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Thursday, January 31, 2008

89 Reasons Why One Ex-Member Left The Twelve Tribes


The reasons why a past member left the Twelve Tribes group. The past member that wrote this has wished to remain anonymous. Formerly known as: Northeast Kingdom Community Church, Church of God, The New Apostolic Order in Messiah, The Church in Island Pond and generally, The Communities

  1. (Friendship-love-dogma-shame-guilt-fear-) Warning: The Tribes consider all negative reporting on their life as “malicious lies and slander.” They also state “both those who lie and those who listen to lies are worthy of the lake of fire.”
  2. The community started in the 1970’s with a Christian couple, Gene and Marsha Spriggs, who helped troubled teens and furnished them a place to stay in their home. Somehow Christian hippie love and a free communal life degenerated into a total control religious cult mixed with Jewish Old Testament Law and the Christian Gospel.
  3. Though they beat around the bush with first time visitors, the tribes clearly consider themselves “the only true work of God on earth since the apostles.” Being the called, chosen, and the faithful, one member repeatedly shouted at a daily gathering, “1 am so thankful and not ashamed to declare we’re it! We’re it! God’s only people! We are the people He’s always wanted and never obtained!” The tribes teach that only they possess God’s Spirit. “If you’re in the world, you have another spirit, or perhaps an angel leading you to God’s body (Tribes).
  4. Only community members can preach the “true gospel.” They say “the sheep will obediently receive, hear and obey a ’sent one’ giving up wealth, jobs, friends, relatives and inheritance to enter the one sheepfold.” To join the community “sheep” must donate their time and free labor. “Saved” means calling upon Yahshua (Jesus is a demon) and consenting to outdoor baptism even in the middle of winter. Within the communities, opportunities abound for a member to “die to themselves” and “crucify their flesh.” Believing Jesus’ death insufficient to save a person, they render community members totally dependent upon the group.

  5. I was told, “God created a special place for His own where His Holy Spirit dwells, the Edah, our Twelve Tribes. Currently we don’t have twelve tribes, but someday we will. Forgiveness, love and restoration cannot occur anywhere else. Our Master Yahshua accomplished this through His death on the tree, suffering in our place and rising again on our behalf.”

  6. Full of unclean birds and spirits, Christianity is “the bloody whore of Revelation. Her ministers are liars. Thieves and draw glory to themselves while destroying the sheep,” according to Spriggs’ teaching. Instructed regularly, members omit ‘the bloody whore’ part with new visitors. Community members also believe “Jews and Christians failed to perform God’s purpose, so God cut them off, cast them aside and waited 1900 years for a people willing to obey His commands.” They try to persuade people into believing that “only they bear good fruit.”

  7. Members cannot enter any Church or Temple “especially on Sundays,” because “evil spirits are near”.

  8. E. Spriggs refers to the Bible as “the most dangerous book.” The tribes also say “In order to understand the Scriptures one must connect himself to the vine (the tribes). And in another teaching Spriggs says “The Bible is written to confound the wise and meant to be misunderstood unless you are under the anointing.” (Spriggs’ interpretation) Stone IV 6/18/89

  9. Before Messiah can return for “His Bride,” the tribes believe they alone must perfectly keep God’s laws for 49 years.

  10. Filling their members with fear and dread, the community makes it difficult for devastated members to depart. As they are leaving, defectors may hear “Whoever has the Holy Spirit and leaves the body is turned over to death. You will not live long.” In another teaching Spriggs says, “If a person even thinks about returning to Egypt, our Father will provide them an opportunity to return. ..If you go back, you will drown.” These damaged people can no longer trust God, themselves or others, and are unable to receive ‘help from the world.”

  11. AI Jayne “Ne’eman”, one of my shepherds told me candidly, “We make people unable to survive and stand on their own two feet in the world.”

  12. The tribes latched onto the Catholic purgatory model for their “three eternal destinies” teaching. One of their main sales pitches, they treat this teaching like golden revelation from on High. Even though Jesus said, “Why do you call me good, only God alone is good,” the tribes teach some people are “good” and “live according to their conscience.”

  13. The tribes “freepapers” and Website fail to give potential “sheep” the dark, depressed, painful side of life in the communes.

  14. Community members cannot accuse their leaders of wrong or voice discontent. Concerning complaints and malcontents Spriggs says, “Whoever is against the Father makes himself brother to Satan, the rebel prince of this world system.”

  15. If you “oppose the anointing” (Spriggs, his elders or teachings), God may cause you to become ill, experience an accident or die.” Mary Wiseman, who died of cancer, told another sister, “You don’t know Yoneq (Spriggs), he can have real anger.” Following her death, the elders remarked, “Our Father removed Mary from His body because she opposed the anointing.” Spriggs and his henchmen are untouchable little kings.

  16. By inhibiting critical thinking among community members, a “group think” mentality prevails. Accordingly, followers surrender their right to make value judgments. (They cannot reason ). All female members must wear dresses or hideous clown-type pants. Men must grow their hair long enough to tie their hair in a short pony tail. Unity means “we perfectly agree about everything.” We do not agree to disagree like Christianity with all their denominations.” We are one as Yahshua commanded.” They always rid themselves of those who cause division.

  17. Young adults who break away from the tribes are told, “you are forsaking God, your parents and friends, so you can indulge your flesh in the world.” One young man courageously told two shepherds, “I can’t live this way.” Later the elders publicly blamed the young man’s mother as a poor example of an imma (Hebrew mother).

  18. Gene Spriggs decides all belief, practice and lifestyle. Positioned in a place of unrivaled power-and control. Spriggs the monarch and pope of the community answers to no one. Being the sole leader of the tribes. Spriggs prefers to maintain a low profile, and keeps any knowledge of his whereabouts, lifestyle, or finances secret.

  19. Carefully guarded in each commune house, Spriggs’ teachings are not available to the public nor to many of the sheep. Sometimes an elder may give a less dramatic teaching if he believes “It will help a ’sheep’ to increase. One newer black member repeatedly asked to see “the Ham teaching” which describes “God’s curse on the black race, their continuing sin of disrespect, and their duty to serve whites.” Believing that the teaching would cause him to stumble, the elder denied him access. Outsiders often hear, “any brother may bring a teaching.” Actually this means any brother may study a teaching Spriggs dreamed up and then repeat the teaching to the household. I often heard, “scripture is not personally interpreted.” Another oft heard control phrase within the community is, “you need to receive and cling to the anointing (Spriggs).”

  20. Though I’ve heard reports of Spriggs watching television and reading whatever he chooses, the average community member cannot exercise such freedom. By contrast, radio, television, and printed materials are off limits to almost all community members. Musicians use cassette players, but soon they will not enjoy access to them. Tribal teen boys often read newspapers and various magazines when they are alone. Listening to the car radio is a gray area.

  21. Bowel movements and how you have them are critical. During bathroom visits, members squat on small unstable wooden stools. A difficult feat it is! They say “toilets are killing Americans, because as you sit not enough crap comes out. This causes colon cancer.”

  22. Concerning crap, while outdoors “members must bury all bowel movements because our Father walks around and may step in the crap.” Upon hearing this, I almost rolled on the floor laughing. All I could picture is a half-man half-horse deity trotting around the countryside and through the woods at night. You must honestly question who their God/god really is.

  23. A husband no longer holds authority within his family, but a shepherd usurps authority over your wife and children. This is humiliating and frightening.

  24. Eddie Wiseman beat a teenage community member leaving 89 bloody welts on her body. As a result, the family stayed away from the commune for 15 years, but sadly returned in 1998. None of them received the courage to pursue charges against “Eddie” (Hakam). I have heard stories of this man abusing at least one other boy. As the boy courageously told his elders of the abuse, they rewarded him by beating him and locking him in a closet. People like Eddie Wiseman and Gene Spriggs don’t repent. They never do anything wrong.

  25. Awakened and frightened by the boring religious service, a crying 2 year old child refused to sit like a miniature adult. In response, the parents rolled their son in a sheet to prevent him from moving his arms or legs. The parents repeated this “discipline” over several weeks.

  26. One of my shepherds approached me and said, “I don’t like the behavior of your two year old son. You need to hit him.” I felt like telling Al Jayne “Ne’eman”, “Too damn bad, look at your own children.” If I didn’t hit my son, I felt like Al Jayne would have enjoyed the task in my place. The tribes expect too much from small children. Burdened with the goal of raising up three successive generations of increasingly pure and perfect children, community members constantly “beat the tar out of their babies.” Spriggs also says, “If our children can’t learn obedience, Yahshua will not return.”

  27. Many parents “in the world” punish their children as a last resort. In the tribes, parents punish their children as a first resort. Walloping their children provides some adults with an excuse to leave a gathering. Instructed to remove their “disobedient” children far from the listening ears of visitors, the parents strike their children on outstretched palms or bare buttocks with long thin flexible sticks. Foolishness, joke telling, laughing or making faces often results in “discipline” for these young children.

  28. “My imma and abba (mother and father) hit me all day, “exclaimed a little boy.

  29. After my wife and I divorced, she and my 6-year-old son lived outside the community. I asked Al Jayne, I haven’t seen my son in several months, and I really miss him. You often drive to his town, can I travel with you sometime? Al responded with, “”If you visit your son when he is young you will only confuse him. As he reaches his teens, he will wonder and visit you.” Another newer, but older member told me, ‘”You’re just a babe. You must mature before you visit your relatives. Perhaps your son and former wife are sheep. They need to see you living obediently with God’s people, then you can share the gospel with them.” Several other members emphasized, ‘”You must follow the example of Abraham and place your son on the altar. You must reckon your son as dead, just as Abraham reckoned Isaac dead.” One sister suggested I seek legal custody of my son, and remove him from his mother. My former wife is an excellent mother. Taking him from her would break her heart and destroy her.

  30. According to Spriggs “parents who send their children to public schools hate them.”

  31. Community children cannot celebrate birthdays or “demonic” holidays such as Christmas or Easter.

  32. One teen-age girl boldly told me that “at one time the adults used to put children into boxes and lock them in closets. They wanted the children to experience DEATH.”

  33. To control difficult teenagers, the tribes sometimes sends them overseas to sister communes. This hinders relatives from helping the imprisoned teenager.

  34. The community routinely removes children from their parents, if the parents cannot raise them according to Spriggs’ standards. One young child moved into my communal home, and shortly thereafter his “teacher” thrashed him with a balloon stick.

  35. Within the community, parents routinely deny their children immunizations and medical care. They don’t want doctors to discover the many scars on their children’s buttocks. The community hates to spend money on “worldly medical care.”

  36. The daughter of one shepherd told me, “Growing up in the Edah is difficult. As a young child, I endured constant “discipline.” Currently, I am busy with never ending work, but when I marry I will have even more work, and my husband will rule over me. I know Yahshua loves me. I need to trust Him and give up my life.”

  37. I was told several times, “If you don’t use chopsticks during your meal, you offend and hate Japheth. (Oriental people, Native American people). The tribes hope to recruit more minorities. In Hamburg, members exercised more freedom concerning the use of forks or chopsticks.

  38. If the young children engage in imaginary play, pretend, fantasy or imaginary friends, their parents beat them. In one commune, small boys could not push blocks of wood, or make truck noises. Community children possess few if any toys, and cannot play unless an adult “covers” them. In defense of their views, they say, “we want our children to deal with real life, such as learning a trade or helping their mothers in the kitchen.” A commune house may own one ball or bicycle, which, the children may play with provided they don’t have too much fun. Sadly, the children enjoy little play time, because the adults must continue working “so that the sheep have a home to come to, food to eat and clothes to wear.”

  39. Within the communities, tightly swaddled babies, toddlers and small children are a common sight. Unable to move their arms or legs, the poor children are wrapped in a cloth or blanket like little mummies. They are made helpless and often must sit for long periods, while their mothers work. One member explained, “swaddling helps to break their will without breaking their spirit.” I often pitied a frightened little black baby wrapped in this way. She wanted to move but couldn’t.

  40. Mothers who deliver their infants in the hospital, lack faith in God and their brothers. A woman named Amy who suffers from a heart condition, endured six days of sleepless labor with a breech birth. She and her husband, Aaron Anderson, refused outside medical help and chose to “remain where our Father dwells.” “If you trust our Father you can accomplish anything.” They place no trust in doctors, hospitals or Christians.

  41. Years earlier, I questioned my household coordinator regarding women “who are just too small to safely deliver their babies at home.” Coldly he said “LET THEM RIP!” I was stunned. A cold religious spirit dominates in the community, which reminds me of some Old-Order Amish groups and “Desert Father'’ type monasteries. To them the “pain of child birth is beneficial for a woman.” Through many trials and tribulations we will enter the kingdom.” You need to die.” - -

  42. Spriggs’ teachings dictate that married women must produce at least seven children. According to Spriggs he says “God is going to bring forth a male child (144,000) with absolutely no deceit in them. There will not be one lie in them. They will be just like Messiah. They will be so pure that fire comes out of their mouth and they will be righteously indignant.”

  43. In each communal home, every newborn male endures circumcision. Furthermore they say, “Every adult male should desire circumcision.” The tribes totally ignore the apostle Paul’s extensive teachings regarding law, grace, and circumcision.

  44. Individuals and families lack personal privacy.

  45. Because they enjoyed a “burlesque” piece of lingerie, one couple had to confess their “sin” to the entire household. I felt sorry for them. Through his teachings, Spriggs instructs couples about “correct” sexual positions. Tribal control doesn’t necessarily stop at the bedroom doors. Content with their one baby, one couple had to repent when they honestly stated that they wished to have no more. This couple left the tribes after an entire household collapsed in Lancaster, New Hampshire, amidst a series of hushed up scandals.

  46. As I sat in a chair and silently prayed, One brother accused me “of communing with evil spirits.” A shepherd’s wife told me “You should pray aloud because the angels take our prayers to God.”

  47. If a wife refuses to join the tribes with her husband then “she was never his wife.”

  48. Within the communities, women must obey their husbands without reasoning or questioning. The community views a disobedient wife as rebellious, independent and un-submissive. To persuade the wife to repent, sometimes the husband may withhold sex from her.

  49. A household coordinator referred to my wife as a witch when she tried to dissuade me from joining the tribes. At our baptism, we were told to ‘renounce Jesus and the demonic spirit of Christianity.’

  50. Several times a household coordinator secretly tapped into phone conversations when I spoke with my wife. In response he said, “I pay the telephone bill, and I have the right to know if someone is filling your head with defiling negative information.” (about the community).

  51. The tribes belittle Christians for attending church, sitting in a pew and listening to a clergyman talk about ‘white bread Jesus,’ yet in the community, teaching sessions may last three times longer than a sermon. I certainly didn’t feel like dancing when I heard these teachings.

  52. Those who sleep during a dull teaching must stand until the remainder of the session. During teachings, members may not use the bathroom or drink water

  53. At any time, you may be asked to stand in the center of a room ‘if you need help or correction.” They call this a “lemon fight.”

  54. You can understand why the tribes don’t tell new guests the real details of their life. It’s too bad for the guests who may be hypnotized by the initial love, smiles, compliments, hugs, dancing and testimonies. Because I was so sad in the world, I tried to sell myself on their “gospel.” I tried daily to believe that twelve tribes members were “the only Ones being saved.” After a while, I felt sick inside.

  55. Financially, the shepherds live better than “the sheep.” Makes sense right? Shepherds and sheep. Overseers of the community, shepherds possess credit cards, own cars, and control the money. They can buy food, purchase gifts for their wives and children, and take frequent trips. In contrast, the dumb sheep wash piles of dirty dishes, clean the toilets and wash the clothes. While most tribal women have few if any pictures to enjoy, Prisca, the wife of Aquilla owns and enjoys an expensive camera. Shepherd Al Jayne is fond of buying new higher-grade tools for his sons. His oldest son Nehemiah drives his own van and owns expensive musical instruments. Jesus said, “If you want to be the greatest, you must be the slave of all.” What did Yahshua say? “Disciples wash dishes.” Shepherds and their children do not. When I once hinted that Al Jayne’s boys never washed dishes, their mother responded with “you never sing songs or tell stories to my teenage sons while washing dishes.” A clear double standard prevails in the tribes. I think you call it a clergy-laity division.

  56. Men and women work long hours 16-18 hours) with no wages and little if any medical care. Members give everything and receive nothing in return except dances, hugs, baked squash, millet, beets, maggot infested potatoes, teachings and house arrest. As one brother said a couple of days prior to finally leaving, “I’m so tired…I’m so tired.” He could barely drive the car. After his departure, the elders said “his parents spoiled and pampered him.” The twelve tribes routinely use people and then cast them aside as “weak”.

  57. While working past midnight, a brother accidentally struck himself in the face with a hammer. Muscle hanging from his injured face, he called an ambulance. Because the elders desire to maintain control over communal money, the shepherds admonished the man for seeking medical care. Paid overtime isn’t even in tribal vocabulary. I remember hearing brothers ridicule time clocks “in the world.” If you have a time clock, be glad. Now that I live in the world, I’m glad that I receive “a living wage for a fair days work.”

  58. All communities will soon pay a tithe to cover tribal expenses such as property taxes and evangelism.. Guess who profits from any left over money? Elbert Eugene Spriggs. Eddie Wiseman. Don’t forget the higher ranks of “apostolic workers.” Silver and gold we have some. Lowly sheep you get none. We have it all. Keep laboring you sheep. -

  59. When I last lived in the tribes, the elders allotted only $10.00 per week per person for food, clothes and personal items. I waited three weeks to receive dental floss and longer for toothpaste. The shepherds and their families always had money for personal trips, ice cream and pizza. One elder, Aquilla, often frequents the local Denny’s Restaurant.

  60. One sister waited over two years to receive a bathrobe. Meanwhile, the shepherd just purchased a new and expensive computer system. Another sister spoke with me about her fear and guilt as she needed an eye exam and new glasses.

  61. Members need permission to visit family or friends “in the world.” They cannot attend any family funerals. Parents who oppose the Edah may never see their children again. When a young person joins the community, shepherds and their wives sometimes become the young adult’s new parents.

  62. Sexual abuse of children and physical abuse of married women, continues to be a problem within the communities. One single brother repeatedly exposed himself to the small children in a bathroom, and was asked to leave. Collectively, they refuse to repent for destroying the lives of their members. Denial is a key concept with the tribes, because they are always right and the individual is always wrong. One of their favorite sayings is “It is better to be wrong together, than to be right alone. Hitler would have agreed! Emphasis added!

  63. The tribes insisted that they never helped Steve Wooten, a member wanted by the police for kidnapping. I was present at the morning gathering when the FBI arrested Steve Wooten in Florida. The tribes lied. They sheltered him for many years. Member’s called his former wife, a witch, a prostitute, a liar and an unfit mother.

  64. The tribes forbid it’s members from taking medication. Over a ten year period, one sister stopped taking her medication for manic - depression which resulted in irrational behavior. Repeatedly dumped at homeless shelters and cheap hotels, the elders insisted that her condition was the result of rebellion and unconfessed sin. Several months later, she returned to the community amid promises from the shepherd Aquilla that they would never again ask her to leave. Sometime later, a brother substituted a strong Tribe -produced St. John’s Wort tincture for her prescribed medication. As a result, she suffered from insomnia for four days. Once again, Al Jayne ditched the penniless sister at a hotel and told her “I guess the last nine or ten years have been a real waste.” When I inquired about the sister’s whereabouts, the shepherd responded with “she went crazy.” The community always treats the individual as a scapegoat. In contrast, the twelve tribes are always “God’s holy people.” The communes are far worse than the churches they condemn, because love is not the rule.

  65. The tribes condemn Christianity “for the sin of the Nicolaitins” which they interpret as a clergy -laity division. In the tribes you have Spriggs-shepherd-sheep division.

  66. Attempting to obey the many Old Testament laws, the communities in essence practice legalism. They ignore the many warnings of the apostle Paul and the Jerusalem Council. In Acts 15 Paul said, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: To abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

  67. Forbidden to tuck in their shirts, tribal men look like slobs. Considering clean shaven men as emasculated and Roman, tribal men cannot shave or closely trim their beards. Priestly robes and wide headbands for use during the gatherings, are on the way.

  68. Members must eat whatever is on their plate, and if someone doesn’t like a particular food, they must eat more of it. Because I hate beets, one member told me, “Don’t think you’ll enter the kingdom if you don’t eat your veggies.” Sounds like legalism to me. Emphasis added!

  69. Community members can only wear cotton clothing against their skin.

  70. Community members cannot wear jewelry or wrist watches. During a gathering, his holiness Gene Spriggs smashed a member’s watch under his foot when the alarm accidentally sounded.

  71. Women in the community really suffer while working in the kitchen. While the men buy new tools from Home Depot, the women must chop cabbage and shred carrots by hand because they don’t have a food processor. They constantly cut their fingers on the very dull knives they must use. They must use temperamental old washers and dryers and hang out the laundry by hand. Because they refuse to install a dishwasher, the sheep must wash piles of dirty dishes. A former member once said “the community is the worst place for women since ancient China.” A drinking fountain would eliminate the need to wash 400 glasses each day. Women do not participate in tribal government.

  72. Children and adults within the communities cannot own personal pets. Most tribe children are fearful of cats and dogs, because they believe them to be unclean to a true Hebrew.

  73. A man cannot sleep with his wife during her monthly period, but must sleep on a floor mat. During this time, the woman is “unclean” but not too unclean to continue her daily work. You can see why the apostle Paul said: “The law kills.”

  74. Everyone in the tribes except Gene Spriggs and those closest to him are “covered.” This means someone always knows where you are working or where you can be found. In my opinion, it is the aim of the twelve tribes commune to discourage all independence (thought, action, freedom of movement, opinions, access to information, access to families) and to drive them into a hopeless, dispirited, gray herd of robots. They have lost all personal ambition, are easy to rule, willing to obey and willing to exist in selfless slavery to the community.

  75. Except for Spriggs, anyone can be “cut off.” Those who are “cut off” cannot wear their head covering (women), pray at gatherings, or participate in breaking of bread. Concerning those who are cut off, Spriggs says” … Don’t eat with them. We don’t talk to them except to reprove them, trying to bring them back to the faith -if we believe they are a brother or sister. We don’t have communion with them.” He also says, “One who has fallen and contracted “leprosy” needs to be restored and washed so everyone can touch him. If you touch him before this you get dirty, you contract their leprosy. “They shun the disobedient and rebellious member until they repent.

  76. Communal cars almost always have empty gas tanks. When people are given money for fuel, they usually buy a couple of gallons of gas, and then pocket the remaining money. Members are rarely given enough money to fill the tank, unless a shepherd needs to take a trip somewhere.

  77. Do you currently know where Yoneq is? What is he doing? How much money does he have stashed away? What kind of car is he driving? Who covers him? Has he been “cut off”? Is he “clinging to the anointing?” (Himself) Has he repented? Want to cause waves in the tribes? Start asking pointed questions about Yoneq. Why have some teachings “disappeared,” never to be heard again ?

  78. One brother told me he sleeps on a very hard futon so he can be prepared “for the wilderness..” The tribes are planning to gather in “the wilderness” someday because they believe the world will reject them. Sounds like Jonestown and Waco doesn’t it? Spriggs and elder Hawkins of the House of Yahweh should meet sometime and compare notes. But, they would probably “cut off” each other.

  79. The elders often censored, scrutinized and sometimes intentionally opened my mail. They always wanted to know if the sender was “a friend of Israel.” (The tribes).

  80. I often heard, “Only the strong survive in Christianity.” I marvel at this statement when I think of all the weary eyed, broken down and exhausted people I knew in the tribes. As Gene Spriggs says, “the longer you are in the body, the harder it is to remain, Only the faithful will endure to the very end.”

  81. Community members are slaves. It’s that simple. Members make it possible for Gene Spriggs to fly around the world, and for Spriggs and his buddies to retire in style.

  82. The twelve tribes is a high control, devastating religious cult which robs it’s members of basic human rights. Within the tribes there is no: free thought, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, private property, freedom to travel, family contact, burial of relatives, earned income, inheritance, education, current events/world news, labor laws, workmen’s compensation, health insurance, right to bear arms, voting rights, fair trial, prescribed medications, choice of personal appearance, diet choice, marriage decisions, music choice, radio and TV.

  83. Before leaving I challenged the authority of my shepherd. He took on a different personality altogether as he said, “I am God in this house. You hate me and despise our Master. You love your own life. I’m trying to help you be saved.”

  84. The communities routinely give their “sheep” Hebrew names. They say, “Dead men don’t have opinions.”

  85. Everyone in the tribes must end each shower with a straight cold rinse. Cold not cool. This signifies the cold response disciples receive when they share the Tribes “gospel.” According to Spriggs, “the cold rinse multiplies white blood cells, prevents illness, and increases longevity.” I still cold rinse in the warmer months. In the winter, cold rinses terribly aggravate arthritis.

  86. Community members can only marry another member only if the body gives their holy approval. If the union benefits the body, they will approve the marriage.

  87. The last time I tried to visit the tribes, Aquilla escorted me out the door, because he feared I would “defile” their gathering or cause more “sheep” to leave. He was intensely interested in knowing if I was a Christian.

  88. No one needs to live in a legalistic cult to know God’s love, forgiveness, and brotherhood.

  89. I was told several times, “if you don’t use chopsticks during your meal, you offend and hate Japheth. (Oriental people, Native American people). The tribes hope to recruit more minorities. In Hamburg, members exercised more freedom concerning the use of forks or chopsticks.

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Anonymous said...

People in the community do not recieve a proper education. My husband left many years ago and he could barely read let alone do math or any biology.

Anonymous said...

Luther, its a bit early in the game don't you think? you should wait a couple hundred years so your words might attain some credibility!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I wrote the above article about nine years ago in anger. Some of the information is exaggerated and some was based upon hearsay. The rest could have been presented in a more objective and kind way. One of the elders mentioned sincerely apologized to me for what he had said to me. I now realize I was trying to feel better about my life back in mainstream society by condemning their beliefs and practices. So, I take ownership for the article and apologize for my anger and immaturity. Unlikely as it may seem, I wish I had remained in the Communities. Peace be with you.

nabashalam said...

Amen Eric! You are healing and it is good for the soul to take accountability for your actions. And I am amazed you got an apology! It seems as if the Tribes are trying to heal also and confessing and admitting their part. Once we all deal with pride and ego, the healing moves quicker...

Now if we could only get a public apology from Yoneq, Ha Emeq and the other major players. Now that would be a miracle cure for and out of the Tribes...

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have decided to never move in, but we like the Tribes people very much. We know Yoneq's Cham teaching that black people should still be slaves in the world to white people is totally false. We also don't believe the Tribes are the only ones who are God's chosen people at this time. It makes me sad that something so good in so many ways has some real wacko teachings, but maybe in time these teachings will quietly disappear. Wherever you go, there are good people and bad people, and the rest of us who are somewhere inbetween. If you were God, would you condemn most of your children to death for a thousand years and/or the Lake of Eternal Fire? I wouldn't. What kind of God delights in eternal fire torture? Not the God I love.
Eric Christopherson

Candie said...

Eric, I've seen many of your comments on YouTube, and I can tell you have it in your heart to be with God's people as well. Your apology is sincere and I really appreciate it, as well. It's a relief that you've seen your anger in this article and that you don't want to be filled with that.

There's a lot of vagueness in the reasons, and the Tribe was very open with me about their beliefs. It's something I should point out for people who are coming across this without much knowledge about the TT. Such as the 49 years: the Bible talks about the race before the end of the age, that it would last 7 sabbatical years (49 years). TT doesn't believe they're even close to beginning those 7 sabbatical years, because they know they're not pure enough yet. They know they're not perfect, just like the rest of us.

I've met people with different personalities, and the children didn't act abused or frightened of their parents. They were very happy, very loving children. I enjoyed them and miss them the most. I've watched them being punished before, but it wasn't abusive at all. I was actually surprised that they did it openly in front of me like they did. They used a thick, long twig, and just took the palm of their hand and swapped it a few times to give a sting. Then they would hug the punished child and say they loved them and they went of with their duties. It was never out of anger.

I don't doubt, however, that there are people abusing the system. Of course, people let their anger get the best of them and hit their child too hard with the rod. It's a mistake and should be corrected. I don't doubt it's happened over the years in TT. I pray that God would have mercy and expose those people and their sinful ways. But the people I saw, the women whom I watched punish their children did NOT do it out of anger. In fact one woman felt bad that I had to see it, even though her one year old boy immediately recovered after a few seconds of whining and went on to eat his food afterwards.

[ continued... ]

Candie said...

And swaddling? I was swaddled as a child. For an infant who's been in the womb for nine months, bundled and hunched over inside, a swaddle is comforting. As they become older, they are more resistant to swaddling, since they want to explore the world and move their arms and legs about. It's understandable. Though I did see one woman "swaddle" her fourteen month son while she was trying to get him to nap. Though to be honest, the woman just bound his arms tightly to his chest with a blanket, leaving his legs free. It was a binding to keep him still rather than an actual swaddling which is a comforting position for infants and babies.

And the rule about producing seven children? No one had even heard about it. They do believe in exponential growth however. Some people speculate the third generation of the TT will bring about the 144,000, while others aren't sure. They know some how, the true body will produce these men.

They have their restrictions, of course. Only certain people, depending on their level of authority, are given access to cell phones and the internet, while others can only talk for however long on the main phone or write letters.

And the women... yes, they have nice little kitchen gadgets, haha. Like a machine to make butter, a food processor, two juicers at the household, blenders, and their cutlery was nice and not rusty or hazardous. Their washer and dryers were nice and pretty modern, and I even watched men participate in washing dishes and serving some meals when they came home early. Though it freaked me out that some of the women let their small children carry butcher knives around to other women, or let them cut vegetables with them. That made me nervous, and I have to admit it was a lack of common sense on their part.

I also think one thing people need to remember is the goal of the TT. People call them brainwashed, robotic, with no sense of independence. However, one thing I agree on is this: the Christian church has forgotten what the body of Christ is supposed to be like. And that is unity in mind, body, and spirit. The members of TT desire to have a unification in everything with others in their community. They do this by desiring to share the same goal, the same disciplines, the same needs together. Some people see this as a loss of independence, where as each person there sees it as a step closer to true unity, as a body. Others must remember that people can come and go as they please, that those who stay in the community do so with a desire to try and achieve that unity.

Though it burdens me that Gene Spriggs has too great of an influence in the TT. I can't put myself under his authority alone and convince myself that he's an apostle (which is something one of the shepherds shared with me on the phone before I can down, that they thought Spriggs might be an apostle.) TT believes they are the new Israel; I've heard many times before in the Menchochs (means "sacrifice", their gatherings).

Candie said...

But as for cutting people off? I haven't seen that. I've seen one man, during my stay, that left the household, but came back a couple days later to a morning gathering. He was greeted with open arms. And I've also experienced one women who had been visiting the household a couple times before. She wanted to live with the TT, but didn't want to be baptized by them and kept offending members. They finally had to tell her that they weren't a "hotel", that she was welcome to come to gatherings and Sabbaths and visit throughout the day, but if that's how she felt, she couldn't stay with them any longer until otherwise. She was very angered, and actually came up to me and told me they kicked her out before I was told what had actually happened.

For clothing, they wear cotton, rayon, or linen. Sometimes if a piece of clothing is like 80% cotton and 20% spandex, they'll still wear it. And that's something I learned from shopping at a thrift store with a shepherdess while she was picking out clothes for everyone.

I know a lot of the knowledge I wrote down is a bit jumbled together, but I wanted to clarify what I've learned from staying with the community for two weeks. There are some things I haven't learned or probably will never know the truth of, seeing as I am not a member. And even though I feel in my heart that the TT are not the true body, I honestly feel like the Christian church, in many ways, is being led astray as well.

I can't bring myself to go to a church on Sundays and have no real connection with anyone, no real fellowship, and feel no real love. Something in me, even before I knew the TT, tells me that the churches today cannot provide what the apostles back in the first century church were achieving. The unity... I really feel many churches, many denominations have already lost its light.

And Gene Spriggs... I think he's become a blind man leading these thousands of people. I will not let him be responsible for my fate with God.

nabashalam said...

I am glad you see the destructive potential of Sprigg's high control. It is not that he isn't sincere, he believes his delusion and is charismatic enough to draw others into his fantasy.

Eric Christopherson said...

Hi Candie,
Thanks for your comments.
I wrote this up recently for myself as a help:
I Can’t Return to the Twelve Tribes
Because they believe:
1) The Tribes are the only place on Earth where God’s Spirit dwells.
2) The Tribes are the only chosen, obedient people of God in 1900 years.
3) If you don’t join the Tribes and give up your family, friends, home, money, car, job, and everything else, you cannot be saved, and you will go to Death for 1000 years to pay for your sins, and possibly to the eternal Lake of Fire.
4) You can’t understand the Bible, unless you join the Tribes.
5) God will punish members who leave, and they’ll pay for their sins in Death.
6) Christianity, Jesus, and all religions are demonic.
7) Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. were evil men who deserved to die.
8) The U.S. Southern Confederacy and black slavery were righteous institutions.
9) Black people who don’t join the Tribes should still be slaves to white people.
10) Jewish people who don’t join the Tribes are still cursed for killing Yahshua.
11) People who criticize the Tribes are liars and slanderers.
12) Children as young as a few months old can be disciplined by any member with thin flexible rods, and blue marks from hitting a child prove your love.
13) (Many members seem unhappy, over-worked and exhausted.)

Twelve Tribes members please don’t accuse me of lies and slander.
You have asked all people to “not let your human voice be silenced.”
So I have just simply shared my own conscience.
I tried to ignore my conscience, so I could live with you again.
I like Yahshua, and your friendship, food, music, and dancing.
I like many of you very much, and wish you the best.
your friend, Eric

Eric Christopherson said...

Candie, Yes, I love the Twelve Tribes very much in many ways, but some beliefs are very wrong, and not clearly conveyed to guests at all! I wish the Tribes the very best. I was asked to stop thinking and reasoning many times, to take off my head and put it on a shelf. But reasoning is what protects our subconscious from simply accepting any beliefs or ideas as true, which is easy to do when immersed in a new culture with new teachings. I very much wanted to find a "Chosen People", but I think what's closer to the truth is that we are all chosen people and the history of humanity is much more complicated than a Garden of Eden with one couple and the Serpent. On one of my last visits to the Tribes, my best friend there, a shepherd, said that I "had been touched by the Evil One" because of negative information I had read in the past about incidents in the Tribes. These were true child-abuse cases and a high-level sexual scandal. I do not fault the Tribes as a whole for these things, because wherever humans are, bad things happen like adultery, child-abuses, rape etc. No society is immune from predators, and others giving in to fleshly desires. It even happens in Amish churches in very bad ways from time to time. If a person lives in the Tribes for a time, I think it would become very clear if that is for them or not. Yes, at one point in the history of the Tribes, it was very clear that each married woman should have 7 children if she is able. I personally saw one clearly abusive instance of child punishment, and also lived with a member who I found out later had been reported by children for exposing himself to them in the bathroom, and he was asked to leave the community after the 2nd reported incident. On the other hand, some children in my opinion probably needed to be disciplined more. And I remember the days when a brother would line up young teen boys to be paddled hard with his specially made aerodynamic wooden paddle board. Oouch! In my experience of living with Hutterites, Mennonites, Essenes, and a Benedictine monastery, the Tribes is the most exhausting life, but also the most joyful in some ways, and greatly lacking in other ways, such as health care, freedom of thought and speech. With the Essenes, we had a four hour work day and varied study was encouraged. The Benedictines seemed to have the most balanced life of work, rest, study, and worship. I realize the Tribes have a very definite goal of bringing about 144,000 male evangelists and purity to bring about the end of this world at any cost, but what if the Bible book of Revelation is not true? There is even very very scant evidence for the existence of Yahshua and the Bible writings as we know them were heavily influenced by the Roman Empire.
I guess I'm an unbeliever, but one who sincerely believes in a loving heavenly Mother and Father.
Tribes members, I am not saying untrue things or to slander you. I like most of very very much. Just expressing my heart, and like you encourage us to "not let our human voice be silenced." Also, to be a true friend, the Tribes need to hear criticism from the outside.
Members, may you continue to grow in your love for Yahshua and one-another. I think it wonderful you want to, and also for your many kindnesses. To thy own self be true. I wish each that reads this true happiness, whether the Tribes is for you or not. May the blessings be, Eric

Eric Christopherson said...

Candie, I totally agree with you about the churches, after being in many various kinds for years. Along these lines, Yahshua seems to me most clearly represented in many ways by the Tribes, but I really think the real Yahshua was much more gnostic than the Roman Empire church wanted him to be. At one famous council, one man was hit in the mouth when he spoke up to say that Yahshua did not teach the dogma they saying. The Bible and the teachings really strengthen unity/uniformity, but what if it's all wrong. I do think it can be a huge mistake to join anything for love and friendship. I think there is a very good chance the Tribes are on a false foundation. I hope not. I hope somethings like the Cham teaching will someday disappear, like other teachings have. I guess time will tell. Freedom is a wonderful thing. For me, I choose freedom and some loneliness, over love with dogma and high-control and some teachings that badly violate my conscience and common sense. I do not say these things to be mean, I really love most of the Tribes people and wish them well, and any who would would join them in love and good conscience.

nabashalam said...

I feel the struggle in your heart and know it well... as other ex-es do.. I joined and left 3 times! I still am looking for that "place to belong" but I will NEVER surrender my critical thinking. Even Paul urged such thoughts and reasoning.

and about the 144, doesn't mean they are physical virgins! It speaks of young men undefiled by the daughters of the harlot! The churches and sects that that twist the truth!

They have bits and pieces and some pieces no one else has but if they stay so closed minded they will never have the whole picture and the leaven of the pharisees is what prevents them from being the true bride!

nabashalam said...

They know not the freedom of the cross.

If they possessed it, anyone could leave and come back without fear of castigation and shunning. Each soul learns and receives at it's own pace. not by complete submission and surrender when demanded. Love demands nothing. The truth demands nothing. Love is love, the truth is truth.

The last time I tried to crawl back with a repentant spirit, tears and a contrite heart I was refused entry. So what does that alone tell you?

Now the question is, do we try and save it? Change it? From the outside? From the inside? Or does the whole loaf need to be burnt up?

This is what I struggle with...

Anonymous said...

I think one of the problems with the Tribes is the very foundation of how it actually began with Yoneq hearing a voice in he woods by himself.

Seems like some of what he received was very good, and other parts very misguided.

We can't depend on one Prophet to lead us.

I think a decent example of people living separate lives for God can be found in some of the Hutterite and Mennonite churches where there degrees of separation from the world culture, but they are more focused on Jesus and the Bible, instead of the Bible interpreted by Yoneq.

Since the mid 1800's many of the Seventh-day Adventist churches are still stuck with Ellen White for better and worse.

Will the Twelve Tribes forever be tied to Yoneq and H'emeq?

I'm hoping someday they can break-free of Yoneq.

What do you think?

nabashalam said...

I think there might be a power struggle after Yoneqs death. I Used to think Ha Emeq would take over but not after the "affair".

They might split into separate churches or who knows what...

I don't think this world has many years to go... I am hoping 2012 brings a whole new spiritual paradigm shift to where the whole world loves each other and cares for each other.

Critical mass, spiritual paradigm shift, the 100th Monkey effect...

Just think of the possibilities! If we all re-learned how to love and live for each other!

Anonymous said...

Even though I tend to be more traditionally religious, it is a positive thought. To simply be kind, to do unto others as we would want them to do to us, need versus greed...when love is more important than being right or having will be interesting as time goes on to see how much we humans have learned in the real sense and are capable of receiving. My wife and I were cautiously speaking today about the possibility of paths like Buddhism actually being more christian than Christianity on the environment, animal and human level.

I wonder if the Tribes have ever considered some daily quiet meditation times together?

One of my Tribes "friends" who said I've been "touched by Satan" said the Tribes are going in the direction of a Confederacy. But who will General Lee be, and who will Stonewall Jackson be?

I'd feel really bad for the members who've been there for years if the whole movement bombs after awhile.

Seems really weird to me there was never a tribe in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or China etc. And Yahpheth, oriental and Native American people never came in as previously predicted.

I think I'll always miss it there in some ways. It was alot of fun at times and the friendships that developed.

Once you've come and gone several times, grace does eventually run out. During my last visits, they were more interested in my teenage son and wife, I felt like a TT reject or something, which is what I deserved I guess for never remaining longer than 8 months.

I wonder if other people get so really unhappy and exhausted there after awhile also. Or if I was just "weak." I felt trapped there.

Sometimes the Tribes songs still go through my head. "Yahshua our King of Glory, Redeemer of Israel, heh, You'll be King over all the Earth, Your Kingdom will reign, forever."

I used to really enjoy Leviy playing the saxophone, alto and soprano, and the children dancing.

I used to be afraid of Prisca's husband, Aquilla, but they gave me warm shirts once, and I appreciated it.

nabashalam said...

"I wonder if the Tribes have ever considered some daily quiet meditation times together?"
They would probably consider that sorcery...

They consider Africa a "Dar'" country... "over the water fall"...
They considered Isreal but it was to volatile. They did make a few trips into Eastern Europe to no avail..
and they feel Australia is close enough to Yapeth as they dare to missionary in...

They gave up on you so they went for your wife and child who might be more impressionable.

"I wonder if other people get so really unhappy and exhausted there after awhile also."

They are all worked to death, including elders, and I bet you 75% of them feel "trapped" and manacled with fear and guilt.

You were right to fear Aquilla. If it wasn't for his fear of being kicked out I am sure he would have beat or attacked someone by now. Under his false smile lies a homicidal maniac with pedophilic tendencies.

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd done a better job writing the 89 Reasons. Have made attempts to write my story better, but it gets very depressing, even though the longest I was in the tribes was 8 months. The Tribes really can make impressions on one's mind. They could learn alot from the Hutterites and stop moving people around so frequently and leaving too few people in a given community. Aquilla told me, "The Community is a torture chamber for the flesh, who would want to live here, who would want to live here."
I'm not a fan of all Hutterite colonies for sure or all Mennonites, but I've seen in some of these groups much greater compassion and love for the individual than at the Tribes.
One time I visited a year ago or so, the Ithaca brothers were doing construction work in Oneonta on the Sabbath. I couldn't believe it. A brother told me, "It has nothing to do with money." I thought, "Duh, how about letting the brothers rest a day versus working every day of the week so as to recruit more college students at a new cafe?" I was stunned. They just make up the rules as they go.
I could never figure out why Yoneq insists on never putting a dishwasher in the communities houses, when they have they in the Cafe's. With all the piles of dishes at home and with sickness that so easily spreads in a community. I was later told "it's another way for us to overcome, and there won't be any dishwashers in the Wilderness, and it's a way to love one-another." Later as I'm seeking to show love and enjoying dish-washing, another brother comes by and says, "Let's see some speed here and get moving. We need some speed here." The joys of discipleship.

Anonymous said...

Yes, concerning meditation, I was once accused of witchcraft for meditating. And in the quietness/meditation I was silently praying and enjoying closeness to God.

nabashalam said...

Ah yes..the dish sink is also called "salvation station"... But you could have some good fellowship if you were doing them with the right people.... But be careful...I heard it many times..."If you can't talk and work at the same time, don't talk..."

Dishwashers weren't used because of the power cost. If you put in a good industrial one that actually had a power booster and the heat was enough to disinfect and even dry the dishes for you it was too costly... And the bull crap lies about A/C not being good for you? Bottom line was the power bill... Don't believe all the crap that was enforced because it was good or better for your health... It is always money...bottom line...period.

as you see with working these poor people into exhaustion... It's the BUCK! That is who they worship now... The almighty dollar which is misspent ( there unnecessary travel costs is a big one. Like when they have intertribal meetings, where nothing is accomplished except blame, chastisement and scriptural double speak,4 times a year and fly people all over the globe when it all could be done cyberly, and trust me, they have the cyber talented) as the members suffer...

So if you gotta little Catholic guilt in ya and you feel you need to pay penance because Yahshua really didn't pay for your sins with His death...then go to the TT...They've got just what you feel you need...

Stardust said...

I met the Tribes thru a travelers network, CouchSurfing. I was looking for a host in the Savannah area for a few nights and found their profile in my search. I was intrigued by their description of this body of people living in complete communalism so I inquired about visiting their commune during the Sabbath celebration as this was the time they encouraged visitors to come. They welcomed me with open arms. When I first arrived, I was treated as a highly honored guest and they had prepared an especially fine Thai seafood dish for the sabbath dinner that night. The women were warm to me around the dinner table and did they not even seem almost giddy with chatting it up with me. This would be the only time in my now three experiences at staying as an extended guest at three separate TT communities that I would experience the warmth they showed me on the first two nights. Beyond this first night or two or during their sabbath celebrations in the presence of guests, life with them was exceeding sombre. Then came the assault on my clothing and appearance after only two days of observing their culture. I had dressed modestly enough out of common decency and respect for my hosts. Still, no matter how oversized my garments were, there was no pleasing some of the women who appeared desperate to keep their husbands` eyes from roving to my "scantly clad" and more youthful body. I was more shocked at the fact that these women could be so insecure about such matters given what they confess to be, the Body of Messiah. I could tell numerous stories beyond this as I remained in Savannah for some time before making my way to another location where I remained for several months, then another two week period at a third location before receiving an odd sideways threat about watching out for a mountain lion that was supposedly prowling because a person could simply disappear one night! At least Savannah had that deep south hospitality going for it which I admit was rather charming for a shortwhile yet mostly this sums it up, there is an odd lack of sincerity among the members of the community. And there are inconsistencies in what the TT profess to believe however subtle. I don't believe the Elders truly believe in what they feed the flock, it is all a load of crap:(

nabashalam said...

Stardust, you are wise beyond your years...

So you picked up on the rote, rehearsed and enforced "love bombing". Good for you... Some are so drawn in by it they are sucked into a vortex that could last for years... Then it is too late to beat your ego and say you were duped and wrong all that time...

But my dear...please pray, if you do, for these poor genuine lost sheep who are "stuck" in one man's delusion of grandeur and Messiah Complex. This group has destroyed more families, faiths and spirits then you can imagine it this cults 40 years of existence...

There are some wonderful people, as a matter of fact they are all wonderful and have or had a heart tio serve god and give their all but got sucked into this egomaniacs delusion...

They are text book...The poster child for cults...
They fit every model to the "T"

If you ever want to talk more about it you can email me at I was a member from 97-2004 and now am the administrator for

and you can read my story here...

Thanks for posting Stardust...
In Lak' ech!

Eric Christopherson said...

I'm Eric Christopherson who wrote "89 Reasons For Leaving" approx. 1998 as best I can remember.

I'd like to request it be removed because it was written in a spirit of anger, and there are frequent untruths in it.

You can tell while reading it that I made little attempt to be objective. It was composed to inflict damage.

For example, regarding the little two year old boy being wrapped in a sheet, because he would not sit still. He and his mother had lived in a car before the Tribes took them in. The little boy would repeatedly hit his mother in the Tribes. The sheet being wrapped around him was a way to actually protect the mother and help his violent tendencies, which did improve over time.

Concerning remarks I made about Aquilla, Prisca, and Ne'eman Jayne, all of them showed a lot of kindness to me. No, they are not perfect people. But I did not present a balanced perspective to say the least.

I enjoyed many fun and meaningful times in the Tribes and I wish people could see that side of their life. I didn't make any attempt to describe all the wonderful things brothers and sisters in the Tribes did for me, and the many meaningful experiences.

The daily gatherings are still the most meaningful spiritual worship I've experienced anywhere.

Eric Christopherson said...

I know there are some who wish to see the Tribes collapse and disappear. But, I think the strange reality is this, for every word we write or say about the Tribes, positive or negative, some one is drawn to their life.

Each website, blog, and article about the Tribes is actually advertising for the tribes.

This is an interesting phenomenon. Maybe I shouldn't mention this or people will cease writing about the Tribes.

I was fed up with Christianity long before I met the Twelve Tribes for a variety of reasons. And I'd say that if we label the Tribes as a cult, we should also label the Amish, other conservative Mennonites, Seventh-Day Adventists, various monasteries and convents also as cults.

The subject of the Twelve Tribes is heart-wrenching for me, as are the clear teachings of Jesus.

I really believe the highest standard is love and the words of Jesus.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong or unkind to point out where the Tribes have failed, especially when individuals may have been mistreated or neglected in some way, but I've been convicted in my conscience that it should be done in love.

My prayer is that the Tribes will be all that God wants them to be as a group and as individuals.

Every-time I see my "89 Reasons", it hurts me to see that angry side of myself that would rather attack others, than be humble and admit my own numerous failures in life.

I was an unstable searching person before I met the Tribes. A poor husband and father. An unsocial person who didn't hold a job for very long. But a person who did want to be a better and better know God and the reasons we are here, and have real friends.

I prayed many times to actually find a people who loved God and worked together each day.

I think it's good we all try as best we can to understand the Twelve Tribes, positive and negative, but in a spirit of love, which often has been lacking in me.

When was the last time any of us prayed God's will be done concerning the Twelve Tribes? When was the last time any of us prayed for Gene or Marcia Spriggs?

In retrospect, I view Gene Spriggs as a far more humble person and balanced person than the Apostle Paul.

Sometime, I hope to write about more of my experiences in the Tribes.

I agree with the 7th Day Adventists and others that there will always be a Remnant People of God. Why? "Because broad is the road and wide the gate that leads to Hell." There will always be some people who love God more than their own comfort, money and possessions. I'd like to be one of these people.

We live in a world drowning in drugs, financial corruption, alcohol, pornography, gambling, unjust wars, violence, and other immorality. Is this what we want? What can we do? Is there an answer? Are we willing to do and be something truly different?

I want to be different. Most people I've known that tear down the Tribes have failed to show me a better way, which leads me to believe they may not have found anything better. Is this true?

Eric Christopherson said...

I know there are some who wish to see the Tribes collapse and disappear. But, I think the strange reality is this, for every word we write or say about the Tribes, positive or negative, some one is drawn to their life.

Each website, blog, and article about the Tribes is actually advertising for the Tribes.

This is an interesting phenomenon. Maybe I shouldn't mention this or people will cease writing about the Tribes.

I was fed up with Christianity long before I met the Twelve Tribes for a variety of reasons. And I'd say that if we label the Tribes as a cult, we should also label the Amish, other conservative Mennonites, Seventh-Day Adventists, various monasteries and convents also as cults.

The subject of the Twelve Tribes is heart-wrenching for me, as are the clear teachings of Jesus.

I really believe the highest standard is love and the words of Jesus.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong or unkind to point out where the Tribes have failed, especially when individuals may have been mistreated or neglected in some way, but I've been convicted in my conscience that it should be done in love.

My prayer is that the Tribes will be all that God wants them to be as a group and as individuals.

Every-time I see my "89 Reasons", it hurts me to see that angry side of myself that would rather attack others, than be humble and admit my own numerous failures in life.

I was an unstable searching person before I met the Tribes. A poor husband and father. An unsocial person who didn't hold a job for very long. But a person who did want to be a better and better know God and the reasons we are here, and have real friends.

I prayed many times to actually find a people who loved God and worked together each day.

I think it's good we all try as best we can to understand the Twelve Tribes, positive and negative, but in a spirit of love, which often has been lacking in me.

When was the last time any of us prayed God's will be done concerning the Twelve Tribes? When was the last time any of us prayed for Gene or Marcia Spriggs?

In retrospect, I view Gene Spriggs as a far more humble person and balanced person than the Apostle Paul.

Sometime, I hope to write about more of my experiences in the Tribes.

I agree with the 7th Day Adventists and others that there will always be a Remnant People of God. Why? "Because broad is the road and wide the gate that leads to Hell." There will always be some people who love God more than their own comfort, money and possessions. I'd like to be one of these people.

We live in a world drowning in drugs, financial corruption, alcohol, pornography, gambling, unjust wars, violence, and other immorality. Is this what we want? What can we do? Is there an answer? Are we willing to do and be something truly different?

I want to be different. Most people I've known that tear down the Tribes have failed to show me a better way, which leads me to believe they may not have found anything better. Is this true?

nabashalam said...

Eric... Buy a used copy cheap of this short little book

You will never think the same again...

Anonymous said...

I do not doubt for a moment that there have been cases of abuse and wrongdoing within the tribes. I don't doubt this because people are faulty; we do wrong and harmful things to each other all the time whether it be out of anger, pride, greed, envy, or even lust. It happens, even amongst those who truly believe in God. But remember that the scriptures even talk about wolves in sheep's clothing. There are going to be very bad people coming into the Body to taint it for the sake of evil. We cannot say there are no wolves among the sheep in this present day, probably more so than it has ever been.

So when I see people point their finger at Twelve Tribes, shouting child abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and brainwashing; when I see people do this, it irritates me and honestly makes me shake my head in hopelessness. Have a good look around: What do you see in mainstream society? Media influences our generation to the point that people are numb to it; they don't realize it. Younger people are becoming steadily more disrespectful and losing value over life, including their own. Our society suffers from ignorance, pride, vanity, lust, greed, anger, envy, sloth. All these things are easy to see in the world. So easy that even when we point out the cause for instability, people are still blind.

So they demonize another group of people to make themselves seem better and that this group is in reality the evil one, not the other way around. How foolish. How evil people in society are that they don't want to admit that they can be just as bad, maybe worse more often than not. The same people who say Twelve Tribes is evil yet take no responsibility towards their own evil deeds are hypocrites. What did our Master say again? "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye so you can remove the speck from your brother's."

The fact is that you're going to find bad people no matter where you go. Twelve Tribes is not a paradise and the people there certainly know that and also know they are not perfect. Mistakes and bad things happen among them, but they do their best according to what they believe to fix the wrongdoings. They really do. That's much more I can say for many people out in the world, who instead try to shove their wrongdoings under the rug and hope they go away. Or worse yet, they embrace the wrongdoings! Most of our society does this, especially in this generation.

The tribes have always been honest with me. I care about many people in the tribes, and I've seen bad things happen and be addressed. I think many try more often now than they may have in the past, because they're learning. They know that with salvation comes transformation. Much of the world doesn't want to transform; it likes itself just the way it is. It's stubborn, but people can't afford to be stubborn once they invite the Holy Spirit into their lives. Stubbornness needs to be conquered; it's just another yoke, but even Christianity is embracing a salvation without change. It's disturbing.

Anyway, my point being is that if people want demonize Twelve Tribes they need to look at their own lives and the society they live as well. Realize that bad people are everywhere! Bad things happen everywhere, not just in the tribes, and I think it's wrong and misguiding of people to not address the reality that the world as a whole is a dark place.

nabashalam said...

Yes there is good and bad everywhere... But no matter where it is, the darkness needs to be exposed by the light...

All these different destructive high control groups follow similar patterns and the destruction usually involves families and yes even faiths that are totally destroyed and many must be totally demolished because of the bad foundation it has been built on and that faith is the faith that is held together with fear and guilt and in order to rid yourself of that, you must rid yourself on your faith and rebuild from the dirt up...

The Tribes draws "needy" people. Dysfunction abounds and these personal dysfunctions are not dealt with on a one to one basis and is buried. Stuffed way down to were it can sit in the dark and dank a get even more septic.

There is a high rate of pedophilia etc in the tribes and some of this is caused by exactly what they teach about the Catholic Churches priests because of the unnatural enforcement of celibacy.

Also because it is a perfect sanctuary for perverts to hide and a target rich environment. They get to babysit even! Do you think the TT runs background or criminal checks on everyone? Heck no! And say for instance your a sex offender on parole or monitoring and your neighbors are all notified about where you live? Where is a good place you could run and hide at? Change your name and identity with questions asked? You maybe asked but your answers aren't checked up on.

Just as you said, bad is everywhere but it all needs to be exposed, addressed and documented for others to research.

When you make a contract (covenant) it should not be done blindly. Every jot and tittle must be present and perused. Maybe even a pre-nuptial is needed.

So as for me, I just want to state the facts and tell all I know, seen and experienced while there for others to make an informed decision to go or not. I don't say one way or another. If it's what you want, follow your bliss! Just know what your getting into. I am kind of sad that actual members don't communicate outside of the body about what really goes on there. Heck it might have changed since I left in 2004. But also consider things are similar in all the communities but each one can be different also. They all have different coordinators, shepherds and business heads so you have the human factor. Some are flush, some are poor. Germany might be different then Australia. Canada might be different then Venezuela. They strive for the "One heart, one mind" and that is done by submitting, thinking as you are told and doing without question or reasoning.

That's mind control...

Eric Christopherson said...

Some may find this very strange, but as an ex-member who has been especially caustic toward the communities at times and written very critical words, I plan to return to live at the communities in the near future. I'd appreciate it if the "89 Reasons For Leaving" that I wrote in approx. 1998 be removed from this site, for it does contain untruths that I wrote in anger. I wish all the very best I have not found a more meaningful daily life where people love God and Yahshua, and each other, and welcome others. Perhaps some of you will now consider me an enemy, I don't know. But I just want what's best for each person. I know my brothers and sisters in the communities still love me. And I want that kind of love also, and not waste any more years of my life. Eric Christopherson

Eric Christopherson said...

I decided not to return. It's been a very confusing time for me, reconsidering moving back. I'll just leave it at that, to be honest with you.

nabashalam said...

Eric you might go through this again, hit a low spot in your travels, a few times before your totally convinced it's not for you...

This to will pass...

Chris said...

Candie, you came back all excited to the cult in Vista, and then left and now you're not talking to anyone. It's okay. It's a cult. Plain and simple. They think they're God's highest work and the only ones being saved. Glad you found out what it's really like. Be interesting Candice to know why you left. Most visitors and members leave. That's normal. Not anointed, but normal. Take care

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in the tt and I left in 2008 Eric keeps saying some things he wrote were untrue but to be honest with you it's all very true and the reason Candie said the things she stated is because a lot has changed since the 90 s they are less strict now they buy nicer kitchen supplies and modern washers and dryers ESP if she was out in vista Cali they have younger people running the cult out there that's why to her the things you said seamed like lies lol all I know is that growing up there was very stressful I'd work long days pull all nighters watch other people's kids then get punished for things that didn't seem fair esp when I was little I got beat with one of those ballon stick because I didn't eat all my food this single man took me away from my mom stripped me of all my clothes and hit me from my head to my toes for like an hour and the more I cried the more he'd hit me so if you think the kids aren't abused think again because you have no idea what goes on in that place.....and that's just one story from one day try being there for 18 years!

Eric Christopherson said...

I honestly don't think they're the only ones who have God's Holy Spirit, or that they're the only ones being saved from their sins, or that they're the only ones going the the Holy City of God. They are taught certain things from the Bible while other truths also in the Bible are avoided or voided. I was drawn to their lifestyle for years, but once there for several months, I found it to be pretty miserable. I like many of the people, however, some won't even talk to me, especially some young married couples who grew up in the Tribes. They base alot of who they believe themselves to be on the book of Revelation which either was or was not wholly written by Jesus' disciple John. I'm a lot happier not visiting them anymore. They didn't save me while I was there and I was baptized at least four times over a ten year period. Don't know what else to say.

Eric Christopherson said...

What I wrote in the 89 Reasons is actually true. They were very upset I wrote it and they called it lies and malicious slander. I wanted to go back and join them again, and so I tried to backtrack some and make what I wrote seem inaccurate. It really is a life of total control and mind control. You cannot disagree with anything there. I like their culture and many of the people, but not their God who tortures people forever in the Lake of Fire, nor their corrupted book of Revelation. They can keep their guilt, shame, fear, and damnation. But I still like them and wish them the best in life.

Eric Christopherson said...

Everyday almost I go through turmoil in my mind concerning the community. I love the people there and their life together and I know that my friends love me there. I obviously don't agree with everything. It would be much better if I were a kinder person to others in general. When I visit the community or call brothers on the phone there, do definitely get a good vibe and feel the love to use a worn out expression. But do. Can you judge a tree by it's fruit? I probably won't say more. Don't be surprised if someday I return to the Twelve Tribes.

Eric Christopherson said...

I recently talked to one of my former Twelve Tribes elders about one of the reasons i left, which was a genuine concern about my two year old who was to be frequently hit by other men, because the shepherd "do not like the way your son is" (too jovial and having fun with another toddler). As i explained this to my Twelve Tribes elder friend, he just laughed in my face, he's so brainwashed now in the cult. It also amazes me that they support human slavery for black people who do not join the cult, when the Bible condemns "men-stealers" and "slave-traders." (1 Timothy 1:10).
And i am also not impressed with the home circumcisions and "natural" home-births.
Some babies have been permanently injured.The Twelve Tribes have a group pride arrogance i've never really seen anywhere else. I think they'll be surprised when Jesus returns, and they are not the only ones He loves, and they are not the only ones going to the Holy City. They claim to be "true Jews" but are not. They hit their own children for playing pretend, but their apostle and the adults are playing the real game of pretend, saying they are Jews when they are not even close. just selectively following the Torah. Ask Jews For Judaism about pretend Jewish groups. Very sad. I miss some of my friends in the Twelve Tribes. It's very sad to see what some of them have become. Most of the others have left.

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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