How I remember the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult of Hamburg, New York
November 12, 2002
In a large communal home members of the Twelve Tribes sect have established themselves. They see themselves as the true disciples of Yahshua (Jesus) but shockingly are true disciples of their “Apostle” and founder Elbert Eugene Spriggs. The Twelve Tribes are a Bible-based cult.
Before the gathering starts where the teachings of their founder Elbert Eugene Spriggs are discussed – community members greet each other with hugs and the Hebrew phrase “Shalom” or peace.
Community members play clarinets and guitars and a small group of members begin a Hebrew circle dance.
During the “religious meeting” all members gather in a large room to talk about and obey the teachings of their “Apostle” Elbert Eugene Spriggs. Obedience to Spriggs and his teachings is the prerequisite for remaining in the group according to former high ranking community member James Howell. Community members believe that in following and obeying Spriggs every word, God will commend them! Spriggs, who calls himself “Yoneq” is considered a “Super Apostle.”
Even the smallest ones must listen attentively for hours. “If the children fail to stand still and listen like little adults they are led out of the room and return minutes later, distraught and weeping,” a former member said. Community members falsely assert to live like the first disciples of the early church. The cult employs anger, fear, guilt, phobia indoctrination and mind control own its members.
Examples of phobia indoctrination include the following: “If you leave the safety of the community, a lightening bolt will strike you dead!”
When a person joins the Tribes, he must sever ties with extended family/friends and often spouses especially if they are not friendly towards the Tribes. New recruits must also relinquish all their worldly possessions such as homes, farms, lands, cars, inheritance, businesses, bank accounts etc and give it all to the community.
Beard braids and headbands
The women wear unattractive oversized maternity clothes that surely make them feel like beached whales! The women look like Chewbacca as they cannot shave or use makeup. Their hair is always in a long braid and covered with a plain head scarf. Many of the “married” women are pregnant as they seek to obey Spriggs’ teaching “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” All men wear beards and their hair is tied in shoulder length ponytails. Some men wear head bands.
The Twelve Tribes live strictly according to the teachings and words of its “Apostle” Elbert Eugene Spriggs and the elders and deacons reinforce the words and dictates of the founder Elbert Spriggs. Shepherds are always male and the ordinary members are called sheep. Men are clearly superior to women.
The Twelve Tribes community “educates” their children at home with professionally unqualified teachers in their own private school. The children do not receive GED’s nor do they receive high school diplomas. At approximately 6th or 7th grade the children are pulled out of school and put to work in the various community cottage industries.
The brothers and sisters must work long and hard (16-18 hours a day) and they receive no wages and they do not own personal property. They reject health insurance and social services.
The Twelve Tribes viciously “discipline” their children and beat the tar out of them starting at the age of 6 months. With the help of safety pins, babies and toddlers are tightly wrapped in cloths so that they can no longer move. Eventually the fidgeting and screaming stops, said the former member.
Members of the Twelve Tribes are cut off from access to newspapers, magazines, books, libraries (usually), the Internet, theaters, radio and TV. The only information the sheep receive is what the shepherd chooses to feed them.
In the cult of equals, in reality a two-class system exists. The elders and those in charge have access to money, cell phones, braces for their children’s teeth, computers and cars. The “second class” were denied everything such as children’s books or comics, sweets, and videos? He shakes his head. I was told that chocolate makes one sick. They told us that in Africa where the cocoa comes from the black children poop on it!
The community is the twisted idea of Elbert Eugene Spriggs who founded the Bible-based cult in 1972. He set up his operation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He claims his flock is descended from the early Christians who supposedly beat the **** out of their children.