I created this blog in order to write about my own personal experiences from being in The Source Family from 1970 until 1976, in an effort to dispel many of the exaggerated claims about what life was like living in this particular cult. For me, life in The Source Family started out as a fun and exciting experience, but as happens in most cults, it soon became an extremely stressful and unhealthy situation with the loss of personal autonomy and decision-making.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
A Cautionary Tale
Life in The Source FamilyAfter spending six years of my life in the cult that was The Source Family from 1970 until 1976, I feel that qualifies me to speak out against the continued proliferation and promotion of either Jim Baker as being some kind of messiah, or life in The Source Family as being a 'new age' lotusland. It is my firsthand experiences of being in The Source Family that have influenced and shaped the harsh opinions and views that I now hold about the man, Jim Baker who lead a group of people down a slippery slope of isolation and separation from the rest of society, by adopting and following his belief system; a belief system that convinced his followers they were chosen and saviors, and like other cult leaders like Jim Jones and The People's Temple wanted to remove and isolate his flock to a remote area, preferably outside the US; that is what Jim Baker was also intent on doing. Jim Baker aka Father Yod sent his 'sons' to Costa Rica and other places to look for land starting in the very early days of 'the family'; to look for a paradise on earth where the entire Source Family could relocate, in order to create his idea of utopia. Moving the entire group to Hawaii; was the closest that Jim Baker came to fulfilling that desire or utopian dream of his; but which only resulted in near starvation conditions, serious outbreaks of staph; and a hostile reception by locals. So, there are many reasons why I believe the story of The Source Family a cautionary one; as opposed to the idealized and glamorized version that some former family members would rather present, along with a kind of religious extremism and a worshipful idolatry in the belief that the letters YHVH are the true name of God, which Jim Baker adopted as being the bulwark of his teachings and is the other motivating factor why some would like to promote Jim Baker into sainthood. So, by taking and using YHVH or Yod He Vau He as though it were Jim Baker's own creation; it has become the foundation for some former family members to form or create a quasi religious following around Jim Baker aka Yahowha. But, my personal belief is that The Source Family was a complete failure....a spiritual/communal experiment gone awry, because of the leader's belief in himself being God; where he continually transgressed the personal boundaries of women (some very young) using his position of power and influence as their 'spiritual father' to have ongoing sexual relationships with him, never seeming to be satisfied with the growing number of females already surrounding him, but seeking conquest of any new attractive female who made the mistake of joining The Source Family. It is my belief that Jim Baker wrecked havoc emotionally and often times physically on his follower's lives', which some would rather be completely forgotten. Besides, it's easier to sell Jim Baker as being a saint or a hero; if his image and memory are kept squeaky clean and impeccable, and anything wrong or sordid, unhealthy or misguided, or detrimental are either forgotten about or explained away by attaching 'spirituality' or 'magical thinking', especially if very few former members are willing to come forward and challenge the lotusland image of life in The Source Family. The Source Family never did any humanitarian work; it didn't give back to the community or society at large, or help the world in any meaningful way; we didn't even grow our own vegetables or even recycle. Everything and everyone was focused on and revolved around the fulfillment of Jim Baker's desires and directives; which quickly had devolved into him and 'his women' where an almost incessant attendance and fawning adoration seemed to be required. I observed the entire thing play out, until the bitter end; until Jim Baker had nowhere else to go; and was looking for a way to be released from the situation that he had created and found himself. The Source Family became a group of dependent, indolent, ineffectual followers of Jim Baker; where he had accumulated a dozen or more women around him, where bickering and positioning were playing out on a continual basis; and he just wanted out. It was a recipe for disaster, when a religious or spiritual leader wants to remove his flock to live an isolated existence, which played out on Kauai when the entire group moved to some land and set up a compound, surrounded by extremely nervous, unwelcoming locals. Fear set in and what might happen; and as seen in other cults a mass suicide could have easily ensued within The Source Family cult compound; because that is the extent of the worshipful adoration that some had for their spiritual 'father' Jim Baker. Following one person to such an extreme that you give up your own personal autonomy, where your voice and independent thinking are silenced and discouraged by the groupthink rampant in all cults; especially where the leader is seen as a visionary, adept or messiah; to me is one of the greatest of human follies. Which is another reason that I feel compelled to disabuse anyone who wants to elevate, sanctify or idolize Jim Baker as heralding in a 'new age', and to encourage anyone interested in The Source Family or mesmerized by any of the hyperbole surrounding its promotion; to see it for what it really was; a litmus test for what happens when people decide to follow and idealize, even worship one person.