How the Twelve Tribes recruit young people
Life is a journey into the unknown and like Abraham in the book of Genesis; we travel into an unsure land. We, as high school and college students especially, are busy trying to find where to place our trust.
This search leads us into vulnerable positions. Such susceptibility makes us open to high control groups and cults like the Twelve Tribes. They want people who really don’t know what they believe and like voracious snow leopards the Twelve Tribes pounce on the prey! Elbert Eugene Spriggs is the leader of the community and they are a Bible based cult.
Seeking to attract young students who desire to separate themselves from their troubles, the Twelve Tribes usually place their businesses (Common Ground Café) on or near college campuses. In Chattanooga, they recently opened their Yellow Deli restaurant on the campus of the University of Tennessee. TT members present themselves as a group of people who desire to “live simply and love abundantly.” Shimone the assumed leader of the Chattanooga community quoted the above mantra to me. Using this, along with carefully designed “planned spontaneity,” they draw college students into the community with a false sense of security.
When visiting Twelve Tribes businesses or homes, if the young people fail to leave quickly they will find themselves drawn into a life of grief and turmoil. Elbert Eugene Spriggs writes 95% of the community teachings which instruct the members on how they must conduct themselves. Exposed to a cacophony of contradictions which assault their conscience, community members must work long hours (16-18 hours a day) for no pay. Women usually stay at home and the men do not regard them as sources of wisdom or knowledge. Children probably experience the worst plight, with many forced to endure thrashings that leave them black, blue, and sometimes bleeding from the back of their neck to the soles of their feet.
The outside world rarely sees the scars and welts left on the back sides of these poor abused children because Spriggs teaches that doctors and hospitals are evil. A young female teen tells in a web site posting of how after suffering such a beating, Aquilla (Ricky Kendricks) used a balloon stick to steal her virginity. This is not an isolated incident, with investigations of the twelve tribes back to 1988. In that year, 100 Vermont state police and 50 social services workers raided the Island Pond community and removed 112 children from their communal home. Before they could perform physical examinations on the children, a judge threw out the investigation, stating the raid failed to uncover enough information rendering the operation illegal. Zebulon Wiseman, son of the second in command, reported that after the incident the elders locked him and another child in separate rooms for a month with only one meal a day.
Constructing psychological bars in the minds of defectors, the tribes make leaving very difficult. Those who leave may hear: “You will turn into a homosexual if you leave us”, or “you will experience an accident or your family may die” or “you will go to the Lake of Fire .” For disagreeing with a teaching of Yoneq, a member could find themselves dropped in front of a dingy hotel or homeless shelter with only $100, if they are lucky. When community members leave they must often undergo years of therapy to cope with the psychological damage and trauma (PTSD).
I encourage you to arm yourself with information should they come onto your campus or city because they are most afraid of informed persons. Do not fall unwittingly into their trap, or else you may find yourself without a home, penniless, a ton of unpaid bills, a severely damaged credit rating or chance in life.