Anti-Jewish cult sets up cafe at Woodford

Source: CultEducation (originally from Courier Mail Australia)

Courier-Mail (Australia)/December 29, 2001
By Chris Griffith and Amanda Watt

An anti-semitic cult whose US parent has a court history of child abuse and abduction is selling food and refreshments at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival.

Known as Twelve Tribes Mission and the Messianic Communities, the cult advocates strict discipline and female submission and cites Bible texts to justify beating small children with canes.

A festival spokesman said Common Ground Cafe had operated its stall for several years and their presence was a “non-issue.”

The spokesman said their store was not used as a basis for recruiting new members for the group.

“If they were evangelising that would be a different story but that is not what happens,” he said.

The Australian chapter of the group operates the Peppercorn Creek Farm at Picton, NSW, and makes money through its catering business, Common Ground Cafe, and through cottage industries which include a bakery and candle factory.

This week The Courier-Mail visited the group’s restaurant at Woodford, where it was selling vegetarian cuisine and tea and coffee to festival-goers.

The Twelve Tribes Mission has more than 28 communities throughout the world and is led by Elbert Spriggs, a four-times married, homophobic former American school counsellor who advocates the beating of small children with rods, black slavery, lying in the name of righteousness and anti-semitism.

“No Jew living today outside Palestine has any true backbone nor do they have any right to speak about ‘God’ or ‘the Twelve Tribes’,” Spriggs says in his teachings.

On slavery, Spriggs claims: “It is horrible that someone would rise up to abolish slavery. What a marvellous opportunity that blacks could be brought over here as slaves.”

However there is no indication of Sprigg’s extreme views in a brochure promoting the cult’s Australian Pepper Creek property and in its newsletter entitled The Twelve Tribes Freepaper available yesterday at the cult’s Woodford festival refreshment centre.

While the reported abuse happened in the US and not Australia, former follower George Hector, 22, last year told The Courier-Mail that at Picton he had witnessed small children being beaten with canes.

He said children as young as seven worked 14-hour shifts in the group’s bakery and young people had been breathing dangerous paraffin fumes at the cult’s candle-making shed at Picton.

He also claimed that at the Sydney Easter Show he heard a 10-year-old boy being beaten so severely his screams could be heard through the insulation of a cool room where the group was catering.

The group last year denied Mr Hector’s claims.

The Twelve Tribes Mission justifies taking the cane to small children through biblical passages such as “Blows that wound cleanseth away evil; beatings make clean the inner most parts,” found in Proverbs.

Brisbane cult expert Jan Groenveld said the group’s commercial operations may look benign but the public should be wary if approached by cult members for invitations to visit their community.


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