Two children limit outside Gloriavale, former resident told

A former Gloriavale member said he had been told there was a limit to the number of children a family could have if they lived outside the commune.

Former resident John Ready alleges that Superseeing Shepherd Howard Temple once said, “You couldn’t have a family in the wider area with more than two children”.

He said that prompted his eldest daughter to reply, “Bull****,” which was heard by others.

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“She was called together with me and my wife to a meeting with the supervising shepherd and all the shepherds and servants.

“We were told we had to take her out of the community. She had to sign a resignation from the partnership and was given $1,000 in cash,” Ready said.

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The Labor Court heard the leadership expected Ready to take his daughter to Greymouth station, where she would catch a train to Christchurch.

Gloriavale (file image).

“It was something I couldn’t do. She was my 17 year old daughter and had lived her life in the community so I took her to an aunt who lived in Timaru instead.

“The reason she was told to go was because the leadership was tired of her questioning the shepherds’ teachings,” Ready said.

The incident made Ready realize his children were very vulnerable to leadership, which “worried him greatly.”

“It just seemed to go against all my beliefs that they would treat a teenager that way.

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“After she left, the community started taunting me in general and trying to isolate me within the community for disregarding the leaders’ expectation to take my daughter to an aunt in Timaru,” Ready said.

There were claims that the only worth of women in Gloriavale was to work and father babies.

John Ready said parents do not have an effective say in who their children will marry and that the couple who marry are generally not free to choose whom to marry.

He said they are told by the leaders that God has chosen “this person” or “that person” for them, and if they do not consent to the marriage, they are considered disobedient and not submissive.

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“People in the community generally marry between the ages of 16 and their early 20s, so for example when a girl’s peers marry, and especially when younger ones marry, they are looked down on and thought of as lower in social ranks.

“If my girls had remained in the community as it is now, the best they could hope for was that a suitable husband would be chosen for them and that they would be able to have babies at the accepted rate,” Ready said .

The court is considering whether six women who did housework in Gloriavale are volunteers or employees. The hearing is ongoing.

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