Man claiming to be Dove Love's brother speaks out against Gloriavale

Stuff Fairfax Media, New Zealand/August 1, 2016

A man who claims to be the brother of Gloriavale's Dove Love has spoken out against the religious community, saying his sister did not want to marry her husband.

Dove Love became an audience favourite when the annual Gloriavale documentary aired on TV2 last week, titled Gloriavale: A Woman's Place.

It followed the 22-year-old's daily life in the "cult" community, and the process of her engagement and marriage to Watchful Steadfast.

Many New Zealanders found a soft spot for the young couple's happiness, especially when Dove Love sang a song she had written for husband on their wedding day. But things may not be as rosy as they seems, according to a man named "Jeremy", claiming to be Dove Love's ex-communicated brother.

Speaking to ZM's Fletch, Vaughan and Megan , Jeremy claimed he was asked to leave the community four months ago, after living there his entire life.

He had begun questioning what the community's leaders were telling the residents about the outside world, and while he asked to stay, he was called a "trespasser" and shown the door, he said.

"Basically I was just saying that things they were saying in there to people were lies.

"And that's obviously why they try to stop you from having contact with the outside world, just 'cause you find out the truth about a lot of things and then you take that back and start spreading that around and people start doubting what they say and start leaving,"  Jeremy told the radio station.

"I said, 'I'm not going,' and they were like, 'Well, we're not going to feed you, you're not going to have a place to stay, you're not going to have any work, how are you going to live here?"

He said his wife and baby followed him to Timaru, where he now lives, works, and attends church.

Jeremy said being outside of Gloriavale had been a "real eye-opener" and that he had made friends and was enjoying new experiences like fishing and hunting.

"Your whole life you're told in there that outside of Gloriavale is a big, bad, evil place, no-one helps you, lots of stuff, and putting fear in people, a lot of it is fear and using fear to keep people there."

Jeremy said he had unsuccessfully attempted to speak to Dove Love and other family members at Gloriavale since leaving.

He said he was upset that his sister was still at Gloriavale and married to a man whom she did not want to marry.

"They're just told that it's God's will. Basically anything that the leaders say is God's will and they've got to do that or they're wrong and going to hell."

Jeremy estimated that there were about 40 ex-Gloriavale members currently attending the church he attends in Timaru.

He said if he could talk to his family, he would tell them that the world is a totally different place to what the "leaders" try to portray.

"People need to decide for themselves what God's will is and not have leaders tell them what to do, especially who they should be marrying."

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