Season Two, Episode 05 – Something Can’t Be Everything

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ROBIN BAKER: And I have letters that I wrote to him on the original Source stationary. And I have letters that came back from him. So there’s a ton of this stuff. The only possession I owned of my dead husband is this piece of his skull. And a part of a robe that I made for him. It says 999. If you turned it over, it would say 666. It was something I made and I have it somewhere in my bedroom there. Part of my husband’s skull is in this pouch. Yeah. Hold on a second here.

I haven’t looked at this in all since I did a burial service with the military and. Well, it’s wrapped up in a little piece of purple velvet because purple is the color of royalty. To me my husband was almost like a royal God at one point. And then I put it in this special little pouch. It’s red and white with little orange tabs where you pull it together, you close it together. Very old sixties. Let me put this piece of bone away. Okay. All right. Ooop, whoop. Don’t wanna lose what’s left of his skull.

My name is Robin Baker. We’re sitting here in Scottsdale, Arizona, first day of 2015. Growing up in California in the fifties was a very interesting time, to say the least. There was the good and the bad and ugly, basically. From our whole so-called society. Maybe I should start where it started. For me, it’s in the sixties.

AUDIO CLIP: Revolutionary culture is a powerful, revolutionary weapon in the broad masses of people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes.

ROBIN BAKER: In 1960, I was 10 going on 11, and already I was experiencing the dissatisfaction of the times. There was the establishment and there was us. And, us, the rockers and the rollers, and the groupies and the hippies, and this whole movement was born to fight against the establishment.

AUDIO CLIP: Being alive should be a joy and it’s a drag. They never had a chance to figure out themselves what they wanted. 

ROBIN BAKER: It was a time of celebration, a time of illumination, and a time of consciousness expansion. Setting our own rules, our own standards. For what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be, rather than how generations before us were pressured into being. Well, basically I started singing and dancing before I could walk and talk. When I was about 13, 14, I started hanging out on the strip and it was fabulous. Oh my God, do I miss those days? These days in Hollywood were unbelievable. There was so much going on. Everywhere you looked or went, there was something happening.

AUDIO CLIP: Just too much of everything…

ROBIN BAKER: I became a performer at the Whiskey A Go-Go by the time I was 15. 

AUDIO CLIP: Heres the world famous Whiskey A Go-Go on strip. A famous dancing spot for both the mods and movie stars who want to get it on. Let’s drop in and see what’s happening tonight. 

ROBIN BAKER: The hottest rock and roll club on the west coast. I mean every band that really truly made it performed at the Whiskey pretty much, first. It was packed. Every night was something different. I performed after the girls got out of the cages. We would go out on the dance floor and get people on the dance floor. My best girlfriend in the world, Patricia Higgins, she and I were known as the White Witches of Hollywood. I had the dark hair, she had the blonde hair, and we used to dance.

We used to go to the club and just dance on the dance floor. We were clean hippies, but we had the hot, fabulous hippie wardrobes and we were the dancers. And I used full all nighters till about midnight, one in the morning, sometimes later. I had other places to go and other people to see. Dancing, getting high. Going up into the dressing rooms, partying with famous people, trying to get somewhere, trying to get your name out there, trying to be known. Connecting with people so that you could maybe get yourself connected to what you wanted to do or become. And I was involved in that position and in that lifestyle for many years.

I was still very much into this drug culture. The hippie culture and that whole thing. And I was getting into spirituality. Getting into the tarot. I was getting used to meeting people in spirit and getting interested in it. Kind of on the outskirts. And to real occult spirituality. I was dabbling, I was very young. There are a lot of people at that time trying to raise consciousness. And put their experience out there and try to gather like followings of people to them. Well, you can look Aleister Crowley in a lot of books. Aleister Crowley was kind of a madman.

He was addicted to a lot of drugs. He was really into heroin. He was around like the twenties, the thirties, forties, whatever. He was into, not positive energy, but kind of dark energy. Dark magic, and that’s who Aleister Crowley was. I had done a lot of studying on him. I found out a lot about sex magick and all these other really unusual things. I never got to meet him cuz he was long gone. I met his son Graham Bond.

He was a musician and a writer and this and that and what have you, but was doing a little bit of everything and was trying to raise consciousness. And his girlfriend Diane, she was like this psychic freaky chick. This is the group of people I’m hanging with.

I worked at the Whiskey a Go-Go for– probably from oh 1964 to 1969 when, I met my first husband, Jim Baker. He owned a number of restaurants on Sunset Strip. And had just opened The Source in 1969 when I met him. The Source was a restaurant. It was the first of its kind. Never been duplicated. Raw vegetarian, gourmet food restaurant. The best in the world.

I was coming out of a period of being in the ‘in’ crowd from this whole scene. I was trying to find myself. And I was out and about and walked up to Sunset and Sweetzer. There had been a gay biker bar with pool tables and all this stuff at this spot. Nothing ever lasted at the corner of Sunset and Sweetzer, but there was The Source. It was like this Oasis in the middle of hell of this rock and roll, craziness. And there I found Jim Baker.

One day I was sitting on the patio in my bikini had just come from the beach. I could feel this force from the left behind me, this energy. And I turned around and there he was staring at me. Six four, a hundred eighty five pounds of solid muscle. And I see this man. Who looks like Moses or Jesus or whatever. So much power, so much energy. That was Jim Bakker. I just knew uhoh, something’s happening here. And I don’t think I’m comfortable with it. Then he walked up to me. I’ll never forget this, with this blue pamphlet that opened up, and I was really stoned that day, and it had a foot chart with all the reflexology points.

Looked like a railroad map to me. I didn’t know. I was like, tripping. So I took it and he went, you need to come to this yoga class. He said, there’s more for you in this life than what you’re doing. And I said, no, no, no, no. I am about to become a superstar. I’m on my way. I know everybody. That’s where I wanna be. That’s what I wanna do. And that’s it. And that’s all. He literally chased me around Hollywood for six months.

Everywhere I went, Jim Baker would show up. This man was head over heels in love with me. He was nuts, crazy about me. Just out of his mind. And I finally asked him, are you stalking me? No. I said, well, why are you everywhere I go? And he says, because you’re my destiny and I’m your destiny. It was meant to be karmically that we were together. And the way it happened was, one evening I decided to go see a group of friends of mine that I spent a lot of time with. I was hitchhiking, he was going the opposite direction. He was in his VW van and stopped at a stoplight at Sunset and Palm. And I was– had my thumb out going the other way.

And he yelled out the window, Robin, come to the yoga class with us. And I went, oh god, if I don’t go to this yoga class, this old man is never gonna leave me alone. So I said hell with it. I’ll get in the van, I’ll go to the yoga class. I didn’t go to see my friends that night. I didn’t go make my usual rounds at night. I spent the night with Jim Bakker. And he lived in his van. No sex didn’t do any of that. Just stayed up all night and talked and got to know him. And I was just really blown away with what was happening. Like the yoga class and talking about spirit and all this stuff. And the next morning I remember I was sleeping in, in the bed of the truck finally.

At five in the morning I feel this bus take off like a bat outta hell. It’s him. He’s gotta get up to the restaurant and open it and do his morning meditation. So get up to The Source and he teaching me how to make coffee for ’em, whatever. So I make the coffee restaurant had just been open a few months. It had opened April 1st, 1969, and this was August. And I went out front and I got him a newspaper. And I saw the headlines and I keeled over right on the cement on Sunset Strip. And he came running out to the street and it picked me up off the cement. And he goes, Robin, Robin, are you okay? What happened? And I went, read the headlines.

Just read the headlines. And he goes, oh my God. He goes, what does this have to do with you? I go, this is where I was headed when I was hitchhiking and you talked me into going to the yoga class. And where I was going was to my friend Sharon Tate’s house. And my friends Wojciech Frykowski Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring who is my hairdresser, and one of my best friends. We’re all up there that night with Sharon, who’s eight and a half months pregnant. And Charles Manson murdered and slaughtered my friends. 

AUDIO CLIP: They weren’t born with the anger and frustration that they had that had to be put on them by somebody. Somebody created them.

ROBIN BAKER: That was a shifting point for me. That night, I had made a decision that it was like– almost like God telling me this is the path you should be walking down right now. Because of everything that had transpired. All the way up from the time I came out of the womb. To the night that my friends were murdered and I didn’t go that night and I went with Jim Bakker instead. I saw it as a sign that I was supposed to be with him after all. He was 46, he was gonna be 47 the following year, and I was 19, about to turn 20. He was 27 years older than me. The first time we made love, he told me, you realize that I’m supposed to be a celibate?

And he says, and the minute I penetrate you, he said, I want you to know that you are my wife. You are married to me if we have sex. That’s it. So you have to decide. Do you want me to be your husband? And I just said, yeah. I was this young, beautiful, 19 year old girl, and people would roll the windows down, driving down sunset or something. If they saw us walking or whatever, they would yell Mary and Jesus, hallelujah, and stuff like that. And a lot of people made fun of us because of our age difference.

So 10 months later, my husband said, I don’t want people taunting you this way. He said, I’m gonna legally marry you. And I said, okay. So for three months, we went to the B O T A in Los Angeles, Builders of the Adytum, the temple of tarot. We took classes in Kabbalah three nights a week for three months, so we could be married in a Kabbalistic wedding. Taking me out of my big time hippie clothes, very revealing into long white robes and turbines were all in white, and our white flowing robes.

What Jim gave to me was, is he gave me something. I never had self-esteem. He showed me how much power I had. How talented and capable I was. He gave me a lot and he literally worshiped the ground I walked on. He got what he wanted. He got me. When we– at our wedding, it was like one of the most amazing days of my life because it was just so life changing. Oh, my parents hated it. My father’s told me years later that if he had come to the wedding, he would’ve put a bullet in my husband’s head. And my mother sat there crying the whole time while we were getting married. They were freaking out because my husband had committed two murders. The first guy he killed, I think he took the knife away from him and stabbed him, I’m not sure.

And the second guy, he just used his hands and just snapped his neck basically. And then he put a bullet in him, I think. It was truly self-defense in both cases. And the second time he just spent– I think he told me he spent three months in prison. And his case– the appeal was overturned and the case was dropped, file was sealed and his record was expunged. He was a pretty violent man by nature. He was a World War II Marine mercenary at the first siege of Guadalcanal on the first US Chicago.

AUDIO CLIP: Victory or defeat, destination Unknown.

ROBIN BAKER: And a Judo instructor for the Judo instructors in World War ii. But what a lot of people don’t know is my husband also robbed three banks in his lifetime. By himself. Set it up, did the deed, got away with it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Not to open The Source, but to open his other restaurants. Unbelievable. All the things I could talk about my husband, we could spend days talking about his stuff. He was a genius, actually. He was kind of a polarized genius.

I actually have a newspaper article somewhere in my house here with me in it. And it said my maiden name and explained that I was a hippie who gave up my life of sex, drugs, rock and roll for a positive life in Kundalini yoga. It was famous and I was famous. Nobody could believe that I had left that life to be with Jim Baker, who was also famous.

Everything in those days was so pure and so new. It was like something spoke to my soul. Deep down inside, I knew that I really wanted to be more than just a major star and what have you. That I was a really spiritual being and I really wanted to expand on that in my life. I wanted my life to matter. I wanted to be able to affect change in other people’s lives as well. I wanted to share that experience and help elevate people’s consciousness and make a difference in their world as well as mine. That was the main pull and attraction.

I told Jim, I said, you know what I said, we’ve sat in front of all these famous spiritual people. Manly P Hall, Yogi Bajan, Swami Mukundananda, Swami Sachidanand, Sai Baba… We listened to Alan Watts. We’ve been this one, that one, we’ve done all the work. We studied this and that and what have you. And , why don’t we start our own spiritual family? I said you could be like the earthly spiritual father. 

AUDIO CLIP: The snake comes into being, outta its egg. All events are really one event.

ROBIN BAKER: We took the best of everything we had studied and put it together and created our own philosophy. Which was a combination of many ideologies and different philosophies and all the people we’d studied from. And it was about doing no harm to any living thing. It was about not eating meat. It was about meditation. It was about breathing. It was about the Christ consciousness. Believing in a higher power and not organized religion. Not causing harm to any human being, animal place or thing.

We wanted to build a geodesic dome community with farms and cultivating. We wanted to pull all the hippies off the street that were still in the drug culture, clean them up, have them become part of a higher consciousness. We were a power couple. We became one of the most powerful couples in history at that time– far as that subculture went. I was the mother, he was the father, and people were just attracted to the whole idea of something that wasn’t riddled with dogma and all this old stuff. At one point we got to be such large numbers that Jim and I both had an idea. Why don’t we all live together? There was like 140 of us at one point.

We got our first big house together was in Los Feliz, and it was the old Chandler Mansion. The people who owned the LA Times, that was their house, had been their house. And it had like 16 bedrooms with bathrooms. It was huge, a huge estate. How people joined the Source Family was you would come to a morning meditation and you were invited. And if you liked what you saw and you wanted to become a part of the Source Family, as it started to grow, then all you had to do was renounce your earthly life. And become part of the family. And we had our garb, wore long white robes.

In the beginning, a lot of us wore turbans still. Then it became a Megas band, which was a white towel or rag or whatever wrapped around your forehead. We were to grow our hair, cosmic roots. We didn’t cut our hair, we didn’t kill things. He started naming people. He changed his name to Father Yod and then eventually it was YaHoWa. Ah is the sound that a mother makes and Om is the sound of the soul. My spiritual name was AhOm, I was mother AhOm. A lot of people had different feelings about what was going on. I’m not exactly sure what they were. I think a lot of people thought that this was just bizarre.

People thought we were a cult. I don’t know what they thought. If we could dig out some scrapbooks tomorrow, I’ll show you some pictures. I mean, one picture is worth a thousand words. And I mean, you just see this man, this mountain of a man. Who looks like God walking down the street with all these men and women following him. Jim and I both wrote a book together as husband and wife. It was called Liberation.

We wrote the 10 Commandments for the Age of Aquarius, and we did all this kind of really cool stuff. And of course my husband pretty much broke every one of the 10 commandments. Like the sixth one, my favorite, a man and his woman, or one, let nothing separate them. Boy, he blew that one. Well, the first couple years were incredibly beautiful. They were amazing. What started out to be a pure and beautiful thing ended up. To be a horrible, negative nightmare. Which still plagues me to this date.

Basically, the family went from being pure and beautiful to becoming this really bad situation. He was pairing people up, you know this girl– this woman’s gonna be with this man. And even broke up married couples that came into the family. One day somebody would be married to somebody who they were married to and the next day they were with somebody else. Cuz Jim put them with somebody else. That sort of kind of thing. In his mind, he thought he was a super being. He thought his seed was sacred.

My husband started forgetting more about spirit and then got more into sex. I don’t know where he got this in his head. Came home one day and decided that he was gonna have more than one woman. He asked me how I felt and I said, I think you’re a dirty old man on a lust trip. That’s what I think. He says, no, no, I have to father a super race of children. That it was God’s calling. So he started trying to impregnate other women. I have no flippin’ idea why my husband lost his mind and went there. I said, this is crazy. He never discussed it with me. He just announced it. He had sex with hundreds of women while we had the family.

Which just broke my heart. It killed me. I was the spiritual mother of the family. Before we had the so-called counsel with the women that had sex with my husband. Who called themselves his wives, but they weren’t. I was his only legal wife at the time. Suddenly, I’m now having to deal with all these women that are having sex with my husband, and I have to be present and watch some of it. I mean, he had me doing things that in my life I never thought I would just be a party to. I mean, it was just, it’s so hard to explain.

There are different forms of sex magick. Some of it was pretty sick and some of it was kind of cool. One part of it was called Dianism. And that was where the woman would sit on top of a man and she would have orgasms. But the man would hold his seed to go up his Kundalini. The other part of sex magic, which I never participated in cause it was so sick. Woman menstrual cycle, a silver chalice — supposed to be to illuminate your consciousness and raise consciousness. And I mean, all kinds of things, I just really thought it was kind of sick. And then all the women became the counsel. We were all supposedly mothers of the family.

But to this day, people who are in the family still telling me, you’re still my spiritual mother. And even though we’re like brothers and sisters now, but they still see me that way. And still love me that way. Because I was always the constant one. I was the one that was there for everyone. I was the one that comforted everybody. I was the one that took care of everybody. And half of every dollar that was spent on all these people and all the expenses and all this stuff for the family to go on, for all the years that it did, half of all that money was mine. Some point I said to him, am I not been an incredible wife to you?

And he goes, yes, you have. And I go, do you not wanna be married to me anymore? And he goes, of course I wanna be married to you. And I said, well, why are you doing this to me then? Why do you have to have other women? Why? I said, you know, if you wanna have– get a divorce, it’ll break my heart, but fine with me. But just tell me, because I don’t understand why you have to have somebody besides me.

I was more than enough woman for any man. I mean, I did everything for this man, literally. I hand separated his curls every day, his curly hair. I made his food like a piece of art with flowers and leaves on it, and all kind– I mean, I did everything. I made his clothes. I made his long robes eventually and all that. I did all that stuff. Stuff for him and, and all the dirty deeds that had to be done for 140 people that kept coming and going.

And the moving from the mainland to Hawaii and back and forth. And to San Francisco or– whatever we did. I was always in charge, basically. And I kept telling him how can you do this and call these people your spiritual daughters and your spiritual sons? Where in nature, Is it okay to have sex with your daughter? I said, that’s spiritual incest, basically. But now he had this group of people telling him he was God and this and that and what have you, and he just went to town with it.

A lot of people thought I was okay with all this, having my husband having sex with all these women. Because I never said anything. Well, I was never okay with it. And I never agreed with it. I was so beaten down by this point. That I just lost my voice. I lost my ability to speak or to fight anymore with him about it or to say anything. And I was gonna go divorce him and take my business and everything away and just make it all go away anyway. But I got pregnant finally. After I got pregnant, I couldn’t leave my husband. I just couldn’t. And then a year later, after I had my baby, he was dead. The year I was pregnant, it was still going kind of strong, but it was really starting to kind of go downhill. As he got two other women pregnant while I was pregnant.

Oh, we sold the restaurant without my consent in 1975. So that we could all move to Hawaii and we were gonna have farms and recording studio, and we’re gonna do all these amazing things. But none of this stuff ever manifested. So there was part of the family who was in Maui for a while and the rest was in LA. And then eventually we’re all together and we moved from island to island basically. The Mokapu mountain chain is about 22 miles of really ragged sheer cliffs.

And there’s this one place called the Ridge, which at that time, was very big with hang gliders. One morning in Hawaii in Oahu, in 1975, August 25th, he got up and announced in morning meditation that he was gonna go hang gliding. He had never hang glided before. And he wasn’t in the shape that he had used to be in. Myon the ridge with the other women and a couple of the sons in the family.

Well, actually, it was a fairly clear sky kind of windy day. I remember one of the hang gliders who we dubbed the Black Knight, was up in the air and he yelled down at my husband, father, don’t jump yet. Before he jumped, he said, if Jesus is the holy breath, he said, the air will keep me up. And the minute hrounding his body. There was an ambulance there. I wanted him to get in the ambulance. He was still alive. He was breathing. I told him he needed to go to the hospital, but his women told him he was God and he did not need to go to a hospital.

We didn’t believe in doctors and all that. I’m sitting there, I’m watching him die. I’m praying to God that these crazy women that’ll stop listening to them and he’ll get into an ambulance and go get help. It was horrible. It was like I was watching his body shrink and I was watching this mountain of a man literally disappear in front of my very eyes. And he kept talking and talking and talking.

He said, God is greater than man, but in this instance, man is greater than God. He kept thinking he had broken his back. What I think happened is his lung got punctured. And I think that he had broken his sternum. And I think that his lung had collapsed and he died cuz he kept begging for oxygen. By the time that they picked up his body, which was three and a half days later. Because that’s what we believed in, was letting the body have a chance to go through the river of life. What was, what is and what could have been. It was part of our death practice. And by the time they got his body, he was so decomposed– he was dead after nine and a half hours. I am his widow. I’m Jim Bakers widow.

Well, after about a year and a half, I broke the family up. I moved back to the mainland finally. A lot of people did. And everybody kind of split up and went their separate ways. Some people stayed in Hawaii. Oh, it took me years to really reintegrate into the world for about seven years, eight years I didn’t listen to a radio, watch tv, read a magazine, go to a movie, nothing. It was all just– we were all encompassed in our own little world, in spirit. There was no outside world. It was the world against us basically.

And it took me years to reintegrate myself into the actual world where I could sit in with a group of normal people and have a conversation. And to this day, sometimes I still have difficulty, not like I used to– I mean, now I could sit in front of a bunch of people and talk. But it took me a long time because I was so brainwashed at that point. It’s a crapshoot. I never truly know what somebody wants from me.

I know certain people I know I can trust. And sometimes I always wonder what’s in the back of someone’s mind? Are they gonna take this and steal it from me or run away with it? I not include me and take it away from me again. I still am afraid of that. I still have fear of people taking my life from me. I was totally Source-ized, let’s put it like that. That’s all I was anymore was this spiritual figurehead. I didn’t know anything else anymore. I remember after I came back to the mainland, I had no idea who anybody was anymore.

You have to understand, I was a Whiskey a Go-Go dancer. I was in the music industry, in the film industry. I knew everybody. I hung out with everybody. I went from this amazing life to not having that any longer. And then being so brainwashed by the lifestyle I lived with Jim and the family and what we had created. That I didn’t know who I was. I went into one of the deepest, darkest places I’ve ever been in my life. I went into a depression. That was so dark. It was so black. It was so deep. That it was almost impossible for me to come out. To this day I am still missing parts of real life that I never got back. That’s how immersed I was into that subculture.

I mean, there’s a lot of people who’ve fallen off the grid and a lot of people who’ve disappeared. A lot of people have died. And there’s lessons to be learned in all of that. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in all of that. It’s really important to make informed important choices and not to make you the center of this universe. It’s only important that you’re the center of the universe when you’re the head of making something important happen.

So that the people around you know what to do next. It’s very important to be conscientious of what’s going on around you and what possible role you might be able to play in making a difference in making somebody’s life better. You know what I’m saying? Step outside of yourself and step into somebody else’s shoes and see what that feels like.

My husband used to say, if everybody took their moccasins off and threw them in a pile, I guarantee you everybody would run for their own shoes. So basically that kind of gives you like an idea. People are more comfortable in their own happiness, pain, whatever. You know what I’m saying? Then picking up somebody else’s cuz you never know where that’s going. Reflecting back now, I’m very happy that I met Jim Bakker. He changed my life. He opened my mind and my life up to a consciousness and things that never would’ve passed my way if it hadn’t been for him. And I don’t regret it.

But in a way, I just wish that it could have been different. I wish it could have worked out better and differently for me, and I wish Jim hadn’t lost his mind and lost his way. This is the only thing that I was able to hide from everybody that was taking all my material possessions and stealing them. I was able to hide my letters. And I have letters that I wrote to him on the original Source stationary. And I have letters that came back from him. So there’s, there’s a ton of this stuff.

They’re on old paper, they’re falling apart, and this was written 01/25/71. It says, my dearest Robin, yesterday I returned from 10 days of test. The first phase of my ordeal is over. There will be a 10 day period of meditation and prayer now. Followed by another excursion into the unknown. I am tired and weary. I feel like I’ve aged many years. All that has ever been Jim Baker must be destroyed. Then he writes, I know all this, but to truly die while alive is not easy my love. You are an inspiration to me. It is you who has given me the courage to go on.

Your never ending failing devotion and love. I will. I must achieve what you conceive me to be. For you are the perfect woman, wife, mother, daughter, child, friend. All the other women I have ever known were one or the other and underlined. He wrote, only you are complete. We have been bound together from eternity. And to eternity we shall return together. For we are one soul. May God continue to watch over you and bless you in his name. I ask him. I love you, Jim.