Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Own Moral Outrage

Today I read an article in Harper's titled The Ideology of Isolation where I read the following statement that I felt perfectly described Jim Baker's own attitude and belief towards the women in The Source Family cult; "The loner taketh not, nor does he give; he scorneth the social and relies on himself alone. Himself. Women, in this mode of thinking, are too interactive, in their tendency to gather and ally rather than fight or flee, and in their fluid boundaries. In fact, what is sometimes regarded as an inconsistency in the contemporary right-wing platform — the desire to regulate women’s reproductive activity in particular and sexuality in general — is only inconsistent if you regard women as people. If you regard women as an undifferentiated part of nature, their bodies are just another place a man has every right to go."  Man, nothing summed it up better with regards to Jim Baker's 'good old boy' mentality towards the women in The Source Family; something that he was able to hide/cloak behind the outward presentation of himself being a holy man; but make no mistake he decided as the group's head honcho how women's bodies would be utilized in his cult/group.  So, that statement in Harper's hit a nerve and addressed the gnawing, unsettling feeling that I've always had about the way that Jim Baker imposed his outdated male gender bias and views that he had carried with him throughout his life about the role of women, and injected those views into what was supposedly 'new age' and 'aquarian'....please.

There was nothing sexually 'liberating' in having one man impose his deluded belief that the menstrual blood of a woman gave him superhuman consciousness!  But, the deeper that Jim Baker delved into the extreme occult beliefs of Aleister Crowley and his own plunge into ritualized sexual madness; the more Jim Baker became convinced that was the way to achieve ultimate consciousness.  Men have dictated how women's bodies should be used throughout history and Jim Baker was no different; he just hid it behind a fa├žade or veil of 'spiritual' precepts.  Jim Baker decided that all the women in his 'family' should be impregnated and produce what he believed would be a new race of 'aquarian' children; yet he never once ask what any of us wanted/he just expected everyone to obey his directives, along with instructing the women on what their roles or duties were to be; which was to be of service to the men.

The most egregious edict of Jim Baker's was when he decided to impose a sexual ritual called qudosh on the entire group; ordering/instructing women in 'the family' to perform often with multiple men/sons---quite often one after the other.  Jim Baker decided that it was his role to decide and direct how women's bodies would be used in his so-called 'family' believing that he possessed the inalienable right as the group's leader to make those decisions for us.  When I became a nursing mother, I also distinctly recall Jim Baker referring to me as 'one of the milk cows' of the family, because he would routinely make distinctions about many of the men & women in his 'family.'

Fervent former devotees of Jim Baker balk at any statement made that portrays their savior and God in an unfavorable light saying things like, "no one was holding a gun to anyone's head."  True, no one was holding a gun to any of our heads to remain in The Source Family or to obey and abide by everything that Jim Baker imposed on the group, but that is what happens in a cult; that's what happens when people blindly and obediently obey and follow a cult leader---people end up doing things/behaving in ways that are contrary to their own moral and ethical beliefs and standards.

It was not until 'the family' ended and we all dispersed and went our own separate ways that many former 'source family' members were able to deprogram themselves and look back critically and objectively at what we had been made to do/coerced to do while in 'the source family.'  To their credit, a few got out early when they saw the disturbing direction that Jim Baker was taking the group.  The behavior of everyone in The Source Family was dictated to and controlled by Jim Baker in what he saw as being the 'aquarian' way of life.  There was never any overt dissension within 'the family' as that was seen as being negative or out-of-your-center (a 'source family' term for being angry), because everyone was expected to comply with every one of Jim Baker's edicts---edicts that he would change almost on a daily basis.

There was never any forum or 'women's groups' within 'the source family' to discuss or talk about our feelings or views; just the expectation for everyone to obey and comply with the dictates of our 'earthly spiritual father', Jim Baker and of course the 'council' comprised of women he designated as 'his women.'  So, you either got onboard and did whatever 'Father' instructed and directed everyone to do, or you faced being diminished or ostracized from the group in what became an intolerance of anything other than what 'Father' decreed in saying, "So mote it be."  The reason that so many women who were in The Source Family do not openly speak out about their experiences from being in 'the family' is out of embarrassment or a sense of shame and not wanting their own children to learn or know more about what their mothers had to endure while in 'the family.'  The majority of us have simply tried to forget about being forced to service men/sons; some we hardly knew, and know in our heart of hearts there is no way in hell that we would ever repeat the experience and certainly would not want our own children or grandchildren to follow or believe in anything that Jim Baker was extolling; the only exception might be the benefits of adhering to a vegetarian diet and perhaps a handful of other things that did not transgress the physical, personal and psychological boundaries of women.

So, I have chosen to speak out and verbalize the embarrassment that many of the women felt, from their time spent in 'the source family' and their regret for allowing a man from the WWII generation who believed that women should sexually service and serve men to decide how their bodies would be used; an attitude that is still seen in many men which continues to disempower and disenfranchise women within our society.  The Source Family may have had the appearance or window dressing of being 'new age' with our long hair and white homespun garb of robes and handmade dresses parroting whatever Jim Baker extolled about either the 'mysteries of the Pyramids' or how we were heralding in the new age of aquarius, but below the surface for anyone who actually lived in the group and spent any length of time in the group; the loss of personal choice and freedom ensued primarily among the women, who were forced to 'obey the teachings of their earthly spiritual father' and 'love their earthly spiritual father more than themselves' which meant performing whatever acts or actions that Jim Baker/Father Yod/Yahowha (all three of him!) purported to have 'pulled from the ethers.'

The moral outrage that I felt over forty years ago in The Source Family cult has remained with me to this day.  There are still some things that I just cannot bring myself to write about simply because some things are just too embarrassing, but remain as a constant reminder and the reason that I will not remain silent in the face of the continued efforts by some to promote life in 'the source family' as being the bellwether or pioneer of the 'new ageism' or conscious healthy living taking place in the world today.  Aside from adhering to a vegetarian diet, many of Jim Baker's beliefs and dictates were for his own self-gratification and have no place in any current relevant dialogue or progressive movement/conversation that is going on today; aside from it serving as a warning.

It is deceptive for those who continue to present only the window dressing of The Source Family to make it look appealing and to be viewed in a favorable light by the public leaving out entirely the fact that Jim Baker expected men and women to perform a sexual ritual which caused more harm than good and that was the equivalent of a physical and psychological abuse of power.  I have conceded that when I first joined 'the brotherhood of the source' that I enjoyed being part of a group and the camaraderie and joyful feelings of being with other free spirits who were happy to have found what appeared to be a healthy & wholesome group, at first.  But Jim Baker, empowered by his new role as our savior-cum-spiritual father decided that in his newfound role he would make decisions about the roles of men and women never asking any of us if we were 'ok' with his edicts or if we felt 'comfortable' with anything he imposed, because Jim Baker also believed that he needed to 'test' a person's loyalty or commitment to him, because he was convinced that all his decisions were being 'channeled' from God.

The public is being duped into believing that Jim Baker was ahead of his time and that The Source Family were shiny examples of wholesome, healthy living leading the way for the entire new age movement, and the sexual ritual/practice of qudosh which became the most important practice or supposed 'teaching' extolled by Jim Baker is left out entirely; something that the handful of diehard 'Yahowites' (devoted followers) neglect to tell people about this most predominate and important of their leader's so-called teachings.  You would think the fact that babies were allowed to die without receiving any medical help would be enough to dissuade people from wanting to promote Father Yod or The Source Family as being forerunners of anything, much less a healthy 'new age.'

It is my feeling that now, more than ever there needs to be more moral outrage; a combination of disgust and anger towards men who continue to believe that they have the right to make decisions about women's bodies.  The Source Family was a travesty of women's rights and the rights of children to receive medical treatment; especially when it was available.  It is time that people felt a moral outrage about men who think/believe that they should be the ones to decide what happens to a woman's body or to the bodies of their own children.