Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Music Recollections By Octavius

All of the songs that were ever recorded, during the Source Family had one thing in common, and that was they all had the same drummer---Octavius performed on every one.  Although, Octavius wasn't just the drummer; he was also a producer and engineer.  I recently asked Chris Johnson (aka Octavius), if he would write something about the music from The Source Family to post on my blog and here is what he wrote:

Hello, I'm Octavius Aquarian. 
I would like to share some memories of being the drummer for The Source Family music journey presenting highlights of the evolution of the music and the phases of its development. I will avoid the emotional interactions of the many people involved. I have been known to be sarcastic and opinionated, so please bear with me and I will try to lay out the meandering journey of music, minds, and melodies.  Because of the things that ego’s madmen, and visionaries bring to our lives....some names and places have been left out, to protect the not-so-innocent from getting their togas and drawstring pants in a bunch.

I walked away from a job in Vegas playing for good money, room and board---to the Source Restaurant for no money or room, but I was never bored.
I walked away from the drums when I joined The Brotherhood of The Source. No one knew that I played drums, but sooner than later it was found out that I was a musician.

There was of course as in any group of people, hidden talents never before realized.
There was a member who was a very talented singer/songwriter named Lotus.  I would play bongos with her (laughing), because I no longer had a drum kit.
There was another member who was also a singer/songwriter at that time named Aladdin, who was a gifted musician.
There was a member who was a bass player of some repute in Hollywood in those days who was hiding out being a talented jeweler in the group. 
There was a member who played keyboard and his name was Magus.
Another songwriter joined, as well who had previously been writing jingles and such; he also wrote some wonderful songs. 
The group had enough talent to hobble together a musical distraction.
Artist and thinkers are the troublemakers. It's not only smart, but necessary to have these kinds of people busy doing things that keep them occupied----lest they start asking questions.  At least that is what music does to me, and it was all I was in those days....all I thought about.  It was my persona---that Jesus was a drummer kind of thing.
That is when the leader says to me, "I have a drummer, I have a band.”
I thought, Oh yay or was that Oy vey!

Well the floodgates were opened. Our spiritual sugar daddy/producer/leader told me to get instruments and outfit a band.  Can you say 'gift horse'?  Guitar Center here we come in our robes and long hair waving cash around, so as to be taken seriously.

All the people who could do anything showed up for an audition at some point or another.  It surprises me how evaluating ourselves can sometimes be so skewed.  As I remember, it was nerve-racking at times a bit like the Gong Show.  I was designated to be the executioner of musical egos.  After purchasing recording equipment, building a studio area and sound booth; we recorded our first album.
Aladdin was never part of the wannabe crowd.

Most all the songwriters and singers made up our 1st musical level.
From there we focused on the individuals who had more than one song. 
Arranging and making them band-worthy.  We were having a good time playing the rehearsed music.
So much so, we even managed a gig at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset. It was The Tubes night off.  It was the only gig we had.

As I recall, there were 13 people in the band named "Spirit of Seventy Six” - the 2nd musical effort.
It was during rehearsal days, when the leader of our group started to hang out in the band room.
He did not have a singing voice.
He did not play an instrument.
He wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
He bought a timpani drum to play along!!!!!!
We didn’t have any material that called for timpani drum.
So, he would start playing by himself and we could join in!!
It was less difficult for me at the beginning....both being percussion.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have timing either.
Everyone faked (whatever) the best they could. 
Since the guitar player had never really played electric, he made strange sounds with it like squealing and scratching with wha-wha and echo through a B3 cabinet twirling horns vibrato.
He fit right in.
We just kept playing hoping it would end without a scene of freak out or storming off.
That's when our leader said how fantastic that it was.
We had just had our first taste of YaHoWa 13 spontaneous music - the 3rd musical effort.
This is what we presented as our contribution to the music palate of Hollywood in the 70’s.
This spontaneity continued till in the end we had a band member change up.
I observed that the guitar and the sounds made were pushing to dominate and control with no way out.
I went to the leader and said, "Either he goes or I go." 
The next day we switched things up and played some music with Arelich (Sky Saxon) and Fire Water Air - the 4th musical effort.
With a different guitar player. Those were in the last days of YHV13 in Hollywood.
We made many albums. Others even took the music and redistributed it.  There was even a book about the family, and a music tour for a couple of years 2012-ish, and a documentary movie.  The spontaneous music is what we were known for.

There was also a star in the beginning that continued doing what he always did....sing and play his music, but Aladdin now had a new name Hom (pronounced home).  When YHV13 was not making a splash anymore, Hom's music came to the front.
We put together a band called BREATH and made some great music - the 5th musical effort.
We presented a demo to A&M records. They liked it. They wanted to give us a contract.
As things go, we were not to take their offer. In retrospect, its obvious our leader was selling the family package not the music.
If the musicians were to sign, they would leave the community. Then what would the group do without their music and their band.
Breath did a few gigs in the last days. We opened for Bread at the Hawaiian International Convention Center, and the Crater Festival in 1976 on New Year's Day in Honolulu Hawaii.
Breath was the most commercial, and relatable music the Source Family ever made.
Short and sweet.
Well, thanks. 
Making sure the stories remain true.
Octavius
Chris Johnson


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 possess----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 do 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 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 might have created 'meaningful lifestyles' for themselves had 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.




Monday, May 8, 2017

Subjugation By A Narcisstic Cult Leader

Unconsciously, Jim Baker ended up subjugating every man, woman and child who joined his cult family by admonishing and entreating everyone to follow his words or rather his commandments.  But, like countless other so-called 'spiritual' leaders of cults; Jim Baker believed that gathering followers around him was what God wanted him to do, and that whatever he said or did or entreated his loyal followers to do was being condoned by a higher power.  I doubt that many gurus and cult leaders have malicious intent when they initially start forming and creating their own little quasi-religious following, but invariably when someone is elevated to the position of being a great avatar espousing the 'word of God' and imploring people to follow and obey them---to be swaddled and swathed in that man's immense love for them; I believe that with omnipotent control and influence over other people's lives is where so many gurus went wrong.  It is always the people who willingly decide to believe in and follow a guru who end up suffering at the hands and commands of the cult leader; especially someone like Jim Baker----a fatherly figure expressing love, care and concern to all who willingly wanted to join him and to follow and obey his commands.  I understand how people have to take responsibility for their own actions and choices in life, and yet the gurus and spiritual leaders who become enthralled by their own power and who become convince they are 'the voice of God' who then start to gather people around them exerting absolute control in the lives of their followers and making all of their follower's decisions like what everyone should eat, wear and believe---then I believe that cult leader has to take responsibility for any and all misguided, dangerous and detrimental practices that he decides to impose.  The inflated spiritual ego impressed by his or her own great spiritual achievements start to believe that everything they do is for the greater good of mankind, and no matter how deviant, debauched or debased their beliefs or behaviors become; the majority of cult leaders remain confident that all of their actions are 'God's work' and should, therefore not be questioned or second-guessed by any of their followers, but rather their followers should be ever so thankful and grateful just to be in their cult leader's presence.  That kind of intensified and magnified glorification and idealization of Jim Baker is what happened very early on in The Brotherhood of The Source, as more and more people came to The Source Restaurant wanting to join the group who initially wore only all white clothing, because Jim Baker, the man who owned the restaurant believed that white was the highest 'vibration', and so encouraged by his new wife/bride; Jim Baker decided that he should gather or 'get his own children' (as he is heard saying in the film) to become a spiritual father/leader just like his spiritual leader, Yogi Bhajan had done.  But, the ego of a man or woman usually goes askew when they become thoroughly impressed and enthralled in the belief of their own spiritual greatness, and sadly it's the gullible and hapless yet earnest believers who end up suffering at the hands, whims and desires of the cult leader---people who no matter how much enthusiasm or idealism they may initially have about the decision to follow one man or guru, eventually begin to suffer and feel the negative results by having to 'live up to' and abide by/fulfill the whims and desires of the inflated spiritual ego of their leader---the person who convinced his followers that he wanted to create a new race of enlightened and new age Aquarian children, and that he needed to have sex with and impregnate the women in the group, in order to do that; because after all 'it was what God wanted him to do'.  That is exactly what happened with Jim Baker, and yet there are still those who cling to the notion that Jim Baker was a great visionary in possession of ancient knowledge and wisdom surpassing all other teachers and gurus around----people who still refuse to even accept the fact they were in a cult and that cult was The Source Family.  An aggrandized spiritual ego tends to hide behind a mask of 'doing God's work' believing that all of their actions and decisions are justified and only for the benefit of others. 

Joining The Source Family meant that you were entirely expected to adopt and adhere to Jim Baker's 'teachings' especially his commandments, and anything less was seen as being inferior in some way and not as 'enlightened' or 'aquarian' among his more fervent and stalwart believers.  Everyone in The Source Family was expected to live by and obey Father Yod's words and teachings in an obedient, unquestioning and childlike way.  In the 2012 film about The Source Family, you hear Jim Baker say the following to the family members surrounding him, "Do you see how I absolutely need you?  And how you absolutely need me?  What would I do without you?  Do you know where I'd be?  In the looney bin."  That statement was followed by laughter, and yet it was true, because Father Yod had created a dependent situation among his followers---a situation where many became desolute when he died, because their entire lives had revolved around the man.  In that statement by Jim Baker, he confirmed that he relied on the constant praise and unwavering devoted and attention of the worshipful meiny surrounding him, many who had been following and obeying his every command for years.  The following quote from Daniel Shaw's book titled Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation summed up Jim Baker's control perfectly, "Cult leaders succeed in dominating their followers because they have mastered the cruel art of exploiting universal human dependency and attachment needs in others. The lengthy period of dependency in human development, the power that parents have, as God-like figures, to literally give life and sustain the lives of their children, leaves each human being with the memory, however distant or unconscious, of total dependency. Cult leaders tap into and re-activate this piece of the human psyche. Followers are encouraged to become regressed and infantilized, to believe that their life depends on pleasing the cult leader. Cult leaders depend on their ability to attract people, often at critically vulnerable points in their lives, who are confused, hungry, dissatisfied, searching. With such people, cult leaders typically find numerous ways to undermine their followers’ independence and their capacity to think critically."  That summarization perfectly defines the childlike/infantile dependence that a majority of Source Family member's displayed throughout the existence of the cult.  I have stated before how Source Family members would ask Jim Baker's advice/direction and guidance on absolutely everything in their lives where his tenets and decisions were to be quickly adopted and acted upon, and anything else was frowned upon and seen as being lesser for not following Father Yod's letter of the law.  Anyone who detoured from the prescribed behaviors as determined by Father Yod were looked down upon as being spiritually inferior by those in The Source Family who considered themselves more 'enlightened' among his 'sons' and 'daughters'----an imperious and often condescending spiritual arrogance was exhibited by many in The Source Family who believed what Jim Baker was telling them---that they were 'chosen' and 'forerunners of the new age' and 'children of the six root race' creating an elitist, smug attitude among the more zealous and devoted of Father Yod's followers.

From what began for many of us as something new, novel and exciting wearing all-white clothing trying to adopt a 'spiritual' persona sitting around an older, bearded man who professed being the 'father that we all wished we'd had' became an exhaustive and beleaguered existence in having to listen to Jim Baker/Father Yod/Yahowha incessantly in his bombastic way espouse his 'wisdom' on a 24/7 basis, to where everyone was constantly and exhaustively expected to 'live up to his expectations' and to please him, but most of all to maintain and feign the appearance of absolute commitment and loyalty to any and everything that Father Yod or his 'council of women' wanted or imposed on the rest of us.  So, life in The Source Family became an intolerable and unendurable situation where the circumstances of the entire group had become insufferable and unsustainable, and yet a few diehard and devoted followers of Jim Baker are still hell-bent on pretending it was all some kind of wonderland.

Here are other excerpts by Daniel Shaw from Traumatic Abuse in Cults - "In fact, the cult leader does not escape dependency. Instead, he (and also, in many cases, she) comes to depend on his followers to worship and adore him, to reflect his narcissistic delusion of perfection to him as does the mirror to the Evil Queen in the tale of Snow White. One of the ways in which this perversion of dependency is often enacted can be observed when the cult leader claims that because he needs nothing, he is entitled to everything. Thus, cult leaders claiming to be pure and perfect, without any need or attachment, use manic defenses to rationalize and justify their dependence on extravagant and grandiose trappings such as thrones, fleets of Rolls Royces, and the trust funds of their wealthy followers."  Although the income from the very successful Source Restaurant provided support for everyone who showed up and wanted to become a follower of Jim Baker, those resources became strained from supporting so many people, and from the indulgent expenditures into either his travels to India or the huge investment in musical instruments and recording equipment to facilitate and indulge Jim Baker's rock star fantasy within the cult; even though only a handful of people benefitted from the flush of cash that went into producing the albums that were made in The Source Family.  The strain on the income from the restaurant to support the entire cult compelled Jim Baker to covet and pursue people with personal wealth or celebritydom, because acquiring more and more followers became a major focus of Jim Baker's.

"Ultimately, followers act on the belief that only the leader’s thoughts and feelings matter and have validity, and the follower must exist only to serve the leader’s aims. The follower actively seeks to negate any aspect of his own subjectivity which the leader might disapprove of. To most outside observers, the leader’s aims are clearly nothing more than self-aggrandizement. Insiders, however, in spite of little or no evidence on which to base their assertions, cling stubbornly to the belief that the leader is actually pursuing lofty and noble aims. Asked to do anything to enrich the leader, including, in the case of some notorious groups, prostituting themselves, followers obey and find a way to believe that whatever they do is righteous. By remaining loyal to the leader, the followers persuade themselves that their own existence is given meaning and validity by their support of the leader’s mission."  This is chilling and a very accurate description of exactly what happened in The Source Family.

"The follower’s rewards, which are recognition from the leader and the ensuing prestige the followers gain within their group, are bestowed and rescinded at the leader’s whim, keeping the follower in a state of instability and fear about displeasing the leader and thereby losing status and favor.
One of the reasons many of the people who leave cultic groups choose not to identify their own experience as abusive is because to do so would mean acknowledging an extraordinary degree of grief over the loss of a deeply cherished, idealized attachment connected to their most cherished hopes about themselves and about life, along with the unleashing of an extraordinary degree of shame about their own self-deception and gullibility, and shame and rage about the amount of abuse they were willing to endure for the sake of maintaining their tie to the leader. Eventually, the realization that their devotion and labor within in the group led to no real personal growth, and to no significant contribution to society, will also become a source of deep shame and regret."  Another very accurate explanation/description of what it was like in The Source Family, and how many felt after the whole thing finally ended.  Many of us tried to salvage something positive from the experience of being in The Source Family like doing the 'star exercise' or adhering to a vegetarian diet, but in a kind of collective amnesia the majority of us tried to forget about many of the things that Jim Baker imposed on us/his loyal followers hoping to leave it all in the past.  But, there are still a few who only want to present an idealized picture of what life was like in The Source Family, and who are now denying that many things went on, in their need to maintain an illusion that The Source Family was ahead of its time and representative of a new age, or that our leader was an avatar or the messiah.

"For the cult leader, his ability to induce total dependence in followers serves to sustain and enhance a desperately needed delusion of perfect, omnipotent control. " Yep, that about sums it up.  http://www.cultrecover.com/traumatizing_narcissist
http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2014/05/daniel-shaw-traumatic-abuse-in-cults.html

Friday, December 2, 2016

Submit At Sea

Needless to say, I was horrified when I saw that three former Source Family cult members were actually going to present Father Yod and The Source Family at the recent Summit At Sea 2016 floating conference!  The sheer lunacy of inviting three former members of a seventies cult to what was touted as being, "the annual cruise for thought leaders and the millennials" beggars belief.  Inviting people to present The Source Family as being aligned with Summit's sustainable, utopian vision would have been laughable, except that it was true.  The only logical explanation for these three people being invited to attend Summit At Sea was that someone knew someone who knew someone and got them invited, while unbeknownst to any of the organizers the darker truths and facts behind the story of Father Yod and The Source Family to have prevented this kind of thing from happening.  It would have made more sense to invite the filmmakers to have them talk about what it was like for them making a film about The Source Family and the restrictions and limitations of that process; especially with so many factors and the diverse pool of former cult members, whom were either not invited or not interviewed for their film, and the filmmakers retrospect on the whole thing, rather than having three former cult members trying to convince conference goers of their whitewashed and sanitized version of things.

I lived in Utah for many years and it is an extremely conservative family-oriented state which would certainly have disdain for the beliefs and practices that went on in The Source Family cult.  The fact that Summit is based in Eden, Utah and their manifesto is the following: “We believe the future will only be as great as the communities that shape it"---it was a shock to see three former members of a cult known as The Source Family actually being invited to Summit At Sea, because nothing that Jim Baker/Father Yod created in his seventies cult was the kind of future that most people would want for their children!  The only future being shaped by Father Yod in his cult of personality was the daily kowtowing and obsequious pandering and servile behavior of a group of sycophantic women and men around an older bearded man, who saw himself as a 'new age' messiah; none of which was either sustainable or healthy!  Certainly none of the so-called 'teachings' of Father Yod which were based on occult and esoteric beliefs many with an almost satanic nature would be acceptable in the state of Utah.  But, as often seen in popular culture, if someone has written a book and then a film is made based on that book, and where many reviews were written about the film; people will accept the superficial appearance of something lacking any understanding beyond the surface, so it's easy to see how these three former cult members got invited to represent the entire defunct Source Family at a conference of millennials. 

How can you present a cult from the seventies as being sustainable, when the entire thing deteriorated into the regular performance of a sexual ritual which involved ingesting semen and menstrual blood; where everyone barely had enough food to eat, after the restaurant was sold and the entire group was relocated to subsist in Hawaii, where there were regular outbreaks of staph and hepatitis with absolutely no medical treatment of any kind?! How can anyone try and pass off The Source Family as being a forerunner of the entire health/natural foods movement going on in the country today, when we did not farm or grow any crops and none of the food that we ate was organic.  The diet in The Source Family was vegetarian, but Jim Baker also heavily believed in everyone eating copious amounts of milk, cream (with coffee), cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese; although those dairy products became scarce, after everyone was sent to Hawaii. 

If the whole purpose of Summit At Sea was 'to create partnerships that will help build a better world' than The Source Family should have been used as an example of the detrimental effects that an authoritarian guru cult had in people's lives certainly not a blueprint for building a better world.  Most of us wanted to forget that we had ever been part of The Source Family, when the whole thing finally ended and were embarrassed even ashamed admitting that we had accepted and followed the deluded and misguided beliefs of Jim Baker, who could not keep his you-know-what under his robe and yet for years many of us had handed over our personal power and decisions to him.

It is my belief, that to build a better world you should NOT do any of the following:  1)  allow one man to collect/gather followers around him where that man is seen as a 'spiritual' teacher or father 2) allow one man to dictate what everyone will eat/wear/behave; especially with regards to sexual behavior 3) have a sexual ritual imposed on everyone which involved ingesting the menstrual blood of women 4) allow babies to languish and perish because of some medieval belief in avoiding medical treatment and modern medicine 5) castigate and disenfranchise anyone in the group who doesn't strictly adhere to one man's beliefs and teachings 6) direct and instruct women their only true purpose or duty in life was to be of service to a man 7) instill in all male followers they are gods and that women are there to serve them 8) allow staph infections and hepatitis to go untreated 9) to hold magical and delusional beliefs and to instill those beliefs into the minds of children.  I could go on and on, but the above nine items are enough to give anyone interested in building a better world to understand that presenting The Source Family as being a bellwether or forerunner in anything healthy or sustainable was a complete contradiction.  People should learn from the past, not try to promote something that became unhealthy and unsustainable as being a forerunner or leader of the future.  The Source Family should be seen as the poster child of what happened when people joined a guru cult from the seventies and the detrimental effects it had in their lives, not a shining ideal or example for the future.  Having one older man demand that any young women, whom that man learned were having their monthly periods were then ordered to perform a sexual ritual called qudosh often with not one, but multiple men or 'sons', as the man called his male disciples who were told they had to ingest the women's menstrual blood; although all of that is hidden and kept from view from the public, because absolutely everything that has been published about The Source Family has been sanitized where any mention of the sexual ritual called qudosh has been carefully removed by those who continue to promote Father Yod and The Source Family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spiritual Bypassing At Its Finest

Although the term spiritual bypassing was not coined until 1984, it is a term that probably describes/sums up the entire Source Family experience better than anything else that I've found.  After intimately living with everyone who comprised the core members of The Source Family for six years, along with having continued interaction and involvement with many beyond The Source Family days, I can safely say that most/many had varying degrees of emotional or psychological issues in one way or another.  Although sadly many who were in The Source Family came away from the experience more traumatized or damaged than when they joined.  A perfect example were the women who lost their babies while in 'the family' after adhering to Father Yod's edict of family members not using modern medicine, medical treatment or doctors of any kind.  It is my belief that a couple of those women never fully recovered from the trauma of losing their babies while in The Source Family.  But, one of the worst results of spiritual bypassing was found among a few of the men where they found fertile ground in The Source Family to view and treat women as being less than equal to them on a spiritual level, along with giving them the 'green light' to go ahead and freely exploit women sexually, because Jim Baker drummed it into the men----his 'sons' that they were gods and deserving of being worshipped and waited on/pampered just as he was.  Jim Baker didn't feel that women needed to contemplate 'spirit' or even participate in any kind of 'spiritual' exercises, because their lives were about keeping the 'earth trip' of men together which entailed cleaning, preparing meals, serving, childcare and of course, sexual servicing.  Jim Baker did not see women as being equal to the men, when it came to achieving illumination, thus cultivating and encouraging male-gender bias behind a smokescreen or façade of being 'the aquarian way.'  Men who had unresolved emotional issues with women, found the social order created by Jim Baker within The Source Family helped them to bypass any much needed psychological work they needed to do on themselves: particularly their deep seated hatred or bias towards women, and the servile role of women within The Source Family that was put into place by Jim Baker enabled any abusers of women to flourish.  Because Father Yod believed that men were like the sun----all powerful and life-sustaining and that women were only emotional and lacking the emotional stability to withstand the vicissitudes of life who needed to serve a 'son of Yod' in order to thrive.  Jim Baker expected total submission and contrition from women towards the men or 'sons' where quite often he would direct/place women to be with and serve certain 'sons'.  One man flush with the idea and power of himself being a 'god' became a bully and because of his intransigent devotion and love for his newfound 'spiritual' leader used bullying and intimidation tactics during 'the family' and continues to this day to try and bully and intimidate anyone who speaks out against his messiah, 'Yahowha'; especially any of the women, whom the guy also blames for the failure of The Source Family and even worse as being abusers of the children often using the worst kind of labels to describe the women who were in The Source Family.   I was willing to 'let sleeping dogs lie' and would have left this guy alone, had he done the same and left me alone to write about/express what it felt like to be a woman in The Source Family and just how awful it was being forced to perform a sexual ritual with men that you hardly knew....which is something that I feel needs to be told.  But, no; this devote and entrenched follower of 'Yahowha' decided that he couldn't allow that.  Denial now seems to be the only option left for the small handful of devoted followers of 'Yahowha' who desperately want to silence anyone who speaks out against the ongoing promotion and perpetuation of The Source Family; especially a couple of former male members who when pressed quickly reveal their abusive and aggressive natures, because they've never dealt with their own emotional issues about women.  A couple of former Source Family members who claim having attained spiritual enlightenment and of possessing ancient knowledge and truths are presenting themselves as being representatives of the entire defunct collective of The Source Family in order to pass if off as being 'ahead of its time'-----which is the perfect ruse or cover for hiding their own deep-seated, underlying psychological problems in what is an epic display of spiritual bypassing.  Even in the wake of damaged relationships and claims of abuse and misappropriation of personal items, photographs, videos and music, the former Source Family members who continue to maintain they are spiritually awakened and in possession of immense love and compassion professing love to all around claiming to possess secret teachings and wisdom while using 'new age' saccharine platitudes are lying and deceiving themselves and others.  The Source Family produced a good many of those kinds of egos----those who operate from a place of spiritual superiority/hiding behind a mask or façade of them possessing wisdom and love for all, when just below the surface are the worst kinds of behavior and pathological lying that just keeps getting worse and worse the more these people ignore and deny their emotional and psychological problems.  It was much easier to adopt Jim Baker as a surrogate father surrendering and handing over your personal power to him obediently following his edicts and doing whatever he instructed them to do in a childlike way.  But, that kind of spiritual bypassing has had negative consequences in some former member's lives.  In the sixties and seventies, many of us baby boomers were trying to self-medicate and/or heal ourselves by using either drugs or meditation to help resolve our own emotional and psychological issues (most of the time not even aware that's what we were doing) believing at the time that strict adherence to some kind of spiritual doctrine or belief system and surrendering our lives and our personal power over to our chosen guru or spiritual teacher/leader; we would gain freedom or liberation from any underlying issues or problems through that spiritual practice, but that was not what happened.  People who join cults even unwittingly who become convinced the leader of their cult has the ability to heal and transfer enlightenment to them usually end up disillusioned and victims of emotional abuse, because the cult leader or guru use their perceived power to take advantage of their followers most often taking sexual advantage of the women around them.  Unfortunately, many people who got into a pursuit of spiritual enlightenment have foregone ever doing any self-analysis or psychological/emotional work on themselves.  As I've stated before, the entire 'new age' consciousness expansion that's been going on since the late sixties is ripe with people who have never dealt with their own unresolved emotional or psychological problems, and yet they are sure they can fix everyone else....if you just listen to them and follow their lead, which in this case means adopting Father Yod/Yahowha as your spiritual 'father' along with hiding behind an 'aquarian' persona while denying that anything dark or disturbing, unhealthy or detrimental went on in The Source Family, because denial is the only option left for the most rabid and ardent followers/devotees of 'Yahowha':  people who condemn anyone who doesn't speak lovingly or ideally about Jim Baker or their experience in 'the family'.  One such staunch follower and epic spiritual bypasser recently stated that anyone who doesn't come from a place of 'love and kindness' towards the ongoing promotion of Jim Baker must surely have gone insane and that it was something that Jim Baker predicted would happen.  Oh yes, how convenient to say that Jim Baker prophesied that anyone who was in The Source Family who does not go along with the continued promotion of The Source Family or does not come from a place of loving kindness (no matter how phony or contrived) cannot 'handle' the energies bombarding the planet are therefore deemed as having gone insane.  Wow.  That is the kind of delusional, rambling spiritual BS that is being spread around, in order to diminish or discredit any former member of The Source Family who doesn't agree with the continued promotion and presentation of what was essentially a hippie cult from the seventies that failed miserably because its leader wanted to have sex with as many young women as he possibly could using spiritual bypassing to avoid facing the fact that the guy had a serious womanizing problem; a man who was continually sleeping around and could not maintain a monogamous relationship or marriage with one woman where his philandering lead to deaths of men on two separate occasions, a man who bragged about how he robbed banks in order to bankroll The Source Restaurant where in a short amount of time he set himself up as a spiritual 'father' where any beautiful, young woman who joined his 'family' would be vulnerable and fair game in his sexual escapades, all behind a veil of spiritual pursuit and claiming himself to be their 'earthly spiritual father'.  Please.  Of course some of the most devoted male followers of Jim Baker idolize and revere him for exactly that kind of behavior; men who display the same aggressive, male-dominate behavior as displayed by their messiah, Father Yod/Yahowha.  The Source Family was the perfect setting for encouraging male domination and female submission.  Jim Baker created an unbalanced and unhealthy social order where women were expected to serve the men most of all to sexually service them, whether or not the women barely knew the men that Father Yod directed them to serve.  Yes, male domination under the pretense of being a spiritual lifestyle at its finest.  So, I will not be silent or intimidated or bullied by any rabid followers of Jim Baker.  Anyone who loudly claims they are 'doing the work' of Father Yod/Yahowha and has set themselves up as being spiritual surrogates of the man, and who are intent on gathering their own followers are the greatest examples of spiritual bypassing.  Which is why I discourage anyone from listening to or following any former Source Family members who are presenting themselves as being representatives/surrogate leaders of Father Yod in order to present The Source Family as spearheading or leading the entire new age movement in this country, when these individuals hide behind their 'source family' façades as being loving or concerned and full of spiritual wisdom and truths when these same individuals have never dealt with their own psychological and emotional problems.  In my opinion, Jim Baker was a man who spiritually bypassed his own bleak treatment/abandonment of the women and children in his own life to create a new surrogate family of devoted followers who would never question his motives or his behavior, but only worship and idolize him.....where he could persuade his group of followers to adopt and follow his hodgepodge jumbled virtual pick and choose of Hinduism, occultism, esotericism and theology thrown in with the obsessive pursuit of raising your kundalini which helped him successfully ignore/avoid/elude having to deal with his own psychological and emotional problems.  Welcome to the New Age!  You too, can use spiritual bypassing to ensure that you'll never have to face or deal with any dark, disturbing underlying emotional or psychological problems in a fix one/fix all recipe concocted in varying forms by every guru/cult leader to gather their own following.  That was the reality of The Source Family and that is what some diehard 'Yahowites' simply cannot come to grips with, which is why some continue using their pseudo 'source family' names, because it helps them to continue in their own spiritual bypassing completely avoiding ever having to deal with their own personal stuff.

---Being a good spiritual practitioner can become what I call a compensatory identity that covers up and defends against an underlying deficient identity, where we feel badly about ourselves,  not good enough, or basically lacking. Then, although we may be practicing diligently, our spiritual practice can be used in the service of denial and defense. And when spiritual practice is used to bypass our real-life human issues, it becomes compartmentalized in a separate zone of our life, and remains unintegrated with our overall functioning

---Others may unconsciously use their spiritual brilliance to feed their narcissistic inflation and devalue others or treat them in manipulative ways.

http://robertmasters.com/writings/spiritual-bypassing/

Here is a wonderful interview with John Welwood on spiritual bypassinghttp://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:G0j6r5JQD_kJ:www.johnwelwood.com/articles/TRIC_interview_uncut.doc+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us


Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Own Moral Outrage

Today I read an article in Harper's titled The Ideology of Isolation where I read the following statement that I felt perfectly described Jim Baker's own attitude and belief towards the women in The Source Family cult; "The loner taketh not, nor does he give; he scorneth the social and relies on himself alone. Himself. Women, in this mode of thinking, are too interactive, in their tendency to gather and ally rather than fight or flee, and in their fluid boundaries. In fact, what is sometimes regarded as an inconsistency in the contemporary right-wing platform — the desire to regulate women’s reproductive activity in particular and sexuality in general — is only inconsistent if you regard women as people. If you regard women as an undifferentiated part of nature, their bodies are just another place a man has every right to go."  Man, nothing summed it up better with regards to Jim Baker's 'good old boy' mentality towards the women in The Source Family; something that he was able to hide/cloak behind the outward presentation of himself being a holy man; but make no mistake he decided as the group's head honcho how women's bodies would be utilized in his cult/group.  So, that statement in Harper's hit a nerve and addressed the gnawing, unsettling feeling that I've always had about the way that Jim Baker imposed his outdated male gender bias and views that he had carried with him throughout his life about the role of women, and injected those views into what was supposedly 'new age' and 'aquarian'....please.  There was nothing sexually 'liberating' in having one man impose his deluded belief that the menstrual blood of a woman gave him superhuman consciousness!  But, the deeper that Jim Baker delved into the extreme occult beliefs of Aleister Crowley and his own plunge into ritualized sexual madness; the more Jim Baker became convinced that was the way to achieve ultimate consciousness.  Men have dictated how women's bodies should be used throughout history and Jim Baker was no different; he just hid it behind a façade or veil of 'spiritual' precepts.  Jim Baker decided that all the women in his 'family' should be impregnated and produce what he believed would be a new race of 'aquarian' children; yet he never once ask what any of us wanted/he just expected everyone to obey his directives, along with instructing the women on what their roles or duties were to be; which was to be of service to the men.  The most egregious edict of Jim Baker's was when he decided to impose a sexual ritual called qudosh on the entire group; ordering/instructing women in 'the family' to perform often with multiple men/sons; quite often one after the other.  Jim Baker decided that it was his role to decide and direct how women's bodies would be used in his so-called 'family' believing that he possessed the inalienable right as the group's leader to make those decisions for us.  When I became a nursing mother, I also distinctly recall Jim Baker referring to me as 'one of the milk cows' of the family, because he would routinely make distinctions about many of the men & women in his 'family.'  Fervent former devotees of Jim Baker balk at any statement made that portrays their savior and God in an unfavorable light saying things like, "no one was holding a gun to anyone's head."  True, no one was holding a gun to any of our heads to remain in The Source Family or to obey and abide by everything that Jim Baker imposed on the group; but that is what happens in a cult/that's what happens when people blindly and obediently obey and follow a cult leader; people end up doing things/behaving in ways that are contrary to their own moral and ethical beliefs and standards.  It was not until 'the family' ended and we all dispersed and went our own separate ways that many former 'source family' members were able to deprogram themselves and look back critically and objectively at what we had been made to do/coerced to do while in 'the source family.'  To their credit, a few got out early when they saw the disturbing direction that Jim Baker was taking the group.  The behavior of everyone in The Source Family was dictated to and controlled by Jim Baker in what he saw as being the 'aquarian' way of life.  There was never any overt dissension within 'the family' as that was seen as being negative or out-of-your-center (a 'source family' term for being angry), because everyone was expected to comply with every one of Jim Baker's edicts; edicts that he would change almost on a daily basis.  There was never any forum or 'women's groups' within 'the source family' to discuss or talk about our feelings or views; just the expectation for everyone to obey and comply with the dictates of our 'earthly spiritual father', Jim Baker and of course the 'council' comprised of women he designated as 'his women.'  So, you either got onboard and did whatever 'Father' instructed and directed everyone to do, or you faced being diminished or ostracized from the group in what became an intolerance of anything other than what 'Father' decreed in saying, "So mote it be."  The reason that so many women who were in The Source Family do not openly speak out about their experiences from being in 'the family' is out of embarrassment or a sense of shame and not wanting their own children to learn or know more about what their mothers had to endure while in 'the family.'  But, the majority of us have simply tried to forget about being forced to service men/sons; some we hardly knew, and know in our heart of hearts there is no way in hell that we would ever repeat the experience and certainly would not want our own children or grandchildren to follow or believe in anything that Jim Baker was extolling; the only exception might be the benefits of adhering to a vegetarian diet and perhaps a handful of other things that did not transgress the physical, personal and psychological boundaries of women.  So, I have chosen to speak out and verbalize the embarrassment that many of the women felt, from their time spent in 'the source family' and their regret for allowing a man from the WWII generation who believed that women should sexually service and serve men to decide how their bodies would be used; an attitude that is still seen in many men which continues to disempower and disenfranchise women within our society.  The Source Family may have had the appearance or window dressing of being 'new age' with our long hair and white homespun garb of robes and handmade dresses parroting whatever Jim Baker extolled about either the 'mysteries of the Pyramids' or how we were heralding in the new age of aquarius, but below the surface for anyone who actually lived in the group and spent any length of time in the group; the loss of personal choice and freedom ensued primarily among the women, who were forced to 'obey the teachings of their earthly spiritual father' and 'love their earthly spiritual father more than themselves' which meant performing whatever acts or actions that Jim Baker/Father Yod/Yahowha (all three of him!) purported to have 'pulled from the ethers.'  The moral outrage that I felt over forty years ago in The Source Family cult has remained with me to this day.  There are still some things that I just cannot bring myself to write about simply because some things are just too embarrassing, but remain as a constant reminder and the reason that I will not remain silent in the face of the continued efforts by some to promote life in 'the source family' as being the bellwether or pioneer of the 'new ageism' or conscious healthy living, or mind-expansion revival taking place in the world today.  Aside from adhering to a vegetarian diet, many of Jim Baker's beliefs and dictates were for his own self-gratification and have no place in any current relevant dialogue or progressive movement/conversation that is going on today; aside from it serving as a warning.  It is deceptive for those who continue to present only the window dressing of The Source Family to make it look appealing and to be viewed in a favorable light by the public leaving out entirely the fact that Jim Baker expected men and women to perform a sexual ritual which caused more harm than good and that was the equivalent of a physical and psychological abuse of power.  I have conceded that when I first joined 'the brotherhood of the source' that I enjoyed being part of a group and the camaraderie and joyful feelings of being with other free spirits who were happy to have found what appeared to be a healthy & wholesome group, at first.  But Jim Baker, empowered by his new role as our savior-cum-spiritual father decided that in his newfound role he would make decisions about how men and women would behave and interact with each other; never asking any of us if we were 'ok' with his edicts or if we felt 'comfortable' with anything he imposed, because Jim Baker also believed that he needed to 'test' a person's loyalty or commitment to him, because he was convinced that all his decisions were being 'channeled' from God.  The public is being duped into believing that Jim Baker was ahead of his time and that The Source Family were shiny examples of wholesome, healthy living leading the way for the entire new age movement, and the sexual ritual/practice of qudosh which became the most important practice extolled by Jim Baker is left out entirely; something that the handful of diehard 'Yahowites' (devoted followers) neglect to tell people about this most predominate and important of their leader's so-called teachings.  You would think the fact that babies were allowed to die without receiving any medical help would be enough to dissuade people from wanting to promote Father Yod or The Source Family as being forerunners of anything, much less a healthy 'new age.'  It is my feeling that now, more than ever there needs to be more moral outrage; a combination of disgust and anger towards men who continue to believe that they have the right to make decisions about women's bodies.  The Source Family was a travesty of women's rights and the rights of children to receive medical treatment; especially when it was available.  It is time that people felt a moral outrage about men who think/believe that they should be the ones to decide what happens to a woman's body or to the bodies of their own children.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Product of Environment

Jim Baker loved old movies, especially movies like The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston, probably because Jim Baker saw himself in the role of Moses.  I recall when The Ten Commandments was showing at a local theatre in Hollywood and we all had to accompany Jim Baker to see the film.  Another time in 1972 a few of us had to accompany Jim Baker to see the production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Universal Amphitheatre.  Sitting in the audience with his long hair and beard wearing his robe looking very biblical surrounded by his own group of look-alike followers; Jim Baker no doubt hoping to draw attention to himself that the audience would make a connection between the central character in the show and himself.  Heavily influenced by biblical themes; Jim Baker even scripted his own Ten Commandments in his new role as a 'spiritual' messiah.  Jim Baker also really loved the old Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald films and in the early days at The Mother House he would have a movie projector brought in so the entire 'family' could watch his beloved old films.  Everything was always tailored around what Jim Baker wanted, because after all The Brotherhood of The Source was his own production.  It's easy to see how much films and plays with a biblical theme had an impact on Jim Baker, and how he began to see himself as a modern day Moses leading his own tribe of 'chosen people', because he was a product of Hollywood where showmanship and appearance were everything.  A man with questionable moral character; someone who decided that robbing banks was the best way to bankroll his next restaurant venture who looked the part of Moses as portrayed in Hollywood films; deciding to gather his own group of 'spiritual children' (as he called them) fit very well into Jim Baker's wheelhouse and the attention that it gained him, from the people who began to follow him.  It was exactly the kind of 'savior' role that he wanted to play giving him the ego boost and attention that he desired.  Always the showman, Jim Baker put on a good show presenting himself as a 'spiritual' father figure, and the heady lure of working in his restaurant on the Sunset Strip frequented by rock stars and movie stars alike had an exciting and intoxicating effect.  For me, it was extremely easy joining The Brotherhood of The Source where I found immediate acceptance by a seemingly loving 'father' and his beautiful counterpart called 'mother.'  The very early days in 'the family' were like being in a safe, warm cocoon where everything was provided for you.  But, as more people kept joining the entire thing grew into more spectacle than anything else, because Jim Baker was intent on having more and more people join his 'family'; something that would burn-out in a relatively short span of time.  I was nineteen-years-old when I joined 'the brotherhood' in 1970 already a vegetarian having dabbled in transcendental meditation; I was on my own 'spiritual quest' having given away all my worldly possessions in an exercise in non-materialism; so for me it was an easy transition from being a young 'spiritual' seeker who was living a relatively homeless life to joining Jim Baker and The Brotherhood of The Source.  Although, I never really had a close affinity for Jim Baker, nor was I particularly impressed or overwhelmed by him, but I did like the vibe and the energy or feel of what was going on at The Source Restaurant, and I liked the people who were already there, and it felt safe; so I remained from the very first day that I ever went to 'meditation' class (more a recruitment tool) that was held at the restaurant.  But, that was how easy it was to join Jim Baker's 'family' and becoming part of the motley crew who showed up.  Many were just like me; lost and seeking looking for some kind of haven or communal situation; some were unkempt and spaced out; a few borderline schizophrenic, from ingesting too many hallucinogens who were looking for a free and groovy place to land.  But, for many of us who were on our own 'spiritual quests' in search of someone or something that would satisfy our desire for metaphysical understanding; what Jim Baker was offering fulfilled that need; especially since looking for 'spiritual' teachers or groups where dabbling in Eastern mysticism was the hip thing to do in the late sixties and early seventies.  People were casting around for anything that might produce 'spiritual enlightenment' and when an older man sporting a beard and longish hair hung out his 'open for business' sign that read 'all spiritual seekers welcome'/inquire within/delicious fresh food available and females being groomed to serve and inspire'; it was enticing.  Jim Baker was offering 'spiritual enlightenment' to everyone who showed up and devotedly followed him and adopted his 'teachings' and he provided them with a place to live and food to eat.  All anyone had to do was accept Jim Baker as their 'earthly spiritual father.'  It was all so easy, and at first everything felt safe and comfortable.  But, not very long after the formation of 'the family', especially as more women joined; our new leader or 'earthly spiritual father' believed that it was his role to create a super race of 'aquarian' children and he would do that by trying to impregnate several of the young women who had joined his 'family.'  Many of the women who joined 'the family' who saw Jim Baker as their 'spiritual father' became conflicted when he changed the rules and decided that he needed to have sex with them and/or impregnate several of them; all under the guise of their participation in helping him create a new 'aquarian' race.  Many of us threw ourselves into following and adopting Father Yod as our 'earthly spiritual father' where unflagging devotion and obedience to the man became absolutely essential for anyone who wanted to remain in 'the family.'  There was never any room for anything but whatever Jim Baker/Father Yod/Yahowha 'channeled' from the ethers to impose on his group of gung-ho prostrating followers.  Your only choice was to 'get on-board' with whatever Jim Baker devised or leave, or be kicked out.  Absolute commitment and adherence to the words and directives of Jim Baker, who we all called 'Father' became mandatory.  But, for many of us who joined; we became inured to the conditions in 'the family' that went from aplenty for everyone to only those pampered and favored by 'Yahowha' benefitting where life in The Source Family became increasingly stressful, indolent and dubious and many of us found ourselves incapable of extricating ourselves or our loved ones from 'the family' as things grew progressively worse.  As more people joined who were solely into venerating and deifying Jim Baker; life within The Source Family became about positioning; getting next to 'Yahowha' and about 'spiritual' one-upmanship of whose kundalini would rise up their spine first claiming 'enlightenment' so sought after, by those who hovered around their new found 'spiritual father' in ever-increasing honorific ways feeding Jim Baker's messianic complex even more and more.  The hero-worship and/or deification of Jim Baker grew to ludicrous proportions where life in 'the family' was all about indulging his ego, like being a rock star/lead singer of Yahowha 13 and going out to play concerts at local high schools trolling for new converts, while trying to look cool performing with a pair of shades and his shirt unbuttoned just enough to expose his huge medallion looking more like a new age pimp than spiritual father; while the rest of the members of 'the family' sat on the sidelines as spectators.  The majority of people who joined The Source Family had absolutely nothing when they joined and were mostly just people looking for an alternative or free place to land, or who had joined only because they followed their spouses, siblings or friends in joining and remained because of those familial connections.  Many people who joined The Source Family remained simply because everything was provided for them, and they only had to obey and comply with whatever edict Father Yod/Yahowha imposed on the group.  But, for anyone who joined The Source Family, it quickly became apparent that everything revolved around the veneration and hero-worship of Jim Baker and the catering to his every whim or desire where the entire group dynamic became one of ever-increasing worship of the man, who renamed himself 'Yahowha' as he nurtured a group bubble of delusion around himself.  Towards the end of his life living in a luxury Hawaiian setting in the expensive bedroom community of Lanikai on the island of Oahu; Jim Baker spent the remainder of his days sitting/holding court surrounded by his most loyal followers where on occasion 'outsiders' would be brought in and presented to him where those family members surrounding him would laugh and giggle as if they were privy to something the 'outsiders' were not.  Giving the appearance that 'Yahowha' and only his most devoted followers possessed something that people outside The Source Family did not was crucial in maintaining the illusion.  The illusion that people in The Source Family were 'leaders of the new age' who possessed secret, occult 'teachings' they had gleamed from 'Yahowha' that became the group mentality that was fomented in The Source Family; something that persisted in several of his followers well beyond the death of their avatar.  An imperious smugness and sense of superiority was embedded in a few who had loyally followed and worshipped Jim Baker and was the outward expression of 'the source family' experience more than anything else.  The entire 'source family' experience had come to its inevitable end, due to the incessant worship and adulation of Jim Baker and the pervasive groupthink that everyone in The Source Family obey and abide by the man's deluded 'teachings.'  After The Source Family disbanded a year after Jim Baker died there were a couple of former members who desperately wanted to continue living exactly as they had, while in The Source Family; especially a couple of the men and women who had been treated like rock stars and royalty while in 'the family' who wanted to maintain their perceived status and so with a heightened sense of themselves being 'spiritual' teachers; they ended up creating abusive situations in trying to gather their own group of 'followers' trying to replicate life in The Source Family.  But, that is something that the film doesn't show.  Many people from The Source Family had a difficult and arduous time adjusting back into normal society when the whole thing finally ended.  Those of us who remained in The Source Family had become products, or rather victims of the biblically-themed environment/collective bubble of delusion that had been created by Jim Baker; something and someone that crash-landed in the short span of six years.