By Caroline Dale-
In 1973, the Yellow Deli made its home in the Chattanooga community.
Today, the Yellow Deli resides on McCallie Ave. and it strives to share their religious beliefs and culture with those around them.
According to their history booklet, “My Elusive Dream,” the Yellow Deli people claim to be peace loving people who strive for the purest form of Christianity. When LSD was not enough to secure their faith anymore, they became inspired to follow Timothy Leary and to remove themselves from modern society. However, many students believe them to be a cult with no worldly possessions.
Sarah Beagan, of Sevierville Tenn. says, “I’ve heard a lot of other students say they’re a cult and that they are crazy, but I think they are pretty nice.”
A former member of the group, Karen Draper, recalls her experience as a negative one. She says they took everything she owned and made her drop out of Chattanooga State because they believe anything from the outside world is evil. Draper says, “they prey on the discarded and lost.” Draper said she is thankful she escaped from the Yellow Deli.
The Deli claims to be uncorrupt and a true form of Christianity. According to their history website, they define themselves as the 12 tribes, scattered over 12 different geographical areas. They challenge society with a question, “love is our home…what is yours?” The real question is, will the Chattanooga community ever completely grasp their ideals and the “elusive dream,” or will they always remain as a friendly cult with good food?