Father Yod led an experimental psychedelic rock band inside his cult known as the Source Family during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At first it was a hippie-like commune where he encouraged healthy eating, yoga, tantric sex and meditation. But it soon evolved into a cult with Yod claiming to be God and saying he was divinely told that he'd have followers.
"If you wanted to create a sort of archetype of the sort of ultimate early seventies, California spiritual cult, you could do no better than the Source family," said historian Eric Davis.
The group viewed themselves as ushering in the magic of a new age. "Jim’s remarkable life had perfectly prepared him for this essential and timely new paradigm in the evolution of our Country, and Mankind," his followers write. "We lived totally 'In The Now'… in a little 'Aquarian Bubble.' Everything outside of our 'Circumvent Force' we called (condescendingly) 'The Maya.' We did not pay attention to dates, we just lived our lives each day with great joy, fun and responsibility! Time did not exist for us."
“It was literally like meeting God, the Father or God the Brother — however you wish to see it," said former member Djin Aquarian. “[Father Yod] was so accomplished in so many ways and was so willing to share his every success and knowledge with us; that kind of gift in a young, seeking person’s life — you can only imagine the influence."
One follower reflects back on the power of the time:
During this transition between profound Ages, much of the mystical, metaphysical knowledge (which had previously been carefully hidden) began to be opened up (and/or “CHANNELED”) to the common man. Therefore, important information which could aid in Mankind’s re-birth of consciousness was finally becoming available to him. This was the help that sleeping Man had not been aware that he needed to enable him to birth a new THE SOURCE RESTAURANT evolution of the “Adam Kadmon”… the “Light Body” that has all of the “Keys” contained within it … The “Tree of life” … the Blueprint for all … the Primordial Man – the archetypal prototype of the “Sixth Root Race”… of the “God Man” … Jesus – YHSVH – Yod Heh Shin Vau Heh !
Yod got his start following Yogi Bhajan in 1969, another destructive cult leader who built a following. He even traveled to India with him studying Kundalini yoga. Prior to that he studied with Paul Bragg of the famous Dr. Bragg food line. In 1951 Yod spent six months as a Vedanta monk.