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

12 September 2013

The Twelve Tribes group in Germany

Photo by A. Stahl

Today I wanted to take time and discuss a recent breaking news story coming out of Germany about a cult that is three hours to our east.  If you haven't heard the news, well, stay tuned as I'll help get you caught up to speed.

Today's post is about the Twelve Tribes, or Zwölf Stämmen group that is based out of Klosterzimmern in the municipality of Deiningen, and Ansbach, Bavaria. Twelve Tribes is a very difficult group to pin down, theologically speaking. They take elements of fundamentalist beliefs (mostly Independent Fundamentalist Baptist), Messianic Judaism, Hebrew Roots, Sacred Name and World Wide Church of God beliefs.  Where they diverge, is that they believe and teach that they are the only group that has truth and will be going to the afterlife.

Twelve Tribes also is extremely patriarchal, racist, antisemitic, somewhat communist (they live in communes and everyone works), and engages in child labor. In Germany, Zwölf Stämmen is known more for their push for homeschooling which ended somewhat amicably with them creating their own private school that did not have to teach any sex education or evolution theory or anything else that they believe is contrary to "biblical" beliefs.  The agreement with the government included that there would be state oversight so that the community would not be fully removing itself or the children from society at large.

Contrary to the painting by the HSLDA, Germany does not retain Nazi-era laws where it pertains to homeschoolers. I love all of you, but Hitler was not the one who made school compulsory in Germany. I've discussed that before, just a little bit and about our educational system when I blogged about the homeschooling Romeike family.

With the Zwölf Stämmen, there have been many concerns of child labor laws being broken before. It is not uncommon with this group that every person gives and puts in work with their fields, and also with their money-making ventures.  What hadn't been well known until recently, was how abusive and systemically so, their child rearing practices were. There were suspicions, but people cannot be investigated solely based on suspicions here.

There have been teenagers and 20-somethings that have left the cult, but they, for the most part, had been getting psychological help and then moving on with their lives, rather than assisting others in leaving the cult. They have mentioned the abuse, but the onus was on others to go in and prove it was happening other than "he and she said". I find this heartbreaking for all people who have been put through abuse like this.

From what I understand from an acquaintance that had gotten in with the group in Vermont; Twelve Tribes is extremely difficult to get into, and that much harder to get out of. The abuse is not just with children, but also with those who come into the group. There are enforcers, and if you question anything, you are starved of food and sleep until you comply with the group leaders. Also, the oversight committee is only very loosely associated with each Twelve Tribe community.  This means any appeals for assistance in leaving will have to be done through loving family members and possibly the local police departments.

From what I can gather, punitive parenting books are quite the rage in the Zwölf Stämmen. Interviews with the reporter who came out proving the abuse, and with some of the survivors of the group have mentioned  practices that are inconsistent with child-rearing in Germany and Biblical practice. The abuses this cult has carried out were well hidden from the German government, because these methods are illegal.

If you're new to the blog and don't know much about Gentle Grace Based Discipline, what I am discussing here is the systemic belief that all children are born horrible sinners (or easily influenced by the Devil) that need to be physically and emotionally abused from birth.  What parents want to result from this is first time obedience, unquestioning obedience, and no talking back. What they receive?  Abused children that are terrified to do anything that would ever cross their parents, or the leaders involved in the community. Grace is not for children in this belief system. Grace is for adults who have found some sort of agreement with the leaders of the community that they are living "Biblically" and for them alone.

What hasn't much been discussed in the German case is the propensity for sometimes sexual predatory action in communities such as these. When you have children that are too terrified to speak out against systemic abuse methods such as whipping for doing anything the parents or community leaders do not like, they also will not speak out when they are being sexually abused, because surely that wasn't something they were not supposed to do, as someone in authority forced themselves onto them. I am praying that beyond all hopes, this is not something that was happening at this Twelve Tribes compound.

The news that has come out of the community is that children as young as six months were taken away from their parents to be punitively disciplined by select members of the community. Babies that cried or were otherwise deemed "sinful" were held very tightly so that they would cry until they could cry no more.

Forty children were removed from the compound outside of Deiningen, and placed into child protective services while being interviewed by authorities who are trying to find ways to assist them, deprogram them and get them into schools and families that can help them detox from this lifestyle.

I cannot begin to tell you how much agony I have been in since the news broke, as several methods mentioned that were employed in the compound are methods I am having PTSD-reactions about from my own childhood.

What has angered me beyond all reason is how quickly Michael Farris, head of the HSLDA was to pick up this story and stand behind the Zwölf Stämmen and say that there was no abuse happening. Because we know the HSLDA is all about systemic abuses and hiding those from authorities. It bothers me how little the HSLDA respects other country's laws and rights to live according to their belief systems and instead do not focus on the abuses that are endemic in their own back yard.

For those who think that is quite the thing for such a blogger as myself to say, I too was a HSLDA child. I didn't trust them as far as I could throw something at them as a homeschooler, and I trust them even less now that I've an adult and living outside of the US. They are a terrible representation for Christians and of Christianity when it comes to how they treat others. Where's the grace there guys? really. Where's the love?

So, after the news breaks as to how the information came to the police and to raid the compound, Michael Farris is notified of the abuses. All he says is "I said something in that nature, but I see now that my sources were wrong." [He said and implied there were no abuses.]

So, all we get is a "my bad." Not an apology.

The best news source at the moment, that has discussed what happened comes by way of The UK's Independent Newspaper.

The film shows how children are made to get up at 5am and stand though an hour-long prayer session. They are obliged to labour with adults in the community’s farm plots and workshops...
“It’s normal to be beaten every day,” said Christian...
The film also shows... a baby boy being forcefully gripped by the back of the head in a practice referred to by sect members as “restraining.”
In Germany's Twelve Tribes sect, cameras catch ‘cold and systematic’ child-beating

The remainder of the news stories I will be quoting are from German news sources. I will translate them and share them here with the original sources. I would suggest using Google Translate to read them if you do not have German language knowledge. It will not be a perfect translation, but it will help you know what is going on. Just plop the link in the translate area and set the translation from German to English (or your language of choice). It will do the rest of the work for you.

There is video here from RTL, where two former members, Christian and Jael (or Yael?) explain how children are mishandled in the sect.  I have to admit that I did big giant ugly cries when I listened to them and saw the video attached.

There is also video here from RTL where a former member, Klaus F., discusses his feelings and knowledge about the revelations from the Zwölf Stämmen, after having lived for many years in the sect, leaving with his four children but without his wife; who chose to stay behind.

Over and over again, in both videos, a current member of the sect says they "do not call it spanking or hitting, we just call it disciplining." and goes into detail about how they pick rods to hit the children with. I do not see how this can be deniable when it was recorded and the members are known.

On top of this, the reporter asked the authorities, and they knew that the children were being spanked, but they didn't know how badly or how many. (This is cleared up in the second video at about minute seven.) 

What angers me is that the members of the group say that they have frequently had doctors come in and they have proof that their children were not abused.

The exclusive 45 minute long news exclusive is now available in RTL's iTunes app. (they move it off site after 7 days)

The Ansbach Youth Office has maintained in regular contact since the influx of children in 2010. Their visits would present concerns and worries that could not be dissuaded, but were also "not sufficient evidence for the initiation of family law measures" to be submitted. Only now the Family Court and the Youth Office of Nördlingen districts in the  Donau-Ries region received "credible, concrete and actionable information," showing that the "physical and emotional welfare of the children could be permanently compromised."
Der Spiegel: "Twelve Tribes": Police take 40 children from Christian sect in Bavaria

There are 150 German members of the international community of '12 tribes' faith - in their own words "Bible in the tradition of early Christianity."  ...The children are taught early on that Africans, Blacks and homosexuals are cursed; and women belong to an inferior race.
RTL: Raid on sect '12 tribes' - RTL reporter provides evidence of child abuse
...the children would be "cleansed" by the blows and "freed from the devil." Strikes would constantly be administered due to varied reasons. It is enough already to be struck, if a child does not pay attention in class...
...there is "ubiquitous, mutual supervision, built on intimidation, by this spying totalitarian system" which makes it impossible to live differently at all, says Kuhnigk.
Der Spiegel: Suspected abuse at Christian Sect: "They live with their children in their own world"
 "[In Germany] Every child has the " right to a violence-free education ". And "despite many calls and offers of help" the community members would continue to be "disciplined and mentally abusing towards" their children...
... "Mental abuse and isolation has only occurred when the authorities have taken away our children," says a father."
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Those who wish to play are beaten
 Kuhnigk: The children do not have close ties to their parents because they can not protect them. If the parents refuse to,the elders deemed necessary to punish pressure them to give their children over to others to mete it out. The children may not develop individuality. There are no children playing in the yard, fantasy play and free play are prohibited. The children are broken.
Augsburger Allgemeine: Hidden reporter: "I almost cried."
 ...The violence done to the children is "so quiet, so systemic, and planned," such as torture...
...Also shown is the "Restraining" of the babies with one arm, where a tightly wrapped baby with a black head of hair that can hardly move...
Augsburger Allgemeine: Children of the Twelve Tribes: nearly 100 floggings in two days
...The RTL reporter also was able to procure the special "educational book" of the sect. Here, it refers specifically to physical pain as an integral part of education. Especially for strong-willed children, beating their tails for instruction is recommended.
Augsburger Allgemeine: Spanking as an educational system: Undercover in the Twelve Tribes

"The whole procedure is such that the adult relies on a chair. The child must present themselves to adults then. Either he or she puts their pants down, or it can be pulled down. Then the adults look for a suitable rod with appropriate length and begin to beat the children...
The children are beaten until they say what adults want to hear...   Not a single child has struggled in any form. Anyone who turns away from adults while being beaten, is returned to the 'right position' and additionally punished, "said Kuhnigk.
Focus: Incognito reporter in the "Twelve tribes" describes perverse whipping system of the sect
 ...a lecture by the cult leader Gene Spriggs in 2000 is documented, among other things. "Our children were brought up with the rod of correction, we do not argue that," says the gray-haired, bearded man who has tied his shoulder-length hair into a ponytail, in English. "And when we are put in jail for it, then we go to jail, because we know that we are doing right and discipline our children in love."
Süddeutsche Zeitung: He who spares his rod, hates his son
Against asylum seekers and protesters, the authorities in place practice vigorous crackdowns. But when it comes to the children, when the most vulnerable of society are in danger, the Bavarian courts exhibit boundless patience...
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Embarrassing Failure

I cannot begin to tell you how this breaks my heart. I know that this is systemic elsewhere, especially in parts of the US... but in a country where children are usually protected?? So many checks and balances broke down in protecting these children. In a land where spanking and other punitive forms of discipline that include striking a child are outlawed, it's just unbelievable. To hear in other people's words what I lived as a child, it just completely validates how I feel about punitive parenting, and how it simply cannot, and does not have a biblical basis whatsoever.

I have sat and written this entire blog post while shaking and having flashbacks of my own childhood and all I can say is that I hope and pray that these parents are given more early childhood education and that their children are not given to them in unsupervised visits until they have proven their mentality and hearts have changed for the better towards their children.

I just cannot imagine giving my children over to someone else to do anything to them. Then again, I am a very protective mother bear, and I never allowed my spirit to be completely broken by my family or their beliefs in punitive discipline.

If there is one thing I could ask tonight, I would ask that you pray for all the children of the Twelve Tribes and do what you can to support the survivors of this awful abuse.

UPDATE: Homeschoolers Anonymous has a wonderful article on what is happening and how American Homeschoolers have helped to fund these abuses.  How American Homeschoolers Enabled and Funded German Child Abuse: The Real Story Behind the Religious Right and the Twelve Tribes

Love, Joy, Feminism also has an article, which is entitled: "The Twelve Tribes, Child Abuse, and Michael Farris"  

You can also read more here: part 2 , part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6, part 7, part 8 and part 9 


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  2. The main purpose of the communities is to try to eventually raise up the 144,000 celibate male evangelists as the "TwelveTribes" mentioned in the Bible Book of Revelation. The members are taught that they alone are the "true Jews" "the chosen people of God" and only they are being forgiven by God. So there's frequent punishment of children to "obey on the first command" with the hope that the children will always "obey without questioning and reasoning" and remain as adults in the Tribes, and raise up more obedient children, so the 144,000 can be born someday. They believe if they don't produce the 144,000, then Jesus cannot return, and the Earth will remain under the control of Satan. They refer to all Christian churches as the Whore Babylon mentioned in Revelation. It's interesting to note that the writing style in the original languages of Revelation is not similar to St. John's writing style in the Gospel of John at all. When you are a Tribes member, you have to believe everything you are told to believe without question, it's "apostolic" (from Apostle Gene Spriggs, "Yoneq"), if you don't you will be asked to leave the communities. If your children are deemed to deserve punishment, they will be punished, whether you agree with it or not. You either punish them, or someone else will. I and other exmembers left the Tribes due to the Child Training Manual, and having to hit our children so frequently. I won't get into the home circumcisions, required home births, and tight "swaddling" and "restraining" of babies, and medical neglect cases.

  3. CHILD PUNISHMENT is frequent and painful for even the slightest attitude or foolishness.
    Corporal punishment may be applied by any adult member with love.
    “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)
    “We must beat respect into our children. [Unraveling The Races Of Man]

    BLACK SLAVERY is taught, for dark-skinned people who do not join the Tribes.

    “What a marvelous opportunity that blacks could be brought over here to be slaves so that they could be found worthy of the nations. A good master would work by the sweat of his brow. If his slaves were lazy and disrespectful he would beat them, which is what he was supposed to do.” (Cham, Island Pond, 3/19/91)

    “Striving for civil rights is of the world – it is disorder to the established social order. In the social order of the world there is distinction between black and white. We shouldn’t try to change it and mess it up. It is going against something fundamental. Cham (blacks) should have been a slave all through history.” (Unraveling the Races of Man)

    “If the slaves were mistreated, it was the fault of the slave. Even if the master was unreasonable the slave was to bear up under it. This was Cham’s (black people’s) discipline. For 4000 years Israel had slaves….Cham was a servant (slave) to Shem. This is the Word. You can’t break the Word. The more men try to liberate Cham (black people), the worse he gets. It is more destructive for man to try to redeem himself, changing social order. The three races are to be distinct.” (Unraveling the Races of Man)

    “Niger means black. When people first started saying this word, it wasn’t bad, but it became a curse word, having a bad connotation. Before civil rights black men would say, ‘Yes, boss man’ in the south. Yes man, no man. This was respect. We need respect in people. We must beat respect into our children. Cham must get this respect in them. These blacks during the pre-civil rights time, were really slaves – they had respect for people. They got along well because they were submissive…” [Unraveling the Races of Man]

    “Cham is no longer, to his detriment, slaves or servants to Shem. This is a terrible thing, a great deception. It is of the anti-Christ to think Cham is emancipated when he really is not emancipated.” [Cham, Island Pond 6/26/90]

    “This is what Cham should be like in the world – like black nannies – this is sort of what they were to do. They were to be helper to Shem. It was to be a natural thing. There is nothing wrong with this. Civil Rights, forced equality is anti-Christ, trying to change the heart – it can’t be done.” [Unraveling the Races of Man]

    “The politicians and Martin Luther King have taken the provision away (a place in the “Nations”). There is no equal for the hatred Martin Luther King had for the black people.” [Cham, Island Pond 3/19/91]

    “Martin Luther King was filled with every evil spirit there is to say Cham doesn’t have to serve Shem. All manner of evil filled that man.” [Cham, Island Pond 3/19/91]

  5. thank you for your support, I am a parent ex-member and very traumatized by what my children suffered at my own hands and the hands of others, also by what I had to endure myself as a parent. We lived in fear and stress all those years and the way we were all treated was the opposite of christians values. Studying mind-control- undue influence-coercive persuasion and cults in general as well as having a dialogue with ex-members of the TT cult and other cults helps me tremendously to recover. I appreciate any efforts to expose this cult and pray the children will not be returned unless there are measures in place to 100% assure they are not leaving the country and have to report or something involving social workers to assure everyone Yoneq's childtraining crazy methods are not applied to them, which means leaving the group because the whole foundation of traditions and prohibitions comes solely from one man Eugene Spriggs -Yoneq and his interpretations. But the chiltraining methods go hand in hand with the vision that he has of 144000 pure male child. Those parents need to have interventions done to them to show them they are in a cult. Pray for exit-counselors to get involved with families of members still in there, specially those who have lost their kids because they would be in turmoil and that is a chance for their true heart and personnality and rational mind to kick in and start thinking and hopefully come to some healthy conclusions.

    1. Ricoo, I hope you and your children have been able to find some healing. My heart breaks for you all.

  6. Up until recently i have remained in contact with some of my former Twelve Tribes member friends, and would sometimes visit, but it's been increasingly difficult for me. If they knew i was writing anything here, i likely would no longer be welcomed. I am unable to have an open and honest communication with them, because they are always right about everything. They have to be. It's required that they all be in 100% perfect agreement about what they do and say. This unity which is rigid uniformity may be covered in seeming love, but underneath it all are the Teachings and other directives of their Apostle Yoneq. The Tribes are playing the persecution card. Rather than admit that their practices are abusive, they feel persecuted by "the world" and "the government." All these types of happenings have played out in the past in Germany and elsewhere. The Thirty Years Wars and some of the lesser known Anabaptist groups are a perfect example. Some declared their right by God in Jesus to be nude all the time, other adults were commanded to play with toys much of the time, so they could "become like children" and enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and others took military action and captured towns for God. It saddens me that one man, such as "Yoneq" Gene Spriggs and wife Marsha Ann Duvall Spriggs could put into motion something that is really beautiful in many ways, but also abusive in other ways. In my next post if allowed, i will list my reasons for not returning to the Tribes to live. I had to write this out for myself. I don't know what they did to me, or if it was some weird spiritual influence, but i continue to miss it there, and nothing else so far has completely filled the void in my life.

  7. 911 EMERGENCY SERVICES (POLICE-FIRE-AMBULANCE) may not be called without permission.

    ABRAHAM LINCOLN is called an evil man who deserved to be killed.

    AFRICAN AMERICANS AND ALL PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT are said to remain under God’s curse, and should still be slaves to white people, unless they become equal by joining the Twelve Tribes.

    ALIMONY PAYMENTS for spouses living outside the community are avoided.

    ASBESTOS REMOVAL SAFETY LAWS have been intentionally violated to save money.

    BEDROOMS FOR SINGLE BROTHERS are usually very small and stuffy with two or more bunk beds.

    BIRTHDAYS are not celebrated.

    CHILD DISCIPLINE includes frequently hitting children with thin flexible rods on palms, butt, and thigh by any adult member for any form of disobedience on the first offense. Children are punished for fantasy make-believe play, imaginary friends, and anything considered foolishness.

    CHILD EDUCATION is equal to a 7th grade public education at best. None of the children receive a GED or High School diploma. They are raised to remain within the community.

    CHILD “SCOURGING” used to take place. Children would take off their clothes and be hit for longer periods of time with a flexible rod from the back of the neck to the heels. Am uncertain if this practice continues for very rebellious children

    CHILD SEXUAL ABUSES have occurred, but it is almost always denied.

    CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS for children living outside the community are avoided.

    CHILD TOYS are not allowed, including dolls, stuffed animals, and little cars.

    CHILDBIRTH PAIN is not to be lessened in any way, and is seen as God’s will and curse upon women.

    CHRISTMAS is not celebrated.


    CIRCUMCISION is performed at home on all male babies. May also be required for uncircumcised men.

    CRITICISM AGAINST THE TRIBES is not allowed and is called “untrue, malicious lies, and slander.”

    DISHWASHING MACHINES are usually discouraged in the homes. “Fellowship at the dish sink,” mainly for the single adult men, while the married people and teens disappear into thin air.

    DOCTOR CHECK-UP’S are not usually allowed for babies, children, or adults.

    DRUM SETS are not allowed.

    DYING TO YOURSELF is commanded. “You just need to die, and give up your life.”

    EASTER is not celebrated.

    ELBERT EUGENE SPRIGGS “GENE” “YONEQ” AND HIS 4th WIFE, MARSHA ANN “HA EMEQ” DUVALL SPRIGGS are the founders and cannot be criticized by other members. Marsha avoided banishment after she lied about a sexual affair with a much younger disciple. Unmarried teens and adults have been banished for holding hands or kissing. This double-standard is unprecedented, but is mostly denied. When Gene finally found out, he said “her punishment will be that the world will know.” Gene and Marsha have decided all doctrine, rituals, food, clothing, and lifestyle for the Twelve Tribes. Gene’s only son from a previous marriage was never interested in joining and says his dad is leader of a cult.


    EVANGELISM is a required activity.

    EXHAUSTION is common, because members are to give 100% of all they are.

    GOING OUT TO EAT is usually not allowed.

    HEADBANDS must now be worn by members to the morning and evening gatherings.

    HOMES are usually very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer.


    IMMUNIZATIONS/VACCINATIONS are not allowed for babies, children, or adults. Whooping cough and other illnesses have disabled entire communities as a result.

    IPOD’S and MP3 PLAYERS are not allowed.

  8. JEWISH FESTIVALS are now celebrated.

    LINGERIE is not allowed.

    LYING is allowed and encouraged when needed to legally protect the community or individual members.

    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. is called an evil man who deserved to be killed.

    MEDICAL DOCTORS are avoided.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE is not provided, and is denounced.

    MEDICAL NEGLECT is not uncommon, mainly due to insufficient finances, and refusal to buy health insurance for the members. Babies and adults have died from conditions that could have been treated. They would rather take a member to a chiropractor than to a medical doctor or hospital. They will try to barter with dentists and doctors when they can’t avoid their services.

    MEDICATIONS are generally not allowed or reduced as much as possible.

    MEMBERS WHO LEAVE are condemned by God to Death and possibly the Eternal Lake of Fire.

    PERSONAL COMPUTERS are allowed for some, but not for most members.

    PERSONAL OPINIONS are to be set aside and forgotten.

    PONYTAILS, short in length, are required for men and boys.

    RADIO is not allowed.

    RETIREMENT is not allowed.

    SABBATH DAY OF REST (SATURDAY) WORK is performed in the late afternoon on Saturdays.

    SHAVING ANY PART OF THE BODY is not allowed for men or women.

    SHEPHERDS are the ruling authority over the household “sheep” which includes you and your family.

    SHEEPLIKE QUALITIES are desired in members, such as being easily led.

    SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY is sided with in the US Civil War as being more righteous than the North.

    TELEVISION is not allowed.


    -The Bible exists only for their benefit.

    -To eventually be parenting the 144,000 male virgin evangelists of the Bible book of Revelation.

    -The only people who are able to understand the Bible.
    -The only people who are being saved by God from their sins.
    -The only people who have God’s Holy Spirit since the 1st century.
    -The only people who really love each other.
    -The only people who see and understand life objectively.
    -The people God will use to bring about the end of the current world system.
    -The true Jews.

    THINKING FOR YOURSELF is condemned. The “Mind of the Body” (Tribes mindset and Teachings)” replaces your own personal opinions and mental reasoning. “You just need to take off your head, put it on a shelf, and put on the “Mind of the Body.” “We need a new mind.” “We were taught to think all the wrong ways in the world.”

    UNSAFE WORK CONDITIONS have contributed to serious injuries, such as members falling off high ladders and roofs.

    VACATIONS are not allowed, though shepherds and their families do “have some time away.”

    WAGES are not paid. All members are volunteers who only receive room and board.

    WAL-MART is avoided.

    WATER DRINKING FOUNTAINS are not allowed, even though not having them makes for a huge amount of dirty glasses to wash in the homes.

    WOMEN are to all be under the authority of men, and none have government positions in the Tribes.

    WOMEN’S HAIR BEING CUT OR STYLED is not allowed.

    WORK all day and all evening, six days a week, has been the norm for years.


    This is just some of what members must believe and practice.
    Most of the members i have known are kind and sincere people.
    My experience was that if you live there long enough, "you have revelation about all things". In other words, all seems "normal." "It's the world that is abnormal."

  9. I am glad for Ricoo shared. Sometimes i would take my little son to the Tribes bathroom, because another member said i should "discipline him". The first time, i did hit him with the rod they provided. But i looked at my little son and could see he didn't understand what he did that was so bad. His sin, that he needed to punished for, was that he was wiggling around to much at one of the daily prayer gatherings. He was only about 2 years old! Thereafter, i still obeyed and took my son to the bathrooms to be hit with the rod, but i didn't hit him, i only pretended that i did. During the week, my son had to sit on a kitchen stool for hours using the hand crank vegetable shredder and grinder. He had no toys to play with. My wife's stuffed teddy bear had earlier been taken to the community woodstove and burned up as being a "foolish" and "fantasy" item of no value. The shepherd in our house said that if i didn't discipline my son, then he would. He said, "i don't like the way your son is." This is a male controlled religious cult. People don't like the word cult, but that is what it is, because they control people and their families totally. And if you leave, you will go to God's Death and/or the Eternal Lake of FIre. I could never really believe we were the "only ones" belonging to God in the world. I have seen them tell many lies and halftruths to outsiders to try to cover for the group beliefs and for the founder. I wish i had never come into contact with this religious influence. I was uneducated and out of work. I wanted to be someone. I wanted a new life away from toxic relatives. The Tribes came me a new life, a new identity, a new home, new friends, and new beliefs, at a very high cost. We were required to give them everything, all our money and most possessions. I was raised by my parents to believe in God and the Bible. Yoneq took both and twisted them into things that they are not. This to me is the evil. That one man can have such a control and a hierarchy that protects and backs him up. There is love there, friendships, meaningful gatherings and times together, but Yoneq is the shadow behind it all. His Teachings and the Child Training Manual are now in place. The members are being commanded now to "hold fast to the traditions that have been delivered" to them, for when Yoneq eventually dies.

  10. What scares me the most is the teaching that someday the whole Tribes will "flee into the Wilderness" after no longer being permitted to "live in the world" by Satan and the anti-Christ. This reminds me of what happened here in America with Jim Jones and the Jonestown suicides, when they fled America and went to another country. Who will decide this? Who will someday decide when they finally have the 144,000 celibate male evangelists? I feel stupid for letting myself begin to believe all these things when i lived with them. What some people find hard to believe is this: you can have very sincere wonderful people who are badly misled, who very much love their children, but also abuse them in some ways, because the adults have been indoctrinated to believe that the frequent hitting of children and babies is love, that it is how God treats us in love, that if we don't hit them for all disobedience and foolishness, then we don't love them, that we are not parents, and that the undisciplined children are bastards.
    Don't be surprised, that when the children are returned to the Tribes community in Germany, if they are moved to another country.
    The Tribes are very unlikely to ever give up hitting children. They will do almost anything to continue to do this. Because they have been repeatedly indoctrinated to believe that without hitting children, the 144,000 will never come to be and Satan will rule Earth indefinitely.

    1. I share this concern with you as I have my daughter stuck in there. It has happened to different cults like Heaven's Gate and that. I still remember those teachings about and then we shall be transformed in the twinkling of an eye...and hearing how we will leave our bodies and be changed into an eternal form, like angels, being nor man nor woman...I was reading the book from Janja Lalich "Bounded choice, true believers and charismatic cults" and she goes into great details about Heaven's Gate and it gave me the many parallels.....and the worst was those Next level in the TT it was the upper call, the kingdom, the holy city...

  11. Yoneq has a son from a previous marriage. This son only visited the communities one time. He says his dad is a leader of a cult. Yoneq and Haemeq (Gene and Marsha Spriggs) have no children together.
    Soon, i will probably turn off the internet at my home. Because i still miss the communities so much, that i read about them everyday on the Internet. Can you see what that life did to me? They made me a dependent upon that life of love.
    My shepherd used to tell us, "We make it so people can't stand on their own two feet in the world. We make it so they can't live in the world."
    If some Tribes members come here and read some of what i have written. They will call what i have said "malicious lies and slander" "persecution" and that "ex-members can not be relied upon to tell the truth." Before God, the angels, and you, all i say is exactly the truth, and i'm only sharing a relatively small portion. I think it's truly awful, the unnecessary stillborn babies that are born in the Tribes, the home births, and the home circumcisions. Some of this should be outlawed. When you hurt children, and damage their chances for a normal life in the world and leave them uneducated, you've a crossed a line. It's very wrong. Often i would be told that "college is stupid" and "only for lazy people that refuse to work by the sweat of their brow." I'll end here. I'm grateful the German people and their government have enough sense to investigate this. In the end, the Tribes will do whatever they need to do to continue hitting the children. They will move elsewhere if they have to. There's no way to win over them. They've also lied in court before several times. Lying is okay, even in court, to protect Yoneq, and the community. I'm ashamed i ever got involved with the Tribes, but i still love many of the people their. They are basically good people that have been damaged to believe things they normally would not have.

  12. Dear Cassey, dear Ricoo Chie
    Please, please help by sending your stories to the lawcourt in Nördlingen: I have listed the address after another part of Jennifer Stahl s series.

  13. Help....does anybody have any advice? two nieces joined the TT about 5 years ago, they were young (18 and 19), very inteligent, in college , excellent grades and one day they just joined the TT....they have cut off all family ties...we do not know how to get them now they are both married and both have one child each.....does anybody have any experience getting people out?.or how to get them out?..this branch of the TT is in Argentina, South America. My sister goes and visits her daugthers at least twice a year, she is permmited to stay in the comune for a few days...but is never left alone to talk to her daugthers.... My nieces were such bright young and promising human beings...and are being brain washed and wasted by this maquiavelic sect.