Nation of Yahweh
Nation of Yahweh
Yahweh Ben Yahweh
Black racist cult named after it's leader, Yahweh Ben Yahweh (Hebrew for ''God, son of God'') - formerly known as Hulon Mitchell Jr. (Other names for the group included Nation of Israel, Tribe of Judah, Temple of Love, and etcetera).
The Nation of Yahweh hate group bases much of its theology on its interpretation of the Bible. However, since its theology and practices are far outside those of historical, orthodox Christianity, the group is considered to be a cult of Christianity.
Miami's Yahweh Ben Yahweh cult, the most notorious sect of the Black Hebrew Israelites, was implicated in a reign of terror in the 1980s, and has now all but disappeared. But at its height, it controlled an $8 million empire of properties, including a Miami headquarters known as the ''Temple of Love'' and temples in 22 states. It left a track record of horrific violence, including the murders of 14 people. Its doomsday leader, Oklahoma native Hulon Mitchell Jr. (known as Yahweh Ben Yahweh, Hebrew for ''God, son of God''), is in prison with six other sect members for conspiracy in connection with the murders. Mitchell ordered the slayings of black cult defectors to keep others in line, and the random murders of whites as part of an initiation to a secret ''Brotherhood'' within the temple. The killers, as proof of their deeds, often brought back severed heads and ears to Mitchell.
Rough Waters, 'Stream of Knowledge' Probed by Officials, Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Report, Fall 1997.
Yahweh and 14 members of his Temple of Love church were indicted in 1990. Following a five-month trial in Fort Lauderdale before Senior U.S. District Judge Norman Roettger, Yahweh Ben Yahweh and six of his disciples were convicted of taking part in the racketeering conspiracy that featured 14 murders, two attempted murders, extortion and arson.
At trial, Yahweh was defended by now U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale.
The case featured a string of sensational crimes in which victims were beheaded with machetes, shot, stabbed and beaten to death. In some cases, as proof of a kill, the ears of victims were sliced off and presented to Yahweh by the so-called ''death angels'' he dispatched.
''Between April and October 1986, Yahweh sent his death angels into the Miami community on multiple occasions to kill white people randomly and to commit acts of retribution against blacks who interfered with the Yahweh's sales of products and collection of donations,'' according to a 1996 opinion by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the convictions.
In May 1986, Yahweh's terror came to a predominately African-American neighborhood in Delray Beach when as many as 20 Yahwehs tossed Molotov cocktails through the windows of six homes. Two days earlier, local youths had beaten up several sect members who were preaching door-to-door.
''Yahweh ordered the arsonists to stand in front of the residences and use their swords and machetes to murder anyone who tried to exit the burning homes,'' the appeals court ruling said.
Yahweh insisted on his innocence and has offered no apology.
Sect leader nears freedom, balks at parole rules, Daily Business Review, July 6, 2001
One group called P.E.E.S.S., based in Seguin, Texas, outside San Antonio, produces both a radio show and television show, The Universe of Yahweh, which plays Sunday evenings on the public access channel of at least one South Florida cable outlet. The group also operates the Yahweh Ben Yahweh web page, which argues that the jailed leader is the innocent victim of government persecution and, like Jesus Christ, was betrayed by a Judas follower -- star witness Robert Rozier, a former football player and confessed murderer of seven men, who cut a deal to testify. They did not return calls or e-mail inquiries.
Yahweh family promotes its faith, Miami Herald, June 20, 1999
Yahweh Ben Yahweh, which means "God the Son of God" in Hebrew, is a Black Israelite sect that believes blacks are the lost tribe of Israel and that true Jews and white people are devils. Ben Yahweh, also known as Hulon Mitchell Jr., and six others were convicted in 1992 of conspiracy for ordering 14 killings of white people and resistant black disciples.
Former NFL player, black supremacist charged with 1984 cult, CNN, Mar. 24, 1999
It should be noted that Yahweh Ben Yahweh was released from prison in September, 2001. In addition, the group claims to no longer hate whites:
His followers and family said he and his organization no longer hate whites.
Yahweh Ben Yahweh's daughter, Venita Mitchell, 44, the second-oldest of his four adult children (three women and one man), said her belief that "we are all children of God" -- whites and blacks -- is the current belief of all Yahwehs.
Yahweh cult leader out of prison, finds North Dade home, Miami Herald, Sep. 26, 2001
That said, observers note the group's new focus:
At their Montreal conference last week, attended by about 600 Yahwehs in characteristic white robes and turbans, there was no promise to either die, or kill for Yahweh.
Yet, more than ever before, most Yahwehs cast themselves as a nation of believers at war with nonbelievers, and the old message of self-esteem has been crowded out by one that elevates their leader to ''Grand Master of All, the God of the Universe, the Grand Potentate, the Everlasting Father and the persecuted Messiah.'' The new message also is more stridently jingoistic, including a ''Pledge of Allegiance'' to Yahweh Ben Yahweh.
''What's different now is that the U.S. is not just a corrupt society in their eyes, it's one that the global nation of Yahwehs is ready to take on. We have become the Infidel,'' said Richard Scruggs, former Yahweh federal prosecutor.
Yet Wendelyn Rush, a Yahweh member and attorney, cautions against demonizing their mission: ''It's not a violent war, it's a war of words,'' she said at an August federal hearing to decide on Yahweh Ben Yahweh's parole restrictions.
Followers of Yahweh reemerge in Canada, Miami Herald, Oct. 15, 2001
This background information is part of an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals report on the appeal of several Nation of Yahweh leaders against their conviction on RICO conspiracy charges:
In 1979, Yahweh and Gaines moved to Miami, Florida, and laid the foundations for a religious cult later to be known as the "Yahwehs" or "Black Hebrew Israelites." Yahweh taught that blacks are the true Jews, that God and Jesus are black, and that he had been chosen by "the Terrible Black God, Yahweh" to lead blacks from years of oppression to the promised land of Israel.
Yahweh's followers were required to give up their legal or slave names and to adopt Hebrew names, all of which had a last name of Israel. Societal norms were discarded as Yahweh established his own laws, which were purportedly based upon the Bible. Yahweh's followers grew, and by late 1980, he had the financial means to buy a building in Miami known as the "Temple of Love." Many of Yahweh's followers chose to be full- time workers who were required to give all of their possessions to the Temple. Businesses were established inside the Temple, including a printery, a grocery store, and a beauty salon.
Between late 1981 and 1982, Yahweh instituted profound changes in the administration of the Yahweh religion. First, Yahweh announced that he was the son of God and renamed himself Yahweh Ben Yahweh (God, the son of God). He encouraged his followers to break from the "immoral world" and to give up their outside jobs and move into the Temple. Clothing changed from street clothes to African apparel and then to white robes and turbans. Yahweh taught his followers to avoid their birth families, because they were not "true" families.
When Yahweh's followers moved into the Temple, families were often separated. Tight security was established at the Temple; all who entered were searched. Yahweh established a trusted group of male bodyguards called the "Circle of Ten" who protected Yahweh and stood guard at all Temple entrances with 5 to 6 foot wooden staffs, swords, or machetes. Yahweh taught that uninvited entrants to the Circle would lose their lives.
Gaines became Yahweh's companion and "right hand man." Among her duties, Gaines collected money and possessions from full- time workers and handled the Temple's finances. Gaines had special privileges, including a bodyguard. Yahweh sought to spread his influence nationally by sending out specially trained and trusted elders to establish satellite temples, distribute Yahweh literature, and spread the "word." Between 1982 and 1985, temples were established by a group of 40 or so elders in several large metropolitan areas in the United States.
Between 1981 and 1984, Yahweh's power and influence grew, as did the Temple's finances. Yahweh demanded total loyalty and almost total control of the members' lives, which he achieved by "teaching against" members who disagreed with or failed to follow his spiritual teachings. Yahweh forced dissidents to stand at meetings and openly face his ridicule. He directed cult members to administer severe beatings to those who violated his rules. Followers feared for their lives if they did something wrong, spoke out against Yahweh, or left the Temple. In an effort to totally control his followers, Yahweh carefully regulated their food, sleep, and medical care. All members were required to work long hours to further the Temple's financial interests. Although Yahweh preached brotherly love, he also directed members to commit murder. Yahweh required that his followers publicly state that they would die and kill for God Yahweh, two requirements that he routinely propounded in teaching sessions, during which the members literally shouted in unison their willingness to do so.
As Yahweh's power and influence continued to grow, his teachings became black supremacist and violently racist. Yahweh prophesied war between the black and white races and called "white America" a country cursed by God Yahweh and harboring God's enemies. Yahweh taught that one day, his group would chase white men, whom he referred to as "white devils," from the face of the earth by killing them. Yahweh referred to God Yahweh as a "Terrible Black God" of war and violence and taught that death to his enemies would be at the hand of his "death angels."
At Yahweh's direction, many murders and attempted murders in the Miami area occurred. One of the most violent members of the group, Robert Rozier ("Rozier"), testified at trial that an ultra- secret group called the "Brotherhood" was established within the cult. This group was to perform any task that Yahweh directed, including murder. Yahweh conducted separate meetings for Brotherhood members, which were to be kept secret under penalty of death. Among those present at Brotherhood meetings were Rozier and defendants Grant, Pace, Beasley, Ingraham, Maurice, James, Yahweh, and sometimes Gaines. To become a member of the Brotherhood, one had to kill a white person and bring proof of the kill to Yahweh in the form of a head, an ear, or some other body part. Between April and October 1986, Yahweh sent his death angels into the Miami community on multiple occasions to kill white people randomly and to commit acts of retribution against blacks who interfered with the Yahwehs' sales of products and collection of donations. Yahweh also directed the killings of white people as retribution for 400 years of oppression and for specific acts of alleged police brutality against blacks occurring at the time.
At the trial of this case, Yahweh took the stand and testified in his own behalf. Additionally, Ingraham called Paul George ("George"), a historian, as an expert witness to testify that the Yahweh religion is a true religion.
United States vs. various Nation of Yahweh leaders and members (regarding appeal against conviction on RICO conspiracy charges) [Alternative link]
» See also the articles in the news articles database
Bring Me The Head Subtitled, ''Bloodsucking, headhunting, and other racial myths about new york's reputed black separatist cults,'' this article in Village Voice (Feb. 3, 1999) also includes information about Yahweh Ben Yahweh
'Stream of Knowledge' Probed by Officials This brief article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report looks at various sects of the black supremacist Black Hebrew Israelite religion - including Yahweh Ben Yahweh
Brother Love : Murder, Money, and a Messiah Ben Yahweh by Sydney P. Freedberg. Out of print, but you may be able to purchased a used copy via this Amazon.com link
A gripping yet somewhat unsatisfying account of one of America's weirder stories: the saga of Yahweh Ben Yahweh (God Son of God), the Miami-based charismatic black man who called himself the Messiah. Freedberg, who won a 1991 Pulitzer Prize for her Miami Herald coverage of Yahweh, reconstructs events in an animated narrative. (...) Though Freedberg scores the justice system for not addressing the political corruption that accommodated Yahweh and his personality cult, she does too little to explain the sect's appeal to blacks or to question the coddling posture of establishment institutions toward Yahweh (or her own newspaper's delay in picking up on the story). Good on the trees, but not enough forest.
Kirkus Reviews, posted at Amazon.com
» Yahweh Ben Yahweh / Nation of Islam news tracker provided by Religion News Blog.
» Database of archived news items
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)
Older items (not in the searchable database):
(Jun. 23, 1999) Yahweh family promotes its faith
(Apr. 17, 1999) Grand Jury indicts man in federal witness protection program
(Mar. 24, 1999) Former NFL player, black supremacist charged with 1984 cult
(Mar. 6, 1999) Convicted killer, former football player, says he's sorry
Nation of Yahweh Official site.