My troubling encounter with the Twelve Tribes

I had a very troubling experience yesterday. I came across some members of the “Twelve Tribes/Yellow Deli” group. I was walking through the farmers’ market in San Clemente when I stopped at a booth selling “Armenian cucumbers.” I asked where they grew these delicious cucumbers and as one of the men began to answer, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. My pulse sped up. My mouth went dry. I didn’t know why, but suddenly I was on HIGH ALERT. I’ve learned not to ignore these feelings so I started paying close attention. The way he talked was the first tip-off. If you’ve ever been around “Group-speak,” you know that there is a cadence and tone that is particular to their group. It is an affected way of speaking, a kind of coded language.

But then I noticed that there was literature spread out on the table. I picked it up and opened the pamphlet. All the cult-type language was there: the elitism (other churches have left “the true” ways of God, we are the only true representation of spiritual community), the isolationism (living in a group commune), the hyper-modestly dressed women, the patriarchal hierarchy. It was all there. By now, my hands were shaking.

I looked up and noticed the young, teenage boy standing in front of me—maybe 14 years old? My heart began to break. From what I read, Twelve Tribes groups do not allow their children to be educated (homeschooled) past age 12. The Twelve Tribes group in France was broken up due to child abuse.

I felt helpless. I wanted to scream. I kept asking questions but the dad-figure stepped in and only gave evasive answers. I walked away.

I asked some other vendors if there was a manager for the Farmers Market. They pointed him out to me. I gave him a brief introduction about who I was, my background and how I was able to recognize cult-like groups. He listened to me and said he would look into it. I was still trembling and forgot to get his name and contact information.

I’m writing this here today because after more research I’m convinced that the Twelve Tribes groups are dangerous and abusive environments for children. Their teachings are also explicitly racist and homophobic. I think the only way to disrupt groups like the 12 Tribes is to cut off their income stream. Please do not patronize “The Yellow Deli” or purchase items from their booths at Farmers’ Markets. I don’t know what else to do but I’m open to suggestions/ideas. My heart breaks for all the children being raised in that environment. What else can I do?

July 12 at 2:18am ·2016

One Comment On “My troubling encounter with the Twelve Tribes”

  1. as you know crash all the active or ex tt members have had different experiences, not all are the same. i would disagree with you, this person pointing out the presence of a dangerous situation, the twelve tribes are not harmless, they are harmful. they harm a lot of people, this is not about liberal and its not bull sh!#……….its real, its wrong, and its documented here as u well know. as the last comments said , they didn’t understand why the law enforcment can’t stop what is happening……..why get up set about this one article their are 350 literal articles on the twelve tribes, documented here. that is not the full story, but it is a key part of it.

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