Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Internment Camp of Makawao

I thought that I would take a stroll down memory lane to the time when all of the pregnant women and women/mothers with small children were shipped off to live on what was a parcel of land located in the rural area of Makawao, Maui.  To some, being sent to Maui might sound like an envious vaca, but in this case it became only a test of endurance and fortitude for the women who were essentially (temporarily) banished by Father Yod from The Father House in Los Angeles in 1974, after a woman (going against his edict) took her infant daughter to a local emergency room for a serious, life-threatening staph infection that might have prompted an investigation by the health department or family services; and so Jim Baker/Father Yod believed that he was protecting the integrity of 'the family' by sending away all of the women with small children and the pregnant women from the house located in Nichols Canyon, with the exception of course of any woman pregnant with his child.  After all, he did not want to risk or jeopardize his precious 'family' being scrutinized by local, public officials who could have disrupted life in The Source Family at the overcrowded compound in LA.  So, a 'son' was dispatched to Hawaii to find something rural enough to remain 'under the radar' of local officials which ended up being a parcel of land with only adjacent cow pastures located in the countryside of Makawao, Maui.

I was pregnant at the time and so I was among those evacuated to live on this parcel of land.  But, there were no trips to the beach to enjoy the surf and sand, in fact none of us ever went to the beach!  Instead, we were all dropped off on the land with one ramshackle dwelling and one covered open area that served as a kitchen---a kitchen that seldom saw food; especially food stuffs for children like milk, cheese, bread, eggs, cereal or vegetables.  I could go on and on, because NONE of those foods were made available to anyone who was sent to that place---a place also with no indoor plumbing or any hot and cold running water.

For most of my time spent on 'the land' in Makawao, I slept in a small tent on the ground during the rainy season all while being enormously pregnant, but what made those conditions so much worse was the fact that the only source of food that any of us had especially for the small children, was whatever could be found or picked by the two men ie sons who had been sent along as 'pickers' for the group.  So, while Father Yod and the remaining 'family' members remained behind in Los Angeles enjoying more room at The Father House and a bounty of food; the mother's with small children were forced to endure extremely harsh near-starvation conditions!  Mothers with their young children were placed in an extremely stressful situation where they were not sure where their child's next meal would come from!  Just so that Father Yod could remain behind in Los Angeles and feel more secure ensconced in his comfy surroundings surrounded by a bevy of his women, while he lived out his rock star fantasy being lead singer/frontman for Yahowa 13.

There were many days that the only food that the 'pickers' could find was pineapple or breadfruit---something which had to be thrown into an open fire until burnt/charcoaled on the outside then cut open to be eaten, but forget about having any butter or seasoning for that!  So, most days at the encampment were mothers waiting in anxious anticipation for whatever the 'sons' could find or pick/scavenge to bring back for their children to eat.  So, it's all bull being thrown around to the media about what an 'ideal' or 'aquarian' or 'healthy lifestyle' that The Source Family was supposed to represent, because anyone spreading that kind of hyperbole didn't have to endure the conditions on Makawao and were probably among those who were allowed to remain behind in Los Angeles with hot water and plenty of food to eat.  No matter how cramped and unhealthy conditions might have been at The Father House; they were far better than the conditions that the children were forced to live on Makawao.  Why is it that women and children always seem to the sacrificial lambs when some religious zealous guru or leader wants to live out his utopian fantasies?  It seems that the most vulnerable like small children and women who care for those young children and nursing mothers become the most expendable and casualties in any kind of cult situation where a religious belief system comes into play---especially ones based on erroneous and deluded magical thinking.

There is absolutely no reason why children had to go without food while in The Source Family, or why any child had to suffer ever----why one child (now an adult) is now deaf in one ear, or why others still bear the scars from their untreated staph infections, or why some were allowed to suffer and die receiving no medical treatment or intervention of any kind.  Anyway, back to Makawao where  the women with small children were essentially dropped off and left to 'get by' without money or transportation or being allowed to go into town, and where being cutoff with very little in the way of nutritious food or money it soon became an intolerable situation.  Escaping/sneaking into a nearby town just to find something to eat became the desire of everyone who was forced to live in that camp.  In order to deal with the lack of food and the stress from having been removed and cut-off from the rest of the group who remained behind in Los Angeles; many of us at the camp began scouring the adjacent cow pastures looking for 'magic mushrooms' in the hopes of finding some kind of mental relief or escape from the circumstances that we had all been placed.  One of the only food stuffs that we had in the camp were some wheat berries that had been sent along, but had to be soaked overnight to be edible; which to my embarrassment I ate a batch one morning that had been intended for the children's breakfast!  But, I was pregnant and felt hungry most of the time.  There was also an outbreak of scabies in the camp which also added to the awful conditions.  There was a nearby waterfall where some of the women walked to find some relief and enjoyment, but was soon deemed 'off limits' by one of the more controlling 'council' women who had also been sent along for having a young child who felt that the women might become the 'object of sexual desire' by local men, and so she tried to block the women from even going to the waterfall!  No kidding---the fear of the women in the family arousing the sexual animal nature in men outside The Source Family was seen as a real threat!  Yet, it was perfectly ok for Father Yod to exhibit sexually predatory behavior within the pool of women who comprised his 'spiritual' family, but God forbid any of the women be subjected to the sexual looks, stares or vibes of any man outside the group!  This was the kind of deluded and often fear-based thinking that thrived within The Source Family that all of the women needed to be protected from the sexual predatory behavior of men outside of 'the family' to such an extreme that women became fearful of having any interaction with any man outside the group!

I was finally able to escape the camp when my son's father, Tim Garon came over from Los Angeles to check on me and I left with him, after we either chose to leave or were kicked out (I don't recall), but it didn't really matter because I just wanted to escape the conditions of that camp.  So, Tim and I left for Oahu where he was able to find gigs singing and playing in local bars, because Tim was very streetwise and resourceful and had the ability to provide for us, as soon as we got to Honolulu.  Looking back, I truly wish that Tim and I had been able to extricate ourselves from our involvement in The Source Family at that point, because it had become an extremely stressful and harrowing experience for both of us, but it can be very difficult to leave a cult situation after you've spent years in it becoming convinced that something harmful might befall you, if you left the group and was something that Jim Baker/Father Yod continually and consistently said would happen to anyone who left the 'family.'

When you sit day in and day out in a meditative state listening to the words of only one man, along with repetitiously chanting his name, while trying to emulate and copy that man even worshipping the very ground that he walked----where you're implored to give up or surrender your personal power to that one man, because he's convinced you that he's your 'spiritual father' and that he only wants what's best for you; then you have become indoctrinated or brainwashed whatever you choose to call it.  Which is why people who find themselves in cult situations choose to remain in the cult believing the 'outside' world poses the threat and that only by remaining in the confines of the group or cult will they find safety and security which was exactly what many of us came to believe, while we were in The Source Family.  It also made it even harder to leave, because many of us had formed relationships and connections with other 'family' members, because extreme circumstances will often bind people together who try and endure whatever hardships occur; where people do not want to leave behind their spouses, children or friends and so many remained for that reason, until The Source Family cult finally ended.  But, it was not surprising that several people after The Source Family joined Scientology or JZ Knight as she channeled Ramtha a 35,000 year old Lemurian warrior and other quasi-spiritual communal situations where there was only one 'strongman' leader like Jim Baker, who told us that he had reincarnated from Atlantis and had returned to gather his children.  Yeah, right.