The Twelve Tribes Cafes: are they worth it?

Visit the website representing the members of the religious group, The Twelve Tribes, and they’ll cheerily tell you all about themselves. Visit one of the cafes the group, now located in the USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, owns and the workers will warmly welcome you and feed you while you uncover the details of their religious beliefs in pamphlets and papers, some of which are difficult to miss because they’re tacked on bathroom walls. Check out the Yelp reviews for the respective cafes, bakeries, and delis and you’ll find myriad mixed reviews. Some people leave before they order, scampering off scared by the uncommon religious propaganda. But other people seem to love the cafes, no matter their ideological differences.

As I write this, I’m sitting upstairs at Common Grounds–a Twelve Tribes cafe in Hyannis, Massachusetts. To follow is the breakdown of what I know so far about these people, their cafes, and whether or not you should drink their juice.

%Gallery-126493%Who they are:
An international confederation of religious communities. Founded by Gene Spriggs in 1972, the group’s original base was Chattanooga, Tennessee. The group attempts to recreate the First Century Church from the Book of Acts.

What they say:
(Everything below was copied directly either from their website, free paper, or menu)

  • We follow the Messiah, Yahshua, the son of the living God. He gave up His life for us so that our sins could be forgiven. This is why we love Him. Our love for Him is expressed in our daily care for each other…
  • We believe and follow the teachings of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, in a very real and practical way. We believe that God is good and just, and will judge all men according to their deeds…
  • We live together in households, clans, and tribes, sharing our possessions in common. We strongly support marriage, and we teach our children at home. We dress modestly, eat wholesome food, work hard, pray together, and celebrate our life in music and dance…
  • We hate the death, war, strife, hatred, starvation, murder, injustice, greed, and selfishness that is leading the whole world to destruction. We want to see all of this come to an end. We want many, many more people to hear the voice of hope we have heard, to come and see the life. We are thrilled to be able to invite you to come and see that it is a reality.
  • Community, as we use the term, means those who love one another so greatly that they are of one heart and mind, holding all things as common property, living together, taking their meals together, devoted to one another because they’re devoted to the One who saved them from death and misery.
  • The ones we are most concerned about are the ones who think they are fine.
  • We live in an environment that is separate from the world while remaining right in the middle of it.
  • If you worry that many catastrophes may happen soon, you’re right.
  • We regard all hardship as discipline, which will eventually cause us to be conformed into the likeness of our Master.
  • When the world sees Yahshua’s disciples dwelling together in unity, denying themselves for the good of their brothers, it proves something.
  • A woman is to desire her husband and let him rule over her. She is to bear their children in pain. A man is to toil and sweat to provide for his family, not live off the labor of others. He is to rule over his wife. Sexual relationships are to be limited to the covenant of marriage.

What others say:

  • “I was once a member of the twelve tribes and I tell you now, they are a high-control cult that twists scripture to suit their own needs. As far as you must accept Jesus, they consider him a demon. Further, when I left the cult they told me I would be dead in two years because the holy spirit cannot live outside of their community. That was three years ago. Stay away from this group and if you can organize prayer groups to disband them I recommend it. The world will be a much better place without them…for one.”Mark.
  • “I do not plan on joining this group, however they are great people and I suggest going and finding out what they are really about. I may go back to find out more with the same people, simply because it seems they live a simple, yet fulfilling lifestyle.”Observer.

Check out other comments on the group on these websites:

More or less, what others say is mixed. The Twelve Tribes appears to be a polarizing group. People seem to think they’re either a manipulative cult or good people with a good message.

What they serve:
Pretty undeniably delicious food and beverages. Also, “the fruit of the spirit”.

Where they are: Check out their own list of where they are located.

So… is it worth it? I say yes. The food is good, the wifi is strong, the caffeine is even stronger, and, generally speaking, the two places I’ve dined in were nice, welcoming, and comfortable. I say go, but go with information about the people who operate the cafe in hand.