward. Today we might express this parallelism using "not only...but also," as in, "Let not a woman's adorning be [only] that of outward things, such as fixing her hair, wearing gold or pearls, or apparel, but let it [also] be the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit." In their interpretation, the Workers did not take into consideration the idiom expression peculiar to that era, which is also used in 1 John 3:18.
For 2x2s, not only is jewelry made with gold, pearls or costly gems prohibited, but costume jewelry accessories including silver and inexpensive gemstones are also. 2x2s do not wear rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, finger/toe or school or engagement rings, though many wear wedding rings (discussed later in this Chapter). Cuff links and modest tie pins were acceptable in some areas, as well as sweater clips and brooches, all of which all served useful functions and were not solely for decoration. In the late 20th century, various pretty shiny objects (hair jewelry) appeared in many 2x2 women's hairdos.
DRINKING AND TOBACCO: From their start, the Workers totally abstained from tobacco or alcoholic liquor in the UK and Ireland. Workers who ventured across the Atlantic Ocean to North America enforced a prohibition against drinking alcoholic beverages among their converts. Eastern U.S. Overseer Andrew Abernethy said, "anyone who lets alcohol touch their lips is none of us." For a time, some American Workers instructed 2x2s not to eat in a restaurant that served alcohol.
On the other hand , the early Workers who ventured across the English Channel to Europe allowed their converts to continue drinking alcoholic beverages as usual, and the Workers imbibed also and this remains their custom. An ex-Worker who visited 2x2 homes in Europe, remarked that "the same God obviously had given completely different guidelines to different messengers in different lands....After all, had I not sat around tables in France, in Italy, or in Germany and Greece while the Workers uncorked the bottles of wine and, after helping themselves to a sip or two, passed them around in order that the rest of us could fill our goblets as well? I had" (In Vain They do Worship by Willis Young, Chapter 1).
There is no Scripture that condemns the temperate use of alcoholic beverages. In the Bible, wine is described as a symbol of joy and happiness (Psalm 4:7, 104:15; Ecclesiastes 9:7, 10:19; Joel 2:24, 2:19, Amos 9:13, Is. 25:6). Wine is also mentioned in the context of a blessing and gift from God (Deut. 7:13, 33:28; Hosea 2:8; Isaiah 55:1). A shortage of wine was associated with disobedience to God (Deut. 28:39; Jeremiah 48:33).
In the New Testament, Paul did not forbid the Ephesians from drinking wine, but rather encouraged them, "be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit " (Ephesians 5:18). This is very close to the instruction that believers should be "moderate in all things" and "temperate in all our ways," which is a long ways from total abstinence. The potential abuse does not invalidate the proper use.
Many 2x2s have concluded that abstinence of alcoholic beverages is not mandated by the Scripture, and is a man-made 2x2 tradition in some areas. Currently in the U.S., some West Coast 2x2s drink moderately, and serve wine with meals.
ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION: While not universal, the following have been taboo for 2x2s at one time, and may or may not be so presently: playing team sports, smoking, drinking, gambling, dancing, bowling, skating, and attending sports games, concerts, races, plays, movies, parties and fairs. Some 2x2s do not play games involving playing cards and dice as it may give others the "appearance of evil." For a time, the Workers discouraged reading novels, romance, fiction books or magazines, although the Reader's Digest and National Geographic were permissible in some areas.
These taboos were justified, citing 1 John 2:15-17: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
From their beginning, viewing movies, cinema or theater were frowned upon. For a time, educational documentary films, children's cartoons, or a classic movie of children's books like Pollyanna, Bambi, Old Yeller or Huckleberry Finn were all considered to be "worldly entertainment," " feeding the flesh," and "of the devil." Some parents requested their children be excused from watching any films at school. However, in other areas, it was permitted to attend plays, musicals, concerts, circuses and fairs. Many of these taboos are increasingly being ignored.
Dancing is considered "indulging in worldliness," and has been banned from the beginning of the 2x2 Sect. Some Workers object to dancing because of "what it may lead to." Few 2x2 teenagers were allowed to participate in school proms, banquets, dances and many other school social functions. This tradition of men has no Biblical support. The Bible states there is "a time to dance," and contains several references to dancing, some of which are associated with praising and giving glory to God.
SWIMMING: Some 2x2 females were not allowed to wear swim suits or swim in public pools, but could swim in private settings, such as a lake, river or ocean. Some wore a dress or skirt with safety pins holding the front and back of the skirt together between their legs. Meanwhile in Hawaii in the 1960s, some 2x2 girls were wearing bikinis to the beach.
SUNDAY: Sunday is a day of rest for 2x2s, from one of the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." 2x2s were not to engage in work or pleasure on Sunday, including yard work, washing car, hair or laundry, car/home repairs, sewing or needlework, sports, housework, and no purchasing in some areas. Cooking, driving, writing letters and visiting Friends and Workers were the approved pastimes. Workers urged, "Don't make Sunday a fun day."
MUSIC: Workers approved of playing the piano, since this skill could be used in Gospel Meetings. Some were warned against playing secular music ("devil's music") and believed 2x2s should only play or listen to hymns. Many 2x2 children learned to play the secular tunes and performed in piano recitals.
EDUCATION: For a time, Workers' viewed higher education as "worldly" and a dangerous environment that might cause young 2x2s to lose their faith in God or the 2x2 Sect. As late as the 1970s in some Eastern U.S. states (Indiana), young men seeking higher education were looked down on. Some Workers discounted education for 2x2s. Jack Carroll said, "The Bible is our doctrine. We get our doctrine on our knees. We don't believe in headucation, but heartucation."
Marti Knight from Pennsylvania wrote: "I felt cold fury over being prevented from using my scholarships,based on Worker preachments and hearty member acceptance that 'worldly knowledge' was worse than useless, it was corrupting. In fact, intelligence was suspect. 'Look what happened to Solomon' was a mantra I heard often"
LEGACY OF THE AMERICAN G. I. BILL: Many Baby Boomer men served in the Vietnam War which ended in April 1975. In 1966, a G.I. Bill was enacted to help veterans readjust to civilian life following active service to their country which made education affordable. 72% of the returning Vietnam War veterans used it. The G.I. Bill and its resulting massive influx of veterans into the educational system radically adjusted Americans' perceptions of the university system, and of those who attended. Before the war, American colleges were characteristically small, private, elite, and were seen as catering to the upper crust. That perception changed after the G.I. Bill made higher education accessible to the average G.I. Joe and useful for career advancement.
During the Vietnam War, many 2x2 men were drafted into the U.S. Army. At one time, there were 165 young 2x2 men (all conscientious objectors) stationed at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, where the Army trained medics. In the 1960-70s after their discharge, a large number of 2x2 veterans took advantage of the G.I. bill subsidy to further their education. Since that time, obtaining a degree became acceptable for 2x2s, and thanks to the military, the 2x2 stigma against education has disappeared.
OCCUPATIONS: Professions that restricted a 2x2's ability to regularly attend Meetings have been discouraged. For a time in the U.S., occupations where men worked with their hands, rather than their brains were encouraged. Most 2x2s were discouraged from careers in politics, law, sports, music, arts, the entertainment industry, and any job requiring bearing of arms, such as law enforcement and the military. Some 2x2 men now have careers in the military.
Until the 1970s, in many areas, young 2x2 women were expected to go in the work, marry another 2x2 or remain single. They were to be "keepers of the home." A 2x2 woman's employment was viewed as a stopgap until she married, started a family and became an at-home mother. Higher education was generally considered a waste for them, although teaching, nursing and secretarial careers were acceptable. The pressure for women to stay at home let up somewhat around the 1980s when it became necessary for some to have two incomes to support a family.
The Workers believe the highest and best place in life is to become a Worker. The highest ranking positions for Friends in the 2x2 Sect are those who host an annual Convention on their property, host a Fellowship Meeting in their home, operate residential facilities for Workers unable for the work, provide the Workers with a vehicle, and those who have an open home .
MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, REMARRIAGE, WEDDINGS, COURTING/DATING: For many years, Workers, and especially those in the U.S. Southern states, took a dismal view of dating and marriage, even though without marriage, they would have no open homes, meals or wheels. The Workers' goal was for young people to offer for the Work, and so they discouraged young people from getting acquainted. Those who do not find a marriage partner within the Sect are expected to remain single all their lives, as Paul recommended in 1 Corinthians 7:7, 8, 34. Workers strongly discourage 2x2s from dating "a worldly person, because you just never can tell where that might will lead." Some Workers do not allow a 2x2 who is dating an Outsider to participate in Meetings.
At one time, Conventions were the main place where 2x2 youth could meet potential mates, although s ome Workers felt strongly that "Convention is not a place for courting." Before email, after Convention, many young 2x2 couples exchanged letters and some eventually married after having very few dates. For example, the Author's parents met briefly at a Sunday Meeting, wrote letters through WWII and visited once after the war. The third time they saw each other was when they married.
OUTSIDERS: It is expected for 2x2s to intermarry, based on 2 Cor. 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" A 2x2 who marries an Outsider may be punished by temporarily not being allowed to participate or take communion in Fellowship Meetings. The tradition of a minister withholding communion from a believer has no scriptural basis. According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, taking communion is left up to the individual's discretion. A new convert may remain in a marriage with a non2x2. Marriages with outsiders are called " divided homes" (1 Cor. 7:24).
ENGAGEMENTS: A ring, whether engagement or wedding, is an external symbol of a couple's promises to marry each other. Workers have long considered engagement rings to be worldly and mildly rebellious. At least by the early 1960s, it was fairly customary for a 2x2 man to give his 2x2 fiancée an engagement wristwatch; normally the watch was not gold nor adorned with gemstones. After the Millennium, it became more common for 2x2 brides to wear diamond engagement rings and also diamond wedding rings, but this practice has not yet become the norm worldwide for 2x2s.
MARRIAGE CEREMONIES: Workers do not perform marriage ceremonies because there is no precedent where Jesus or the Apostles did so. Normally, marriage of two 2x2 are not performed by a "worldly" minister in a church building, except in Belgium. For many years, most 2x2 marriage ceremonies were performed at the courthouse by a Judge or Justice of Peace and Workers rarely attended weddings. In the 1940s, when the Author's parents married, weddings were held with little fanfare and very few witnesses or guests. The Workers cautioned, "Keep it quiet and simple."
Around the 1980s, the Friends began holding more elaborate weddings. Since then, marriages have varied in size and pomp have been conducted in homes, outdoors, gardens, hotels and other facilities. In the late 20th century, Workers began attending weddings and also made short speeches and/or prayed.
There has not been a consistent format worldwide for 2x2 weddings, and over the years, there has been much controversy over wedding customs. What should be worn, who and how many to invite, where the ceremony should be held, should a reception be held, etc. Couples were cautioned against their weddings being "just like the worldly people."
WEDDING APPAREL: In earlier years, professing brides did not adorn themselves in worldly white wedding gowns or carry flowers. Brides were expected to wear an outfit suitable for Sunday Meeting, with no wedding veil up until the late 1960s. Grooms usually wore a suit and tie; not a tuxedo. At least since the year 2000, some professing brides have worn traditional, white strapless or off the shoulder floor length gowns with bridal headpieces, veils and bouquets; and some males have worn tuxedos.
WITH THIS RING: As early as 1908, reporters remarked about 2x2 married women "casting aside the symbol of marriage" and new brides not wearing wedding bands (Impartial Reporter, August 27, 1908). In the early 1900s in New Zealand, the 2x2 women all cast their wedding bands into a pond on the South Island Convention grounds, as the wearing of gold was 'not of God.'
By not wearing a wedding ring, some 2x2 women suffered uncomfortable moments. A motel clerk refused to rent a room to my parents because my mother was not wearing a wedding ring and they "weren't that kind of place." Soon after, my parents purchased Mom a very slim gold wedding band for $8.00. Eventually, most all 2x2 married women wore wedding bands. At first, they were usually simple, narrow, plain bands without diamonds. Worldly men began wearing wedding bands in the mid-20th century. By the mid to late 1960s, it was permissible for a 2x2 man to wear one in some areas of the U.S.
RECEPTIONS, SHOWERS & GRADUATION CELEBRATIONS: For many years, holding a wedding reception, shower, party or celebration of any kind was discouraged. Eventually, the Friends disregarded the 2x2 tradition of prohibiting celebrations.
DIVORCE by 2x2s is discouraged but accepted when it occurs. However, divorced persons are to remain single and celibate until after their ex-spouse dies.
REMARRIAGE: Worldwide, workers are divided into two camps regarding their interpretation and treatment of remarriage after divorce. In Western U.S. and Western Canada, as well as the foreign countries under their authority, the Workers believe and teach that remarriage after divorce is a sin of commission and is "living in adultery." The 2x2 divorced and remarried (D&R) couples in the West are not allowed to participate in Fellowship Meetings, to be Elders, or take communion. They have also been instructed that unless they separate, they forfeit their opportunity to enter Heaven. Families have been cruelly split up when spouses separated due to Workers' pressure. Depending on the conviction of the head Worker, some Workers have refused to spend the night in a D&R couples' home or accept money offered them. In the last decade, some D&R couples have been told not to even attend Fellowship Meetings (Western Canada); in other words, they are excommunicated.
However, the Workers in Eastern U.S. and countries under their authority believe in and apply a merciful policy, and most D&R couples are allowed full participation, and it is also permissible for divorcees to remarry in some situations in some areas (specifically Colorado, Texas, Alabama).
FRIENDS, THEIR HOMES AND HOMELIFE: The 2x2s who have "open home" are usually very hospitable and welcome guests and Workers to their home for meals and to spend the night. Most have guest rooms. Some couples have moved to places where there are no 2x2s to provide an open home where Workers may live while conducting Missions.
They do not use the phrases, "Bless You," or "Have a blessed day." Bible verses on anything (pictures, cups, greeting cards, T-shirts, etc.) are disdained. They do not hang crosses on their walls or pictures of angels or Jesus, since "no one really knows what they look like." However, photographs of Workers are openly displayed in most 2x2 homes.
LAWSUITS: Usually, Workers have advised 2x2s not to take a matter against another 2x2 and "go to law before the unjust," citing 1 Cor. 6:1. Lawsuits against outsiders, such as unfair treatment at work, are permissible. From 1906 to 1913, Friends and Workers filed eight cases in Ireland and England for slander that they were involved in white slave trafficking of Sister Workers. Most were settled in their favor. (See Chapter 23).
In the past, Workers have strongly discouraged many victims of sexual abuse by a 2x2 from taking legal action. This has changed in recent years in some areas, partly due to the WINGS website, and also because of the world's growing awareness of child sexual abuse (CSA), mandated reporting and additional CSA laws being enacted and strictly enforced.
CHRISTMAS AND EASTER: At the turn of the 20th century, when the Sect started, the Workers did not prohibit customary Christmas festivities; however, they disconnected the commemoration of the birth of Jesus from them. Reasons given are because no one knows the precise day on which Jesus was born or died, and because there is no Biblical command to do so.
Currently, in Australia, New Zealand and the UK/Ireland, Friends observe a secular Christmas, including customary Christmas traditions and seasonal home decorations, including a Christmas tree which may even be situated in the Meeting room. Some exchange gifts or send non-religious Christmas cards. For others, Christmas Day is no different from any other holiday off work.
PURGE OF CHRISTMAS TREES. It appears that the early Workers who came to North America allowed new converts to have Christmas trees, as was the custom in the UK and Ireland. However, between 1950-60, a new ruling was made in the U.S. and Christmas trees were purged out of 2x2 homes, lest they be found emulating the pagan custom of decorating trees and worshipping them (Jer. 10:1-5). Howard Mooney's research paper was widely circulated, "The Origin of Christmas." There have always been some 2x2s who ignored this taboo, especially parents of young children.
The 2x2s do not celebrate Easter and Jesus's resurrection, the foundation of the Christian faith, considered to be the most important holiday in Christianity. The 2x2s say they remember the resurrection every Sunday–not just once a year. Most 2x2 parents do not teach their children to believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
AUTOMOBILES: In 1908, when the Model T automobile was mass produced, they came in one color, black. Slow to change, 2x2s continued to purchase black autos long after they were available in other colors. They drove economical autos with a minimum of worldly chrome trim. Some painted the chrome black and turned whitewall tires to the inside. Those who drove more expensive autos were considered vain and proud.
RADIOS: The Golden Age of the Radio began in the 1920s and rapidly became the dominant home entertainment medium for the next 50 years until it was usurped by television. In some areas, the radio was banned from 2x2 homes and autos, yet permissible in others. Between 1923 and 1930, 60% of American families purchased radios. It has been said there was no ban on radios in Western U.S. under Jack Carroll's oversight because radio allowed them to keep abreast of events in the Pacific War Theater where five Workers, including three from the U.S. West Coast, were imprisoned in the Philippines. Read detailed account: Deliverance – It has come!
Radios were first installed in autos in 1930. If a 2x2 bought a car containing a radio, they were expected to remove the radio and antenna . At Conventions, some Workers even broke off antennas, without regard to ownership of the vehicle. In some areas, record players, stereos and video cameras were taboo for 2x2s, yet permissible in others.
ZERO TV: In the years 1947-1957, television entered many American homes. It was marketed as a modern innovation that "brought the world into your home." Of course, Workers decided there would be zero TVs in 2x2 homes. They referred to television as an "idol," an instrument that opened the door to the world, Devil, temptation and sin. For a time, any 2x2s found to own a TV were excommunicated or asked not to take part until they disposed of the TV. Currently, Workers do not place a Meeting in a home they are aware has a TV. Many Friends hid their radios and TVs, but wholehearted Friends possessed neither. When new converts voluntarily disposed of their TVs, Workers claimed the Holy Spirit induced them to do so.
Around the Millennium, it became more common for Friends to own and openly display their TVs, and there have been reports of Workers watching sports on TV with the homeowner. Workers remain against most TV content and focus and, therefore, ownership; however, most Workers no longer discipline the 2x2 for owning one.
COMPUTERS: The IBM Personal Computer (PC) was introduced. By 1989, an estimated 54 million PCs were in use in the U.S. Electronic mail (email) became available around 1993, and the internet in 1995. By 2000, PCs were considered essential in many homes. PCs had gained a firm foothold in many 2x2 homes before most Workers learned there was such a thing as the internet. Banning theater attendance became irrelevant when movies could be viewed in homes on a computer. Currently, many Workers have their own personal laptops, cell phones, email accounts and use the internet.
In 1994, the first internet website relating to the early history of the 2x2 Church was launched by Research & Information Services (RIS) In 1996, the original Veterans of the Truth (VOT) website was created, and in 1997, the Telling the Truth website went online. Workers cautioned against the evils of the internet, and in particular, "hate sites."
THE MEETINGS: The 2x2 Sect's most important weekly gathering is their Sunday "Fellowship Meeting." The very first Sunday Fellowship Meeting ever held was in Ireland in 1901-02. Sunday and the mid-week Bible Study Meetings are always held in private homes chosen by the Workers. Selected Elders lead the Meetings. The Sunday Fellowship Meetings consists of all baptized 2x2s present, praying, giving a testimony and taking the emblems (aka communion, Lord's Supper, Eucharist), and singing hymns without musical accompaniment. In many locations, two or more Meetings assemble once a month, called a "Union Meeting."
English speaking 2x2s currently sing from "Hymns Old and New," 1987 Edition, published by R. L. Allan & Son in England (formerly in Scotland) exclusively for the 2x2s. From the middle of the 17th to the 20th century, the King James Bible was the acknowledged Bible of the English-speaking nations. Accustomed to using the KJV, the Workers have continued to use that version to the present.
"Gospel Meetings" are held by Workers for the purpose of converting others to their Sect in most any suitable, available facility; schools, homes, halls, auditoriums, etc. When a series of these Meetings is coming to an end, they are usually terminated with an invitation to convert. Once a year, all the 2x2s in a particular region converge together for a "Special Meeting" consisting of two Meetings with lunch in between.
Around 1902-03 when home meetings were established in Ireland, leavened bread and wine were served for communion in both Fellowship Meetings and Conventions. "Communion wine" was listed on the 1913 Crocknacrieve Convention Receipts and Expenditures. At some point, U.S. Workers changed to using purple grape juice instead of wine, although Prohibition (1920-1933) specifically exempted alcohol used for sacramental purposes. It has been reported that wine is used in Meetings in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, England, Ireland, France and possibly all Europe.
THE WORKERS: Right from their start, the Workers had obstacles to overcome when they introduced themselves. They had no church name, no theological education, no organization backing them, no headquarters, no preacher certificate or letter of commendation. Their lack of theological education and certification are still problematic for current Workers, and prevents many Outsiders from giving serious consideration to their message. It was no secret that the early Workers despised educated clergymen, and they openly condemned them with derogatory terms which were repeated in various newspapers.
The Brother Worker responsible for states and provinces is called the "Head Worker," "Elder Worker" or "Senior Worker," and they report to an Overseer of a larger area. There has been no single worldwide head of the 2x2 Sect since William Irvine was excommunicated.
Canada and U.S. are divided into two territories with Overseers. The "Pacific Coast" territory includes the Western American states CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, AK, AZ, HI and NV; along with the Western Canadian provinces of BC, AB, SK, MB and Western ON. In North America, the Pacific Coast Overseers have been Jack Carroll, Willie Jamieson, Eldon Tenniswood, Dick Middleton, Dale Shultz and Robert Newman.
The remainder of the U.S. and Canada are the Eastern Territory. Overseers of the Eastern states have been George Walker, Andrew Abernethy, Taylor Wood and Barry Barkley
Following Jesus instructions in Matt. 10:8 "freely have ye received, freely give," the Workers do not ask for money or take up collections in their Missions. The 2x2s to not tithe 10%, but many donate to the workers privately. Workers are not accountable to the Friends for their gifts.
From their start, both men and women were accepted into the ministry (Acts 2:17) . The hierarchy is: all Friends are subject to the ministry, the Sister Workers are subject to the Brother Workers, and the ministry is subject to Christ, who is subject to God (1 Cor. 11:3-4). The qualifications for all Workers are the same. Before entering the work, they give away all their possessions, including money, homes, vehicles, possessions, except for what fits into a suitcase.
Formerly for transportation, Workers walked, rode bicycles, used public transportation, were transported by Friends or borrowed their vehicles. Sometime around the 1970s, Friends began voluntarily providing pairs of Workers with vehicles to use.
They become homeless, itinerant missionaries traveling in same sex pairs (two by two), stay in 2x2 households, and hold Gospel Missions hoping to attract converts. They also visit members, help prepare for their annual Conventions, and officiate at funerals. Co-Workers are usually re-paired once a year, often after the annual Convention. Annually, a state Workers List is compiled showing the Workers assigned to a given area for the upcoming year. In many countries, the first name on the Workers List is the regional Head Worker or Overseer.
The Brother Workers are also called "servants." Only Brother Workers officiate at baptisms. Their outer appearance is no different from the conservative business dress of respectable worldly men. They blend in like Jesus who was able to get lost in a crowd.
Not so for the Sister Workers. Many of them stand out peculiarly, similar to Catholic nuns, Mennonites and Pentecostal women. They appear ultra-conservative, a few decades out of style, dressing down in unfussy, no frills clothing. Sister Workers are also called "handmaidens" and "servants."
FUNERALS: Funeral services for 2x2s are usually held in a funeral home. For many years, only Brother Workers officiated at 2x2 funerals, but around the Millennium, Sister Workers also began to have a speaking part. In North America, the majority of 2x2s are buried in cemeteries, rather than being cremated.
CONVENTIONS: The first large scale 2x2 Convention was held in 1904 at Crocknacrieve, near Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland and lasted for four weeks. Currently, the 2x2 Sect holds two to four day annual Conventions in various countries worldwide, except during times of War. Lists of annual Convention dates and locations are distributed to 2x2s.
At the Irish Conventions in their early days, bread and wine (not grape juice) were served on Sunday. The procedure was, "Every Sunday morning the Lord's Supper is observed. A piece of bread is passed from hand to hand, followed by wine in mugs " (Impartial Reporter, July 10, 1913, p. 5). Currently, the emblems are served on Sunday at some Conventions (Australia), but not in North America, Ireland or New Zealand.
In America, the Convention ground usually consists of a property with a home occupied by a 2x2 married couple, meeting, dining and sleeping facilities. At conventions, some 2x2s sleep in these sleeping facilities, or choose to camp in RVs, trailers or tents while others stay in nearby motels. At times, Conventions have been held in a rented facility. For years, large pole tents were used for Meetings and dining facilities. In the U.S., that practice changed in the late 20th century, and open sheds or buildings were constructed on many Convention grounds for Meetings. Depending on the location, Conventions last for two, three or four days. 2x2s are expected to arrange time off from work to attend one full Convention in their home state.
Baptisms are held in many places, such as a pond, lake, river, creek, ocean, swimming pool. A baptismal service is often held during a Convention. Workers must approve of a candidate before they can be baptized. Some are allowed baptism without question, some provided they agree to certain conditions, and for others, baptism may be withheld until certain changes are made. See also "Control and Discipline" above.
LEGALISM: Christians use the term legalism to refer to the concept that salvation is earned through good works and following certain behaviors, practices and traditions. Legalism is believing Jesus's blood is not enough to obtain salvation; there must also be human effort and obedience to extra-Biblical traditions and rules.
The alternative to legalism is the concept of grace which emphasizes that a believer's standing before God is not based on merit or good works, but rather upon the gift of God bestowed upon the individual through their faith in Jesus Christ. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace means "gift of God." The grace concept is summarized with the term "saved by faith through grace." Good works earn heavenly rewards–not salvation (Matthew 16:27).
Jesus defined legalism as: "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?....Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition....But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:3-9, Mark 7:6-13).
Paul warns of legalism, "why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour..." (Colossians 2:20-23); "do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
EXTRA-BIBLICAL TRADITIONS: The term "extra-Biblical" refers to any form of knowledge or experience that provides additional information concerning God, His work, will and teachings, which are not directly written in the Bible. Commandments of God are Biblical; while man-made traditions are extra-Biblical and do not deserve the same respect and obedience as Scripture. Peter and other apostles said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" ( Acts 5:29).
Some examples of extra-biblical practices of Workers are withholding participation and communion in Meetings; the celibate Ministry; not allowing married couples to be Workers; not drinking alcoholic beverages; and the 2x2 women's dress codes of wearing long hair upswept, no makeup, jewelry or slacks.
A very significant extra-biblical doctrine or belief was introduced by Workers in the first decade after the 2x2 Sect started. It was that the Two by Two ministry and Fellowship are God's only right way on earth, which most current 2x2s believe. It is one of their foundational beliefs and some have been excommunicated for not believing it. Summarized, only those who profess through t he Workers have a chance of getting to Heaven; the alternative is Hell (See Chapter 20).
SAME THE WORLD OVER: For many 2x2s, the worldwide inconsistency in 2x2 traditions has generated confusion, especially those who were taught from birth, that "the way" is the same everywhere. Many grew up not knowing the difference in essential and non-essential beliefs, nor that rules differed, depending on the location and Overseer.
Cognitive dissonance has led some 2x2s to closely examine their spiritual core beliefs in an effort to make their " calling and election sure " (2 Peter 1:10), and to assure themselves their service will not all be in vain (Mark 7:7). This has involved separating essential from non-essential beliefs. Consequently, some Friends are no longer submitting to the Workers' control and authority and are not seeking their guidance regarding non-essential matters in their lives. "Let each be fully persuaded," (Rom. 14:5). Instead, some have chosen to follow their hearts, guided by Scripture and their inner compass, the Holy Spirit. Confidence in the Workers and their Church has been eroding, due to the exposure of scandals, child sexual molestation, William Irvine and the Sect's early history. Since the Millennium, it has been estimated that one third of the 2x2 members have left the Sect.
The rules appear to be relaxing somewhat in areas, especially where there are a large number of 2x2 youths who are pushing the boundaries. While the Workers have not publicly announced changes in policies, there is a noticeable lack of discipline regarding items previously forbidden. Historically, when the Friends disregard certain taboos, the rules change; such as higher education, women's appearance, black stockings and radios.
IN CLOSING: An important biblical principle is that God and His Words must come first in importance–over men's words, and that "that ye might...not...think of men above that which is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6). Frequently, New Testament authors proved their points by referring to the Scripture, that "which was spoken." Similarly, Workers should be able to answer Friends' questions with, "This is that which is spoken of in the scripture."
If a Worker will not answer a sincere question asking for direct scripture for a 2x2 practice, they may not know the answer or they do not want to tell you or they have been instructed by their superior not to discuss it. This typically means the matter is a tradition–not a commandment of God, for direct easily understood scripture can be found for God's commands.
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul answered questions of the Corinthians using two sources: some from commands of the Lord (vs. 10); and others were Paul's judgment call (vss. 6, 12, 25). Unfortunately, the Workers have not been as clear as Paul was regarding the source of some of their instructions, which many 2x2s mistook to be commandments of God
Paul cautioned Christians to be careful not to be "blown here and there by every wind of teaching" (Ephesians 4:14). Paul advised Christians to "prove all things" (1 Thessalonians. 5:21), and to "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).
Jesus left no doubt as to the two most important commandments, which override, transcend, include and encompasses all others: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31; Matthew 22:37-40).
All groups need some rules of order or standard methods of doing things, which avoids confusion when they convene. All Christian churches have both doctrine and traditions. The problem arises when man-made rules and traditions are considered necessary for salvation.
"Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage"
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
DISCLAIMER: The information in this Chapter is neither all-inclusive nor universal.
Read the unabridged more detailed version with many more examples of this Chapter on TTT: History of 2x2 Traditions
Go to Chapter 32