What is the Twelve Tribes?
The Boston Globe, USA
July 23, 2006
The Twelve Tribes was started in 1973 as one of several communal groups sprung
from the so-called Jesus Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. But, while other
groups have long since disbanded, the Twelve Tribes has endured for more than 30
Members adhere to a Judeo-Christian belief system, based on both Old and New
Testament writings. They believe the God of Abraham is the Creator, and that
Yahshua , or Jesus, is God's son and the Messiah. They say Yahshua died for the
sins of mankind and will return to earth when the human race is ready to receive
The Twelve Tribes believes it is set apart as the Chosen, just as Biblical
Israel was. The members' task is to devote themselves to God and spread God's
message throughout the world.
The people on earth, they believe, will have three eternal destinies based on
the way each has lived his or her life. The ``righteous," who live good,
unselfish, and caring lives, will win eternal life for their goodness even if
their lives were not solely devoted to God's service. The ``holy," which Twelve
Tribes members say they are, are those who devote their lives solely to God.
They will not only win eternal life, they will also rule, with Yahshua, over the
righteous forever. The third group, ``the unjust and filthy" who have sacrificed
others for their own gain, will spend eternity in the Biblical Lake of Fire.
Twelve Tribes members surrender all property to the group when they join. They
also give up personal freedom and instead work for the common good. Any money
earned by members goes toward the general fund. They work six days a week and
rest on Saturday, which is the Sabbath.
Members do not use alcohol or recreational drugs, and live on an organic diet.
Twelve Tribes children are closely shielded from influences of the outside
world. They are home-schooled because members believe education is part of
parenting. At 6 years old, children are either taught by their parents or in
small classroom settings by other community members.
Twelve Tribes members dress simply and modestly. Women wear full shirts, long
skirts, or pantaloons. Men dress in shirts and pants. Members make their own
clothes or buy them in thrift shops.
While the group has been accused of not seeking proper medical help for its
members, its community coordinator in Plymouth, Kevin Gadsby, said that is
untrue. ``One of our children here has leukemia and is being treated at
Children's Hospital" in Boston, he said.
This high-demand, racist group is led and controlled by "Super Apostle" Elbert
Eugene Spriggs, aka Yoneq.
The group's aberrant and heretical teachings identify it, theologically, as a
cult of Christianity. Sociologically, there are cultic elements as well,
including the high level of control leveled over the group's followers, as well
as the beating of children.
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Critics of the group often raise the issue of spanking, saying members believe
in physical discipline.
``We love our children," said Gadsby, conceding that children do get spanked.
``We raise them in a godly way so that they grow up to be respectful. We don't
spank them out of frustration or out of anger. It upsets me in my soul that
others think we hurt our children."
The group is often referred to by critics as a cult that brainwashes its
members. Gadsby said no one under 18 is accepted without parental permission.
As for others, he said, ``We in no way force anybody to believe. We just put it
out there. We heard the message and responded, and we hope there are others."
For more on the Twelve Tribes, visit their website at www.twelvetribes.com.
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