These statements were shared with NEIRR by former members over a four year period. They express the pain, confusion and fear that resulted from their involment with the Twelve Tribes.
- "Mary died because of speaking out against Gene Spriggs." (Said right in front of her two oldest children in a wide open meeting.)
- "I was told that if I talked to the police again I would be in death."
- They are "too far gone, too far under control of the system and Spriggs. The people in Island Pond wouldn't be able to change now."
- "I am not looking to hurt anyone, I just want people to be spared all the agony and pain that I had while I was growing up."
- "For ...years I had no contact with anyone else who had left the community because 'people who leave should not associate - it's not good for you.' ... Now that I have seen some of the evils in the community I am faced with a very big hole in my life. I feel a part of me is dying. I feel as though I am grieving inside for a part of me that is dying."
- "I often heard in the communities that you need to judge a tree by its fruit. That is unless you are judging the communities' fruit! Or Yoneq! What applies to the goose doesn't apply to the gander."
- "When I think of the Tribes I think: Not much sleep, not much sleep, work hard, work hard, work hard, get corrected, get corrected, confess, confess, sing, sing, dance, go to sleep."
- "It's apostolic that you always rinse with cold water. Always. It reminds you of the rejection you receive from the world when you present the gospel. Straight from the heart of Yoneq."
- "It's so hard growing up in The Body. You get disciplined so often when you're young. You wonder how you took it, but you did. You get hit so much in a day's time. It's hard. Really hard. But, somehow you make it and grow up."
- "....3 year old told me at dinner one day that his parents had hit him thirty times so far that day."
- "Actual daily life does not match at all the joy expressed in the freepapers. Many sad and overworked people."
- "If you want things changed: You change or leave, our Father doesn't need you."
- "I am a mess. Any help would be greatly appreciated. "
Reasons given for leaving:
- "Even though he's told us he doesn't want us to mention his name much at all to people, there is really only one apostle, Yoneq who rules completely."
- "To question his authority (Yoneq's) is to oppose God."
- "Yoneq is 'the anointing' everyone refers to."
- "Yoneq is 'the mind of the body' on all important matters."
- "To enter salvation you must....
Give up all your possessions to The Body (not to charity - like monks, etc.)
Give up your spouse and children if they don't come with you.
Give up your mind and all your opinions.
Obey the elders and shepherds without question.
Give up your parents and relatives and only visit them (with permission) if they do not oppose The Body.
Give up any dreams or aspirations you ever had.
Give up all previous spiritual faith/beliefs/practices.
Publically renounce Christianity, if you were heavily involved in it.
Become a literal slave with no rights, no civil liberties of any kind.. Freedom of movement, Education, Media access, Freedom of religion, Etc. it's all gone."
Quotes from the Families of Current Members:
- "A loved one is committed 'to throw it all away' and join a cult group called 'the Twelfth tribe' he appears to have so much going for him, a great job and an exceptional mind. The group wants to change the world but funnily enough believe they don't want to be part of it ...he says he wants to die to us. When we talked to him it didn't even sound like him. Please help please help please help."
- "In almost 20 years my son has never been able to come home alone."
- "We have learned to play along with them. Otherwise we won't be able to see_____"
- "Please help, we have to do something today!"
NOTE: Message Boards and Testimonies can be found at www.closerthanfriends.homestead.com, a site dedicated exclusively to former members (and current members) who want to stay in touch with each other.
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