In the Days of Rain
A father-daughter story that tells of the the author's experience growing up in the Exclusive Brethren, a fundamentalist, separatist Christian cult, from the author of the national bestseller Ghostwalk.Rebecca Stott was born a fourth-generation Brethren and she grew up in England, in the Brighton branch of the Exclusive Brethren cult in the early 1960s. Her family dated back to the group's origins in the first half of the nineteenth century, and her father was a high-ranking minister. However, as an intelligent, inquiring child, Stott was always asking dangerous questions and so, it turns out, was her father, who was also full of doubt. When a sex scandal tore the Exclusive Brethren apart in 1970, her father pulled the family out of the cult. But its impact on their lives shaped everything before and all that was to come.The Iron Room (named for the windowless meeting houses made of corrugated iron where the Brethren would worship) is Stott's attempt to understand and even forgive her father: a brilliant, charismatic, difficult, and at times cruel man who nonetheless inspired his daughter with his love of literature, film, and art and with his passion for life.

In the Days of Rain Details

TitleIn the Days of Rain
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
ISBN0812989082
ISBN-139780812989083
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Religion, Nonfiction, Biography

In the Days of Rain Review

  • Sue Kichenside
    July 4, 2017
    Rapture, rupture and re-entry to the world.Rebecca Stott’s memoir about her family’s involvement with the Exclusive Brethren is divided into three parts: her formative years in the sect, her father’s disillusionment when scandal engulfed its leadership and the family’s subsequent withdrawal from the group to become part of ‘the normal world’. The Exclusive Brethren, a subset of the Plymouth Brethren, is a cultish evangelist movement with some 43,000 members worldwide. It holds that the devout am Rapture, rupture and re-entry to the world.Rebecca Stott’s memoir about her family’s involvement with the Exclusive Brethren is divided into three parts: her formative years in the sect, her father’s disillusionment when scandal engulfed its leadership and the family’s subsequent withdrawal from the group to become part of ‘the normal world’. The Exclusive Brethren, a subset of the Plymouth Brethren, is a cultish evangelist movement with some 43,000 members worldwide. It holds that the devout amongst their numbers will be chosen to rise up to the heavens in a Rapture, the rest being left to endure the Tribulation in an end-of-days scenario. It shuns any form of contact with the outside world.Ms Stott writes in cool, calm prose. If anything, she plays down the impact such an extremist upbringing must have had on her and her siblings. Describing the treatment of ex-cult members after long periods of mind control and comparing it with her own experience, she says (and this is about as dramatic as she gets): “I wouldn’t call it ‘deprogramming’, I’d call it ‘decompression’. We’d been a very long way down to the bottom of the sea. There was no easy way back up without getting the bends.” This is a non-sensationalist memoir and an enlightening reading experience.
    more
  • Carla
    June 8, 2017
    I've always been fascinated by religious cults, particularly since I now believe I had once been introduced to one. This book is written by an adult daughter when she comes back home to look after her dying Father, and decides to write about her childhood and her father's involvement in the upper echelon of the Exclusive Brethren. It was a harsh and restrictive time that she grew up in, trying to adapt at making friends and attend school when she wasn't allowed to have contact with those that we I've always been fascinated by religious cults, particularly since I now believe I had once been introduced to one. This book is written by an adult daughter when she comes back home to look after her dying Father, and decides to write about her childhood and her father's involvement in the upper echelon of the Exclusive Brethren. It was a harsh and restrictive time that she grew up in, trying to adapt at making friends and attend school when she wasn't allowed to have contact with those that weren't Exclusive Brethren. She wasn't even allowed to eat with people at the same table that weren't of the same faith. While finding this bizarre, and the rules the group was to follow continually changing, I didn't find it much different than any other book I've read of extreme fundamentalist Christian sects that shun others and become more strict as the group becomes smaller, and there are threats from within especially when the Rapture dates kept changing. The author's skills at writing were good, and the historical references to how the Brethren came about were interesting, but I found that a lot of the information was repetitive and later, just not really interesting. Thanks to Random House and NetGalley providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
    more
  • Sasha
    June 12, 2017
    An interesting read about Rebecca Stott, her father, and building a life after leaving the Exclusive Brethren. As Stott's father is dying he asks for her help to complete his memoir but he has been stuck on writing about the 1960's - he needs to face what he became while in the all-consuming cult the Exclusive Brethren became.Stott was born into the Exclusive Brethren, just as her father had been. When Stott was born the Brethren were a strict religion but in the 1960's and 70's it crossed the l An interesting read about Rebecca Stott, her father, and building a life after leaving the Exclusive Brethren. As Stott's father is dying he asks for her help to complete his memoir but he has been stuck on writing about the 1960's - he needs to face what he became while in the all-consuming cult the Exclusive Brethren became.Stott was born into the Exclusive Brethren, just as her father had been. When Stott was born the Brethren were a strict religion but in the 1960's and 70's it crossed the line from being strict to being a cult. Under the leadership of "The Man of God" the already demanding religion becomes life consuming with assemblies everyday and multiple services on Sunday, members being told they cannot eat with non-members (and even working with non-members was frowned upon). All ties with the "worldly" people (sinners in Brethren eyes)were to be cut. This included spouses who were not fully committed to the Brethren life. Television, movies, music, and any books apart from the bible and the brethren ministries are banned. Children attended public school but teachers remove them from lessons that contradict Brethren teachings (science / biology / literature / other religions / etc. )People lost jobs and livelihoods as they attempted to comply - some committed suicide as they lost everything and suffered loneliness and isolation. Senior members interrogated others about perceived "sins" and members deemed to have transgressed are "shut-up" within their own houses - completely without contact from even their own families until they are deemed to have been cleansed. Told in three parts: Before, During, and After, Stott traces her family and what motivated her ancestors to join the Brethren in the first place and her father's early life. In During, Stott recalls her own experiences as a young child as more and more restrictions were imposed on her family's life. She also talks to her father's contemporaries to build a picture of the brethren politics at the time and to build a picture of what her father was doing that he so struggled to deal with later. When Stott was in her early teens her parents made the momentous decision to leave the Brethren. After being told all her life that the outside world was full of sinners and evil suddenly she had to learn to live amongst it.As she struggled, her father was fighting his own demons - away from the restrictions of the Brethren he became addicted to gambling. Meanwhile her mother held the five children together and struggled to make ends meet. This is not just a daughter struggling to understand her father and his motivations, but also the experience of a cult survivor and her journey back into normal life at an age when most are just trying to establish a teenage identity. Whether you have an interest in the Exclusive Brethren or just cults in general this is a fascinating look at the effects of living in what was essentially a doomsday cult.
    more
  • Paul
    July 15, 2017
    This is a well-written story of growing up in a dysfunctional family--in this case, the Exclusive Brethren, which have congregations all over the world despite being very small. The book reminded me a little of Oranges Are not the Only Fruit, by Jeannette Winterson, except Winterson's book about growing up in a strange English sect was complicated by her being a lesbian and suffering that particular brand of ostracism.The cult that the author grew up in in the U.K. was so restrictive and harsh t This is a well-written story of growing up in a dysfunctional family--in this case, the Exclusive Brethren, which have congregations all over the world despite being very small. The book reminded me a little of Oranges Are not the Only Fruit, by Jeannette Winterson, except Winterson's book about growing up in a strange English sect was complicated by her being a lesbian and suffering that particular brand of ostracism.The cult that the author grew up in in the U.K. was so restrictive and harsh that several members who were shunned for a week committed suicide, including one father who killed his wife and all his children with an axe and then hanged himself. The idea of living in 1970 and not even having heard of the Beatles, much less listened to their music, was hard for me to fathom.The sect broke down when the leader was discovered to be an advanced alcoholic who was having sex with a congregant's wife. The crazed, charismatic leader separating his flock from society seems to be peculiar to cults (see Koresh, David; Jones, Jim; and any number of others). The fact of the leader's being a complete reprobate while operating as a messianic figure always baffles me in terms of the many people that get sucked into each scam cult. This story of how she escapes and discovers the rest of the world is by turns tragic and enlightening. The tragic part is her father, who goes from being an elder to being a gambler and going to prison for it. The enlightening part is her tireless quest to figure out just what life is really about and why the Exclusive Brethren are so weird and world-denying, yet claim to have the true gnosis. A fascinating and intelligent book. I would recommend it to anyone interested in psychology or dysfunctional families and organizations.
    more
  • Aksel Dadswell
    June 25, 2017
    A beautifully written, heart-breaking, infuriating account of the author's childhood growing up in the Brethren, this was so memorable for Stott's portrayal of both the ways in which the strict, highly sheltered environment can affect and inhibit a child's worldview, as well as the impact it had on her family as a whole, with a particular focus on her father. I barely read biographies and am much more of a fiction reader, but this is one I'd recommend to even the most staunch opponents of "real A beautifully written, heart-breaking, infuriating account of the author's childhood growing up in the Brethren, this was so memorable for Stott's portrayal of both the ways in which the strict, highly sheltered environment can affect and inhibit a child's worldview, as well as the impact it had on her family as a whole, with a particular focus on her father. I barely read biographies and am much more of a fiction reader, but this is one I'd recommend to even the most staunch opponents of "real life writing".
    more
  • Laurie
    July 4, 2017
    Rebecca Stott was born into a cult. So was her father. He was a high ranking official in the church called the Exclusive Brethren. An End of Times cult, they felt they had to purify themselves so they would be bodily taken up when the Rapture occurred. The rules became more restrictive through the years; not only did they restrict all information sources to the Bible and their own publications, but they limited contact with outsiders to almost nothing. Women were to be seen and not heard. Then t Rebecca Stott was born into a cult. So was her father. He was a high ranking official in the church called the Exclusive Brethren. An End of Times cult, they felt they had to purify themselves so they would be bodily taken up when the Rapture occurred. The rules became more restrictive through the years; not only did they restrict all information sources to the Bible and their own publications, but they limited contact with outsiders to almost nothing. Women were to be seen and not heard. Then they started attacking their own members, trying to force confessions of sin from them; they removed the victim’s family members from the house and isolated them. Some committed suicide. Businesses and jobs were lost. Growing up in this cult, Stott lived a life of fear, which seems to have been common among members. Fear that she could not live up to the strict standards of the cult- which of course she equated with the strict standards of God. But when things got too bad (the church leader, J.T. Junior, who was instituting all these rules, emerged as an alcoholic and blatant womanizer, going so far as to be fondling women’s breasts in front of others), her father broke with the church. He was the last member to have been allowed to go to college and had read ‘worldly’ books. Sadly, his education did not save him from folly; he became a chronic gambler and womanizer and left his wife trying to provide for the family. The idea for the book began when her father, Roger, found out he was dying. He wanted help in finishing his autobiography, which he had started years before. Rebecca set out to record their talking sessions, and found that while he could talk about his early life, her father could not get past the years when he, as part of the Brethren, had led interrogations of members. Something in his mind could never get past what he had done, no matter how he tried to reconcile the person who had done that with the person who had sought to do the right thing. One part of the book tells us about the Brethren movement itself; another about her family’s part in it. Then there is her father’s life; and then her own, as she sought to outgrow the philosophy she’d grown up with. While a lot of the writing is very good, it is in places disjointed, switching between her father’s life and hers. I found myself confused in places. I also found myself getting bored with the details of the Brethren’s history. While I feel this book is important to understanding how cults work and how people become coerced and dependent in them, I feel it could have used a lot more editing. 3.5 stars out of five.
    more
  • Pgchuis
    July 1, 2017
    I received a copy of this memoir from the publisher via NetGalley. I requested it after reading a review in the Guardian and am glad I did so. The author tells the story of her childhood growing up in the Exclusive Brethren church, where her father (and her grandfather) was a preacher and a priest. As a result of the increasingly extreme teachings of the leader of the worldwide Exclusive Brethren during the 1960s, the denomination became more or less a cult. Then, after scandalous sexual behavio I received a copy of this memoir from the publisher via NetGalley. I requested it after reading a review in the Guardian and am glad I did so. The author tells the story of her childhood growing up in the Exclusive Brethren church, where her father (and her grandfather) was a preacher and a priest. As a result of the increasingly extreme teachings of the leader of the worldwide Exclusive Brethren during the 1960s, the denomination became more or less a cult. Then, after scandalous sexual behaviour and alcoholism on the part of the leader, the church imploded and Rebecca's father took them out of the Brethren church altogether.The memoir is written after the death of Rebecca's father. He has been unable to finish his planned memoir and Rebecca has felt obliged to take over the task. For the most part I found this an interesting read, and at times it was fascinating. The author manages to portray her father with affection, but without glossing over his (sometimes appalling) behaviour.I learnt a lot about Brethren theology and the position of women in the church. It is astonishing to me that, even when more or less everything was forbidden, alcohol was still allowed. The author was very good at describing how confused and adrift she felt after the adults in her life turned away from what she had been told was absolute truth. On the other hand, I was frustrated by the limits of what the memoir revealed. I really wanted to hear Rebecca's mother's side of the story and how what happened affected her siblings. What was the stepmother's story? What had her father truly believed? Had he never believed? If so, what about the "Mere Christianity" conversion experience? If he had once believed, was it merely in the specific teachings of the leader? Why did he never join another church, as Rebecca's mother did?The section dealing with the downfall of the church leader was told partly in a transcript of a portion of a mad drunken speech and partly by witness statements. Although I had no sympathy for him or his behaviour, including the transcript seemed underhand in some way - it made me feel uneasy. The witness accounts about Mrs Ker, on the other hand were so sterile as to be unenlightening. What were the witnesses thinking? What was their plan? My ARC has several typos etc, which I hope will be picked up.
    more
  • Sandra
    July 9, 2017
    An engrossing and at times disturbing memoir which provides compelling insights into the fundamentalist religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren. Rebecca Stott made a promise to her dying father that she would document her family's generational involvement with this cult and divided the story into three parts - before, during and after. Due to the strict code of rules which governed the lives of Brethren members Rebecca's family were not permitted to participate in secular society. Sharing An engrossing and at times disturbing memoir which provides compelling insights into the fundamentalist religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren. Rebecca Stott made a promise to her dying father that she would document her family's generational involvement with this cult and divided the story into three parts - before, during and after. Due to the strict code of rules which governed the lives of Brethren members Rebecca's family were not permitted to participate in secular society. Sharing meals with non-Brethren folk was out of the question as was watching television, visiting the Library or listening to the radio. Such was the level of imposed seclusion that Rebecca's father, Roger Stott, had not heard of the Beatles when the family chose to cut ties with the faith in the early 1970's. The "aftermath" chronicles the Stott family's efforts to transition into a society where it was okay to join a drama group or appear in public without a headscarf. Sadly, not all Exclusive Brethren members could contemplate a life outside the group, despite the desire to disconnect, and a number took their own lives. The psychological trauma experienced by Rebecca's family eventually contributed to their breaking apart - her father burying his angst in gambling and alcohol addiction. Not necessarily an enjoyable read but an absorbing one where interesting insights are gained about a little understood religious order and the devastating impact on many who were involved.
    more
  • Kenzee
    July 6, 2017
    *I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads giveaway*Well written, but honestly a little bit boring.I think I came into this book not realizing how little time the author actually spent in the cult. And I felt that she built up the horrifying aspects of the cult at the beginning, but didn't deliver in the middle. To be fair, some of the things that went on - the "shutting up", the breaking up of families, the suicides, and the sexual assaults performed by the cult leader - were definitely distur *I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads giveaway*Well written, but honestly a little bit boring.I think I came into this book not realizing how little time the author actually spent in the cult. And I felt that she built up the horrifying aspects of the cult at the beginning, but didn't deliver in the middle. To be fair, some of the things that went on - the "shutting up", the breaking up of families, the suicides, and the sexual assaults performed by the cult leader - were definitely disturbing. But none of these things personally affected her, and as such, there was no real emotional resonance for me. She glossed over them, said they were terrible, but I never really felt her horror. And let's be real, I should've felt something more for the Paynes or the big reveal about Jim Taylor. Then there was her father....I'm sorry, but I can't see her argument for him being a "good man" who got somehow tricked into doing bad things.That said, it was well written. And the Aftermath portion was far more in line with what I was expecting from a memoir. That part rang true to me. It was finally about her story and I had a lot easier time connecting to her.
    more
  • Ashley Brown
    May 7, 2017
    Thank you Net-galley for a free copy of this book for a review!This book is between a 3 and 2.5 for me, the story line drew me in right away. I love hearing and reading about how life is for other people around the world, especially in a cult environment. As much as i liked learning about the Brethan cult, i got lost a little bit with this authors style of writing, i had to go back a number of time to re read things. I also felt like the author skipped around with the time in the book i sometime Thank you Net-galley for a free copy of this book for a review!This book is between a 3 and 2.5 for me, the story line drew me in right away. I love hearing and reading about how life is for other people around the world, especially in a cult environment. As much as i liked learning about the Brethan cult, i got lost a little bit with this authors style of writing, i had to go back a number of time to re read things. I also felt like the author skipped around with the time in the book i sometimes didn't know if we where on her dads story her hers!
    more
  • Janilyn Kocher
    June 23, 2017
    In the Days of Rain is a memoir of a woman who grew up in a cult community until a scandal wrenched her family out of it. I had never heard of this British cult. Reading about it was both interesting and repulsive. I've never understood how mature people submit to others telling them how to dress, think, and act. The author delves deeply into theology of the cult and at times those parts were difficult to slog through. She also details her father's downward spiral after leaving the cult, largely In the Days of Rain is a memoir of a woman who grew up in a cult community until a scandal wrenched her family out of it. I had never heard of this British cult. Reading about it was both interesting and repulsive. I've never understood how mature people submit to others telling them how to dress, think, and act. The author delves deeply into theology of the cult and at times those parts were difficult to slog through. She also details her father's downward spiral after leaving the cult, largely of his own making.Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
    more
  • David Allsopp
    June 16, 2017
    Some weird resonance when I read the book. Angry at how men can be so damagingly, obscenely, hypocritically wrong and ruin so many people's lives.
Write a review