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Leaving the Exclusive Brethren church: 'I just felt like I could do better outside'

It was a normal working day when Reuben Silby packed up his things and moved out of his parents' home.

Former member Reuben Silby told TVNZ’s Re: about the huge life decision he took to leave, risking never seeing his family again. Source: 1 NEWS

Reuben wasn't just leaving his family home, he was leaving the only way of life he knew, and he was leaving his church.

"[It was] probably the nicest way to go actually just not cause a scene, cause a fuss just to leave everybody out of the situation get my stuff and get it out and then just not come back that night," Reuben says.

The church community Reuben was leaving was the Exclusive Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian group with approximately 8000 members in New Zealand.

"I just felt like I could do better outside," he said.

A self-proclaimed free-thinker, Reuben says he left because he no longer believed in the trajectory the church was heading.

Leaving New Zealand’s Exclusive Brethren church can often be traumatic for those who decide to leave with many cut off from seeing their families.

TVNZ’s Re: sat down with Reuben and other former Exclusive Brethren members to speak to them about why they chose to leave.

Watch the full piece here on Re:'s Facebook page.