The top ten frequently asked Twelve Tribes questions

by US ex-member Cheryl
August 2014
Q: Why do all your men wear beards and tie their hair in ponytails?
A:  Our men grow beards because we require it of them.  Also the Old
     Testament book of Ezekiel refers to priests who kept their hair
     bound at the back of the neck and who trimmed their hair.
Q:  Why do your women dress the way they do?
A:  Our women are required to wear baggy Sus pants, skirts and
     dresses.  We want all of our women to look perpetually pregnant so
     that the men will not be attracted to them in a sexual way!  We
     don’t want our men to suffer with sexual thoughts and fantasies -
     thus we dress the women in the baggiest and most ample clothes
     our women can sew!
Q: What does a person need to do to visit one of your communities?
A:  All visitors are required to attend the morning and evening
     gatherings where the teachings of the “Apostle” Elbert Eugene
     Spriggs are rehashed.  Visitors must passively accept what they
     hear in the gatherings.  No arguing.  Baptized members must obey
     these teachings or risk shunning or excommunication.  Spriggs
     says in his teaching on Reasoning the following:
     “The Holy Spirit is only given to the many whose hearts are known
     by God.  He knows that their heart is to repent, surrender their
     head.  They know that their head has to go…..” Ransom  3/23/89
     “Reasoning is rebellion in its highest form.”  Reasoning 12/18/90
Q:  Do you have one leader who lives off the labor of everyone else?
A:  Yes, his name is Elbert Eugene Spriggs and he claims the titles of
     “Apostle”, Netser, the Elijah, Yoneq and the “Anointing.”  He is a
     narcissistic cult leader!  Community members work 16-18 hours a
     day or more so Spriggs can devote his time to writing new
     teachings and traveling the world with a pocket full of credit cards.
     In an interview with reporter Mary Richardson, former high ranking
     Twelve Tribes member James Howell said the following about
     Elbert Spriggs:
     “Compared to one of the elders whose toes stick out the front of his
       boots and the knees out of his pants and his shirt in tatters, Gene
       Spriggs is well dressed.  Gene Spriggs often wears the latest LL
       Bean Polar Fleece shirt and jacket, Hi tech hikers, and banana
       republic pants.  Later on we learned that Spriggs owned 5 pairs of
       Hi tech hikers in his closet.  Relatively speaking he lives as a very
       rich man.”
       In the same interview with Mary Richardson, former high ranking
       Twelve Tribes member Michael Painter said the following about
       “I visited the Boston community and looked in Bill Hinchcliffe’s
       closet and said to him, ‘what are you doing with these 5 pairs of
       expensive $180.00 10 1/2 D New Balance Hi Tech hikers”?  You
       wear 8 1/2.”  Bill responded with “These belong to Yoneq (Gene
       Spriggs).  He can’t purchase them in France, so he is going to
       take them to France.  Elbert Eugene Spriggs always wore New
       Balance Hi Tech hikers.”
       And the reporter Mary Richardson asked a question.  Does Elbert
       Eugene Spriggs travel freely around the world?
       JH – Yes
       MP – Yes
      JH – Spriggs may write new teachings or members may live in new
             places or they may wear their hair different or wear different
             clothes but the basic theme will be obedience to him and his
             teachings!  And finally former Tribes member Michael Painter
             sums up Elbert Eugene Spriggs in this manner:
             “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This
             is my opinion of Spriggs.”  Every former member that we have
             contact with expresses the same thought about Elbert and his
             lust for power and control.  The early community began with
             honorable intentions as they helped many young people quit
             drugs, and fed the hungry and homeless but as Spriggs
             garnered more and more power he became blinded.  He is
             leading all the Tribe’s members into a ditch.”
Q:  Are you a cult?
A:  Yes.  We are a relatively small group (2,500 – 3,000) of people
      holding religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as
      dangerous, oppressive, false, unorthodox (unchristian), or
      extremist.  The group members hold in high esteem the leader
      (Elbert Spriggs) who supposedly has a special pipeline to God
      with no actual accountability giving him/her a special authority
      and weightiness in their pronouncements.  If group members
      refuse to obey the leader then they are rebellious!  We isolate
      our members from their extended families and the world.  They
      do not read newspapers, books, go to the library (generally),
      listen to the radio, or connect to the Internet.  During the morning
      and evening gathering the teachings of the “Apostle” Elbert
      Eugene Spriggs are rehashed.  All baptized community members
      are expected to obey the Spriggs teachings or risk shunning or
      excommunication.  Former high ranking Tribes member James
      Howell said the following:
      “Their dedication to Spriggs is the prerequisite for remaining in the
Q:  What keeps you together?
A:  We use phobia indoctrination making it difficult for members to
     leave us.  Examples include the following: “If you leave the
     community you will become a homosexual.”  “If you leave the
     safety of the Twelve Tribes a thunder bolt will strike you dead!”
     “If you leave you or your  family member will have a fatal car
     wreck!”  The Twelve Tribes also employs mind control on its
Q: Do you follow the Bible, or some other writings?
A:  Only Elbert Eugene Spriggs is allowed to give original teaching
     and his writings (not the Bible) are the final authority in the
     communities.  Community members must obey the teachings of
     Spriggs or risk shunning or excommunication.  “Everything we hear
     in the teachings we are required to obey.”  (Repentance  4/2/91)
Q: Who is this Gene Spriggs?
A: Elbert Eugene Spriggs is the sole (unchecked) leader of the Twelve
    Tribes and claims the titles of “Apostle,” the “prophet Elijah,”
    “Netser,” and the “Anointing.”  Spriggs claims that God speaks to
    him!   Elbert claims a “direct pipeline to God” and that he is a
    special messenger with a unique revelation.  “Yoneq expressed
    how there have been several things which our Father has spoken to
    him which have kept us on course.”  (Letter from Yowceph to
   Jonathan and Caleb) And in another teaching Spriggs says, “This is
   a word to all true disciples.  Our Father revealed to me that we must
   observe the Sabbath – the day He made, not Sunday.”  (Observing
   the Sabbath)
   This is what the Apostolic Workers have said about Spriggs!
  “We are Yoneq new sprout.  We are Yoneq’s most precious
   possession.  We are the validity of his apostleship.  We stand
   in his place.  We are the new sprout organically related to one
   another.  We must practice his words!” – Apostolic Workers Meeting
And a former member has said, “Yoneq is the anointing everyone refers to.”
“We must see that it is Yoneq’s spirit holding our community together.  If we resist then it is hard to function in community.  Resistance makes life miserable.  Subtle rebellion disables Yoneq from functioning as an apostle.  If we pick apart our leaders it makes it hard to rule.  The work will go forward with cooperation.  But if you resist authority the work ceases.  We must be loyal to Yoneq and his anointing. – Apostolic Workers Meeting  6/13/88
Q: Do you believe that God speaks through everyone or just through
     one leader?
A:  We follow and obey our “Apostle” Elbert Eugene Spriggs.  During
     the morning and evening gatherings we love our leader so much
     we rehash and talk about his teachings!  Obedience to Spriggs is
     the prerequisite for remaining in the group according to former
     high ranking member James Howell.  We all seek to have the
     mind of our leader Elbert Spriggs!

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