Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Will Concede One Thing

Not that it really matters, but I will concede that the very early days in The Brotherhood of The Source were the best; referred to as 'camelot' days by a few when everything was still new and exciting where people were feeling happy and ebullient and there was plenty of room in the living arrangements and an equipoise of status was felt among its members where there was enough for everyone equally; when Jim Baker behaved more like a welcoming and caring father figure, rather than the bombastic, grandstanding, egocentric womanizer that many like me who spent years in the group saw that he became watching his ego grow day by day, as more and more were attracted to the outward appearance of the group; but where the entire dynamic of the group devolved into following Father Yod's edicts emulating him in speech, dress and behavior seeing him as god incarnate. It was at what was called The Father House that Jim Baker, on the suggestion made by one of the women who surrounded him; he formed the 'council' made up of the women he surrounded himself whom he enlisted with the job of running and controlling 'the family' enforcing rules and directives either devised among themselves or taken directly from Father Yod.  Otherwise, daily life in The Source Family revolved completely around our 'earthly spiritual father' Jim Baker and sitting in front of him every single day while he supposedly exuded wisdom and 'channeled' the word of God, but where it was necessary for him to puff up his follower's egos, in order for them to remain loyal to him; by telling them they were the 'forerunners' of a new age and how they were separate from the rest of humanity, and how they alone would lead mankind out of the darkness and into the 'aquarian age' ad nauseam.  It was that kind of loyal, committed and devote followers that Jim Baker wanted to attract into his 'family' more than anything.  So, it was not surprising when women began insinuating themselves into becoming one of his 'women' in order to gain a sense of status within 'the family', along with the added niceties and perks which being one of 'Yahowha's women' afforded them.  One woman ingratiated herself into becoming one of 'Yahowha's women' so that she could not only have nicer clothing, hats and accessories, but so she could have access to the group's finances, before she left absconding with thousands of dollars.  But, The Source Family attracted all kinds of bizarre personalities, from an endless parade of spectators to some who were just looking for a 'free' place to land that joining The Source Family offered to anyone even feigning an interest in the 'teachings' being extolled by Jim Baker, because attracting new members to his group was of the utmost importance to him; especially attracting women and anyone who appeared to have money or some kind of celebrity status.  There were also day-trippers; people who would show up and spend a day or two and then leave, as well as a few dilettante members; people who continued to maintain their own lives and bank accounts outside of the group who were not at the mercy of whatever handouts or allotments were doled out to the more dependent members.  But, the ego boost that some women got by their becoming one of 'Yahowha's women' translated into them seeing or viewing themselves wiser and above the rest of the 'family' members, but also translated into them having more material comforts and benefits they believed their 'special' status warranted; like when one 'council' woman commandeered a woman's credit card to shop for new dresses at I. Magnin meant only for herself and the rest of 'Yahowha's women'.  I know, boo hoo, because I never had one of those dresses from I. Magnin, but that was the kind of disparity that was created around Father Yod and 'his women.'  Jim Baker was constantly exhibiting favoritism where some people were allowed more than their fair share, while the rest of the family members simply 'got by' with whatever they could scrounge or find; because of the class system that grew out of the superior self-interest of some of the women (and men) who clamored around Yahowha. The last thing that I ever cared about was showing deference or respect to any of the 'council' women; because of the selfish and self-serving behavior of some; something that I observed and wanted nothing to do with; but then, I had joined when Jim Baker had only one woman his wife, Robin, before he started his accumulation and impregnation of other women; women whom I refused to see as being worthy of either my respect or obedience just because they were having sex with Jim Baker!  It was as though everyone were sitting on the edge of their seats; waiting to see which new woman Father Yod would add to his already increasing stable of women!  Father Yod's addition of another woman within his 'family' became a source of entertainment, in an otherwise boring and enervated existence in the continued pandering and worship of the ground that Father Yod walked upon.  So, it came as no surprise when he created a 'council' of his 'women' to run the daily affairs of 'the family' where a couple of these women became his lieutenants marching around carrying out his orders, trying to wield their newfound sense of power and position.  That was when the entire dynamic of The Source Family became more like a fiefdom with a ruling class, rather than the carefree, joyful brotherhood experience which people initially felt and shared at the very beginning of the group.  The few who wanted power and control turned what was once a happy state of equal coexistence among 'family' members into a travail of 'fear and loathing' trying to avoid being called before 'the council' for some infraction!  Other former family members have jokingly shared with me the various ways they used to avoid the more controlling 'council' women and their disapproval or reproval. But, that was the atmosphere created around 'Yahowha' and his women, and there were many people who were victimized by a few of the more aggressive 'council' women. Showing respect along with humble obedience catering to the personal needs and waiting on Yahowha's 'special' female companion 'mother/angel' was just one example of the many types of servile behavior cultivated in The Source Family.  Any new women deemed as 'angels' were conscripted into waiting on Yahowha's women and providing childcare for his babies, in order to free up 'his women' to allow them to sit in his presence. Seriously, that was the extent of pandering servile behavior encouraged and rewarded of many who joined The Source Family; especially in the latter days, after the entire group relocated to Hawaii where it grew exponentially worse   But, the Source Family produced some tremendous spiritual egos: people who still believe their sole purpose in life is to spread Father Yod's 'teachings' to the rest of humanity who exhibit imperious and condescending attitudes towards anyone who challenges their misplaced beliefs that they're doing 'the great work' of Yahowha.  But, yes; I will concede that there were some happy, carefree short-lived days of repose in the early part of The Source Family. I look at the expression on my face in photographs from those early days at The Mother House where I can still be seen smiling, to the days at The Atherton Mansion in San Francisco where my smile was replaced with a more somber ambivalent expression of someone who had found themselves trapped in a cult unable to extricate themselves where daily life had become one long test of endurance with the loss of personal autonomy that was replaced with only the daily chanting, breathing exercises and repetition of magical sayings and incantations beseeching invisible forces to convey power and knowledge which only fed the continuing group bubble of delusion that everyone in The Source Family were becoming 'saints' and 'saviors' heralding in the age of aquarius, all the while quality of life within 'the family' deteriorated.  Yet, all that magical thinking and ceremonial magic did was to reinforce more and more delusional thinking which did provide degrees of mental succor to endure the worsening living conditions; it just didn't change anything!  But there was literally not enough food to eat at times, after the majority of people were shipped to Hawaii at both the Hilo Doc Hill mansion and then later at the Hilo country club where I can remember locking myself with my infant son in an empty room above the garage so that he could safely crawl around next to me so that I could sleep and rest suffering from might have been a mild case of hep A, due to the extreme fatigue that I was experiencing; alternating between that and wandering into the kitchen area to see if there was any food to eat; food that had become very scarce.  But, not everyone suffered during those times; a few of the men could escape into town during the day to pursue 'family' business enterprises where they could at least be afforded something to eat for themselves, to be secretly shared with others.  Because escaping or sneaking off to find food became very prevalent within The Source Family.  Once a woman was 'busted' and called before 'the council', after she received some money in the mail from her 'real' family and went into town with a couple of other women where they bought and ate cheese.  Because at that point, especially while in Hilo life in The Source Family had become dire.  So, for anyone who has vicariously joined The Source Family and been given an honorary 'aquarian' name who are extolling the virtues and benefits of 'the family' believing it to have been a wonderfully magical place and the epitome of 'new age' healthy, alternative communal or group living or Jim Baker to have been a wise and holy man; they have no idea what they're talking about.  Because aside from its very earliest beginnings, life in The Source Family became disparate, dysfunctional and desperate.  All of which is why it is very hard for me to concede the experience being much more than the restrictive, isolating and debilitating cult situation that it became, and I also refuse to leave my son with a false image of what life was really like in The Source Family.