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Commentary on our Society and the Twelve Tribes by Susan Herweg

I can not believe what is being done to the people of the Twelve Tribes! I have come to know and love them myself by several different long stays when I was allowed to live with them with my fifteen-year-old daughter in the community. We were accepted in this big family. So much cordiality and warmth, so much openness and confidence from the start…I have found nowhere else so far!

I am one standing with both feet in life, am rich in experience being sixty-one-years old, especially since I have always been interested in people. Professionally, being an opera and concert singer, music and singing pedagogue, coach for communication and presentation, my work covers a large field of activity.

In recent years especially, I have worked with young people, including school classes of different age groups, 7th – 11th grade. I have witnessed how many young people are being sedated with “drugs” prescribed by doctors, because they are no longer able to be integrated [into different settings], no longer able to focus or to keep quiet…

Dealing with parents and teachers is always irreverent and even among and between the young people it is becoming increasingly difficult. For the sake of being included – just for that – all “boundaries” are being far transgressed! Parents and teachers and even the victims themselves, the young people, are often far overwhelmed because they are powerless facing this boundless chaos.

Looking for a better world, for people who still believe in a God and live this faith, the “sect” of the Twelve Tribes was brought to my attention by acquaintances.

After our first visit: I did not know how my fifteen-year-old daughter would respond to all the “old-fashioned” women’s dresses, the men’s beards and ponytails, and all the other, unfamiliar practices such as getting up early, long sharing etc…

I myself was impressed, especially by these wonderful children. Such children as probably all people would desire! Cheerful, interested, helpful, open, having a healthy self-esteem, lovingly attached to their parents.

Life there I got to know as a real community: young and old treat each other lovingly, older people are being respected by the young people. The smaller children are found in the vicinity of the mother, their toys are not made of plastic but they are allowed to “help”, to get involved, according to what is appropriate and possible.You can see children’s eyes light for joy at being able to contribute and at being valuable!

For the parents, this means ceaseless, loving engagement, especially towards the very young ones. This is only possible because all who live there give their strength and commitment to each other. There I experienced lived out charity – true love!

I thought to myself, I also would have liked to have space and time for my children. How wonderful it would be to be able to be mother and wife in such an circumstances!

On the first trip back home, my daughter tearfully said to me she has never felt being at HOME as much as there, so accepted, she could just BE as she IS! And then came the hit, she said: “When I’ll want to have children, then only there!”

During our stay there I did not speak to her at all about anything concerning the life there spoken, because I feared she might be angry with me because I have taken her there without warning!

After our first visit, my daughter and I have been guests even for longer periods of time in Klosterzimmern. Some of my friends also came along from time to time and were just like us, lovingly received and fully integrated. All, except one, were deeply touched by the exemplary life worth living that they came to know there, and feel very connected to the community still, even after this tremendous calumny. One of them was my husband, who by the enthusiasm of his daughter heard about this wonderful life and came along. He lived there already several times as a guest several times, and he does not want to miss the friends he found there.

We were able to experience how the Word of God come alive and the texts of the Bible understandable!

A friend of mine who lived with me there for a week asked me after one of the morning meetings, very excitedly because of what she had learned, “What kind of Bible do they have there?” It made me laugh so much and I told her that it is the normal Bible, such as you can buy anywhere!

Participation in the morning and evening meetings of the community where everyone, young and old, has the opportunity and the chance to express himself freely about a topic, such as a story from the Bible, or a parable, or one of the Proverbs or Psalms, and also about what they can see himself in his HEART — what he can and will realize in their life — these things caused even us to grow inwardly.

So we, my husband and I, were able to recognize and find out quite a few things concerning our marriage problems, which we were not spared of in the throes of this world, for selfish reasons, such as: pride, envy, unforgiveness, impatience, a false picture of our tasks with regard to the roles of husband and wife, etc!

Being allowed to talk about these things freely in a safe environment, causes something like a major cleansing of the conscience – to recognize those things yourself to admit them to yourself and to others (that takes a lot of overcoming!) in order to be able to leave them behind and then change. In this way, God so invisible and mystical otherwise today, becomes alive in us, he can work through us and becomes visible by this wonderful charity that grows through all this!

Our daughter had then decided to observe this life in the summer holidays over an even longer period of time to really get to know it properly. During this time the first raid took place!

Our daughter was, like all other children, simply dragged away, although we parents had filed a written certification that she was with our consent there. She had to be subjected to the humiliating examinations like all children, down to the the underpants! She has fully experienced the grief of her beloved friends and she was in shock!

After the examinations she was returned back to Klosterzimmern, and was then, besides a child of a visitor that lived up the time with her mother there, the only child there. The Jugendamt (Youth Welfare Office) threatened our daughter to be brought into a facility, for, according to the youth welfare office, parents who let their children live there — their child ought to be also taken away!

We were and are still and still more shocked by the extent of government control and deprivation of liberty, which is able to intervene into the most proper affairs of the heart of men, and even legitimized!

What in the world happened to “Father State”, as we Germans call our government, which is supposed to grant to its fellow citizens entrusted to him the protection of a life worth living, an ethical life? A life in which God and the observance HIS COMMANDMENTS, at least yet, at his option, shall stand in the first place? In Germany is the Constitution even still alive? As far as I am aware, does it not place human dignity, a divine attribute, still in the first place?

How should our children orientate themselves in future in this errant, chaotic world where wrong is right and right is wrong? Who wants to be responsible for that? The crowded and growing psychiatric hospitals, a flourishing economic sector, speak for themselves!

We still have a choice: GOD OR MAMMON, no one can serve two masters!

Susan Herweg