Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Review of The Film About The Source Family

Since the film about The Source Family came out in 2012, there have been many reviews done about it, along with a plethora of interviews 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 2012 film, since I did spend six years of my life in The Source Family and have firsthand experience.  I was sent a copy of the film 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 which I had suppressed and tried to forget about, because I had gotten on with my life having nothing whatsoever to do with either Father Yod or The Source Family any longer!  Watching the film evoked all of the sordid memories and awful, unsettling feelings of being in the group, and so at first; it was difficult for me 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.  Where it felt like being released from an internment camp where you had suffered deprivations and were finally being released!  That is what it felt like for many of us, when the entire Source Family debacle finally came to an end----even though many were faced with the stress of having to scramble figuring out where they were going to go, and what they were going to do next:  it still brought a welcomed sense of being released.  That was something that the 2012 film failed to show.

Life in The Source Family had become insufferable where it had been reduced to most everyone having very little in the way of food, comforts or possessions of any kind; yet where the handful of women who were considered Father Yod's/Yahowha's 'women' were still being taken care of and supported using the little remaining resources along with the financial support of one older gentleman, who was among those who continued to pander to 'Yahowha's mother-angel' and the other 'council women' treating them as though they were royalty, but where often 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 where the majority of us just wanted the whole thing to end where 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 when 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 insufferable and unsustainable.  Yet, the 2012 film somehow gives the audience the impression that life within The Source Family was one of wealth and affluence, but then the glowing accounts and puffery describing Father Yod and life in 'the family' given by some of his most devout remaining 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, especially since the overwhelming majority of former Source Family members like myself have wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it any longer, and did 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 or life in The Source Family was worthy of following or emulating.  I do feel that the two young women who made the film 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 many who populated the family who feel it had a negative impact 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.  Many people 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 and highly idealized comments made by some diehard former followers who continue to worship, exalt and idolize 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 2012 film 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 a groovy, rock and roll fantasy where we all drove around in Rolls Royces----when the reality was something quite different for the majority of people who comprised The Source Family, and where only a few of Father Yod's chosen favorites received 'special treatment' who were put into positions with buying power for nicer clothing, or musical instruments or 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 the flush of cash that was poured into producing and promoting Yahowa 13 just so Jim Baker 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 'his women' 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 the 2012 film labeled a documentary failed to show all of the above and fell short of presenting the more harsher, negative experiences, views and memories of many who were left with a feeling of being duped, used and even stupid for following Jim Baker, for as long as they did.