Thursday, March 27, 2008

Attitude Magazine!

Yay! Yesterday I discovered that I am featured in Attitude Magazine (no. 58). They had asked me questions ages ago so I had forgotten about it. I'm glad to see I am in good company with Made By White.

I will uploading more bags today and tomorrow and have split my shop site up into new categories, clutches, handbags, ballerina bags, totes, exclusive. Check them out! There will be a very exciting competition coming up soon too so stay tuned.

NOTE: Its Thursday night 5pm and I just found out that I got the Regional Arts Grant for my Springboard application!!! I'm ecstatic! I have never applied for a grant before...

Lunch today at Common Ground again with Angela (and walking Nelly the dog up there). Mum had saved an article on them from Mon 24 March Sydney Morning Herald about Common Ground at the Easter Show...

They are certainly getting a lot of attention but being at the cafe, I haven't noticed anyone mentioning their religion or pushing it down your throat. Scapegoats or appropriate? Decide for yourself... check it out below:

Sect woos recruits among the fairy floss at Easter Show

Tim Elliott
March 24, 2008

AMONG the fairy floss and fun rides at this year's Royal Easter Show, one of the most popular attractions is the Common Ground cafe, a wholefood outlet that specialises in organic breads and barramundi burgers.

The show's website touts the cafe's "unique flavours and energy", calling it "a must for every showgoer".

But the Common Ground cafe is one of several businesses owned and operated by the Community Apostolic Order, also known as the Twelve Tribes, a messianic Christian sect accused by former members of harsh child discipline which in some cases could amount to child abuse, family break-up and thought control.

"The Twelve Tribes is a destructive cult that tears families apart," said a former member, Matthew Klein. "They're using the Easter Show to recruit new members and hand out their pamphlets."

Founded in 1971 in Tennessee by a former carnival barker called Elbert Eugene Spriggs, the 3000-strong group has been embroiled in several high-profile scandals overseas. Members in the US were convicted recently of child sex offences and child labour violations.

"This is a secretive group that's causing grief to a lot of people," said David Millikan, a Uniting Church minister and cult expert. "Their whole history is surrounded by untold stories of destruction."

In Australia, former members tell of child beatings and slave-like working conditions. "It's exploitative," says George, a former ex-member who worked at the cafe in 2001. "You're brainwashed, working up to 20 hours a day baking bread and setting up the cafe, and you don't see a cent."

Mr Klein, who helped set up the cafe in 2001, said there was never any "workers' comp, insurance or superannuation paid … and it's dangerous work: we were all sleep-deprived and carrying around pieces of steel that weighed up to 500 kilograms, with no proper training and no crane."

The group has 60 members in Australia. Most live on a nine-hectare property at Picton. Members are encouraged to surrender all possessions upon joining. They cannot marry outside the group, and have no access to newspapers, magazines or TV.

"You're told that if you leave the cult you'll go to hell," Mr Klein said. "If you talk out against them, you get cut off from family members who are still in there. And if you kick up too much of a stink, they just move you to one of their tribes overseas."

Harsh discipline is one of the group's central tenets, as detailed in their 267-page Child Training Manual. Written by Spriggs (aka Yoneq), the manual claims that "the rod is an instrument of love", and that "you must make it hurt enough to produce the desired result".

Beatings are administered with a balloon stick on the bare bottom or hands, which, the manual claims, produces a pain "that goes deep into the child, right to the heart, like electricity".

"The beatings were quite constant," said Michael Curry, who spent a year at the Picton commune.

"When I got out I went to DOCS with my complaints, but they said I needed evidence."

He also raised his concerns with the Royal Easter Show, "asking whether it was appropriate that this group be at such a family friendly event. They just shrugged their shoulders."

The show's chief executive, Michael Collins, said he was not aware of any complaints. "All I know is that the cafe has been here for 10 years and they're one of the most popular outlets. Everyone loves their food."

Peter Baker (aka Nathaniel), an elder of the Twelve Tribes in Picton, defended the group: "We are devoted believers in Jesus Christ, and we use the Old Testament as the blueprint for our lives."


magikquilter said...

Hi Kara you are getting a lot of is Karen going is she up to sewing now? Read the common ground thing and remember you saying that they did not bother you when you were in the cafe.I did check out their website though and found it ..interesting.

We were talking at home about
whether it is right to put kids photos on the internet when they may not like it when old enough to decide for themselves...and the children are always the worry in cults...or lifestyle groups whatever they call themselves. They are not choosing the lifestyle it is chosen for them and until they or their parents decide to leave they are stuck with it.

And it sounds like no easy task to leave if the reports are accurate. I think if they are genuine they should allow impartial observers to live there for a while and see how the children are treated and how well they are being educated etc.

Kara said...

You know what is so funny - that is why we are aetheist (spelling?!). My parents were both brought up as catholic and church of england but when we were born they didn't want to 'force' their religion on us and left it up to us as teenagers if we wanted to pursue any religion. Its really the same if you are Twelve Tribes or Catholic in the end - everyone brings their children up the way they believe!

I just don't know but I think that if I accept one religion I also have to accept T/Tribes religion and beliefs. They are all at a distance for me anyway.

Oh, scarey ground with religion! This blog is getting rather deep!

magikquilter said...

I know I NEED to get back to some artistic or crafty posts, can't bewail the worlds woes all the not know how the bloggers who rant and rage all the time do it. So how was lunch? Are you doing the special markets at Paddington? Saw something about it when researching the church there.