Revised February 3, 2018
The Importance and Power of History
Condemnation without investigation is ignorance.
Historians are tour guides who collect information left behind from documents, oral testimony, objects, etc., and present it in a coherent narrative. History is the reconstruction of the past events of a particular time period arranged in chronological order. A written historical record helps to preserve "what is true." Most historians use the word “true” to mean any perspective well supported by facts.
This book contains my research into "what is true" concerning the history of the 2x2 Sect, arranged in a chronological timeline. It was compiled from many source materials: letters, essays, photographs, notes, public records, newspaper articles, witnesses, etc. Unfortunately, I was unable to consult with anyone with firsthand knowledge (primary witnesses), as they had all passed away earlier. This book is the most detailed history of the 2x2 Sect ever published.
When questioned about the history of the 2x2 Sect, how, when and where it began, sometimes Workers or Friends indicate the past is not important and point to the future. Some examples are, "When it started doesn't really matter. What is important is our beginning—when we first found Jesus." Or "It's not important—the important thing is that we are building on the same foundation as Christ." Or "Personally, I have never been taken up with 'endless genealogies.' "
In modern society, many people prefer to define themselves in terms of what they have and where they are going, rather then where they came from, with the past being largely irrelevant to them. Similarly, many Workers minimize the significance of the history of the 2x2 Sect, asking questions like, "What difference does it make? It isn't relevant today." And, "It all happened over 100 years ago, how could it matter now?" And "Some friends have asked me about our history. There is no profit in that. That's not what our faith and foundation should be in." Keeping the Friends ignorant about the true history of their Church has become increasingly difficult. Ignoring the problem is not working, nor are attempts to destroy or hide the historical evidence. As one ex-Worker wrote, "Some say that God's truth was revived or started over or began in the early 1900's. This serpent raises its ugly head periodically."
Workers have boldly claimed their Church has come down from the original New Testament Church, and also that their 2 and 2 Ministry began when Jesus sent his 12 disciples out from the Sea of Galilee. If these bold statements were true, they should be able to produce historical records proving their claims. Instead, when asked to "prove it," Workers have replied with comments such as: "It's not God's way to record such things." Or, "Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. We have no written records on earth of God's work in the world during this period. God's records are written in heaven." Or, "We cannot trace this back through the ages. And that is good, for if we could, that would destroy our faith."
For many people, the word of the Workers no longer suffices as proof of their claims. It is normal to question and research the past of churches in which one is interested. The inescapable past is a part of the present. The Workers have underestimated the power of history.
There is one history book the 2x2s value highly and study diligently. From Genesis through Revelation, the Bible is the history of the Israelites, including their victories, mistakes, tragedies, faults and changes. Genealogies (histories of family lines) were of such importance that they were recorded several times in both the Old and New Testaments. The 2x2s firmly believe there are lessons to be learned from studying these past events, and the Bible agrees: "Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction" (1 Cor. 10:11).
Commemorating their past, God instructed the Israelites to hold an annual Passover festival in remembrance of the time God brought them out of Egypt, and they subsequently became a nation. Based on the verse "And thou shalt tell thy son," a young child asks the question during the Passover Seder meal: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" Adults reply with the story of their deliverance from slavery (Ex. 13:3-10). Knowing and passing on the special history of their nation was important–it was a God ordained "holy convocation" (Ex. 23:2-4).
The Old Testament is an example of a faithful and true historical record. It records the blemishes and stains of God's people, as well as affirmations of God's faithfulness to them. Just imagine the loss if the fascinating background accounts of the lives of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, Ruth and Samuel had not been included in the Bible. Knowing their history, and our own as well, is integral to our appreciation and understanding.
The 2x2s use the history provided in the Bible as a guide for living today. The Workers value the Bible and its history, preach solely from the Bible, and strongly encourage members to meditate frequently from it, so they will become "rooted and grounded" in their faith (Eph. 3:17).
So it is inconsistent for Workers to discourage and deflect members from learning about the physical history of the 2x2 Sect. Some Workers provide hearsay accounts about its beginning, such as: a group of men started it, or Wm. Irvine found an underground remnant, or he heard about it from his Sister, or from the Gill family, or from two old ladies, or from someone on a train, etc. Such vague replies with no verifiable support have caused many 2x2s to have cognitive dissonance, which leads them to seriously question.
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) a person experiences when confronted with new information that contradicts one's beliefs, ideals or values. In order to have peace, the person is motivated to reduce the internal inconsistencies causing the cognitive dissonance. There is an innate desire in humans for things to make sense and to avoid cognitive dissonance.
Knowing our personal history grounds us and provides stability. There is a deep need in many to be firmly rooted. Studying our history can give us a more meaningful insight into our roots, which often adds to their value. Knowing the history of our family ancestry, tribe, race, nation, religion or culture fosters a sense of being well grounded, especially when it is something of which to be proud. Knowing how, when, where and upon what principles one's religion and church were founded helps one to better understand their church, may deepen their spiritual roots, and also enables them to answer questions.
Since past events are fixed in time, studying a history timeline helps to better understand and make sense of both the past and present. Knowing the background generates appreciation, acceptance and approval. Sometimes it provides reasons for why something happened the way it did, reveals what went wrong and why changes were made. A history timeline fills in gaps that may be interesting or important. Knowing what preceded an event often helps one better understand how and why something arrived at another place. History reveals patterns and enables us to draw parallels. Studying the past in its proper timing is often the key to making sense of the present and also to making good choices for the future. "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
It is significant that there is no documented evidence of the 2x2 Sect existing prior to 1897. Of the items commonly found in 2x2 homes, none have been located dating prior to 1897:
1) not a hymn written by a Friend or Worker;
2) not a hymnbook;
3) not a photograph of a Worker or Friend;
4) not a Workers' List;
5) not a Convention announcement or speakers list;
6) not the name of a single Friend or Worker;
7) no notes of any Convention, Funeral or Meeting.
In short there is absolutely NO evidence that the 2x2 Sect existed in any way prior to 1897. It's also extraordinary that the surnames of all the early Workers were Irish, Scottish or English.
The printing press was invented in 1450. The first photographs were made in 1850, and the Kodak camera was invented in 1888. The first American patent for a typewriter was issued in 1829. If the 2x2 fellowship existed prior to 1897, surely some of these items would exist. The past is part of the present, both when it speaks and when it is silent. These omissions establish a high degree of probability that the 2x2 Sect did not exist before 1897. The Workers have underestimated the power of history.
To have "free will" means one has the ability to make a free, unforced choice between two or more alternatives. Previously, those who were raised in the 2x2 Sect made a choice to join or not join it. In most cases, they did not possess all the vital facts necessary to make a reasoned, critical decision, and the group's history may have been misrepresented to them. Many were presented with an either/or situation; either they served God in the 2x2 Church, or they would go to hell. Many were led to believe there was no other alternative. This is not true—there were alternatives. In logic, this type dilemma is titled the Fallacy of Too Few Alternatives. Many have remained in the 2x2 Sect primarily because (1) they did not know the true history and believe the falsehood that it is of apostolic succession, and/or (2) their fear of a lost eternity if they do not choose and/or continue in it.
A rational choice is made by comparing alternatives; i.e. one thing is compared with similar things, and one is chosen over the others, based on all available information. If one wishes to be rational, it is necessary to carefully collect, weigh, modify, challenge and evaluate all the information before arriving at a conclusion. Many 2x2s raised in the Sect were not privy to the true historical information, and some received false information. Thus, it was impossible for them to make a rational free choice. Discovery of additional, corrected or new information may change or reverse a former decision.
Truth is of primary importance to the rational person. Before making a decision, a rational person gathers and considers all available information, giving attention to details, facts, alternatives and omissions. Is the evidence sufficient? Which side has the more convincing evidence and the highest probability? The rational person chooses to believe what occurred, based on which side has the more convincing evidence. It takes courage to assess information contrary to what one was taught and to determine the effect new information will have on one's beliefs, lifestyle, perspective and values.
Truth is secondary to the irrational person. He does not base his beliefs on adequate evidence and sound logic. He makes decisions and forms beliefs out of feelings and emotions (love, fear, hope, anger, etc.), vested interest, authority, repetition, suggestion, habit, prejudice, propaganda, intimidation, whims, arbitrariness, gut feeling, etc. He rejects what he does not want to know in favor of what he prefers to believe. He is more concerned with securing an arrangement of facts that coincide with his present feeling, desires or beliefs than he is with truth. He may expend great effort to justify a challenged belief, and be willing to do more to preserve error than to perpetuate truth.
From the cowardice that shrinks from new truths...
From the laziness that is content with half truths...
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth...
O God of Truth, deliver us. (Author unknown)
Patient Reader, you have now come to the end of this book. My task is finally finished. I did not write this book to persuade the Reader to a particular conclusion, but rather to inform Readers of all known pertinent facts concerning the history of the 2x2 Sect, and for them to become common knowledge. You now have the information to enable you to review, evaluate and weigh the evidence, or lack thereof, and arrive at your own conclusions concerning the early 2x2 Church history.
How will you choose to view the 2x2 Sect in light of the information contained in this book?
You can accept or reject the knowledge that (1) the 2x2 Sect did not continue down from the apostles without break, as the Workers have taught for over 100 years, and (2) the historical facts were deliberately hidden from the majority of the Friends, and the falsehood of apostolic succession was substituted in its place. You may choose to to investigate and verify the points and information contained in this book. Or you may refuse to investigate and/or acknowledge the information herein, ignore it, make excuses, or reject it. Some will find learning more details about the history enlightening and it will strengthen their existing beliefs. Some will choose to stay within the Sect while others choose to leave. The decision is yours.
Some have described learning the history of the 2x2 Sect as being similar to a child's feeling of shock, hurt and betrayal upon discovering Daddy is Santa Claus. Likewise, some have experienced similar feelings of outrage and betrayal.
"We had been deliberately tricked! Betrayed! The agony of deceit was crushing and extremely painful. I felt pulled up by my roots, as if a rug had been pulled out from under me. I felt robbed, ripped off, swindled, gypped, hoodwinked and cheated. We were intentionally deceived by the Workers, whom we had trusted above all others to be truthful. Furthermore, they continue to cover up the history and lie about it! The sole reason many of the Friends chose this church over other churches was because they believed it was the original apostolic church–Jesus' only true way which had continued through the centuries in a direct line from the apostles to Workers up to this very day! We were told and believed we were a part of Jesus' authentic original New Testament church. And then we find out that was all a lie; that 'the Truth' is not really all it's been cracked up to be."
Some have viewed it as spiritual fraud for Workers to deny Wm. Irvine's relationship to the Sect he founded and mislead them by claiming they are a continuation of the first century church and ministry. They could no longer view the Workers as credible and their trust was broken in both the Workers and the 2x2 system.
They reassessed the value of the 2x2 Ministry and Church. Granted, it was not worth what they formerly thought it was, but was there enough value to remain a member? Was it any better than other churches with founders and starting dates? They reviewed the things they had noticed in the past that did not "add up," or jibe with scripture, and caused them cognitive dissonance. Would staying be worth the stress? Would leaving bring more peace?
Some opted to cut short their losses, and made their exits, some quietly, and others not so quietly. Some warned others they had been defrauded. Many wrote exit letters and life stories telling how they had been led astray and why they left, which were published in books and on internet sites. The Workers underestimated the power of history.
Contrary to what some Workers have stated, those leaving the 2x2 Sect are not the "great falling away" in the verse: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thes. 2:3). The falling away was in progress as the last few books of the New Testament were being written (1st and 2nd Peter, James and 1-3 John). A great persecution and tribulation descended on the Christian church just before the Jewish revolt in A.D. 63-66. During this persecution James, Peter, Paul and other Christians were killed (A.D. 63), and this was probably when John was exiled to Patmos. During this time of persecution, the New Testament writers encouraged the Saints to persevere. Some remained faithful, while others forsook Christ. The “falling away” was a first century event. The current "falling away" is the consequence of Workers reaping what they sowed.
I strongly encourage all 2x2s to put aside all prejudice and verify that what you were taught are true, to make your faith your own, so you will be rooted and grounded in certainty. Be secure, by knowing what you believe and why you believe it, and that it is true according to the scriptures. Do not take the word of anyone else for something as important and precious as your soul and eternal salvation. Put aside your assumptions and allow the Bible to speak for itself. Learn what the text is teaching, rather than superimposing your own ideas on it. Affirm or reaffirm your beliefs, and let them permeate your values, conduct, attitudes, worldview and decisions. Know the scriptures, for "If ye KNOW these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 4:42; 1 John 2:26-27; 1 Tim. 4:7, Matt 22:29).
I urge the Senior Workers to honestly and openly start answering such questions as when, where and by whom did the 2x2 Sect start. Also, to thoroughly educate all Workers worldwide about Wm. Irvine, Edward Cooney and the past history of the 2x2 Church and Ministry. To instruct the Workers to pass this knowledge to the Friends from Convention platforms worldwide, until the beginning and past of the 2x2 Sect becomes common knowledge to every member.
If the history of the 2x2 Ministry and Church had not been covered up, denied and untrue information substituted in its place, this book would never have been written. History never dies. The past is inescapable and is always with us. It does not pay to underestimate History! "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
One of my favorite quotes:
"There are just two kinds of people:
one to whom Belief is more precious than Truth,
and the other to whom Truth is more precious than Belief"
Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted with an asterisk (*)