Twelve Tribes-EX

The Purpose of this web site is to help Parents and others affected by the Twelve Tribe's Cult.

Elbert Eugene Spriggs, a.k.a. “Yoneq”, founder and prophet, Twelve Tribes of Israel

What is it that makes people think the best way to prove one’s fidelity to God is by beating their kids? If getting good with the Almighty can be won by spreading the Gospel of the Switch then Spriggs is certainly at the right hand of the Father. The Tennessee born prophet founded the Twelve Tribes of Israel movement more than thirty years ago as a means of getting closer to God by living like the ancient Israelites. Members are required to give up all of their possessions and live communally. The organization seeks recruits from the ranks of vulnerable hippies, appealing to a sense of collective living and eco-friendly existence. Men are required to grow beards and tie their hair back. Women are mandated to look a little bit less like Chewbacca than their husbands. The Twelve Tribes operate cottage industries making soaps, lotions, natural foods and operating cafes where they often lure in members. The Tribes also operate more lucrative businesses including furniture making and construction.

Spriggs looks more like a kindly wood shop teacher than a religious fanatic who believes in using a wooden stick to teach your kid a lesson. Of its 2,500 members, more than half are children who are by spiritual discipline forbidden to play with toys, watch TV or have a Starburst. So important is disciplining children to Spriggs that he has publicly advocated spanking. Spriggs explains on his group’s Web site his fond memories of corporal punishment at the hands of three special high school teachers:

“They’d tell me to bend over and I’d bend over and they’d give me a few whacks….And I got to love those people more than anyone in the school, those who spanked me….Even sometimes I may not have done it, but I still loved them anyway and took it.”

Such a stringent emphasis on physical interventions has naturally lead to incidents of child abuse in Tribes communities located throughout the world. And the abuse doesn’t stop with mere beatings, but also in the realm of child labor violations. But of course having the children of disaffected Deadheads working long hours is necessary if your cult leader is to afford his lavish life of travel and accoutrements.

Spanish speaking readers

To my Spanish speaking readers: If any readers should desire information about the Twelve Tribes in the Spanish language please contact me (the web site owner).

Para mis lectores de lengua hispana: Si alguno de los lectores deberían desear información sobre las doce tribus en el idioma español, por favor póngase en contacto conmigo el propietario del sitio web en twelvetribes

Para meus leitores portugueses

To my Portuguese readers: If any readers should desire information about the Twelve Tribes in the Portuguese language please contact me (the web site owner).

Para meus leitores portugueses: Se algum leitor deve desejar informações sobre as doze tribos na língua Português, por favor entre em contato comigo (proprietário do site) em twelvetribes

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Už brzy.
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Notice: Please boycott TT business

• NOTICE: Information below is offered for awareness and education purposes not for promoting TT patronage. Please boycott TT business.

The Twelve Tribes’ Money Machine

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 purchased at thrift stores. The community grows much of its organic food. Upon joining, members give up all their possessions and do not own worldly treasures such as TV’s, radios, jewelry or expensive cars etc. Ex-leaders and members often talk about the frugality of the life within the Twelve Tribes communities where the elders pinch every penny and members work long hours for no pay. The Twelve Tribes leaders do not deny this. They are 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 differently 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) stated in a video that Spriggs enjoys a wallet full of credit cards and travels where and when he desires and also enjoys luxuries the average member does not have access to. As the only apostle for the Twelve Tribes, his role and duty is to plant new communities wherever he feels God leads him. Subsequently Spriggs often travels around the world establishing new communities. Gene always nurtured an inclination towards world travel. The TT published Elbert Spriggs’ biography in which they state he gave up an executive job to become a tour director for a large travel company so that he could see the world.

The Twelve Tribes never experience difficulty when purchasing buildings, businesses and property to expand their kingdom on earth. In the past they have claimed that although a number of people enter the TT willing to give up wealth and possessions just as many enter poverty stricken or even bring a load of debt. In a majority of the cases where the new recruit owes worldly debts, the community refuses to pay the new recruit’s bills which subsequently ruin their credit rating for many years! (See the entry Common Ground Common Thieves – Cheryl’s story). So how can they enter a town and drop millions of dollars to buy one or more multiple buildings? How did they afford to host a large cultural event on the National Mall in Washington DC June 26-July 6th 2004? How can they afford to produce high quality films denouncing Christianity?

The Twelve Tribes can accomplish 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 web sites or advertisements. Below, is a consolidated list of direct links to these Twelve Tribes businesses. The community hosts these sites which a person could stumble across, but there is no one single list as provided below. I believe the Twelve Tribes do not want the public or their own members to comprehend the vast amount of wealth these businesses generate.

The TT often tells non-members that many of their restaurants operate at a loss. Most of these restaurants are not even listed below. Many ex-members often confirm these restaurants run at a loss but are necessary to recruit new members. However, the lucrative construction companies as well as the furniture and other products that are made with “free” labor far offset the losses at these restaurants. The most recent defectors from the Twelve Tribes (especially those in leadership positions) complain the Twelve Tribes resemble more like a business than a messianic community.

Many people were amazed several years ago that this obscure group actually enjoyed a large contract with Estee Lauder to provide their Origins products. Actually, the group provided these products from 1995 through 2001 until Estee Lauder found they were using child labor to produce, package and distribute their Origins line. 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 Tribes businesses that possess a website. In addition to these businesses, there are a number of “cottage industries” the Twelve Tribes own and operates with free labor from their members and children. I will add to the list as I become aware of more businesses.

Twelve Tribes Businesses in the U.S.

• 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.

* Community Conference Center Construction – New home construction – Hiddenite, NC

• Anything Builders – The name says it all

* Forest Keepers (Located in Hyannis , Mass) – This is the Twelve Tribes tree cutting business

* Gladheart Tree Service (Located in Chattanooga, Tn.)

* Hiddenite Conference Center LLC Legal – Hiddenite, NC

* Heartwood Design Co. Warsaw, Mo. – Architectural millwork and casework shop established in 2006 in Warsaw, Mo.

* Steven’s Odd Jobs – They have a white van with red and black lettering and they tow a white trailer behind the van. They have been seen recently in the Hamburg, New York area supporting their “brothers” in the reconstruction of the old “Common Ground” Bakery in Hamburg New York. I suspect that they at some point in the future will be reopening the site as a Yellow Deli.

• Common Ground Café in Warsaw, Missouri

• Cursos de Ingles – Weaubleau, Mo – Lures in the unsavvy and unaware to teach them English in a “Warm communal setting: Before the dupe realizes what has happened – he is enmeshed in a mind control cult!

* Yellow Deli Restaurant in Rutland, Vt

* Common Sense/Yellow Deli in Island Pond, Vermont

* Blue Blinds bakery – Plymouth, Mass

• Yellow Deli Restaurant in Oak Hill, NY – Reopened July 10, 2013 to serve the unwary and unknowledgeable masses lethal doses of mind control!

• Yellow Deli in Oneonta, NY

• Yellow Deli Restaurant in Boulder, Co

• Yellow Deli Restaurant in Vista, Ca

• Yellow Deli Farm Stand- Valley Center, Ca

• Yellow Deli in Chattanooga, Tenn

• Yellow Deli Heritage House – Pulaski, Tenn

• Maté Factor – This is the TT Company that imports and packages yerba maté which they also produce in Brazil (again with free labor). This company sells yerba maté through many non TT distributors as well.

• Maté Factor Café – Direct sales of maté 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, Mass

• The Parchment Press – This is the TT print shop in Vista, Ca. ???

• Elad Products – High quality children’s clothing

• Simon the Tanner- Island Pond, Vt. Cobbler Shop and shoe store. Outfitter stores along the Appalachian Trail and throughout the Northeast.

• Simon the Tanner – Lancaster, NH

* Currently the former Common Ground Bakery in Hamburg, New York is being remodeled into a Yellow Deli Café. It is not known at this time when the café will open to draw in the unwary and unknowledgeable (concerning the Twelve Tribes cult). Don’t let a scrumptious sandwich fool you. They are here to take over your mind as they employ mind control tactics. I should know I am a former member!

Twelve Tribes US Farms

• Morning Star Ranch – Valley Center, Ca
* The Basin Farm – Bellows Falls, Vt
* New Sprout Farm – Asheville, NC
• Common Sense Farm – Cambridge, NY
* Journey’s End Farm – Oak Hill, NY
• Oak Hill Plantation, Oak Hill, NY
* Peace River Farm, Arcadia , Fla
* Stoneybrook Farm – Hillsboro, VA
• Gladheart Farm – Asheville, NC
• Stepping Stone Farm – Weaubleau, Mo

Twelve Tribes International Farms

• Fairfield Farm – Chilliwack, BC Canada
• Little Mountain Farm – Manitoba, Canada
* Mount Sentinel Village Farm – South Slocan, BC Canada
• New Sprout Farm – Merville, BC Canada
• Preserved Seed Farm – Czech Republic
* Peppercorn Creek Farm – Picton, NSW, Australia
* Stentwood Farm – Devon, UK

Twelve Tribes International Businesses

• Sentido Común – The TT Common Sense Store on Spain
* Tea room at Stentwood Farm – Devon, UK
• Common Loaf – Bread and baked goods store in Devon, England
• Hofladen at Klosterzimmern – Germany
• Tribal trading Catalog – Online tribal trading catalog
• De tribu a tribu- Tribal trading outpost in Spain
• Tribal Trading De-Tribal Trading outpost in Germany
• Tribal Trading Fr – Tribal trading outpost in France
• Tribal Brazil – Tribal trading outpost in Brazil
• Natuerlich Gemeinsam – TT natural products from Germany
* Common Sense Storehouse Teahouse and bakery – Winnipeg, Canada
• Maté Factor of Canada – Canada’s largest importer of yerba maté-new
• Maté Factor of France- France’s largest importer of yerba maté – new
• Maté Factor of Germany – Germany’s largest importer of yerbe mate – new
• Tribal Brasil – Organics – Organic food supplier including yerba mate –new

Maté Factor/Preserved Seed/Yellow Deli and Common Grounds locations – new

• Maté Factor – Manitou Springs, Co
• Maté Factor – Ithaca , NY
• Maté Factor Coffee and Tea, Savannah, Ga – new
* Yellow Deli – Chilliwack, BC, Canada
• Common Ground Café – Hyannis , Mass
• Common Ground Café in Courtenay, BC, Canada
• Common Ground Bakery at Razorback – Picton, NSW, Australia
• Yellow Deli – Katoomba NSW, Australia
• Café Chão Comum/Common Ground café – mauá da serra, Brazil
• Preserved Seed Café – Nelson BC, Canada

Peacemaker Ship – Sails to many US ports and perhaps around the world spreading their “gospel” drawing in gullible persons to the Twelve Tribes.

Businesses that have closed or who’s Website are Down:

• – High impact website development
• – Charming hanging basket lights and lamps
• Kombucha tea is the factor for good digestion and a healthy sense of wellbeing.
• The – hand-thrown stone ware pottery from southern California

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).

For my French and German readers – I have information concerning the Twelve Tribes in French and German. If the reader would like
to see any of this information please contact me (web mistress)at

1. The community member is not allowed to think for him/herself. In the cult you are expected to just blindly follow what the leaders (“shepherds”) say and all of the members do.

I asked a leader once if they ever agree to disagree but love each other anyway, and he said “no.” Also, they don’t believe they can live in peace with other religions, even Christian ones. Two shepherds stated this and that everyone in the world would have to follow them and their theology. This is crazy since most of their communities are in countries that allow freedom of religion where people from different religions and beliefs live in peace with each other.

I asked them, “If I have different beliefs from you, could I stay here and we can just love each other anyway?” They responded “No.” They teach “You must be saved from your false beliefs.” This means that I’m not allowed to hold any personal beliefs.
I was also informed many times, “You must relinquish all of your opinions.”

It’s Elbert’s way or the highway on everything.

2. Twelve Tribes members must give up their free will in order to live in the Elbert Spriggs controlled community. Elbert enforces the abdication of free will through the dissemination of his teachings. Elbert justifies this by saying the community member is actually giving their free will back to God. They hold are very elitist spiritual mentality as they teach they are the only way to God and salvation. Once again, community members must blind follow Elbert Eugene Spriggs and his inane ramblings!

3. You are not allowed to visit the library. They don’t want you reading anything other than their literature. Twelve Tribes members are not permitted to read the newspaper, books on other religions, philosophies, history, physics, etc.

4. Community members are not given carte blanche to use the computer. Shortly before I left they held a teaching in which they were restricting the use of the computers and mobile phones.

5. Twelve Tribes members are not empowered to build muscle. I don’t know why they taught this especially since most members perform hard physical labor all day. They never gave me a real answer to this crazy oppression. Building muscle helps fight against obesity, diabetes, aging, muscular-skeletal problems, etc.; but they were against it.

6. Community members cannot tolerate slang language. They are very superficial and pompous about a lot of things, and they are obsessed with words themselves and not the real meaning behind them.

7. Twelve Tribes members are not granted permission to go for a walk by themselves. I was confronted many times for simply enjoying a walk. They said it’s not allowed. They want to watch every move the community member makes even if they show no signs of doing anything wrong and outside of their rules (like drugs, alcohol, etc.)

8. Community members do not endure the right to socialize with people outside of the cult. I befriended many people in the café when I worked in the cult. I was confronted many times on my sociable personality. They would interrogate me concerning my conversation with people outside the community (cult).

9. Twelve Tribes members are not allowed to have pets. They obtained a kitten in the community I was living in, but I was told not to show affection towards it because it was just there to catch mice. They didn’t want me to be a bad example to the children. They try to brainwash you into believing it’s a place of love but they always rebuked affection.

10. Female community members must wear “sus” pants or a long dress or skirt.

11. Adult male community members must grow a beard and wear their hair in a ponytail. They want to pass off many superficial things as real substance and spiritual fruit but it’s just a bunch of dung. Which reminds me.

12. Twelve Tribes members are not permitted to swear. You can’t even say damn or darn it. It’s more pompous, superficial bullshit. If you confront an adult with no children around and say “There is a lot of bullshit here” then they will correct you for using the word “bullshit” instead of addressing the real issue which is all the bullshit. LOL.

13. Community members are not authorized to choose their own medicine. I support alternative medicine, and it has helped me greatly. I would never force it upon anyone. I was interrogated because I brought a member to the hospital because he was experiencing a gallstone attack. Also, a toddler became ill with pneumonia, and the treatments that the cult tried weren’t working. The father gave the child antibiotics and the child recovered. However, many cult members were upset by this – instead of experiencing joy at the child’s recovery – they said the antibiotics hurt the body’s immune system (as if pneumonia was better). The woman who told me this couldn’t tell me how it hurt the immune system, but she preached this anyway. Community members ignorantly preach about subjects they do not know or understand. They just blindly follow like lemmings! Probiotics anyone? They give alternative medicine a bad rap because they think they know what they are talking about. Actually they know very little on the subject of alternative medicine.

14. Twelve Tribes members cannot demonstrate physical affection to a member of the opposite sex unless they are married. And if you are married you are expected to show it in private. Community members are not allowed to have a boyfriend or girlfriend while living in the community. Then they wonder why their minds race so much with negative thoughts and feelings. They kill love and human nature so much.

15. Community members must follow their diet. Unless one has an allergy to a food or diabetes, then that member is expected to follow explicitly. I was rebuked for avoiding certain parts of the meal that I knew would bother my stomach. I never complained about it. I just improvised without saying a word, but it wasn’t good enough for them.

16. Twelve Tribes members must drink mate. Mate is an herbal alternative to coffee (caffeine) they sell. If you wake up when you’re supposed to and work hard all day without complaining and show no signs that you need mate, they still try to shove it down your throat.

17. Community members must change their names. At baptism they give the member a Hebrew name.

18. Community members are not allowed to listen to the radio or watch television. Twelve Tribes members can only listen to community created and sanctioned music.

19. Community members cannot place their hands in their pockets. At the spiritual gathering I felt comfortable putting my hands in my pockets. I was swiftly reprimanded.

My “encounter” with the Twelve Tribes

August 29, 2010

I lived with the Twelve Tribes as a member for 9 months after staying with them for a month prior. They absolutely strip you of your own thoughts and emotions and your own free will. They accomplish this gradually of course, but they work full force on it once you are “in.” Elbert Spriggs exercises much control from the top. He assumes the role of absolute unquestioned leader. Although some nice folks live in the community, they too must deal with all the undue demands and submit to them, or else! (The consequences of not doing so are not pretty- you will be counseled to no end, kept a very close eye on and/ or put to public shame, and then eventually ostracized). Very sad. I am glad I was able to get out when I did.

They probably would have kicked me out sooner or later. I was not an “easy” convert in many ways. I lived in the community too long. I feel badly for many innocent people in the community who aren’t even allowed to process their own thoughts without being (often) interrogated or questioned.

They let their “brothers” be God for them, and are greatly damaged because of it.
The Twelve tribes teach that “everyone can hear from God and share.” But in reality what you share is always scrutinized by whatever the “teachings” (Spriggs writings) have already established. They are the guide to everything and the only right interpretations to scripture, as far as they are concerned. So they try to interpret EVERYTHING for you in the end, and you are left with nothing really. But many people in the community become used to that, and then numb to it- they see no use in fighting anymore, they are too exhausted anyway. (I almost reached this point). Very sad indeed.

It seems clear that the Twelve Tribes embody traits that could only be called satanic. They throw up a flurry of arguments to prove their validity whilst breeding the very same Pharisee mentality that put Christ on the cross. And they do this unrepentant, devoid of any honest introspection or self-reflection.

Many who once lived in this hell-cult can confirm that the Twelve Tribes are without fault and blameless….IN THEIR OWN EYES! Even after horrible facts are made public, broadcast to the world, they will only make a feeble public apology. While internally they will be witch hunting and crucifying anyone who even suggests there may be a problem.

Does this sound like a holy life? A life inspiried by God? It depends on which God your talking about.

The Tribes serve the God of the mind. A God of reasoning and elaborate theologies. A God that cares more about how they look than how they actually are. A God that can overlook abuse and mistreatment in order to have a nice cafe. Yes, a God that doesn’t care about the human cost to have His kingdom built.

Who prospers in this Hell-cult? Definitely not the HUMBLE! Definitely not the WEAK! They are trampled and trashed, worked to exhaustion and then treated with contempt! While the Elite enjoy special favors reserved only for them! Does this sound like the first church in the Book of Revelation?

Yes, the facts are obvious to those who have eyes to see. A cult from hell.

Contact Me

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if the reader has any information concering the twelve tribes at the following email address: Thanks Cheryl