" 'We know that some people consider this aspect of our life controversial, but we have seen from experience that discipline keeps a child from becoming mean-spirited and disrespectful of authority.' "
An article in the AL.com from last year features a Tennessee branch of the Twelve Tribes and describes members living communally: "We live together and share everything we own," one of the adherents of the community in Pulaski, Tenn., told the website.
"We love working with each other on our farms and in our cottage industries, doing folk dances and playing music, building, teaching our children at home, and caring for one another. Our desire is to live as naturally as possible by being close to Creation and to people. Our vision: not a lifestyle, but the forming of a new nation – the twelve tribe nation of Israel. We want to be restored back to what we were created to be."
In the 1970s and '80s, the Twelve Tribes was labeled a "cult" by other Christian denominations. The sect now reportedly owns a deli in Island Pond, Vt., and a tall ship named the Peacemaker, which it uses to promote ecological causes.
In a story in The New Yorker, coincidentally published just Wednesday, writer John Clarke says about 20 members of the "Amish-style hippie group" traveling in a bus called the Peacemaker have, Deadhead-style, been trailing iconic musician Bob Dylan's latest tour:
"Critics contend that the Twelve Tribes is a cult that actively recruits at concert venues by preying on the heavily inebriated and highly vulnerable — basically, stoned kids. Dylan concerts appear to be the group's latest hunting grounds."
[An earlier version of this post included a photo of a sailing vessel that was misidentified as the tall ship the Peacemaker that belongs to the Twelve Tribes sect]