Preface to Preserving the Truth
All books have some kind of story behind them and this book is no
exception. My story began in 1989, when an envelope arrived in the mail from Threshing
Floor Ministries of Spokane, Washington, U.S. It contained an advertisement to purchase
copies of articles from an old Irish newspaper called the Impartial Reporter and Farmer's
in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The articles were about a
peculiar nameless new Sect that had started in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century whose
itinerant preachers went about the countryside two by two.
My curiosity piqued, I placed an order and soon after I received copies of
over 50 newspaper articles from the early 1900s. They contained names of early preachers
with whom I was familiar, such as George Walker and Jack and Bill Carroll. I also learned
about a Scotsman named William Irvine who had started a new religious sect in Ireland and
assembled a large Christian Convention there in 1904. These articles may be read on the
website Telling the Truth
The articles reported details about an unusual Christian sect that
claimed to take no name. The more I read, the more certain I became that the articles were
about the Church in which my family had been members for three generations. Both my
husband and my grandparents were converted to this Sect in preacher in 1930-40
when our parents were children. My parents were devout followers who hosted the
annual Church Convention for the state of Mississippi on their property in Jackson, where I
grew up. Both George Walker and Jack Carroll visited our home.
Insiders referred to our Church as "The Truth," "The Way,
" and the "Friends and Workers' Fellowship." Some nicknames attached to
this Church by outsiders are "Two by Twos (2x2s)," "Cooneyites,"
"Irvinites," "Reidites," "Black Stockings," "Tramp
Preachers," "Go Preachers," and "Dippers." The ministers were
called "Workers," "Servants" and "Handmaidens,"
and the laity as "Friends" or "Saints."
In this book, I refer to the Sect as "Two by Twos,"
abbreviated as "2x2," because it is the most frequently used nickname
in publications, including Wikipedia and the U.S. Library of Congress.
While studying these old newspaper articles, I wondered why my
family and Church friends had never heard of the preacher, William Irvine, or known about his
role as creator and founder. Immersed in this Church from birth, these discoveries turned my
world upside down, as it has for many other members.
To question the source of something or someone is normal. To establish
in our minds the reference points of cause, source and origin is only natural. But we had not
questioned how or when our Church had originated because from our childhood we
were taught that our Church started with Jesus Christ—not by any man. We believed
our ministers had continued in a direct line from the first century apostles to the current
ministers of this Church, and were of apostolic succession. It never occurred to us that this
was not true.
In the history of mankind, it has always been natural to question where
something or someone came from. It is only natural to establish in our minds the
reference points of cause, source and origin. We had not questioned how or when our
Church had originated because from our childhood we were taught to believe our
Church had no earthly founder, and that Jesus Himself had started it. We were led to believe
our ministers had continued in a direct line from the first century apostles to the current
ministers of this Church.
I decided to prove whether this Scotsman, William Irvine, had actually
started my Church. I began a serious quest which led me to the conclusion that we had
never heard of William Irvine because a deliberate and concerted effort had been made to
erase his name and presence from the history of the Two by Two Sect he had founded.
Beginning around 1914, his name became an anathema and was purged
and banned from use by those who knew him or anything about him. The Workers in
authority discouraged and diverted questions regarding William Irvine. Details were
covered up, destroyed and omitted from the historical narrative. Misleading false information
was substituted that the 2x2 Sect began when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach from
the Sea of Galilee 2,000 years ago.
This myth continued to be preached and believed by many in this Sect
until 1982 when a book was published about the life and ministry of William Irvine and his
role in founding the Two by Two Sect. The book was "The Secret Sect"
Doug and Helen Parker from Australia. Since it was self-published, not well marketed, it was
quite difficult to locate and is now out of print.
As time went on, I independently located, verified and proved that the
Parkers' information was true and factual, and also discovered a considerable amount
of additional evidence. In the ensuing 25+ years, I have made two trips to the UK and
Northern Ireland where I researched and collected evidence relating to the history of the 2x2
Sect. It also surprised me to learn that there were no hymns written by 2x2s in their hymnal,
Hymns Old and New,
I dedicated a part of my life to researching, publishing and
preserving the history of this Sect which has been covered up for over a century. It
has been a somewhat daunting challenge to compile an accurate account of the Two by
Twos, a Sect that purposely does not record its own history, and even goes to great lengths
to prevent it from being documented by others. Although Church authorities have tried to do
so, they have been unable to escape or bury its history.
I believe everyone who has ever been associated with this Sect has a right
to know the truth about its history. Strongly opposed to deception, and not willing to remain
silent about the knowledge I had learned, I launched my website Telling the Truth
1997 and began writing this book. My mission is three-fold.
- to make the historical facts about the 2x2 Sect easily accessible.
- for this information to become common knowledge.
- to preserve a reliable record of the origins, founder, ministers and progression of the
Two by Two Sect and its founder, William Irvine, supported by credible, verified
My book and website are not investigations into, nor intentional
expositions of the doctrine and beliefs of the Two by Two Sect, though these beliefs are
discussed. The Bible is their standard and purportedly underwrites their faith. They believe
the Bible contains God's will, way, and "the words of eternal life"
6:68). Similar to the Bible, my book and website have also faithfully recorded the good, the
bad, the meritorious and the unsavory. The past is what it is--it is set in stone, and its
consequences flow on to us, even though we may not be aware of it. As A. Whitney Brown
said, "The past actually happened, but history is only what someone wrote down.
I have presented the history of the Two by Two Sect in chronological order,
along with my comments. I am proud to be an American and I write with American English.
However, there are many quotations from documents published outside of America
which have been carefully reproduced in this book in their original British English. For the
sake of clarity, I have capitalized special 2x2 terms or jargon, including quotations.
I have used a few comments from unknown sources. They are prefaced
with the words "allegedly" or "reportedly,"
etc. I have included
them so that readers will know I was aware of them, and also to allow readers to judge for
themselves and form their own opinion, using all available material. Where there is conflicting
information, both versions have been provided.
Although errors no doubt exist in this book, I have done my best to base
this narrative of history on reliable, documented evidence. From their beginning, the 2x2 Sect
has primarily used the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, and unless noted otherwise,
all scripture quotations in this book are from the KJV. I have hard copies of all documents,
newspaper articles, references, etc. used in compiling this book and my website with a few
exceptions which are noted.
I make every effort to maintain accuracy in details regarding the 2x2 Sect.
Any errors or omissions are not intentional. I strive to present facts without bias. However, in
the literary world, it is recognized that a degree of bias, even unconsciously so, appears in
When it comes to matters of faith, doctrine and history, I strongly
encourage individual examination and questions. Ultimately, I hope this book will give the
reader insight into how, when, where, and by whom the Two by Two Sect was started, along
with knowledge of other key components of its developments. Understanding that the linkage
between past and present is essential for a good understanding of the present is a well-
I am devoted to the pursuit of truth and its preservation. For me, truth is a
precious commodity and I place a high value on it. I believe we must align our lives
with truth; that we must realign our thinking as we uncover new truths, and that we must
consider new evidence and make corrections to our earlier beliefs or opinions, or we will live
in willful ignorance.
Researching the history of the 2x2 Sect has been very fulfilling and
enjoyable. I'm deeply indebted to countless sources all over the world that have helped along
the way to the completion of this book.
Written for the Love and Preservation of Truth,
Rev. August 9, 2018
Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence. (Henri F. Amiel)
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
(Gal. 4:16 KJV)