Friday, July 9, 2021

An Uncomfortable Truth


The photo above was one that was to be part of what was to comprise Jim Baker's 'Aquarian Tarot' card deck for The Lovers card.  It was taken at The Father House in Los Angeles, during the flurry of Yahowha 13 recording sessions. 

The photo above of a naked Makushla lying prone, while Jim Baker holds a chalice to her mouth was to signify them having performed the sexual ritual called qudosh that Baker initiated into the daily practice of The Source Family and became THE most predominate of his supposed 'new age' teachings.  Qudosh was something that Baker adopted, after reading books by Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn.  The practice of qudosh has been the most secretive aspect of The Source Family that the majority of former members have tried to keep hidden from public view, and is also the main reason that many former members have disassociated themselves from having been in The Source Family.  It's my belief, that Jim Baker became consumed by sex and his acquisition of multiple 'spiritual wives', primarily to outdo Yogi Bhajan to show how 'aquarian' Baker was for openly having sex with multiple women, as opposed to the clandestine sexual relationships that Bhajan had with women in his group.  Makushla/Susan, if you happen to see or read this post; I apologize for causing you any more embarrassment, but these two photos are already found online, and so I feel that some kind of explanation should be given so the viewing public can understand how Jim Baker abused his position of power as the spiritual leader and father figure of The Source Family, by expecting everyone especially the women to perform a sexual ritual that honestly few wanted to perform!  But, so-called spiritual leaders, gurus and new age teachers constantly and consistently abused their positions of power and often subjected their loyal and devoted followers to awful practices, including having sex with the spiritual leader, guru or new age teacher.  Jim Baker subjected all of the women (and men) to engage in a sexual ritual which nobody signed up for initially, but we had already become good, little obedient followers of Jim Baker and so most everyone acquiesced and did what he told us to do.  That is the uncomfortable truth of it all.

In a desperate desire by those still promoting Father Yod and The Source Family, a couple of people wanted to publish a Source Family 'Aquarian' Tarot Card deck to hopefully make additional money for themselves, along with all of the other Source Family merch they have for sale.  This was all to take place in 2012, until a mortified Makushla (Susan) set off an email campaign where former members were asked to show their support for her to block the publication of the naked photos of her posing with Jim Baker.  After all, Susan aka Makushla had moved on with her life and was in a new relationship and saw the publication of those naked photos of herself from forty years ago an embarrassing, awful prospect.  I was one of those former members who wrote an email expressing support for Makushla to prevail upon those who were intent on publishing photos of her---basically just pleading with them not to print/publish those embarrassing naked photos of Makushla to be sold in a deck of tarot cards.  The two people most hell-bent on keeping the mythos of Jim Baker alive finally agreed not to publish the naked photos of Susan and Jim Baker, at least until she had passed away; in another display of a humongous sense of entitlement by two former members who have essentially taken and used whatever they have wanted from the Source Family days.  Susan was given a deference that no other former Source Family member has been given, because she was seen as being Father Yod's 'Mother Angel' to be treated in an honorific and reverential way, in contrast to Robin Baker:  Jim Baker's only legal wife who chose to remain with Baker in The Source Family and witnessed and experienced her husband shift his focus and attention to Susan, along with Baker's ongoing and continual sexual acts with the majority of other women within the group in what to me seemed to be his obsessive desire or need to engage in sex with as many of the women in The Source Family, as he possibly could.  Around the same time that Baker summoned me to have sex with him at The Father House, I also recall a beautiful, young blond woman joining and Jim Baker couldn't help himself and of course initiated having sex with the young woman; when word quickly spread that during the sexual conquest of the young woman; Baker 'lost his seed' ie ejaculated; even though his designated practice called 'dhyanism' was specifically about a man not ejaculating.  Clearly, Jim Baker's lust for the young woman got the better of him that day.  No relationship was respected or sacrosanct to Jim Baker, if his desire was to have sex with another man's wife or partner and it was all presented as being very 'aquarian' and how women were supposedly just naturally attracted to him, because he was 'the most powerful' of men (Jim Baker was much older than most of us who joined and he had a big stomach and flaccid arms and was certainly not as virile and physically fit as most of the younger men in the group and I never found him physically attractive), and how he was supposedly elevating the act of sex beyond the carnal, lustful act of sex outside the confines of The Source Family.  Yet, another uncomfortable truth is that Jim Baker was 'a dirty old man on a lust trip', as described by Robin Baker in the 2012 film about The Source Family. 

The above photos also reflect the male dominated environment of The Source Family where Makushla is seen posed vulnerable and naked upside down in a compromised, sexual position with Jim Baker seen as being the masculine dominant male above her.  Jim Baker was born in 1922 at a time when women had barely won the right to vote in a very male dominated society, and so he grew up seeing women as being subservient and compliant to men more than anything else; the weaker sex who could not withstand the vicissitudes of life which was the reason/excuse he used for keeping the women in The Source Family sequestered away and protected from having to deal with the big, bad outside world.  I recall Jim Baker saying that women were not emotionally equipped to deal with 'the outside world' and therefore should be protected within the confines of the group.  Which was why a woman's role in The Source Family was all about bearing and raising children, cleaning, making meals, doing laundry and attending to the 'earth trip' of their designated "God man" which was how Jim Baker described his 'sons' or the men surrounding him.  So, a woman's role within The Source Family was created by Jim Baker according to how he saw a woman's role in life, which was subservient, obedient and compliant to a man.  I distinctly recall Jim Baker saying that women didn't even need to meditate or attain 'spiritual enlightenment', because their path was different and that it was a man's role to 'contemplate Spirit' and attain a higher consciousness or God-consciousness.  That was the belief system which Jim Baker put into place within the supposedly new age 'aquarian tribe' of people whom he surrounded himself.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Personal Story

The photo below of a green basket topped with an I Ching coin and tasseled jade piece is significant to me, because it was the first 'nice' thing or possession that Tim bought for me, after we had been temporarily kicked out of The Source Family (that happened to several people) and told to leave the encampment on Maui in 1974.  Getting this basket was a luxury item for me at what was a lot of money for us back then $55.00, after having spent six long years in The Source Family with virtually nothing, but the few items of clothing that I had and a couple of books.  Otherwise, I had nothing and never got anything new.  But, I joined The Brotherhood of The Source with nothing, and I left with nothing.  There were no niceties or luxury items available to the majority of Source Family members like myself, who did not have access to money, transportation or the benefits or largesse of Jim Baker that he bestowed upon some of his 'women' and 'sons'----some of whom were able to buy nice dresses and whatever else they desired.  That was part of the disparity of being in a cult like The Source Family.  Nobody had much of anything, except for whatever handouts were allowed or allotted, because; nobody had any money or income.  Although, it turned out there were some people who continued to maintain their own bank accounts.  But, the majority of people just got by with what little they had which only got worse as the years dragged on.  So, I was very happy when Tim and I were temporarily kicked out and got to return to some kind of normalcy in life where you could spend time looking around art galleries and perhaps buying yourself something nice---a luxury that only a chosen few were allowed to do throughout the entire duration of The Source Family.  So, every time that I look at this basket; it reminds me of how important it was to Tim, for me to have something that I never would have been allowed to have while in The Source Family having neither the funds/money or means to acquire it.  I remember feeling such a sense of freedom being away from the claustrophobic and controlling dictates of Jim Baker and the controlling men and women who surrounded him.

It was during this time that I was almost ready to give birth.  Tim had flown over from Los Angeles to the encampment at Makawao, Maui to check on me, and thankfully either said or did something that pissed off whomever was trying to control the contingent of 'family members', and so Tim and I left the encampment and flew to Oahu where Tim went out and found work playing in clubs and bars.  We were living at The Pagoda Hotel in downtown Honolulu in a room with a kitchenette.  It was in that hotel room that I gave birth to our son.  We had hoped to have found a house or a rental of some kind, before I gave birth, but that did not happen.  Tim delivered our son in a hotel room at The Pagoda Hotel, and like retelling an old war story; he would retell the story of how he delivered our son to everyone around him for the rest of his life, because he was extremely proud of himself.

Looking back, I am convinced that had I gone into labor while still at the encampment at Makawao, or back at the compound in Los Angeles surrounded by Source Family members; that my son would not have survived his breech birth.  My son came out feet first, and had I been surrounded by the men and women in The Source Family at the time; they would have been unable to decide or know what to do, along with the reluctance and reticence never to go against our leader, Jim Baker's tenet not to call an ambulance or seek medical help.  That was verboten, and nobody dared do something that would have been contrary to Baker's directives.  I am convinced that anyone in attendance of my son's breach birth would have stood around and hemmed and hawed unsure of what to do, and my son and I would have been at the mercy of whomever happened to be around, but most definitely that my son would not have survived his birth.  The only reason that my son survived was because Tim and I had left the group and were on our own; that and my own instinctive fear at the moment my son's two feet emerged that if Tim didn't get our baby out immediately neither our baby or myself would have survived---that was the thought that flashed into my mind, right before I literally yelled at Tim, "Pull him out!"  Tim later said that he was pulling so hard; he thought he was going to break our son's neck.  But, it took two strong pulls and out came our son, feet first.  I like to say that he came out standing.

Of course, someone at the hotel heard my birth pains & yelling and had called the Health Department, so the front desk phoned the room to say that an inspector from the Health Department was on their way.  Well, I was freaked out at the prospect of people from the Hawaii Health Department showing up, and so with a surge of adrenaline within minutes Tim had pulled the car that we had around to an exit at the back of the hotel and he unceremoniously gathered up all of the bedding that included the placenta and dumped it down the laundry chute, before we left The Pagoda Hotel and went across the street and checked into another hotel where I spent the next week or so recovering and taking care of my perfect, little infant son.  Although, I've always felt bad about someone in the laundry room at the Pagoda Hotel finding that bedding containing my placenta.

Thankfully my son survived his birth and his Dad was given the unique opportunity to deliver his own child.  I could not have been more proud of Tim's courage and unwavering resolve in delivering our son, and most of all for listening to me when I yelled at him to 'pull him out!"  But, had I been surrounded by Source Family members whose ability to think and act were inhibited by the delusional and misguided beliefs implemented by our 'spiritual' leader never to call for medical help of any kind; I'm convinced there is no way that my son would have survived.  Another woman had a breach birth, but her baby did not survive, because nobody around her knew what to do, and there was no medical help summoned for her.  But, like her and myself, and all of the other women who became pregnant while in The Source Family; none of us ever had any prenatal care that would have seen if our babies were going to be breech.  I guess that I was the lucky one.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Confirmation By Us

When I began to openly speak out to challenge and oppose the often effusively idealized, and sanitized narrative about Jim Baker and what it was like being in The Source Family; a few of the diehard believers or followers of Father Yod/Yahowha began to search online for anything that might reinforce or bolster their claims that everything that went on in The Source Family was magical, wondrous and divine where Jim Baker is portrayed as being an 'enlightened avatar' for the new age in a feverish effort to convince the public that all of the 'aquarian teachings' espoused by the man had been divinely inspired or channeled through him and were knowledge or wisdom that superseded the 'teachings' of all other gurus or spiritual teachers in a stellar confirmation bias or wishful thinking.

"Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.
Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it. Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our prejudices."
Whenever a former member of The Source Family has openly spoken out against Jim Baker or the practices that he imposed on his entire group of followers; they are immediately pounced upon and attacked/discredited by the more rabid and devoted followers of Father Yod/Yahowha, due to the depths of some follower's confirmation bias about the man, Jim Baker and the 'new age' utopian fairytale image of what it was like being in The Source Family that borders on pathological.  
I wanted to share a First Degree podcast from January with Jim Trattner aka Magus where he talks about his own experiences and perceptions of Jim Baker when he joined The Brotherhood of The Source, in an interview that I see as a kind of 'confirmation by us' (a play on the term confirmation bias) in what I consider to be the more honest shared memories and experiences by those former Source Family members who refuse to follow or adhere to the scripted, prescribed and approved Source Family narrative, which only presents or portrays Jim Baker in a heightened and spiritually superior way, while hiding or ignoring the more disturbing aspects of the man and many of his 'aquarian teachings' or directives.
Jim Trattner was given the name, Magus, after he joined The Brotherhood of the Source early on where Jim Baker began to refer to Magus, as the 'elder brother' of the group, perhaps because he was the closest in age to Jim Baker.  But, Jim Baker saw it as 'a feather in his cap', to have someone older and educated like Magus becoming one of his followers.  But, with age and experience brings more questioning and discernment which is often lacking in younger and more inexperienced 'spiritual seekers', as was the case with myself and others who joined The Brotherhood.  So, when Magus began to question Jim Baker's behavior and 'teachings'; especially when Baker began to have sex with more and more women among his following referring to them as 'his women', but mostly because Jim Baker was against any of the members seeking or using medical help outside of the confines of the Brotherhood----Father Yod called Magus a head tripper---someone who thought about things too much---was in their head too much.  I witnessed first hand Jim Baker take it as an affront, when Magus decided to leave The Source Family where Baker spent quite a bit of time, during 'class' rebuking Magus for leaving the group.  Here is Jim Trattner's excellent interview that I only wish had been longer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Batshit Spirituality

"The key element of the total ideology is its focus on a single truth. This single truth, the sacred word, is the word of the leader, or sometimes, that of a deity to whom the leader is the only one to have a direct line. All knowledge comes from the leader. While the leader may change their mind as new “insights” appear, followers may never do so, although they must ever be on the alert to jump to the leader’s sudden ideological shifts."
The above statement defines exactly the kind of total ideology that consumed every aspect of The Source Family where the sacred word, as prescribed by Jim Baker became all about the letters YHVH, and the single truth that Jim Baker was a direct line to 'all knowledge'; something which changed sometimes daily depending on whatever new 'insights' that Jim Baker had during 'meditation'.  Everyone was expected to be focused on Jim Baker and his 'word' 24/7 ready to respond and act on whatever his new 'insights' were, in order to fulfill whatever it was that our spiritual leader and father figure wanted.

Here are a couple of more statements from the Aeon essay linked below that parallel precisely what Jim Baker created.
"Newman’s inner circle was composed of a set of women known as the ‘wives’ or the ‘harem’, who served as his most trusted lieutenants, as well as, at different times, his bedmates."

"Different groups have different fear-arousing themes and methods: the oncoming apocalypse, fear of outsiders, fear of punishment, and exhaustion, among many other types of threatening strategies. But the leader is always the sole saviour, the one who will lead them away from (or through) the fear they are experiencing to a wonderful safety, to paradise, to a perfect, transformed world."  
In the case of Jim Baker, he constantly and consistently warned all of us/his followers of the threat of man(kind) and the impending apocalypse where only those of us surrounding him would be safe and secure within the confines of The Source Family and where we would all then become the leaders of a 'new age' that would arise amid the chaos and destruction---a fear of everything outside of The Source Family, due to the animal nature of men and the insanity that might engulf anyone who left his 'family' was something that Jim Baker instilled in all of us/his followers, which resulted in many feeling fearful and conflicted whenever doubts arouse about whether to remain in the group or leave.  It was fear that compelled many of us to remain within the group for its entire duration.  I wanted to leave The Source Family at various times, but the fear of what might happen compelled me to continue seeking some kind of safety and solace within the group; even after I had become disenchanted and disillusioned with Jim Baker and all of his antics and his non-stop, incessant preaching/teaching 'the word of God' that he was supposedly channeling.

"Once this fear-based control is in place, it is quite difficult to break: the follower’s dissociation and disorganised emotional attachment to the leader or group makes it extremely difficult to look clearly at what is happening. In fact, any attempt to do so only creates more fear, causing further disorganised bonding to the group to attempt to ease the stress." 

"The third element of totalism is the total ideology, or, as Newman called it: ‘A historical totality that has no beginning, middle or end’. The exclusive belief system is controlled entirely by the leader, empowering him or her through the creation of a fictional world of secrets and lies."

"After a while, things that seemed preposterous seem normal."
That was exactly what happened when Jim Baker imposed the practice of qudosh on the entire group expecting the women to perform with all of the men---that was a perfect example of something which seemed preposterous was made to seem normal within the closed and secretive confines of The Source Family binding everyone even more and more to a devotional secrecy around whatever Jim Baker ordered or expected to be done.  I think that the practice of ingesting a woman's menstrual blood was the most preposterous of Jim Baker's 'aquarian teachings'.

IFC Documentary Now just came out with a parody based on the film Wild, Wild Country with a few Father Yod and The Source Family parodies thrown into the mix making for an extremely funny and entertaining show.  I think it's healthy and good to be able to look back and laugh at something that many took very seriously when it was all happening.  Humor is the best way to convey the truth about something, in this case the reality of 'spiritual' cults/groups like the Rajneesh and The Source Family cults.  I thought the few parodies of Jim Baker as Paternius were spot on, but one segment was more tragic than funny like when Father Ra-Shawbard (Owen Wilson) cries out, "What was I thinking. Get me to a hospital!" after he's struck by a car---a scene taken directly from The Source Family film after Father Yod crash-landed on the beach surrounded by some of 'his women'.  Something that was meant to be funny actually conveyed the reality of that situation that many former SF members share:  that Jim Baker's death could have been prevented, and that even Jim Baker as he lay there after crashing on the beach asked the women around him, if he should go to the hospital (he asked twice, in fact), but was told by one of his 'spiritual wives' that he could go to the hospital to seek medical help, but that it would be going against his 'teachings/beliefs'.

Now, that was a batshit moment---adhering to some crazy and delusional belief in not using modern medicine, instead choosing to allow Jim Baker to suffer in pain and eventually die, by holding him to his own batshit 'teaching'.  I've no doubt that had the women surrounding Jim Baker made the decision to rush him to the hospital that fateful day, that he would have capitulated and probably been extremely thankful, after the fact.  Instead, Jim Baker was held to his own deluded and harmful batshit 'spiritual' belief that nobody in his 'family' should seek or use medical help and in a tragic irony died being held to his own misguided beliefs.

I thought the Batshit Valley parody captured really well the extremism and insane devotion and beliefs that many people exhibited who joined the various spiritual or religious groups that sprang up, during the late sixties and early seventies; some lasting into the eighties resulting in even more long term emotional or physical damage to people; especially the children who were raised in some of the more harmful cults.  Anyone who obediently follows one man or woman who is elevated and revered in an adoring, worshipful and reverential way believing that person is imbued with magical powers or knowledge places themselves and their loved ones in potentially harmful and dangerous situations, especially if the 'religious' or 'spiritual' belief system becomes one of a totalism of belief that influences and controls everyone's speech and behavior---it's that kind of spiritual extremism that was parodied in Batshit Valley.

It's good that some of us can laugh about it now, though.  But, some of the harm done to people who gave up their lives in order to follow, obey and worship men like Rajneesh and Father Yod suffered loss monetarily, emotionally and physically or even worse the loss of a child.  Yet, for a few remaining devoted and diehard followers of Father Yod/Yahowha; the Documentary Now Batshit Valley parody is completely lost on them, because a few are still incapable of seeing the absurdity, ridiculousness, and harmfulness of it all.  Instead, a few are choosing to see it all as something great and wonderful that made them part of history, and all of their continued profuse, exalted proclamations about Father Yod/Yahowha or the exclusive batshit beliefs that were unique to The Source Family created by Jim Baker that has become a parody in itself.

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."

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

"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.