Important Update: Breaking information about this story continues to emerge. We will continue to add updates to the end of this article as new information can be confirmed.
Does a nice little bakery in Massachusetts support slavery and child abuse?
What seemed to have once been a fairly nice, family-run bakery in Plymouth, Mass. decided, has found itself at the center of controversy amid allegations they have gone full-on whack job.
A former employee of the Blue Blinds Bakery, apparently named for its blue shutters, posted the following on their Facebook page on Thursday: “we have decided to use our Facebook page as an active evangelism tool.”
A recent statement posted on the page, posted after the controversy broke – confirms that this story is a bit more complicated than originally thought.
The statement begins by noting that rumors that the page was created by a disgruntled for employee is “both false and true.”
STATEMENT FROM THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS PAGE
Pretty soon you’re going to see articles on Boston Magazine and possibly Boston Globe alleging that this Page is being run by a former employee who is disgruntled. That is both false and true.
Firstly, the Blue Blinds Bakery has no employees because to be an employee you have to get paid. But yes, it is true that I worked at the Blue Blinds Bakery for some time.
I was born into the Twelve Tribes, which owns the Bakery, and over the time I grew up there, the things I have posted on this Page were all taught to me as being fundamental truths. Without access to internet or books that carried an opposing view, I knew nothing else.
It was only after I left that I started realising [sp] how demented and twisted the views behind this religion are.
The statement goes on to detail specific allegations related to the Twelve Tribes and the management of the bakery.
The controversy surrounding the bakery and the Facebook page began July 7th at around 7:30 am, when the Facebook page posted a long explanation about how the Bible says that “blacks” throughout history do better when they’re enslaved and that when they’re not, “they follow the ways of degradation.”
The caveat, added to the end of the post is what really makes it special. Ready for this? Here’s what they wrote:
Now, let’s discuss, but following the last post, we need to set some ground rules.
– Attacks on our character will not be allowed
– Attacks on others will not be allowed
And something about no tattoos.
A few days later there’s another post about “child discipline” or, as they like to call it, “child training” or,as the authorities would call it, “child abuse and child endangerment.” The post reads:
How are they disciplined? Usually a cane or a wooden stick. About 15-20 blows on the open palm or bare buttocks. Depending on the waywardness of the child, between 5-30 times a day. Some need it more than others. It can go on until they are 16 if they need it. If a child still needs discipline above that age, other measures are taken.
Great read, right? Especially when you scroll down to a post from June 30th at 7:57am that reads:
Now it’s not clear how old these kids are, but children working all night painting a house can’t be a good idea at any age.
The comments are on the posts are much of what you’d expect. Plenty of people vowing never to go to the bakery and some, of course, thanks to the recent vitriol in the political arena these days, are all too eager to agree with the attitude expressed by the bakery, if only with cowardly anonymous Facebook accounts.
Another commenter seems to be all too familiar with “this cult,” writing:
“Blue marks” are bruises, of course, which members of the Tribes consider evidence of exemplary parenting. “I remember constant welts on my hands, thighs, and butt,” a woman who was raised in the Tribes told me. Children are expected to obey “on the first command,” without talking back or complaining. They are not allowed toys or bikes, and cannot engage in fantasy play. They read only the Bible and the group’s dogma. The former members I spoke to claimed most children were beaten multiple times a day, for transgressions as innocuous as forgetting to raise their hands at the dinner table and “dissipation”—the group’s term for horseplay. Responding to these descriptions, a current leader of their California communities, Wade Skinner, echoed the brochure I read in Blue Blinds. “That wouldn’t be how we portray our life,” he said, “but we do believe if you love your child, you will be diligent to discipline them, and if you hate them, you will withhold the rod.”
As the new statement notes and according the Facebook page’s “About Page” the owners of the baker are members of “Twelve Tribes,” which according to the Wikipedia entry, “can be traced to a ministry for teenagers called the “Light Brigade” in 1972. The ministry operated out of a small coffee shop called “The Lighthouse” within the home of Gene Spriggs and his wife Marsha.”
In addition, the “Tribe” has been involved in several controversies involving, child labor, race, and homeschooling.
UPDATE [07-11-2016 | 12:48 AM]:
The Bakery’s own website, which has not been hacked, states that they are affiliated with “Twelve Tribes” which has been labelled a “cult” by The Parents’ Committee to Free Our Children from the Children of God and the Citizen’s Freedom Foundation, according to Wikipedia and investigated for child abuse and child labor practices.
In a separate article, titled “Children of the Tribes,” Julia Scheeres details not only the way in which children are mistreated by adults, but mentions Blue Blinds specifically:
Today the Blue Blinds is a bakery, famous in Plymouth for its eggs-and-cheddar sandwich and its organic pastries. It has earned a loyal fan base by charging a little less than its neighborhood competitors for food that is consistently delicious. But generating a profit isn’t its only objective. Another is winning souls: The bakery is the public face of an otherwise reclusive and controversial religious sect called the Twelve Tribes.
You can read the article in it’s entirety here.
UPDATE [7-11-2016 10:20 AM]: While we have received several comments in defense of the bakery, we have not been able to verify whether or not those people are affiliated with the Twelve Tribes group as the group has no membership list, nor will they respond to inquiries.
We have made attempts to contact both the bakery and the local police to no avail.
As the article posted in Boston Magazine states:
“Thanks for all the support here, and for those of you who have called us concerned about the slander. We are working on it,” one post reads. The allegedly “real” Blue Blinds Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Captain John Rogers, Jr. of Plymouth Police could not be immediately reached.
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