Apologetics Index


Also knows as The Society of Brothers or The Hutterian Brethren East.

Theologically, a cult of Christianity. Sociologically, it has a variety of cultic characteristics as well -- including a very strict, authoritarian leadership.

The group has used strongarm litigation tactics to try and stifle online criticism.

member of Hutterian Brethren, Anabaptist sect that found refuge from persecution in Moravia and the Tirol; it stressed community of goods on the model of the primitive church in Jerusalem. The community, which acquired the name of its charismatic leader, Jakob Hutter (tortured and burned as a heretic in 1536), still survives, mostly in the western sections of the United States and Canada with a population of about 20,000. In colonies of 60 to 150 persons, they operate collective farms (Bruderhof) and, not unlike the Old Order Amish, remain aloof from outside society, taking no part in politics. Children are educated inside the colony until age 14 or until a minimum age decreed by state or province.

The Bruderhof is a christian sect that started in Germany in the 1920s before moving to Paraguay in the 1930s to avoid Nazi rule. From there it moved to the United States. Internal conflicts have led to many defections, and ex-members critical of the authoritarian leadership of the sect have formed a group called the Peregrine Foundation.


Secular Contested Narratives by Julius H.Rubin, Professor of Sociology, Saint Joseph CollegeWest Hartford, CT 06117. Concludes:

The Bruderhof, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce their critics as the demonic enemies of faith and adopt a complex legal, public relations, and extra-legal strategy to quiet their those who disagree with them . The courts become the tool to punish those who disagree by costly litigation and SLAPP suits intended to intimidate critics. Alternatively, KIT apostates, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce the Bruderhof as a "destructive cult" and attempt to discredit them in the court of public opinion. In the escalating conflict of dialectical opposition, the exercise of free speech and academic freedom is held hostage.


Secular Against The Wind Biography of Bruderhof founder Eberhard Arnold, written by Markus Baum, a non-Bruderhof author
Secular Cast Out In The World (Contra) by Miriam Holmes, who grew up in the Bruderhof
Secular The Joyful Community (Out of print) by Benjamin Zablocki
Secular The Other Side of Joy : Religious Melancholy Among the Bruderhof by Julius H. Rubin. From a reader review at Amazon.com: "This is a carefully crafted and impressive overview of the Bruderhof communities, a movement deeply enmeshed in what the author describes as '''The Purgatorial Complex ,' which involves a capacity for ceaseless self-examination and self-torment.'' In the process, Professor Rubin has managed to include a great deal of information about the Bruderhof in a manner both scholarly and accessible to the general reader."

Rubin is the author of ''The Other Side Of Joy: Religious Melancholy Among the Bruderhof,'' a book published earlier this year by Oxford University Press - only after a $15.5 million defamation suit against him by the Bruderhof's corporate arm was dismissed and the book had been vetted by Oxford's English and American lawyers.
Gaithersburg Man Crosses the Bruderhof, The Daily Record, Aug. 31, 2000

News Archive

Items added after August, 2002:
» Religion News Blog News Collection, various sources

Older Items:
» Database of archived news items
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)

Older items: (Sep 9, 1999) Media Gets Story of Columbine Teen (Bruderhof-owned publisher)

- Newsgroup -
Christian alt.support.bruderhof Newsgroup for ex-Bruderhof members.

- Newsletter -
Secular Keep In Touch (KIT) Newsletter ''In 1989, a modest two-page 'KIT Round-Robin' newsletter was sent to thirty names, all ex-members of a high-demand religious sect known variously as The Bruderhof, The Society of Brothers or The Hutterian Brethren East. Within a year it expanded to 18,000 words, mailed each month to over 350 addresses. Two years later the all-volunteer staff created The Peregrine Foundation as the parent organization and started The Carrier Pigeon Press to publish book-length memoirs ...''


Aberrational, Heretical, Heterodox, Suborthodox or Unorthodox Bruderhof Offical site.
Christian The Bruderhof Communities: Some Experiences, Observations And Resources (CONTRA)
Christian Bruderhof vs. the Net (CONTRA) In support of ex-members.
Secular Peregrine Foundation ''The Peregrine Foundation is a charitable, educational and research public foundation created in 1992 to assist families and individuals living in or exiting from experimental social groups. Its newsletters and books inform the public-at-large about the structure and ideologies of various religious sects, communes and intentional communities.''

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