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Anyone heard of the 2 by 2's religion?


New Member
I am a part of this religion you are questioning about. i would be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability or contact some of the friends in your area so that you can talk to them more about it or even check out the meetings/ talk to the workers.


New Member
Did your parents go to a yearly convention?
Did your ministers actually stay in your home from time to time?
Was there no tithing...
If so I can help you find what you are looking for.
--Larry Russell

Freadom Seeker

New Member
Hi Challupa,
I was born into this as a 3rd generation member. My grandparents became members in early 1930's when it swept through the far North Coast of NSW Australia. They were farming folk and my Dad's parents lived about 50 miles away from my Mum's parents and didn't know each other. They joined up and Mum often spoke of sometimes walking 7 miles (as a 7 year old) with the family to attend a meeting. Both Mum & Dad grew up in 'The Way' and professed as teenagers. I was born in 1953 and joined as a 12 YO :facepalm:(what was I thinking?). It was such a closed society with your only social contacts being 'The Friends' although during school hours school mates meant much more!
Meetings in homes 3 times a week, all day special meetings mid year, 4 day conventions at end of year where you attended 3 meetings per day, slept in tents with male tents area separated by 200 yards from female tent area, working in various tasks at convention - dress was conservatively formal with collar & tie plus suits on Sunday even while in a tin shed with 300 other people in 40 degree celsius (104 F) heat, then rush to dining tent to swelter and eat. A comical member once termed it as "Eat, meet & Sleep'.
I was 'strongly encouraged' to marry some one of 'the friends' which I did at age 22. I tried hard to throw myself whole heartedly into it but always felt like I was 'an observer of life' not really participating! I did some crazy things to have moments of 'break out' to relieve the pressure. I madly rode my motorbike (motorcycling was considered bad taste) and had so many accidents that it wasn't funny. I disciplined my children very harshly moderating from my treatment as a child. I kept seeking after knowledge as i thought that was the answer to my own 'emptiness'. I rose in the ranks of my work thinking maybe respect from others would satisfy me. Eventually I bought a business to follow my passion of photography - the business eventually failed & this was the trigger to make myself question myself. I went through a tough time for 18 months and stopped being active in 'the way'. I tried to discuss my dilemma with my wife but she just 'closed down' and told me to pray about it - I found no answers in prayer either.
Eventually I realised I had to get out of 'the way' - I tried to discuss this with my wife but she told me I was going to hell!
At 39 years old, I moved out, leaving my wife and children - it broke my heart to leave my children but I knew I couldn't live like this any more. At this stage I still thought this was an 'honourable way' and believed I could maintain a strong relationship with my children. At 1st, many of the friends tried to persuade my to come back, even some that I hadn't seen for years suddenly found an interest in 'saving a lost soul'. After some time I came back as I missed my children so much but I soon realised what a mistake that was.
I was ostacised - 'friends' I had known a long time would actually cross the road to avoid me. If I would speak to them, they would stutter & struggle to actually say anything to me. My parents banished me - they could not speak to me without harshly criticisng me. All this upset me greatly & I moved away to start over again. Over the next 20 years my children were never allowed to visit me, however if I made the trip of 1000 km (620 miles) I could see them for a short time. I have found out since that when one of my daughters was 18 she was doing a Uni workshop not far away and was forbidden by her mother to visit me - fortunately she rebelled!
It is now 21 years down the track and I have recovered from the brainwashing and have become relatively normal. I have remarried a wonderful woman and now have a good relationship with 2 daughters but the other 2 are very pro 'the way' & so our relationship is not close. My parents both died without ever being able to resolve our differences.
There are hundreds of thousands of 'the friends' worldwide with probably around 2000 in NSW, 2000 in Vic plus 500 - 1500 in each of the other states of Australia; some websites claim that they are larger than some of the more recognised hard core religions. I feel betrayed because of the lies I was told - no official registration - in fact they are registered in most countries * no money - they are left with a huge amount of money from wills * a continuous line from Jesus - in fact as WO says, it was developed in the late 1800's etc.
I have lost my bitterness about it except for occasions when I hear something like the amount of sexual abuse by workers and others - I was a victim of sexual abuse as a 7 YO, but this wasn't by 'the friends or workers' but more from my innocence and trust in older people that I had been taught.
I'm not sure if it is a 'cult' as this depends on your interpretation but certainly at least a 'sect'.


New Member
These have been interesting posts to read. I'd like to give an insiders perspective as many of the post seem to be made by ex members who like to use forums such as these to express their bitterness, or try make themselves feel better because they were too stupid to use their brain.
As a 10yr old, my parents sat us down as a family and explained the beginnings from Irvine, Cooney (to the formation of the cooneyites) right through to the modern day. To say this is hidden is completely untrue. Anyway, you'd have to be completely thick to believe it decended from Jesus, and certainly not listening during 'conventions'... Like many other Christian religions we follow the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the same bible as read in many dominational churches.
To say we 'break the will' of our children through abusive discipline is way off the mark. This is often used as an excuse by bitter ex members to help justify their decision to leave. Strong discipline comes down to the individual parents and not isolated to 'the friends'.
There are no 'rules' which have been referred to, rather it is left to the individual to determine for themselves what is wrong and right. The 'workers' give guidance, though I've never been told I can't or should do something because it is not allowed. Riding a motorbike being frowned upon is laughable, many members ride motorbikes. The comment about 'not knowing what is going on around them' is another laughable line. I get my information and news from the same sources as most people, newspaper, radio, TV, Internet, social media, I even know who big bird is, that Angelina Jolie has recently had both her boobs removed, the lastest star wars been released, and and Sheldon Cooper is the king of 'fun with Flags'...for those who are fans of the big bang theory... Amazing. I'm becoming tired of a one sided story, being that from ex members only. I socialize regularly with 'non member', thus this is not banned and I play competitive sport, thus this is not banned. I can't believe how narrow mined all these 'ex members' were, that they become so bitter when the obvious smacks them in the face.
Sure, there are many conservative people within the 'Truth' though nothing more than I've met during my time traveling the world for business.
We do not Tithe, though we do look after our 'workers', otherwise known as 'ministers'...how about that for a new term. As they stay with the people, we do give them small amounts of money to buy personal items, pay for halls to hold meetings and obviously cover expenses associated to postings in places where there are very few 'friends'. It is no Hill Song.
I'm happy to answer questions and suggest a little balance in the conversation doesn't go astray. The most unbelievable thing is the ministry never leaves those who no longer practise... And I don't know why... They just spend there energy there after speaking negatively about it.


Premium Member
I too went to a group as described by Freadom Seeker for a few years. I didn't see it as a negative experience but as part of my spiritual journey. I feel I was on milk in those days. I kept moving as I felt I had been guided to take my spiritual journey as a individual in order to grow in the spiritual reality of the one-who-is.


Well-Known Member
I haven't posted on here for a long time. Sorry to those who posted and I have not responded to your posts. Thank you for the exes points of view and those who are still within the group. I am pretty much at peace with finding out about Irvine and the beginnings which I never was told about. It still would not be a group for me as I am agnostic and don't believe there is a God. A higher power maybe, but a personal god that actually wants certain things from us, no.


New Member
i was raised in this same religion but never believed any of it. im not here to flame anyone but ive never believed in god, ive always been a bit different to the rest of my family in that i questioned everything put before me and had an interest in the world and society as a whole, not just the narrow path my family, by and large, had prescribed to

as a ten year old i questioned my families beliefs and the bible to the point they couldnt answer my questions, except to say " you have to have faith" which to me seemed like a bit of a cop-out.
we where raised with good morals, i know whats right and wrong and was always taught " do unto others as they will do unto you" which in my mind is similar thinking to the Buddhist concept of karma. i was forced to participate 3 times a week until i was 18 but after that i was free to live how i wanted. there was definite pressure from family and extended family to conform but i was never backing down.
im happy i was raised with good moral intent but im very happy with the lifestyle i live and over time my family has accepted they way i live my life. i have a good life and dont prescribe to any religion.
before the advent of internet and social media, we lived a very sheltered lifestyle and conformity was the norm. we never had a TV, weren't allowed to play organised sport and while we where allowed to listen to radio and commercial music, i had cousins that weren't even allowed comic books for fear of polluting their minds!
i took a stand from a young age and slowly but surely most members of my mothers family have begun to see through the hypocrisy and subversive bullying and gossip that was rife throughout this organisation.
while it is very much an underground religion it is massive and i have met people from all over the world. ive often thought that if i pretended to follow along with them i could have lived for free all over the world!! but i couldnt do that because of the way i was raised to be honest above all.....haha there's a moral quandary right there.
i have met some brilliant people and some very questionable people through being raised that way and still have a very close connection with the majority of my family, even though i live a very different lifestyle to them. i found that because i stood up for what i believed in from a young age most of my family accepted me and some have now followed suit and are no longer involved. maybe only 20% of my 19 first cousins are actively involved now and some of their parents have pulled away too.
my sister and her husband officially stopped attending about 2 years ago and have really struggled to find their place in society, to the point of seeking therapy.
i think this has been the biggest hurdle for those wanting to leave because their entire social life has revolved around the church. those that left while still at school have adapted very quickly while those who stayed longer really struggled with it.
my brother married an "outsider" and was shunned for "living in sin" i think they struggled quite a lot, but he kept up appearances by attending occasionally and slowly but surely left it all behind. i feel sorry for anyone trying to leave it behind when its all they've known. one of the hardest things to do would be cut all your social ties.
there has been a sinister undercurrent of gossip and bullying and also some allegations of sexual abuse which have been hushed up over the years but the younger members are slowly speaking up which i think would be helpful in stamping this out.
i read last week about one of " the workers" facing sexual assault charges in court and there have also been links to a brother/sister suicide pact back in 1996. if i can find the article i'll post a link to it.
i'd be very interested to hear from anyone else who was raised in this religion, ive never really found too much information in media about this religion, only ever heard it referred to as "cooneyites" but this is definitely not the case as was mentioned in another article.
i would never condemn anyone's choices and beliefs but i do resent the way people are treated when they question anything or try to leave. this wasn't the case with me, or if it was i didn't notice because i had my own friends. would like to hear from others who have had any experience with this group.
cheers Phil


The part about swatting a 3 month old is what set me off. We have an 8 month old and he is pure joy. I suspect my wife would've swatted the swatter just out of instinct if she were to see something like that lol.


New Member
I would be interested to learn where bobthebuider lives and how old you are. I had an Idyllic childhood, brought up in The Truth, my parents were loving, kind, helped anyone, in and out of the religion, anf supported all their children, those who chose not to follow the religion and those who did. I professed at 13, married an ex-worker at 20 and was forbidden to partake of the emblems of Christ, as well as being forbidden to give my testimony and pray during any of the 'meetings' on Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday evening. My father who on was a gentleman as well as a gentle man, had to tell me this himself as the workers in the county at that time, did not approach me directly and dud not give me the opportunity to discuss it. This, along with feeling that the 3 weekly meetings and the missions held throughout the year were teaching me about public speaking and my knowledge of the bible was sketchy (as was most of my contempoaries) caused me to eventually stip going to the meetings. There seemed no point, being unable to take part in the meetings means, despite being fully immersed in a river to complete my baptism at 14, that according to their teachings would not go to heaven anyway, as in marrying an Unsaved man, seemed to cancel my belief and baptism sending me into limbo with no chance of being saved at a later date. We were not allowed to socialise, drink alcohol, have cassette players, TVs, radios, cinema, theatre, professional sport or any other 'worldly' things that would distract us from devoting our lives to God.this was in the 1970s. A lot of the unwritten 'rules' seem to have been relaxed, I commented this year on my nephew attending the last day if convention in Jeans, that would never have been allowed when I went to the meetings, computers, watching TV on them, are things that would not have been countenanced. Since leaving I have a better understanding of the bible, I do on believe in God and feel sorry that the teaching of 'The Truth' skips over Ephesians 2:8, or they would realise that we are not saved because of anything we could possibly do, the sacrifice that was made for us we could never be worthy of, but it is through His Grace that we afe saved. I believe we should live a Christ like life, follow the tenets, principles and commandments, and to live a thankful life for that ultimate sacrifice.


New Member
I grew up in Co Fermanagh Northern Ireland and my maternal grandparents and many of my relatives were all part of the 'meeting people' as it was euphemistically called. I attended Sunday morning meetings, missions and convention with my grandmother and was mystified by this claim that they were the only way to heaven!

My curiosity meant that I simply had to dig deeper to find out what motivated this idea of exclusivity and in 2008 I started to research the 2x2 movement for a Master of Philosophy degree at Queens University, Belfast. I researched the movement's history, sociology and theology and was awarded a degree for my thesis in 2012.

Getting the information for my research was a long and arduous task but with tenacity I got there!

I published by thesis, Two by Two the Shape of a Shapeless Movement in 2013. www. irvinegrey.com .


New Member
I grew up in Co Fermanagh Northern Ireland and my maternal grandparents and many of my relatives were all part of the 'meeting people' as it was euphemistically called. I attended Sunday morning meetings, missions and convention with my grandmother and was mystified by this claim that they were the only way to heaven!

My curiosity meant that I simply had to dig deeper to find out what motivated this idea of exclusivity and in 2008 I started to research the 2x2 movement for a Master of Philosophy degree at Queens University, Belfast. I researched the movement's history, sociology and theology and was awarded a degree for my thesis in 2012.

Getting the information for my research was a long and arduous task but with tenacity I got there!

I published by thesis, Two by Two the Shape of a Shapeless Movement in 2013. www. irvinegrey.com .


New Member
This thread on the Two by Two's is fairly old now, e.g. the posting from Irvine grey is 2015, so interest may have died. However, I was brought up in the "Truth". married within the Truth and finally left, with my wife in my mid - late 20's... 50 years ago! I do have a brother who is a senior "Worker" / Minister in Europe. I do not wish to disclose his identity, as I wish him no harm. As far as I can tell he has adapted his beliefs over the years to accommodate his position within the church, (Truth). I can empathize with all the previous writers experiences, both positive and negative comments. When reading them, it reflects the times they lived in, e.g. society was different 50 years ago. I understand a certain amount of "relaxation" of acceptable dress and behavior has changed over the years. Although I wanted to leave the church in my teenage years, I could not bring myself to do so as it would hurt my parents and "possibly" bring their condemnation upon my wife and I. My "Uh Huh" moment was when a cousin who had already left the church (Truth) visited me, and during our conversation stated, "that they, (The workers) and the friends, (the congregation) practiced a form of brainwashing to control the way we lived our lives," e.g. during my teen and young 20's years, such as not going to movies or watching TV or swimming on Sundays etc,etc. From then on my wife and I questioned everything that they did and practice and by implication imposed on us, until finally, we "just stopped" going to the meetings on Sundays and Wednesdays and whenever there were special meetings. When that happened, we never saw any members of the Truth again other than our immediate family, No matter how aggrieved they were at the time, they never shunned us and always continued to include us in all family events Recently, we have applied to Amazon to see if Irvine Grey's book is available. We bear them no ill will, but over the years have become total non-believers in God or a higher power as there seems to be too much scientific evidence to the contrary...would love to hear from you Irvine Grey and anyone else who can add information about this sect / religious group. I have some information from Ireland and it's roots as it concerns my maternal grandparents conversion from Methodist beliefs to this "two by two" sect.


Active Member
The Wikipedia article on the Two by Twos says that it is a Protestant anti-Trinitarian group, which suggests that it is not Gnostic. So the thread might be better for another forum section.
The Wikipedia article says:
The orthodox Christian Trinitarian doctrine is rejected, and members are told to deny any church name. ... The church has rejected the doctrine of the Trinity[128] since its inception.[129][Q] Though members believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they hold a unitarian view of Christ.[130] The Holy Spirit is held as an attitude or force from God. Jesus is God's son, a fully human figure who came to earth to establish a way of ministry and salvation,[131] but not God himself.
Two by Twos - Wikipedia
So there is nothing about the Demiurge or anti-materialism teachings like are commonly part of Gnosticism. Plus, whereas in Gnosticism, salvation is commonly considered to be from sacred "knowledge" (gnosis), according to the article, in the Two by Twos' group, "Salvation is achieved through willingness to uphold the church's standards, by faithfully following in "the way", and by personal worthiness."

However, it sounds like the organization has alot of secretiveness, according to the WIkipedia article:
Unlike later secretiveness,[21][22] initially, the church was in the public eye, with questions about it being raised in the British Parliament beginning in 1900. .... Apart from their hymnals, officially published documentation or statements from the church are scarce, which makes it difficult to speak in depth about its beliefs. Some former members and critics of the church have made statements about its beliefs, although these points have rarely been publicly responded to by any authorities within the church. ... The Bible itself is held as insufficient for salvation unless its words be made "alive" through preaching of its ministers.[N][113] The extemporaneous preaching of the ministry is considered to be guided by God[114][115] and must be heard directly.[9][116] Great weight is given to the thoughts of workers, especially more senior workers.[117] Salvation is achieved through willingness to uphold the church's standards, by faithfully following in "the way", and by personal worthiness.[118] Doctrines such as predestination, original sin, justification by faith alone, and redemption as the sole basis of salvation are rejected.[O][119] The church is exclusive[120] — all other churches, religions and ministries are held to be false and salvation is only obtainable through the Two by Two ministry and meetings.