Stott's memoir reveals Exclusive Brethren's impact on family
By CHRISTINA LEDBETTER
Jul. 18, 2017
"In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult" (Spiegel & Grau), by Rebecca Stott
Rebecca Stott grew up in the 1960s as part of the Exclusive Brethren, where her father, Roger Stott, served as a high-ranking minister. Their world was a world in which televisions, radios and non-religious books were banned; women grew their hair long and remained silent in church; and restaurants were out of the question as they provided too much contact with the outside world.
In 2007, as he was dying of cancer, Roger begged his daughter to finish the memoir he'd started, examining his role in the Brethren and what led him to break from the group. "In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult" is Stott's response to her father's request.
Stott devotes a substantial portion of the book to the origins of the Exclusive Brethren and its ever-changing form, along with an examination of her ancestors' ties to the group. Beginning with her great-great-grandfather and following her family tree in multiple directions, she lays the groundwork for why her forefathers might have originally attended Brethren meetings and what held them there.
Throughout her work, Stott unveils (and attempts to make sense of) her complicated relationship with her father. While much of the Brethren's mission involved "cleaning house" in preparation for Christ's return, by the time Rebecca was born, the definition of a clean house had grown quite narrow, and it was her father's role to enforce rules that ultimately broke loved ones apart and led some to suicide. However, after breaking from the Brethren, it was Roger who embraced and passed along many once-forbidden passions to his daughter — knowledge, music and literature.
At times poetic, at times cumbersome, the work covers vast territory as Stott explores the dynamics at play within the Brethren from multiple angles, plus her own journey out of the cult and into mainstream society.