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The Twelve Tribes in The News

Yoneq and the Twelve Tribes News - Updated 6/20/08 Videos Added

How do you know if a group is a cult?

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Page - Yoneq and the Twelve Tribes Litmus Test

I created a separate page dedicated to help people research and determine if a group, such as the Twelve Tribes, can be considered a cult as defined below by Janja Lalich:

"A cult can be either a sharply-bounded social group or a diffusely-bounded social movement held together through shared commitment to a charismatic leader. It upholds a transcendent belief system (often but not always religious in nature) that includes a call for a personal transformation. It also requires a high level of personal commitment from its members in words and deeds.

This definition is not meant to be evaluative in the sense of implying that a group is good, bad, benign, or harmful. Rather it is meant to convey a systemic view of such a group, which is comprised of a charismatic relationship, a promise of fulfillment, and a methodology by which to achieve it."

Additional information is provided on how destructive cults utilize thought reform techniques to attract, recruit and entrap individuals within the cult. I have provided polls for current, prospective and ex-members to compare practices within the Twelve Tribes with those tactics outlined in research performed by Steven Hassan, Janja Lilich, Lifton, and Margaret Thaler Singer.

Please take some time and read this literature and participate in the polls with the goal of helping others to better understand the methods and practices of the Twelve Tribes.

Yoneq and The Twelve Tribes - Litmus Test


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ex-Testimonies Part V - Testimony from ex-member in Australia

The following testimony was made in 2006 and was part of an ABC radio program with Rachel Kohn. No matter where they are in the world, the affect they have on an individual's life is very consistent.
See if you know anyone in the Asher Community picture to the right.

Rachael Kohn: What was the group that you decided to join?

Guest: The group’s known as the Twelve Tribes, or the Community, they’re also known as. They’re out near Picton, but they’re quite common around several festivals in Sydney going under the name of The Common Ground Café.

Rachael Kohn: Is it an international group?

Guest: Yes, it’s all around the world. It’s currently located in about eight different countries.

Rachael Kohn: And is it a Christian group?

Guest: They kind of claim that they are Christians, but when you really get into their doctrine, they certainly are not Christians. In fact they believe that Christianity is led by Satan and that anyone who truly believes in Jesus or Yashua, as they call him, will leave Christianity and join the Twelve Tribes.

Rachael Kohn: Now the Twelve Tribes obviously refers to the 12 Tribes of Israel, so do they claim to be the original descendants of the 12 Tribes?

Guest: They don’t claim to be the original descendants but they do claim that they are God’s chosen people on earth, brought here to bring about the 12 Tribes, which is what God originally intended with the Jews.

Rachael Kohn: You were Christian, an active Christian. What attracted you to this group?

Guest: What attracted me to this group was the fact that they didn’t appear to be hypocrites. They claimed that they loved one another and they showed this love by their life and the way they looked after and cared for each other, and I was really taken back by the amount of commitment that these people seemed to live their life by.

Rachael Kohn: You seem to be implying that you were disenchanted with Christianity or the church that you’d been going to.

Guest: Yes, the church I was going to, they said all the right things, but I felt there was very little outside of the church that made people who’d claimed to be Christian, any different to anyone else in the world. They were just like everyone else in society, they just put a label of ‘We’re forgiven because Jesus died for our sins’ on top of their life.

Rachael Kohn: So what were the features of the group that you joined, the Twelve Tribes, that made you think this is the real thing?

Guest: The features that really drew me was the fact that they truly seemed to live the life they proclaimed. They truly seemed to love one another, they weren’t hypocrites in what I saw before I joined.

Rachael Kohn: Did they share things communally? Live together, commune style?

Guest: Everything was shared in common, everybody worked for the community, nobody had anything that they called their own. No-one got paid.

When we went out and did jobs for the outside, it went into a communal fund, and unless you were part of the people who distributed the money, you never had money unless it was given to you. But everything was provided for you, your food, your clothing, the children’s education, which was done at the farm out at Picton, cars, everything, medical expenses.

So although you didn’t have money, you were provided for.

Rachael Kohn: You were there for what? Over two years? What prompted you to leave it?

Guest: What prompted me to leave in the end was the hypocrisy that I saw in Christianity was even more so in the Twelve Tribes, because although they would point at Christianity and say, ‘Look at them, they are not loving one another’, what I found within the community, once you really learnt what they were doing is there wasn’t a whole lot of love there, there was a whole lot of fear and there were the people with the haves and the have-nots. And to quote Animal Farm, ‘We are all equal, but some are ore equal than others’, and that’s exactly what I saw in the Twelve Tribes.

The leaders cushioned their nest, so to speak, and although they weren’t rid in money or material goods, they had all the nice jobs. They had access to the cars, they could go visit their families, they got to go on business trips, whereas the less fortunate members of the group, they were the ones who just went out there and worked really, really hard, day after day.

Rachael Kohn: Were you discouraged from having contact with your family? You parents, for example?

Guest: I was certainly controlled with my contact, and I ended up being sent over to America to try and get away from my family’s influence over me.

Rachael Kohn: So you felt they were controlling your life?

Guest: The Twelve Tribes were certainly controlling my life, in every aspect. I mean they were controlling my physical existence, they were controlling what I did day to day, they were controlling me financially, and in the end they were also controlling my wife and getting information out of her to help control me even more.

Rachael Kohn: But they didn’t seem to control your mind, altogether, you were still able to discern things like hypocrisy and that kind of thing, that prompted you to leave.

Guest: Yes, I think I was fortunate in that I joined the Twelve Tribes for all the right reasons, because I wanted to be a committed Christian, and the longer I was there, the more hypocrisy I could see, and being a fairly strong character, I wasn’t afraid of being cut off from the group. And I also knew that I had the love of my family outside the group, no matter what happened. I always had somewhere to go, I wasn’t going to be left on the streets.

Rachael Kohn: Did your parents actually help you when you were starting to have doubts? Were they an important factor for you coming out?

Guest: The most important factor for me coming out with my parents, was firstly they went to a lot of trouble to understand cults, so when I did come out, they understood what I’d been through. They were working hard to try and get me out, but I managed to do that myself.

But the biggest thing was, I knew that I had unconditional love from them. Now the Twelve Tribes claim that they’re the only ones who truly know how to love, but when I asked my parents for help, they were there. When I asked my brother for help, he came over and got me, and I knew I had that, I always had that to stand on.

So the Twelve Tribes couldn’t scare me like that and make me capitulate to what they wanted me to do, because I knew that at the end of the day, I had my family support on the outside.

Rachael Kohn: What did they say would be the consequences for you if you left the group?

Guest: They didn’t tell me anything directly, because the leaders weren’t that good at making any arguments with me, because I’d call them on their bluffs. But there were plenty of stories going round about people who left who turned gay.

There was a couple of boys who left who grew up in the cult, they had a car accident and their mother was actually told that that was God’s mercy on the boys to kill them before they got into more sin. So it certainly wasn’t encouraged for people to leave, and if you did leave, firstly you were going to Hell and secondly that you’d probably go there a lot quicker than everyone else. That God would punish you for leaving.

Rachael Kohn: You had a wife and children. What happened to them?

Guest: My 3-1/2 year old son came with me when we got kicked out, and that was over in Winnipeg.

Rachael Kohn: In Canada?

Guest: In Canada, Winnipeg in Canada. So we were a fair way from home, and the group who told me they would always look after me and care for me, kicked me out on the street with $100, which doesn’t get you too far when you’re trying to get back to Australia.

So my wife and my other two children came back to Australia about two weeks after I got back here. I arranged to meet my wife to discuss why I’d left and to encourage her to leave with me because my family unit was very, very important to me, and she dropped the kids off to me, listened to me for half an hour, didn’t say a word, and then left. And that was almost the last time we ever saw her.

Rachael Kohn: How do you explain her staying there so long, giving up her husband and her three children?

Guest: I believe that she’s been coerced into believing that if she leaves, then her children will go to Hell, and that if she truly loves her children, the only hope they have is if she stays, and God will reward her obedience and bring her children back to her. But if she leaves, then she’s condemning her children to Hell. So she’s scared to leave for her children’s sake.

Rachael Kohn: Did she ever communicate that to you, or is that your surmise?

Guest: That’s my surmise, based on things that I heard in the community. But I’ve tried to speak to her many times, but she couldn’t open up to me. She was scared to talk to me, but I think she was scared to listen too much to me because I had so many good arguments as to why she shouldn’t be there, that it may cause her to stumble and leave as well. So she felt it was better to cut off all contact rather than continue to contact me, in case she did end up leaving.

Rachael Kohn: Well you had the help of your parents and their concern. Did she have help from hers?

Guest: Unfortunately her parents didn’t go to the extent that my parents went to educate themselves about the group that we were in, and how cults actually work. So when we got out, they were quite happy that I’d left with the children, but saying that she’s an adult, she’s smart enough to think for herself, she seems very happy there, and as such, she’s still there four years later.

Rachael Kohn: What do you think made you vulnerable to a group that exercised such control over your life?

Guest: I think what made me vulnerable was wanting to be a better Christian and not be a hypocrite, but I also had a lot of pressure from my wife, knowing that if I didn’t join, she was going to leave me, and I wanted more than anything to keep our family together. So I was willing at that stage to give anything a go.

But having said that, I believe that everyone at some stage in their life is vulnerable to these sorts of groups, and they’re not necessarily religious groups, they can be self-help or business groups, or meditation groups or whatever. It’s we at one stage, we’re all vulnerable to the right message.

Rachael Kohn: You’ve used the word ‘cult’ a few times. What do you think is the distinguishing factor that makes you use that term with respect to the 12 Tribes?

Guest: I use that term for the Twelve Tribes because they truly do try to control your emotions, they try to control your spirituality, they control you financially, they control you physically, and they certainly manipulate you into staying through fear and coercion, and so I’m quite comfortable calling the Twelve Tribes a cult. Also if you meet these people, they are really nice, they are really lovely and genuine because they do truly believe in what they are saying to you.

So I know many people who are listening to this will say, ‘I’ve met the Twelve Tribes at their Common Ground Café at the Woodford Folk Festival, and they’re not like that at all.’ But until you live with them and leave and be able to analyse your experience, you’re not in a position to be able to say ‘These are just nice happy people’. It’s taken me many years to be able to determine what this group was really about.

Rachael Kohn: Isn’t it just the case that some people really like a tightly organised style of life, and others jack up against it?

Guest: No, it’s not that simple. For example, take my ex-wife. Before she joined the group, she would do anything for her children. Now she’s in the group, she hasn’t seen them for over three years, because they have changed her mind into thinking that it is best that she doesn’t see her children that she has nothing to do with them.

We had a fairly good marriage I believe before we joined, but she was willing to dob on me. These groups will change your mind in the way you think, and they will change your value system, and they will exploit you for everything they can, and then when you’ve got nothing left to give, they’ll spit you out on the streets, and say it’s your fault.

Rachael Kohn: And do you reckon that’s what happened to you?

Guest: Fortunately I do. I’ve done a lot of reading and study and been quite introspective, for a number of years. I’m still going through things of course, but I’m certainly well on my way to understanding my experience and being able to understand how these groups operate, and understand why other people get caught up in the same trap.

Rachael Kohn: Has CIFS, the Cult Information and Family Support group, been of help to you?

Guest: They were a great help to my family as a starting point, as to what’s going on, why did my son just give up his business and leave and join this group without telling us much. And it gave them a starting point to get the information they needed to understand what I was going through so they knew what they needed to do to help me.

Rachael Kohn: Do you have a sense now that you want to help others?

Guest: Yes, I do have that sense, and if anyone needs any help or even someone to talk to, I’m always open to doing that.

Rachael Kohn: It’s been great talking to you.

Guest: Thank you.

Rachael Kohn: The name of my guest has been suppressed to ensure the anonymity of his children

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Twelve Tribes' Money Machine - Updated 2/19

The life of the typical Twelve Tribes member is very simple. Women's dresses and "Sus" pants are hand made and most other clothes are bought at thrift stores. Much of the communities organic food is self grown. Members have given up all their possessions and do not have worldly treasures such as TV's, radios, jewelry, expensive cars etc. Ex-leaders and members often talk about the frugality of the life within the Twelve Tribe communities where every penny is pinched and members work long hours for no pay. The Twelve Tribes leaders do not deny this. They are actually very proud of this fact because they are working to build the kingdom of God on earth and preparing the Messiah's bride for His return.

The TT leaders adamantly deny that Gene Spriggs lives a "jet-setting" life or any different than the average member in good standing. However, Michael Painter and James Howell, former high level leaders (3rd and 4th in command under Spriggs and Eddie Wiseman) have gone on record as stating that Spriggs has a wallet full of credit cards and travels where he wants when he wants and also enjoys luxuries the average member does not have access to. As the only apostle for the Twelve Tribes it is his role and duty to plant new communities wherever he feels God is leading. So it is necessary for him to travel around the world to do this. Gene always had an inclination towards world travel. In his own biography published by the TT they state he gave up an executive job to take a job as a tour director for a large travel company so that he could see the world.

The Twelve Tribes has never had difficulty purchasing buildings, businesses and property to expand their kingdom on earth. They have claimed in the past that although a number of people come into the communities willing to give up wealth and possessions, just as many come in with little or nothing or even bring a load of debt that requires the community to pay-off. So how can they enter a town and drop millions of dollars to buy one or multiple buildings? How did they afford to host a large Cultural Event on the National Mall in Washington DC June 26-July 6th 2004 (Take a tour at Rekindling the Fire)? How can they afford to produce high quality films denouncing Christianity (see my article to Keli in the TT Parchment Press)?

The Twelve Tribes can do this because they own over 24 substantial businesses around the world. Many of these are high-end construction companies that list no affiliation to the Twelve Tribes on their websites or advertisements. Below, I have provided a consolidated list of direct links to these Twelve Tribes businesses. These are all businesses that you could stumble across on the various sites hosted by the communities, but as far as I have found, there is no one single list as I have provided below. I believe this is because the Twelve Tribes does not want the public or for that matter their own members to comprehend the vast amount of wealth that is generated by these businesses.

The TT leaders will tell you that many of their restaurants are operated at a loss. Most of these restaurants are not even listed below. Many ex-members have confirmed they often run at a loss but are necessary to recruit new members. However, these are far offset by the other lucrative construction companies as well as the furniture and other products that are made with "free" labor. The most recent defectors from the Twelve Tribes (especially those in leadership positions) complain the Twelve Tribes has become more of a business than a Messianic community.

Many people were amazed to find out a few years back that this obscure group actually had a large contract with Estee Lauder to provide their Origins products. In fact the group had been providing these products from 1995 through 2001 until Estee Lauder found they were using child labor to produce, package and distribute the products. Likewise, the Twelve Tribes provided products to Robert Redford's Sundance company until he cut-off dealings with them for child labor issues.

The following links are for those Twelve Twelves business that have/had a website. In addition to these businesses, there are a number of "cottage industries" the Twelve Tribes owns and operates with free labor from their members and their children. I will add to the list below as I become aware of more businesses.

Twelve Tribes Businesses in the US

  • BOJ Construction - General Contracting (trim carpentry, cabinets, etc) and New Home Construction
  • Common Wealth Construction - This is a high end construction company located in Savannah GA
  • Anything Builders - The name says it all.
  • Common Ground Cafe - This is the TT Cafe in Cambridge, NY
  • Common Sense Farm - This is the TT Soap Shop in Cambridge, NY
  • Mate Factor - This is the TT company that imports and packages Yerba Mate which they also produce in Brazil (again with free labor). This company sells Yeba Mate through many non-TT distributors as well
  • Mate Factor Cafe - Direct sales of Mate Factor Products. This company makes no direct reference to being a Twelve Tribes owned organization. - New
  • Common Sense Market - This is the TT whole-foods store in Plymouth, Ma
  • The Parchment Press - This is the TT Print Shop in Coxsackie, NY (my dear friend Keli works there)
  • Elad Products - High quality children's clothing
  • Ozark Rustic Hickory Furniture - Quality rustic hickory lodge furnishings from Lake of the Ozarks, MO
  • Simon The Tanner - Cobbler Shop and Shoe Store. Outfitter stores along the Appalachian trail and throughout the Northeast

Twelve Tribes International Businesses

Mate Factor and Common Grounds Locations- New

  • Manitou Springs, Colorado - 966 Manitou Ave- New
  • Ithaca NY - 143 E State St- New
  • Asheville NC -2002 Riverside Dr Suite 42-E - New
  • Winnipeg, Canada - 79 Sherbrook St. - New
  • Hamburg NY - 327 Buffalo St - New
  • Dorchester Ma - 2243 Dorchester Ave - New
  • Nelsen BC Canada - 202 Vernon St. - New
  • Oak Hill NY - 7771 State Rt. 81 - New
  • Hyannis Ma - 420 Main Street - New
  • Rutland VT - 23 Center Street - New
  • Lancaster NH - 55 Main St. - New

Business that have closed or who’s websites are down:

Request for assistance: The Twelve Tribes is considered a unique kind of tax exempt business the IRS classifies as a "501(d)," under a small subparagraph of the tax code created for "religious and apostolic organizations." Only a handful of organizations qualify and are categorized as a 501(d). I would like to find out what information is available to the public or to the members of the Twelve Tribes organization concerning the reported income and tax liability of the Twelve Tribes. If you are a tax accountant or know someone who can answer this question please send the information to If you are a current leader in the Twelve Tribes and would like to be up-front and volunteer this information, that would be appreciated (although not anticipated).


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Friday, February 15, 2008

Twelve Tribes News - New YATTT Page

I have created a collection of news reports starting around 1977 and going through 2008 and have provided links to these documents in a separate page (click on link below). I plan to add any new news I discover or you report to this page going forward. Heed the warning label. I have reported both positive and critical news reports. Engage your thinking caps and discern the truth from the sensationalism that often permeates media reports concerning religious organizations/sects/cults. Unlike the Twelve Tribes leaders, I trust you to think for yourselves concerning what is true and what is not.

Please feel free to submit links to any news articles you feel are relevant (positive or critical) and I will add these to the site.

Go to the Twelve Tribes News Page

Thank you,


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Michael Painter and James Howell - Missing Videos 7, 10, 24

I will add the following video clips to the appropriate past postings for new viewers. But for those of you who have been following my posts, attached below are the final videos I had not previously included. These video's had some off-air conversations that needed to be edited out before they could be published and it took me some time to educate myself on how to do that. Enjoy.

Video #7 - Discussion on the "Damaging affects of living in the Twelve Tribes" and Gene Spriggs and Eddie Wiseman have TV's in their closets.

Video #10 - Discussion on Gene Spriggs and the Island Pond Raid

Video #24

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Late Breaking TT News - More Members Leave 02/13/08

You listened to Noah Jones and Zeb Wiseman's testimonies. They left the TT years ago. Wouldn't it be good to hear from some more recent defectors?

I have heard from some internal TT sources that more senior level elder's children have chosen to leave the Twelve Tribes. My sources say that Arthur Nunnally's son (Tom) and his wife (Sarah) who is the daughter of Tom Wall have left along with one of Wall's younger daughters. Maybe they would be willing to give a video testimony once they get settled?

If you guys see my site, contact me at when you are ready to talk.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A Pattern of Lies and a Path of Destruction

We have seen a pattern when it comes to the leadership of the Twelve Tribes. It goes like this:

  1. Yoneq (Spriggs) writes and distributes a teaching (these are either made up, twisted from scripture or plagiarized from other religions)
  2. Hakam (Wiseman) demonstrates and enforces this teaching to his elders and apostolic workers.
  3. This is then passed down to heads-of-households and then
  4. The members start to practice the teaching (emphasis on practice).
  5. If negative press is received, the blame is placed on the members for misunderstanding or abusing the teaching.
  6. If a great amount of negative press is received as in the case of the TT’s practice of child abuse, then the teachings are toned down or changed or just forgotten
  7. All the blame is left with the ignorant members and history is rewritten retold by TT leaders.

This pattern was evident in my article on TT child abuse. It is also consistent with the TT’s teaching on lying. So let’s look at another case study using the teaching on lying.

Step 1: Yoneq writes and distributes a teaching:

“Our definition of lying means the intentional deception of those who had a right to know.” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“There is a difference between telling a lie and loving and practicing lying.” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“There is a vast difference between bearing false witness and concealing the truth.” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“There is a difference between bearing false witness and concealing a matter (not telling the truth) that others have forfeited their right to know because of their hostile and evil attitude toward God.” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“The court would say it was a lie because they would think they had a right to know”. – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“Sometimes we make a stand with the truth by not revealing the truth or by our answers that are or are not true.” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“Lying is more than intentional deception. Telling the truth may cause serious harm to an innocent party. Such intentional deception may be moral and must be determined by judging if someone has a moral right to know the truth for justice sake” - Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

“It is the glory of YHWH to conceal a matter. Prov. 25:2 This adds discretion and wisdom to our life and the apostolic teaching.” .” – Yoneq, “Phase 2 – Lying” 11/29/1988

Step 2 – Eddie demonstrates and enforces the teaching

Video 1 – Jeane Swantko states emphatically “I don’t know where Stephen Wooten is….I don’t have a clue where Stephen is”

Video 2 - Eddie Wiseman states, “I don’t know where Stephen Wooten is…..We do not know where he is” He also says, “There is a moral problem here….a moral disagreement” He was right the first time. The moral problem is he and his new wife are lying.

Video 3 – In the following video Eddie Wiseman says “I do not know where he is…I can’t find him, I do not know where he is…”

Video 4 - In the following video, notice how agitated Jeanne and Eddie get when Eddie is once again accused of beating Darlyn Church for seven hours. Jeanne frantically attempts to change the subject and Eddie denies it ever happened and claims the father has been brainwashed. If you want to see an example of brainwashed, watch the daughter who talks to her father next:

Video 5 - The Wooten boys have sworn affidavits stating what Jeanne and Eddie have said is not true.

Video 6 - Furthermore here is Nathan Wooten's video testimony stating that his father lied about whether or not the Twelve Tribes leaders knew where he, his father and his brother were:

Eddie - To answer your question, "What is the responsibility of the Church?" Well for one, it is to tell the truth. Stop your lies!!!!!

Video 7 - What have other high level leaders who have left the Twelve Tribes say about Eddie Wiseman and Jeane Swantko's lying about Stephen Wooten and the Darlyn Church beating by Eddie:

Step 3 – TT Leaders practice

In the next video, notice the look of sarcasm and joy this man (Jonathan) has as he watches this mother suffer the loss of her children. This is all a big game for these guys. Look at the smirky red-head sitting in the bottom left hand side of the screen and the facial expressions he makes. They are enjoying Laurie Johnson's pain. Is this the compassion of the Messiah?

Step 4 – Members start to practice it

In the following video it is obvious Laurie's sister is lying about not knowing where Stephen Wooten and his children are. Although they have bought into the teaching and are starting to practice it, they aren't very good at it.

Steps 5-7 – These steps have yet to be seen as they have not received enough publicity on their practice of lying. Starting with this article, let’s see if we can get the word out about this practice.

When a group is willing to lie about hiding children and abusing children, what else are they willing to lie about? How about lying about who they are and what they believe in order to gain more recruits? Surely this is a Godly act because it builds up the kingdom? How about lying to the law about child molestation by their members and leaders? Surely God would not want the community to have a bad “witness” to the “worldly” people around them. How about lying concerning debts and taxes they owe? Does the government have the right to take money that otherwise could be used to build His kingdom? I list these as questions because I do not know if they are telling the truth or lying about such things. That is the problem, once you open the door up to allow your integrity to be corrupted based on faulty thinking, you lose trust. Your word is no good. Many long time TT members have chosen to leave the communities due to this issue of integrity. Is God living among a people who practice outright lying and twisting the truth or selectively disclosing information for the purpose of presenting a false truth?

James Howell, once third in command of the Twelve Tribes and good friend of Eddie Wiseman (Hakam) testified that Eddie has admitted to lying on national TV "for the cause". He explains why Eddie was comfortable and felt justified lying on TV:

The Twelve Tribes Leadership and the entire Edah need to repent of the sin of lying. How can God love and bless a body of people who have lies on their lips. The only justification the TT gives for these lies is they wanted to avoid persecution and or jail sentences. The true apostles did not lie to stay out of jail or avoid persecution. They told the truth and if the truth meant they could be whipped, thrown in jail or even stoned to death, they still told the truth. But the Twelve Tribes hides child abductors, child abusers, child molesters and their leaders lie on public TV and on the internet to millions of people.

If Eddie Wiseman and Jeanne Swantko would have gone on TV and said, “We believe the Wooten children should stay with their father. We know where they are but we will not tell you because we believe it is better to go to jail than to allow these children to be released to their mother. You could at least respect them for standing for their convictions and telling the truth.

They did not do this, because they do not have the courage to truly be persecuted for their beliefs. Instead, they take the path of cowards and liars and they destroy their testimony to the world. Will God bless this? Is this why their elders, members and children are leaving in droves each year? After 30 years of being the only people on earth who supposedly have the Holy Spirit of God, they still have a meager 2,500 members. If God wanted to build up a kingdom on earth and chose a people to do it and blessed them with his power and Spirit, don’t you think there would be more than 2,500 or 3,000 or 7,000 after 30 years? I can almost hear Yoneq’s answer floating in my head, “It is because the sheep are not following God. It is the sheep’s fault”. Could it possibly be due to a false leader with a false message who does not have the blessing or anointing of God?


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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Michael Painter & James Howell - Video's 18-23

The continued video testimonies from Michael Painter and James Howell.

Michael Painter was in the Communities for 18 years and started many of the Communities’ "cottage industries," and James Howell was Spriggs personal secretary and third in command for over a decade.

Video #18

Video #19

Video #20

Video #21

Video #22

Video #23

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ex-Testimonies Part IV - David Pike (Nabashalam)

This video was created around November of 2004. If you are an ex-member of the TT you may see some friends or family in this video. There are two men I consider very dear friends and brothers.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Ex-Testimonies Part III - Children of the Elders – Noah Jones and Zeb Wiseman Video Testimonies

The Twelve Tribes can continue to spin the truth (or more accurately, their lies) about child abuse and the “great and happy life of children in the community”. Attached below are two testimonies of children of high level leaders in the Twelve Tribes who were born and raised and “escaped” the “life” that they describe as far different than the picture portrayed by the Twelve Tribes propaganda machine.

Noah Jones and Zeb Wiseman - Part I

Zeb Wiseman who is featured in these videos is one of Eddie Wiseman’s children who had to face the slander and lies told about his mother Mary after she died of cancer within the communities. Yoneq (Spriggs) felt the reputation and character of this loving, God fearing woman was worth trashing in order to maintain control of his flock and strengthen his own position and power. Furthermore, the mental wellbeing of Mary’s children were also an acceptable cost to maintaining control and power. The lesson he effectively communicated was "if you speak against the “anointed” (Spriggs) you will die".

Noah Jones and Zeb Wiseman - Part II


The Twelve Tribe leaders will tell you the proof they are God's chosen people is the "life" they are leading. They can't tell you why other communal religious groups who live the same "life' the same way, are also not "saved".

It is their belief that they are going to raise 144,000 virgin young men who will go into the world to preach "the Gospel". Yoneq (Spriggs) claimed that he had come to "turn the hearts of the sons towards their fathers and the hearts of the fathers towards their sons" However, the evidence above is just a small glimpse of the horrible truth. The Twelve Tribes are effectively destroying the basic structure of the family and driving their sons to the point they feel the need to "escape" the oppression of the "life" within the Twelve Tribes.

The leaders of the Twelve Tribe are held up as examples for their followers to emulate. Here are two examples of leaders who instead of turning their hearts towards their sons, have cut them off as if they were dead. They are so headstrong on living out the dogma of their doctrine and following their "anointed" leader above all, they have allowed their own children to be abused, abandoned and slandered just like anyone else who chooses to leave the Twelve Tribes. In Eddie's case, he was willing to allow his wife to be openly slandered in front of her children immediately following her death. No wonder Noah can say, "I realized, this is not where God lives."

I still hear the little children of the Twelve Tribes singing, "Do you wonder if life has something more to offer? Ask yourself if you belong where you are?" At least two children raised within the Twelve Tribes have asked themselves this question and the answer was an emphatic "NO".


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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Personal Testimonies of Ex-Members - Part II

The following Testimony is from a member who left about 10 years ago but was only able to get the TT out of his mind around 2 years ago due to the devastating affect of the thought reform tactics the TT employs.

The last time I lived with the TT was 10yrs ago. I went back and forth several times over the years. I probably only actually lived with them for a total of about 4yrs over all. In my head I was always living with them. I finally gave up the notion of having to go back only about 2yrs ago.

It all started for me around 1980 while I was studying bible in a local college in my home town. During summer vacation of the first year I volunteered to work at a Christian summer camp. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I was totally unfamiliar with the idea of living in community until I worked at this summer camp. Living with about 100 children and maybe 30 adults in such close proximity for 6 weeks was my introduction to that kind of life. I went back to school in the fall and felt like something was missing. I was trying to understand the harsh reality of Christian living in comparison with what i had experienced over the summer. Loving one another was a way of life at camp. The Christian experience was empty compared to that. I longed for more.

So here I was, not even knowing there was any such thing as people living together in community, thinking there must be more to this whole experience.
It was while I was in my church history class one day that that all changed for me. One sentence in my Church history book grabbed my attention. It mentioned a people called the Anabaptists. These people didn't think that Martin Luther had gone far enough with just nailing nine thesis' to the door of the local Catholic church. They believed that the Catholic church was beyond reform and that it was time for a complete separation. It was exactly what i was beginning to think concerning all of Christendom..

Just a little side note...
If you ever get a few minutes you should read the story of the Anabaptists.
Start here: Anabaptists
You will then know that the idea that the Holy Spirit has not been on the earth for 2000yrs is categorically false.

I am amazed by that teaching by the way. If anyone was wondering about whether Yoneq is delusional or not they ought to really consider the full ramifications of what that teaching means.

Back to my story...
Of course when I would bring these ideas up to my fellow students they thought I was a bit crazy. "It was just summer camp" they would say.
"People don't live like that in the real world." I would point out the example of the Anabaptists and I would just be told; " that was the middle ages, we know better now." It just didn't sit right with me. It seemed to me if people really had the Holy Spirit then love would be overflowing everywhere. It was not, as many of you are painfully aware. I met one person there however that listened to what I had to say. He was about 20yrs my senior and was very familiar with community life. He had been searching for something more substantial himself for most of his life. He had thus far come up empty. He had researched many communities all over the U.S.. He had even lived with a few for a time.

I wanted to know more. Once the 2yr bible program was over we were off and running. We traveled all over the northeast U.S. so that I could get a taste of what community life was all about. After living and working with several different groups ( all along the way hitting every college library I was near to continue studying this phenomenon) I too was coming up empty. I never seemed to be satisfied. Finally I went back to my friend ( who had since left me to my own devices because he had a family to take care of) and told him that I was not finding what I was looking for. Nearly 7yrs had gone by. He told me that he knew of one other group that might interest me. He said he never mentioned them because he just saw them as a hippy commune. Off to Island Pond VT we went. It was my last hope. When we arrived I thought I had found heaven on earth. My friend left at the end of the day, I did not.

Thus began my relationship with the TT. It didn't take long before I began to be dissatisfied with life there as well. What I was looking for just didn't seem to exist. I have spent most of my life thinking that it must exist, that the problem must be me.

What I was looking for I was eventually to realize was inside of me not outside of me. That is what we are all looking for, the love of God. We do not need to get it from anyone but Him. Everyone around us could be wanting to kill us (sound familiar? our brother Stephen comes to mind) and we could still be "perfectly" content with the love that God gives us. Yes, we would all like to be surrounded by loving people all of the time. That is not reality however.
We have already been told this by Yahshua. I must have missed that one in bible class.
The crucible that is called the TT is just a microcosm of the world. Take all of the "evil" thoughts in the world and put them under one roof, there you have a description of community living. If you can bear that kind of test then living in community is for you. If you are just looking for the love of God, then look inside. When you are certain that you are loved by God then you can stand under any pressure. The problem I had was I was looking for God in those communities, not inside myself.

The world is full of false beliefs and delusional people. It is full of people searching outside of themselves for what can only be found within. The desire that draws us to want to live in a community is a desire for something that we all have available to us where ever we find ourselves. It is the desire to experience oneness with God and his creation. Pray for this experience where you are here and now. It is the desire of God's heart for us to have it. It is a prayer that if sincere, will never go unanswered.


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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Personal Testimonies of Ex-Members

The following story is from an ex-member:

I thought I would share a little of my story. It took me along time to accept that I didn't need to live as a member of the TT before I could be accepted by God.

It took a lot longer than 4 years. I was still defending them on Factnet not more than two yrs ago. I Have grown up you might say since that time.

It takes courage to face the truth of one's beliefs. When put to the test some of them come up empty or even ugly. It is hard to accept but accept it we must if we are going to do what we all set out to do in the first place, meet God face to face. On His terms not ours. God is Truth, should we not seek truth with all our effort? If our beliefs are found to be false or ugly we should abandon them. As difficult as it is to abandon one's beliefs it is much less painful than turning our backs on God.

I have associated with the TT for nearly 25yrs. It could have been any group like them. I lived with several throughout those years. They all had people who were clearly lovers of the truth. Most of them were Amish and or Mennonite background. There is still life deep within those traditions as well. I think I liked the TT because of the culture as well as the message.

I remember when the first three eternal destinies paper was published. It was in Island Pond VT. For a Christian that teaching was an answer to prayer. It was hard not to find a denomination that wasn't condemning another denomination to hell, without trying to find one that thought anyone that didn't go to church on Sunday in America could ever please God.

The three eternal destinies answered the question of what was going to happen to everyone else but me and few select others on the earth that were lucky enough to figure this out.

The spirit of God is everywhere. We should be content with our lot in life and spend our time trying to make sure that everyone less fortunate than ourselves is cared for to the best of our ability. The more you give, the more you are given. That is God's work.

  • The widows and orphans are his priority.
  • The homeless living in the woods.
  • The wounded soldiers that sacrificed there lives for their country.
  • The starving children all over the world.

Those are the people that God cares for the most. They are the most needy, it would only make sense. Should it not be our most pressing need? Groups like the TT wouldn't even need to exist if we had the moral will to change some things in this world.

When I really exited the TT was when I grew up.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Late Breaking TT News - More leaders defect 02/04/08

Reliable sources report that the Ithaca Community Coordinators for the Twelve Tribes, Elahav and his wife and kids have left the Twelve Tribes. Details are sketchy but our thoughts and prayers go out to this man and his family.

Elahav - If you have access to this site and need some help, contact


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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Interview with Michael Painter and James Howell - #11-17

Interview with Michael Painter and James Howell, 1/23/93.
Michael Painter was in the Communities for 18 years and started many of the Communities’ "cottage industries," and James Howell was Spriggs personal secretary and third in command for over a decade.

Video 11

Video 12

Video 13

Video 14

Video 15

Video 16

Video 17

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Friday, February 1, 2008

This article is an online conversation with the Sister in the “Story about a Brother and Sister”.

I wrote this the form of a article because I started to reply to Cindy and it became more than a comment could hold. Let me start with Cindy's comment and then my response.

Cindy said...

"It is ironic how situations, circumstances, FACTS, get missconstrude and miss communicated when the one communicating has been offended in some way. The only thing one can realy communicate in that state is the offensive atittude. This is the case with the story of a brother and sister... I don't know who you are or where you gathered your imformation from but I know enough of the story to know you are talking about me, my husband and my brother and your facts are way off. All I hear in your version of this tragedy is that, a trajedy. Yet it is not truth. And if you want the truth I can give it to you> But I don't think you realy do. It seems to me that you are out to make something look realy bad that in fact was not bad at all. In reality the "story" you published was slanderous and not factual. I do not know the what has offended you but i do know that if it is something someone in the community has done i am sure if you can find forgiveness in your heart than you would be able to communicate and get this thing settled. I know Yoneq, and have for 21 years now. Even in the state which my family has been in for the past year and a half (we have been functiong apart from the tt for that long because of issues with our children that we are bringing healing to) all he has communicated to me and my children is hope and encouragement. My children (ages 21 down to 8) all love the heart of that man and the life in the tt. We are all looking forward to returning and building up what is there! I only ask you to remove the story from your sight as it in no was represents our entry into the community. It realy missrepresents both my husband and myself completely! I have written this knowing you have the right as the author to do what you wish with my comment. Yet i will take legal action if you print this in any way that makes the community look worse than you already have. I find it a sad thing that someone would have to spend the rest of his life (being an older man and all) trying to slander someone who doesn't even know that they have offended you. If you, in fact, realy do love Yoneq and would "serve side by side with him "if he would only "repent" then it seems as though you would want to cover this transgression, because true love covers his brothers transgression, and even bares it to his own hurt. That is the way of Messiah. Oh by the way my brother doesn't consider your relationship as a dear friendship, as he only met you for the first time 4 days ago when you called and asked him for a place to stay. Get the story right!"

My Response -

Qetsiyah - Thank you for taking the time (and having patience with the technology) to respond to this story. You are right, this story is about you, your husband Yacob and your brother Billy. I am very sorry if it offends you. I stated in the story that most of the facts about you and your husband were given to me by your brother a number of years ago. I tried to capture and represent them as honestly and accurately as possible. I even had your brother read the story while I was staying with him and he did not contradict anything he read. This may have given me the false impression that it was 100% accurate. I would be more than happy to edit the story and make corrections regarding you and Yacob’s story if you were to provide these to me (either directly at or through your brother if that makes you more comfortable. I unlike Keli, will not attempt to “track you down” using your emails as I mean you no harm at all. There are things about Yacob that I know that I could have published but chose not to (and I will not under any circumstance) because they would only work towards destroying his character, and that is not my intent. You may not believe it, but I truly love you, Yacob and your children (you have 7 now?).

You say that all you hear in the story is a tragedy. I agree with you. No matter how, you edit the story it will be similar to 100's of others were a wife leads her husband into a thought reform group for whatever reason. The husband should be the head of the household. Your story is not unique. Change the names and dates and I can provide testimonies from many couples where the same thing happened. I hope some of these can find the courage to leave at least an anonymous "amen" to this. You should ask yourself, why so many wives enter the TT before their husbands, and so many men leave the TT before their wives (I know there are exceptions to this but if you saw the statistical numbers you would know the truth). I submit, the reason for this is because the true honor and authority of a husband is constantly usurped by TT leadership. Yacob is a perfect example. He is a good man who loves God, loves his wife and loves his children. He is a hard worker and a humble man. Yet he has been repeatedly slandered by the TT leadership and demeaned in the eyes of his peers, his wife and his children. Again, you two are not unique in this. It is my belief that the issues you are having with your children are due to the fact they have a hard time respecting their father because his position and authority and character have been repeatedly been brought into question. As a wife, you to must have struggled with your relationship with him. I do not say this because I have any special insight into your heart but because this is a common and repeatable “tragedy” that occurs in the TT. I am not trying to destroy you or Yacob, just the opposite, I hope to build you up and encourage you.

Whether you want to admit it or not, you are still under the thought control of the TT. I know a dear man who has been out of the TT for almost 10 years now and only two years ago, he stopped defending the practices of the TT even though he was dismissed and discarded by them. He now sees the group for what it is, a coercive controlling organization. You will call this slander and judge his and my “attitude” but it is simply the truth. At least it is my truth and that of 100’s of people who have left and of that of psychological experts who have studied the TT. And just because you do not agree, does not make it untrue or slanderous.

On that point. The TT calls any negative report on them “slander”. This is a coercive tactic in itself. It is meant to put fear of legal reprisal into the person who is practicing their freedom of speech. The TT may disregard the laws and freedoms of this country, and their members may submit and obey without question, but those of us who have found true freedom know our rights.

You say you are “functioning apart from the TT”. In real-world language and even in the Twelve Tribes this is called being “cut-off”. Don’t sugar coat it. Other coercive thought reform groups call this being shunned. It is a common practice among these type of groups. You are not unique either within the TT or in the real world where other controlling groups manipulate lives.

Up until this point, I have been talking about things that I am aware of that have already happened to you that I say are not unique to you. You think I am a liar, slanderer, and someone out to destroy the TT or Yoneq. Let me speak about things that I do not know about that may have happened to you or will happen to you in the future. What I am about to say, obviously is not specific to you because either I do not know or it hasn’t happened yet. I predict these things based on facts and testimonies of 100’s of other people who have gone through what you are and will experience. I only ask that if these predictions are or do come true that you engage your mind and think for yourself without internally condemning yourself for doubting.

Probable Past Events
  • You were sent out because you did not have control of your children.
  • When you were sent out you were not given much resources to survive, maybe about 1 month’s rent and some spending money and a poorly running vehicle (if you were lucky). You may have been like many who only got $100-$200 and a bag of rice and your external family had to pick you up and take care of you.
  • While you are out, you have been visited by people who give you a good report on how you are doing but then they give the TT a bad report which then leads to you having to stay cut-off for an extended amount of time.
Probable Future Events
  • If you do well on the outside, i.e. start up your own business, you start to gain favor from the TT who eventually will want to take this business over. Mark my word, when this happens once again Yacob will be cut-down in character, someone else will be given control of the business and you will be right back where you were to begin with.
  • More than likely, you have been building up a mountain of debt to survive and build your business. When you return, the TT will promise to take on this debt and cover it for you. However, in reality they will ignore it and it will ruin your credit.
  • Therefore, the next time you are cut-off or you decide on your own to leave, you will have bad credit and it will be impossible to survive without the generousity of family and friends if they are still speaking to you. This is done by design to make you even more dependant on the thought/behavior control group

Cindy, I do not say the things that I have said on this site and to you in this letter because I have been offended by you or any true believer in the Twelve Tribes. I say these things because in my heart I believe them to be true. I confess that at times I can be sarcastic and even angry in my tone. However, if you believed what I believe would you not be angry that people that you love and miss terribly are being psychologically manipulated and controlled and systematically having their lives destroyed. Even Yeshua became angry at those who defiled His temple to make a buck. How much more would he be angry seeing what I see happening within the Twelve Tribes while the businesses of the Twelve Tribes pull in multi-millions of dollars each year on the backs of slave labor.

You do not see this like I and others have. There are men who were responsible for the books and the leadership who are first hand witnesses of this. Even if Yoneq chose to spend all these millions of dollars on setting up new communities and businesses without stashing away a penny, it is still abuse and only further builds his own kingdom on earth. This is part of the sin that I feel this man should repent from.

I truly hope you can hear my heart, even if you feel I am misguided or don’t want to hear what I have to say. It is not out of hatred or destruction that I speak. It is in my heart to see the restoration of the lives of those within the community and those who have left. These are good people like you who sincerely love God and want to see Messiah return, but they have been oppressed, have lost their voice and have been abused by leaders who obviously are not under God’s anointing. If they were, they would see what is happening and act accordingly. Instead, repeatedly, the innocent are “cut-off” while the guilty are given more power and position and praise to hurt even more of us.

I’m not sure of all the specifics of your situation, however, this is the experience of more and more people who have had the courage to speak up (there are many more who have not). These are people like you who were cut-off or kicked out of the TT or chose to leave. Another common practice of the Moonies, the Church of Scientology, the Mormons, the JW's is to slander and dismiss those who leave. So you are now thinking in your mind (they are people who didn't have what it took, or gave themselves over to Satan, or where not saved to begin with). These are all thoughts you have been given by the TT so you will not hear our VOICES. So we don't have a voice inside the community and we don't have a voice outside.

If you see any of this as true, then you would have to agree, there is a need for a change in the Government which would require a humbling of the hearts of its leaders. This would have to start with Yoneq and work its way down. I am Voice, I speak for those who have no Voice. Where is the life of Messiah? Is it a life of oppression? Is it a life of fear of being cut-off? Is it a life where husbands are constantly degraded in the eyes of their wives and children? Is it a life of position where some have power and money and others have nothing?

Sorry for being so verbose, but then again, I am Voice.

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For my German Speaking Visitors

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

Boehnhardt Zwoelf Staemme 2007

For my French Speaking Visitors

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

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

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

News Reel-1 on Tabitha's Place

News Reel-2 on Tabitha's Place

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

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

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Yoneq 2004

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

Elbert Eugene Spriggs

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

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