Letter - Greg Westcott, May 26, 2001

Malicious Energy

There was an article that appeared on the front page of The Caledonian-Record on April 12 regarding the Twelve Tribes Community.

The article was reporting that the community is using their children to produce products that are sold in their stores and that are wholesaled to some catalogs.

In this same article that is accusing the Twelve Tribes of violating child labor laws, it also mentions about the raid that took place 17 years ago in which the state of Vermont took the children and their family members and incarcerated them because of the allegation of child abuse. Nothing was ever proven and in fact the raid was ruled unconstitutional.

How is it that a group of people minding their own business, living life as they have chosen to live it, and have contributed so much to the communities in which they live, have to endure these kinds of allegations, over and over.

Since when did working for one’s parents become a crime? I think you’ll find that many people who own businesses have their children helping them out at some point. These kids grow up learning many things at an early age.

I find it ironic that on the front page of the April 30 issue of The Caledonian-Record the article interviewed two men about their logging business. One man said he started in the logging business with his father when he was 9 years old and the other stated he was just 7, running chain saws and other heavy equipment in an industry that has one of the highest injury rates.

If we were to interpret this as narrowly as possible, like so many things today, one might come away thinking that child labor abuse is rampant in Vermont and actually has a long history. I can’t help but to think that the next time I’m waited on by a child someplace, I’ll be wondering, is he or she being made to do this chore or perhaps he or she is doing this to help their parents and earn a little extra spending money.

On April 12 there were two articles that appeared just above the story on the Twelve Tribes. They were reporting on two incidences of children bringing weapons into schools. One brought a gun, the other a dagger.

The community children I’ve met are very polite, courteous, well-mannered. Yet some people feel righteously enough to point fingers at the Twelve Tribes and question how their children are being raised.

I wouldn’t waste my time, in fact, take your malicious energy and put it to some good, like raising your own children to be honest, law-abiding, self-respecting citizens. Teach them that it’s wrong to destroy other people’s property and that it’s wrong to criticize people for the way they’ve decided to live their lives. Teach them that there is something a little wrong with wanting to bring weapons into school and that you’ll be crossing the line of civilized society if you take the life of the kid who said something you didn’t like.

By the time you read this, Twelve Tribes will have received an award from New Hampshire’s Main Street program recognizing the outstanding job they have done renovating one of Lancaster’s more prominent buildings.

I think it would be difficult, if at all, to find anyone in our community that would say anything negative about the Twelve Tribes, and in fact, some people have suggested that these folks just might be Lancaster’s Main Street’s salvation.


Greg Westcott
Lancaster, NH

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.