‘The Source Family’ is a crunchy cult story

Above: Jim Baker, a.k.a. Father Yod, with his 13 wives in Los Angeles in 1973.
Above: Jim Baker, a.k.a. Father Yod, with his 13 wives in Los Angeles in 1973. Below: Baker in a star pose in 1971.Credit: Photos from Isis Aquarian archives

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The Source Family

If there were a picture of God in the English dictionary it would probably look like Jim Baker, a.k.a. Father Yod, a.k.a. YaHoWha. With his white mane, vast beard, and incomprehensible gaze, the founder of the ’70s spiritual commune known as the Source Family looks like someone who could have lightning bolts come out of his ears.

He epitomizes the spiritual mountebank, a readily parodied exploiter of people in need. But in Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille’s artfully executed and engrossing documentary, “The Source Family,” he can also seem like the real thing, a successful entrepreneur who opened the country’s first health food restaurant, a teacher, and a transformer of souls.

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