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Beyond Cult Controversy: The Mate Peddlers of the Twelve Tribes

The NSPCC has called for an investigation into the practices of a controversial Christian sect in Britain after an Independent investigation revealed allegations of physical child abuse. The children’s charity is calling on Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police to examine the activities of the Twelve Tribes community at Stentwood Farm near Honiton, after the group defended its right to chastise its children with a willow cane in The Independent earlier this month. A former member of the sect, a worldwide movement founded 40 years ago in the US, has now come forward with allegations of widespread physical child abuse and use of the willow cane at the Devon farm. It has also emerged that a complaint about the community was made by a woman claiming to be a former member in 2005 and was investigated by local authorities. The call from the NSPCC comes after authorities in Germany took 40 children at the Twelve Tribes community in Bavaria away from their parents and placed them in foster homes after a journalist filmed six children being beaten with a total of 83 strokes of the cane. “Following the Independent story we have liaised with Devon County Council’s children’s services to… ensure that an appropriate assessment of the concerns are undertaken,” said Phillip Noyes, director of strategy and development at the NSPCC. Vicki, who says she is a former member of the community and spent six months at Stentwood Farm and did not want to reveal her full name, told The Independent: “There wasn’t a day that went by while I was there that children weren’t beaten with the rod. I beat my own son because that is what the group taught me to do.” Children were left “black and blue” according to Vicki, and parents were told by community elders that children had “to bend over” and be “hit on the bare bottom with the stick”. She added later: “You couldn’t do it without leaving stripes.”
— September 29, 2013 6:35 p.m.

Yellow Deli People: Mellow believers or cult of opportunists?

continued: The 2004 Children’s Act, which came into force in January 2005, clarified the defence of reasonable chastisement for parents who are charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, wounding or grievous bodily harm, or cruelty to a child. Any hitting that causes bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes or scratches is punishable with up to five years in jail. The Twelve Tribes sect refused to comment for this article but Jonathan Stagg, an elder in the Honiton community, previously said it was the group’s “fundamental right” to use the willow cane and that the community was “still in the realm of English law”. It has also emerged that the sect, which believes homosexual behaviour is immoral and has been accused of anti-Semitism, runs Common Ground, a popular meeting point and café which has operated at Glastonbury Festival as recently as 2011. Vicki alleges the café was an important revenue stream for the sect and a source of new members. A Glastonbury Festival spokesman refused to comment and the group is still included on the festival’s website. However, The Independent understands the group, which rents a space from organisers at the Somerset site, is now unlikely to return to the festival in 2014. The group’s Common Loaf bakery, which is run from Stentwood Farm, also operates at numerous farmers’ markets in the region and ran a stall at the Devon County Show this year. The NSPCC spokesman added: “We’re grateful to The Independent for highlighting this issue and bringing it to our attention. Caning of children or the threat of caning is a completely unacceptable method of disciplinary action to take with any child.” Case study: ‘You are taught  to hit them on the bare bottom’ Vicki says she had been in contact with the Twelve Tribes community near Honiton for about a year and a half before she made the decision to move to Stentwood Farm with her seven-year-old son in 2004. Looking back, she regrets the decision.
— September 29, 2013 6:31 p.m.

Yellow Deli People: Mellow believers or cult of opportunists?

Today, the NSPCC has called for an investigation into the practices of a controversial Christian sect in Britain after an Independent investigation revealed allegations of physical child abuse. The children’s charity is calling on Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police to examine the activities of the Twelve Tribes community at Stentwood Farm near Honiton, after the group defended its right to chastise its children with a willow cane in The Independent earlier this month. A former member of the sect, a worldwide movement founded 40 years ago in the US, has now come forward with allegations of widespread physical child abuse and use of the willow cane at the Devon farm. It has also emerged that a complaint about the community was made by a woman claiming to be a former member in 2005 and was investigated by local authorities. The call from the NSPCC comes after authorities in Germany took 40 children at the Twelve Tribes community in Bavaria away from their parents and placed them in foster homes after a journalist filmed six children being beaten with a total of 83 strokes of the cane. “Following the Independent story we have liaised with Devon County Council’s children’s services to… ensure that an appropriate assessment of the concerns are undertaken,” said Phillip Noyes, director of strategy and development at the NSPCC. Vicki, who says she is a former member of the community and spent six months at Stentwood Farm and did not want to reveal her full name, told The Independent: “There wasn’t a day that went by while I was there that children weren’t beaten with the rod. I beat my own son because that is what the group taught me to do.” Children were left “black and blue” according to Vicki, and parents were told by community elders that children had “to bend over” and be “hit on the bare bottom with the stick”. She added later: “You couldn’t do it without leaving stripes.” Vicki says that after leaving the community she made a complaint to Devon County Council in February 2005. Her complaint included allegations of child circumcision and home births carried out without medical supervision. Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed the allegations had been investigated but “no criminal proceedings were started against any individual”. Devon County Council refused to comment on whether an investigation would be carried out in light of The Independent’s investigation, but a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We can confirm that Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon County Council are working together to thoroughly review the recent information received about the welfare of children in the Honiton area.” The Independent has also seen a document which purports to be a child training manual apparently produced by the sect. It states: “Parents are to chastise by using a rod or balloon stick that can cause stripes… marks like those left by a whip.”
— September 29, 2013 6:30 p.m.

Beyond Cult Controversy: The Mate Peddlers of the Twelve Tribes

In 2000 in Connecticut a couple belonging to the group pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and cruelty for disciplining their children with a 30-inch (76-centimeter) fiberglass rod. All parents i've know in the Tribes love their children, but the Teachings and child-discipline is very very strict, i'd say severe and because of the frequency of it for trivial matters and because "blue wounds show you love your child" it's abusive. Yoneq could wake up tomorrow morning and change this, and all the members would have "to take on the mind of the Anointing." But it's not likely to happen. I guess all this makes me appreciate non-religious people and science, because the whole world of religion can become as dark and murky at times as organized crime. It's sad. Some people are looking for genuine love, and friendships, and to know God, and sometimes religious groups take advantage of this. When I lived as a member in the Tribes, I had to go along with everything. Everything. Whatever was decided, that's what you believe, that's what you think, that's what you tell others is the truth, whether you really believe it or not. Personally, I don't think it's right to worship Jesus/Yahshua, but of course they do that and bow down to bread and wine weekly. If they'd lighten up even a little on the child punishments and get even an extra hour or two sleep each night, it would be a far more healthy lifestyle, but they still would be taught they are the only ones pleasing to God. I still have love in my heart for the Twelve Tribes. It was better when we simply called ourselves the Communities. It definitely became more cultic with the Twelve Tribes label and branding. A big mistake. They will not "bring about the end of this wicked age." Humans have been here for a very long time, and are likely to remain here a very long time, regardless when Jesus returns. The Tribes won't bring him back, no matter how harshly they discipline their children to try to produce 144,000 male celibate evangelists ("the Male Child"). The Tribes worldwide membership is about 4000 and half the children leave when they get old enough. It could take as many as 300,000 adult members to get enough male children to fulfill Yoneq's prophecy. Will take a very long time before "The Race" begins to be a perfectly obedient People for 49 years and have Jesus return on year 50. I surmise by then, the Teachings will change, when Jesus doesn't return when they think he should. The Teachings will change to protect the image of the group. Because the group image is far more important than any individual member or individual health and happiness. I wish it could be the life of love they talk about. But as one brother recently told me, "We're not really here to make the world a better place."
— September 21, 2013 10:15 a.m.

Yellow Deli People: Mellow believers or cult of opportunists?

in 2000 in Connecticut a couple belonging to the group pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and cruelty for disciplining their children with a 30-inch (76-centimeter) fiberglass rod. All parents i've know in the Tribes love their children, but the Teachings and child-discipline is very very strict, i'd say severe and because of the frequency of it for trivial matters and because "blue wounds show you love your child" it's abusive. Yoneq could wake up tomorrow morning and change this, and all the members would have "to take on the mind of the Anointing." But it's not likely to happen. I guess all this makes me appreciate non-religious people and science, because the whole world of religion can become as dark and murky at times as organized crime. It's sad. Some people are looking for genuine love, and friendships, and to know God, and sometimes religious groups take advantage of this. When I lived as a member in the Tribes, I had to go along with everything. Everything. Whatever was decided, that's what you believe, that's what you think, that's what you tell others is the truth, whether you really believe it or not. Personally, I don't think it's right to worship Jesus/Yahshua, but of course they do that and bow down to bread and wine weekly. If they'd lighten up even a little on the child punishments and get even an extra hour or two sleep each night, it would be a far more healthy lifestyle, but they still would be taught they are the only ones pleasing to God. I still have love in my heart for the Twelve Tribes. It was better when we simply called ourselves the Communities. It definitely became more cultic with the Twelve Tribes label and branding. A big mistake. They will not "bring about the end of this wicked age." Humans have been here for a very long time, and are likely to remain here a very long time, regardless when Jesus returns. The Tribes won't bring him back, no matter how harshly they discipline their children to try to produce 144,000 male celibate evangelists ("the Male Child"). The Tribes worldwide membership is about 4000 and half the children leave when they get old enough. It could take as many as 300,000 adult members to get enough male children to fulfill Yoneq's prophecy. Will take a very long time before "The Race" begins to be a perfectly obedient People for 49 years and have Jesus return on year 50. I surmise by then, the Teachings will change, when Jesus doesn't return when they think he should. The Teachings will change to protect the image of the group. Because the group image is far more important than any individual member or individual health and happiness. I wish it could be the life of love they talk about. But as one brother recently told me, "We're not really here to make the world a better place." http://www.sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2013...
— September 19, 2013 8:56 a.m.

Yellow Deli People: Mellow believers or cult of opportunists?

I would still see it the same, regardless how many people go along with hitting babies and children and teaching that black people should still be slaves to white people unless they join the Tribes. They consider themselves "true Jews" what a joke. They are true pretend jews. Wannabee Jews. I like many of the people I have met in the Tribes and I don't doubt the sincerity of many of those, but the fact remains it is a very high-control communal group and the founder, Elbert Eugene Spriggs (Yoneq) and wife Marsha (Haemeq) became monarchs with their own "government". Spriggs is considered "the Elijah" and "the Anointing." He is neither. It is yet another Abrahamic religion based upon human sacrifice and blooshed. I miss the friendships I had there, but not Yoneq's doctrines. They say "college is stupid" but they call their own ignorance, "wisdom." They often only get 5 hours sleep a night working for free. They say they love one another, but they do not really take care of one another. It's about serving the group, The commune and the movement is far more important than the individual. Women are not allowed in any positions of leadership. What ever Yoneq and Haemeq decided and decide, that's how everyone believes. And if you decide to believe differently about anything, you will be judged by "Our Father" (God). I finally decided I didn't need to live at the Tribes to be saved or to earn my salvation before God. That God really is love, and that Tribal membership is not one of His requirements.
— September 19, 2013 7:46 a.m.