Friday, October 19, 2018

Me Too....Just Not You

When Jim Baker began to approach and groom the women in The Source Family to have sex with him, which was something that he began to do early on, when the cult was still in its infancy stages; one of the young women he induced into having sex with him, in his elevated role as her 'earthly spiritual father' was soon propositioned that she have his baby claiming that his legal wife, Robin was perfectly ok with him wanting to inseminate other woman, because Robin had been incapable of getting pregnant, at the time.  Jim Baker, in his newfound lofty role as 'earthly spiritual father' said that he had a vision that God wanted him to 'gather his own children' and 'father' the new age, and so Jim Baker felt justified and empowered, after claiming to have had that vision and began to make a concerted effort to have sex with and inseminate the women who began to join his cult called The Brotherhood of The Source.  But, it turned out that Jim Baker wasn't telling the truth when he told the first young woman, who was underage; that Robin was perfectly ok with his efforts to inseminate other women within the cult.  That young woman left not long after that, because she had joined the Brotherhood hoping to find 'wisdom' and 'knowledge'---not to become impregnated by the spiritual leader of the group, and so she left; although if she tried to tell her story now; she would be dismissed and verbally attacked for saying anything that portrayed Jim Baker in a less than perfect way.

But, Jim Baker continued his pursuit of the women who joined The Brotherhood into having sex with him, using his elevated role as their 'spiritual teacher' to convince them that sex with him was necessary for their spiritual growth and a necessary 'magical' component of any man/woman relationship.  Many of the women that Jim Baker began to have sex with saw it as some kind of honor to have sex with a man, whom his devoted followers were exclaiming to be a powerful and wise man of God.  Spiritual gurus, teachers and leaders have used their exalted positions to have sex with their female followers for a very long time; so why should Jim Baker be any different.  But, I never saw it as some kind of honor to be summoned to Jim Baker's room to have sex with him.

In wanting to tell my story, though; I am being personally verbally attacked by those former Source Family members, who refuse to even consider that much of what Jim Baker did and imposed on the entire Source Family was an abuse of his power.  A few cannot even accept the fact that we were all in a cult that formed around the personality of Jim Baker, and where fulfilling his every wish or desire became of paramount importance.  A few zealous former members vociferously attack anyone (like me) who openly speaks out against Jim Baker or any of the practices that he imposed on the entire group.  If any former member is not in complete compliance with the sanitized storyline and fairy tale narrative, unless they remain silent, is verbally attacked and denigrated by the more rabid remaining followers of 'Yahowha'.  There is no room for any Me Too story when it comes to Jim Baker's sexual (mis)conduct during The Source Family among his remaining devoted followers.

Some of the women who were in The Source Family saw it an honor to have sex with Jim Baker, but I never did, and I'm not alone in that belief.  One woman who became one of 'Yahowha's women' wrote many years later how she never wanted to have sex with Jim Baker and resented the fact that he coerced/convinced her at the time that it was for her own spiritual growth----something that more and more women are now speaking out about their experiences in other cults and yoga organizations where the spiritual leaders or yoga teachers used their elevated positions of power over their followers to have sex with their female followers, and in some cases---the men.

When I decided to speak out and to tell my own story about experiencing what I consider to be sexual abuse, while being in The Source Family; several women contacted and messaged me privately to voice their support for me and my choice for wanting to tell the truth about what really happened in The Source Family----something that doesn't align with the sanitized and whitewashed storyline that has been presented to the public in one former member's book and the film that was made, based on that book.  Nobody, especially the women ever wanted to publicly discuss/talk about the more sordid things that we all had to endure, while in The Source Family under the direction of our 'spiritual father', Jim Baker.  A lot of what went on in The Source Family that was deemed as being 'wisdom teachings' or something that Jim Baker had 'channeled from the ethers' in his role as either Father Yod or Yahowha is just too damn embarrassing for most to ever want to talk about, which allowed the ardent, devoted remaining followers of 'Yahowha' to propagate a sanitized and whitewashed fairy tale----to spin only an idealized narrative where they have become tone deaf to any former member who's views, stories and memories don't align with the fairy tale.  Anyone, especially any of the women, who do not go along with the approved Source Family 'party line' risk being personally verbally attacked and character assassination from those who are intent on portraying Jim Baker and the entire experience as being ultimate and ideal.

Which is why, I was in a state of disbelief recently when I heard that one former female diehard follower of 'Yahowha' had written about her Me Too experience as a teenager when a young man tried to sexually impose himself on her---a story that sounded similar to what Dr. Ford claims happened to her when she was a teenager.  My disbelief stemmed from the fact the same woman had personally attacked me on Facebook not long ago, after someone posted/shared one of my blog posts on his wall where she tried to denigrate and belittle me for speaking out about what I had experienced in The Source Family that does not align with what she chooses to still believe.  Her attitude and behavior towards me showed neither 'sisterhood' or solidarity, which I believe the Me Too movement is based upon!  When a woman wants to be allowed to share/tell her Me Too experience, but then cherry-picks which voices and stories of other women that she'll allow; especially women who were in The Source Family alongside her----then she is certainly no sister of mine and should perhaps begin her own movement and call it Me Too---Just Not You.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Spiritual Pathology

Jim Baker's spiritual commandment 'harm not one of your body parts either by neglect, food, drink or knife' sounded like good advice' back in 1970, but isn't denying yourself or your children (especially infants) surgery or medical treatment of any kind doing harm?  Jim Baker's commandment to 'not harm one of your body parts by knife' was meant to deter people from circumcision or having any vital organ surgically removed from the body.  But, Jim Baker took that commandment of his to the extreme when he decided that no one in his Source Family should seek or use outside medical treatment or medicine of any kind; especially that no one should ever undergo a blood transfusion---because it went against the magical thinking that he held that your blood should never be replaced with someone else's blood (even in a life or death situation) that might interfere with your soul viewing it's 'river of life' upon death for the soul to learn it's 'life lessons' and be reincarnated.

In my mind, the adherence to many 'new age' spiritual beliefs has become almost pathological among many who believe that things such as modern medicine and medical treatment of any kind should be avoided, especially if it goes against a commandment by their 'earthly spiritual father', as was the case in The Source Family.  I suspect that even today; there are a few zealous former members who would allow themselves or their own children to die rather than submit to a blood transfusion, in what I see as a kind of spiritual or 'new age' extremism.  I think that it's harmless to believe that crystals have magical powers, but harmful if you believe they alone will cure cancer.  The reality was that had Jim Baker received medical treatment for the injuries that he sustained, after crash-landing on a beach, instead of following his own deluded magical thinking and belief not to seek or use medical treatment---he would probably still be around to have watched the babies he sired grow up.  Instead, he allowed himself to lay there and die surrounded by his enabling followers.

When people place their lives in the hands of a designated 'spiritual' or 'religious' teacher adhering to whatever 'magical' thinking or belief system that teacher prescribes; it can become fertile ground for an abuse of power, by those spiritual teachers and leaders, because their followers believe they're imbued with 'divine' or 'magical powers'.  So, followers never question their spiritual teacher's motives or doubt any of their actions or behaviors, and as we've all seen happen in cults and churches over and over again; the devoted followers become enablers in the misconduct of their spiritual teacher or leader----that is the dark side of spirituality that many people have fallen victim, since the 'new age' movement began----where people surrender and subjugate themselves to the whims, desires and sexual inclinations of their supposedly 'divine' spiritual leader and is exactly what happened in The Source Family; especially what was sexual abuse disguised as a spiritual teaching.

"At some later point the man, who was increasingly presenting himself as a so-called Lama, wearing exotic robes and the regalia of a yogi, came to visit us. I was shocked and hurt one day when he came to me and said that he was going to sleep with my girlfriend and that I should allow it as it was good for my practice of generosity. If I should object it would show that my practice of Bodhicitta, the aspiration to always work for the welfare of others, was hopeless. I was sufficiently young, naive and feeble to take all this seriously and found I had no grounds to question the validity of what he was saying. Whatever pain I was in was entirely because of my attachment. He tried to convince me it was best for my practice and that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right. I tell this story because it is typical of the kind of delusion we can conjure around our self-beliefs sufficient to create the conviction that we are entirely right in what we are doing. The grandiosity, for example, of this man made him utterly blind to the delusion he was caught in and the consequence of his actions."  http://zencaroline.blogspot.com/2009/03/spiritual-pathology.html.

Jim Baker, in his role as 'earthly spiritual father' behaved in the same way as described in the paragraph above when he began to have sex with multiple women within The Source Family, whether or not those women were married or already had a partner and in a relationship---if Father Yod/Yahowha ordered a woman (like he did) to leave her husband or partner to go 'serve'/be with another son; then that woman was expected to do so and obey his directive.  When people were being sent to Maui, one young woman who went there was in a happy relationship with one of the 'sons', when Father Yod/Yahowha sent for her to return to Los Angeles to be impregnated by him---convincing all around him that it was a sacred honor for the young woman to be inseminated by him, and a test of non-attachment for the 'son' she'd chosen to be with----proclaiming in a similar way, as stated above, 'that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right'.  Because some saw it as a great honor to be chosen by Father Yod/Yahowha to have his child, and any personal, conflicted feelings of any Source Family member was seen as attachment and Piscean (belonging to the past), and so everything that Jim Baker wanted to do in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' was enabled and fulfilled by his followers' belief in his omnipotence. 

By simply attaching some esoteric or spiritual meaning and significance to every one of Father Yod's directives and supposed 'teachings', Source Family members never had to question anything, instead suspending any doubts they may have had to just follow and obey the man, because nobody wanted to question the 'word of god' being channeled through their chosen 'earthly spiritual father'.  Everyone was given a headshot of Jim Baker when they joined The Source Family so they could stare at, or rather meditate on his photo where some believed (some still do) that it would transfer his 'energy and power' to them----a practice that Jim Baker adopted from Yogi Bhajan.

I believe that people need to use critical thinking and discernment when pursuing a spiritual path especially when adopting the beliefs of someone proclaiming to be a spiritual teacher, and not be afraid to look at any questionable practice or moral behavior of that spiritual teacher.  Just because someone claims to be a spiritual guide or teacher who has been 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' doesn't mean they have infallible moral character.  I've seen it become imperative in some people who have pursued a spiritual path to present or portray themselves as being 'illuminated' or 'enlightened' where their egos grew to enormous proportions puffed up by their perception of their own spiritual greatness believing they had defeated all darkness within themselves, to where they lost the ability for honest self-reflection or introspection choosing to believe they had attained a great spiritual height and a moral perfection and were incapable of doing anything wrong or behaving in a way that wasn't morally superior and aligned with 'light and love'----a delusional state that I feel many spiritual 'new age' seekers have succumbed in what the article I've linked below calls 'solar spirituality' that excludes the inevitable darkness of human experience where people bask 'in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality."

Everything that Jim Baker did or said in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' when he adopted the names Father Yod and Yahowha was to be seen as having been 'channeled by God', and therefore his followers believed he could do no harm and that everything he did or said was considered to be 'wisdom'.  My feeling is that any former Source Family member who continues to defend and excuse the sexual misconduct and abuses that went on, who refuse to acknowledge the deviant sexual practice that Jim Baker imposed on his entire group of followers was unhealthy and an abuse of his power where everyone who followed the man contributed to enabling his behavior over forty years ago----are continuing to enable that kind of behavior by promoting an idealized mythos around Jim Baker and hiding and covering up anything they know the public would find disturbing.  A few former diehard members vehemently defend the sexual misconduct of their 'divine' spiritual leader, Father Yod/Yahowha and the sexual grooming of young women that went on in The Source Family saying, "people wouldn't understand, because they weren't there.".  A few former diehard members vehemently either deny or just ignore there was any wrongdoing on the part of their beloved 'earthly spiritual father' when his spiritual directive was against anyone seeking medical help for their babies or small children, which resulted in the deaths of some infants---instead portraying it as something that 'just happened', during the normal course of life giving no explanation why those babies never received any kind of medical treatment that might have saved their lives.  A couple of former members have done a very good job in presenting a carefully sanitized and idealized narrative omitting anything they feel the general public should never know about, in order to gather/gain their own followers by presenting an idealized portrayal of life in The Source Family---which helps a few former members who still maintain their 'aquarian' persona to continue feeling 'special and chosen' for their loyalty and obedience to Jim Baker.

Something else that I see as spiritual pathology is how people have become obsessed with becoming 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' claiming to have 'gone into the light' just as Buddha and Jesus were to have done.  In The Source Family, it was always an enviable place for anyone to claim their 'kundalini had risen' and they had 'gone into the light'----something that has become an obsession with some people seeking a profound spiritual experience.  But, the search for spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment has resulted in people often following unhealthy, abusive and dangerous practices such as completely shunning the use of modern medicine or medical treatment and relying on only chanting, visualization, affirmations and crystals.

The quotes below are from a wonderful and insightful article written by Carolyn Baker (ha ha, of all last names) that I just found that basically confirms and substantiates what I also believe to be true of the 'new age', spiritual movement that has been taking place since the late sixties/early seventies.

"After many years of immersion in New Age spirituality, at the age of 40 my life fell apart as a result of my shadow blind spots. I subsequently entered Jungian depth therapy, and as I persevered in it, I quickly came to understand the extent to which my reliance on New Age spirituality had served to mask my pain and obscure the deep childhood wounds I needed to attend to in order to experience the wholeness for which I longed. My obsession with positive thinking and attempting to manifest a pain-free life had fostered within me an ego-inflation that was rapidly de-flated as I became more familiar with the ugly, obnoxious aspects of my shadow." (excerpt from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-baker/in-the-shadow-of-new-age-_1_b_9032460.html).

"I soon realized that solar spirituality, focused primarily on the light, offered a dubious peace of mind at the expense of familiarity with my deepest humanity and the human condition at large. In fact, I came to understand that addiction to positive thinking precariously ignores the dark side of humanity and in doing so, conceals the shadow of manipulation, abuse of power, self-righteous arrogance, and compulsive control that lurk beneath the still waters of “living in the light.” 

".....that authentic spirituality requires consciously accepting and relating properly to the shadow as opposed to repressing, projecting, acting out and remaining naively unconscious of its repudiated, denied, disavowed contents, a sort of precarious pseudo-spirituality." 

"Thus engaging in meticulous and astringent shadow work is a moral and spiritual imperative. Moreover, in situations of ghastly abuse as we witness in the sordid saga of Marc Gafni, a host of enablers always encircle the perpetrator. He would not have been able to continue his devastating sexual behavior without the likes of Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton fluffing pillows and making tea for him. The Gafni scandal reveals nothing if not the grotesque head and monstrous appendages of the human shadow writ large across the entire New Age movement, intoxicated with the Kool Aid of solar spirituality. Overwhelmingly, the New Age movement and the spiritual guru system is in abject denial of the shadow, and until it confronts its shadow, we can expect to see lives and communities ravaged by the darkness ignored while spiritual celebrities bask in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality." 

"....the full truth of this situation needs to be surfaced, witnessed and addressed, not just for the sake of those involved but for the sake of our whole movement so that we may do collective shadow work and face the abuse of power that too often happens under the guise of spiritual teaching.”

"In any event, until individuals on a spiritual path have done deep shadow work, they are highly susceptible to being blinded to it by solar spirituality, making themselves vulnerable to taking advantage of others or being taken advantage by them. One of the risks and liabilities of solar spirituality is that it makes us prey to exploitation and abuse and also increases our own potential for becoming a perpetrator of abuse."

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Euphoric Recall

Euphoric recall is a psychological term for the tendency of people to remember past experiences in a positive light, while overlooking negative experiences associated with that event (Wikipedia).  The term euphoric recall best describes what some former Source Family members exhibit when recounting and recalling their experiences.  I understand why some former members want to cling to the past fervently wanting to only believe that Jim Baker was a wise and loving 'holy man' and that the lifestyle within The Source Family was 'ahead of its time', healthy and magical, because accepting the truth and reality about the whole thing creates a cognitive dissonance that is just too much for some former members to bear.  There are some who just do not want to accept the fact that a man who presented himself as being a wise and loving man of God became consumed with having sex with the majority of women in the cloistered and close-knit group that he gathered around himself.  Some just do not want to accept the fact that The Source Family failed, because it was an authoritarian cult around the personality of Jim Baker, who controlled, directed and expected group compliance and obedience to his commandments where a group hysteria took over where everyone was expected to constantly elevate, praise and worship Jim Baker (even chant his name), and where the man's ego grew to such an extent that he believed God had directed him to create a new Aquarian race of children beginning with his own sperm, which for him meant having sex with prospective 'mothers' of his Aquarian progeny.  So, in Jim Baker's 'spiritual' family; he began to cast his eyes around for any new prospective females who would help him fulfill his deluded prophesy of him creating a new Aquarian race.

I watched the film The Tale the other night about a woman finally coming to grips with being sexually seduced by a 40 year old man when she was thirteen years old.  But, the film wasn't just about the sexual abuse of a child; it was also about how we often block out certain memories replacing them with only glorified ones in a euphoric recall. The adult woman in The Tale didn't want to allow herself to believe that she had been victimized by a much older man, when she was thirteen years old, claiming instead that it was the 1970's and that was just how it was back then--- the same explanation given in the 2012 film, by one of Jim Baker's more ardent remaining male followers.  But, fast forward over 40 years later and one of the women who joined The Source Family when she was thirteen years old told me not long ago that Jim Baker had 'raped her and ruined her life', and yet she will never publicly tell her story, because of the embarrassment, shame and guilt that many women feel worried about how they will be perceived as being complicit in the abuse---something that keeps women from speaking out about sexual abuse suffered at the hands of men who use their positions of power, authority, and leadership to take sexual advantage of women around them.  Although, the biggest reason that women who were in The Source Family remain silent is because of how former members are demonized and censured for not adhering to an idealized and romanticized narrative and who no longer hero worship Jim Baker.  Sadly, a few of the women who joined The Source Family when they were very young have chosen to cling to a more idealized and romanticized narrative about what happened to them, rather than admit they were sexually taken advantage of by an older man who professed being their loving 'spiritual father' who expressed a great love for them, because what young woman doesn't want to be made to feel 'special' and 'chosen'.  The reality of what happened to some of the young women who were only teenagers when they allowed Jim Baker to sexually penetrate them on a regular basis and how it later impacted their adult lives is very similar to what happened in the film The Tale.

I understand how difficult it is to accept the truth of what happened to some of the women who were teenagers when they joined The Source Family and Jim Baker began to groom them to not only be sexually open and available to him, but to other men within the group, as well---men that he called 'his sons'. That was the message that Jim Baker was sending to 'his sons'/the men in the group: that a woman's role was to be sexually submissive to a man and age didn't seem to matter.  Behind the appearance or guise of being an enlightened man who had been specifically chosen by God to father in the new Aquarian age, Jim Baker used his power and position as the 'spiritual' leader of The Source Family to have sex with as many of the women within the group, as he possibly could.  It became part of everyday life in The Source Family---waiting to see which woman Father Yod would add to his ever-increasing stable of 'spiritual wives' continually attaching some kind of divine or sacred 'spiritual' meaning and significance to all of his actions (something that every spiritual or self-help guru does), and to have it be seen as some kind of honor or privilege to have sex with the man.  Jim Baker actually believed that he was elevating sex to a higher level when he ordered/directed all of the women and men to perform a sexual ritual that he'd gotten from reading occult books by Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn, but the truth and reality behind Jim Baker's delusional beliefs about sex was that he ended up abusing his position of authority and power, as a 'spiritual' teacher, by controlling the sex lives of all of his followers particularly some of the teenage women.  Which makes it even sadder how some former members from The Source Family continue to try and attach some kind of sacredness to the sexual ritual and beliefs of Jim Baker that he imposed on his followers, because rather than sex being an individual choice and decision; all of the men and women who had become willing and devoted students of the man were expected to follow and obey his directives.  Ordering women to perform sex with the men was something that Jim Baker had no hesitation in doing, because like so many other spiritual and self-help gurus around even today like the leader of NXIVM; they hide their sexual misconduct and abuses behind a smokescreen of 'spiritual' wisdom or knowledge.  Jim Baker didn't expect women to be physically branded with his initials like what was done to some women in NXIVM, but he did attach a familial label to every woman in The Source Family referring to them as either 'his wives' or  'his daughters' around the illusion of him/Father Yod being their loving and benevolent father figure directing his loyal and obedient children to adhere to and follow his 'aquarian commandments', and ordering the women within The Source Family to sexually service the men by performing a ritual which Jim Baker said would result in 'magical' and 'mystical' powers was an abuse of his power being the 'spiritual' teacher or leader of the group, because it robbed all of us/his loyal followers from making our own individual choices and decisions.  But, more than anything Jim Baker should never have used his power and position as the father figure and 'spiritual' leader of The Source Family to have sex with teenage women or attempt to impregnate any of them.  That's the difference between being in a cult where the leader decides and makes all of the decisions about how members will conduct themselves in every regard, and simply being in a commune or communal living situation where there is no one leader deciding how everyone should dress, eat and behave.  Any group with one central leader who has been deified and elevated to a heightened vaingloriousness of being in possession of some kind of supreme knowledge or wisdom, becomes the perfect setting for sexual misconduct and abuse, as we've seen over, and over again in our culture.

The following statement is from a review about The Tale which I believe applies to what happened to some in The Source Family; "Ultimately, where the film is truly challenging, and potentially controversial for some, is in the way it questions the nature of victimhood, and how young women, longing to feel loved and desired, and needing to assert agency for their actions, effectively collaborate in their own abuse and its covering-up. That doesn't mean we should blame the victims or exonerate any of the adults involved, but Fox's film does illustrate how complex and nuanced these situations can be, especially when they took place in the aftermath of the counterculture's reframing of sexual norms. Just saying "It was the '70s" doesn't let anyone off the hook, but it does contextualize a set of permissive-to-the-point-of-lax attitudes toward child sexuality." 

Yes, during the seventies there were a lot of young women who left their homes often searching for the love and acceptance they felt was lacking in their lives, and so when the spiritual leader of a seemingly 'new age' group convinces them they have been chosen by God to help him herald in the new 'aquarian age' espousing how much he loved, cherished and valued all women---it was very alluring.  The whole hippie culture of sexual liberation and freedom of expression through 'sex, drugs and rock and roll' during the sixties and early seventies was a powerful attraction for many people, who during that time were also looking for like-minded individuals who shared a vision of peace and love that many believed their parent's generation lacked.  Jim Baker, a WWII veteran and family man left his wife and family for greener pastures decided that God had chosen him to become the father of a new Aquarian race, and so having sex with and impregnating some of the young women who joined his 'aquarian family' made perfect sense to him.  After all, Jim Baker believed that he had elevated sex to a 'higher' more enlightened 'spiritual' level and making each woman presented before him to feel uniquely special and chosen by him is why some of those women still cling to the belief that they found true love in Jim Baker, and that he only wanted to protect them----especially from the lust of men outside of The Source Family---a subject that Jim Baker talked about all of the time.  It began with a big, warm bear hug from the man, but soon went from hugs and kisses and long embraces with Jim Baker, to convincing women that having sex with him was part of their spiritual growth.  The fact that Jim Baker had a wife, Robin Baker made no difference whatsoever because he believed that God had chosen him to 'father' or usher in the new Aquarian age and impregnating women other than his wife, Robin became part of that plan. 
 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/tale-review-1076440