We did some woofing in a “community” . After a warm welcome by the charismatic leader, we gradually realized that it was a real cult. All people have Hebrew names, beard (for men!) A scarf (for women) and a diadem on their heads.
The first days were rich in emotions and many fits of laughter. We were surrounded by illuminated who believe that their community, protected from the outside world which is in full decadence,, was the most marvellous place on earth and that they would succeed in convincing us to stay.
Photographing was prohibited during the ceremonies , so we will not be able to share these great moments: when illuminated traditionally dance on Hebrew songs, everyone thanked “our father Joshua (Jesus in Hebrew),” for having left that “disaster” (the outside world), and for sharing moments lived with their brothers and sisters (the other members of the community). After everyone raises his hands to the heavens and shouts “Thank you Joshua”. We cried because it was so hilarious (indeed they were not too happy about it).
The schedule was very strict: getting up at 5 am, the ceremony preparation (shower getting ready), ceremony at 6 am, breakfast at 7 am, work in the garden from 8am to 12am, lunch at 12am, dishes and help cooking until 4 pm, 4 to 5pm work in the garden, 5 pm: preparation for the ceremony, ceremony, still a little gardening, dinner, sleep … (shower again!). and once more !
No time to think, no time to read … Besides the only book present in the community was the Bible.
We asked them many questions : why you do not read other books? why don’t you ever go out? don’t you feel that you are lacking freedom? etc ….
And everytime the answers revolved around God, their happiness in the community and the complete rejection of everything that comes from the outside world.
In the end, we thought that these people are happy and good for them because before entering the sect most of them were poor, and / or on drugs, etc … At least they found a very healthy lifestyle ( organic food, no drugs, no alcohol …).
However the education of children didn’t seem right. The schooling is organized by the women of the community, children work in the garden, cooking, and playing football on Sunday for the boys, they participate in all ceremonies and quote the Bible by heart ….
We had trouble accepting the lack of freedom, the illuminated were constantly after us all day because we had to hide to read, or just to have a private quiet conversation and then we tried to miss the ceremonies …which proved impossible as they came to get us.
My Wwoof experience with the Morning Star Ranch
January 5, 2011
I was in a cult for just under a week. I set out (ended up being more a road trip) and I joined Wwoof in order to make money for travel doing something I believe in, organic farming. My first stop however was a ranch called Morning Star (little trick of words, the “Morning Star” if I remember the study of angels correctly, is the province of Lucifer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer
). The ranch turned out to be the Twelve Tribes community. (http://www.Yattt.blogspot.com
You want a good reason why I’m so big on the idea that “people need to do their own thing.” Keep reading and you will see why. In that week, I saw one person who was told to give up his dream of becoming a painter. (“The elders decide how gifts are used” not the person themselves). A fellow Wwoofer was manipulated and brainwashed into believing their ambitions were unrighteous and such ambitions needed to be cast into the fire. I thought they were good ambitions that she aspired to.
If one controls the dreams of others, they take the soul of others. At that point, I freaked out, slipped out the back, ignored some comment about how I and my parents were headed for Death. Maybe I don’t care. I headed to a library and then a campground roughly 100 miles away.
My experience Wwoof Asheville community
August 17, 2010
All right I’ll tell. I went to the community in Asheville (Twelve Tribes) to volunteer through the Wwoof (Willing workers on organic farms). I had no idea that the 12 Tribes operated the Asheville farm till I arrived, and it freaked me out at first.
We had to get up and go to gatherings at 7 a.m. during which they circle danced and sang praises to Yahshua, which I mistakenly thought was someone living at the farm. I thought this person was some sort of leader or something. I found out later that it was just the Hebrew name for Jesus.
The guys all wore shoulder length hair in a ponytail, beards and the girls and women all wore long homely dresses, jumpers or baggy “sus” pants. They all had weird biblical names, such as Naboth,
Quanna, Derush or Yanadob. The community leaders expected us to do about 5-6 hours of work 6 days a week, and attend the morning and evening gatherings, which lasted about an hour. Other than that
we were free to do as we pleased. The Twelve Tribes community was a drug and alcohol free zone, so myself and the other visitors would take walks after dark to smoke weed. We also met another Wwoof volunteer at the Asheville Twelve Tribes farm who bought beer for us ( we were under 21 at the time). We got drunk a bunch of nights under a bridge near the community…..
Things I didn’t like: the dogma, the gender and role work division between men and women; if you are a woman in the 12 Tribes your job is to cook, clean and care for the children and produce children every nine months. Sadly, the young married women were basically e-z baking oven.
More articles and blog posts from Twelve Tribes Wwoofers:
A tribe like no other
, an article by Clara Rose Thornton, an african-american journalist who visited Basin Farm as a Woofer in 2009
Staying with a cult
, a blog post by traveller who spent time Woofing at Stonybrook Organic Farm, Hillsboro, VA.