By Brian Birmingham

Here are some more memories from my visit to “Twelve Tribes “ Morning Star Ranch,” which is near San Diego, California about eight years ago. A group that has often been called a “cult” by researchers and the media.

Twelve Tribes has a standard “Friday Night Celebration.” Everyone gathers in “the schoolhouse” at six, where tea and cookies are served.  Then at about six-thirty the singing and dancing begins. 

Visitors are greeted with applause and a man named Thomas praises the visitors. He says that all of the Twelve Tribes members are so grateful that visitors have come to be with them.  Thomas also praises “the zeal of the new brothers.” Everybody claps like they are welcoming some long-lost relatives.

Was this a carefully crafted performance of “love bombing”? It certainly seems a bit over the top.

After all the singing and dancing Twelve Tribes members go around the gathered circle, telling everyone what they were grateful for, as well as the things they want to repent about that happened during the week. 

Some members cry when they describe the depth of their gratitude for having “come into the Body of Messiah” (aka Twelve Tribes). Others speak about their guilt, frustration and discouragement “in the flesh.” 

This sounds like group confessional. And it looks like what is called the “Cult of Confession,” an aspect of thought reform (aka “brainwashing”).

One little girl, maybe twelve years old, talks about how privileged she is to be raised in this community, as part of the “Body of Messiah.” But she still sinfully wishes that she could be a part of “the world” and have her own iPod to listen to worldly music, go to movies, and do other worldly things.

Twelve Tribes appears to sharply divide humanity into a “we vs. they” dichotomy. And the “worldly” people apparently are outsiders living in sin. An example of a seemingly cult-like mindset typified by black and white thinking. Or what has been called the “demand for purity.”

As the little girl speaks, her mother is pinching her arm and audibly whispering to her, “Show it, show it!”  The little girl begins to emote more in response to her mother’s insistent coaching. She is coerced to portray more regret and repentance. 

The little girl subsequently explains that she really does not need any of those toys that the children in the world have, and that she knows that toys are all a waste of time. 

She cries repeatedly when she speaks about the privilege she feels for being raised in Twelve Tribes and how grateful she is to submit to her parents’ authority. 

The little girl speaks glowingly about her parent’s discipline. But Twelve Tribes children are beaten with wooden sticks. But the little girl says that such punishment is because her parents truly love her and don’t want her to fall into “the temptations of the world.” 

It is disturbing to watch how controlled the Twelve Tribes children are at the meeting. And is it a privilege for the little girl to be pinched and coached so intensely by her mother? Why does the little girl need to hear her mother say, “Show it, show it!” over and over again?  

No one in the Twelve Tribes seems to see anything wrong. Everybody gives little girl a hearty “AMEN” after she cries and talks about her endless gratitude for her supposedly privileged existence.

The message of the Gathering is simple, “the outside world is bad and unsafe, but the Body of Messiah is edifying, fairly perfect and always “safe.”

Twelve Tribes leader, Mevesehr and his family is at the ranch visiting for the weekend from Vista.

Mevesehr and his wife Poriah have six children.  Even though Elkin-ha is the leader at the ranch, he defers to Mevesehr, who is a 21-year member of the group. Mevesehr does most of the talking and teaching. 

A handful of ranch leaders  are also attending a Twelve Tribes conference in North Carolina, where the top Twelve Tribes leader “Yoneq” (Delbert Eugene Spriggs) lives. 

Delbert Eugene Spriggs

After praising the guests and the seemingly coached personal expressions of gratitude, Mevesehr offers a brief homily about gratitude and forgiveness in the Body.,

Mevesehr tells everyone that he has just been to North Carolina and that he spoke with Spriggs. He says that when Spriggs is convalescing from some kind of serious illness. But that Spriggs is regaining his health. 

Mevesehr claims that he literally entered Spriggs’ room backwards, with his back turned, so that he could not look directly at “Yoneq,” like Shem and Japheth when they entered the tent of Noah backwards, in the Bible. Unlike Ham’s sons who were cursed. 

Mevesehr says that Spriggs is a father to him, and that he would not even so much as look directly at face, unless Spriggs asked him. 

It certainly seems that “Yoneq”/Spriggs, who is now dead, was an object of worship when he was alive, for all of his followers in Twelve Tribes. This is a defining feature of a cult, when the leader becomes an object of worship.

By Brian Birmingham

Elbert Eugene Spriggs, founder and leader of the Twelve Tribes cult, passed away on January 11th, at the age of 83 (Death Certificate).

Twelve Tribes is a racist, sexist, homophobic “Messianic Bible-based” group, which supports itself through the exploitation of various forms of what amounts to slave labor.

Some years ago, I dropped in on the group to witness firsthand how they operate. The following is what it’s like inside the Twelve Tribes. You can see why the group is often described as “racist,” which is due directly to the teachings of Ebert Eugene Spriggs, who called himself the “Prophet Yoneq.

At the gathering in the “big house” a few songs were sung, but there was no dancing, and two members, Mevesehr and Elkin-ah, did the teaching and exhortation. Members of Twelve Tribes often are given new Hebrew sounding names.

Mevesehr spoke about the “Nation of Ham,” and how Abraham Lincoln was an “evil emperor” who upset the law of God by taking Ham [African-American slaves] out of the boundaries that “God” had made [sic]. Mevesehr went on to say that this “liberal social engineering” was at the heart of so many of our social problems today.

Elbert Eugene Spriggs

Mevesehr stated, “Multiculturalism was a lie right out of the pit of hell” and that the only way that peace and harmony can be had on this earth is if “Shem [Europeans], Ham [Africans], and Japheth [Asians] all stay within their God-ordained boundaries.”

Ham, according to Twelve Tribes doctrine is supposedly protected by Japheth as a “little brother” and must be the “servant of Japheth and Shem,” Mevesehr said.

The Twelve Tribes teacher also explained that “all of slaves before the Civil War were happy and carefree and grateful to be under the tutelage of the white man.

Mevesehr taught that even if a slave was being whipped by his or her master on some plantation, all of the other slaves were happy that this errant slave received discipline and grateful that their master had provided it.

Mevesehr said that once the “evil Lincoln” set the slaves free, poor Ham did not know what to do, since he was no longer under the loving hand of Japheth.

And so society in the United States turned into a total mess according to Twelve Tribes because it deviated from this “divine doctrine,” Mevesehr concluded.

Mevesehr then called the only female African-American member of the community “our mammy” and praised her for being a humble “mammy” servant. He stated his conviction that the only way in the world that Shem, Ham, and Japheth could truly live together in peace and harmony is in the “Body of Messiah” (aka Twelve Tribes). Not mixed up together in the Satanic world where the “Godly boundaries” [sic] have been erased where the races will only fight amongst themselves.

Ultimately, according to this Twelve Tribes doctrine, Ham, left on his own, will only self-destruct unless he has Japheth to guide and protect him.

At the meeting one African-American “disciple” in the room (thirty or forty people were there) stood up and confessed hesitantly that he was feeling “offended in his flesh.” He said, “We’re always talking about welcoming Ham into the ‘Body of Messiah,’ but most folks who are of the Nation of Ham would be very offended by this teaching.” He continued, “Black folks were not happy about their situation, and they certainly did not enjoy being slaves. And I don’t want to leave this room with people thinking that this is true,” he said.

Mevesehr then gently reprimanded the man (whose name is pronounced something like Isha-Dosh) by reminding him that any opinion that is contrary to a teaching that is coming from “The Anointing of the Holy Spirit” [sic] must to be considered “strange fruit” and as such is part of the venomous learning of “the world.” And this, Mevesehr told Isha-Dosh, “is why you are offended in the flesh.” Isha-Dosh then sadly sat down.

These racist teachings are the legacy left behind by Elbert Eugene Spriggs, who also reportedly was homophobic and anti-Semitic.

CultNews Note: Brian Birmingham is a cult researcher who has studied Twelve Tribes. He was the first person to obtain the death certificate of Spriggs, which he shared with media outlets and other researchers in the field.