Sunday, January 17, 2016

Willful Denial and Ignorance

It astounds me the degree to which some former 'source family' cult members have willfully chosen to remain ignorant to just how detrimental life in The Source Family became; who dismiss the personal accounts of the people who populated 'the family', because it doesn't line up with their need to hold tightly to a more idealized and fantasized narrative or storyline.  But, maintaining the approved party line or groupthink is what happens after someone unwittingly joins a cult and becomes indoctrinated or brainwashed to such an extent that they are unable to hear or accept the truth about the cult, even when confronted with reality and the truth about something, and so they remain in a state of denial and continue to attach and use made up fanciful religious-sounding or spiritualized meanings to their idealized narrative, in a desperate attempt by some to keep it going; which is why some former 'source' people cling to the past and continue to mouth and repeat the same phrases and sayings that were used incessantly 45 years ago in The Source Family when it was in existence.  The cognitive dissonance created within some former 'source family' cult members when faced with the truth, is just too great; so some are unable to either accept the fact that they were part of a cult, or that they followed a man who took them down an unhealthy, isolating path where only 'magical thinking' prevailed.  An excellent example of the cognitive dissonance of cult followers is the case of polygamous FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, where even though in the face of personal accounts by several of the young people who Jeffs sexually abused as their 'spiritual leader' and his subsequent arrest and conviction; people still continue to worship and praise him as being their messianic leader!  But, I was able to deprogram myself from the magical thinking and false beliefs and hero-worship of Jim Baker which were indicative of life in 'the source family' cult; where an abundance of useless, vacuous and misleading magical constructs were willingly adopted and practiced, under the direction and guidance of Jim Baker.  But, some former cult members are incapable of either denouncing Jim Baker or accepting the fact that we were all part of a cult or that being in that cult resulted in the deaths of infants and the sexual abuse and misuse of multiple women, resulting in the long-term emotional damage to many individuals who are to this day still struggling with the fact that they allowed themselves to participate in what are now seen as disgusting and deviant sexual practices imposed by their 'spiritual' mentor and so-called earthly spiritual father, Jim Baker; and how the health and well-being of their own children was put at risk, in order to follow and obey the misguided and delusional beliefs of Jim Baker that no 'family' member should use modern medicine or seek medical help, which resulted in deaths and disfigurements due to untreated staph infections, loss of hearing, long-term health problems; and the post-source family downward spiral of many into extended drug and alcohol abuse, the negative results which are still seen today.  Which is why it is sad, yet remarkable that some former 'family' members continue to worship and exalt Jim Baker and chose only to give glowing, magical accounts of their time spent in The Source Family!  I guess the need for some to perpetuate the belief that being in The Source Family was a wonderful, magical place and that Jim Baker was god or a savior is the only way that some can quell the cognitive dissonance that ensues when faced with the harsh realities and truths and personal testimonies of so many former 'source family' members who refuse to feign or pretend that the experience was all happiness and light.  Much of the same kinds of pseudo-spiritual posturing and attention-seeking behavior exhibited by Father Yod/Yahowha is being seen in some former cult members who cling to the past as though crystallized in it; people who have either been unable or unwilling to deprogram themselves from the cult groupspeak and groupthink that prevailed in The Source Family, when it existed over forty years ago.  Some may ask, "where's the harm?" if a few rabid followers of 'Yahowha' want to continue holding reunions to congregate and have people come to celebrate the cult they belonged to over 40 years ago, along with praising their leader, Yahowha? The harm is that those who continue to celebrate life in The Source Family, along with worshipful reverence being paid to Father Yod/Yahowha only choose to perpetuate the glamorized Hollywood version in order to enthrall and hopefully attract new converts to the 'church of Yahowha', while willfully denying and/or hiding the actual truths and realities of what really went on in the family; like the deaths of infants, which have been glossed-over with some 'source family' rhetoric about 'the soul passing over', or the 'soul's journey' or any number of made up 'spiritual' spins or explanations to obscure or hide and not divulge the truth of what really happened! I believe that it is dishonest to continue to present Jim Baker as being some kind of wise and holy man, or to present life in The Source Family as being a healthy ideal for anyone to aspire; when our leader repeatedly transgressed the personal boundaries of young women in his role as spiritual mentor or 'father' in order to have ongoing sexual relations with them, and how he was able to go about his day pretending to be a great and wise spiritual leader, as women fawned and pandered over him at The Father House in Los Angeles while not one, but two infants on separate occasions desperately needed medical attention which they did not receive, and who both subsequently died because of Jim Baker's harmful and derelict edict that 'source family' members not seek or use modern medicine or seek any outside medical treatment!  It is my feeling that the realities and truth about what went on in The Source Family is what is now needed 45 years out; not only for former family members to make sense of their experience of having followed Jim Baker for years, but even more for the offspring and children of Jim Baker and others to understand what really happened, rather than be expected to just go along with the illusion that everything was either ideal or utopian.  Being a former longtime 'source family' member, it is my feeling rather than promoting and perpetuating more 'magical' nonsense and an idealized version of The Source Family being some kind of dreamland; it would be better to tell the truth and leave the misguided 'teachings' and 'beliefs' of Father Yod in the past where they belong, rather than trying to bring them forward into the present in order to repeat that past.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Review of The Source Family Documentary

Since the documentary came out in 2012, there have been many 'reviews' done about it, along with many interviews done with only one person with the same self-serving, one-sided idealized narrative that much like Pinocchio's nose keeps growing exponentially with each telling; along with their own grandiose self-promotion.  So, I thought that I would review the documentary, since I did spend six years of my life in the damn thing and have firsthand experience.  I was sent a copy of the documentary not long after it was released on the public at SXSW in Austin in 2012, and at first watching it brought back all of the yucky, unsettling feelings and emotions that I had experienced 40+ years ago, that I had suppressed and tried to forget about, as I had gotten on with my life having nothing whatsoever to do with either Father Yod or The Source Family any longer!  So watching the film conjured up all of the sordid memories and awful feelings of being in the group; so at first it was difficult for me to even watch.  Because, as with many others; it was a welcomed relief when the whole thing finally ended.  There was such a sense of welcomed relief when the 'Source Family' came to an end; it was like being released from an internment camp where you had suffered deprivations and were finally being released!  That is what it was like for many of us, when the entire Source Family debacle finally ended, when even though faced with the stress of having to scramble to figure out where you were going to go, and what you were going to do next, it still brought a welcomed euphoria of being released.  This was something that I feel the documentary failed to show.  But, life in The Source Family had become insufferable, where it had been reduced to most everyone having very little in the way of either food, or material comforts or possessions of any kind; yet where the few women who were considered Father Yod's/Yahowha's 'women' were still being taken care of and attended to using the little remaining resources and the financial support of one older gentleman, who was among those who continued to pander to 'Yahowha's mother-angel' and his other women treating them as though they were royalty, often where the needs of their own spouses and children became secondary to the needs of 'Yahowha's women.'  That was the extent of the maladaptive behaviors germinated within The Source Family, and where the majority of us just wanted the whole thing to end; which thankfully it finally did when it became imminently clear that 'the family' could no longer be supported as a group or a whole; as it had been from the income of The Source Restaurant back in Los Angeles where all of the profits went to support the entire group.  But, those days were over and only a handful of men/sons were capable of going out and earning money and the women with children were forced on to welfare, but even then it certainly wasn't enough to sustain the entire indigent group of 'family members'; especially since none of the women were allowed to work in the 'real' world the entire thing became unsustainable.  Yet, the documentary somehow gives the audience the impression that life within 'the family' was one of wealth and affluence, but then the glowing accounts and puffery describing Father Yod and life in the family by some of his more devout followers contributes to giving the audience a fairy tale perspective.  But, the realities of being in The Source Family were something other than the phantasmagoric imagery that some people have tried to present to the public at large, and where the voices of only one or two people have been heard, since the overwhelming majority of former 'Source Family' members like myself have wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it any longer, and do not want to be associated with having been part of a cult where engaging in sexual activity with women in their menstrual cycles took precedence over everything else!  But, now I feel the overriding need to disabuse people/the public of the idealized narrative that is being foist upon them into believing that Father Yod and life in the family was something worthy of following or emulating.  I do feel that the two young women who made the documentary did the very best they could given the overembellished and one-sided story or version of events that was presented to them, and their limited exposure to a larger pool of former family members, and so because of that; I feel the film lacked any of the more harsher and negative opinions, views and memories of so many who actually populated the family, and the negative impact it had on their lives.  Which left only interviews with people who either had very little to do with the actual Source Family, or the small pool of people who made only very positive comments.  Robin Baker's interview segment was the only one that came close to describing just how damaging life within The Source Family had become or expressing the long-term negative impact that the experience had on so many who ended up feeling betrayed and taken advantage of by Jim Baker; people who feel embarrassment and regret for having believed and followed him for as long as they did.  Instead, the documentary mainly consists of interviews with onlookers and bystanders; people who knew Jim Baker before he morphed into Father Yod/Yahowha, several sensationalized sound bites to describe the overall experience, and an abundance of overzealous comments made by his most fervid and devoted followers; people who continue to worship, exalt and adore Jim Baker and who are trying to dust off and polish up his image to present Father Yod to the world again in the hopes of either re-forming The Source Family or at the very least to gain their own following and/or fan base.  Overall, I feel the documentary gives the viewing audience an incomplete and even incorrect view of what life was really like in The Source Family; where it gives the impression that life in 'the family' was an abundance of wealth and one long frolic in sex, drugs and rock and roll; when the reality was something quite different for the majority of people who comprised The Source Family; where only a few of Father Yod's favorites received 'special treatment' and were put into positions with buying power for either nicer clothing, or musical instruments and equipment deemed only for a select handful, where only a select few were given the opportunity to escape the doldrums of an otherwise powerless, enervated existence within The Source Family.  Ordinary family members like myself and my son's father, along with many others did not benefit from all of the money that was poured into either producing and promoting Yahowa 13 just so Father Yod could live out his rock star fantasy, or his travels to India, or in his private indulgences of eating at expensive restaurants in Beverly Hills or shopping at I.Magnin, or using cocaine riding in his Rolls Royce with only a chosen few on his way to play a high school to troll for new 'spiritual children' to add to the already overcrowded and unhealthy living conditions that life in The Source Family had become; to finally where Jim Baker escaped the deteriorating conditions at Doc Hill in Hilo to move to a lovely hilltop home in the expensive bedroom community of Lanikai on Oahu, with only his select entourage of 'women' spending his final days in idle self-indulgences which the remaining family members had no part.  I feel that the documentary failed to show all of the above and fell short of presenting the more harsher, negative experiences, views and memories of those who have been left with a feeling of being duped, used and even stupid for following Jim Baker, for as long as they did.