The Twelve Tribes leader and self proclaimed apostle and prophet (who also considers himself the return of the Biblical Elijah) goes by the name "Yoneq". His birth name was Elbert Eugene Spriggs. Spriggs has gone on record as defining his new name as meaning "a Twig". The word "Yoneqet" is used in this manner in Ezekial 17 speaking of an eagle that breaks off the top most "twig" of a cedar (1). Anyone familiar with the history of the Twelve Tribes knows that Spriggs broke away from a Christian based church due to differences of opinion and ultimately started his own "church" which at first accepted other Christians and Christianity as a whole. Later, he condemned Christianity as an Apostate church and his teachings state there has not been a valid Spirit filled church for over 1900 years (2). The Twelve Tribes like to use parables in their "Free Papers", so I wrote this parable just for Yoneq.
There was a tree that grew alone in a field and was cared for by a very loving farmer. The tree had both strong and weak branches. The weak branches bore bad fruit. The strong branches bore good fruit. One day a twig started to grow on one of the strong branches. It was a humble twig that enjoyed being a part of a strong branch that grew good fruit. It flourished on the branch and started to grow beautiful healthy leaves. Then it started to flower and later the beginnings of one of the most beautiful fruits started to grow from the twig. At first the twig was happy to be contributing to the production of the branch and the tree overall. The tree produced healthy delicious fruit that made the farmer very happy.
However, overtime, the twig started comparing its fruit to those grown by the weaker branches on the tree. At first it felt sad that the other branches could not grow healthy fruit and wished that it could help them grow stronger. The farmer chose to prune some of these branches. And the twig started to think, “The farmer loves my fruit. He is happy with me and the branch that I belong to.” Then the twig started to compare it’s fruit to the fruit of other strong branches and it started to become judgmental of those branches for not having the “best” fruit. The twig started to question why the tree even bothered to grow weak branches at all? The twig started to become more and more proud and was becoming unhappy to be a part of the tree.
The twig shared its thoughts with the branch that it grew on but the branch would not listen. Therefore the twig started to compare its fruit with the fruit grown by other twigs on the branch. In its view, their fruit did not even compare to what it produced. So finally, the twig decided, “I need to break away from the branch and the tree and flourish on my own. Maybe by not being constrained by the tree I can become my own tree and make the farmer happier.”
When the twig broke away from the tree it fell to the ground. From the ground, the twig was able to see the results of the weaker branches face to face. Over time, all the twig could see was the rotten fruit surrounding it. It could no longer see any good fruit on the tree from its position on the ground. Therefore it determined in its heart the entire tree was “rotten” and unable to grow good fruit. Pride had completely taken root in the twig and it truly believed that the farmer only loved it and its fruit. The tree from which it grew was no longer loved by the farmer. It judged the tree by the dead fruit it saw and there was plenty to judge.
But something slowly started to happen that the twig’s pride prevented it from seeing. Due to being disconnected from the tree, the twig was no longer being fed by the tree. The twig had to produce food for its fruit entirely off of what it had inside it. Slowly the twig’s fruit began to shrivel. The twig was too proud to admit that it had made a mistake by disconnecting from the branch and the tree. The fruit on the twig increasingly started to look like the fruit it was surrounded by on the ground. The twig was growing old and as a twig with rotting fruit, it did not have the ability to grow additional branches and twigs to grow good fruit. Now it’s fruit is withered and as rotten as anything ever produced by the weak branches on the tree. And still the twig’s pride declares, “I am the only true tree!”.
Yoneq said, “Judge me by my fruit, if I am an apostle or not”
Criticism of Christianity: Fathers and mothers being too busy working to spend time with their Children.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Fathers too busy working in “Industries” and mothers too busy working in communities to spend time with their children. Young singles and other families raising their children. Families separated within and outside the communities.
Criticism of Christianity: Christians focused on “the love of money.”
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Communities and elders so focused on Industries and making money they don’t have time to Shepard the followers or raise their children properly. These facts are documented in their own teachings and minutes from the Apostolic Meetings.
Criticism of Christianity: Christians having the same divorce rate as non-Christians.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Community members are encouraged to divorce non-believing spouses. Members who have spouses leave the TT, are encouraged to remarry.
Criticism of Christianity: Critical of Christian Leaders that fall (Baker, Swaggert, etc) and judging all Christianity based on the sins of these few.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Multiple leaders accused and at least one arrested for molesting children. Jeff Leonard was arrested in Brunswick, Ga for child molestation and extradited to Desoto County, Fl (Arcadia) were he was later convicted and placed in jail. Stories of multiple others accused of child molestation and disciplined but then forgiven by the TT leadership.
Criticism of Christianity: Christian Denominations divided and divisions within churches therefore they are accused of not having the “Holy Spirit” and Christianity as a whole being an apostate church.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Many of the original TT elders (“the nucleus”) have left the communities because of differences with Yoneq. Those who were credited with having “The Holy Spirit” now accused of never having it because they disagreed with Yoneq. Examples are Michael Painter and James Howell who have given video testimonies (copies available from NEIRR website).
Criticism of Christianity: Christian churches leading people away from God instead of towards Him. Yoneq repeatedly states Christians and anyone who openly disagrees with him or his teachings should have a millstone tied around their neck and they should be thrown in the sea or sent to the Lake of Fire.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: Yoneq requires new members to denounce their Christianity before baptizing them. Many former members have not only abandoned the TT but also their belief in God altogether due to Yoneq and his controlling practices. Yoneq is personally responsible for leading thousands away from their faith in Christ and God.
Criticism of Christianity: Christian children don’t have their hearts turned towards their father. The Spirit of the Eliyah will turn the hearts of the children towards their father and the hearts of the father towards God.
Twelve Tribes Fruit: It is estimated by many ex-TT members that between 50-70% of male teens leave the TT between the ages of 14-19. Many of these teens have gone on record as “despising” their fathers and mothers for the abuse they had to endure in the TT. These teens are rejected and abandoned by their parents once the leave the TT.
(1) Origin of the name Yoneq:
(2) Quotes concerning Yoneq/Spriggs being in fact the Elijah and having God’s authority.Note, the following quote is regarding a woman who died of cancer who was a long time member of the TT. They could not explain her untimely death without finding some fault in her life or un-confessed sin. She was accused of speaking ill of Yoneq once years before and therefore rejecting God’s authority and not “receiving” Elijah.
“No way if Mary disrespected God's authority could faith come to heal her - Numbers 12 No way her children could be saved Malachi 4:5 If (you) don't receive Elijah (you) don't receive (the) anointing (your) children will be accursed - no hope.” September 2, 1990 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 5
Here is another quote concerning Elijah being in the midst of the TT. They are referring to Yoneq and the spirit that he has brought to the TT.
“Keli told us we can know the spirit of Elijah is in our midst because ofhow we are continually brought back to the necessity of turning our heart to ourchildren.” August 6, 1996 Apostolic Workers Meeting – Page 3
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