Cults and Extreme Belief TV - The Daily Beast online - Southern Poverty Law Centre online -
‘The Twelve Tribes believe staunchly in corporal punishment.’ Cults and Extreme Belief s1e6: Twelve Tribes, victim, A&E 2018
‘We lived all together fifty to sixty people in a house living exactly word for word what it said in the Bible.’ ibid.
The Twelve Tribes was founded in 1972 by former school teacher and Army veteran, Eugene Spriggs. Spriggs’ sermons urge the group to devote their entire lives to re-establishing God’s Kingdom on Earth. ibid.
‘You have to shun anything that keeps you from being a disciple. You have to cut yourself off from it. This is why our master said you must hate your father, mother, wife, children and sisters.’ ibid. Eugene Spriggs, The Proof of True Belief is Obedience
On June 11 1984 the Twelve Tribes community of Island Pond Vermont was raided by 90 state troopers and 50 social workers. The event made national news. 40 hearings were held that day, however a district judge ruled the state lacked enough evidence to hold the children. All 112 children were released and never examined for signs of abuse. The Twelve Tribes commemorate this ruling as the Day of Deliverance. ibid. captions
The Twelve Tribes was formed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1972 and currently maintains a large presence there. It’s home to local leader Eddie Wiseman who was fervent in his defence of the group during the 1984 Island Pond raid. ibid.
The website Zahar referenced is TwelveTribes.com, the home of a group founded in 1972 by a man named Elbert Gene Spriggs in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that promotes a sort of hybrid of Christian fundamentalism, Hebrew Roots, and Messianic Judaism. The group has some 3,000 to 4,000 members in isolated, self-sustaining communes around the world that operate businesses like Blue Blinds, a chain of restaurants called The Yellow Deli, and a large construction business. It has dodged accusations of cult-like behavior ever since its inception.
‘The group went from being this hippie thing that was kind of cool to turning into this cultist, religious, fucked-up kind of thing,’ a second former member told me. The Daily Beast online article 12 July 2017
The Twelve Tribes, a Christian fundamentalist cult born in the American South in the 1970s, is little-known to much of the country, and on first impression its communes and hippie-vibed restaurants and cafes can seem quaint and bucolic. But beneath the surface lies a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was ‘a marvelous opportunity’ for black people, who are deemed by the Bible to be servants of whites, and that homosexuals deserve no less than death.
While homosexuals are shunned by the Twelve Tribes (though ex-members say the group brags about unnamed members who are ‘formerly’ gay), the group actively proselytizes to African Americans, yet one of its black leaders glorifies the early Ku Klux Klan.
The Twelve Tribes tries to keep its extremist teachings on race from novice members and outsiders, but former members and experts on fringe religious movements who’ve helped its followers escape paint a dark picture of life in the group’s monastic communities — especially for black members, who must reconcile the appalling teachings on race with their own heritage and skin color. Southern Poverty Law Centre online article 5 August 2018