Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cultural Denuding

I realize there is no actual term 'cultural denuding', but with the term 'cultural renewal' recently being used by one of the filmmakers to describe The Source Family cult; the only opposite word of renewal that I could think of was denude - to strip (something) of its covering, possessions, or assets; make bare.....a word that I feel best describes what happened to Source Family members---we were all stripped of our possessions and assets to assimilate and absorb a preponderance of occult, Hindu and theosophical beliefs and sayings that were supposed to convey ancient knowledge or understanding----all at the hands of a man who saw himself as a modern day Moses returning to 'gather his flock"; who just like Moses created his own ten commandments and then set about gathering a following of devoted acolytes to abide by those commandments.  The definition of 'cultural renewal' is the following:  The act of reviving a dying culture by trying to restore it to it's original state.  Jim Baker spoke about God continually, and he elaborated on how those of us surrounding him would 'be at the head of the class' as leaders when Armageddon came, but he only succeeded in creating an 'us versus them' belief among his followers creating a spiritual elitist mindset.  The atmosphere among those who comprised The Source Family was one of having been 'chosen' and being 'forerunners of the new age', as repeatedly told to us by our spiritual guide, Father Yod; the result being an imperious and superior 'spiritual' ego in many who found themselves in The Source Family----an attitude which some still carry----still thinking and believing that they are the 'saviors of the world'. 

When a cult forms around the personality of one person, in this case Jim Baker; than everything becomes more about that person rather than actually giving back to society or renewing it in any way, while creating an atmosphere that the outside world poses a threat.  Denying the use of modern medicine which saves lives doesn't contribute to a cultural renewal, but rather it casts us back in the past when there were no drugs or medical procedures that could save human life, and so returning to practically 'biblical times' using only faith healing to cure the sick and injured hardly qualifies as cultural renewal; especially when those antiquated beliefs lead to the deaths of infants who might have gone on to have healthy and 'meaningful lives' had they been given medical attention.  Which is why the whole notion of The Source Family cult contributing to the cultural renewal in this country ludicrous.  If denying sick infants medical care contributes to cultural renewal, than please explain to me how.  If instructing men and women to ingest semen and menstrual blood contributes to cultural renewal, than please explain to me how.  If denying children with staph infections any medical help contributed to cultural renewal; again please explain to me how.  Because, after spending six years following Jim Baker's 'spiritual' tenets and belief system and witnessing firsthand the detrimental effects that many of his directives and beliefs had in the lives of those surrounding him; I absolutely cannot understand how some people can continue to exalt and worship the man.  Although, films tend to have an impact on people which is why many who watched the film titled a documentary became mesmerized and enthralled by the entire story and have chosen to idealize and fantasize it.

No one in The Source Family had the ability or wherewithal to create 'meaningful lives' for themselves, with the exception of those who either managed The Source Restaurant and had their own vehicle and access to money; but there were only a small handful of Jim Baker's coveted and favored 'sons' whom he indulged.....everyone else ended up leading lives isolated and sequestered within the confines of the group.....never going anywhere having no money or transportation to go anywhere or doing anything; especially the women, because Jim Baker did not believe that women were emotionally equipped to deal with what he called 'the outside world' so spent most of their days either doing menial chores like cleaning, laundry or childcare relegated to their servile and obedient positions within The Source Family.  Working in the restaurant did allow some of the women to venture outside the bounds of the compound, and a few women were allowed on occasion to conduct 'outside business', but overall a woman's entire existence within The Source Family was to be of service to one of Jim Baker's 'sons', but forget about women having their own individual life making autonomous decisions for themselves---those days were over whenever a woman joined The Source Family.  Women were supposed to be obedient and subservient to their 'godman', as Jim Baker would continually refer to his 'sons' within 'the family'; which is why he would often move women around/place them either with specific 'sons' and even command them to leave their partner to go and 'serve' him to be impregnated by the great, almighty Father Yod!  Which is why I encourage any woman reading this to stop and consider how you would feel, had you been in The Source Family and Father Yod either ordered you to perform qudosh with multiple 'sons' or to return from Hawaii in order for him to impregnate you, because that is exactly what life was like in 'the family'.

Those of us who decided to join The Brotherhood of the Source joined for varying reasons; I was seeking a metaphysical meaning of life, after having several extraordinary experiences, while on LSD and like many others who ingested psychedelics were searching for something else in their lives that might offer a glimpse into the mystical aspects of life, and Jim Baker was eager to provide his adapted and adopted versions of 'ancient knowledge' to all of us, and so we dropped everything and left our lives and our 'real' families to follow and join Jim Baker as our 'earthly spiritual father'; although he was also providing us all with a place to live and food to eat; so what if all we needed to do was get up at 4am every morning to attend class where Jim Baker began to impart his particular brand of 'wisdom'.  At first, in the early days life in The Brotherhood of The Source seemed idyllic and pleasant.....even fun; but things began to change, as more and more people began to join, and especially when Jim Baker decided that he wanted to have more than one woman.  But, having beautiful women prostrate themselves at his feet was too enticing and so Jim Baker began to acquire other women within 'the family' by engaging in 'sex magic' with them.  I doubt there were very many women whom Jim Baker did not 'try it on' with, throughout the six years. But, when Jim Baker decided to impose a deviant sexual ritual he called qudosh onto the entire 'family'; people started to leave.  Although, sadly many of us stayed and endured the worsening circumstances where life in The Source Family became stifling and enervating.

In a recent interview, one of the filmmakers of the 2012 film stated how she believes groups like The Source Family contribute to 'cultural renewal', and how those groups also 'provide people with meaningful lifestyles and direct access to 'god' or 'other beings', and where people with previously materialistic lives; reassess their lives within the cult.  Yeah, that sounds all fine and good but denouncing materialism was hardly what Jim Baker was about!  Jim Baker was all about acquiring/having wealth, not the other way around.  He wanted us to all be 'rich' hippies, which is why he wanted to give the appearance of affluence and wealth by driving around Hollywood (for a short time) in a used Rolls Royce to help give that appearance.  But, once the income from the Source Restaurant became strained from supporting so many people; Jim Baker began to look for other ways to bring in wealth/money and life within The Source Family became tenuous and insecure.

One of Father Yod's money-making efforts was when he decided that a band called Breath should be formed around the songs of both Tim Garon and Les Adam, and so he added the drummer from YaHoWa 13 (Octavius) and the bass player (Sunflower), along with a talented violinist (Lovely).  A demo tape was made at The Atherton Mansion in 1975 and sent to all of the record company contacts that had been made in Los Angeles when the Yahowha 13 albums were being shopped around; although no record label was interested in signing Yahowha 13.  But, A&M Records sent one of their people to San Francisco to hear Breath where they performed for the guy in the basement of the Atherton Mansion, and per Octavius was 'blown away by not only the music, but the whole scene'; and they/A&M records wanted the musicians to fly to LA to record and to sign them to a recording contract.

But, Jim Baker said no to the entire deal once he heard that the record company wanted the band members to fly to LA where they would not be under his control or influence, but more importantly that A&M Records was not willing to make it a 'Source Family' contract---something that Jim Baker was counting on in order to bring a large infusion of cash into The Source Family, so knowing the contract would not be under his control; Jim Baker said no to the entire deal giving the Breath band members some lame excuse how they were 'too spiritually young' to leave and go off on their own, because he was continually warning of the dangers for anyone leaving what he called 'the circumvent force' of the family.  It wasn't until later that the truth was revealed about why Jim Baker put the kibosh on Breath having a record deal.  But, that's what happens to people who join a cult---their decisions are no longer their own, but rather decisions that effect their lives are made by their cult leader/father/guru.  Perhaps Breath band members may have had 'meaningful lifestyles' if they been allowed to have a recording deal with A&M Records, rather than only having their songs and performances ripped off, sold and used years later by other former Source Family members who saw an opportunity to make money for themselves. 

Although, in 1976 it was the band Breath that performed at the Crater Festival, and then shortly after they opened for the band Bread at the HIC - the Hawaiian International Conference Center being the last band from The Source Family to perform.  It wasn't YaHoWa 13, it was Breath.

So, I do not want to hear anymore myths about how being in The Source Family cult helped people to have 'meaningful lifestyles' when everyone gave up/abandoned their previous lives to end up living in dire conditions with barely enough food to eat, where outbreaks of staph infections lead to the deaths and disfigurement of babies and children.  I don't want to hear anymore about the 'meaningful lifestyles' that people were supposed to have found in The Source Family, when everyone became completely dependent and were rendered incapable of making a living for themselves when the whole thing finally ended where many resorted to dealing drugs in order to support themselves and their families, and where some women slipped into prostitution, no doubt due to the sexual grooming by Jim Baker, or where some children were physically and psychologically abandoned by their own parents, after The Source Family cult came to an end.  I do not want to hear anymore of the hype and mythos by some who although they left the group have now become zealous devotees and followers of 'Yahowha' once again intent on respreading his so-called lofty spiritual 'teachings'.

If Father Yod's 'teachings' were so powerful and magical, then why didn't any of those 'teachings' produce healthy and productive 'meaningful lives' for the people who populated The Source Family?  Why did so many 'family' members proceed to descend into years of extended drug and alcohol abuse?  Although, there are still a few former 'family' members who have humongous 'spiritual' egos who proclaim they are 'living the teachings' and yet the reality behind their exhortations is something entirely different, because so much of presenting and displaying an 'aquarian' or 'spiritual' persona is a chimera.

Jim Baker was all about acquiring and having material wealth, which initially the income from the lucrative Source Restaurant provided; but as more and more people wanted to join his cult; Jim Baker began to look for other ways to bring in money and wealth.  Also, one of the filmmakers stated in a recent interview how people previously leading materialistic lives were able to reassess their lives in cults like The Source Family---which ironically is exactly what selling and promoting Father Yod and The Source Family is all about......selling something.  But, I believe that people would rather know the truth about what was going on in the cults and communes from the sixties and early seventies; not just a fantastical sanitized storyline adapted for public viewing.  I also feel that it's arrogant and presumptuous for anyone who wasn't in The Source Family to dismiss me or other former members, because we do not agree with their idealized adaptation.....people who see themselves as being more enlightened or more in-tune with what was going on back then dismiss former members like me who do not look back positively at their Source Family experience; one woman even going so far as to explain why former members don't have a positive attitude about their Source Family experience because of one of three things:  1) they were not really following much of a spiritual path 2) they were following some 'other' spiritual path 3) they were never fully into the practices.  In their presumptive arrogance, some people who were never in The Source Family actually believe their version or narrative is more accurate, than those people who actually spent years of their lives in it.

Initially, Jim Baker did aspire to live up to lofty spiritual ideals, but like most men who find themselves being praised, elevated and worshipped as being a 'great, spiritual teacher, guru or leader' and are surrounded by fawning and adoring females and male followers---those men usually succumb to their sexual predilections and then proceed to adapt their 'spiritual' leanings and/or 'teachings' to accommodate and indulge their sexual inclinations.  But, the thing is----Jim Baker took his own sexual promiscuity and practices which he adopted after reading Aleister Crowley's 'sex magick' and proceeded to impose a sexual deviant ritual on the entire collective of Source family members......a ritual that most former members would rather forget about.  So, I don't appreciate women who never had to submit to 'feeding' multiple men/sons in succession to make assertions that I 'just didn't get it' or 'just wasn't spiritual enough'.  The majority of women who were with me in The Source Family for years agree that qudosh was disgusting and are embarrassed by the fact they/we had to perform such a thing.

The reality and truths behind the entire Source Family story are best described and summed up by the people who spent years of their lives in the cult, which are certainly more accurate and insightful than the idealistic projections of someone who became enthralled by the story after watching the film, or by anyone who has a personal and financial interest in maintaining a mythos around Jim Baker and the Source Family, but what I find to be odd are the people who left the group, but have now become what I call born-again 'Yahowites'---people who although they left 'the family' have now become fervent and devoted followers of Jim Baker's once again, along with some who spent no time in 'the family' whatsoever.  It's no surprise that someone who left 'the family' and never had to endure the hardships and deprivations that many of us endured, now worship and praise Jim Baker.  It's no surprise, a woman who was never in The Source Family and did not have to perform qudosh with a succession of men/sons believes that her idealized perspective is more accurate than someone who actually was and did.