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Secretive Sect Leader Dies

Article from the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper

(See related page)
Secretive Sect Leader Dies

By TANYA GILES
25jul01

AN elderly leader of a bizarre fundamentalist sect linked to the suicide of two teens has died. The Victorian head of the Cooneyites, John Evan Jones, 91, died of natural causes last week and is to be buried at Narracan East Cemetery today after a private service.

Mr Jones was considered to be the Victorian leader of the secretive religious group which also goes by the titles Nameless House Sect, Go Preachers, Two-By-Two Preachers and The Way. It is believed to have up to 70,000 Australian members.

The group hit the headlines in 1994 when Narelle Henderson, 14, and her brother Stephen, 12, shot themselves with a .22 rifle to avoid attending a four-day sect convention.

Narelle's suicide note read: "To whoever finds us, we committed suicide because all our life we were made to go to meetings. They try to brainwash us so much and have ruined our lives."

The fringe religious group holds the mass rallies yearly for its "saints". It has no official church buildings and usually conducts its meetings in small home groups.

Cult Counselling Australia director Raphael Aron said yesterday he was concerned about the psychological welfare of Cooneyite members due to the pressure of the intensive four-day conventions.

"Psychologically, these types of meetings can strip you of your personality, reframe the way you look at the outside world and the way you look at people," he said.

"They take you from the shallow end and throw you in the deep end."

Another former member told the Coroner's Court that nervous breakdowns were not uncommon because of the enormous pressure put on members by the "fanatical doctrines of the sect".

Mr Aron said the group banned "worldly" activities like watching television, dancing, playing competitive sport and listening to pop music. Women members are expected to dress modestly, avoid makeup and jewellery and wear their hair long under the group's strict regime.

A former member of the Cooneyites, who asked not to be named, told the Herald Sun yesterday the cult had destroyed his life. He said the damage it had done in tearing his family apart would never be repaired.

The following books were written by people who escaped the 2x2 church!
Elizabeth was born and raised in a nameless and secretive worldwide cult that claims exclusive origin from the New Testament apostolic ministry and blatantly describes all other churches as 'false'. A fourth generation member, she professed faith at the age of sixteen and fully intended to remain there, even when she discovered that the system she believed in was based on a lie. A love story both human and divine, a journey from spiritual bondage to freedom in Christ; this confronting and deeply personal account gives an inside perspective into the mindset of cult members, and reveals the fear and trauma associated with being forced to investigate your own beliefs even if it could mean destroying the very foundations of everything you believe.

The author, Elizabeth Coleman, is one of our moderators at the TLC Forum!
A look inside a worldwide, supposedly nameless religion that meets in homes and rented venues, yet is almost unknown even to many friends and relatives of its members. This book collects accounts of the varied experiences from many former members. Although it has managed to elude public attention for most of its history, this group has been known by various names, both officially taken and nicknames, that include: Two by Twos, the Testimony of Jesus, Meetings in the home, Assemblies of Christians, Christian Conventions, The Truth, the Workers and Friends, the No-name church, the Way, Blackstockings, Die Namelosen, Kristna i Sverige, Non-denominational meetings, Gospel meetings, Les Anonymes, Cooneyites, etc. Revised and expanded second edition.
They meet in homes and in rented halls, presided over by itinerant preachers known as "Workers." This religious fellowship usually goes under the names listed above, although its members vigorously deny that the group bears any name. As to its origins, the group positions itself as being a direct continuation of "the New Testament Church." And even though they deny having any organizational structure, the activities of this nameless sect are world-wide in scope.

It is often very difficult for the outsider to gain any concrete knowledge of this group's doctrine, structure, or history. Reinventing the Truth examines these issues, focusing on the historical explanations the group has offered for its origins.
This secretive group has been called by various names over the years: The Two-by-Twos, White Mice, Black Stockings, Pilgrims, The Meeting, The Workers, The Truth, the Secret Sect, Die Namenlosen, Les Anonymes and many others. But they claim no name of their own. Outside of the group, little has been known of the ways and the diverse belief found among believers in this homespun religion. Here is a book that exposes the origins and the unwritten traditions of the Two-by-Twos. The purpose of this book is to summarize the teachings of this religious group in order to encourage people to draw nearer to and obey God. It is an attempt to bring to light what the workers have tried to hide from the public for over a century. These are doctrines and behaviors that have been observed and learned by an ex-member whose family has been part of the group for five generations, since the founding of the religion in the late 1890s.
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Any church which bases its origin on a LIE — or conceals its history in a cover-up — has no business calling itself the "TRUTH."
IF THE HISTORY OF THE 2X2 CHURCH IS UNIMPORTANT, THEN WHY LIE ABOUT IT?