Thesis Title

Here Comes The Bride: A Discursive Analysis Of The Twelve Tribes Messianic Kingdom's Eschatological Wedding Ritual


Jacob Harris

Date of Graduation

Spring 2002


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Stanley Burgess


The Twelve Tribes Messianic Kingdom is a new religious movement, which while relatively small, has continued to grow for nearly thirty years. The Twelve Tribes actively separate themselves from mainstream society, and many of thier eschatological beliefs and practice have earned them the label cult from former members, media, and opposing religions. However, the Twelve Tribes supports themselves financially by working and conducting business in the world outside their communities. Indeed, members actively evangelize in or near locations and events against which teachings and discussions are strenuously advocated within the Twelve Tribes. Weddings within the Twelve Tribes provide excellent showcases for a description of the Twelve Tribes ritual and society. An examination of Twelve Tribes discourse, specifically in wedding ceremonies, through Bruce Lincoln's theory of societal (re-) creation, is used to understand how the Twelve Tribes perpetuates its eschatalogical ideology. Ultimately, the Twelve Tribes is given a new classification--New Religious Apocalyptic Movement. This new classification provides a compromise between Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge's church/sect/cult theory and Bruce Lincoln's theory of societal (re-)creation.

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© Jacob Harris