Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Horrible Secret

Jim Baker aka Father Yod believed that we all possess a soul or spirit which only occupies the human body, a belief found in many Eastern philosophies and so because of his belief in this; he constantly 'taught' or spoke about how death should be viewed as 'a release' or a 'liberation' of the soul or spirit from the physical plane, and should also be welcomed, as he believed it would also give the soul an opportunity to view it's 'river of life' before it passed on or was reincarnated into another body or even to another plane of existence.  That is what Father Yod believed; that death should be seen and viewed as something to embrace and even looked forward to, and so he taught that death and dying was a welcome relief from this physical existence.  He even believed that everyone in The Source Family when they died would be reborn on the star or planet of Sirius, to be reunited there with him.  This belief in the soul/spirit being set free or liberated by death became the pervading belief within The Source Family.  So, when two infants who were born at The Father House in Los Angeles began to show signs of distress and needing medical attention, it came as no surprise that Father Yod saw the prospect of either of them leaving the body ie dying; an acceptable alternative.  Father Yod believed that the souls or spirits of these infants would either make the choice whether to remain in their bodies; or 'leave their bodies' to have their souls or spirits reborn at a future date.  So, the normal responses when an infant shows signs of needing medical help or attention were not present, due to the belief system of Father Yod.  Because Father Yod did not believe in The Source Family members using any outside medical treatment and that if it resulted in death; then that would be seen and viewed as a liberation for that soul.  That was the belief system which Father Yod put into place in The Source Family, and that was the belief system which ended up costing the lives of two infants.  But, those infant deaths have all but been ignored during the retelling of the story and in the many interviews that have been given in the frenzied media coverage surrounding Father Yod and The Source Family, after the film that was made. The deaths of two infants who did not receive any medical attention and who died due to the erroneous and harmful edict of Father Yod is something that is severely underplayed, in the hopes by some that it will be forgotten.  So it is those tiny skeletons in the source family closet which is the most horrible secret of the entire story, one that those former family members who are promoting Father Yod and Source Family products and merchandise would rather the public not ever know about.  But, my feeling is that finally once and for all it needs to be told; in order to prevent anyone from following or adopting any of the so-called 'teachings' of Father Yod,  It is also the number one reason why I will never condone the push to promote or sell Jim Baker aka Father Yod as being either a hero or a holy man.  It is time that the truth comes out about how two infants died, because they were denied medical treatment by their parents who were under the 'spell' or 'brainwashing' of Father Yod and his detrimental and deluded belief system that the 'family members' not seek or use modern medicine.  Somewhere on a hillside in Los Angeles near what was The Father House, though; are buried two tiny casualties of Father Yod's Source Family.  Also, to add insult to injury; Father Yod even banished one of the mothers to a tent on the grounds where ants would soon envelope her infant; because he didn't want to be disturbed by the incessant crying of that infant.  The other woman whose infant died just languished and suffered in misery, clutching and holding her baby until his last breath.  Both of those children would have been my own son's age, by now; had they received medical treatment and given a chance to survive.  But that didn't happen, and their story has all but been forgotten in the fevered desire of some to make Father Yod and The Source Family into a household name as being an example of healthy, enlightened living representative of the 'New Age' of an Aquarian lifestyle and values.  I think not.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cult or Religion?

The actions of one man or woman who is seen as a spiritual teacher, guru or master can have an extremely deleterious effect on an entire group of people, as history has shown over and over again.  It is my opinion, that when people start to believe that another person possesses superior wisdom or love surpassing all others, and then begins to follow that person in a worshipful, devoted way heeding every word spoken as being tantamount to a 'sermon on the mount', believing that person to be imbued with wisdom surpassing all others; it's a short step to becoming either a cult or a religion.  In the case of The Source Family, all of the fawning adoration and pandering showered upon Jim Baker quickly morphed into a textbook cult situation, and there still remain devoted followers of Jim Baker aka Father Yod  aka Yahowha to this day; to the degree that some continue to chant his name and believe that he communicates with them from beyond the grave.  But, no one wants to commit a transgression of any kind towards a person who they saw as being their spiritual leader and teacher, whom they came to love and admire so ardently.  Although, I was in The Source Family for six long years and tried to believe in and follow Jim Baker, and see him as some kind of holy, saint-like person; the reality was that I could not.  I only ever saw just a man, who became convinced by the adoring men and women surrounding him that he was God; a result best described in a phrase that I recently heard described as 'a cascade of narcissism.'  I have also tried multiple times to salvage any good or positive aspects from being in The Source Family; especially any true 'wisdom' that I might have attained by following and obeying Jim Baker, but I have found that I cannot rectify anything 'good' from the experience, without ignoring and turning a blind eye to all of the detrimental things that went on in The Source Family, under the watchful eye and direction of our self-proclaimed earthly spiritual father, Jim Baker. But, unlike some former Source Family members, I cannot excuse or exempt him from any culpability.  Some former members believe that by attaching some kind of magical or spiritual meaning or significance to Jim Baker's questionable edicts and behaviors; that would somehow exalt him into sainthood, rather than merely being seen as 'just a man.'  Yet, some people continue to believe that Jim Baker was a very holy man and that he continues to influence and lead them in their lives today.  But, isn't that how religions are born? Isn't seeing one man as your savior and the wisest of the wise with the exalted feelings of hero-worship and continued unwavering adoration and exaltation of one man how all religions began? It is my feeling that when people chose magical thinking over reason and logic, that is where religion begins and reality and common sense end; which is what some of the more zealous believers who were in The Source Family are choosing to embrace.  Some people would like to turn following Father Yod/Yahowha into some kind of 'new age' religion and convince people that he left behind a legacy worthy of the continued attention of future generations.  But I realized that nothing that he taught or adopted as 'his teachings' was anything that I had not already heard before, to be found in the exact same occult books available to everyone that Jim Baker had read and used.  All of the ceremonial magic and sayings that Father Yod extolled had been adopted, taken from another source.  Anyone could have easily accessed the exact same kind of 'wisdom' or knowledge that Jim Baker was deemed to possess, on their own; that we none of us had to follow him down the rabbit hole, in order to gain any of the insights or so-called 'wisdom teachings' that many wanted to believe Jim Baker was the sole author. What I am saying is this: that there was nothing extraordinary, enlightened or holy about Jim Baker; but what those people surrounding him wanted to attribute and attach to him.  I believe that many of us have had moments of complete clarity and comprehension about the universe; profound realizations and epiphanies about our own existence; about why any of us are here, and especially about the power of love and kindness; I also believe that many already had degrees of wisdom, insight or knowledge before they decided to follow Jim Baker or adopt him as being their earthly spiritual father; but by his taking on that mantle of leadership that his ego eagerly embraced; he soon began to believe himself to be a great and wise spiritual teacher, even God.  But, it didn't stop there; he soon began to believe that in his role of spiritual father or leader; that he was supposed to create a super race of 'Aquarian' children; and so he began grooming the young women who had been attracted to joining 'the family.'  His desire to father a super race began very early on in 'the family', but continued throughout the duration of the group which thankfully resulted in only three babies being born to different women, rather than dozens.  Also, where many of us who decided to join The Brotherhood of The Source had already been living 'hippie' lifestyles and had experienced communal living in the sixties; we believed or thought that we would experience the same sort of harmonious individuation, but soon found that the entire Source Family dynamic revolved around one man....and that was Jim Baker; and a sycophantic pandering and seeking of position began, where the gaining of attention and favor of this one man would supersede everything else.  It is my belief, that Jim Baker succumbed to his own egoic and sexual desires and very quickly the early idealism of The Brotherhood of The Source began to resemble 'a family' alright; although more like a mafia family where all pandering and deference was paid to the 'godfather', where everyone sought an audience with the 'godfather' and payed homage to him; some seeking a position of power and favor which created the perfect setting for power plays and exploitation by those seeking to gain either control or power within the group; which is exactly what happened in The Source Family.  One person insinuated themselves into gaining a position of having access to the group's finances and embezzled thousands of dollars, before leaving!  Another person began her acquisition and accumulation of any and everything of material value brought into 'the family', and kept and used to her own advantage.  The Source Family deteriorated into a cult of personality that revolved around the constant attention, supplication and adoration of Jim Baker, accompanied by the squeals of his 'women' and the chanting of his name.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Songs of Breath


When the entire Source Family moved to San Francisco in 1975, some went out trying to make money any way they could.  Tim Garon started singing and playing with a couple of other musicians; Les Adam aka Rhythm and Alicia Previn aka Lovely.  Like Tim, Les Adam was also an extremely prolific songwriter, and so they began playing and singing together performing both Tim's songs and Les's.  Alicia played violin and provided background vocals.  The three of them would play on street corners and parks busking for money, along with selling jars of honey.  When Jim Baker heard the three of them together, he saw a moneymaking opportunity and decided to add the drummer and bass player from Yahowa 13 to create another in-house band called Breath.  Breath rehearsed and recorded in the basement of the old Atherton Mansion, where the entire family was living at the time.  A couple of A&R guys had been solicited to come to the house and listen to Breath, in the hopes of securing a recording contract.  But, after Father Yod was told by A&M Records that they would only be willing to sign recording contracts with the individual band members and not with The Source Family; he put the kibosh on the whole thing.  Most people would wonder why the band members wouldn't have gone ahead and signed a record deal!  But, you see this is the degree of indoctrination or brainwashing that happens within cults; where individuals stop making their own rational choices and decisions, in order to obey those of their cult leader; which is exactly what happened.  Tim and Les lost what might have been a wonderful opportunity in their lives, by submitting to the decision of their 'earthly spiritual father'; a man who maintained a tight control and dominance over every single major decision in the lives of the people in his 'family' which in the case of Breath meant giving up a recording contract with A&M Records!  Who does that kind of thing?  Who fiddles with and interferes with individual lives; because they believe they are a great, spiritual master or 'father', in the case of Jim Baker.  I use the term 'father' loosely, because a real father would have wanted to see his children succeed and prosper, even if perhaps it meant them leaving the 'family'; but no, Jim Baker did not want to lose control of a resource that he might be able to exploit at a future date.  So, Tim, Les and Lovely acquiesced to the decision made by Father Yod, because he would have rather seen them singing and playing on street corners selling honey, rather than having a recording contract.  Breath performed in public a few times, and they were featured in a Christmas special that was done in 1975 at a local television station in Hawaii (that video clip plays during the credit roll of the 2012 documentary), and in 1976 they also opened for Sly and The Family Stone at a Diamond Head Crater Festival.  Although, none of the original master recordings of Breath survived and the band just became a footnote in the music that was produced during The Source Family; a couple of cassette tapes of Breath did survive; although the sound quality is subpar, I've included a few of those tracks.  I would also like to add that I have never been allowed to have a copy of the Christmas special video to have for Tim Garon's son (our son) to have of his Dad performing; because the person who has the video in their possession refuses to allow me to have a copy out of spite.
A photo of Tim Garon, Alicia Previn and Les Adam standing in front of the fireplace at The Atherton Manse in San Francisco, Ca 1975.
Photo of the in-house band called Breath taken in the basement of The Atherton Mansion circa 1975 in San Francisco, during what was the only recording session of the band, who were making a demo to present to record companies in the hopes of securing a recording contract for the band.  Breath performed the songs of both Tim Garon and Les Adam.  Left to right featured Les Adam (Rhythm) on lead guitar & lead vocals, Patrick Burke (Sunflower) standing at the back on bass guitar, Chris Johnson (Octavius) on drums, Alicia Previn (Lovely) on violin & backup vocals, and Tim Garon on rhythm guitar and lead vocals.
Breath during what was their one and only recording session taken in the basement of The Atherton Mansion San Francisco circa 1975.
This photo shows Tim Garon in the foreground bedecked in tinsel, along with Patrick Burke behind him. 
The above photos were taken in 1976 when Breath opened for Sly and The Family Stone at a Diamond Head Crater Festival; I believe it was New Year's day.  Les Adam (Rhythm) is seen in the forefront on lead guitar and vocals performing one of his songs, and Tim Garon (Aladdin, Hom) is seen off to his left (facing the photo), and Patrick Burke (Sunflower) on bass guitar seen behind Les.

Obedience and Submission

The biggest regret that I have from being in The Source Family was when I had to submit to registering my son's name on his birth certificate as being Heavy Aquarian, along with not being allowed to put down his own father's name, Tim Garon.  This was because all the women who had recently given birth in the group (1974), were made to apply for birth certificates for our babies on Kauai using the last name Aquarian, so that the women could apply for welfare assistance to bring in more money for the group.  It was something that did not sit well with me and I was against doing, but I felt at the time that I had no other choice.  But, I deeply regret that I didn’t refuse to submit to that directive, and didn't just leave at that point. I truly was brainwashed by then, by going along with and saddling my son to go through life with a birth certificate that reads Heavy Aquarian, along with it not showing that his biological father was Tim Garon. It has been my intent to someday return to Hawaii for the sole purpose of petitioning a court or judge to correct my son’s birth certificate.  What an embarrassment it has been, especially after we all dispersed and having to go out into the world and present my son’s Heavy Aquarian birth certificate!  Although, after Tim and I were legally married; we legally had our son’s name changed, but his birth cert still reads Heavy Aquarian. The situation on Kauai became extremely dire, without the income generated by The Source Restaurant that had once supported the entire group; so either Father Yod or one of his women came up with the idea of the women with babies who had been born in the group going en masse to the county offices on Kauai and applying for birth certificates all using the last name of Aquarian, so that we could then apply for welfare that was to go towards the support of the entire group. I never actually saw one of these welfare checks; as they were probably just collected and deposited into a Source Family account. I recall feeling a sense of coercion at being commanded to do this, and going along in reluctance with the rest of the women that day as if we were a merry group, but throughout the years whenever I have reflected back on that episode; I have felt nothing but immense regret for allowing myself to go along with that, and remorse for saddling my son with such a thing. The days on Kauai were very tumultuous and uncertain fraught with an unsettling, unease and fear of some kind of attack from the outside. Those were extremely distressing times in The Source Family. I must admit to having been completely indoctrinated by then.....incapable of leaving; which would explain why I remained and endured the even worsening conditions at The Hilo Country Club and The Doc Hill mansions on the Big Island. The definition of brainwash is the following: "to effect a radical change in the ideas and beliefs of (a person), especially by methods based on isolation, sleeplessness, hunger, extreme discomfort, pain, and the alternation of kindness and cruelty.  Although, we usually equate the idea of being brainwashed as something that was employed by the Gestapo; it is essentially what happens when a group of people sit together in a meditative state each and every day listening to the soft, hypnotic words and edicts of someone who is viewed as either your spiritual father, leader or guru. A kind of hypnotic state takes place which induces a surrendering of ones ego to that one individual accompanied by a compliant belief in their words along with giving a heightened sense of belonging or ‘being part of something special." This is what happened to me and why I remained for six years in The Source Family.  I had surrendered my personal autonomy and individuality by willingly adopting and acquiescing to Jim Baker's worldview and belief system integrating and replacing it with my own, because this is how cults form around one person or leader; at which point anyone in a cult submits their own will to the will of another; and in this particular cult it was the will of Father Yod and the women surrounding him who influenced his decisions, and who eventually tried to rule and run The Source Family once he was gone. I have only myself to blame; though, for allowing myself to submit and be directed and misdirected, which is why I am adamantly against anything or anyone who tries to promote Father Yod and The Source Family as being some kind of ideal utopian "Aquarian" uber group and presented to other people as something to aspire or copy; especially young women, who need to know that Father Yod saw the role of women as a servile, docile and obedient one.  Jim Baker believed that a woman's role in life was only 'to serve and inspire a man' which meant taking care of, or 'serving' a man (or son, as they were called in the group) which meant doing everything from making his meals, to doing his laundry, making clothes for him, giving him foot and body massages, obeying his every command, but most importantly in performing the all important 'sex magic' with him.  So, the role of a woman in The Source Family was not something that I feel any young woman should aspire or replicate, and that the role that Jim Baker imposed on the women who were in The Source Family, in my opinion; set back the rights of women by a hundred years; nor would I ever want my own son to ever give up his personal power to one person or follow them in any kind of humbled obedience or submission.  
This is a photo of my son at Lanikai Beach, considered a place of numen, by Father Yod's/Yahowha's most devoted followers located on the windward side of Oahu taken right after The Source Family dispersed.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Photos of Tim Garon and Me

This was one of the only photographs taken of me and Tim right after we met and got together.  Here we are in what was our own room in the upstairs of The Mother House.  I had made the shirt that he's wearing from an old fifties tablecloth and embroidered something on the front.  This was in the very early days of The Source Family, before we both became disillusioned with the entire direction that Jim Baker took the group.
This is probably the only photograph that was ever taken of just me alone.  It was taken at The Mother House probably in 1971 when I was taking a young man by the name of Scott Enyart on a tour.  Scott was only a teenager when he came during the day for a week to do a feature story on Jim Baker and The Brotherhood of The Source and he took a series of photographs, this being one of those.  I look rather disheveled and a bit risque in my old vintage housedress looking a couple of sizes too small for my frame, but then after everyone stopped being paid for working at The Source Restaurant, nobody had funds to go out and buy clothing, with the exception of Father Yod's women.  Also, everyone went sans underwear in The Source Family; I guess it wasn't considered part of an "Aquarian" wardrobe.  I think that I found this hand-me-down at a local swap meet....looks like it.
My sister just recently sent me this (very small) snapshot of when she came to check on me (visit) at the Los Feliz house dubbed The Mother House where I can be seen with her and her friend posing on the front lawn.  People's (real) family members could come and visit whenever they wanted.  This must have been summer of '72 after those who worked in The Source Restaurant were still being paid a wage (until we all moved in together) and where I walked up Sunset Blvd one day and bought a two-piece flowered outfit with my own money, because I was sick and tired of only wearing all-white clothing.  That was the last new clothing that I would have, until the cult ended.  I recall marching into the restaurant in a defiant way wearing my new non-white outfit and standing in front of Jim Baker who was sitting in his usual spot in the corner next to the window where he just looked up, smiled benevolently and said, "Ah, my wildflower" which was one of the few and only times that he ever addressed me directly in the entire six years that I spent in that damn group!  Ha ha ha!
I snipped this from a video when Elliot Mintz came to The Father House to interview Jim Baker for KABC Eyewitness News in 1973.  Anyone interested, can watch the interview on Elliot's website, if they want to maneuver the labyrinth of his website at elliotmintz.com .  Tim's body language spoke volumes about his ever-increasing dissatisfaction with how The Source Family had become what he called 'a dog and pony show.'  This was when Jim Baker was aggressively trying to recruit new members.  You can also see the baby bump of our son.  
This was a photo taken at one of the first concerts where Tim performed and sang with Robin Baker; something that they did on a regular basis.  Tim was wearing the magician's hat belonging to Jim Baker, who was sitting on the floor looking up in rapt adoration at his newly wed bride, Robin.     
Here is a track from an obscure album of Tim and Robin singing an Exuma song titled You Don't Know What's Going On. 
Tim Garon was one of the first to join Jim Baker's group and the first to start calling him 'father', after spending a year with Jim and Robin prior to the formation of The Brotherhood of The Source.  This was a really early photo taken in the little redwood building (called 'the temple') located behind The Source Restaurant of Tim with Jim and Robin Baker.  
Although this photo was torn and in poor condition, it showed a happy and exuberant Tim next to Robin Baker, along with the attentive face of her husband, Jim Baker.  This photo was probably taken in either 1969 or 1970.  
This was taken from the patio scene from the 1970 film Alex In Wonderland starring Donald Sutherland, where Tim is seen playing guitar and singing and where Jim and Robin Baker can be seen sitting in the background, as seen in this video clip https://youtu.be/BslYvlgMGQY.  Tim and Robin even appeared on The Gong Show and were not gonged, although they tied with another act.  I have never been able to find a video of their performance, though. 
My favorite photo of Tim, from that time period.  I believe this was taken during the time the entire Source Family was travelling around the Bay Area.  
This is a grainy photograph taken from a newspaper article about The Source Family wandering aimlessly around The Bay Area for a time; and this photo happened to capture me bending down reaching into a box, holding my son.  I can honestly say that this time of being on the road was the most fun, because it broke up the monotony of the rest of the time spent in The Source Family, never being able to go anywhere or do anything.  Also, I got a new used flowered hand-me-down dress that to me felt like getting something new.  But, the other reason that I particularly like this photo is because it also shows the imposing figure of Les Adam walking towards me.  Les passed away a few months ago, and he was one of the kindest and best of men.
Another photo recently sent to me from my sister, seen smiling next to me sitting out front of the Atherton Manse in San Francisco where she came to check on me (visit) once again circa '75.  Tim is seen holding our son, Heavy.  Tim's and my expression can best be described as somber ambivalence from us having remained in 'the family' for so long feeling a disconnect from the rest of the world in what became an enervated existence.  Jim Baker would warn anyone who left his 'family' of the harm that might befall them; which is textbook cult behavior.
This photo was taken in Mill Valley when The Source Family was wandering around The Bay Area.  Tim, Alicia Previn and Les Adam were sitting around singing and playing when Father Yod came out to read something aloud.  

Group Photos That I Happened To Be In

Although the person who claims that every photo taken during The Source Family belongs to her; I wanted to post the ones that are already found all over the internet, and where I just happened to be present.  It only seems fair that I am allowed to post and use photographs from forty years ago where I was present.  Many people were taking photographs and videos throughout the time that The Source Family was in existence, although one person claims that every single photograph belongs to her and her alone.
In this photo that is one of the most publicized, I was standing seventh in line from the end, with my son's father being fourth in line wearing a belt and a headband.  This was taken on the first 'family outing' where the entire group went en masse to Santa Monica Beach. 
 
In this photo probably taken in 1970 on the patio of The Source Restaurant, not long after I had joined The Brotherhood of The Source (the original name); I am standing behind Robin Baker, who had recently legally married Jim Baker.  When I joined the group, Robin was referred to as "mother" and Jim Baker "father."  They were seen as the group's spiritual mother and father.  
This photo was probably the first group photo taken on the front lawn of what was called The Mother House, the manse that we all occupied located in the Los Felix neighborhood of Los Angeles.  I was standing just behind my son's father, Tim Garon who was standing directly behind Father Yod, also wearing a headband.  I refused to wear either a headband or headdress; something that Father Yod did in the early days and most everyone copied or emulated whatever he did.   
This is a snipped portion from one of a series of group photos taken on the front lawn of The Mother House.  I was standing in front dressed all in white with my hands raised (ha ha ha).
This photo was taken at The Mother House located in Los Feliz.  I was sitting on the lawn on the far left (facing the photo) in all my chubbiness wearing a dress that I had made from the white homespun fabric that many of us used to make clothing and meditation shawls that could easily be fringed at the hem, due to its woven nature.

In this photo taken during one of the Sunday outdoor concerts held in the dirt parking lot of The Source Restaurant, I am sitting at Jim Baker's feet.  We were all looking at and listening to my son's father, Tim Garon singing and probably laughing at something that he had just said.  
In what was probably the most embarrassing photo to have found myself in, this one was taken in the pool located at The Father House when I just happened to be in the pool with a few other women, when Father Yod showed up with his entourage of women who followed him everywhere.  I am standing on the very far left (facing the photo); thankfully our breasts are blurred out!  Yikes!  
In this photo, I am sitting on the very far left (facing the photo) with my son's father sitting to my right wearing the requisite headdress looking rather slumped over probably because he was having a hard time staying awake!  For a brief time, morning meditation or 'class' as it was called, was held outside in the dirt parking lot of The Source Restaurant located right on Sunset Boulevard, so it created quite a scene.  
This photo was taken sitting out back at the Doc Hill mansion located in Hilo, on the Big Island.  I was sitting off to the side behind Father Yod with my own son, who was not quite in the photo.  This was taken not long before he left for Oahu with his entourage of women and his three babies, to escape the dire conditions of what life had become in The Source Family.  There was barely enough food to eat when we were at Doc Hill, which for some malnutrition became a real threat.  
  This was taken during one of the few trips where the entire group went to Santa Monica Beach.  My son's father, Tim Garon was sitting behind Jim Baker holding a guitar.  I was sitting off to Tim's right (facing the photo). 
  This photo of family members inside of Jim Baker's stomach (to convey the idea of him 'giving birth' to us all) was one of the first & earliest photos taken as a group that was used as a poster for a 'source family' concert put on to promote 'the family' and hopefully attract new family members.  The turnout for this concert was very low.  As usual, I was standing at the very back my head circled in red. Tim Garon (Aladdin) is circled in blue.  At the time, Yahowa 13 had not been formed yet, so the only entertainment was Tim performing/singing accompanied by a couple of other 'family' musicians.  This was during the time when Father Yod wanted to wear a headdress; a carry-over from his time spent in Bhajan's group; so family members were expected to copy/emulate whatever he did. I refused to wear that head wrapping and thought it was dumb.  I was not a good little follower in many regards.
This parading all of the women around the flagpole was part of the series of publicity shots taken to promote The Source Family and was taken out front at The Father House located in Nichols Canyon in Los Angeles.  Father Yod wanted to 'give the appearance' of being a prosperous, well-to-do group (hardly).  I was standing tenth in line from the end in a borrowed dress several inches too short for my frame, with my arms raised out of sheer boredom from having to be paraded around.  But, we all did what we were told to do; as in any cult.
And last but not least the most widely seen and used publicity shot of the women sitting on and standing around the Rolls Royce (something that was acquired and used only briefly by Jim Baker) in order to give the appearance of wealth and affluence, in order to promote the Yahowa 13 albums and attract people hopefully with money and means.  I did not want to be in this photograph, and so only the top of my head is showing in the very back, which was fine with me; just to the left of Makushla's head, who is sitting on the front left of the Rolls (facing the photo).  Jim Baker wanted all of the pregnant women out front to give the appearance of a fecund group.  But, appearances can be deceiving, because we were all living in overcrowded conditions where outbreaks of staph were becoming more and more common, and where the stress and strain of the situation was beginning to show on the faces of the women.  Also, most people don't realize that Jim Baker was standing in the doorway of the house.

The Liberation of Death

I had all but forgotten about one of the most horribly stressful things that happened to me while being in The Source Family at The Father House; a house where the entire group was moved located in Nichols Canyon adjacent to Hollywood.  I had flown back to Los Angeles, after having been living in Honolulu at The Pagoda Hotel with my son's father, after we had both been kicked out of the family, from the encampment on Makawao, Maui where I had been sent along with the other pregnant women and women with children.  I do not recall the circumstances of why either Tim or I were told to leave, but I willingly chose to go with him to escape the awful and dire conditions at the camp.  Anyway, shortly after Tim and I arrived in Honolulu, I gave birth to my son in The Pagoda Hotel.  Tim went out playing bars and clubs in order to earn money, and we had hoped to have found our own place to live, by then; but it didn't work out that way.  I ended up giving birth in a hotel room, and my son's father delivered our son.  But, that is a whole other story.  So, within weeks of delivering my son; I decided to return to the rest of the family in Los Angeles with my newborn son, leaving Tim to follow later. One day my son began running a very high fever; he felt very hot and would not stop crying. I was frantic and unsure what to do.  I ended up wrapping him in a cold sheet again and again, in the hopes of bringing his temperature down; although wrapping him in that cold sheet over and over again and watching him cry and cry was one of the most difficult things that I've ever had to do, but I was determined to do whatever was necessary to help my son.  If I had to walk down the driveway and flag a car down to ask someone to drive me to an emergency room; that was something that I was prepared to do.  But, thankfully my son's temperature dropped and he started doing better, but other infants didn't fare as well at The Father House. My feeling is that Jim Baker's belief in The Source Family not seeking or using medical help or treatment had the most detrimental effects on the entire group, especially on some of the children. I still find it very difficult to understand how a man who was the spiritual leader of an entire group of people; who some saw as being a highly evolved human being capable of immense love and compassion and also seen as the wisest of men; could be so accepting and nonchalant when babies were in distress under his watch. It is still difficult for me to comprehend even now forty years out; how Jim Baker could sit relaxed, laughing, eating doing all of the normal everyday things that he did surrounded by his adoring women, while somewhere nearby an infant was crying continuously in dire distress. Not seeking medical attention is alarming in any large group of people living in extremely crowded conditions; although not unusual in other religious groups, sects or cults who shun using modern medicine opting for 'faith healing' or 'self-healing', along with being passively accepting if death was the outcome of not using medical intervention of any kind.  Father Yod repeatedly referred to death as 'being liberated' and "leaving the body' as if it were to be welcomed and even embraced.  But for me, it is one thing if a fifty-year-old man makes the decision not to seek or use modern medicine or assistance of any kind; but it's an entirely different thing when those decisions are imposed on the helpless such as babies and small children.  Jim Baker's belief in the entire Source Family to not seek or use any outside medical help was the most disturbing and detrimental aspect of his entire belief system.  One which, of course cost him his own life in the end.
One of the few baby pictures that I have of my son.  I came away from The Source Family with only a couple of photos of my son from when he was a baby, one of the disadvantages of being in a cult, and not owning a camera.  Someone kindly snapped this one when we were sitting out back at The Father House not long after I had returned from Hawaii. 
This is the only time that Jim Baker ever really paid attention to my son or held him, but thankfully someone who was allowed to have a camera snapped this photo for me to have; otherwise I would have only one photo of my son as a baby.  Everyone who joined The Source Family was given a new name.  My son was initially given the name Brother, but then it was later changed to Heavy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

All Or Nothing

The only redeeming thing about my joining The Source Family, was that I met my future husband, lifelong best friend and father of my child, Tim Garon.  Tim was also the first singer/songwriter to join The Source Family.  It was Tim's music that entertained everyone in the very early days of The Source Family, before Yahowa 13 was formed and where all attention and publicity was then focused.  Tim only contributed two songs to any of the albums that were produced; although he received no album credits for either of those songs.  Tim wrote the song Every Morning, that was performed/sung by Robin Baker aka Ahom because it was one of her favorite songs of his, and they would often sing together; so Robin recorded Every Morning and it was included on the 1974 album titled All Or Nothing At All, an album that featured some of the individual songwriters, singers and musicians of The Source Family, as a departure from the Yahowha 13 albums that were being made. Although, Tim was not given any songwriting credit on the album for Every Morning, but then credit also wasn't given to a few other people who wrote songs or performed on that album.  That's because everyone was expected to 'not to be attached to the fruits of their labor' in The Source Family; which meant that recognition for your work or contribution went unnoticed and uncredited and which is why now 40+ years later; Tim and others have still not received the recognition that they sorely deserved back then, and now. Tim also wraps up the album To The Principles: For The Children (Side B on a Yahowa 13 album) with his song Oh, Yahowha which features him singing with the children who were in the family at the time accompanying him; although again he received no credit on the album for that song.  And so now, forty years later several of the singers, songwriters and musicians continue to remain in a faceless and nameless anonymity, because of their songs and musical contributions being marketed and sold as either Father Yod and The Spirit of '76 or just labeled Source Family music.  I also wanted to add that many of these nameless songwriters and musicians never saw a single dime for any of their songs or performances that were done, while they were in 'the source family.'  Songwriters like Tim Garon and Les Adam, who contributed more to the entire volume of Source Family music than most with his exceptional songwriting, playing both electric and acoustic guitar, electric keyboards and piano and vocals; yet like Tim; Les never received compensation from the sale of any of the albums that feature his songs or his performances!  There were three songs written and  performed by Les Adam that were used in The Source Family documentary:  Take A Ride (although songwriting credit was incorrectly given to someone else), Party Song and Woman were also used in the film; two songs written by Les, although no credits whatsoever were given for either of those songs!  Les Adam has 4 of his songs on the album All Or Nothing At All:  Take A Ride, Party Song, Woman and a bonus track of his titled Hurry Home.  On the album titled Savage Sons of YaHoWa, two of Les's songs were used; Edge of A Dream and Red River Valley, also he is probably playing piano on A Thousand Sighs.  Les more than likely was also playing either guitar or piano on most, if not all of the tracks on both albums; yet received no album credits whatsoever!  It's hard to believe that could actually happen, but all of the singers and songwriters and musicians were expected to be unattached to their creations; and so the individual contributions of musicians were omitted for two reasons:  1) because it was viewed as being in your 'personality' to want individual credit or acknowledgement for your musical contribution 2) because the music being made at the time was all about promoting 'Father Yod' and was to be seen as a commodity put out by the entire 'source family' in order to generate income; not for the recognition of anyone's individual talent.  Les Adam died a few months ago never seeing one cent from all of the musical contributions that he made during the brief years The Source Family existed.  

Album cover for Savage Sons of Yahowa, where Les Adam (known as Rhythm) is seen crouching on the left side of the Rolls (facing the photo) taken in front of what was called The Father House, because Father Yod left the room above The Source Restaurant that he had occupied with his legal spouse, Robin Baker since the restaurant had opened; deciding to move into an upstairs bedroom to accommodate the bevy of other women he was acquiring around him, to live with the rest of 'the family'.  This album includes songs written and performed by Les titled Edge of A Dream and Red River Valley, and more than likely guitar or piano performances on the other album tracks.

Album cover for To The Principles: For The Children made during the flurry of recording done circa 1973 when the entire group was living at The Father House located in Nichols Canyon in Los Angeles.  Tim performed the last song on the B side of this album singing his song titled Oh, Yahowha accompanied by some of the children pictured in this photo; a shot of 'Father Yod' exiting the front door of The Father House in the white suit purchased for a series of publicity photos taken to promote The Source Family and the albums being produced at the time; all in an effort to attract new members by giving the appearance of a wealthy, affluent group.
Album cover photo taken in front of the garage or band room of The Father House, where Tim either did not want to be photographed or was not included, because his version of the song that he wrote titled Every Morning was not micced very well; and so Robin Baker (Ahom) performed the track that was used on the album.  Here is the outtake of Tim performing his song Every Morning that was not used on the album, with Les Adam on piano.

Escaping Conformity

It's really funny that those of us who thought that we were escaping the conformity, suppression and repression of society at large, by joining Jim Baker and The Source Family and believing that what he was teaching and offering/espousing was representative of a 'new age', ended up in circumstances even more conforming and suppressive than the society we were all trying to drop out from!  Imagine living for six years never doing any of the normal everyday things that people take for granted in our society like shopping or eating at restaurants, spending the day at the beach, going to a movie, or playing sports. The only time that we were allowed to go the beach was when our spiritual leader Jim Baker wanted to go; then the entire group went en masse that became quite a spectacle. But, no one played basketball, baseball or racquetball or any kind of sport. Imagine living a life where the only acceptable exercise was hanging upside down and swinging back and forth on a bar, or going into the cold water of a swimming pool at the break of day, because those were the only really acceptable forms of exercise allowed within The Source Family.  Restriction of people's individual choices and personal activities are the result of living in a cult; especially one where the entire group of people attempt to live removed or sequestered from the rest of society, which is exactly what life was like in The Source Family.  Every 'family' member's actions and behaviors became restricted and limited, with the exception of those who either conducted 'family' business in the outside world, or who were indulged by Father Yod, like when he allowed a few select of his 'favorites' to eat at expensive restaurants in Beverly Hills, arriving in the short-lived Rolls Royce giving a false perception of wealth.  But, only a few people within The Source Family were allowed unfettered access to money or a vehicle; the rest of us plebeians were stuck within the confines of the 'family' compound, unless Father Yod planned something where all family members were allowed to attend.  Jim Baker may have espoused a vegetarian diet, which also consisted of milk and cheese, but he didn't encourage or do any of the other healthy exercises and activities found in society at large.  So, a kind of entropy started to engulfed anyone who remained in the family for any length of time.  An indolence prevailed within the family. I guess all of the conformity and loss of personal activity was to be supplanted and replaced with Jim Baker's aka Father Yod's ideal of life within an 'Aquarian' family.  Any activity that wasn't condoned by Jim Baker was just not done. So, imagine living virtually imprisoned within a group that had the trappings and outward appearance of a 'new age' or 'Aquarian' group, but end up having it be even more repressive than the society you were trying to escape from!  I would like for anyone to explain to me how sitting around one man all day long translated into becoming a leader or forerunner for the Age of Aquarius? How does hanging on every word of one man, and catering to that one man's every need, and striving to emulate him in speech, behavior and dress have anything to do with the 'new age'? It doesn't, but it does have everything to do with cult behavior. So, I really want to emphasize that the healthy lifestyle which some try to present as being representative of The Source Family was all strictly according to what was approved or sanctioned by Jim Baker. No family member would have been allowed to run or jog down the street, especially the women when it wasn't even acceptable for them to wear pants or shorts; all of the women were expected to wear dresses all of the time!  Oh, Jim Baker thought the pregnant women should walk up and down the driveway to help strengthen their leg muscles for natural childbirth, but that was the extent of the walking encouraged. But, you would have never seen anyone from The Source Family running or jogging, or going to play tennis, or really going anywhere; unless it was sanctioned and approved by Jim Baker. Life in 'the family' became cloistered and claustrophobic, almost suffocating where everyone's actions were overseen and became extremely limited and restricted for lack of either money or transportation; so only those very few with access to money and a vehicle could venture beyond the confines of the group. I cannot tell you the relief; the tremendous sense of freedom that it brought when what had become an unbearable and unsustainable situation finally ended!  How wonderful it was to return to a normal everyday life away from the constricted and restricted life of want and deprivations that life in The Source Family had become.  So, after forty years; I feel that it is high time that I wrote about my experiences from being in this particular cult.  Because the abject conformity that was expected of anyone joining The Source Family, and the groupthink that flourished in order to achieve compliance among members in what was seen as acceptable and expected behavior was much more confining and limiting than the conformity to society that many of us from the counterculture of the sixties were trying to escape, because there was no true freedom or personal liberties living in The Source Family cult.

My Sexual Encounter With Father Yod

I wanted to begin my blog by writing about what was probably the most disillusioning experience that I had with Father Yod while in The Source Family.....one that I have been, frankly; too embarrassed to ever talk about; but which I feel needs to be told and would be helpful for others to read; especially for other women who were in The Source Family, who also feel they were sexually taken advantage of by a man who was seen as a 'spiritual father or teacher', and how the experiences and stories from the women who were in The Source Family should now be told for others to learn; especially women who might be starry-eyed and enthralled with the story of "Father Yod and The Source Family."  It was 1974 and I had just returned from Oahu to join the rest of the family in Los Angeles, after living on the land in Makawao, Maui having been part of the first wave of mothers with children and pregnant women who were sent there abruptly, after an infant in the group was taken to a local LA emergency room with a serious staph infection, and with the impending threat of social services descending on the house, or compound where we all had been living. The family members who had remained behind in Los Angeles were Jim Baker aka Father Yod and his entourage of women, along with the band members and those who ran The Source Restaurant.  I was feeling extremely vulnerable, after having just given birth to my son. Upon returning, I felt my position within the family tenuous; as, I had now become a nursing mother and could no longer work in the restaurant.  But, at the time; I felt the need to return to the rest of the family in Los Angeles, to what I thought would be the comfort and safety of the larger group. One day, Father Yod's main woman, Makushla came to me and to my horror, told me that Father Yod had summoned me; that he wanted to see me. My instincts told me why and what was coming next.  I knew that my being summoned to his room meant that he wanted to have sex with me, much to my dismay and consternation. But, I was being summoned by the leader of our cult, Father Yod and I had to go, or risk censure or being ostracized for not behaving or performing as was expected of me.  I was absolutely dreading something that others saw as some kind of sacred honor!  The next hour or so alone with Father Yod in his upstairs room at what was called The Father House was one of the strangest, yet eye-opening episodes of my entire six year stint of being in The Source Family. At the time, Father Yod had already replaced his legal wife, Robin Baker aka Ahom with Makushla, to be his primary woman; although Robin remained by his side, plus he already had his bevy of other women with him many younger, and much more beautiful than me.  Then, why, I ask did Father Yod feel the need to have sex with me??!! Why??? When he had so many beautiful and willing women surrounding him already, why did Father Yod feel that he needed to have sex with me; with one more woman.  Why indeed. Thankfully, the event never repeated itself; as I was never physically attracted to Father Yod and never had designs on becoming one of his women.  I had always just seen him as my 'spiritual Father', not someone whom I wanted to engage in sex. So, although the sexual exchange with Father Yod somehow made me feel that my position within the family had been secured; it also left me feeling confused and deflated about everything.  What could have possibly been Father Yod's motive or the point of our exchange? Was it just an experiment on his part, to see if I might want to be added to his stable of women? I believe that it was more about his sexual curiosity and proclivity or boredom; the boredom or sameness that some men find with having sex with the same women over and over; who feel the need for someone or something new or different, either that or it was to exert his control and dominance.  Other family members will try and put some kind of spiritual significance to his behavior; trying to elevate his behavior as having God-like qualities in their continued worship and reverence of the man; but I firmly believe that people should hear honest, firsthand accounts of the people who populated the Source Family, rather than the idealized and polished portrayal of Father Yod as being some kind of messianic figure. To this day, I look back with dismay and embarrassment about this exchange with Father Yod, certainly not with any kind adoring gratefulness that some feel I should have. I feel somewhat ashamed and embarrassed even writing about this; as my son may read it someday. But, I have only myself to blame; that I just went along and didn't object, or just say no.  But, much like The Borg in Star Trek, I had become assimilated and had already become brainwashed and indoctrinated into what I know to have been a cult, not some happily-ever-after 'family' experience, as some would want you to believe. So, for me what began as a fun and exciting adventure by joining in 1970, turned into a highly regrettable experience.  My story is a cautionary one; especially for any woman who decides to follow, worship or idealize anyone who presents themselves as being a spiritual leader or teacher.