I always wondered who those smiling faces were under the tent near the big red bus. They had talented musicians and they seemed so happy together, dancing and laughing.This sad story shows how the Ithaca group can survive even without making great profits at Maté Factor: they appropriate the college funds of recruits. No need for college anymore now that you know that your true purpose in life is to produce the children who will produce the children that will be "martyred against Beast."
I was at a Phish show. On this day, in Maine, I decided to make a visit to the tent. I sat down and listened to the music. All the girls dressed the same. The guys had beards and long hair.
After about 15 minutes, one of the guys approached me.
"Hi, how are you doing?"
"Good," I replied. "What exactly is going on in here?"
He walked away for a few minutes and returned with a woman. They gave me some reading material and told me to take a look and it would provide me with some idea of this gathering. I glanced at it. It seemed bizarre; very religious. Is this some kind of hippie commune?
I left the tent, feeling slightly uneasy. I was free to walk away and I did.
Little did I know I would come face to face with these folks after my young sister, who was 18 at the time, fell into their web of deception.
My sister was born into a dysfunctional family, but loving nonetheless. Her father abandoned her when she was very young, leaving my mother to care for her and her slightly older brother. She never felt connected to anyone in her family and the absence of her father affected her deeply.
Lost and wandering the earth, she searched for wisdom. And somehow she came across the Twelve Tribes. She must have been impressed. All these happy people, living together, laughing and making a living as one. It’s exactly what she thought she was missing in life. She had no idea she was only going through what almost all teenagers go through in dysfunctional families. It didn’t take long before she joined the Twelve Tribes, an obvious Cult by definition. I thought that the stature of Mother Mary given to her by her deadbeat dad became the symbol of her path to the Twelve Tribes.
She left the house and moved in with these folks in Ithaca, NY. And I’ve seen her once since she made this decision. Sure, I could go visit her at the commune, but I refuse.
The last time I saw my sister was Christmas 2004. She came with two members of the Cult. It was uncomfortable. I always wondered: “Why do these people only show up at concerts where they may find troubled young people, under the influence of all kinds of drugs and alcohol? Why don’t they present themselves in other venues?”
I found my opportunity to ask, not only that question, but a host of others that included the charges made against this cult, their beliefs and how they operate in general.
I don’t remember the guy’s ridiculous name. I remember clearly his answers: He had none.
The Twelve Tribe representative couldn’t tell me exactly why they seem to only go to shows such as the one at which I first interacted with them. He defended the way of life: No music, books or friends outside the cult and cult literature. He defended the bizarre tenant of marrying within the tribe (which means my sister could end up marrying one of these hairy, ugly goofballs). He defended the fact that much, if not all, of their earnings from making the cult members perform free work goes to some freak in Tennessee who created this cult because he felt alienated from traditional church. But the most startling of all was his inability to answer why these people seemed to always surface at these shows full of troubled folks, tripping on LSD or mushrooms, zoned out of their minds. Just tell me why? Are you seeking people who will make sound decisions? Or are you seeking lost souls, with delicate egos and minds, whom you could attract to your clan of merry pranksters?
“Could it be because they are more vulnerable for the start of your brainwashing techniques?” I asked.
Silence. In fact, all he could do was look at me and smile. Silence can be taken as a guilty conscience sir.
My voice rose. My sister got upset. I was angry. This was Christmas. And my sister had to get permission to come to our family get together. My sister had to bring these folks in my mother’s home---my mother is less inclined to worry about her situation because she sees my sister as being happy and healthy---and have them greet my family members. I wanted them to leave.
The Twelve Tribes stole my sister. My sister now talks like them. She says kids need to be obedient, as one might say about a bad dog. She has sent me their closed-minded literature, filled with Christian dominion talking points. It took her months to reply to me letter, after I am sure, it was read by the entire cult. She works at their café, for free. The money she received from a horrible accident settlement is now in their eye sight. They want the money. She wants to give it to them. It doesn’t matter this Cult just purchased two buildings in Ithaca totaling $1 million. They see that they’ve conquered my little sister. And all she had had now belongs to them. That money was supposed to be for college. She wanted to be a nurse. Now she won’t go to college. College is evil, she says. She won’t learn much at all. Half the freaks in their cult can’t even spell. They may preach a life without material things, but their actions with my little sister prove otherwise. They’ve stolen her from our family, albeit dysfunctional, but the love existed. It was there. In my sister’s quest for wisdom, she fell into a brainwashing trap.
So, Twelve Tribes, feel proud that you’ve stolen another lost soul. But none of you will reach the pristine afterlife one gains from wisdom and inner peace. The Twelve Tribes are tainted with controversy and it’s less based on the newspaper clippings of allegations of racism, child abuse and barbarian lifestyle. It’s all based, to me, on your ideology.
I want my sister back.
Any of our TT apologist friends care to rise to the challenge of the question asked by the author? Why do you recruit at Phish shows and the like if not to prey upon the vulnerable?