I so very much want to thank Billy Choate for baring his life to us about his experiences with the cult of WKFL. I don’t know Billy, but I so appreciate his open heart. I know being this open comes with a certain amount of pain.
I and my family also have lived here for many years. My husband’s family lived “on the way” to the head of the bay, as well. We have known about some of the things Billy shared with us all. Not his story but others like it. I hope others that have similar stories will speak up and share, too. I pray they all find true peace and healing.
I do not agree with exalting WKFL or the spirit of Asaiah Bates in this community. When the city of Homer agreed to purchase the property from Mr. Bates, it also agreed to pay for the purchase and installation of the “rock altar” for WKFL, and a tree that was to be called “the tree of life.” These are false representations of God’s tree of life and altar. I will not give them that kind of merit.
In my search to know more about WKFL, to my surprise, I find links to stories and pictures on a website named charliemanson.com. Yes, the mass murderer Charles Manson. In his book, Helter Skelter, he references WKFL as he spent some time there at the California compound.
Loving others as yourself is not unique to Asaiah Bates or Krishna Ventna. It was in the Bible long before them and does not refer to the kind of “love” that was shown to Billy Choate and others. The Bible tells us to love God first, and your neighbors as yourself. If I love my creator God first, I understand how he formed me, loves me and knows me. This is the basis on which I come to love others.
I know it would offend many to put a cross, the ultimate sign of love with a life laid down for others, at this park, but I certainly feel it would be a more appropriate way to exalt the Spirit of true love.