“I’ve only had positive experiences with them and do not feel like they are doing anything but good for one another."
  • “I’ve only had positive experiences with them and do not feel like they are doing anything but good for one another."
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Where members of the Twelve Tribes want to go, they don't need roads. Not only are roads unneeded, there is no need for cars or personal possessions. All the Twelve Tribes require for the journey is a community that shares — love, friendship, earthly possessions — everything in exchange for peace and salvation.

Before becoming a member, applicants must quit their job and give up all possessions, including houses, cars, and any cash in the bank.

Before becoming a member, applicants must quit their job and give up all possessions, including houses, cars, and any cash in the bank.

The Twelve Tribes is an “end times” Christian organization with communities worldwide; one of these is located in Vista. The group believes that humans must return to an ancient communal life, much like that lived by early Christians in first-century Judea, when the New Testament’s Book of Acts was written, in order to achieve salvation and to be one with God.

Members of the Twelve Tribes dedicate their lives and their possessions to the group. They live together, work side-by-side, and eat and pray together.

North County resident Gary Zuber, a former member who has considered rejoining the group, spent four months with them in 2009. Zuber attended weekly dinners and helped at a daily farm stand.

“They put me to work in the kitchen right after joining. I did that for two and a half years, despite having herniated discs."

“They put me to work in the kitchen right after joining. I did that for two and a half years, despite having herniated discs."

“If you join,” he says, “you give up all possessions. It’s a big step, but everybody there has done the same thing. They are such a community, in the true sense of the word. It’s like a real family. Everyone works for the benefit of the whole group.”

In trying to recreate biblical life, Twelve Tribes conforms to a patriarchal society, where older males are considered elders capable of making decisions for the group. In addition to turning the clock back on gender roles, the group also rejects multiculturalism. Members abhor today’s “I, me, my, mine” culture. They disagree with current Christian doctrine, which puts so much emphasis on personal salvation instead of focusing efforts on improving the entire nation, and on the search for the royal priesthood, as preached in the Bible. Nation-building, according to the Twelve Tribes, starts with them.

There are nearly a dozen chapters of the Twelve Tribes scattered throughout the U.S.; among them are groups in New York, Vermont, Tennessee, Colorado, and Florida.

In San Diego County, members are concentrated in the hills of Vista at a sprawling compound two miles from downtown. The “Community in Vista,” as it is called, has a two-story house on a large plot of land. The house is covered in vines and blocked by trees. Blinds cover the windows, preventing any glimpse into the house. Single men and single women stay in yurts on the property. Families live together.

Members keep busy when away from the house. They pass out religious newsletters at farmers’ markets or work long hours at one of three businesses: BOJ Construction, Morning Star Ranch, or two popular cafés, both called the Yellow Deli, in downtown Vista and in Valley Center.

The group follows three basic tenets: “leave, enter, become.” Before becoming a member, applicants must quit their job and give up all possessions, including houses, cars, and any cash in the bank. After being stripped of earthly possessions, they enter into a sacred covenant, similar to marriage, dedicating their lives to the entire community. Only then can they become a new person. The men adopt a new name and modify their appearance to resemble the Messiah, Yashua, the Hebrew term for the Savior.

Once the three tenets have been effected, members work at one of the businesses, do chores at the house, or watch and homeschool the children.

All work is performed in exchange for food, shelter, and clothing, much as was done in the mid-’70s, when the group’s leader, Eugene Spriggs — known as Yoneq by his followers — branched off from the Jesus Movement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to start his own community.

After obtaining a psychology degree from the University of Chattanooga, and after three failed marriages, Spriggs, along with his future wife Martha and 50 other members of the Jesus People, moved into a house in Chattanooga in 1974. Shortly thereafter, they opened their first Yellow Deli. Within a few years, Spriggs and the others operated six cafés in the city.

Two years later, the Internal Revenue Service granted Spriggs and “T.H.E. Community Apostolic Order” 501(d) status. The designation, according to the IRS, is reserved for religious and apostolic organizations or corporations with a common treasury, “even if such associations or corporations engage in business for the common benefit of the members.”

In 1979, Spriggs and his followers sold their properties in Chattanooga and moved to Island Pond, Vermont, marking the birth of the Twelve Tribes.

The founders embraced the notion that they were descendants, spiritually speaking, from the original Twelve Tribes of Israel. The original 12 tribes lived as one people, a homogenous culture under God.

Today’s tribe is trying to relive those days, believing that it was a time when the land was the body of God, before possession by the Evil One, Satan. They have faith that restoration of a communal way of life will mark the beginning of the end — the beginning stages of the apocalypse — when Jesus, or Yashua, will return to reclaim the land from Satan.

In 40 years, the Twelve Tribes has grown. Today, the man known as Yoneq oversees ten communities, seven farms in the United States (and one in Germany, three in Canada, and one in Australia), and eight Yellow Delis. The growth of the Yellow Deli has caused some to accuse Yoneq of preying on the weak and then reaping what they sow.

In San Diego County, the tribe has been busy. In two years’ time, they’ve opened two delis. They grow produce at Morning Star Ranch, which is sold at farmers’ markets throughout Southern California, from Ocean Beach to Redlands, in San Bernardino County.

Turning the clock back 2000 years is no easy task. The tribe is embroiled in a four-year battle with the California Division of Labor Standards, after labor commissioners fined each of the three businesses for failing to pay minimum wage and for not providing workers’ compensation. After a judge upheld the fines in March of last year, the group filed an appeal in superior court.

The Twelve Tribes has other problems. Residents in North County have called them a cult and accused them of indoctrinating forlorn youth, keeping them from reading certain material, from owning computers, and from forming individual identities. But others say the organization saves lives and allows members to open their hearts and embrace their faith.

All is on display at the two-story yellow building located at 315 East Broadway in downtown Vista.

The first sounds you hear when entering the Yellow Deli are gentle hymns streaming from wall-mounted speakers. The first items you see are bright yellow walls with large, colorful murals painted on them. One wall features people smiling. Another depicts fertile land with the words “Morning Star Ranch” written in large letters. Vines weave through a lattice above an outside patio. Patrons sit at darkly stained tables. A few feet from the entrance stands a middle-aged man with a beard, a ponytail, and a smile.

The dozen employees working the café all appear to be from a different time and place. The men, young and old, look like 1960s hippies: they have beards and their hair is tied back into ponytails. The women resemble the Amish. They’re bare-faced. Their hair is long, tied back in ponytails. They wear homemade long-sleeved blouses with dresses that flow to their ankles. Most wear sandals with socks covering their feet. An exposed forearm is a rare sight.

Workers range from late teens and early-20s to mid-60s. All move at a relatively slow pace, regardless of the bustling lunch crowd. Workers don’t rely on tips to put food on their own tables. They don’t rely on paychecks, either. The tribe provides all that for them.

In February 2008, a deputy labor commissioner conducted an inspection of BOJ Construction and found that the sole worker onsite did not receive wages, thus violating the state’s minimum-wage requirement. Elders in the tribe refused to pay the fine.

In June 2010, labor commissioners inspected the Yellow Deli in Vista. The commissioner asked to see evidence of workers’ compensation. Todd Thiessen, the host that day, said that there was no workers’ compensation because there were no employees; everyone was a volunteer. The commissioner issued the Yellow Deli a $10,000 citation, $1000 for each of the ten workers present.

Two weeks later, commissioners inspected the Morning Star Ranch in Valley Center. There they found three workers present without evidence of workers’ compensation. The tribe was fined an additional $4000.

In the appeal, the tribe argues that state labor laws do not apply, that 501(d) status designates the group a “tax exempt religious community…allowed to operate business ventures.”

The appeal reads: “[The] communities support themselves by operating businesses in various industries. The individual members do not receive any kind of remuneration, wages or the like for their work. No outsiders are employed in any operations in an employee capacity. There are no employees because everyone is a volunteer. Every member working for the Yellow Deli and Morning Star Ranch live, in their way, according [to] the early teachings of the Book of Acts — the way Christ did in the early days, all in a communal fashion.”

The court case is currently open and, says a spokesperson for the state labor division, no additional inspections will occur until the appeal is heard.

The tribe has been through similar cases in other states. In 1994, a workers’ compensation director in Vermont determined that, because of the 501(d) status, the group is exempt from workers’ compensation law.

A letter from director Charles Bond, dated November 30, 1994, reads: “T.H.E. Community Apostolic Order provides for its members the protection called for in the statute and that it is, in the eyes of the State of Vermont and of the Internal Revenue Service, a partnership which does not constitute an employer of the members.”

This exemption, however, is moot for some former members. They say that the tribe profits from those afraid to fend for themselves in the outside world.

Cheryl Lewczyk runs the website twelvetribes-ex.com. Lewczyk claims she was kicked out of the Twelve Tribes in Lakeview, New York, for being unable to work the 16–18 hour-days required by the group.

“I couldn’t work as hard or as long as all the other slaves,” says Lewczyk during a phone interview. “They put me to work in the kitchen right after joining. I did that for two and a half years, despite having herniated discs. My hurt back was never an issue for them, and I hardly ever received any medical treatment.”

Asked why she endured the work for so long, despite the pain, Lewczyk says, “We had no other choice but to work, because they teach that the community is protected by God, and if you leave, then bad things will happen.”

Elders in San Diego County’s group won’t admit to such conditions — in fact, they won’t admit to anything.

In Vista, elder Wade Skinner, known by tribe members as Mevaser, stands at the host table upstairs, holding a small notebook and a pencil. In his 60s, Mevaser is short and thin. A white, wiry beard covers his gaunt face. A cap covers his long, stringy white hair.

When handed a card and asked to comment for this story, Mevaser gives a deep, penetrating glare, as if seeking signs of malice. He says he will talk to other members before he decides.

Three days later, in an email, Mevaser writes: “We talked about your interest in doing the story on us. As you indicated, you are planning on doing a story regardless of our wishes or participation. As I told you, we have not had favorable press from the San Diego Reader, so there is a little bit of a bad taste there for us. Regardless, we have never sought publicity, but always welcomed outsiders who are sincerely interested in our faith to get to know us. We do not think we have anything to add to what we have already said in the past to reporters — and have often been quoted out of context. So we do not see any value in inviting more into our homes. So we hope you can be led by your conscience and your heart to write a balanced piece, but we will not be participating with interviews or opening our homes and gatherings for this purpose at this time.”

When I asked to view the Internal Revenue Service form 1065, which should be available for public inspection, Mevaser responded via email. “This is not something we have on file here in California. We file our taxes with all of the other communities in the United States as one legal entity.” He then provided an address for a post office box in Hiddenite, North Carolina, and gave the name of the treasurer, Caleb Long.

Labor issues aren’t the only problem for the Twelve Tribes in San Diego County. Some North County residents are offended by the group’s radical newsletters and by racism expressed on the twelvetribes.com website.

Many refer to the group as a cult.

The associated stigma is evident at the Yellow Deli in Valley Center on a mid-August day. An older man in baggy jeans and a worn T-shirt, with a salt-and-pepper beard and ponytail, brings food to an outside table, where three women and a young boy sit. After the man leaves, the boy, prompted by his mother, bows his head and says grace. Moments later, two cyclists — one an older man in a bright fluorescent-yellow jersey, the other a middle-aged woman in matching gear — pedal past the deli.

“You know that place is run by a cult,” shouts the man to his fellow cyclist.

She murmurs something inaudible. The man repeats himself.

“That yellow café is run by a cult.”

The group is also accused of racist attitudes toward other cultures.

An essay on twelvetribes.com states: “Let’s face it. It is just not reasonable to expect people to live contentedly alongside of others who are culturally and racially different. This is unnatural, and sometimes forces people to go against what they instinctively know in their conscience.”

“Trent,” a 34-year-old who wishes to remain anonymous, urges people to refrain from dining at the Yellow Deli and from buying other products from the Twelve Tribes.

“It bothers me to see these companies, this deli and ranch, make so much money off of people who are clueless about their beliefs,” Trent said during a meeting at a local coffee shop. “They take money from people from all cultures, but they don’t believe cultures should mix. It’s total hypocrisy, false advertisement.”

Trent accuses the group of preying on young people struggling with drugs or depression. He slides two newsletters across the table.

“Forever 27” is one title. On the cover are pictures of dead rock stars Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix. The stories attempt to connect heavy-metal music to a selfish way of life, and, as was the case with the Nirvana front man, it to suicide.

The second newsletter, aimed at hopeless youth, has a photo of the Clash’s breakout album London Calling on the bottom of the front page. At the top is a photo of a top-hatted punk, the emblem for the popular ska-punk band Operation Ivy.

One of the articles says: “It’s either that we get our friends together and smoke ourselves into a little stupor and cynically joke about anything containing even a notion of sincerity. Or we buy into the system and sit in misery through four or five years of college, hoping one day at the end of it, that somehow we’ll be happy, and if not happy, at least secure.” The article claims that salvation can only be reached when communal life is restored.

Despite being labeled a cult and called racists, some former members have only positive things to say about the tribe.

“A lot of people want to call them a cult. Well, I think they are, but they are a good cult,” says former member Gary Zuber. “I’ve only had positive experiences with them and do not feel like they are doing anything but good for one another…nobody gets paid but everyone’s needs are met.”

Neither did Zuber see any racism during his time with the group. “They try to live biblically. I took a homeless guy, a black guy, off the street, and took him there, and he is still a member of the community. I just saw him the other day.”

Rebecca Moore, PhD, professor of religious studies at San Diego State University, also believes the tribe has been treated unfairly. She says they are not much different than most fundamental religious groups.

“The Twelve Tribes are an apocalyptic Christian group. Most, if not all, of their beliefs are well within traditional Christian doctrine. They expect Jesus to return imminently. The difference between them and other evangelical Christians is that they take their belief to the next level. ‘Live tomorrow’s life today’ is the way they approach life. They are living the life that they believe will have people ready when Jesus returns, so that they can be part of the anointed, or chosen, people. They take their interpretation of the New Testament to a different level. They have to live it out, quite literally.

“This is America, and we have the principle of religious freedom. There are many fundamentalist Christians, or Muslims, or Mormons that share belief in a patriarchal society. Unfortunately, at least in my personal opinion, that is not unusual. We can say, ‘This is not my cup of tea, but people can and will believe what they want.’

“I respect the people in the Twelve Tribes because they made a commitment to their Lord and Savior that requires them to give up what the rest of the world thinks valuable. That’s not a choice I would make. On the other hand, when you look at parts of the Bible, and Jesus says, ‘Give all you can to help the poor,’ or ‘Give up everything to follow me….’ There are all sorts of passages that people don’t want to take literally. I feel that the members of the Twelve Tribes have done just that, and they see it as a good choice.”

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acas107 Jan. 3, 2013 @ 7:47 p.m.

My daughter's male friend joined the cult and was forced to sever ties with his sister, mom, and all family members. The only way for this person to bring in his girlfriend was f they married. There are anti gay components and racist elements to this organization.


Jay Allen Sanford Jan. 4, 2013 @ 2:58 p.m.

Good food at the Yellow Delis. Eating there doesn't equate supporting the ideals and philosophies of the operators any more than buying a Donny Osmond album equals supporting Mormons. Sometimes a banana (colored deli) is just a banana (smoothie) -


couragehome Sept. 29, 2013 @ 11:04 p.m.

When you give them your money, you help that totalitarian monarchy of Apostle Elbert Spriggs grow and expand. It's like supporting a sweatshop. I used to be a member and worked 17 hour days in the cafe, often on my feet the whole time with no breaks. They actually view you and I as cursed if we aren't part of the commune, Jewish people are especially cursed, and black people should be slaves to white people until they join. It's like buying something from neo-nazi's or the KKK. Is it still a smoothie? It's all about the leader. He takes at least 10% from all the businesses as part of "the Tithe."



acas107 Jan. 5, 2013 @ 11:34 a.m.

Donny osmond does not represent a cult. big difference


Gidon Jan. 5, 2013 @ 4:58 p.m.

I hear a lot big words being thrown around by a seemingly small mind. Cult, forced,racist!! You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I grew up in the 12 tribes community and spent a lot of time in Vista and on the farm.
No one is forced to do anything and certainly no one is forced to be there.
I've been gone for 6 years now and have become quite successful. I visit occasionally and I'm always treated with respect. The intention of the community is to live a whole lifestyle and serve God in sincerity. I'm not particularly religious which is why I'm no longer there, but if you wanna talk about cults maybe you should keep an eye on the new. We live in a society where our children grow up to become all manner of phycos and sociopaths. Perhaps you re aware of a shooting recently occurring at an elementary school. I would spend more time being honest and less time picking on a small sincere group PDF people who have never harmed anyone..


couragehome Sept. 29, 2013 @ 10:53 p.m.

TWELVE TRIBES CHILD PUNISHMENT is frequent and painful for even the slightest attitude or foolishness, even for the child imagining they are a truck or airplane. Children must 100% obedient or they will be taken to be hit right away. Corporal punishment may be applied by any adult member with love. “The blueness of the wound drives away all evil.” (October 1980 Child Training -Notes from Teachers Meeting - Page 5) “Unless your son has blue wounds, by this standard, you know what kind of a standard is in you — it is the spirit that hates your son. If one is overly concerned about his son receiving blue marks you know that he hates his son and hates the word of God.” (Execution of Justice – Page 1)

Read more: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/jan/02/cover-yellow-deli-people/#login#ixzz2gLuWvgsJ



Nabashalam Feb. 8, 2014 @ 9:32 a.m.

Bull crap Gidon! You know it's a cult! You went back and forth like a revolving door! They fit all 15 of these check boxes! Now if it looks, acts and smells like a cult...IT"S A CULT!!!


STEVEN666 April 3, 2013 @ 10:48 p.m.

Hello Dorian Hargrove, Concerning The Yellow Deli People, I can say that if it were not for the absolutes, that are demonstrated and lived every minute and with everyone at the Deli, Farm and ANY place that they venture I might not be here to tell you this most incredible tale. That I have defied the Nation's percentage of casualty's due to the recently enacted legislation and the social taboo's attached to certain group of citizens of the US is against all odds. Why is it so hard to admit that maybe we are not the same country that we use to be? When did we loose the 'Dream'? What are cultures? is it not the same word as the 'Alarmist' word 'CULT'? Many cultures that are forced to accept what they don't understand will absolutely eventually come into conflict, that is inevitable. So, what culture do you want? Roman, Greek or so other Famous one of the past? I have been in many cultures for many years, US Army, Corporate America, American Christian and several others in my 61 years of living in the 'Land of the Brave'. But there is one culture that the 'Brave' have a difficult time accepting. That is the culture of Peace, Love and Understanding. Yes it does live in the hearts of a very special people, if only it is allowed to LIVE. I challenge anyone to do what I have done and that is to spend your valuable time with those that really know the value of time. See if after only 24 hours that you find yourself in a place that is absolutely the same place that those in ANY culture long for. Genuine, authentic, stable, lawful, wonderful and totally safe place-that is hidden in plain sight. For those that can see. Instead of believing the actions of the IRS is in accord with the Framers of the Constitution intent on who are the true Patriots are. And Dorian, Email me the next time you want to know the truth from someone who has had the incredible luck-ha-of spending not 24 hrs but 24 months. Within the past 4 years. I am still in the Vista. After serving almost 30 years with the CA Nat'l Grd, responding to emergencies of this state from Riots to Deployment and also fulfilling my job at the Telephone Co during that same period.

to be continued.

STEVEN [email protected]


STEVEN666 April 3, 2013 @ 10:51 p.m.

continued from previous post.

I am suppose to be completely financially secure, but due to the culture that was created to fear men of all sorts and after seeking assistance from every agency that this American Culture has to offer to returning heroes and capable father's, I am homeless, receiving only half of my well deserved retirement from the US Army and had 27 yrs of Tel Co. retirement forced into the stock market $400k-lost. Being betrayed by the culture I worked and trusted completely for for over 55 yrs. How many shootings, Gang deaths, Abortions, Wars and the list goes on, must we endure before the truth shines? I have lived a wonderful life only to see my 11 yr old son loose his rights to see his Dad and the right to live in his home because a rumor was started and never questioned. The Deli were the ONLY people that could understand. I know that every person I have met at the Deli, Farm or wherever for no matter how long, was able to understand the truth that is self evident and not allowed to evaporate, like so many 'cultures' that are everywhere, Newest being the Social community. Please write about the Deli again soon. And call on me as a Believer in the Hope that this country can return to it's roots and live the words that are in our Constitution and in the arms of Miss Liberty in the New York Harbor. "Send..." The Starving World needs the BEST Sandwiches that can be found Anywhere on this Earth. STEVEN [email protected]


Dorian Hargrove April 4, 2013 @ 11:23 a.m.

Thanks for the comment Steven. I am glad you found a place among the 12 Tribes. I am happy for anyone that is able to find their place in any religion, group, culture, tribe, anything. The article wasn't intended to bash a religious group and wasn't meant to label them a cult. The article instead revealed facts about the labor violations -- which had never been reported-- and the opinions/objections from residents. I apologize if you felt that was not the case.

Thanks for the comment.


couragehome May 28, 2013 @ 6:13 a.m.

Twelve Tribes Community Communal Cult

17+ hour work days while standing most of the time.

All believe and do what the founder Gene Spriggs has taught.

All of Christianity and the Christian Jesus is condemned as

demonic, and the satanic scarlet whore of the Bible book of Revelation.

Birthdays, Christmas and other holidays are not celebrated.

Children are frequently hit with balloon sticks by any adult

member for any form of disobedience or “foolishness.”

Childrens toys, dolls, and stuffed animals are not allowed.

Claim Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. deserved to die.

Claim black people should still be slaves to whites unless they join.

Claim to be the only people forgiven and being saved by God.

Claim to be the only people who have the Holy Spirit.

Claim to be the only people who will bring Jesus back to earth by

eventually birthing 144,000 celibate male evangelists and being

perfectly obedient to God for 49 years.

Claim to be the only place on earth where anyone can be saved by God.

Founder Elbert Eugene Spriggs “Yoneq” is unquestioned Prophet Pope.

Home births and home circumcisions are required.

Childbirth pain is God’s will and is not to be lessened in any way.

Males must wear fur-face beards, short ponytails, and untucked shirts.

Medical and dental neglect is common with no health insurance.

Medications of any kind are generally not allowed.

Non-Tribes reading material of any kind is not allowed.

Shaving any part of the male of female body is not allowed.

Telephone calls to non-member family and friends is by permission.

Television, radio, personal music devices and internet aren’t allowed.

Women are not allowed in any leadership positions.

You can leave, but you’re damned to Death for 1000+ years or eternal Hell.

You’re rarely be able to visit friends and family “in the world.”

Your whole life is scrutinized and completely controlled everyday.

“It is through many trials and tribulations that we enter the kingdom.”

“You just need to die, and give up your rotten sticking life in the world.”

“Where did you learn to think anyway? In the world?”

“You just need to die and take off your head (personal reasoning),

and take on the mind of the Body (Twelve Tribes).

“You just need to die, and receive your brothers and let them handle you.” (If the Twelve Tribes is not a cult, then what is a cult?)


hmmmmmmmm July 30, 2013 @ 5:56 a.m.

But if they had a sizeable chunk of the population doing it with them, then these become things you don't even bat an eye at, right?


couragehome Sept. 19, 2013 @ 7:46 a.m.

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.


Nabashalam Feb. 8, 2014 @ 9:34 a.m.

Is not over 30 communities and 3000 members sizable? It's a freakin Cult! It fits all 15 of these check boxes... http://www.csj.org/infoserv_cult101/checklis.htm


couragehome Sept. 19, 2013 @ 8:56 a.m.

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."



couragehome Sept. 28, 2013 @ 8:20 a.m.

TWELVE TRIBES CHILD PUNISHMENT is frequent and painful for even the slightest attitude or foolishness. Corporal punishment may be applied by any adult member with love. “The blueness of the wound drives away all evil.” (October 1980 Child Training -Notes from Teachers Meeting - Page 5) “Unless your son has blue wounds, by this standard, you know what kind of a standard is in you — it is the spirit that hates your son. If one is overly concerned about his son receiving blue marks you know that he hates his son and hates the word of God.” (Execution of Justice – Page 1)



couragehome Sept. 29, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

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.”


couragehome Sept. 29, 2013 @ 6:31 p.m.

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.


couragehome Sept. 29, 2013 @ 6:33 p.m.

continued: “Those kids are beaten for anything and everything; they are taught to be 100 per cent obedient. If that means a child is told to sit still and they move then, by the community’s standard you then have to take that child out and beat it,” she said. “I beat my own son as that’s what I was taught to do by the community elders. You don’t know this when you join, but you are taught to hit them on the bare bottom with the stick… it’s their doctrine”. Vicki said a boy with autism “got it worse than anybody else”. She said the group beat their children to “cleanse” their “conscience of the sin of disobedience”. Vicki claims she left the group after six months and now considers it a “cult”. When she told them of her reservations, she said, “they flew off the handle at me and told me I was full of demons. I came to realise this isn’t how Jesus would behave if someone came to him saying they were low and that the Twelve Tribes aren’t really Christian at all”. Vicki says she left the sect after smuggling a phone into her room and calling for a friend to collect her. She now lives in the north of England and attends a mainstream church.



couragehome Oct. 1, 2013 @ 1:08 a.m.

BLACK AMERICANS CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT is condemned as evil. BLACK SLAVERY is taught, for dark-skinned people who do not join the Tribes.

“What a marvelous opportunity that blacks could be brought over here to be slaves so that they could be found worthy of the nations. A good master would work by the sweat of his brow. If his slaves were lazy and disrespectful he would beat them, which is what he was supposed to do.” (Cham, Island Pond, 3/19/91)

“Striving for civil rights is of the world – it is disorder to the established social order. In the social order of the world there is distinction between black and white. We shouldn’t try to change it and mess it up. It is going against something fundamental. Cham (blacks) should have been a slave all through history.” (Unraveling the Races of Man)

“If the slaves were mistreated, it was the fault of the slave. Even if the master was unreasonable the slave was to bear up under it. This was Cham’s (black people’s) discipline. For 4000 years Israel had slaves….Cham was a servant (slave) to Shem. This is the Word. You can’t break the Word. The more men try to liberate Cham (black people), the worse he gets. It is more destructive for man to try to redeem himself, changing social order. The three races are to be distinct.” (Unraveling the Races of Man)

“Niger means black. When people first started saying this word, it wasn’t bad, but it became a curse word, having a bad connotation. Before civil rights black men would say, ‘Yes, boss man’ in the south. Yes man, no man. This was respect. We need respect in people. We must beat respect into our children. Cham must get this respect in them. These blacks during the pre-civil rights time, were really slaves – they had respect for people. They got along well because they were submissive…” [Unraveling the Races of Man]

“Cham is no longer, to his detriment, slaves or servants to Shem. This is a terrible thing, a great deception. It is of the anti-Christ to think Cham is emancipated when he really is not emancipated.” [Cham, Island Pond 6/26/90]

“This is what Cham should be like in the world – like black nannies – this is sort of what they were to do. They were to be helper to Shem. It was to be a natural thing. There is nothing wrong with this. Civil Rights, forced equality is anti-Christ, trying to change the heart – it can’t be done.” [Unraveling the Races of Man]

“The politicians and Martin Luther King have taken the provision away (a place in the “Nations”). There is no equal for the hatred Martin Luther King had for the black people.” [Cham, Island Pond 3/19/91]

“Martin Luther King was filled with every evil spirit there is to say Cham doesn’t have to serve Shem. All manner of evil filled that man.” [Cham, Island Pond 3/19/91]



Rocket_J_Squirrel Aug. 11, 2016 @ 1:52 p.m.

EVERYONE should be just like


so we can all get along and be tolerant of other people's religions!


Signed Allah/Brahma/Buddha/Christ/Elohim/God/Holy Spirit/Jehovah/Jesus/Kosmos/Krishna/Shiva/Yahweh


Rocket_J_Squirrel Aug. 15, 2016 @ 8:36 a.m.

Oh, and don't forget to break out the Kool Aid...


daffjeri Nov. 15, 2018 @ 2:30 p.m.

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