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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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Anonymous said...

you know this whole twig story is like twig tea, you know, they claim its good but it doesn't really have much in it.

Anonymous said...

I have known the community for almost two years. I lived with them
for over two months at one point. They talk behind your back. I
heard one man come up to his child and say he lies. Meaning all
liers go to the lake of fire so dont go near that foul thing. They
invited me to go swimming with them! We were in a creek and I was
playing with him. What kind of hipocyrisy is that?!

They like to act all happy in your face, but believe me they will
put you down so far behind your back it isnt funny. Talk about being
judgemental. I have seen thier nasty side. I went over to visit one
day, I hung out with the women and girls. Im 18 however I am very
mature, also I just like to hang around women better then men. So
the next day I come over as well. There was four of them near the
door, all of them were very dark faced. One women says O hello, do
you need something? I was like no. O just comeing over to visit she
said very coldly. I have seen them look through a window at me, they
look so mean. Thats not over exageration either.

So One man comes over and says come on you can help me. So I follow
him into a bakery. I worked with him most of the day. I ask if he
wants me to go and run this bread up to thier other house. Using my
gas and my car. O no, I think it be best if you stay around the
brothers as much as possible. Do you know how bad that hurt? They
dont trust me with thier children or thier women? I have worked like
a slave for them. Giving them free rides every where. I mean I have
used a couple hundred dollars all together. PLus working 6am-who
knows when.

So that same women comes over to talk to me. She is all smiley now.
This women is thinking about joining us, shes coming over tomorrow.
I just stared at her. Like O ok. She kinda got creeped out and left.
New rumours of how I get possesed by evil spirits im sure. However
you must understand, Im very sensitive and the way they were
treating me. I just collapsed in myself. I left as soon as I could.
I refuse to go over there anymore.

Plus I met thier beloved leader yo-snake. He loves to order people
around, has lots of money in his pocket. Roams around in a
mersadies. He gives money to his son. So, let me get this right! His
son WONT join, and he gets money! I over heard with my own ears, at
a dinner his son and some of his friends. He wispered, o yeah these
people follow my dad and I get some of thier money! Thier love is

Anonymous said...

So what does a dragon have to do with our fathers love anyways? It is a beast that isn't even real and symbolizes death in its utmost reality. I might understand why the twelve tribes members, who represent life to its utmost capacity, would see something in a person with this type of thinking might not be 100% trustable, yet i also see that they were kind to him and allowed him to work in the bakery and maybe other places as well. as for the story of the mercedes i find that far fetched, the last time i saw Yoneq driving it was in a vw golf that was several years old and had seen many miles. also, i wouldn't doubt that a responsible man like Yoneq might help his son from time to time, just because the boy isn't in the twelve tribes and looks at the money like it's a easy handout doesn't mean that his father doesn't still love him and even care for him.

Hobbit said...

So, if I join the tribes, I can send money to my family outside the community?

nabashalam said...

No way!

You don't have a "family" outside of the Tribes!

Anonymous said...

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".

Nabashalam, does Yoneq claim infallibility? I hope not, because then you would have a pope.

nabashalam said...

Yoneq claims to receive the directions and possess the authority of the "Holy Spirit". So I would say he claims that infallibility as the possessor of a direct pipeline to "G-d".

I have never known one instance where he has confessed to being wrong, and if he did he would most likely explain that it was a lesson to be learned somehow in that fallibility.

Anonymous said...

In the church, the apostles are answerable to each other, "the prophets are subject to the prophets". This is the system of checks and balances that our Father set up by the principle of there being "safety in a multitude of counselors". When there is a sole leader that is accountable to nobody, then it defies the reality that men are fallible and in need ot others for correction when their perceptions become foggy. This is why Yashua chose the twelve and then Paul. They were all subject to each others counsel, not subserviant to the dictates of one. Only Yashua could hold that Magesterial position as He was who He was and is. Otherwise you have the curse of Nicolaity, a pope.


nabashalam said...

Annie I know your an open minded individual and if you get the chance you might take a look at this book... It's eye opening!

The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Anonymous said...

"Yoneq claims to receive the directions and possess the authority of the "Holy Spirit". So I would say he claims that infallibility as the possessor of a direct pipeline to "G-d".

Just because one claims to be a prophet doesn't mean that everything they say is infallible.

To suggest the "all or nothing" 100% correct test for a prophets inerrancy reflects a misunderstanding of how prophecy works. We can't look at prophecy as though it were intended to be new "scripture", when it is not.

Such a view ignores Biblical examples that do not fit the mold:

- Nathan the prophet told King David to go ahead and carry out his plans, and then later our Father told Nathan to tell David not to carry out his plans to build the temple. Did our Father condemn Nathan for speaking wrongly?

- Balaam prophesied four times with great accuracy, 100% accuracy. One of his prophecies predicted the coming of the King in Israel. Our Father spoke through Balaam, no doubt. Yet Balaam was judged by Him as lawless, and was killed by the army of Israel. Ever-after in scripture Balaam is held up in infamy. Was 100% word-for-word accuracy a good measure of Balaam? Obviously not.

- King Saul prophesied twice, once when his heart was for G_d, and once when his heart was set against Him.

- According to John, the high priest Caiaphas "prophesied" about Yahshua. How inerrant was he?

-A prophetic utterances to be applied "across the board" and for all time? Philip had seven virgin daughters who prophesied, yet their words are not recorded. Apparently what the Father said through them was not meant for all of us, but was meant for only those who heard it.

- Many Gentiles when baptized with the Spirit spoke in tongues and prophesied. Again, their words were not scripturalized, but does that mean that anything that they spoke from then on was to be taken as inerrant?

- Agabus and others urged Paul "through the Spirit" to not go onto Jerusalem, but he did, "compelled by the Lord".

- A prophet in Israel flat-out lied to a prophet from Judah to trick him into eating with him. The prophet from Judah died as a result of believing the prophet from Israel.

There is a lot to learn from each of these examples, but what I want to highlight here is that we need to be wise and ask for discernment, and not rush to believe that all those that are deemed to bring prophetic messages are inerrant 100% of the time.

Paul told us to "test all things, hold fast to that which is good." This rule should be especially followed when someone who knows the gospel and whose heart is given to Yahshua believes they have a teaching from Him. It should be tested, and if there is something good in it that holds true to the scriptures and resonates in our spirits, by all means we shouldn't despise it. If there is something not worth holding onto, something that does not hold up to scriptural scrutiny, then we should let it go.

If a brother feels that he has come upon an important revelation to share, we must be especially careful not to rush to judgment against the brother, but let him present it and let the elders pray and seek light from our Father on the matter. If there is a concensus of agreement, then bind it to the teaching, if not then disregard it for the time being. There are new things that we will be given revelation to "bind" and there will be things that we once held to that will be needed to be "loosed" as Yahshua told us in Mat.16.

The flesh is very real and prone to err at times, and we will do great harm if we rush to claiming something is either of our Father or the evil one simply because we don't recieve revelation on the matter immediately.


nabashalam said...

"If a brother feels that he has come upon an important revelation to share, we must be especially careful not to rush to judgment against the brother, but let him present it and let the elders pray and seek light from our Father on the matter."

This would not happen in the TT. If he said anything different, contrary or new to Yoneqs teachings it would immediately be judged as a "strange fire" and he would be "cut off" until he saw the light in his error.

If there is a consensus of agreement, then bind it to the teaching, if not then disregard it for the time being."

If anything is in question Yoneq would have the final say on the matter. Any and every matter...

In the Tribes if it's in a teaching then it is "new scriptures" and direction of God relayed by his spirit through Yoneq.

"If there is something not worth holding onto, something that does not hold up to scriptural scrutiny, then we should let it go." This would never happen in the Tribes either. No teachings have ever been questioned, changed or has there been admittance of any teachings being non-profitable or no longer holding validity. No teachings or directions whether they be spiritual or domestic instructions have ever been "loosed".

Anonymous said...

There are no infallible men. "Only G-d is good". Men whom our Father favored, and to whom He entrusted great responsibilities, were sometimes overcome by temptation and committed sin, even as we at the present day strive, waver, and frequently fall into error. Their lives, with all their faults and follies, are open before us, both for our encouragement and warning. If they had been represented as without fault, we, with our sinful nature, might despair at our own mistakes and failures. But seeing where others struggled through discouragements like our own, where they fell under temptations as we have done, and yet took heart again and conquered through the grace our Father offers, we are encouraged in our striving after righteousness. As they, though sometimes beaten back, recovered their ground, and were blessed of G-d, so we too may be overcomers in the strength of Yahshua. On the other hand, the record of their lives may serve as a warning to us. It shows that our Father will by no means clear the guilty. He sees sin in His most favored ones, and He deals with it in them even more strictly than in those who have less light and responsibility.

Eric Christopherson said...

I decided not to return to the Twelve Tribes, even though I have been visiting as a former member and like the people and culture in many ways.
One of my good friends and a Tribes shepherd said that I "have been touched by Satan" because of various criticism I have read about the Tribes and testimonies of former members.
Another newer member had bad things to say about my 15 year old son who is shy and doesn't like the communities that much. In every community there's usually one jerk with a fried brain..
Make no mistake about this: they truly believe black people should still be servants to white people IF they have not joined the Tribes.
Black people within the Tribes are very loved and equal, but are not to show the disrespect and arrogance of their ancient ancestor Cham, one of Noah's sons.
The Tribes clearly taught me when I was a member that it was a good thing that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed.
This is what is really disturbing about the Tribes, you have really nice people, mostly, and a wonderful culture in many ways, but then thrown into the mix are some really messed-up teachings, definite racism applying to Jews and blacks OUTSIDE the Tribes, hitting children with thin rods as young as six months and by any adult member (which further opens the door to potential sexual abuses, which, Yes, have occurred.) The Tribes wants children safe to be sure, but communal living and members hitting other people's children in private make abuse easier to occur. When really bad things do happen and are exposed, the police are rarely called. The Tribes has been a sad confusing chapter of my life that's hard to forget in positive and negative ways. I wish Tribes members the best, I like most of them very much. I know by writing this and other statements, the Tribes will accuse me of spreading "lies and slander" but at the same time, they are always saying people "should not let their human voice be silenced." I want them to have a life of love, and not be exhausted and run down. To continue to love God and even leave if they wish and not fear Death, or to stay and be happy.
I do not think think they are "the only true work of God in 1900 years", or "the only place where God's spirit dwells", far from it!
But I love them, and wish I could be friends with them, without them thinking they are right about everything, and everyone else is under the control of Satan.

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

nabashalam said...

Chris, You sound exactly like me when I tried to return the last time and they told me to go away and live with Bob Pardon...

It is the symptoms of the battered spouse syndrome and Stockholm syndrome... Returning to an unhealthy relationship with the hope that they changed or you had only to find out nothings changed and you leave once again... I did it 3 times in 7 years Chris.

I wish you the best...but have seen this movie before...several times...

Julia Scheeres said...

David, could you please contact me? I'd love to speak to you.

Nabashalam said...

My life after the TT... God please speak to me...

Anonymous said...

I found that Yoneq has good intentions, but their misguided unfortunately, because 2 Peter 1:20 makes it clear that no scripture is for private interpretation, so....Obviously Yoneq don't believe this. Also I found he adds so much to the word and by doing so does not heed Proverbs 30:6 that commands not to add to Gods word lest you be found a lair. Many groups of people he condemns are not even in the bible....

Nabashalam said...

and if you hear that the Christ is here, or the "Body" is there... Don't believe it!

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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