Monday, August 14, 2006

The best question

I can’t claim the honor of asking the most revealing question to the Twelve Tribespeople Saturday at their “forum.”

After some prodding by questioners, myself included, we had just heard that it was the Bible story of the curse on Ham's son, Canaan that justifies the separation of the races and the slavery of black people to white people (see below for the TT's masterful exegesis). This story, according to them, is God’s Word and so blacks questioning the authority of whites--as for instance, Martin Luther King, Jr. did when he supported the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955/56--goes against His Will.

A young fellow with a goatee and a backpack asked: “Where in the Bible does it say that Ham was a black man?”


“It doesn’t,” a TTer conceded, while what seemed to me a look of embarrassment flickered momentarily across his face.

The Twelve Tribespeople and their ilk dupe themselves with the simplistic notion that everything they believe comes directly from the Divine Source of Scripture, unadulterated by spin or interpretation. And yet Ham being a black man isn’t in there. If the Bible alone is the Word of God, then their belief that Ham = African people with dark skin must have come from a non-Divine source: someone’s interpretation of the story. Whose? And why trust this person and their interpretation? They didn’t say.

A debate over whether the Bible is or is not the Word of God will never be won with them, or with any anyone else. But this one insightful question reveals that believers themselves must concede that every Bible verse requires a human mind to interpret it. TTers can’t look to scripture to understand why they believe black people and Jews and others are cursed. The place to look is inside their own hearts and minds and inside those of their leader, “Yoneq,” Mr. Eugene Spriggs.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the guy with the goatee and the backpack and I didn’t talk with him long enough to learn his full take on the Twelve Tribes, but in conversation with us outside of the forum, he shared with us this wonderful quotation from Christian author Anne Lamott: "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that He hates all the same people you do."

* * *

P.S. I note that Ham is depicted as a redhead on the Brick Testament !! What if?...


Anonymous said...

do you think you might be doing the same thing you accuse the TT for instarting this website? Are you promoting the acceptance of all ideals,philosophies,etc thru your blog?

Aloysius Horn said...

No one advocates the acceptance of all ideas & philosophies. If the ideas/philosophy of the Twelve Tribes were widely accepted, we'd see lynchings in our public squares, witch trials in our courts and the loss of all personal freedoms in our society. If you mean to ask me if I accept their right to express their ideas, however odious their beliefs, the answer is "yes." I am excercising my right to free speech on this blog to criticize their views. Civil liberties and civil rights are relatively new things, particularly for certain segments of our society, and could be gone tomorrow if we don't bother to defend them when they are under attack. Yes, Twelve Tribes are a small group and don't today threaten the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You and I have an interest in keeping them small. As Thomas Jefferson said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Anonymous said...

The question in my mind though is what is wrong with their beliefs? They obviously are not militant in them because you yourself said they had to be prodded into expounding on their thoughts on blacks. Are they harming anyone if they keep such thoughts to themselves primarily? If they are not quick to bring these things to light why are you? If I ask them and they answer do I have the right to get upset at them for answering my question?

Aloysius Horn said...

You ask “what is wrong with their beliefs?” If you need me to tell you what is wrong with the beliefs that blacks should be slaves and homosexuals “deserve death,” our little back-and-forth is probably pointless.

Of course they are not quick to propound the views that most of society finds unacceptable, since they have to maintain good community relations and keep a customer base of “worldly” people to pump cash into their growing enterprises. Additionally, it is not these beliefs that will attract the majority of potential adherents. Most of us are not full of hate towards blacks and Jews and gays while there is wide appeal for a community in which people love and support one another and are free from consumerist culture.

But while they keep views on race, gender, homosexuality and child discipline in the background to the general public and to potential adherents, there is every reason to believe that these beliefs are important and repeatedly taught within their community. These are teachings that they must accept once they are on the inside. As in other cults, critical thinking and questioning of authority is forbidden (see Spriggs’ “On Reason” in our pamphlet).

If you doubt that they are harming anyone today, have a look at some of the links on this page, especially the collection of articles from various newspapers at the Rick Ross site. The stories of escapees are chilling. Do you think these are all lies? Of course, they are a small group today and can’t reach into our community and enslave anyone against their will. But we know what kind of harm would result were a majority of people to adopt their views: we need only look to history.

I’m curious to know: at what stage in the growth of a racist movement do protest and community awareness efforts become appropriate, in your opinion?

Wendy Hyman said...

I think the issue is less about how noxious their beliefs are per se--and they are indeed noxious--but the fact that they are a CULT that preys on people in vulnerable situations, and then makes it very, very difficult for them to leave. Children are regularly beaten, denied the ability to go to school or even receive a GED, barred from working in the real world and obliged to work in TT restaurants and factories (they have been brought up repeatedly on child labor violations), told they will brought under the spell of Satan and burn in fire if they leave, and punished (hit) if they use their imaginations or play with toys. Anyone who joins must give up all their worldly possessions; all are subject to the dictates of the group's authoritarian leader; and even those who are mortally ill are denied medical care.

Mentionting their racism, homophobia, and sexism (and these domesticated words rather minimize the matter) *is* in a way peripheral, but it does point out the *truth*, which their rainbow-colored bus, folk dancing, and hippie appearance belies. That is, people might be taken in by what appears to be the 60s vibe of the Twelve Tribes, and thereby get drawn into their dangerous orbit--or buy smooties their restaurant--without realizing what they are really about. And we think people should know, so they can make an informed decision about what they choose to support (in the same way that others have revealed the labor practices of WalMart and the like).

Anonymous said...

To me there is a fine line between alerting the community and promoting a hysteria that takes peoples freedom to pursuit life liberty and happiness. Are the TT preventing others from these same pursuits? I do not understand your concern about them getting large enough to incite public lynchings and witch trials. From my conversations with them they show no interest in taking over civil authority and bringing some aryan nation about. How do you even justify bringing those inflammatory statements into a conversation about these people?

Wendy Hyma said...

I'm not sure if you're addressing my comment or Aloysius', but the answer is "yes": the Twelve Tribes *are* preventing others from pursuing life, liberty, and happiness. Everytime they prey on someone who is not in the right frame of mind (ask yourself why they get most of their recruits at Grateful Dead and Fish concerts!), every time they threaten someone who tries to leave, every time they keep a child from getting a GED, every time they prevent a sick person from receiving medical care. Look up the definition of cult. Brainwashing and the ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness are not so compatible.

But I do understand your point about the scale of the issue. No one is trying to say that the Twelve Tribes are about to bring about some Aryan Nation (although people with beliefs much like theirs did just that); and we recognize that there are greater forces of evil and corruption out there. But remember the old adage: think globally, act locally? People are being hoodwinked into thinking that the Twelve Tribes are a bunch of harmless hippies, and they're not. They have ruined lives and destroyed families and abused children. I think this is worth speaking up against.

Believe me, I respect your well-intentioned desire to live and let live, which I certainly agree with in principle. But please, before you spend more time arguing with us, do a bit more research on this particular group. Start with their own teachings at, and then check out some of our other links. If you still feel that this is a harmless group that you have no trouble supporting, then so be it. But cult watch experts, people who have escaped the Twelve Tribes, and the humble members of IOTTC reserve the right to disagree.

Anonymous said...

I guess one thing that I differ with you is I do not believe in brainwashing. Human beings do what they want even at great detriment to themselves. I have lived around the TT for several years. I have seen people come and I have seen them go even some of their own children raised there. I have also seen more than have left stay. One young man who was with them has stayed in the town and even though he is no longer with them he still has good things to say. Why did he leave? Because he wanted to go where he pleased whenever he wanted not because of some insidious side to the TT. He wanted to be with them and when he did not he left because he as a individual chooses the direction he wants for his life. As do all of us. If you are unhappy do something about it don't blame others. That is whatI have learned. The whole concept of brainwashing reduces us to mindless animals with no intellect or powers of reasoning. People are with the TT because they want to be and children are there until they make a choice to make that life their own. Some have and some have not.

Aloysius Horn said...

Dear anonymous,

Your personal familiarity with the group gives you a valuable perspective. It is good to know that some people manage to leave the TT. You make it sound as if it was easy for them and no pressure is placed on people not go. What do you think explains the number of accounts from people who say differently? Are these all lies from people with an axe to grind? Here's what one woman said it was like after she left their Island Pond Community:

"It was about two weeks before I realized that it was okay to go outside. I actually thought that if we walked down the road God would kill me. Because community people told me this. I was so terrified. Two days later I was taken away in an ambulance. My lips were blue and they used an oxygen mask to help me breathe. I thought I was dying, but it was a panic attack. In my mind at the time it seemed to me that all this was happening because I was so bad. I had forsaken our Master and this was my punishment. Later I realized it was really only anxiety and fear about the community. This anxiety became so bad that I couldn't walk down the street, for fear of meeting up with them. It was like a woman running afraid of running into an abusive ex-husband." (from Rick Ross link at right)

Brainwashing may not be the best terminology, but from this woman's account it sure sounds as if she was subject to "unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control" that West and Langhorne (1985) say distinguish cults from benign religious groups.

And you make it sound as if children, when they come of age, can leave easily if they so choose. How could this be if all they know is the insulated community in which they grew up and in which their parents & siblings still live? They have no money, no high school degree and probably no marketable skills.

Anonymous said...

to borrow from another; "necessity is the mother of all invention" If those young people choose to leave surely they are ready for all the responsibility that comes with that decision. When I left home I was leaving a sort of insulated environment. It was slightly scary but my desire to be on my own superceded that fear. I was not a college graduate and barely a high school graduate but I found a job and started from there. Why would it be any different for them? As far as the Rick Ross qoutes; I personally cannot receive them as reliable. I feel like I am reading a tabloid.

Cortez said...

A boycott is an excellent way to stop a company, or any party for that matter, that is doing wrong things and producing revenue by distributing a product or service of some kind.
So enough of the P.C. jargon, a boycott of the Twelve Tribes products is an excellent endevour. They are one of the most detrimental mind control cults on the planet and they are hurting people. Besides that, for me the most horrible aspect of their communities is that they blaspheme The Creator and destroy really good peoples' Faith in The Creator, The Living Spirit of The Messiah.
Regardless of whether you believe in The Creator and The Living Spirit, these people are ruining peoples' lives in more physical, mental and spiritual ways as well. They dictate how they must eat and their medical/health care practises and abilities, or availabilities. As mentioned they teach racism, undeniably. Some people that need certain medical treatments are denied and called faithless and treated like real burdens, and made to feel guilty while others have prescriptions for drugs to treat depression and other mental disease that are probably just keeping them mentally ill rather than really treating the problems. Some members' credit has been ruined and they are told that personal is of the world and not needed by them now in the communities. Some are kicked out for unfounded reasons, and even deceptive, or cruel reasons and given nothing to re-establish themselves in society with. Just to name a few facts about them.
I realize that this entry is somewhat discombobulated but I don't really have time to edit and write a really ordered and coherant piece here now.
Boycotting these people would be the thing to do by everyone especially true followers of The Way, The Truth and The Life.
I also think we should all start using biodiesel, ethynol, and electrical vehicles and produce our electricity with solar panels, and boycott OPEC and all the oil mongers and their corrupt CEO's and chronies and offshoot companies also. This would free up our country to work on real homeland securities and independence once again, but that's a different subject and thread and you can see that I am a radical and an activist. I do use biodiesel in my vehicle and sailing vessel.
I believe wholeheartedly the words of our Elohim and The Messiah and know that they are One. I know that the media are lieing and Hollywood and other TV producers make 99.9% garbage. We homeschool our children. We practice discipline and Order in our family and household. I agree with many of the teachings of the TT but these people are being mislead by liers and dictators, mainly Yoneq and his "wife." They are some of the most incredibly damned hypocrits on the planet if they don't change, confess and repent. The Scripture says that you will know them by their fruit and I am not judgeing nor condemning them, I have seen and am in touch with many of their fruit. They are recovering by the Grace of our Father from TT's rotteness.
The TT pay the people in their businesses nothing. Sure they "provide"their needs and in is "voluntary," but honestly it is manipulation and control and there are certain peple in certain positions which have way more than their needs and there are many that don't even have the food and/or underware that they need very much.
Some of their children are abused and definitlely deprived of very simple things. I homeschool and keep my children from being poluted by the "world" but my children play soccer with the teams at the YMCA and ride bicyles ask the TT what the "wheel spirit" is and why children can't ride bikes. ? Because they might escape!

Cortez said...

Sorry, bicycles.Ooops. That's not my only typo. I meant underwear. Anyway, I hope the fews points I made are clear. There are some good people there and they need to be helped OUT. Yoneq and his "wife need to turn from the self-centered, pride filled deceptions and be Free; Truth, Whole Truth and nothing but The Truth.

Anonymous said...

pretty sad to see how you just take what you read and hear and pass it on... this website is a load of crap for any one with any degree of intelligence... anyone deceived by this website is certainly unwise... it is indeed you people who are the haters... anyone with intelligence can see that... you deceive the unwise... that is your path... sad indeed.... your interpretation of their life couldnt be further from the truth... its obvious you are some do gooder democrat progressive type thinking hes gonna change the world by passing on some unverified garbage about a people you dont understand... i see you crawling around on the web now trying to exploit ex-members for your cause... what a loath... you and bob pardon have alot in common... you two should talk about how you exploit others... you could learn alot from one another !

Cortez said...

We are of Love and Truth.

Cortez said...

Your the unwise, or rather deceived, attempting to deceive others.Your still trying to strain nats while swallowing camels. Please open your mnd, confess, repent and receive salvation, daily, whole-heartedly, please.

Cortez said...

Yes, please Anonymous, address the issues. What are the TT's teaching about black people? Ham? The "wheel spirit"? Why are children not allowed to ride bicycles? Are people paid for their work? Do the TT pay their taxes righteously according to the laws of the land they live in? I mean above board, each person pays taxes on the income they produce in the businesses and not including people who stay home and do household chores as people employed by the Common Grounds Cafe? They aren't employed there and are averaged in to calculate taxes, just to name a few. Submit to autority. Give to Cesar what is Cesar's remember the words of Yahushua? I guess Yoneq has some selective interpretation of those quotes of The Master, Yahushua.Interpretaions to suite his purposes of power and the desire of money. Does Yoneq make sure all of the group have all in common as according to the Body of Yahushua from the beginning? Why are many people lacking in a group with some much wealth? Yahushua is not waiting for "His people to get it together" that He will come at that time. Our Father has a certain time when The Messiah will return whether the body/Temple is rebuilt according to His perfect will or not. The TT looks like every other mainstream church of ?Babylon. And He says come out of her, My People.
Oooops, forgive me for getting a little carried away in The Truth.
Please address some of the real issues like the ones mentioned above, oh, and maybe more importantly, elders of the TT lying, bold faced lying and justifying it as being okay when talking to outsiders ie. people not of the annointing. Address that teaching please.

Anonymous said...

get a fucking life you pothetic morons! what a waste of internet space! HAH! address that issue you fools!

Anonymous said...

learn to spell v2.

Cortez said...

Anonymous said...
Thanks for putting this post up where it can be seen by all. This is surely the typical experience for a family joining the tribes. It was for us. And the recovery afterwards is harder than anything you can imagine, if you don't have support on the outside.

August 27, 2006 1:11 PM

Cortez said...
They also promote divorce which is totally against the teaching of Yahushua. The Tribes consider anything that you have done before your "covenant"/"marriage" with them/the anointing/Yaweh to be null and void in the eyes of Yaweh (God). If you were born again - not really, if you were married - no problem, it wasn't and isn't valid in Yaweh's eyes (or something to that effect). The Tribes have encouraged, and do encourage, some people to leave their spouse to join and marry a member in the group thus the TT encourage adultry. They have encouraged people to leave their spouse and their children (of the world, infidels, gentiles) if necessary.
During the visits ("courting") the elders/shepherds of the community will feel out the visitors and appeal to them however necessary to get them to join ("saved"). If it is a family or couple they may, and often do, talk to the people separately, which means the guys will talk to the wife by herself and are known to often encourage her to join regardless of her husbands desires or decisions, because of course neither of them are really in touch with the Spirit of Yahushua, born again, or children of The Kingdom yet. Nor do they really have a marriage covenant with eachother according to "real" Spiritual Laws according to the "real" Yaweh of which they have the only access to. The only "real" anointed insight with The Messiah, Yahushua.

August 27, 2006 3:17 PM

Anonymous said...
Cortez- I think I agree with what you are saying.Your sarcasm was a little thick so it was hard to tell what you were really saying and what you were saying the tribes believe.

I know of sooooo many marriages destroyed after the Twelve Tribes got through with them. SO many. Perhaps some of them were destined that way, but the TT really has far to go where fruit is concerned in the marriage arena. I lost my own marriage to the TT.

I have never gotten over it.

August 27, 2006 6:39 PM

Cortez said...
I wasn't meaning to be sarcastic at all. Forgive me if it sounded like I was.
To clarify, the real spiritual laws of Yaweh according to them are only found and heard through and with them; clearly false. They say they are the only body of Messiah and the only anointed word. If you are not with them you are not of Yaweh/Yahushua/Set Apart Spirit(Holy Spirit) at all; clearly false. At best you are a "person of conscience." Big cult, mind control red flag.

Thank you very much for the correction. I don't want to seem sarcastic. I can be very sarcastic and I don't want to be. I care for and Love my brothers and sisters, and our youth in the TT very. The false teaching, abuse, neglect, deception and Faith shaking, family dividing, and blaspheming bothers me and our Father very much.

aaron said...

I don't understand why this small group is being singled out from all of Christendom for being "racist". Why not challenge the large mainstream churches? Why don't we just have a class action lawsuit against Christianity in general for 1700 years of complete lies and fabrications? Pestering this tiny group of directionless racist wannabees is probably easier than taking on a quarter of the planet, but all it will do is make this small group more reclusive, more paranoid, and more insane. Is this what we really need?

Anonymous said...

They are racist, yet they have people of all races in their communities and they are treated as equals?

You guys need a new hobby.

Anonymous said...

I give you my all
Everything I've earned
I won't tell a soul
About what I have learned

Now feed me my portion of your partial truths

Cassandra said...

What a bizzarre sect: I assumed they were simply a group of post modern hippies, weaving their own yoghurt and escaping the horrors of 21st century capitalism for a saner life. Unfortunately they now emerge as a group of fundamentalist bigots with a lengthy hate list and beliefs that make Billy Graham sound like Voltaire...!

Aloysius Horn said...

Well said, Cassandra!