If they get the children again, they retreat

The stories about the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult have begun. Our local newspaper carried the story of a former Twelve Tribes member.

Augburger Allgemeine
Von Holger Sabinsky -Wolf and Anika Taiber
September 14, 2013
Translated from the German

He who spares the rod hates his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him often. The Bible provides the seemingly proper saying for every life philosophy. The Twelve Tribes uses the quote from Proverbs 13:24 as justification for the systematic abuse of their children. After all, members of the controversial Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult in Ries admit to striking their children. They say this type of discipline is not bad.

The hearings began on Friday in Ansbach

It’s about provisional withdrawal of parental authority.

On Thursday of last week, police and youth welfare office removed 28 children from the Bible-based Twelve Tribe commune at Deiningen and Klosterzimmern. The ages of the children ranged from six months to 17 years old. The children were subsequently placed in foster homes. Twelve other children were also removed from their parents in Wörnitz.

Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult

The Twelve Tribes are a Bible-based cult which was founded in 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Parents want their children back

The hearing date of the District Court of Ansbach began on Friday at 9:45 a.m. All five sets of parents had come from Wörnitz. The parents demanded their children back and a lawyer from Nördlingen represented them. Six out of the seven witnesses heard were former Twelve Tribes members. As director of the district court of Ansbach, Gudrun Lehnberger announced that the former members described in detail the educational practices of the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult. During their statements the former members were located in a secret place. The statements were transmitted via video directly into the court room. The judge was on the phone asking questions of the witnesses.

Lehnberger stated that the hearing which also was drafted in English contained 146 pages. She also said that the Twelve Tribes comprehensive education manual played a role. A Catholic official for philosophical questions was interviewed on Friday afternoon as well. After the collective bargaining the judge heard the parents individually all afternoon. The court proceedings at the district court of Ansbach are not open to the public.

On Wednesday, the hearings begin in Nördlingen

The sect criticized the police raid and the removal of their parental rights. The Twelve Tribes parents also accused the state of “child robbery.” Members of the Twelve Tribes community write their version of the police action of the past week amid eyewitness reports. It’s a tough test – but God will provide for us.

A former member hopes that the children remain in the custody of Child Protection Services.

One can shake his head about so much blindness, says former member Benjamin (name changed). Our newspaper has been in contact with him for more than a year. The Twelve Tribes cult are fanatics, he says. It does not surprise him. During his 20 years that he lived in the cloister rooms he held the position of elder. Then he fled with four young children. Today he is a single parent. His wife stayed with the Twelve Tribes. Benjamin has often called the young former members in the past few days. And he cried when he saw the video footage from reporter Wolfram Kuhnigk of children receiving beatings with rods. Since then many crazy memories have returned to me, says Benjamin.

He hopes that the children remain in the custody of the Youth Office. “If the children are returned to their parents, they will quickly leave Germany and go abroad.” This is my conviction. Benjamin also does not think it was a bad that the children were separated from their parents. “The kids get toys and so many new influences,” he says.
An acquaintance has seen a sect child in a foster home at a folk festival. He told him the child looked very satisfied with a teddy bear in hand and a lollipop in his mouth.

His real name is not Benjamin. He is afraid for his children. The Twelve Tribes wrote a long letter to him after his escape. In the letter, the Twelve Tribes prophesied a bleak future for me and a direct path to purgatory. And the children? “You have written, My children belong to God and He will get them back himself.”

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