Controversies Archives


Retrospective on 1984: The Island Pond Raid -- What We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then
Twenty-one years ago I was a public defender in our Northeast Kingdom. Assigned to represent a member of the so-called "Northeast Kingdom Community Church" in August, 1983, meant that I was involved in a "church case." There were numerous such cases back then: custody cases, truancy cases, divorce cases, simple assault cases, but none so monumental as the day the State of Vermont came to take the children from the Church in Island Pond -- all of them. It was June 22, 1984. (Published in the Vermont Bar Journal, Winter 2005-2006 issue -- Volume 31, No. 4.)

An Issue of Control: Conflict between the Church in Island Pond and State Government
Presented at the "14th World Congress of Sociology" in Montreal in July 1998, this paper describes how the anti-cult movement influenced the Attorney General's office to go beyond the law.

The Messianic Communities in the European Union
Presented at the "International Conference on the Future of Religious and Spiritual Minorities" in Turin, Italy in September 1998, this paper addresses the controversies surrounding our communities in Europe.

A 25-year Retrospective on the Impact of the Anti-Cult Movement on our Children
Presented in Bryn-Athyn, PA at the June 1999 CESNUR conference, "Religious and Spiritual Minorities in the 20th Century Globalization and Localization," this paper discusses the history and specific cases where children of the Twelve Tribes communities were harmed by the activities of the anti-cult movement (its motivations, tactics and effects), with commentaries from the children themselves.

The Twelve Tribes Communities, the Anti-Cult Movement, and the Government's Response
Published in the "Social Justice Research" journal (vol. 12, no. 4, 2000, p. 341-364), chronicling the various controversies that have surrounded us.

Northeast Kingdom Community Church in Island Pond: Raising Up a People for Yahshua's Return
We did not write this paper, but it seems to us to be a reasonably accurate and objective picture of our life, faith, and vision.

Apostates and their Role in the Construction of Grievance Claims against the Northeast Kingdom Messianic Communities
This academic paper written by a court-recognized expert on new religious movements offers an insightful analysis of what fuels the "horror stories" of ex-members that reach the press from time to time.

Our Response to the Tragedy in Waco
Shortly after the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas ended in a fiery tragedy, we wrote this response. In it we look at the role of state power and what it means to be "not of this world."

Articles in Periodicals

Messianic Communities, Sociologists, and the Law
Part 1 of a 2-part series published in "Communities Magazine" in Fall 1995 about instances when individuals or government agencies have sought to take our children from us.

Court Decisions

Judge Mahady's Decision in the 1984 Island Pond Raid
In 1984 Judge Mahady upheld his reputation as a jurist who took very seriously the constitutional principles that are the foundations of justice. In this ruling about the actions of the State of Vermont on June 22nd 1984 he offers a remarkable order describing the 4000-year legal history of search warrants, pointing out how far the state of Vermont had strayed from it.


The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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