Here's a classic picture of a typical family situation in the Twelve Tribes: A couple and their children joined the Community. They gave everything to the Tribes after liquidating the husband's building contractor business, or other self-employed job. They were very disillusioned with "mainstream churches" and wanted fellowship with real believers out from under the umbrella of paganism and false doctrines. They wanted to live like the first believers in Acts. Once they got situated with a group, let's say one of the several in Massachusetts, they were ready to "give their lives" for their fellow Community members. This translates to: the husband goes to work wherever he is most needed, whether it has anything to do with his actual skills or not. The husbands, especially new recruits, are worked 18 hours a day. The wives are put to work in the kitchen or doing the tons of laundry, etc. If they have small children, the children stay with the mother all day. If the children are of school age, they get sent to training, or home schooled by the mom if that particular community doesn't have designated "teachers" for the children.
Let's say this couple are born again believers, and that is how they came to faith in Yahshua. Well, they are told they need to renounce that because they were deceived. See, the TT believe you are really not born again or "part of the anointing" (their anointing) until you are baptised into their Community. The wife and children rarely get to see the husband, because he is out working from early morning until dinner time (7pm or so). The wife doesn't get to spend too much time with her children, because she is busy helping with the mountains of housework that is required to run a group home. The children are not allowed to play with balls or any type of truck, car or bicycle. Their reading is limited to approved books and they are not allowed to use their imaginations. If they do something wrong, any adult in the Community is allowed to "discipline" them with the stick. By the time the husband gets home, the kids barely get time to spend with him, and they don't get to spend time with him in the morning either because he has to leave so early to work. Family devotions are discouraged because community members, especially new converts need interpretation of the scriptures in order to understand it correctly (according to Yoneq and other elders).
Family autonomy in the TT is a joke. A family owns nothing, because whatever they had they gave up when they joined. Their survival (food, clothing, shelter) becomes dependent on the Community, so they have to subject themselves to the "shepherd" of the household (elder or boss) and cannot make decisions for themselves, because they have no money to carry out any decisions, and anything that does not get approval from the elder is forbidden. If they go against what an elder says, they will be disciplined, which means you can't celebrate the Sabbath with everyone else, and everyone gives you the silent treatment. Furthermore, if they see that you are actually trying to maintain some type of order in the family and do what you think is best anyway, you are likely to be cut-off by the community, which means you have to leave. If they cut you off, they don't give you any money or any way to leave, you just have to walk away with the clothes on your back.
I know many people in the TT and who have left. I think of some of the wonderful families that are there and my heart aches for them, because I know what they go through. For the most part, the folks who are part of the TT are very honest, hardworking, calm and generous people. A lot of them have a hard time stomaching the teachings like the Ham teaching and the child discipline stuff, however they are between a rock and a hard place, and it's not worth it for them to rebel against those teachings because their survival depends on their submission to authority.
If you ever visit one of the Communities they will be super nice to you, feed you, invite you to stay for as long as you want or need, give you gifts, let you stay in the nicest rooms, let you eat for free or half price at their restaurants, give you cookies and bread, and basically give you the royal treatment. They bombard you with love and make you think that it's like this every day. But in reality, it's not. It's just a way that they court new recruits and makes them think, "Hey, these people really are living out the book of Acts chapter 2."
Lots of TT'ers will point out that obviously God (YHWH) has blessed them and what they are doing because look at all the properties and businesses they own and how many new people are joining. This is a twisted version of the prosperity message from mainstream churches. Also, following that line of logic, then the Catholic church, the Moonies and the Church of Scientology are also blessed by God because look at all the properties, businesses and new converts they have!!
I support the boycott of all Twelve Tribes businesses because of the following: 1. They prosper because of slave or coerced labor. 2. They are really an outreach to the world in order to gain new recruits. 3. They portray a false view of what the TT is about and have no qualms about recruiting new members who are deceived by this false view of the day-to-day life of the Community. Because of their sincere belief in the Bible/Holy Scripture TT'ers buy into what they are taught: the only way to be saved is to be part of the body of the Messiah, which according to them, is exclusively the Twelve Tribes. So, to get recruits/converts to the TT however they need to get them (coercion, deception, fear, etc.) is for the recruits/converts own good in the end.
People need to know what it's really like for TT'ers, why it’s called a cult and why we need to prevent them from gaining new members. The efforts of those who have posted this blog are a positive step towards this, especially when done in a respectful, loving manner.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
An ex-TTer's account
I thank the person who sent in the following informative and compassionate note describing life in the Twelve Tribes, based on his or her personal experience.