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The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family

May 21, 2008

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The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family

Greetings all.
I whipped through this one pretty quickly (sometimes it just happens that way).
Written by an insider from the Source Family’s heyday (I refuse to use the pejorative “cult”, because there are a lot of so-called “legitimate”/mainstream religions that deserve the name more), ‘The Source’ is a revealing look inside the workings of an alternative religious group from the dawning if the “New Age”.
It tells the story of the Jim Baker’s metamorphosis into Father Yod, successful restaurateur turned messianic figure for the Los Angeles –based Source Family.
Though the book is written by what might be considered a ‘true believer’, Isis Aquarian takes the time to add in – oral history style – conflicting/contrasting viewpoints from other members of the tribe.
Baker/Yod created the Source Family from a mixture of Eastern religions (he started out as the disciple of a Hindu yogi), ancient mystery cults and all-around hippy/Age of Aquarius philosophical ephemera. At its peak, the Source Family included around 150 members in its communal enterprise which was financed by and large by the popular LA health food restaurant of the same name.
Baker – who had a straight world back story almost as colorful as his time as a religious leader – turned the source into a remarkable experiment in group living. He was clearly a charismatic figure (taken to a mystical level with his followers) and unlike many who put themselves in similar positions (the Mansons and Jim Joneses of the world) he managed, if not to completely transcend his own human failings, provide a mostly positive example and message for his followers. The way our society works now, with the hegemony of ‘mainstream’ religion and the pressure it exerts in the public sphere (even in government) the story of Father Yod and his family makes for an especially interesting read.
Of particular interest – at least to me – is the fact that one of the prominent public faces of the Source Family experiment was an ever changing psychedelic rock band (which operated under several names, mainly Ya Ho Wa 13) that recorded a number of extremely rare, and highly regarded albums in the 70’s.
Though I didn’t much buy into the Source’s ideology (though there was much to appreciate therein in regard to healthy living/diet) I definitely came to admire what they were trying to do, and felt great sadness as the whole enterprise started to fall apart, due to both inside and outside forces.
If you have any interest at all in alternative religion/lifestyles, or in how a charismatic figure like Baker managed to gather as big a following as he did then I think you’ll dig the book.

Now Reading: A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World

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One comment

  1. Funny I should find this here! I thought this book was more obscure than this.

    Yeah I read this book too. I came at it from a discussion with a friend regarding “The Children of the Law of One and the Lost Teachings of Atlantis” (which I highly recommend you read), because there is a purported tie-in from one figure of the Yahowha group to another group. The discussion and the Children group is a story within itself, but is interesting at the least.

    Anyway, thanks for the recommendations Larry, I have added a few to my purchase list for my next amazon order. And thanks for keeping up the work on F16C.



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