I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

14 September 2013

The Twelve Tribes group in Germany part 2

Photo by A. Stahl

 As far as I know, not much of this has made it out into American news as of yet. 

It is the so often maligned and often-criticized private broadcaster RTL, which has significantly contributed to the liberation of... children from the ...Twelve Tribes sect.
...At the beginning of the week, the television report documented "The sect '12 tribes': They preach peace, torturing their own children" ...this was the first time the beating allegations against the controversial faith community were brought to light.
W&V: Sekten-Film deckt auf: Wie RTL dem Jugendamt Beine macht [Sect film uncovered: How RTL hurried up the Child Protective Services]
The sect was founded in the 70s by a small group in the U.S.. It is named after the twelve tribes of Israel, according to the Hebrew Bible or the "Tanakh" YHWH  (the proper name of God in the Tanakh) called the chosen people of Israel. Worldwide, there are probably 2,000 members.
Mittlebayerische: Zwölf Stämme: Noch keine Entscheidung [Twelve Tribes: Still no decision]
..A large proportion of children have been placed in foster families, the elder children in youth welfare institutions. Four infants were brought to the police together with their mothers from the sect. They are now living in mother-child facilities...
Focus: Nach völliger Isolation - Sekte Zwölf Stämme: Wie geht es den Kindern jetzt? [After full isolation - 12 Tribes Sect - How are the children now?]
The court heard about the loss of custody of ten children. ... Starting next week, the proceedings for the remaining children will be heard at the district court in Nördlingen.Süddeutsche Zeitung: Gericht hört Eltern An (Court hears parent's testimony)
 The court has removed the children from parental custody, largely due to previous findings, "the specific danger that there would be a considerable damage to the children if they would remain in care with their parents."
The "Twelve Tribes" are represented particularly in the U.S.. Therefore, the courts are also examining the English-language parenting manual of the sect.
Der Spiegel:  "Zwölf Stämme": Verfahren gegen Christen-Sekte beginnen
 Lehnberger stated that at the hearing also drafted the 146 page comprehensive education manual of the Twelve Tribes in English, as it plays a instrumental role in the case. A witness for ideological matters [Biblical matters], a representative of the Catholic Church was interviewed on Friday afternoon as well.
... The meetings of the District Court Ansbach are not public.
Augsburger Allgemeine: Zwölf Stämme-Aussteiger"Kriegen sie die Kinder wieder, setzen sie sich ab“ [Ex Twelve Tribes Members: If they ever get their children again, they'll dissappear.] - This one goes on to say that the hearing for the other parents will begin on Wednesday.
 Director Gudrun Lehnberger said on Friday night that the court of Ansbach did not want to visit the  decision on custody again. The hearings lasted for late into Friday evening for the parents. On Monday morning, more details are expected to shared with the public.

In Ansbach, six former members of the sect were also heard by video feed from a secret location. Due to issues [with the Twelve Tribes], these six individuals have remained living in secrecy...
Nordbayern: Prügelvorwürfe um "Zwölf Stämme": Verhandlungsausgang offen
 "I think the authorities would prefer to let the issue disappear in the drawer, because otherwise their own failings would have been visible," the ex-members said to FOCUS. "They all looked the other way."
Focus: „Alle haben weggeschaut“ Schwere Vorwürfe von ehemaligem Zwölf-Stämme-Mitglied  ["Everyone looked the other way" - Serious Accusations from former 12 Tribes Member]
 The district court Nördlingen have seventeen preceedings ahead... Despite the urgency of this family matter, normal operating procedures of the Court must go on.

The "Twelve Tribes" have criticized the provisional court's decision on partial withdrawal of parental custody. On the homepage of the Community in Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz the police action is referred to as "children robbed by the state". Because of the abuse allegations, prosecution is looking at proceedings against members of the sect. An initial investigation on this issue had been set a few weeks ago.
N24:  Sorgerechtsprozesse begonnen Die "Zwölf Stämme" und der "Kinderraub" 
On the Internet, the faith community expresses their educational practices... There it is clearly stated: "Yes, we beat our children." He continued: "We love our children and they are precious and wonderful to us. Because we love them, we beat their butts. "
Focus: Erziehung bei „Zwölf Stämmen“Sekte: „Weil wir sie lieben, schlagen wir unsere Kinder“ (Child-rearing by the Twelve Tribes Sect - "We hit our children because we love them")

 "All parents demand the abolition of judicial decisions," said District Court Director Gudrun Lehnberger. In the coming week, the case will formally begin with the other children at the district court Nördlingen.
Die Welt: Sekte verteidigt Prügel als Zeichen der Liebe (The sect defended beatings as a sign of love)
[Reporter:] What determines how much a child is changed by [beatings]?
Dietmayer: It depends on how much emotional resources a child has, so how mentally stable he or she is. For many kids, this triggers one psychologically, which in turn may later lead to a variety of psychiatric disorders. And that can happen even if the child is beaten only once.
Augsberger Allgemeine: Zwölf Stämme - Kinderpsychiaterin: Schläge schaden einem Kind massiv (Twelve Tribes: Child Psychologist says "Beating damages children greatly")

If you would like to know more about how damaging and evil this group truly is, you can hear it from former members directly, here. Please note that this is a site that is primarily in English for former members that speak English. I'm looking around for other resources. It seems that the German site for the Zwölf Stämme has now been suspended.

If I hear any more come next week, I'll update again.  I hope that those of you who are fasting on Yom Kippur have an easy and light fast, and are sealed for another year.  For us, it is a difficult day of prayer with these recent revelations.

Update: You can also read more here: Part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6, part 7, part 8 and part 9


  1. Oh my gosh, this post made me so angry and sad. "Because we love them, we beat their butts"?!?!?! Wow. Thank you for sharing this info so people may know the truth.

  2. Do you really think the media is the place for objective truth, or from ex-members of a group? Have you ever seen someone speak about their ex-husband or ex-wife in the press? Do you see the media rushing to think the best or verify the facts? The truth is that all of the children were examined and there was absolutely no sign of abuse or even poor health. These children were healthy, happy and unscathed. The children would be the ones to ask. Hopefully there will be justice in Germany and they will really consider the fruit (in the children) of how this group raises their children, rather than the sensational accusations of the media and social services. Remember proverbs 17:4. "Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children." (Lk 7:35)

    1. I had heared so many storries in the TT about people who left. Big storries were made up about why they left and what they were doing once they were out. Then I had a chance to talk to my friends later, and things had gone very difffertent. I was treated the same way, all kind of stuff was told about me in the TT. So really, the only ones making up storries are the TT. They are the ones that say they do not have to say the trooth but it is not lying.
      I have never spoken a lie about the TT!!!

  3. In America, the children were NEVER examined. The case in Island Pond Vermont 1984 was thrown out of court before any of the children could be examined. I saw the abuse of one child while I lived with them. The child of about 9 years old was too slow in completing his math assignments and had to stay after school time. I saw the uncertified "teacher" ask the boy to hold both arms in the air with palms facing the teacher. The teacher repeatedly hit the palms hard with a slender long but painful flexible stick. I can say from living with the Tribes that they will not and can not ever say anything bad about the group. It is not allowed. Especially not against Elbert Eugene Spriggs "Yoneq" and his wife Marsha "Haemeq." Yoneq is now called an Apostle, the Apostle and is indirectly referred to as the Elijah of end times in the Bible. The community must all unanimously follow Yoneq's instructions known as the Teachings, which include Child Training:
    TT Teachings concerning beating children until they bleed:

    “Underdiscipline accomplishes nothing. It is better not to discipline our children at
    all — “The blueness of the wound drives away all evil.”” October 1980 Child Training -Notes from Teachers Meeting - Page 5

    “Unless your son has blue wounds, by this standard, you know what kind of a
    standard is in you — it is the spirit that hates your son. If one is overly concerned about
    his son receiving blue marks you know that he hates his son and hates the word of God.”
    No date – Execution of Justice – Page 1
    Maybe Yoneq deserves a good beating for creating another form of failed communism and being a monarch.
    I lived in a community house where a middle-aged single brother member was found to be exposing the lower front private portion of his body to children in our bathroom. Instead of calling the police, which is never done, one of the elders warned him not to do this. He exposed himself again to a child, the shepherds then asked him to leave the community. Again, the police were not called. The Tribes condemns all forms of Christianity for its "bad fruit." But the Tribes cannot admit when it has failed. It cannot and will not admit when it has failed and tolerated the same "bad fruit." The same "wickedness."

    1. Thank you Yacob for your perspective.

  4. @Anonymous: Let me set a few things straight here.
    1. The TT explicitly say that you should abide by the 10 commandments UNLESS the people or insitutions you interact with are "not worthy". Then you are allowed, even obligated to tell lies. Unworthy here means CPS, the police, the courts of law, the press (of course). So the credibility of you folks is out the window. Millions of viewers have seen you lie to the media when you did not know how hard the evidence of your child abuse was. The clips of the actual beatings, however, have been examined and found to be not manipulated
    2. Yes, CPS when on site visits to your farm informed you two weeks in advance of the visits. So the beating patterns changed during that time - less "spanking" (butt-hitting) and more bastinado (hitting the soles of the feet).
    3. The children, bet your lashmarked butt on it, will deifnitely have some tales to tell. That is what makes you folks so nervous. The longer these children are in safe places the more they will open up. You will be surprised, my pious friend.
    4. "The fruit" that has already ripened is now in psychological care for PTSD, because what your "Zucht" does, is make vegetables out of people. ("Zucht" = has a nice triple meaning: order / breeding / growing plants)

    There actually is one point on which we agree: I, too, hope, there will be justice in Germany!

    An aside here: I am not a ex-member of any sect, I am just ANGRY, and pray day and night that the children get a chance to grow up in a healthy, sane, and loving environment. Or in other words: not with their deluded parents, not with an abusive cult of fanatics, and not isolated from the rest of society.

  5. Update: All children will remain in protective custody. Child psychologists will investigate and write a evaluation - this will take a few months. Maybe that is enough time for the children to open up. Let s hope so. One boy was asked by the judge a couple of days about beatings occurring, and he kept mum.

  6. I am the anonymous of 24 September; i just need to say that I am not (!!!) identical with the anonymous of 18 September.

    1. Ah! Thank you for that clarification!

  7. It makes me mad that a reputable association like Intentional Communities who have as far as I know promoted Intentional Communities and are the first stop website that people who are looking to visit on because they are interested in checking out communal living/projects/spirituality, they are advertising in their website The Twelve Tribes. and in that way helps them recruit young idealistic people like I was when I met them. I would have been the one sucked in and partly because of the credibility of this website. They need to know they are advertising a cult and creating more victims!!!