Ngaire Thomas

Ngaire Thomas

Ngaire Thomas (born 1943, first name pronounced Nyree[1]) is a New Zealand author who wrote the book Behind Closed Doors about her life in a conservative Christian sect, the Exclusive branch of the Plymouth Brethren. It details the abuse she suffered within the church and her eventual excommunication.[2] The second edition was edited to avoid legal action threatened by the Brethren.[3]



Thomas was born into the Exclusive Brethren. At the age of 15 Thomas was approached by elders:

"they came to me because they’d heard that there was something between me and my cousin and when they asked me if I had committed fornication, I said oh yes, I suppose so, because I knew I had kissed and cuddled my cousin down in the bushes down behind his house and nobody had explained to me what they were talking about. And I could tell by their very concerned faces that this just wasn’t a good answer. And of course I was put in my room on my own for several days and just sort [of] fed through the door until it was my turn to go up in front of the Church of about probably 500 or 600 people. And nobody bothered to come and ask me if I knew what they were talking about."[4]

"I was given the microphone and told to say I was sorry for not crying out [fighting the cousin's advances]. I stood up in front of about five or six hundred people ... The sea of stern and solemn faces was just a blur in front of me as I apologised for something I didn't do. When I had said I was sorry and had been graciously forgiven by the Brethren, I sat down in my seat and cried with humiliation and shame."[5]

This led directly to another event:

"Although it was a very traumatic experience, something good came out of it. At fifteen, although still rather ignorant of some things, I was old enough to know that if it was wrong for my cousin to hug and kiss me, then what my father was doing to me was very, very wrong indeed ... I threatened my father that I would 'cry out' and cause a public scandal ... if he did not stop his inappropriate behaviour ... The abuse ended there and then; he was careful never to touch me again."[5]

She married Dennis Thomas at the age of 18.[2] She had four children but having had a stroke at the age of 28, she started to take the combined oral contraceptive pill on the advice of her doctor.[4] After 5 years her inability to produce a further child was questioned by the church elders. When her use of contraceptives was discovered the family were 'shut up' — shunned.[2] During the shutting up, Thomas and her husband were banned from having sex.[4] When asked after a week if they had broken this rule — after first lying — Dennis admitted that they had. They were then 'withdrawn' — a further stage of shunning. Thomas has termed this 'psychological abuse'.[4]

By 1974, Ngaire was deemed not "sufficiently repentant"[2] and "contentious and rebellious".[1] The family was excommunicated.

Thomas is now a Quaker.[6]

Behind Closed Doors

Thomas started writing the book in 1999, about her experiences in the Exclusive Brethren. It was self-published and sold 1000 copies without advertising.[2] Subsequently, Random House discovered the book and now publishes it.

See also

  • Behind the Exclusive Brethren


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Raven-Taylor-Hales Brethren — The Raven Taylor Hales Brethren are an austere protestant sect, and a branch of the Exclusive Brethren. These Brethren hold an uncompromising separatist doctrine and their practice has steadily evolved differently from other Brethren groups and… …   Wikipedia

  • Plymouth Brethren — The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s.[1][2] Although the group is notable for not taking any official church name to itself, and not having an… …   Wikipedia

  • Raven-Brüder — Die Raven Brüder (auch Raven’sche Brüder, Plymouth Brüder Nr. 4, international meist Exclusive Brethren) sind eine – offiziell namenlose – freikirchliche Gemeinschaft, die 1890 durch eine Trennung innerhalb des „exklusiven“ Teils der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • New Zealand general election, 1996 — 1993 ← members October 12, 1996 (1996 10 12) …   Wikipedia

  • List of Australian athletics champions (Women) — Australian Championships in Athletics for women have been conducted since 1930 [ tf/index.htm Athletics Australia National Championship results] ] . At the first National Championships, only three events… …   Wikipedia

  • Outrageous Fortune (TV series) — For other meanings, see Outrageous Fortune (disambiguation). Outrageous Fortune The Season 6 title card Format Comedy drama …   Wikipedia

  • Gobernanza financiera — Se entiende por gobernanza financiera el conjunto de procesos, reglas, normas, valores e instituciones a través de los cuales los diferentes actores (organismos públicos locales, estatales e internacionales , así como empresas, movimientos… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gouvernance financière — La gouvernance financière est l’ensemble des processus, règles, normes, valeurs et institutions grâce auxquels les différents acteurs (organismes publics locaux, d’État et internationaux, entreprises, mouvements sociaux et citoyens, entre autres) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • List of Shortland Street characters — The 2011 Shortland Street cast photo. The following is a complete list of all characters that appear or have appeared on the TVNZ soap opera Shortland Street. Included in the list are current and past core, recurring and guest characters.… …   Wikipedia

  • New Year Honours 2007 — The New Year Honours 2007 for the Commonwealth Realms were announced on 30 December, 2006, to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 2007.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.