Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille directed a documentary about a cult called the Source Family, led by Jim Baker, who called himself “Father Yod.” Baker’s followers worked at one of “America’s first vegetarian restaurants” in Los Angeles, which produced cash flow for the group that lived communally in Hollywood Hills. The essentially one-sided documentary presents Source Family as fringy and somewhat bizarre, but not sinister. The filmmakers apparently decided to depict Baker as an eccentric, but benign leader.

However, there is a blog online with first-hand account from a former Source Family member that paints an entirely different and dark picture of both Baker and his group. The blog “Life In The Source Family” recounts the often painful experiences of people that actually lived through and endured Baker’s authoritarian rule during the 1970s.

In a recent blog installment titled “My Own Moral Outrage” a former member of Source Family recounts, “Jim Baker’s own attitude and belief towards the women.” It seems Baker “decided as the group’s head honcho how women’s bodies would be utilized in his cult/group.” And Baker “never once asked what any of [his followers] 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.” Baker even referred to some of the women as his “milk cows.”

The blogger says, “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.’”

Jim Baker aka "Father Yod"

Jim Baker aka “Father Yod”

So what about the rather rosy role of counter-culture trailblazer that Demopoulos and Wille seem to depict of Baker in their documentary?

“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,” states the morally outraged blogger.

The ex-member concludes, “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.”

The Cult Education Institute (CEI) online library has archived articles about Source Family and its leader Baker. But these news reports and reviews largely reflect coverage of the documentary directed by Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille. In order to provide better balance the Source Family page within the CEI database now includes a prominently displayed link to “Life in the Source Family.”

Jim Baker is dead and like most cults when the leader dies the group often withers away and dissipates.

But there are many people that were hurt and scarred by Jim Baker and their stories should be known, not just the misleading hipster/vegan counter-culture narrative promoted by the Demopoulos and Wille documentary.

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3 comments untill now

  1. ISIS AQUARIAN @ 2016-08-04 15:57

    Came across this hit…may i just say that in the time of the 70′s and when all of us were in the Source Family we were very happy and did not view it as this blogger is now presenting…and people were free to leave..So 40 some years later some now look back to a situation that was for and in that timing and see it in the now and think they must have been brain washed and how bad some of it was etc….and for them it is so but for most of us this is not our point of view. 5% unhappy over 95% happy are ok odds for anything :) )
    everyone had and still has their own reality in any part of their journey and rightly so, it is their journey and each have to figure it out accordingly to their own belief and growth..
    there are always two sides to everything ….This blogger has never joined any of us over the years in the many reunions and gatherings we have had..in fact most of us do not even know if she has even seen or connected with any of us except on internet so ?
    I enjoy your work and the Cult News genre…we all our own our own evolutionary process to a more enlighten being, and yes sometimes it gets messy but that is growth and we continue in kindness as much as we can and each bend in the road is another opportunity to pass another grade level in this school of life.

  2. Reality is reality from an objective factual standpoint. If people were hurt by Baker and it was “messy” that’s a fact and should not be subjectively dismissed.

    How can you be absolutely sure that 95% of Baker’s former followers agree with you? Is there a peer reviewed study that has been published in some credible scientific journal to firmly establish that fact as the basis for your opinion?

    It seems to me that “The Source Family” was a fairly typical personality-driven cult. And that Baker/”Father Yod” exploited people for his own benefit. Apparently not everyone agrees with ex-members that see him as some sort of benign fatherly leader.

    People are seemingly free to leave cults physically, but that doesn’t take into account the mental and emotional fetters that often keep them trapped within such groups. “Brainwashing” is a subtle process–a synthesis of well-established persuasion and influence techniques.

    It’s important to hear all the voices. And attacking someone personally that disagrees with you is wrong.

    It’s not surprising that someone hurt and exploited by Baker would be unwilling to go to reunions populated by people that still believe in him and dismiss the damage he did.

  3. Velocitymj @ 2016-08-05 16:32

    I’m only writing this for the purpose of substantiating what was written in the blog that you’re referring to.
    The concern being that the author of the blog, would get dog piled by Isis and a couple of other people who don’t want the real truth to be known. And not just because without the Source, they don’t have much else to lend them the importance that they desire, but because they are so blinded by it that they can’t see the truth that’s been written by others about Jim.
    I was also in the Source Family, later called the Brotherhood Of The Source.
    Even though Jim was lying to us from day one, it was a very cool little scene in the beginning. Before we grew beyond 10 or 12 people.
    It was like a family and we had lot of fun and I gained some good discipline from the experience. We were close knit.. Although in retrospect, even then we were living in our own little world, separate from everyone and everything else around us.
    That’s because we were taught that the rest of the world and those who didn’t share our views, were beneath us in “consciousness” because they were “Piscean”.
    We were taught to have pride in our own identity, exhibited in the way we dressed, the way we ate and the “spiritual” practices we followed.
    And as time went on that identity developed a very dark side.
    Perhaps these things are inevitable when the person that’s leading the group isn’t honest.
    Considering the recent interest that the cult of Jim Baker has generated, from people adopting the clothing as a fashion style, the interest in the movie to the cult following of Jim’s bizarre garage band music, the blog that your writing about acts as a good, honest counterpoint, a reality check to the fantasy that some former members are still attempting to perpetuate.
    There really wasn’t much difference between Jim Baker and Jim Jones in the way that each cult worked.

    I’ve mentioned elsewhere what Jim did with the the book keeper that he had a sexual liaison with (behind his wife’s back)and who literally went schizophrenic from the encounter.
    https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/meet-the-new-aquarians
    Even if Jim didn’t have sex with her (which a couple of us only found out about, because he bragged about it to us), why is it okay to take a woman whose suffering with a mental illness and dump her in a hotel somewhere, when she clearly didn’t know what was going on around her?
    She could have been taken advantage of, raped, or assaulted or gotten killed.. To this day, I wonder what happened to her.
    And people like Isis, who knows about the woman I’m writing about, just ignore that that happened.
    The fact is, that other than providing a place to go and having a healthy meal, The Source Family didn’t do one thing for the community, much less the world that it claimed it was going to save.
    With regard to the reunions:
    A lot of people, myself included, have not interest in them because we want to put that episode of our lives behind us.
    We don’t want to listen to the mumbo jumbo of pseudo esoteric “knowledge” that some of them pontificate.
    I stay in touch with a couple of people that I knew in the beginning or that I left with.
    But frankly, I’m embarrassed by it and I keep that part of my life hidden from my friends and haven’t mentioned that I was involved in a cult to anyone in almost 40 years.

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