We in the Twelve Tribes make no apology for our way of life. We have considered well the choices we have made for our lives. All of us are here after much deliberation. Once here, we could leave at any time, but we choose daily to remain. We work through our problems and resolve our difficulties because it is very important to us that a new culture is established where we could live according to our conscience.
We have several communities in New England and elsewhere where we work together and try to live according to the pattern of the primitive church in Judea. We desire to live moral lives in the midst of a very immoral society. We desire to be modest in the midst of the masses flaunting their shame. We desire to speak proper English, free from slang and vulgarity, in the midst of every audio and visual stimulus to the contrary flooding our senses. We desire to raise children who respect and honor their parents and who keep the Ten Commandments in a world that promotes disrespect.
How do you accomplish these goals without creating an atmosphere where these godly qualities and true religion can flourish? To create such an environment is the goal of our community.
Quite the contrary to being anti-Semitic, we look back to the Semitic roots of our faith with gratitude. We love and worship the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. In one of our latest publications (The Last Day Freepaper, December, 1999), we cite that it was “an ugly anti-Semitism” which came into the Early Church that caused its downfall. We noted that the early Christians tried to cut off their Jewish roots. They changed the name of their Savior, hoping to cover their Jewish origins, from his Hebrew name Yahshua (similar to the name Joshua in English) to the Greek name Jesus having a different meaning. Anyone who would believe charges of anti-Semitism against us who bear Hebrew names and do Israeli folk dancing daily, would be easy prey to rely upon any unfounded lie about us.
Racial integration is not legislated here but results as the natural outcome of human beings living at peace with God and with one another. Spend time in the evenings with us together singing old-time black spirituals around the piano and it may be difficult to label us racist. Black, white, yellow, and red human beings live together here in our community, eating our food from the same pot and working side by side at the same jobs.
Certainly racism and anti-Semitism (despising someone because of his race or faith) are very real problems in society today. There must be a solution. We believe that the solution is not in more laws but in a deep change of heart for all men of all races. We have the solution to both of those terrible social problems. It is to love as we were created to love.
We do not hide in some obscure corner of society, nor do we carry picket signs at the capitol. We are a simple people who live our lives on Main Street, USA, in front of our neighbors. We hope that they will see our lives and judge for themselves that we need not be feared, but rather that we have a genuine faith that motivates us to live upright lives. We are not ashamed of the choices we have made to live our lives separately from the way society is going today. We aim to have small family-style cottage industries to support ourselves and our families. We work hard with our own hands to gain our income as the Bible commands. We do not take government welfare programs, nor do we use a religious tax exemption to avoid paying taxes. We pay local property taxes to support our local town governments.
Like any family-owned business, the children help their parents. We believe in this and make no apology. We believe it is the best environment for the children to be occupied with their parents, not wasting their free time on empty amusements and dissipation, which leads only to bad behavior. Being together bonds them to their parents and keeps them from the defilement of a life of adolescent waywardness and the perilous effects of peer pressure.
Our children are home-schooled all year long. They do not have “summer vacation” as was established by the public school system long ago, to allow the much-needed help of the children during the summer season on the farms. In those days people did not have to fear children shooting one another at school or catching AIDS because of promiscuous teen relationships. Since school is all year round and the students do not take the standard school holidays for Easter, Christmas, etc., as public schools do, they have their free days on different days than public school children. For them a Bar Mitzvah celebration, or something similar, could be the cause for a several day “school holiday”. The children have a certain goal that they must attain each year and spend enough time in study to attain that goal. The local education boards observe our home-schooling program. They have seen that our children and what they do are commendable. Our children are reared in an old-fashioned environment where they do not fight, or swear, or watch TV, or play video games. They enjoy working with their parents and have a healthy mental attitude because of it.
We open our homes for hospitality and welcome others to join us in our holistic lifestyle. We eat healthy foods and make no apology that we don't lavish our children with the junk foods that most children freely indulge in these days. Some consider this deprivation. We consider it good health and wise parenting. We all work hard and enjoy staying occupied with constructive projects. “The idle mind is the devil's workshop.”
We avoid the common defilements of today's culture, such as movies and sports. Some may come here and feel like that is bondage, but to others it is a very welcome refuge. Those who do not like it here are very free to leave any time they want. In fact, no one is allowed to stay here who will not follow our upright code of conduct and maintain moral behavior. Any of our children who would choose to leave when they are of age and desire to seek another way of life are also free to do so. If they are inclined toward the bad things we tried to protect them from as children, they have the liberty to go out and try for themselves. We would advise against this choice, for the obvious bad fruit of that lifestyle is seen in the entertainments they enjoy, the vulgarity they tolerate, and the countless social problems they experience with no solutions.
So, we do not apologize for our choice to live a separate and different lifestyle. Our life is an open book and we would recommend our way of life to everyone who is not content with the way their lives are going in this present society. If some come here and do not like it, this does not surprise us. It is a hard life. We do not promise otherwise. We voluntarily forfeit the luxury of selfish pleasure for something we consider of greater value. That is a good conscience, and maintaining a clean environment to raise children, keeping the Ten Commandments, and having high moral standards.
Should someone have problems with our way, we must say that we see no lifestyle better than what we have. The school shootings, alcoholism, divorce, suicide, immorality, sexually transmitted diseases, etc., etc., of this present society caused us to seek desperately for an alternative way of life. The present order is obviously not working.
Though you may cite several “unhappy” ones who have come and then left our community, there are hundreds of happy men, women and children who love living here. We have found a wonderful way of life that seems to parallel closely the way the first church lived as recorded in Acts 2 and Acts 4.
Though we do not call ourselves “separatists”, we draw much inspiration from the Plymouth Separatists who founded the first colony in the United States. Those men and women risked their lives to come to establish a new land where they could be free to live a simple life in devotion to their God, free to live by their conscience separate from the immoral society that they left behind.
We make no allusion that we are a utopia, but hopefully we will continue to work together to form a culture of true peace for our children and our children’s children. We have no desire to defend ourselves against those who have left us, but ask that you listen to the voices of others who know us well.
Until then, we make no apology….
The grateful members of the Twelve Tribes