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The Religious Society of Brethren
Friends-councilLogo2
Symbol of the Society of Brethren, ATC
TypeHosian Mysticism
Theistic philosophyMonotheism/Universalist
Supreme divinityElyon
Major ProphetsEliyahu
RegionKalistan
HeadquartersKaliburg
FounderBenjamin Llewellyn
(Old Branch)
Jonas Bennots-Plum
(New Branch)
Wieland Gregor Riese
(Reiseite Brethren)
Founded1900
(Old Branch)
3918
(New Branch)
4254
(Reiseite)
DenominationsOld-Branch (defunct)

New Branch

Evangelical (Reiseite)
CongregationsAll-Terra Conference, Kaliburg Evangelical Brethren Conference, Aloria
Membersca. 73 million in Kalistan, <1 Million Terrawide
TemplesMonthly Meetings
Other name(s)"Friends of the Truth"
PublicationsFaith and Practice of the All-Terra Conference, Society of Brethren


The Society of Brethren, also known as Brethrenism, is a religious movement which has its foundation in Hosianism. Brethrenists espouse a diverse range of theological views but tend to be united in a belief that the presence of God can be understood by all adherents.

HistoryEdit

The history of the Society of Brethren can be divided into two distinct sections: the "Old Branch" and the "New Branch".

Old Branch BrethrenismEdit

Old Branch Brethrenism refers to the original branch of Brethrenism, founded in Aloria and practised only by a few small communities today.

FoundationEdit

The Society of Brethren was founded by the Alorian preacher Benjamin Llewellyn around 1900. Disillusioned with the hierarchy of the Hosian Church at the time, Llewellyn believed that the presence of God could be felt and experienced by all people. During his lifetime, the Society remained a relatively small set adhered to only by a passionate group of Llewellyn's followers. Nonetheless, Brethrenists begin a concerted effort to spread the faith shortly after Llewellyn's death and by 2000, there were around 500,000 adherents to the faith in Aloria alone, as well as smaller populations abroad.

Benjamin Llewellyn

Benjamin Llewellyn, founded the Society of Brethren in Aloria

Over the next century, the Society of Brethren remained a minority Hosian sect within Aloria and neighbouring countries. Although it maintained a significant following, the rapid growth experienced earlier in its history did not continue. Brethrenists experienced some degree of persecution and were generally isolated within their communities due to the theological differences which developed between the Society and mainstream Hosianism. It was, therefore, surprising to many when the Brethrenists were invited to join the Hosian League in March 2147. Despite the theological divide, the Brethrenist leadership eventually agreed to join, though not without significant backlash from Brethrenists. Historians and religious scholars today are generally united in the view that the decision to accept was primarily motivated by a desire to bring an end to the discrimination and seclusion of adherents.

Article from EarthQuake (Brethrenist Newsletter): March, 2147



FGCT Invited to Join Hosian League

Earlier today, the FGCT was invited by the Democratic Unionist Party (a Protestant organization) to join the Christian League.

Friend Kam Shille, a prominent Quaker and member of the FGCT, responded, after doing some brief research, that the FGCT would indeed be interested in joining the Christian League.

After the FGCT did some further research, however, it was horrified to find that the Christian League and the Brethren religion differed greatly on some key issues, among them same-sex marriage.

With this in mind, the FGCT has called an emergency conference, to be held in Libertia, Gavonshire, Confederated Regions of Aloria, to determine whether or not the Religious Society of Friends ought to join said organization. Already the debate has flared up.

Friend Kam Shille, who has been reported as saying, "If we join the Hosian League, we can affect change. We might be able to convince others to be more tolerant of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters."

Friend Bonnie Von Ludenhopper said, "Joining the Hosian League should not be about politics, it should be about our brotherhood with our fellow Christians and our common acceptance as Eliyahu as our Saviour."

Meanwhile, Friend Oghut Johnson is furious: "What are they thinking? This so-called 'Hosian League' is merely an organization for conservatives to gather. They have no love for us, and I have no love for them."

It is unlikely that one side will get exactly what it wants. What is most probable is a compromise, which is the most common result of these conventions.



Article from EarthQuake (Quaker Newsletter): September, 2147



Emergency Conference Concludes, Results in Compromise, Resolution

The result of the emergency conference was twofold: first, it passed a resolution, second, it decided that it would, indeed, join the Hosian League, under one condition.

The resolution came as a surprise to many, because it had not originally been planned. The resolution was an official condemnation of the fighting in Lodamun. It cited the various human rights abuses on both sides. Around half of the representatives also wanted to also condemn the intervention on the part of the Confederated Regions of Aloria, though this was struck down.

In addition to the resolution, the conference decided that the Religious Society of Friends ought to join the Hosian League. Even after receiving news that the representatives that they had sent had been ejected, the determination to join the Christian League remained strong. "We are determined to be taken seriously," said one representative. The measure, however, could not have passed without compromise, as all measures and resolutions must be passed with a two-thirds majority and must pass by more than one vote. The compromise was that though the Religious Society of Friends would indeed join the Christian League, it would not change its platform to conform to that of the Christian League, nor would it vote for any measure, resolution, or party (for elections of organization leadership) that opposed its key values. The compromise also listed its key values as follows: nonviolence, equality, integrity, simplicity, and community.



PersecutionEdit

Despite their hopes, membership of the Hosian League did little to bring an end to persecution of Brethrenists. Persecution often stems from various principles and beliefs held by members of the faith, particularly their refusal to join the military or to swear oaths. At various times in their early history, this brought them in direct conflict with the governing authorities of the states in which they lived.

The Dundorfian Brethrenist community, located primarily on the Alorian border in Gayern, were significantly impacted by the prohibition of religion in April 4157. This has meant that the Brethren in Dundorf, though small in number they may be, have been prohibited from practicing their faith. Some have taken to conducting Meeting for Worship secretly in their home with friends, though many have been arrested for doing this. As of the early 2200s, most estimate the number of Brethren in Dundorf was between 4,000 and 5,000.

Article From Dundorf Federated News: April, 2157



Dundorf Expands Religion Ban

Dunburg - Dundorf's lawmakers have continued the elimination of all religious activity throughout recent months, submitting bills to tax all church income and ban public display of faith.

This follows a controversial bill to ban all religion, submitted by the Green Nationalists a few years ago. Though the government has vowed to preserve antique churches and cathedrals and defend religious history, all public practice or group prayer has been illegalized. Churches may no longer practice and services, and Dundorf's many synagogues have closed their doors.

All leftist parties, with the exception of the Anti-Nationalist Communists and the Workers' Party, supported the move to eliminate religion. Though the police turn a blind eye to certain private practice, there has been a massive crackdown against large-scale, organized worship of all kinds.

As it stands, the Dundorfian state is extremely stringent regarding faith. Foreign missionaries are effectively banned by the Fremdministerei, religions may not make profit or promote themselves in any way, and schools regularly participate in anti-religious teaching. The DDR is, as the Foreign Ministry put it, "A completely atheistic state. No religious brainwashing is tolerated."

In a recent opinion poll, a third of Dundorfians expressed an interest in banning all religious income. Fourteen percent of voters consider themselves 'fanatically secular', and a further fifteen percent are 'extremely secular'.



Re-structuringEdit

In June 2147, the first General Conference of the Society of Brethren was held, outlining the central principles of the Brethrenist faith. In many ways, this platform was a radical departure from traditional Hosian doctrine although there were some areas of crossover, such as opposition to euthanasia and promotion of religious schools. Notably, though, the Brethrenist programme expressed support for extending the rights of homosexuals. According the Brethrenist leadership, gay people should be able to marry and adopt children in the same manner as heterosexuals.

Several months later, in January 2148, a second conference was held. The Second Platform was issued in response to the platforms issued by the Deltarian Pápež. The view of the Brethrenist community was that this platform was hateful and poorly representative of the values which should be fundamental to Hosian individuals. The issuing of the Second Platform was intended to publicly present the views of the Society on major issues not addressed in the First Platform.

Within the Second Platform, the Society of Brethren expressed the view that there was no "anti-Eliyahu". Like the First Platform, there were further contradictions to traditional, mainstream Hosianism, such as the lack of clergy, a belief in treating men and women equally, that contraception is an acceptable part of life and that "sodomy" was not a sin. In addition, there were many semi-political statements such as opposition to the death penalty, to gambling, to abortion and support for a secular state. The Second Platform also reaffirmed Brethrenist opposition to drug and alcohol usage and the concept of papacy.

New Branch BrethenismEdit

For centuries, Brethrenism continued to exist as a small, minority Hosian community. Exact numbers fluctuated but by 3900, the worldwide Brethrenist population was estimated to be fewer than ten thousand practising members. Around this time, Jonas Bennots-Plum was elected leader of the Socialist Party of Kalistan. Bennots was the descendent of a Mordusian immigrant who brought her Brethrenist faith to Kalistan with her. Throughout his early life, Bennots had been involved in passionate attempts to spread the faith among his local population in Neveras. After becoming leader in 3918, he appointed numerous other adherents to leadership positions in the party (notably Elga Bjorksdattir) in an attempt to spread the movement across the country.

Bennots and his co-religionist soon began spreading the faith across Kalistan, convincing Socialists across the country to join. In the era of one-Party rule in Kalistan, Brethrenism caught on like wildfire among socialist circles, and quickly spread across Kalistan. Since the Society's refounding in 3918, Brethrenism has replaced all other faiths as the dominant religion in Kalistan. The Kalistan Yearly Meeting was founded in 3924, the All-Terran Conference was founded in 3973. As of 4050, there are now more than 70 Million Brethren in Kalistan alone, and it has reached the point of being synonymous with Religion in Kalistan.

All-Terra ConferenceEdit

As the Brethrenist movement within Kalistan began to expand, the All-Terra Conference was held. Members of the conference composed Faith and Practice of the Society of Brethren, a book issued in order to illustrate what it meant to be a Brethrenist at that time in the country. Outlined within the book are the values and beliefs commonly associated with "New Branch" Brethrenism and most regard its publication as the beginning of the new Brethrenist movement. In contrast to other religious texts, the book is not intended to be a doctrine. Brethrenists are encouraged to use the book to seek answers to difficult theological questions or with practical matters such as conducts at local meetings.

Brethren TestimoniesEdit

Brethren Testimonies- Brethren hold the following five article of practice- Integrity and Honesty, Simplicity, Peace, Equality and Social Justice and Stewardship and Community. Each testimony should also contain Queries meant to invite Brethren to challenge their own commitment to these testimonies.

  • Integrity and Honesty- This testimony holds that Brethren are to tell the truth at all times. We are Brethren of all Humans, and to speak untruth to our Brothers and Sisters denies that person the basic dignity of their humanity. We should also always act in a way which demonstrates consistency between our word and our deed. Integrity is a vital part of living in honesty. Always let your yeas be your yeas and your nays be your nays, and never act in a way discordant with your apprehension and understanding of the Truth.
  • Simplicity- We should strive to reduce the material and metaphysical possessions we have. Where you store your treasure, this is where your heart is, so let you store your treasure in Heaven, or in your fellow man. As for Terra, you should strive to use your possessions to help others. Do not impoverish yourself in the process, but when you have more than you need to live a simple live, you should strive to give your possessions away to the benefit of the needy.
  • Peace- War is the failure to find that of God in all people. If you are at war, you have failed in your efforts to live in harmony with one another. War unnecessarily destroys life, both of those who are killed and of those who kill. It dehumanizes people- One is only able to conduct war if they either are removed from its consequences or they are able to demonize another Nation of people. Therefore, peace, being the opposite of that focuses on building, rather than ruining the relationship and bonds between humans, and treats people, not as cannon fodder, but as fully realized people, all with an equal stake and role in the history of the planet.
  • Equality and Social Justice- We are all made of the same dust. We are all formed in exactly the same way. With the acknowledgement of obvious physical differences, we nonetheless all have the same access to the Truth and the voice of God. All of us have that of God in us, and can all equally hear the still small voice of God when we just listen. So if God did not make us unequal, how may Humans do so? Instead, it is to human beings to treat one another exactly as they treat themselves, because on all levels but attitude, every man and woman is equal to every other man and woman. This incurs in us the responsibility for our fellow men and women. The aid and succor of others in need, and the struggle for social justice is the name of this responsibility in our societies, especially if we hope that others would do the same for us, were we to need it.
  • Stewardship and Community- If we hold a belief in a God, we are charged by the God to do his or her work on Terra. If we do not believe in God, we are required by our own existence, as well as the existence of others for whom we have a social responsibility, to do the exact same thing. Our job in life with regard to others and to our self is to practice stewardship over the planet, to preserve its resources and social structure for the benefit not only of those living, but also those yet to be born on the planet. In line with our other testimonies, we should not waste, and we should not take too much to live a simple life. We are charged though to keep the environment clean, because our failure to do so directly and negatively impacts others around us. And we are charged furthermore to not destroy those things which we benefit from- to do so is to deny future generations the same benefits as we inherited but did not build ourselves.

Evangelical (Reiseite) Brethrenism Edit

Main article: Evangelical Brethren

By 4250, Brethrenism returned to Aloria, where a new type of Brethrenism, quite distinct from the ecumenical and universalist variety among the New Branch Brethren in Kalistan, Lourenne and Telamon, was founded by the Alorian Minister Wieland Gregor Riese, who taught that the Exile of Eliyahu was necessary to free adherents from sin.

The Reiseite Branch represents a return to more Hosian Roots for the faith. Like the New Branch Brethren, most Reiseite Meetings are unprogrammed, though a few have restored Ministry and Programmed Services. Unlike New Branch Brethren, Reiseite Brethren are known to travel the world on missionary trips with the aim of spreading the Hosian Word and Brethren Faith.

Reiseite practice remains the minority in the Brethren Faith, but due to its missionary zeal, represents the potential for an evangelical awakening in the Terran Brethrenist faith.

WorshipEdit

Brethren Monthly Meetings for Worship are conducted in silence, though Brethren are invited to "Speak out of the silence" if they are led to do so. Meetings are called to silence and risen from the silence by the Clerk or some other weighty (or, respected) member of the meeting. Meetings for Worship, with attention to Business are conducted in much the same way as a regular meeting, however, the Clerk presents a business agenda for the reflection of the community, and minutes are recorded only after discerning the sense of the meeting. Other meetings (such as meeting for worship with attention to marriage) are conducted in similar fashion.

Brethren PracticeEdit

All Brethren Meetings will be conducted according to Brethren Process, which is a method of discernment of the Truth by the entire meeting. The Clerk will ensure that all who wish to speak on a topic have the opportunity to speak before anyone who has spoken can speak again. All decisions will be made by every person present in the Meeting (whether a Member of the Society or not at the time) by allowing anyone with significant objection to a proposed course of action to "stand in the way" of the decision, thereby giving the Meeting cause to pause. Only those questions which have properly seasoned should be considered, and if there is significant disagreement as to a course of action for the meeting, the meeting will postpone a decision and allow the question to season more. There should be no voting.

OathsEdit

Bretheren should not swear any oaths, nor are they required to violate their consciences to do their duty to any state. Nor should they use titles other than Brother, Sister or Friend among equals (family titles may continue as before), pay tithes, or observe any sort of arbitrary privilege. All are equal, and should let their yea be their yea and their nay be their nay, without needing to make an additional oath as to the fact.

The Inner LightEdit

All humans have an inner light which is the still small voice of God talking to them. People will hear it if they listen for it. Others can help them hear it by listening to their own light and sharing the message with the Friend. A group of people gathered together may discern the Truth of some matter easier than a single person, though a Truth discerned in private and tested is no less true. We are all equals in this regard- we all have that measure of the truth within us, and no person is more important than any other.

The BookEdit

The Hosian Bible is a book, and where the Bible conflicts the Truth, the Truth must win. The Truth is more holy than the Book is. Brethren may use any religious text, or no religious text, for discernment that they feel they can derive Truth from, because all holy writers themselves had an equal measure of the Truth in them, and wrote it as they saw it in their holy books.

HosianismEdit

While the Brethren were initially convinced that Eliyahu was the son of God, The Brethren of the All Terra Conference do not necessarily need to subscribe to the religion of the followers of Eliyahu. Brethren believe that Eliyahu, were he alive today, would be a person of considerable virtue, and in that his example is worthy of observation. But there is no article for salvation among the Brethren, most especially belief in Eliyahu, and certainly not the dogma built after his death in his name. Whatever individual Brethren think of Eliyahu, the dogma of Hosianism stands between individuals and the Truth, and therefore, Brethren are explicitly non-Hosianism, though they may still follow the moral examples of Eliyahu. Just as Eliyahu had the spirit of God in him, so too does each other person alive today.

Non-HierarchyEdit

Similarly, there is no hierarchy over any member of the Society of the Brethren, anywhere, which should stand between that Brethren and the Truth. The BGC is non-hierarchical, and exists specifically to assist individual yearly and monthly meetings as they need assistance, either through sufferings funds for Brethren in need, or counseling or organization services. Brethren are guided by the Truth, discerned in silence and with the help of other Brethren or other people. No meeting exerts any more authority over the moral life of any person than he or she exerts over him or herself. The Meeting may only expel those from the meeting who the meeting deems to be dangerous to the community, and yet, as long as those people seek it, the Meeting still holds even expelled Brethren in their care.

Young peopleEdit

Brethren Meetings may establish specific non-religious education opportunities as they are able. Brethren institutions will adhere to all National curriculum. Additionally, Brethren Under Nineteen (BUN) education may also occur at Meetings, and that education, open and free to all, will be specifically related to Brethren Testimonies and Queries.

QueriesEdit

The Majority of the Faith and Practice will be made up primarily of Queries, designed to give advice on specific topics likely to be encountered by Brethren on a day to day basis. The focus of these general Queries will be on the testimonies, but all meetings should feel free to add other topics of investigation.

Brethren Relations with Hosianism since RefoundingEdit

The Society of Brethren (New Branch) does not consider itself a branch of Hosianism, though many of its individual adherents, especially among the Reiseite in Aloria still consider themselves Hosian. There is nothing which forbids Brethren from identifying individually as Hosian, but the so-Called "New Branch" Brethren of the All-Terran Conference describe the Faith as ecumenical and universalist, as well as "explicitly non-Hosian". Therefore, there are no formal relations between the All-Terra Conference of the Society of Brethren, and any official Hosian body. The Reiseite Branch, on the other hand, has expressed an explicit association with Hosianism.

OrganisationEdit

Brethrenism worldwide is now organized by the All-Terra Conference. The ATC is headquartered in Kaliburg, Ananto, Kalistan. There are five Yearly Meetings in Kalistan, and several unaffiliated meetings across the rest of Terra. Kalistan currently has more than 70 million members of the Society of the Brethren, and there are several practicing communities of Brethren outside Kalistan, including a small community in Trigunia and a significant population (about 2.75 million) of Old-Branch Brethren who live in Kirlawa.  The Kirlawan Brethren are the last significant community of Old-Branch Brethren in the world, and have made no significant effort to unite with the New-Branch Brethren in Kalistan.

In addition to Kalistan, more than a million Brethren live in Telamon and more than 18 million Brethren in Lourenne, where Jeanette Boulonge, founder and leader of the Parti des Frères Lourenne has been elected General Secretary. It is believed that perhaps as many of 5 million Brethren of the Reiseite Branch still live in Aloria.

The complete number of Brethren worldwide is currently unknown, but is estimated to be about 94 million.

Political BrethrenismEdit

Throughout history, there have been several instances of overtly political Brethrenism.

KalistanEdit

In Kalistan, the Brethrenists are not officially organized politically.

Alorian fundamentalismEdit

The Movement for Large Amounts of Sillyness, due to increasing internal pressure, briefly adopted a Brethren fundamentalist platform. It wished to make Brethrenism the national religion of Aloria as well as incorporate Brethren beliefs into Alorian law. It was ultimately unsuccessful.

Mordusia governmentEdit

In the 33rd Century, an "Old Branch" Brethrenist Party, known as the Society of Brethren controlled the Mordusian Government, and allied with the Mordusian Socialist Party's founder Athena Ligeia. The inclusion of the Socialist Party into the Mordusian Government led to the eventual merger of the Brethren and the Socialist Party.

Brethrenist Republic of TelamonEdit

Political Brethrenism first appeared in Telamon under the Brethrenist Party of Telamon, headed by Brethrenist Sister Jill Solveig. The BPT was briefly successful in capturing the Government of the country and renaming the republic "The Brethrenist Republic of Telamon". Soon after their success, and certainly as a result of it, the Brethrenists began experiencing extreme persecution by the coalition of the Democratic Labour Party and the National Fascist Party, who joined together to deny the Brethrenists any opportunity to even stand for election. The Brethrenists went defunct as a political movement after 4107, after which the Government of Telamon proceeded to erase every trace of political Brethrenism from their country. And yet, as of 4113, the country was still officially titled "The Brethrenist Republic of Telamon". At last count there were an estimated 125,000 Brethren still living in Telamon, though many have likely emigrated to escape persecution by the government.

LourenneEdit

As the Brethrenist Movement in Telamon was collapsing, a tiny group of Brethren from Kalistan was organizing the first Monthly Meeting in Outannais Lourenne, just across from Ananto, Kalistan. Within years, the Lourenne Brethrenist Party ( Parti des Frères Lourenne) formed, with the Political Committee headed by Jeannette Boulonge.
Boulonge

Jeannette Boulonge, Founder of the Parti des Frères Lourenne

Boulonge, taking cues from the failure of political Brethrenism in Telamon, decided to take a slower, more deliberate approach. Appealing to the people of Lourenne where they live, her approach was more Lourenne centric. She immediately opted to use Carnillaise in meetings, rejecting Luthori, and set out to work respectfully as a fairly conservative Party who promoted peaceful engagement in the world, as well as environmental stewardship and freedom from oppressive state actors. As of 4113, PdFL had not earned any seats in the Government, but were by far the most active Party on the National Scene. Boulonge said
"Nous ne sommes pas ici pour prendre en charge le gouvernement. Nous ne voulons construire une société où nous pouvons vivre nos nos témoignages et peut-être de les partager avec d'autres. Nous travaillons pour améliorer la vie de tous les habitants de Lourenne, sans égard à l'idéologie. Nous cherchons la paix et la liberté, et rien de plus."
("We are not here to take over the Government. We only want to build a society where we can live our our testimonies and perhaps share them with others. We work to improve the lives of all of the people of Lourenne, without regard to ideology. We seek Peace and Freedom, and nothing more.")

With a more conservative outlook, a slower growth pattern and the tacit support and Endorsement of the Kalistani Yearly Meeting, the PdFL looks to be on more stable footing than the BPoT, who enjoyed none of those things, and was crushed by a concerted, if otherwise completely incoherent, anti-Brethrenist opposition.

In the 4136 General Elections in Lourenne, Boulonge was elected General Secretary of Lourenne, becoming the first Brethrenist elected to the office in Lourenne's history. Boulonge's election signaled the arrival of political Brethrenism to the mainstream of Lourennese society.

Kalistan articles
History Jorge I of Ananto | Ananto War | Kalistan/Gaduridos War | Crisis of 2342 | Reynoldia Crisis
Geography Ananto | Neveras | Suldanor | Odufaray | Vrassa | Maps

Politics Government | National Assembly | Political parties | President | Ethical Socialism | Introduction | Constitutional Court
Demographics Ethnic Groups: Kalistani | Mu-Tze | Anantonese
Religion: Society of Brethren | Akalism | Bishopal Church
Culture Languages | Reggae | Retro-Futurism | Floob | House Ananto
Economy Big Three | Corporations | Divestment | Ruble | Treacle
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