The Twelve Tribes in The News

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How do you know if a group is a cult?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Truth in Advertising

Do you want some hips and thighs with that burger?

Fast food restaurants don’t advertise the number of calories, fat or cholesterol that is in their food. They don’t tell you if you “Have it your way” you may gain ten pounds and not fit in your bathing suit come summer. Instead, they attempt to sell you on an experience and they take advantage of your hunger and desires to draw you into their establishment.

Another and possibly better example is the endless adds for Credit Cards that give you 0% interest for some period of time and tell you that you deserve to buy anything your heart desires and when you charge up a high balance start to charge you 20-30% interest. Then you are trapped because you gave into the advertisement, and now you are in debt and the debt is growing because of the compounding interest. Sure you did this of your own free will, but if consumers were given the whole truth up front, do you think as many would fall into the trap?

This is how it is with falling prey to a dangerous coercive control group (or cult). They entice you with a false outward appearance (1). They are selling an experience. This is why they will say, “Come visit us” or “Stay with us” verses talking to you about their beliefs and practices. Sure they will offer a superficial belief statement such as “We believe God is waiting for a people with one heart and one way who live together and love each other and have everything in common. Come visit us and you will see”. So what makes them different from any communal group that says the same thing? They won’t tell you up front. You won’t know until you visit them, and stay with them a while.
. And that is when they start the process of what is known as cognitive dissonance by those who study Coercive and Controlling Groups such as the TT. This is where a person is purposely manipulated starting with controlling their environment. This is why they want you to “come”. While you are “there” they start playing with your emotions and controlling the information you can access that may provide an alternate perspective. There is a reason the TT brings a bus to deadhead concerts, it is a “mini-utopia” a place where prospective recruits can “experience” a taste of how they live. But even if you do decide to live with them for a couple weeks or a month, they don’t share their inner doctrines with you. They also don’t lock you in a room and keep you prisoner. You are free to go at anytime. This will cause you to believe that all the stories of “bondage” and “mind-control” are false. Their goal is to get followers who are willing to give up everything and make a commitment to submit to their authority. They really don’t want forced prisoners who want to break away any chance they get.

How can they convince you to want to submit to their authority and give up your free will? They start by telling you that everything you have learned and heard outside is from the “evil one” and you need to “clear your mind”. Simultaneously, they “love-bomb” you and give you a taste of utopia to get you in the right state of mind so you can “receive” their message. You start to think, “How can such sincere loving people be wrong”? They seem so happy and satisfied and all their needs are met. But unfortunately, you are only given the veneer of the real truth. In reality, most of the followers are dog-tired and struggle to stay faithful. They are worked 80-90 hours a week and don’t really have the time to live this utopian life and love-on their kids the way they say they do. In fact many of the accusations and condemnations they make of the outside “world” and “Christianity” specifically, are true of them. (see the comparison of fruit in the Parable of the Twig article). So it is not until you come to a point where you are willing to “die to yourself” and “give everything” to follow “Yahshuah” do you start to get a glimpse of the truth. And like the poor credit card holder, it is only after you have quit your job or dropped out of college, left your family and sometimes that means husbands/wives and children, told them they are all going to hell unless they follow you, turned over your vehicle and bank accounts and have no means of providing for yourself that you are given access to the “pearls” or inner teachings. Of course this is after you are baptized where you are required to denounce your former beliefs (Christianity or other religion/philosophies) and make a vow to “never leave” the body.

This is when you hear that Yoneq is the “anointed” and has a direct line to God and his teachings and words are equivalent to God speaking (2) and therefore are to be followed without question. You learn that he is the Elijah that has come back to earth to call people out of the world (3). That Christianity, (which is their main target for recruitment) was an apostate church that has not had the Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha Kodesh) for over 1900 years (4). That you are not allowed to think or “reason” for yourself about anything outside of the teachings and direction of Yoneq and his band of elders (5). And unless you beat your children until their wounds are blue, you are not being a loving father or mother in fact you hate your children. (6) And if you are a good little follower and submit all your loyalty to Yoneq’s teaching, you will one day be a God of your own Universe or Galaxy (7). And these are just a sample of the bizarre teachings that you will be expected to believe and submit to without question.

And what if you choose not to submit? And what if you want to ask a question? Then you are free to leave. In fact you are encouraged to leave and sometimes just plain asked to get out. The only problem is, you have already alienated your family and friends, you have no money and you own no vehicle and even the clothes on your back are not yours they belong to the community. If they are feeling generous, they will give you $200 to “get by”, but ultimately you are “cut-off”. (8)

So I ask you, if the Twelve Tribes put a poster up in front of the Mate Factor stating these beliefs, do you think people would want to give them their money? How about bring their kids and stay for a couple weeks? So what would constitute honest full disclosure/advertising and recruiting for the Twelve Tribes?

“Welcome, please spend as much money as you can with us because we need to ensure our Prophet has enough money to expand our real estate holdings and fly around the world starting other communities where people like me can nearly starve and raise our children and beat them until they are black and blue. You are welcome to move in with us as long as you denounce all other religious loyalties and promise you will never leave, and be willing to submit unquestionably to our elders and supreme leader who is in fact the only conduit to God. Please leave your brain outside as you are no longer allowed to think for yourself because our elders will think for you. But please bring your money, real estate, stocks and bonds and everything else with you so we can liquidate these and give the proceeds to our Apostle to spend as he sees fit. And we want you to have it your way so if your wife or husband does not want to join you/us, that’s ok. Abandon them because our Prophet Elijah says they are going to burn in the Lake of Fire anyway. Oh, and we have a no-money back guarantee. If you do choose to leave us, or we decide with little or no notice to kick you out, you will not get your money or any of your belongings back and you will drop dead because God will kill you. Have a nice day”


Please send any questions or comments to

(1) TT (Yoneq/Spriggs) Teachings concerning being “perfect” for outsiders and withholding the truth or outright lying in order to “make a stand”:

“The only thing we have to be perfect in now is confessing our sins and speaking to people on the outside. Or your conscience will haunt you night and day.” September 2 1990 Apostolic Workers Meeting Minutes.

“There is a difference between bearing false witness and concealing a matter (not telling the truth) that others have forfeited their right to know because of their hostile and evil attitude toward God.” November 29 1988 Phase 2 Teaching – Yoneq page 1

“Sometimes we make a stand with the truth by not revealing the truth or by our answers that are or are not true.” Nov 29 1988 Phase 2 Teaching – Yoneq page 1

(2) Teachings that demonstrate Yoneq/Spriggs speaks for God. In the quote below, understand the only one who the TT considers to have “delegated authority” from God is Yoneq/Spriggs so what he in fact is saying is to obey himself without argument as you would obey God.

"All who know God and know authority will obey his word, will obey Him, will obey His delegated authority without argument." Acts 3:23 - If we do not obey every word he speaks to us we will be cut off. November 18, 1990 Reasoning – Page 4

(3) Quotes concerning Yoneq/Spriggs being in fact the Elijah and having God’s authority.

Note, the following quote is regarding a woman who died of cancer who was a long time member of the TT. They could not explain her untimely death without finding some fault in her life or un-confessed sin. She was accused of speaking ill of Yoneq once years before and therefore rejecting God’s authority and not “receiving” Elijah.

“No way if Mary disrespected God's authority could faith come to heal her - Numbers 12 No way her children could be saved Malachi 4:5 If (you)don't receive Elijah (you)don't receive(the) anointing (your)children will be accursed - no hope.” September 2, 1990 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 5

Here is another quote concerning Elijah being in the midst of the TT. They are referring to Yoneq and the spirit that he has brought to the TT.

“Keli told us we can know the spirit of Elijah is in our midst because of how we are continually brought back to the necessity of turning our heart to our children.” August 6, 1996 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 3

(4) Quotes concerning there being no true church for the last 1900 years:

“Everything has been in abeyance for at least 1900 years — put off for a future generation to fulfill. Abeyance — put off, it’s no longer in existence. 1 Pet 2:9 is no longer in existence. There is no people of God; there is no holy nation; there is no twelve-tribed nation; there has been no one keeping the way of YHWH for 1900 years — it has been in abeyance.” April 9, 1995 The Fall of the First Church – Page 3

“Therefore the evil one been a ruler for 1900 years. They crucified the very Son of God — YHWH in the flesh. They killed Him! It proves who is in control of the world — Satan rules the whole world.” April 9, 1995 The Fall of the First Church – Page

(5) TT Teaching concerning peoples right to “reason” or think for themselves vs submitting to authority

“Many people are enslaved by a spirit of reason. They will only come when they are called and go where they are sent when it seems right to them. They always want to know a reason. If they are under this bondage of reasoning, sooner or later slanderous words will come out of their mouth against authority and there will be no possibility of escape from death.” November 18, 1990 Reasoning

(6) TT Teachings concerning beating children until they bleed:

“Underdiscipline accomplishes nothing. It is better not to discipline our children at all — “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.” No date – Execution of Justice – Page 1

(7) TT Quotes concerning being “cut-off” due to not submitting to authority or the teachings of Yoneq. A member can be “”cut-off” within the community and not allowed to participate in social activity or be asked to leave.

“What do we have that' s greater than our attachment (staying connected) to our Master, Yahshua, and His people? Do we think that we can put aside our life for awhile and leave the Community and go out and do other things and then come back?” May 19 1994 The Seriousness of Being Cut-Off from Messiah – Page 5

“In the nations if you join the army and go to battle and desert the battle you could be imprisoned or even killed. (A deserter is worthy of death - if he falls into the hands of the enemy he will betray you.) It's a serious thing to be in a battle and desert your troop. You have to see that we're in a war here. This is our Father's army and you can't so easily come back. We made a pledge at baptism not to leave.” May 19 1994 The Seriousness of Being Cut-Off from Messiah – Page 3

(8) TT (Yoneq/Spriggs) Quotes concerning followers becoming gods of their own galaxy:

"We are going to be holy people. Holy, set apart by the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will. The day will come when each one of you has a galaxy to rule over." [source: "The Three Eternal Destinies #74 - Three Categories of Man 5" November 19, 1996. Morning Minchah, Reuben. Teaching identifier: 961119A]

"Rev 1:6; 5:10 — He has made us to be kings and priests — that’s who we are! We will rule over galaxies. When people of the nations see us, it will be just like seeing the Father (Jn 14:9). We will bear His name, His character, His image, His authority." [source: "Salvation is a Free Gift (But Who Does He Give It To?)" December 1997. Coxsackie, NY. Teaching identifier: 9712T08]

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Parable of the Twig

The Twelve Tribes leader and self proclaimed apostle and prophet (who also considers himself the return of the Biblical Elijah) goes by the name "Yoneq". His birth name was Elbert Eugene Spriggs. Spriggs has gone on record as defining his new name as meaning "a Twig". The word "Yoneqet" is used in this manner in Ezekial 17 speaking of an eagle that breaks off the top most "twig" of a cedar (1). Anyone familiar with the history of the Twelve Tribes knows that Spriggs broke away from a Christian based church due to differences of opinion and ultimately started his own "church" which at first accepted other Christians and Christianity as a whole. Later, he condemned Christianity as an Apostate church and his teachings state there has not been a valid Spirit filled church for over 1900 years (2). The Twelve Tribes like to use parables in their "Free Papers", so I wrote this parable just for Yoneq.


There was a tree that grew alone in a field and was cared for by a very loving farmer. The tree had both strong and weak branches. The weak branches bore bad fruit. The strong branches bore good fruit. One day a twig started to grow on one of the strong branches. It was a humble twig that enjoyed being a part of a strong branch that grew good fruit. It flourished on the branch and started to grow beautiful healthy leaves. Then it started to flower and later the beginnings of one of the most beautiful fruits started to grow from the twig. At first the twig was happy to be contributing to the production of the branch and the tree overall. The tree produced healthy delicious fruit that made the farmer very happy.

However, overtime, the twig started comparing its fruit to those grown by the weaker branches on the tree. At first it felt sad that the other branches could not grow healthy fruit and wished that it could help them grow stronger. The farmer chose to prune some of these branches. And the twig started to think, “The farmer loves my fruit. He is happy with me and the branch that I belong to.” Then the twig started to compare it’s fruit to the fruit of other strong branches and it started to become judgmental of those branches for not having the “best” fruit. The twig started to question why the tree even bothered to grow weak branches at all? The twig started to become more and more proud and was becoming unhappy to be a part of the tree.

The twig shared its thoughts with the branch that it grew on but the branch would not listen. Therefore the twig started to compare its fruit with the fruit grown by other twigs on the branch. In its view, their fruit did not even compare to what it produced. So finally, the twig decided, “I need to break away from the branch and the tree and flourish on my own. Maybe by not being constrained by the tree I can become my own tree and make the farmer happier.”

When the twig broke away from the tree it fell to the ground. From the ground, the twig was able to see the results of the weaker branches face to face. Over time, all the twig could see was the rotten fruit surrounding it. It could no longer see any good fruit on the tree from its position on the ground. Therefore it determined in its heart the entire tree was “rotten” and unable to grow good fruit. Pride had completely taken root in the twig and it truly believed that the farmer only loved it and its fruit. The tree from which it grew was no longer loved by the farmer. It judged the tree by the dead fruit it saw and there was plenty to judge.

But something slowly started to happen that the twig’s pride prevented it from seeing. Due to being disconnected from the tree, the twig was no longer being fed by the tree. The twig had to produce food for its fruit entirely off of what it had inside it. Slowly the twig’s fruit began to shrivel. The twig was too proud to admit that it had made a mistake by disconnecting from the branch and the tree. The fruit on the twig increasingly started to look like the fruit it was surrounded by on the ground. The twig was growing old and as a twig with rotting fruit, it did not have the ability to grow additional branches and twigs to grow good fruit. Now it’s fruit is withered and as rotten as anything ever produced by the weak branches on the tree. And still the twig’s pride declares, “I am the only true tree!”.

Yoneq said, “Judge me by my fruit, if I am an apostle or not”

Criticism of Christianity: Fathers and mothers being too busy working to spend time with their Children.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Fathers too busy working in “Industries” and mothers too busy working in communities to spend time with their children. Young singles and other families raising their children. Families separated within and outside the communities.

Criticism of Christianity: Christians focused on “the love of money.”

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Communities and elders so focused on Industries and making money they don’t have time to Shepard the followers or raise their children properly. These facts are documented in their own teachings and minutes from the Apostolic Meetings.

Criticism of Christianity: Christians having the same divorce rate as non-Christians.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Community members are encouraged to divorce non-believing spouses. Members who have spouses leave the TT, are encouraged to remarry.

Criticism of Christianity: Critical of Christian Leaders that fall (Baker, Swaggert, etc) and judging all Christianity based on the sins of these few.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Multiple leaders accused and at least one arrested for molesting children. Jeff Leonard was arrested in Brunswick, Ga for child molestation and extradited to Desoto County, Fl (Arcadia) were he was later convicted and placed in jail. Stories of multiple others accused of child molestation and disciplined but then forgiven by the TT leadership.

Criticism of Christianity: Christian Denominations divided and divisions within churches therefore they are accused of not having the “Holy Spirit” and Christianity as a whole being an apostate church.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Many of the original TT elders (“the nucleus”) have left the communities because of differences with Yoneq. Those who were credited with having “The Holy Spirit” now accused of never having it because they disagreed with Yoneq. Examples are Michael Painter and James Howell who have given video testimonies (copies available from NEIRR website).

Criticism of Christianity: Christian churches leading people away from God instead of towards Him. Yoneq repeatedly states Christians and anyone who openly disagrees with him or his teachings should have a millstone tied around their neck and they should be thrown in the sea or sent to the Lake of Fire.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: Yoneq requires new members to denounce their Christianity before baptizing them. Many former members have not only abandoned the TT but also their belief in God altogether due to Yoneq and his controlling practices. Yoneq is personally responsible for leading thousands away from their faith in Christ and God.

Criticism of Christianity: Christian children don’t have their hearts turned towards their father. The Spirit of the Eliyah will turn the hearts of the children towards their father and the hearts of the father towards God.

Twelve Tribes Fruit: It is estimated by many ex-TT members that between 50-70% of male teens leave the TT between the ages of 14-19. Many of these teens have gone on record as “despising” their fathers and mothers for the abuse they had to endure in the TT. These teens are rejected and abandoned by their parents once the leave the TT.

(1) Origin of the name Yoneq:

(2) Quotes concerning Yoneq/Spriggs being in fact the Elijah and having God’s authority.Note, the following quote is regarding a woman who died of cancer who was a long time member of the TT. They could not explain her untimely death without finding some fault in her life or un-confessed sin. She was accused of speaking ill of Yoneq once years before and therefore rejecting God’s authority and not “receiving” Elijah.

“No way if Mary disrespected God's authority could faith come to heal her - Numbers 12 No way her children could be saved Malachi 4:5 If (you) don't receive Elijah (you) don't receive (the) anointing (your) children will be accursed - no hope.” September 2, 1990 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 5

Here is another quote concerning Elijah being in the midst of the TT. They are referring to Yoneq and the spirit that he has brought to the TT.

“Keli told us we can know the spirit of Elijah is in our midst because ofhow we are continually brought back to the necessity of turning our heart to ourchildren.” August 6, 1996 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 3

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For my German Speaking Visitors

Follow this link to review a presentation made by Leipzig student Florian Böhnhardt.

Boehnhardt Zwoelf Staemme 2007

For my French Speaking Visitors

Interesting news article concerning the Sus House (castle) and controversy in France with the Twelve Tribes.

Entre bric à brac et vie de château, les drôles d'apôtres de l'Ordre Apostolique... (Tabitha's Place)

Click on the following link to get a wealth of information from an Anti-Cult Site in France

News Reel-1 on Tabitha's Place

News Reel-2 on Tabitha's Place

Place a checkmark beside all items that characterize the group in question. If you check many of these items, and particularly if you check most of them, you might consider examining the group more closely.

The above check list comes from Dr. Michael Langone, editor of Cultic Studies Journal, and often characterize manipulative groups. Dr. Langone suggest prospective recruits and family members compare these statements to the group. If one or more of these apply to your group you may have a cause for concern. I say, if all apply as in the case of the Twelve Tribes, you should repent (turn 180 degrees) and run.

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Yoneq 2004

I dedicate this song to Yoneq and the elders of the TT

Elbert Eugene Spriggs

Ok - This one is a little angry, but therapeutic just the same

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