Articles

Ex-Member Describes Twelve Tribes
Racist "Cult" Becomes Cornell's New Neighbor

Cornell Daily
May 3, 2003

Ithaca, New York is largely known as the site of Cornell University. But now
this college town in upstate New York may be known for more than that.

A notorious "cult" called the "Twelve Tribes," led by Elbert Spriggs, is
buying up property in Ithaca, reports the Cornell Daily.

The group, which numbers about 3,000, has been buying up storefronts and
houses in small towns for years. They seem to especially like upstate New York,
due to its rather depressed real estate market and comparatively low prices.

Twelve Tribes is known for its "coffee houses," which seem to afford the
group recruitment opportunities. They are now opening and/or operating such
businesses in Ithaca.

Spriggs controls a chain of such cafes, along with workshops and assorted
businesses, which benefit from very low labor costs.

Generally, the members of Twelve Tribes work for little more than room and
board and receive no conventional benefits such as medical insurance.

Now the "cult" also known for its child beating practices, has apparently
decided to raise its profile and profits in Ithaca.

No doubt Spriggs and his disciples also realize that recruitment
opportunities within a college town are substantial. They have recently bought a building
right near the Cornell campus.

Colleges have traditionally been the focus of intense "cult" recruitment
efforts over the years. And the Twelve Tribes initially drew upon that population
heavily during its early days in the 1970s.

In recent years Spriggs and his followers has become drawn increasing
attention due to child labor violations, law enforcement investigations regarding
missing children and Spriggs relatively luxurious lifestyle.

But in an apparent effort to keep costs down regarding group housing Spriggs
once said, "Is air conditioning necessary...is the Holy of Holies air
conditioned? Breathing the same air continually is deadly."

However, one of Spriggs residences in New England apparently is
air-conditioned.

Parents of students and college officials at Cornell may soon find that
"breathing the same air continually" with the Twelve Tribes in Ithaca, though not
"deadly" may become increasingly uncomfortable.



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