After reading through A Pleasant Yellow Deli Experience" and the 24 other posted opinions on the Yellow Deli, may I add one more posting as the only former member to have responded so far?
If you ask a terrorist if they are a terrorist, they will say no. If you ask a cult member if they are in a cult, they will say no. Will you accept Marsha Sprigg's definition of a cult as "meaning more about the person using the term?"
Normally, when people use the word cult in a derogatory sense, it is based upon Webster's definition: "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious." To take it further, "spurious" means "outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities: FALSE."
Commonly in today's world, the word cult implies something dangerous, something that is to be feared. Ever since Charles Manson and Jim Jones and the like, the use of the word cult has conjured up fearful images. So, I agree that the word shouldn't be thrown around lightly. And, to a degree, I agree that using the word says something about the user of the word.
Hear me, please, as a former member -the Twelve Tribes is a cult. The proof of what they are and what they do cannot and will never be found by visiting the deli and eating a sandwich -that is just one of the things they do to fund their homes and community. They also have members who are very creative and talented in arts and crafts. In fact, I have read that Robert Redford's company used to distribute some of their wares -until they realized what the proceeds were funding.
I used to serve those sandwiches with a smile myself. No, the servers don't solicit. They are sweet, wholesome and the atmosphere is outstanding. None of that is in question. The question is, "are you sure you want to support what this group stands for with your dollars?" Don't you usually think at least twice before making donations to causes? Be informed, please. Please.
Many of you took issue with the ones posting negative opinions for not being specific about the religious teachings, yet I posted specific references and urged the readers to search out the teachings for yourself. There are so many teachings and such a laundry list of beliefs that space would not allow those to be printed here. You can easily find these posted online. Someone mentioned denominations -the Twelve Tribes do not conform to any recognized denomination; in fact, if you search out their teaching, you will find that they feel denominations are evil.
Although you may feel it's harmless to stop in and have a great sandwich, and you may take offense at someone being concerned about UTC students possibly being lured into this group as one reader did, please take time and think this through. Those of us who have responded negatively are not ignorant, intolerant bigots. We have taken time to know whereof we speak, have you? Search it out. Learn. It is often said and very true, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Believing the deli just serves great sandwiches and that's all there is to it is "a little knowledge." Seeing those who oppose this group as intolerant without searching out the facts is also "a little knowledge" and seems to indicate a level of intolerance as well.
And for the one reader who felt these postings are libelous or slanderous, think again. Is it libel or slander to speak in an opinion column of things of which the reader has first-hand knowledge, or to refer to postings that are freely available to the public to read for themselves? That was a truly disappointing post.
Actually, all the posts defending the deli were disappointing to me because the best argument any of those could make was that the place serves a great sandwich.
No one disputes this group's "right" to be here. After all, we are the home of the free, and land of the brave. I thought we were also a tenacious country that seeks out truth and tries to defend the defenseless. In this case, though meek and humble on first glance, the Yellow Deli workers aren't the defenseless ones.
For goodness sake, won't you take the time to read the information freely available online regarding these folks? From New England to Florida to California to middle-America to places around the world, there are news articles, stories of arrests, etc. The teachings and "doctrines" are available. The Bible urges us, as believers, to be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. Be wise, folks. We also need to be wary of these wolves in sheep's clothing.
Some readers have said they were disappointed in Chattanooga for not "progressing" and being more tolerant. On the contrary, I congratulate and am very proud of the 67% who responded to the poll posted by this news media. These are those who didn't stop with just "a little knowledge."