HISTORY OF 2X2 TRADITIONS
The Unwritten Rules
Traditions of Men and Commandments of God
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is neither all-inclusive nor universal.
INTRODUCTION: Some say "history isn't important. It's what's going on today that matters." The following provides historical background that is necessary to know in order to fully understand present situations. This article presents the history and evolution of various traditions of the world from the early 20th century up to the present and contrasts them with 2x2 traditions during the same time period. The focus is primarily on changes in the areas of fashion, appearance, activities and lifestyle. Many changes in the 2x2 Sect have evolved from their beginning to the present, as well as differences existing from place to place and from Overseer to Overseer, which will be traced more fully below.
For those who grew up in the 2x2 Sect, it was a fairly common expectation that the lifestyle rules were the same all over the world. For years, the broad statement that their Fellowship was "the same the world over," without clarification was one of their mantras, frequently repeated by both Workers and Friends. Discovering "the same" did not mean that all the 2x2 Sect's beliefs, practices and traditions were "the same in every respect the world over" has been a rude awakening for some members. As the years have gone by, there have been changes and there are differences in the 2x2 Sect. As early Worker Ed Cooney said, "We groped our way."
The 2x2 Sect Founder, Wm Irvine, announced the original beliefs, methods, rules and standards for the new 2x2 ministry at the 1903 Rathmolyon, Ireland Convention held on Willie Gill's Farm. However, as time went on, the new Sect encountered various situations that required additional decisions. Shall we or shall we not participate in this or that activity? After William Irvine was removed as their supreme Leader, the Workers deliberated and drew conclusions as to God's will in a matter where the Scripture was silent, and became enforcers of the new traditions. They made up rules as they went along.
The Bible is their standard and underwrites the 2x2 faith. They believe the Bible contains God's will, way, and "the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). When questioned about their beliefs, 2x2s usually indicate they follow the teachings of the New Testament. Their beliefs and traditions pertaining to God and the conduct of a Christian are usually handed down verbally, from one generation to the next, from Worker to convert, and by parents, elders and peers. They are also learned by word of mouth, osmosis, observation, example, peer pressure, scorn, conditioning, shunning, frowns, raised eyebrows, etc.
TRADITIONS VS. COMMANDMENTS: All Christian churches, including the Two by Twos, follow both "traditions of men," and "commandments of God." In Christianity, a "tradition" refers to a particular practice that is not explicitly commanded in the Bible. Jesus made a clear distinction between religious teachings that were "traditions of men" and those that were "commandments of God" (Mark 7:7). He pointed out some traditions of their elders that the Jews religiously followed were man-made rules, they were passing off as "commandments of God," e.g. cleansing rituals and the tradition of "corban" (Mark 7).
Jesus defined a concept Christians term "Legalism" in Matt. 15:8-9: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." The word "legalism " is not found in the Bible, however Jesus spoke against the concept, sometimes called Pharisaism.
Traditions are created by men and usually pertain to a particular group, culture, place and time. "Commandments of God" are God's instructions, laws, precepts, statutes, ordinances, etc., sometimes referred to as "doctrine," which are explicitly taught in the Bible, and are essential for salvation. Some have confused or merged tradition with doctrine, and do not separate (non-essential) traditions of men from (essential) doctrine or commandments of God.
God's commands are fixed and constant, not subject to change or adaptation. Traditions, on the other hand, are in constant flux, changing from generation to generation, place to place and Overseer to Overseer. All the truth necessary for salvation can be easily understood in a true way by anyone who applies common sense and due diligence in seeking to understand what the Bible teaches.
Traditions need to be recognized for what they are: non-essential, non-universal practices originated by men that do not have eternal consequences. Traditions are beliefs the Workers have constructed reinforced them as truths of God. Because they do not recognize their differences, some believe that keeping 2x2 traditions (rules) are necessary to receive eternal life, and that they are of equal or greater importance than obeying the commandments of God.
In this article, the word "tradition" is used for actions and practices deemed necessary by the 2x2 Sect's authorities, for which the Bible does not give explicit instructions. A few 2x2 traditions are based upon Workers' private interpretation of a Scripture passage, and most are Workers' preferences, opinions or judgment calls. Not all 2x2 traditions are universal or even worldwide. Some Workers have imposed various traditions and rules on 2x2s in some time periods, in some places. The examples in this article are both typical and exceptional, and are traditions followed by some 2x2s at some point in time.
Over time, many of the Two by Two Sect traditions have changed, evolved, relaxed, were jettisoned or died out, while a few have been followed constantly since the Sect began. What some past generations once considered sinful may now be permissible without a second thought. On the other hand, some things accepted in years past have become taboo; e.g. Christmas trees, participation of divorced and remarried couples, married Worker pairs.
Jewish traditions were taught and handed down orally down by rabbis (teachers) and were also written and preserved in a document called the "Talmud." Many Jews in Jesus' day placed the traditions of their elders on an equal footing with Scripture. In some cases, tradition was made superior to Scripture, and therefore, usurped its authority. Jesus confronted the Jewish leaders and harshly rebuked them for their "traditions of men" that nullified Scripture (Mark 7:6-13, Matt. 15:3-9).
God wrote and rewrote his commandments on tablets of stones. The Jewish rabbis wrote a document called the "Talmud," that interpreted, explained and applied the first five books of the Bible. But the 2x2 Church published no literature other than a hymnal; no creeds, handbook of beliefs, mission statement, guide or rule book.* But that does not mean they are without law and order. Far from it! They are firm believers in all things being "done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40).
CONTROL & DISCIPLINE: Evidence of regulation in the 2x2 Sect is obvious when considering the consequences for disregarding the unwritten rules a 2x2 is expected to observe. There is no discipline when there are no rules. Some disciplinary methods Workers use for breaking their unwritten rules are shaming talks, withdrawing participation and communion in Meetings, being refused baptism, losing one's Eldership or a Fellowship Meeting in one's home, and the most severe of excommunication. Warnings and denying certain privileges indicate that boundaries have been exceeded and that rules have been broken
The 2x2s respect and obey two authorities: the New Testament and the Workers. The Workers' interpretation of Scripture trumps that of the lay members. Some rank Workers' words as a higher authority than the Bible. Some believe that God honors the Workers' commands as if they were God's, and that it is as important or more so give heed to the Workers over the Bible. Some consider disobeying a Worker the same as disobeying God. However, the Scripture does not support the idea that Workers are privy to special Revelation not attainable by the lay members.
As with any group, there are differences and degrees of dedication to the traditions. Some conservative 2x2s follow the Workers' traditions totally, some follow moderately, some liberals follow only the traditions they agree with. Since the current traditions are unwritten, it is impossible to be aware of and to keep all the traditions 100%, especially since they differ from region to region and Overseer to Overseer. As Paul wrote, There are "differences of administrations," (1 Cor. 12:5), also in application. There is sometimes a "changing of the guard" when Overseers move to a new field, and fluctuation in the unwritten rules may take place.
Many 2x2s do not consult with Workers because often their advice is extremely conservative, following the recommendation of "rather be safe than sorry." For example, to the practical question of how long is "long hair" for women, some Workers have "safely" answered, "as long as it will grow." Therefore, some Friends choose to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and if required, to ask for forgiveness, rather than advice or permission from the Workers. The Bible says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to ALL men liberally" (James 1:5).
According to some Workers, God has conditions, and they have stated that faith does not help if one is not willing for "God's conditions." Jack Carroll preached on the seven Conditions of Fellowship in 1921. There are special conditions for the ministry. At times, the Workers have compiled "Conditions for Fellowship" for particular individuals disregarding their conditions or rules. See photo of them TTT. The 2x2s are expected to submit to Workers and their traditions they call "Conditions of God." They are expected to follow the Workers' interpretations, judgment calls and rulings without question. The disobedient that outright, willingly break 2x2 traditions ("sin of commission") may be subject to serious, negative consequences and discipline.
There is no appeal system for disagreements. The Worker Overseers have absolute authority over the Friends and Workers under their responsibility. It is expected for Workers' decrees to be observed without question, even when they cannot provide Scripture to support them. The Workers take James 3:1 seriously, that teachers are more responsible. Church discipline or resolution is rarely handled in the method given in Matthew 18:15-20.
Some Workers teach that the right thing for all 2x2s to do is to submit and obey those in authority over them, even when they do not agree. If there is a negative or sinful result from a Workers' error, the responsibility will fall on the erring Worker, not on the obedient Friend. Some Friends do not agree with this concept.
Western U.S. Overseer, Dale Shultz wrote, "something that is very much a part of being a child of God is to respect those who are over us in the Lord...If our attitude towards them [Workers] becomes disrespectful, it is a reflection on our attitude towards God as well...We may think that we are 'obeying men' and not 'obeying Christ' when we submit to something that seems wrong to our own thinking...Whether the decision is right or wrong, the right thing for all of us is to respect it because of those [Workers] who have made the judgement" (April 12, 1999 letter).
Privileges may be withdrawn for those dating or marrying an outsider and for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Some of these "bad examples" have been publicly disgraced by not being allowed to participate in Meetings until the baby arrives, or for about 12 months after marriage, or until the Worker gives permission. In Australia , the term for being denied participation in Meetings is to be "stood down." The public shaming gives notice of the Workers' disapproval, who hoped the disgrace would deter others.
Workers may also refuse or return money offered to them by someone who "isn't doing what's right." Another control measure is to refuse to allow a young girl/lady volunteering to wait on dining tables at Convention, who is not appropriately following their rules of appearance; e.g. her hair is not pinned up, her skirt is too short, she is wearing makeup, etc.
BAPTISM: California Overseer, Eldon Tenniswood, said that baptism is a necessary part of salvation, and referred to Jesus' words in Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (1975 California Elders Meeting).
Yet, Workers have withheld baptism for some until they conform and obey various traditions and rules. They believe that God only accepts the baptism of 2x2 Workers Before they are baptized (or re-baptized), new converts are allowed to participate in Fellowship Meetings, but usually do not take communion until after they have been baptized.
If a member does not abide by their unwritten rules, they will not allow them to be baptized. By their actions, the Workers effectively hold the keys to heaven in their hands, and baptism is an essential key. However, they are unable to provide any Scripture stating one must be baptized by a Worker, preacher or minister. Some Christian denominations allow parents to baptize their children. Some close friends and Ex-2x2s have baptized others.
Today, there is usually a waiting period between professing and baptism to ensure the new convert has a "good understanding," the right spirit, and signs they are trying to "fit in," especially to the rules regarding outward appearance. This 2x2 tradition is at odds with the practice of the New Testament Church, which did not waste any time before baptizing new converts. The Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36-38) and the Philippian jailor and his family (Acts 16:33) were both baptized within the hour after their confession of faith. In their early days, 2x2 converts were baptized very soon after they professed, but this has changed.
Around 1975-76, a young Australian girl was removed from the line of those about to be baptized when it was noticed she was wearing peep toe shoes, which indicated that she was not ready to take that next step. From an NSW Australia Baptism Handout: "The following verses list some of the things that the Lord's people are encouraged to die to, or to turn their backs upon: 1 Corinthians 11:14 -15, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 4:22-32, 1 Timothy 2:8-10, Titus 2:11-14, 1 Peter 3:1-4, 1 John 2:15-17."
In 1998-99 a Washington state woman wrote,"when I was baptized, one of the conditions from the Worker was to confirm that I'd thrown away all of my makeup and promised not to buy more." Before the Workers agreed to baptize another young lady, she was required to take an oath that she would never wear slacks/trousers again ("men's clothing" ). In the 1980s, two Illinois teenagers were told , "Do you understand that after you are baptized, you cannot go on any more long ski trips?" In 2016, a 2x2 man was denied baptism at the Utica, South Dakota Convention by Overseer Glenn Gasser for owning a TV.
Baptism has been conditional upon some females growing out their bangs/fringes, no longer coloring their hair, not wearing slacks/trousers, makeup or apparel that attracts attention (miniskirts, skirts with high splits), etc. Some males have been denied baptism due to the length of their hair and for wearing facial hair or jeans; others for owning a TV (Craig Winquist communication to Glenn Mac Donald, Nov. 9 2016). Failure to submit to these traditional restrictions provides evidence of the "mark of a rebel."
HISTORIAL 2x2 GUIDING PRINCIPLES: Some guiding principles Workers have used in the past up to the present to formulate their traditions are: (1) be separated from the world; (2) be peculiar and different from the world and do not engage in things of the world; (3) be modest, natural and moderate in all things; (4) be different from other churches; (5) be loyal to precedent, that which was "from the beginning;" (6) be a good example, "lights in the world," and "abstain from all appearance of evil."
(1) BE SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD: Much importance is attached to being separate from the world, set apart and sanctified for the Lord. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate " (2 Cor. 6:17). The 2x2s are discouraged from associating and socializing with worldly people as much as possible, citing: "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4) .
Some parents did not allow their children to have worldly playmates, school friends or attend group youth activities. Some could only play with professing children and siblings. Texas Sister Worker, Nita Bearden, said her brother was her only playmate. They took turns—he would play dolls with her and then she would play trucks with him.
Growing up in a professing home caused many children to be lonesome "lone wolves." One lady wrote, "Growing up, I was taught to even be close friends with an outsider was showing a lack of understanding of why Paul asked 'what communion does light have with darkness?' (2 Cor. 6:14). I was unable to either make or even have friends who were more than acquaintances."
The Workers told an eight year old boy that his school friends "are not your friends. Only kids who go to Meeting are your friends." Some children had to sit it out at school while their classmates were taught square dancing or watched educational films, lest they be lured to the local cinema and dance halls. Their tradition of not being friends with outsiders, restricting children of 2x2s has caused untold, needless pain, hurt, bitterness and social ineptness for many children and adults. Fortunately, some wise 2x2 parents did not strictly enforce these restrictions on their children.
Their hostility to the world is obvious in many Workers' sermons. Brother Worker James Patrick said, "If you are not a stranger here in this worldly atmosphere, then you are no pilgrim for the heavenly country" (Eagle Bend, Minnesota Convention, 1939).
Sam Jones, Overseer of Western Australia, said, "We are to be joint heirs, if we suffer with Him. The first step is to be called out by the gospel and receiving the spirit of adoption, and the next is fencing, enclosing. God's work is done secretly and in quietness and stillness before Him—shut out from the bold, ignorant, inquisitive gaze of the scorning world. The reason that so many make little or no progress and never attain to an insight or understanding of the deep things of God is because of unwillingness to be enclosed and separated from the world..." (Australia, 1925)
(2) BE PECULIAR AND DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD and DO NOT ENGAGE IN THINGS OF THE WORLD: In their early days, he newspapers referred to the new group as a "Peculiar Religious Sect." From their very beginning, the Workers taught that God wanted His people to be outwardly "peculiar," which was their interpretation of 1 Peter 2:9, "ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people." So the Workers deliberately made themselves peculiar and believed God approved of this behavior and further, that they would receive rewards in eternity for faithfully doing so.
Like the Israelites, the 2x2s have been careful to preserve their own peculiar identity wherever they live, which set them apart from their worldly neighbors. They aimed at being "dead to the world" and "in it but not of it." Some considered being a "gazingstock" outwardly as a mark of a true Christian (Heb. 10:33). They pride themselves in being different and "unlike the rest."
Some 2x2s think the word " peculiar" means unusual, strange, odd, weird, and out of the ordinary. Their practice of disdaining "worldly" fads, fashions, entertainment, activities, etc. sometimes leads to being labeled a misfit, oddball, nonconformist, eccentric, etc. Overseer Jack Price encouraged, "We want to be a misfit in this world, but in God's family we want to be a fitter-in." The 2x2 witness is pitted in opposition to culture.
However, the word Greek translated as "peculiar" in 1 Peter 2:9 is ("peripoiesis," Strong's No. 4047) did not hold the meaning of "strange, odd or unusual," as it does today. Most Bible versions translate this Greek word as "a people for God's own possession;" or God's special possession , (NIV). This verse is very similar to Deut. 7:6, "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." Neither verse indicates God's people are to be "peculiar" in a strange or odd outward manner.
A guideline Workers use to assess whether a contemporary "new thing" is appropriate for a 2x2 is to apply Paul's caution to "be not conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:2). Many 2x2s regard much of the outer appearance, activities and entertainment engaged in by outsiders as "worldly." An outsider is called a "worldly person."
For 2x2s, the term "the world" includes all other religions, Christian denominations, sects, churches and religious celebrations. It also takes in everything not sanctioned by the Workers; e.g. all groups of people, ministers, churches, religions, entertainments, secular music, foods, sports, dancing, smoking, swearing (taking the Lord's name in vain), drinking alcoholic beverages, premarital sex, TV, movies, various hobbies, charities, professions, traditions, customs, along with colorful, fashionable, trendy or bold clothing. Kathleen Lewis wrote:
"The Workers perceive worldliness as a fashion or activity. But the true meaning is 'secular,' or 'temporal,' referring to a philosophy of life that views man and the world as being the apex of the universe, while denying the existence of God. Worldliness is an 'outlook,' not a 'look.' It is atheism, secular humanism, self-centeredness and sensuality" (The Church without a Name, p. 165).
A high priority for 2x2s is that they "do not do as the World does," and that they "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15). The basis for some restrictions has been that something was "too worldly" or "we don't follow the fads, styles, fashions of the world," or "we follow the fashions of the world afar off" or "we don't bring the world into our home." Getting too close to the world might tempt 2x2s to leave their Church. They believe some left the 2x2 Church because they "loved the World and wanted to be a part of it."
Ken Paginton, Overseer of England/Madagascar, encouraged, "You young folks, don't be afraid to be different from the world. When we are living for Christ in a world that is so un-Christlike, we tend to be different...If you are trying to follow that noble youth of Galilee, there is nothing to be ashamed of" (2nd Masterton, New Zealand, 1990).
Jack Carroll, Overseer of Pacific Coast territory said, "Are the daughters of Zion more worldly this year than last? Is the world, its habits, customs and fashions more attractive, or are you governed by modesty, economy and neatness?" (Olympia, Washington Convention, 1942). Jack also suggested, "We can examine our own hearts....Am I becoming more worldly and less godly or more godly and less worldly? It isn't easy for God's people to break with the world and its attractions," (Urack, Germany, 1952).
Eldon Tenniswood claimed if one does not look different from everyone else, they are not a Christian. The Workers' goal is for 2x2s to be, " obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance" (1 Peter 1:14).
A look at their history shows that the Workers have lagged far behind in accepting new things, especially in the areas of apparel, entertainment and media. While their traditions have evolved, the changes have occurred too fast for some and too slowly for others. They can't be current. Normally, the Workers wait until a worldly fashion is almost or is totally out of style, before it becomes acceptable for 2x2s to do, wear or have it. On the other hand, Workers have welcomed and implemented some new things or modern conveniences and technology—the exception being those bringing worldly media into their homes (TV) and in some areas, radios, stereos and cassette players.
(3) BE MODEST, NATURAL AND MODERATE: Another guideline Workers use is moderation. They encourage members to stay in the middle of the road, not walk too close to the edge or side, not to stay on the periphery. Do not be a drifter. Brother Worker Eddie Cornock said, " God wants to see His people a sensible, God-fearing, plodding people, keeping in the middle of the road" (Powell, Wyoming Convention).
Brother Worker Dellas Linaman said, "This Kingdom of God has borders and those borders are to be respected...Are you on the border? Are you on this side of the border or on that side of the border? Or do you leave no question in the mind of anyone that you're well inside the Kingdom? It's dangerous to dwell on the border...Are you living on the borders of this world—sometimes in the Kingdom and sometimes out? Temptations are on the border" (Pretoria, South Africa, 2003).
The Workers believe in letting "your moderation be known unto all men" (Philippians 4:5). Modesty and moderation are terms used in connection with the dress code for 2x2 women, who a re expected to wear " modest apparel" (1 Tim. 2:9). Workers view following their prescribed dress code traditions as a measure of Godliness, a litmus test for virtue, an index of character and a sign of obedience to the Workers and to Jesus.
Rules of Propriety, also known as the Laws of Decency, regarding how much of the human body it is proper to display vary depending on culture and customs. Major civilized countries have legal standards of modesty. Ken Paginton commented, "We are living in such a world of extremes, an immoderate and immodest world. That is not our standard. Our standard is modesty and moderation" (2nd Masterton, New Zealand Convention, 1990).
Tommy Gamble, Overseer of Ireland, said, "I thought of the fashion of Heaven—an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit ...modest apparel. That means that the women would hide themselves in their clothing and not display too much of the flesh " (Rochelle, QLD, Australia, Dec. 2006).
The dress code for 2x2 women is to be modest, moderate and also peculiar . However, "peculiar" by definition is not moderate—it is extreme. Some Workers view moderation as "not dressing to get attention." Yet, the old-fashioned, peculiar appearance of some 2x2 women causes them to stand out and draws attention to them, which is far from moderation. Just check out some old group photos of 2x2s taken in the 1950s and 1960s which appear very much like the 1920s.
A Brother Worker said that due to the women's appearance, he had no trouble recognizing the 2x2 Friends who came to the airport to pick him up. The 2x2 women's similar dress and hairstyles serve as marks of group identity, much like some group's uniform. If it had been a male 2x2, how would the Worker have picked out his ride? A sign may have been necessary. It has been said that professing men are "known by their spirit" while professing women are known by their appearance. While 2x2 males dress similar to their Co-Workers, 2x2 women are expected to dress like their grandmothers, and doing so was "the outward sign of the inward work," and identified the wholehearted.
This is not witnessing for Jesus—it is advertising, or the world calls "branding." Branding is what identifies a product or a service and sets it apart in an easily recognizable manner. True witnessing is telling somebody about Jesus. There is a big difference between an image and a message. Some give more attention to conserving the peculiar image than conveying the message.
Even after Jesus became well known, He was able to get lost in a crowd, which would not have been possible if he had dressed peculiarly and if His apparel and appearance had not been similar to that of the common man. However, except for their very early days, the dress of 2x2 men has not caused them to stand out peculiarly in the world. Not so for the 2x2 women!
Titus 2 addresses the subject of "sound doctrine." It provides instructions for manifesting behavior showing "sound doctrine" in the lives of Christian men, women, young and old as well as servants " that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," (Titus 2:10). The 2x2 Sect fronts their group with their women outwardly being adorned peculiarly. There is nothing in this chapter that indicates this was what Paul meant.
Brother Worker Dellas Linaman said, "People that adorn the Gospel help us to preach the gospel. We need you. We need that adornment. Not leaving questions in people's minds, 'Are you in the border, on the border, outside the border or where do you stand?' We like to see a clear sign that you are well inside. I don't like this thing of wondering, 'Are they professing or are they not?' I like to see things clear" (Pretoria, South Africa, 2003).
Because Queen Victoria preferred the natural look, it became the style during the Victorian Era ( 1837-1901) , during which the 2x2 Sect began. Through the years, the Workers have continued to promote nature and the natural look for 2x2 women as though it were a standard and command of God. It was not—it was Queen Victoria 's preference.
They believe a woman professing Godliness should be satisfied with her God-given natural appearance, and should be pleased and happy to wear her face "au naturel." Beauty enhancements are scorned, and t hey disapprove of women using cosmetics to possibly bring more attention to them, thus feeding their vanity. "Beauty is vain" (Prov. 31:30). If they were consistent in promoting the natural concept, 2x2 women's hair would be worn as it naturally falls—hanging down loose.
Eldon Tenniswood, Overseer of California , et al. advised that "women adorn themselves in modest apparel. Modesty is the most becoming to every woman. A woman is only cheating herself when she adorns herself immodestly. Modesty is not shabbiness, but it is sensible, sane, and becoming. 'With shamefacedness' ...this simply means with a modest face, a natural face and sobriety...not a butterfly effect but a serious and steady effect. This is what is becoming to every woman...There is the acceptable modesty for all times, and it is always that which is in line with the plain and simple modesty that is becoming. Not with broided hair...not with ornaments that wouldn't belong in the hair, fancy hairpins and the likes, or gold or pearls...these ornaments in the hair or elsewhere are not necessary. It says not with them, but with good works. A modest woman adorned with good works is what pleases God" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
(4) BE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CHURCHES: Some Workers' decisions regarding church practices have been based on what is or has been done by other Christian churches, which they refer to as "false churches." They pride themselves in being different from other churches. "We're not like other churches that were started by men." Sometimes, the sole reason for the 2x2 Church not to do something is to "try to be as unlike other churches as we can." They sometimes defend a decision on the basis of "No, we don't do that—that's what the false churches do." Or, "That's too much like the false churches." Many Workers' sermons include a comparison between the 2x2 Church and "false churches."
Howard Mooney, Overseer of Oregon, said, "about the 'amen'...This is something we have been very reluctant about because the holiness people have overdone it. In trying to be as unlike them as we can, we have sometimes transgressed the other way" (Elders Meeting, Portland, Oregon, April 5, 1960).
(5) CONSIDER THE PRECEDENTS: A precedent is something said or done that may serve as an example or rule to authorize or justify a subsequent act of the same or similar kind; a person or thing that serves as a model. A Worker remarked, "Status quo prevails over everything else." Some precedents appear to be set in stone. Many were simply the way it was "from the beginning," or the way things have "always been done," or the way an older worker instructed, as in "Uncle Willie used to say..."
The conservative styles up until the Roaring 1920s during the Victorian and Edwardian Eras were adopted by the early Workers, and in some areas, remain the way 2x2s still do things. Their resistance to change and rejection of new things is evident in their dress peculiarities. The women are often viewed as old fashioned to the point of being dinosaurs.
(6) BE A GOOD EXAMPLE, a LIGHT and ABSTAIN FROM THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL: The 2x2 Sect believes they are supposed to hold a higher standard than the world around them. Many 2x2 traditions regarding conduct are for the sake of appearance. What will people think? What will people say? Will it be a good example? Will it lower the standards of the kingdom? Will it serve as a light to others? " Walk in the light as He is in the Light," (1 John 1:7). "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13). 2x2s must hold a higher standard than the world: "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:20).
One of their chief aims is to be noticed by not being like any other church group. Rather than being impressed to be like Jesus, some children are given the idea that they need to be, first and foremost, "unlike the world." That was the only way they knew to "be a good testimony" to others and to show that we were the only people on earth who were living right.
The Scripture instructs to "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thess. 5:22), but the definition of "evil" may differ from person to person. Jesus was not afraid of the appearance of evil concerning the traditions of his day. He shocked people right and left .
Eldon Tenniswood said, "Some of our people who once took a little wine became alcoholics. The world uses it so much. I feel it is best to avoid all appearance of evil" (California Young People's Meeting, 1982).
From a Baptism Handout for NSW, Australia: "The Lord has always laboured to make His people different. We are intended to be different in spirit, different in appearance, different in our manner of life. This is what makes us shine as lights in the world around us (Philippians. 2:15)...Our only hope of being a light is by being different."
GUIDELINE SUMMARY: The above are some of the guiding principles Workers frequently take into consideration when forming their traditions and unwritten rules which will be discussed below under the following headings: Outward Appearance, Entertainment, Marriage, Home, Meetings and Conventions. But first, a little background history.
VICTORIAN HISTORY: At the turn of the 20th century when the 2x2 Sect began, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, citizens were divided into three classes: upper, middle and working. The upper and middle classes were considered "respectable." Most Workers and Friends were from the working and middle class. Dress styles differed according to one's class and income. The following descriptions relate to the respectable classes from 1890-1920.
Queen Victoria 's reign from 1837 until 1901 is called the "Victorian Era and those who lived under her reign were called "Victorians." The Victorian Era started with horse-drawn carriages and candlelight and ended 64 years later with automobiles and electricity. The fashion trendsetters were the reigning King or Queen, and styles were set according to their preferences.
The short period from 1901 to 1910, when King Edward VII reigned, was called the Edwardian Era, sometimes extended and capturing long-term trends from the 1890s to WWI. This Era was the last historical period to be named for a monarch. After this Era, the decades in Britain were referred to by their years; e.g. the 1930s or the 1950s. The Americans referred to their decades by years rather than Eras, and called the 1920s the "Roaring Twenties."
VICTORIAN DRESS STYLE: The Victorian Era focused on modesty and natural beauty. Taking cues from their Queen, the respectable Victorian woman's dress was puritanical and subdued. Skirts fell naturally from the waist close to the body and swirled around women's feet. Necklines were high, sleeves were long and hats were small. Women wore their long hair upswept and showed very little skin. It was considered indecent to bare one's legs or ankles. It was considered vulgar for a woman to wear slacks; the exception being ankle length split skirts used when riding horses.
For hundreds of years leading up to the Victorian Era, women's fashions had conformed to one dress length—long and down to the floor, with no visible leg or ankle. At one time, a glimpse of stocking was simply shocking. Stockings so black and thick that no flesh color peeked through were almost universal for daytime leg wear, at least until 1910. It would have been considered vulgar for a woman to wear slacks; the exception being ankle length split skirts used when riding horses.
Victorian men dressed according to their status and duties within society. Most city men wore short hair and facial hair; close fitting shirts, with small close-lying collars and cuffs, topped with a necktie, waistcoat or vest; trousers in muted colors to the ankle, usually held up by suspenders, and leather boots. Men's headgear came in two basic styles: cap and hat.
EDWARDIAN APPAREL: After King Edward VII took the throne in 1901, Victorian dress changed for both sexes, becoming more relaxed and lavish. The King was regarded worldwide as a trendsetter of men's fashions. He popularized tweed homburg hats, Norfolk jackets, black (instead of white) ties with dinner jackets (instead of tails), and possibly the stand-up, turned-down shirt collar.
Unlike today, a gentleman absolutely did not go in public bareheaded. Hats were part of everyday life , from morning to night, and even young newsboys wore caps. Men's headgear came in two basic styles: cap and hat. Soft caps were more common and informal than stiff, dressy hats with distinct brims and crowns that stood away from the top of the head, such as the fedora, homburg and derby. As a general rule, straw hats were worn during summer, while heavier felt or velvet hats were favored in the winter. The trench coat was introduced during WWI and became a fashion staple for both men and women from that time forward.
In the years between 1900 and about 1950, a full brim style hat remained an essential part of a man's wardrobe. Historians speculate its demise in the mid 20th century was due President John F. Kennedy, who did not wear a hat.
EARLY 2X2 OUTER APPEARANCES. One reporter's description: "most likely they are just as clean as their neighbours. But they do not look it. Formerly the men discarded white shirts and collars. A few have overcome that folly. They still cling to beards, as they are entitled to do. But if a man with a beard will wear brown underclothing he cannot complain if people think him dirty-looking. It may suit a Tramp, to go about in that fashion; but he is not tidy looking...It is repulsive to sensitive eyes to see a number of what ought to be sensible women going about in black sailor hats and black jackets, unrelieved by a little white, acting under the foolish idea that thereby they are doing the Lord a service. It is all very well to talk of eschewing vanity...There is a moderation in dress as in all things, and there is an extravagance which is sinful; but to wrap one's self up in mournful black and glory in one's own denial of self for so doing" (Impartial Reporter, Oct. 27, 1904, p. 5).
Five years later, changes in Workers' outward attire and appearance were noticed: "There are three hundred of the Fellowship at Crocknacrieve...The brethren, who in their manner of life, as well as in the spirit, eschew fine appearances, are much more tidily dressed on the present occasion than in the past. Only, there are no white collars, except rubber collars. The women wear plain white sailor hats with black bands, and blouses of a sober shade. But while, far from 'dressy,' the majority were tastefully attired—male and female' (Impartial Reporter, Aug. 12, 1909, p. 5). View photo of Brother Workers in 1913.
~~~2x2 MEN: When the 2x2 Sect was first getting started at the turn of the 20th century, the public nicknamed them "Tramp Preachers," and for good reason, since the Workers literally were not allowed to have two sets of clothing, while they were out tramping for the Lord.
Some Brother Workers wore beards and mustaches and had only one set of clothing which included boots, rubber collars (no cuffs) and brown undershirts which caused them to appear dirty. They also wore flat caps; a rounded cap with a small stiff brim in front, also called a Gatsby, duckbill, bicycle or Irish cap. Wikipedia about flatcaps. View Brother Workers sporting beards. Some other descriptions were:
"But, like most religious enthusiasts, they have their peculiarities. The use of the razor is eschewed; and those in the highest state of grace, like Mr. Irwin [Irvine] himself, did not use linen collars or shirts; but latterly the white collar has come into use again, but the razor is still avoided" (IR, Jan. 15, 1903).
"His [Edward Cooney's] general deportment is equally arrogant. It is no doubt true that he and his assistant preachers have donned the plainest tweeds, discarding, in some instances, the collar and tie, and in every case cuffs. But everyone knows that peculiarity in dress, even if that dress were a sackcloth, does not necessarily betoken a regeneration of the inner life" (Impartial Reporter, June 2, 1904).
Through the years, 2x2 men's dress codes have been subtly different from that of the world. For a time, their dress attire was white shirts only, black shoes (brown was worldly), slim, plain black or brown ties with no patterns, dark colored socks, and sober suits—no worldly sports jackets. Some wore wool, fedora style hats, continuing long after men of the world discarded theirs.
For years, 2x2 men wore their hair short, not touching the ears, no sideburns with graduated length in the back. Square cuts, flattops, and crew cuts were considered worldly. In the 1970-80s, growing a beard or mustache indicated a man was "going through some difficulties." Some men were refused baptism because they had facial hair (called by some a fungus). Some Workers arbitrarily gave boys and young men haircuts if they disapproved of their hair length. Most 2x2 men did not wear shorts in public until the 1990s, if ever.
In 1973, Andrew Abernethy, Overseer of Eastern U.S. and Canada, stood on the platform at the Almonte, Ontario, Canada Convention, where there were close to 1,000 people, and:
"told the congregation that many of us resembled long-haired hyenas and porcupines...Every professing Christian on the premises fulfilled every outward requirement ever ruled upon concerning uniform and behavior. In particular, all the young men looked as if they had just arrived from the U.S. Marine Recruitment Center at Parris Island , S.C. The only individuals in the throng whose hair was not quite the right length or whose faces were not quite clean-shaven enough were either non-professing husbands of 'believing' wives or 'non-believing' teen-agers of professing parents. In most cases, it was a victory on someone's part to have persuaded the 'outsiders' to be there in the first place" (In Vain They Do Worship by Willis Young).
As the pioneering Workers ventured from Ireland to take their gospel worldwide, their unwritten traditions and rules were impressed upon, and adopted by their converts in other lands. However, depending on the Worker in charge, the customs differed somewhat from place to place. In North America, where there are two Overseers, some customs even differed from the East to the West.
~~~2x2 WOMEN: In their early days, the 2x2 women's appearance and attire was normal for the Victorian Era: very plain and unadorned, natural, without makeup or jewelry, not even a wedding ring. The Sister Workers usually wore long sleeve dark suits, sober color cotton blouses with high necklines, ties around their necks in various styles, and black cotton stockings under their floor-length skirts. "The ladies affect severity of attire. How far that may go has scarcely yet been defined; but it has gone so far that feathers are discarded and a straw sailor hat is the regulation head covering" (Impartial Reporter, Jan. 29, 1903). View sailor style hats in TTT Photo Gallery: No. 1 — No. 2.
Concerning clothing, the Workers have long encouraged the Friends to follow a "middle of the road" approach to new fashions, and to stay "a step behind vanity and a step ahead of oddity." Not be the first not the last to follow a fad. It is desired that their women's appearance will indicate they are out of harmony with the world. They resist rapid style changes associated with fashion.
One definition of fashion is: "a way of behaving that is temporarily adopted by a discernible proportion of members of a social group as socially appropriate for the time and situation," (G. B. Sproles, "Fashion: Consumer behavior toward dress," Burgess Publishing, Minneapolis Minnesota, 1979). Often, 2x2 women do not adopt a fashion until a discernible proportion of society has discarded it. Many times in the past, their manner of dress has appeared out of time, as a relic or holdover from another period in history, conspicuously old-fashioned, and what some now consider "vintage."
Changes in 2x2 dress do occur, but with much less frequency than among the general population. Some 2x2 women often lag behind several years (20 or more) in their clothing styles, and change gradually at a snail's pace over time, or when absolutely necessary, such as when manufacturers discontinued making black stockings and denim skirts. Some women have found it necessary to sew or have their clothing made or to shop in used clothing stores to find acceptable non-stylish, old-fashioned apparel meeting the unwritten dress code. Frequently, the male Workers encourage professing women to emulate the Sister Workers in their dress, which in many cases is/was extremely "afar off." Few women dressed as they did. The 2x2 men could dress as they pleased for the most part, except for shorts, while women and children had to carry the banner of being noticeably "unlike the world."
Howard Mooney said, "We would like to think that, for some of you young people who have come to this Convention and haven't been too Christ-like or too separated in your life, that the effect of this Convention would...be that you sisters would be looking more like Sister Workers, and you brothers would have more of the spirit of a Brother Worker."
Harold Stewart taught, "We are safe in saying, any hair or sideburns that is longer than the brothers' in the ministry, would be long hair...Using the same standard for the sisters, we are safe in saying any hair that is shorter than the sisters' in the Ministry would be short; any skirt that is shorter than the sisters' in the Ministry would be short. Here is the line between modesty and immodesty, as far as the people of God are concerned. We are not concerned where the world draws this line" (Alberta, Canada*).
For a time Sister Workers only wore long sleeves to the wrist, which over time were shortened to three-quarter length sleeves. Brother Workers wore long sleeve white dress shirts and ties. However, in more recent years, some Workers are wearing short sleeves, and in very hot weather and at Conventions such as California, Oregon and Texas, Workers wore short sleeves during Convention Meetings, except when they spoke from the platform. Fast forward to the early 21st century and Worker photos show the Brother Workers usually wearing white or pale blue shirts with dark ties.
The Workers' desire for a professing woman's appearance was that it would leave no doubt to onlookers that she is "not of this world," which makes her "a good example." Her rejection of current fashion indicates social resistance and opposition to the general culture. The Workers idealistically hope outsiders will notice her plain, natural, wholesome, old-fashioned appearance and will want to know more about her 2x2 beliefs and ultimately to "have what she has." 2x2 women are expected to be walking advertisements for the 2x2 Sect, while 2x2 men dress very much as the world does.
Newly professing women whose outward appearance is at odds with the Workers' preferred dress code have been described as still having "the look of Egypt," and as "daughters of the world." Many 2x2 traditions provide an avenue for women to deny themselves, die daily, take up their cross, sorrow, suffer, submit, sacrifice, suppress, etc. Workers teach/preach that 2x2 women should be rejoicing in their suffering from these (man-made) burdens inflicted upon them, since "suffering must precede the glory."
There are no similar traditions or opportunities that would enable men to be peculiar examples to Outsiders. Over the years, 2x2 men's dress codes have remained very little different from the world, while changing slightly. For a time, longer hair on men and facial hair were signs of rebellion. Brother Worker Morris Grovum said, " The mark of a rebel for a man was when he lets his hair grow long" (Penang Convention, 2009). Would 2x2 men be willing outwardly to be as different as women are expected to be? Read: "Would You? A Question for Men." Until the late 19th century, 2x2 men did not wear shorts. It was said that Nathan McCarthy, Overseer of New Zealand, had issues with any clothing showing more skin than the wrist or ankle. He placed a ban on men's walking shorts in NZ.
HATS: Through the first half of the 20th century, hats and gloves were required for attending social events. Unlike today, at the turn of the 20th century it was disgraceful for a lady to go out of the home in public without a head covering. Women styled their hair to accommodate their hats. As hairstylevolumes increased, hats become enormous, wide-brimmed, elaborate creations containing flowers, ribbons, feathers or plumes, which William Irvine roundly condemned.
In the 1920s, the cloche, a small bell-shaped hat that hugged the head like a helmet, was popular for women. In 1929, Foster-Grant sunglasses were the first to be mass-produced, and may have had something to do with the demise of hats. Throughout WWII, hat materials were not rationed, and were adorned with feathers, artificial flowers and veiling.
After World War II, the millinery industry introduced the small closely fitting half-hat that partially covered the head, but provided no facial protection. In the 1950s-60s, women stopped wearing hats on a regular basis. By the late 1960s, both sexes rarely wore hats and they became an accessory of the past. Even the Catholic Church stopped requiring head coverings for women in 1967.
In their early days, 2x2 women wore plain straw sailor hats with black bands. Their hat style changed to the cloche in the 1920s and later to the half-hat style before hats disappeared. Sister Workers continued to wear hats when they spoke at Special Meetings and Conventions in the U.S. at least until about the 1950s. In some countries, 2x2 women continued to wear hats to all Meetings held on Sunday up until around the early 1970s, e.g. England, Australia and possibly other areas.
Margaret Vogt from South Australia said for 2x2s, there were "no feathers in hats...However, you could have artificial flowers in your hats! Over the border in the State of Victoria , it seems you could have feathers, but no artificial flowers." View 2x2 men and women wearing hats in the TTT Photo Gallery: No. 1 and No. 2.
WORLDLY NECKLINES: Customs for cleavage exposure have fluctuated across hundreds of years. Depending on the time and place in history, baring cleavage was socially acceptable or scandalous. In England , the king, queen and court set the styles. From at least the 11th century up to the Victorian period in the 19th century, low-cut dresses partially exposing cleavage were considered acceptable. At the same time, bared legs and ankles were more risqué than exposed breasts.
The highly respected Queen Mary II in the 1600s and Marie Antoinette in the 1700s flaunted their deep cleavage during court settings. Queen Mary II and Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England sat for formal portraits with fully bared breasts.
During Queen Victoria 's reign (1837-1901), it was no longer acceptable for a woman's cleavage to show in public when she went to the market or took a walk. Necklines were raised very high, some turtleneck height, and women's frocks were buttoned up to their chins. View attire of 2x2 women in TTT Photo Gallery: No. 1 and No. 2.
The history of décolletage has gone back and forth, from liberation to discreet. It has gone from all but baring the breasts in the 1700s, to prudish in the Victorian Era, to looking boyish in the '20s, to rejecting the idea of the brassiere altogether in the '60s, and back to flaunting the bosom again in the 2000s.
Following the Victorian Era (1901) it was nearly 100 years before baring cleavage in everyday life become socially acceptable as it was prior to Queen Victoria 's reign. There are differences of opinion in society as to how much body, leg, and especially breast exposure is acceptable in public. The acceptable neckline varies. After the 2000s, women allowed their cleavage to be visible in varying degrees. In the 2010s, anything goes. Bosoms take all manner of shapes and forms, and there does not appear to be one core standard anymore.
2x2 NECKLINES: Since the Millennium, the latest 2x2 modesty issue has been exposed cleavage. The manufacturers have made it difficult to find women's clothing with modest necklines that do not reveal a little cleavage. Young girls are no longer taught to sew in school, and are unable to make their own clothes or to alter ready-made clothing. They must buy what is stocked on the store racks, and currently, the majority of tops have low to plunging necklines. In earlier years, some Sister Workers carried safety pins with them and arbitrarily pinned up any hapless woman or girl's blouse neckline that did not meet their approval. For modesty, some wore a dickey (a small fabric insert) that filled in the neckline. In some areas, brooches (aka pins) were an acceptable aid to modesty. Over time, some 2x2 women began to wear brooches as accessories for their outfits. Brooches were the only semi-acceptable jewelry for 2x2s, other than watches and wedding bands, which all served a useful purpose.
BLACK STOCKINGS: In the years 1890-1900, when the 2x2 Sect was first getting started, the typical daytime legwear color for respectable women was "black...often of lisle thread" (Victorian Costume by Anne Buck). "Up to the 1920s, few other colors of stockings were manufactured, except for the traditional black" (Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century by C. Willett & Phillis Cunnington, Pub. by Plays, Inc., 1970). At that time, 2x2 women dressed plainly, but did not stand out as peculiar in their hosiery, hemlines or shoes. View black stockings in TTT Photo Gallery.
As was the custom in the British Isles, and also in America , the first Sister Workers who came over to the U.S. in the early 1900s wore black stockings. During WWI (1914-1918), when hemlines rose above the ankle, and legs and stockings became visible, worldly women began wearing flesh color stockings. However, the Workers in some areas instructed 2x2 women to continue wearing black stockings as usual, not to adopt worldly fashions, or "not do as the world does."
Eastern U.S. Overseer, George Walker, favored the color black for stockings "because it was furthermost (sic) from the flesh color that many of us believed was unbecoming to 'women professing godliness.' " He also stated that wearing black stockings "was not a condition of fellowship." Nevertheless, many 2x2 women believed they were. Jack Carroll, Overseer of Western U.S. , remarked, "We don't like to see any wearing stockings so closely like having no stockings on at all."
The tradition of 2x2 women wearing black stockings continued long after flesh color hosiery became the norm for women the world over to the point that 2x2 women became an oddity, and were even nicknamed the "Black Stocking Religion" and the "Black Sock Church ." Eventually, manufacturers stopped making them and the supply ran out. For a time, some professing women bought lighter color hosiery and dyed it black ( Memories of Tom Schroeder ).
A Mississippi woman wrote, "The first Sister Workers we ever met wore them. Women who professed were expected to wear them and when they did, it seemed they were in a different class from those who didn't. The few who didn't wear them were considered to be 'without understanding.' As a young teenager [mid 1930s], I thought that this was required for salvation" (The Color Black by Dot Berry).
Reportedly, May Carroll, sister of Overseer Bill Carroll (Victoria, Australia) and laboring under her brother, Jack Carroll (Overseer of Western U.S.) was instrumental in the demise of the black stocking tradition. She refused to wear them any longer, and others followed her example. The exact year is unknown; however, a 1931 photo of May Carroll shows her not wearing black stockings, with her cousin, Minnie Christie wearing them. (For more details, see Chapter 30, Black Stockings.)
WWII helped to deliver 2x2 women from the black stocking tradition. During the war, some North American professing men and their wives were stationed in military locations where the professing women were wearing a different color stocking than they were. The realization that black stockings were not a universal requirement generated discontent, which in turn led women to exchange their black stockings for lighter colors. Some 2x2 women referred to this transition period as "The Change."
WORLDLY HEMLINES AND HOSIERY: In the history of Western fashion for many centuries before WWI, the hemlines of ordinary clothing worn in public by upper and middle class women varied only between floor-length and slightly above ankle-length (with no leg or stocking showing), except for brief periods during the 1780s and 1830s when ankles were revealed.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dresses were long, brushing the ground, and some had trains dragging behind them as women walked the streets. Hemline fashions rose dramatically after the 1882 discovery that tuberculosis (the "white plague") was not hereditary, but was caused by contagious bacteria. Some U.S. and European public health campaigns for the prevention of tuberculosis targeted women's long, trailing skirts as possible carriers of the disease by sweeping up germs on the streets and bringing them into the home. It was also suggested that men's facial hair could harbor infectious germs such as TB bacteria, and clean shaven faces became common.
Nylon hosiery (aka nylons) became popular in 1939, and completely replaced the silk stocking. For many years, nylons were an intrinsic part of most women's wardrobes. The DuPont Company revealed the world's first nylon stocking at the 1939 New York World's Fair. American women fell in love with its stretch, comfort, and durability. But just two years later when the U.S. entered WWII, DuPont paused stocking production to create nylon parachutes, ropes, and cords for the war. In a survey, men and nylons were the two items missed the most during WWII.
Nylon stockings became scarce and highly prized, and a black market was created. Some women only wore stockings on Sunday. During WWII, women were encouraged not to abandon normal standards of dress, because it might affect soldiers' morale. "Make Do and Mend" was their theme, and so they mended their stockings best they could. Some ladies attempted to give the appearance of wearing proper stockings by applying leg makeup. Some used Helena Rubenstein's product "liquid stockings.” Others painted seams down the backs of their legs, using eyebrow pencil or gravy browning (Kitchen Bouquet). This wartime leg trend was called "Glamour Hose."
At the end of the war DuPont returned to producing stockings but could not meet demand. Women lined up outside stores to purchase nylon stockings, and crowds became angry when supplies ran out. From August 1945 to March 1946, women across the country fought to purchase nylon stockings. High demand led to "nylon riots" in stores, until DuPont ramped up production.
During WWII, laws were enacted to conserve textiles. Britain's "Utility Clothes Regulations" and the U.S. L-85 Order specified the amount of fabric that could be used to produce a garment. Less fabric meant trimmer styles, and dress fullness and length decreased. Hemlines in the U.S. for newly manufactured women's garments were set at 17 inches above the floor, and jacket and trouser hems were also curtailed. Ration was the fashion . Self-rationing was a patriotic sacrifice; people strived to be more practical. Minimalist styles were introduced without pleats or pockets. Military needed the metal used for zippers, and buttons were limited to useful only on clothing—none for ornamentation. With shorter skirts, other colors of stockings were introduced, including flesh color.
Since elastic was not yet used in stockings, and women hitched their sheer nylons to a garter belt or girdle. Most women wore hose with seams up the center of the back of their legs until the mid to late 1950s, when micromesh, seamless, runfree hosiery (aka mesh hose) was developed. They were knit on circular machines which eliminated the need for the back seam. Seamless stockings looked too much like bare legs, and the seam-free version took awhile to take off.
In the 1960s, pantyhose became popular. By the '70s and '80s, they were a staple in every teen and woman's wardrobe, as well as being part of the attire of women working in business offices. In the late 1980s, hose in various pastel colors came into vogue.
In the 1960s, hemlines again began rising. By 1966, the miniskirt, fashion's most daring hemline ever, was at the height of its popularity with many young women. The British designer who pioneered the mini was Mary Quant whose definition of a mini skirt was "the bottom edge of the skirt must hit roughly halfway up the thigh, and fall no more than four inches below the butt." Read more in History of the Miniskirt.
In 1970, the midi-skirt (mid calf) was introduced, and later the flowing maxi-skirt which pushed the hemline nearly to the ground again. From 1914 to roughly 1970, women were under social pressure to wear hemlines near the fashionable length of the day, or be considered out of style. For awhile now, there has not been one single fashionable hem length, and personal choice prevails.
Desire for change fuels fashion. After more than 50 years, in the 1990s, when the fashion pendulum swung to casual dress and a more relaxed work environment, pantyhose popularity and sales began tumbling down. By the 1990s, women looking for comfort and freedom began to go au naturale, leaving their legs bare as often as not. With the rise of popularity in slacks and floor length skirts in the workplace, pantyhose sales decreased and knee-highs ( hosiery that covered the feet and legs up to mid-calf or the knee) were favored. Tights became popular in 1990s. Fashion was dressing down, with a long range trend toward informality and comfort.
Currently, many women no longer feel pressured to wear hosiery at all, and possibly some Millennials have never worn pantyhose. The long term trend appears to be to dress more and more casually. While pantyhose are not out of style and have not been utterly forsaken, it is now perfectly acceptable to go bare legged in most situations.
2X2 HEMLINES AND HOSIERY: At the turn of the century when the 2x2 Sect began, the hemlines of 2x2 women were no different from women of the world. View hemline of Maggie Carroll in 1913. View hemlines of Elizabeth Jamieson and Annie Lyness. By 1928, after hemlines had risen to below the knees, the 2x2 Sister Workers' hemlines had risen to about 5-6 inches above their ankles showing their black stockings. View photo of 1942 Sister Workers' hemlines.
Skirts started getting shorter in the 1920s and hemlines danced between ankle and knee until the early 1960s. During the 1960s, the Miniskirt Era, the acceptable hemline for 2x2 females varied. In some areas, the knees were to be covered when sitting down and in others when standing up—a difference of about four inches. Some Sister Workers measured the distance from the floor to the hemline of those volunteering to serve the Convention dining tables, making sure they met the standard rules.
In the early 1970s, hemlines hit the floor again. Hippies favored long, flowing skirts in ethnic prints and Paris collections began showing the maxi skirt, which was full, slightly fitted and reached the ground, showing no leg. Another popular length was the midi, which was half way between the mini and the maxi. For a time, in some areas, the maxi skirt was not approved attire, even though it was by far the most modest skirt ever in style in the 20th century, because it was too fashionable. Except for miniskirts, Texas 2x2 females wore whatever length suited them. Maxi skirts came on the scene again in the mid 1990s. Many 2x2s preferred them, as there was no need to wear hose with them, and hot summer Conventions were far more comfortable without wearing pantyhose.
In the late 1980s, hose in various pastel colors came into vogue. While Texans thought nothing about 2x2 women wearing these, in the neighboring state of Oklahoma , they were viewed as apparel worn by borderline 2x2s. The Author's favorite color was Hanes' Denim Blue, which worked well with a blue jean skirt.
After 2000, the hemlines of the world for Millennials were ambiguous: maxi, midi, mini and anything in between were all in vogue. 2x2 Millennials were wearing their choice of hemline, including hemlines above the knee, and with splits up the skirt sides. Some wore dresses with mid-thigh hemlines (tunics) with leggings. Many, perhaps most, 2x2 females do not wear hose anymore, except Sister Workers, the elderly, and occasions when professional dress is necessary.
1900 FOOTWEAR: In the late 1880s, shoemakers began making shoes specifically for the right or left foot. Closely fitted high top leather shoes and boots were very popular shoe styles for both sexes. In the first decade of the 20th century, men began wearing low cut shoes, such as the oxford which laced across the top with a one inch shoe heel. Men's shoe styles have remained relatively unchanged through the years with oxfords, loafers and tennis shoes or sneakers being the dominant styles. Not so for women!
At the beginning of the 20th century, women wore pointed toe high-top boots that laced, buttoned or buckled up in dark colors. Women's shoes were functional rather than fashionable until hemlines rose and an unsightly gap was exposed between the boot top and the skirt hem. Boots were soon abandoned for shoes with heels called "pumps," which have remained one of the basic dress shoe styles from that time forward. As the decades progressed, heels changed in shape. In the 1950-60s, heels grew thinner and taller; some were called "spikes" or " stilettos." In the early 1970s, platform shoes and wedges were popular. Now, there are shoe styles for every occasion, mood and preference.
2x2 FOOTWEAR: For many years, Sister Workers wore sturdy black court shoes which resembled men's lace up oxford shoes, with thick clunky heels. In the 1960s, this particular shoe had been out of style so long that it could only be purchased by mail order. The Sister Workers were noticeably peculiar in wearing them. Even the younger Sister Workers had to wear these old fashioned turn of the century style shoes in the Southern U.S. A reason given was that they did a lot of walking for which they needed sturdy shoes. They did indeed do a lot of walking and bicycle riding in their very early days, but there was no need to continue wearing this unsightly, old fashioned shoe style, long after the Workers were being chauffeured by Friends to their destinations.
In the UK in the 1940s, a mother bought a new pair of brown shoes and a Brother Worker told her, "It would have been better if they were black." So she dyed them black. In some areas, it was taboo for 2x2 women to wear red or white shoes. Shoes that did not fully enclose the heel and toes (sandals or peep toe shoes) were "stepping toward sin," and some were refused baptism for wearing them. Some were told that shoes with a strap between the toes (flip flops) were sexually suggestive of intercourse and were inappropriate for 2x2 women. Low heel shoes were preferred and high heels were "inches of pride." Most all 2x2 women wore hose with dress clothes in public with no bare legs except with sportswear.
In America , footwear rules varied across the states and among Overseers. In the late 1960s, Brother Worker, Joe Hobbs, told a professing woman residing in the adjacent state of Texas , not to wear her white two inch medium high heel shoes to Meeting when she came to visit her parents in Oklahoma. From the platform, around the mid 1980s, Brother Worker, Dellas Linaman preached against wearing sneakers (tennis shoes) at Convention, shaming some who were wearing them, as it was their best shoes.
VICTORIAN HAIR DRESSING: In the Victorian Era, long hair was an important part of a woman's feminine appearance, and Victorian women took their hair seriously. They considered it one of their most valuable assets, their "crowning glory," and they were tressed to impress. Ladies allowed their hair to grow long, some reaching the floor and beyond. It was unthinkable for an upper or middle class lady to voluntarily cut her hair short, although some cut fringes (bangs) on their foreheads and trimmed their split ends.
Respectable UK women styled their long locks in an updo. Hair worn down and loose in pubic was viewed as vulgar and was a sign of a "loose" woman. Reportedly, some religious doctrine also factored into the Victorian women's hairstyles, and required that it be covered or put up, particularly married woman. Some considered it sinful to wear long hair down loose.
Often, maintaining long hair was impractical for the poor working class women who toiled long hours, surrounded by disease and poor hygiene. Some women short of money cut and sold their hair to hairdressers or wigmakers. This practice was illustrated by O. Henry in his well known short story "The Gift of the Magi," in which a wife sold her hair to buy her husband a chain for his watch for a Christmas present; while her husband sold his watch to buy combs for his wife's long hair.
Like their Queen, Victorian women kept their hair healthy, glossy and smooth. It was important for hair to be very neat with every hair in place (stray hairs were an embarrassment), and hairpins and hairnets were frequently employed. Respectable ladies wore their long hair in a variety of simple, dignified upswept styles, often parted in the center as their Queen did. Hair was often plaited, wound into heavy coils and secured on the head or neck. Some curled their hair into long ringlets clipped to the back of their head with a comb or bow. Some accessorized their hair with jewels or feathers. Artist Charles Gibson (1867-1944) was responsible for the upswept Gibson Girl pompadour hairstyle popular from around 1890 to after WWI.
The bobby pin was invented after WWI, and barrettes have been widely used as hair accessories since 1920-30. Many women saved hair captured in their hair brushes, bound it tightly into a hairnet and formed it into a "rat," which they used to stuff their hairdo for added volume. Over the years, many 2x2 women have also made and used rats in their hairstyles, which was permissible, since it was one's personal, natural hair.
During this Era, little and adolescents girls usually wore their hair down loose, in ringlets, braided or tied up with a ribbon. Young ladies were expected to begin wearing long frocks and their hair in an updo around the age of 15 or 16, which was an important rite of passage.
Victorian men kept their hair short, neat and styled with Macassar oil, often parted in the middle. Most wore some form of mustache, beard or sideburns. Clean shaven faces returned after Gillette patented the first disposable razor blade in the early 1900s, and beards and mustaches seriously declined in the first half of the 20th century.
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, four years after the death of Edward VII in 1910, formal occasions and parties disappeared overnight and the light hearted Edwardian spirit came to an abrupt end.
After WWI began, many women entered the workforce to perform previously male-driven work in factories, farms, offices, as postal carriers, etc. For these tasks, the women needed more utilitarian work clothing. The more practical skirt and blouse replaced the ruffled tea gown. Fabric rationing influenced women's fashions, which became less binding, looser and included some fitted slacks and uniforms. Women also abandoned their tight corsets for brassieres, girdles and garter belts, and exchanged their pantaloons for "step-in" underpants. To meet the working women's needs, hemlines rose to eight inches above the ground, revealing ankles for the first time. The shirtwaist, a blouse tailored like a man's shirt, with a high collar and buttons down the front was adopted for informal daywear and became the uniform of many working women.
2x2 HAIR DRESSING: Long hair on women has long been one of the 2x2 Sect's essential traditions. 2x2 women wear their hair long because Workers expect and require it, implying that it is a sin to wear short hair. When asked by an outsider, many women cannot explain the reason they wear their hair long in an updo. Some may say it was their personal choice, when actually, it was the choice of the Workers. The choices were grow your hair out long or be denied baptism.
Often, long hair and buns interfere with normal activity of a female 2x2, and involves much time caring for it. For some washing and drying long hair is an all day affair. Some 2x2 women hate their long hair, and many have said, theoretically, if they were to leave Meetings, "The first thing I would do is cut my hair." A commonly heard 2x2 expression is "If you are right on the inside, it will show on the outside." External conditions do not automatically correspond with the internal. A woman with long hair can be eaten up with lust, hate, or envy on the inside; and a woman with short hair can be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. It seems some believe the Holy Spirit requires a skirt and long hair to do His work.
The Scripture about women and long hair is ambiguous, and when questioned Workers do not provide consistent explanations. For example, some reasons of Workers have been that long hair shows a woman is willing to conform and that she is willing to submit and fit into God's order of creation. They also say that long hair is God's way to differentiate between men and women; is to show respect to one's husband; is a sign of submission; "is a glory to her;" is "because of the angels;" is a "mark of authority," and that cutting her hair hinders her prayers. They also point to example of Mary wiping Jesus' feet with her long hair. Obviously, He did not have to put His foot on her head for her to wipe them.
Harry Johnson, Overseer of Minnesota, said: "1 Cor. 11: It tells us that the man was to have short hair because he knew his place and the woman was to have long hair because she knew her place. Paul said that they did not have any such custom, but any man or woman that would know the fellowship of God and the Holy Spirit would find it natural to fit into the will of God in this. They would not think of anything else because it is God's will. And I will tell you why. You read in this 10th verse, "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels." Do you know that you have seen angels that are messengers for God? They could be human or they could be angelic, but the angels must give an account of how you behave yourself...
"Now, if a person is saying that he or she is willing to serve the Lord, they make a vow to that effect. You promise God...and then when the angel takes the message to God, that you are not complying with the will of God, what do you suppose is going to happen to your situation in heaven...Some people think that they can show their individuality on earth, but it is what it does for you in heaven that counts. Then the angel or the Lord's servant has to pray and tell God, 'Now, that person isn't willing to stand by their word—they promised to serve you, but they are not standing by it'...There is a verse or two in Ecclesiastes 5 that I want to bring to your attention. 'When you vow a vow, defer not to pay it.' In that little exhortation which Solomon gave, he said, Oh, you could say that it was a mistake before the angel,' and then the angel would take your message to God and God would be angry at you. He wouldn't let your works continue" [Ecc. 5:6-7] (Newry, Pennsylvania Convention, 1975*).
Brother Worker Morris Grovum said, "If we are resisting the way and will of God we are fighting and...if we become a rebel it often becomes evident on the outside. And just one sign is what a man or woman does with their hair. The mark of a rebel for a man was when he lets his hair grow long. If a woman is rebelling, she starts chopping off her hair" (Penang Convention, 2009).
Eldon Tenniswood stated, "Long hair is a glory to the woman. If you really want to obey God and do it willingly, you will have a reward, but if you want to get around it, you can, and maybe nobody will know it but God. Partial obedience [trimming hair or bangs] is not acceptable to God" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
Ken Paginton stated, "We know what the Bible teaches about sisters having long hair. Did you ever ask yourself why? Because the Bible says so, but why? In 1 Cor.11 it says, 'Because of the angels.' What have angels got to do with you having long hair? It wasn't just something Paul thought up himself. You have this mark of authority of long hair because of the angels. In God's order of creation, He created the angels, and the angels are ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation, it's a position of service.
"In creation, man or woman is second place. Nothing to do with women's lib—that doesn't come into God's order. The woman submitting to having long hair is the mark of being willing for the open evidence, because of the angels. There were some of the angels who wouldn't accept their place, they rebelled and wanted equal rights and they are reserved in chains. The angels who are watching us today know what happens and we know what happened to them. It is not a good thing for any sister to ever rebel against that because that is a mark of submitting and fitting into God's order. I love to see our sisters, young and old, who have that mark" (2nd Masterton, New Zealand Convention, 1990).
Brother Worker Dan Hilton said: "1 Corinthians 11 is good advice for women too. It tells us about how women ought to treat their hair in order to please God. It is a shame for a woman to be shaven or shorn and therefore let her be covered. 15th verse says her hair is given to her for a covering. It goes on to tell us that it doesn't matter if any is contentious about this because the churches of God have no such custom as short hair. It does not please God for a woman to cut her hair. These are things that God has planned and that we read of in His Word. There are 6 scriptural reasons for long hair. (1) for the husband's sake; (2) in order to take part in Meetings in an honorable way; (3) so as not to be confused with those who do not know God and practice shearing their heads, e.g. woman of Corinth; (4) For the angels' sake; (5) for the natural side of being becoming; and (6) for the spiritual privilege that a woman has of being a type of Christ's Church" (Alberta, Canada, 1964).
When asked for support in the Bible for a particular belief or practice, if the person knows the answer and does not mind telling you, they will answer your question plainly. A simple answer is the easiest way out. However, it is not unusual for Workers to give a "thought stopper" reply to discourage certain or hard questions. For example, frequently women ask Workers the sincere question regarding long hair, "How long is long enough?" ?" Is it shoulder length , mid-back level , waist, hip, butt ock, thigh, knee or floor length? To which Alberta Sister Worker Coleen Farrell gave the ad hominem reply, "A borderline saint asks borderline questions."
In some areas, Workers taught that 2x2 women's long hair should never be cut or even trimmed, while other 2x2s who had never heard of this directive found it incredible. Some could walk on their hair when it was down. One Brother Worker asked, "What is the difference between trim and cut? Scissors are used for both, and then hair is no longer the length that God wants it to be." Brother Worker, Joe Crane said, "Shame on a woman who would put a scissor to her hair."
In the early 1970s, Mary Long, an adult 2x2 lady in Dallas, Texas, read an article that advised women to keep their hair healthy by occasionally cutting it short. Mary took the health of her hair seriously, and had her hair that was below her waist cut to above her shoulders. She went to Gospel Meeting and sat on the front row. Those behind her saw a short haired lady they assumed was an outsider and were whispering to each other, who is that lady on the front row? Suffice to say the entire audience was shocked when they discovered it was Mary, including the Author. The Texas Overseer, Hubert Childers, angrily told Mary not to take part in Meetings until she could put her hair up again.
Around 1998-99 in Washington state, "when my hair was past my waist, the longest it had ever been, a Sister Worker in my home encouraged me to never cut my hair (she could tell it was cut because it was even across the ends). In 1979, Sister Worker Crystal Lewsader said in a Texas Union Meeting that one of the things that hindered prayers was a woman cutting her hair. So a few 2x2 women burned off the ends of their hair.
A woman from Washington wrote: "In 1991, Brother Worker, Ben Tenniswood, stopped by our home unexpectedly. I was in my mid-20s and my hair was down because it took hours to dry after a shower. It had grown to my ankles and was very thick. Ben regaled me with a story of a young Sister Worker in Hawaii who was 'out of line!' Her companion had to help her wash her hair because it dragged 3 feet behind her when it was down. He was outraged they trimmed her hair so it was floor length. He was red faced and angry and said that a woman's power of prayer is removed if she cuts her hair."
Many have failed to consider that Paul was writing in 1 Corinthians 11 about a controversial topic to specific people (the Corinthians) in a specific time (first century), addressing particular issues (showing respect and not shaming) in a particular setting (worship). Many of these concerns are no longer issues for 21st century Christians.
Many have also failed to take into account the original Greek words for "cover" and "covering" in 1 Cor. 11:1-16. There are three different Greek words used in this passage, yet all three are translated in the KJV with the same English word "covering." Each of the Greek words has an entirely different meaning each time it is used in this passage. This has generated much confusion and led to many incorrect "private interpretations."
2x2 WOMEN WEARING HAIR UP: In the Victorian Era, a woman's hair was considered her glory, and women rarely cut their locks. Over 100 years later, the Workers are still expecting 2x2 women to continue wearing the upswept hairstyles of the Victorian Era; to arrange their long tresses neatly up on their heads, and to refrain from wearing their hair down, hanging loose. They are unable to provide any New Testament Scripture to support this expectation.
Before the year 2000, 2x2 women very neatly pinned their hair up in typical Victorian fashion, and many used hairnets to contain any possible stray hairs. After hair conditioner, spray and gel came on the market, it became much easier to arrange and maintain a smooth, neat hairdo without using a hairnet.
At least twice in the past 50 years, long hair has been the predominant style for young women. The first time was in 1976 when Farrah Fawcett's long mane of loose, free falling curls created a sensation. Not long after that, many women began wearing their long tresses straight, and all one length (no bangs). The second time was in the mid 1990s, following Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle from her role as Rachel Green on the popular U.S. television sitcom "Friends." During these two periods of long hair being trendy, 2x2 women actually had stylish hair length, for a change.
When questioned about the necessity of wearing long hair pinned up, Workers give various reasons. Some Workers view hair worn up on the head as a head covering and hair worn down as the mark of a rebel. Brother Worker Dale Spencer said, "Some say women should wear their long hair pinned up because the Bible says long hair is to be a covering for the head—not the back."
Some say long hair worn down is a glory to the woman rather than to God. Another theory is that long hair incites lust when worn down. One Brother Worker claimed, "loose women wear loose hair." However, in the 21st century in English speaking countries, many very respectable women wear their hair down.
Sister Worker Margaret Long said that a woman wearing hair controlled in a bun was a sign that the woman had herself under control. Around 1998-99 in Washington state, Sister Worker Bonnie Dahlin instructed a 2x2 woman,"to never wear my hair down in public; and only to wear it down for my husband." The reason being that only the husband should ever see his wife's hair in all its glory, for which there is no supporting Scripture.
Brother Worker, Walter Pollock, said, "There's never rules about things like wearing hair up. The women just do it to identify with the group, to be apart of the family...ex-members left the group because they rebelled against the lifestyle had deeper problems...That's a symptom not a cause...Usually, if people object to hair or other clothes or television, there's something deeper that's wrong" (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, June 5, 1983*).
Paul's instructions in 1 Cor. 11 referred to the particular time when a woman was praying in a worship service. The Workers are unable to provide Scripture instructing women to wear pinned up hairdos. It is merely a "tradition of men" held over from the Victorian Era. This rule has been a heavy burden for 2x2 women, especially those born with naturally thin or fine hair or hair that does not grow long, and for black African women. Some women's hair grows extremely long, even to the floor and past, and hair care takes a chunk of their time. It was not uncommon for some women to have severe head and neck aches from supporting the weight of their heavy, long hair on top of their head. An unsympathetic Sister Worker said that if long hair gives a woman headaches, that is her cross to bear. However, Sister Worker Ardath Fritz trimmed her hair in the 1980s, because the weight pulled her neck back and gave her headaches.
Using rubber bands to hold hair tight and neat so their hairdos would not fall down has caused many 2x2 women to have bald spots and the hair will not grow back. Some women used homemade "rats" to cover bald spots. For years, it was customary for girls to begin putting up their hair when they became teenagers, professed, or at the latest when they married. Many mothers put their little girls' hair in buns, causing them to be misfits at school, and ridiculed as the "Bunheads."
Some things commonly used by 2x2s today that were formerly forbidden were hair dryers, spray, curlers, and permanents. For a time, 2x2 women would not think of setting foot in a beauty parlor or salon. Curling one's hair was considered vain by some. A Worker pointed out to a 16 year old girl who wanted to be baptized, "You are still curling your hair" (Account by Sharon Hargreaves). In time, little thought was given to using these things.
For over a century, 2x2 women and young girls have had to follow the Victorian custom of wearing their hair pinned up. In addition to caring for their own long hair, mothers must also be hairdressers for their young daughters. Some men are not understanding or patient regarding the amount of time involved in taking care of long hair.
Scripture says a woman's hair "is a glory to her" (1 Cor. 11:15). Restricting women's hairstyle to a knot of wadded up hair on their heads is a far cry from it being a "glory to her." Women's hair length and style are still highly controversial in the 2x2 Sect, continually generating questions such as: How short is short? How long is long? Is it a sin to trim my hair? What's wrong with cutting bangs/fringes. What if my hair put up causes me to have severe headaches? What's wrong with wearing my long hair down?
The Millennial 2x2s started the beginning of the end of bundage for 2x2 women. The style was long hair worn straight and loose, and to get it off their neck, they sometimes finger-combed their long locks without even looking in a mirror into "messy buns," with no regard for smoothness (which would have scandalized Victorian women!) No hairnets for them! The buns finally came unbunned! Many 2x2 women began wearing their hair down in public and to Meetings as well. Some went further and trimmed their hair to shoulder length or just barely long enough to be able to put it up for Meetings.
If the past is an indicator, the tradition of 2x2 women wearing their hair long and up will soon become a trip down memory lane, a misinterpretation, a bad judgment call and embarrassment similar to black stockings and hats.
The hairdo is just part of the larger package of the cookie cutter standards that have come to define a 2x2 woman's identity. Many who were more than willing to abide by these restrictions when they believed they were God's standards, are now ignoring burdensome traditions of men which contradict Jesus words, "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:30).
BOBBED HAIR REVOLUTION: During WWI, long hair for women fell out of favor. It was dangerous for some women employed in factories and other work, and they found it to be much safer and more convenient to wear short hair. An epidemic of hair cutting swept the country as women began to crop their locks. The short, sculpted hair of the "bob" was a startling departure from the upswept pompadour Gibson Girl hairstyle. Short, bobbed and finger waved hair styles emerged.
Many accounts say that the respectable, married, ballroom dancer, Irene Castle, was responsible for starting the Bobbed Hair Revolution, which ushered in short hair for women for the next 50 years. Irene cut her long brown hair into a short bob in preparation for surgery in May 1914. When she resumed her professional career, her haircut and "bangs" became the fashion story of the year. Some newspaper headlines were "Irene Castle Cuts Her Hair," and "Women Accept Castle Bob."
In the fall of 1914, The Ladies' Home Journal, at that time the most influential magazine for women with a circulation of over a million, featured three successive issues showing Castle's stylish and functional hairstyle to an advantage. Ladies magazines presented readers with the debate: "To Bob or Not to Bob?" Actresses and theater superstars of that time were some of the first to follow Castle's lead, and by March 1916, style conscious New York women were rushing to their hair stylist for a "Castle bob."
ROARING TWENTIES IN AMERICA: After the hard WWI years and the devastating worldwide effects of the 1918-20 influenza pandemic (50-100 million died; 3-5% of the world's population), recovery was difficult. People felt crushed as they moved into peace time. The feeling of freedom mixed with disillusionment created a new kind of culture, a live-for-today, devil-may-care society that led to the "Roaring Twenties," and the distinctive look, sound and fashion of the Jazz Age. Much of society abandoned the puritanical standards and restrictions of Victorian life.
By the mid 1920s, variations of the bobbed hair cut were the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world. By the end of the decade, the number of beauty salons in the U.S. had increased from 5,000 to 23,000. The bobbed hair trend represented a transitional moment in the history of the U.S. fashion and beauty culture.
Some felt the 1920s hairstyles reflected a genderless movement toward a more masculine look. Some worried the move toward more utilitarian, male-inspired clothing and the female short hair style would cause male and female roles to bleed into each other. However, time has proven that women still manage to look like women, and not men, regardless of their apparel or hairstyle.
First Lady Ida McKinley (1897-1901) was probably the first First Lady to bob her hair, due to health issues. President Coolidge (1923-1929) prevented his athletic wife, Grace, from wearing slacks while hiking and from bobbing her hair short, which she wanted to do. First Lady Bess Truman (1945-1953) shocked the public by getting a popular "Poodle Cut." Mamie Eisenhower was known for her famous bangs and a short hairstyle she adopted in the 1920s, long before her husband Ike became president (1953-1961).
By the mid-1920s (the Roaring Twenties), hemlines had risen from floor-length all the way to just below the knee. Women were wearing flesh color stockings. Some even wore sleeveless tops and high heels reaching two to three inches (5–8 cm)! Women finally won the right to vote in the U.S. They also began driving automobiles, smoking and drinking in public.
2x2s AND BOBBED HAIR: When the 2x2 Sect began, their women wore their hair long and pinned up on their heads in the same style as other respectable Victorian women. For all their lives, they had been accustomed to women in their society wearing their hair in this style. The length of 2x2 women's hair was no different from worldly women—their hairstyle fit in with the norms of society.
During and after WWI, when women of the world started cutting their hair short, the Workers had to decide whether the 2x2 women would "bob or not bob." They decided there should be no change; that God preferred for a "woman professing godliness" to continue to wear her hair long and styled in an updo, just as they had been doing. They based their decision on their interpretation of 1 Cor. 11:1-16, coupled with their guideline not do as the world does, and not to follow worldly fads. The tradition continues to this day that 2x2 women do not cut their hair short, and most 2x2 women continue to wear updos.
The following comment by Brother Worker, J. Jackson, (probably Jack) indicates that some 2x2 women had possibly followed the worldly trend in the 1920s and had presumptuously bobbed (cut/trimmed) their hair without the prior approval of the Workers: "Maybe another thing we could add today is that those that have had their hair bobbed since they decided had best not take the bread and wine, unless you have decided in your heart to let it grow out again. Then we would encourage you to take it. People who have followed the fashions of the world to this extent have drifted to an awful distance. We hope you have decided in your heart to put aside the world's fashions and all, and will be willing that your life should be broken for Christ's sake" (place and date not given).
A 1931 Canadian newspaper reported that at the Milbrook Convention, "Such personal adornments as jewelry, silk hose, sleeveless dresses, or bobbed hair were conspicuous by their absence" (Milbrook Convention, 1931, Ontario, Canada).
Up until the bob became popular, the most common women's hairstyles used hairnets. After WWII, the hairnet was little used and was discarded altogether in the 1970s, when long straight hair worn down was stylish. Since then, hairnets have mainly been used to ensure safety, health and cleanliness in certain vocations. For years, it was the custom of many 2x2 women to wear hairnets over their buns to keep the loose hairs contained tidily. For a time, North Americans would send hairnets to sister Workers in foreign fields where they were unavailable.
MAKEUP REVOLUTION: The word "makeup" was first used to mean cosmetics in 1886. Since Queen Victoria disapproved of women wearing cosmetics and encouraged a natural, healthy look, her preferences were followed by respectable UK women who used makeup sparingly, if at all. In the 19th century, "au naturel" was fashionable. Any visible tampering with one's natural color was looked upon with disdain, the most outrageous being lip and cheek coloring. Victorians associated overt makeup with actresses and prostitutes. The use of cosmetics was also controversial in many Christian denominations, and some banned them as immoral "the tools of the devil."
The Makeup Evolution began during the 1910s, when the first pressed powder compacts and pressed powder blush were introduced. The popular metal encased lipstick was invented in 1915. There was a new freedom of choice to wear excessive or natural makeup, and both were generally considered acceptable.
During the 20th century, doctors teamed with cosmetic companies to manufacture safer cosmetics, and beauty became a booming business. With the invention of the swivel lipstick container and compact mirrors, cosmetics counters became the norm in ladies department stores and pharmacies. Powder, rouge, lipstick and mascara were in vogue. Liquid nail polish and several types of foundation base were introduced. Few modern women would go in public without at least some makeup. Lip gloss was introduced by Max Factor. New shades of red lipstick were developed, including " Kiss proof." The eyelash curler was invented.
2x2 MAKEUP OR COSMETICS: When the 2x2 Sect was started, the Workers were accustomed to natural faces on females. By the 1920s cosmetics had become safer, were readily available in stores, and many respectable women had begun to use facial makeup.
Not the 2x2 women though! The Workers ruled that 2x2 women should be pleased and happy to wear the natural face God had given them. They disapproved of women using any manner of cosmetics to make them appear more attractive and which might draw attention to them. 2x2 women are cautioned to refrain from making themselves "alluring," lest they tempt men. Some Workers have said that 2x2 women should refrain from wearing makeup, because prostitutes and harlots wear it.
Willie Jamieson cautioned, "One way to be bad to this body is to pamper it too much so others will admire it and feed that vanity, the very enemy of the Spirit (Los Angeles Special Meeting,1945).
Some 2x2s view cosmetics as "painting your face." Some comments have been: "If God wanted you to have painted up features, He would have made you that way." And "We don't wear makeup. It's worldly. Why would you want to look like them with their war paint on ?" And "Makeup is not becoming to a 'Child of God!' " And "Professing women don't want to make themselves alluring to the men of the world."
Wearing makeup is considered being vain and feeding vanity, from Scripture such as "Let us not be desirous of vain glory" (Gal. 5:26). "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain" (Prov. 31:30). Some have encouraged 2x2 women to dress down to the point it was almost shameful for a woman to dress up in a feminine manner, or to play up her female qualities. Some have said that 2x2 ladies have an inner beauty unlike the worldly women with their makeup and paint.
The Workers are unable to provide Scripture to support their makeup taboo. Some point to wicked Old Testament Queen Jezebel who painted her face, and leap to conclude that it would not ever be fitting for 2x2 women to wear makeup. Here is Eldon Tenniswood's replied to the question why is it wrong for women to wear makeup or use hair coloring:
"I hardly think any of you people would do that. You know what is the beauty of a woman: a meek and quiet spirit...When Peter wrote about wives, he said, 'Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel....' The only woman in the Bible who was painted up was Jezebel. She was a wicked Zidonian princess, an enemy of God's people, one who killed a number of God's servants. If any person wants to flirt with the world and be like the world, that is where they are going to end. If you want to keep true to God and be a light in this world, honest people will admire you" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
Some light-haired women must appear as though they have no eyelashes or eyebrows. Others with less than perfect complexions must not cover their skin blemishes, acne, freckles or shiny noses. In some areas, those who wear makeup risked being reprimanded for disobedience, worldliness, unwillingness, vanity, rebellion, etc. Sister Worker, Mabel Lindquist, told the Author, who was openly applying light powder to her shiny nose and freckles, that she ought to be satisfied with the face God gave her, and had she not been saved " from all that" when she had been baptized two weeks earlier?
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The advice "Don't judge a book by its cover" is familiar to most people. In reality, most quickly form first impressions. When meeting someone for the first time, people "read the body" in just a few seconds and judge the person. Prior to the person even speaking, we assume their age, sex, body weight/size, ethnic background, level of attractiveness and how much effort they put into their appearance. Some place them in stereotyped categories and are not interested or curious about them.
Some religious groups, including the 2x2s, use dress to differentiate and set themselves apart from others in the world. This sometimes leads to their group being stigmatized, or branded as unworthy of respect. Some negative consequences to stereotyping are disinterest and separation. A job interview is one situation in which a first impression can determine one's future earning capacity and appropriate appearance is crucial.
The man-made tradition for 2x2 women to dress and appear severely out of step with other worldly women around them is ostensibly to give the impression they are more different from other women. It is hoped their appearance will attract others to want to learn more about them. But it is doing the opposite. That is not the way first impressions work. People judge by first impressions whether they want to know a person better, and many dismiss the person based on their outer appearance.
The appearance of 2x2 women is having the opposite effect to the one they desire—it is actually hindering their goal. A Canadian 2x2 brought a friend to a Gospel Meeting and warned him, "Just follow me and don't look at the women's hairdos—it will put you off right away!" It has also kept many who have left Meetings from returning. And let us not forget the many who leave Meetings because of the women's appearance issues, feeling they have to be able to make themselves more attractive, or they will not find a spouse.
Intentionally calling attention to one's face by dowdy apparel and deliberately not wearing makeup is not dissimilar to the Pharisees who "disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others" (Matt. 6:16), whom Jesus scorned.
Some ask what is the purpose in women painting their face, nails, hair, etc. From childhood, most people have realized that their natural body has some flaws they would prefer it did not have. Human nature wants to improve on the characteristics we were born with. All cultures define an ideal for its members and most individuals will spend time, energy and money trying to attain that ideal. The reason women use makeup is to enhance their physical appearance and conceal their flaws.
Many women try to dress so their appearance to others will be as pleasant as possible, because they have to see her; while she really doesn't have to see herself unless she passes a mirror. It is not unkind to think of others and to look one's best by using a little makeup which makes one's appearance easier and more pleasant to others looking on.
Some 2x2 women with facial blemishes break the rules and use a concealer. Others use natural lip colored lipstick to cover fever blisters and frequently peeling lips. Some Workers are unable to discern subtle makeup from the absence of makeup. Still others paint their toenails colors. Some parents allow their teenage daughters to wear light makeup.
Makeup is used more frequently in large cosmopolitan cities by 2x2 women who work in offices—except for obvious lipstick and colored fingernail polish. Society expects people to look a certain way, especially professional women and those working in professional environments. Makeup is essential for a respectable woman to be considered well dressed, and not wearing makeup causes them to stand out as odd, plain, old fashioned, and disqualifies them from being able to obtain some jobs.
According to statistics, one in three women will not leave home without wearing makeup. A level of confidence is attached to how presentable a woman looks that day. A bad hair day may cause a woman to feel depressed all day long. People often assume makeup is all about looking good, but it is really so much more. It is also about feeling good. A woman who forgets to apply her usual facial makeup may be asked if she is feeling well. An experiment revealed that women pictured wearing cosmetics were evaluated as healthier, more confident, and even had a greater earning potential than the same women wearing no makeup (Nash, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque & Pineau, 2003).
The Workers' position regarding cosmetic surgery, augmentation or other body enhancements is unclear; however, based on their position regarding makeup, it is likely they would advise being content with what nature has provided. They do approve of orthodontics and surgery for cleft lip and palate.
The no makeup taboo falls under the Workers' guidelines that they do not do as the world does; that they do not follow fads and that "natural" is the way it has been since the beginning. For nearly a century makeup has been used by respectable women, and has long passed the fad stage. Yet the Workers have continued to disapprove of 2x2 women wearing cosmetics. Workers are still upholding the "natural" tradition as though it were a standard of God, when it was actually Queen Victoria 's standard and preference when the 2x2 Sect was started.
God made it clear that He does not care about outer appearance, "the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). There is no Biblical directive regarding natural, outer appearance, other than modesty. God focuses on the heart.
NAIL CARE: Grooming one's hands is an important detail for professional women and especially for those meeting the public in their jobs. In 1937, stores began marketing Revlon's newly developed product of nail enamel. Today, nail polish comes in every color of the rainbow, along with countless nail art designs.
Artificial fingernails were invented in 1954, when a dentist broke his fingernail at work, and using dental products, created himself an artificial temporary nail. A few years later, OPI converted its denture acrylics into a product for fingernails. In the late 1970s, the acrylic nail system was invented. Through the years, there have been many types of artificial nail overlays, with acrylics (including solar and gel) being the longest lasting and the strongest.
Around the late 1980s to early 1990s, acrylic nails became useful, fashionable and have continued to be so. For those whose nails break, split, are brittle, damaged, will not grow long or may be thin due to disease, artificial nails provide strength, protection and reduce pain.
2X2 NAIL CARE: Clear is the only polish approved for 2x2 women. In the late 1980s, when the Author admired a 2x2 woman's beautiful natural appearing nails, she quietly whispered behind her hand, "You could have them too!" She was wearing acrylic nails that appeared so natural I had no idea they were artificially enhanced. Some 2x2 women now wear natural appearing acrylic French manicures ("pink and white") where the tips of the nail are painted white and the rest is polished in a pink or nude shade. It is not unusual for young 2x2 girls to paint their toenails with colored polish, and some little girls have been known to color their nails with crayons or magic markers.
THE COLOR RED: Many people throughout history have attached various meanings, symbols and connotations to wearing red clothing and shoes. The Workers are no exception, and for a time, some Workers were against wearing red, yet the reason remained a mystery. Criticized for his dark red tie, Brother Worker Harry Brownlee replied that he would stop wearing red ties when the Lord stopped making red roses. Early Brother Worker Willie Jamieson's favorite color was red, and he wore a red tie. Frank Tyson, Overseer of Iowa in the 1970s said he knew that a woman had not professed very long because she wore red shoes. One Sunday Meeting he railed about the scarlet (red) woman (Rev. 17:1-6) where two ladies were wearing red dresses.
The moralistic fairy tale of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1808-1875) "The Red Shoes," which contained Biblical overtones, was first published in 1845. Could this well known book have contributed to the Worker's decision to ban red shoes? Was their objection due to the connection between red shoes and dancing?
Was it because red shoes were a status symbol that conveyed authority, wealth and power? Red shoes were the height of fashion in Etruscan Rome, some 500 years before Jesus was born. They designated the wearer as an aristocrat, someone who could afford leather colored with the most expensive dye in the Mediterranean. Kings Edward IV and Henry VIII were buried in red shoes, and in 1701, King Louis XIV of France posed for a royal portrait in red heeled shoes.
Could it be because most Popes have worn red shoes? Reportedly, the tradition of red papal shoes goes back to 1566 in ancient Rome , when red shoes could only be worn by the Emperor, the Empress and the Pope. According to a Vatican spokesperson, the Pope wears red because it symbolizes the blood of Christian martyrs. Pope Eugenius II (died in 827 A.D.) made it law for those granted an audience with the Pope to kneel and kiss his red shoes. This law continued until the 1960s when kissing the Pope's foot got the boot. All Popes after 1566 have worn red shoes except for two, and the current Pope Francis, since March 13, 2013.
Is it because red is the color of love, Valentines Day, roses and carnations? Or perhaps because red is flashy and attracts the most attention and excitement of all colors? Is it because red is the color most commonly associated with passion, sexuality, prostitutes, red-light districts and scarlet women? Or maybe it is because red is associated with the blood of Christ and the sacrifice of martyrs? Maybe it is because the Antichrist appears in Rev. 17 as a red monster, ridden by a woman dressed in scarlet, known as the Whore of Babylon. Could it be because Satan is often depicted as red and/or wearing a red costume? Or perhaps it is the negative political connection in the 20th century, when red was the color first of the Russian Bolsheviks and also of Communist Parties around the world. Maybe it is because the Pope and Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church wear vivid cardinal red vestments. The reason remains shrouded in mystery, but red item are no longer restricted.
AMERICAN WOMEN WEARING SLACKS: (aka pants, trousers, jeans, shorts, capris, three-quarter pants, pedal pushers, clam diggers). Basically, slacks and skirts have the same purpose, that of covering the body below the waist, with the major difference being whether the legs are contained in two holes or one hole. For centuries in the Western world, women covered the lower half of their bodies with a garment having one hole for their legs (a dress or skirt), and men have worn a bifurcated garment, or one that is divided into two holes for their legs (slacks, pants, slacks, britches). In the 20th century, females also began wearing slacks.
During WWI (1914-18), women filled the jobs of men who went to fight in the War. They were needed to labor in industrial and agricultural settings, etc. Some occupations required uniforms that included slacks. Up until then, women wearing slacks in public was most unusual. The war made it a necessity for some women to wear slacks which eventually led to acceptance of feminine slacks for daily wear in the Western World.
During WWI, most people adopted a plainer lifestyle. Women wore less jewelry, and the lavish clothing of the Edwardian period fell by the wayside. A military look crept into fashion as women dressed for new roles and gender-dictated dress codes relaxed. Skirts became shorter, as they often do during wartime, and colors were sober and muted. In the 1930s, actresses Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn were photographed wearing slacks, which caused slacks to become more accepted.
During WWII (1939-45), it was not at all unusual for women working in factories and doing other forms of "men's work" to wear slacks. In Britain , due to clothing rationing, many women began wearing to work their husbands' and brothers' civilian clothes, including their trousers, while they were away in the armed forces. They were practical working garments and enabled women to stretch their clothing allowances. As the men's clothes wore out, replacements were needed. By the summer of 1944, it was reported that sales of women's slacks were five times more than the previous year. After the war, it was acceptable for women to wear slacks at home and in public for gardening, fishing, camping, sports, the beach and other activities.
In the 1960s, Andre Courreges introduced long slacks for women as a fashion item. In the 1970s, women's pant suits (aka a trouser suit), consisting of slacks and a matching or coordinating jacket, paved the way to slacks being proper decorum for respectable women to wear in public, for work, dress or play.
First Lady Jackie Kennedy wore slacks during leisure activities, but not in her public appearances (1961-63). In February 1972, Pat Nixon was the first American First Lady to wear slacks in public. Hillary Clinton was the first First Lady to wear slacks in an official U.S. First Lady portrait (2004). By the Millennium, women were wearing slacks and jeans far more than skirts and dresses.
American girls were allowed to wear shorts for physical education classes in schools at least by the 1950s or earlier. The acceptance of slacks in public was greatly assisted in 1972 with the passage of the U.S. Education Amendment Title IX which made it no longer compulsory for American girls to wear skirts and dresses to school. It was not until 2017, that some Australian states finally lifted their ban and allowed girls to wear slacks to school. New Zealand may soon follow suit.
2x2 WOMEN'S SLACKS TRADITIONS: When worldly women began publicly wearing slacks, the Workers balked, using their guideline that slacks for women were a worldly fad, were too masculine and were " men's apparel." They continued to view slacks as solely men's apparel.
Sam McCracken, Overseer of Virginia, said, "We don't believe it is godly for women to dress in pants" (2003). Ken Paginton said, " Unisex fashion is contrary to God's order." Dan Hilton said, "Deuteronomy 22:5 speaks of it being abominable to the Lord when a woman dresses in men's clothes."
Actually, Deut. 22:5 is "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man." The Workers used this verse as their basis for their tradition that 2x2 women should not wear slacks. Actually, this law dealt with cross dressing and wearing inappropriate clothing so as to appear as the opposite sex. It was not addressing clothing specifically manufactured to fit a female body. The Workers claim they follow the New Testament teachings. Yet they have taken this one verse from a list of laws in the Old Testament, and applied it to the 20th and 21st centuries to support their man-made tradition as though it was God's command, while ignoring other commands in the Deut. 22 list.
In the New Testament times, the Jews did not wear slacks. The tunic was their basic article of clothing, and it was worn by both men and women. It had a hole for the neck and arms, and was open at the bottom. It was girded (belted) for ease in walking. While the pattern was identical to the men's tunic, the women's tunic was distinct from men's by length, embroidery, colors, fabrics, ornaments, shawls, etc.
For well over 75 years in the Western world, slacks have been acceptable, respectable attire for women and men, and it is quite easy to distinguish between men and women wearing slacks and shirts today, same as it was for the tunic in Bible days.
The Workers have not been compassionate or empathetic regarding active and athletic 2x2 women and their need for protection in cold weather. The 2x2 tradition of no slacks for women borders on reckless endangerment in some cases. Many women suffer miserably in cold weather since the only permissible covering for their legs is thin hosiery. This cruel practice is akin to going without a coat on one's arms! Many women have outdoor chores in the winter and cold air whips up their skirts and around their nearly naked legs. Some 2x2 women have worn knee socks in the winter to keep their legs warm since they are not permitted to wear slacks. Now, some wear leggings which have not been around long.
Getting too cold can generate health issues. Some girls were required to go to school during Alaskan winters wearing a skirt and socks. On the school bus, every part of her body was covered with protective warm clothing—arms, hands, ears, neck, torso—but to maintain their tradition, her legs had to be exposed to the elements, even though the child might not be professing. To protect their lower torsos from the cold, some 2x2 Alaskan women wear long insulated skirts when slacks would be far warmer.
Sister Worker Florence Baker Woods told a young girl she would go to hell for wearing slacks. It is so ingrained in some 2x2 females that wearing slacks is wrong that they do not even wear them around the house in extremely cold weather, on the off chance that they would be ashamed should a Worker or a judgmental 2x2 happen to drop in.
Compulsory dresses and hair pinned up restrict freedom of movement and discourage girls from being active, which is necessary to maintain healthy bodies. This inactivity affects their health, energy level, emotional happiness and weight. While horseback riding, skiing, swimming, tennis, ball playing, running are allowed, participating in such while wearing a skirt and bun is such a hardship or nuisance that they are often eliminated altogether.
Some Workers have said that if an activity requires slacks to preserve modesty, then 2x2 women should "deny themselves that pleasure." When Eldon Tenniswood was asked what would be appropriate apparel for girls to wear skiing, bicycling, horseback riding, jogging, etc., he replied, "Some things are pretty hard to do and be a Christian, and if you don't deny yourself anything, it is pretty hard to fulfill Scripture. 'If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.' "
Countless teenage girls have been humiliated, ashamed and crushed when they were forced to take Physical Education (aka P.E. or gym) at school wearing a dress or shorts with a skirt over them. One woman told how humiliated she was to have to wear a dress to school on "Free Dress Day," when all the other girls wore jeans. Another reported, "I was told to stop hanging off the monkey bars because people could see my undies due to the dress I had to wear." Similar shameful experiences are indelibly embedded in many 2x2 women's Hall of Shame.
Compulsory skirts or dresses and buns for girls are also harmful emotionally, and their personalities are sometimes affected by these man-made, unwritten rules. They limit girls' abilities to develop physical and sporting skills, increase girls' vulnerability to sexual harassment, increase the time and energy girls have to use to maintain their hairdos and adjust clothing so they do not display their underwear and bodies. Wearing a skirt often makes it difficult to modestly participate in both harmless and required activities. This practice limits girls' career choices, in that it steers girls away from occupations and careers involving physical skill and strength.
In the Millennium, only approximately 20% of children ages 5-17 years are achieving the recommended 60 active minutes a day. Children need to be encouraged to reduce sitting time and to spend more time moving. Lack of daily exercise can lead to chronic diseases, particularly Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Doctors encourage their patients to live lifestyles that are more active which will keep these health statistics down.
In a talk about dress in the women's dorm at Convention, an older Wisconsin Sister Worker said that as long as women's restrooms are designated by a picture of a skirted woman, professing females are to continue to wear skirts.
Brother Worker Dennis Falb asked, "Why would any professing woman want to do that? Haven't you noticed how awful some women look in slacks? Most women wearing them do not sit ladylike." In a Young Peoples Meeting, Harry Johnson, Head Worker of Minnesota, informed 2x2 females they were not to wear slacks because "they showed off the whole back forty."
Spoken in an Australian Mission, "women were becoming so much like men, wearing trousers, cutting their hair short, that when the children in the Meeting grow up, they won't be able to tell the women from the men." A Sister Worker replied, "Why would we wear pants if we could also wear a skirt?"
A few years prior to and after the Millennium, many 2x2 females started disregarding the Workers' prohibition against wearing slacks, jeans, shorts, etc., and started wearing them for various activities and work, especially teachers and those in the health profession. Few are brave (or rebellious) enough to wear them when Workers are present or to Meetings. Currently, there are many photographs on Facebook of the younger generation pushing the boundaries by wearing jeans, makeup, some jewelry and their hair down.
It is high time Workers review their Scripture interpretations, reevaluate and update their outdated traditions. It would be an act of kindness and compassion for Workers to openly announce from the platform that they have lifted their traditions regarding women's appearance; and to turn that responsibility over to the person it concerns. If they do not, in all likelihood it will not be very long before their antiquated traditions are ignored. Most folks have an inner conscience to guide them, and they are not at peace when the Worker's traditions are not aligned with it.
DENIM: The history of denim and jeans is colorful, going from workwear to high fashion. Jeans are trousers/slacks made from denim or dungaree fabric. They were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873, (see History of Jeans and Denim). Between 1930 and 1950, denim transitioned from being functional working clothes to casual fashion and even glamour. Jeans have made their mark on the culture of the last two centuries.
Men's denim jeans did not become a common component of fashion until taken up by famous youths of the 1950s, such as Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, James Dean, who along with Marilyn Monroe, were the first youth icons to wear jeans. The Hollywood designers portrayed bad-guy characters in movies wearing denim jeans, and they soon became a symbol representing the radical counterculture. For a time, jeans were a form of rebellion, signifying youth in revolt, outrage and aggression. Brando, often in total bad-boy roles (think biker), wore Levi 501s and a black leather jacket.
For a time, denim jeans were banned in American schools from coast to coast, which only added to the fervor with which teenagers embraced them. Currently in Australia and New Zealand, they continue to be banned from schools and also Meetings, but some states are lifting the bans or are in process of doing so.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, denim became common casual wear for both sexes. American women began squeezing into tight denim jeans in the late 1970s. By retooling Levi jeans into formfitting pants with fancy stitching and big labels, the designer jean craze was launched, with Vanderbilt selling 6 million pairs in 1979. See also Designer Jean History.
2x2s AND DENIM: When denim skirts became fashionable in the 1970-80s, Sister Worker Lois McKnight told the Kansas 2x2 women not to wear them because they were too much like men's apparel. Some Workers referred to denim as "devil's material." Eventually, after denim became commonly worn in the world, 2x2s also began to wear it as casual attire.
Around 1995-96, some male 2x2s went to a Tasmanian Convention wearing dress denim jeans and were not allowed to wait tables, yet female 2x2s were allowed to do so wearing denim skirts. A short time later (1995-96) at a Victorian Convention, a husband and wife waited on the Workers' table wearing stone wash jeans and a jean skirt. Tasmania and Victoria share the same Workers, but the Friends in Tasmania live by stricter rules than the Victorian Friends.
In the 1990s, a local Head Worker took pride in saying that Australia does not necessarily do as the U.S. does. In the late 1970s, NSW Australia Sister Worker Elaine Wilson boasted that no female in her field would wear a denim drill skirt. Currently in 2017, many Australian Friends are wearing denim, and some females are having denim skirts custom made by tailors, as they are rarely available in stores.
Ken Paginton stated: "The bravest boy or girl today is the one who stands up for Christ; even in the way you dress, you can confess Christ. I know of one girl at school who was the only one not wearing jeans. That takes courage, and it puts character into you. It also gets the approval of God" (Pukekohe 2, New Zealand Convention, 1981).
An Elder remarked, "I saw a (2x2 young female) walking down the street in jeans and I couldn't tell her apart from any other worldly girl!"
ADORNMENT — JEWELRY: Another 2x2 tradition is that their women do not wear jewelry, with a few exceptions. This taboo began in the very early days of the 2x2 Church, but (surprise!) it was NOT due to Queen Victoria, who wore expensive jewelry. The "no jewelry" rule was derived from the Workers' interpretation of two Scripture passages:
1 Timothy 2:9, "that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but with good works."
1 Peter 3:3-4, "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
Concerning jewelry in the above verses, the Workers have not taken into consideration that the writers were using an idiom to minimize one thing and emphasize another. An idiom is a distinctive manner of speaking used by a particular people or language. Peter's idiom placed the emphasis on the inward adorning, but did not forbid outward adornment. He was saying that what is on the inside is what counts.
Today Peter's idiom could be expressed by the parallelism "not only...but also," as in, "Let not a woman's adorning be (only) that of outward things, such as fixing her hair, wearing gold or pearls, or apparel, but let it (also) be the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit." John used this same type idiom: "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed" (1 John 3:18), meaning, "Let us not love in word (only), but (also/rather) in deed." John was not forbidding words expressing love.
The Workers not only prohibited jewelry made of gold, pearls or costly gems, but also costume jewelry accessories, including silver, and inexpensive gemstones. The 2x2 females do not wear rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, finger/toe rings, etc. Neither sex wears school rings. In other words, all body decoration without a useful function was taboo.
An eight year old girl was the only one in her class whose ears were not pierced, and she badly wanted to get her ears pierced. Her 2x2 mother read the above verses to her. The little girl said, "That's fine. I'll only wear silver or painted earrings." Eventually her parents allowed her to have her ears pierced, as they felt "guarding her heart" against bitterness was more important than two holes in her ears. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Prov. 4:23). Harry Brownlee said if she were his daughter, he would tell her she could do what she wanted after she left home, but not until then. This faulty reasoning is called the Fallacy of Time. Piercing her ears when she was 18 years old would never make up for the pain of being the "odd man out" in the present.
A brooch is an ornamental pin that can be worn at the neck. In some areas, 2x2 women are allowed to wear them because they can be useful to fasten a neckline for modesty. However, many 2x2 women wear them as decoration and some have sizeable collections. For years, brooches and watches were the only permissible pieces of jewelry other than the wedding ring, and this was not the case in all areas. Later, various pretty shiny objects (hair jewelry) appeared in many 2x2 women's hairdos. Cuff links and modest tie pins were acceptable in some areas, as were sweater clips, since they all had useful functions and were not solely for decoration.
In their early days, wedding rings were discarded or not purchased (more details in Marriage section below). However, fabric scarves and neckties are deemed acceptable adornment. Although some 2x2s may have acquired tattoos prior to professing, the majority do not sport tattoos or pierce their bodies, at least not where they would be visible.
POCKET & WRIST WATCHES: The first arm watches were worn almost exclusively by women and were considered a feminine accessory, known as wristlets. The first recorded wristwatch was designed for the Queen of Naples in 1810, and the second for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1869.
Originally, America viewed wristwatches as a fad or passing fancy for European women that would soon die out. They were thought to be impossibly inaccurate because of their size and something as likely for a gentleman to wear as a skirt, but that changed drastically after the outbreak of WWI in 1914.
Men continued to use pocket watches until the early 20th century. Louis Cartier designed the first men's wristwatch for a pilot friend in 1904, but they did not catch on. Wristwatches on men were first worn by military men towards the end of the 19th century. In WWI ( 1914-1918) , soldiers found it more convenient to be able to look at their wrist to tell the time than to dig in their pocket for a pocket watch. Some practical soldiers began strapping their watches to their wrists. Watch manufacturers began making "strap watches" for men. In 1917, the British War Department began issuing them to combatants. By the end of WWI, most all enlisted men wore them.
The impact of WWI dramatically shifted public perceptions on the propriety of the man's wristwatch, and opened up a mass market in the post-war era. Between 1920 and 1930, men's strap watches were re-branded as wristwatches, and went from being a utility item to a stylish men's accessory worn by nearly every man in uniform and by many men in civilian attire. By 1930, the ratio of wristwatches to pocket watches was 50 to 1.
In 1905, Wilsdorf & Davis who would later adopt the trade name Rolex, began experimenting with wristwatches, and created a small number of silver models for ladies and gentlemen with leather bands. After they were enormously successful, they prepared a larger number of watches, and soon they added gold models. Flexible metal watch bands were invented in 1906.
2x2s AND WATCHES: Since a timepiece served a useful purpose, and was not merely for decoration, 2x2s were permitted to wear them. In their early days, 2x2 women wore silver watches (no gold) on ribbons around their necks or carried them in their pockets. See TTT Photo Gallery examples No. 1 — No. 2 — No. 3 — No. 4
When wristwatches became stylish and popular in the world, the Workers thought as the Americans did, that wristwatches were just a worldly fad, and so they continued doing what they had been doing, using pocket watches on fobs or ribbons. However, by 1925 some Workers were wearing wrist watches on leather bands.
After WWII, in the 1950s, both 2x2 male and females were comfortably wearing plain silver wrist watches without gemstones. Currently, 2x2s wear most any style of plain wrist watch and band—expanding, gold, silver, inexpensive, costly, with or without gemstones, bracelet style, etc.
Overseer Paul Sharp said, "I do not like to see trends of some things amongst God's people, such as makeup, jewelry and games. We don't want to see law have to be used. We need clean homes, not videos. You folks will have to decide whether we have to use the rod" (Glen Valley, BC Canada Convention, 1988*).
DRINKING AND TOBACCO: Like the Faith Mission, who did not accept Workers who used tobacco or drank alcoholic liquor, the 2x2 Workers also abstained from their very start. A 1903 newspaper reported that: "The pilgrims are total abstainers both from intoxicating drink and tobacco. A Mr. Donaldson, of Derrygonnelly, who professes to be 'saved' since he joined the body, has also as a matter of conscience, given up the sale of tobacco, in which he had had a turnover of £700 a year. He believes it to be a sin to smoke or to sell the tobacco..." (Impartial Reporter,January 15, 1903).
It is rather remarkable that the early Workers from the UK and Ireland who crossed the Atlantic Ocean to North America enforced a prohibition against drinking alcoholic beverages among their converts. On the other hand , most early Workers who ventured across the English Channel to Europe took the philosophy "When in Rome do as the Romans do," and allowed their converts to drink alcoholic beverages, and did so themselves to this very day. In spite of the fact that both Matthew and Luke recorded that Jesus was called a winebibber (Luke 7:34), Andrew Abernethy said, "anyone who lets alcohol touch their lips is none of us."
An ex-Worker who visited in 2x2 homes in Europe, remarked that "the same God obviously had given completely different guidelines to different messengers in different lands...After all, had I not sat around tables in France, in Italy, or in Germany and Greece while the Workers uncorked the bottles of wine and, after helping themselves to a sip or two, passed them around in order that the rest of us could fill our goblets as well? I had" (In Vain They do Worship by Willis Young).
"In August 1969, I came home to Canada [from Europe]...I had forgotten that Canadians did not dare to drink a glass of wine with their dinners...I had forgotten that Canadian and American Workers, when they went abroad to preach, left their inhibitions and prohibitions behind them in North America and had a bottle or two of beer 'for their stomachs' [sakes] and their oft infirmities' when they were running around Europe...I had forgotten a lot of things, hadn't I?" ( In Vain They do Worship by Willis Young).
An American 2x2 couple were visiting Italy. The night before Special Meeting, the Workers invited them to have dinner at the home where the Meeting would be held. Two American Workers were there, Virginia Micheletti and Nick Enrietta, five other Workers and some Friends, making about 14 altogether at the dinner table, upon which sat about seven bottles of wine.
"After the blessing, Nick started pouring everyone a glass of wine. As we were going for the third refill, Virginia said to my wife, 'When we have visitors here from the states, I try to be careful not to drink too much in front of them.' Now, that was very considerate of her! When dinner was over, we visited awhile and then we went to bed. I said to my wife, 'Do they have a different God and a different heaven over here than we have back in the states?' They had a huge house and about 30 people came for the Special Meeting in their living room. They called us into the dining room to eat lunch buffet style and on the table stood about 15 bottles of wine. Now, that was something to behold!" (Tom and Geraldine Schroeder*).
There is no New Testament Scripture that condemns the temperate use of alcoholic beverages by Christians. Paul did not write the Ephesians that they should not drink wine. He said, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). This is very close to the admonition that believers should be "moderate in all things" and "temperate in all our ways," which is a far cry from total abstinence.
Wine is mentioned throughout the entire Bible. Clean drinking water was somewhat difficult to obtain, coming from a few wells, springs and cisterns holding rainwater. Since there were many excellent vineyards all over the Palestinian countryside, along with numerous herds of goats, "milk and wine" were the usual beverages. It is doubtful that it would have occurred to anyone that it was a sin to drink wine. Had Jesus drank only water and milk, he would hardly have been called a "drinker" or a "winebibber." Would Jesus have turned six water pots into wine the governor found quite tasty, if he had disapproved of drinking wine?
Moderation and temperance seem also to be two of the leading requirements or qualifications of an Elder. In 1 Timothy 3:2-3 Paul said a bishop must be "sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine... " Paul did not direct Timothy to choose only those who were abstainers or teetotalers.
For a time, some Workers instructed the Friends to not even eat in restaurants where alcohol was served. When Brother Worker Jim Brown ( in his '80s) was preaching at the Seneca, Illinois Convention, he told about a time he and three other Workers went to a restaurant. He asked the hostess if they served wine. They did. Jim told her they would have to find another place to eat, as they could not eat in a place where wine was present. He advised the audience, "You had better do the same thing. If a restaurant serves wine, you should not eat there."
Having considered the Scripture passage encouraging temperance, many of the Friends have figured out that moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages is not and never was a sin. Some drink moderately and currently, and it is not unheard of for wine to be served with meals in the U.S., even with Workers present. The potential abuse does not invalidate the proper use.
It is interesting that in 1920, William Irvine wrote a letter regretting his stand prohibiting drinking and smoking and was convinced it caused many to stumble. He wrote, "we gravely misrepresented our God in the way we treated the use of wines and tobacco. It had no more to do with the Gospel than the color of a man's hair or the smell of onions...all the words I have spoken against drink and tobacco...now I know they were of the Devil, while I thought they were of God when I spoke them" (to Alfred Magowan, Dec. 13, 1920).
ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION: While not universal, the following have been taboo at one time, and may or may not be so presently: playing team sports, smoking, drinking, gambling, dancing, bowling, skating, and attending sports games, parties, concerts, races, plays, movies and fairs. Guns, hunting wild game and fishing were permissible, as they have a legitimate purpose to provide food.
Sports outside of school hours was condemned because "Bodily exercise profiteth little," (KJV). The NIV reads "For physical training is of some value" (1 Tim. 4:8). Their taboo on arts and sports was justified with 1 John 2:15-17. " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
MOVIES (aka motion pictures, picture shows, cinemas, theater: From the 1920s through 1940s, movies and radio were the chief forms of entertainment for Americans. From the time the 2x2 Sect began, movies were frowned on. "We have recognized that moving picture shows are a poor diet for the children of God." For a time, educational documentary films, whether a children's cartoon, a classic movie of children's books like Pollyanna, Little Women, Bambi, Old Yeller or Huckleberry Finn were all considered the same—"worldly and of the devil." Some parents sent notes to school requesting their children be excused from watching any films. However, in some areas, attending plays, musicals, concerts, circuses, etc. was permissible, and some 2x2 teens participated in their annual school plays or musicals. Many 2x2 teenagers and adults attended movies in spite of the unwritten restrictions against them.
"Going to the movies, or, as I grew up hearing it, to a 'picture show,' was always disallowed, and it still is. I got away with watching films at school, but that was because they were for educational purposes only, and I was never supposed to derive any real pleasure from them, or admit to any, lest I be lured to the local cinema by the lasciviousness of Hollywood . A few tales floated around about certain individuals who had been seen trying to creep covertly into a theater here or there, and I even heard one amusing story about one couple being caught sneaking in by another couple sneaking in!" (In Vain They Do Worship by Willis Young).
Brother Worker Fred Kinglake said, "We don't go to shows or ball games, etc. because we don't feel at home there, not because we are not allowed to go" (Picton Convention, June 23, 1950).
Eldon Tenniswood said, "We just question anyone's salvation who would desire these things (movies, plays, masquerade parties, mock weddings, rock concerts); they are feeding on flesh."
Speaking about entertainment such as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, circuses, ice follies, Rose Bowl parade, sports events, etc. Eldon Tenniswood said, "If we are walking in the Spirit or being guided by the Holy Spirit, we will feel very uncomfortable in a place of worldly entertainment, and it would be best to heed the warning of the Spirit..." (1975 California Elders Meeting). However, many Friends apparently did not feel uncomfortable, paid no heed and continued to take their children to visit these harmless places of amusement.
Dancing has been banned from the beginning of the 2x2 Sect. They f ear dancing could be a potential gateway to immoral behavior. F ew teenagers have been allowed to participate in the school prom, banquets, dances and many other school social functions. However, the Old Testament states there is "a time to dance," and contains several references to dancing. Some are in connection with praising and giving glory to God. The happy father of the prodigal son held a feast with "music and dancing" (Luke 15:11-32). "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances" (Ex. 15:20). Let us not forget King David dancing in the streets (2 Sam. 6:16). When this inconsistency is pointed out to Workers, some claim dancing is not really wrong, but it is "the company that is present" or "what it may lead to." And, "If Jesus came back while you were there, do you think He would look for his children at a dancehall?"
Jack Carroll asked, "What would you think of a child of God who would attend a Bible Study on Wednesday evening and a movie picture on Thursday evening?...He gave Himself for us, not only that He might deliver us from our sins but also from this present evil world, from the dance hall, from the roller-skating rink, from every place that would rob us of the peace of God" (Hayden Lake, Idaho Convention. June, 1949).
Ed Cornock said, "I have been asked, "Should young people who profess to serve God, go to the dances and movies?" If you do not know the right answer to this question, you do not know much. You come to Meetings and mingle your voices with others of God's children,,,but your words are not true, because you go out from there to indulge in all kinds of worldliness...Why should such a person even think of taking part in Meetings when he has no testimony to give?" (1965 Denver Convention).
The Workers do not say much about gambling or horse races. One man would not allow playing cards in his home lest his boys turn to gambling. Some children's games using special cards are permissible, but games like bridge, canasta, rummy, poker, cribbage, solitaire, etc. are all considered the devil's handiwork. Playing cards and dice are associated with gambling and the "appearance of evil," and some 2x2s, but not all, do not play games that use them. Spinners were sometimes substituted for dice in board games.
For a time, the Workers discouraged reading novels, romance, fiction books or magazines, although the Reader's Digest and National Geographic were permissible in some areas.
Howard Money said, "Everyone can see the danger of the bad evil—drinking, and gambling, and carousing...But there are more good evils than bad evils. A good evil is just anything that hinders you from praying, from reading your Bible or going to Meeting or writing that letter...and you are too busy to do it. The thing that is making you too busy is a good evil. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, 'See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil'...Sometimes there are pleasures in the world that in themselves are harmless, but they can hinder your relationship with God " (1970 Great Falls Special Meeting).
SWIMMING: Some 2x2 girls were not allowed to wear swim suits or go to public swimming pools. In Louisiana , swimming was permissible in private; e.g. a lake, creek or ocean, provided females wore a dress or skirt with safety pins holding the front and back of the skirt together between the legs so it would not balloon up. Meanwhile in Hawaii in the 1960s, 2x2 girls wore bikinis to the beach.
SUNDAY: Sunday is a day of rest for most 2x2s, from one of the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," although it is not actually the Sabbath, which was Saturday. There was not to be any engaging in work or pleasure on Sunday, including yard work, washing car, hair or laundry, car/home repairs, sewing or needlework, sports, housework, other than getting the home ready for Meeting. Exceptions were made for exceptional situations, such as when one's "ox fell into the ditch" (Luke 14:5). No shopping on Sunday was allowed in some areas. Up until the 1970s, due to the U.S. Blue Law, most stores were closed on Sunday, so shopping was neither a temptation nor possible. Cooking, driving, writing letters and visiting other Friends and Workers were the usual acceptable pastimes. Some played board games and read the Sunday newspaper, while others did not.
Workers urged, "Don't make Sunday a fun day." Jack Carroll said, "The child of God should spend Sunday in quietness and in rest. Not running around." Jack Carroll asked, "What would you think of a child of God who, on the first day of the week, went fishing or hunting, or to a baseball game, or engaged in other games? Such behavior 'becometh not the Gospel of Christ' " (Hayden Lake, Idaho Convention, June, 1949).
Many children were not allowed to go out of their homes on Saturday evening. Instead, they were supposed to busy themselves getting ready for the Sunday Meeting. Eldon Tenniswood said it was absolutely not OK ("tragic") to attend gatherings or have dates on Saturday night. Instead, "You can be getting ready for the Meeting Sunday morning, trying to get a little bit from the Lord to feed God's people in the Sunday morning Meeting. It is tragic to spend your evening any other way, unless you have to work" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
Willis Young wrote, "I remember when I was a very young child, all the shoes had to be cleaned and polished on Saturday evening and could not be left until Sunday morning. My grandmother always maintained that that would be 'breaking the Sabbath.' Similarly, so would splitting the kindling to start the fire in the old wood stove...all the cooking and baking, had to be done by Saturday night, and then it was just a matter of getting the fire going and warming up the food on Sunday...No one should enter into or conduct any business deals" (In Vain do they Worship by Willis Young).
MUSIC: Many 2x2s have pianos and organs in their homes, but they are not played during Fellowship Meetings; only in Gospel Meetings. Many children excelled in playing these two instruments, which were Worker approved recreation, since this skill could be used in Gospel Meetings. Some Workers warned against playing secular music and believed 2x2s should play or listen only to hymns. A Canadian Worker told an older Australian woman to get rid of her piano because she played tunes like "Somewhere My Love." Sister Worker Effie Moore said that playing fast music was like dancing, where you move your feet fast; therefore, making your fingers go fast on the piano was equally sinful.
EDUCATION: Early Workers born before 1880 may have had little education. School attendance did not become compulsory for children until 1880 in Scotland and England between ages 5-10; and in 1892 in Ireland between ages 6-14.
William Irvine attended four years of grade school and began his first job at age eight. Between the ages of 20-30, he resumed his education at night school, and also attended two years of John Anderson Bible College in Glasgow. Ed Cooney attended school until age 14, and then became an apprentice in the Cooney family drapery business. George Walker was a lay Methodist preacher and John Long had a Methodist Preacher Certificate. Jack and May Carroll went to work in their family business in Nenagh as teenagers, possibly at age 14. Apprenticeships were generally for four years
At the turn of the 20th century in Great Britain , the idea was prevalent among Roman Catholics and Protestants, especially Episcopalians, that no man should be a preacher unless he had a college education and was ordained. So right from their start, in introducing themselves, the Workers had a few hurdles to overcome. They had no church name, no theological education or training, no organization backing them, no headquarters, no preacher certificate or Letter of Commendation. Here is a glimpse of how they were perceived by the world:
"A Presbyterian student requires seven years to prepare him for the pulpit; a Church of Ireland student requires six years; a Methodist probationer requires four years, and he does not require a degree, but a Pilgrim [Worker] can obtain all the preparation he or she wants without any years of study at all. That subject which occupies the best thoughts of men and perplexes the minds of the ablest at times, these neophytes fancy they can master in a few minutes..."This young man or young woman spends four years of apprenticeship in learning properly how to weigh tea or sugar, and measure ribbon or pack up paper. Four years! And though four years be required for that trifle, they think that without any preparation, without the necessary foundation of an education, and careful preparation for at least as much time as is given to learning how to sell tea or linen, they are competent to teach the subject of all others which requires the very best information, and the most careful study.
"Is it not absurd on the face of it? That these men and women of little education, and no training, having served no apprenticeship to the study of God's Word, while they do serve three or four years to a worldly calling—should be able to teach and expound what tasks the greatest minds of the century" (Impartial Reporter, Jan. 29, 1903).
Lack of education, certification and ordination are still problematic for current Workers, and prevents many audiences from giving serious consideration to their message. These same obstacles are encountered repeatedly and are difficult to overcome. It was no secret that Irvine, Cooney, Willie Gill and other early Workers despised college educated clergymen, and they openly condemned them in very derogatory terms which were publicized by reporters.
The Workers point out: That Jesus did not attend seminary, nor did he send His Apostles to seminary to be educated, nor are there New Testament instructions that ministers should receive any type of education. That Jesus did not choose the 12 apostles for their brains or education. That " For ye see...how that not many wise men after the flesh...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise" (1 Cor. 1:27). That God can inspire anyone and give them a/the revelation. That "God has hidden things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes." That after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit "shall teach you all things" (John 14:26). That a preacher does not need seminary education to "know God." That the apostles continued following Jesus example of training disciples, the younger learning from the older (Timothy, Titus, Silas, John Mark, Luke, etc.). Following are examples of how some Workers have justified their position:
From the platform at the Crocknacrieve Convention in 1908, "William Irvine challenged anyone to give him a text to prove that a man should be a clergyman or to get a college education to become one. Paul, he said, went to college and he came out a persecutor of Jesus and his way. The clergymen of the present also went to college, and came out a persecutor of Jesus and his way." Irvine continued to pour contempt on the "RP&E" (Religion, Politics and Education) in numerous letters after his excommunication (Impartial Reporter, Jan. 30, 1908, p.8).
Bill Carroll said, "You talk about your colleges, schools, theological seminaries to fit men for the work of God—they have only produced false prophets that do not understand the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, disobedient in their manner of life" (Hayden Lake, Idaho, 1939).
Willie Jamieson said, "Sometimes people ask me where I got my education, but I haven't got it yet...When God's Spirit is upon a man, he has gotten everything he needs to have."
Frank Tyson, Overseer of Iowa in the 1970s in Gospel Meeting talked about "educated saps," without regard for those in attendance who were educated, as well as his young companion, who was a college graduate.
On the other hand, Paul (aka Saul) was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a notable Jewish rabbi (teacher), and the disciples were not all "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13) as some thought. It is true, they were not as religiously educated as the Pharisees and possibly none of the 12 had attended the elite rabbinical schools in the temple. However, it is not accurate to say that they were illiterate (could not read or write), or that they never learned under any teachers.
According to the Mishnah, the Apostles would have begun studying Scripture, "at five years old [one is fit] for the Scripture, at ten years the Mishnah (oral Torah, interpretations) at thirteen for the fulfilling of the commandments, at fifteen the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations), at eighteen the bride chamber, at twenty pursuing a vocation, at thirty for authority (able to teach others)."
The early teaching focused primarily on the Torah (first five books of the Bible), emphasizing both reading and writing Scripture. Large portions were memorized and many students knew the entire Torah by memory by the time they had completed this level of education. A few exceptional students became teachers. The central place Scripture had in education in Galilee is discussed in this link.
It seems the Workers' antipathy for educated clergymen spilled over into blanket, general condemnation of all higher education. Diverting the average 2x2 away from higher education and outside information reinforced their dependency on the Workers' interpretations. In addition, deriding education appealed to the less educated audiences among whom the early Workers preached, and among whom they had the most success in recruiting.
Long ago, some 2x2 parents did not allow their children to go past grade school, until compulsory education laws forced attendance. Some were put over the barrel and made to "choose between heaven and high school." Some 2x2s warned the younger generation of the evils of education. Marti Knight wrote, "I felt cold fury over being prevented from using my scholarships—based on Worker preachments and hearty member acceptance that 'worldly knowledge' was worse than useless, it was corrupting. In fact, intelligence was suspect. 'Look what happened to Solomon' was a mantra I heard often"
Some Workers viewed higher education as "worldly" and as a dangerous distraction from the proper place the Friends should occupy. In a college or university environment, students are exposed to all sorts of people and viewpoints, where monitoring may not be possible by parents, Workers, Elders and the 2x2 community. Education takes a young person out of the 2x2 cocoon and thrusts them into a situation where they are challenged to think critically and expected to learn to evaluate fresh facts and ideas. It was feared that young 2x2s being exposed to philosophy might lose their faith in God or the 2x2 Sect. Even in the 1970s in some Eastern U.S. states (Indiana), men seeking higher education were looked down on. Some Workers discounted, derided and cautioned against education for 2x2s.
Brother Worker, Sproulie Denio said, "There is an awful lot to try the faith of God's people. When I think of those in the colleges and universities and what is taught, there it is a marvel some can go through those institutes and places of higher learning and yet cling onto faith" (Dandenong, Australia, 1962).
Jack Carroll said, "The Bible is our doctrine. We get our doctrine on our knees. We don't believe in headucation, but heartucation."
George Walker said, "The greatest thing in life is to get to know God. What is there in college today? Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge! But what kind of knowledge? The important knowledge is to fit us for the world to come. This is life eternal, to know God" (Special Meeting, March 18, 1973).
Andrew Abernethy said, "One grain of God-given faith is worth more than all the concentrated learning of all the colleges and universities on the face of the earth. It helps us to learn how to live and how to die" (Salmon Arm, B.C., 1963).
LEGACY OF THE AMERICAN G. I. BILL: Those born after World War II, between 1946 and 1964, are referred to as Baby Boomers. Many Baby Boomer men served in the Vietnam War which ended April 30, 1975. In the Vietnam Era, a second G.I. Bill was enacted in 1966 under the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act with the intent to help veterans readjust to civilian life following active service to their country.
One benefit of the G.I. Bill made education affordable, and 72% of the returning Vietnam War veterans used it to better educate themselves. This caused a massive spike in the numbers of Americans attending college. This shift in the educational attainment of American males had a significant impact on Baby Boomer veterans, the higher education system and society at large.
The G.I. Bill and its resulting massive influx of veterans into the educational system radically adjusted American's perceptions of the university system, and those who attended. Before the war, American colleges were characteristically small, private, elite, and were seen as catering to the upper crust, with little to offer the average American citizen. That perception changed after the G.I. Bill made higher education both accessible to the average G.I. Joe and a useful tool for career advancement. It was a vehicle for working class Americans to pursue a level of economic comfort that would have been unavailable otherwise.
A sizeable number of 2x2 men were drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. There were 165 young 2x2 men stationed at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, at the same time. In the 1960s, after their discharge, a large number of returning 2x2 Baby Boomer veterans took advantage of the G.I. bill subsidy to further their education. Some 2x2 men who had never considered attending a university decided to do so, which enabled them to obtain new careers and better jobs. In turn, the viewpoint of the Friends and Workers changed considerably and obtaining a degree became acceptable and the norm. It seems the military helped black stocking to be discarded, introduced wrist watches and enabled higher education to become permissible.
Eventually there was a complete turnabout and during the 1990s, the Overseers in the U.S. started asking those who volunteered for the Work to complete their college degrees and work a few years before going into the Work. Previous employment enabled new Workers to be eligible for Social Security retirement, death, disability and Medicare benefits.
OCCUPATIONS: Employment of any profession that might restrict the Friends' ability to attend Wednesday night and Sunday Meetings was discouraged, except for those in medical occupations. In the U.S. , for a time, the concept of men "working with their hands," rather than their brains, was promoted. Until the 1990s, 2x2s were discouraged from careers in politics, law, sports, music, arts, acting or the entertainment industry, law enforcement, the military or any job that required bearing arms. However, in more recent years, a number of 2x2s have become attorneys, a few judges and some have held city offices, such as a mayor. A career as a woman's hairdresser was not approved, but it was permissible for a 2x2 man to be a barber.
Until the 1970s, in many areas, tertiary education for young 2x2 women was considered a waste.
They were expected to go in the work, marry another 2x2 or remain single.
For a time, the common occupations approved for women that required higher education were teaching, nursing and secretarial. However, their employment was viewed as a stopgap until they married, started a family and become an at-home mother. Young women were taught their place was to be "keepers of the home," and there was a pressure on mothers to stay at home with their children and not work out of the home. This let up around the 1990s, when it became necessary for some to have two incomes to support a family of four.
MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, REMARRIAGE, WEDDINGS, COURTING/DATING, PRE-MARITAL SEX and ABORTION: By 1909, the early Convention seating arrangements had changed. "In former years the people sat anywhere in the spacious tent without distinction of sex, but on Sunday, the women sat on the right and the men on the left" (Impartial Reporter, Aug. 12, 1909, p. 5). The separation of sexes, including spouses, was enforced in both the dining and Meeting tents. This created difficulty for mothers who were expected to keep several small children fed and quiet, some while holding an infant in one arm.
The Workers also brought the separation of sex policy to Friends in some other countries. In the 1950s in Mississippi and Alabama, there was mixed seating in the Meeting tent, but the sexes were separated in the dining tent. This practice was not discontinued in the Southern U.S. until the 1980s when some young parents along with some wives of Convention ground owners and their relatives took matters into their own hands, and began sitting with their husbands in the dining tent. Others soon followed suit.
It is no secret that the Workers believe the highest and best place in life is to become a Worker. The dire need of more men and women to go into the harvest field (the Work) has frequently been mentioned at Conventions. The highest ranking positions for Friends in the 2x2 Sect are those who host a Fellowship Meeting in their home, host an annual Convention on their property, operate residential facilities for inactive Workers unable for the work, provide the Workers with a vehicle, and those who have an "open home."
DATING/COURTING: For many years, Workers, and especially those in the U.S. Southern states, had a dismal view of dating and marriage, even though without marriage, there would be no open homes, meals or wheels for them. They also discouraged young people from getting to know each other before marriage. Their goal was for young people to offer for the harvest field. Some couples secretly dated and kept their marriage plans private until after they were wed.
For awhile, Conventions were the only opportunity where some 2x2 youth could meet potential mates. If nothing clicked in those four days, they had to wait another year for the next opportunity, causing some to hop from Convention to Convention in hopes of finding possible mates. Even though opportunities to meet were often scarce, some Workers felt strongly that "Convention is not a place for courting."
Some Workers have been more understanding than others. In Oregon sometime between 1975--1982, Overseer Howard Mooney, made the decision to allow people, and especially parents of young people, to attend any Convention they wanted to in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana, so young 2x2s could meet and mate with other 2x2s, rather than with their cousins and outsiders. Attending Conventions was a good way to facilitate supervised matchmaking. Before that time, Convention hopping was not allowed in some areas.
On the other hand, at a 1970s Jackson, Mississippi Convention, Brother Worker Charles Pfuhl chastised a young teenage couple from out of state for what he mistook as "courting." The young man exclaimed, "Do you mean I can't even talk to my SISTER?" When Tom Schroeder and his pretty 17-year-old sister were talking at Convention, a zealous Brother Worker warned Tom, "No deer [dear] hunting allowed on these grounds, do you understand?"
In some places, the young 2x2 male and female teenagers were not allowed to sit together at Convention, even engaged couples. Before email/internet, after Convention, many young 2x2 couples exchanged letters and some eventually married with few physical encounters. For example, the Author's parents met briefly at a Sunday Meeting, wrote letters through WWII and visited once after the war. The third time they saw each other was when they married.
Those who do not find a marriage partner within the Sect are expected to remain single all their lives, as Paul recommended in 1 Cor. 7:7, 8 and 34. Marrying within the Sect can be a challenge, since there are far more unmarried females than males. In the U.S. , the ratio for the past 30 years of single 2x2 females to males has been estimated to be about 60/40. Wars have been somewhat responsible for the surplus of 2x2 females. At times, some Workers ( Scotland , U.S. ) have suggested marriage partners for some unmarried 2x2s and have helped arrange marriages.
OUTSIDERS: Members are expected to marry each other based on 2 Cor. 6:14,"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" Marriages of unequally yoked persons creates a "divided home."
Workers strongly discourage 2x2s from dating "a worldly person, because you just never can tell where that might will lead." Unmarried, available Outsiders are "forbidden fruit" or "infidels" and dating one usually incurs strong disapproval, which may arrive in the form of a stern talk by a Worker.
Some Workers enforce this standard by not allowing anyone dating an outsider to participate in Meetings, which has produced secrecy in dating. By Workers showing their disapproval, it is hoped the person will reconsider and break off the relationship. The restriction puts members on notice they are misbehaving, are a bad example, and hopefully will discourage others from getting involved with outsiders. The Workers attempt to keep the 2x2 youth from "going down into Egypt to find a mate." After marriage, there is a 50-50 chance the outsider will convert.
The usual punishment for marrying an outsider is that the disobedient member is restricted from speaking, praying or taking communion in Fellowship Meetings for a time determined by the Worker in charge, often for a period of one year. When the restriction is lifted, their privileges are reinstated, even though they are still living with the same infidel they were punished for marrying. There is no Scripture supporting this temporary ban in participation. Some Workers have indicated the ban purpose is to shame the "unequally yoked" (a sin of commission) and deter the unmarried from following in their footsteps.
MARRIAGE CEREMONIES: The Workers found no Scripture where Jesus or the Apostles ever performed a marriage ceremony and took the position that marriage was a civil ceremony. So they do not perform marriage ceremonies. Due to the Sect's attitude toward church buildings and ordained ministers, most 2x2 marriage ceremonies were performed at the courthouse by a Judge or Justice of Peace, and it was unthinkable for a "worldly" minister to officiate. More recently, in California , and perhaps other states, an adult can be temporarily deputized to officiate at marriage. Some Elders or Friends have done so.
2x2s have not followed a consistent format worldwide for weddings since the time this Sect was started. For a time, it appeared that 2x2s continued to have ceremonies in the manner they were accustomed to in their area and culture, except they were never held in a church building or performed by a minister. As the Workers groped their way toward more light, more rules emerged. At the Workers Meeting after the Almonte, Convention, the Workers were directed by the Overseer, Andrew Abernethy, to go out and put an end to any confusion about, or any opposition to, the rules for weddings that he and some others had decided upon.
For a time, Workers rarely attended weddings, and some Australian Workers have said they would rather go to a funeral than a wedding. This changed in the latter 20th century to the point where the Workers had a small part in many wedding ceremonies, but not in an official capacity. However, in the Netherlands, large weddings were not discouraged, and Workers went to the ceremonies, sometimes performed in a church by a minister.
Dan Hilton said, "I want to mention something...about the performing of marriages. Oh, it thrills my soul when I see a young couple (or older either) getting married and everything about that marriage ceremony is very simple. I attended a marriage of one of the relatives of mine in California three years ago...if I hadn't already known who the bride and groom were I'd have never been able to pick the bride and groom out in that crowd by their attire...this is not my old proud human nature speaking now...this is the holy spirit speaking in me...that day I was so glad to see the simplicity in that wedding. And when that young man at the due proper time in the marriage slipped a ring on the finger of the woman who was now becoming his wife, I noticed it was just a simple, modest band, no fancy sparklers on it. And again...this is the holy spirit in me speaking...oh, I was made so glad that those young people had enough respect for the honor of God's name in this world, even that way to honor the Christ who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart." I saw...they were manifesting what was in their hearts...just a modest band" (Texarkana, Texas Convention, 1966).
Even though Workers initially took a dim view, weddings that were more elaborate began to take place around the early 1980s. Since then, marriages of various sizes have frequently been conducted in homes, outdoors, gardens, hotels and other facilities. "In some areas 25 years ago you would go straight to hell for doing such a wicked thing" (Tom Schroeder, 2001). Then some Workers began to attend weddings, and before long, some were also giving short speeches and/or praying.
In Vietnam , there were five songs set to hymn tunes about the love of husband and wife, composed by Brother Worker Fred Allen and Nguyen Huu Bau, the first person to profess in Vietnam, and used at weddings. The Vietnamese friends happily used them for the past 50 years. Then Canadian Overseers entered the land and began to make changes. Darrel Turner stopped them from using hymns at weddings, saying the hymns are only to be used in the Fellowship or Gospel Meetings, because they spoke of the love of God to the souls of men, not for weddings.
WITH THIS RING: As early as 1908, reporters remarked about the married 2x2 women "casting aside the symbol of marriage" and new brides not wearing a wedding band. William C. Trimble deplored this act:
"I confess my ignorance of the reason why married women of the Tramps should be asked to lay aside their wedding ring? All nations, savage or civilized, have some method of indicating the married state. With some it is an arrangement of the hair on the head; with others a garment of dress; with others the ring. Civilized womanhood adopted the ring as the emblem of the married state. It is at once a protection against improper advances and gives a dignity to matronhood....But the Tramps tell their women to put aside the honourable circle of marriage" (Impartial Reporter, September 16, 1909, p. 5).
However, over the years, this custom has gradually changed to where it is now acceptable for both men and women to wear a wedding band. Some reported:
"In the area where I grew up, wedding rings were classified as jewelry, and, as a result, they were on the list of things that couldn't be worn...my grandmother, after converting to the faith...removed her ring, put it on a block of wood, and, using an axe, smashed it to smithereens so that she would never be tempted to wear it again. My mother, being in 'that Way' from her early youth, was married without a ring, but when attitudes and opinions...changed a few years later, my father went out and bought one for her, and she wore it till her dying day...Like so many other rules, however, the one about [wedding] rings was not at all universal, and it depended so much on the whim of the Workers who happened to be posted to any given field " (In Vain do they Worship by Willis Young).
"My grandmother was among the first converts in New Zealand, and John Hardie was one of the two Workers...The women all cast their wedding bands into a pond on the South Island Convention grounds, as the wearing of gold was 'not of God'...the shedding of wedding rings was quite common in NZ in the early 1900s, and it also happened on the Dandenong, Australia Convention grounds" (Colleen Phelps' personal comm. Mar. 31, 2000*).
In the 1960s when Hubert Childers was Overseer of Ohio, he asked all the 2x2 women there to remove their wedding bands. A rare incident occurred at later at a Convention, when Hubert, to his credit, asked for forgiveness for the strictness he had inflicted upon God's children and retracted his prohibition on wedding bands, wristwatches and hair barrettes.
The Author's parents were from two different American states; Mom was from Mississippi where the wedding ring was not approved, and Daddy was from Texas where it was approved. However, they did not have a ring ceremony. When my Mom questioned a Worker about the difference, she replied, "You know you're married, and everyone who matters knows, and if you act like you are married, then why do you need a ring?"
Some 2x2 women endured some uncomfortable moments for not wearing a wedding ring, including my Mother. In 1948, my parents moved from Texas to California, where most 2x2 married women wore wedding bands. My parents and another couple went to the Bakersfield, California Convention together. The husbands went to town early and registered for rooms in their names only, not realizing the consequences. Later, when they returned to the motel with their wives, the clerk noticed the two women were not wearing wedding bands, mistakenly assumed these (very plain) ladies were loose women and refused to rent rooms to them because they "weren't that kind of place."
After that embarrassing experience, my parents purchased Mom a very slim gold wedding ring for $8.00 at Montgomery Wards. Eventually, most all 2x2 women began wearing wedding bands. At first, they were usually narrow and plain without diamonds ("let it not be that outward adorning of...wearing of gold or of putting on of apparel" (1 Peter 3:3-4).
From an undated Baptism Handout for NSW, Australia: "The wedding ring is not considered an ornament. It is a symbol of a sacred vow and is worn as a reminder of that vow. Ornamental rings, however, are superfluous and among the ornaments that should be 'put off' "
Worldly men began wearing wedding bands in the mid-20th century. By the mid to late 1960s, it was permissible for a 2x2 man to wear one in some areas of the U.S (Texas). During a Special Meeting in the 1960s, the Overseer of Virginia spoke about how unnecessary it was for men to wear wedding bands.
ENGAGEMENTS: A ring, whether engagement or wedding, is an external symbol of a commitment to marriage between two people and signifies that someone is unavailable, which prevents inappropriate behavior and embarrassment.
Engagement rings were considered worldly and mildly rebellious, and still are in some areas. Eldon Tenniswood said, "One woman told me that her husband had given her an engagement ring. I said, 'The Scripture teaches that if we love one any more than Christ, we are not worthy of Him' " (Matt. 10:37-38) (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
At least by the early 1960s, it had become fairly customary for a 2x2 man to give his 2x2 fiancée an engagement wristwatch, but preferably, it did was not gold nor adorned with gemstones. However, 2x2 women did not give their 2x2 fiancées wristwatches, and Outsiders did not observe this custom.
Both bride and groom wore fairly plain wedding bands. After the Millennium, it has become more common for 2x2 brides to wear engagement rings with diamonds. Currently, some professing women are sporting diamond engagement rings, as well as wedding rings with gemstones, but it has not yet become the norm.
WEDDING APPAREL In the 1940s when the Author's parents married, weddings were held with little fanfare and very few witnesses or guests. The Workers cautioned, "Keep it quiet and simple."
In earlier years, professing brides did not adorn themselves with a "worldly" white wedding gown or carry flowers. In the mid 1940s, a Wisconsin 2x2 bride embroidered flowers on her wedding dress, since she was not allowed to carry a bouquet of flowers. Up until the late 1960s, most brides were married in street clothes, a nice suit or dress and sometimes a hat appropriate for Sunday Meeting (no wedding veils!). Grooms usually wore a suit and tie, not a tux.
For years, there was much controversy over wedding customs; e.g. what should be worn, who and how many to invite, where the ceremony should be held, whether or not to hold a reception, etc. In the 1960s, the Workers insisted a professing bride from Tennessee cut off her floor length white wedding gown to two inches below her knees, so it would not look like " a worldly wedding dress."
In Australia in the 1980s, 2x2 couples were to be married in their parents' home or backyard, by a Suitable Celebrant. There were to be no more than 30 in attendance including the Workers. The couple were to marry in something they could and would wear to a Sunday a.m. Meeting. There were to be no speeches and all was to be completed before 5 p.m. with no confetti. The couple was expected to attend Sunday Meeting if it were the following morning. Currently, Australian 2x2 brides can wear a white dress, but no veil. Tom Schroeder, an American wrote
"When Geraldine and I married, professing brides were not allowed to wear white wedding dresses in Wisconsin . So they bought some blue-green material and her Mom sewed the wedding dress, and it had to be made very plain so that she could wear it to other events. Well, she never wore it again! I read in the Bible about white robes that will be handed out up in heaven. If we are going to wear white up there, wouldn't it be good to get used to it here?
"I heard Frank Porter [Brother Worker] say at Special Meeting, "I'm going to tell you one more thing and that's about weddings. You people that are getting married—your weddings are getting just like the worldly people—the only thing lacking is the church building—Watch it!" My Mom used to tell us that back in the '20s and '30s, Workers used to preach against weddings at Convention, as they expected that all young people should go into the work."
Since the year 2000, some professing brides have worn traditional, white strapless or off the shoulder floor length gowns with bridal headpieces, veils and bouquets.
RECEPTIONS, SHOWERS AND GRADUATION CELEBRATIONS For many years, holding a wedding reception, shower, party or celebration of any kind was discouraged. Overseer Eldon Tenniswood explained the reasons
"When people are invited to a shower, they are expected to bring a gift, which is simply asking for a gift. This isn't even polite. At the shower, everyone knows what the others gave. Jesus taught in Mt. 6:3, 'let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth.' That's why we don't approve of showers. A sales party is given by a person who profits by inviting others to their home and it is making merchandise of God's people....It looks to us like people taking advantage of the blood of Jesus just for natural gain" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
A hearty 2x2 couple planned to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They went to much time and expense and invited both Workers and Friends. Fully aware of their plans, the Workers deliberately scheduled a Gospel Meeting nearby that conflicted with the time of the anniversary celebration. Only a few Friends attended and stayed a very short time, did not eat, and rushed off to Gospel Meeting to the great disappointment of the couple.
In time, this taboo faded away, but before it was transitioned out, an Illinois Elder's wife was planning to have a graduation party for her daughter in their home. The Workers learned about it and rang their doorbell. From their doorstep, Brother Worker Weldon Burgess told the mother they did not approve of graduation parties, but since she had already bought the food, she could go ahead, provided there were no more than 15 people invited. This last minute directive was very disheartening to say the least.
Eventually, the 2x2 tradition of prohibiting celebrations was disregarded by the Friends. Currently, the Friends hold wedding and baby showers, wedding receptions, graduation, New Years and even Halloween parties. Sometimes Workers attend.
DIVORCE by 2x2s is discouraged, but is accepted when it occurs. Should one spouse convert and become a 2x2 and the other does not, they may remain in the marriage, which is called a "divided home." They believe that every person is responsible to God and should remain in the same marriage relationship in which they were when they converted (1 Cor. 7:24).
REMARRIAGE after death of a spouse is permissible. Policies regarding remarriage after divorce varies in countries, states and provinces, and among Overseers. Workers are divided in their handling and teaching about it. Workers in both Eastern and Western North America are against divorce and remarriage. However, the West judges, punishes and sometimes excommunicates, while the East are merciful and are not so inclined.
In Western U.S. and Western Canada , as well as the foreign countries under their authority, the Workers believe and teach that remarriage after divorce is a sin of commission and is "living in adultery." The 2x2 divorced and remarried (D&R) couples in the West are not allowed to participate in Fellowship Meetings, to take communion or to be Elders. They have also been instructed that unless they separate, they most likely will not enter Heaven's gates. Families have been cruelly split up when spouses separated at the Workers' prompting and guidance. They are viewed as sub-standard Friends by some. Depending on the conviction of the Workers in authority in the area, some Workers have refused to spend the night in a D&R couples' home or accept money offered by them. In the last decade, some D&R couples have been told not to even attend Fellowship Meetings (Western Canada).
However, the Workers in Eastern U.S. and some other countries under their authority believe in and apply a merciful policy, and most D&R couples are allowed full participation. It appears that it is also permissible for divorcees to marry in some situations in some areas.
Frowned on in the past, mixed racial marriages are now tolerated. Premarital sex (fornication), co-habiting before marriage and abortion are considered sin. A repercussion of the harsh no remarriage after divorce policy is that some 2x2 parents perceive it as wiser for professing children to live together before they marry than to marry and divorce. Some professing parents are permitting their 2x2 teenage girls to take contraceptives. This is the logical outcome of a flawed system of reward and punishment.
FRIENDS, THEIR HOMES AND HOMELIFE: The Workers believe, "the greatest thing that a man or a woman can do is to give their lives in carrying the gospel of Christ to men and women, but the next greatest privilege is that of making a home, a home honoured by God" (Sproulie Denio, 1961).
This type home is called an "open home." Couples who have open homes are very hospitable and welcome guests and Workers to their home for meals and to spend the night. The wives are usually very good cooks. Some also have Meetings in their home. Some have guest rooms, while in other homes, children and adults give up their rooms to overnight guests. Some couples wanting to help expand the gospel have moved to places where no 2x2s live, and provide an open home for Workers during their Missions.
The Workers believe the best place for a married woman to be is in the home. Brother Worker Dan Hilton said, "Don't ever degrade the place of a wife and mother in the home...The place of a wife and mother in the home is far above that of presidents and premiers."
The Workers expect 2x2 children to be obedient, well behaved, able to sit still and quiet during Meetings. Many children memorize the verse, "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord" (Col. 3:20). Many children play act Meetings.
They do not use the phrases, "Bless You," or "Have a blessed day." Bible verses on anything (pictures, cups, greeting cards, T-shirts, etc.) are disdained because, "people are more concerned about having the Bible outside to be seen of men than inside the heart." Another reason is because those products are "making merchandise" of God's Word (John 2:16).
They do not make use of the symbols of the cross, the Ichthys (fish consisting of two intersecting arcs) or the Triquetra, aka trinity knot (three intersecting circles) representing the Trinity, or Christian statues. Some reasons provided have been because the worldly churches and Catholics observe or worship these icons, or because they are " graven images " (Deut. 27:15). Another reason is because these symbols must be purchased, which means someone is using Jesus to make money for personal gain. Whether it be a cross, fish, Christian statue, or book, it is sacrilegious to 2x2s to pay men money for these icons they believe Jesus condemned when he cleaned out the temple (Luke 19:45-46).
They do not observe Christian calendar seasons, such as Advent, Epiphany, Christmas, Holy Week, Lent, Easter nor foot washing. They do not hang on their walls crosses or pictures of angels or Stations of the Cross or Jesus, since "no one really knows what he looked like," and some believe he would not have had long hair. However, it is expected that photographs of Workers will grace the walls of 2x2 homes.
VOTING — NATIONAL ELECTIONS: In some areas, Workers preferred the Friends not vote, and in others, it was left up to the individual. Overseer of California, et al., Eldon Tenniswood said, "I was asked one time if I voted...I said I prayed for the rulers, and that was better than voting for them...whatever you do, pray for the rulers that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty" (1975 California Elders Meeting).
LAWSUITS: Normally, Workers advised 2x2s not to take a matter against another 2x2 and "go to law before the unjust," (1 Cor. 6:1), being confident that the person at fault will someday have to face God as their judge. Some lawsuits against outsiders, such as unfair treatment at work, are permissible. From 1906 to 1913, there were eight lawsuits filed in Ireland and England by both Workers and Friends for slander against them for white slave trafficking of Sister Workers. Most were settled out of court or settled in their favor.
In the past, the Worker have strongly discouraged many victims of sexual abuse by a 2x2 from going to the law. Fortunately, this has changed in recent years in some areas, partly due to the WINGS website, and also to the world's growing awareness of child sexual abuse (CSA), mandated reporting and additional CSA laws being enacted and strictly enforced.
COUNSELING: For a time, Workers discouraged anyone from using an outside counselor for children or marriage problems, alcohol abuse, emotional issues, etc., using Psalms 1:1 as their basis: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly." This has changed more recently.
Overseer Harold Bennett said, "One thing that brings the blessing of the Lord is not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, people who have no connection with God,,,The counsel of the ungodly will never help us to be godly or to walk in the way of God. We live in a day when we are bombarded with all sorts of counsel and advice: marriage counselors, psychiatrists and so on...So often the counsel of the ungodly is just foolishness. The books of the scholars and psychiatrists ten years from now will all be different because theirs is only the wisdom of the times...God wants to counsel His people with godly counsel to help us. Naaman could not be helped until one of his servants came to him, wiser than he, and Naaman listened to Godly counsel and was helped" (Glencoe, Australia, 1995).
Sister Worker Una Hedderman said: "To walk not in the counsel of the ungodly just means to walk in the counsel of the Godly. Many people would like to counsel us, but no counsel that is not absolutely in line with what Jesus lived and taught is Godly counsel,,,ungodly counsel is no use to us" (Glencoe, Australia, 1975)
CHRISTMAS AND EASTER: At the turn of the 20th century when the 2x2 Sect began in Ireland, the Workers were groping their way, and they did not prohibit the usual Christmas festivities; however, they disconnected the commemoration of the birth of Jesus from them. The Friends continued with their normal customs for the Christmas season; e.g. a special Christmas dinner, sending Christmas cards, decorating Christmas trees and their homes and in giving gifts.
When the early Workers took their Sect across the oceans to foreign lands, they were not consistent about how the celebration of Christmas would be handled. Some Workers allowed it, while others prohibited it. Currently, in Australia , New Zealand and the UK/Ireland, Friends observe a secular Christmas, including customary Christmas traditions and decorations, and a Christmas tree may even be situated in the Meeting room.
A Scotsman wrote,"While Christmas was not promoted by Workers [in Scotland], the putting up of Christmas trees, decorations, exchanging cards and gifts were not spoken against. A sort of seasonal part of life which was nothing to do with the faith and was just put up with. I have sat in Meetings with Christmas trees in the room and with Workers taking the Meeting."
Currently, the Friends' Christmas traditions vary considerably, depending on the country and location. Many exchange gifts (some called these called "winter gifts"), send non-religious Christmas cards with newsy letters about their family activities, and put out winter seasonal decorations. When seasonal decorations, wrapping paper or cards were used, they were strictly winter themes or "happy holidays," such as poinsettias, holly, snowflakes, candles, snowmen, pine cones, candy canes or wreaths. However, not all 2x2s worldwide decorate a Christmas tree in their home, and some consider them sinful.
For others, Christmas Day is no different from any other paid holiday. One Friend went to town to shop on a week day that happened to also be Christmas Day, and was puzzled to find all the stores were closed. Only then did it dawn on her that it was Christmas Day. One lady wrote, "I'm always surprised to hear 2x2s even having gifts at Christmas. I thought all 2x2s avoided all things to do with Christmas, including the gifts."
Some Workers cautioned parents "be wise" with children, and some parents gave their children a token gift or clothes, some gave numerous gifts, many which were for entertainment. Many children whose parents did not give them Christmas presents dreaded returning to school after the Christmas holiday where they often faced the question, "What did you get for Christmas?" Some children were embarrassed while others fibbed. Some parents decorated Christmas trees which delight their small children. Most 2x2 parents consider the fairy tales about Santa Claus and the Eastern Bunny to be lies, and do not teach them to their children, and many grown children are glad they did so.
They do not observe Easter or Holy Days, which celebrate Jesus' resurrection, a foundation of the Christian faith, and Christianity's most important holiday. The 2x2s say they remember the resurrection every Sunday (not just once a year) in their communions. While Easter or the resurrection may not even be mentioned in their testimonies in Meeting on Easter Sunday, they often sing, "We remember Calvary" at the close of their Sunday Meetings. Some children hunt Easter eggs, while others ignore Easter altogether.
Some reasons 2x2 give for not observing Christmas or Easter religiously is because no one knows the precise day on which Jesus was born and died. Some consider a Christmas tree to be idol worship because pagans decorated trees and worshipped them (Jer. 10:1-5). However, that Scripture condemns idolatry and does not apply to Christmas trees of today, which are merely seasonal home decorations. It is doubtful there are any Christians who actually worship a Christmas tree.
Eldon Tenniswood explained, "We worship Him all the time. The Christmas tree is an idol in the false churches.It belongs to the world, not to God's people. Jer. 10:1 tells of cutting down the tree, decorating it and then worshiping it. Sometimes our people get their children clothing or other things they need at the holiday season" (1982 California Young Peoples Meeting).
Another reason for not celebrating Jesus' birth or resurrection is that there is no Biblical command to do so. However, neither was the Feast of Purim commanded in the Old Testament, but God was not unhappy about their thanksgiving memorial to Him for their deliverance. The shepherds left their flocks and went to Bethlehem to see the "babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger," who the angels told them was "Christ the Lord." They left "glorifying and praising God" (Luke 2:8-18). The Magi (aka wise men or kings) who traveled a long ways from the East, followed a bright star and brought expensive gifts to the newborn child, also rejoiced exceedingly (Matt. 2:1). Both were celebrating Jesus' birth.
THE PURGE OF CHRISTMAS TREES. It appears that when the Workers came to North America that they allowed new converts to have Christmas trees, as was done in UK and Ireland. However, sometime later, Workers began retracted their permission for Christmas trees and instructed the Friends not to bring them into their homes. However, this purge was not carried out uniformly in North America.
It appears the Eastern America territory under George Walker was the first to be purged. In Michigan in 1946, a family photograph was taken in front of the gaily decorated Christmas tree in the living room of a hearty professing family. Sometime after that, the Workers asked the Michigan Friends to discontinue Christmas trees. In the family's 1949 Christmas family photos, there was no tree.
Until about 1959-60, it seems Christmas trees were also permissible in the parts of the Western U.S. territory where Jack Carroll had the oversight. A witness reports that in Montana, "The elder had quite an elaborate Christmas tree in their living room, and it didn't seem to be a problem at the time. Then there were changes of authority and suddenly it was wrong to have a Christmas tree."
Another source wrote, "Sometime after Howard Mooney came to Oregon around 1960, supposedly there were some Workers visiting from Germany. Evidently, the Workers were against Christmas trees. Rumor has it that Howard asked the Friends to not do trees and that request stayed."
Some remembered the Christmas tree purge that began in the mid-1950s, when Bob Ingram came from California to Eastern Washington . This purge included Washington, Oregon, Idaho, the west slope of Colorado, possibly the rest of the Western jurisdiction states of California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and very likely Western Canada. Overseers Eldon Tenniswood, Tharold Sylvester and Howard Mooney all conducted their own purges. Howard Mooney's research paper was circulated in Oregon , "The Origin of Christmas," and possibly other areas as well. Lord, forgive us our Christmases. After the purge, Christmas trees became history. This too is changing in some of the more liberal U.S. areas. A Canadian man from Ontario wrote:
"My first clear memory of Christmas...goes back to when I was four or five years of age [1938-39] and our decorating a little tree...Every year we had a tree....There were times when money was quite scarce...but I cannot recall a Christmas Day...that we didn't exchange gifts, however small, and enjoy one of my mother's famous turkey dinners. On one or two of those festive occasions, I remember a couple of the Workers joining us.
"But when I was 28 years old,  I learned that we had been 'emulating pagans' all those years! I came by that intelligence by eavesdropping on a conversation between two of the Senior Brother Workers. It had been brought to their attention that certain of the followers of the faith were 'bringing Christmas trees into their homes,' and, as shocked and disappointed as they were...the consensus of opinion was that, at the very least, they would 'have to be spoken to,' and...[Elders] would be severely warned that failure to clean up their act would cause them to lose the Meeting...
"The church had met in my parents' living room year after year at Christmas time with a decorated tree sitting over in the corner, and no one had ever once expressed an iota of disapproval. I played Christmas carols on the piano every year. My mother, and her mother, and almost every other 'mother in Israel' sent reams of Christmas cards to people around the globe and received reams in reply," (In Vain They Do Worship by Willis Young).
Paul wrote, "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself" (Romans 14:14). The Christmas tree is not in itself "unclean" or evil, nor is it an idol for Christians, anymore than turkeys, snowmen, Santa Claus or Rudolph are idols. Christmas trees are merely innocent, harmless, traditional, seasonal household decorations enjoyed by many in December. They are not " unclean ." How could they be so wrong in some parts of the world and perfectly OK in others? Because they are traditions of men.
At times, the annual Winter Special Meeting fell on Christmas Day, and took priority. Christmas Dinner and traditions were postponed or 2x2s were absent from them. When this happened, some relatives missed out on their usual family festivities, which sometimes caused resentment in outside family members. Sharon Hargreaves wrote about a year when her Grandmother did not host the family's Christmas Dinner as she usual did:
"The Workers decided to hold Special Meeting on Christmas Day....Grandma was obligated to attend the Meeting and the rest of the family, who had always been together on Christmas at Grandmother's [house] were very angry over the fact she chose the Meeting over the normal Christmas family gathering...Grandmother chose God as more important than family....One bad memory my family often rehearsed with a lasting anger and hurt."
AUTOMOBILES: In the beginning, Friends and Workers, male and female, mostly traveled by foot and on bicycles. Workers even took their bikes aboard ships when they sailed to foreign lands. In 1903, Ford Motor Co. produced the Model A . In 1908, the Model T became the first mass produced automobile to be affordable by the average consumer. At first, all Model Ts were painted black because black paint dried the fastest. In the early 1900s, black was considered the most appropriate color for many 2x2 items. Fortunately, black was the only color available for Henry Ford's Model T. A famous Fordism regarding the Model T was "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black" (My Life and Work by Henry Ford, 1922) .
There was no restriction from owning an automobile. After autos were available in other colors, the Friends gradually began disregarding the black rule and began purchasing cars in other colors, eventually even red. Most of their automobiles had the least possible adornment, including a minimum of worldly chrome trim with dark interiors. Some painted the chrome black and turned whitewall tires to the inside. Mainly, the approved models were economy cars, such as Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Plymouth. Luxury models, such as Buick, Mercury, Chrysler, etc., were vain and a waste of money. And of course, a Cadillac or Lincoln was totally inappropriate. In the late 1960s, some were scandalized to see a Lincoln Imperial at Fosters, Alabama Convention.
Radios were first installed in autos in 1930. When a 2x2 bought a car containing a radio, it was expected they would remove the radio and antenna . In some Conventions, some Workers even broke off the "buggy whip" antennas on cars, without regard to whether they were owned by an insider or outsider. In the 1960s, the Author witnessed Workers driving a borrowed car with a radio aerial bound up with adhesive tape. A Canadian man wrote:
"If for any reason, rational or irrational, the radio had to remain in the vehicle, you were supposed to remove the aerial so that you could not, or would not be tempted to, listen to 'the voice of the world.' Several of my personal friends, including my own father, who had delayed...were directed by the Workers to 'get rid of that thing' or 'have that thing taken off.'
"If you resisted such a suggestion, you would be told that none of the Workers would ever want to borrow your car for their mission work. When it was not possible for the antenna to be removed, it was sometimes taped with light colored tape in a highly noticeable manner so onlookers would know the radio had been deliberately disabled," (In Vain They Do Worship by Willis Young).
RADIOS: In 1906 the first voice broadcast was made over the air. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, the first U.S. President to make a radio broadcast, spoke from a ship to WWI troops aboard other vessels. Experimental radio broadcasts began about 1910. The Detroit WWJ radio station began daily broadcasts on Aug. 20, 1920, and shortly thereafter, on Nov. 2, 1920, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasted the 1920 Harding-Cox presidential election results. From 1925 to 1950, radio was a major source of family home entertainment.
All amateur and commercial use of radio came to an abrupt halt on April 7, 1917, when the U.S. entered WWI. The U.S. President ordered most private U.S. radio stations to either shut down or be taken over by the government. For the duration of the War, it was illegal for private U.S. citizens to have an operational radio transmitter or receiver.
After WWI ended, the radio sputtered back to life. The Golden Age of Broadcasting was in the 1920s, when it usurped the newspaper and became the dominant electronic home entertainment medium. Across the U.S. and Europe , broadcasting began to surface. The public was seized with a radio craze after the initial broadcast that lasted until the 1970s, when television usurped radio as the medium of choice.
Radios became mass marketed and manufacturers were overwhelmed by the demand. Between 1923 and 1930, 60% of American families purchased radios. People regularly tuned into their favorite radio programs, and families gathered in the evening to listen to the home radio.
During WWII, the radio filled an important role for the U.S. and UK . With the help of journalists, radio relayed news of the war to the public. While radio had been a source of entertainment through its serial programs, after WWII it began to focus more on playing the music of the time. The "Top-40" in music became popular and the target audience went from families to teens up to adults. Music and radio continued to rise in popularity until they became synonymous with one another. The Golden Age of Radio Broadcasting began about 1925 and ended about 1950 when TV took its place.
However, the Workers' perspective of the radio was not consistent worldwide. New inventions that allowed literal voices of the world into a 2x2 home usually met with their disapproval; e.g., radio, TV, VCRs, etc. Ex-Worker quote: "In August 1969, I came home to Canada [from Europe]...I had forgotten that it was a sin for Canadians to have, and to listen to a radio in their homes...Had I not visited homes all over Western Europe where radios were as much a part of the furniture as was the kitchen stove? I had," (In Vain They do Worship by Willis Young) .
Bill Macourt said, "I remember when I was young and the radio came...It was a wonderful thing for the safety of ships, but the old deceiver had been on the scene...and had entered people's homes. Suitable steps were taken to protect God's people from those things that were brought into the home" (Williams Convention, 2003).
Some say the reason a ban was never put on radios in Western U.S. under Jack Carroll's oversight, was because they were able to learn over the radio about news and current events regarding the Pacific War Theater. Three California Workers, Herman Beaber, Leo Stancliff and Willie Jamieson were imprisoned in the Philippines at Los Banos Internment Camp, along with Cecil Barrett (New Zealand) and Ernest Stanley (England). Detailed accounts written by these five Workers are available on the website of the Author's cousin, John Beaber: Deliverance—It has come!
In some areas, record players (aka hi-fi, phonograph, stereo, sound system), as well as movie/video cameras were taboo. Compact tape recorders using cassettes for audio storage were introduced in the U.S. in 1964. Considered "worldly," they were not readily accepted by Workers or used by Friends for awhile, but by the 1980s, American 2x2s were using them. As late as 1980-1990, some Australian Workers still preached against them. This taboo had a short life, especially since many students and employers of 2x2s found them useful or necessary. They also aided Workers to learn other languages.
In the late 1960s, stereos encased in lovely polished wood cabinets graced the living rooms of the majority of the Dallas , Texas, Elders' homes. It was not uncommon for the emblems to sit upon the stereo during Meeting in their homes. One man who moved to Dallas from Indiana was outraged when he saw where the emblems were placed, feeling it was close to being sacrilegious or blasphemy. Most Texas Friends owned stereos which were common because the
late Overseer of Texas, Gus Jeanson, had a great appreciation for music.
Reportedly, whenever Gus entered a car, he immediately turned on the radio. On the other hand, Eldon Tenniswood stated, "If we deny ourselves worldly music, we will benefit spiritually from our Heavenly Father. If people want worldly music and start feeding on it, they will become like the world" (1975 California Elders Meeting).
Eventually Gus left the work, married and Hubert Childers took his place and went about gradually shaping the Texas friends to fit his mold and standards. Right up near the top on his list was eliminating all stereos. Some Friends removed them from their homes, while others moved them to other rooms.
ZERO TV: Television sales took off in the late 1940s, following the start of individual TV stations in the larger cities. TV entered many American homes in the years 1947-1957. At first, TV was marketed as a modern innovation that allowed people to bring the entire world into their home through the magic of television.
Appalled at the thought, the Western Senior Workers held a Meeting where they made the decision to ban televisions, as they had the radio earlier. "Even though far worse material is available on computers, and computers are a must for many people, we felt that our stand regarding TV would not change because TV is not essential to anybodys livelihood, and we hated to think of TV in the living room (or any other room) in many of our friends homes. Computers must be left pretty much to self policing as to what is watched" (Paul Sharp, Dec. 21, 2016).
Televisions were referred to as "idols" and to own one was "bringing the world into your home." "Everything portrayed there, from religion to sports, is of the world and is designed to draw people deeper and deeper into the world." Workers decided that TV was a time-waster, and an instrument for accessing worldly pleasures that opened the door in homes to the world, devil, temptation and sin. They emphatically ruled that there would be zero TVs in 2x2 homes. When new converts voluntarily disposed of their TVs, Workers claimed the Holy Spirit induced them to do so. Jack Price said:
"They had a TV in their home and we didn't have to ask them to take that out of their home because the Holy Spirit did that! Some people have asked us, 'How do you know whether God's people should have a TV or not?' We have seen the Holy Spirit and we just knew that when the spirit began to control their lives, the Holy Spirit would tell them, 'You better clean that out!' I don't need any more proof than that, " (August, 2003).
In time, radios came to be more acceptable, depending on the area, but televisions never. A California Worker claimed that watching TV supported beer commercials (never mind that both Friends and Workers drink beer in Europe without a second thought). For years, critical comments were made about "anybody who would own such garbage," and some thought any Friends who owned TVs had "lost out."
For a time, if a Californian had a TV, they were excommunicated or asked not to take part until the TV was disposed of. That rule is no longer applied; however, the Workers would not place a Meeting in a home they were aware had a TV, and this may still be the rule. Some Friends clandestinely owned radios, TVs and VCRs which they kept hidden from view them, but zealous Friends possessed neither. Overseer Ed Cornock said:
"I have been distressed lately to learn that some of God's children are bringing TVs into their homes. This is sad because it will not help you to be more spiritual...When we as God's servants, visit your homes, we endeavor always to bring with us an influence that will help create a Godly home, Godly atmosphere there...TV counteracts our efforts, and if you insist on having that in your home, we can only conclude that you do not want our influence there...Certainly, we are losing out if we devote time to the trash that comes over TV" (Denver, Colorado Convention, 1965).
Around the Millennium, it became more common for Friends to openly display their TVs, and it is not unheard of for Workers to watch sports on TV with the homeowner. It is doubtful the Workers have changed the standard. They are still against most TV content and focus and, therefore, ownership. However, most Workers no longer act punitively when someone has one. When the majority of things on TV became available on computers, the internet and cell phones, the "no TV" rule unraveled and lost its force when the internet allowed access to things far worse than TV.
COMPUTERS: In the mid 1970s, the Personal Computer (PC) Revolution began. In 1981, the IBM PC was introduced, and Time Magazine called 1982 "The Year of the Computer." By 1983, there was an estimated 10 million PCs in use in the U.S. , and by 1989, there were about 54 million. At first, they were used mostly for word-processing and games, soon followed by accounting spreadsheet programs. After another 10 years, technology had matured to the point that personal computers were considered essential in many homes.
In 1989, NEC released the first laptop computer, the UltraLite, weighing less than 5 lbs. These mobile or portable computers grew tremendously popular in the 2000s. The laptop computer revolutionized the way people work and travel nearly as much as the original computer did. Electronic mail (aka email or e-mail) has been around since around 1993.
The World Wide Web (www) or internet soared into public view in 1995. After the arrival of home computers and the internet, it was not long before movies could be viewed in homes on a computer monitor, bypassing the TV.
Personal computers crept into many 2x2 homes through the 1980s and 1990s. For some, they were essential tools in their employment and education. Computers had gained a firm foothold in many 2x2 homes before most Workers learned there was such a thing as the internet which resulted in the Information Explosion. Friends saw no reason to deny themselves access to modern technology necessary to cope with the demands of modern day living.
When the computer first entered businesses and homes, it used words only (no pictures or voices), so the Workers had no objection to them. Generally, they were not against new inventions or modern conveniences—just those that brought " the world" into the home life. That changed. Ken Paginton said at a UK Convention that emails were wicked. For decades in the U.S. Sam McCracken fought against email and also computers. One of the Workers said from the platform that the “web” (internet) was something to get trapped in. At the 1992 Workers Convention at Knoxville, Tennessee, Arnold Brown, Overseer of Nebraska, remarked that he would like "take a hammer and smash all the computers."
After checking with the owners, concerned California Sister Worker, Patti Rittenhouse, placed a sticky note on their computer monitor stating, "This is not a TV." Brother Worker Nathan McCarthy and a few other Workers were unsuccessful in their attempts to ban the internet. Down the road years later, many Workers have their own personal laptops, tablets, cell phones, email and Facebook accounts and well are proficient at surfing the internet.
In 1994, the first internet website relating to the early history of the 2x2 Church was launched by Research & Information Services (RIS) In 1996, the original Veterans of the Truth (VOT) website was created, and in 1997, the Telling the Truth website went on the net. The content of these websites became problematic for the Workers, and some cautioned against the evils of the internet. Brother Worker Bill Macourt warned:
"Now there are some who have been worried about things they've heard on the Internet...but with respect to the Internet, I can understand why some of you want to find out about certain facts about God's way, but it's the worst place you can go...we must not listen to them, but rather the still small voice of God. We have no need to turn to anything outside," (Williams, Australia Convention, 2003).
In June, 2018, a directive "regarding the use of Social Media on the Internet" was given to the Philippine Worker Staff signed by four BrotherWorkers: Jim Girton, John Mastin, Bill Walker, and Renante Fermin. It stated "We would like to ask each pair of workers in your field to kindly request that our friends discontinue usage of any kind of social media. This would include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the Web sites True Friends, Filipino Friends, etc. We are asking that from now on, each would limit their communication to e-mail for personal contact among friends when sending messages, pictures, etc. No longer posting their messages on social media Web sites which is sent all over the world, reaching our brethren in other nations."
THE MEETINGS: The 2x2 Sect's most important weekly Meeting is held on Sunday and is called a "Fellowship Meeting." Members say they are going to Meeting—not to "the" or "a" Meeting. At times, it is endearingly called the "little Meeting." This Meeting and their mid-week Bible Study Meeting are always held in a private home and never in any other type building. The Elders and homes where Fellowship Meetings are held are selected by the Workers, and are considered "sanctioned " Meetings (Acts 14:23). They do not believe in tithing or taking collections.
The location of the very first Sunday Fellowship Meeting to ever be held has not been positively determined, and has been claimed to be in two places in Ireland . One location is the Crocknacrieve gate lodge in Ballinamallard, and the other is over Weir's Store at 21 Upper Baggott Street in Dublin. "In 1901 John West bought Crocknacrieve House, and the following year  the first Cooneyite camp Meetings were held in the gate lodge." The gate lodge is a small building at the entrance to Crocknacrieve House. View photos of Weir's Store (click "next" for more photos) and Crocknacrieve gate lodge.
Reportedly, mid-week Meetings were originally instituted to keep the Friends occupied during the week so they would not backslide to their former churches for mid-week social activities. At the turn of the century, Wednesday night was usually when Protestant church members came together for socials, held barn dances, played bridge, etc. (per source's Worker relatives who were there at the time of the decision and passed this information down in their family). The Faith Mission also held mid-week evening Prayer Union Meetings.
Leaders of the weekly Meetings are called "Elders" and are selected by and are responsible to the Workers. Meetings may be held in their personal home, or in the home of another 2x2. The terms " Elder" and "Bishop" can be used interchangeably. The Sunday Fellowship Meetings consists of all present singing hymns, praying, giving a testimony and partaking of the bread and "fruit of the vine" (aka emblems, communion, Lord's Supper, Eucharist). The emblems are served only in homes—not when holding a meeting while camping out.
Members bring their own Hymnal and a Bible, often carried in a Bible case/bag. From their beginning, they used solely the King James Version of the Bible; however, that may have changed somewhat. Generally, only Friends who have been baptized by the Workers take communion, but there are and have been exceptions. In some Meetings the members stand to give their testimonies, while at others, they remain seated. Most Meetings last about one hour.
After the Meeting, the members usually shake hands with each other and visit briefly. Some Workers prefer for the Friends to leave immediately after the Meeting believing that visiting after Meeting spoils or takes away from the spirit of the Meeting. Two Meetings may meet together at designated intervals, often once a month, and are called "Union Meetings."
From the middle of the 17th to the 20th century, the King James Bible was the acknowledged Bible of the English-speaking nations. The early Workers were accustomed to using the KJV and continued to do so in the 2x2 Sect. The Amplified Bible was originally published in 1965, the New American Standard version (NAS) in 1971, the New International Version (NIV) in 1978, the New King James version in 1982, and the English Standard Version (ESV) in 2002 have occasionally been consulted as references, but the KJV has remained the preferred standard version the Workers use and encourage. Reports indicate a few Friends have been using more recent versions in Meetings. A UK company, R. L. Allan and Son, has contracted to publish their hymnbook and also specially bound KJV Oxford Bibles. The Oxford Bibles used by most 2x2s are the only Bibles Allan publishes which do not have "Holy Bible" written on the cover.
The 2x2s use the 1987 Edition of "Hymns Old and New," an English hymnbook published by R. L. Allan & Son in England (formerly in Scotland ) exclusively for the 2x2s. It is highly valued by them and has been an important part of their spiritual lives. They sing, hum, quote, study, preach, speak, write, are touched and moved to tears by the hymns. Most 2x2s publicly made their choice to serve the Lord while one of the hymns in this hymnal was being sung. In Meetings, their hymns are sung by the entire group without any musical accompaniments. Their hymnal does not include any patriotic music, the national anthem or religious Christmas carols, as do hymnals of the majority of Christian denominations.
Gospel Meetings are held by Workers for the purpose of converting others to their Sect. They are held in most any suitable, available place; e.g. schools, public facilities, homes, halls, churches, banks, auditoriums, funeral homes, etc. These Meetings are usually terminated with an invitation to join, before the preachers move to another area for a new Mission. Until sometime in the 1970s, the Workers used a small Gospel Hymns Old & New which contained the first 170 hymns in the 1951 edition hymnbook. They took these Gospel hymnbooks from mission to mission and handed them out to all who came, or placed them in the chair seats beforehand.
Special Meetings are held once a year, often in December, and all the 2x2s in a particular region converge together for two meetings with lunch in between. In years past between Meetings, the chairs were turned back to back, providing wide aisles, and lunch was served from food (potluck) provided by Friends. This was phased out around 1960-65, and currently in America , 2x2s bring their own sack lunches.
Unsanctioned Meetings are those held by 2x2s or Ex-2x2s, that were not authorized by the Workers. For example, some Alberta, Canada Elders continued to hold Meetings in their homes after the Workers had removed. disbanded and assigned Friends to other Meetings.
Most 2x2s believe one should wear their best clothes to meet with God on Sunday, and they respectfully dress accordingly. "Give of your best to the Master," (Hymn 33). In America , men usually wear dress shirts, ties, sports coats or suits to Meeting, and some wear the same every day of Convention, while at other Conventions, ties and coats are worn only on Sunday. Women wear their hair upswept, dresses or skirts and blouses and dress shoes. Children are also dressed up, and do not wear their play clothes. Children sometimes refer to their "Meeting shoes." In some places, jeans or jean skirts are worn to the mid-week Meetings, especially by children and youth.
Ken Paginton remarked, "If the Lord is really dwelling in our hearts we should be the same on Monday as we are when we go to the Meeting on Sunday morning, no different. Same standard, not changing things around to be different or look different when we go out into the world" (2nd Masterton, New Zealand, 1990).
The type of grapes required for non-alcoholic grape juice was first bred in 1849. In 1869, Dr. Thomas B. Welch, successfully pasteurized Concord grape juice to produce an "unfermented sacramental wine" for his church in Vineland, New Jersey, where he was communion steward. This was the beginning of the processed fruit juice industry. Prior to this, "unfermented wine" was unheard of. This sensational beverage made its debut at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and became a national favorite as thousands there sampled Welch's Grape Juice.
It seems reasonable to assume that the wine referred to in the Scriptures was fermented, since the non-alcoholic variety was not invented until 1869. In their early days, wine was served for communion in Ireland at both Meetings and Conventions. When the first Workers came to North America in 1903, it is highly likely they continued using wine for the emblems. However, that changed. For some time now, purple grape juice, rather than wine, has been used. It has been reported that genuine wine is used in Meetings in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, England, Ireland, France, and possibly all Europe.
Alcohol was legal in the U.S. except during Prohibition which began in 1920 and ended in 1933. It was a nationwide ban on the sale, production, importation and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition had no effect on 2x2s, who were already teetotalers. It is possible that the 2x2s may have started using grape juice for the emblems at this time, but it was not necessary as even during Prohibition, alcohol used for sacramental purposes was specifically exempted. Read more in Smithsonian Magazine.
White leavened bread (made with yeast) appears to be used worldwide. The author has not heard of any Meetings where 2x2s use unleavened bread, or perform foot washing, as Jesus did at the Last Supper.
The "fruit of the vine" used in communion is served in everything from a crystal-footed goblet, a glass, a plain white cup with a handle, to a fancy/dainty china cup on a matching plate. One elder requested a cup with a handle that had a good sized finger hole so men with big fingers could grasp it more firmly. Traditionally, a white cloth napkin covered the emblems until they were served. Some placed wax paper over the bread to keep it soft.
Eldon Tenniswood's explanation for why unleavened bread is not used for the emblems was that "Unleavened bread was used for the Passover because all leaven was put out of the house, Ex. 12:15. Jesus ate the last Passover with His disciples. In Lev. 23:15-17, which was on the first day of the week, the Feast of Pentecost, Acts 2, they were to have leaven in the loaves they baked" (1975 California Elders Meeting).
Over the years, kneeling for prayer in Meetings was phased out, since it was hard on old people, and voices went straight into the upholstery. Sometime after 1975, depending on the arrangement of the room the chair arrangement changed from rows to a circle (optimal), and a consistent method for disposing of the emblems began to be used throughout North America, perhaps due to Eldon Tenniswood's 1975 California Elder Meetings.
Eldon Tenniswood also said either grape juice or wine were permissible. "It must be the fruit of the vine. Grape juice is what we customarily use in California . We like it best because there may be someone in the Meeting fighting the alcoholic habit which was acquired before professing, and it is very difficult to take wine without arousing the old appetite which craves for it. In some parts of the world, it is difficult to get grape juice, so they use fermented wine....If grape juice or wine is not available, omit breaking of bread" (1975 California Elders Meeting).
THE WORKERS: Believing that God, "will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17), they accept both men and women as evangelists . The 2x2 Sect hierarchy is modeled after the passage "the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God," (1 Cor. 11:3-4). All 2x2 Friends are subject to the ministry, the Sister Workers to the Brother Workers, and the ministry is subject to Christ, who is subject to God.
In various regions, there is an Overseer over other Overseers, but there has been no single worldwide head of the 2x2 Sect since William Irvine was excommunicated. The U.S. and Canada have long been divided into two territories having two separate Overseers. What is sometimes called the "Pacific Coast" area includes the Western American states CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, AK, AZ, HI and NV; and the Western Canadian provinces of BC, AB, SK, MB and Western ON. The remainder of the U.S. and Canada are the Eastern Territory. The Pacific Coast Overseers have been Jack Carroll, Willie Jamieson, Eldon Tenniswood, Dick Middleton, Dale Shultz and Robert Newman. The Eastern state Overseers have been George Walker, Andrew Abernethy, Taylor Wood, and Barry Barkley.
Beginning sometime between 1920 and 1930, there has been a rift in the U.S. between the Eastern and Western states, with George Walker at one time saying, "I may have to cut the West off." Therefore, many rules and traditions differ in North America from East to West, in spite of their Hymn No. 335 that states "In Christ there is no east or west, In Him no south or north; 'Tis one, the Shepherd's sacred flock, Though scattered o'er the earth."
Overseers are also called the "Head Worker," "Elder Worker" or "Senior Worker" in some areas. Important far reaching decisions or policies are usually made by a group of Workers, sometimes from various countries, often numbering 10-12 or more.
Following Jesus instructions in Matt. 10:8 "freely have ye received, freely give," the Workers do not ask for money or take up collections in their Missions. However, in their early days, they did place a bag at the door of their Gospel Mission, John Long wrote: "By experience we learned that it was not inconsistent with Faith Lines to have a box at the door of our tent for free will offerings; so as that the poor widow could give her mite, as well as the rich their abundance" (Journal, Jan. 1901 ). The Impartial Reporter stated: "The bag which they place in the houses of their people 'collects' the donations, and the 'brethren' give freely " (Impartial Reporter, Sept. 30, 1909, 5th article). The practice of providing a receptacle for donations at Missions changed and was discontinued sometime after 1909.
A Worker asking for money is viewed as a sure sign there is a lack of faith in God to provide and would be grounds for dismissal from the Work. They believe God will provide for them, as He does for the lilies of the field (Matt. 6:28). Donations are given to Workers at Conventions, in correspondence, in a handshake, or in envelopes in bedrooms of 2x2 homes where Workers are overnight guests. Workers receive donations privately, and are not accountable to the Friends for their use of the funds.
The qualifications for all Workers are the same. Before entering the work, they give away all their possessions except what fits into a suitcase, including their money, homes, vehicles, etc. They become homeless, itinerant missionaries who travel in same sex pairs (2x2), stay in 2x2 households, and hold Gospel Missions to attract converts. They also visit the sick, care for the members in their fields, and help prepare for their annual Convention. An older Worker is usually paired with and mentors or trains a younger one. They enter the work for life, but can leave if they choose. Some have been asked to "step down" and others have been "put out" of the work. Those who remain in the work until death are said to have "died in the harness." Workers who are disabled or too feeble to continue withdraw or retire from the Work, and are cared for in various ways. There are some rest homes managed by Friends solely for the care of elderly Workers.
Formerly, pairs of Workers referred to each other as a "companion," but that term has changed to "Co-Worker," "colleague" or "associate." Co-Workers are usually re-paired once a year, often after the annual Convention. Annually, a Workers List is compiled showing the Workers assigned to a given area for the following year. In many cases, the first name on the Workers List is the regional Head Worker.
Brother Workers are also called "Servants of God " and are over the Sister Workers in authority. They also officiate at baptisms and funerals, speak at weddings, and dispense guidance, advice and discipline the unruly. Having come a long ways from their resemblance to tramps when the Sect began, the Brother Workers' outer appearance is no different from the conservative business dress of respectable worldly men, except for not wearing flashy ties or socks. They blend in like Jesus who could get lost in a crowd.
Not so for the Sister Workers. They not only do not fit in, but their attire causes them to stand out, not too dissimilar to Catholic nuns, Mennonites and Pentecostal women. They appear ultra-conservative, a few decades out of style, dressing down in nonfussy, no frills clothing. A conservative scarf or bow around their necks may relieve their often very dated clothing. Sister Workers are also called "handmaidens" and "Servants."
Modesty has been redefined as vanity, using Scripture for justification, thereby constricting women's outer appearance. A Sister Worker said that it is up to women and girls to look and dress in a way that "keeps the Brother Workers on the straight and narrow." This quote is an expression of fear versus faith—as if restricting women's clothing will keep men from being distracted. By interpreting Scripture through fear, they have missed the opportunity to trust in the keeping power of faith that God can help men to control their thoughts and emotions.
Some naturally attractive Sister Workers have sacrificed their natural beauty to conform to the 2x2 notion of modesty . Some consider it noble to be unattractive and believe downplaying their looks will cause onlookers to focus on their inner person or message. Does their austerity and asceticism help or hinder them in leading outsiders to want to know more about the 2x2 Sect's beliefs? The appearance of some Sister Workers hinders and impedes their goals.
At Conventions, Brother Workers often suggest that 2x2 women should emulate the Sister Workers in their appearance; that they are models and examples of appropriate 2x2 women's appearance. This suggestion is viewed as ludicrous by some 2x2s, and very few follow it. The Sister Workers' appearance has turned some off and closed ears to their message. The very things they do hoping to be a light turns many people away from them and their message.
On the other hand, the Brother Workers' appearance does not have a negative impact on their listeners or viewers. The hearer does not have to overcome the appearance of a Brother Worker to listen his message. The opposite is true of Sister Workers. The double standard from misapplying Scripture has long hindered the Sister Workers from gaining converts.
Formerly, for transportation, Workers walked, rode bicycles, used public transportation, were transported by Friends or borrowed their vehicles. Sometime around the 1970s, the American Friends began voluntarily providing pairs of Workers with vehicles to use. In some countries, Workers own and use motorcycles or motorbikes and bach in rented living quarters. For awhile, some Workers owned and used typewriters. Now the Friends have supplied many Workers with personal laptops, cell phones, and they use email and internet. Formerly, Workers' mail was all routed to a designated Friends' address, and the homeowner forwarded their mail to them. Now some Workers rent Post Office boxes.
FUNERALS: For many years, only Brother Workers officiated at 2x2 funerals, which were usually held in funeral homes. Around the Millennium, Sister Workers also began having a speaking part in funeral services and more recently, some have officiated without Brother Workers. In the U.S. and Canada , the majority of 2x2s are buried in cemeteries, and are not cremated.
THE CONVENTIONS: The first large scale 2x2 Convention was held in 1904 at Crocknacrieve, Ballinamallard, N. Ireland, near the Town of Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh. Electricity was not installed until 1910, and there were no loud speakers. From that time on, the 2x2 Sect has held annual Conventions in various countries worldwide, except during the Wars, when the government discouraged or disallowed large gatherings.
Annual Lists of Convention dates and locations are distributed. Some have included these instructions: "We trust you will use this list in a confidential way. Destroy former lists. Please do not make copies" (1988 List of U.S. & Canadian Conventions). Previously, the yearly Convention Lists for Western North America were titled "Pacific Coast Conventions," "Christian Conventions," which was consistent with their letterhead, and later the title changed to "Annual Conventions" or just "Conventions."
At the Irish Conventions in their early days, bread and wine (not grape juice) were served on Sunday. The procedure was, "Every Sunday morning the Lord's Supper is observed. A piece of bread is passed from hand to hand, followed by wine in mugs " (Impartial Reporter, July 10, 1913, p. 5). In the Receipt Book for the 1913 Crocknacrieve Convention, there is an amount listed for "communion wine."
In America, the Convention grounds usually consists of the owner's home, a large Meeting tent or building with a raised platform large enough to hold 2-3 chairs for the Workers and seating for the audience, a cookhouse, a dining tent or building, toilets, a nursery for mothers with small children (aka bawl room or baby house), separate sex sleeping quarters for Workers, and Friends.
Before foam rubber mattresses were economical, straw ticks were used in sleeping quarters causing some folks with hay fever to suffer—this was before antihistamines were available. Some Friends bring their own sleeping quarters; e.g. travel trailers (aka caravans), RVs, tents, or stay in nearby motels. However, in some places or countries, Conventions are or have been held in rented facilities which require very little time and energy to make ready; e.g. Sri Lanka, and Hawaii for awhile.
Around the 1920s, public address (PA) systems first began to be used around the world, including Presidents Harding and Roosevelt and King George V. At first, some Workers were against using PA systems at Conventions, denouncing electronics as "worldly." Overseer of Missouri, Charlie Mitchell, said they were "of the devil." Until the death of John Stone, Overseer of Ontario and Quebec, PA systems were not allowed at Conventions under his oversight. Those sitting far from the platform heard very little. However, objections were overcome and Workers began using PA systems from the platform, and later, they provided portable microphones for audience speakers.
The male and female Workers are seated on opposite sides of the platform. Some people reprimand children for playing on the platform between Meetings because they consider it holy or sacred. Comments by Senior Brother Workers "from the platform" hold considerable significance, and are generally considered (fairly) universal doctrine in the country he represents.
Historically, large event pole tents were used for Convention Meetings and dining. That practice changed in the late 20th century, and in America, Meeting or machine sheds were built on many Convention grounds and the annual erection of the large tents was discontinued. A canvas surround for tents or sheds was used as needed for weather conditions. Formerly, large school type bells were rung to announce that meals were ready, and they also provided a 15 minute advance notice of the next Meeting. View photo of Jackson, Mississippi Convention bell.
Around the late 1980s-90s, some Conventions changed from outhouses to flush toilets. In many cases, this and other changes to the cookhouses were required by government health officials.
Convention times and days vary worldwide. For many years in North America, there were three Meetings a day held on Thursday through Sunday. At some point, this changed to the first Meeting being held Wed. night and two Meetings being held on Sunday. Ostensibly, this was so driving could be in daylight hours. In 2017, Australia changed their days and times of Meetings and they are now the same as U.S. In the UK , Meetings are held Saturday through Tuesday.
Currently, the emblems are served on Sunday at some Conventions, such as Australia, but not in North America, nor in Ireland where the practice originated in 1904. It is not known what year the North American Workers discontinued this practice. In the 1970s, Overseer Willie Phynn discontinued emblems at the New Zealand Conventions. A reason given for the cessation of this tradition was that it was not scriptural to partake of the emblems anywhere except inside a man's home. Some California 2x2 campers held a Sunday Meeting at their campsite with the emblems and were reprimanded for doing so when Workers learned of it.
Reportedly, the Australian Workers have long held that "we don't just do what the Americans or the rest of the world do. " Hats continued to be worn by the Australian Sister Workers long after the North American Sister Workers ceased wearing them. They do not test any Meetings at Convention, and they do serve the emblems there, explaining that it is "our home for that Sunday." Some Canadians have explained "the Australians do not have full revelation yet," because they take emblems at Convention and have Christmas trees in their homes.
Baptisms are held in many places; e.g. a pond, lake, river, creek, ocean, swimming pool, etc. Often, a baptismal service is held during a Convention. Prior to baptism, those wanting to be baptized usually attend a talk given by a Worker about its meaning and significance. In other places, baptism candidates have been told to talk to the Worker/s closest to them, and that Worker/s will evaluate the candidate's readiness for baptism and arrange for it. Not every candidate desiring to be baptized is approved. Some are allowed baptism without question, some provided they agree to certain conditions, or baptism may be withheld until certain changes are evident. See Discipline above.
It was and is still expected for Friends to arrange time off from work to attend one full Convention in their home state. A 2x2 who goes sightseeing on his vacation and only attends a weekend of Convention is not considered a hearty party. Many state Conventions were/are timed to work around harvesting time for farmers' crops. In the U.S., Conventions are held June through November. Some Friends stay over to a weekday to help on "tear down day" (no working on Sunday).
In some areas in America in the late 1980s, Workers instituted a new Convention etiquette tradition. For 10-15 minutes prior to the start of a Meeting, everyone was expected to be seated and silent to "get in the spirit." Dellas Linaman explained, "this is an invitation to God's Spirit to come into our midst." The first year this practice was instituted at the Texarkana, Texas Convention in 1987-88, Brother Workers walked up the aisles tapping the microphone to quiet the seated audience. The Friends quickly adapted to the new procedure which continues to this day.
SAME THE WORLD OVER: Yes, is true that Jesus is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). It is true that a few of their core beliefs have not changed; e.g. that it is God's only way that goes back to Jesus sending the 12 disciples, has no name (Acts 4:12), their homeless ministers go 2x2 and their church only meets in homes. But it is not true that the same traditions have been followed worldwide by the Friends and Workers since the 2x2 Sect started. The volume of evidence provided above proves there have been many "differences of administrations" (1 Cor. 12:5), as well as applications.
The "unchanging way" is a myth. The 2x2 church continues to evolve, as it always has. Open air preaching, portable mission halls, rubber collars and black stockings eventually disappeared. Where once the Workers rode bicycles and used public transport, they now drive cars and fly across continents. Where once the Workers used telephones in the homes of members, now they own cell telephones. Where once the Workers wrote letters and read newspapers in the homes of members, now they send emails and read the news on their laptops. Traditions are not static and shift over time; they evolve, change and some are discarded.
The worldwide inconsistency in 2x2 traditions has generated cognitive dissonance and confusion for many 2x2s, especially those who were taught from birth, that "the way" is the same everywhere. From their crib to adulthood, those who were born to professing parents and grew up in the 2x2 Sect, more or less, inherited their faith, some without ever internally owning it. Many parents impressed on their children the necessity of conforming to the 2x2 rules (traditions of men) as though they were commandments of God. Many did not know the difference. Not many grew up knowing that many of their Church rules were merely traditions (not doctrine) and that they differed, depending on the location and Overseer.
An Australian lady wrote, "The Workers claimed to be the same the world over. That's why when we married and moved states in Australia , I was shocked at how many new rules I had to learn, and then try to unlearn the rules from the previous state." Others have had similar experiences when moving from America to Australia, country to country, or even from one side of the U.S. to the other.
Harry Brownlee claimed in an Oklahoma Gospel Meeting that there are differences in administration of Workers, but Workers always agree on doctrine. When asked if long hair on women was doctrine, Harry replied that it was. However, his former companion, Dale Spencer, stated it definitely was not doctrine, revealing that Harry's statement was not true and that Workers do not all agree on their doctrine.
Since traveling has become more affordable, Friends have observed the regional differences in outer appearance and activities, such as long hair for women, Meeting participation, abstaining from TVs, radio, drinking alcoholic beverages, remarriage after divorce, Christmas trees, using grape juice instead of wine for communion, etc. Traditions have changed over time and also differ between countries and Overseers, demonstrating that they cannot possibly all be essential doctrine for salvation.
This has led some to peel back the layers of taboos in their Church in an effort to discover their roots, and to make their "calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10). Like the Bereans in Acts 17:11-12, they are checking things out for themselves. Some want to make certain their service to God follows the elemental doctrine of salvation and is not for nothing, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9).
Many Workers put far more emphasis on denying self, dying daily, taking up your cross, suffering, submitting, sacrificing, suppressing self, than they do Jesus' two greatest commandments addressing love ( Mark 12:29-31). Hymn 234 contains the theme "suffering must precede the glory" (Hymns Old & New), as are numerous Workers' sermons found on the Truth Archive Website.
Many Friends do not agree with the sentiment expressed in Hymn No. 270: "We follow, with a faith that questions not" (Hymns Old & New, written by a 2x2). They do not see themselves as being part of an army where "Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die;" where underlings asking "why" are not respected; where leaders can blindly lead soldiers to their death, as in The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Some no longer accept the Workers' reply to their sincere questions: "If you had the right spirit, you would not question."
Many 2x2s believe "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul" (Invictus by William Ernest Henley), and that they have the right to reason "why," and to study the Scripture and question the Workers. They are reluctant to make their family members carry needless "heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers" (Matt. 23:4). They are aware that Jesus condemned some needless, extra-biblical man-made Jewish rules of conduct such as corban, washing of hands, Sabbath activities, etc. (Mark 7, Matt. 15), and that there appears to be many similar traditions of men they are expected to follow.
As a result, some 2x2s hold specific beliefs and understandings that differ from those the Workers hold. Some consider some of the Workers' unwritten rules "traditions of men" rather than "commandments of God" (Mark 7:7-8). Some 2x2s of this mind set go ahead and do whatever they believe in their heart is right according to the Scripture. Some are open about their deviance from traditions, while others feel the necessity to hide it.
Some 2x2s look down on those who have pushed the boundaries, broken some unwritten rules or gone beyond the middle of the road. They are considered to be vain, worldly, unwilling, rebellious or weak; to have lost their vision, have a deeper problem, not have a good understanding, or to have lost out. Others consider them pilgrims of progress, and admire their actions to reduce needless oppression, and for being willing to bear the reproach and criticism of their peers.
GRAY AREAS: Many issues that come up today were not present in Bible Days, and so there is no direct Scripture precedent for them. Some Workers acknowledge that many of their rules or traditions are their judgment calls. This has generated inconsistencies worldwide. For this, some reply, "Does it edify?"
Howard Mooney, Overseer of Oregon, related: "Sometimes people come to us and they will ask about this pleasure or that pleasure in the world and they will say, "What is wrong with it?" We sometimes tell them there is nothing wrong in the pleasure itself, but if you don't look out, that pleasure will crowd the Lord out of your life. It will take all your time that you should spend reading and praying and visiting with God's people, the things you should be doing" (Great Falls Special Meeting, 1970).
Brother Worker Charles Wells cautioned, "Often the question is asked, 'Well, what's wrong with it?' And the answer would have to be there's nothing wrong with it, unless you want to finish in the race...some things really aren't sin, but they are weights, and they weigh us down...retard our progress. " His advice was to "lay aside every weight" (Heb. 12:1) that could hinder one from finishing "the race" (Saginaw, Oregon, 1996).
An ideal solution would be for the Workers to follow Donald Karnes' guidelines for gray areas: "Romans 14...deals with the 'gray area' not explicitly covered. We find here at least 7 'guide-lines' to help us make this personal decision. We are not under Law but Grace! Liberty is not license! No hard and fast rules can be made for eat and drink, wear and work and how to spend the Lord's Day, or proper recreation! Some are strong and some are weak. Yet everyone must reach a position of settled conviction: Verse 5, 'Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind!' This chapter helps us to come to this place, 'Fully persuaded.' "
In the past, outer conformity was strictly enforced by 2x2 Workers. Many youths have rebelled and left the Sect, due to certain traditions (restrictions) with which they do not agree are necessary. Since the Millennium, the rules appear to be relaxing somewhat in some areas, especially those with a large number of 2x2 youths. A California Worker recently exclaimed to a 2x2, "Workers are not policemen." Is that right? Sure could have fooled a lot of the Friends! In view of the large numbers of members the Sect is losing, it seems a wise step in the right direction for the Workers to withdraw their role as enforcers and to trust the Friends to police themselves by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them personally.
However, a sure sign that a rule or tradition has officially changed is when the Workers no longer observe the rule, e.g., when the Sister Workers started wearing brighter colors including red, short sleeves and discontinued wearing hats, black stockings and court shoes.
NO RULES: The 2x2 unwritten rules have a way of changing and after they do, some 2x2s pretend they never existed. In recent years, to the astonishment of many, some long time Workers and Friends have begun to deny that there are any rules for conduct or pressure to conform in the Sect. Some have claimed, "We have no rules," or "No one thinks that," or "I've never heard of that!" Some claim their compliance is not due to a rule, but is purely their choice.
It is sometimes implied that various rules existed only in the mind of the person who mentions them and that they misunderstood something. Some are saying others heard it wrong; that they meant the way they do things goes all the way back to Jesus—not that there was a successive line of Workers back to Jesus. This technique is known as "gaslighting," which is manipulating someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. The success rate is low for skeptical Ex-2x2s who were born and raised in the 2x2 Sect, and well know the rules that Workers have long burdened them with and enforced. They are not fooled, and instead, the person spouting such appears foolish. Following are some Workers' comments about their non-existing rules/traditions:
From a written statement by Evan Jones, Overseer of Victoria and Tasmania: "Our organisation has no restrictions on music, dancing, television, sport, food, or anything else for that matter. We do not exercise any authority over an individual's faith. However, a member of our faith would not be interested in music, television, or the like, as life is complete without them " Statement, Nov. 29, 1994).
Howard Mooney said, "We don't set down a list of rules or regulations and tell them what they can and cannot do." Jack Carroll said, "We don't want to make rules or laws for God's children that would bring them into unnecessary bondage."
Harold Bennett said, "Jesus did not give them all a set of rules and regulations to go out into the future with but he gave them the law of love, 'To love as I have loved you.' "
Ed Cornock commented, "Do we believe in man-made rules today? We do not. We believe in what we have in God's word and that is sufficient....We are no more at liberty today to add rules than they [Pharisees] were. God's way is to work in us a willingness to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13),,,in using the simple instructions He has given us in Christ. It is not too difficult for any of God's children to know what God wants you to do. If we follow on to know and do God's will, it is by that we will prove it is God's will" (Powell, Wyoming Convention).
Although the 2x2 rules are unwritten and are not published—they are available in various books and websites. For example, on TTT there is an article titled: "What are the 2x2 Rules?" Also, this History of 2x2 Traditions (aka unwritten rules) you are now reading was published on the Telling the Truth website in March 2018.
Liberals and conservatives make up most all groups, and the 2x2 Sect is no exception. Most liberal 2x2s do not keep all the traditions of the Workers, in particular, those that are not Bible based. There are a growing number of liberals who no longer believe that the 2x2 Sect is God's only right way. Some see and stay, while others see and leave.
Many of the current generation of 2x2s are no longer willing to live their lives according to rules formulated by a group of men out of touch with modern day life. They do not agree the Workers are God's only interpreters of Scripture, nor that their words are equivalent to God's, nor that they must follow them without question. In some areas of North America and Australia , the balance of power has changed in favor of the members. The power base of the Workers has been greatly weakened, due to the exposure of scandals, child sexual molestation, cover-ups and the internet. Workers are losing their footing and member's confidence in them and their belief system is eroding.
Consequently, the Friends today are far less likely to accept the micromanagement of the Workers in their lives regarding non-essential matters. 2x2s are better educated and better off financially than previous generations and many no longer hold the Workers in the high esteem that previous generations did. Friends do not allow them the power, control and authority they had formerly, and now work out things for themselves without seeking the advice of Workers. It follows that many Workers no longer have the opportunity to tell the Friends how to run their lives. Eventually some of these styles went mainstream and no longer meant what they had meant earlier. Gradually, many of the old rules and traditions have loosened and have been discarded. More Friends are following their inner compass, the Holy Spirit. What a difference 50-75 years has made—in a way that changes not. What was sinful and dangerous 50 years ago is now totally acceptable in many areas.
AUTHORITATIVE SOURCES. Traditions are extra-biblical. The term "extra-biblical" refers to any form of knowledge or experience which provides additional information concerning God, His work, will and teachings, which is not directly mentioned in Scripture, and is derived outside of the Bible. Commandments of God are Biblical and traditions are extra-biblical.
Workers' extra-biblical traditions do not deserve the same respect and obedience as Scripture. Peter and the other apostles said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Extra-biblical material is not a sound basis for traditions not found in Scripture. Many extra-biblical explanations of Workers have been provided in this article. They are easily recognized because they are not based in Scripture, and some do not make logical sense.
For example, the Workers claim they follow the teachings of the New Testament, yet they borrow and misinterpret and Deut. 22:5 from the Old Testament and use it to support their tradition of women not wearing slacks. They have not closely examined other Scriptures regarding jewelry in 1 Peter 3:5 and 1 Tim 2:9-10. Many Workers do not understand Biblical idioms, metaphors, figures of speech, original Greek, Bible customs, manners and culture, or principles of Biblical interpretation. They do not practice literally some other things directed by Scripture, such as lifting up holy hands, or giving a holy kiss.
The Workers have presumptuously changed some of Jesus's precedents, such as the institutions Jesus precisely demonstrated on His last night alone with His disciples; that of communion using wine, unleavened bread and foot washing.
Another extra-biblical doctrine was the celibate ministry. William Irvine installed this rule in 1903 when the Workers took a vow of celibacy at Rathmolyon Convention in Ireland . Irvine would not recognize anyone unless they gave up all . However, he allowed a few married Worker couples who had already been out preaching to join his group (Bettys and McClungs). A few exceptions were made through the years where Workers were allowed to marry each other and remain in the work. See Married Worker List.
This policy was discontinued worldwide around 1950 and no additional married Worker couples were allowed to enter the work and the existing couples eventually died out, with Betty Medica's passing in 2012. This man-made policy is in opposition to the Scripture saying "forbidding to marry" is a "doctrine of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1-3). While Paul recommended ministers being single, he also said being unmarried was not for everyone (1 Cor. 7), and that it was not a requirement of God. Paul said, "I speak this by permission, and not of commandment."
Another extra-biblical practice is 2x2 women's dress codes of wearing long hair in an updo, no makeup, jewelry or slacks. These traditions are from the perspective of a man looking on outer appearance and are contradictory to Scripture. "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart," (1 Sam 16:7). The oddity of the women due to the 2x2 man-made dress codes has repelled, rather than attracted outsiders to Christ. It is high time to "Let the women go" and trust them to make their own choices, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Another extra-biblical policy is to deny the choice for 2x2s to use their God given gifts or talents; and to prohibit their normal development, appreciation and application. Art, music and athletics were considered "human nature" that should be kept in subjection, and to which those who had been talented with them were to "die daily." These restrictions are in opposition to God's gifts, and Christians should be free to use God's gifts for His glory (1 Peter 4:10-11; James 1:17), and not have to sacrifice them.
Another extra-biblical doctrine or belief that was introduced by Workers 10 years after the Sect started was that the Workers' Sect is God's only right way on earth. This belief is strongly upheld to this day. The basis for this change to exclusivity is commonly referred to as the Living Witness Doctrine (aka LWD), reduced to "Life begets life."
The LWD theory was that no one could be born again without meeting a living witness. It was derived from studying natural life and applying it to spiritual life. In nature, every living thing has an ancestry, and reproduces like kind. In applying natural life to spiritual life, spiritual sheep can only be reproduced from spiritual sheep. Assuming what occurs in natural life also occurs in spiritual life, that means that spiritual life can only come from another spiritual life (a living witness).
The Workers decided the only true witnesses were Workers who succeeded from William Irvine, or one of his Workers, and that no one can be born again without coming through a living witness. This doctrine is extra-biblical and is not found in the Bible. It is one of their foundational beliefs and some have been excommunicated for not believing it. The Workers believe only they hold the keys to heaven, and that all who desire salvation must enter through them.
In the 2x2 Sect:
There is Doctrine (teachings) aka Commandments of God in the Scripture.
There are Traditions of Men that have scriptural support.
There are Traditions of Men that do not have scriptural support.
Paul cautioned Christians to be careful not to be "blown here and there by every wind of teaching" (Eph. 4:14). He also commended the Bereans who "searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11-12). Paul advised Christians to "prove all things" (1 Thess. 5:21), and to "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2).
Paul warns of legalism: "why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour" (Colossians 2:20-23); "do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
Jesus left no doubt as to what were the two most important commandments, which override, transcend, include and encompasses all the others: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31; Matt 22:37-40). If only the Workers had just taught principles, and had not formulated rules, so much needless misery would never have taken place.
He proved His great love for others to the utmost by giving His life for them. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Salvation is not about following man-made traditions and rules. It is about love. If Christians lived the law of love, there would be no need for restrictive rules and traditions.
For those who may have confused some tradition with God's commands, the Author hopes this article will enable the conscientious Bible student to distinguish between them. Regarding nonessential matters, the guideline is "Let each be fully persuaded," ( Rom. 14:5). An important biblical principle is that God's Words come first in importance—over men's words: "that ye might…not…think of men above that which is written" ( 1 Cor. 4:6). Frequently, New Testament authors proved their points by referring to the Scripture, that "which was spoken." Similarly, Workers should be able to answer Friends' questions with, "This is that which is spoken of in the scripture."
One's understanding of truth can be refined and sharpened by personal study of Scripture. Many sincere, wise Christians occasionally take stock and review their service to the Lord. They want to be assured that their service does not fit the category of "in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). Proving and separating the essential doctrine of salvation from non-essential traditions imposed on the Friends by Workers, involves evaluating beliefs and traditions in the light of the Scripture.
For those who may have confused some man-made traditions with God's commands, the Author hopes this article will enable the conscientious Bible student to distinguish between them. Regarding nonessential matters, the guideline is "Let each be fully persuaded" (Rom. 14:5). Perhaps in the future, the Workers, like Paul, will become "able minister[s] of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (2 Cor. 3:6). The Author sincerely hopes the Workers will "Let my people go, that they may serve me" (Ex. 8:1) and trust the Holy Spirit to "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
"Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal 5:1).
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17).
*The exceptions being two typed list of rules were distributed in 1975 and 1982 by Eldon Tenniswood, Overseer of California, Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada.
A booklet published by Robert J. Ingram titled Tabernacle: Types & Shadows of Christ.
A booklet published by Kay Short, A Harmony of the Gospels: From Christ's Final Arrival in Jerusalem until His Ascension, (Alaska Worker, pub. abt 1981-82).
A number of typed sermons by Ken Paginton (died 1997) and Donald Karnes (died 2004).
Permission is given to copy and distribute this article.