Saturday, March 16, 2019

Confirmation By Us

When I began to openly speak out to challenge and oppose the often effusively idealized, and sanitized narrative about Jim Baker and what it was like being in The Source Family; a few of the diehard believers or followers of Father Yod/Yahowha began to search online for anything that might reinforce or bolster their claims that everything that went on in The Source Family was magical, wondrous and divine where Jim Baker is portrayed as being an 'enlightened avatar' for the new age in a feverish effort to convince the public that all of the 'aquarian teachings' espoused by the man had been divinely inspired or channeled through him and were knowledge or wisdom that superseded the 'teachings' of all other gurus or spiritual teachers in a stellar confirmation bias or wishful thinking.

"Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.
Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it. Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our prejudices."  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201504/what-is-confirmation-bias.
Whenever a former member of The Source Family has openly spoken out against Jim Baker or the practices that he imposed on his entire group of followers; they are immediately pounced upon and attacked/discredited by the more rabid and devoted followers of Father Yod/Yahowha, due to the depths of some follower's confirmation bias about the man, Jim Baker and the 'new age' utopian fairytale image of what it was like being in The Source Family that borders on pathological.  
I wanted to share a First Degree podcast from January with Jim Trattner aka Magus where he talks about his own experiences and perceptions of Jim Baker when he joined The Brotherhood of The Source, in an interview that I see as a kind of 'confirmation by us' (a play on the term confirmation bias) in what I consider to be the more honest shared memories and experiences by those former Source Family members who refuse to follow or adhere to the scripted, prescribed and approved Source Family narrative, which only presents or portrays Jim Baker in a heightened and spiritually superior way, while hiding or ignoring the more disturbing aspects of the man and many of his 'aquarian teachings' or directives.
Jim Trattner was given the name, Magus, after he joined The Brotherhood of the Source early on where Jim Baker began to refer to Magus, as the 'elder brother' of the group, perhaps because he was the closest in age to Jim Baker.  But, Jim Baker saw it as 'a feather in his cap', to have someone older and educated like Magus becoming one of his followers.  But, with age and experience brings more questioning and discernment which is often lacking in younger and more inexperienced 'spiritual seekers', as was the case with myself and others who joined The Brotherhood.  So, when Magus began to question Jim Baker's behavior and 'teachings'; especially when Baker began to have sex with more and more women among his following referring to them as 'his women', but mostly because Jim Baker was against any of the members seeking or using medical help outside of the confines of the Brotherhood----Father Yod called Magus a head tripper---someone who thought about things too much---was in their head too much.  I witnessed first hand Jim Baker take it as an affront, when Magus decided to leave The Source Family where Baker spent quite a bit of time, during 'class' rebuking Magus for leaving the group.  Here is Jim Trattner's excellent interview that I only wish had been longer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Batshit Spirituality

"The key element of the total ideology is its focus on a single truth. This single truth, the sacred word, is the word of the leader, or sometimes, that of a deity to whom the leader is the only one to have a direct line. All knowledge comes from the leader. While the leader may change their mind as new “insights” appear, followers may never do so, although they must ever be on the alert to jump to the leader’s sudden ideological shifts."
The above statement defines exactly the kind of total ideology that consumed every aspect of The Source Family where the sacred word, as prescribed by Jim Baker became all about the letters YHVH, and the single truth that Jim Baker was a direct line to 'all knowledge'; something which changed sometimes daily depending on whatever new 'insights' that Jim Baker had during 'meditation'.  Everyone was expected to be focused on Jim Baker and his 'word' 24/7 ready to respond and act on whatever his new 'insights' were, in order to fulfill whatever it was that our spiritual leader and father figure wanted.

Here are a couple of more statements from the Aeon essay linked below that parallel precisely what Jim Baker created.
"Newman’s inner circle was composed of a set of women known as the ‘wives’ or the ‘harem’, who served as his most trusted lieutenants, as well as, at different times, his bedmates."

"Different groups have different fear-arousing themes and methods: the oncoming apocalypse, fear of outsiders, fear of punishment, and exhaustion, among many other types of threatening strategies. But the leader is always the sole saviour, the one who will lead them away from (or through) the fear they are experiencing to a wonderful safety, to paradise, to a perfect, transformed world."  
In the case of Jim Baker, he constantly and consistently warned all of us/his followers of the threat of man(kind) and the impending apocalypse where only those of us surrounding him would be safe and secure within the confines of The Source Family and where we would all then become the leaders of a 'new age' that would arise amid the chaos and destruction---a fear of everything outside of The Source Family, due to the animal nature of men and the insanity that might engulf anyone who left his 'family' was something that Jim Baker instilled in all of us/his followers, which resulted in many feeling fearful and conflicted whenever doubts arouse about whether to remain in the group or leave.  It was fear that compelled many of us to remain within the group for its entire duration.  I wanted to leave The Source Family at various times, but the fear of what might happen compelled me to continue seeking some kind of safety and solace within the group; even after I had become disenchanted and disillusioned with Jim Baker and all of his antics and his non-stop, incessant preaching/teaching 'the word of God' that he was supposedly channeling.

"Once this fear-based control is in place, it is quite difficult to break: the follower’s dissociation and disorganised emotional attachment to the leader or group makes it extremely difficult to look clearly at what is happening. In fact, any attempt to do so only creates more fear, causing further disorganised bonding to the group to attempt to ease the stress." 


"The third element of totalism is the total ideology, or, as Newman called it: ‘A historical totality that has no beginning, middle or end’. The exclusive belief system is controlled entirely by the leader, empowering him or her through the creation of a fictional world of secrets and lies."

"After a while, things that seemed preposterous seem normal."
That was exactly what happened when Jim Baker imposed the practice of qudosh on the entire group expecting the women to perform with all of the men---that was a perfect example of something which seemed preposterous was made to seem normal within the closed and secretive confines of The Source Family binding everyone even more and more to a devotional secrecy around whatever Jim Baker ordered or expected to be done.  I think that the practice of ingesting a woman's menstrual blood was the most preposterous of Jim Baker's 'aquarian teachings'.

IFC Documentary Now just came out with a parody based on the film Wild, Wild Country with a few Father Yod and The Source Family parodies thrown into the mix making for an extremely funny and entertaining show.  I think it's healthy and good to be able to look back and laugh at something that many took very seriously when it was all happening.  Humor is the best way to convey the truth about something, in this case the reality of 'spiritual' cults/groups like the Rajneesh and The Source Family cults.  I thought the few parodies of Jim Baker as Paternius were spot on, but one segment was more tragic than funny like when Father Ra-Shawbard (Owen Wilson) cries out, "What was I thinking. Get me to a hospital!" after he's struck by a car---a scene taken directly from The Source Family film after Father Yod crash-landed on the beach surrounded by some of 'his women'.  Something that was meant to be funny actually conveyed the reality of that situation that many former SF members share:  that Jim Baker's death could have been prevented, and that even Jim Baker as he lay there after crashing on the beach asked the women around him, if he should go to the hospital (he asked twice, in fact), but was told by one of his 'spiritual wives' that he could go to the hospital to seek medical help, but that it would be going against his 'teachings/beliefs'.

Now, that was a batshit moment---adhering to some crazy and delusional belief in not using modern medicine, instead choosing to allow Jim Baker to suffer in pain and eventually die, by holding him to his own batshit 'teaching'.  I've no doubt that had the women surrounding Jim Baker made the decision to rush him to the hospital that fateful day, that he would have capitulated and probably been extremely thankful, after the fact.  Instead, Jim Baker was held to his own deluded and harmful batshit 'spiritual' belief that nobody in his 'family' should seek or use medical help and in a tragic irony died being held to his own misguided beliefs.

I thought the Batshit Valley parody captured really well the extremism and insane devotion and beliefs that many people exhibited who joined the various spiritual or religious groups that sprang up, during the late sixties and early seventies; some lasting into the eighties resulting in even more long term emotional or physical damage to people; especially the children who were raised in some of the more harmful cults.  Anyone who obediently follows one man or woman who is elevated and revered in an adoring, worshipful and reverential way believing that person is imbued with magical powers or knowledge places themselves and their loved ones in potentially harmful and dangerous situations, especially if the 'religious' or 'spiritual' belief system becomes one of a totalism of belief that influences and controls everyone's speech and behavior---it's that kind of spiritual extremism that was parodied in Batshit Valley.

It's good that some of us can laugh about it now, though.  But, some of the harm done to people who gave up their lives in order to follow, obey and worship men like Rajneesh and Father Yod suffered loss monetarily, emotionally and physically or even worse the loss of a child.  Yet, for a few remaining devoted and diehard followers of Father Yod/Yahowha; the Documentary Now Batshit Valley parody is completely lost on them, because a few are still incapable of seeing the absurdity, ridiculousness, and harmfulness of it all.  Instead, a few are choosing to see it all as something great and wonderful that made them part of history, and all of their continued profuse, exalted proclamations about Father Yod/Yahowha or the exclusive batshit beliefs that were unique to The Source Family created by Jim Baker has become a parody in itself.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-cult-leaders-brainwash-followers-for-total-control

Friday, October 19, 2018

Me Too....Just Not You

When Jim Baker began to approach and groom the women in The Source Family to have sex with him, which was something that he began to do early on, when the cult was still in its infancy stages; one of the young women he induced into having sex with him, in his elevated role as her 'earthly spiritual father' was soon propositioned that she have his baby claiming that his legal wife, Robin was perfectly ok with him wanting to inseminate other woman, because Robin had been incapable of getting pregnant, at the time.  Jim Baker, in his newfound lofty role as 'earthly spiritual father' said that he had a vision that God wanted him to 'gather his own children' and 'father' the new age, and so Jim Baker felt justified and empowered, after claiming to have had that vision and began to make a concerted effort to have sex with and inseminate the women who began to join his cult called The Brotherhood of The Source.  But, it turned out that Jim Baker wasn't telling the truth when he told the first young woman, who was underage; that Robin was perfectly ok with his efforts to inseminate other women within the cult.  That young woman left not long after that, because she had joined the Brotherhood hoping to find 'wisdom' and 'knowledge'---not to become impregnated by the spiritual leader of the group, and so she left; although if she tried to tell her story now; she would be dismissed and verbally attacked for saying anything that portrayed Jim Baker in a less than perfect way.

But, Jim Baker continued his pursuit of the women who joined The Brotherhood into having sex with him, using his elevated role as their 'spiritual teacher' to convince them that sex with him was necessary for their spiritual growth and a necessary 'magical' component of any man/woman relationship.  Many of the women that Jim Baker began to have sex with saw it as some kind of honor to have sex with a man, whom his devoted followers were exclaiming to be a powerful and wise man of God.  Spiritual gurus, teachers and leaders have used their exalted positions to have sex with their female followers for a very long time; so why should Jim Baker be any different.  But, I never saw it as some kind of honor to be summoned to Jim Baker's room to have sex with him.

In wanting to tell my story, though; I am being personally verbally attacked by those former Source Family members, who refuse to even consider that much of what Jim Baker did and imposed on the entire Source Family was an abuse of his power.  A few cannot even accept the fact that we were all in a cult that formed around the personality of Jim Baker, and where fulfilling his every wish or desire became of paramount importance.  A few zealous former members vociferously attack anyone (like me) who openly speaks out against Jim Baker or any of the practices that he imposed on the entire group.  If any former member is not in complete compliance with the sanitized storyline and fairy tale narrative, unless they remain silent, is verbally attacked and denigrated by the more rabid remaining followers of 'Yahowha'.  There is no room for any Me Too story when it comes to Jim Baker's sexual (mis)conduct during The Source Family among his remaining devoted followers.

Some of the women who were in The Source Family saw it an honor to have sex with Jim Baker, but I never did, and I'm not alone in that belief.  One woman who became one of 'Yahowha's women' wrote many years later how she never wanted to have sex with Jim Baker and resented the fact that he coerced/convinced her at the time that it was for her own spiritual growth----something that more and more women are now speaking out about their experiences in other cults and yoga organizations where the spiritual leaders or yoga teachers used their elevated positions of power over their followers to have sex with their female followers, and in some cases---the men.

When I decided to speak out and to tell my own story about experiencing what I consider to be sexual abuse, while being in The Source Family; several women contacted and messaged me privately to voice their support for me and my choice for wanting to tell the truth about what really happened in The Source Family----something that doesn't align with the sanitized and whitewashed storyline that has been presented to the public in one former member's book and the film that was made, based on that book.  Nobody, especially the women ever wanted to publicly discuss/talk about the more sordid things that we all had to endure, while in The Source Family under the direction of our 'spiritual father', Jim Baker.  A lot of what went on in The Source Family that was deemed as being 'wisdom teachings' or something that Jim Baker had 'channeled from the ethers' in his role as either Father Yod or Yahowha is just too damn embarrassing for most to ever want to talk about, which allowed the ardent, devoted remaining followers of 'Yahowha' to propagate a sanitized and whitewashed fairy tale----to spin only an idealized narrative where they have become tone deaf to any former member who's views, stories and memories don't align with the fairy tale.  Anyone, especially any of the women, who do not go along with the approved Source Family 'party line' risk being personally verbally attacked and character assassination from those who are intent on portraying Jim Baker and the entire experience as being ultimate and ideal.

Which is why, I was in a state of disbelief recently when I heard that one former female diehard follower of 'Yahowha' had written about her Me Too experience as a teenager when a young man tried to sexually impose himself on her---a story that sounded similar to what Dr. Ford claims happened to her when she was a teenager.  My disbelief stemmed from the fact the same woman had personally attacked me on Facebook not long ago, after someone posted/shared one of my blog posts on his wall where she tried to denigrate and belittle me for speaking out about what I had experienced in The Source Family that does not align with what she chooses to still believe.  Her attitude and behavior towards me showed neither 'sisterhood' or solidarity, which I believe the Me Too movement is based upon!  When a woman wants to be allowed to share/tell her Me Too experience, but then cherry-picks which voices and stories of other women that she'll allow; especially women who were in The Source Family alongside her----then she is certainly no sister of mine and should perhaps begin her own movement and call it Me Too---Just Not You.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Spiritual Pathology

Jim Baker's spiritual commandment 'harm not one of your body parts either by neglect, food, drink or knife' sounded like good advice' back in 1970, but isn't denying yourself or your children (especially infants) surgery or medical treatment of any kind doing harm?  Jim Baker's commandment to 'not harm one of your body parts by knife' was meant to deter people from circumcision or having any vital organ surgically removed from the body.  But, Jim Baker took that commandment of his to the extreme when he decided that no one in his Source Family should seek or use outside medical treatment or medicine of any kind; especially that no one should ever undergo a blood transfusion---because it went against the magical thinking that he held that your blood should never be replaced with someone else's blood (even in a life or death situation) that might interfere with your soul viewing it's 'river of life' upon death for the soul to learn it's 'life lessons' and be reincarnated.

In my mind, the adherence to many 'new age' spiritual beliefs has become almost pathological among many who believe that things such as modern medicine and medical treatment of any kind should be avoided, especially if it goes against a commandment by their 'earthly spiritual father', as was the case in The Source Family.  I suspect that even today; there are a few zealous former members who would allow themselves or their own children to die rather than submit to a blood transfusion, in what I see as a kind of spiritual or 'new age' extremism.  I think that it's harmless to believe that crystals have magical powers, but harmful if you believe they alone will cure cancer.  The reality was that had Jim Baker received medical treatment for the injuries that he sustained, after crash-landing on a beach, instead of following his own deluded magical thinking and belief not to seek or use medical treatment---he would probably still be around to have watched the babies he sired grow up.  Instead, he allowed himself to lay there and die surrounded by his enabling followers.

When people place their lives in the hands of a designated 'spiritual' or 'religious' teacher adhering to whatever 'magical' thinking or belief system that teacher prescribes; it can become fertile ground for an abuse of power, by those spiritual teachers and leaders, because their followers believe they're imbued with 'divine' or 'magical powers'.  So, followers never question their spiritual teacher's motives or doubt any of their actions or behaviors, and as we've all seen happen in cults and churches over and over again; the devoted followers become enablers in the misconduct of their spiritual teacher or leader----that is the dark side of spirituality that many people have fallen victim, since the 'new age' movement began----where people surrender and subjugate themselves to the whims, desires and sexual inclinations of their supposedly 'divine' spiritual leader and is exactly what happened in The Source Family; especially what was sexual abuse disguised as a spiritual teaching.

"At some later point the man, who was increasingly presenting himself as a so-called Lama, wearing exotic robes and the regalia of a yogi, came to visit us. I was shocked and hurt one day when he came to me and said that he was going to sleep with my girlfriend and that I should allow it as it was good for my practice of generosity. If I should object it would show that my practice of Bodhicitta, the aspiration to always work for the welfare of others, was hopeless. I was sufficiently young, naive and feeble to take all this seriously and found I had no grounds to question the validity of what he was saying. Whatever pain I was in was entirely because of my attachment. He tried to convince me it was best for my practice and that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right. I tell this story because it is typical of the kind of delusion we can conjure around our self-beliefs sufficient to create the conviction that we are entirely right in what we are doing. The grandiosity, for example, of this man made him utterly blind to the delusion he was caught in and the consequence of his actions."  http://zencaroline.blogspot.com/2009/03/spiritual-pathology.html.

Jim Baker, in his role as 'earthly spiritual father' behaved in the same way as described in the paragraph above when he began to have sex with multiple women within The Source Family, whether or not those women were married or already had a partner and in a relationship---if Father Yod/Yahowha ordered a woman (like he did) to leave her husband or partner to go 'serve'/be with another son; then that woman was expected to do so and obey his directive.  When people were being sent to Maui, one young woman who went there was in a happy relationship with one of the 'sons', when Father Yod/Yahowha sent for her to return to Los Angeles to be impregnated by him---convincing all around him that it was a sacred honor for the young woman to be inseminated by him, and a test of non-attachment for the 'son' she'd chosen to be with----proclaiming in a similar way, as stated above, 'that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right'.  Because some saw it as a great honor to be chosen by Father Yod/Yahowha to have his child, and any personal, conflicted feelings of any Source Family member was seen as attachment and Piscean (belonging to the past), and so everything that Jim Baker wanted to do in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' was enabled and fulfilled by his followers' belief in his omnipotence. 

By simply attaching some esoteric or spiritual meaning and significance to every one of Father Yod's directives and supposed 'teachings', Source Family members never had to question anything, instead suspending any doubts they may have had to just follow and obey the man, because nobody wanted to question the 'word of god' being channeled through their chosen 'earthly spiritual father'.  Everyone was given a headshot of Jim Baker when they joined The Source Family so they could stare at, or rather meditate on his photo where some believed (some still do) that it would transfer his 'energy and power' to them----a practice that Jim Baker adopted from Yogi Bhajan.

I believe that people need to use critical thinking and discernment when pursuing a spiritual path especially when adopting the beliefs of someone proclaiming to be a spiritual teacher, and not be afraid to look at any questionable practice or moral behavior of that spiritual teacher.  Just because someone claims to be a spiritual guide or teacher who has been 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' doesn't mean they have infallible moral character.  I've seen it become imperative in some people who have pursued a spiritual path to present or portray themselves as being 'illuminated' or 'enlightened' where their egos grew to enormous proportions puffed up by their perception of their own spiritual greatness believing they had defeated all darkness within themselves, to where they lost the ability for honest self-reflection or introspection choosing to believe they had attained a great spiritual height and a moral perfection and were incapable of doing anything wrong or behaving in a way that wasn't morally superior and aligned with 'light and love'----a delusional state that I feel many spiritual 'new age' seekers have succumbed in what the article I've linked below calls 'solar spirituality' that excludes the inevitable darkness of human experience where people bask 'in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality."

Everything that Jim Baker did or said in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' when he adopted the names Father Yod and Yahowha was to be seen as having been 'channeled by God', and therefore his followers believed he could do no harm and that everything he did or said was considered to be 'wisdom'.  My feeling is that any former Source Family member who continues to defend and excuse the sexual misconduct and abuses that went on, who refuse to acknowledge the deviant sexual practice that Jim Baker imposed on his entire group of followers was unhealthy and an abuse of his power where everyone who followed the man contributed to enabling his behavior over forty years ago----are continuing to enable that kind of behavior by promoting an idealized mythos around Jim Baker and hiding and covering up anything they know the public would find disturbing.  A few former diehard members vehemently defend the sexual misconduct of their 'divine' spiritual leader, Father Yod/Yahowha and the sexual grooming of young women that went on in The Source Family saying, "people wouldn't understand, because they weren't there.".  A few former diehard members vehemently either deny or just ignore there was any wrongdoing on the part of their beloved 'earthly spiritual father' when his spiritual directive was against anyone seeking medical help for their babies or small children, which resulted in the deaths of some infants---instead portraying it as something that 'just happened', during the normal course of life giving no explanation why those babies never received any kind of medical treatment that might have saved their lives.  A couple of former members have done a very good job in presenting a carefully sanitized and idealized narrative omitting anything they feel the general public should never know about, in order to gather/gain their own followers by presenting an idealized portrayal of life in The Source Family---which helps a few former members who still maintain their 'aquarian' persona to continue feeling 'special and chosen' for their loyalty and obedience to Jim Baker.

Something else that I see as spiritual pathology is how people have become obsessed with becoming 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' claiming to have 'gone into the light' just as Buddha and Jesus were to have done.  In The Source Family, it was always an enviable place for anyone to claim their 'kundalini had risen' and they had 'gone into the light'----something that has become an obsession with some people seeking a profound spiritual experience.  But, the search for spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment has resulted in people often following unhealthy, abusive and dangerous practices such as completely shunning the use of modern medicine or medical treatment and relying on only chanting, visualization, affirmations and crystals.

The quotes below are from a wonderful and insightful article written by Carolyn Baker (ha ha, of all last names) that I just found that basically confirms and substantiates what I also believe to be true of the 'new age', spiritual movement that has been taking place since the late sixties/early seventies.

"After many years of immersion in New Age spirituality, at the age of 40 my life fell apart as a result of my shadow blind spots. I subsequently entered Jungian depth therapy, and as I persevered in it, I quickly came to understand the extent to which my reliance on New Age spirituality had served to mask my pain and obscure the deep childhood wounds I needed to attend to in order to experience the wholeness for which I longed. My obsession with positive thinking and attempting to manifest a pain-free life had fostered within me an ego-inflation that was rapidly de-flated as I became more familiar with the ugly, obnoxious aspects of my shadow." (excerpt from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-baker/in-the-shadow-of-new-age-_1_b_9032460.html).

"I soon realized that solar spirituality, focused primarily on the light, offered a dubious peace of mind at the expense of familiarity with my deepest humanity and the human condition at large. In fact, I came to understand that addiction to positive thinking precariously ignores the dark side of humanity and in doing so, conceals the shadow of manipulation, abuse of power, self-righteous arrogance, and compulsive control that lurk beneath the still waters of “living in the light.” 

".....that authentic spirituality requires consciously accepting and relating properly to the shadow as opposed to repressing, projecting, acting out and remaining naively unconscious of its repudiated, denied, disavowed contents, a sort of precarious pseudo-spirituality." 

"Thus engaging in meticulous and astringent shadow work is a moral and spiritual imperative. Moreover, in situations of ghastly abuse as we witness in the sordid saga of Marc Gafni, a host of enablers always encircle the perpetrator. He would not have been able to continue his devastating sexual behavior without the likes of Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton fluffing pillows and making tea for him. The Gafni scandal reveals nothing if not the grotesque head and monstrous appendages of the human shadow writ large across the entire New Age movement, intoxicated with the Kool Aid of solar spirituality. Overwhelmingly, the New Age movement and the spiritual guru system is in abject denial of the shadow, and until it confronts its shadow, we can expect to see lives and communities ravaged by the darkness ignored while spiritual celebrities bask in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality." 

"....the full truth of this situation needs to be surfaced, witnessed and addressed, not just for the sake of those involved but for the sake of our whole movement so that we may do collective shadow work and face the abuse of power that too often happens under the guise of spiritual teaching.”

"In any event, until individuals on a spiritual path have done deep shadow work, they are highly susceptible to being blinded to it by solar spirituality, making themselves vulnerable to taking advantage of others or being taken advantage by them. One of the risks and liabilities of solar spirituality is that it makes us prey to exploitation and abuse and also increases our own potential for becoming a perpetrator of abuse."

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Euphoric Recall

Euphoric recall is a psychological term for the tendency of people to remember past experiences in a positive light, while overlooking negative experiences associated with that event (Wikipedia).  The term euphoric recall best describes what some former Source Family members exhibit when recounting and recalling their experiences.  I understand why some former members want to cling to the past fervently wanting to only believe that Jim Baker was a wise and loving 'holy man' and that the lifestyle within The Source Family was 'ahead of its time', healthy and magical, because accepting the truth and reality about the whole thing creates a cognitive dissonance that is just too much for some former members to bear.  There are some who just do not want to accept the fact that a man who presented himself as being a wise and loving man of God became consumed with having sex with the majority of women in the cloistered and close-knit group that he gathered around himself.  Some just do not want to accept the fact that The Source Family failed, because it was an authoritarian cult around the personality of Jim Baker, who controlled, directed and expected group compliance and obedience to his commandments where a group hysteria took over where everyone was expected to constantly elevate, praise and worship Jim Baker (even chant his name), and where the man's ego grew to such an extent that he believed God had directed him to create a new Aquarian race of children beginning with his own sperm, which for him meant having sex with prospective 'mothers' of his Aquarian progeny.  So, in Jim Baker's 'spiritual' family; he began to cast his eyes around for any new prospective females who would help him fulfill his deluded prophesy of him creating a new Aquarian race.

I watched the film The Tale the other night about a woman finally coming to grips with being sexually seduced by a 40 year old man when she was thirteen years old.  But, the film wasn't just about the sexual abuse of a child; it was also about how we often block out certain memories replacing them with only glorified ones in a euphoric recall. The adult woman in The Tale didn't want to allow herself to believe that she had been victimized by a much older man, when she was thirteen years old, claiming instead that it was the 1970's and that was just how it was back then--- the same explanation given in the 2012 film, by one of Jim Baker's more ardent remaining male followers.  But, fast forward over 40 years later and one of the women who joined The Source Family when she was thirteen years old told me not long ago that Jim Baker had 'raped her and ruined her life', and yet she will never publicly tell her story, because of the embarrassment, shame and guilt that many women feel worried about how they will be perceived as being complicit in the abuse---something that keeps women from speaking out about sexual abuse suffered at the hands of men who use their positions of power, authority, and leadership to take sexual advantage of women around them.  Although, the biggest reason that women who were in The Source Family remain silent is because of how former members are demonized and censured for not adhering to an idealized and romanticized narrative and who no longer hero worship Jim Baker.  Sadly, a few of the women who joined The Source Family when they were very young have chosen to cling to a more idealized and romanticized narrative about what happened to them, rather than admit they were sexually taken advantage of by an older man who professed being their loving 'spiritual father' who expressed a great love for them, because what young woman doesn't want to be made to feel 'special' and 'chosen'.  The reality of what happened to some of the young women who were only teenagers when they allowed Jim Baker to sexually penetrate them on a regular basis and how it later impacted their adult lives is very similar to what happened in the film The Tale.

I understand how difficult it is to accept the truth of what happened to some of the women who were teenagers when they joined The Source Family and Jim Baker began to groom them to not only be sexually open and available to him, but to other men within the group, as well---men that he called 'his sons'. That was the message that Jim Baker was sending to 'his sons'/the men in the group: that a woman's role was to be sexually submissive to a man and age didn't seem to matter.  Behind the appearance or guise of being an enlightened man who had been specifically chosen by God to father in the new Aquarian age, Jim Baker used his power and position as the 'spiritual' leader of The Source Family to have sex with as many of the women within the group, as he possibly could.  It became part of everyday life in The Source Family---waiting to see which woman Father Yod would add to his ever-increasing stable of 'spiritual wives' continually attaching some kind of divine or sacred 'spiritual' meaning and significance to all of his actions (something that every spiritual or self-help guru does), and to have it be seen as some kind of honor or privilege to have sex with the man.  Jim Baker actually believed that he was elevating sex to a higher level when he ordered/directed all of the women and men to perform a sexual ritual that he'd gotten from reading occult books by Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn, but the truth and reality behind Jim Baker's delusional beliefs about sex was that he ended up abusing his position of authority and power, as a 'spiritual' teacher, by controlling the sex lives of all of his followers particularly some of the teenage women.  Which makes it even sadder how some former members from The Source Family continue to try and attach some kind of sacredness to the sexual ritual and beliefs of Jim Baker that he imposed on his followers, because rather than sex being an individual choice and decision; all of the men and women who had become willing and devoted students of the man were expected to follow and obey his directives.  Ordering women to perform sex with the men was something that Jim Baker had no hesitation in doing, because like so many other spiritual and self-help gurus around even today like the leader of NXIVM; they hide their sexual misconduct and abuses behind a smokescreen of 'spiritual' wisdom or knowledge.  Jim Baker didn't expect women to be physically branded with his initials like what was done to some women in NXIVM, but he did attach a familial label to every woman in The Source Family referring to them as either 'his wives' or  'his daughters' around the illusion of him/Father Yod being their loving and benevolent father figure directing his loyal and obedient children to adhere to and follow his 'aquarian commandments', and ordering the women within The Source Family to sexually service the men by performing a ritual which Jim Baker said would result in 'magical' and 'mystical' powers was an abuse of his power being the 'spiritual' teacher or leader of the group, because it robbed all of us/his loyal followers from making our own individual choices and decisions.  But, more than anything Jim Baker should never have used his power and position as the father figure and 'spiritual' leader of The Source Family to have sex with teenage women or attempt to impregnate any of them.  That's the difference between being in a cult where the leader decides and makes all of the decisions about how members will conduct themselves in every regard, and simply being in a commune or communal living situation where there is no one leader deciding how everyone should dress, eat and behave.  Any group with one central leader who has been deified and elevated to a heightened vaingloriousness of being in possession of some kind of supreme knowledge or wisdom, becomes the perfect setting for sexual misconduct and abuse, as we've seen over, and over again in our culture.

The following statement is from a review about The Tale which I believe applies to what happened to some in The Source Family; "Ultimately, where the film is truly challenging, and potentially controversial for some, is in the way it questions the nature of victimhood, and how young women, longing to feel loved and desired, and needing to assert agency for their actions, effectively collaborate in their own abuse and its covering-up. That doesn't mean we should blame the victims or exonerate any of the adults involved, but Fox's film does illustrate how complex and nuanced these situations can be, especially when they took place in the aftermath of the counterculture's reframing of sexual norms. Just saying "It was the '70s" doesn't let anyone off the hook, but it does contextualize a set of permissive-to-the-point-of-lax attitudes toward child sexuality." 

Yes, during the seventies there were a lot of young women who left their homes often searching for the love and acceptance they felt was lacking in their lives, and so when the spiritual leader of a seemingly 'new age' group convinces them they have been chosen by God to help him herald in the new 'aquarian age' espousing how much he loved, cherished and valued all women---it was very alluring.  The whole hippie culture of sexual liberation and freedom of expression through 'sex, drugs and rock and roll' during the sixties and early seventies was a powerful attraction for many people, who during that time were also looking for like-minded individuals who shared a vision of peace and love that many believed their parent's generation lacked.  Jim Baker, a WWII veteran and family man left his wife and family for greener pastures decided that God had chosen him to become the father of a new Aquarian race, and so having sex with and impregnating some of the young women who joined his 'aquarian family' made perfect sense to him.  After all, Jim Baker believed that he had elevated sex to a 'higher' more enlightened 'spiritual' level and making each woman presented before him to feel uniquely special and chosen by him is why some of those women still cling to the belief that they found true love in Jim Baker, and that he only wanted to protect them----especially from the lust of men outside of The Source Family---a subject that Jim Baker talked about all of the time.  It began with a big, warm bear hug from the man, but soon went from hugs and kisses and long embraces with Jim Baker, to convincing women that having sex with him was part of their spiritual growth.  The fact that Jim Baker had a wife, Robin Baker made no difference whatsoever because he believed that God had chosen him to 'father' or usher in the new Aquarian age and impregnating women other than his wife, Robin became part of that plan. 
 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/tale-review-1076440

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Box

I read a Vice article today where a woman who survived Jonestown recounted some of her memories and experiences.  One of her statements really jumped out at me when she referred to what was called 'the box', which was a 6 x 4 x 3 plywood box where adults considered to have 'disciplinary problems' were placed.  Followers of Jim Jones also called him 'Father', the same as Source Family members called Jim Baker.  Similarly, a plywood box was also used in The Source Family as a disciplinary measure, but children were put into that box, not adults.  A few of the women who had small children, while in 'the family' have expressed to me how upsetting 'the box' was to have their child placed in it and how that was something they thought was wrong.  But, again as I've written about many times---that's what happens in a cult:  people surrender and go against their own moral feelings and beliefs to obediently follow and obey their cult leader's, who is perceived to be 'spiritually superior'.  Putting children who were 'acting out' into a plywood box, in order to get them to behave was either Jim Baker's idea, or perhaps one of the women whom he appointed to 'the council'.  The council, as it was called consisted of several of the women, whom Jim Baker had decided to sexually penetrate and then claimed to be 'one of his women'----a position that gave some women a sense of power and control within the social order of 'the family'.  So, it was decided that children who exhibited behavorial problems such as not doing as they were told or who exhibited excessive crying were placed into 'the box', until they calmed down and became compliant and apologetic for their behavior, because Jim Baker believed that children were 'little animals'.  I have stated before that I didn't like that damn box and thought it was a cruel and scary form of behavior control to use on children, but my son was only an infant, during the times that 'the box' was utilized both at The Father House in LA and again at the Hilo Country Club on the Big Island.  In the hot, humid conditions of Hawaii, I do not think it would have been very comfortable being placed into a plywood box.

But, that's the kind of thing that diehard followers of Father Yod/Yahowha choose to omit from their idealized fairy tale narrative saying how wonderful and ideal life was within The Source Family, and how 'ahead of its time' and 'aquarian' the lifestyle was.....hardly.  Placing small children into a plywood box as a disciplinary measure is hardly 'ahead of its time' or 'aquarian', and yet it's one of the things that went on in 'the family' that some want to keep hidden from view and kept secret, or at best have some kind of 'spiritual' meaning or purpose attached to the many unhealthy and detrimental things that took place within The Source Family, under the direction and complete control of our 'spiritual' leader.

My recent post comparing Jim Baker's predatory sexual behavior towards the women in The Source Family, to that of Harvey Weinstein really caused an uproar among a few of Father Yod/Yahowha's most entrenched devotees.  I was accused by one former male 'family' member for betraying a vow that he claims everyone took in The Source Family not to divulge Jim Baker's deviant sexual ritual called qudosh that he imposed on the entire group.  I never took any vow of silence to never speak about qudosh, but that is the lame argument that a few diehards are using, in defense of one of Jim Baker's most disturbing 'teachings' in a desperate attempt to try and silence, shame or intimidate other former family members from speaking out.  Any former member who falsely claims that 'we all took a vow of silence' never to reveal the practice of qudosh are terrified that their friends, family members and co-workers will find out what was really going on within The Source Family and that it wasn't the cool, rock and roll 'new age' utopian ideal which has been presented to the public.  Using a quote that I just saw on a website where a husband and follower of Yogi Bhajan wrote about how his wife had to endure years of sexual demands and abuse at the hands of one of Bhajan's 'teachers'; which reads: "I'd rather be hated for telling the truth, than loved for telling a lie"----that's exactly how I feel about exposing qudosh and the truth about many other things that went on within The Source Family, that some would rather be kept buried and hidden in the past.

Hide, deny or obfuscate---those are the ploys that a small handful of diehard Father Yod/Yahowha followers are using, because admitting the truth and accepting the fact that those of us who found ourselves in The Source Family cult for years willingly participated in what now the majority of former members realize was textbook cult behavior is just too much for some to bear, and the reality flies in the face of those who want to cling to their delusional belief that Jim Baker was 'spiritually' superior or an enlightened 'new age' avatar which includes themselves---a delusional belief they've clung to for the past forty years.  As I've stated before, most people would never want to admit they were in a cult, much less that the cult leader imposed a sexual ritual on all of his followers or allowed babies to die without medical treatment of any kind.  Honestly, I get it.....who would want to admit to being part of something that became harmful and deleterious to the health, well-being and safety of babies, small children and women---who were the ones that suffered the most under the so-called 'teachings' and directives of Jim Baker.  But, hiding or denying the truth doesn't help the victims of abuse, no matter how long ago it happened.

I wanted to end this blog post by including a link to a very concise and comprehensive assessment of cults which describes different kinds of cults and their power structures and most importantly why people find themselves unable to leave a cultic group.  The article describes perfectly the kind(s) of cult The Source Family was: a combination of an Eastern/New Age/Occult/Cult of Personality, since it contained elements of four of the cults that are described.  Especially for any former Source Family members who are reading this and who are continuing to try and make sense/understand why they stayed/remained in The Source Family for as long as they did, even after realizing that much of what Jim Baker was 'teaching' and extolling was either unhealthy or detrimental to the health and well-being of themselves and their children---I strongly encourage them to read the section Bounded Choice:  The True Believer's Predicament that explains why people find it difficult to leave a cult, after adopting what's described in the article as, "the transcendent belief system" or ideology of the cult leader, because it provides answers to why so many of us remained in The Source Family for as long as we did.

"Most importantly, cover-ups and whitewashing won’t help former cult members evaluate or recover from their experiences in a whole and healthful manner."

http://cultresearch.org/cults-today-new-social-psychological-perspective/

Sunday, October 22, 2017

An Aquarian Harvey Weinstein

Sadly, the case of Harvey Weinstein using his position of power and influence in Hollywood to sexually harass, abuse and take advantage of women around him did not come as a surprise.  The women who have finally decided to come forward with their stories about Harvey Weinstein reminds me though, of all of the women who were in The Source Family, who have chosen to remain silent and never come forward or publicly talk about the sexual abuse they suffered and endured in the hands of a man who saw himself as their spiritual 'father' and who used his position of 'spiritual' power to initiate sex with most all of the females who populated The Source Family at one time or another.  As in the case of Harvey Weinstein, it was also an open secret within The Source Family that Jim Baker initiated sex with one woman after the next, and also like Harvey Weinstein, Jim Baker was often naked and wanted women to give him a massage, and the same 'wall of secrecy' has surrounded revealing the extent of Jim Baker's sexual abuse of women---the same secrecy that surrounded Harvey Weinstein's behavior.  There are still some former Source Family members who want to maintain a 'wall of secrecy' especially about the sexual ritual called qudosh that was adopted by Jim Baker that he imposed on all of the women within 'the family' with the expectation for them to perform with the men or 'sons' in the family.  For me, it is tragic to see former Source Family members continue to defend and explain away Jim Baker's sexual predilection for grooming very young women to engage in sexual relationships with him and/or his 'sons'.

One woman like me who also spent years in The Source Family told me about the time that she went to 'Father Yod's' bedroom upstairs at The Father House seeking advice or solace about one of the men/'sons', and as soon as she sat down/lay down next to him (Jim Baker was often reclining or sitting in his room surrounded by women); he began kissing her and trying to initiate sex with her....much to her surprise and horror, because there were other women present in the room.....but, that never made any difference to 'Father Yod', because he touted that it was 'Aquarian' where women should be able to lower their inhibitions and engage in 'sex magic' with him in the presence of others.  The woman who recounted this episode to me, said that 'Father Yod's' advances made her so uncomfortable, and there was no way that she wanted to have sex with him, so she made up a reason to excuse herself from the room.  But, that was not the only story that women have shared with me about how 'Father Yod' initiated sex with them; others have told me how, "they never wanted to have sex with him....that sex with him was the last thing they wanted to do", but it was what was expected of them, and so Jim Baker was able to live out his sexual fantasies within his own 'Aquarian' cult he called a 'family', by imposing 'sex magic' as the most important of his made-up-along-the-way faux 'spiritual teachings'.

Those former members who continue to exalt and deify Jim Baker like to say that women were drawn to 'Father Yod' and physically attracted to him, because he was the most 'powerful' and 'magnetic' male and how women were always attracted to the most powerful men---a subject that Jim Baker would also constantly talk about.  But, the reality was that many of the women who Jim Baker sexually groomed were not physically attracted to him and only submitted, because he said it was necessary for their 'spiritual' growth.  Sexual abuse in the form of a loving, caring and 'spiritual' father figure.

The same scenario played out again and again in The Source Family where 'Father Yod' would either summon a woman to his room, or wait until they were alone with him and his 'other women' where he would invariably try to initiate sex; something that became part of the culture within The Source Family' and normalized as being acceptable behavior---the same thing that happened within Harvey Weinstein's companies.  Again, some former members will try and say that it was the 'women' who initiated sex with 'Father Yod' and that it was always consensual sex, but the culture that Jim Baker had created and nurtured within his 'family' was one where sex played a significant and major role, and the women were pressured by a group compliance that took hold, and were expected to be willing and receptive whenever 'Father Yod' ordered them to perform the sexual ritual qudosh----a debased sexual ritual based on some deviant and erroneous occult belief of Aleister Crowley's and adopted by Jim Baker, who believed that a woman was like the moon----barren and dark needing to have her cup filled by a 'sun/son' of 'Yahowha' which was an occult analogy of men ejaculating into a woman's vagina and 'filling her cup'.  The practice of qudosh (something which most ALL the women from 'the family' agree was disgusting) that was imposed by 'Father Yod' is the main reason that former members would rather maintain a 'wall of silence', but it is also the same kind of delusional belief that some former members are still trying to foist upon new followers, which is difficult for me to see happening.  I've read/seen where a couple of men are claiming to be 'second generation' Source Family members, after being handed out or choosing for themselves an 'Aquarian Source Family' name saying how they are part of some 'initiatory circle'.  It's time that the truth is told, in order to stop perpetuating sexual abuse veiled as being occult or esoteric 'secrets' and exposed for the mistreatment and abuse of women that it was.

Harvey Weinstein's case is shining a huge Hollywood spotlight on the culture of men using their power, fame and fortune to extort sexual favors from the women around them, and Jim Baker was no different----he just hid behind the persona of being a 'spiritual father and teacher' who claimed he had returned to earth to gather his children and spread his teachings about the 'new age' and create the 'Aquarian race', and being the owner of a very successful vegetarian restaurant and looking the part of a modern day Moses/he used the profits from his restaurant to support and finance his own 'family' or cult of personality.  Because very shortly after the formation of Jim Baker's family cult, he began grooming one of the first young women (a teenager) to help him fulfill his misguided vision that he was supposed to create the 'Aquarian race'.  I really wish that other women would come forward to share their stories like I have done, rather than remaining silent in fear of being judged or looked down upon by those fervid former members who insist that airing the 'dirty laundry' of The Source Family should not be done.  Just like women in Harvey Weinstein's company who were expected to maintain silence, and who suffered from various forms of PTSD, there are many women who had sexually abusive experiences in The Source Family and are expected to maintain silence.

I have written before, about how shocked I was when one woman who had joined The Source Family when she was a teenager stated to me that Jim Baker had, "raped her and ruined her life."  I was actually stunned when she said that to me, because I had shared/swapped stories with many other 'sisters'/women from the family, but no one had ever come out and said that she had been raped.  But, that woman will never come forward or openly tell her story, because of the pressure and judgmental attitude of other former members who believe that we should remain silent about 'Father Yod's' sexual activities and just leave it in the past.  Some women do not want to be seen as a 'traitor' by openly revealing how they may have suffered, while in The Source Family.  But, as for me; I don't give a damn about trying to maintain some kind of phony hero worship of Jim Baker or promoting The Source Family as being some kind of example of healthy 'new age' living.

Several years ago there was a private website meant only for former 'Source Family' members where the two people administering to the site had become 'spiritual' surrogates of 'Yahowha' tried to get former members on the site to agree to 'stick to the same script', which meant agreeing on the same idealized and sanitized storyline which left out anything that some regard as the 'dirty laundry' of The Source Family.  This was just before the film came out in 2012.  I was even verbally chastised by one of the producers of the film for speaking out and not toeing-the-source-family-line which she believed was to maintain and promote some imaginary 'Source Family values', because there are some who basically 'drank the Kool-Aid' about Father Yod and think/believe that former members like me should adhere to only 'positive' statements about the experience---one that leaves out the darker and more disturbing aspects like babies dying without medical attention or the most important of Jim Baker's delusional 'teachings' which involved ingesting the menstrual blood of women!  How could anyone leave those two very important elements out of the story of The Source Family??!!

Since The Source Family ended/disbanded after Jim Baker died, I have stayed in contact and reconnected with many women from the cult, and I have never had a conversation with one of them where Father Yod hadn't sexually penetrated them or continually tried, it became a common theme among all of the women who populated The Source Family, just as in the case of Harvey Weinstein and the women who were in his company.  Although, there are still a few women who cherish the sexual relationship they had with Jim Baker and continue to exalt in his memory.  Jim Baker relied on the loyalty and commitment of the 'sons' and 'daughters' who surrounded him, which were the familial terms that he used for all of the men and women who comprised his pseudo family, and expecting women to perform 'sex magic' with him helped him to maintain his power and control.  Many gurus and 'spiritual teachers' had done exactly the same thing as Jim Baker, although most of the time it was kept hidden from view.  Just like Harvey Weinstein, gurus and 'spiritual' teachers have used their perceived power and influence to take sexual advantage of the people around them.  It's something that has been going on historically for a very, very long time and more than not, is seen as acceptable even normal behavior, or at best something to never be spoken of.  It's still a sad state of affairs, how men like Harvey Weinstein and Jim Baker believed that their elevated status and positions of power automatically meant that women should be receptive to their sexual advances and so they would continually seize every opportunity to satisfy their own carnal needs and desires.

I was recently contacted by a young woman, who had gotten involved with a guy whose parents claimed to have been in The Source Family, and soon found herself caught up in a sordid threesome forced to perform qudosh with a couple of guys who wanted to practice the deviant sexual ritual that Jim Baker had adopted from Aleister Crowley and touted as being a 'sacred occult teaching'.  The young woman was finally able to escape the situation, but feeling traumatized by the experience she began searching online about The Source Family and found my blog and reached out to me asking for help in understanding and making sense of what had happened to her.  The young woman felt that she had been sexually abused by two men who took advantage of her free-spirited, loving and giving female nature (the same loving, free-spirited nature that many young women had during The Source Family) and expected her to perform the sexual ritual of qudosh with both of them!  It was the same kind of deviant sexual practice that Jim Baker had expected women in 'the family' to perform with multiple men/'sons'.  In wanting to regain her own personal power and to try and make sense of what she had experienced, the young woman began searching online and found me, and so I will continue in my efforts to expose the sexual abuse of women that was hidden behind a veil or smokescreen of being 'sacred, occult teachings' which Jim Baker imposed on his cult followers back in the 70's.