By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
By far our favorite “movie” was to listen as Father told stories of his life and times in detail. His stories became interwoven into our own lives and consciousness and would include everything: the good, the bad and the ugly of his amazing and full life as Jim Baker, whom he would describe in third person.
As the Family continued to grow, we had all types of arrivals: women who brought children with them, some whole families, or a mother and grown sons. Children were of the ultimate importance to our Family. We had a vision that the perfect society would be one that started with people who were raised with consciousness from the start. We brought close to 40 new souls into our Family at the Father House, all through completely natural births, which was actually illegal at the time. Back then, even breastfeeding was discouraged, and most American women fed their babies manufactured formula. Feminists at the time considered this a breakthrough for women’s liberation. The mothers in the Family not only breastfed their children but would proudly do it in public at a time when such behavior was considered shocking.
A year and a half after he became Father Yod, Father changed his name to “YaHoWha” in honor of the ancient and sacred name of God — which, until Father began to share it, had been hidden from the common man for thousands of years. Some people would think that this naming came from Father’s ego — that he was exalting himself so that people would think he was God. As far as the Family was concerned, he was far and away the best example of God consciousness that any of us had ever encountered in our lives.
For many, Father’s teachings were profound. Others ran from his presence in fear. Each morning class was a fiery life-changing experience of love and wisdom. Sometimes it felt as though every second were a test of your will to simply be there. If Father stood up and said, “Let’s go for a walk in the park,” you knew that you had maybe 30 seconds to be in the van or a mind-blowing adventure would be lost to you.
During some of our morning meditations, Father would say, “Let’s play some music!” Then a few Family members would plug in their guitars and start tapping into the cosmos.
Even though Father had money, women and power, there was a restless void within him that always needed to be filled. The band and its musical energy were able to bring him a new source of joy and excitement and enabled him to be anchored once again in earthly fulfillment.
The story of the Family’s music is a complicated one, with scores of musicians and many different band incarnations over a period of five years. A quick guess would place maybe 18 excellent musicians in the Source Family, with at least 15 more good ones, and no less than 50 more wannabes.
Father created several different bands and would always encourage the individual Family musicians. Ahom and Hom started the energy early on, which was contagious, and Family members would come in with guitars or maybe a bass. You would always find somebody gathering in Soma’s or Sunflower’s room to jam. Lotus or Aquariana would sit at the piano and spontaneously write songs. When the Family attracted several musicians of professional caliber who had been in the Hollywood music scene, that’s when the true magic started.
The times that we would put on concerts for the public were the best. Father was intent on spreading the sacred name of YaHoWha to all that he could, especially young people who might have the ears to hear and eyes to see the message of our show. First we put on a program with several musicians at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater called “God and Hair,” which brought Waterfall into the Family. We also had a three-day “Aquarian Hoedown” and put up posters everywhere.
Father would ask someone to arrange to get permission for one of the Source Family bands, usually Ya Ho Wa 13, to play for students at various colleges and high schools in the Los Angeles area.
We ended up playing packed performances at UCLA, CalArts in Valencia, Grant High School and Beverly Hills High School. Being the early ’70s, I suppose these schools were more open to having unconventional performances for the students. Either that, or we were very convincing!
We would arrive at our destination in an Aquarian caravan that would rival the president’s motorcade. The band members would arrive first in Damascus’ Mercedes, sometimes in robes or suits, hair and beards impeccably groomed — looking like rock stars from head to toe. Father would follow in the Rolls, dressed in his white suit or some awesome robe, with Pythias as chauffeur. Eight brightly colored VW minibuses would form the caravan tail, filled with Family members. The Family women would all be decked out and utterly glamorous, in flowing silk and velvet gowns and beautiful jewelry.
Responses to the shows were mostly positive, but mixed. It sailed right over some people’s heads. Others clearly responded to the music and would stay after the show and engage the sons in long conversations. At Beverly Hills High School, a rabbi became so infuriated that he almost punched Father when he heard him speaking the sacred Name of God to a large audience of students. He shouted, “You CANNOT say that name in public!” This reaction only emboldened Father, and he just laughed that deep, cosmic laugh of his. He loved being provocative, and his mission was to spread truth in the face of hypocrisy. He was inspired by the energy this generated, and that, in turn, inspired us all.
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