Sunday, November 29, 2015

WWII Veteran Meets Flower Children

One of the things that the 2012 film made about The Source Family shows is how Jim Baker went from being a wealthy Hollywood playboy who had been arrested on a couple of occasions for using deadly force, and supposedly committing bank robberies to his transition into being a spiritual 'father' or 'teacher'.  Although, aside from the time that Jim Baker spent sitting before Yogi Bhajan, there was little to qualify Jim Baker in becoming a 'spiritual' master or leader.  Yet, that is what Jim Baker came to be seen by his most devoted 'children' or followers:  their loving, benevolent and wise 'spiritual father'.

Jim Baker is heard in the film in his own words explaining how he felt when he first came across a 'hippie' girl, which was his first exposure to the hippies who had been living a life where free love and peace were the prevailing themes.  But, Jim Baker came from my parent's generation who lived through WWII----not someone from my own generation.  Jim Baker had never been a hippie or ever lived a 'hippie' lifestyle where he 'dropped out' from mainstream society, or lived in a commune, at least not until he decided to form his own spiritual group or 'family'.  To me, there was a glaring generational gap in how Jim Baker perceived things----especially in how he viewed the roles of the men and women who would comprise his 'new age' or 'aquarian' family.

My own step-Dad, a WWII veteran believed that women had distinct roles that he referred to as 'women's work' such as making meals and housework----a view that he and Jim Baker seemed to share.  I recall when Jim Baker made the analogy of the women or 'angels' in his new found 'tribe' having sex with multiple men in 'the family' the same as where one woman would often sexually 'service' more than one man, during times of war.  That belief of women sexually 'servicing' multiple men, during times of war was bolstered with him instilling the belief that a war between light and darkness was being waged, and that the family members who sat before him were 'warriors of light' fighting the 'dark forces'-----a recurring theme in much of Father Yod's rhetoric.

I was dismayed by a lot of what Jim Baker was saying, although; I chose to ignore the alarm bells and red flags and just accepted what my newly found 'earthly spiritual father' was saying, instead choosing to believe, at the time, that he must have everyone's best interests at heart.  But, one thing became very clear in joining The Source Family, and that was that Jim Baker saw the role of women as one of obedience and servitude.

The Mormons believe that a woman can only get into the 'kingdom of heaven' through a man, which is essentially what Jim Baker also believed----that a woman's 'liberation' from the chains and shackles of this earthly existence and her only true happiness was through her 'serving and inspiring' a man.  In fact, a woman who chose to 'go it alone' and chose to remain single or independent was seen as being 'masculine' and was looked down upon by Father Yod, because he steadfastly did not believe that women were emotionally equipped to deal with the vicissitudes of life.

Father Yod also did not condone a gay lifestyle and openly condemned it, and so when a gay man who joined in the early days divulged to Father Yod his sexual orientation; that man was told that he should leave The Source Family.  Jim Baker's intolerance of a gay lifestyle was also indicative of his WWII mentality and generational gap.  So, Jim Baker began to glorify and convince the men who joined his 'family' that they were 'gods' or 'godmen' where he used the analogy of the sun shining constant and life-giving rays on woman (or women), who were seen as 'the moon' dark, changeable and emotional only capable of reflecting her 'suns' light or achieving emotional stability or balance through a man.

Jim Baker believed that a woman's only true lasting happiness was in 'serving' a man, not going out and having a career.  This is what all women who joined The Source Family were expected to believe and adopt as being their role in life----to not only 'serve' one of the suns/sons in 'the family' by taking care of his 'earth trip', which translated to things like preparing his meals and doing his laundry.....even brushing his hair, lest a 'sun' or 'godman' had to descend from his pursuit or contemplation of 'spirit' to perform such menial tasks.  Along with 'serving' a son, the women or 'angels' as Jim Baker called them were expected to adopt what I saw as a kind of submissive worshipful adoration that became the expected attitude of women towards their 'godman.'

So, many of us who joined The Brotherhood of The Source tried adopting the roles set out by Father Yod for the women and men in his 'family', even if those roles set off alarm bells within many of us.  In my mind, Jim Baker used the free love that many of us had already been experiencing as 'hippies' that was so prevalent during the sixties and early seventies as a way to live out or fulfill his own male fantasy of having sex with multiple women, after he decided to become an 'earthly spiritual father' claiming to have had a vision that he was supposed to gather his own 'children'.  Because it was much easier to convince his followers to lower their inhibitions and follow or obey his made-up directives around sexual promiscuity, if he claimed they were 'spiritual teachings, and especially easier if those adoring followers saw you as their caring, wise and benevolent spiritual 'father' or leader.

It really was no surprise to learn that a few of Father Yod's 'women' got into prostitution, after The Source Family dispersed, because it was a short step from having sex with multiple men in 'the family' to what some women got paid to do in the 'real' world.  So much for peace and love.