Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Cult to 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 one person possesses superior wisdom or love surpassing all others, and those people begin to treat that person in a worshipful and devoted way heeding every word spoken as being tantamount to a 'sermon on the mount' and believing that one person to be imbued with ancient or esoteric wisdom surpassing all others----it is a short step to becoming a cult and over time even considered a 'new 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 where there still remain devoted followers of Jim Baker aka Father Yod aka Yahowha to this day to the extent 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.

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, but 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 and resulted in behavior 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 actual 'wisdom' that I might have attained by following and obeying Jim Baker, but I have found that I cannot use the word 'wisdom' to describe any of Jim Baker's so-called 'teachings', without ignoring and turning a blind eye to all of the detrimental things that went on in The Source Family, under the guidance and direction of our self-proclaimed earthly spiritual father, Jim Baker and unlike some former Source Family members; I cannot excuse or exempt him from any culpability.

Some former members believe that by attaching a magical or spiritual meaning or significance to Jim Baker's questionable edicts and behaviors that will somehow explain or excuse everything that happened and any of the sordid or unsavory practices that simply would not be found acceptable by normal society are veiled or shrouded in mystery to be viewed as being 'secret teachings' or 'ancient wisdom' and more importantly because those 'secret teachings' and 'ancient wisdom' had been magically 'channeled' through a supposed wise and holy man or woman.

Many spiritual teachers hide behind the appearance or perception of them possessing 'wisdom' or 'truth' which others simply do not have, and that only be following and ardently obeying the spiritual teachers orders or commandments, will the devotee or follower be able to reach the same enlightened place as their teacher.  Which is why a few former Source Family members continue to believe that Jim Baker was no ordinary man, but an enlightened, holy avatar who continues to guide them in their lives. 

But, isn't that how religions start? Isn't seeing one man as your savior and the wisest of the wise with the exalted hero-worship and continued unwavering adoration and exaltation of that one man how most religions began? It is my feeling that when people chose only magical thinking bereft of logic and reason and even common sense is how some 'new religions' begin.  A few former members would love to turn the supposed 'teachings' of Jim Baker into a 'new age' religion by convincing people that he left behind a legacy worthy of the continued worship and adoration of future generations.  

But, I realized that nothing that Jim Baker was teaching or espousing was anything that could not already be found in the many books about the occult, Hinduism and Theosophy that Jim Baker had read and then used.  All of the ceremonial magic and sayings that Father Yod extolled had been adopted and taken from another source.  Anyone could have easily accessed on their own the exact same kind of 'wisdom' or knowledge that Jim Baker was deemed to possess----that 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 the people who decided to join The Brotherhood of the Source had already experienced moments of clarity and comprehension about the universe through their own life experiences and from taking psychedelic drugs which can produce profound realizations and epiphanies about life and our existence and especially about the power of love, kindness and brotherhood which made the Brotherhood of The Source seem very appealing.  I feel that many who joined already had degrees of wisdom, insight or knowledge before they decided to adopt Jim Baker as their 'earthly spiritual father', but by him taking on the spiritual leadership that his ego eagerly embraced; Jim Baker soon began to believe he had become a great and wise spiritual teacher and even eventually God.  But, it didn't stop there, because Jim Baker believed that God had instructed him to create a super race of 'aquarians', and so Jim Baker began cultivating some of the young women who joined his 'family'.  Jim Baker's desire to father a super race began very early on in The Brotherhood of the Source and continued throughout the duration of the group which thankfully resulted in only three babies being born to different women, rather than dozens. 

many of us who decided to join The Brotherhood of The Source had already been living communal, 'hippie' lifestyles, during the late sixties; we believed or thought that we would experience the same sort of harmonious individuation as found in other communal settings, 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 that people brought into 'the family' and either kept/used herself or reallocated to someone else.  The Source Family quickly deteriorated into a cult of personality that revolved around the constant attention, supplication and adoration of Jim Baker accompanied by the squeals of those designated as 'his women' and the chanting of his name.