Monday, November 24, 2008

36. Ventura County Star (November 24, 2008) - 2 of 2

Last night, when I finally found time to do so, just for fun, I compared the Ventura County Star article by John Scheibe (see against the Wikipedia entry I created long ago (see

I found the following similarities between the two:

V: "...dressed in robes..."
W: "...dressing in robes..."

V: "...went around barefoot."
W: "...going barefoot..."

V: " shelter to the needy..."
W: "...offering shelter to those in need..."

V: "...feeding the homeless..."
W: "...feeding the homeless."

V: "The group gained national fame..."
W: "The group first gained national exposure..."

V: "...members were the first on the scene to help victims..."
W: "...members had been among the first on the scene to offer aid to the victims..."

V: "...airliner that crashed into the nearby hills."
W: "Standard Airlines Flight 897R which had crashed into the Simi hills."

V: "...mishandled cult funds and been intimate with their wives."
W: "...mishandled cult funds and been intimate with their wives."

And here I'd heard it was a big no-no for journalists to rely on Wikipedia!

I forwarded this list of similarities to a couple of people at the Ventura County Star. As of November 25, 2008, the only thing I have received from them in response is an email from John Scheibe, the article's author, saying, "Thanks Shawn - John."

35. Ventura County Star (November 24, 2008) - 1 of 2

The above link is to a November 24, 2008 Ventura County Star article entitled "Residents carve out a life away from crowds on a winding road," which mentions Krishna Venta and the Fountain:
The area was also home to a cult decades before the Manson family moved there. Krishna Venta (born Francis Pencovic in San Francisco in 1911) moved to Box Canyon Road along with his cult, Fountain of the World, in the late 1940s.

Known by the initials "WKFL" — Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love — cult members were known for helping others. They dressed in robes and went around barefoot, giving shelter to the needy and feeding the homeless. Some members slept in caves above their Box Canyon home.

"I would see them walking about in their garb," recalled Virginia Watson, 87, who moved to the area in 1952. "They were friendly and always tried to help others."

The group gained national fame when members were the first on scene to help victims of an airliner that crashed into the nearby hills in 1949.

The group fell apart in December 1958 when two former cult members blew up themselves and others, including Venta, in a suicide bombing.

The two claimed that Venta had mishandled cult funds and been intimate with
their wives.
This article appears to lift heavily from the Wikipedia entry yours truly wrote regarding Krishna Venta.

It must also be noted that, aside from the occasional camp out, etc., no surviving Fountain members recall anyone ever sleeping in the surrounding caves with any regularity.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

34. "Will You Die for Me?" by Tex Watson

On page 64 of the paperback version of Will You Die for Me?, regarding 1968, Tex Watson writes:
Finally I had [Manson] come down from Spahn with the bus, and he and I and the girls completely cleaned out the Malibu house, not just the rest of my possessions that were stored there but all the furniture I'd rented with the house. Driving back to the Valley we passed out things to anyone we met - I made a present of a two-hundred dollar camera to a young hitchhiker we picked up - finally leaving most of the busload with an Eastern relgious commune in the hills above the movie ranch."
Presumably the "Eastern religious commune in the hills above the movie ranch" was the Fountain of the World?

Friday, November 21, 2008

33. Footwear for the bare of feet

Speaking of Alaska, too bad the Fountain members didn't have access to these shoes!

32. Homer, Alaska

As everyone knows, in the last couple of years of his life, Krishna Venta's main focus seemed to be on creating a Fountain outpost in Homer, Alaska.

I wonder if he went there just for the halibut. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

31. Concentration

Just a photo of Brother Bob, Brother Asaiah, and Sister Ann Todd engaging in Concentration - a daily spiritual exercise at the Fountain.

This photo is courtesy of the October 1965 issue of Holiday magazine.

For more information on Asaiah Bates, see and

30. EOOM (Matia Lorion Melchizedek)

Regarding Brother KC - the former Fountain member and now deceased personage who founded EOOM - EEOM (which may or may not still be in business) offers at its website (

My name is Matia Lorion Melchizedek. I am one of 107 Melchizedek Sons assigned to this planet, called Urantia where I come from.

I share a body with a mortal being who was born Kay Franklin Hoine 63 years ago to Jewel Henrietta Thompson Hoine and Kirk Otis Hoine in Bingham Canyon Utah.

My host and I have shared a tumultuous existence since 1957 which we will share with you a little later in this narrative.

The purpose of this writing is many-fold.

First, to declare, to the peoples of this planet that God is alive and well in the hearts and minds of God knowing men and women from all walks of life and living.

Second, to contact other potential Melchizedek hosts so that we can begin the process of exerting Melchizedek influence in the realms of education, worship, politics, socialization, and other forms of human endeavour related to preparing the planet for the eventual return of our Creator Son, in all His Glory.

Third, to challenge the hosts of the remaining initiated Melchizedeks to get off their duffs and be about the Father's business.

Finally, to share, with whoever may have an interest, my 40-year experience as a mortal/Melchizedek, Melchizedek/mortal.

I'll begin with the introduction of mortal to Melchizedek in March of 1957. My mortal/host was a Los Angeles street person who was taken by friends to visit the W.K.F.L. Fountain of the World, located in Box Canyon above Canoga Park, California. When I crossed the threshold of the Fountain grounds, I Was overwhelmed with a feeling of belonging and a burning desire to know more about where this feeling comes from. I was greeted by Sister Muriel who hugged me, welcomed me, and offered to answer any questions. Well, the questions came a mile a minute-----why do you go barefoot? (humility); why do you wear robes? (to promote world peace); how do I join? ( you meet the spiritual leader.): whereupon she took me to meet Bishop Jean. Bishop Jean fed my mind and spirit and the Fountain fed my body. I was initiated as brother KC on the summer solstice of 1957. In 1958 I was appointed temporal leader of the Fountain and then Cardinal Jean and I journeyed to Pioche, Nevada to meet with my family. What a traumatic experience that turned out to be. My family would not understand why I was wearing a robe, going barefoot, and sporting a beard and long hair. I couldn't engage them in any meaningful conversation and they informed me that I was not welcome among them while I persisted in acting out my crazy notions. Cardinal Jean and I returned to the Fountain and I threw myself into the work at hand. Nevertheless, the experience with my family weighed heavily on my heart and mind and in September of 1958 I informed Jean that I had to try to mend the rift in my family. So, I bid a tearful farewell to my Fountain Brothers and Sisters and journeyed to Ogden, Utah to live with my maternal grandparents. I went to work as a chef, rented an apartment from my grandmother and settled into the good life. It was short lived because in December of 1958 two disgruntled former members of the Fountain strapped dynamite to themselves and blew up the headquarters building at the Fountain killing several people including Cardinal Jean and Machiventa Melchizedek. I immediately quit my job and caught the first bus to Canoga Park. When I arrived at the Fountain, I found mass confusion, disbelief, fear and resignation. We pulled together and salvaged what we understood to be the mission. In 1959 a fire destroyed the headquarters building at the Fount of Alaska, in Venta, Alaska, and I was sent to help keep the community functioning. The Fountain structure began disintegrating as we began focusing on personal goals instead of community goals. I applied to the governing body, the Acting Court of Apostles, for permission to open a Fount in Santa Clara, California. I had gathered 20 brothers and sisters who were like minded and we determined we were ready to introduce the Fountain structure to another community. The Acting Court of Apostles denied our request and shortly thereafter began the dispersal of Fountain personnel. In 1962 I returned to the Fountain for the final time in an attempt to revitalize the structure. I declared that I knew I was a potential Melchizedek and assumed the title Spiritual Leader, whereupon the Acting Court of Apostles went into an emergency session, issued a decree denying my claim and sent an emissary to ask me to leave the Fountain grounds. I refused and they then invited me to meet with them which I did. During the course of those discussions my Melchizedek Self took control of my body and informed all of us of the cosmic reality of the Melchizedek mission and the need to move forward in its unfoldment.

During the years discussed above, my spiritual education continued at an accelerated pace. I was led to read the Upanishads, the Bag-Vad-Gita, the Holy Koran, the Holy Bible, the Tau Du Ching, the Oasphe Book the Urantia Book and several other lesser known writings that are, nonetheless, very powerful and spiritually moving works. Also I was led to experience the teachings of living Hindu Masters, Buddhist Masters, Christian mystics, Spiritual mystics and several other disciplines designed to assist in the spiritual progression of the individual. Between the years 1962 and 1971, my Melchizedek education went into high gear. My mortal self learned of Tau flows, authority limitations and how to recognize personal Melchizedek expression while my Melchizedek self learned to deal with mortal limitation. On the spring equinox of 1971 I was initiated as Matia Melchizedek and the Constitution of Earths Order of Melchizedek was revealed by Machiventa Melchizedek at a place called Omleshivalken, Oregon. A small group of believers gathered quickly and we established a community in the hills above Clear Lake, California, where the Melchizedek Calendar was revealed and Melchizedek communicated with the Heads of State of all the nations of the planet. We were instructed to move to the Palm Springs/Indio desert which we did and soon grounded the first Temple Community of Earths Order of Melchizedek where the first Earth Council Tau was grounded from which issued another Melchizedek communication to the Planetary heads of state and we were instructed concerning the architecture of the Temple, the structure of the temple community, and the ceremonies attendant to initiations and bestowals. The community, which we called The Garden of the Setting Sun, grew in less than a year from the founding 8 to over 125. This was a very productive time for the Order. We initiated many people into the United Humanitarians and the Earth Council, grounded Rhana Taus and began making contact with the surrounding communities. Six months following the grounding of the Earth Council Tau we were instructed to "expand the works influence." Whereupon a small contingent of us prepared to embark on a journey of expansion. This journey resulted in the establishment and grounding of a contact center in Ogden, Utah, an information and communication center in Denver, Colorado, and a contact center at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Temple Community at the Garden of the Setting Sun was left with Satki Melchizedek functioning as Focus of the endeavour but his mortal host, Rick Case, refused to allow Satki sufficient expression to maintain spiritual focus and the community began to disintegrate. At the time of the Temple Community's demise I was focusing the contact center at Grand Canyon with Volton Melchizedek as my Melchizedek contact and mortal companion. A few months after arriving at the Grand Canyon we were inundated by a large group of people from the Temple Community. I got them all jobs at the various facilities located at the Canyon, we rented a couple of houses and began functioning as a Melchizedek Community. We grounded an Earth Council Tau at the Canyon which issued a decree instructing me to "go to Eyamayu." I didn't know what or where Eyamayu was but I immediately made preparations for the Journey. I selected one High Priest and two Apostles, Tzokan and Volton & Nabon respectively, to accompany me on the trip. What a trip it was. About five miles north of Las Vegas on I15 a star was pointed out to us and we were told to "follow that Star." That journey took us over many back roads, through dry washes, past several isolated ranches and finally brought us to the Grand Wash at the north end of Lake Mead. There we established a base camp and began learning more about life and the Melchizedek Mission. Meanwhile, back at the Grand Canyon, the community was deteriorating due to lack of spiritual focus and I was approached by Park Rangers who asked me if I was "leader of a group located at Grand Canyon," to which I replied, "yes," and they then told me I had "better get back there as soon as possible because the people of the community were getting into trouble." My mortal self was livid with rage and the anger had subsided very little by the time of my return to the Canyon. Shortly after my return to the Canyon my mortal self disbanded the community and told the people how pissed and disappointed he was with their performance. From the Grand Canyon a group of us journeyed to the contact center in Ogden, Utah. In Ogden, my host finally relented and allowed my Melchizedek at least partial expression. From Ogden we expanded to an Ashram Swaraj,(house of learning,) another information and communication center and another contact center. At this time we had a contact center in Ogden, Utah, a contact center in Phoenix Arizona, an information and communication center in Denver Colorado, an information and communication center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and an Ashram Swaraj, also in Salt Lake City. An Earth Council Tau was grounded at the Ashram which confounded the Melchizedek calendar and issued decrees to establish contact centers in Corpus Christi, Texas, Seattle, Washington, Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California, and Phoenix Arizona..

I determined to focus the group going to Lake Tahoe where we established a contact center and a Childrens Home School. An Earth Council Tau was grounded in Lake Tahoe and we were instructed to move the Childrens Home School to an undisclosed location in Idaho. We packed up the children and their guardians and headed for Idaho where we were led to a most beautiful spot high in the mountains above Stanley Idaho. We set about building the community structure and teaching the children. As the summer wore on we were visited by members of the other groups and we grounded another Earth Council Tau which warned us that we could not rely on the other groups for support and to plan our moves accordingly. We moved, reluctantly, from Idaho to Las Vegas, Nevada, where we set up a Melchizedek household/contact center. The Las Vegas household became the World Headquarters of EOOM, (Earths Order Of Melchizedek,) because I was in residence and I am the Spokesman of the Earth Council. We also had in residence 5 sometimes 6 or 7 High Priests, 7 sometimes 8 or 9 Apostles, and 5 sometimes 6,7,8, or 9 Prophets, several Aaronic Priesthood members and several United Humanitarians. The High Priests, Apostles and Prophets were all in various degrees of the incarnation process and the lessons were coming hot and heavy. Our final community endeavour was Fairloam Farms, located outside Tulsa Oklahoma. Finally in 1978 we were required to legally change our names to reflect our Melchizedek connections. Several of us approached the Courts of the land and were granted legal recognition of our Melchizedek Names. We founded the Melchizedek Family with the following members Tzokan, Jekum, Luukus, Reikor, Nikki, Satki, Aaron, Volton, Kordon, Nabon, Laron, Lee Ann, Rhodon, Mason, Bak-Ti-Va, Jessica, Day-Ahn-Na and six children were born into the Melchizedek family; Malena, Ureal, Uriah, Matthia, Little One and Erin.

The Current disposition of the family, as I understand it, is as follows; Tzokan, Reikor, Nabon and Day-Ahn-Na all changed their names back to Roger Sesser, Tim Jolly, T.J. Nash and Lynn Sesser, respectively. Luukus, Laron and Bak-Ti-Va have died, unnecessarily, Ureal died , unnecessarily, Jekum is considering changing his name back to Richard Jarnigan, Nikki has married Tim Jolly, Jessica and her four children still bear the name, Satki is in Chicago doing whatever it is that Satki does, Aaron, Volton, Kordon, and Rhodon are all living in Las Vegas doing whatever it is they do, Lee Ann, the last I heard, was living in northern California and had married and I am living in Las Vegas doing whatever it is that I do.

Now that you know a little about my background I would like to share with you my understanding of what the Melchizedek mission is.

107 Melchizedek Sons of Nebadon volunteered to participate in what has become known as the Nebadon Grand Experiment wherein the Melchizedek personalities would attempt to incarnate with Mortal personalities. The process is at least one Tzad Aum, (7 year cycle), long although no one has achieved success in that period of time as yet. Machiventa required 3 Tzad Aums, (21 years) to achieve success and I have required just shy of 6 Tzad Aums, (42 years,) to achieve my level of success. the other living Melchizedek are in various degrees of incarnation, including the children. I am in contact, sporadically, with other living Melchizedeks and we are , as yet, unable to achieve Melchizedek Union. When we do reach Union we will quickly raise 70 to 100 million dollars to construct the Eyamayu community and rejuvenate EOOM which is the pilot structure of the new world order. Until such time as we achieve Union, we will continue to live our separate lives. I know there is at least one, possibly nine other living Melchizedeks who are working on Union with the mortal host because none of us yet function adequately alone or in groups of 2, 3, or 4. However, there is a change in the unanimity requirements of the mission coming about probably before the next equinox or solstice. I have religiously and consistently yielded to the Melchizedek reality since 1978 with a few bouts of mortal depression and doubt thrown into the experiential mix. My mortal personality is apparently quite abrasive because no one seems to be able to tolerate an intimate association with me for very long. I am working on that problem and hope to have it solved very soon.

29. EOOM (Machiventa Melchizedek)

Interesting tidbit regarding Earth's Order of Melchizedek (

EOOM believes Krishna Venta to be the "Machiventa Melchizedek" ( discussed at length in The Urantia Book. They arrive at this conclusion presumably by taking into account Krishna Venta's assertion that he was a Melchizedek priest and then adding "M-A-C-H-I" to the beginning of his last name.

By the way, although the group was founded by a former Fountain member, no surviving Fountain members acknowledge any form of kinship or connection to EOOM.

The text below is taken from EOOM's website:


WHO IS , or, for those who perceive only the apparent, was, Krishna Venta?

FIRST, HE is the greatest friend that Urantian (Earthly) human consciousness has ever been blessed by and with. Second, he, in his full expression as Machiventa Melchizedek, is planetary friend, Universal Master, and Grand Guardian of Urantian Consciousness--- Bestowed (Incarnated) on Urantia (Earth) approximately 1830 B.C., Gregorian Calendar. Returned prior to the Creator's Son's Bestowal (Incarnation, approximately 7 B.C.), communicated with Joseph Smith through the Angel Moroni in 1832, communicated to the Prophet Mohammed as the Angel Gabriel.

THE MORTAL body through which the Universal Consciousness of Machiventa Melchizedek expressed on this planet during the years, 1932 through 1958, was a composite, integrated human expression who entered the mortal realm as one Francis Pencovic. The early, developmental years of Mr. Pencovic took him through all areas of human experience and expression; poor immigrant family, dock worker, thief, con man, family man, etc.

MR. Pencovic was selected early (1932) to become the expressive vehicle on Urantia of Machiventa Melchizedek, a Universal Personality. He (Pencovic) was approached by a representative of the Melchizedek Order and informed of his grand mission while a very young man (1932). It was explained to him that through the ensuing years, up until the time of actual assimilation and integration, he would be left primarily to his own devices and destiny in order that his ascending consciousness might not be denied the rounding and maturing influence of his mortal experience and expression. In 1941 the assimilation and integration process began and was finally consummated in 1948. Following completion of the incarnation process, he declared the name Melchizedek and founded the W.K.F.L. Fountain of the World as an institution for the planetary fulfillment of the Melchizedek plan for preparation of Urantian Consciousness to re-enter the Galactic and Universal community in full consciousness. He reactivated several power points of Galactic Circuitry, making possible the further and future fulfillment of the Melchizedek Design of Incarnation.

IN DECEMBER of 1958, he communicated to the body of the fountain membership that they should all leave the Fountain and "find him in the Spirit", explaining to them that the greatest and most important segment of the Melchizedek Plan was about to be instituted, and unless they, (the W.K.F.L. membership) were truly grounded in the truth he had embraced them with, they would find themselves lost and, as it were, cut off from the expanding flow of Universal Communication through the Circuits he had made available to them.

HE HAD PREPARED them several years previous for an "unexpected" act of violence toward his own person, wherein, he would apparently be destroyed by fire when his personal work was completed. He repeatedly and consistently communicated to the Fountain membership that they should not [underlined] worship him, but rather, that which he represented. He referred to himself as a "tool", a "guide", and a "friend", but never denied his Universal Person. Because of his divine nature, he responded as "Master" to those whose human experience needed that discipline, but again, he never demanded or commanded any, except those who did approach him through the Master-Disciple relationship, to consider him anything other than what they could see or perceive.
HE PRESENTED , allegorically, the truth and reality of his Universal influence and relationship at various points in the time/space continuum through all expressions of the Universal flow on this planet during recent history (Quelzalcoath, Moses, Abraham, Kukulcan, Mohammed, Jesus, Moroni, Masaw, Krishna, Buddha, Baba, etc.), and this facet of his current work was that which caused the greatest disturbance among the people because the reality of Universal expression defies and befuddles human reason and logic. Some of his disciples interpreted his presentation literally and immediately laid the groundwork for a cult of personality worship. Because he would not interfere with the natural maturation process of any ascending consciousness, his physical work was greatly hampered by the growing number of personality worshippers who attached themselves to his vortex, restricting any real inquiry concerning his mission.

ON DECEMBER 8 & 9, 1958, he called the membership of the Fountain together and informed them that the time had come when they should all evacuate the grounds-- saying that they were becoming a great burden to his work because they had lost sight of the full purpose of the W.K.F.L. Fountain of the World's Mission. his demands were presented forcefully, yet met with utter disbelief. Little did any of them realize, what was shortly to follow in order to force them from their attachment to his "mortal" expression.

THEIR DESPERATE and fanatical proclamation of his divinity, motivated by self-seeking greed and pride, soon made it highly improbable, if not virtually impossible for any sincere seeker after truth to see or perceive anything in the work done in his name that would remotely resemble that which his disciples had been commissioned to do and perform. Humanitarian service was replaced with greed-motivated self-service; spiritual upliftment was replaced with dogmatic indoctrination; scientific advancement was replaced with traditional prejudice; the encouragement of Universal Economic Security was replaced with constrictions, restrictions, and hoarding; trust was replaced by fear, locks, bars, and restrictions; faith by doubt; truth by error;

DURING the late evening hours of December 9, 1958, two erstwhile followers arrived to 'prove, once and for all, the truth or lie of Krishna Venta'. They carried with them a bomb of several sticks of dynamite and had covenanted with one another to make Krishna Venta publicly deny his Universal Personage, or blow him to kingdom come. The passion of their appointed [underlined] mission reached its climax at approx. 2:00 a.m. on December 10. The resulting explosion destroyed 10 mortal expressions, all of which the Master, in his mercy and compassion, took with him to the Mede Verde Valley--his spiritual planetary headquarters-- there, to complete their individual mortal maturation, prior to entrance into the Morontian spheres.

MEANWHILE , halfway around the globe, one Brother Selch, two days prior to the holocaust dreamed the following dream: He saw a flaming inferno, with a huge vortex of rising smoke and then, ten doves, one white and the rest indescript in color, rose out of the inferno and, after circling the area, flew off in a northerly direction. Those who will, shall understand.

I HAVE WRITTEN this paper in an effort to somewhat clear the air concerning the truth and actuality of my beloved Master and, also, to affirm the reality of his continuing work for and on Urantia. (end of quote)

28. Harvey article artwork is the place to go to see both pieces of the artwork discussed here.

I had meant to address this the other day but forgot.

Regarding the Harvey article, the artwork alone makes one suspect that historical accuracy was probably at the bottom of the publisher's list of priorities. Specifically, it is so salacious as to be laughable! Moreover, is it just me, or does it look as though the publishers just took a leftover drawing of Anton Lavey (Church of Satan) and drew hair on it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

27. "Witness to Evil" by George Bishop (1971)

On page 356 of Witness to Evil: The Inside Story of the Tate/LaBianca Murder Trial, author George Bishop writes:

Watkins testified on direct examination that Charlie...asked [Watkins] if he would consent to be crucified on a cross at the Fountain of the World, a minor religious sect with headquarters not far from the Spahn Ranch. Watkins allowed as how he was quite willing to be crucified if Charlie wanted it that way...[Assistant District Attorney Paul] Fitzgerald asked him how he planned to go about being crucified. "Well," Watkins replied cheerfully, "I didn't know how I was going to get up on that there cross...I just figured Charlie would take care of it."
The only problem with this testimony is that, as is the case with Ed Sanders' The Family and Paul Watkins' My Life with Charles Manson, not one single remaining Fountain member recalls the cross to which Sanders or Watkins were referring.

Again, there was the cross constructed as a publicity vehicle for Krishna Venta in the 1950s, but no one from the Fountain can recall what had become of it by the latter 1960s. On this note, some have suggested to this author that the cross appearing in the book 5 to Die (see was actually erected after Manson's conviction and not even on the Fountain property line.

26. "Fountain Cultists Fear Manson Group" by Bill Milton (1969)

The expulsion of the Manson women from the Fountain is also addressed in the following article (courtesy of Manson Family Today):

"Fountain Cultists Fear Manson Group - Retreat Provided Food, Sanctuary"

Thursday, December 11, 1969
Hollywood Citizen News
By Bill Milton

Again, this incident is discussed in my book.

25. "5 to Die" by Jerry Le Blanc and Ivor Davis (1970)

5 to Die, by Jerry Le Blanc and Ivor Davis, which was one of the first (if not the first) book to be published following the Tate/LaBianca murders contains two passages regarding the Fountain of the World. (Krishna Venta is never mentioned by name in this book.) The two passages regarding the Fountain are as follows:

1. On page 82 of the book, it says:

One day, Manson was driving down the winding Box Canyon Road after a visit to the Fountain of the World religious cult, a monastic type of religious order a few miles from the Spahn Ranch. On several occasions Manson had said he wanted to move in and run the Fountain of the World.

2. Then on pages 98-102, the contents of which are addressed in my book based upon interviews with former Fountain members, it says:

Manson was a frequent visitor to the religious cult in Box Canyon and took his band along to Saturday night skits and for “musical sessions,” although Fountain members were terrified of him and his girls.

“Fountain of the World-Dedicated to Peace Through Love and Service” says the fifteen foot, ornate yellow stone memorial perched on a hill above the retreat. Their credo is that all living things are precious and the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” refers to animals and insects as well as human beings.

The community is tucked away in a tree shrouded roadside deep in the rocky boulder strewn canyon eight miles from the ranch. Some 20 men, women and children live there and frequently Manson took his bus up to the Fountain. Members wear long, light grey monks’ habits and the men often wear their hair long and in braids.

They live in comfortable wooden dormitories on a well landscaped and maintained area that looks like something out of “Tales of The Vienna Woods” - crazily paved pathways, gnarled old elms and buildings with heavy oak doors and leaded picture windows.

In the past, Fountain members had fed Manson and his girls, but in August 1969, three girls, including Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkle, asked if they could move in and abruptly were turned away.

Early one morning, grey haired Mrs. Ann Todd, who had entertained them in the past was told the Family girls were waiting in the Fountain’s community center, a long, low wooden building which also served as offices and a reception area. The girls sat waiting on the polished oak benches. They looked dirty and unkempt, and reminded Mrs. Todd of frightened animals. She was a little scared.

’We’ve been told to come and wait here,” Susan told Mrs. Todd and Sister Nekona, a short stocky woman in her early sixties who serves as one of the elders at the Fountain of the World.

Sister Nekona was blunt: ‘We’ve been hearing bad stories,” she told the nervous girls, “there’s a lot of talk about stolen cars and guns and we’ve heard that neighbors near the ranch have been complaining to police about your behavior.’’

It was almost as if Susan Atkins hadn’t heard. She shrugged her narrow shoulders. ‘We have been told to stay here,” she repeated doggedly.

“I’m sorry," said Sister Nekona finally. ‘You’ll have to leave. We are a humanitarian group but we know some of The Family have been arrested for stealing cars. It is against our rules to harbor anyone running away from the law. There are children here, you how.”

But she might as well have been speaking to a stone wall for all the notice the girls took. They stayed until Mrs. Todd warned, “I’m calling the police if you don’t leave now.”

Suddenly Susan flared up. “You’re pigs-the worst pigs I have ever seen,” she screamed. The three girls burst into a strange song as they left.

“It was something about piggies,” said Mrs. Todd to her inquiring, 17-year-old daughter Virginia. “I couldn’t understand all the words.”

The plump, spectacled teenager was intrigued by the Family but she didn’t like Charlie; he scared
her. He was always staring at her and asking her to come with him to his bus and hear him play guitar.

The other girls talked about how they worshipped him, but she was too scared.

24. "Simi Valley: A Journey Through Time" (1997)

Krishna Venta and the Fountain of the World are discussed on pages 456-458 of this book, as are two other Simi Valley cults of note - the Pisgah Grande Colony and the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven (known also as the "Blackburn Cult"). The latter group is definitely worth checking out.

23. "The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California" by Curt Gentry (co-author of "Helter Skelter")

In The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California, Curt Gentry (co-author of Helter Skelter) mentions Krishna Venta on pages 9, 249-250, 252, 254, and 260-262.

Granted, everything he presents appears to be a retread of what Beam presents in Cults of America.

That being said, what I find interesting about Venta's presence in Last Days is that, despite these numerous entries which prove Gentry was aware of Venta, and despite the proximity of the Fountain and the Spahn Ranch and Manson's presence at the Fountain, Gentry did not devote so much as a single sentence to either in Helter Skelter.

I would love to ask Gentry if that was by commission or omission.

The cover of this book makes me think of a passage from the 1976 song “Desperadoes Under the Eaves” by Warren Zevon:

"And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill"

22. "Love Cults and Faith Healers" by Arthur Orrmont (1961)

I am including the cover of the book Love Cults and Faith Healers by Arthur Orrmont, published in 1961, just because it cracks me up and says a lot about the audience for which the book was intended.

21. Other books

There are four other books that include articles on or references to Krishna Venta which I would have posted here had I not encountered issues with their formatting in their PDF to text conversions.

These titles are:

1. Love Cults and Faith Healers by Arthur Orrmont, 1961;

2. Cults of America by Maurice Beam, 1964;

3. My Life with Charles Manson by Paul Watkins and Guillermo Soledad, 1979; and

4. The Manson File by Nikolas Schreck, 1988.

These files are all available in PDF form at

20. "Killer Cults: Murderous Messiahs and Their Fantatical Followers" by Brian Lane (1996)

The following is from the book Killer Cults: Murderous Messiahs and Their Fantatical Followers by Brian Lane, 1996.

Regarding the title of this book (replete with its Manson cover), I have often wondered why Krishna Venta who, was not murderous but was instead murdered, is in it.


Francis Pencovic + Divine Light = Krishna Venta

Francis Heidswatzer Pencovic was, born in San Francisco in 1911. In his formative years he made a rudimentary study of theology and eked out it living from a series of lacklustre menial jobs shipyard labourer, dishwasher, that kind of thing. And when he couldn't work, or wouldn't, he resorted to crime' of an 'equally lacklustre nature - petty larceny, cheque fraud ... He came to the notice of the police in Arizona after posting a threatening letter to President Roosevelt. Using the name 'Frank Jensen' he accumulated a few more convictions, for burglary and theft.

It was while Francis Pencovic was playing his part in' the Second World War (as a conscientious objector) that he was showered with Divine Light and emerged from it as Krishna Venta, 'Son of God'. Clearly this was a revelation to be shared, so the Son of God put on the robes of a holy man and set about collecting a group of disciples who were prepared to pay for the privilege of following him; the price was all their' worldly possessions. Krishna Venta told his followers that he had been born in a valley in Nepal long ago, that he had been in Rome more than a thousand years previously and in America in the 1930s. Whether Krishna Venta believed it is doubtful in the light of his previous 'activities', but his adherents clearly did, and that was all that mattered.

All cults need a name to identity with, and Krishna Venta came up with the slightly immodest 'Fountain of the World' followed by the letters WKFL, which stood for Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love. Being a communal sect they also needed live-in headquarters. Thanks to a particularly generous 'donation', the Fountain of the World bought a two-storey stone and timber building in Ventura County, California, not far from Box Canyon.

During the years they were established there, the colony earned a local reputation as gentle, honest people who were conspicuous helpers at several neighbourhood disasters, such as brush fires and even an air crash. Other than these charitable appearances, the disciples in their distinctive .blue and green robes, the men bearded and long-haired, were rarely seen about town.

What went on behind the helpful smile was something quite different.

It was Krishna Venta's belief, or so he claimed, that 1965 would see a revolution in which the forces of Communism would overthrow the American Government. He also preached that he and his 144,000 disciples (actually at the time there were only one hundred) would govern America. The Communist take-over never happened, and Krishna Venta and his faithful never got the chance to takeover either.

On Wednesday .10 December 1958, two disaffected former cult members, Ralph Muller and Peter Kamenoff, paid a visit to the Fountain of the World WKFL. There was some kind of altercation with Krishna Venta at the door, and the Leader was heard to shout: 'What do you think I am, a hypocrite?' One of the disciples then told Muller and Kamenoff that they no longer had any right to be on the premises.

There was a moment's silence and then a huge explosion ripped apart the Fountain of the World headquarters. In the blast nine members of the cult, including Krishna Venta and the two bombers, were killed. The other victims were named as 'Cardinal Gene' Shanafelt, his wife Jane and their eleven-month-old son, Martin Baker(called 'Priest Paul'), Ethel Ray (,Priest Elvira') and Anna Noga. Of the fifty members in residence several,including three children, suffered various degrees of injury. The tragedy would have been worse but for the fact that Krishna Venta's wife, Ruth, had earlier led forty-three other disciples into Alaska to found a new colony.

Although it was not clear at first why the cult had been bombed, a tape recording found in a vehicle near the scene of the explosion offered a number of clues. One accusation levelled at Krishna Venta was his fondness for taking his disciples' wives to bed - including those of the two men who eventually killed him. Certainly this 'excessive sexual zeal plus the Leader's undisguised pursuit of the good things in life were beginning to reveal him as a very tarnished saint indeed - especially in the eyes of a community which had been taught the virtues of abstinence and frugal living.

19. "Faiths, Cults, and Sects of America" by Richard R. Mathison (1960)

The following is from the book Faiths, Cults, and Sects of America by Richard R. Mathison published in 1960. The book was subsequently published in paperback form as God is a Millionaire.

Krishna Venta lived, and died, in the grand tradition of leading California cultists. He was a figure of paradox, contradiction and mystery.

The be-robed and barefooted messiah arrived by airplane in Los Angeles in 1949. With him was his wife Ruth, wearing clothes of the style of biblical days. He carried a huge press book and showed waiting reporters clippings from his triumphant tour through Europe. As he stood on the steps of the airplane, he looked down on the assembled newsmen and explained simply "I may as well say it. I am .Christ!" But there was an ignoble touch to that first entrance which took away from the glory and excitement. The skunk at the lawn party was a small girl who had been with the new
Christ and wife on the airplane. While he tried to explain the importance of his mission to the world, she kept pointing at his bare feet and commenting, "Mama says he has athlete's foot!"

However, Krishna Venta did tell the world a number of important things that spring day.

"In Rome ten thousand people met me. I had a police escort.
Mothers held their babies in the crowd waiting for my blessing!"

Had he had an audience with the Pope? "No, the Pope was too busy to see me," he said curtly. But he did go on to mention that this was not his first trip to the Eternal City. About 600 A.D. he had been the honored guest of Pope Leona, he said, hinting that papal manners had declined in the last 1400 years.

The reporters began to bait him. How had he obtained a birth certificate for a passport if he were that old?

"Well, now, I'll tell you," he drawled. "I used a passport issued in the name of Frank Pencovic. He was a boy who disappeared in San Francisco at the age of three."

Did the government know this? "What do I care? I'm a citizen of the world," he replied. On that memorable day, reporters also told him that Caltech technicians said that there was a possibility of an earthquake. Did he have any views on this? He leered knowingly. "You don't have to be a prophet to know that," he said.

As he walked away that day, the little girl pointed an accusing finger at him and said, "Mama says to be careful of him.

He's got a bad case of athlete's foot!" '.

In the months to come, Krishna Venta made a series of headlines.

He claimed 145,000 followers at this time. Within a few months after his arrival he was in jail for nonsupport of two minor children by his first wife. But, a few months later, in July 1949, motorists were startled to see Krishna and his crew of barefoot cultists, wearing robes and long hair and beards, directing traffic after a plane wreck at the Box Canyon border.

The cult itself had found this isolated area north of Los Angeles and built a few rude shelters. It was named the Fountain of the World. The only requisite for joining was to live by the Ten Commandments and learn Krishna Venta's teachings. The followers went through a three-month probationary period, then signed an article of intention giving all earthly goods to the communal group. Krishna, meanwhile, was everywhere. He returned from a junket to Chicago muttering that press agents were too damned expensive there and saying the Chicagoans were "cool" to him.

The first annual convention of the Fountain of the World group was held March 29, 1953. Members celebrated Easter' Chnstmas and the New Year in one three-day service and also initiated members into the Aaronic priesthood. Meanwhile the cultists themselves had become figures in many a scene of tragedy in California. They fought fires. When Bakersfield was devastated by earthquake, Krishna Venta and his group appeared to help. Again, When floods struck nearby Ventura, his group arrived and helped the sufferers.

From where did this bearded leader emerge? No one is quite sure. He was forty-seven, records show, and his real name was Francis Pencovic (aliases Frank Jensen, Frank Christopher, Frank Hiendswatzer), part-time boilermaker in San Francisco.

He had had a number of arrests at various times. He had been picked up in 1,941 for writing threatening letters to President Roosevelt, but was later released. He was sentenced to nine months in Santa Paula in 1942 for issuing fictitious checks, placed on three years' probation and later sent to the state mental hospital at Stockton for observation. There were also a variety of other charges ranging from nonsupport of children, panhandling and begging to the theft of food.

He outraged some of the more conservative clergymen of Southern California when he re-enacted, for the public, the Crucifixion. In the drama he carried a huge cross-made by two followers from a discarded telephone pole-to the top of a high peak near the cult headquarters. Here he was tied to the cross as dawn broke, and with a crown of thorns tied to his head he uttered the words Of Christ on the cross. In 1954 he and his followers popped up at the Army-McCarthy hearings in Washington, D.C.

He was a prime attraction when he and his five "apostles" arrived in the crowded hearing rooms. He told reporters he was bitterly opposed to McCarthy. "The three Joes have been causing all the trouble," he lamented.

"What three Joes," asked reporters. Krishna Venta scratched his head. "Why, Joe McCarthy and Joe Stalin," he said.

"And who else?" asked reporters. He paused, meditating for a moment.

"Why, Tojo!" he said triumphantly.

That same year he was again in the news when several disillusioned followers complained that he had taken $2900 of the communal money. He had appeared in Las Vegas at about this time and, wearing his robes and smoking fine cigars, had been a heavy loser at the crap tables. On January 8, 1956, he went to jail in Oakland on a child support charge and his followers picketed the jail. They carried huge signs which proclaimed, "Penalized for lifelong dedication to God." He was soon out, but back again in a few months on the same old charge of child support. No sooner had his attorneys temporarily solved this problem than he was sued for $4300 in back rent for the Box
Canyon property. He resolved this, only to be hauled into court again in Ventura and ordered to pay $50 a month each for the support of his two sons by the former marriage. He appealed and it was ruled that he did not have to increase his support of $20 each month, as the judge had ordered. (An interesting dissent was filed by one judge at the time of the appeal, which could set a precedent on communal cult operations. Said the judge: "Any father can enter a religious cult where property is
owned communally and escape payment for support of children.")

By fall of that year Venta was ready to look for greener pastures.

He announced plans to move to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska with 140 followers. Cultists filed homestead claims and made a theological change by announcing that they would wear shoes in the twenty-degree-below-zero winters they could expect in this area but would go without shoes in the Alaskan summers.

Their simple creed was clear for all to understand. It stated simply that one should love one's fellow man and do good works. His devoted followers, eccentric as they were in appearance, were soon greatly respected for their efforts during calamities in Southern California. They seemed to be everywhere: walking about in brush fires in their bare feet; aiding victims of the various crises which struck in mountain, desert and suburban areas.

In the Box Canyon headquarters, a hierarchy had been set up. The Master wore robes of yellow. Green was for the students, blue indicated that the cultists could administer medicine, brown was for the kitchen help, gray for those willing to take responsibility. The men and boys never shaved. By now Krishna Venta- had announced his acceptance of belief in reincarnation.
Cultists were told that their belief was a "do-it yourself" theology. They must search for divine guidance alone, even though the Master would help as he could.

He explained that he had no age: "Since time started I have been with the world. Since the beginning." While he claimed thousands of followers, there were only thirty-five people living in the isolated area in 1956. Amid mammoth boulders and oak trees, a clutter of small houses had been built. Behind the area was a huge cliff. The colonists raised goats and poultry, although they seldom ate meat. The branch in Alaska was thriving by now. There were 120 cultists hard at work and they
were known as "The Barefoot People."

Here, as in California, they were noted for their good works and respected, odd as they were, by other settlers in the isolated area.

Then at 2 A.M. on the morning of December 7, 1958, tragedy struck in California. A mighty explosion ripped the main building of the tiny colony and fires rent the area. The force of the explosion was so terrific that buildings in the entire colony were demolished, As the smoke cleared, it was found that the beloved leader and a number of the cultists were gone. For an hour no one could quite make out what had happened. Then, slowly, information began to collect.

Yet when the entire story was in, the Master was shrouded in even more mystery than ever before.

The explosion had ripped ten human bodies-including Krishna-into disconnected bits of flesh. And the district attorney in Los Angeles announced that, two days before, two former cultists, Peter Kamenoff, forty-two, and Ralph Muller, thirty-three, had appeared to claim that Venta systematically
had had illicit sex relations with female cultists, including girls under the legal age of consent. They further charged that he had tried to sanctify some of these affairs with legal marriage ceremonies. They said, too, that he practiced medicine without a license, allowing sick cult members to die from lack of medical attention, As police pieced the story together, on the night of the blast, these two disaffected cultists had gone to meet Venta and taken with them twenty high-potency sticks of dynamite in a case made into a crude time bomb.

They had tried to intimidate Venta into a public confession of the malpractices of which they accused him, When he haughtily refused, they set off the charge, tearing themselves and their enemy to bits, killing seven innocent people, and injuring others who had been sleeping in the totally demolished brick building.

This, if it were true, would have been weird enough, but no stranger than some other mystical cult doings, The trouble was, many of Venta's followers denied the whole affair. There was even talk that Venta had not died in the blast but was still alive.
Identification of the dead was based mainly on dental records.
Some said that he had left his bridgework near his bed and fled before the blast took place. There was also the charge that $10,000 belonging to the organization vanished at the time of the blast and nobody seems to know what happened to it. The two murderers had told the district attorney that whenever they had gone to fight forest fires, Krishna had picked one of his sister disciples to sleep with him in an auto. Venta had a simple, nonreligious explanation for this behavior, they added. He said he was cold-blooded and therefore needed someone to keep him warm. Meanwhile Mother Ruth, his wife, came to his defense when she claimed that sixty cult members were ready to swear with her that he was "a misunderstood man of high moral value." Then one of Venta's six children, an eleven-year-old boy, insisted that he had seen the Master in the nearby hills,
badly injured, after the blast. The boy was quickly shushed by Mother Ruth before he could give any of the details of this encounter, or vision, as the case may be.

In the days following, the remaining colonists knelt in the charred ruins to pray. His wife told investigators that Krishna himself had predicted eighteen years ago that he would be cremated in 1958. "Do not use the word dead," she cautioned. "He is the Christ and we do not believe in death." She went on to say that Krishna's "original body" was probably in Meta Verde Valley, at the foot of Mount Everest. She was tearless as she told all this.

Mother Ruth became president of the seven acting apostles as the cultists started rebuilding. He would return in two years and unite cell by cell, she said. Meanwhile the group would carry on. Without tears or sorrow, they buried the charred body which they claimed was Krishna Venta.

The day after the bombing, the daily thought for the day was tacked on the bulletin board of the decimated area. It read "You are a two-fold being, one material, and the other spiritual. Which one do you wish to serve? For in serving two masters your house becomes divided."

And so, today, the cultists await their beloved Krishna, man of mystery. Charlatan or prophet, he had left behind a group of devoted and sincere followers, this tall, Christ-like figure who had, at one time, handed out dollar bills on Broadway marked "Money is the root of all evil." Who had been thrown out of the lobby of the Claridge Hotel. in London. Who liked fine luggage and cigars. Who claimed to have no navel, and to have visited the world 163,000 years ago.

In front of the gutted ruins where tragedy struck, there stands a sign: "Love One Another-Serve One Another." Some thirty five cultists live by their motto: "To be positive, creative, constructive in all we think and do." They believe that love is the strongest force on earth and greet strangers with "We love you." Each day a team of six women canvasses for donations door to door. Twice a day cultists hold "concentration" periods.

During this session they recall the rules: "Forget the outside world Become familiar with the inside workings of one's self Become unified with one another spiritually, mentally and physically ... Forget self, forget selfish desires. :--. Create a desire within one's self toward higher spiritual equality ... Obtain wisdom, search for truth, keep an open mind ... Search for understanding in all things ... Face problems without thought of escape ... Become absorbed in love of all things, seen and unseen, and so fulfill the laws of God . . . Become teachers, not of the world, but in the World Fountain, that all men who come out of the world shall find comfort in our midst."
Sometimes their prayers in the remote canyon are drowned out when a nearby rocket-testing installation sends missiles roaring in tests. At such times they all stand quietly, patiently waiting for this intrusion from the outside world to end, then start softly chanting once again, "Love one another-love one another . . ."

18. "Child of Satan, Child of God" by Susan Atkins

Around this time, via a variety of methods and means, and via a lot of helpful emails, I became aware of a lot of books in which Krishna Venta and the Fountain of the World were mentioned. One such book was Child of Satan, Child of God written by convicted murderess and former Manson Family member Susan Atkins. The book was co-written by Bob Slosser.

Now I have a lot of problems with this book, namely, since it may as well have also been titled "Suitable for Parole," Atkins spins a lot of recorded history in such a manner as to show herself in the best light possible. Given her circumstances, I can understand her motives.

That aside, one passage from her book which I know to be true is found on page 110. It addresses the birth of her son and how, "Five days later, the women [in the Manson Family] arranged for me to move with the baby to a nearby religious mission and retreat house called the Fountain, where some of the girls had stayed occasionally, hoping to obtain it someday for the use of the people [Manson Family members] at Spahn's. I was granted permission to stay there as long as I would help with the work."

Afterthought: earlier this year (2008), Atkins was diagnosed with cancer and given but a few months to live. The reader may recall that efforts were undertaken to secure her "compassionate release" in order that she not die in prison. These motions were denied. As of this writing, Atkins is still alive and/or dying with cancer, whatever the case might be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

17. "California's Love Cult Bombing," Official Detective Stories (March 1959)

By this point, I had amassed a good number of documents regarding Krishna Venta. The problem for a historian like me, though, was that everything I possessed was a secondary source document, i.e., written by someone based upon facts received from someone else.

Not knowing where exactly to turn, I wrote to one of the myriad of historical societies in California. They were kind enough to forward to me a bundle of newspaper articles, many of which concerned the bombing of December 1958.

Also among the items sent was an article by J.P. McFarland from the March 1959 issue of Official Detective Stories entitled "California's Love Cult Bombing." I anticipate I will discuss this story at some point.

16. Three books I really like by Curt Rowlett

(Researcher and author Curt Rowlett)

Here are three books that I encourage the readers of this blog to purchase and read:

1. Labyrinth13 (see or

See also:

2. Riding on Your Fears (see

See also:
3. The Curse of Palmyra Island (see and

15. No trespassing on holy ground?

Random: the dichotomy of this photograph (with the posted "NO TRESPASSING" sign coupled alongside the "Ye who enter here enter in upon Holy Ground" sign) has always cracked me up. I feel like asking, "Which is it?!?!?!"

14. Ed Sanders and "The Family"

Around the same time that I received Marjorie Moody's book, although I can't remember precisely what led me to it, I purchased yet another copy of the first edition of the book "The Family" by Ed Sanders. (I think that in my lifetime I have purchased at least two first editions of this book and have subsequently given away both.)

Referring to the 1989 paperback version of the book, which I have handy, Sanders refers to Krishna Venta on pages 85-86 and 316.

Among the problems I've encountered with Sanders' "facts" are listed below. Sanders states:

1. "The religious retreat occupied subterranean chambers and caves wherein they did their thing." If "their thing" here refers to sex, every member of the Fountain is quick to shoot down this myth. My book contains a section wherein I address the myths and legends that have grown up around Krishna Venta and the Fountain of the World in this regard.

2. "...parties unknown blew up the founder, Krishna Venta...with forty pieces of dynamite placed in the catacombs." Where to begin here? First of all, "parties unknown" must have meant that Ed Sanders didn't know who they were; everyone else knew them as Ralph Muller and Peter Kamenoff. Forty pieces of dynamite? Try about half of that! And the dynamite wasn't placed in the catacombs; it was, instead, strapped to Muller and/or Kamenoff.

3. "There was a large rock at the Fountain of the World that looked remarkably like a huge skull. At the top of the 'skull' was a wooden upright cross. Fountain members, so one is told, were wont to strap themselves up on the cross for penitential mediation sessions." Not a single Fountain member whom I've interviewed can place any cross matching this description. The Fountain did construct a cross in the 1950s to be used in Passion Plays at Easter in order to generate publicity. However, no one who lived at the Fountain in the latter 1960s can account for its whereabouts during that period. As well, the bit about Fountain members strapping "themselves up on the cross for penitential mediation sessions" has been slammed by all Fountain members. The terminology used to describe it is better left unpublished.

Sanders' admission of "so one is told" says much about the research he conducted in generating this portion of "The Family," i.e., another example of a writer incorporating gossip into his text and presenting it as fact.
The ultimate problem with Sanders' "facts" is that many subsequent authors, e.g., Adam Gorightly, Nikolas Schreck, R. C Zaehner, and apparently even Paul Watkins' co-author Guillermo Soledad, have relied upon them as though they're gospel.

By the way, let me go on record here and say that I am neither a defender of nor an apologist for the Fountain of the World, but I do detest sloppy and irresponsible history!

13. Robert Graysmith and the Zodiac Killer

Looking back on my initial enthusiasm for researching Krishna Venta in 2004, I think the only thing with which I can compare it is the borderline obsession that overtakes the Robert Graysmith character (as portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal) in the movie "Zodiac" (my favorite film of 2007).

Yes, I know that many view both Graysmith's book and the movie "Zodiac" as fiction disguised as fact...

12. "Master Krishna Venta" by Marjorie B. Moody

While I was still digesting the Harvey article, the booklet "Master Krishna Venta" by Marjorie B. Moody finally arrived.

In hindsight, the only thing of merit in the book insofar as Krishna Venta goes is the "Dedication" page on which she references her association with Krishna Venta. (For all intents and purposes, she was sort of a Fountain of the World "groupie.")

I've never been able to get into this book, and I recently discovered why. As originally posted October 13, 2008 at Amazon, I wrote, "At first glance, the booklet appears to contain excerpts from speeches delivered by Venta prior to his death in 1958. However, be warned: such is not the case! This I know because I recently obtained an original letter dated 1971 in which Mrs. Moody - who apparently fancied herself somewhat of a modern day Madame Blavatsky - states to a friend that the book's contents are actually "new revelations" channeled from Krishna Venta. So, as I admittedly don't believe in such things, my verdict is that what you actually have here is nothing more than a collection of Mrs. Moody's ramblings packaged under Venta's name."

How lame is that?!?!?!?

One other point of interest is that towards the back of the book, Moody references the Universal Mother Mary's Garden and the Mon-ka Retreat, the latter of which is sometimes also apparently referred to as "Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America." I thought this latter title was interesting given Krishna Venta's discussions regarding mankind having originated on Neophrates and travelled to the Earth via rocket ships.

Monday, November 17, 2008

11. This author's problems with the Harvey article

Touching some of the high points only, this author's problems with the Harvey article lie in the fact that Mr. Harvey offers many "facts" that belie the truth that much of his research consisted of little more than swapping Krishna Venta legends with others. Case in point, Harvey states:

1. "Krishna Venta promised he would never die." Unless this refers to Krishna's belief in reincarnation, of which he did speak often, no surviving Fountain member with whom this author spoke recalls Krishna Venta ever making any such claim.

2. Pencovic's letter to Franklin Roosevelt was Pencovic's attempt to "show the President how to run the country." Things may have been different when Harvey wrote his article, but the letters as such are lost to time and their contents remain unknown.

3. Pencovic "spent several months in a state hospital for mental treatment." Records reveal he was there approximately one month, solely for "observation," and was declared sane.

4. "Frank Pencovic, at the age of eight, was sent to live with his relations after both his parents died." This is not factually correct.

5. "The local people were aghast at the strange collection of cultists" and that "[t]he community tried to have this new cult evicted but Krishna Venta fought it and won." In talking to the surviving members of the Fountain, this author has learned that the "local people," as Harvey calls them, indeed didn't know what to make of the "Barefooters" at first. However, when these same people realized the Fountain was so involved in its community's welfare, most everyone quickly warmed up to them. Moreover, it was not the community that tried to have the Fountain evicted. Instead, such proceedings were instituted the old fashioned way - by a landlord who'd been stiffed one time too many on the rent payments.

6. "In no time at all Krishna Venta was riding around in a bright yellow Cadillac and smoking dollar cigars." Both are great myths surrounding Krishna Venta. Everyone with whom this author spoke that knew the man, insisted Krishna Venta always drove station wagons, not Cadillacs of any color, and that he often smoked Camels, but never cigars.

Moreover, there are general problems with the continuity and timeline of events Harvey offers regarding Pencovic's/Venta's life, i.e., many events, such as dates of arrests, etc., are presented blatantly out of sequence.

10. Other Krishna Venta weblinks found

Over time, I would encounter a multiplicity of weblinks regarding Krishna Venta too numerous to list. Three of the more interesting links, though, were:

9. Krishna Venta at

On that first day of conducting online research, I also discovered another website with information regarding Krishna Venta that would prove useful over time:
(naturally, I found this website after I found the Pencovic v. Pencovic case on my own!)

8. Pencovic v. Pencovic (1955), 45 C2d 97

After receiving the copy of "Borderline" (which I will address later), I hit the web when time allowed and was surprised to find case law regarding Krishna Venta. I was even more surprised to discover later on - again via conducting my own primary source research - that this document too contains (minor) historical inaccuracies.

Pencovic v. Pencovic (1955) 45 C2d 97

[S. F. 19037
Cal Sup Ct
Sept., 20, 1955]



Edwards & Friborg and Alan G. Banks for Respondent.
Gross & Svenson and Henry J. Gross for Appellant.


Plaintiff and defendant were married in 1937 and had two children, a son and a daughter. In 1944 plaintiff obtained a divorce and was given custody of the children, who were then 6 and 4 years of age respectively. Defendant was ordered to pay $20 per month for the support of each child. He made one payment, entered the army, and authorized an allotment for his children. From the time of his discharge late in 1945 until 1951 he made no payments for the support of his children, who depended in part on assistance from Alameda county. In 1951 the county instituted criminal proceedings against him. He was found guilty of nonsupport and ordered to pay $20 per month for each child in accordance with the divorce decree and $10 per month for each child for unpaid arrearages. Since then plaintiff has received $30 per month for each child from defendant through the probation officer of Alameda County.

In November 1953 plaintiff filed an affidavit alleging that her earning capacity had been impaired in an automobile accident, that the children required more money for their support, and that she believed that defendant's income was $1,000 per month. She requested the court to increase the support for the children to $100 per month for each child. The court ordered defendant to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt for disobedience of the original support order and why that order should not be modified as requested by plaintiff. After a hearing on the orders to show cause, the court discharged the contempt citation and ordered defendant to pay $50 per month for the support of each child and plaintiff's costs and fees for her attorney. Defendant appeals.

[1] Section 139 of the Civil Code provides: "That portion Page 45 Cal.2d 100 of the decree or judgment making any such [support] allowance or allowances ... may be modified or revoked at any time at the discretion of the court. ..." In the exercise of its discretion, the trial court must consider the needs of the dependents and the ability of the husband to meet those needs. (Sweeley v. Sweeley, 28 Cal.2d 389, 394 [170 P.2d 469].) [2] Its orders, however, need not be based upon the actual income or property of the husband, but may be based solely upon his ability to earn money. (Webber v. Webber, 33 Cal.2d 153, 160 [199 P.2d 934]; Eidenmuller v. Eidenmuller, 37 Cal. 364, 366; Tompkins v. Tompkins, 83 Cal.App. 2d 71, 79 [187 P.2d 840].) [3] No abuse of discretion is disclosed by the record in this case. There is ample evidence of changed circumstances and of defendant's financial ability to meet his children's needs and of his ability to earn money in the future.

The two children, now teenagers attending high school, have greater needs for food, clothing, and medical services than at the date of the original order. Living expenses are greater, but their mother, who has been their chief source of support, was permanently disabled in an automobile accident, spent a year and one half in a hospital, and is $1,000 in debt for the care of the children and the payment of hospital bills. She is employed as a Blue Cross Hospital clerk at $200 a month, but because of her injury cannot work steadily. For two and one half years she was completely unemployed and her earnings for the past year have been less than $150 a month. Since it now costs $127 a month for the care of the son and $118 a month for the care of the daughter, she was been unable to feed and clothe herself and the children on her earnings.

When plaintiff obtained the interlocutory decree, defendant told her that he would "plan his life accordingly so he would be protected." He said that he would "form this organization where people would give all their possessions into the organization and he would be the head of the organization, nothing would be in his name, everything would be in the name of the organization, yet he would have them arrange for all the money he wanted to use any time he wanted it."

Defendant's principal contention is that he has neither money nor property nor earnings and that he is therefore without ability to pay the increased amounts. At no time has he contended that he is unable to earn sufficient money to support the children. In 1941 and 1942 he was employed Page 45 Cal.2d 101 at the shipyards in Oakland as a timekeeper, and at the time of the divorce he was working as a machinist's helper for about $75 a week. Shortly after the divorce he changed his name to Krishna Venta and founded a religious society, the "W.K.F.L. Fountain." (The letters stand for wisdom, knowledge, faith, and love.) The society was incorporated in 1951 and is governed by a board of directors and officers. Defendant is the treasurer of the society and its spiritual leader or "Master." Neither he nor anyone connected with the society receives a salary as such. About 100 members reside at a home maintained by the society at Canoga Park in Ventura County. They have a communal system of living and none of them works on the outside. All food, clothing, and medical care are provided by the society. Funds are obtained from new members, who transfer all their property to the society on being admitted to membership, and from gifts, plays presented by the members, and donations received for fighting fires. Defendant and his present wife and their young daughter occupy a small room and five other children of defendant's sleep in a garage made into a bedroom with three other children living at the society's home. Defendant makes periodic automobile trips to Denver to carry on the work of the society. Occasionally he stops at Las Vegas and Reno to gamble, and on some occasions the society and various persons have advanced him money for that purpose, but he has never won. In Las Vegas he once lost $2,900 and in payment drew checks on a bank in which he had no funds. The society paid part of the amount due on the checks and no civil action or criminal charges were brought against defendant for issuing them. The society paid the cost of a trip by defendant to Europe in 1949, a trip to South America in 1951, and trips in 1952 to 54 cities in the United States to study fire equipment and fire departments and to advance the cause of the society. A member of the board of directors usually accompanies him on trips and handles temporal matters. For all contributions that he receives and for all his expenditures defendant accounts to the board of directors, and there is no evidence of unauthorized use of society funds. The society pays all of defendant's expenses, including the $60 per month for the support of his children ordered at the criminal proceeding, and at the time of that proceeding it also supplied him with funds with which to buy gifts for his children, ice skates costing $65 for his daughter and a wrist watch, tennis Page 45 Cal.2d 102 shoes, and other gifts for his son. It also paid the fees for his attorney in both the 1951 and present proceedings.

Although defendant contends that the support he receives from the society constitutes only a gift to him and that his services are in turn rendered gratuitously, the trial court could reasonably infer from the foregoing evidence that he is in fact receiving compensation from the society for the services he renders as its spiritual leader of "Master." Moreover, in the past this compensation has been measured by defendant's needs, including his obligation to support his children. Accordingly, the trial court could reasonably conclude that the amount of his compensation would be increased to meet any additional obligation imposed upon him, and his reasonable expectation of securing such additional compensation could properly be considered in determining his ability to pay. (Woolams v. Woolams, 115 Cal.App.2d 1, 7 [251 P.2d 392]; see Federbush v. Federbush, 5 N.J.Super. 107 [68 A.2d 473, 476]; In re Aspenleiter's Estate, 114 N.Y.S.2d 486, 488.) Under these circumstances the fact that the society is not obligated to support defendant's children is immaterial, for in fact it has adopted as the measure of his compensation his needs, including his obligation to support his children. The society and defendant, by determining the compensation by reference to defendant's needs instead of by adopting a fixed rate, cannot compel the court to ignore the fact that under their existing arrangement defendant's compensation as measured by his needs includes his obligation to support his children.

Even if the trial court concluded, however, that defendant was not receiving compensation, but only gifts, and that the society would not provide him with additional funds to discharge the increased support award, its order would not constitute an abuse of discretion. Defendant is an able- bodied man, and the trial court could reasonably conclude that he had the earning capacity to discharge the obligation of the support award. [4] By refusing for religious reasons to seek or accept gainful employment defendant may not evade that obligation. [5] Although the guarantee of religious freedom of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is binding on the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303 [60 S.Ct. 900, 84 L.Ed. 1213, 128 A.L.R. 1352]), the states may nevertheless regulate conduct for the protection of society, and insofar as such regulations are directed Page 45 Cal.2d 103 towards a proper end and are not discriminatory, they may indirectly affect religious activities without infringing the constitutional guarantee. [6] Although freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe are absolute, the freedom to act is not. (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 169-170 [64 S.Ct. 438, 88 L.Ed. 645]; Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303-304 [60 S.Ct. 900, 84 L.Ed. 1213, 128 A.L.R. 1352]; Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 29 [25 S.Ct. 358, 49 L.Ed. 643]; Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333, 342-344 [10 S.Ct. 299, 33 L.Ed. 637]; Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, 45 [5 S.Ct. 747, 29 L.Ed. 47]; Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 166 [25 L.Ed. 244]; People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill. 618, 626, 104 N.E.2d 769, 30 A.L.R.2d 1132, cert. den., 344 U.S. 824 [73 S.Ct. 24, 97 L.Ed. 642], and see cases collected in 30 A.L.R.2d 1138-1141.) [7] Certainly there are few interests of greater importance to the state than the proper discharge by parents of their duties to their children, and the Constitution does not compel the subordination of the statutory duty of a parent to support his child to a rule of religious conduct prohibiting gainful employment.

[8] Defendant contends finally that the order increasing the amount of the support award is inconsistent with the order discharging the contempt citation, on the ground that the court stated with respect to the alleged contempt that he did not "think there has been any showing ... of ability to pay." Since defendant was paying $20 per month on the accrued arrearages in addition to the $40 per month currently due under the original order, the contempt citation was presumably based on his failure to pay all of the balance of the accrued arrearages. There is no direct evidence of the amount of such arrearages but it may be inferred that it is in excess of $2,000. Accordingly, it cannot be said that the trial court's conclusion that defendant was unable to pay all of the accrued arrearages was inconsistent with its implied finding that he was currently able to pay the increased monthly award.

The orders are affirmed.

Gibson, C.J., Shenk, J., Edmonds, J., Carter, J., Schauer, J., and Spence, J., concurred.