I have known the Faith Community of the Twelve Tribes since the spring of 2007. With my family, that is, my husband and our three children, I have often visited over the years, especially at the farm in Klosterzimmern, as well as in Wörnitz. Most of the time we stayed overnight with the Twelve Tribes.
We were in Klosterzimmern for the Hoffests of 2010 to 2012, at two weddings and even for an entire week in the summer of 2008. We were engaged in their daily lives, in the morning and the evening gatherings, in the Sabbath celebrations and meals. The children of the community members were open-minded towards us and interacted with my children. For their age they could express themselves very well verbally, usually just as well in English as in German. They took part in the meetings of the adults and spoke there with no inhibitions.
Various articles of the children were hung up in the houses of the community so I could read them. The younger children were always with a parent, usually the mother with the youngest, a very close bond between parent and child was obvious to me. Lovingly and caringly, the parents took care of their children, and also other community members did. The relationship between the siblings was considerate and affectionate. It was characterized by the responsibility of the older ones for the younger ones. They behaved like normal children who were able to let off some steam on the large lawn in their leisure time. I watched them jumping on the trampoline, on swings, and playing in the sandbox. They were also taught, creative activities such as arts and crafts. Also, I saw the children help their parents with household tasks. Depending on the age level of the children they also took on independent tasks; serving one another was the focus.
The children of the Twelve Tribes community made a balanced and a satisfied impression on me. Most were very mature in their development and entirely confident.
My described observations and experiences with the children, with whom I had some dealings, absolutely contradicts the assertion that they had been abused by their parents.
You do not need special psychological knowledge to determine that this is a healthy relationship between parents and children — one that is characterized by mutual love and mutual respect. A psychologist could find this out if he would evaluate the essays or drawings of children.
All the children who belonged to the community of faith, have now been away from their families for more than a year — and thus away from their main caregivers, the community, and the environment in which they grew up — totally unexpectedly and violently snatched away.
Immense suffering and emotional pain they have endured ever since. This constitutes child abuse.
Now the issue of custody for each children is being addressed in court. And now, after all this, should psychological assessments be sought? But after more than a year in children’s homes or foster families they are no longer the same children as before. Whoever wishes can see how they were. . .probably only in their essays and drawings in the hallways of their former school and homes.
I am convinced that the children I’ve met in the community of faith of the Twelve Tribes, were abused neither physically nor mentally. Therefore, I demand that all children be allowed to return to their parents again. Only then will [the state] act again for the benefit of children. Otherwise, who is willing and able to take responsibility for this immense suffering?
Dr.-Ing. Maria Cotorogea